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Greene, who had heard of the landing of the enemy at Throg's Neck, wrote over to Washington, from Fort Constitution, informing him that he had three brigades ready to join him if required. "If the troops are wanted over your side," said he, "or likely to be so, they should be got over in the latter part of the night, as the shipping may move up from below, and impede, if not totally stop the troops from passing." "The tents upon Staten Island," he added, "had all been struck, as far as could be ascertained." It was plain the whole scene of action was changing.

the Sound. It was separated from the mainland by a narrow creek and a marsh, and was surrounded by water every high tide. A bridge across a creek connecting with a ruined causeway across the marsh, led to the mainland, and the upper end of the creek was fordable at low water. Early in the morning, eighty or ninety boats full of men had stood up the Sound from Montresor's Island, and Long Island, and had landed troops to the number of four thousand on Throg's Point, the extremity of the neck. Thence their advance pushed forward toward the causeway and bridge to secure that pass to the mainland. General Heath had been too rapid for them. Colonel Hand and his Philadelphia riflemen, the same who had checked the British advance on Long Island, had taken up the planks of the bridge, and posted themselves opposite the end of the causeway, whence they commenced firing with their rifles. They were soon reinforced by Colonel Prescott, of Bunker's Hill renown, with his regiment, and Lieutenant Bryant of the artillery, with a threepounder. Checked at this pass, the British moved toward the head of the creek; here they found the Americans in possession of the ford, where they were reinforced by Colonel Graham, of the New York line, with his regiment, and Lieutenant Jackson of the artillery, with a six-mand. pounder. These skilful dispositions of his Lee was evidently elevated by his successes troops by General Heath had brought the ene- at the South, and disposed to criticize disparagmy to a stand. By the time Washington ar-ingly the military operations of other comrived in the vicinity, the British had encamped on the neck; the riflemen and yagers keeping up a scattering fire at each other across the marsh; and Captain Bryant now and then saluting the enemy with his field-piece.

On the 14th, General Lee arrived in camp, where he was welcomed as the harbinger of good luck. Washington was absent, visiting the posts beyond King's Bridge, and the passes leading from Throg's Neck; Lee immediately rode forth to join him. No one gave him a sincerer greeting than the commander-in-chief; who, diffident of his own military knowledge, had a high opinion of that of Lee. He immediately gave him command of the troops above King's Bridge, now the greatest part of the army, but desired that he would not exercise it for a day or two, until he had time to acquaint himself with the localities and arrangements of the post; Heath, in the interim, held the com

manders. In a letter, written on the day of his arrival to his old associate in arms, General Gates, he condemns the position of the army, and censures Washington for subinitting to the dictation of Congress, whose meddlesome inHaving surveyed the ground, Washington structions had produced it. "Inter nos," writes ordered works to be thrown up at the passes he, "the Congress seem to stumble every step. from the neck to the mainland. The British I do not mean one or two of the cattle, but also threw up a work at the end of the cause- the whole stable. I have been very free in deway. In the afternoon nine ships, with a great livering my opinion to them. In my opinion number of schooners, sloops, and flat-bottomed General Washington is much to blame in not boats fall of men, passed through Hell Gate menacing 'em with resignation unless they retoward Throg's Point; and information re-frain from unhinging the army by their absurd ceived from two deserters, gave Washington interference. reason to believe that the greater part of the enemy's forces were gathering in that quarter. General McDougall's brigade, in which were Colonel Smallwood and the independent companies, was sent in the evening to strengthen Heath's division at King's Bridge, and to throw up works opposite the ford of Harlem River.

Am. Archives, 5th Series, ii. 1038.

"Keep us Ticonderoga; much depends upon it. We ought to have an army in the Delaware. I have roared it in the ears of Congress, but carent auribus. Adieu, my dear friend; if we do meet again-why, we shall smile." *

In the mean time, Congress, on the 11th of October, having heard of the ingress of the

* Am. Archives, 5th Series, ii. 1038.



Phoenix, Roebuck, and Tartar, passed a resolution that General Washington be desired, if it be practicable, by every art, and at whatever expense, to obstruct effectually the navigation of the North River between Fort Washington and Mount Constitution, as well to prevent the regress of the enemy's vessels lately gone up as to hinder them from receiving succors. Under so many conflicting circumstances, Washington held a council of war on the 16th, at Lee's head-quarters, at which all the majorgenerals were present excepting Greene, and all the brigadiers, as well as Colonel Knox, who commanded the artillery. Letters from the Convention and from individual members of it were read, concerning the turbulence of the disaffected in the upper parts of the State; intelligence gained from deserters was likewise stated, showing the intention of the enemy to surround the camp. The policy was then discussed of remaining in their present position on Manhattan Island, and awaiting there the menaced attack: the strength of the position was urged; its being well fortified, and extremely difficult of access. Lee, in reply, scoffed at the idea of a position being good merely because its approaches were difficult. How could they think of holding a position where the eneiny were so strong in front and rear; where ships had the command of the water on each side, and where King's Bridge was their only pass by which to escape from being wholly enclosed? Had not their recent experience on Long Island and at New York taught them the danger of such positions? "For my part," said he, "I would have nothing to do with the islands to which you have been clinging so pertinaciously-I would give Mr. Howe a fee-simple of them."

