페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub

night, and transport them to Gloucester point. After one embarkation had crossed, a violent storm of wind and rain dispersed the boats, and frustrated the whole scheme.—The royal army, thus weakened by division, was exposed to increased danger. Orders were sent to those who had passed to recross the river to Yorktown. With the failure of this scheme, the last hope of the British army expired. Longer resistance could answer no good purpose, and might occasion the loss of many valuable lives. Lord Cornwallis therefore wrote a letter to General Washington, requesting a cessation of arms for twenty-four hours; and also, that commissioners might be appointed to digest terms of capitulation.—This was agreed to, and in consequence, the posts of York and Gloucester were surrendered on certain stipulations; the principal of which were as follows: "The troops to be prisoners of war to congress, and the naval force to France ; the officers to retain their side-arms and private property of every kind, but every thing obviously belonging to the inhabitants of the United States, to be subject to be reclaimed the soldiers to be kept in Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania, and to be supplied with the same rations as are allowed to soldiers in the service of congress; a proportion of the officers to march into the country with the prisoners, the rest to be allowed to proceed on parole to Europe, to New York, or to any other American maritime post in possession of the British.

The honour of marching out with colours flying, which had been refused to general Lincoln on his surrendering Charleston, was now refused to earl Cornwallis; and general Lincoln was appointed to receive the submission of the royal army at Yorktown, precisely in the same way in which his own had been conducted about eighteen months before.

The regular troops of America and France, employed in this siege, consisted of about five thousand five hundred of the former, and seven thousand of the latter, and they wero assisted by about four thousand militia. On the part of the combined army, about three hundred were killed or wounded. On the part of the British, about five hundred and seventy were taken in the redoubts, which were carried hy assault on the 14th of October. The troops of every kind that surrendered prisoners of war, exceeded seven thousand men;

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

arms.

but, so great was the number of sick and wounded, that there were only three thousand eight hundred capable of bearing

Congress honoured General Washington, count de Ro chambeau, count de Grasse, the officers of the different

corps, and the men under their command, with thanks, for their services in the reduction of lord Cornwallis. The whole project was conceived with profound wisdom, and the incidents of it had been combined with singular propriety. It is not therefore wonderful, that, from the remarkable coincidence in all its parts, it was crowned with unvaried success.

General Washington, on the day after the surrender, ordered, “ that those who were under arrest, should be pardoned and set at liberty." His orders closed as follows: “Divine service shall be performed to-morrow in the different brigades and divisions. The commander-in-chief recommends, that all the troops that are not upon duty, do assist at it with a serious deportment, and that sensibility of heart, which the recollection of the surprising and particular interposition of Providence in our favour claims."

The interesting event of capturing a second royal army, produced strong emotions, which broke out in all the variety of ways, in which the most rapturous joy usually displays itself.

After the capture of lord Cornwallis, Washington, with the greater part of his army, returned to the vicinity of New York.

In the preceding six years, he had been accustomed to look forward, and to provide for all possible events. In the habit of struggling with difficulties, his courage at all times grew with the dangers which surrounded him. In the most disastrous situations, he was far removed from despair. On the other hand, those fortunate events which induced many to believe that the revolution was accomplished, never operated on him, so far as to relax his exertions or precautions. Though complete success had been obtained by the allied arms in Virginia, and great advantages had been gained in 1781, in the Carolinas, yet Washington urged the necessity of being prepared for another campaign. In a letter to geno ral Greene, he observed, “I shall endeavour to stimulate congress to the best improvement of our late success, by taking the most vigorous and effectual measures to be ready for an

66

early and decisive campaign the next year. My greatest fear is, that, viewing the stroke in a point of light which may too much magnify its importance, they may think our work too nearly closed, and fall into a state of languor and relaxation. To prevent this error, I shall employ every means in my power, and, if unhappily we sink into this fatal mistake, no part of the blame shall be mine."

CHAPTER IX.

1782 AND 1783. Prospects of peace. Languor of the states. Discontents of

the army. General Washington prevents the adoption of rash measures.

Some new levies in Pennsylvania, mutiny, and are quelled. Washington recommends measures for the preservation of independence, peace, liberty, and happiness. Dismisses his army. Enters New York.

Takes leave of his officers. Settles his accounts. Repairs to Annapolis. "Resigns his commission. Returns to Mount Vernon, and resumes his agricultural pursuits.

The military establishment of 1782, was settled by congress with unusual celerity, shortly after the surrender of lord Cornwallis ; but no exertions of America alone could do more than confine the British to the sea-coast.

To dislodge them from their strong holds in New York and Charleston, occupied the unceasing attention of Washington. While he was concerting plans for further combined operations with the French, and at the same time endeavouring, by circular letters, to rouse his countrymen to spirited measures, intelligence arrived, that several motions for discontinuing the American war, had been debated in the British Parliament, and nearly carried.--Fearing that this would relax the exertions of the states, he added, in his circular letters to their respective governors, “I have perused these debates with great attention and care, with a view, if possible, to penetrate their real design; and, upon the most mature deliberation I can bestow, I am obliged to declare it as my candid opinion, that the measure, in all its views, so far as it re

« 이전계속 »