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rected that none of their officers should receive letters or messages that were not addressed to them according to their respective rank. Adjutant-general Paterson was at length sent (July 20. with a letter addressed to “George Washington, &c. &c. &c. The general exempted him from being blind-folded, as customary in passing through fortifications, and received him with the greatest politeness; but notwithstanding all the adjutant could offer, the et ceteras would not remove the impediments to the correspondence attempted. The general told him, “it is true the et ceteras imply every thing; but it is no less true they imply aby thing.". The letter therefore was not accepted. The business served to discover the cast of the general's temper, and to show that he was firm and guarded. A conference ensued on the subject of prisoners, and complaints on both sides, relative to the treatment they had received. The adjutant asserted on his honor, that the prisoners at Boston, whenever the state of the army there admitted it, were treated with humanity, and even indul gence. Upon his observing that the cominissioners were entrusted with great powers, the general answered, “Their powers are only to grant pardon. They who have committed no faut, want no pardons. The Americans are only defending what they think their indisputable rights.” Thus ended a conference, from which it was evident, that all attempts in the same line, would prove ineffectual at present. The adjutant, through the whole conversation, addressed the general by the title of excele lency, and behaved with the utmost attention and poliieness. The arrival of the fleet and army in the neighborhood of NewYork, inade little impression on congress. They continued with the same inflexibility, in the pursuit of the measures they had adopted. Wherever the declaration of independence was published, it was received with the greatest joy. It reached Charleston within a few days, and was proclaimed in the most solemn inanner to the troops under arms; and followed with all the usual parade of a public rejoicing. It found the people of South-Carolina exasperated against Great-Britain for her late hostile attack, and elated with their successful defence of the fort on Sullivan's Island, henceforward to be called Fort Nolitrie, in honor to the brave colonel who defended it. The declaration was equally acceptable to the military at New-York; and gave them fresh spirits and vigor. The fear of fighting for, wbatihey apprehended would be a patched reconciliation, was finally at a: end. Two days before, col. Paterson waited upon gen. Washington, and as if in defiance of all the then formidable appeara ances, independence was solemnly proclaimed by the civii authen rity; after which the king's arms, and an elegant pkt re of his
majesty, were destroyed. The episcopal clergy, however, upon these proceedings shut up their churches.
The military operations on the part of the British being delay ed for want of the expected reinforcements, the Americans had the opportunity of strengthening themselves. Having endeavored to fortify the entrance of the harbour, so as to make it dangerous for the shipping, they expected that the military operations would commence on the side of Long-Island, where they threw up lines and erected redoubts, next to New-York; in order to prevent gew. Howe's advancing to and possessing himself of those heights which overlook the city, and so attacking it from that quarter. Gen. Greene was entrusted with the command of this post; and studiously acquainted himself with all the defiles leading to it, that he might reap the full advantage of them when. ever occasion required. Notwithstanding the efforts to prevent the passage of the British ships up the North-River, the same was effected (July 15.] by the Phænix, the Rose, and two tenders, with little damage from a heavy cannonade. They sailed 25 miles, and took their station opposite Tarry-town, where the river is about four miles wide. Only 5000 of the new levies had ar rived [July 21.) in the American camp, out of 15,000 ordered. The exertions of the states should have been far more vigorous, considering the formidable force their army had soon to cope with, such as no part of this new world had seen before, viz. a body of 30,000 excellent troops; great numbers of them expe. rienced veterans, rendered the more formidable by the abundance of their military stores and warlike materials, by the goodness and quantity of the artillery with which they are provided, and by the numerous fleet that supports them.
The particular jealousies and prejudices of the continental troops from the different states, led them frequently to throw out reflections tending to irritate each other, and injure the common cause; so that the commander in chief interposed bis iufluence to suppress it by general orders. [August 1.] This was a measure absolutely necessary, considering the state of his army; which was as follows (Aug. 8.] for the several posts on New-York, Long and Governor's Islands and Powle's-Hook, 10,514 fit for duty; sick present, 3039; sick absent, 629; on command, 29 46 ; on furlough, 97-total 17,225. These were litt. é other than raw troops, and much scattered, some being 15 miles apart.* The two fleets of transports, with the expected reinforcements, arrived [Aug. 12.) under convoy of commodore Hotham and the Repulse, as did the camp equipage ; so that general Howe was .enabled to proceed upon the operations of the * General Washington's letter,
campaign, which ought to have commenced at least two inonths sooner. The scarcity of lead obliged the citizens of New York to part with their window leads for the use of the American army. One house supplied them with 1200ib. and another with 1000lb. Gen. Washington provided some fire ships for hostile purposes, and the defence of the North-River. One of them, commanded by capt. Fosdick and another by capt. Thomas, went up after the Phænix and Rose [Aug. 16.] the night being dark, they passed the Phænix without seeing her; capt. Thoinas fellon board the tender belonging to them, and burnt her. The light gave disection to capt. Fosdick, who grappled the Phænix, but by the lowness of his vessel and the dexterity of the Phoenix's hands, the latter got clear of the fire ship and sunk her. The enemy, however, thought it prudent to quit their station two days after; and just before day-light, taking the advantage of a fine wind, the tide, and a very heavy rain,.went down the river, through a continual fire from the American forts, but received no such damage as to prevent their rejoining the British fleet. Gen. Greene was so ill that he could serve no longer, and gen. Washington was obliged to appoint gen. Sullivan to command on Long - Island, notwithstanding the damage that might acciue to the public by the change at such a critical moment..
