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He wrote also to the Count de Grasse | can no longer be a secret. Cornwallis is un(presuming that the letter would find him in questionably the object of our present expedithe Chesapeake), urging him to send up all his tion. His Excellency, General frigates and transports to the Head of Elk, by Washington, having succeeded in a masterly the 8th of September, for the transportation of piece of generalship, has now the satisfaction the combined army, which would be there by of leaving his adversary to ruminate on his that time. He informed him also, that the own mortifying situation, and to anticipate the Count de Barras had resolved to join him in perilous fate which awaits his friend, Lord the Chesapeake with his squadron. One is re- Cornwallis, in a different quarter.' minded of the tissue of movements planned from a distance, which ended in the capture of Burgoyne.

On the 22d, the French troops arrived by their circuitous route, and began to cross to Stony Point, with their artillery, baggage, and stores. The operation occupied between two and three days; during which time Washington took the Count de Rochambeau on a visit to West Point, to show him the citadel of the Highlands, an object of intense interest, in consequence of having been the scene of Arnold's treason.

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Washington had in fact reached the Delaware with his troops, before Sir Henry Clinton was aware of their destination. It was too late to oppose their march, even had his forces been adequate. As a kind of counterplot, therefore, and in the hope of distracting the attention of the American commander, and drawing off a part of his troops, he hurried off an expedition to the eastward, to insult the State of Connecticut and attack her seaport of New London.

The command of this expedition, which was to be one of ravage and destruction, was given to Arnold, as if it was necessary to complete the measure of his infamy, that he should carry

crate the very cradle of his infancy.

The two armies having safely crossed the Hudson, commenced, on the 25th, their several lines of march towards the Jerseys; the Amer-fire and sword into his native State, and deseicans for Springfield on the Rahway, the French for Whippany towards Trenton. Both armies were still kept in the dark, as to the ultimate object of their movement. An intelligent observer, already quoted, who accompanied the

writes: "Our situation reminds me of
some theatrical exhibition, where the interest
and expectations of the spectators are continu-
ally increasing, and where curiosity is wrought
to the highest point. Our destination has been
for some time matter of perplexing doubt and
uncertainty; bets have run high on one side,
that we were to occupy the ground marked
out on the Jersey shore to aid in the siege of
New York; and on the other, that we are steal-
ing a march on the enemy, and are actually
destined to Virginia, in pursuit of the army
under Cornwallis. * * * * A number of
bateaux mounted on carriages have followed in
our train; supposed for the purpose of convey-
ing the troops over to Staten Island.” *

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On the 6th of September he appeared off the harbor of New London with a fleet of ships and transports and a force of two thousand infantry and three hundred cavalry; partly British troops, but a great part made up of American royalists and refugees, and Hessian Yagers.

New London stands on the west bank of the river Thames. The approach to it was defended by two forts on the opposite sides of the river, and about a mile below the town; Fort Trumbull on the west and Fort Griswold on the east side, on a height called Groton Hill. The troops landed in two divisions of about eight hundred men each; one under Lieutenant-Colonel Eyre on the east side, the other under Arnold on the west, on the same side with New London, and about three miles below it. Arnold met with but little opposition. The few militia which manned an advance battery and Fort Trumbull, abandoned their posts, and

* Washington several years afterwards, speaking of

this important march in a letter to Noah Webster, writes:

"That much trouble was taken, and finesse used, to misguide and bewilder Sir Henry Clinton in regard to the real object, by fictitious communications, as well as by making a deceptive provision of ovens, forage, and boats in his neighborhood, is certain, nor were less pains taken to de

ceive our own army, for I had always conceived where the imposition does not completely take place at home, it would never sufficiently succeed abroad."-SPARKS, 1x. 404.





crossed the river to Fort Griswold. He pushed of public but private property: many families on, and took possession of the town. once living in affluence were ruined and rendered homeless.

Colonel Eyre had a harder task. The militia, about one hundred and fifty-seven strong, had collected in Fort Griswold, hastily and imperfectly armed it is true, some of them merely with spears; but they were brave men, and had a brave commander, Colonel William Ledyard, brother of the celebrated traveller. The fort was square and regularly built. Arnold, unaware of its strength, had ordered Colonel Eyre to take it by a coup-de-main. He discovered his mistake, and sent counter orders, but too late.

