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nothing but a headlong struggle forward. At Chester, however, twelve miles from the field of battle, there was a deep stream with a bridge, over which the fugitives would have to pass. Here Lafayette set a guard to prevent their further flight. The commander-in-chief, arriving soon after with Greene and his gallant division, some degree of order was restored, and the whole army took its post behind Chester for the night.

army be driven out of the first; and here he | ness, threw every thing into chaos; there was was overtaken by Colonel Pinckney, an aidede-camp of the commander-in-chief, ordering him to occupy this position and protect the retreat of the army. The orders were implicitly obeyed. Weedon's brigade was drawn up in a narrow defile, flanked on both sides by woods, and perfectly commanding the road; while Greene, with Muhlenberg's brigade, passing to the right took his station on the road. The British came on impetuously, expecting but faint opposition. They met with a desperate resistance and were repeatedly driven back. It was the bloody conflict of the bayonet; deadly on either side, and lasting for a considerable time. Weedon's brigade on the left maintained its stand also with great obstinacy, and the check given to the enemy by these two brigades, allowed time for the broken troops to retreat. Weedon's was at length compelled by superior numbers to seek the protection of the other brigade, which he did in good order, and Greene gradually drew off the whole division in face of the enemy, who, checked by this vigorous resistance, and seeing the day far spent, gave up all further pursuit.

The brave stand made by these brigades had, likewise, been a great protection to Wayne. He had for a long time withstood the attacks of the enemy at Chadd's Ford, until the approach on the right, of some of the enemy's troops who had been entangled in the woods, showed him that the right wing had been routed. He now gave up the defence of his post, and retreated by the Chester road. Knyphausen's troops were too fatigued to pursue him; and the others had been kept back, as we have shown, by Greene's division. So ended the varied conflict of the day.

Lafayette gives an animated picture of the general retreat, in which he became entangled. He had endeavored to rejoin Washington, but loss of blood compelled him to stop and have his wound bandaged. While thus engaged, he came near being captured. All around him was headlong terror and confusion. Chester road, the common retreat of the broken fragments of the army, from every quarter, was crowded with fugitives, with cannon, with baggage cars, all hurrying forward pell-mell, and obstructing each other; while the thundering of cannon, and volleying of musketry by the contending parties in the rear, added to the confusion and panic of the flight.

The scene of this battle, which decided the fate of Philadelphia, was within six and twenty miles of that city, and each discharge of cannon could be heard there. The two parties of the inhabitants, whig and tory, were to be seen in separate groups in the squares and public places, waiting the event in anxious silence. At length a courier arrived. His tidings spread consternation among the friends of liberty. Many left their homes, entire families abandoned every thing in terror and despair, and took refuge in the mountains. Congress, that same evening, determined to quit the city and repair to Lancaster, whence they subsequently removed to Yorktown. Before leaving Philadelphia, however, they summoned the militia of Pennsylvania, and the adjoining States, to join the main army without delay; and ordered down fifteen hundred Continental troops from Putnam's command on the Hudson. They also clothed Washington with power to suspend officers for misbehavior; to fill up all vacancies under the rank of brigadiers; to take all provisions, and other articles necessary for the use of the army, paying, or giving certificates for the same; and to remove, or secure for the benefit of the owners, all goods and effects which might otherwise fall into the hands of the enemy and be serviceable to them. These extraordinary powers were limited to the circumference of seventy miles round head-quarters, and were to continue in force sixty days, unless sooner revoked by Congress.

It may be as well here to notice in advance, the conduct of Congress toward some of the foreigners who had mingled in this battle. Count Pulaski, the Polish nobleman, heretofore mentioned, who acted with great spirit as a volunteer in the light-horse, riding up within pistol shot of the enemy to reconnoitre, was given a command of cavalry with the rank of brigadier-general. Captain Louis Fleury, also, who had acquitted himself with gallantry, and The dust, the uproar, and the growing dark- rendered essential aid in rallying the troops,





having had a horse killed under him, was pre- | passes of the Schuylkill, with orders to throw sented by Congress with another, as a testi- up works; the floating bridge on the lower monial of their sense of his merit. road was to be unmoored, and the boats collected and taken across the river.

