Slike strani

ET. 49.]



were either killed or wounded. Greene ordered | he fell back to Eutaw, where he remained the survivors to retire; they did so, leaving a day or two to rest his troops, and then rethe cannon behind.

Colonel Stuart was by this time rallying his left wing, and advancing to support the right; when Greene, finding his ammunition nearly exhausted, determined to give up the attempt to dislodge the enemy from their places of refuge, since he could not do it without severe loss; whereas the enemy could maintain their posts but a few hours, and he should have a better opportunity of attacking them on their retreat.

He remained on the ground long enough to collect his wounded, excepting those who were too much under the fire of the house, and then, leaving Colonel Hampton with a strong picket on the field, he returned to the position seven miles off, which he had left in the morning; not finding water anywhere nearer.

The enemy decamped in the night after destroying a large quantity of provisions, staving many barrels of rum, and breaking upwards of a thousand stand of arms which they threw into the springs of the Eutaw; they left behind seventy of their wounded, who might have impeded the celerity of their retreat. Their loss in killed, wounded, and captured, in this action, was six hundred and thirty-three, of whom five hundred were prisoners in the hands of the Americans; the loss sustained by the latter in killed, wounded, and missing, was five hundred and thirty-five. One of the slain most deplored was Colonel Campbell, who had so bravely led on the Virginians. He fell in the shock of the charge with the bayonet. It was a glorious close of a gallant career. In his dying moments he was told of the defeat of the enemy, and is said to have uttered the celebrated ejaculation of General Wolfe, "I die contented."

In the morning, General Greene, who knew not that the enemy had decamped, detached Lee and Marion to scour the country between Eutaw Springs and Charleston, to intercept any reinforcements which might be coming to Colonel Stuart, and to retard the march of the latter should he be retreating. Stuart, however, had met with reinforcements about fourteen miles from Eutaw, but continued his retreat to Monk's Corner, within twenty-five miles of Charleston.

Greene, when informed of the retreat, had followed with his main force almost to Monk's Corner; finding the number and position of the enemy too strong to be attacked with prudence,

turned by easy marches to his old position near the heights of Santee.


Thence, as usual, he despatched an account of affairs to Washington. "Since I wrote to you before, we have had a most bloody battle. It was by far the most obstinate fight I ever saw. Victory was ours; and had it not been for one of those little incidents which frequently happen in the progress of war, we should have taken the whole British army. * * I am trying to collect a body of militia to oppose Lord Cornwallis should he attempt to escape through North Carolina to Charleston. Charleston itself may be reduced, if you will bend your forces this way, and it will give me great pleasure to join your Excellency in the attempt; for I shall be equally happy, whether as a principal or subordinate, so that the public good is promoted."

Such was the purport of the intelligence received from Greene. Washington considered the affair at Eutaw Springs a victory, and sent Greene his congratulations. "Fortune," writes he, "must have been coy indeed, had she not yielded at last to so persevering a pursuer as you have been."

"I can say. with sincerity, that I feel with the highest degree of pleasure the good effects which you mention as resulting from the perfect good understanding between you, the marquis, and myself. I hope it will never be interrupted, and I am sure it never can be while we are all influenced by the same pure motive, that of love to our country and interest in the cause in which we are embarked."

We will now resume our narrative of the siege of Yorktown.


GENERAL LINCOLN had the honor, on the night of the 6th of October, of opening the first parallel before Yorktown. It was within six hundred yards of the enemy; nearly two miles in extent, and the foundations were laid for two redoubts. He had under him a large detachment of French and American troops, and the work was conducted with such silence and secrecy in a night of extreme darkness, that the enemy were not aware of it until daylight. A severe cannonade was then opened




from the fortifications; but the men were under cover and continued working; the greatest emulation and good will prevailing between the officers and soldiers of the allied armies thus engaged.

