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tion, because it was not yet their interest to do it.--The wearying and harrassing our forces answered all the purposes of a general engagement, without flaughter and bloodshed to theinselves.
Lord Cornwallis, according to orders, marched on immediately with the reservę to Flat Bush, where finding the provincials in possession of the pass, he complied with his orders in making no attempt upon it. When the whole army was landed, the Hefians under the command of General Heister, composed the centre at Flat Bulh. Major-general Grant come manded the left wing which extended to the coast ; and the principal army containing the greatest part of the British forces, under the command of General Clinton, Earl Percy, and Lord Cornwallis, turned short to the right, and approached to the opposite coast at Flat Land. Had our Generals been going to attack the bravest troops that ever served in Flanders or Germany, they could not have been more on their guard than when they were going to attack men they had deterinined to be cowards and poltroons.
When every thing was prepared for forcing the hills, and advancing towards the lines of the provincials, General Clinton at the head of the van of the army, consisting of the light infantry, light horse, and grenadiers under Lord Cornwallis, with the fourteen field pieces, began in the evening of the 26th as soon as it was dark, to march from Flat Land, and having passed through the part of the country called the New Lors, they arrived upon the road that crosses the hills: from Bedford to Jamaica, where turning to the left towards the former of these places, they seized a confiderable pass, which the Americans had through some
unaccountable negle, left unguarded. The main budy, under Lord Percy, with ten field pieces, fol. lowed ar a moderate distance, and the way being thus fuccessfully opened, the whole army passed the hills without noise or impediment, and descended by the town of Bedford into the lower country, which lay between them and Putnam's lines. The engagement was begun early in the morning by the Heffians, at Flat Bush, and by General Grant along the coast, and a warm cannonade, with a sharp fire of fmall arms, was eagerly supported on both sides for some hours. During this time the King's troops gained no advantage, but were upon the point of being repulsed, had not the fhips in the mean time made several motions to the left, and attacked a battery on Red Hook, both to distract the right of the colonists who were engage ed with General Grant, and to call off their attention totally from the left and rear, where their greatest danger lay. Those who were engaged with the Hessi. ans were the first who perceived the march of the Bri. tith
army, and the danger they themfelves were in ; they accordingly retreated in large bodies, and in good order, with their artillery, with a defign to recover their camp. They were however attacked furiously by the King's troops, and driven back into the woods, where they were met by the Hessians, and alternately intercepted and chased by the dragoons and light infantry. In these critical and desperate circumstances, fome of their regiments, though overpowered by numbers, forced their way to the lines, through all the difficulties and dangers that oppofed and furrounded them, Others, not less brave, perished in the attempt. Some kept the woods and escaped, while o-. thers, less fortunate, were loit under the same protec
tion. The nature of the country, and the variety of situation, occasioned a repetition and continuance of small engagements, pursuits and laughter, which lasted for many hours.
Had the skill and attention of the American Gene. rals on this occasion been equal to the bravery of their troops, the British Generals would have repented their landing upon Long Illand; but Putnam suffered himfeit to be so effectually entrapped, that the bravery of his forces were rendered ineffectual through the want of capacity in their cammander. The right wing of the provincials, which was engaged with General Grant on the coait, were so late in knowing what was carrying on in other parts, that they were intercepted in their retreat by some of the British troops, who in the morning had not only turned round the hill upon their left, but had traversed the whole extent of the country in their rear. Such of them as did not flee to the woods, which were the greatest number, were obliged to throw theinfelves into the marsh at Cow. an's Cave, where many were drowned, and others perislied in the mud. A considerable number, however, made their escape this way to the lines, though they were much thinned by the fire of the pursuers.
The loss of the Americans on this occasion was very considerable, but not so great as our accounts re. presented it; it was said that they lost 3,000 men including about 1000 prisoners. Almost a whole regi. ment from Maryland, consisting altogether of
young men of the best families, were said to have been totally cut off, but it was found afterwards that
of thefe had escaped among the rest. Their own accounts do not acknowledge any such numbers slain as our people affirmed ; thọ’ it was confessed that they lost a
number of their best and bravest troops. But what was worst on their fide, this defeat dalhed all their hopes of success, and damped their fpirits. New fol: diers, full of spirits and pride of bodily itrength, can scarcely conceive any advantage over them, which the old can derive from discipline, and a knowledge of their business. And if they are commanded, and skilfully led to action in this temper, so that those who oppose them are 'deprived of an opportnnity of turning these advantages to account, they will do wonderful execution ;' for as they are not capable of per: fectly understanding danger, and are not acquainted by cxperience of the pain and vexation of wounds, they are often inore daring and adventurous than old soldiers. But when they find courage and strength to:ally, useless and when they are making the greatest and, as they imagine, the most effectual efforts, and that they are surrounded, overpowered, and destroyed, by means that they cannot understand, they withdraw all due confidence from those things on which they had before placed too much, and ascribe an irresistible power to military skill and discipline, which they do not really possess. From these confiderations they abandon their natural strength, and it is geneTally a long time before they dare trust their new knowledge and skill so far as to bring it effectually to action.
The commanders of the provincial troops committed unpardonable errors on this occa fion ; they scarcely discovered as much prudence and discernment as the meanest country peasant would have done, had he been placed at the head of their army: they had taken no care to watch the motions of their enemy, nor to guard those passes that might have been easily de
Jituation. The apologies of the American Generals
fended against even a superior force, and would have prevented them from being furrounded. ---- - They ought to have had scouts and watches placed in all parts of the island, and to have secured every post that was in the smallest degree tenable. They ought to have had parties concealed behind every hedge, wall, or ditch, to have fired by surprise upon every advanced
party of their foes, which might have retreated to the main body when sore pressed, and given the alarm in due time. They might, as they knew the country, had flanking parties of swift troops, who might have thinned their enemies by occasional attacks, and fled to redoubts and thickets, and marched another way and made a fresh' attack on another quarter. They ought to have neglected no poffible methods of defence that could have been devised in such a trying and critical
are childish and trilling. They represented that they had no idea of so many troops being landed on the ifland, but they ought to have been acquainted with every circumstance, and watched every motion of the enemy. General Howe shewed a great meafure of skill and conduct in his military arrangement, and the whole attack was conducted with much prudence and fagacity'; the men also shewed much valour and intrepidity, and as foldiers behaved well. Their ardor was so great, that the Generals could with difficulty prevent them from attacking the American lines, in their keenness in pursuing the fugitives. And it was imagined by some fanguine people, that they would have carried all before them ; but in such cases it is not eafy for partizans to keep moderation in their conjectures. It is highly probable, that there was an emulation between the British and Hesian