Page images
PDF
EPUB

his real advantages, so he had too much penetra : țion to lose them by circ imvention or flight. На had profited lo long by his cautious line of conduct, from which he had not hitherto departed, nor deviated during the course of the troubles in America, of never ccminitting the fortune of his country to the hazard of a single action, that he was not now inclined to alter his plan, or change the rule of his conduct, when he was not pressed by any necessity to da it.

General Howe did hot give up all hopes of bringing Washington from his strong situation, and purlu. ed a plan that had well nigh answered his design. Upon the 19th of June, he fuddenly retreated, and not without some visible signatures of precipitation, from his position in the front of the enemy, and witha drawing his troops from Brunswick, retreated with the whole army towards Amböy. This partly produced the effect which he intended. The army was eagerly pursued by several large bodies of provincial regulars, as well as of the Jersey militia, under the command of the Generals Maxwell, Lord Stirling, and Conway; the latter of whom was a Colonel of the Irish brigades, and one of that numerous train of officers in the French service, who had taken an active part against Great Britain in this unhappy war. The royal army in this feigned retreat were guilty of some particular excesses; enormities, which were thought to have been permitted on purpose to enflame the passions of the colonists, and to promote the general design of bringing them to an engagement, were committed on this occanon.

To com plete the delufion of the Americans, the bridge which was intended for che Delaware was thrown o

ver the channel which separates the continent from Staten Iland. The heavy baggage, and all the incumbrances of the army were passed over ; some of the troops followed, and every thing was in immediate prepårarion for the paffage for the rest of the army. By these measures, if the immediate design tail. ed of success, every thing was forwarded as much as it could be for the intended embarkation; a measure with which the Americans were as yet unacquainted, and of which they had not any information. Every circumstance concurred, along with the vanity natural to mankind, to induce the Americans to believe that it was a real and not a pretended flight, and that it proceeded from a knowledge of their superiority, and a dread of their power. General Washington, notwithstanding all his caution, was so far imposed upon by this feint, that he quitted his secure posts upon the hills, and advanced to a place called Qubble-town, to be nearer at hand to protect or fupport his advanced parties. Washington was very near on this occasion ensnared, and was certainly very much off his guard to suffer himself to become a dupe to a piece of mere artífice, which he might readily have perceived could proceed from none of these caules which he imagined deterinined General Howe to decamp, and pass his men over the channel. Some days paffed while there motions and mancuvres were carrying on, when the British General on a sudden changed his course and marched his army back by different routs, and with great expedition to Amboy. There were three things he had in view by this change of his position. To cut of some of the principal advanced parties to bring the enemy to an engagement in the neighbourhood of Qubble-town; or if this design should fail through

the

1

his real advantages, so he

inded that I tion to lose them by circo

pops wası had profited to long by

ud, by from which he had not

20 ed during the course

f never committing th hazard of a single ed to alter his

,ous a. duct, when he's

ppointment ha it.

od were at first perceive. General?

ud some small advanced parties ing Washi

- 3000 men under the command of ed a pla strongly posted in a woody country, Upon vered by artillery judiciously disposed full not ray, and seemingly determined to dispute his fro -ge with great vigour and firmness. The British ď and Heflian troops, by a mutual emulation, exerted

all their vigour, and fought with great inirepedity; they pressed forward to try who should first come to a close engagement with the enemy, and overcome all obstacles. The colonists, who both knew that they were not an equal match for the British best troops, and besides were ordered not to hazard too much, inade the best use of their artillery and small arms upon their enemy as they advanced, and then retreated as fast as they could. Several men on both sides were killed on this occasion, though we have never yet had a true and distinct account of the killed and wounded.

The Americans, who had the advantage of the woods, and had their artillery well placed and also well supplied, did considerable execution upon the Bri:ish troops, of which our accounts make no men

opera:ka

1

JO

by any

[ocr errors]

Վն,

General Howe's well concerted scheme of bringing

n. They we

nifest advantages of these fea and left t

sxt to impoflible for Genef the 1

to know where the · me

erefore under the neceftuation, and the King's place of destination

resist them. By

hoice of posts, by chem un

wer to avoid an oeral Washington ur, and fpeedily remedieu my from the plains, and agan.

eparing, and

O concern. camp upon the hills. At the same ta.

undertafurther design of Lord Cornwallis, he

ure not passes upon the mountains, the possession on

seemthe British troops would have laid him under

Upceflity of a critical change of situation, which

not be executed without much danger. Thus war Ti 10

the enemy to action, or at least of withdrawing them 21

from their strong holds, rendered abortive by the
caution and prudence of General Washington. In
this attempt General Howe shewed a great deal of
military address and forecast, and did all that any of
ficer could have done to fulfil the design which he
had in view. But he was so well matched in point of
Gene rallhip by General Washington, that the ut.
most bounds of his military plans and operations were
'investigated by that officer, either before they were
execu:ed, or as soon as they began to be put in prac-
rice, and generally prevented from producing any
effect.

Sir William Howe was now convinced that Watha
ington was too firmly attached to his defenlive plan

of

th

could

1

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

the celerity of the enemy, it was intended that Lord Cornwallis, who with his column of troops was to take a considerable circuit to the right, should, by turning the left of the provincials, take possession of some pas, ses in the mountains, which by their situation and command of ground would have reduced them to a necessity of abandoning that strong camp, which had hitherto afforded them so advantageous a security.--This part of Lord Cornwallis's appointment had more difficulties attending it than were at first perceived ; for after he had dispersed some small advanced parties he fell in with about 3000 men under the command of Lord Stirling, strongly poited in a woody country, and well covered by artillery judicioully disposed full in his way, and seemingly determined to dispute his passage with great vigour and firmness. The British and Helsian troops, by a mutual emulatior, exerted all their vigour, and fought with great intrepedity ; they pressed forward to try who should first come to a close engagement with the enemy, and overcome all obstacles. The colonists, who both knew that they were not an equal match for the Britih best troops, and besides were ordered pot to hazard too much, made the best use of their artillery and small arms upon their enemy as they advanced, and then retreated as fast as they could. Several men on both sides were killed on this occasion, though we have never yet had a true and distinct account of the killed and wound. ed.

The Americans, who had the advantage of the woods, and had their artillery well placed and also well supplied, did considerable execution upon the Bri:ith troops, of which our accounts make no men.

« PreviousContinue »