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1779. garrison by regular approaches, it was determined to make an
a ssault. In pursuance of this determination, on the 9th of OcUnsuccess- tober, while two feints were made with the militia, a real attack
was made on Spring Hill battery just as day light appeared, with two columns, consisting of 3500 French troops, 600 continentals, and 350 of the inhabitants of Charlestown. The principal of these columns, commanded by count D'Estaing and general Lincoln, marched up boldly to the lines; but a heavy and well directed fire from the gallies threw the front of the column into confusion. The places of those who fell being instantly supplied by others, it still moved on until it reached a redoubt, where the contest became more fierce and desperate. Captain Tawse fell in defending the gate of his redoubt, with his sword plunged in the body of the third assailant whom he had slain with his own hand, and a French and an American standard were for an instant planted on the parapet; but the assailants, after sustaining the enemy's fire fifty five minutes, were ordered to retreat. Of the French, 637, and of the continentals and militia, 241 were killed or wounded. Immediately after this unsuccessful assault, the militia alınost universally went to their homes, and count D'Estaing, re-embarking his troops and artillery, left the con
tinent. Vescent of The operations of the British in the more northern parts of the British America were predatory, rather than military. on Virginia.
In May, a naval and land force, commanded by Sir George Collier and general Matthews, made a descent on Virginia. On their arrival, they took possession of Portsmouth and of Norfolk; destroyed the houses, vessels, naval stores, and a large magazine of provisions, at Suffolk; made a similar destruction at Kemp's Landing, Shepherd's Gosport, Tanner's Creek, and other places in the vicinity; and, after setting fire to the houses and other public buildings in the dockyard at Gosport, embarked with their booty
for New York. Expedition A similar expedition was soon after undertaken from New against
York against the southern margin of Connecticut, by governor Connecti.
Tryon with 2600 land forces, supported by brigadier general
1 An assault is believed to have been unadvisable; but this measure was forced on D’Estaing by his marine officers, who remonstrated against his continuing to risk the French fleet on a dangerous coast, in the hurricane season, and at such a distance from the shore, as to be endangered by a British squadron. “ In a few days, the lines of the besiegers might have been carried, by regular approaches, into the works of the besieged.”_Count Pulaski was mortally wounded in this assault; and Congress resolved, that a monument should be erected to his memory. He was a Polander of high birth, who with a few men had carried off king Stanislaus from the middle of his capital. The king, after being some time a prisoner, made his escape; and soon after declared Pulaski an outlaw. Thus proscribed, he came to America, and offered his service to congress, which honoured him with the rank of brigadier general.
e to Haven ; but the No soldiers' oops, unde
Garth, and accompanied by Sir George Collier with armed ves 1779. sels to cover the transports. Early in the morning of the 5th of July, the fleet, consisting of about 40 sail, anchored off West Haven; and at sunrise, a detachment of 1000 troops, under general Garth, landed at that place. No soldiers were at this time stationed at New Haven ; but the militia and citizens made instant preparations to harass the enemy, whom they could not hope effectually to resist. Captain James Hillhouse with a small band of brave young men, some of whom were students at Yale College, advanced very near the royal troops while on parade near West Haven church; and, when they commenced their march, fired on the advanced guards, and drove them back to New Have the main body. The enemy, though checked in their march, plundered, proceeded in force, and entered New Haven about one in the afternoon, from which time until eight in the evening the town was subjected to almost indiscriminate ravage and plunder. During these transactions on the west side of the harbour, governor Tryon landed about 1000 troops at East Haven; and, though severely harassed, effected a junction with Garth’s division in New Haven. The enemy evacuated the town the next morning. The fleet left the harbour the succeeding night, and the morning after anchored off Fairfield. The militia of that town and the vicinity, posting themselves at the court house green, Fairfield gave the enemy considerable annoyance, as they advanced ; but and Green soon retreated. The royal army plundered and burned the burnt. town; and the greatest part of the neighbouring village of Green Farms. A few days afterward they laid the town of Norwalk in Norwalk. ashes.
