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that fantastic apprehension that the provincials were all cowards, and made even the private soldiers become less fanguine in their ideas of victory.
General Howe was now from necesity, as well as from bis human disposition, sparing of his men. He knew that recruits were to be brought from a great distance, and procured with difficulty even at the source. Every man killed , wounded, or taken, was to him an irretrievable lors, and so far as it went, an incurable weakening of the army, for the present year at least -On the other hand, the enemy were at home. Every loss they sustained was not only immediately repaired, but the military abilities of the furvivors were encreased by every destruction of their fellows. This caution could not prevent' some skirmishes, in which the royalforces were said to be always victorious. It must be observed that in these skirmishes the colonists generally fed, but it was from one post to another ; when, after they had killed a number of our men advancing, they retired to another post without arty iofs.
This was an effectual method to thin our army in. sensibly without much loss to themselves, and was in effect a flow but fure vi&tory. It was thought at this time, that the Americans did not make all the use of the advantages of the country that might have been expected, by harrassing and interrupting the progress of the King's troops ; but it is plain those that affirm this are not acquainted with the designs of General Washington, nor the scheme he now had in view.He wanted to try his men by a more general action, with as much safety to his army and the main cause as possible ; for this reason lie retired beyond Brandy Wine, and took poffeffion of the heights, that cover
ed the fords, with an intention of disputing the passage of that river. In this situation upon the 11th of of September the British forces advanced in two column's towards the enemy. The right, under the command of General Knyphausen, marched directly to Chad's Ford, which lay in the centre of the enemy's line, where they expected and waited for the principal attack: their right and left covered less practicable fords and passages for some miles on either hand. An heavy canonade began on both sides about ten o'clock, which was continued and well supported during the day, whillt General Howe, to amuse and deceive the enemy, made repeated attempts for forcing the fords, as if the passage of the river had been the principal object he had in view. The Americans, to frustrate this intention, had passed several detachments to the other side, who continued a course of skirmilh. es, sometimes advancing and sometimes retreating, till at last they were driven over the river. General Howe finding that he' met with a more vigorous refiitance than he at first expected, endeavoured to compleat by stratagem what he could not perform by force, continued the appearance of an attack to keep up the attention of the colonists in the neighbourhood of Chad's Ford, where they supposed the whole of the King's forces were in front, but in the mean time detached Lord Cornwallis at the head of the second column to the left, to march in a long circle until he gain. ed the forks of the Brandy Wine, where the division of the river rendered it more practicable. By this judicious movement his Lordfhip passed both branches of the river at Trimbles and Jeffery's Ford, without opposition or difficulty, about two o'clock in the afternoon, and then turning down the river took the
road to Dilworth to fall upon the right of the provin. cials. General Washington received sooner notice of this mapouyre than General Ilowe expected, and had provided against its consequences as well as he could. He detached General Sullivan with all the force he could spare from the main body to oppose Lord Corą. wallis. Sullivan performed this commission with great judgment and ability. He took a strong post on the commanding grounds above Birmingham church with his left extending towards Brandy Wine, his artillery was advantageously disposed, and both flanks covered with thick woods.
Lord Cornwallis, who did not at all imagine that his march was known by the enemy; was a little furprized to find Sullivan so well pofted and ready to oppose him. He was obliged to halt, and to form the line of battle, so it was four o'clock before he could begin the action. The British troops began the attack, and met with a warm resistance; the artillery and finall arms played upon them furiously, and they left many on the field as they advanced. They however rushed on through all obstacles, and dislodged their enemies with much difficulty, The grenadiers and guards, and the best of our troops were engaged in this action. Having driven the Americans from their post they pur. sued them into the woods on their rear ; but in the mean time a part of the provincials right wing which had not suffered much, took a second post in a wood on the same side, where they made a sout resistance, and were driven from it with much difficulty.Soine of the British troops in the eagerness of pursuit were so deeply entangled in the woods that it was night before they could join the main body. When now the British forces imagined that they had gained
a complete victory, and were advancing, they came upon a party of the enemy that had not yet been en. gaged, and which had taken a strong post to cover the retreat of the defeated wing of their army. A very warm engagement now ensued, and this post was so vigorously defended that it was some time after it was dark before it could be forced. Nor does it appear by comparing accounts that it was forced at all, because the provincials kept it as long as it was of any service, and they could see to fight, and then retreated in good order. The reason given why our troops did not pursue the enemy, were, that the General did not know the ground, and was 'unacquainted with Gen. Knyphausen’s ficuation, and were not able to proceed any further; all which were matters of fact. Knyphaufen, after successfully amusing the colonists all the day with the apprehension of an attack which he did not intend, made good his paffage in the evening, when he found that his enemy was deeply engaged on the right. He carried the entrenchinent, and took the battery and cannon which defended Chad's Ford. dit this time the approach of the British troops which had been engaged in the woods, threw the provincials into confusion, and a retreat was ordered and made in the face of the King's forces. It was said that the lateness of the night, and the darkness of the evening prevented the King's troops from pursuing, as it had done, those on the right wing, but the truth of the matter was, that both sides were fufficiently wearied of that day's exercise.
Such as follow the reports of government at that time have affirmed that a few hours more would have produced a total defeat to the Americans ; but they knew but little of the operations of that tedious and
hostile day's work that make this conclusion. The provincials had not suffered more than the King's troops, and though they gave way to the mad impe. tuofity of desperate men for a little, yet they recover. ed their posts, and raised redoubts which our troops were obliged to attack a-new, with a great expence of blood, as well as much fatigue.
A great part of the American troops, among whom some of the Virginian regiments, and the whole body of their artillery behaved exceedingly well in several actions of this day, and shewed such a degree of or. der, Iteadiness, and valour, as would have done honour to the most veteran forces. Some of their more raw troops did not behave fo wellThe loss on both fides, when we compare the different accounts, was nearly about equal. In our Gazette the loss of the colonists was computed at about 300 killed 600 wounded, and 400 taken prisoners. They also lost ten small field pieces, and a howitzer, of which, all except one, was brass. . The loss on the side of the King's troops was estimated in the Gazette near to 500,
of which the flain did not make one third. No officers of great note were killed on either side. The Americans did not deny that their loss was nearly to the amount that has been mentioned, but they say, and give some reasons for what they affirm, that the loss on our side was equal, if not superior, to theirs. That there were some of the attacks of our men der. perate, which exposed them to danger when they could do no execution upon their opponents; that the colonists kept up a well directed fire upon them as they advanced, and when they were out of breath and ready to fall on with the bayonets, they retreated faster than they were able to pursue them; that they