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CHAP. much wanted, half a million of dollars. By means of this, XXXVII.
and with the aid of Morris, the soldiers received a portion 1781. of their pay in cash. Their good humor was restored, and
they cheerfully marched on.
De Barras, who commanded the French fleet at NewAug. port, suddenly put to sea. Clinton at once divined the 28.
object was to unite, in the Chesapeake, with another French fleet from the West Indies ; and he sent Admiral Graves to prevent the junction. The admiral was astonished to find De Grasse, with twenty-five sail of the line, anchored within the Capes. De Grasse ran out to sea, as
if to give the British battle, but really to divert their atSept. tention until De Barras could enter the Bay. For five 5.
days the hostile fleets maneuvred and skirmished. Meanwhile De Barras appeared and passed within the Capes, and immediately De Grasse followed.
Graves now returned to New York.
Until the main body of the combined armies was be
yond the Delaware, Clinton supposed the movement was a Sept. ruse to draw him out to fight in the open fields. Corn10.
wallis himself was as much deceived ; thinking he would have Lafayette only to contend with, he wrote to Clinton that he could spare him twelve hundred men to aid in defending New York. Not until he was fairly in the toils, when the French fleet had anchored within the Capes, did he apprehend his danger.
Thinking that perhaps a portion of the American army might be sent back to defend New England, Clinton sent Arnold with a force, composed principally of Tories and Hessians, on a marauding expedition into Connecticut. But Washington was not to be diverted from his high purpose. While he and De Rochambeau are pushing on toward the head of the Chesapeake, let us turn aside to to speak of this maraud, which closes the career of the traitor in his own country.
NEW LONDON BURNED BY ARNOLD.
New London was the first to be plundered and burned, CHAP, and there Arnold destroyed an immense amount of property. Fort Griswold, commanded by Colonel William 1781. Ledyard - brother of the celebrated traveller-was situated on the opposite shore of the river. This was assaulted, and after an obstinate resistance, in which the British lost two hundred men and their two highest officers, it was carried. When the enemy entered, the Americans laid down their arms, but the massacre continued. Major Bromfield, a New Jersey tory, by the death of the two higher officers, became the leader of the assailants. Tradition tells that when he entered the fort he inquired who commanded, and that Colonel Ledyard came forward, saying, "I did, sir ; but you do now ;” at the same time Sept.
7. handing him his sword : that Bromfield took the sword and plunged it into Ledyard's breast. This was the signal for indiscriminate slaughter, and more than sixty of the yeomanry of Connecticut were massacred in cold blood. The militia began to collect in great numbers from the neighboring towns. Arnold dared not meet his enraged countrymen, and he hastily re-embarked. These outrages were committed almost in sight of his birthplace. Thus closed “a career of ambition without virtue, of glory terminated with crime, and of depravity ending in infamy and ruin.”
The combined armies arrived at Elkton, where they Sept found transports sent by Lafayette and De Grasse to convey them to the scene of action. Previously De Grasse had landed three thousand troops under the marquis St. Simon, to unite with the forces under Lafayette, Steuben, and Wayne.
As had been anticipated, Cornwallis endeavored to force his way to the Carolinas, but the youthful marquis, whom some months before he had characterized as a “boy," was on the alert. He then sent off expresses with urgent
CHAP. appeals to Clinton to send him aid. In the mean time he XXXVII.
was indefatigable in strengthening his fortifications. 1781. The combined forces, French and American, were
about twelve thousand, besides the Virginia militia called out by Governor Nelson, who, as the State treasury was empty, pledged his own property as security to obtain a loan of money to defray the expenses. The Governor was a resident of Yorktown, and when the cannonade was about to commence, he was asked where the attack would be most effective: "He pointed to a large, handsome house on a rising ground as the probable head-quarters of the enemy. It proved to be his own.”
