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November. But lie finally agreed to continue in the Chesapeake -until the operation against lord Corn wail is should be decided. .After Which the company returned.

All the Americans and French troops formed a junction at Wiiiiamsburgh, The umrquis de la Fayette had. been joined by -3O0Q under St. Simon some days before the 2jtb of September. T he whole regular force thus collected amounted to between 11 and 12,000 men. The ruiiiiia of Virginia vv ore also called out to service, and were commanded by gov. Nelson. O.i the 27th, Washington gave out in general orders—" If the enemy would be tempted to meet the army cn its march, the genera! particularly enjoins the troops to place their principal reliance oa the bavonet, that they .may prove Ihe vanity of the boast which lite British make «f. their peculiar prowess in deciding battles with that weapon." 3'j*e next morning the army marched, and halted about two miles from York-Town just before sunrSet. The officers and soldiers •vere ordered to lie on their arms the whole night. On the 30:h, col. Scammell {being officer of the day) in approaching theene• inys's outer works, to sec if they, had really left ihem, was mortaJ*y wounded and taken prisoner by a party of the enemy's horse, [which lay secreted. This day lord CornwaKis was closely invested in York-Tows. The French extended from the river above the town to a morass in the centre* where they were met by the Americans, who occupied the opposite side from the river to that spot..- The post at Gloucester Point was, at the same time, invested by the duke de Lauzun with his legion, and a number of - Virginia militia under.gen. Weedon. i t«efore the troops left Williamsburgb, Washington received a letter from de Grasse, informing him, that in case of the appearance of a British fleet, the count conceived it to be his duty to go put and meet them at sea, instead of lighting in a confined situation. This information exceedingly alarmed the general, who instantly saw the propabiiity of the British fleet's manoeuvring in, such manner, as to reinforce or withdraw lard Cornwall's. To prevent a measure-pregnant with so much evil, Lis excellency •wrote to the count on the 26th—" I am unable to. describe the painful anxiety under which I have labored, since the.reception . at your letter of the 23d instant. It obliges me warmly to uige.a .perseverance in the plan agreed upon. The attempt upon York, under the protection of your shipping, is as certain or success as a Superior force and a superiority of measures can. esnder.any milijta.iy operation. The capture of the British army is a matter so important in itself and in its consequences, that it must greatly tend to bring an end to the war.—If your excellency .quits the bay, -Sf.QX..Hl. II a an

an access is open to relieve York, of which the enemy will instantly avail themselves. The consequence of this will be, not only the disgrace, but the probable disbanding of the whole array}, for the present seat of war being such, as absolutely precludes theme of waggons, from the great number of large rivers which intersect the country, there will be a total want of provisions. This province has-been so exhausted, that subsistence must be drawa irom a distance, and that can only be done by a.superior fleet in the bay. I earnestly beg your excellency to consider, that if by: moving your fleet from the situation agreed upon, we lose the prcr sent opportunity, we shall never hereafter have it in our power to strike so decisive a stroke, and the period of an honorablepeace will be further distant that ever.. Supposing the force, said toftave arrived under adm, Digby, to be true, their whole force Ur nited cannot be such as to give them any hope of success in die attacking your fleet.—I am to press your excellency to persevere in the scheme so happily concerted between us. Permit me tQ add, that the absence of your fleet from the bay may frustrate our design upon the garrison at York. For, in the present situation^ lord Cornwallis-might evacuate the place with the loss of his as-» tillery, baggage and a few men—sacrifices-, which would be high* iy justifiable, from the desire of saving the body of the army. The marquis de la Fayette carries this. He is not to pass the Cape for fear of accident, in case you should be at sea." This letter, with the marquises persuasions, had the desired effect;, and the same hour when the-combined army appeared before York-Town> the French fleet was brought to the mouth of York-River, and by their position effectually covered all subsequent military opeistr tions, and prevented either the retreat or. succor of lord Cora* wallis's army by water. The posts of York and Gloucester were the most favorable of any in the country for besieging the British* and preventing their escape, when the siege was supported-b.y a superior land and naval force. >- • ■„■•»*.

Lord Comwallis was sufficiently strong for fighting the marqui* de la Fayette, even after he had been joined by St. Simon ; and5s thought to have been mistaken in not engaging them either separately or together. The moment he heard that the allied troops were at the head of Elk, and that de Grasse was-arrived with so powerful a fleet at the Chesapeake,his lordship should have pushed off for Charleston. Therefore it was that gen. Greene wrotet© Baron Steuben on the nth—" Nothing can save Comwallis but a rapid retreat through North-Carolina to Charleston." Jiis lordship's conduct was influenced by an expectation of a reinforce.flaent from Sir Henry Clinton, and a full persuasion that these.


