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ljaving shifted his flag to one of the frigates, left the heavy ships in the roads, and proceeded with the smaller ships and transports into Elizabeth river. The principal defence of this river was a small fort on the west side, called fort Nelson, completely exposed to a land attack, and calculated only to defend the channel of the river. This fort was garrisoned by about 150 men under Major Matthews; and the enemy's troops having landed three miles below the fort, there was nothing to prevent their carrying the fort by storm. The Major, therefore, rightly judging this to be the intention of the enemy, very prudently evacuated the fort during the night of the 10th, and escaped with his little garrison to the Great Swamp. Thus was a free passage left both by land and water to the British forces, which moved up on the morning of the 11th, and took possession of the desolated town of Norfolk, and of Portsmouth, at the latter of which Brigadier General Matthews established his head quarters. From this place detachments were sent to Gosport, Suffolk, and the neighbouring places, where considerable destruction was made of vessels, provisions, and naval stores.
The enemy remained in the Elizabeth river only about two weeks, but during that short period they destroyed and carried off upwards of 3000 hogsheads of tobacco, 130 vessels of various denominations, and an immense quantity of stores. Nor was their destruction confined to publick property: almost every house in Suffolk was burned, and every dwelling on their various routes shared the same fate; and before any force could be collected to send against them, they had left the Chesapeake and returned to New York. The royalists had made such reprosentations to Şir George Collier of the desire of the Virginians to return to their allegiance, that he endeavoured to persuade Sir Henry Clinton to maintain a force at Portsmouth for the purpose of serving as a rallying point to the tories and disaffected Americans, but Sir Henry very wisely determined to withdraw his troops, knowing that at such a distance from succour, a small reverse of fortune, would throw him into the power of
Events of 1779 continued.-Sir Henry Clinton sends an expedition
up the Hudson-Takes Stony Point, and Fort La Fayette. Gallant attack and recapture of Stony Point, by General Wayne.-Surprise of the British garrison at Powle's Hook. Expedition of Governour Tryon against the Coast of Connecticut.-Destruction of the towns of Fairfield and Norwalk.-Unexampled enormities of the British army-Tryon is recalled by Sir Henry Clintoni Massachusetts expedition against Penobscot-Proceedings of Congress Report of the Committee of Foreign Affairs-Decease of Colonel Trumbull.-Washington is empowered to draw on the Treasurer.-Instructions to Dr. Franklin-Conference with M. Gerard-His ideas on the prospect of peace Retaliatory resolutions.— Thanks voted to Washington, Wayne, and other officers.--Distribution of money to the troops of General Wayne.
By the time Sir George Collier had returned from the Chesapeake, Sir Henry Clinton had planned another expedition against the American fortresses on the Hudson. The command of this river had always been considered by both parties as highly important, and Washington had employed the opportunity which the cessation of active operations on the part of Sir Henry had allowed him, in constructing several works, particularly at Verplank's, and at Stony Point. His army lay at Middle Brook, in Jersey, and these posts were garrisoned by a small number of men chiefly artificers and labourers. Major General Vaughan, the former despoiler of the beautiful banks of the Hudson, was again chosen to command this expedition, which embarked under the convoy of Sir George Colhier, on the 30th of May. On the 31st General Vaug
han, with the main body of the army, landed on the east side of the river, a few miles below Verplank's ; General Pattison, accompanied by Sir Henry Clinton himself, advanced with the remainder of the army to within three miles of Stony Point, and landed on the west side. The garrison at this place withdrew on the approach of the enemy, and made some show of resistance by drawing up on the hills above, but retired without giving battle. Opposite to Stony Point the Americans had constructed a small fort, which they had named after the gallant Marquis de la Fayette. It was a single redoubt, mounted with 4 pieces of artillery, and manned by about 70 men. The approach to it from its own side was almost impracticable, but it was completely commanded by Stony Point, and General Pattison prepared for a vigorous bombardment of it, by drawing up his heavy artillery in the night, from his landing place, and fixing them on the commanding rocks of Stony Point.
On the 1st of June a tremendous fire from cannon and mortars was opened upon the little fort la Fayette, by 5 o'clock in the morning, while Sir George Collier advanced with his gallies and gunboats to the support of the attack, sending some of them above the fort, in order to prevent the escape of the garrison by water. General Vaughan had in the mean time by a circuitous route, gained the summits of the hills on the side of the fort, thus investing it on all sides. After sustaining a continued storm of fire for the whole day, this brave band surrendered prisoners of war. Sir Henry Clinton leaving a strong force to garrison these two posts, with orders to place Stony Point in the strongest possible state of defence, moved with the army and shipping to Phillipsburg, which complete
ly blockaded the navigation of the river, and rendered the intercourse betweeen the people of Jersey and those east of the Hudson, extremely hazardous as well as circuitous.
These movements of the enemy led Washington to suspect a design of attacking West Point, for the protection of which he moved with his army from Middlebrook, and took post on the high grounds above Verplank's and Stony Point. In this situation an enterprise was planned for the recapture of the latter post, which had been considerably strengthened by the enemy, and was now garrisoned by the 17th regiment of infantry, the grenadiers of the 71st, a company of tories, and a company of artillery, the whole under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Johnson. The enterprise was entrusted to the command of General Wayne, who marched from Sandy beach, a distance of 14 miles from the object of attack, on the 15th July at noon, with the choicest troops of the army. The road traversed numerous, difficult and dangerous defiles and morasses, which so retarded the march, that it was 8 o'clock in the evening when the van arrived within a mile and a half of the point. Here Wayne halted for the rest of the army, and employed the de
. lay in reconnoitering the enemy's works. The troops were formed into two columns as they came up, and at half past 11 o'clock the whole advanced to the at. tack. General Wayne had determined to depend upon the bayonet alone, and the advance were therefore not even permitted to load their muskets. Lieutenant Colonel Fleury, at the head of 150 men, led the van of the right column, and Major Stewart that of the left, with a like number of picked troops, all with unloaded muskets and fixed bayonets. The van of each co