"After much consideration and debate," says the record of the council, "the following question was stated: Whether (it having appeared that the obstructions in the North River have proved insufficient, and that the enemy's whole force is now in our rear on Frog Point) it is now deemed impossible, in our situation, to prevent the enemy from cutting off the communication with the country, and compelling us to fight them at all disadvantages, or surrender prisoners at discretion?"

All agreed, with but one dissenting voice, that it was not possible to prevent the communication from being cut off, and that one of the consequences mentioned in the question must follow.


The dissenting voice was that of General George Clinton, a brave, downright man, but little versed in the science of warfare. He could not comprehend the policy of abandoning so strong a position; they were equal in number to the enemy, and, as they must fight them somewhere, could do it to more advantage there than anywhere else. Clinton felt as a guardian of the Hudson and the upper country, and wished to meet the enemy, as it were, at the very threshold.

As the resolve of Congress seemed imperative with regard to Fort Washington, that post, it was agreed, should be "retained as long as possible."

A strong garrison was accordingly placed in it, composed chiefly of troops from Magaw's and Shee's Pennsylvania regiments, the latter under Lieutenant-Colonel Lambert Cadwalader, of Philadelphia. Shee having obtained leave of absence, Colonel Magaw was put in command of the post, and solemnly charged by Washington to defend it to the last extremity. The name of the opposite post on the Jersey shore, where Greene was stationed, was changed from Fort Constitution to Fort Lee, in honor of the general. Lee, in fact, was the military idol of the day. Even the family of the commanderin-chief joined in paying him homage. Colonel Tench Tilghman, Washington's aide-de-camp, in a letter to a friend, writes: "You ask if General Lee is in health, and our people bold. I answer both in the affirmative. His appearance amongst us has contributed not a little to the latter."



PREVIOUS to decamping from Manhattan Island, Washington formed four divisions of the army, which were respectively assigned to Generals Lee, Heath, Sullivan (recently obtained in exchange for General Prescott), and Lincoln. Lee was stationed on Valentine's Hill, on the mainland, immediately opposite King's Bridge, to cover the transportation across it of the military stores and heavy baggage. The other divisions were to form a chain of fortified posts, extending about thirteen miles along a ridge of hills on the west side of the Bronx, from Lee's camp up to the village of White Plains.

Washington's head-quarters continued to be



on Harlem Heights for several days, during | Sound. At the latter place was posted Colonel which time he was continually in the saddle, Rogers, the renegade, as he was called, with riding about a broken, woody, and half-wild the Queen's Rangers, his newly-raised corps of country, forming posts, and choosing sites for loyalists. breast works and redoubts. By his skilful disposition of the army, it was protected in its whole length by the Bronx, a narrow but deep stream, fringed with trees, which ran along the foot of the ridge; at the same time his troops faced and outflanked the enemy, and covered the roads along which stores and baggage had to be transported. On the 21st, he shifted his head-quarters to Valentine's Hill, and on the 23d to White Plains, where he stationed himself in a fortified camp.

While he was thus incessantly in action, General, now Sir William Howe (having recently, in reward for his services, been made a knight companion of the Bath), remained for six days passive in his camp on Throg's Point, awaiting the arrival of supplies and reinforcements, instead of pushing across to the Hudson, and throwing himself between Washington's army and the upper country. His inaction lost him a golden opportunity. By the time his supplies arrived, the Americans had broken up the causeway leading to the mainland, and taken positions too strong to be easily forced.

Finding himself headed in this direction, Sir William re-embarked part of his troops in flatboats on the 18th, crossed Eastchester Bay, and landed on Pell's Point, at the mouth of Hutchinson's River. Here he was joined in a few hours by the main body, with the baggage and artillery, and proceeded through the manor of Pelham towards New Rochelle; still with a view to get above Washington's army.

In their march, the British were waylaid and harassed by Colonel Glover of Massachusetts, with his own, Reed's, and Shepard's regiments of infantry. Twice the British advance guards were thrown into confusion, and driven back with severe loss, by a sharp fire from behind stone fences. A third time they advanced in solid columns. The Americans gave them repeated volleys, and then retreated with the loss of eight killed and thirteen wounded, among whom was Colonel Shepard. Colonel Glover, and the officers and soldiers who were with him in this skirmish, received the public thanks of Washington for their merit and good behavior.

