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1979. was not averse to engaging in such a service as Lee
mentioned the cabinet to have determined upon, is inferred from the animosity he has to those who are attached to the American cause. He was however stopped from all further progress, by an order from Sir H. Clinton for the return of the feet and troops. Some real or expected movement in the American army might produce such an order.
No sooner did gen. Washington observe how Sir H. Clinton had strengthened the posts of Stoney-point and Verplank, than he entertained the design of attacking them. Toward the end of June, he ordered that a
trusty intelligent person should be employed to go into Y the works of the first: and on the 8th of July, he was
informed by a deserter, that there was a sandy beach, on the south side of it, running along the flank of the works, and only obstructed by a flight abbatis, which' might afford an easy and safe approach to a body of troops. He formed plans for attacking both posts at the fame instant; the executions of which were intrusted with gen. Waynę and gen. Howe. All the Massachufetts light infantry marched from West-point under lieut. col. Hull, in the morning of the 15th, and joined Wayne at Sandy-beach, 14 miles from Stoney-point. The general moved off the ground at twelve o'clock. The roads being exceedingly bad and narrow, and the troops having to pass over high mountains, through difficult defiles and deep morasses, were obliged to move in single files the greatest part of the way. This and the great heat of the day, occasioned such delay, that it was eight in the evening ere the van arrived within a mile and a half of the enemy, where the men formed
into columns, and remained till several of the principal 1779. officers, with gen. Wayne, returned from reconnoitring the works. At half after eleven o'clock, the whole moved forward, the.van of the right consisting of 150 volunteers, under lieut. col. Fleury, the van of the left, consisting of 100 volunteers, under major Stewart; each with unloaded muskets and fixed bayonets; preceded by: a brave and determined officer, with twenty picked men, to remove the abbatis and other obstructions. The last and the overflowing of the morass in front, by the tide, prevented the affault's commencing till about 20 minute after twelve. Previous to it, Wayne placed himself at 16. the head of the right column, and gave the troops the most pointed orders not to fire on any account, but place their whole, dependence on the bayonet, which order was faithfully obeyed. Such was the ardor of the troops, that, in the face of a most tremendous and incessant fire of musketry, and from cannon loaded with grape shot, they forced their way at the point of the bayonet, through every obstacle, and both columns met in the centre of the enemy's works nearly at the same instant. Fleury struck their standard with his own hand. Notwithftanding the provocations given by the plunderings and burnings at New Haven, East Haven, Fairfield and Green-farms, of which they had heard, such was the humanity of the continental soldiers, that they scorned i to take the lives of the foe calling for mercy, so that there were but few of the enemy killed upon the occafion. Great is the triumph of the Americans upon the success of this enterprise ; and justly, for it would have done honor to the most veteran troops. Wayne had but 15 killed, and 83 wounded, not above 30 of whom
1779. will be finally lost to the service. The general himself
received a sight wound in the head with a musket ball; but it did not prevent his going on with the troops; and he is not included in the wounded. The enemy had only 63 killed. Lieut. col. Johnson, who commanded the fort, with other officers and privates, amounting to 543, were made prisoners.
The attack upon Verplank, intrusted with gen. Howe, miscarried partly through delays occasioned by high winds, which prevented the timely transportation of artillery; but chiefly through the troops neglecting to take axes with them. The enemy, upon their approach, broke down all the bridges, and thereby cut off the communication by land. Before Howe could receive the means for constructing temporary bridges, Sir H. Clinton marched up troops sufficient to save the place. Gen. Washington not being in sufficient force to hold possession of Stoney-Point, resolved upon the removal of the cannon and stores, and upon the destruction of the works; which were accomplished with all dispatch. About a week before, a certain officer, whose station gave him the opportunity of catching deserters from the American camp, was so enraged at their being very numerous, that he informed the general he would cut off the head of the next that fell into his hands : the general wrote immediately, and prohibited such execution; but it had taken place ere the letter was received, and the head was forwarded to gen. Washington. He was shocked at receiving it, and also greatly alarmed from an apprehension of its exciting a general disgust and uneasiness among the people at large, should it be known. Express orders were given to the officer to conduct him
self properly for the future ; his rafhness was afterward 17796 atoned for in measure, by his contributing much to the success of the enterprise against Stoney-point. .
Congress unanimously resolved upon thanks to gen. July Washington, for the vigilance, wisdom and magnani- 26. mity, with which he had conducted the military operations of the states, and manifested particularly in his or. ders for the above enterprise. They also thanked gen. Wayne for his brave, prudent and soldierly conduct, in his spirited and well conducted attack. They highly commended the coolness, discipline and firm intrepidity of the officers and soldiers. They took proper notice of lieut. col. Fleury and major Stewart; and warmly applauded lieut. Gibbons and lieut. Knox, who led on the forlorn hope, and preceded the vans of the two columns, and gave to each a brevet of captain. , They further refolved, that a medal emblematical of the action be struck, and that one of gold be presented to gen. Wayne, and a silver one to both Fleury and Stewart; and that the value of the military stores taken be ascercained and divided among the troops, by whom Stoney-point was reduced.
Being brought to mention congress, let me detail some of their further proceedings.
The first commissary general, col. Joseph Trumbull, is no more; his decease has been thought to haye been brought on by the proceedings of congress relative tom
to Mar. him: they however resolved, that with great care, in- 30. dustry, labor and attention, he instituted a plan by which the army, during his continuance in office, was amply supplied with much æconomy, and to general fatisfac, tion; and that certain allowances should be made for
1779; the benefit of his legal representatives. They resolved, April 202 « That' suspicions and animosities have arisen among
the late and present commissioners, namely, Doctor B. Franklin, Mr. Silas Deane, Mr. Arthur Lee, Mr. Ralph Izard; and Mr. William Lee, highly prejudicial to the honor and interest of the United States. It was resolved, that the president inform the commander in chief, that if he wants specie for secret services, he may draw to the amount of 2000 guineas upon the treasurer, who will pay the same.-Bills prepared by the committee of the treasury on doctor Franklin, in favor of the committee of commerce; for the sum of 360,000 livres tournois,
for the purpose of importing military stores, were orTune dered to be signed by the president; and it was resolved, 10. “That the faith of the United States be pledged to
make good any contract or engagement which shall be
chief in the general hospitals of the United States; and 14. that this resolution be published.” Congress in a letter
of congratulation to his most christian majesty on the birth of a princess, say among other things~" Permit us to request the favor of your majesty to obligę us with portraits of yourself and royal confort, that by being placed in our council chamber, the representatives of