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FRENCH DEMANDS; CONDITION OF THE ARMY.

173

tempted to obtain for Spain the con- Moreover, a British fleet supported cession of the Floridas and exclusive the British army and gave them every right to navigate the Mississippi, means for concentrating their forces while for France he sought the New- at a given point before the American foundland fisheries. The debates in army could march to meet them. This Congress regarding these matters was particularly true with regard to were long and often angry, for the the movements of the two armies in terms offered by the French court the Highlands of New York. At were unreasonable and conflicted with various times divisions of both the interests of the various States. armies were posted on each side of That which one State or one section the Hudson; the British could cross was willing to concede as being of no directly over the river and unite their importance, the other considered forces in any particular enterprise, vital. The South would not listen to while the Americans could not safely anything but the free navigation of cross unless they made a wide circuit the Mississippi, while the New Eng- to avoid the British shipping. land States, particularly. Massachu- Washington considered the presersetts, refused to consider any terms vation of West Point and its dependwhich surrendered the right to the encies of the utmost importance, and Newfoundland fisheries. Eventually, to make their security certain he was however, a compromise was reached compelled to refuse applications of by which Florida was given to Spain, neighboring States for troops to debut no decision was reached upon fend local points. He realized that other matters. Upon one point all if his force were subdivided into were decided that the war should small detachments, the enemy could be maintained until independence had easily cut these detachments off and been established.*

destroy his entire army, piece by Meanwhile, because of deficiency of piece. On June 1, 1779, Clinton adprovisions and equipment, Washing- vanced up the Hudson for the purton could not undertake anything of a pose of attacking the American works decisive character. The army num- at Stony Point, on the west side of the bered only about 13,000 troops, while river, and Verplanck's point opthe British numbered between 16,000 posite. The Americans had not yet and 17,000 and were strongly fortified completed the fortifications at West in New York and Rhode Island. Point, and upon the British advance

were compelled to abandon them. See Pitkin, Political and Civil History of the

As a result, Fort Lafayette on VerUnited States, vol. ii., pp. 73–87; Bancroft, vol. V., pp. 320-327; Fiske, American Revolution, vol.

planck's Point became untenable, and ii., pp. 131-135; Fisher, Struggle for American after it had been completely invested Independence, vol. ii., pp. 248 et seq., 262, and authorities cited.

by Clinton, the garrison surrendered VOL. III — 12

174

TRYON'S IRRUPTION INTO CONNECTICUT.

as prisoners of war. The British then before a force was employed to commade preparations for completing the pel their obedience.* fortifications on both sides and On July 5 the troops under Tryon placing them in a strong state of de- were landed at East Haven, and those fence.* Clinton thereupon returned under Garth at West Haven. The to New York and prepared to send troops under Garth then marched out predatory expeditions against the toward New Haven, where they armaritime towns of Connecticut, as had rived about noon after having been been done in Virginia.

harassed on the way by the militia In command of the ships of war and and the inhabitants who joined them. transports sent out with this expedi- Immediately upon entering the town, tion was Sir George Collyer, while the troops began to plunder the the land forces, consisting of 2,600 houses promiscuously; the Whigs and troops, were under the command of Tories suffered alike, all having their Governor Tryon, assisted by General money, plate, jewelry, etc., and even Garth. On July 4 these commanders

much of their furniture carried off issued an address to the inhabitants

and wantonly destroyed. News of of Connecticut, inviting them to re

these outrages spread rapidly and the turn to their allegiance to the mother

militia collected so quickly that the

commanders deemed it wise to recountry, and promising protection to person and property for all who

treat. Furthermore, the British solshould remain peaceably in their

diers had become disorderly through

liquor and were in a state of insuborresidences, but with the exception of

dination. The next morning the the civil and military officers of the

troops suddenly retreated withou government; but those who failed to

putting into effect the intended design heed the warning were threatened

of burning the town, though after with condign punishment. The Eng. they had secured their own safety lish troops were immediately landed

they did burn some stores on the long and the work of devastation began, wharf. At East Haven the troops so that the people had no time to con- under Tryon burned a number of sider the terms even had they wished houses and killed many of the cattle

in the adjoining fields, but by the Bancroft, vol. v., p. 329; Stedman, American afternoon the militia had collected in War, vol. ii., p. 140; Gordon, American Revolution, vol. iii., p. 261; Irving, Life of Washington,

such large numbers that Tryon revol. ii., pp. 526–528; Ford's ed. of Washington's treated on board the transport and in Writings, vol. vii., pp. 465-470, 479-480; the let

the evening sailed for Fairfield. On ters of St. Clair, McDougall and Malcolm in Sparks, Correspondence of the Revolution, vol. ii., Wednesday afternoon the troops pp. 307–308; Lossing, Field-Book of the Revolution, vol. i., pp. 743-744; Kapp, Life of Kalb, pp. * Carrington, Battles of the Revolution, p. 469. 170-171.

† Johnston, Connecticut, p. 308.

PLAN TO RECAPTURE STONY POINT.

