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places of security as you may think proper. | ceed to narrate the eventful campaign in the General Howe, having sent no part of his force Jerseys. to Jersey yet, makes the measure more necessary, as he may turn his views another way, and attempt their destruction."

It was evidently Washington's desire that Lee should post himself, as soon as possible, beyond the Croton, where he would be safe from surprise, and at hand to throw his troops promptly across the Hudson, should the Jerseys be invaded.

Having made all these surveys and arrangements, Washington placed Heath in the general command of the Highlands, with written instructions to fortify the passes with all possible despatch, and directions how the troops were to be distributed on both sides of the river; and here we take occasion to give some personal notice of this trusty officer.

Heath was now in the fortieth year of his age. Like many of the noted officers of the Revolution, he had been brought up in rural life, on an hereditary farm near Boston; yet, according to his own account, though passionately fond of agricultural pursuits, he had, also, almost from childhood, a great relish for military affairs, and had studied every treatise on the subject in the English language, so that he considered himself "fully acquainted with the theory of war, in all its branches and duties, from the private soldier to the commander-inchief."

He describes himself to be of middling stature, light complexion, very corpulent, and baldheaded, so that the French officers who served in America, compared him, in person, to the Marquis of Granby.*

Such was the officer intrusted with the command of the Highland passes, and encamped at Peekskill, their portal. We shall find him faithful to his trust; scrupulous in obeying the letter of his instructions; but sturdy and punctilious in resisting any undue assumption of authority.


DURING his brief and busy sojourn at Peckskill, Washington received important intelligence from the Northern army; especially that part of it on Lake Champlain, under the command of General Gates. A slight retrospect of affairs in that quarter is proper, before we pro

Heath's Memoirs..

The preparations for the defence of Ticonderoga, and the nautical service on the lake, had met with difficulties at every step. At length, by the middle of August, a small flotilla was completed, composed of a sloop and schooner, each of twelve guns (six and four-pounders), two schooners mounting eight guns each, and five gondolas, each of three guns. The flotilla was subsequently augmented, and the command given by Gates to Arnold, in compliance with the advice of Washington; who had a high opinion of that officer's energy, intrepidity, and fertility in expedients.

Sir Guy Carleton, in the mean time, was straining every nerve for the approaching conflict. The successes of the British forces on the seaboard, had excited the zealous rivalry of the forces in Canada. The commanders, newly arrived, were fearful the war might be brought to a close, before they could have an opportunity to share in the glory. Hence the ardor with which they encountered and vanquished obstacles which might otherwise have appeared insuperable. Vessels were brought from England in pieces, and put together at St. Johns; boats of various kinds and sizes were transported over land, or dragged up the rapids of the Sorel. The soldiers shared with the seamen in the toil. The Canadian farmers, also, were taken from their agricultural pursuits, and compelled to aid in these, to them, unprofitable labors. Sir Guy was full of hope and ardor. Should he get the command of Lakes Champlain and George, the northern part of New York would be at his merey; before winter set in he might gain possession of Albany. He would then be able to co-operate with General Howe in severing and subduing the northern and southern provinces, and bringing the we to a speedy and triumphant close.

In despite of every exertion, three months elapsed before his armament was completed. Winter was fast approaching. Before it arrived, the success of his brilliant plan required that he should fight his way across Lake Champlain; carry the strong posts of Crown Point and Ticonderoga; traverse Lake George, and pursue a long and dangerous march through a wild and rugged country, beset with forests and morasses, to Albany. That was the first post to the southward where he expected to find rest and winter quarters for his troops.*

* Civil War in America, vol. i., p. 212

ET. 44.]



