« ForrigeFortsett »
the militia have been most serviceable or hurtful, upon the wholes 1 should subscribe to the latter. No man who regards order* j'c* gularity and ceconomy, or who has any regard for his own honor, character or peace of mind, will risk them upon militia."—•? While the American cause is thus exposed, some gentlemen observe with pleasure of the enemy [Sept. 25.] that—"Though they are brave, and furnished with all matters, yet from some causes, they discover very little of the great or vast in their d<s signs asd executions.";
It is not strange that there is a number of bad officers in the continental service, when you consider that many were chosen by their own men, who elected them, not from a regard to mexit or any love of discipline, but from the knowledge they had «f their being ready to associate \$ih them oh the foot of equality. It was the case in divers instances, that when a company was forming, the men- would choose those for officers who consented to throw their pay into a joint stock with the privates, from which captains, lieutenants^ ensigns, sergeants, corporals, with drummers and privates, drew equal shares. Can it then be wondered at, however mortifying, it may prove, that a captain should be tried and broken for stealing his soldiers blankets, or. that another officer should be found shaving his men in. the face of distinguished characters i- Time must and will clear the army ©f these despicable com mission-bearers.
Too many of the regimental surgeons have made a practice of sellingrecommendationstofurloughsand discharges ata less sum than a shilling a man-. Only one of the number supposed ta merit the same distinction, was drummed out of the army for such a scandalous conduct. Had all who deserved it, met the like reward, a good reform would have been mads: that one is too pitiful a subject to have his name recorded. He charged each man six-pence sterling, and any one was welcome toacertificate for that sum-. Several of the regimental surgeons had no professional abilities; had never seen an operation of surgery; were unlettered and ignorant to a degree scarcely to be ima-. gined. Others were amazingly deficient in the article of pro-: Sessional apparatus. From one general return of fifteen regiments, it appeared that for fifteen surgeons and S3 many mates, all the instruments (which were reported to be private property) amounted only to six sets of amputating—two of trepanning—. fifteen eases of pocket instruments—-seventy-five crooked and six straight needles—four incision knives for dilating wounds or other purposes—and thr^; pair of forceps for extracting bullets.
Since the evacuation of New-York, the sick have suffered very much for want of necessaries, and have been in a miserable
situation; but it appears to have been owing greatly to untoward circumstances, hurry, confusion, and aetual want of the requisites for affording relief. The sick have amounted to many thousands, including what have been at different places; and many hundreds, if not some thousands, have been swept off by various diseases. Much censure has been cast upon Dr. Morgan, director-general of the hospital, for the sufferings which the sick have endured, more than is due, as apprehended. The army ought to have been early provided with medicines, instrumets and bandages, by a continental druggist or chosen committee, before the campaign began, instead of having them to procure afterward; and the militia which came late to the field, should have been provided by the different states, before they joined the army. - o o An unsuccessful attempt was made on the British out-post on Montresor-Island. A large party of Americans, in five flat-bottomed boats, under the command of colonel Jackson, went down Haerlem river to attack it, a little after four in the morning. They had two pieces of cannon with them; the post was guarded by about eighty men. The Brune frigate being at anchor near the island, fired at the boats in the dark, and sunk one of them. The colonel landed, and a skirmish ensued; but several of the officers and men behaved most scandalously; instead of supporting him they pushed off, so that he was obliged to retreat. He was himself wounded, and left two and twenty wounded behind. Major Thomas Henly, brother to the deputy adjutant-general, an intrepid officer, was killed. General IHowe had at length ripened his plan for cutting off gen. Washington's communication with the eastern states, and enclosing him on all sides in his fastnesses on the north end of NewYork island; which ought to have been executed a month back, by a bold and unexpected removal of the troops from LongIsland in the first instance, to Rochelle or the neighborhood. The greater part of the army, being embarked in flat boats and other small craft, passed through Hell-gate, a passage terrible in name, but no way dangerous at the proper time of tide; entered the Sound [Oct 12.] and landed early in the morning, on Frog's-Neck, in Westchester county, belonging to New-York, upon the side of Connecticut. Gen. Washington's army, fit for duty, present and on command at different posts, militia included, was about 19,000. Officers and men were in expectation of active service. The former were out frequently in reconnoi. tering parties; the latter were looking out for the arrival of gen. Lee, on his way to the camp. The Americans had no intenti
on of quitting their ground upon the island and the neighborhood
hood of Kingsbridge; but a number of regiments were sent forward to counteract the operations of the enemy. When the royal atmy was landed, the general's found they could not get tTpon the continent, by reason of the causeway's being broken down, and of works beingerected to oppose them. Six days were spent here to little purpose, while a dozen other places were pen, where the troops might have landed with scarce any or no opposition 01 difficulty attending them. On the last of these days the second ditision of foreign mercenaries arrived at New-York. The fleet consisted of seventy-two sail, having on board 4000 Hessians 1000 Waideckcrs, two companies of chasseurs or riflemen, 200 English recruits, and 2000 baggage horses. The horse transports wore heavy sailing Dutchmen. They left St. Helen's the 28th of June, were obliged to put into Plymouth the 7th of July, and sailed fvom thence the lyth.