Colonel Eyre forced the pickets; made his way into the fosse, and attacked the fort on three sides; it was bravely defended; the enemy were repeatedly repulsed; they returned to the assault, scrambled up on each other's shoulders, effected a lodgment on the fraise, and made their way with fixed bayonets through the embrasures. Colonel Eyre received a mortal wound near the works; Major Montgomery took his place; a negro thrust him through with a spear as he mounted the parapet; Major Bromfield succeeded to the command, and carried the fort at the point of the bayonet. In fact, after the enemy were within the walls, the fighting was at an end and the slaughter commenced. Colonel Ledyard had ordered his men to lay down their arms; but the enemy, exasperated by the resistance they had experienced, and by the death of their officers, continued the deadly work of the musket and bayonet. Colonel Ledyard, it is said, was thrust through with his own sword after yielding it up to Major Bromfield. Seventy of the garrison were slain, and thirty-five desperately wounded; and most of them after the fort had been taken. The massacre was chiefly perpetrated by the tories, refugees, and Hessians. Major Bromfield himself was a New Jersey loyalist. The rancor of such men against their patriot countrymen was always deadly. The loss of the enemy was two officers and forty-six soldiers killed, and eight officers and one hundred and thirty-five soldiers wounded.

Arnold, in the mean time, had carried on the work of destruction at New London. Some of the American shipping had effected their escape up the river, but a number were burnt. Fire, too, was set to the public stores; it communicated to the dwelling-houses, and, in a little while, the whole place was wrapped in flames. The destruction was immense, not only

Having completed his ravage, Arnold retreat. ed to his boats, leaving the town still burning. Alarm guns had roused the country; the trai tor was pursued by the exasperated yeomanry; he escaped their well-merited vengeance, but several of his men were killed and wounded. So ended his career of infamy in his native land; a land which had once delighted to honor him, but in which his name was never thenceforth to be pronounced without a malediction.

The expedition, while it added one more hateful and disgraceful incident to this unnatural war, failed of its main object. It had not diverted Washington from the grand object on which he had fixed his mind. On the 30th of August, he, with his suite, had arrived at Philadelphia about noon, and alighted at the city tavern amidst enthusiastic crowds, who welcomed him with acclamations, but wondered at the object of this visit. During his sojourn in the city he was hospitably entertained at the house of Mr. Morris, the patriotic financier. The greatest difficulty with which he had to contend in his present enterprise, was the want of funds, part of his troops not having received any pay for a long time, and having occasionally given evidence of great discontent. The service upon which they were going was disagreeable to the northern regiments, and the douceur of a little hard money would have the effect, Washington thought, to put them into a proper temper. In this emergency he was accommodated by the Count de Rochambeau, with a loan of twenty thousand hard dollars, which Mr. Robert Morris engaged to repay by the first of October. This pecuniary pressure was relieved by the arrival in Boston, on the 25th of August, of Colonel John Laurens from his mission to France, bringing with him two and a half mil lions of livres in cash, being part of a subsidy of six millions of livres granted by the French king.

On the 2d of September the American troops passed through Philadelphia. Their line of march, including appendages and attendants, extended nearly two miles. The general officers and their staffs were well dressed and well mounted, and followed by servants and baggage. In the rear of every brigade were several fieldpieces with ammunition waggons. The soldiers kept step to the sound of the drum and fife. In


ET. 49.] the rear followed a great number of waggons laden with tents, provisions, and baggage, besides a few soldiers' wives and children. The weather was warm and dry. The troops as they marched raised a cloud of dust "like a smothering snow-storm," which almost blinded them. The begriming effect was especially mortifying to the campaigner whom we quote, as ladies were viewing them from the windows of every house as they passed." Notwithstanding the dusty and somewhat ragged plight of the soldiery, however, they were cheered with enthusiasm by the populace, who hailed them as the war-worn defenders of the country.

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The French troops entered on the following day, but in different style. Halting within a mile of the city, they arranged their arms and accoutrements; brushed the dust off of their gay white uniforms faced with green, and then marched in with buoyant step and brilliant array to the swelling music of a military band. The streets were again thronged by the shouting populace. The windows were crowded with ladies; among whom probably were some of the beauties who had crowned the British knights in the chivalrous mime of the Mischianza, now ready to bestow smiles and wreaths on their Gallic rivals.

At Philadelphia Washington received despatches from Lafayette, dated the 21st and 24th of August, from his camp at the Forks of York River in Virginia. The embarkation at Portsmouth, which the marquis had supposed might be intended for New York, was merely for Yorktown, where Cornwallis had determined to establish the permanent post ordered in his instructions.

Yorktown was a small place situated on a projecting bank on the south side of York River, opposite a promontory called Gloucester Point. The river between was not more than a mile wide, but deep enough to admit ships of a large size and burthen. Here concentrating his forces, he had proceeded to fortify the opposite points, calculating to have the works finished by the beginning of October; at which time Sir Henry Clinton intended to recommence operations on the Chesapeake. Believing that he had no present enemy but Lafayette to guard against, Cornwallis felt so secure in his position, that he wrote to Sir Henry on the 22d of August, offering to detach a thousand or twelve hundred men to strengthen New York against the apprehended attack of the combined armies.


