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1781. up before the house; but the Americans were compelled to
leave these pieces and retire. They formed again at a small distance in the woods; but general Greene, thinking it inexpedient to renew the desperate attempt, left a strong picket on the field of battle, and retired with his prisoners to the ground from which he had marched in the morning. In the evening of the next day, lieutenant colonel Stewart, leaving 70 of his wounded
men and 1000 stand of arms, moved from Eutaw toward CharlesLoss in the town. The loss of the British, inclusive of prisoners, was sup
posed to be not less than 1100 men. The loss of the Americans, in killed, wounded, and missing, was 555.
Congress passed a vote of thanks to every corps in the army; and a resolution for presenting to major general Greene, " as an honourable testimony of his merit, a British standard, and a golden medal, emblematic of the battle, and of his victory."
The battle of Eutaw may be considered as closing the revo
lutionary war in South Carolina. Operations Virginia was destined to be a theatre of still more decisive in Virginia. operations. Lord Cornwallis reached Petersburg, without much
opposition, on the 20th of May; and, forming a junction with major general Phillips, was now at the head of a very powerful army. The defensive operations, in opposition to this hostile force, were principally entrusted to the marquis de la Fayette.? The marquis advanced to Richmond ; but such was the superiority of numbers on the side of the British, that he retired with his little army, which consisted of about 1000 regulars, 2000 militia, and 60 dragoons. Lord Cornwallis advanced from Petersburg to James river, which he crossed at Westown; and, marching through Hanover county, crossed the Pamunkey river. The young marquis followed his motions, but at a guarded distance; and his judgment in the selection of posts, with the vigour of his movements, would have reflected honour on a 1781. veteran commander. In the course of these marches and countermarches, immense quantities of property were destroyed by the British troops, and several unimportant skirmishes took place. Earl Cornwallis, who had marched with his army to Portsmouth, was at length instructed by an express from Sir Henry Clinton to secure Old Point Comfort or Hampton road, as a station for line of battle ships; and was allowed to detain any part or the whole of the forces under his command for completing that service. A strong and permanent place of arms in the Chesapeak, for the security of both the army and navy, being a principal object of the campaign, and Portsmouth and Hampton road having been pronounced unfit for that purpose; Portsmouth was evacuated, and the British troops, amounting to 7000 men, were transferred to Yorktown. Lord Cornwallis assiduously applied himself to fortify his new posts. While the officers of the British navy were expecting to be joined by their feet in the West Indies, preparatory to vigorous operations in Virginia, count de Grasse with a French fleet of 28 sail of the line entered the Chesapeak; and, having blocked up York river with three large ships and some frigates, moored the principal part of his fleet in Lynnhaven Bay. From this fleet 3200 French troops, commanded by the marquis de St. Simon, were disembarked, and soon after formed a junction with the continental troops under the marquis de la Fayette ; and the whole combined army took post at Williamsburg. Admiral Graves with 20 sail of the line attempted the relief of lord Cornwallis ; but, when he appeared off the capes of Virginia, M. de Grasse went
1 It was stated by themselves to be 693 men; of whom 85 only were killed in the field. General Greene, in his letter to congress of 11 September, says, that, including 70 wounded who were left at Eutaw, he had made 500 prisoners. “ The fugitives," he observes, “spread such an alarm, that the enemy burnt their provisions at Dorchester, and quitted their post at Fairlawn. Nothing but the brick house, and their strong post at Eutaw's, hindered the remains of the British army from falling into our hands." General Greene testitified high respect for the memory of lieutenant colonel Campbell. Colonel Henderson, a valuable officer, received a dangerous wound during the action, and the command of the South Carolina state troops devolved on colonel Wade Hampton, an officer of distinguished merit, who made a very spirited charge, in which he took upwards of 100 prisoners. In this confusion, colonel Washington brought up the corps de reserve, and charged the enemy so briskly on the left, as to give them no time to rally; and upwards of 500 were taken prisoners. Colonel Washington was wounded; and, while disengaging himself from his horse, which was shot under him, he was taken prisoner.
