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Lee attributes the subsequent extreme caution of sir Wil. liam.*
In this part of the work is also the following anecdote, which
may interest some of our readers on account of those to whom it relates general Lee, our author, then a captain, and the illustrious Hamilton, who then had the rank of lieutenant colonel. It took place during the retreat of the American army after the battle of Brandywine Creek.
“Contiguous to the enemy's route, lay some mills stored “ with flour for the rise of the American army. Their des“truction was deemed necessary by the commander in chief; “ and his aid-de-camp, lieutenant colonel Hamilton, attended “ by captain Lee, with a small party of his troop of horse,
were dispatched in front of the enemy with the order of ex6 ecution. The mill, or mills, stood on the bank of the Schuyl“kill. Approaching, you descend a long hill leading to a “ bridge over the mill-race. On the summit of this hill two “ videts were posted ; and soon after the party reached the
• We were very glad to read the following note, as it vindicates to an individual unjustly forgotten, a high honor that is his due. “The honor conferred upon colonel Prescot (who is mentioned in the "text to have been the commander at the battle of Breed's hill] was on“ly a promotion in the army soon after established ; and this, the writer
was informed by a gentleman residing in Boston who was well ac“quainted with colonel Prescot, consisted only in the grade of lieuten“ant colonel, in a regiment of infantry. Considering himself enti. “tled to a regiment, the hero of Breed's hill would not accept a second "station. Warren, who fell nobly supporting the action, was the favor. site of the day, and has engrossed the fame due to Prescot. Bunker's “ bill too has been considered as the field of battle, when it is well “ known that it was fought upon Breed's bill, the nearest of the two hills
to Boston. No man reveres the character of Warren more than the « writer ; and he considers himself not only, by his obedience to truth, “ doing justice to colonel Prescot, but performing an acceptable service “to the memory of the illustrious Warren ; who, being a really great “man, would disdain to wear laurels not his own." Vol. i. pp. 53, 54, vinote."
“ mills, lieutenant colonel Hamilton took possession of a flatu bottomed boat for the purpose of transporting himself and " his comrades across the river, should the sudden approach “ of the enemy render such retreat necessary. In a little “time this precaution manifested his sagacity : the fire of the « videts announced the enemy's appearance. The dragoons
were ordered instantly to embark. Of the small party, « four with the lieutenant colonel jumped into the boat, the van 6 of the enemy's horse in full view, pressing down the hill in "pursuit of the two videts. Captain Lee, with the remaining "two, took the decision to regain the bridge, rather than de66 tain the boat.
“ Hamilton was committed to the flood, struggling against a violent current, increased by the recent rains ; while Lee “put his safety on the speed and soundness of his horse.
“ The attention of the enemy being engaged by Lee's « push for the bridge, delayed the attack upon the boat for a “ few minutes, and thus afforded to Hamilton a better chance “ of escape. The two videts preceded Lee as he reached the « bridge ; and himself with the four dragoons safely passed uit, although the enemy's front section emptied their carbines 6 and pistols at the distance of ten or twelve paces. Lee's " apprehension for the safety of Hamilton continued to in
crease, as he heard vollies of carbines discharged upon the “ boat, which were returned by guns singly and occasion«ally. He trembled for the probable issue ; and as soon as « the pursuit ended, which did not long continue, he dispatch« ed a dragoon to the commander in chief, describing with “ feelings of anxiety what had passed, and his sad presage. « His letter was scarcely perused by Washington, before “ Hamilton himself appeared ; and, ignorant of the contents «of the paper in the general's hand, renewed his attention to & the ill-boding separation, with the probability that his friend “ Lee had been cut off; inasmuch as instantly after he turns
" ed for the bridge, the British horse reached the mill, and 66 commenced their operations upon the boat.
“ Washington with joy relieved his fears, by giving to his u aid-de-camp the captain's letter.
“ Thus did fortune smile upon these two young soldiers, already united in friendship, which ceased only with life. “ Lieutenant colonel Hamilton escaped unhurt; but two of his " four dragoons, with one of the boatmen, were wounded."*
The following account of a most ingenious and courageous stratagem, which was practised by an American officer, is contained likewise in the same portion of the history.