Governor Nelson, who had so nobly pledged his own property to raise funds for the public service, gave another proof of his self-sacrificing patriotism on this occasion. He was asked which part of the town could be most effectively cannonaded. He pointed to a large handsome house on a rising ground as the probable head-quarters of the enemy. It proved to be his own.t


with a serene visage what had been the effect of our batteries." *

His house had received some of the first shots; one of his negroes had been killed, and the head-quarters of Lord Cornwallis had been so battered, that he had been driven out of them.

By the afternoon of the 9th the parallel was completed, and two or three batteries were ready to fire upon the town. "General Wash- The cannonade was kept up almost inces ington put the match to the first gun," says an santly for three or four days from the batteries observer who was present; "" a furious dis- above mentioned, and from three others mancharge of cannon and mortars immediately fol-aged by the French. "Being in the trenches lowed, and Earl Cornwallis received his first every other night and day," writes an observer salutation."* already quoted,t "I have a fine opportunity of witnessing the sublime and stupendous scene which is continually exhibiting. The bombshells from the besiegers and the besieged are incessantly crossing each other's path in the air. They are clearly visible in the form of a black ball in the day, but in the night they appear like a fiery meteor with a blazing tail, most beautifully brilliant, ascending majestically from the mortar to a certain altitude, and gradually descending to the spot where they are destined to execute their work of destruction. When a shell falls, it whirls round, burrows and excavates the earth to a considerable extent, and, bursting, makes dreadful havoo around." "Some of our shells, overreaching the town, are seen to fall into the river, and, bursting, throw up columns of water like the spouting monsters of the deep."

The governor had an uncle in the town, very old, and afflicted with the gout. He had been for thirty years secretary under the royal colonial government, and was still called Mr. Secretary Nelson. He had taken no part in the Revolution, unfitted, perhaps, for the struggle, by his advanced age and his infirmities; and had remained in Yorktown when taken possession of by the English, not having any personal enmity to apprehend from them. He had two sons in Washington's army, who now were in the utmost alarm for his safety. At their request Washington sent in a flag, desiring that their father might be permitted to leave the place. "I was a witness," writes the Count de Chastellux in his Memoirs, "of the cruel anxiety of one of those young men, as he kept his eyes fixed upon the gate of the town by which the flag would come out. It seemed as if he were awaiting his own sentence in the reply that was to be received. Lord Cornwallis had not the inhumanity to refuse so just a request."

The appearance of the venerable secretary, his stately person, noble countenance, and gray hairs, commanded respect and veneration. "I can never recall without emotion," writes the susceptible count, "his arrival at the headquarters of General Washington. He was seated, his attack of the gout still continuing, and while we stood around him, he related

Thacher's Military Journal.

† Given on the authority of Lafayette. Sparks, vill. 201.

The half-finished works of the enemy suf fered severely, the guns were dismounted or silenced, and many men killed. The red-hot shot from the French batteries north-west of the town reached the English shipping. The Charon, a forty-four gun ship, and three large transports, were set on fire by them. The flames ran up the rigging to the tops of the masts. The conflagration, seen in the darkness of the night, with the accompanying flash and thundering of cannon, and soaring and bursting of shells; and the tremendous explosions of the ships, all presented a scene of mingled magnificence and horror.

On the night of the 11th the second parallel was opened by the Baron Steuben's division, within three hundred yards of the works. The British now made new embrasures, and for two or three days kept up a galling fire upon those at work. The latter were still more annoyed by the flanking fire of two redoubts three hundred yards in front of the British works. As

* Chastellux, vol. il., pp. 19-23.

