The congress had before hurried away in the night of the · 18th. After the adjournment of that day, the president receive

ed a letter from culouel Hamilton, one of general Washington's aids, intimating the necessity of their removing immediately from Philadelphia; whereupon they left the city, and agreeable to a resolve of the fourteenth, repaired to Lancaster. The letter, the immediate hurry, and the alarm of the enemy's. being at Sweed's Ford, threw the city into the litmost. confusion, and a the same time roused all who wished to quit it, into a prepara.. tion for a speedy removal.

On the 26th Sir William Howe made his triumphal entry into Philadelphia, with a very small part of his army, where he was most cordially received by the generality of the Quakers and a few other royalists; the bulk of his troops were left in and about Germantown, a village formning, one continued street for near two miles. Gen. Washington's army was encamped near Shippach-creek, about eighteen miles from thence:

[Sept 30.] The congress removed to Work-town by the end of the month. Before they had quitted Philadelphia they had elected baron de Kalb major-general; and had entered upon their journals.--"Whereas Mons. du Coudray, colonel-brigadier in the service of his most christian majesty the king of France, and com mander in chief of the artillery in the French colonies in America, gallantly offered to join the American army as a volunteer, but in his way thither was most unfortunately drowned in attempt ing to cross the Schuylkill-Resolved, That the corpse of the said Mons. du Coudray be interred at the expence of the United States and with the honors of war.” They also resolved, “That ger Washington be authorised and directed to suspendall officers who shall misbehave, and to fill up all vacancies in the American ar my, under the rank of brigadiers, until the pleasure of congress be communicated; to take, wherever he may be, all such pro visions and other articles as may be necessary for the comfortar ble subsistence of the army under his command, paying or gizing certificates for the same; to remove and secure, for the benefit of the owners, all goods and effects which may be ser viceable to the enemy; provided that the powers hereby vested, shall be exercised only in such parts of these states as may be within the circumference of 70 iniles of the head-quarters of the American army, and shall continue in force for the space of 60 days, unless sooner revoked by congress.” ,

Lord Howe, after the affair of Brandywine, took the most spee, dy measures for conducting the fleet and transports round to the Delaware ; which when arrived, were anchored along the Pengsylvania shore, from Reedy-Island to Newcastle; the passage near


Philadelphia being yet impracticable. When the British troops bad taken possession of the city, their first object was the erecting of batteries to command the river. The day after, the Americani frigate the Delaware, of 32 guns, anchored within 500 yards of the unfinished batteries, and being seconded by another frio gate with smaller vessels, they commenced a heavy cannonade, both upon the batteries and town. Through inattention the Delaware was suffered to ground upon the falling of the tide, and could not be got off, (say the British) which being perceived by the grenadiers, they brought their battalion field-pieces to play upon her with such effect, that she soon struck her colours.; but

the Americans say, the crew rose, confined the captain, and puri posely ran the ship ashore. The whole fire of the battalion guns

was afterward directed against the other vessels, which were compelled to retire with the loss of a schooner driven ashore." · The Pennsylvanians had, at a vast labor and expence, eunstructed great and nuinerous works, to obstruct the passage up to Philadelphia, some of which have been already menti

oned:-They had erected works and batteries on Mudi Island, and called the whole Fort Mifflin, in honor to gene.

ral Mifflin. On the opposite, shore, at a place called Red. - bank, they had formed a fort or redoubt, covered with heaį vy artillery. In the deep navigable channei, under the cover į of these batteries, they had sunk several ranges of chevaux-deE frize, before described. It was equally difficult to weigh or cute - through them; but no attempt could be made for raising them;

or for opening the main channel, till the command of the shores was obtained. About three miles lower down they had sunk other ranges of these machines, and were constructing works for their protection, at a place on the Jersey side calied Bii... lingês-point. These works and machines were further support: ed by several gallies mounting heavy cannon, together with two fuating bat teries, a number of armed vessels, small craft of yün rious kinds, and some fire-ships.

Upon the representation of capt. Hannond of the Rocbuck

flying off Chester 15 miles below Philadlphia) who had arrived į before lord Howe, the general detached two regimients, under - col. Stirling, to dislodge the enemy from Billing's-point. The A detachment having crossed, (Oct. 1.) the enemy heard of their é approach, immediately spiked their artillery, set fire to the bar

racks, and abandoned the place with precipitation. This success, enabled capt. Hammond to cut away and weigh up so much

of the chevaux-de-frize, notwithstanding the great opposition E he met with, as opened a narrow passage for large ships through : the lower barrier, .


General Washington, having been reinforced by 1500 men from Peek's-kill, and 1000 from Virginia, and having received intelligence through two intercepted letters, that gen. Howe had detached a part of his force for the purpose of reducing Billing's-point works and the forts on the Delaware, entertained the thought of attacking the main body as it lay at German. town. The line of encampment crossed the town at right aogles about the centre: the left wing extended to the Schuylkill. It was covered in front by the mounted and dismounted chasseurs : a battalion of light-infantry, and the queen's American rangers were in the front of the right : and the 40th regiment, with another battalion of light-infantry, were posted at the head of the town, upon Chesnut-hill road, three quarters of a mile in advance. Lord Cornwallis lay at Philadelphia with four battalions of grenadiers. When gen. Washington had communica. ted to his council of war the account he had obtained, the general officers unanimously agreed upon an attack, and to its being made in several places, to produce the greater confusion and distraction, and to hinder the several parts of the enemy's forces affording support to each other. It was to be sudden and vigorous, in expectation of carrying the point speedily, from an apprehension that the Americans would not persevere in a prolonged attack, for want of better discipline and more acquaintance with military service. Was it found that they could make po impression upon the enemy, they were after a while to make an expeditious retreat. The divisions of Sullivan and Wayne, flanked by Conway's brigade, were to enter the town by way of Chesnut-hill; while Armstrong, with the Pennsylvania nilitia, got upon the enemy's left and rear. Col. Thomas Conway, knight of St. Louis, had been elected so early as May, a brigadier gen. upon the recommendatory letters he brought from France. The divisions of Greene and Stephens, flanked by M’Dougall's brigade, were to enter by taking a circuit, at the market-houses, and to attack the right wing ; and the militia of Maryland and Jersey, under generals Smallwood and Freeman were to march by the old York road, and fall upon the rear of the right. Lord Stirling, with Nash's and Maxwell's brigades, were to form a corps de reserve.

