Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

of particular corps entitled them to special notice. The artillerists and the engineers greatly distinguished themselves. Brigadiers Du Fortail and Knox were promoted to be Major Generals. Major Generals Lincoln and the Marquis La Fayette were mentioned with high commendations, and Governour Nelson, who commanded the militia was thanked for his effec. Lual exertions in the field, and in furnishing the army with such articles as his state afforded. To Count Rochambeau, to the French officers and troops, General WASHINGTON expressed his acknowledgments in flattering language.

The British General and Admiral at New-York had not been inattentive to the perilous situation of Lord Cornwallis. Admiral Rodney in the West Indies had early been apprized of the intention of Count de Grasse to visit the American coast ; but not supposing that the whole of the French fleet on that station, wouid be employed on this service, Rodney detached Sir Samuel Hood to the continent with fourteen sail of line of battle ships. Sir Sar...el reached the mouth of the Chesapeak before de Grasse, and finding no enemy there, sailed along the coast to Sandy Hook. Admiral Greaves then lay in the harbour of New York with scven ships of the line. Immediately after the arrival of Hood, intelligence was received that Count de Barrass had sailed from Newport. Admiral Greaves with the whole British squadron without loss of time sailed in pursuit of him, and on the 24th of September he discovered the French fleet under de Grasse con sisting of twenty four ships of the line, riding at anchor ir: the Chesapeak and extending across its entrance. Count de Grasse ordered his ships to slip their cables and form the line of battle. A partial engagement took place, in which some of the English ships were considerably damaged. The hostile fleets maneuvred for four or five days in sight of each other, and Count de Grasse then returned to his anchorage

ground. Here he found Count de Barrass who had taken a wide circuit to avoid the English, and had, while the hostile fleets were at sea, entered the Chesae. peak with the squadron from Newport, consisting of five ships and fourteen transports, laden with heavy artillery and military stores for the siege. Admiral Greaves returned to New-York to repair.

In the course of a few days, the British squadron was augmented to twenty-five ships of the line, and Sir Henry Clinton determined to encounter every hazard in the attempt to relieve Earl Cornwallis. , Ho embarked seven thousand of his best troops, and, con. voyed by the fleet, sailed on the very day of the capitulation, for Virginia. At the entrance of the Chesapeak, on the 24th of October, he received information of the surrender of his Lordship, and he returned to New York.

The capture of Lord Cornwallis and his army excited universal joy through the United States. In a circuitous route from Charleston to Yorktown, this army had marched ele. cn hundred miles and had spread terrour and distress through the whole extent. From this dread the country was delivered. The sur. render of a second royal army, the Americans deemed an event decisive of the independence of the United States, and which would speedily terminate the war.

The day after the capitulation General Washing: ron ordered," that those who were under arrest should be pardoned and set at liberty;" and announced, that “ Divine service shall be performed to-morrow in the different brigades and divisions. The Commander in Chief recommends, that all the troops that are not upon duty do assist at it with a serious deportment, and that sensibility of heart, which the recollection of the surprising and particular inte position of providence in our favour claims.” Congress as soon as they received General Washington's official letter giving information of the event, resolved to go in procession

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

to the Dutch Lutheran Church, and return thanks to Almighty God for the signal success of the American arms; and they issued a proclamation, recommending to the citizens of the United States to observe the thirteenth of December as a day of Publick Thanksgiving and Prayer. The news of the capture of Earl Cornwallis was every where received with exultation and publick rejoicing.

Congress for this achievement, voted the thanks of the United States to General WASHINGTON, to Count Rochambeau, to Count de Grasse, to the officers of the allied army generally, and to the corps of artillery and engineers in particular. They also resolved that a marble column should be erected at Yorktewn in Virginia, bearing emblems of the alliance between the United States and his Most Christian Majesty, and inscribed with a succint narrative of the surrender of the British army under the command of Earl Cornwallis. Two stands of colours taken from the royal troops, were presented to General WashINGTON, two field pieces to Count Rochambeau ; and application was made to the French Court that Count de Grasse might be permitted to accept a testimonial of the approbation of Congress, similar to that which Rochambeau had received.