The plan of operations weré speedily arranged, and the allies began to press the siege with great vigor. Their lines were within six hundred yards of the enemy's works, which they completely surrounded. General Washington himself put the match to the first gun. The heavy ordnance brought by De Barras was soon thundering at the fortifications. The British outworks were very strong, and beyond these were thrown up redoubts to hinder the approach of the assailants. The cannonade continued for four days; the enemy's outworks were greatly damaged and guns dismounted, while a forty-four gun ship and other vessels were burned by means of red-hot shot thrown by the French. Cornwallis withdrew his men from the outworks, but the redoubts remained. Two of these were
to be stormed ; one assigned to the French, the other to Oct. the Americans. The assault was made about eight o'clock 14.
in the evening. The Americans, under Alexander Hamilton, were the first to enter; they scrambled over the parapet without regard to order, and carried the redoubt at the point of the bayonet. The French captured theirs, but according to rule, and they suffered more than the Americans in their headlong attack. The emulation exhibited by both parties was generous and noble. From
SURRENDER OF CORNWALLIS.
these captured redoubts a hundred heavy cannon poured CHAP, in an incessant storm of balls. Cornwallis, as he saw his works one by one crumbling to pieces, his guns disabled, 1781. his ammunition failing, determined to make a desperate sally and check the besiegers. The British soldiers, a little before daybreak, suddenly rushed out, and carried two batteries, but scarcely had they obtained possession of them, before the French in turn furiously charged, and drove them back to their own intrenchments. But one avenue of escape was left ;—they must cross the river to Oct. Gloucester, cut a way through the opposing force, and by forced marches reach New York. Cornwallis resolved to abandon his sick and wounded and baggage, and make the desperate attempt. Boats were collected, and in the night a portion of the troops crossed over; the second division was embarking, when suddenly the sky was overcast, and a storm of wind and rain arrested the movement. It was now daylight. The first division with difficulty recrossed to Yorktown, as on the river they were subjected to the fire of the American batteries. Despairing of assistance from Clinton, and unwilling to risk the effect of an assault upon his shattered works, or to wantonly throw away the lives of his soldiers, he sent to Washington an offer to surrender. The terms were arranged, and on the 19th of
19. October, in the presence of thousands of patriots assembled from the neighboring country, Cornwallis surrendered seven thousand men as prisoners of war to Washington, as commander-in-chief of the combined army, and the shipping, seamen, and naval stores to the Count de Grasse.
At Charleston, when Lincoln capitulated, the Americans were not permitted to march out with their colors flying, as had been granted to Burgoyne, but with their colors cased. It was thought proper to deny them the courtesy granted at Saratoga, and the British soldiers were directed to march out with their colors cased ; and Lincoln was deputed by Washington to receive the sword of Cornwallis.
Washington sent one of his aids to carry the joyful XXXVII.
news to the Congress at Philadelphia. He reached the 1781. city at midnight. Soon the old State-house bell, that
five years before signalized to the people that the Declaration of Independence was made, now awoke the slumbering city to hear the watchmen cry, “Cornwallis is taken ! Cornwallis is taken !” The inhabitants by thousands rushed into the streets to congratulate each other. Congress met the next morning and proceeded in a body to a church, and there publicly offered thanks to Almighty God for the special favor He had manifested to their struggling country, then issued a proclamation appointing a day for national thanksgiving and prayer, “ in acknowledgment of the signal interposition of Divine Providence.” Throughout the whole land arose the voice of thanksgiving from the families of the patriots, from the pulpits, from the army. Never did a nation rejoice more. The clouds of uncertainty and doubt were dispelled ; the patriots were exultant in the prospect of peace and of the established freedom of their country. Their intelligence enabled them to appreciate the blessings for which they had so long struggled.
If the battle of Bunker Hill, or the evacuation of Boston, had led to a reconciliation with the mother country, how different had been their feelings. Then an affection, a reverence for England would have lingered, only to retard the progress of the Colonists—at best but half-forgiven rebels—and hold them subordinate to her, not so much in political dependence as formerly, but sufficient to stifle that sentiment of nationality, so essential to the proper development of their character and of the resources of the country.
We have seen how long it took illiberal laws, enforced in a tyrannical manner, to alienate their affections. It now required a seven years' struggle of war, outrage and suffering, dangers and privations, to induce a pervading national sentiment, rouse the energies of the people,