They begin their march about seven o'clock in the evening of October the third. Gen. Washington is with the divisions of Sullivan and Wayne. He expects, that if the enemy has gain ed timely intelligence of his march, they will wait for him on Chesnut-hill, and receive him as he comes out of the woods. When arrived on the hill without any appearance of opposition, he is congratulated upon the persuasion that the British will be


completely surprised. About sun-rise on the fourth the attack is begun on the 40th regiment, and the battalion of light-infantry which accompanies it. These corps are overpowered and pursued. In this exigence lieutenant colonel Musgrave throw's himself with six coinpananies of the fortieth regiment, into Mr. Chew's stone house, lying full in the front of the Americans.--These hait. A discourse ensues between generals Knox and Reed in the presence of the commander in chief, whether or not to advance without first reducing the house. Knox urges, that it is contrary to all military rule to leave a furt possessed by an enemy in their rear. Recd exclaims" Whai! call this a fort, and lose the happy moment !” Conway is inquired after to give his judgment but cannot be found. It is agreed to send a fag to the house and sumınons the British officer to surrender. A young person undertakes to carry it. He approaches, is fired upon, and killed. Mean while gen. Greene gets up with his column, and attacks the right wing of the enemy. The morning being exceeding foggy, prevents the Americans from faliy improving the advantages they gain. Col. Matthews of Greene's column, attacks with uncommon spirit, routs the parties opposed to him, kills a great number, and makes 110 prisoners ; but, through the fog, loses sight of the brigade he belongs to, is separated from it, and is taken prisoner with his whole regiment, accampanied with the release of all whom he had captured. A number of Greene's troops are stopped, by the halt of the division before Chew's house, where near or quite one half of gen. Washington's army remains some time inactive. During this inactivity, gen. Gray, bringing the front of a great part of the leit wing by a timely movemenito German-town, leads on three battalions of the third brigade and attacks with vigor, being support. ed by gen. Agnew at the head of the fourth brigade. A warin engagement ensues. At the same tinc two British regiments attacks on the opposite side of the town ; while generai Grant moves up the 49th regiment, to the aid of the 4th, which is enployed in supporting the troops engaged with Greene's column. The fog is, so great that at times you cannot see twenty yards before you, and frequently not more than fifty. It occasions the American parties mistaking each other for the enemy, and prevents their observing the true situation of the latter. Owing hereto in a great measure, the Americans quit every part of the town: and when gen. Grey, having passcd it, advances with the British right wing upon their ieft, they leave the field iscily and entirely, in spite of every effort that can be inade turally them. Lord Cornwallis arrives with a squadron of light-horse just in season to join in the pursuit. Greene with his own and VOL. II.


Stephen's division, happens to form the last column of the re treating Americans. Upon coming to two roads, and thinking it will be safest, and may prevent the enemy's advancing by either so as to get a head of him; and that the divisions may aid each other upon occasion, he marches one division on the one road, and the second on the other. While continuing his retreat, Pu. Jaski's cavalry who are in his rear, being fired upon by the eneipy, ride over the second divison, and throw them into the ut. most disorder as they know not at first but that they are the Bris tish dragoons. The men run and scatter, and the general is ap prehensive that he shall loss his artillery. He cannot collect a party sufficient to form a rear guard, till he lits upon the device of ordering the men to lay hold of each other's hands. This an. swers. He collects a number, and by the help of the artillery, brings the enemy to give over the pursuit, after having continued it near five miles. The Americans then proceed in their march back to Shippach-creek without further disturbance. zá

- The British officers acknowledged soon after this affair, that it was the severest blow they had met with ; that it was planned with judgment and executed with spirit; and that they were at a lost for its not being followed up, unless it was for want of ammunition. The Americans lost in killed 25 continental offi cers commissioned and non-commissioned wounded 102, aire an equal number missing. The militia officers were, 3 killed 4 wounded and 11 missing. Of rank and file, continentals, 109 were killed, and 378 wounded-militia, 7 killed and 19 wounded. They had artillery officers, 2 killed and 11 wounded ; and matrosses 6 killed and 7 wounded. The total of their killed was 152 ; and of their wounded 521.* Upward of 400 were made prisoners, among whom were 54 officers. The number of wissing among the Americans is no rule by which to judge of the number captured by the enemy, as many of the missing, who do not return to their colours, go home. Gen. Nash of NorthCarolina was among the slain, and will be honored by congress with a monument the same as other generals who have fallen in action, bravely. contending for the independency of the United States.

The loss of the royal army, including the wounded and a few prisoners, amounted by their own acknowledgment, to 535, but the slain scarcely exceeded 70. Among these however were some distinguished officers, particularly gen. Agnew, and lieut. * The board of wasa,


[ocr errors]
« ForrigeFortsett »