While the allied army was engaged before Savannah, 6 colonel John White of the Georgia line, conceived and exe. “cuted an extraordinary enterprise. Captain French, with "a small party of the British regulars, was stationed on the “ Ogeechee river, about twenty five miles from Savannah. 6 At the same place lay five British vessels, of which four
were armed, the largest mounting fourteen guns. White, “having with him only captain Etholm and three soldiers, “ kindled many fires, the illumination of which was discernible " at the British station, exhibiting, by the manner of ranging " them, the plan of a camp. To this stratagem he added " another: he and his four comrades, imitating the manner a of the staff, rode with haste in various directions, giving or“ ders in a loud voice. French became satisfied that a large " body of the enemy were upon him ; and, on being summon4 ed by White, he surrendered his detachment, the crews of “ the five vessels, forty in number, with the vessels, and one $ hundred and thirty stand of arms.
“ Colonel White having succeeded, pretended that he “must keep back his troops, lest their animosity, already sti- fled by his great exertions, should break out, and indiscrim
• Vol. i. pp. 19-21.
#inate slaughter take place in defiance of his authority; and “ that therefore he would commit his prisoners to three 6 guides, who would conduct them safely to good quarters. “ This humane attention on the part of White was thankfully " received. He immediately ordered three of his attendants " to proceed with the prisoners, who moved off with celerity, « anxious to get away, lest the fury of White's corps, believ
ed to be near at hand, might break out, much disposed as he " was to restrain it.
“ White, with the soldier retained by him, repaired as he " announced to his guides and prisoners, to his troops, for the “purpose of proceeding in their rear.
“ He now employed himself in collecting the neighbour+ ing militia, with whom he overtook his guides, their charge " safe and happy in the good treatment experienced.
“ The extraordinary address of White was contrasted by « the extraordinary folly of French; and both were necessary " to produce this wonderful issue. The affair approaches too 66 near the marvellous to have been admitted into these Me moirs, had it not been uniformly asserted, as uniformly accredited, and never contradicted."*
But if it were in our power to make any more acknowledgments of this kind, we should be obliged to forbear; or our readers would not admit our opinion to be correct, as to the part of the volume which we have been considering.
General Lee's account of the siege and surrender of Charleston differs in nothing material from the usual narratives of the same event. This was the only place of any importance in which the Americans sustained a regular siege. The consequences of the capture of the city and the army were of far greater detriment to their cause, than those of the loss of either of the other great cities which were possessed by the enemy.
• Vol. i. pp. 113, 114,
It annihilated for a time the means of resistance ; and gave to the British an important establishment, from which they soon spread their power over the whole of South Carolina. As might be supposed, from the magnitude of the effects of this event, there were not wanting some who were severe in their judgment of the commander who surrendered; for it is a most common error, to connect the ideas of ill success and ill desert in military affairs. We have now before us a manuscript copy of a letter from general Lincoln to General Washington, dated July, 1780, containing a satisfactory vindication of his conduct We should be glad to give to our readers the whole of this letter, which bears strong marks of the modest and able charaeter' of its writer, but its length (sixty pages) forbids it. Nor is it neccessary to spend much time in justifying measures which no person of tolerable information will now condemn. The honorable result of the inquiries into his conduct, and the undiminished confidence of the commander in chief, should satisfy those who are not in possession of better means of judging, that general Lincoln, though he lost a city and an army, lost no portion of his reputation. It may also be observed, that all historians of credit concur in representing the loss of Charleston in such a manner, as not at all to diminish the honor of its excellent and respectable commander : «—so established,” says general Lee," was the spotless reputation of the vanquished general, that he continued to enjoy the undiminished respect and confidence of the congress,
army, and the commander in chief.” Notwithstanding we will give some account of general Lincoln's letter of defence in a note.*
The loss of the army at Charleston was followed by all the depressing events which the Americans could have anticipated. In a very short time, and without any resistance, Cornwallis, upon whom the command devolved at the depart ure of Clinton, was master of Augusta, Ninety-six, and Camb
* See note following the review.