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converse with your Excellency, I conceive I shall be able to give you such reasons for forming your junction at White Plains in the first instance, as will satisfy you of the utility and fitness of the position for commencing the preparations for our concerted operations of the campaign.
I have the honor to be, &c.*
TO COUNT DE ROCHAMBEAU.
Camp, near White Plains, 4 July, 1781.
A few minutes after my arrival upon this ground I received your Excellency's favor of this morning.f Were I to give way to the anxiety I feel to see the union between your army and mine, I should request you to march to-morrow morning from North Castle; but when I consider the fatigue, which your troops have undergone from their long and rapid marches at this very warm season, I am much inclined to wish you to give them one more day's rest in your present quarters, and the more so, as there is now no real occasion for making an uncommon degree of haste. I shall however leave the matter entirely to your Ex
* From the Orderly Book, July 3d. — “The Commander-in-chief takes the earliest opportunity of expressing his thanks to the Duke de Lauzun, his officers and men, for the very extraordinary zeal manifested by them in the rapid performance of their march to join the American army. And the General also takes occasion to thank the officers and men of the American army, for the alacrity with which they have supported themselves under the fatiguing march of yesterday and last night. The troops, who were engaged to-day, merit his particular thanks.”
† From Count de Rochambeau. — “I arrived here with the first brigade yesterday at nine o'clock in the morning. The second brigade, by a forced march, joined me in the afternoon; and we are now all together ready to execute your orders. I wait with the greatest impatience to hear from you and the Duke de Lauzun." - North Castle, July 4th.
cellency's determination ; only wishing you to give me notice of your approach, that I may have the happiness of meeting and conducting you to your camp, which will be about four miles on this side of the village of White Plains. I have the honor to be, &c.
TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.
Head-Quarters, near Dobbs's Ferry, 6 July, 1781. SIR, I do myself the honor to inform your Excellency, that the army marched from their camp near Peekskill on the morning of the 2d, without either tents or baggage, and reached Valentine's Hill, about four miles on this side of Kingsbridge, a little after daylight the morning following.
General Lincoln, with a detachment of eight hundred men, fell down the North River in boats, landed near Phillips's House before daylight on the morning of the 3d, and took possession of the ground on this side of Haerlem River, near where Fort Independence stood. This movement was principally intended to support and favor an enterprise, which I had projected against a corps of refugees under the command of Colonel Delancey at Morrisania, and other light troops without the bridge, and which was to have been executed by the Duke de Lauzun with his own legion, Colonel Sheldon's regiment, and a detachment of State troops of Connecticut under the command of Brigadier-General Waterbury. The Duke, notwithstanding the heat of the day of the 2d, marched from Ridgebury, in Connecticut, and reached East Chester very early next morning; but, upon his arrival there, finding by the firing that General Lincoln had been attacked, and the VOL. VIII.
alarm given, he desisted from a further prosecution of his plan (which could only have been executed to any effect by surprise), and marched to the General's support, who continued skirmishing with the enemy and endeavouring to draw them so far into the country, that the Duke might turn their right and cut them off from their work on the east side of Haerlem River, and also prevent their repassing that river in boats. General Parsons had possessed the heights immediately commanding Kingsbridge, and could have prevented their escape by that passage. Every endeavour of this kind proved fruitless; for I found, upon going down myself to reconnoitre their situation, that all their force, except very small parties of observation, had retired to York Island. This afforded General Duportail and myself the most favorable opportunity of perfectly reconnoitring the works upon the north end of the Island, and making observations, which may be of very great advantage in future. Finding nothing further could be done, I returned the day before yesterday to this ground, where I expect to be joined this day by his Excellency the Count de Rochambeau, who reached North Castle on the 2d instant.
I cannot too warmly express the obligations I am under to the Count, for the readiness with which he detached the Duke de Lauzun, and for the rapidity with which he pushed the march of his main body, that he might have been within supporting distance, had any favorable stroke upon the enemy below given us an opportunity of pursuing any advantage, which might have been gained. General Lincoln had five or six men killed and about thirty wounded in his skirmish.
I have the honor to be, &c.*
* The following extract from General Washington's Diary will more fully explain the recent operations.
“ July 2d. — General Lincoln's detachment embarked last night after
TO THE MARQUIS DE LAFAYETTE.
