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FORT MIFFLIN REDUCED.

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their guns to bear on Fort Mercer; while two made their way into the narrow channel between Mud Island and the Pennsylvania shore, to operate with the British batteries erected there.

At a concerted signal a cannonade was opened from all quarters. The heroic little garrison stood the fire without Ainching; the danger, however, was growing imminent. The batteries on Province Island enfiladed the works. The ships in the inner channel approached so near as to throw hand-grenades into the fort, while marines stationed in the round-tops stood ready to pick off any of the garrison that came in sight.

The scene now became awful; incessant firing from ships, forts, gondolas, and floating batteries, with clouds of sulphurous smoke, and the deafening thunder of cannon. Before night there was hardly a fortification to defend ; palisades were shivered, guns dismounted, the whole parapet leveled. There was terrible slaughter; most of the company of artillery were destroyed. Fleury himself was wounded. Captain Talbot received a wound in the wrist, but continued bravely fighting until disabled by another wound in the hip.” 1

To hold out longer was impossible. Major Thayer made preparations to evacuate the fort in the night. Everything was removed in the evening, that could be conveyed away without too much exposure to the murderous fire from the round-tops. The wounded were taken over 10 Red Bank, accompanied by part of the garrison. Thayer remained with forty men until eleven

1 Life of Talbot, by Henry T. Tuckerman, p. 31.

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all possible dispatch, which he promised to do. The colonel had expected to find matters in such a train, that he would have little to do but hurry on ample reinforcements already on the march; whereas, he found that a large part of the Northern army was to remain in and about Albany, about four thousand men to be spared to the commander-in-chief; the rest were to be stationed on the east side of the Hudson with Putnam, who had held a council of war how to dispose of them. The old general, in fact, had for some time past been haunted by a project of an attack upon New York, in which he had twice been thwarted, and for which the time seemed propitious, now that most of the British troops were reported to have gone from New York to reinforce General Howe. Hamilton rather disconcerted his project by directing him, in Washington's name, to hurry forward two continental brigades to the latter, together with Warner's militia brigade; also to order to Red Bank a body of Jersey militia about to cross to Peekskill.

Having given these directions, Hamilton hastened on to Albany. He found still less disposition on the part of Gates to furnish the troops required. There was no certainty, he said, that Sir Henry Clinton had gone to join General Howe There was a possibility of his returning up the river, which would expose the arsenal at Albany to destruction, should that city be left bare of troops. The New England States, too, would be left open to the ravages and depredations of the enemy; beside, it would put it out of his power

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