Obrázky stránek
PDF
ePub

CHARLESTON THREATENED.

459

Want of food compelled the Indians and Tories to CHAP

XXXV emigrate to Canada, yet they soon after renewed their depredations, and continued them, with their usual fero- 1779 city, till the end of the war. In the mean while, another successful expedition was conducted against the Indian towns on the Alleghany, above Pittsburg.

As in the North, so in the South, the British entered into alliances with the Indians——there they induced the Creeks to join them. The Tories desolated the upper part of Georgia ; but as they drew near Augusta, Colonel Pickens suddenly attacked and routed them. Seventyfive were made prisoners and condemned to death, as traitors ; however, only five were executed.

Feb. The next month, General Lincoln sent General Ashe, with two thousand men, to drive Campbell from Augusta. Campbell, hearing of his approach, retreated in haste, and Ashe pursued, but was himself surprised, some days after, and his entire force dispersed. The British now reoccupied Augusta, and opened a communication with the Cherokees and the South Carolina Tories.

While Lincoln recruited his army, Prevost marched slowly in the direction of Charleston ; and Lincoln hastened to the aid of that city. The inhabitants were indefatigable in their exertions to give the foe a warm reception. They threw up intrenchments across the neck May of the peninsula, on which their city stood. Presently, Prevost arrived and summoned them to surrender, but they boldly refused.

He prepared to enter upon a regular siege, but hearing of the approach of Lincoln, he first ravaged the plantations in the vicinity, carried off an immense amount of plunder, and three or four thousand slaves, and then retreated toward Savannah, by way of the islands along the coast. As the hot season approached, hostilities ceased. Jana

While these events were in progress in the South, Clinton was fulfilling his instructions from the ministry to

.

CHAP: send out plundering expeditions. One of these, under

General Mathews, he sent from New York, with twenty1779. five hundred men, into Virginia. The fleet entered the May

Chesapeake, the troops landed, and plundered the towns 8.

of Portsmouth and Norfolk. A little higher up, at Gosport, was established a navy-yard by the State ; there they burned one hundred and thirty merchant ships, and several war-vessels on the stocks. The facilities afforded the enemy by the rivers to pass from point to point, and the danger of the slaves rising, prevented much resistance.

When these soldiers returned, Clinton went up the Hudson, against the posts Verplanck's and Stony Points. These forts protected King's Ferry, a very important crossing-place, on the main road from the eastern to the middle States. The works at Stony Point-not yet finished—were abandoned ; and the garrison at Verplanck's Point were forced to surrender.

The next expedition, of twenty-five hundred men, was under Tryon, whose barbarities, on such occasions, have justly rendered his name infamous. Tryon plundered

New Haven, and burned Fairfield and Norwalk. In the July course of a few days, he burned two hundred and twenty

five private dwellings, half as many barns and stores, and five places of worship. Many of the inhabitants were murdered, or subjected to the brutal passions of the soldiers. This "journeyman of desolation," so insensible to the promptings of humanity, contemplated these outrages with pleasure, and afterward even claimed for himself the honor of having exercised mercy, because he did not burn every dwelling on the coast of New England.

Clinton had been grossly deceived by the Tories, who assured him that the principal inhabitants of Connecticut were so much dissatisfied because their homes were not protected by the American army, that they were about to withdraw from the cause, and put themselves under Brit

4.

CAPTURE OF STONY POINT.

461

16.

ish protection. And it was thought a few more such CHAP.

XXXV expeditions would accomplish this result,

Washington now devised a plan to recapture Stony 1779. Point. The fort was so situated, that to surprise it seemed an impossibility. He proposed to General Wayne—“Mad Anthony”—to undertake the desperate enterprise. The proposal was accepted with delight. Washington himself, accompanied by Wayne, carefully reconnoitred the Point. The attempt was to be made at the hour of midnight. Every precaution to secure success was taken, even the dogs of the neighborhood were privately destroyed. A negro, who was in the habit of visiting the fort to sell fruit, and also as a spy for the Americans, was to act as guide.

