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a powerful army. His force consisted of about 9,000 men, many of whom were ill armed, and about 2,000 without any arms at all; but new levies were daily coming in.

Soon after his appearance off the coast, Lord Howe sent a letter to the American commander in chief, addressed to George Washington, Esq.;' but the general refused to open it, as the address was not in a style corresponding to the dignity of the situation which he held. Another letter was sent to George Washington, &c. &c. &c.;' but this also was refused. It did not acknowledge,' he said, 'the public character with which he was invested by the congress, and in no other character would he have any intercourse with his lordship.'

The communication, however, to which these letters gave rise, afforded the British an opportunity of exerting themselves in order to effect a reconciliation. With this view, the American general was informed that Lord Howe was invested with full powers to receive the submission of the colonists, and to reinstate them in the favour of their lawful sovereign; but Washington declared that these powers appeared to consist in nothing but granting pardons; and that as the provincials, in defending their rights, had been guilty of no crime, they required no forgiveness.

Both sides, therefore, prepared to terminate their disputes by an appeal to arms; and hostilities began as soon as the English troops were collected at their appointed stations. The character of the forces which were now about to engage was very different. The British troops were numerous, regularly disciplined, and accustomed to military operations; while the Americans were inferior in numbers, and inexperienced, newly embodied, and not well provided with artillery and ammunition.

Washington marked the condition of his army with very great concern. It amounted to less than 18,000 effective men; while that of the English was nearly 30,000 strong. As the American government had no established revenue, and as the sources of their commerce were completely dried up, the difficulties which the general had to encounter were such as no human ability and perseverance could easily sur

What was Washington's force?
Relate the affair of the letter.
The affair of the pardons.

What was the relative character of the British and of the American troops?

What did both sides now prepare What difficulties had Washington to





mount. 'These things,' said he in a letter to congress, are melancholy, but they are nevertheless true. I hope for better. Under every disadvantage, my utmost exertions shall be employed to bring about the great end we have in view; and, so far as I can judge from the professions and apparent disposition of my troops, I shall have their support. The superiority of the enemy, and the expected attack, do not seem to have depressed their spirits. These considerations lead me to think that, though the appeal to arms may not terminate so happily as I could wish, yet the enemy will not succeed in their views without considerable loss. Any advantage they may gain, I trust, will cost them dear.'

Notwithstanding the difficulties which Washington had to encounter, he maintained his positions, and availed himself of every circumstance which might encourage his troops or improve their discipline. He animated them by his exhortations and example; he told them that the day was approaching which would decide whether the American people were to be freemen or slaves; and he informed them that the happiness of myriads, yet unborn, depended on their courage and conduct. He promised rewards to those who should distinguish themselves by acts of extraordinary bravery, and threatened such as were doubtful or dilatory with the utmost severity of punishment, if they should desert the cause in which they were engaged. The time was at hand when the effect of these exhortations was to be ascertained.

In the month of August, 1776, the English made a descent upon Long Island, with 40 pieces of cannon, and under cover of their ships. On a peninsula, formed by the East River and Gowanus Cove, and constituting a part of the same island, was General Putnam, strongly fortified, and awaiting with his detachment the approach of the king's troops. Between the armies was a range of hills, the principal pass through which was near a place called Flatbush. At this place the Hessians, forming the centre of the royalists, took their station. The left wing, under the orders of General Grant, was close upon the shore; and the right, commanded by General Clinton, Earl Percy, and Lord Cornwallis, and comprehending the chief strength of the British forces, ap

What were his expressions in writ- | Where was General Putnam sta ing to congress?

What was the substance of his appeal

to the troops? What movement was made by the British in August?


Where were the Hessians posted?
The British left and right wings?



proached the opposite coast of Flat Land.

General Putnam had directed that all the passes should be secured by strong detachments of the provincial troops. The orders to this purpose, though not disobeyed, were not complied with to the extent that the general required; and one road through the hills, of the utmost importance, was entirely neglectedan oversight which was speedily communicated to the British, and which they were too wise not to improve to their advantage.

On the evening of the 26th, Generals Howe and Clinton drew off the right wing of the English army, in order to gain the heights. Nearly about day-break, he reached the pass undiscovered by the Americans, and immediately took possession of it. The detachment under Lord Percy followed; and when the day appeared, the royalists advanced into the level country between the hills and Brooklyn, a village situated on the peninsula where the Americans were encamped.

Without loss of time, Howe and Clinton fell upon the rear of the provincials, and the Hessians attacking them in front at the same instant, neither valour nor skill could save them from a defeat. Inspirited, however, by their generals, and by the presence of Washington, they continued the engagement for a while, and fought with the bravery of men whom the love of freedom animates to deeds of heroism; but, pressed by superior numbers, and thrown into confusion, they gave way on every side, and fled precipitately to the woods.