ET. 49.]



on the shoulder of a soldier, who knelt on one knee for the purpose.* The men mounted after him. Not a musket was fired. The redoubt was carried at the point of the bayonet. The loss of the Americans was one sergeant and eight privates killed, seven officers and twentyfive non-commissioned officers and privates wounded. The loss of the enemy was eight killed and seventeen taken prisoners. Among the latter was Major Campbell, who had commanded the redoubt. A New Hampshire captain of artillery would have taken his life in revenge of the death of his favorite Colonel Scammel, but Colonel Hamilton prevented him. Not a man was killed after he ceased to resist.t

they enfiladed the intrenchments, and were | over, like rough bush-fighters. Hamilton was supposed also to command the communication the first to mount the parapet, placing one foot between Yorktown and Gloucester, it was resolved to storm them both, on the night of the 14th; the one nearest the river by a detachment of Americans commanded by Lafayette; the other by a French detachment led by the Baron de Viomenil. The grenadiers of the regiment of Gatinais were to be at the head of the French detachment. This regiment had been formed out of that of Auvergne, of which De Rochambeau had been colonel, and which, by its brave and honorable conduct, had won the appellation of the regiment D'Auvergne sans tache (Auvergne without a stain). When De Rochambeau assigned the Gatinais grenadiers their post in the attack, he addressed to them a few soldierlike words. "My lads, I have need of you this night, and hope you will not forget that we have served together in that brave regiment of Auvergne sans tache." They instantly replied, that if he would promise to get their old name restored to them, they would sacrifice themselves to the last man. The promise was given.

In the arrangements for the American assault, Lafayette had given the honor of leading the advance to his own aide-de-camp, LieutenantColonel Gimat. This instantly touched the military pride of Hamilton, who exclaimed against it as an unjust preference, it being his tour of duty. The marquis excused himself by alleging that the arrangement had been sanctioned by the commander-in-chief, and could not be changed by him. Hamilton forthwith made a spirited appeal by letter to Washington. The latter, who was ignorant of the circumstances of the case, sent for the marquis, and, finding that it really was Hamilton's tour of duty, directed that he should be reinstated in it, which was done.* It was therefore arranged that Colonel Gimat's battalion should lead the van, and be followed by that of Hamilton, and that the latter should command the whole advanced corps.t

About eight o'clock in the evening rockets were sent up as signals for the simultaneous attack. Hamilton, to his great joy, led the advance of the Americans. The men, without waiting for the sappers to demolish the abatis in regular style, pushed them aside or pulled them down with their hands, and scrambled

Lee's Memoirs of the War, ii. 342.

† Lafayette to Washington. Correspondence of the Revolution, iii. 426.

The French stormed the other redoubt, which was more strongly garrisoned, with equal gallantry, but less precipitation. They proceeded according to rule. The soldiers paused while the sappers removed the abatis, during which time they were exposed to a destructive fire, and lost more men than did the Americans in their headlong attack. As the Baron de Viomenil, who led the party, was thus waiting, Major Barbour, Lafayette's aide-de camp, came through the tremendous fire of the enemy, with a message from the marquis, letting him know that he was in his redoubt, and wished to know where the baron was. "Tell the marquis," replied the latter, "that I am not in mine, but will be in it in five minutes."

The abatis being removed, the troops rushed to the assault. The Chevalier de Lameth, Lafayette's adjutant-general, was the first to mount the parapet of the redoubt, and received a volley at arms' length from the Hessians who manned it. Shot through both knees, he fell back into the ditch, and was conveyed away under care of his friend, the Count de Dumas. The Count de Deuxponts, leading on the royal grenadiers of the same name, was likewise wounded.

The grenadiers of the Gatinais regiment re

* Leake's Life of John Lamb, p. 259.
† Thacher, p. 341.