On the 21st, General Howe was encamped about two miles north of New Rochelle, with his outposts extending to Mamaroneck on the

Hearing of this, Lord Stirling resolved, if possible, to cut off this outpost and entrap the old hunter. Colonel Haslet, of his brigade, always prompt on such occasions, undertook the exploit at the head of seven hundred and fifty Delaware troops, who had fought so bravely on Long Island. With these he crossed the line of the British march; came undiscovered upon the post; drove in the guard; killed a lieutenant and several men, and brought away thirty-six prisoners, with a pair of colors, sixty stands of arms, and other spoils. He missed the main prize, however: Rogers skulked off in the dark at the first fire. He was too old a partisan to be easily entrapped.

For this exploit, Colonel Haslet and his men were publicly thanked by Lord Stirling, on parade.

These, and other spirited and successful skirmishes, while they retarded the advance of the enemy, had the far more important effect of exercising and animating the American troops, and accustoming them to danger.

While in this neighborhood, Howe was reinforced by a second division of Hessians under General Knyphausen, and a regiment of Waldeckers, both of which had recently arrived in New York. He was joined, also, by the whole of the seventeenth light-dragoons, and a part of the sixteenth, which had arrived on the 3d instant from Ireland, with Lieutenant-Colonel (afterward Earl) Harcourt. Some of their horses had been brought with them across the sea, others had been procured since their arrival.

The Americans at first regarded these troopers with great dread. Washington, therefore, took pains to convince them, that in a rough, broken country, like the present, full of stone fences, no troops were so inefficient as cavalry. They could be waylaid and picked off by sharpshooters from behind walls and thickets, while. they could not leave the road to pursue their covert foe.

Further to inspirit them against this new enemy, he proclaimed, in general orders, a reward of one hundred dollars for every trooper brought in with his horse and accoutrements, and so on, in proportion to the completeness of the capture.

On the 25th, about two o'clock in the after



noon, intelligence was brought to head-quarters that three or four detachments of the enemy were on the march, within four miles of the camp, and the main army following in columns. The drums beat to arms; the men were ordered to their posts; an attack was expected. The day passed away, however, without any demonstration of the enemy. Howe detached none of his force on lateral expeditions, evidently meditating a general engagement. To prepare for it, Washington drew all his troops from the posts along the Bronx into the fortified camp at White Plains. Here every thing remained quiet but expectant, throughout the 26th. In the morning of the 27th, which was Sunday, the heavy booming of cannon was heard from a distance, seemingly in the direction of Fort Washington. Scouts galloped off to gain intelligence. We will anticipate their report.

Two of the British frigates, at seven o'clock in the morning, had moved up the Hudson, and come to anchor near Bourdett's Ferry, below the Morris House, Washington's old head-quarters, apparently with the intention of stopping the ferry, and cutting off the communication between Fort Lee and Fort Washington. At the same time, troops made their appearance on Harlem Plains, where Lord Percy held command. Colonel Morgan immediately manned the lines with troops from the garrison of Fort Washington. The ships opened a fire to enfilade and dislodge them. A barbette battery on the cliffs of the Jersey shore, to the left of the ferry, fired down upon the frigates, but with little effect. Colonel Magaw got down an eighteen-pounder to the lines near the Morris House, and fired fifty or sixty rounds, two balls at a time. Two eighteen-pounders were likewise brought down from Fort Lee, and planted opposite the ships. By the fire from both shores they were hulled repeatedly.

It was the thundering of these cannonades which had reached Washington's camp at White Plains, and even startled the Highlands of the Hudson. The ships soon hoisted all sail. The foremost slipped her cable, and appeared to be in the greatest confusion. She could make no way, though towed by two boats. The other ship seeing her distress, sent two barges to her assistance, and by the four boats she was dragged out of reach of the American fire, her pumps going all the time. "Had the tide been flood one half hour longer," writes General Greene, "" we should have sunk her."


At the time that the fire from the ships began, Lord Percy brought up his field-pieces and mortars, and made an attack upon the lines. He was resolutely answered by the troops sent down from Fort Washington, and several Hessians were killed. An occasional firing was kept up until evening, when the ships fell down the river, and the troops which had advanced on Harlem Plains drew within their lines again.

"We take this day's movement to be only a feint," writes one of the garrison at Fort Lee; "at any rate, it is little honorable to the red coats." Its chief effect was to startle the distant camp, and astound a quiet country with the thundering din of war.

The celebrated Thomas Paine, author of "The Rights of Man," and other political works, was a spectator of the affair from the rocky summit of the Palisades, on the Jersey shore.

While these things were passing at Fort Washington, Lee had struck his tents, and with the rear division, eight thousand strong, the baggage and artillery, and a train of waggons four miles long, laden with stores and ammunition, was lumbering along the rough country roads to join the main army. It was not until Monday morning, after being on the road all night, that he arrived at White Plains.

