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the center, or take a more circuitous course, Chap.vil and enter a road leading from Jamaica to 1776. Bedford. These several roads unite between Bedford and Brooklyn a small distance in front of the American lines.
On the direct road fromFlatbush to Brooklyn, and very near the former place, the Americans had constructed in the hills, a strong redoubt in which were mounted some few pieces of artillery, and it was defended by a body of troops deemed sufficient for the purpose. The coast, and Bedford roads were guarded by detachments posted on the hills, within view of the British camp, which were relieved daily, and directions had been given to throw obstructions in the way, which might embarrass the enemy when advancing. The convention of New York had ordered general Woodhull with the militia of Long island to take post on the high grounds, as near the enemy as possible; but he was yet at Jamaica, and seemed scarcely to suppose himself under the control of the regular officer, commanding on the island. Light parties of volunteers were directed to patrol on the road from Jamaica to Bedford, about two miles from which, and near Flatbush, colonel Miles of Pennsylvania was stationed with a regiment of riflemen.
On the 26th, colonel Lutz of the Pennsylvania militia, commanded on the coast road; and colonel Williams from New England, on
Chap. To the road from Flatbush to Bedford. Colonel 1776. Miles with his regiment of riflemen, still remained on the ground where he had originally been placed.
About nine o'clock at night, general ClmtOB silently drew off the van of the army, consisting of the light-infantry, grenadiers, light-horse, reserve under lord Cornwallia, and some other corps, with fourteen field-pieces, from Flatland, across the country, through that part which is called the New Lotts, in order to seize a pass in the heights about three miles east of Bedford, on the Jamaica road. Arriving entirely undisJ"1?*7- covered, about two hours before daybreak, within half a mile of the pass, he halted in order to make his dispositions for taking possession of it. Here, his patrols fell in with and captured, without giving any alarm, one of the American parties, which had been stationed on this road for the purpose of giving notice of the first approach of the enemy in that quarter. Learning from his prisoners that the pass was unoccupied, general Clinton immediately seized it; and on the appearance of day, the whole column passed the heights and advanced into the level country between them and Brooklyn. They were immediately followed by another column under lord Percy.TM
'" General Howe's letter.
General Grant advanced along the coast at Chap.vil the head of the left wing of the British with 1776. ten pieces of cannon. As his first object was to draw the attention of the Americans from their left, he moved slowly, skirmishing as he advanced with the light parties stationed on that road." «
The suspicions of general Putnam having been very much directed towards the route along the coast, this movement of general Grant was soon discovered and communicated to him. It having been determined that the passes through the hills were to be very seriously contested, re-enforcements were immediately ordered out to the assistance of the parties which had been advanced in front; and, as the enemy continued to gain ground, still stronger detachments were employed in this service. About three o'clock in the morning, brigadier general lord Sterling was directed, with the two nearest regiments, to meet the enemy on the road leading from the Narrows. Major general Sullivan, who commanded all the troops without the lines, proceeded with a very considerable body of New Englanders on the road leading directly to Flatbush, and another detachment occupied the heights between that place and Bedford.
"General Home's letter. VOL. II. 3 L
Chap. Vii. About break of day, lord Sterling reached 1776. the summit of the hills, where he was joined by the troops which had been already engaged and' were retiring slowly before the enemy, who almost immediately appeared in sight. Having posted his men advantageously, a warm cannonade was commenced on both sides, which continued for several hours; and some sharp, but not very close skirmishing took place between the infantry. Lord Sterling being only anxious to defend the pass he guarded, could not descend in force from the heights; and general Grant did not wish to drive him from them, until that part of the plan which had been intrusted to sir Henry Clinton, should be executed.
In the centre, general De Heister, soon
after daylight, began to cannonade the troops under general Sullivan; but did not move from his ground at Flatbush, until the British right had approached the left and rear of the American line. In the mean time, in order the more effectually to draw their attention from the point where the grand attack was intended, the fleet w7as put in motion, and a very heavy cannonade commenced, and kept up on the battery at Red hook.
About half past eight o'clock, the British right having then reached Bedford, in the rear of Sullivan's left, general De Heister ordered colonel Donop's corps to advance to the attack
of the hill, following himself with the centre Chap. Vh. of the army. The approach of Clinton was 1774. now discovered by the American left, which immediately endeavoured to regain the camp at Brooklyn. They were retiring from the woods by regiments, with their cannon, when they encountered the front of the British, consisting of the light infantry and light dragoons, who were soon supported by the guards. About the same time, the Hessians advanced from Flatbush, against that part of the detachment which occupied the direct road to Brooklyn." Here general Sullivan commanded in person; but he found it extremely difficult to keep his troops together, even long enough to sustain the first attack. The firing heard towards Bedford had disclosed to them the alarming fact, that the British had turned their left flank, and were getting completely into their rear. Perceiving at once the full danger of their situation, they sought to escape it by regaining the camp with the utmost possible celerity. The sudden route of this party enabled De Heister to detach a part of his force' against those who were engaged near Bedford. In that quarter too, the Americans were broken and driven back into the woods, and the front of the column led by general Clinton, continuing to move forward, intercepted and engaged
• General Howe's letter.