By the month of October, between twenty | line. In so doing, the Royal Savage ran aground. and thirty sail were afloat and ready for action. Her crew set her on fire, and abandoned her. The flag-ship (the Inflexible) mounted eighteen In about an hour the British brought all their twelve-pounders; the rest were gunboats, a gunboats in a range across the lower channel, gondola, and a flat-bottomed vessel called a ra- within musket-shot of the Americans, the deau, and named the Thunderer; carrying a schooner Carleton in the advance. They landbattery of six twenty-four and twelve six- | ed, also, a large number of Indians on the island, pounders, besides howitzers. The gunboats to keep up a galling fire from the shore upon mounted brass field-pieces and howitzers. Seven the Americans with their rifles. The action hundred seamen navigated the fleet; two hun- now became general, and was severe and sandred of them were volunteers from the trans-guinary. The Americans, finding themselves ports. The guns were worked by detachments thus hemmed in by a superior force, fought with from the corps of artillery. In a word, accord- desperation. Arnold pressed with his galley ing to British accounts, "no equipment of the into the hottest of the fight. The Congress kind was ever better appointed, or more amply was hulled several times, received seven shots furnished with every kind of provision neces- between wind and water, was shattered in sary for the intended service." * mast and rigging, and many of the crew were killed and wounded. The ardor of Arnold increased with his danger. He cheered on his men by voice and example, often pointing the guns with his own hands. He was ably second

Captain Pringle conducted the armament, but Sir Guy Carleton was too full of zeal, and too anxious for the event, not to head the enterprise; he accordingly took his station on the deck of the flag-ship. They made sail early ined by Brigadier-General Waterbury, in the October, in quest of the American squadron, which was said to be abroad, upon the lake. Arnold, however, being ignorant of the strength of the enemy, and unwilling to encounter a superior force in the open lake, had taken his post under cover of Valcour Island, in the upper part of a deep channel, or strait, between that island and the mainland. His force consisted of three schooners, two sloops, three galleys, and eight gondolas; carrying in all seventy guns, many of them eighteen-pounders.

The British ships, sweeping past Cumberland Head with a fair wind and flowing sail on the morning of the 11th, had left the southern end of Valcour Island astern, when they discovered Arnold's flotilla anchored behind it, in a line extending across the strait, so as not to be outflanked. They immediately hauled close to the wind, and tried to beat up into the channel. The wind, however, did not permit the largest of them to enter. Arnold took advantage of the circumstance. He was on board of the galley Congress, and leaving the line, advanced with two other galleys and the schooner Royal Savage, to attack the smaller vessels as they entered, before the large ones could come up. About twelve o'clock the enemy's schooner Carleton opened a brisk fire upon the Royal Savage and the galleys. It was as briskly returned. Seeing the enemy's gunboats approaching, the Americans endeavored to return to the

*Civil War in America, i. 211.

Washington galley, which, like his own vessel, was terribly cut up. The contest lasted throughout the day. Carried on as it was within a narrow compass, and on a tranquil lake, almost every shot took effect. The fire of the Indians from the shore was less deadly than had been expected; but their whoops and yells, mingling with the rattling of the musketry, and the thundering of the cannon, increased the horrors of the scene. Volumes of smoke rose above the woody shores, which echoed with the unusual din of war, and for a time this lovely recess of a beautiful and peaceful lake was rendered a perfect pandemonium.

The evening drew nigh, yet the contest was undecided. Captain Pringle, after a consultation with Sir Guy Carleton, called off the smaller vessels which had been engaged, and anchored his whole squadron in a line as near as possible to the Americans, so as to prevent their escape; trusting to capture the whole of them when the wind should prove favorable, so that he could bring his large vessels into action.