2 The marquis had been detached early in the year from the main army to Virginia, to cooperate with the French fleet in attempting the capture of Arnold.
en Sept. 5. out to meet him, and an indecisive engagement took place. Naval enWhile the two admirals were manœuvring near the mouth of the gagement. Chesapeak, count de Barras with a French fleet of eight line of battle ships from Rhode Island passed the British fleet in the night, and got within the capes of Virginia ; and by this combination the French had a decided superiority. Admiral Graves soon took his departure; and M. de Grasse re-entered the Chesapeak.
In the mean time the combined forces of France and America, Plan of the by an effectual but unsuspected plan of operations, were tend- campaign. ing, as to a central point, to Virginia. As early as the month of May, a plan of the whole campaign had been fixed on by general Washington in consultation with generals Knox and Du Portrail on the part of the Americans, and count de Rochambeau and the chevalier Chastellus on the part of the French, in an interview at Wethersfield. The project was, to lay siege to New York in concert with a French fleet, which was to arrive on the coast in
1781. the month of Augast. In prosecution of this plan, the northern
states were called on to fill up their battalions, and to have their quotas of militia in readiness, on a week's notice. The French troops marched from Rhode Island, and joined the American army early in July. About the same time, general Washington marched his army from its winter encampment, near Peek's Kill, to the vicinity of King's Bridge; general Lincoln fell down North river, and took possession of the ground where Fort Independence formerly stood ; and the British with almost the whole of their force retired to York Island. General Washington was diligent in preparing to commence operations against New York. Flat bottomed boats, sufficient to transport 5000 men, were built near Albany, and brought down Hudson's river to the neighbourhood of the American army; ovens were built opposite to Staten Island for the use of the French troops; and every movement
was made for the commencement of a siege. About the middle Plan changed. of August, general Washington was induced to make a total
change of the plan of the campaign. The tardiness of the states in Glling up their battalions and embodying their militia ; the peculiar situation of lord Cornwallis in Virginia ; the arrival of a re-enforcement of 3000 Germans from Europe to New York; the strength of the garrison in that city; and especially intelligence from count de Grasse, that his destination was fixed to the Chesapeak, determined the general to direct the operations of the combined arms against lord Cornwallis. Having resolved to lead the expedition in person, he committed the defence of the posts on Hudson's river to major general Heath, and proceeded on the grand enterprise. While, with consummate address, be kept up the appearance of an intention to attack New York; the allied army, amounting collectively to 12,000 men, crossed the North river, and passed on by the way of Philadelphia to Yorktown. General Washington and count Rochambeau reached Williamsburg on the 14th of September; and with generals Chastellux, Du Portrail, and Knox, visited count de Grasse on board his ship, and agreed on a plan of operations.
Yorktown is a small village on the south side of York river, whose southern banks are high, and in whose waters a ship of the line may ride with safety. Gloucester Point is a piece of land on the opposite shore, projecting deeply into the river. Both these posts were occupied by lord Cornwallis; and a communication between them was commanded by his batteries, and by some ships of war. The main body of his army was en.. camped on the open grounds about Yorktown, within a range of puter redoubts and field works; and lieutenant colonel Tarleton with a detachment of 600 or 700 men held the post at Gloucester Point. The legion of the duke de Lauzun, and a brigade of
militia under general Weedon, the whole commanded by the 1781. French general De Choisé, were directed to watch and restrain the enemy on the side of Gloucester; and the grand combined army, on the 30th of September, noved down to the investiture of Yorktown. In the evening, the troops halted about two miles from York, and lay all night on their arms. Causeways having been constructed in the night over a morass in front of the British works, the continental infantry marched the next morning in columns to the right of the combined forces. A few cannon Sept. 28. shot were fired from the British work on the Hampton road ; Skirmishes. and some riflemen skirmished with the pickets of the Anspach battalions on the left. The two armies cautiously observed each other ; but nothing material occurred until evening, when an express boat arrived at Yorktown with a letter from Sir Henry Clinton to earl Cornwallis, giving him assurance, that joint exertions of the army and navy would be made for his relief. To this letter is attributed an order for the British troops to quit the outward and retire to the inner position ; in compliance with which, that movement was effected before daybreak. The next morning, colonel Scammell with a reconnoitring party, falling in 30.
and Col. Scamwith a detachment of picked dragoons, was driven back, and in attempting a retreat was mortally wounded, and taken prisoner. He was an officer of great merit, and his death was deeply lamented. In the course of the forenoon, the allies took pos
o invested. session of the ground that had been abandoned by the British.