175

landed at the latter place, and Gov- While the British were engaged in ernor Tryon immediately sent an ad- this work of devastation, Washington dress to the militia, under command laid plans for the capture of Stony of Colonel Whiting, allowing an hour Point, determining to take it by asin which to answer, and threatening sault. The conduct of the expedition that if the town did not surrender it was entrusted to “Mad Anthony would be burned. Colonel Whiting Wayne.* A detachment of 1,200 light answered: “The flames have now infantry was placed under his compreceded their answer to your flag, mand and, after marching fourteen and they will persist to oppose to the miles, he reached the vicinity of the utmost, that power which is exerted fort toward midnight July 16. He against injured innocence.” During immediately began preparations for the night of July 7 and 8 the British the assault and ordered that every troops plundered the town and finally man should advance silently with unlaid it in ashes, the devastation cov- loaded musket and fixed bayonet. He ering a tract of two miles square, demanded strict obedience to his inreaching as far as Green-farms, structions, as it was absolutely necesthough not to Greenfield. The British

sary that silence be maintained to troops then retreated to their ship- make the expedition a success. A ping and crossed the Sound to the

soldier disobeyed the command and shore of Long Island whence they began to load his musket and though later sailed to Norwalk which suffered

the order was repeated, he persisted a fate similar to that of Fairfield. At

in loading, whereupon he was immeNorwalk 80 dwelling houses, 22 diately run through by an officer with stores, 17 shops, 4 mills, 2 houses of

his sword. Discipline and obedience public worship, 87 barns and 5 vessels

to orders were indispensable to the were burned, as were 82 dwelling

success of the expedition, for had the houses, 15 stores, 15 shops, 2 houses British been warned, undoubtedly the of public worship and 55 barns at result would have been far different. + Fairfield. At Green-farms 15 dwell

The right column was composed of ing houses, several stores, 1 house of 150 volunteers under Lieutenantworship and 11 barns were burned.

colonel Louis de Fleury, while the left At New Haven the stores were de

column was composed of 100 volunstroyed and a number of houses at

teers under Major John Stuart (or East Haven.*

in Sparks, Correspondence of the Revolution, vol. Gordon, American Revolution, vol. iii., pp. ii., pp. 314-316; Lossing, Field-Book of the Revo265–268 (ed. 1788); Stedman, American War, vol. lution, vol. i., pp. 422-427. ii., p. 142; Johnston, Connecticut, pp. 308–309; For the manner in which this name was given Connecticut State Records, vol. ii., pp. 423-426 ; him, see Stillé, Wayne and the Pennsylvania Line, Bancroft, vol. v., pp. 329-330; Carrington, Bat- p. 207 et seq. tles of the Revolution, pp. 469-471; the letters † Heath's Memoirs, p. 193 (Abbatt's ed.).

176

THE STORMING OF STONY POINT.

Stewart); preceding each column missing, while 472 were captured was a forlorn hope of 20 picked men (some say 543). Among the number under command of Lieutenants captured were the commander of the James Gibbons and George Knox, fort, Colonel Henry Johnston, and these being sent forward to remove several other officers; the stores capany obstructions that might be in the tured were valued at $158,640. Two way.* Shortly after twelve o'clock flags and two standards were taken, the American troops advanced to the the former belonging to the garrison, assault and, in the face of a tremen- the latter to the seventeenth regiment. dous and incessant musketry fire and Out of the forlorn hope sent forward grape-shot from the cannon, forced under Lieutenant Gibbon, 17 were their way over the ramparts. Both killed or wounded.* columns met in the centre of the In his report of the assault General

Wayne speaks very highly of the conduct of the officers and troops, es

pecially mentioning Colonels Fleury Fort Latest

and Butler and Major Stuart. In the action Lieutenant-colonel Hay was

wounded in the thigh and General NU

Wayne himself received a slight RIVER wound in the head but, with the sup

port of his aides, continued the march

with the troops and entered the fort polek

at the same time. In his letter to STONY POINT

Congress Washington speaks very WULY 16, 1779

highly of the conduct of officers and Borties les

men and particularly mentions Lieuenemy's works at about the same tenants Gibbon and Knox, who comtime. Colonel Fleury was the first manded the forlorn hope, as having to enter the fort and with his

conducted themselves with conspicown hand struck the British standard.+ Major Thomas Posey was the * See H. P. Johnston, The Storming of Stony first to give the watchword “ The fort Point (1900); the account by Henry B. Dawson;

Stillé, Wayne and the Pennsylvania Line, pp. 182– is ours." The American loss was 15

196, 208–210, 396–416; Carrington, Battles of the killed and 83 wounded; the British Revolution, p. 473; Jones, New York in the Rev.

olution, vol. i., pp. 311-313; Lossing, Field-Book loss was 20 killed, 74 wounded, and 58

of the Revolution, vol. i., pp. 144-148; Gordon,

American Revolution, vol. iii., p. 268 (ed. 1788); Carrington, Battles of the Revolution, p. 473; Stedman, American War, vol. ii., pp. 144-146; Stillé, Wayne and the Pennsylvania Line, p. 190 Ford's ed. of Washington's Writings, vol. vii., pp.

487-490, 492-500; Sparks' ed. of Washington's † Kapp, Life of Kalb, pp. 178–179.

Writings, vol. vi., appendix, p. 537 et seq.

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