About one half of the Hessians were yet wanting; gen. Howe however, had under him the troops formerly at Boston, the rez inforcement which arrived on the 12th, the forces from SouthCarolina, which got in on the 14th, and some regiments from Florida and the West-Indies; so that he felt himself sufficiently strong to resolve upon attempting the island. The necessary measures being taken by the fleet for covering the descent, the army was landed [Aug. 22.] without opposition, between two small towns, Utrecht and Gravesend, not far from the Narrows, on the nearest shore to Staten-Island. The American works, erected un. der the eye of gen. Greene, cover the breadth of a small peninsula, having the East-River (which separates Long-Island from New-York) on the left, a marsh, extending to the water side, on the right, with the bay and Governor's-Island at the back. Within these works lies Brooklyne, where gen. Sullivan encamped with a strong force, a few miles distant from Utrecht. From the point of land which forms the cast side of the Narrows, runs a ridge of hills about north-east, in length about five or six miles, covered with a thick wood, which terminates in a small rising land near Jamaica. Through these hills are three passes only; one near the Narrows; a second on the road called the Flatbush road; and a third called the Bedford road, being a cross road from Bedford to Flatbush, which lies VOL. II,
on the southerly side of these hills. These passes through the inountains or hills, are easily defensible, being very narrow, and the lands high and mountainous on each side. These are the only roads which can be passed from the south side of the hills to the American lines, except a road leading round the easterly end of the hills to Jamaica. An early attention had been given to the importance of these passes. To the second of them the smalf Ainerican parties patrolling on the coast, retired upon the approach of the British boats with the troops. Lord Cornwallis pushed on immediately with the reserve and some other forces; but finding the Americans in possession of the pass, in compliance with orders, risked no attack. [Aug. 25.] Three days after, gen. de IIeister, with two brigades of Hessians from Staten-Island, join ed the army. It is said, that when landed, he was told by one high in command, “ The Americans will give the foreigners no quarter;" and that he answered, “Well, as I know it, I am ready to fight on these terms." The foreign officers and soldiers were let to believe that the Americans are a set of savages and barbas rians, and to dread falling into their hands, under the apprehen sion of meeting with the cruelest treatment. The common men were taught to expect, that if taken, they should have their boa dies stuck full with pieces of pine wood, and then be burnt to death. The propagation of these falshoods might be considered as just retaliation upon congress for advising and adopting a plan for encouraging the Hessians and other foreigners to desert the British service. Officers and men are totally ignorant of the nature of the quarrel between Britain and the United States; and have high notions of subjection to princely authority. They de: test the thoughts of rebellion, and the Americans being stiled rebels, they are hearty in desiring and attempting their reduce tion, and need no incentives to whet their resentments. * The Americans had on each of the three above mentioned passes or roads, a guard of eight hundred men; and to the east of them in the wood, col. Miles was placed with his battalion, to guard the road from the south of the hills to Jamaica, and to watch the motion of the enemy on that side, with order to keep a party constantly reconnoitering to and across the Jamaica road. The sentinels were so placed as to keep a continual communication between the three guards on the three roads.
[Aug. 26.7 Gen. Howe having fully settled a plan of surprise, gen. de Heister, with his Hessians, takes post at Flatbush in the evening, and composes the centre. About nine o'clock the same night, the principal army, containing much the greater part of the British forces, under the command of generals Clinton, earl Percy, and lord Cornwallis, march, -in order to
gain the road leading round the easterly end of the hills to famai. cag.and so to turn the left of the Americans. Col. Miles, whose duty it is to guard this road, suffers the British to march not less than six.miles till they are near two miles in the rear of the guards before he discovers and gives notice of their approach. [Aug. 27.] Gen. Clinton arrives within half a mile of the road about $wo hours before day break, halts and settles his disposition for the attack. One of his patrols falls in with a patrol of Ameriean officers on horseback, who are trepanned, and made prisoners. - Sullivan, though in expectation that they will bring him intelligence, neglects sending out a fresla patrol on finding him. self disappointed. Clinton learning from the officers, that the Americans have not occupied the road, detaches a battalion of light-infantry to secure it; and advancing with his corps upon the appearance of day, possesses himself of the heights over which the road passes. 2. General Grant with the left:wing advances along the coast by the west road, near the narrows. About midnight, the guard consisting all of New-Yorkers and Pennsylvanians, perceiving that there is danger at hand, flee without firing a gun, and bring ta gen. Parsons, who commands then, the account of the enemy's advancing in great numbers by that road. Grants movement is to divert the attention of the Americans from the left, where the main attack is to be made by Clinton. Parsons perceives by fair day-light, that the British are got through the wood, and are descending on the north side. He takes twenty of his fugitive guard, being all he can collect; and posts them on a height ia front of the British, about half a mile distant which halts their column, and gives time for lord Stirling to come up with his .forces, amounting to about 1500, whopossesses himself of a hill about two miles from cainp..
The engagement begins, soon after day-break, by the Hessians. from Flatbush, under gen. Heister, and by gen. Grant on the coast ; and a warm cannonade with a brisk fire of small arms, is eagerly supported on both sides for some sonsiderable time. The Americans opposing gen. Heister, are the first who are apprized of the march of the British troops under gen. Clinton. They accordingly retreat in large bodies, and intolerable order to recover their camp; but are soon intercepted by the riglat wing un. der gen. Clinton ;. who having haited and refreshed his forces after passing the heights, continues his: march, and getting into the - rear of the left of the Americans, about half past eight o'clock, attacks them with his light-infantry and light dragoons, while quitting the heights to return to their lines. They are driven hack, and again meet the Hessians. Thus they are alternately