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[Sept. 15.] The Count afterwards wrote Geperal Washington, that, judging his confined situation to be unfavourable for a naval engagement, he should sail to meet the English at sea or to block them up in the harbour of New York. General Washington apprehending that the successful issue of the expedition, which he had conceived morally certain, might by this measure be defeated, sent a dispatch by the Marquis La Fayette to the Count, to dissuade him from it. The Count consented to conform himself to the wishes of the American General, and remained at anchor in the bay of the Chesapeak. - The whole body of American and French troops reached Williamsburg by the 25th of September. At this place, the allied forces were joined by a detachment of the militia of Virginia, under the command of Governor Nelson. Preparations were soon made to besiege Yorktown.
The rivers York and James form a long and narrow peninsula, and Lord Cornwallis had ohosen a position on the south side of York river as a military post, and had strongly fortified it. Opposite to Yorkiown on the north shore is Gloucester Point, which projects into the river, and at
this place reduces its width to one mile. This · point his Lordship also possessed, and fortified.
Between these posts the river is deep, and ships of the line may here ride in safety. The communication between Yorktown and Gloucester Point was defended by batteries on shore, and by seyeral armed ships in the river. The body of the British army was encamped about Yorktown
within a range of redoubts and field works, erected to command the peninsula, which at this place is not more than eight miles wide, and to impede the approach of an assaulting enemy. Colonel Tarleton with six or seven hundred men defended Gloucester. . · On the 28th, the main body of the allied army moved down towards Yorktown, driving before them troops of horse, and the pickets of the enemy. The columns, as they reached the ground assigned them, encamped for the night and lay upon their arms. The next day was employed in reconnoitring the enemy's position, in which service Colonel Scammel, an officer of merit, was mortally wounded, and taken prisoner. A force consisting of about two thousand French and Americans, under the command of the French General de Choise, was stationed on the north side of the river, to watch and restrain the enemy in Gloucester.
The French and Americans were employed untill the sixth of October, in conveying their artillery and stores from the landing place to camp. On the night of that day, they broke ground within six hundred yards of the British lines ; and the first parallel was completed with little loss. On the 9th and 10th, guns were mounted on the works, and the batteries began to play, with vie sible effect, on the lines of the enemy. Many of their guns were soon silenced, and their works damaged. By the Ilth, the enemy scarcely returned a shot. The shells, and red hot balls of the besiegers reached the British shipping in the river, and set the Charonfrigate of forty four guns, and several large transports on fire, which were entirely consumed. A spirit of emulation animated the troops of both nations, and the siege was prosecuted with vigour and effect. On the night of the Ilth, the second parallel was begun within three hundred yards of the British lines. The working parties were not discovered until day-light, when the trenches were in a situation to cover the men. Three days were spent in completing the batteries of this parallel, which time the British indefatigably employed upon their lines. They opened new embrasures, and their fire was more destructive than at any previous period of the siege. Two redoubts in particular, advanced in front of the British lines, and which flanked the second parallel of the Americans, gave great annoyance; and it was deemed necessary to carry them by storm. - 'To prevent national jealousy, and to keep alive the spirit of emulation, the attack of one was assigned to the American troops, and that of the other to the French. The Marquis La Fayette commanded the American detachment consisting of light infantry, which was designed to act against the redoubt near the river, and the Baron de Viominel, with the grenadiers and chasseurs of his nation, was ordered to storm the redoubt nearer to the British right. Colonel Hamilton, who through this campaign commanded a battalion of light infantry, led the advanced corps of the Americans to the assault, while Colonel Laurens turned the redoubt and attacked in the rear,
to prevent the retreat of the garrison. Without giving time for the abattis to be removed, and without firing a gun, the Americans gallantly assaulted, and instantly carried the works. Their loss was one sergeant and eight privates killed ; and six officers, and twenty six rank and file wounded. The garrison was commanded by a Major, and consisted of about fifty men. Of these, eight privates were killed, a few indivividuals escaped, and the residue were made prisoners. *
The redoubt attacked by the French was garrisoned by one hundred and twenty men, it made more resistance and was overcome at the loss of near one hundred men. Of the garrison eighteen were killed, and three officers and about forty privates were made prisoners. · The Commander in Chief was highly pleased
* This event took place soon after the wanton slaughter of the men in Fort Griswold in Connecticut by the British. “ The irritation of this recent carnage had not so far subdued the humanity of the American character as to induce retaliation. Not a man was killed except in action. Incapable, said Colonel Hamilton in his report, of imitating. examples of barbarity, and forgetting recent provocation, the soldiery spared every man that ceased to resist.' Mr. Gordon, in his History of the American War, states, the orders given by La Fayette, with the approbation of Washington, to have di. rected, that every man in the redoubt, after its surrender, should be put to the sword. These sanguinary orders, so repugnant to the character of the Commander in Chief, and of La Fayette, were never given. There is no trace of them among the papers of General Washington; and Colonel Hamilton, who took a part in the enterprize, which assures his perfect knowledge of every material occurrence, has publicly contradicted the statement."
with the gallantry of the attacking troops on this occasion. In general orders he congratulated the army on the success of the enterprise, and thanked the troops for their cool and intrepid conduct. “The General reflects,"conclude the orders,"with the highest degree of pleasure, on the confidence which the troops of the two nations must hereafter have in each other. Assured of mutual support, he is convinced there is no danger which they will not cheerfully encounter, no difficulty which they will not bravely overcome.” The redoubts were the same night included within the second parallel. · Lord Cornwallis well knew that the fire of the sccond parallel would soon render his works untenable, and he determined to attempt to destroy it. The sortie appointed for this service consisted of three hundred and fifty men, and was commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Abercrombie. With great impetuosity, he attacked two batteries that were in the greatest forwardness and carried them; [Oct. 15.] but the guards from the trenches advancing, he was compelled to retreat without having effected his purpose. A few pieces of cannon were hastily spiked ; but they were soon again rendered fit for use. The service was honourable for the officers and men engaged, but the siege was not protracted.
By the afternoon of the 16th the British works sunk under the fire of the batteries of the second parallel ; in the whole front attacked, they could not show a single gun, and their shells were nearly expended. In this extremity his Lordship