Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

'778' returned, prepared to attack, and got very near tha privateer, when she cut her cables and sailed off, having about half an hour before sent away the ship and three of the prizes, and set fire to the other two. .

Captain James Willing, in the service of the United States, arrived with a detachment of men from fort Pitt at the Natches, a British settlement in West Florida, on the evening of the 19th of February; and the next morning early sent out sundry parties, who almost at one and the same time made the inhabitants prisoners of war on their parole. The colours of the United States being hoisted, and the country taken possession of in their name, the inhabitants fearing the confiscation 1 of their property, waited on capt. Willing to propose terms of accommodation, to which he. readily agreed. They are not to; take arms against the United States, or to assist their enemies; but^-e to observe.a strict neu7 trality. During such neutrality, their persons, slaves, and other property, of what kind soever, are to remain safe and unmolested; but the property of all public officers of the British crown is excepted, as also the property of all British, who are not residents in the district. The agreement was signed by the delegates from the people and their associates, on the one part; and by the captain on the other, the 21st of February. "Since the earliest return of spring, a succession of detachments from .gen. Howe's army have ranged the country for many miles round Philadelphia and in the Jerseys, chiefly to open the communication for bringing in supplies, and to collect forage. They haye been pretty successful. But col. Hand, in answer to col. Mawhood, charged his troops not only with denying

quarter,

quarter, but butchering the Americans who surrendered 1778* prisoners, and bayonetting, on the 21st of March, in the most cruel manner, in cold blood, men whft were taker) by surprise, when they neither could nor did attempt to make any resistance, and some of whom were not fighting men. The successful surprise of a party of Americans, consisting of some hundreds, posted about seventeen miles from the city, took place on the 4th of May. On the 7th, the second battalion of British light infantry, in flat boats, attended by three gallies and other armed boats, proceeded up the Delaware, in order to destroy all the American ships and vessels lying in the river between Philadelphia and Trenton. They landed the next morning; advanced- toward Bordentown; drove the Americans that opposed them; entered the town, and burnt four store-houses, containing provisions, tobacco, some military stores and camp equipage. The country being alarmed, and a strong body collected, the battalion crossed to the Pennsylvania shore. The next • day they resumed their operations, and at fun-set embarked and returned to Philadelphia. While upon the expedition, they burnt two frigates, one of 32 guns, the other of 28,—nine large ships—three privateer sloops of 16 guns each—three of 10—twenty-three brigs, with a number of sloops and schooners. Two of the ships were loaded with tobacco, rum and military stores.

Thus ends, most probably, the history of gen. Howe's successes in North America; for Sir Henry Clinton arrived at Philadelphia on the 8 th of May, to succeed the former, who will soon return to Great Britain.

The British officers, to express their esteem for Sir. William Howe, prepared a magnificent entertainment,

*77s- with which to grace his departure for Great Britain. If consisted of a variety of parts, on land and water -, was called the Mischianza; and was given on Monday the

'g*y 18th of May. It was indeed magnificent, began at four in the afternoon, and concluded at four the next morning. There was ^ grand and beautiful exhibitibn of fire: works; toward the conclusion of which, a triumphal arch appeared gloriously illuminated, with Fame blowing from her trumpet in letters of light—u Thy laurels, shall never sade." This prediction would be more likely to receive a fulfilment, had the military atchievements of the general been more answerable to the force he has commanded against the Americans. The American' officers planned a different entertainment for him; which" had proved satal to themselves, but for the oversight of one British general.

; The marquis de la Fayette, with a select corps of about 2500 men, rank and file, crossed the Schuylkill, and proceeded to take post at Barron-hill, about twelve miles in front of the army at Valley-forge. He planted his piquets and videttes,and sent out patroles on all the roads by which it was probable the enemy would approach him. About two miles on his left was White, marsh, where a number of roads form a junction. The marquis intrusted the guard of these roads to some militia, whom he ordered there, but who never went. A quaker inferring from the marquis's directing him to provide lodgings for the night, that he intended remaining there, sent information of it to the enemy, who by their spies having obtained intelligence of the marquis's situation, formed an instantaneous design of surprising him. For that purpose, on the night of May

the the 19th, gen. Grant marched out of Philadelphia with 1778. full 7000 men, and a number of cannon. By taking the Franckfort road, and crossing the country through the old York road and White-marsh, the next morning 20. he entered the road on which the marquis was, about two miles in his rear, at Plymouth meeting-house. From this place to Matfon's-ford on the SchuylkUl is about one mile and a quarter, the only ford by which the marquis could effect a retreat, and about two miles from Barron-hill church. Other troops were advancing to take the marquis in front, and co-operate with gen. Grant; who instead of hastening to and securing the ford, marched down toward the marquis on the main road, by which mean the latter gained intelligence of the other's being in his rear. The marquis, happily by an instant decision retreated by the road leading from Barron-hill church to Matfon's-ford, and had nearly effected his retreat over the Schuylkill before the enemy were sensible of their error. They then doubled their pace to come up with his rear; but his retreat was so handsome and timely, that the troops were all crossed and formed before they could come near the ford in force. His whole loss was no more than nine men. The American army had early information of the marquis's' danger, and were in great anxiety about him. They began firing some of their heaviest artillery, hoping that the wind being fair, the sound would be conveyed: to the enemy in such a manner as to excite mistaken apprehensions; which they think was the case, as the1 enemy after the marquis had crossed, made a precipi-.. tate march back. to Philadelphia, seemingly under an apprehension that they should be pursued and attacked

by

1778* by the whole army. ' Had gen. Grant marched down at once to Matson's-ford, and secured it, the marquis with his select corps, must have surrendered or been cut , to pieces. Their loss would have obliged the rest of the American army to have made an hasty flight, in a most distressing situation, the chief of them being without shoes and stockings, and otherwise badly provided. The orderly manner in which the Americans retreated, and which contributed much to their escaping, is to be ascribed to the improvements made in their discipline, owing greatly to the baron de Steuben, the inspector general.

LETTER III.

Rotterdam, June 20, 1778.

Friend Gordon,

YO U will not be surprised at seeing from whence this is dated; nor be at a loss to account for my removal. The present residence will be more savorable to general intelligence than Great Britain, as it affords an opportunity of visiting and hearing from Paris without danger. My last year's letter closed with the account of capt. Cunningham's having taken the packet l777. for Holland, in the beginning of May 1777. The captain and his crew were committed to prison for some": . \..' irregu

« ZurückWeiter »