Washington's camp was situated on high ground, facing the east. The right wing stretched towards the south along a rocky hill, at the foot of which the Bronx, making an elbow, protected it in flank and rear. The left wing rested on a small deep lake among the hills. The camp was strongly intrenched in front.

About a quarter of a mile to the right of the camp, and separated from the height on which it stood by the Bronx and a marshy interval, was a corresponding height called Chatterton's Hill. As this partly commanded the right flank, and as the intervening bend of the Bronx was easily passable, Washington had stationed on its summit a militia regiment.

The whole encampment was a temporary one, to be changed as soon as the military stores collected there could be removed; and now that General Lee was arrived, Washington rode out with him and other general officers who were off duty, to reconnoitre a height which appeared more eligible. When arrived at it, Lee pointed to another on the north, still more commanding. "Yonder," said he, "is


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the ground we ought to occupy.' "Let us go, then, and view it," replied Washington. They were gently riding in that direction, when a trooper came spurring up his panting horse. "The British are in the camp, sir!" cried he. "Then, gentlemen," said Washington, "we have other business to attend to than reconnoitring." Putting spurs to his horse, he set off for the camp at full gallop, the others spurring after him.


with a large force, British and Hessian, should advance directly in front, throw a bridge across the stream, and charge up the hill.

A furious cannonade was now opened by the British from fifteen or twenty pieces of artillery, placed on high ground opposite the hill; under cover of which the troops of Gencral Leslie hastened to construct the bridge. In so doing, they were severely galled by two field-pieces, planted on a ledge of rock on Chatterton's Hill, and in charge of Alexander Hamilton, the youthful captain of artillery. Smallwood's Maryland battalion, also, kept up a sharp fire of small arms.

Arrived at head-quarters, he was informed by Adjutant-General Reed, that the picket guards had all been driven in, and the enemy were advancing: but that the whole American army was posted in order of battle. "Gentlemen," said Washington, turning calmly to his companions, "you will return to your respec-it, formed, and charged up the hill to take tive posts, and do the best you can."

Apprehensive that the enemy might attempt to get possession of Chatterton's Hill, he detached Colonel Haslet with his Delaware regiment, to reinforce the militia posted there. To these he soon added General McDougall's brigade, composed of Smallwood's Marylanders, Ritzema's New Yorkers, and two other regiments. These were much reduced by sickness and absence. General McDougall had command of the whole force upon the hill, which did not exceed 1,600 men.

These dispositions were scarcely made, when the enemy appeared glistening on the high grounds beyond the village of White Plains. They advanced in two columns, the right commanded by Sir Henry Clinton, the left by the Hessian general, De Heister. There was also a troop of horse; so formidable in the inexperienced eyes of the Americans. "It was a brilliant but formidable sight," writes Heath in his Memoirs. "The sun shone bright, their arms glittered; and perhaps troops never were shown to more advantage."

For a time they halted in a wheat field, behind a rising ground, and the general officers rode up in the centre to hold a consultation. Washington supposed they were preparing to attack him in front, and such indeed was their intention; but the commanding height of Chatterton's Hill had caught Sir William's eye, and he determined first to get possession of it.

As soon as the bridge was finished, the British and Hessians under Leslie rushed over

Hamilton's two field-pieces. Three times the two field-pieces were discharged, ploughing the ascending columns from hill-top to river; while Smallwood's "blue and buff" Maryland-. ers kept up their volleys of musketry.

In the mean time, Rahl and his Hessian brigade forded the Bronx lower down, pushed up the south side of the hill, and endeavored to turn McDougall's right flank. The militia gave the general but little support. They had been dismayed at the opening of the engagement by a shot from a British cannon, which wounded one of them in the thigh, and nearly put the whole to flight. It was with the utmost difficulty McDougall had rallied them, and posted them behind a stone wall. Here they did some service, until a troop of British cavalry, having gained the crest of the hill, came on, brandishing their sabres. At their first charge the militia gave a random, scattering fire, then broke, and filed in complete confusion.

A brave stand was made on the summit of. the hill by Haslet, Ritzema, and Smallwood, with their troops. Twice they repulsed horse and foot, British and Hessians, until, cramped for room and greatly outnumbered, they slowly and sullenly retreated down the north side of the hill, where there was a bridge across the Bronx. Smallwood remained upon the ground for some time after the retreat had begun, and received two flesh wounds, one in the hip, the other through the arm. At the bridge over the Bronx, the retreating troops were met by General Putnam, who was coming to their

Colonel Rahl was accordingly detached with a brigade of Hessians, to make a circuit south-assistance with Beall's brigade. In the rear of wardly round a piece of wood, cross the Bronx this they marched back into the camp.

about a quarter of a mile below, and ascend the south side of the hill; while General Leslie,

The loss on both sides, in this short but severe action, was nearly equal. That of the

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