July The men, with fixed bayonets, and, to remove the possibility of discovery, with unloaded muskets, approached in two divisions, at the appointed hour. The negro, accompanied by two soldiers, disguised as farmers, approached the outer sentinel, and gave the countersign. The sentinel was seized and gagged, and the second treated in the same manner ; at the third, the alarm was given, but the impetuosity of the Americans was so great, that in a few minutes the two divisions from the opposite sides of the fort met in the centre. They took more than five hundred prisoners. This was one of the most brilliant exploits of the war. How great was the contrast between the humanity of Wayne and the savage cruelty of the British in their midnight attacks with the bayonet! Stedman, the British historian, records that “the conduct of the Americans upon this occasion was highly meritorious, for they would have been fully justified in putting the garrison to the sword ; not one man of which was put to death but in fair combat.” When Clinton heard of the taking of Stony Point, he hastily recalled Tryon, who was about to move against New London.

The exploit of Wayne was speedily followed by another

XXXV.

18.

CHAP. daring adventure by Light Horse Harry. He had learned

by reconnoitring, and by means of spies, the exact condi1779. tion of the garrison at Paulus Hook, now Jersey City,

opposite New York. Thinking themselves secure from attack, because of their nearness to the main army, the

officers, as well as men, were careless. Lee asked permisAug. sion to strike a blow within “cannon-shot of New York.

Washington directed him "to surprise the fort, bring off the garrison immediately, and effect a retreat," and not to linger, lest he should himself be overpowered About two o'clock in the morning they made themselves masters of the fort, and secured one hundred and fifty prisoners, with a loss to themselves of only two men. Soon alarm guns roused the garrison in New York, and Lee commenced his retreat. The exploit redounded much to his credit, and that of his company of horse. In compliment, Congress voted Wayne, as well as Lee, a gold medal.

An effort was again made to take Savannah. Count · D’Estaing appeared with his fleet from the West Indies, and General Lincoln marched to aid in the siege. Several North Carolina regiments had been sent by the Commander-in-chief, and the militia turned out well. Prevost made every exertion to defend himself. But D'Estaing soon grew impatient; he must return to the West Indies lest the British fleet might accomplish some enterprise of

importance. The siege must be either abandoned, or the Oct.

town taken by assault. The latter was resolved upon ; and it was undertaken with great disadvantages staring the assailants in the face. After they had carried some of the outworks, the Americans were forced to retire. Count Pulaski, when gallantly leading his men, was mortally wounded. The French, who were at the post of the greatest danger, were also repulsed, and D’Estaing himself was wounded. Lincoln now retreated to Charleston, disbanded the militia, and the Count sailed to the West Indies. Thus, for the second time, the French, under the

9.

EXPEDITION TO THE SOUTH-DANIEL BOONE.

463

game officer, failed to co-operate efficiently with the CHAP, Americans. Very great dissatisfaction was excited at this throughout the country.

1779.

Clinton obeyed his instructions from home, evacuated Newport, and concentrated his main force at New York, which place he thought in danger of a combined attack from the Americans and French. In truth, Washington, in expectation of such aid, had called out the militia for that purpose, but when he heard that the French had sailed for the West Indies, he dismissed them, and went into winter-quarters near Morristown, New Jersey.

When the coast was clear, Clinton sent seven thousand men by sea to Savannah, and soon after sailed himself with two thousand more, leaving a powerful garrison in New York, under the command of Knyphausen.

Oct. 25.

Dec. 29.

1773,

Some years before the commencement of the war, Daniel Boone, the bold hunter and pioneer, had visited the region of Kentucky. Attracted by the fertility of the soil, the beauty of the forests, and the mildness of the climate, in connection with others, he formed a settlement on the Kentucky river. Thither Boone took his wife and daughters, the first white women in that region. There, during the war, these bold pioneers were in perils, fighting the Indians and levelling the forests. Harrod, another bold backwoodsman, founded Harrodsburg. The territory on the lower Kentucky, had been purchased of the Cherokees. Though Dunmore, the governor of Virginia, denounced the purchase as illegal, yet in spite of his proclamation, and the hostility of the Indians, the people, in numbers, emigrated to that delightful region.

The Indians at the West were becoming hostile under the influence of British emissaries. The principal actor in this was Hamilton, the commandant at Detroit, against which place Congress resolved to send an expedition.

« PředchozíPokračovat »