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| dusk of the evening prevents his distinguishing the regimentals; he therefore orders his men to make ready. He observes the officer directing his soldiers by the motion of his sword, how to form; and at length discerns the grenadier-caps, on which he calls out to his men fire. The British officer falls, and after a while the regiment seeks its safety in a retreat, which terminates the action in this quarter. In another spot, the Americans give way to the British bayonet and quit the field. Gen. Reidesel by exerting himself, brings up a part of the left wing, and arrives just in time to charge some of the Americans. But a regiment of the latter remains longest on the field of battle, by continuing upon it hours after the action totally ceases. Lieut. col. Brooks who commands the eighth Massachusetts regiment, by order of gen. Gates, goes to the left of all the American troops, so as to out flank the British, when he forms his line ; but perceives troops in front of him, whom he cannot clearly distinguish be. cause of the lateness of the evening, and the dusk being increased by the trees. They soon fire, and kill one of his men wound. ing others; on which he immediately engages them, and they give way. . He concludes they are Germans from the brass ca. ses on their breasts, for containing lighted match. Brooks remarking that the other American regiments are withdrawn, and that he cannot be supported in case the enemy advance upon him, and hearing them talk at a distance, changes his position, and falls back into the open road leading to the camp, and there remains. At length he sends to Gates for orders how to act, who directs him to return into camp; where it was before apprehended all the troops had collected that had been in action.— It is near upon eleven o’clock at night when he quits the ground and returns. The British lost in this action rathcr more than 500 in killed, wounded and prisoners.” The loss of the Americans was, of. ficers included, 64 killed, 217 wounded, and 38 missing, in all 3.19.f. None of the right wing or centre were engaged, except Marshall’s regiment. The number that engaged was about 2500. Gates's whole army, with the militia present was about 7000. Lincoln had not then joined him with his militia; neither was he in the action, but at or in the neighborhood of Behnington. Arnold's division was out in the action, but he himself did not head them; he remained in the camp the whole time: The foreign officers said, that in all the engagements in which they had been, whether in Flanders or elsewhere, they me.
* Lieut. col. Kingston before the house of commons, * .
t The board of war.
ver knew so long and hot a fire. The American army expended nearly all their ammunition and had but about forty rounds a man left them. After the action the general was under the necessity of sending not only for powder, but also to Albany for all the window leads and other lead that could be gotten for the making of bullets. He had never more than three days provision of flour at a time; but on the day of action the army had none, for it did not arrive till the 20th. It had been constantly the practice of gen. Gates, to take the precaution of having the baggage loaded every morning, and of being ready for a sudden movement; some of the British officers not knowing this was his practice wrongly inferred from his being taken the morning after the action, that he was apprehensive of being pushed, and of being obliged to give way. The royal army however discovered apprehension, by lying all the ensuing night upon their arms, at some distance from the field of battle. The next day they took a position nearly within cannon shot of the Americans, and fortified their right. The engagement answered so little to the expectation of their Indian auxiliaries, that a fresh desertion among them took place, in this season of danger and distress : while a number of other Indians repaired to the American camp. The last were attending a treaty with the American commissioners ; who, finding they were inclinable to engage in a war, prepared a speech, and the next day offered them the war belt, which was immediately and sole only accepted by warriors of the Oneidas, Tuscaroras, Onondagos and Mohawks. On the 17th the war feast was prepared, at which the belt was solemnly accepted by the whole. The 18th and 19th passed in equipping them. Being informed the 19th at night, that the American army was engaged, many of the Indians marched off without delay, and with such dispatch as to reach Gates, before noon next day though the distance was very considerable, and by night the remainder arrived in camp, making in all near 159. .
: The proximity of the two armies induced the American generai to redouble his ardor in strengthening his left. The Americans are expertbeyond all other nations, in the mode of defence by intrenchment, covered with strong abbatis.” From the 20th of September to the 7th of October, the armies were so near, that not a night passed without firing and sometimes concerted attacks upon the British advance pickets. No foraging party could be made by the royal troops, without great detachments to cover it. It was the American plan to harrass the enemy by constant alarms.t. Mean while gen. Lincoln, agreeable to the
* Burgoyne's State of the Expedition from Canada, t Item. orders
orders sent him, marched toward the camp. By the 29th, he joined Gates with about 2000 militia. General Burgoyne had from the beginning, a firm hope of being powerfully succoured when wanted, and at any rate of being met and joined at Albany, by a strong force from the army at New-York. With great difficulty he received on the 21st; a letter in cypher from Sir H. Clinton, informing him, that the latter intended making a diversion on the North-River, by attacking Fort Montgomery. Though this fell short of the aid he expected, he hoped it might afford essential service by obliging Gates to divide his army. He returned the messenger ; and af. terward dispatched two officers in disguise, and other confidential persons, all separately by different routes, to acquaint Clinton with his exact situation and condition, and to press him urgently to the immediate prosecution of his design, and to inform him that in point of provision he could, and was determined tohold his present position, in hope of favorable events, until the 12th of October. The British commander had to encounter disappointments and difficulties; and the Americans was not exempted. The latter wrote to gen. Washington on the 5th of October, “I am sorry to repeat to your excellency the distress I have suffered for want of a proper supply of musket cartridges from Springfield, or the materials to make them.— . My anxiety also on account of provisions has been inexpressible.: A greater error has not been committed this war, than the changing the commissariot in the middle of the campaign.” Sir H. Clinton’s intended diversion did not commence so soem: as proposed; for the British reinforcement under gen. Robertson, amounting to near 2000 men, did not arrive from Europe: till about the beginning of October. They were three months, on their passage, owing partly to contrary winds, and partly too their being on board heavy sailing Dutch bottoms. Had they arrived a month sooner, the state of affairs would undoubtedly. have been widely different. When they did arrive, Clinton lost no time in employing them. Numbers of them were immediately removed to proper vessels, and joined in the expeditionagainst the forts in the highlands. The arrangements being madehe o up the North-River with about 4000 men; and landed on the 4th of October at Tarry-town, meaning to excitean apprehension in gen. Putnam, that his post at Peek’s-kill was: the object. A thousand continental troops had been left him, there with to defend it, but the effectives were fewer: he had. made repeated application for militia from New-York state and a Connecticut, but had been joined by very few, they having: been called away from an expedition against the royal force on: - Rhode
RliocFe-Islahd. At eight at night he wrote to gov. Clinton, and informed him of the arrival of the British, and what he thought was their destination. The governor, upon the receipt of the letter, penetrated his namesake's design; prorogued the assembly the next day; and hastened to Fort Montgomery, where he arrived at night. The royal troops were secretly transferred across the river, and dispositions made1, for an assault upon the forts on the 6th.
