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a general action ? If adviseable, is it best to attack with the whole ariny, to bring on a general engage mont by a partial attack, or to take a position that shall obiigo the enemy to make an assault upon us?" The Council again determincù against a general en gagemení; but advised to strengthen the detachments on the wings of the enemy. General Scott was, in consequence, detached with fifteen hundred men to this service.
Having a force rather superiour to the British, Ge. neral Washingtos conceived that the favourable opportunity to attack the enemy, ought not to be lost, and on his own responsibility, resolved to hazard a general engagement.
Having learned that Sir Henry Clinton JUNE 25. was moving towards Monmouth Court House,
he detached Brigadier Wayne with a thousand men to reinforce the troops in advance. He offered the command of the whole force in front to Gene. ral Lec; but ho, being opposed even to partial actions with the enemy, deckned the service. The Marquis La Fayette joyfully accepted the command, which his senior Major General had declined. The orders given to the Marquis were similar to those which had before been given to the officers on the lines, to gain the real and riglit flank of the enemy, and give him all possible annoyance. The Commander in Chief put the main army in motion, that lie might be in a s'uation 10 support his parties in advance. By these more. ments General Ley perceived that more importanco than he had imagined was given to the division in front, and he now importunately requested the command, which before he had declined. To gratify him without mortifying the Marquis, he was detached with two additional brigades to act in front, and the oʻmmand of the whole, consisting of five thousand nien, of courso devolved on him. He was ordered to keep his detachments constantly on their arms and ever in a situation to attack.
Sir Henry Clinton perceiving the approach of a powerful force, changed the position of his army, and placed his best troops in the rear. On the 27th, he encamped in a secure manner on the heignts abnut Monmouth Court House. He could not be attacked in this position with the probability of success, and he was within twelve miles of strong ground, wliere he could not be assailed. General Washington there. fore resolved to attack him as soon as he should novo from his present encampment.
About five in tho morning, the CommandJune 28. er in Chief was informed that the front of
the British army was in motion : he immediately despatched an Aid de Camp to G.neral Lee with orders to move on and attack the rear of the enemy,
" unless there should be powerful reasons to the contrary," assuring him that the main body should seasonably move to support him.
From the movements of the American army, Sir Honry expected an attack. Early on the morning of the 28th, General Knyphausen marched with all the baggage of the British army. The grenadiers, light infantry, and chasseurs, unencumbered, remained on the ground under the command of Lord Cornwallis, and with this division was Sir Henry.
Having allowed time for General Knyphausen to move out of his way, Lord Cornwallis about eight o'clock took up his lizic of march, ard descended from the heights of Freehold into a plain of about three miles extent. General Lee made his disposition to execute the orders of the Commander in Chief. Passing the heignts of Freehold, he eniered the plain, and ordered General Wayne to attack the rear of the covering party of the enemy in such a manner as to halt them; while he himself by a shorter road should gnin their
front, with the design to cut them off from the inain body of their army.
In the mean time General Clinton perceiving that strong columns of Americans were hanging upon both his flanks, and supposing that their cbject was to attack his baggage now passing through defiles, resolved to halt Lord Cornwallis's division and attack the Americans in his rear, with the expectation, that General WASHINGTON by this maneuvre would be induced to recall his detachments in advance. This movement was made at the moment Lee was reconnoitring their covering party. He found this corps much stronger than he had supposed it to be, and the ground he thought unfavourable for an aʻtack. In his rear was a morass which could be passed only by a neck of hard land, which rendered it difficult for reinforcements to reach him, and would impede his retreat should he be repulsed. He was finally induced by a movement of General Scott, to cross the ravine and regain the heights of Freehold.
During these manæuvres, some skirmishing took place. As soon as General WASHINGTON heard the firing, he directed the troops under his immediate command, to throw off their packs and march rapidly to the support of the division in front. Gencral Lce gave no information of his retrograde manœuvre to the Commander in Chief. As General WASHINGTON was approaching the scene of action in advance of his troops, he met, to his surprise and mortification, the corps of General Lee retrcating before the enemy, without having made anv serious efforts to maintain their ground. He found General Lee in the rear of his division, whom he addressed with warmth, and in language disapproving his retreat. He immediately ordered two regiments to form on ground favourablo to check the advancing enemy. He asked General Lee, will you command on this ground ? Consenting, he was ordered to arrange the remainder of liis division
and to take measures to stop the advance of the Bri.
“ Your orders,” Lee replied, “ shall he obeyod, and I will not be the first to leave the field.” The Commander in Chief returned to the main body and formed it for action. The division of Leo now bravely sustained a severe confiict with the van of the British, and when forced from the ground, Lee brought his troops off in order, and formed them in rear of Eng. lish Town.
The check the enemy received, enabled General Washington to form the left wing and second line of the army on an eminence. Lord Sterling, who cummanded this wing, planted a battery of cannon and played with effect upon the British column, which had passed the morass and was pressing on to charge the Americans. At the same timu a body of infantry was brought into action. The advance of the enemy was by these measures stopped.
General Green, who on this day commanded the right wing of the American army, had left the direct road near English Town and moved upon the right, as a security to this flank of the army, and had rather passed the ground on which the action began. Learnng the situation of General WASHINGTON, he brought up lis division, and took an advantageous position on the right.
The enemy now attempted to turn the left flank of the Americans, but were repulsed by parties of infantry. They then assailed the right wing, and here too they failed. General Green had posted a body of troops with artillery on cominanding ground in his front, which severely galled the enemy. At this period General Wayne advanced with a strong corps of infartry, and in a close and well directed fire attacked them in front. They gave way and fell behind the ravine to the ground, on which the Comma ler in Chief met General Lee in the murning. On this ground the British formed in a strong position. Both danks were covered by woods and morasses, and their front could be attacked caly through a narrow pass.
General Washington, even under these circum. stances, determined to renew the engagement. In pursuance of this resolution, he ordered Brigadier Poor to gain the right flank of the British, and Brigadie: Woodford their left. The artillery was directed to play upon them in front. Before these orders could be effectually carried into execution, the day was fully spent. The General therefore determined to deser the attack until the next morning. He ordered the troops to retain their respective positions, and to lay on their arms. The General in the course of the day had shunned no danger, and he slept in his cloak amidst his soldiers on the field of battle.
At midnight, the British moved off their ground with such silence, that General Poor although very near did not perceive it. General Washington knew that the British army would reach high and unassailable ground before he could come up with them, and therefore discontinued the pursuit. He despatched small parties of light troops to protect the country from depredation and to encourage desertion. The main body of his army he marched to cover the important passes in the high lands on the Hudson.
General WASHINGTON was satisfied with the be. haviour of his army on this day. In his official communication to Congress he mentioned that after the troops had recovered from the surprise of the unex pected retreat of the morning, their conduct could noi have been surpassed. General Wayne was noticed with great commendation, and the artillery corps was said to have highly distinguished itself. • In the battle of Monmouth, eight officers and sixty-one privates of the Americans were killed; and about one hundred and sixty wounded. Among the killed were Lieutenant Colonel Bonner of Penrsvlva. nia anů Major Dickinson of Virginia, officers of nierii