N. B.-Gordon, in his history of the war, asserts that Lafayette, with the consent of Washington, ordered that, in capturing the redoubt, no quarter should be shown; in retaliation of a massacre perpetrated at Fort Griswold. It is needless to contradict a statement so opposed to the characters of both. It has been denied by both Lafayette and Hamilton. Not one of the enemy was killed unless in action.





membered the promise of De Rochambeau, and | tober, they might have arrived in time to save fought with true Gallic fire. One-third of them his lordship; but at the date of the above letter were slain, and among them Captain de Sireuil, they were still lingering in port. Delay of naval a valiant officer of chasseurs; but the regiment succor was fatal to British operations in this by its bravery on this occasion regained from war. the king its proud name of the Royal Au


Washington was an intensely excited spectator of these assaults, on the result of which so much depended. He had dismounted, given his horse to a servant, and taken his stand in the grand battery with Generals Knox and Lincoln and their staffs. The risk he ran of a chance shot, while watching the attack through an embrasure, made those about him uneasy. One of his aides-de-camp ventured to observe that the situation was very much exposed. "If you think so," replied he gravely, "you are at liberty to step back.'

Shortly afterwards a musket ball struck the cannon in the embrasure, rolled along it, and fell at his feet. General Knox grasped his arm. "My dear general," exclaimed he, "we can't spare you yet." "It is a spent ball," replied Washington quietly; "no harm is done."

When all was over and the redoubts were taken, he drew a long breath, and turning to Knox, observed, "The work is done, and well done!" Then called to his servant, "William, bring me my horse."

In his despatches he declared that in these assaults nothing could exceed the firmness and bravery of the troops. Lafayette also testified to the conduct of Colonel Hamilton, "whose well-known talents and gallantry," writes he, were on this occasion most conspicuous and serviceable." 99 k

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The redoubts thus taken were included the same night in the second parallel, and howitzers were mounted upon them the following day. The capture of them reduced Lord Cornwallis almost to despair. Writing that same day to Sir Henry Clinton, he observes, "My situation now becomes very critical; we dare not show a gun to their old batteries, and I expect that their new ones will open to-morrow morning. * * * The safety of the place is, therefore, so precarious, that I cannot recommend that the fleet and army should run great risk in endeavoring to save us, "-a generous abnegation of self on the part of the beleaguered commander. Had the fleet and army sailed, as he had been given to expect, about the 5th of Oc

Lafayette to Washington. Correspondence of the Revolution, ill. 426.

The second parallel was now nearly ready to open. Cornwallis dreaded the effect of its batteries on his almost dismantled works. To retard the danger as much as possible, he ordered an attack on two of the batteries that were in the greatest state of forwardness, their guns to be spiked. It was made a little before daybreak of the 16th by about three hundred and fifty men, under the direction of LieutenantColonel Abercrombie. He divided his forces; a detachment of guards and a company of grenadiers attacked one battery, and a corps of light-infantry the other.

The redoubts which covered the batteries were forced in gallant style, and several pieces of artillery hastily spiked. By this time the supporting troops from the trenches came up, and the enemy were obliged to retreat, leaving behind them seven or eight dead and six prisoners. The French, who had guard of this part of the trenches, had four officers and twelve privates killed or wounded, and the Americans lost one sergeant. The mischief had been done too hastily. The spikes were easily extracted, and before evening all the batteries and the parallel were nearly complete.

At this time the garrison could not show a gun on the side of the works exposed to attack, and the shells were nearly expended; the place was no longer tenable. Rather than surrender, Cornwallis determined to attempt an escape. His plan was to leave his sick and wounded and his baggage behind, cross over in the night to Gloucester Point, attack Choisy's camp before daybreak, mount his infantry on the captured cavalry horses, and on such other as could be collected on the road, push for the upper country by rapid marches until opposite the fords of the great rivers, then turn suddenly northward, force his way through Maryland, Pennsylvania, and the Jerseys, and join Sir Henry Clinton in New York.

It was a wild and daring scheme, but his situation was desperate, and the idea of surrender intolerable.

In pursuance of this design, sixteen large boats were secretly prepared; a detachment was appointed to remain and capitulate for the town's people, the sick and the wounded; a large part of the troops were transported to the

ET. 49.]