The campaign of this year, though barren in important events, was distinguished by one gallant enterprise, which reflected much honour on the American arms. Stony Point, a fortress on the North river, had been taken from the Americans, and strongly
1 At East Haven the British burned several houses; but they burned nothing in New Haven, excepting some stores on the Long Wharf. There were burnt at Fairfield 85 dwelling houses, 2 churches, a handsome court house, several school houses, 55 barns, 15 stores, and 15 shops ; at Green Farms, 15 dwelling houses, 1 church, 11 barns, and several stores ; at Norwalk, 80 dwelling bouses, ž churches, 87 barns, 17 shops, 4 mills, and 5 vessels.-The royal commanders, in addresses to the inhabitants of the places which they invaded, invited them to return to their allegiance, and promised protection to all who should remain peaceably in their usual places of residence. One of these addresses was sent by a flag to colonel Whiting of the militia near Fairfield, who was allowed an hour for his answer; but he had scarcely time to read the address before the town was in flames. His answer expressed at once the general principles of the colony, and the certain influence of this outrage : “ Connecticut, having nobly dared to take up arms against the cruel despotism of Great Britain, and the flames having preceded the answer to your flag, they will persist to oppose to the utmost the power exerted against injured innocence.”—The loss of the British troops in this expedition was 20 killed, 96 wounded, and 32 missing.
1779. fortified by the British. It was at this time garrisoned by about
600 men under the command of lieutenant colonel Johnson. General Washington, having obtained precise information of the condition of the works, the nature of the ground in their vicinity, the strength and arrangements of the garrison, and the disposition of the guards, and having in person reconnoitred the post, resolved to attempt the surprise of it. The execution of the plan was intrusted to general Wayne; and the troops employed on this service were chiefly from New England. It was the intention to attack the works on the right and left flanks at the same instant. The regiments of Febiger and Meigs, with major Hull's detachment, forined the right column; and Butler's regiment, with two companies under major Murfree, formed the left. The van of the right was composed of 150 volunteers, led by lieutenant colonel Fleury and major Posey; and the van of the left, of 100 volunteers under major Stewart. At half past eleven, on the night of the 15th of July, the columns moved on to the charge at opposite points of the works; the van of each with unloaded muskets and fixed bayonets. Each column was preceded by a forlorn hope of 20 men; the one commanded by lieutenant Gibbons, and the other by lieutenant Knox, whose duty it was to remove the abattis and other obstructions. A deep morass, overflowed by the tide, a double row of abattis, and a
formidable fortress, presented serious impediments, but appalled July 16. . not the assailants. Twenty minutes after twelve, both columns
in rushed forward under a tremendous fire of musketry and grape taken by
shot; entered the works at the point of the bayonet; and, meeting in the centre of them at nearly the same instant, compelled
the garrison to surrender at discretion. -- 19. This enterprise was soon followed by another, that equalled it Paulus in boldness of design. Major Lee with about 300 men comHook sur- pletely surprised the British post at Paulus Hook, in full view of prised.
1 The killed and wounded of the Americans amounted to 98. The killed of the garrison were 63, and the prisoners 543. Two flags, 2 standards, 15 pieces of ordnance, and a considerable quantity of military stores, fell into the hands of the conquerors. Lieutenant Gibbons lost 17 men out of 20 of the forlorn hope; and lieutenant Knox, nearly as many. Congress gave thanks to general Washington “ for the vigilance, wisdom, and magnanimity, with which he had conducted the military operations of the States," and which were particularly “ manifested in his orders for the above enterprise.” They also gave thanks to general Wayne; and ordered a medal, emblematical of the action, to be struck, and a medal of gold to be presented to him. They directed a silver medal to be presented to lieutenant colonel Fleury, and one also to major Stewart; and passed general resolutions in honour of the officers and men, particularly designating lieutenant colonel Fleury, major Stewart, lieutenants Gibbons and Knox. “The conduct of the Americans upon this occasion," says the British historian, Stedman, " was highly meritorious; for they would have been fully justified in putting the garrison to the sword: not one man of which was put to death but in fair combat."