On the 9th and 10th of October, the French and Americans B opened their batteries. On the night of the 11th, the second opened. parallel was opened within 300 yards of the British lines. The besiegers being annoyed in their trenches by two redoubts that were advanced in front of the British works, it was proposed to carry them by storm. The reduction of one redoubt was committed to the French ; of the other, to the Americans. The marquis de la Fayette commanded the American detachment of light infantry, against the redoubt on the extreme left of the British works; and the baron de Viominel led the French grenadiers and chasseurs against the other, which was farther toward the British right, and nearer the French lines. On the evening of the 14th, Two British the two detachments moved firmly to the assault. Colonel redoubts Hamilton led the advanced corps of the Americans; and colonel take Laurens, at the head of 80 men, turned the redoubt, in order to take the garrison in reverse, and intercept their retreat. The troops rushed to the assault with unloaded arms, and in a few minutes carried the redoubt with inconsiderable loss. The
1 One sergeant and 8 privates were killed ; and 1 lieutenant colonel, 4 captains, 1 subaltern, 1 sergeant, and 25 rank and file, wounded. There was no
1781. French were also successful. The redoubt assigned to them
was soon carried, but with less rapidity and greater loss. These two redoubts were included the same night in the second parallel,
and facilitated the subsequent operations of the besiegers. A sortie. On the 16th, a sortie was made froin the garrison by a party
of 350, commanded by lieutenant colonel Abercrombie, who forced two batteries, and spiked eleven pieces of cannon; but the guards from the trenches immediately advancing on them, they retreated, and the pieces which they had hastily spiked, were soon rendered fit for service. In the afternoon of the same day, the besiegers opened several batteries in their second parallel; and in the whole line of batteries nearly 100 pieces of heavy ordnance were now mounted. The works of the besieged were so universally in ruins, as to be in no condition to sustain the fire which might be expected the next day. In this extremity, lord Cornwallis boldly resolved to attempt an escape by land with the greater part of his army. His plan was, to cross over in the night to Gloucester Point; cut to pieces or disperse the troops under De Choisé ; and, mounting his infantry on the horses belonging to that detachment, and on others to be seized on the road, to gain the fords of the great rivers; and, forcing his way through Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Jersey, to form a junction with the royal army at New York. In prosecution of this desperate design, one embarkation of his troops crossed over to the Point; but a violent storm of wind and rain dispersed the boats,
and frustrated the scheme. New batte- In the morning of the 17th, several new batteries were opened ened. in the second parallel ; and, in the judgment of lord Cornwallis,
as well as of his engineers, the place was no longer tenable. About ten in the forenoon, his lordship, in a letter to general Washington, requested that there might be a cessation of hostilities for 24 hours, and that commissioners might be appointed to digest terms of capitulation. The American general in his answer declared his “ ardent desire to spare the farther effusion of blood, and his readiness to listen to such terms as were admissible ;” and granted a suspension of hostilities for two hours.
The general propositions, stated by lord Cornwallis for the basis of the proposed negotiation, being such as to lead to an opinion that the terms of capitulation might without much difficulty be adjusted, the suspension of hostilities was prolonged through the night. Commissioners were appointed the next day to digest
retaliation of the recent carnage at Fort Griswold. The assailants killed not a man, except in action. “Incapable of imitating examples of barbarity, and forgetting recent provocation, the soldiery spared every man that ceased to
1 The loss, in killed and wounded, was nearly 100 men.