Lafayette speaks, in his memoirs, of the brilliant manner in which General Conway, the chevalier of St. Louis, acquitted himself at the head of eight hundred men, in the encounter with the troops of Cornwallis near Birmingham meeting-house. The veteran Deborre was not equally fortunate in gaining distinction on this occasion. In the awkward change of position in the line when in front of the enemy, he had been the first to move, and without waiting for orders. The consequence was, his brigade fell into confusion, and was put to flight. He endeavored to rally it, and was wounded in the attempt; but his efforts were in vain. Congress ordered a court of inquiry on his conduct, whereupon he resigned his commission, and returned to France, complaining bitterly of his hard treatment. "It was not his fault," he said, "if American troops would run away."

Having taken these precautions against any hostile movement by the lower road, Washington recrossed the Schuylkill, on the 14th, and advanced along the Lancaster road, with the intention of turning the left flank of the enemy. Howe, apprised of his intention, made a similar disposition to outflank him. The two armies came in sight of each other near the Warren Tavern, twenty three miles from Philadelphia, and were on the point of engaging, but were prevented by a violent storm of rain which lasted for four and twenty hours.

This inclement weather was particularly distressing to the Americans; who were scantily clothed, most of them destitute of blankets, and separated from their tents and baggage. The rain penetrated their cartridge-boxes and the ill-fitted locks of their muskets, rendering the latter useless, being deficient in bayonets. In this plight, Washington gave up for the present all thought of attacking the enemy, as their discipline in the use of the bayonet, with which they were universally furnished, would give them a great superiority in action. headed politicians," writes one of his officers, "will no doubt censure this part of his conduct, while the more judicious will approve it, as not ouly expedient, but, in such a case, highly commendable. It was, without doubt, chagrining to a person of his fine feelings, to "Had the retreat before an enemy not more in number than himself; yet, with a true greatness of spirit, he sacrificed them to the good of his.

"The hot

CHAPTER XIX. NOTWITHSTANDING the rout and precipitate retreat of the American army, Sir William Howe did not press the pursuit, but passed the night on the field of battle, and remained the two following days at Dilworth, sending out detachments to take post at Concord and Chester, and seize on Wilmington, whither the sick and wounded were conveyed. enemy marched directly to Derby," observes Lafayette, "the American army would have been cut up and destroyed; they lost a pre- country."* There was evidently a growing cious night, and it is perhaps the greatest disposition again to criticize Washington's move fault in a war in which they have committed ments, yet how well did this officer judge of him.


The only aim, at present, was to get to some Washington, as usual, profited by the inac- dry and secure place, where the army might tivity of Howe; quietly retreating through repose and refit. All day, and for a great part Derby (on the 12th) across the Schuylkill to of the night, they marched under a cold and Germantown, within a short distance of Phila- pelting rain, and through deep and miry roads, delphia, where he gave his troops a day's re-to the Yellow Springs, thence to Warwick, pose. Finding them in good spirits, and in on French Creek; a weary march in stormy nowise disheartened by the recent affair, which weather for troops destitute of every comfort, they seemed to consider a check rather than a and nearly a thousand of them actually baredefeat, he resolved to seek the enemy again footed. At Warwick furnace, ammunition and and give him battle. As preliminary measures, a few muskets were obtained, to aid in disputhe left some of the Pennsylvania militia in ing the passage of the Schuylkill, and the ad

Philadelphia to guard the city; others, under
General Armstrong, were posted at the various

Memoirs, Tom. i., r. 20.

vance of the enemy on Philadelphia.

* Memoir of Major Samuel Shaw, by Hon. Josiah


ET. 45.]