Gloucester side of the river before midnight, I cordingly, on the same day, the posts of Yorkand the second division had actually embarked, town and Gloucester were surrendered to when a violent storm of wind and rain scattered the boats, and drove them a considerable distance down the river. They were collected with difficulty. It was now too late to effect the passage of the second division before daybreak, and an effort was made to get back the division which had already crossed. It was not done until the morning was far advanced, and the troops in recrossing were exposed to the fire of the American batteries.

The hopes of Lord Cornwallis were now at an end. His works were tumbling in ruins about him, under an incessant cannonade; his garrison was reduced in numbers by sickness and death, and exhausted by constant watching and severe duty. Unwilling to expose the residue of the brave troops which had stood by him so faithfully, to the dangers and horrors of an assault which could not fail to be successful, he ordered a parley to be beaten about ten o'clock on the morning of the 17th, and despatched a flag with a letter to Washington proposing a cessation of hostilities for twenty-four hours, and that two officers might be appointed by each side to meet and settle terms for the surrender of the posts of York and Gloucester. Washington felt unwilling to grant such delay, when reinforcements might be on the way for Cornwallis from New York. In reply, therefore, he requested, that previous to the meeting of commissioners, his lordship's proposals might be sent in writing to the American lines, for which purpose a suspension of hostilities during two hours for the delivery of the letter, would be granted. This was complied with; but as the proposals offered by Cornwallis were not all admissible, Washington drew up a schedule of such terms as he would grant, and transmitted it to his lordship.

The armistice was prolonged. Commissioners met, the Viscount de Noailles and Lieutenant-Colonel Laurens on the part of the allies; Colonel Dundas and Major Ross on the part of the British. After much discussion, a rough draft was made of the terms of capitulation to be submitted to the British general. These Washington caused to be promptly transcribed, and sent to Lord Cornwallis early in the morning of the 19th, with a note expressing his expectation that they would be signed by eleven o'clock, and that the garrison would be ready to march out by two o'clock in the afternoon. Lord Cornwallis was fain to comply, and, ac

General Washington as commander-in-chief of the combined army; and the ships of war, transports, and other vessels, to the Count de Grasse, as commander of the French fleet. The garrison of Yorktown and Gloucester, including the officers of the navy and seamen of every denomination, were to surrender as prisoners of war to the combined army; the land force to remain prisoners to the United States, the seamen to the King of France.

The garrison was to be allowed the same honors granted to the garrison of Charleston when it surrendered to Sir Henry Clinton. The officers were to retain their side arms; both officers and soldiers their private property, and no part of their baggage or papers was to be subject to search or inspection. The soldiers were to be kept in Virginia, Maryland, or Pennsylvania, as much by regiments as possible, and supplied with the same rations of provisions as the American soldiers. The officers were to be permitted to proceed, upon parole, to Europe or to any maritime port on the continent of America, in possession of British troops. The Bonetta sloop-of-war was to be at the disposal of Lord Cornwallis; to convey an aide-de-camp, with despatches to Sir Henry Clinton, with such soldiers as he might think proper to send to New York, and was to sail without examination. (We will here observe that in this vessel, thus protected from scrutiny, a number of royalists, whose conduct had rendered them peculiarly odious to their countrymen, privately took their departure.)

It was arranged in the allied camp that General Lincoln should receive the submission of the royal army, precisely in the manner in which the submission of his own army had been received on the surrender of Charleston. An eye-witness has given us a graphic description of the ceremony.


The number of prisoners made by the above capitand file; six commissioned, and twenty-eight nonulation amounted to 7,078, of whom 5,950 were rank commissioned officers, and privates, had previously been captured in the two redoubts, or in the sortie of the garrison. The loss sustained by the garrison during the siege, in killed, wounded, and missing, amounted to 552. That of the combined army in Cornwallis surrendered, was estimated at 16,000, of killed was about 800. The combined army to which whom 7,000 were French, 5,500 Continentals, and 8,500 militia.-Holmes's Annals, vol. ii., p. 333.

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