[Oct. 6.] The American advanced party is attacked by the eftertiy at Doodle-town, about two miles and a half from Fort Montgomery. They receive the enemy's fire and retreat to Fort Clinton. The enemy then advance to the westsidfc of the mountain, to attack the Americans in the rear. Gov. Clinton orders out a detachment of 100 men toward Doodle-town, and another of 60 with a brass field-piece, to a very good spot'on- a different, road. They are both attacked soon by the enemy's whole force, arid obliged to give way; but behave with spirit, and retreat with great order till they reach the fort. The governor immediately posts his men in the most advantageous manner-, but it is not many minutes before his post, as well as Fort Clinton, is invaded on all sides. Fk is summoned when the sun is about an hour high to surrender in five minutes; but refuses. In about ten minutes after, the British make a general and desperate attack on both posts, which is received with spirit. Officers and men, as well as militia as continentals, behave well. A most incessant fire is kept up till dusk, when the assailed are overpowered by numbers, who force die lines and redoubts at both posts. Not a few of the Americans fight their way out, others mix with the enemy, and so make their escape, knowing all the avenues in the mountains, and being favored by the night. The governor, and his brother gen. James Clinton, who is wounded, but not dangerously, get ofFclear. The former is joined the next day by better than 200 of the garrison ; and is in expectation of many more*
The whole garrison consisted of but 600 men, not one half of whom had bayonets, wherewith to oppose those of the enemy, whose repeated assaults with that weapon at length prevailed.— When it was evident that the enemy meant an attack upon these posts, application was made for a reinforcement from Peek's-kill; but through mistake, and the treachery of the issuing commissary at Fort Montgomery, it was not sent in time : the forts were carried while it was crossing the river, which occasioned its return. A seasonable supply of 5Q0 men might have secured them. They were no sooner- lost, but Fort Constitution was demolished without the orders of the governor, and' without first removing the artillery and stores. The Americans set fire also to two fine new fiigates, and some other vessels, which with their guns and stores were all consumed. Gen. Tryon was sent off with a detachment, and destroyed a new settlement, called Continentalvillage, which contained barracks for 1500 men, beside many Stores. - - * -The cannon, stores, ammunition, &c. taken and destroyed by the British, were very considerable ; but the main advantage obtained by them was the opening of the passage up the NorthRiver. This had been obstructed by a boom and chain runwing across the river from fort Montgomery. The chain weighedabove 50 ton, and the links were about 2 & 1-2 inches. Square. There was another inferior boom near Fort Constitution. These booms and chain cost the Americans an amazing deal of labour and more than fifty thousand pounds sterling, as is supposed, in aper continental money. The reduction of the forts put the É. into immediate possession of the power of removing there obstructions, and passing up to Albany. , Gen. Putnam was in such expectation of their improving this advantage, that he wrote to gen. Gates on the 8th, “I cannot flatter you or mys self with the hopes of preventing the enemy's advancing, therefore prepare for the worst.” The next day he said, “The Connecticut militia came in yesterday, and the day before in great numbers, but I am sorry to say, they already begin to run away, The enemy can take a fair wind, and with their flat-bottomed boats which have all sails, to go to Albany or Half-Moon with great expedition, I believe without any opposition.” Half: Moon is sixteen miles below where Gates was encamped. Th same day a spy was brought before gov. Clinton, and confessed —“That he was charged by Sir Henry to go to Burgoyne and acquaint him, that on Monday, the 6th, he stormed and carried the forts with the loss of lieut. col. Campbell, majors Grant and Sill slain ; besides a number of other officers, and upward of 300 rank and file, killed and wounded: that a number of peor ple were employed, who were constantly from one army to the other:-That gem. Clinton intended to push up the river;-and that a capt. Campbell of Burgoyne's army, lately arrived with dispatches to Sir Henry and set off on his return, the Wednesday morning with the news of the reduction of Fort Montgo: mery.” The captain however, did not get back to Burgoyne till the night before the convention was signed. The spy did not ention the death of count Grabouskia Polish nobleman, who was killed in the attack, while acting as aid-de-camp to Sir enry Clinton. Let us now attend the motions of generals Burgoyne and Gates. In the begining of October, the British commander judged