While Cornwallis, undervaluing his youthful adversary, felt thus secure, Lafayette, in conformity to the instructions of Washington, was taking measures to cut off any retreat by land which his lordship might attempt on the arrival of De Grasse. With this view he called upon General Thomas Nelson, the Governor of Virginia, for six hundred of the militia to be collected upon Blackwater; detached troops to the south of James River, under pretext of a design to dislodge the British from Portsmouth, and requested General Wayne to move southward, to be ready to cross James River at Westover.

As to himself, Lafayette was prepared, as soon as he should hear of the arrival of De Grasse, to march at once to Williamsburg and form a junction with the troops which were to be landed from the fleet. Thus a net was quietly drawn round Cornwallis by the youthful general, while the veteran felt himself so secure that he was talking of detaching troops to New York.

Lafayette, at the time of writing his despatches, was ignorant that Washington had taken command of the expedition coming to his aid, and expressed an affectionate solicitude on the subject. "In the present state of affairs, my dear General," writes he, "I hope you will come yourself to Virginia, and that, if the French army moves this way, I will have at least the satisfaction of beholding you, myself, at the head of the combined armies." In concluding his letter, he writes: "Adieu, my dear General. I heartily thank you for having ordered me to remain in Virginia; and to your goodness to me I am owing the most beautiful prospect I may ever behold."

The letter of Lafayette gave no account of the Count de Grasse, and Washington expressed himself distressed beyond measure to know what had become of that commander. He had heard of an English fleet at sea steering for the Chesapeake, and feared it might arrive and frustrate all the flattering prospects in that quarter. Still, as usual, he looked to the bright side. "Of many contingencies," writes he, "we will hope for the most propitious events. Should the retreat of Lord Cornwallis by water be cut off by the arrival of either of the French fleets, I am persuaded you will do all in your power to prevent his escape by land. May that great felicity be reserved for you."

Washington left Philadelphia on the 5th of September, on his way to the Head of Elk.





the French, Washington, accompanied by De Rochambeau, crossed the Susquehanna early on the 8th, and pushed forward for Baltimore. He was met by a deputation of the citizens, who made him a public address, to which he replied, and his arrival was celebrated in the evening with illuminations.

About three miles below Chester, he was met | American forces, and the Baron de Viomenil by an express bearing tidings of the arrival of the Count de Grasse in the Chesapeake with twenty-eight ships of the line. Washington instantly rode back to Chester to rejoice with the Count de Rochambeau, who was coming down to that place from Philadelphia by water. They had a joyous dinner together, after which Washington proceeded in the evening on his destination.

The express meantime reached Philadelphia most opportunely. There had been a grand review of the French troops, at which the President of Congress and all the fashion of the city were present. It was followed by a banquet given to the officers by the French Minister, the Chevalier de Luzerne. Scarce were the company seated at table, when despatches came announcing the arrival of De Grasse and the landing of three thousand troops under the Marquis St. Simon, who, it was added, had opened a communication with Lafayette.

All now was mutual gratulation at the banquet. The news soon went forth and spread throughout the city. Acclamations were to be heard on all sides, and crowds assembling before the house of the French Minister rent the air with hearty huzzas for Louis the Sixteenth. Washington reached the Head of Elk on the 6th. The troops and a great part of the stores were already arrived, and beginning to embark. Thence he wrote to the Count de Grasse, felicitating him on his arrival; and informing him that the van of the two armies were about to embark and fall down the Chesapeake, form a junction with the troops under the Count de St. Simon and the Marquis de Lafayette, and co-operate in blocking up Cornwallis in York River, so as to prevent his retreat by land or his getting any supplies from the country. "As it will be of the greatest importance," writes he, "to prevent the escape of his lordship from his present position, I am persuaded that every measure which prudence can dictate will be adopted for that purpose, until the arrival of our complete force, when I hope his lordship will be compelled to yield his ground to the superior power of our combined forces."

Every thing had thus far gone on well, but there were not vessels enough at the Head of Elk for the immediate transportation of all the troops, ordnance, and stores; a part of the troops would have to proceed to Baltimore by land. Leaving General Heath to bring on the

On the 9th he left Baltimore a little after daybreak, accompanied only by Colonel Humphreys; the rest of his suite were to follow at their ease; for himself, he was determined to reach Mount Vernon that evening. Six years had elapsed since last he was under its roof; six wearing years of toil, of danger, and of constant anxiety. During all that time, and amid all his military cares, he had kept up a regular weekly correspondence with his steward or agent, regulating all the affairs of his rural establishment with as much exactness as he did those of the army.

