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tion. The nature of the country, and the variety of situation, occasioned a repetition and continuance of small engagements, pursuits and faughter, which last, ed for many hours.
Had the skill and attention of the American Genea 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 fuffered himfeif 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 inud. A considerable number, how. ever, made their escape this way to the lines, though they were much chinned 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 faid that they lost 3,000 men including about 1000 prisoners. Almost a whole regiment from Maryland, consisting altogether of young men of the best families, were said to have been totally cut off, buc it was found afterwards that
of these had etcaped among the rest. Their own accounts do not acknowledge any such numbers slain as our people affirmed; tho' it was confessed that they lost a
number of their best and bravest troops. But what was worst on their side, this defeat dashed all their hopes of success, and damped their spirits. New fol. diers, full of spirits and pride of bodily strength, 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 more daring and adventurous than old soldiers. But when they find courage and strength totally, 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, whiclı they do not really poffefs. 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:
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 ada vanced 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 possible methods of defence that could have been devised in such a trying and critical fitution. The apologies of the American Generals are childish and trifling. They represented that they had no idea of so many troops being landed on the island, 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 soldiers behaved well. Their ardor was so great, that the Generals could with dif. ficulty 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 easy for partizans to keep moderation in their conjectures. It is highly probable, that there was an emulation between the British and Heflian
peninsula, having the East River, which feparated him from New York, on his left; a marsh which extended to Gowan's cave on his right, with the Bay and Governor's Island to his back. The armies were feparated by a range of hills covered with wood, which intersect the country from east to weft, and are in that part called the Heights of Guana." The direct road to the enemy lày through a village called Flat Bufh, where the hills commenced, and heat which was one of the most important passes.. As the army advanced, the north coast was to the left, the south to the right, and Flat Bulh was nearly in the centre be. tween both. The island, in that part, is formed narrow by Jamaica Bay in the right, but foon turns wide. General Putnam had detached a good part of his army to occupy the woody hills, and possess the pas. ses; and provided the commanders had been skilful and vigilant, they could not have easily passed. It appears, however, that it was not the plan of the colo. nilts to attempt any desperate experiment, till once they had exercised their troops in skirmishes, and caught them the possibility of conquest in their turn. They knew that the British troops were brave, and longed for nothing more than an opportunity to sig. 'nalize themselves, and put an end to the war by a bold push. --Their interest and safety both depended much upon speedy action.
The colonists were as yet raw troops, and wanted experience in war; a sudden attack, and a signal overthrow, would Have dispirited them, and frustrated all their hopes of defending their
country, and gaining their liberty. What was by our troops called cowardice, was in
them the greatest prudence, and truest wisdom.They industriously avoided corning to any general ac.
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 laughter and bloodshed to themselves.
Lord Cornwallis, according to orders, marched on immediately with the reserve to Flat Bush, where finding the provincials in poffession of the pass, he complied with his orders in making no attempt upon it. When the whole army was landed, the Hef ans under the command of General Heister, composed the centre at Flat Bush. Major-general Grant commanded 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 fort 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 determined 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, aud 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 Fiat Land, and having passed through the part of the country called the New Lots, 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 fome