Nor was this the only part of the army which suffered; the right wing, which opposed General Grant, experienced a similar fate. They fought bravely, and maintained their ground till informed of the defeat of the left wing, when they retreated in confusion; and, in order to avoid the enemy, who were far advanced on their rear, the greater part of them attempted to escape along the dike of a mill-dam, and through a marsh, where many of them perished; but a remnant regained the camp. Of a regiment consisting of young gentlemen from Maryland, the greater part was cut in pieces, and not one of those who survived escaped without a wound.

The British soldiers behaved with their usual courage, and it was with difficulty that they were restrained from instantly

What orders had Putnam given? What was the consequence of their being neglected?

What was done on the evening of the 26th ?

What was done by the royalists at day. break?

What was effected by Howe and
Clinton ?

What was the fate of the American
right wing?

What is said of a Maryland regiment?

What is said of the British soldiers?



attacking the American camp; but General Howe, who always exercised a laudable care of the lives of his men, checked their impetuosity; believing that, without any great loss, he could compel the Americans to surrender, or to evacuate their


On that disastrous day, the Americans lost 2,000 men in killed, wounded, and prisoners; among the latter were Generals Sullivan, Woodhull, and Lord Stirling. They also lost 6 pieces of artillery. The acknowledged British loss was 21 officers, and 346 privates, killed, wounded, and taken.

A retreat from Long Island now became absolutely necessary; and it was effected on the 30th of August, without the loss of a man.

After the evacuation of Long Island by the Americans, proposals for an accommodation were made by Lord Howe. But as his lordship was not authorised to treat with congress as a legal assembly, he invited such of its members as were desirous of peace to a private conference. To this invitation the congress replied that, as they were the representatives of the free and independent states of America, it was not possible for them to send any of their number to confer with the English commanders, in their individual capacity; but that, as it was exceedingly to be wished that an accommodation should take place, on reasonable terms, they would direct a committee to receive the proposals of the British government. Accordingly, they nominated for this purpose, Dr. Franklin, Mr. John Adams, and Mr. Rutledge, all zealous and faithful to the cause of liberty. But, notwithstanding the disposition of Lord Howe, which was certainly towards peace, and the late misfortunes of the provincial troops, the conference was altogether ineffectual; his lordship would not acknowledge the deputies as the commissioners of a free people; and the deputies wound not treat with him on any other condition. It was resolved, therefore, on both sides, to prosecute the war with all their vigour and their utmost resources.

This conference, although ineffectual with respect to the object immediately in view, was of considerable service to the Americans. It arrested General Howe in the career of vic

Of General Howe?

What loss did the Americans sustain?
The British?

Who composed the committee of congress?

What was its result?

When did the Americans retreat What was then resolved on both sides?

from Long Island?

Who now proposed a conference?

What was the reply of congress?

What were the good effects of this conference?



tory, and suspended, during its progress, the operations of the campaign. It afforded a pause to the dispirited Americans; and gave them time to rally their drooping spirits; a matter, in their circumstances, of no slight importance.

The provincial army, under the command of Washington, was now stationed in the vicinity of New York. They had erected many batteries near the place, and from these they kept up an incessant fire on the British ships. Between the armies lay the East River, which the royalists, for some days, had manifested a desire to cross. Accordingly, they landed on the opposite shore, at Kipp's Bay, nearly three miles distant from New York; and marching rapidly towards the city, they obliged the Americans to abandon their works and retreat. Leaving the town itself, and their baggage, provisions, and military stores, in possession of the British, the Americans withdrew to the northern part of the island, where the chief strength of their forces was collected. Here Washington determined to wait the approach of the king's troops; and in the mean time he used every method in his power to restore the courage of his soldiers, and elevate their fallen hopes. He had long ago formed that plan of operations which is usually successful against an invading army; though with the intention of deviating from it as circumstances might require. It was his design, at present, not to risk a general engagement, but to harass the English by continual skirmishes, by cutting off their supplies and exhausting their patience. The object of the British general was exactly the contrary of this; his safety, as well as his success, lay in bringing the Americans speedily to action, and in terminating the war, if possible, by a single blow.

The fortune of the royalists was now predominant. In almost every attack the superiority of regular discipline had been shown. Washington was forced to quit his strong position at King's Bridge, on New York island, and saved his army by retiring towards the main land of Connecticut. He was followed by the English general as soon as the troops could be landed, and the proper reinforcements had arrived.

After some ineffectual skirmishing, both parties met at a place called the White Plains; the royalists began the assault, and made such an impression on the American lines, that

What is said of the provincial army?
Of the royalists?

Whither did the Americans retreat?

What was Washington's plan of operations?

Whither was he compelled to retire.

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