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From Williamsburg, Washington sent forward Count Fersen, one of the aides-de-camp of De Rochambeau, to hurry on the French troops with all possible despatch. He wrote to the same purport to General Lincoln: "Every day we now lose," said he, "is comparatively an age; as soon as it is in our power with safety, we ought to take our position near the enemy. Hurry on, then, my dear sir, with your troops, on the wings of speed. The want of our men and stores is now all that retards our immediate operations. Lord Cornwallis is improving every moment to the best advantage; and every day that is given him to make his preparations may cost us many lives to encounter them."

It was with great satisfaction Washington learned that Admiral de Barras had anticipated his wishes, in sending transports and prize vessels up the bay to assist in bringing on the French troops. In the mean time he with Count de Rochambeau was desirous of having an interview with the admiral on board of his ship, provided he could send some fast-sailing cutter to receive them. A small ship, the Queen Charlotte, was furnished by the admiral for the purpose. It had been captured on its voyage from Charleston to New York, having Lord Rawdon on board, and had been commodiously fitted up for his lordship's reception.

On board of this vessel Washington and De Rochambeau, with the Chevalier de Chastellux and Generals Knox and Duportail, embarked on the 18th, and proceeding down James River, came the next morning in sight of the French fleet riding at anchor in Lynn Haven Bay, just under the point of Cape Henry. About noon they got along side of the admiral's ship, the Ville de Paris, and were received on board with great ceremony, and naval and military parade. Admiral de Grasse was a tall, finelooking man, plain in his address and prompt in the discharge of business. A plan of cooperation was soon arranged, to be carried into effect on the arrival of the American and French armies from the North, which were actually on their way down the Chesapeake from the Head of Elk. Business being despatched, dinner was served, after which they were conducted throughout the ship, and received the

*Memoirs of Lafayette, t. i., p. 467.



visits of the officers of the fleet, almost all of whom came on board.

About sunset Washington and his companions took their leave of the admiral, and returned on board of their own little ship; when the yards of all the ships of the fleet were manned, and a parting salute was thundered from the Ville de Paris. Owing to storms and contrary winds, and other adverse circumstances, the party did not reach Williamsburg until the 22d, when intelligence was received that threatened to disconcert all the plans formed in the recent council on board ship. Admiral Digby, it appeared, had arrived in New York with six ships of the line, and a reinforcement of troops. This intelligence Washington instantly transmitted to the Count de Grasse by one of the Count de Rochambeau's aides-de-camp. De Grasse in reply expressed great concern, observing that the position of affairs was changed by the arrival of Digby. "The enemy," writes he, "is now nearly equal to us in strength, and it would be imprudent in me to place myself in a situation that would prevent my attacking them should they attempt to afford succor." He proposed, therefore, to leave two vessels at the mouth of York River, and the corvettes and frigates in James River, which, with the French troops on shore, would be sufficient assistance; and to put to sea with the rest, either to intercept the enemy and fight them where there was good sea room, or to blockade them in New York should they not have sailed.

On reading this letter, Washington dreaded that the present plan of co-operation might likewise fall through, and the fruits of all his schemes and combinations be lost when within his reach. With the assistance of the fleet, the reduction of Yorktown was demonstrably certain, and the surrender of the garrison must go far to terminate the war; whereas the departure of the ships, by leaving an opening for succor to the enemy, might frustrate these brilliant prospects, and involve the whole enterprise in ruin and disgrace. Even a momentary absence of the French fleet might enable Cornwallis to evacuate Yorktown and effect a retreat, with the loss merely of his baggage and artillery, and perhaps a few soldiers. These and other considerations were urged in a letter to the count, remonstrating against his putting to sea. Lafayette was the bearer of the letter, and seconded it with so many particulars respecting the situation of the armies, and argued

ET. 49.]



all went well at Yorktown, his lordship was to make three separate columns of smoke; and four, should he still possess the post at Gloucester Point.

the case so earnestly and eloquently, that the ing would be made by them on arriving at the count consented to remain. It was, further-entrance of the Chesapeake. On hearing it, if more, determined in a council of war of his officers, that a large part of the fleet should anchor in York River; four or five vessels be stationed so as to pass up and down James River, and a battery for cannon and mortars be erected with the aid of the allied troops on Point Comfort.

By the 25th the American and French troops were mostly arrived and encamped near Williamsburg, and preparations were made for the decisive blow.

Yorktown, as has already been noted, is situated on the south side of York River, immediately opposite Gloucester Point. Cornwallis had fortified the town by seven redoubts and six batteries on the land side, connected by intrenchments; and there was a line of batteries along the river. The town was flanked on each side by deep ravines and creeks emptying into York River; their heads, in front of the town, being not more than half a mile apart. The enemy had availed themselves of these natural defences in the arrangements of extensive outworks, with redoubts strengthened by abatis; field-works mounted with cannon, and trees cut down and left with the branches pointed outward.

