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men appointed to offices (no ways superiour in merit, and ignorant of service perhaps) over his head.
A Committee sent to the army from each state may, upon the spot, fix things with a degree of propriety and certainty, and is the only method I can see, of bringing measures to a decision with respect to the officers of the army; but what can be done in the mean time towards the arrangement in the country, I know not. In the one case, you run the hazard of losing your officers; in the other of encountering delay; unless some method could be devised of forwarding both at the same instant.
“Upon the present plan, 1 plainly foresee an intervention of time between the old and new army, which must be filled with militia, if to be had, with whom no man, who has any regard for his own reputation, can undertake to be answerable for consequences. I shall also be mistaken in my conjectures, if we do not lose the most valuable officers in this army, under the present mode of appointing them ; consequently, if we have an army at all, it will be composed of mate. rials not only entirely raw, but if uncommon pains be not taken, entirely unfit; and I see such a distrust and jealousy of military power, that the Commander in Chief has not an opportunity, even by recommendation, to give the least assurances of reward for the most essential services.
“In a word, such a cloud of perplexing circumstances appears
hefore me, without one flattering hope that I am thoroughly convinced, unless the most vigo. rous and decisive exertions be immediately adopted to remedy these evils, that the certain and absolute loss of our liberties will be the inevitable consequence; as one unhappy stroke will throw a powerful weight into the scale against us, and enable General Howe to recruit his army as fast as we shall ours; numbers being disposed, and many actually doing so already. Some
of the inost probable remedies, ard such as experience has brought to my more intimate knowledge, I have taken the liberty to point out, the rest I beg leave to submit to the consideration of Congress.
“I ask pardon for taking up so much of their time with my opinions, but I should betray that trust which they and my country have reposed in me, were I to be silent upon matters so extremely interesting.”
General Howe too well understood the duty of a commander to attempt to storin the strong camp of his opponent. He adopted the plan of transporting his army above King's bridge and forming an encampment in rear of General WASHINGTON's lines. This maneuvre, he expected, wouid either occasion the Amerioan Commander hastily to abandon his encampment, or oblige him to hazard a general engagement under circumstances which would render a defeat absolute ruin. To facilitate this design, he fortified M'Gowan's hill for the defence of the city. Three frigates passed up the North river without injury from the fire of Forts Washington and Lee, and without impediment from the chevauxdefrise that had been
sunk in the river. The great body of troops Oct 12 on York Island was embarked in flat bot
tomed boats, conveyed through Hurl Gate, and landed at Frog's Neck, near West Chester.
General WASHINGTON fully comprehended the plan of the Rritish Commander, and immediately adopted measurcu to defeat it. The bridges were removed from the only road, in which the British columns could march from Frog's Neck to the American encampment, the ground being rough and in many places intersect. ed by stone walls. The road itself was broken up, guns were mounted upon heights the most favourable to annoy approaching troops, and detachments were sent out to act in front of the
and to check his progress. As General Howe prosecuted his scheme, it became evident to the American General Officers,
that a change of position was necessary to save their army from destruction. General Lee about this time joined this army, and urged the immediate execution of the measure. The advice of his officers according with his own judgment, the Commander in Chief moved the army from York Island, and stretched it along the North river towards the White Plains, until its left was extended above the enemy's right. It was, however, determined to maintain Forts Washington and Lee. The resolution of Congress of the 11th of October, requesting General Washington in every possiole way to obstruct the navigation of the river, had great influence on this decision. The reinoval of the stores was a heavy task to the men from the want of teams.
General huwe moved his army to New, Oct. 18. Rochelle. Several sharp skirmishes ensued,
in which the American troops behaved well, Both armies manœuvred for several days to obtain possession of the high grounds of the White Plains. General Washington narrowly watched the movements of his enemy, and to secure a communication with the country, and to cover the removal of his heavy baggage, he disposed his forces upon the differcnt heights from Voluntine's Hill, near King's bridge, to the White Plains, forming a chain of fortified posts, twelve or thirteer, milos in extent. He nuw fronted the British line of march, the river Brunx running between the two armies. During these operations severe skirmishes took place between advanced corps, and a bold attempt was made to cut off a British regiment, which partialy succeeded. The enterprise of the American commander rendered General Howe extremely cautious; his movements were made in closn order, and in his encampinents every corps was strongly secured.
The sick and the stores having been reOcr. 25. moved to places of safety, General Wash
INGTON drew in his outposts, and took posBossion of the hills on the east side of the Brunx, in
front of the British army. A detachment was posted on a hill a mile from the main body, on the west sido of the river, to cover the right wing; and entrenchments were formed, as time permitted, to render the lines more defensible.
The manœuvres of General Howe indicated Oct. 28 the intention to attack the American camp;
he reconnoitred their position, and with little effect opened a heavy cannonade upon it. He detached a large corps over the Brunx to drive the Americans from the hill on their right, and thereby open the way for an assault upon the right and centre of the main body. The charge was sustained with spirit ; but finally the Americans were overpowered by numbers, and driven from this position. The loss of the Americans in the gallant conflict, in killed, wounded, and taken, was between three and four hundred ; that of the British was not less. The day was so far spent in the struggle, that General Howe deferred the attack upon the lines until next morning, and the whole British army lay through the night upon their arms, in face of the American encampment. General WASHINGTON spent the time in making preparation for the uxpected assault; he drew his right wing back into stronger ground, and strengtnened his left in its former position. The succeeding day the cautious Howe again recon. noitred the American camp, and determined to suspend the attack until the arrival of a reinforcement from the city. This additional force reached him on the afternoon of the 30th, and preparations were inade for the attack ; but a violent rain prevented the execution of the design.
The movements of the enemy manifest. Nov. 1. ing the design to turn the right flank of
the Americans, and gain possession of the high ground in their rzar, General Washington, hay. ing secured his heavy baggage and stores, at night withdrew his army from its present position, and form
ed it upon the heights of Newcastle, about five miles from the White Flains, and secured the bridge over Croton river.
General Howe deemed the new encampment too strong to be forced, and marched off his army to other operations.
The immediate object of General Howe Nov. 5. in leaving the White Plains, was to invest
Forts Washington and Lee. The possessinn of these fortresses would secure the free navigation of the North river, and facilitate the invasion of New-Jersey. The American Commander conformed his movements to those of his enemy. He ordered all che troops raised on the west side of the Hudson to cross that river under the command of General Green, intending himself to cross. as soon as the plans of General Howe should be more fully disclosed. General Lee remained with the troops raised east of the Hudson, who was ordered to join Green’s division, whenever the enemy should enter New-Jersey. General Washington informing Congress of his new ar. rangements, observed, “I cannot indulge the idea that General Huwe, supposing him to be going to NewYork, means to close the campaign, and to sit down without attempting something more. I think it highly probable, and almost certain, that he will make a descent with a part of his troops into the Jerseys, and as soon as I am satisfied that the present maneuvre is real, and not a feint, I shall use all the means in my power to forward a part of our force to counteract his designs.
“ I expect the enemy will bend their force against Fort Washington, and invest it immediately. From some advice, it is an object that will attract their ear. liest attention.”
He wrote to Governour Livingston, informing him of the movements of the enemy, and advising him to hold the nailitia in their full strength, in constant readi