Page images
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][graphic]

Map of the Country from the Raritan Röver in East Jersey to Elk Head in Maryland, showing the various operations of the American and

British Armies in 1776 and 1777.

62

DELAWARE OBSTRUCTIONS; ATTACK ON GERMANTOWN.

next eight months, when Howe finally tions on the banks and the islands of evacuated Philadelphia.*

the river and by floating batteries. On September 22–23, contrary to Washington was now encamped at Washington's expectations, Howe Skippack Creek on the north side of crossed the Schuylkill at Fatland and the Schuylkill, and when he received Gordon's Ford.† The main body of information that the British had dethe army was placed in camp at Ger- tached small bodies of troops to clear mantown, about seven miles from the river, he perceived that, as the Philadelphia, and on the 26th a de- British main army was thus considtachment of British troops took pos- erably weakened, it was an opportune session of Philadelphia, where shortly time to make an attack upon the afterward Howe himself was received forces at Germantown.* This place by the Quakers with great manifesta- consisted of one street about two tions of joy. I Upon receiving in- miles long; the line of the British enformation of the success of his campment bisected the village almost brother at the battle of Brandywine, at right angles with its left covered Lord Howe left the Chesapeake and by the Schuylkill.“ It was arranged sailed for the Delaware where he ar- that the divisions of Sullivan and rived on October 8.

Wayne, flanked by [Thomas] ConImmediately upon securing posses- way's brigade were to enter the town sion of Philadelphia, Sir William by the way of Chestnut Hill, while Howe instituted measures to clear the General [John] Armstrong,† with the river of obstructions, fortifications, Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania militia, should fall etc., in order to open up the river for down the Manatawny road by Van a clear passage by the fleet. As be- Deering's mill and get upon the fore stated, the Americans made enemy's left and rear. The divisions every effort to obstruct the navigation of Greene and Stephen, flanked by of the Delaware, having sunk three [Alexander] McDougall's brigade, rows of chevaux-de-frise a little below were to enter by making a circuit by the confluence of the Schuylkill and way of the Limekiln road, at the marthe Delaware. These obstructions ket house, and to attack the enemy's consisted of large beams of timber right wing; and the Maryland and bolted together with strong projecting Jersey militia under Generals [Wiliron spikes.' The upper and lower liam] Smallwood and Forman, were rows were commanded by fortifica

See the “ Plan” in the Pennsylvania Magazine Trevelyan, American Revolution, vol. iv., Pp.

of History, vol. xxvi., p. 387. See also Stille, 235-236.

Wayne and the Pennsylvania Line, p. 93 et seq. † Drake, Life of Knox, p. 50; Ford's ed. of † The hero of several expeditions during the Washington's Writings, vol. vi., pp. 82-84.

French and Indian Wars and father of Major | Trevelyan, American Revolution, vol. iv., pp. John Armstrong, author of the “ Newburg Ad236-237.

dresses."

THE BATTLE OF GERMANTOWN.

63

to march by the old York road and entire action was thereby lost in a fall upon the rear of their right. Lord fruitless attempt to take the house, Stirling, with the brigades of [Fran- for while the Americans were wasting cis] Nash and Maxwell, were to form time with this little detachment the a reserve corps.”* On the evening of whole British army was preparing for October 3, having been reinforced by battle. 1,500 troops from Peekskill and 1,000 Meanwhile Greene attacked the Virginia militia, Washington marched right wing, routed the battalion of from Skippack Creek and at dawn of light infantry and the Queen's the next morning attacked the British Rangers, then turned to the right and army. After a short skirmish the ad- fell upon the left flank of the enemy's vance guard of the British was driven right wing in an attempt to enter the in, and with his army in five columns village, thinking that the PennsylWashington began the onslaught. vania militia under Armstrong and Lieutenant-Colonel Musgrave of the the Maryland and New Jersey militia 40th regiment, however, who had been under Smallwood and Forman, would driven in but had been able to keep aid him as ordered by attacking the five companies of the regiment intact, British posts opposed to them. But now threw his forces into the large Armstrong's detachment failed to atstone dwelling house of Benjamin tack and the troops under Smallwood Chew, chief justice of Pennsylvania, and Forman arrived too late to be of which stood in front of the main service. The British general, Grey, column of the Americans. Instead of finding his left flank secure, now threw leaving a small detachment to coop up the whole of the left wing under the British in the Chew house, almost Knyphausen to the assistance of the half of Washington's army was de- centre, then hard pressed in the viltained in an attempt to kill or capture lage where the Americans were gainthis force.t Instead of advancing ing ground.

ing ground. Colonel Thomas Matwith the main body and masking thews, with a detachment of Greene's Chew's house with a sufficient force, column consisting of a part of Knox ordered the house to be at- Muhlenberg's and Charles Scott's britacked. The British obstinately de- gades from the left wing, advanced to fended themselves, so that, according the eastward of Chew's house, took to Brooks, an unfortunate delay oc- 110 British prisoners and drove the curred. The critical moment of the remainder into the town. A thick fog

now completely enveloped everything, * Lossing, Field-Book of the Revolution, vol. ii.,

and neither of the contending parties pp. 109–110. See also Johnson, General Washing. ton, p. 168.

was able to discern the movements of † Trevelyan, American Revolution, vol. iv., pp. 241–244.

however, Reed, Life of John Reed, vol. i., p. 322; | Brooks, Life of Knox, p. 108 et seq. See, Lee's Memoirs, vol. i., p. 29.

64

THE BATTLE OF GERMANTOWN.

the other. Under cover of the fog, the wing then engaged with the left of right wing of the enemy, consisting of Greene's column, and finally comthe 4th brigade under Agnew and pelled Greene to retreat. The dithree battalions of the 3d, having dis- visions under Greene and Stephen covered that they had nothing to fear were the last that retreated and from the Jersey and Maryland were covered by Pulaski and his militia, fell back and completely sur- legion. As Lossing says: rounded Matthews, and, after a des- prize of victory was abandoned at the perate struggle, succeeded in captur- moment when another effort might

66 The

[graphic][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors][subsumed][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][subsumed][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors][subsumed][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed]

ing him and about 100 men. This have secured it." * Almost without done, two regiments of Agnew's di- exception, the American soldiers had vision went to the relief of Musgrave acted with great valor and bravery in Chew's house, compelling a party and Congress passed a resolution of of Americans, who had entered Ger- thanks, but General Stephen was acmantown in flank, to retreat precipi- cused of " unofficerlike conduct," tatedly, leaving many dead and

was found guilty of being intoxicated wounded. The village was now in and was dismissed from the army, control of the British, and Grey has

Lossing, Field-Book of the Revolution, vol. ii., tened to the assistance of the right p. 112.

*

[graphic]

THE BATTLE OF GERMANTOWN – ATTACK ON JUDGE CHEW'S HOUSE.

« PreviousContinue »