Gloucester Point had likewise been fortified; its batteries, with those of Yorktown, commanding the intervening river. Ships of war were likewise stationed on it, protected by the guns of the forts, and the channel was obstructed by sunken vessels.

The defence of Gloucester Point was confided to Lieutenant-Colonel Dundas, with six or seven hundred men. The enemy's main army was encamped about Yorktown, within the range of the outer redoubts and field-works. Washington and his staff bivouacked that night on the ground in the open air. He slept under a mulberry tree, the root serving for his pillow. On the following morning the two armies drew out on each side of Beaver Dam Creek. The Americans, forming the right wing, took station on the east side of the creek; the French, forming the left wing, on the west.

That evening Cornwallis received despatches from Sir Henry Clinton, informing him of the arrival of Admiral Digby, and that a fleet of twenty-three ships of the line, with about five thousand troops, would sail to his assistance, probably on the 5th of October. A heavy fir



Cornwallis immediately wrote in reply: "I have ventured these last two days to look General Washington's whole force in the face in the position on the outside of my works, and have the pleasure to assure your Excellency, that there is but one wish throughout the army, which is that the enemy would advance. * * I shall retire this night within the works, and have no doubt, if relief arrives in any reasonable time, York and Gloucester will be both in the possession of His Majesty's troops. I believe your Excellency must depend more on the sound of our cannon than the signal of smokes for information; however, I will attempt it on the Gloucester side." *

That night his lordship accordingly abandoned his outworks, and drew his troops within the town; a measure strongly censured by Tarleton in his Commentaries as premature; as cooping up the troops in narrow quarters, and giving up a means of disputing, inch by inch, the approaches of the besiegers, and thus gaining time to complete the fortifications of the town.

The outworks thus abandoned were seized upon the next morning by detachments of American light-infantry and French troops, and served to cover the troops employed in throwing up breastworks. Colonel Alexander Scammel, officer of the day, while reconnoitring the ground abandoned by the enemy, was set upon by a party of Hessian troopers. He attempted to escape, but was wounded, captured, and carried off to Yorktown. Washington, to whom he had formerly acted as aide-de-camp, interested himself in his favor, and at his request Cornwallis permitted him to be removed to Williamsburg, where he died in the course of a few days. He was an officer of much merit, and his death was deeply regretted by Washington and the army.

The combined French and American forces were now twelve thousand strong, exclusive of the Virginia militia which Governor Nelson had brought into the field. An instance of patriotic self-devotion on the part of this functionary is worthy of special record. The treas

*Correspondence relative to defence of York, p. 199.





ury of Virginia was empty; the governor, fear- | nearly reached York River, when word was ful that the militia would disband for want of brought that an enemy was advancing in force. pay, had endeavored to procure a loan from a The report was confirmed by a cloud of dust wealthy individual on the credit of the State. from which emerged Lauzun and the French In the precarious situation of affairs, the guar- hussars and lancers. antee was not deemed sufficient. The gov. ernor pledged his own property, and obtained the loan at his individual risk.

On the morning of the 28th of September, the combined armies marched from Williamsburg toward Yorktown, about twelve miles distant, and encamped at night within two miles of it, driving in the pickets and some patrols of cavalry. General de Choisy was sent across York River, with Lauzun's legion and General Weedon's brigade of militia, to watch the enemy on the side of Gloucester Point.

By the first of October the line of the besiegers, nearly two miles from the works, formed a semicircle, each end resting on the river, so that the investment by land was complete; while the Count de Grasse, with the main fleet, remained in Lynn Haven Bay, to keep off assistance by sea.

About this time the Americans threw up two redoubts in the night, which, on being discovered in the morning, were severely cannonaded. Three of the men were killed and several severely wounded. While Washington was superintending the works, a shot struck the ground close by him, throwing up a cloud of dust. The Rev. Mr. Evans, chaplain in the army, who was standing by him, was greatly agitated. Taking off his hat and showing it covered with sand, "See here, General," exclaimed he. "Mr. Evans," said Washington with grave pleasantry, you had better carry that home, and show it to your wife and children." *

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The besieged army began now to be greatly distressed for want of forage, and had to kill many of their horses, the carcasses of which were continually floating down the river. In the evening of the 2d of October, Tarleton with his legion and the mounted infantry were passed over the river to Gloucester Point, to assist in foraging. At daybreak LieutenantColonel Dundas led out part of his garrison to forage the neighboring country. About ten o'clock the waggons and bat horses laden with Indian corn were returning, covered by a party of infantry, with Tarleton and his dragoons as a rear-guard. The waggons and infantry had

