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Washington, he brought up his division, and took an advantageous position on the right.
The enemy now attempted to turn the left flank of the Americans, but were repulsed by parties of infantry. They then assailed the right wing, and here too they failed. General Green had posted a body of troops with artillery on commanding ground in his front, which severely galled the enemy. At this period General Wayne advanced with a strong corps of infantry, and in a close and well directed fire attacked them in front. They gave way, and fell behind the ravinę to the ground on which the Commander in Chief met General Lee in the morning. On this ground the British formed in a strong position. Both flanks were covered by woods and morasses, and their front could be attacked only through a narrow pass.
General Washington, even under these circumstances, determined to renew the engagement. In pursuance of this resolution, he ordered Brigadier Poor to gain the right flank of the British, and Brigadier Woodford their left. The artillery was directed to play upon them in front. Before these orders could be effectually carried into execution, the day was fully spent. The General therefore determined to defer the attack until the next morning. He ordered the troops to retain their Téspective positions, and to lay on their arnis. The General in the course of day had shunned no danger, and he slept in his cloak amidst his soldiers on the field of battle.
At midnight, the British moved off their ground
with such silence, that General Poor although very near did not perceive it. General Washington knew that the British army would reach high and unassailable ground before he could come up with them, and therefore discontinued the pursuit. He dispatched small parties of light troops to protect the country from depredation and to encourage desertion. The main body of his army he marched to cover the important passes in the high lands ou the Iludson.
General Washington was satisfied with the behaviour of his army on this day. In his official communication to Congress he mentioned that after the troops had recovered from the surprise of the unexpected retreat of the morning, their conduct could not have been surpassed. General Wayne was noticed with great commendation, and the artillery corps was said to have highly distinguished itself,
In the battle of Monmouth, eight officers and sixty-one privates of the Americans were killed ; and about one hundred and sixty wounded. Among the killed were Lieutenant Colonel Bonner of Pennsylvania and Major Dickinson of Vire ginia, officers of merit, whose fall was much lamented. The Americans buried about three hundred of the British, who had been found on the field ; although Sir Henry Clinton, in his official letter, stated his loss in killed and missing at four officers and one hundred and eighty-four privates, and his wounded at sixteen officers and one hundred and fifty-four privates. Among the slain was the Honourable Colonel Monckton, an officer of celebrity. The day had been excessively hot, and numbers, both British and Americans were found among the dead without wounds, who had fallen victims to the heat.
The Americans made about an hundred prisoners; and nearly a thousand privates, mostly Germans, deserted the British standard, on the march through New Jersey.
Congress highly approved of the conduct of the Commander in Chief in bringing on the action of the 28th, and was gratified with its issue. In a resolution, which passed that body unanimously, their thanks were given to General Washington “ for the activity with which he moved from the camp at Valley Forge, in pursuit of the enemy; for his distinguished exertions in forming the line of battle ; and for his great good conduct in the action.” He was requested “ to signify the thanks of Congress to the officers and men under his command, who distinguished themselves by their conduct and valour in the battle."
Although the Commander in Chief disapproved of the retreat, yet could the proud spirit of General Lee have patiently borne what he considered as a reprimand on the field of battle, it is probable that an explanation mutually satisfactory might have taken place. General Washington continued him in command on the day of action, after his retreat, and discovered no disposition to take public notice of it. But the irritable and lofty spirit of Lee urged him to write the next day two offensive letters to General Washington, in which, assuming the language of a superior,
he demanded satisfaction for the insult offered him on the field of battle. On deliberation, the Commander in Chief informed him that he should have an opportunity to justify himself to the army, to America and the world, or of convincing them, that he had been guilty of breach of orders and misconduct before the enemy.”
General Lee, expressing his desire for a court martial in preference to a court of inquiry, was arrested upon the following charges, 1. For disobedience of orders in not attacking the
enemy on the 28th of June agreeably to repeat
ed instructions. 2. For misbehaviour before the enemy on the same
day, by making an unnecessary, disorderly and
shameful retreat. 3. For disrespect to the Commander in Chief, in
The high colouring of the second charge was in consequence of complaints entered by Generals Wayne and Scott, against General Lee, which on investigation appeared to have been founded in their misapprehending his movements. Lord Sterling presided at the court, which found him guilty of all the charges, but softened the language of the second, and found him gnilty of misbehavionr, by making an unnecessary, and in some few instances a disorderly retreat. The court sentenced him to be suspended from his command for one year,
Congress, with some hesitation, almost unanimously approved the sentence.
The suspension of General Lee was highly satisfactory to the army.' They keenly resented his abuse to the Commander in Chief, and his continuance in commission probably would have produced great inconvenience.
Scarcely had Sir Henry Clinton reached New York, when a French fleet appeared off the Chesapeak, under the command of Count d'Estaing. He had been eighty-seven days in crossing the Atlantic. Ilad his passage been an ordinary one, he would have found Lord Howe in the Delaware, and the capture or destruction of the British fleet in that river, and probably of the army in Philadelphia, must have been the consequence. Count d'Estaing being disappointed at the D«laware, sailed along the coast to Sandy Hook. General Washington moved his army to the White Plains, that he might be in a situation to cooperate with the French Admiral against New York.
In the mean time, Sir Henry Clinton employed his whole force to strengthen his lines. The French Admiral finding an attack upon New York impracticable, a conjoint expedition was planned against Rhode Island.
At the critical moment when the success of the united action of the French and American army was reduced to a moral certainty, Count d'Estaing sailed out of the harbour of Newport to fight Lord Howe. Being overtaken by a violent storin, his fleet was greatly damaged, and be though it advisable to repair to Boston harbour to retit.
In consequence of the harbour of Newport be