Arnold, however, sensible that with his inferior and crippled force all resistance would be unavailing, took advantage of a dark, cloudy night, and a strong north wind; his vessels slipped silently through the enemy's line without being discovered, one following a light on the stern of the other; and by daylight they were out of sight. They had to anchor, however, at Schuyler's Island, about ten miles up the lake, to stop leaks and make repairs. Two





The loss of the Americans in these two actions is said to have been between eighty and ninety men; that of the British about forty. It is worthy of mention, that among the young officers in Sir Guy Carleton's squadron, was Edward Pellew, who afterwards rose to renown as Admiral Viscount Exmouth; celebrated, among other things, for his victory at Algiers.

of the gondolas were here sunk, being past | barking in the vessels, made sail for Ticonremedy. About noon the retreat was resumed, deroga. but the wind had become adverse; and they made little progress, Arnold's galley, the Congress, the Washington galley, and four gondolas, all which had suffered severely in the late fight, fell astern of the rest of the squadron in the course of the night. In the morning, when the sun lifted a fog which had covered the lake, they beheld the enemy within a few miles of them in full chase, while their own comrades were nearly out of sight, making the best of their way for Crown Point.

It was now an anxious trial of speed and seamanship. Arnold, with the crippled relics of his squadron, managed by noon to get within a few leagues of Crown Point, when they were overtaken by the Inflexible, the Carleton, and the schooner Maria of 14 guns. As soon as they came up, they poured in a tremendous fire. The Washington galley, already shattered, and having lost most of her officers, was compelled to strike, and General Waterbury and the crew were taken prisoners. Arnold had now to bear the brunt of the action. For a long time he was engaged within musket-shot with the Inflexible, and the two schooners, until his galley was reduced to a wreck, and onethird of the crew were killed. The gondolas were nearly in the same desperate condition; yet the men stood stoutly to their guns. Seeing resistance vain, Arnold determined that neither vessels nor crew should fall into the hands of the enemy. He ordered the gondolas to run on shore, in a small creek in the neighborhood, the men to set fire to them as soon as they grounded, to wade on shore with their muskets, and keep off the enemy until they were consumed. He did the same with his own galley; remaining on board of her until she was in flames, lest the enemy should get possession and strike his flag, which was kept flying to the last.

He now set off with his gallant crew, many of whom were wounded, by a road through the woods to Crown Point, where he arrived at night, narrowly escaping an Indian ambush. Two schooners, two galleys, one sloop and one gondola, the remnant which had escaped of this squadron, were at anchor at the Point, and General Waterbury and most of his men arrived there the next day on parole. Seeing that the place must soon fall into the hands of the enemy, they set fire to the houses, destroyed every thing they could not carry away, and em

The conduct of Arnold in these naval affairs gained him new laurels. He was extolled for the judgment with which he chose his position, and brought his vessels into action; for his masterly retreat, and for the self-sacrificing devotion with which he exposed himself to the overwhelming force of the enemy in covering the retreat of part of his flotilla.

Sir Guy Carleton took possession of the ruined works at Crown Point, where he was soon joined by the army. He made several movements by land and water, as if meditating an attack upon Ticonderoga; pushing strong detachments on both sides of the lake, which approached within a small distance of the fort, while one vessel appeared within cannon-shot of a lower battery, sounding the depth of the channel, until a few shot obliged her to retire. General Gates, in the mean time, strengthened his works with incessant assiduity, and made every preparation for an obstinate defence. A strong easterly wind prevented the enemy's ships from advancing to attack the lines, and gave time for the arrival of reinforcements of militia to the garrison. It also afforded time for Sir Guy Carleton to cool in ardor, and calculate the chances and the value of success. The post, from its strength, and the apparent number and resolution of the garrison, could not be taken without great loss of life. If taken, the season was now too far advanced to think of passing Lake George, and exposing the army to the perils of a winter campaign in the inhospitable and impracticable wilds to the southward. Ticonderoga, too, could not be kept during the winter, so that the only result of the capture would be the reduction of the works and the taking of some cannon; all which damage the Americans could remedy before the opening of the summer campaign. If, however, the defence should be obstinate, the British army, even if successful, might sustain a loss sufficient to cripple its operations in the coming year.*

* Civil War in America, vol. i., p. 214.


ET. 44.]