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Tarleton, with part of his legion, advanced to meet them; the rest, with Simcoe's dragoons, remained as a rear-guard in a skirt of woods. A skirmish ensued, gallantly sustained on each side, but the superiority of Tarleton's horses gave him the advantage. General Choisy hastened up with a corps of cavalry and infantry to support the hussars. In the medley fight, a dragoon's horse, wounded by a lance, plunged, and overthrew both Tarleton and his steed. The rear-guard rushed from their covert to rescue their commander. They came galloping up in such disorder, that they were roughly received by Lauzun's hussars, who were drawn up on the plain. In the mean time Tarleton scrambled out of the melée, mounted another horse, and ordered a retreat, to enable his men to recover from their confusion. Dismounting forty infantry, he placed them in a thicket. Their fire checked the hussars in their pursuit. The British dragoons rallied, and were about to charge; when the hussars retired behind their infantry; and a fire was opened upon the British by some militia from behind a fence. Tarleton again ordered a retreat to be sounded, and the conflict came to an end. The loss of the British in killed and wounded was one officer and eleven men; that of the French two officers and fourteen hussars. This was the last affair of Tarleton and his legion in the revolutionary war.

The next day General Choisy, being reinforced by a detachment of marines from the fleet of De Grasse, cut off all communication by land between Gloucester and the country.

At this momentous time, when the first parallel before the besieged city was about to be opened, Washington received despatches from his faithful coadjutor, General Greene, giving him important intelligence of his cooperations in the South; to consider which we will suspend for a moment our narrative of affairs before Yorktown.


FOR Some weeks in the months of July and August, General Greene had remained en camped with his main force on the high hills


At four o'clock in the morning his little army was in motion. His whole force at that time did not exceed two thousand men; that of the enemy he was seeking, about twentythree hundred. The Americans, however, were superior in cavalry. Owing to the difficulty of receiving information, and the country being covered with forests, the enemy were not aware of Greene's approach, until he was close upon them.

of Santee, refreshing and disciplining his men, and awaiting, the arrival of promised reinforcements. He was constantly looking to Washington as his polar star by which to steer, and feared despatches from him had been intercepted. "I wait with impatience for intelligence," said he, "by which I mean to govern my own operations. If things are flattering in the North, I will hazard less in the South; but, if otherwise there, we must risk more here.". In the mean time, Marion with his His army advanced in two columns, which light troops, aided by Colonel Washington with were to form the two lines of battle. The first his dragoons, held control over the lower San- column, commanded by General Marion, was tee. Lee was detached to operate with Sum-composed of two battalions of North and two ter's brigade on the Congarce, and Colonel of South Carolina militia. The second column Harden with his mounted militia was scouring of three brigades; one of North Carolina, one the country about the Edisto. The enemy was of Virginia, and one of Maryland Continental thus harassed in every quarter;. their convoys troops. Colonel Lee with his legion covered and foraging parties waylaid; and Stuart was the right flank, Colonel Henderson the left. obliged to obtain all his supplies from below. Colonel Washington, with his dragoons and the Delaware troops, formed the reserve. Each column had two field-pieces.

Greene was disappointed as to reinforcements. All that he received were two hundred North Carolina levies and five hundred South Carolina militia; still he prepared for a bold effort to drive the enemy from their remaining posts. For that purpose, on the 22d of August he broke up his encampment on the "benign hills of Santee," to march against Colonel Stuart. The latter still lay encamped about sixteen miles distant in a straight line; but the Congaree and Wateree lay between, bordered by swamps overflowed by recent rains; to cross them and reach the hostile camp, it was necessary to make a circuit of seventy miles. While Greene was making it, Stuart abandoned his position, and moved down forty miles to the vicinity of Eutaw Springs, where he was reinforced by a detachment from Charleston with provisions.

Greene followed on by easy marches. He had been joined by General Pickens with a party of the Ninety-Six militia, and by the State troops under Lieutenant-Colonel Henderson; and now moved slowly to give time for Marion, who was scouring the country about the Edisto, to rejoin him. This was done on the 5th of September at Laurens' Place, within seventeen miles of Stuart's camp. Here baggage, tents, every thing that could impede motion, was left behind, and on the afternoon of the seventh, the army was pushed on within seven miles of the Eutaws, where it bivouacked for the night, Greene lying on the ground wrapped in his cloak, with the root of a tree for a pillow.