[Oct. 14.] General Lee arrived in the American camp two days after gen. Howe's landing. The troops were mightily elated with iiis presence, and felt themselves stronger by 1000 men upon the occasion; for they had great confidence in his abilities, and expected much from him, because of the success which had attended him at Charleston. The general found that there was a prevailing inclination among the chief officers for remaining on the island. He strongly urged the absolute necessity of removing toward East and Westchester. Gen. Washington called a council of war. [Oct. 16.] Lee asked what they meant by entertaining a thought of holding their position, while the enemy had the command of the water on each side of them, and were so strong both in their front and reur; and when there was a bridge before them, over which they must pass to escape being wholly enclosed. He soon convinced them how much they had been mistaken. All agreed that the bulk of the army should quit the island. He was also for withdrawing the garrison from Fort Washington. Gen. Greene was otherwise minded, and argued, that the possessing of that post would divert a large body of the enemy, and keep them from joining the troops under general Howe. The latter had left earl Percy, with two brigades of British troops and one of Hessians, about 5000 men, in lines near Haerlem, to cover New-York from the insults of the garrison. Greene further urged the advantage it would be of in covering, with Fort Lee, the transportation of provision and other articles up the North-River, for the service of the American troops. He Stated also, that the garrison could be brought off at any time by boats from the Jersey side of the river. It was concluded that the possession of Fort Washington and the lines annexed to it,
should be continued ; and more than 2000 men were assigned to this service. ~ * : General Howe, on the other hand, while at Frog's-Neck, received provisions, stores and a reinforcement [Oct. 18.] then re-embarked several corps, passed round Frog's-Neck, landed at the mouth of Hutchinson's river, and secured a passage for the main body, which crossed at the same place, advanced immediately, and lay that night upon their arms, with their right near Rochelle. On their march to this ground they were annoyed by a regiment or two of Americans and one of the rifle battalions, whom gen. Lce posted behind a wall, and secreted for that purpose. Their advanced party was repulsed twice; and the Americans did not leave the wall til] the enemy advanced a third time, in solid columns, when thfy gave them several fires, and then retreated by gen. Lee's order. The British are thought to have lost a considerable number. The Americans had a few killed, and about sixty wounded. On the 21st the right and centre of the army moved two miles to the northward of Rochelle, on the road to the Whitg Plains. Lieut. col, Rogers, with his corps of Rangers, was detached to possess Mar. rineck, where the carelessness of his sentries exposed him to surprise, by which he suffered. [Oct. 22.] Gen. Howe was joined by gen. Knyphausen, with the second division of Hessians and the regiment of Waldeckers. t - • * General Washington, while moving the army from York island into the country, was careful to march and form the troops so as to make a front toward the enemy, from Eastchester almost to White Plains, on the east side of the highway, thereby to secure the march of those who were behind on their right, and to defend the removal of the sick, the cannon, stores, &c. Thus they made a line of small, detached and entrenched camps, occupying every height and strong ground, from Valentine's Hill, about a mile from Kingsbridge on the right, to near the White Plains on the left. But the movement was attended with much difficulty, for want of waggons and artillery horses. The baggage and artillery were carried or drawn off by hand. When a part was forwarded, the other was fetched on. This was the • general way of removing the camp equipage and other appendages of the army. The few teams which were at hand, were no ways equal to the service; and their deficiency could be made up only by the bodily labor of the men. [Oct. 25.] The royal army moves in two columns, and takes a position with the Bruna in front; upon which the Americans Quit their detached camps, and leaving a corps near Kingsbridge, assemble their main force at White Plains, ostrench
jntrenchments thrown up by the advanced corps. Every thing being prepared for bringing on an action, gen. Howe marcnes t>j troops early in the morning [Oct. 28.] in two columns toward the White Plains, the left being commanded by gen. Heister. All gen. Washington's advanced parties being drove back to their works before noon, the army forms with the right upon the road to Marrineck, about a mile distant from the American centre, and the left at the Brunx, about the same distance from the right flank of their intrenchments. Gen. M'Dougall, wfth about 1600 men possesses an advantageoushill separated from the right flank of the interenchments by the Brunx, which by its windings covers the general's troops from the left of the royal forces. Gerf. Leslie, with the second brigade of British troops: the Hessian grenadiers under col. Donop, and a battalion of the Hessian corps, are ordered to dislodgehim. Previous to theirattaclc coJ. Rail, commanding a brigade of the Hessians, on the left, passes the Brunx, and gains a post which enables him to annoy the flank of M'Dougall's corps, while engaged with the other forces in front. Four regiments of militia, upon the approach of about 250 light horse, run away and leave the general with 600 men ; who defend the hill for about an hour, against the whole fire of twelve pieces artillery, and of the musketry and cavalry, with the loss of forty-seven men killed and seventy wounded, f The gaining of ibis post take tip some considerable time, which is prolonged by the Americans supporting a broken and scattered engagement in defence of- the adjoining Walls and enclosure. In the evening, the Hessian grenadier* arc ordered forward within cannon shot of the intrenchments, the second brigade of the British forms in the rear, and the two Hessian brigades in the left of the second. The right and centre do not quit the ground on which they have formed. In this position the whole royal army lie upon their arms during the night, expecting to attack the enemy's camp the next day. The next day [Oct. 19.] they advance to a hill, on which col. Glover commands, and where he has one brass twenty-four, a six, and a three pounder, and three iron twelve pounders. They form a line as far as he can see from right to left, and appear to be about 12,000. They approach in four columns, the cavalry and artillery in front, and continue doing it till within about three quarters of a mile of the hill, then file off to the left to take post on a hill to the colonel's right, which overlooks that he is posted on. They have to pass a valley. He reserves his fire till they get into it, in order to ascend the hill; he begins with the three pounder, next the six, reserving the brass twen* Col. Glover's letter, clited North-Caftle, Nov. 14, 1776