« PreviousContinue »
molested; all persons of whatever country;' appertaining to, or following the camp, to be fully comprehended in the terms of capitulation; and the Canadians to be returned to their own country, liable to its conditions.
General Gates fulfilled all the conditions, so far as he was, or fhould be concerned in them, with the ut. most punctuality and honour. His humanity and politeness, in every part of this business, have beeu much celebrated; without a single detraction, so far as has yet been heard, from the most unfavourable accounts that have been given of his conduct. This was the more praise-worthy, as fome lateas well as former circumHances, had highly enraged the American militia ; the army in its last movements, whether from military necessity, or the vexation and ill-temper incident to their situation, or the joint operation of both, having burnt and destroyed many houses, and some of them buildings of great value. The extraordinary and severe execution which now took place upon the North River, would also have afforded too much colour for a different mode of conduct. It is even faid, and we do not find it has been contradicted, that this general paid so nice an attention to che British military honour; and to the character and teelings of those brave troops who now experienced so deplorable a reverse of for. tune, that he kept his army close within their lines, and did not feffer an American foldier to be a witness cothe degrading spectacle of piling their arms.
The Americans state the whole number who laid down their arms, including Canadians, provincials, volunteers regulars, and irregulars, of all sorts, at 752 men.
In this number is undoubtedly included, thougli not specifię!, all the artificers, labourers, and
followers of the camp. They also state the number of sick and wounded left in the hospitals at the retreat from the camp near Still Water, to 528 men, and the loss besides in the army, in killed, wounded, taken, or deserted, from the 6th of July downwards, to' 2,933; the total amount of these numbers being 9,213 men. By another account, the number is carried above ten thousand. They also got a fine train of artillery, amounting to 35 pieces of different sorts and sizes.
During these unfortunate transactions, Lieutenant General Sir Henry Clinton, conducted his expedition up'he North river with great success. He had embarked about 3000 men for that service, accompanied by a suitable naval force, consisting of ships of war, armed gallies, and smaller vessels, under the conduct of Commodore Hotham.' Their first object was the reduction of the forts Montgomery and Clinton, which tho' of considerable strength, being at that time in a very unguarded flate, it was determined to attempt by a coup de main. They were situated on either fide of a creek, which descended from the mountains to the North river, and their communication preserved by a bridge. Several necessary motions being made to-mask the real design, the troops were landed in (wo divisions, at such a distance from their object, as occasioned a considerable and difficult inarch through the mountains; which was however calculated and conducted with such precision, that the two detachments arrived on the opposite sides of the creek, and their seperate attack on the forts, at nearly the same time. The surprize and terror of the garrisons was increased by the appearance of the ships of war, and the arrival and near fire of the gallies, which approach
ed so close as to strike the walls with their pars. The affault on both sides of the creek was exceedingly vigorous, and the impetuosity of the troops fo great, that notwithstanding a very considerable defence, both the forts were carried by storm. As the soldiers were much irritated, as well by the fatigue they had undergone, and the opposition they met, as by the lots of some brave and favourite officers, the flaughter of the enemy was considerable.
Upon the loss of the forts, the rebels set fire to two fine new frigates, and to some other vessels, which with their artillery and stores were all consumed.—Another fort called Constitution, was in a day or two after, upon the approach of the combined land and naval force, precipitately set on fire and abandoned.General Tryon also, at the head of a detachment, destroyed a new and thriving settlement called Conti. nental Village, which contained barracks for 1500 men, with confiderable stores. The artillery taken in the three forts, ainounted to 67 pieces of different sizes. A large quantity of artillery and other stores, with ammunition, and provisions, were also taken. A large boom and chain, the making of which was fupposed to have cost 70,000l. and the construction of which was considered as an extraordinary proof of American labour, industry, and skill, was in part destroyed, and in part carried away.
Upon the whole, the American lofs in value, was probably greater than upon any other occafion fince the commencement of the war. Their strength and attention were drawn away to the northward, and other things inust have been neglected, whilst they applied both to the principal object.
Our loss in killed and wounded was not great as to number, but some distinguished and much lamented
officers fell. Of these, besides Lieutenant Colonel Campbell, who commanded the attack on Fort Montgomery, Major Sill, was from the general efteem he had acquired through his many excellent qualities, universally regretted. Major Grant of the New York volunteers, and Count Grabouski, à Polish nobleman, and aid de camp to General Clinton, were allo flain in the aflault on these forts.
The expedition did not end with this success. Sir James Wallace, with a flying squadron of light frigates, and General Vaughan, with a considerable detachment of troops, continued, for several days, their excursion up the river, carrying terror and de: struction wherever they went. At the very time that General Burgoyne was receiving the most favourable conditions for nimfelf and a ruined army, the fine vil. lage or town of Eropus, at no very great distance, was reduced to alhes, and not a house left standing. The extraordinary devastation which attended every part of this expedition, of the necessity of which we are not judges, was productive of a pathetic, but feFere letter, from General Gates, then in the heighs of victory, to General Vaughan.
On the approach of Gates, the troops and vessels retired to New York, having dismantled the forts, and for a time at least, having left the river defenceless. But that enterprize, though conducted with conducted with spirit and ability, was of little moment in the general account,
Such was the unfortunate issue of the northern campaign; the event of an expedition which was undertaken with the most confident hopes, and for some time pursued with very ffattering appearances of fuccels. It was supposed the principal means for the im
mediate reduction of the colonies ; but it has only served, in conjunction with other operations, which in the first instance have succeeded better, to demon, strate the difficulties attending the subjugation of a humerous people at a great distance, in an extensive country marked with strong lines, and abounding in strong natural defences, if the resources of war are not exceedingly deficient, and that the spirit of the people is in any degree proportioned to their situą. tion. It may now, whatever it was in the beginning, be a matter of doubt, whether any superiority of power, of wealth, and of discipline, will be found 10 over-balance such difficulties,
It would not be easy at present, as many things necessary to be known have not yet been fully ex. plained, and improper, as the whole is still a subject of public investigation, to attempt furming any judgment upon the general plan or system of this campaign.The general conduct of the war this year has alrea. dy undergone much çensure ; and undoubtedly, the sending of the grand army at such a diltance to the southward, whilst the inferior was left struggling with insurmountable difficulties in the north, when it would seem that their junction or co-operation, would have rendered them greatly superior to any force which could have been possibly broughtto oppose their progress, seems, in this view of things, not to be easily accounted for. It is, however, a subject, upon which no conclusive opinion can yet be formed.
To conclude this part of the history of the Ameri. can war it may neceffary to observe, that the schemes that were devised frustrated themselves. The appointing of General Burgoyne in the place of Sir G. Carle. ton threw a damp upon the progress of the war upon