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SEQUEL OF LADY HARRIET'S STORY.
they had come to co-operate. Nothing remained for them, therefore, but to drop down the river and return to New York.
The whole expedition, though it had effected much damage to the Americans, failed to be of essential service to the royal The fortresses in the Highlands could not be maintained, and had been evacuated and destroyed, and the plundering and burning of defenceless towns and villages, and especially the conflagration of Esopus, had given to the whole enterprise the character of a maraud, disgraceful in civilized warfare, and calculated only to inflame more deadly enmity and determined opposition.
The reader may desire to know the sequel of Lady Harriet Ackland's romantic story. Her husband recovered from his wounds, and they returned together to England. Major Ackland retained a grateful sense of the kind treatment they had experienced from the Americans. At a dinner party he had warm words with another British officer, who questioned the American character for courage. A duel ensued, in which the major was killed. The shock to Lady Harriet produced mental derangement. She recovered in the course of a couple of years, and ultimately was married to Mr. Brudenell, the worthy chaplain who had been her companion and protector in the time of her distress.
WASHINGTON ADVANCES TO SKIPPACK CREEK-THE BRITISH FLEET IN THE DELAWARE-FORTS AND OBSTRUCTIONS IN THE RIVER-WASHINGTON MEDITATES AN ATTACK ON THE BRITISH CAMP-BATTLE OF GERMANTOWN.
HAVING given the catastrophe of the British invasion from the North, we will revert to that part of the year's campaign which was passing under the immediate eye of Washington. We left him encamped at Pott's Grove towards the end of September, giving his troops a few days' repose after their severe fatigues. Being rejoined by Wayne and Smallwood with their brigades, and other troops being arrived from the Jerseys, his force amounted to about eight thousand Continentals and three thousand militia; with these he advanced, on the 30th of September, to Skippack Creek, about fourteen miles from Germantown, where the main body of the British army lay encamped; a detachment under Cornwallis occupying Philadelphia.
Immediately after the battle of Brandywine, Admiral Lord Howe with great exertions had succeeded in getting his ships of war and transports round from the Chesapeake into the Delaware, and had anchored them along the western shore from Reedy Island to Newcastle. They were prevented from approaching nearer by obstructions which the Americans had placed in the
river. The lowest of these were at Billingsport (or Bylling's Point), where chevaux-de-frise in the channel of the river were protected by a strong redoubt on the Jersey shore. Higher up were Fort Mifflin on Mud (or Fort) Island, and Fort Mercer on the Jersey shore; with chevaux-de-frise between them. Washington had exerted himself to throw a garrison into Fort Mifflin, and keep up the obstructions of the river. "If these can be maintained," said he, "General Howe's situation will not be the most agreeable; for if his supplies can be stopped by water, it may easily be done by land. To do both shall be my utmost endeavor; and I am not without hope that the acquisition of Philadelphia may, instead of his good fortune, prove his ruin.” *
Sir William Howe was perfectly aware of this, and had concerted operations with his brother by land and water, to reduce the forts and clear away the obstructions of the river. With this view he detached a part of his force into the Jerseys, to proceed, in the first instance, against the fortifications at Billingsport.
DESCRIPTION OF GERMANTOWN.
Washington had been for some days anxiously on the lookout for some opportunity to strike a blow of conscquence, when two intercepted letters gave him intelligence of this movement. He immediately determined to make an attack upon the British camp at Germantown, while weakened by the absence of this detachment. To understand the plan of the attack, some description of the British place of encampment is necessary.
Germantown, at that time, was little more than one continued street, extending two miles north and south. The houses were mostly of stone, low and substantial, with steep roofs and pro
Letter to the President of Cong. Sparks, v. 71.
tecting eaves. They stood apart from each other, with fruit trees in front and small gardens. Beyond the village, and about a hundred yards east of the road, stood a spacious stone edifice, with ornamented grounds, statues, groves and shrubbery, the country-seat of Benjamin Chew, chief justice of Pennsylvania previous to the Revolution: we shall have more to say concerning this mansion presently.
Four roads approached the village from above; that is, from the north. The Skippack, which was the main road, led over Chestnut Hil and Mount Airy down to and through the village toward Philadelphia, forming the street of which we have just spoken. On its right, and nearly parallel, was the Monatawny or Ridge road, passing near the Schuylkill, and entering the main road below the village.
On the left of the Skippack or main road, was the Limekiln road, running nearly parallel to it for a time, and then turning towards it, almost at right angles, so as to enter the village at the market-place. Still further to the left or east, and outside of all, was the Old York road, falling into the main road some distance below the village.
The main body of the British forces lay encamped across the lower part of the village, divided into almost equal parts by the main street or Skippack road. The right wing, commanded by General Grant, was to the east of the road, the left wing to the Each wing was covered by strong detachments, and guarded by cavalry. General Howe had his head-quarters in the rear. The advance of the army, composed of the 2d battalion of British light-infantry, with a train of artillery, was more than two miles from the main body, on the west of the road, with an outlying picket stationed with two six-pounders at Allen's house
on Mount Airy. About three quarters of a mile in the rear of the light-infantry, lay encamped in a field opposite "Chew's House," the 40th regiment of infantry, under Colonel Musgrave.
According to Washington's plan for the attack, Sullivan was to command the right wing, composed of his own division, principally Maryland troops, and the division of General Wayne. He was to be sustained by a corps de reserve, under Lord Stirling, composed of Nash's North Carolina and Maxwell's Virginia brigades, and to be flanked by the brigade of General Conway. He was to march down the Skippack road and attack the left wing; at the same time General Armstrong, with the Pennsylvania militia, was to pass down the Monatawny or Ridge road, and get upon the enemy's left and rear.
Greene with the left wing, composed of his own division and the division of General Stephen, and flanked by McDougall's brigade, was to march down the Limekiln road, so as to enter the village at the market-house. The two divisions were to attack the enemy's right wing in front, McDougall with his brigade to attack it in flank, while Smallwood's division of Maryland militia and Forman's Jersey brigade, making a circuit by the Old York road, were to attack it in the rear. Two thirds of the forces were thus directed against the enemy's right wing, under the idea that, if it could be forced, the whole army must be pushed into the Schuylkill, or compelled to surrender. The attack was to begin on all quarters at daybreak.*
PLAN OF ATTACK.
About dusk, on the 3d of October, the army left its encamp ment at Matuchen Hills, by its different routes. Washington accompanied the right wing. It had fifteen miles of weary march.
* Letter of Washington to the President of Congress. Letter of Sullivan to the President of New Hampshire.