To the Commander in Chief the most affectionate and respectful addresses were presented by the govern. ments of the states, by the authorities of cities, and by the corporations of literary institutions.

The decided superiority of the allies in naval and land forces, General WASHINGTON wished to direct to the conquest of the British posts at Carolina and Georgia. He addressed a letter to Count de Grasse on this subject, requesting his co-operation in measures directed to these objects. But the Count declined, declaring that the service of his King demanded his immediate return to the West Indies.

Orders were of course issued for the disposition of
VOL. II.

3

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

the allied armies for the approaching winier. Major General St. Clair was detached with two brigades to South Carolina to reinforce General Green. The French forces remained in Virginia. The Eastern troups embarked early in November for the Head of Elk, under the command of General Lincoln, who was crdered to march them from the place of their landing into New-Jersey and New-York, and to canton them for the winter in those states. Count de Grasse with his fleet sailed for the West Indies, and General Wash INGTON proceeded to Philadelphia.

CHAPTER IX.

Preparations for another Campaign--Sir Guy Carleton arrives at

Now-York and announces the voto of Parliament to acknowledge American Indepen·lence-Army anxious for their Puy-Anonymous Address exciting them to a Revolt-General Washington convencs and addresses the Officers-Their resolutions-treliminary Articles of Peace reccived-Cessation of Hostilities proclaimeil--General Washington addresses a Circular Letter to the Exrcutives of the Several States--Army disbanue::- New Levics of Pennsylvania revolt-The Commander in Chief enter New-York-Takes Icave of his Officers--Resigns his Commis. sion to the President of Congress-Retires to Mount Vernon.

1. The brilliant issue of the last campaign did not relax the vigilance of General WASHINGTON. He deemed it true policy to call forth all the resources of the country, that the United States might be prepared for the conflicts of another year, or, might take a commanding attitude in a negotiation for peace. From Mount Vernon, on his way to the seat of government, he wrote General Green,“) shall attempt to stimulate Congress to the best improvement of our late success, by taking the most vigorous and effectual measures to be ready for an early and decisive campaign the next year. My greatest fear is that, viewing this stroke in a point of light which may too much magnify its in. portance, they may think our work too nearly closed, and fall into a state of languor and relaxation. To

prevent this errour, I shall employ every means in my power, and, if unhappily we sink into this fatal mistake, Bo part of the blame shall be mine."

He reached Philadelphia the 27th of November, and on tho next day had an audience of Congress. The President informed him that a committee was appointed to arrange the military establishment of the .ext year, and that he was requested to remain in Pniladelphia to assist in this important business. At the consultations of this committee, the Secretary of War, the Minister of Finance, and the Secretary of Foreign Affairs assisted. The arrangements were made with despatch, and on the 10th of December, Congress passed the resolves for the requisitions of men and money for the year 1782 upon the several states; and the personal influence of the Commander in Chief was on this occasion used, to persuade the state govern. ments seasonably to comply with the resolutions of Congress.

1782. The first intelligence from the British government, after the surrender of Earl Cornwallis, indicated a design to continue the American war; but early in May, Sir Guy Carlton arrived at New-York, to supersede Sir Henry Clinton as Commander in Chief of the British army; and he and Admiral Digby were af: pointed Commissioners to treat with the United States upon terms of peace. He communicated to General Washington a vote of the British Parliament against the prosecution of the American war; and a bill au thorising the King to concluile a peace or truce with the revolted provinces of North America. Sir Guy professed his pacifick disposition, and proposed that hostilities should cease, as these would produce individual distress without national advantage. This bill, when Sir Guy left England had not passed into a law, and Therefore was not a proper basis of negotiation; and the Commander in Chief continued his defensive preparations

« AnteriorContinuar »