Within four miles of Eutaw they met with a British detachment of one hundred and fifty infantry and fifty cavalry under Major Coffin, sent forward to reconnoitre; it was put to flight after a severe skirmish, in which a number were killed and wounded, and several taken prisoners. Supposing this to be the van of the enemy, Greene halted his columns and formed. The South Carolinians in equal divisions formed the right and left of the first line, the North Carolinians the centre. General Marion commanded the right; General Pickens, the left; Colonel Malmedy, the centre. Colonel Henderson with the State troops coVered the left of the line; Colonel Lee with his legion the right.

Of the second line, composed of regulars, the North Carolinians, under General Sumner, were on the right; the Marylanders, under Colonel Williams, on the left; the Virginians, under Colonel Campbell, in the centre.

Colonel Washington with his cavalry followed in the rear as a corps de reserve.

Two three-pounders moved on the road in the centre of the first line. Two six-pounders in a like position in the second line.

In this order the troops moved forward, keeping their lines as well as they could through open woods, which covered the country on each side of the road.

Within a mile of the camp they encountered a body of infantry thrown forward by Colonel Stuart, to check their advance while he had





back through their camp; many were captured; many filed along the Charleston road, and others threw themselves into the brick house.

time to form his troops in order of battle. | coming up with his reserve of horse and foot, These were drawn up in line in a wood two completed their defeat. They were driven hundred yards west of Eutaw Springs. The right rested on Eutaw Creek (or brook), and was covered by a battalion of grenadiers and infantry under Major Majoribanks, partly concealed among thickets on the margin of the stream. The left of the line extended across the Charleston road, with a reserve corps in a commanding situation covering the road. About fifty yards in the rear of the British line was a cleared field in which was their encamp-ware infantry to dislodge them, and Colonel ment, with the tents all standing. Adjoining it was a brick house with a palisadoed garden, which Colonel Stuart intended as a protection, if too much pressed by cavalry.

The advanced party of infantry, which had retired firing before the Americans, formed on the flanks of Colonel Stuart's line. The Carolinian militia had pressed after them. About nine o'clock the action was commenced by the left of the American line, and soon became general. The militia fought for a time with the spirit and firmness of regulars. Their two field-pieces were dismounted; so was one of the enemy's; and there was great carnage on both sides. The militia fought until they had expended seventeen rounds, when they gave way, covered by Lee and Henderson, who fought bravely on the flanks of the line.

Sumner, with the regulars who formed the second line, advanced in fine style to take the place of the first. The enemy likewise brought their reserve into action; the conflict continued to be bloody and severe. Colonel Henderson, who commanded the State troops. in the second line, was severely wounded; this caused some confusion. Sumner's brigade, formed partly of recruits, gave way under the superior fire of the enemy. The British rushed forward to secure their fancied victory. Greene, seeing their line disordered, instantly ordered Williams with his Marylanders to "sweep the field with the bayonet." Williams was seconded by Colonel Campbell with the Virginians. The order was gallantly obeyed. They delivered a deadly volley at forty yards' distance, and then advanced at a brisk rate, with loud shouts and trailed arms, prepared to make the deadly thrust. The British recoiled. While the Marylanders and Virginians attacked them in front, Lee with his legion turned their left flank and charged them in rear. Colonel Hampton with the State cavalry made a great number of prisoners, and Colonel Washington,

Major Majoribanks and his troops could still enfilade the left flank of the Americans from their covert among the thickets on the border of the stream. Greene ordered Colonel Washington with his dragoons and Kirkwood's Dela

Wade Hampton to assist with the State troops. Colonel Washington, without waiting for the infantry, dashed forward with his dragoons. It was a rash move. The thickets were impervious to cavalry. The dragoons separated into small squads and endeavored to force their way in. Horses and riders were shot down or bayoneted; most of the officers were either killed or wounded. Colonel Washington had his horse shot under him; he himself was bayoneted, and would have been slain, had not a British officer interposed, who took him prisoner.

By the time Hampton and Kirkwood came up, the cavalry were routed; the ground was strewed with the dead and the wounded; horses were plunging and struggling in the agonies of death; others galloping about without their riders. While Hampton rallied the scattered cavalry, Kirkwood with his Delawares charged with bayonet upon the enemy in the thickets. Majoribanks fell back with his troops, and made a stand in the palisadoed garden of the brick house.

Victory now seemed certain on the side of the Americans. They had driven the British from the field, and had taken possession of their camp; unfortunately, the soldiers, thinking the day their own, fell to plundering the tents, devouring the food, and carousing on the liquors found there. Many of them became intoxicated and unmanageable-the officers interfered in vain; all was riot and disorder.

The enemy in the mean time recovered from their confusion, and opened a fire from every window of the house and from the palisadoed garden. There was a scattering fire also from the woods and thickets on the right and left.

Four cannon, one of which had been captured from the enemy, were now advanced by the Americans to batter the house. The fire from the windows was so severe, that most of the officers and men who served the cannon

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