Colonel Reed was of opposite counsels; but then he was personally interested in the safety of the garrison. It was composed almost entirely of Pennsylvania troops under Magaw and Lambert Cadwalader; excepting a small de

These, and other prudential reasons, induced Carleton to give up all attempt upon the fortress at present; wherefore, re-embarking his troops, he returned to St. Johns, and cantoned them in Canada for the winter. It was not until about the 1st of November, that a reconnoi-tachment of Maryland riflemen commanded by tring party, sent out from Ticonderoga by General Gates, brought him back intelligence that Crown Point was abandoned by the enemy, and not a hostile sail in sight. All apprehensions of an attack upon Ticonderoga during the present year were at an end, and many of the troops stationed there were already on their march toward Albany.

Such was the purport of the news from the north, received by Washington at Peekskill. It relieved him for the present from all anxiety respecting affairs on Lake Champlain, and gave him the prospect of reinforcements from that quarter.


On the morning of the 12th of November, Washington crossed the Hudson, to the ferry below Stony Point, with the residue of the troops destined for the Jerseys. Far below were to be descried the Phoenix, the Roebuck, and the Tartar, at anchor in the broad waters of Haverstraw Bay and the Tappan Sea, guarding the lower ferries. The army, thus shut out from the nearer passes, was slowly winding its way by a circuitous route through the gap in the mountains, which Lord Stirling had secured. Leaving the troops which had just landed, to pursue the same route to the Hackensack, Washington, accompanied by Colonel Reed, struck a direct course for Fort Lee, being anxious about affairs at Fort Washington. He arrived there on the following day, and found, to his disappointment, that General Greene had taken no measures for the evacuation of that fortress; but, on the contrary, had reinforced it with a part of Colonel Durkee's regiment, and the regiment of Colonel Rawlings, so that its garrison now numbered upwards of two thousand men; a great part, however, were militia. Washington's orders for its evacuation had, in fact, been discretionary, leaving the execution of them to Greene's judgment, as being on the spot." The latter had differed in opinion as to the policy of such a measure; and Colonel Magaw, who had charge of the fortress, was likewise confident it might be maintained.

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Otho H. Williams. They were his friends and neighbors, the remnant of the brave men who had suffered so severely under Atlee and Smallwood.* The fort was now invested on all sides but one; and the troops under Howe which had been encamped at Dobbs' Ferry, were said to be moving down toward it. Reed's solicitude was not shared by the garrison itself. Colonel Magaw, its brave commander, still thought it was in no immediate danger.

Washington was much perplexed. The main object of Howe was still a matter of doubt with him. He could not think that Sir William was moving his whole force upon that fortress, to invest which, a part would be sufficient. He suspected an ulterior object, probably a Southern expedition, as he was told a large number of ships were taking in wood and water at New York. He resolved, therefore, to continue a few days in this neighborhood, during which he trusted the designs of the enemy would be more apparent; in the mean time he would distribute troops at Brunswick, Amboy, Elizabethtown, and Fort Lee, so as to be ready at these various points, to check any incursions into the Jerseys.

In a letter to the President of Congress, he urged for an increase of ordnance and fieldartillery. The rough, hilly country east of the Hudson, and the strongholds and fastnesses of which the Americans had possessed themselves, had prevented the enemy from profiting by the superiority of their artillery; but this would not be the case, should the scene of action change to an open champaign country, like the Jerseys.

Washington was mistaken in his conjecture as to Sir William Howe's design. The capture of Fort Washington was, at present, his main object; and he was encamped on Fordham Heights, not far from King's Bridge, until preliminary steps should be taken. In the night of the 14th, thirty flat-bottomed boats stole quietly up the Hudson, passed the American forts undiscovered, and made their way through Spyt den Duivel Creek into Harlem River. The means were thus provided for crossing that

* W. B. Reed's Life of Reed, i. 252.



FORT WASHINGTON SUMMONED TO SURRENDER-ATTACK ON THE FORT. [1776. river and landing before unprotected parts of | hausen, who was encamped on the York side the American works.

