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and condition of British subjects, declaring their disapprobation of the doctrine of American independence, and expressing their regret, that after the repeal of those statutes which gave rise to the troubles in America, the overtures made by his majesty's commissioners had not been regarded by congress.
Before we proceed any further with the transactions in South Carolina, it will be necessary to take a view of the war in another part of the continent. On the tenth of July, 1780, M. T'ernay with a fleet consisting of seven ships of the line, besides frigates and transports, with a large body of French troops commanded by count Rochambeau, arrived at Rhode Island ; and the following day, six thousand men were landed there ; a committee of the general assembly of Rhode Island was appointed to congratulate the French general upon his arrival : whereupon he returned an answer, in which he informed them, that the king, his master, had sent him to the assistance of his good and faithful allies, the United States of America. At present, he said, he only brought over the vanguard of a much greater force destined for their aid ; and the king had ordered him to assure them that his whole power should be exerted for their support. He added, that the French troops were under the strictest discipline; and were to act under the orders of general Washington, and that they would live with the Americans as brethren.
A scheme was soon after formed, of making a combined attack with English ships and troops under the command of Sir Henry Clinton and admiral Arbuthnot, against the French fleet and troops at Rhode Island. Accordingly a considerable part of the troops were embarked at New York for that purpose. As soon as general Washington received information of their design, by a rapid movement, he passed the North River, and with an årmy of twelve thousand men proceeded to King's-Bridge, in order to attack New York ; but learning that the British general had changed his intentions, and disembarked his troops on the twenty-first of the month, he re-crossed the river, and returned to his former station.
An unsuccessful attempt was also made about this time in the Jerseys, by general Knyphauzen, with seven
thousand British troops under his command, to surprize the advanced posts of general Washington's army. They proceeded with great expedition towards Springtield, meeting little opposition, till they came to the bridge, which was gallantly defended by one hundred and seventy of the continental troops, for fifteen minutes, against the British army : but were at length obliged to give up so unequal a contest, with the loss of thirty-seven men. After securing this pass, the British marched from place to place, and committed some depredations, but gained no laurels, and were obliged to return without effecting any thing material.
The royal arms were attended with more success in South Carolina. Earl Cornwallis, who now commanded the troops in that quarter, obtained a signal victory over general Gates on the sixteenth of August. The action began at day break: the Americans were much more numerous than the British, but numbers were of no advantage, as the ground, on which both armies stood, was narrowed by swamps on the right and left.
The attack was made by the British troops with great vigour, and in a few minutes it became general along the whole line. It was at this time a dead calm, the air was hazy, so that the smoke occasioned so thick a darkness, that it was impossible for either party to see the effects of a very heavy fire, and well supported on both sides. The British troops kept up a constant fire, or inade use of bayonets as opportunities offered ; and after an obstinate resistance of three quarters of an hour, the Americans were thrown into confusion, and forced to give way in every quarter. The continental troops behaved well; but the militia were soon broken, and left the former to oppose the whole force of the British troops. General Gates did all in his power to rally them, but without effect : the regular troops under general Gates retreated in good order; but the route of the militia was so great, that the British cavalry pursued them to the distance of twenty-two miles from the place where the action happened. The Americans lost one thousand in killed and wounded, and a like number, it is said, taken prisoners ; but the accounts are not very accurate.
The British troops engaged in this action did not exceed two thousand men, while the American army is said to have amounted to six thousand, of which the greater part was militia. Seven pieces of brass cannon, a number of colours, and all the ammunition-waggons, were taken. The killed and wounded of the British troops amounted to two hundred and thirteen. Major.general Baron de Kalb, a Prussian officer in the American service, was taken prisoner, after he had been mortally wounded ; he had distinguished himself in the course of the engage. ment by his gallantry, and received eleven wounds.
Lieutenant-colonel Tarleton, who had greatly distio. guished himself in this action, was detached the next day, with some cavalry and light infantry, 10 attack a party of Americans under the command of general Sumpter; he executed this service with great military address. He had received certain intelligence of Sumpter's movements; and by forced and concealed marches, came up with, and surprized him, in the middle of the day, on the eighteenth of the month, near the Catawba fords : the detachment under Sumpter was totally dispersed, amounting to seven hundred men; one hundred and fifty were killed on the spot, and three hundred made prisoners; two pieces of brass cannon, and forty-four waggons, were likewise taken.