^exertions would be made at New-York, and such a naval strength would arrive from thence in time, as would effectually relieve -ilim. This may be gathered from his writing on the 16th—" If ■i'had no hopes of relief, I would rather risk an action than de-fend my half finished works. But as you say admiral Digby is hourly expected, and have promised exertions to assist me, I do *iot think myself justifiable inputting the fate of the war upon so •desperate an attempt." He must have meant that of fighting Fayv *tte and St. Simon, for the troops of Washington and .Rochambeau did not arrive till afterward. '.Fayette had taken a strong position; but the attempt would not have appeared so desperate to his lordship, had he known the real .number of the enemy. ■f The trenches were opened by the combined armies on the 6tfc ■of October, at 600 yards distance from Cornwailis's works. The ■night being dark and rainy, was well adapted to the service, in which there was not a man hurt. In the afternoon of the 9th, the redoubts and batteries being completed, a, general discharge <if 24 and 18 pounders and of 10 inch mortars, commenced by -the Americans on the right, .and continued all night without inPermission. The next morning the. French opened their batteries --on the left, and a tremendous.roar of cannon and mortars was '.continued for six or eight hours without.ceasing. There was an -incessant fire through the succeeding night. By one of the •French shells, the Charon of-44 guns and a transport ship, were •■set on fire and burnt. The following morning [Uth] the enemy's •vother guard-ship was fired by one of the American shells, and <onsumed. At night the besiegers opened their second parallel, -S0O yards from the works of the besieged. The Americans had ".3men killed and 1 wounded, by a French cannon which fued -too low. On the 14th in the evening, an American battalion was ordered into the second.parallel, -and to begin a.large battery in advance on the right. A few minutes before they began to break .ground, the enemy kept a constant fire upon them; .one of their .shells burst in the centre of the battalion, and killed a captain -and one private, and wounded a second. The fire of the besieged was very great through the night; and it was thought •that the besiegers lost as many men within 24 hours atthispc■a-iod, as they had done nearly the whole siege before. *•'• Two redoubts, which were advanced about 200 yards on the .left of the British, greatly impeded the progress of the combined -armies. An attack on these was therefore proposed. To excite -* spirit of emulation, the reduction of the one was committed to -the French., of the other to the Americans.- The light-infantry of -'the latter were commanded by the marquis de la Fayette; aed


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the service was alotted to a select corps. The marquis sard to gen. Washington—" The troops should retaliate on the British, for the cruelties they have practised." The general answered-* <l You,have full command, and may order as you please," The marquis ordered the party to remember New-London, and to retaliate by putting the men in the redoubt to the sword after .having carried it. The men marched to the assault with unloaded arms, at dark on the night of the 14th, passed the abbatis and pallisades, and attacking on all sides, carried the redoubt in s few minutes, with the loss of 8- killed and 28. wounded.* Licutcol. Laurens personally took the commanding officer. The coio^ nel's humanity and that of the Americans, so overcame their rei: sentments, that they spared the British. When bringing them off as prisoners, they said among themselves—Why! how is thist* We were ordered to put them to death." Being asked by orhe» why they had not done it, they answered—" We could not when they begged and cried so upon their knees for their lives." 4* bout five of the enemy were killed, and I major, 1 captain, 1 ensign and 20 privates captured. Col. Hamilton, who conducted the enterprise with much address and intrepidity, in his report to the marquis, mentioned, to the honor of his detachment, *' that, incapable of imitating examples of barbarity, and forgetting recent provocations, they spared every man that ceased to resist." The French were equally successful on- their side. They carried the redoubt committed to them, with rapidity, but lost a considerable number of men. These two works being taken into the second parallel, facilitated the subsequent operations. . The British were so weakened by the rite of the combined armies, but chiefly by sickness, that lord Cornwallis could not venture any considerable number in the making of sallies. The^piieV sent emergency however was such, that a little before day-break, of the morning of the J 6th, he ordered a sortie of about 400 men, under lieut. col. Abercrombie, to attack two hatteries which ap-l peared to be in the greatest forwardness, and to spike the g'.ir.s. Two detachments were appointed to the service; and bothat*. tacks were made with such impetuosity, that the redoubts whkbr covered the batteries were forced, and eleven pices of cannon spiked. The French troops, who had the guard of'that partref. the entrenchment, suffered considerably. This successful actionr <lid honor to the officers and troops engaged, but produced

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;*-Major Gibbi, the commander of the men that formed the guards for^

Washington's perfon, received a fmall contulion in hi« leg, by a grape ffiot

Hi« manufcripts of the (ranl'actioDs before, at, and after the G*ge, are oftti"

wild iu this narrative.

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no essential benefit. The cannon, being hastily spiked, were soon rendered again, serviceable ; and the combined forces were so industrions, that they finished their batteries, opened them about 4, ©'clock in the afternoon, and fired briskly. Their several batteries were now covered with near 100 pieces of heavy ordnance; and the British works were so destroyed, that they could scarcely show a single gun. .... Thus was Lord Cornwallis reduced to the necessity ofpreparihg for a surrender, or of attempting an escape. He determined upon the latter. Boats were prepared under different pretexts, for the reception of the troops by ten at night, in order to pass them over to Gloucester Point- The arrangements were made with the utmost secrecy. The intention was to abandon the baggage, and to leave a detachment behind to capitulate for the towns people, and for the sick and wounded, his lordship having already prepared a letter on the subject, to be delivered to gen. Washington after his departure.. The first embarkation had arrived at Glooeester Point, and the greater part of the troops were already landed, when the weather, which was before moderate and calm, instantly changed to a most violent storm of wind and rain. The boats with the remaining troops were all driven down the river, a-nd the design of passing was not only entirely frustrated, but the absence of'the boats rendered it impossible to bring back the troops from Gloucester. Thus weakened and divided, the army was in the most imminent danger. The boats however returned: and the troops were brought back without much loss in the course of -the forenoon.

Matters were now hastening to a crisis, which could not be longer averted. The British works were sinking under the weight of the American and French artillery. The continuance of the allied fire, Only for a few more hours, would reduce them to such a condition that it would be rashness to attempt their defence.— The time for-expecting relief from New-York was elapsed. The strength and spirits of the royal troops were worn down by constant watching, and unremitting fatigue. Lord Cornwallis therefote-sent out a flag at ten o'clock in the morning of the 17th with a letter to general Washington, requesting a cessation of aims for twenty-four hours, and that commissioners might be ap-. pointe-d for digesting the terms of capitulation. An answer was given-; and a replv forwarded in the afternoon; to which gen. Washington rejoined the next day, declaring the general basis on Which the capitulation might take place: Commissioners were appointed—on the sideof the allies Viscount de Noaiile/andlieut. col. Laurens, whose father was in close confinement at the tow.. , cr,

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