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płyby desiring the bearer, Mrs. Ferguson of Graham-park, if I she should hereafter, by any accident, meet with Mr. Duche, to tell him, I should have returned it unopened, if I had had ang ideas of the contents."
Some persons in congress have been and are manæuvreing to get gen. Conway promoted, which occasioned the commander in chief's writing the next day to a confidential friend " I ask why the youngest brigadier in the service (for I believe Conway is so) should be put over the heads of the eldest! I am assured they will not serve under him, I have been a slave to the service; I have undergone more than most men are aware of, to harmo. nize so many discordant parts; but it will be impossible for me to be of any further service, if such instperable difficulties are thrown in my way.”
Before the last year's Massachusetts general court expired, they passed an act to support and enfore the regulating act, made in January, under the title of an act to prevent monopoly and oppression. By this new act, committees were vested with mostextraordinary powers," which," as the act says, “ can only bejustified in cases wherein the very existance of the community is depending.” The vanity and folly however of regulating acts has been so seen and felt, that they have been repealed by the new general court, within these five days..
Boston and Marblehead have been under great difficulties for want of flour and Indian corn”; and inust have suffered much bad it not been for the state importations. On the 15th of Angust there was not flour in the capital sufficient for the inhabitants longer than the next day, except what belonged to the state. The sea-ports and neighboring towns of this state have been used to receive their supplies of flour mostly by water, and from the places now in the hands of the British ; they are therefore liable to be distressed by the operations of the war, though happily exempted from being the seat of it, since the evacuation of Boston.
A secret expedition has been carrying on against Newport, without gen. Washington's having ever been consulted upon it, or knowing from whence or whom it originated. Gen. Spencer was stationed at Providence, and of course conducted it.The states of Rhode-Island, Connecticut'and Maszachusetts furnished almost the whole of the troops. The militia who were called out opon the occasion, readily engaged in the service, for they were billed with the expectations of success, and the hopes of plunder. Every thing went on well for some time, without tie British troups knowing that preparations were making for passing over to Rhode-Island, and attacking them. At length
2 half-witted fellow, without seeing consequences, of his own head carried over in his buat to the island a jew, whora he landed, and who was to go to Newport, and the neighbourhood, and procure all the intelligence he could and then to return with his information to gen. Spencer. The Jew weat to the enemy and acquainted them with the expedition that was going forward. Upon this the British iminediately took proper mean surës for their security. Gen. Spencer however, perfected his preparations. The time and manner for carrying the militia over was settled. Brigadier Palmer, who headed those from the Massachusetts, had his orders given him, but instead of excite ting them with life and spirit, he neglected and disobeyed them. His conduct occasioned a failure of the expedition, Spencer's “ courage'would have led him to have attempted carrying the
island, after this disappointment, and with a smaller body of troops than were originally to have been employed ; but others would not consent to it. The employing of the Connecticut militia in this service, contributed greatly to, if not wholly caused that weakness in the American force stationed on the North-River, which occasioned the loss of the forts Montgoalery and Clinton. * A long letter for doct. Fothergill goes by the prescat opportunity. The writer mentions that the Americans are cerermined not to part with their independence, and proposes that there should be an immediate acknowledgment of it, on the part of Breat-Britain, and an entering upon a commercial alliance with the United States, before any foreign power interferes.
Numbers have been for some time dissatisfied with the French, : because of their not affording more speedy, open, and impori ant assistance. They flatter themselves that the capture of Bur
goyne's army will produce a change in the politics of France. An adoption of the above proposal will be the best expedient for over-reaching her in any design of injuring our native. country,
MY DEAR SIR, THE military operations in Pennsylvania, are to be the subd jects of our immediate attention. About a fortnight at ter the German-town battle on the 19th of October the royàl army under the command of Sir William Howe, removed to Philadelphia.
