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the army. Uniting with his army the different detachments, the British commander marched to Richmond, which he entered on the 16th of June. Meanwhile La Fayette had formed a junction with Wayne, and was watching with a cautious eye the movements of the foe.
After halting a few days in Richmond, Cornwallis resumed his march towards the coast, and on the 25th of the month arrived in Williamsburg, while the marquis, with a force of between four and five thousand men, followed close on his rear. From that place the British commander detached colonel Simcoe to the Chickahomony, for the purpose of destroying some boats and stores in that river. Colonel Butler, with a de. tachment from the American camp, was imme. diately sent against this party, and a severe confict ensued in which each side claimed the victory.
After remaining about a week in Williamsburg the British commander prepared to cross the river, and selected James city island as the most eligible place to effect a passage. In the mean time La Fayette and the intrepid general
Wayne pressed close on his rear, with a view to strike as soon as the enemy should be weakened by the van having crossed the river. Under a mistaken belief that the separation of the ene. my's force had actually taken place, an attack was made on the whole strength of the British army drawn up in order of battle. The approach of night saved the American army, who effect. ed a retreat after losing, in killed, wounded and prisoners, upwards of a hundred men.
From a belief that a grand attack was intend. ed on New York by the combined army, sir H. Clinton had ordered Cornwallis to take a posi. tion near Portsmouth or Williamsburg, on tide water, with a view to facilitate the transportation of his forces to New York, or such aid as might be deemed necessary. In obedience to this command, Cornwallis selected York and Gloucester as the most eligible situation, where he imme. diately concentrated his army. The bold and discerning mind of Washingtoni soon formed a plan to strike his lordship while encamped at York—a plan no less wisely devised than successfully executed. The arrival of the French
fleet in the Chesapeake at this juncture contri. buted essentially to the completion of his de. signs. Count De Grasse, on obtaining intelligence from La Fayette of the situation of the enemy, immediately detached four ships of the line to block up York river. Washington, fear, ful that Cornwallis might attempt to retreat to the south, sent orders to La Fayette to take effective measures to prevent his escape; and also wrote to Mr. Jefferson, who was still go. vernor of Virginia, urging him to yield every aid which his situation could afford, and which the importance of the object required.
On the 14th of September general Washington arrived in Williamsburg, which was now the head-quarters of La Fayette, and proceed. ing to Hampton, the plan of siege was concerted with the count De Grasse.
About the 25th of the month the troops from the north arrived and formed a junction with those under De la Fayette. The whole regular force thus combined, consisted of about twelve thousand men. In addition to these there was a
body of Virginia militia under the command of the brave and patriotic general Nelson.
The trenches were opened by the combined forces on the 6th of October, at the distance of six hundred yards from the enemy's works. On the 19th the posts of York and Gloucester were surrendered to the combined forces of America and France. · The fall of Cornwallis laid prostrate the hopes of the British ministry, and cheered the war. worn soldier with the prospect of a speedy peace,