From French Creek, Wayne was detached | at the point of the bayonet-the enemy were with his division, to get in the rear of the ene- advancing in column. Wayne instantly took my, form a junction with General Smallwood post on the right of his position, to cover the and the Maryland militia, and, keeping them- retreat of the left, led by Colonel Hampton, selves concealed, watch for an opportunity to the second in command. The latter was tardy, cut off Howe's baggage and hospital train; in and incautiously paraded his troops in front of the mean time, Washington crossed the Schuyl- their fires, so as to be in full relief. The enekill at Parker's Ford, and took a position to my rushed on without firing a gun; all was the defend that pass of the river. silent, but deadly work of the bayonet and the cutlass. Nearly three hundred of Hampton's men were killed or wounded, and the rest put to flight. Wayne gave the enemy some welldirected volleys, and then retreating to a small distance, rallied his troops, and prepared for further defence. The British, however, contented themselves with the blow they had given, and retired with very little loss, taking with them between seventy and eighty prisoners, several of them officers, and eight baggage waggons, heavily laden.

Wayne set off in the night, and, by a circuitous march, got within three miles of the left wing of the British encamped at Trydraffin, and concealing himself in a wood, waited the arrival of Smallwood and his militia. At daybreak he reconnoitred the camp, where Howe, checked by the severity of the weather, had contented himself with uniting his columns, and remained under shelter. All day Wayne hovered about the camp; there were no signs of marching; all kept quiet, but lay too compact to be attacked with prudence. He sent repeated messages to Washington, describing the situation of the enemy, and urging him to come on and attack them in their camp. "Their supineness," said he in one of his notes, "answers every purpose of giving you time to get up: if they attempt to move, I shall attack them at all events. * * * * There never was, nor never will be, a finer opportunity of giving the enemy a fatal blow than at present. For God's sake push on as fast as possible."

Again, at a later hour, he writes: "The enemy are very quiet, washing and cooking. I expect General Maxwell on the left flank every moment, and, as I lay on the right, we only want you in the rear to complete Mr. Howe's business. I believe he knows nothing of my situation, as I have taken every precaution to prevent any intelligence getting to him, at the same time keeping a watchful eye on his front, flanks, and rear."

His motions, however, had not been so secret as he imagined. He was in a part of the country full of the disaffected, and Sir William had received accurate information of his force and where he was encamped. General Gray, with a strong detachment, was sent to surprise him at night in his lair. Late in the evening, when Wayne had set his pickets and sentinels, and thrown out his patrols, a countryman brought him word of the meditated attack. He doubted the intelligence, but strengthened his pickets and patrols, and ordered his troops to sleep upon their arms.


General Smallwood, who was to have cooperated with Wayne, was within a mile of him at the time of his attack; and would have hastened to his assistance with his well-known intrepidity; but he had not the corps under his command with which he had formerly distinguished himself, and his raw militia fled in a panic at the first sight of a return party of the enemy.

Wayne was deeply mortified by the result of this affair, and, finding it severely criticized in the army, demanded a court-martial, which pronounced his conduct every thing that was to be expected from an active, brave, and vigilant officer; whatever blame there was in the matter fell upon his second in command, who, by delay, or misapprehension of orders, and an unskilful position of his troops, had exposed them to be massacred.

On the 21st, Sir William Howe made a rapid march high up the Schuylkill, on the road leading to Reading, as if he intended either to capture the military stores deposited there, or to turn the right of the American army. Washington kept pace with him on the opposite side of the river, up to Pott's Grove, about thirty miles from Philadelphia.

The movement on the part of Howe was a mere feint. No sooner had he drawn Washington so far up the river, than, by a rapid countermarch on the night of the 22d, he got to the ford below, threw his troops across on the next morning, and pushed forward for Philadelphia. By the time Washington was At eleven o'clock the pickets were driven in apprised of this counter-movement, Howe was

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