Measures being concerted between the general and admiral for clearing the Delaware of its obstructions, the former ordered batteries to be erected on the western or Pennsylvania shore, to assist in dislodging the Americans from Mud-Ísland. He also detached a strong body of Hessians across the river, who were to march down and reduce the fort at Red-bank, while the ships and batteries on the other side were to attack Mud-Island Count Donop commanded the detachment, consisting of three battalions of grenadiers, and the regiment of Mirback; beside, light-infantry and chasseurs. The Americans were about four hundred under col. Christopher Greene of Rhode Island. [Oct. 22.] When near enough, the count sent a flag and demanded a surrender of the fort in the most peremptory terms. The colonel concealed the greatest part of his men, so that the officer with the flag thought the garrison very small. Greene answered
"I shall defend the fort to the last extremity.” Donop attack ed the intrenchments, after a sharp action carried an extensive outwork, not half completed ; but in the body of the redoubt, which afforded a better covering, the defence was equally vigorous and far more successful. Here indeed the Americans meant to risk the fate of the fort, as they would have the greater advantage of the assailants. "The Count was mortally wounded and taken prisoner. Several of the best officers were killed or disabled ; and the Hessians, after a desparate engagement, were répulsed. The second in command being also dangerously wounded, the detachment was brought off by lieut. col. Linsing. It suffered not only in the assault but in the approach to and retreat from the fort by the fire of the American gallies and floating batteries. The whole loss was probably not less than 4 of 500 men. Congress have since resolved to present col. Greene with an elegent sword: The men of war and frigates destined for the attack of Mud-Island, alias Fort Mifflin, were equally unfortu
mate. The ships could not bring their fire to bear with any great effect upon the works. The extraordinary defences with which the free course of the river had been intercepted, had affected its bed, and altered its known and natural channel. By this mean the Augusta man of war and Merlin sloop were grounded so fast, that there was no possibility of getting them off. Tlie Augusta while engaged took fire, and the Merlin was hastily evacuated. The.greater part of the officers and crew of the Augusta were saved: but the second lieutenant, chaplain, -gunner, and no inconsiderable number of the cammon men perished.-Notwithstanding this ill success, the British commanders prosecuted with vigor the business of opening the navigation. Nor were the Americans idle ; for they left nothing undone to strenghten their defences. · [Oct. 29.] General Washington gave the following state of his arıny,--- Our whole force by the last returns is 8313 continental troops; and 2717 militia rank and file, fit for duty ; beside the garrison of Mud-Island amounting to 300 continentals, of Red-bank 350, and a detachment of militia (on the 26th to reinforce it) 300; and the troops on the other side of Schuylkill 500, making together 1450." Thus it appears that his whole Strength was 12480 men. Sir W. Howe's probably amounted to more than 10000 rank and file present fit for duty. It had received' no increase worth mentioning from among the inhabitants of Pennsylvania or the neighboring states, though large promises had been made (by some sanguine gentlemen who had joined him) that thousands of loyal subjects would repair to the royal standard as soon as it should make its appearance in Pennsylvapia. The American commander in chief certainly supposed that gen, Howe's force exceeded his own in number, for, on the 13th of November, he wrote, -". The arıny which I have under my immediate command has not, at any one time since gen. Howe's landing at the head of Elk, been equal in point of numbers to his. In ascertaining this, I do not confine myself to continental troops but comprehend militia. I was left to fight two battles, in order if possible to save Philadelphia, with less num)-bers than composed the arıny of my antagonist, whilst the world has given us at least double. This though inortifying in some points of view I have been obliged to encourage ; because next to being strong it is best to be thought so by the enemy, and to this cause principally, I think is to be attributed the slow movement of Howe.”. The cause was different in the northern department, There the states of New-York andNew-England resolving to crush Burgoyne, continued pouring in their troops till the surrender of his army. Had the same spirit prevaded the people of Pennsylvania Vol. II.
and the neighboring states. Washington inight, before the date of his letter, had Howe nearly in the same situation with Bara goyne. The Pennsylvania militia were said to be 30,000;bot about 3000 was the highest qumber brought into the field. In the estimation of some New England gentlemen, “the peasants of that country are extremely ignorant and brutish. They are a mixture of high and low Dutch, and so exceeding illiterate, that few of them can read and scarce any can write. They have no other ideas of liberty or slavery, than as it effects their property; and it is immaterial to them, whether Great-Britain or America prevail, so that they may be exempted from paying their pro portion of the expences of the war.” Ignorance is the high road to slavery.
While the British were entirely occupied in possessing the city of Philadelphia, gen. Washington sent off lieut. col. Samuel Smith of the Maryland line, with 200 men; who were to proceed and possess themselves of Mud-Island.' By quick marches he arrived with his party at the lower ferry, and with difficulty -threw himself into the fort, which he found in a wretched condition without amınunition, provision or stores, garrisoned by about thirty militia. He had with hin two exellent officers of artillery, to whom he assigned fifty of his best men, who were trained to the guns. The colonel, with commodore Hazlewood and captain Robinson, a brave naval officer, visited Province-isa land, principally under water, the banks having been cut by order The colonel pointed out two dry places, where the enemy Inight erect works, the nearest about 4 or 500 yards from that side of the American works where the defences were only palisades, one gun and two weak block-houses. With great labor he under took to erect a two gun battery without the fort, so as to make a gross fire on the spot. He had not finished, before the enerny tok possession of the ground he inost dreaded ; but by a well di rected fire from the block-house batteries and gallies, ere they had a gun ready, the Americans wounded the commander, and the party delivered themselves up.prisoners. While these were ré moving another party came down from the heights, and deceiving major Billard with offers of submission, till too pear to be prevented, repossessed themselves of the battery, from whence they annoyed the garrison very much. Many of the men and officers having sickened through the unhealthiness of the place, the có lonel was reinforced by the first Virginia regiment of about 120 men. The enemy having got up part of the chevaux-de-Frieze, brough in their shipping, and made an attack as above related. One American squadron of four gallies behaved well, the others. kept aloof, the commodore being at the distance of inore than