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Lieutenant Colonel Musgrave, obtained for him the applause of his country, and a complimentary letter from his Sovereign.
The failure of the Americans in this severe struggle at Germantown, has been attributed to various causes the dilatory movements of the left column under General Greene; the foggy state of the atmosphere; and the halt of the main body before Chew's house. Each of these circumstances no doubt had some agency in the disasters of the day, more especially the last; but it must be recollected, that from the nature of the ground, the plan of attack was necessarily so complicated, that it was hardly possible for so many young and inexperienced Generals correctly to comprehend it-that the American army had for several months prior to the action suffered much fatigue and hardship; had been several times defeated; were badly armed; and but little enured to discipline. Taking all these considerations into view, it is more wonderful that they should have sustained an action of near three hours, than that they should in the end have been compelled to retreat; and thus too thought Congress, for notwithstanding the disastrous issue of the battle, they voted their thanks to the General and his army, and gave their entire approbation to his plan of assault. Washington after this affair returned to his position on Skippack Creek; while Sir William Howe, being thus made to feel the danger of dividing his forces, withdrew his troops from the scene of action, and posted them in the more immediate vicinity of Philadelphia.
In the beginning of October, Sir Henry Clinton, having received a reinforcement of 2000 men from Europe, proceeded on his long meditated expedition
up the North River, with a view to create a diversion in favour of General Burgoyne; and on the 4th landed at Tarrytown with a force of 4000 men. His object in this was to deceive General Putnam into the belief that he contemplated an attack against Peekskill, and thus prevent his affording a seasonable reinforcement to Fort Montgomery, the real object of his attack. But Governour Clinton, to whom Putnam communicated the arrival of the enemy, penetrated his design, and proroguing the Assembly, repaired on the next day to Fort Montgomery; while in the mean time Sir Henry moved his troops across the river, and on the 6th attacked the American advance at a place called Doodletown, about two miles distant. These were soon compelled to give way and retreat to the Fort, to which they were pursued by Sir Henry. About 5 o'clock in the afternoon the garrison were summoned to surrender, at five minutes warning; but the high spirited Governour answered the summons by double manning his batteries, and Sir Henry in a few minutes made a desperate assault upon Forts Montgomery and Clinton at the same instant. The little body of Americans, consisting only of about 600 continentals and militia, received the attack with great courage, and resisted the most vigorous efforts of the enemy until dark, though they were assailed on all sides, and not one half of them were armed with bayonets. They literally fought their way out of the Fort, and favoured by the night escaped to the mountains. General James Clinton, brother of the Governour, was wounded in the assault.
Being thus master of these fortresses, Sir Henry was enabled, at his leisure, to remove the expensive obstructions which had been thrown across the river,
and to destroy a considerable amount of property, both publick and private, and open himself a free passage to Albany. But contrary to all expectation, and to the complete discomfiture of Burgoyne, Sir Henry did not attempt to proceed thither. Independent of the hope which Burgoyne had of Sir Henry's immediate cooperation with him, he believed that the menace of an attack upon Fort Montgomery, would have the effect of drawing away a part of the force under General Gates at Stillwater, and thus enable him to make a second attack to greater advantage. Circumstances, however, prevented the necessity of separating any part of Gates's force, and brought on the second engagement before it would have been possible for Sir Henry Clinton to have moved to Burgoyne's assistance, if ever such had been his intention. Whatever may have been the original design of Sir Henry, or the nature of his instructions from the commander in chief, it seems to be very certain that Burgoyne was kept in the dark respecting them. It is asserted indeed that Sir William Howe, himself, knew for the first time, after his arrival in the Chesapeake, that it was expected of him to afford any cooperation to the army from Canada; and the truth is, perhaps, that Lord George Germaine, the English minister for American affairs, was too ignorant of the geography and topography of the country to know what orders to give. He must either have supposed it practicable for Sir William in the Chesapeake to have watched the progress of Burgoyne on the Hudson, or he must have believed that the north and south would both fall before these generals without a struggle.
A few days after the battle of the 19th September on Behmus's Heights, an unfortunate altercation took place between Generals Gates and Arnold, which resulted in Arnold's being deprived of his command in that army. The ostensible cause of their quarrel was a "general order" issued on the 22d September, in the following words: "Colonel Morgan's corps not being attached to any brigade or division of the army, he is to make returns and reports to head quarters only; from which alone he is to receive orders." Arnold who had been in the habit of considering the whole elite of the army as belonging to his division, and particularly fond of commanding Morgan's corps, regarded this order as a direct insult, and resented it with great warmth. A correspondence ensued, in which Arnold demanded permission for himself and his two aids to pass to Philadelphia-the pass was immediately given, and thus Arnold's impetuous temper effected at once, what General Gates might have found it extremely embarrassing to have effected at all-his exclusion from command. He saw the advantages which General Gates had gained over him too late. So near the time of an expected battle with the enemy, to leave the army would be to endanger the reputation which he had earned for intrepid valour; to make atonement by confessing his errour would be too humiliating: and in this unpleasant and awkward situation he continued with the army until after the battle of Saratoga. The command of the right wing of the army was given to Major General Lincoln on the 25th.
The battle of the 19th, though it resulted in nothing decisive on either side, brought with it important
advantages to the American army. It gave new vigour to militia preparation; the Indians in the service of the enemy, alarmed at the new adversaries they had met with in Morgan's corps, were continually deserting; and a large body of Oneida warriors offered themselves to General Gates-so that by the 4th of October, his whole force was near 11000 men, out of which something more than 7000 were fit for duty. Burgoyne's effective force was between 5 and 6000. The following letter from General Gates to the commander in chief, in reply to his request to have Colonel Morgan's corps returned to him, if it could be spared, besides its being interesting in other respects, will explain the situation of the two armies at this period. It is dated " Camp, Behmus's Heights, October 5th, 1777"-"Since the action of the 19th ultimo, the enemy have kept the ground they occupied the morning of that day, and fortified their camp; the advanced sentries of my pickets are posted within shot of and opposite to the enemy's; neither side having given ground an inch. In this situation, your Excellency would not wish me to part with the corps, the army of General Burgoyne are most afraid of. From the last intelligence he has not more than three week's provision in store; it will take him at least eight days to get back to Ticonderoga; so that in a fortnight at farthest, he must decide, whether he will really risk at infinite disadvantage to force my camp or retreat to his den? in either case I must have the fairest prospect to be able to reinforce your Excellency in a more considerable manner than by a single regiment. I am sorry to report to your Excellency the distress I have suffered for want of a proper supply of musket cartridges from Spring