On the 15th, General Howe sent in a summons to surrender, with a threat of extremities should he have to carry the place by assault. Magaw, in his reply, intimated a doubt that General Howe would execute a threat" so unworthy of himself and the British nation; but give me leave," added he, "to assure his Excellency, that, actuated by the. most glorious cause that mankind ever fought in, I am determined to defend this post to the very last extremity."

of King's Bridge, within cannon-shot of Fort Washington, but separated from it by high and rough hills, covered with almost impenetrable woods. He was to advance in two columns, formed by detachments made from the Hessians of his corps, the brigade of Rahl, and the regiment of Waldeckers. The second attack was to be by two battalions of light infantry, and two battalions of guards, under Brigadier-General Mathew, who was to cross Harlem River in flat-boats, under cover of the redoubts above mentioned, and to land on the right of the fort. This attack was to be supported by the first and second grenadiers, and a regiment of light infantry under command of Lord Cornwallis. The third attack, intended as a feint to distract the attention of the Americans, was to be by Colonel Sterling, with the forty-second regiment, who was to drop down the Harlem River

Apprised by the Colonel of his peril, General Greene sent over reinforcements, with an exhortation to him to persist in his defence; and despatched an express to Washington, who was at Hackensack, where the troops which had crossed from Peekskill were encamped. It was nightfall when Washington arrived at Fort Lee. Greene and Putnam were over at the be-in bateaux, to the left of the American lines, sieged fortress. He threw himself into a boat, and had partly crossed the river, when he met those generals returning. They informed him of the garrison's having been reinforced, and assured him that it was in high spirits, and capable of making a good defence. It was with difficulty, however, they could prevail on him to return with them to the Jersey shore, for he was excessively excited.

Early the next morning (16th), Magaw made his dispositions for the expected attack. His forces, with the recent additions, amounted to nearly three thousand men. As the fort could not contain above a third of that number, most of them were stationed about the outworks.

Colonel Lambert Cadwalader, with eight hundred Pennsylvanians, was posted in the outer lines, about two miles and a half south of the fort, the side menaced by Lord Percy with sixteen hundred men. Colonel Rawlings, of Maryland, with a body of troops, many of them riflemen, was stationed by a three-gun battery, on a rocky, precipitous hill, north of the fort, and between it and Spyt den Duivel Creek. Colonel Baxter, of Bucks County, Pennsylvania, with his regiment of militia, was posted east of the fort, on rough, woody heights, bordering the Harlem River, to watch the motions of the enemy, who had thrown up redoubts on high and commanding ground, on the opposite side of the river, apparently to cover the crossing and landing of troops.

Sir William Howe had planned four simultaneous attacks; one on the north by Knyp

facing New York. The fourth attack was to be on the south, by Lord Percy, with the English and Hessian troops under his command, on the right flank of the American intrenchments.*

About noon, a heavy cannonade thundering along the rocky hills, and sharp volleys of musketry, proclaimed that the action was commenced. Knyphausen's division was pushing on from the north in two columns, as had been arranged. The right was led by Colonel Rahl, the left by himself. Rahl essayed to mount a steep, broken height, called Cock Hill, which rises from Spyt den Duivel Creek, and was covered with woods. Knyphausen undertook a hill rising from the King's Bridge road, but soon found himself entangled in a woody defile, difficult to penetrate, and where his Hessians were exposed to the fire of the three-gun battery, and Rawlings' riflemen.

While this was going on at the north of the fort, General Mathew, with his light infantry and guards, crossed the Harlem River in the flat-boats, under cover of a heavy fire from the redoubts.

He made good his landing, after being severely handled by Baxter and his men, from behind rocks and trees, and the breast works thrown up on the steep river bank. A short contest ensued. Baxter, while bravely encouraging his men, was killed by a British officer. His troops, overpowered by numbers, retreated to

* Sir William Howe to Lord George Germaine.

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