It was at a late hour when he arrived at Mount Vernon; where he was joined by his suite at dinner time on the following day, and by the Count de Rochambeau in the evening. General Chastellux and his aides-de-camp arrived there on the 11th, and Mount Vernon was now crowded with guests, who were all entertained in the ample style of old Virginian hospitality. On the 12th, tearing himself away once more from the home of his heart, Washington with his military associates continued onward to join Lafayette at Williamsburg.



LORD CORNWALLIS had been completely roused from his dream of security by the appearance, on the 28th of August, of the fleet of Count de Grasse within the capes of the DelaThree French ships of the line and a frigate soon anchored at the mouth of York River. The boats of the fleet were immediately busy conveying three thousand three hundred land forces, under the Marquis de St. Simon, up James River to form the preconcerted junction with those under Lafayette.

Awakened to his danger, Cornwallis, as Washington had foreseen, meditated a retreat to the Carolinas. It was too late. York River was blocked up by French ships; James River was filled with armed vessels covering the transportation of the troops. His lordship re

ET. 49.]


connoitred Williamsburg; it was too strong to be forced, and Wayne had crossed James River to join his troops to those under the marquis. Seeing his retreat cut off in every direction, Cornwallis proceeded to strengthen his works; sending off repeated expresses to apprise Sir Henry Clinton of his perilous situation.

The Count de Grasse, eager to return to the West Indies, urged Lafayette to make an immediate attack upon the British army, with the American and French troops under his command, without waiting for the combined force under Washington and Rochambeau, offering to aid him with marines and sailors from the ships. The admiral was seconded by the Marquis de St. Simon. They represented that the works at Yorktown were yet incomplete; and that that place and Gloucester, immediately opposite, might be carried by storm by their superior force. It was a brilliant achievement which they held out to tempt the youthful commander, but he remained undazzled. He would not, for the sake of personal distinction, lavish the lives of the brave men confided to him; but would await the arrival of the combined forces, when success might be attained with little loss, and would leave to Washington the coup de grace; in all probability the closing triumph of the war.

The Count de Grasse had been but a few days anchored within the Chesapeake, and fifteen hundred of his seamen were absent, conveying the troops up James River, when Admiral Graves, who then commanded the British naval force on the American coast, appeared with twenty sail off the capes of Virginia. De Grasse, anxious to protect the squadron of the Count de Barras, which was expected from Rhode Island, and which it was the object of Graves to intercept, immediately slipped his cables and put to sea with twenty-four ships, leaving the rest to blockade York and James Rivers.

Washington received information of the sailing of the fleet from the capes, shortly after his departure from Mount Vernon, and instantly despatched missives, ordering the troops who were embarked at the Head of Elk to stop until the receipt of further intelligence, fearing that the navigation in Chesapeake Bay might not be secure. For two days he remained in anxious uncertainty, until, at Bowling Green, he was relieved by favorable rumors concerning the fleet, which were confirmed on his arriving at Williamsburg on the evening of the 14th.


Admiral Graves, it appeared, on the sallying forth of the French fleet, immediately prepared for action, although he had five ships less than De Grasse. The latter, however, was not disposed to accept the challenge, his force being weakened by the absence of so many of his seamen, employed in transporting troops. His plan was to occupy the enemy by partial actions and skilful manœuvres, so as to retain his possession of the Chesapeake, and cover the arrival of De Barras.

The vans of the two fleets, and some ships of the centre, engaged about four o'clock in the afternoon of the 7th of September. The conflict soon became animated. Several ships were damaged, and many men killed and wounded on both sides.

De Grasse, who had the advantage of the wind, drew off after sunset; satisfied with the damage done and sustained, and not disposed for a general action; nor was the British admiral inclined to push the engagement so near night, and on a hostile coast. Among his ships that had suffered, one had been so severely handled, that she was no longer seaworthy, and had to be burnt. For four days the fleets remained in sight of each other, repairing damages and manoeuvring; but the French having still the advantage of the wind, maintained their prudent policy of avoiding a general engagement. At length De Grasse, learning that De Barras was arrived within the capes, formed a junction with him, and returned with him to his former anchoring ground, with two English frigates which he had captured. Admiral Graves, disappointed in his hope of intercepting De Barras, and finding the Chesapeake guarded by a superior force with which he could not prudently contend; having, moreover, to encounter the autumnal gales in the battered state of several of his ships, left the coast and bore away for New York. Under convoy of the squadron of De Barras came a fleet of transports, conveying land forces under M. do Choisy, with siege artillery and military stores. It should be mentioned to the credit of De Barras, that, in his orders from the French minister of marine to come to America, he was left at liberty to make a cruise on the banks of Newfoundland; so as not to be obliged to serve under De Grasse, who was his inferior in rank, but whom the minister wished to continue in the command. "But De Barras," writes Lafayette, "nobly took the part of conducting, himself, the artillery from Rhode Island, and of coming

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