While the French fleet and army were blockaded at Rhode Island, by admirals Graves and Arbuthnot, with a fleet of ten sail of the line, and the Americans were brooding over their disappointments; the campaign of 1780 having passed away in the northern states in successive and reiterated distresses ; the country exhausted, and the continental currency expiring; the army inactive for want of subsistence : while these disasters were openly menacing the ruin of the American cause, treachery was secretly undermining it.
General Arnold, a distinguished officer, a native of Connecticut, who had been among the foremost to take up arms against Great Britain, and widen the breach between the state and the colonies: his distinguished military talents had procured him every honour, a grateful country could bestow : he possessed, and was in the full enjoyment of substantial fame : his country had not
only loaded him with honours, but forgiven his crimes : be, who had been prodigal of life in his country's cause, was indulged in extraordinary demands for his services. But the generosity of the states did not keep pace with the extravagance of their favourite officer. His love of pleasure produced the love of money : to attain which he sacrificed his honour and duty. He made contracts, and entered into partnerships and speculations, which could not bear investigation. Thus embarrassed, a change of political sides afforded the only probable hope of evading a scrutiny, and bettering his circumstances, and gratifying his favourite passions.
The American army was stationed in the strong holds of the High Lands, on both sides of the North River; Arnold was entrusted by general Washington, with the command of West Point, a strong fortified post. This was called the Gibraltar of America, and was built for the defence of the North River. Rocky ridges rising one behind another rendered it so secure, that it could not be invested by a less number than twenty thousand men..... Arnold being entrusted with the command, carried on a negociation with general Clinton, by which it was agreed, that Arnold should so arrange matters, that Clinton should be enabled to surprize West Point, and have the garrison so compleatly in his power, that the troops must either lay down their arms, or be cut to pieces.
The loss of this fort would have been severely felt, as it was the repository of their most valuable stores. Sir Henry Clinton's agent in this negociation was Major André, adjutant.general of the British army, a young officer of uncommon •merit; nature had bestowed on him her choicest gifts; he possessed many amiable and rare qualities; his fidelity, his place, and character fitted him for this important business, but his high idea of candour, his abhorrence of duplicity, and nice sense of honor, made him reject those arts of deception which was necessary to accomplish its success. To favour the necessary communication, the Vulture sloop of war had been previously stationed in the North River, as near to Arnold's posts as was possible, without exciting suspicion. A written correspondence had been carried on between Arnold and André, under the fictitious names of Gustavus and Ander
A boat was sent at night to bring Major André to shore; he was met by Arnold on the beach without the posts of either army. As their business was not finished before the dawn of clay, which made it unsafe for André to return to the Vulture sloop of war, he was persuaded by Arnold to lie concealed until the next night. He was then conducted within one of the American posts, against his previous stipulation, and knowledge, and continued with Arnold the following day. The next night the boat-men refused to take him back, as the Vulture had changed her position. The only practicable mode of escape was by land to New York.
To ensure success he changed his uniform, which he had hitherto worn under a surtout; was fui nished with a horse, and a pass under the name of John Anderson, allowing him to go to the White Plains, or lower if he thought proper. He advanced alone, and undisturbed a great part of the way. And when he expected he was nearly out of danger, was stopped by three of the New York militia, who, with others were scoating between the posts of the two armies. Major André, instead of producing his pass, asked the man who stopped bim “ where he “ belonged to?” who answered “ to below” meaning New York. He replied, “ so do 1,” and declared bimself a British officer, and desired he might not be detained. He soon found his mistake. The captors proceeded to search him; sundry papers were found in his possession. These were secreted in his boots, and were in Arnold's hand writing. They contained exact returns of the state of the forces, ordnance at West Point, the artillery orders, and critical remarks on the works, &c.
André offered his captors a purse of gold, and a new valuable watch, if they would let him pass; and permanent provision, and future promotion, if they would convey and accompany him to New York. This was refused, and he was delivered a prisoner to colonel Jameson, who commanded the scouting parties. André still assumed the name of John Anderson, and asked leave to send a letter to Arnold, to acquaint him with his detention: this was granted, and Arnold immediately, upon the receipt of the letter, abandoned every thing, and went on board ihe Vul, ture sloop of war.