Head-Quarters, near Dobbs's Ferry, 13 July, 1781. MY DEAR MARQUIS, I sincerely congratulate you on the favorable turn of affairs announced in your last, and I hope you will be enabled to maintain that superiority, which you seem
dark, at or near Teller's Point ; and, as his operations were to be the movements of two nights, he was desired to repair to Fort Lee this day, and reconnoitre the enemy's works, position, and strength, as well as he possibly could, and take his ultimate determination from appearances; that is, to attempt the surprise, if the prospect was favorable, or to relinquish it, if it was not; and in the latter case to land above the mouth of Spiten Devil, and cover the Duke de Lauzun in his operation on Delancey's corps. At three o'clock this morning I commenced my march with the Continental army, in order to cover the detached troops and improve any advantages, which might be gained by them. I made a small halt at the New Bridge over Croton about nine miles from Peekskill, another at the church by Tarrytown till dusk (nine miles more), and completed the remaining part of the march in the night, arriving at Valentine's Hill (at Mile Square) about sunrise. Our baggage and tents were left standing at the camp at Peekskill.
“3d. — The length of the Duke de Lauzun's march, and the fatigue of his corps, prevented his coming to the point of action at the hour appointed. In the mean time General Lincoln's party, who were ordered to prevent the retreat of Delancey's corps by the way of Kingsbridge, and prevent succours by that route, were attacked by the Yagers and others; but, on the march of the army from Valentine's Hill, they retired to the Island. Being disappointed in both objects, from the causes mentioned, I did not care to fatigue the troops any more, but suffered them to remain on their arms, while I spent a good part of the day in reconnoitring the enemy's works. In the afternoon we retired to Valentine's Hill, and lay upon our arms. The Duke de Lauzun and General Waterbury lay on the east side of the Brunx River on the East Chester road.
“ 4th. — Marched and took a position a little to the left of Dobbs's Ferry, and marked a camp for the French army upon our left. The Duke de Lauzun marched to White Plains, and Waterbury to Horseneck.
" 5th. – Visited the French army, which had arrived at North Castle.
“ 6th. – The French army formed the junction with the American on the grounds marked out. The legion of Lauzun took a position in advance of the Plains on Chatterton's Hill, west of the River Brunx. This day also the minister of France arrived in camp from Philadelphia."
The American army was encamped in two lines, with the right resting on Hudson's River near Dobbs's Ferry. The French army was stationed to be gaining over Lord Cornwallis.* We have had a variety of reports of General Greene's further successes in South Carolina. By some we are told, that both Augusta and Ninety-Six have fallen, but in a letter, which I have just received from Monsieur Marbois, he says that Augusta has been taken, and the siege of Ninety-Six raised. Count de Rochambeau formed a junction with me at the camp, about twelve miles from Kingsbridge, a few days ago. We are waiting for re
on the hills at the left, in a single line reaching to the Brunx River. There was a valley of considerable extent between the two armies.
From the Orderly Book, July 6th. — “ The Commander-in-chief with pleasure embraces the earliest public opportunity of expressing his thanks to his Excellency, the Count de Rochambeau, for the unremitting zeal with which he has prosecuted his march, in order to form the long wishedfor junction between the French and American forces; an event, which must afford the highest degree of pleasure to every friend of his country, and from which the happiest consequences are to be expected. The General entreats his Excellency, the Count de Rochambeau, to convey to the officers and soldiers under his immediate command the grateful sense he entertains of the cheerfulness, with which they have performed so long and laborious a march at this hot season. The regiment of Saintonge is entitled to peculiar acknowledgments for the spirit, with which they continued and supported their march without one day's respite.”
* A retreat had been recently commenced by Lord Cornwallis, after pursuing Lafayette to the interior of Virginia. In the letter referred to above, Lafayette said;
“ The enemy have been so kind as to retire before us. Twice I gave them a chance of fighting (taking care not to engage farther than I pleased), but they continued their retrograde motion. Our number is, I think, exaggerated to them, and our seeming boldness confirms the opinion. I thought at first that Lord Cornwallis wanted to get me down as low as possible, and use the cavalry to advantage. But it appears he does not as yet come out, and our position will admit of partial affairs. His Lordship had (exclusive of the riflemen from Portsmouth, said to be six hundred,) four thousand men, eight hundred of whom were dragoons or mounted infantry. Our force is about equal to his ; but only fifteen hundred are regulars, and fifty dragoons. Our little action marks the retreat of the enemy. From the place, at which they first began to retreat, to Williamsburg is upwards of one hundred miles. His Lordship has done us no harm of any consequence. He has lost a very large part of his former conquests, and has not made any in this State. General Greene demanded of me only to hold my ground in Virginia ; but the