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The Anerican army having been driven from NewYork, the British General stationed a detachment to guard the city ; and posted his main army in front of the American lines on the north end of York Island. Their right extended to the East, and their left to the North river; and both their flanks were covered by ships of war. The island at Bloomingdale, the place of the British encampment, is two miles wide.
The strongest post of the Americans was at King's bridge, which secured their communication with the country. M'Gowan's pass, and Morn's heights were also rendered defensible; and within a mile and a half of the enemy, a detachment was posted in a furtified camp, on the heights of Haerlem. The Commander in Chiet was pleased with this dis position of his army; he thought it must lead tu those frequent skirmishes, which would insensibly wear off the depression occasioned by the late defeat, and restore to his men confidence in themselves. He indulged the bope that by these services, the discipline would ta in. troduced into the army, absolutely necessary to successful war, when every individual does his appropriate duty, confiding for his security in the skill of his General, and in the united efforts of his fellow soldiers.
The very day after the retreat from the Sept. 16. city, a party of the enemy appeared in the
prain between the two hostile camps. The General rode to the outpost to embrace the opportunity to attack them. Lieutenant Colonel Kuowlton, of Connecticut, a brave officer, who had been skirmishing with the party, stated their number at three hundred. The General detached Colonel Knowlton and Major Leitch, of Virginia, to gain their rear, while he occupied their attention by movements indicating a design to attack them in front. Colonel Knowlton and Major Leitch, after leading their corps into action in a most soldier-like manner, were both soon brought
off the field mortally wounded; yet the men under their Captains, bravely continued the attack, and drovo an enemy, superiour in numbers, from their position. The Americans had fifty men killed and wounded, and the British twice that number.
This skirmish, trifling in itself, was improved to valuable purposes. The Commander in Chief in gene. ral orders, applauded the bravery of officers and men ; contrasted it with the cowardly behaviour of the troops the day before ; called upon the whole army to emulate this honourable example ; and from the issue of this conflict, pointed out what brave mor might effect, when fighting in the best of causes. 7 nc parole next day was Leitch. In filling the vacancy occasioned by the death of the Colonel, the General mentioned that the officer succeeded" the gallant and bravc Colonel Knowlton, who would have been an honour to any country, and who had fallen gloriously fighting at his post.” The success of this rencounter had a general effect upon the spirits of the army.
In addition to the arduous duties of this campaign, which were sufficient to employ the time, and test the talents of the greatest military character; the state of the army furnished a weighty subject of attention to General WASHINGTON. He dwelt upon the gloomy prospects of the succeeding winter. The clothing of the men was suited only to the warm season, and their time of enlistment expired with the year. The consequent distresses in all their magnitude rose to his mind, and in the following letter, he endeavjured to impress Congress with a lively sense of the situation of the army ; and to call forth their highest endea. vours to arrest the approaching evils.
“ From the hours allotted to sleep, I will borrow a few moments to convey my thoughts on sundry important matters, to Congress. I shall offer them with the sincerity 'vhich ought to characterize a man of candour ; and with the freedom which may be used in
giving useful information, without incurring the im. putation of presumption.
“ We are now, as it were, upon the eve of another dissolution of our army. The remembrance of the difficulties which happened upon that cccasion last year ; the consequences which might have followed the change, if proper advantage had been taken by the enemy; added to a knowledge of the present temper and situation of the troops, reflect but a very gloomy prospect upon the appearance of things now, and satisiy me, beyond the possibility of doub', that unless some speedy and effectual measures are adopted by Congress, our cause will be lost.
" It is in vain to expect that any, or more than & trifling part, of this army will engage again in the service, on the encouragement offered by Congress. When men find that their townsmen and companions are receiving twenty, thirty, and more dollars, for a few months' service (which is truly the case) this can. not be expected without using compulsion; and to force them into the service would answer no valuable purpose. When men are irritated, and their passions inflamed, they fly hastily and cheerfully to arms; but after the rirst emotions are over, to expect among such people as compose the bulk of an army, that they are influenced by any other principles than those of interest, is to look for what never did, and I fear never will, happen ; the Congress will deceive themselves, therefore, if they expect it.
“ A shldier, reasoned with upon the goodness of the cause he is engaged in, and the inestimable rights he is contending for, hears you with patience, and acknowledges the truth of your observations; but adds, that it is of no more consequence to him than to others. The officer makes you the same reply, with this further remark, that his pay will not support him, and he cannot ruin himself and family to serve his country, when every member in the community is
equally benefited and interested by his labours. The few, therefore, who act upon principles of disinterest edness, are, comparatively speaking, no more than a drop in the ocean. It becomes evidently clear then, that, as this contest is not likely to be the work of a day ; as the war must be carried on systematically, and to do it you must have good officers; there is, in my judgment, no other possible means to obtain thom, but by establishing your army upon a permanent footing, and giving your officers good pay; this will induce gentlemen, and men of character to engage, and until the bulk of your officers are composed of such persons as are actuated by principles of honour and a spirit of enterprise, you have little to expect from them. They ought to have such allowances, as will enable them to live like, and support the charac. ters of gentlemen ; and not to be driven by a scanty pittance to the luw and dirty arts which many of them practice, to filch the publick of more than the differ. ence of pay would amount to, upon an ample allowance.' Besides, something is due to the man who puts his lifc in your hands, hazards his health, and forsakes the sweets of domestick enjoyments. Why a captain in the continental service should receive no more than five shillings currency per day, for performing the same duties that an officer of the same rank in the British service receives ten shillings sterling for, I never could conceive ; especially when the latter is provided with every thing necessary he requires upon the best tern.s, and the former can scarcely procuro them at any rate. There is nothing that gives a man consequence, and renders him fit for command, like a support that renders him independent of every body but the state he serves.
“ With respect to the men, nothing but a good boun. ty can obtain ther upon a permanent establishment, and for no shorter time than the continuance of the war, ought they to be engaged; as facts incontestably
prove, that the difficulty and cost of enlistments in. crease with time. When the army was first raised at Cambridge, I am persuaded the men might have been got without a bounty for the war; after that, they began to see that the contest was not likely to end so speedily as was imagined, and to feel their consequence by remarking, that to get their militia in, in the course of last year, many towns were induced to give them a bounty. Foreseeing the evils resulting from this, ar:d the destructive consequences which would unavoidably follow short enlistments, I took the liberty in a long letter, to recommend the enlistments for and during the war, assigning such reasons for it, as experience has since convinced me were well founded At that time, twenty dollars would, I am persuaded, have engaged the men for this term: but it will not do to look back, and if the present opportunity be slipped, I am persuaded that twelve months more will increase our difficulties four-fold. I shall therefore take the liberty of giving it as my opinion, that a good bounty be immediately offered, aided by the proffer of at least a hundred, or a hundred and fifty acres of land, and a suit of clothes, and a blanket to each non-commissioned officer and soldier, as I have good authority for saying, that however high the men's pay may appear, it is barely sufficient, in the present scarcity and dearness of all kinds of goods, to keep them in clothes, much less to afford support to their families. If this encouragement then be given to the men, and such pay allowed to the officers, as will induce gentlemen of liberal character and liberal sentiments to engage, and proper care and caution be used in the nomination (having more regard to the character of persons, than the number of men they can enlist) we should in a little time have an army able to cope with any that can be opposed to it, as there are excellent materials to form one out of; but while the only merit an officer possesses is his ability tɔ raise men; while those men