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Long island, and the hour is fastapprdaching, on w'hich the honor and success of this army, and the safety of our bleeding country depend. Remember, officers and soldiers, that you are freemen* fighting for the blessings of liberty; that slavery will be your portion, and that of your posterity, if you do not acquit yourselves like men. Remember how your courage has been despised and traduced by your cruel in- . vaders, though they have found by dear experience, at Boston, Charleston, and other places* what a few brave men, contending in. their own land and in the best of causes, can do against hirelings and mercenaries. Be cool, but determined. Do not fire at a distance, but wait for Orders from your officers." lie repeated his injunctions " to shoot down any person who should misbehave in action," and his hope " that none so infamous would be found, but that, on the contrary, each for himstelf resolving to conquer or die, and trusting to the smiles of heaven on so just: a cause, would behave with bravery and resolution." His assurance of rewards to those who should distinguish themselves were repeated, and he declared " his confidence, that if the army woilld but emulate and imitate their brave countrymen in other parts of America, they would by a glorious victory save their country, and acquire to themselves immortal honour."
On the 5th day after their landing, the British attacked the Americans on Long island, commanded by general Sullivan. The variety of ground» and the different parties employed in different places, both in the attack and defence, occasioned a succession of small engagements, pursuits, and slaughter, which lasted for many hours.
The Americans were defeated in all directions. The circumstances which eminently contributed to this, were, the superior discipline of the assailants, and the want of early intelligence of their movements. There was not a single corps of cavalry in the American army.-The transmission of intelligence was of course always slow, and often impracticable, From the want of it, some of their detachments, while retreating before one portion of the enemy, were advancing towards another, of whose movements they were ignorant. In the height of the engagement, Washington passed over to Long island, and, with infinite regret, saw the slaughter of his best troopss but had not the power to prevent it, for had he drawn >his whole force to their support, he must have risked every thing on a single engagement. He adopted the wiser plan*, or evacuating the island with all the forces he could bring off. In superintending this, necessary but difficult and dangerous movement, and the events of the preceding day, Washington for forty-eight hours never closed his eyes, ar.d was almost constantly on horseback. In less than thirteen hours the field artillery, tents, baggage, and about 9.000 men, were conveyed from Long island to the city of New York, over East river, and without the knowledge of the British, though not 600 yards distant. The darkness of the night, and a heavy fog in the morning, togetherwith a fairwind after midnight,favoured this retreat. It was completed without interTuption sometime after the dawningof the day. The unsuccessful termination of the late action led to consequences more seriously alarming to the Americans than the loss of their men. •Hitherto, they had had such confidence in themselves, engaged as they were in the cause of liberty and their country, that it outweighed all their apprehensions from the discipline of the British troops ; but now, finding that many of them had been encircled in inextricable difficulties, from the superior military skill of their adversaries, they went to the opposite extreme, and-began to think but very indifferently of themselves and their leaders when opposed to disciplined troops. For some time after, as often as they saw the enemy approaching,, they, suspected a military mae:.'..-i E 2 nceuvre, jjoe'uvre, from which they supposed nothing icoulii save the.m but immediate flight. Apprehensions of this kind might naturally be jexpected from citizen soldiers, lately taken from agricultural pursuits, who expected to Jay aside the military character at the end of the current year. Washington, tremblingly iiliye to the state of his army, wrote to con.gfess, shortly after the defeat on Long island, as follows: "Our situation is truly .distressing. The check our detachment sustained on the 27th ultimo has dispirited too great a proportion of our troops, and filled their minds with apprehension and despair. The militia, instead of calling forth their utmost efforts to a brave.and manly opposition, ia order to repair our losses, are dismayed, intractable, and impatient to return. Great numbers of them have gone off, in some instances almost by whole regiments, in many by half ones, and by companies at a time. This circumstance of itself, indepen* dent of others, would be sufficiently disagreeable ; but when it is added, that their example has infected another part of the army; that their want of discipline, and refusal of almost every kind of restraint and government, has rendered a like conduct but too common in the whole, and has produced an, , entire entire disregard of that order and subordination necessary for the well-doing of an army? Our condition is still more alarming, and with the deepest concern I am obliged to confess my want of confidence in the generality of the troops,
"All these circumstances fully confirm ther opinion I ever eritertained, and which I more? than once, in my letters, took the liberty of mentioning to congress, that no dependence could be put in a militia, or other troops than those enlisted and embodied for a longer period than our regulations have hitherto prescribed, I am persuaded, and fully con-, vinced, that our liberties must be greatly hazarded, if not entirely lost, if their defence be left to any but a permanent army.
"Nor would the expense, incident to the support of such a body of troops as would be competent to every exigency, far exceed that which is incurred by calling in daily succours and new enlistments, which, when effected, are not attended with any good consequences. Men who have been free, and subject to no control, cannot be reduced to order jn an instant; and the privileges and exemptions they claim, and will have, influence the conduct of others in such a manner, that the aid derived from them is nearly