the British garrison at New York, and brought off 159 prison
Colonel M‘Lean was sent from Halifax to establish a post at UnsuccessPenobscot, in the easternmost part of Massachusetts. Early in ful expedi
* tion against June this British officer, with 650 men from Nova Scotia, took a British possession of a defensible piece of ground at Penobscot, and post at Pecommenced fortifications. Massachusetts, alarmed at this invasion of her territory, instantly equipped a fleet, and raised an army, to dislodge the invaders. General Lovell was to command the militia, with a small number of state regulars, destined for the service; and captain Sallonstall, who commanded the Warren continental frigate, was to act as commodore to the whole fleet, consisting of nearly 20 sail, including armed state vessels and privateers, beside 24 transports. On the 25th of July, the armament appeared off Penobscot. General Lovell, though repulsed in his first attempt, at length effected a landing on the western part of the peninsula. Having ascended a precipice not less than 200 feet in height, a part of which was nearly perpendicular, he, with the loss of 50 men only killed and wounded, drove from the ground the party which defended it. Perceiving the difficulty of carrying the place either by storm, or by a siege, the general represented his situation to the government of Massachusetts, which applied to general Gates, then commanding at Providence, and obtained a re-enforcement. In the mean time, an ineffectual cannonade was kept up, and preparations were made to storm the works, as soon as the re-enforcement should arrive; but Lovell, receiving information on the 13th of August, that Sir George Collier had entered the river with a superior force, immediately re-embarked his whole army. A general flight took place on the one side, and a general chase on the other. Two of the American armed ships endeavoured to get to sea by passing round Long Island, which lies in the middle of Penobscot Bay; but they were intercepted, and the one was taken, the other run ashore and blown up by the crew. The rest of the fleet, with the transports, fled in confusion to the head of the bay, and entered the mouth of Penobscot river, where they were taken or destroyed by the enemy. The soldiers and sailors, exploring their way through an immense and trackless desert, returned home.
Congress, though its measures toward the Indians were con
1 Paulus Hook is on the west side of the Hudson, immediately opposite to the city of New York. About 30 of the British were killed. The loss of the Americans was only 2 killed and 3 wounded. Congress gave thanks to major Lee, and ordered a medal of gold, emblematical of the affair, to be struck, and presented to him as a reward *for his prudence, address, and bravery."
2 The number of armed vessels, taken or destroyed, was 19; the number of transports burnt, 24. Stedman.
1779. ciliatory, could not secure the western frontiers. The Six
Nations had been advised by that body, and had promised to Expedition observe a neutrality in the war; but, excepting the Oneidas and against the Six Nations.
the a few others, who were friendly to the Americans, those Indians
took a decided part against them. The presents and promises of Sir John Johnson and other British agents, with the desire of plunder, induced them to invade the frontiers; and wherever they went, they carried - slaughter and devastation. An expedition was therefore ordered against them, and general Sullivan, to whom the conduct of it was intrusted, marched into their country.
The Indians, on hearing of the projected expedition, collected
their strength, took possession of proper ground, and fortified it Aug. 29.
te with judgment. General Sullivan attacked them in their works, tacked, and and they sustained a cannonade more than two hours; but they try destroy
no. then gave way, and, after their trenches were forced, they fled
with precipitation. The victorious army, penetrating into the heart of their country, laid it desolate. Their villages, their detached habitations, their corn fields, their fruit trees, and gar
dens, were indiscriminately destroyed. Expeditions Other expeditions, beside this decisive one, were conducted Onondago inst the against the Indians in the course of the year. a
In April, colonel settlements; Van Schaick with 55 men marched from Fort Schuyler, and
burned the whole Onondago settlements, consisting of about 50 houses, with a large quantity of provisions, killed 12 Indians, and made 34 prisoners, without the loss of a single man. In August,
general Williamson and colonel Pickens, of South Carolina, the South- entered the Indian country adjacent to the frontier of their state; ern Indians; burned and destroyed the corn of eight towns; and required the
Indians to remove into more remote settlements. In the same
month, colonel Broadhead made a successful expedition against the Min- the Mingo, Munsey, and Seneca Indians. Leaving Pittsburg goes, Mun- with 605 men, he in about five weeks penetrated about 200 seys, and, Senecas,' miles from the fort, destroyed a number of Indian huts, and
about 500 acres of corn. Indian in. Detached parties of Indians distressed different portions of the cursions.
United States. In July, a party of 60 Indians and 27 white men under Brandt, attacked the Minisink settlement, in the state of New York, and burned 10 houses, 12 barns, a fort, and two mills, and carried off much plunder, with several prisoners.
1 In 1822, the citizens of Orange county collected the bones of the gallant band who were cut off by the Indians at Minisink on the 22d of July, 1779, and which had been exposed to the suns and the snows for 43 years. The remains of 44 persons, slain on the occasion, were collected, and publicly in. terred. The line of procession was preceded by the cadets from West Point, and extended a mile in length. Major Poppino, who bore a conspicuous part in that battle, now 96 years old, walked with the procession, and was one of the pall bearers. New York Spectator, 2 August, 1822.