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less have guarded, all the approaches to the camp, and to the want of a general commanding officer throughout the day, may this disaster be attributed. General Putnam could not leave his lines, and the double care of New-York and Long-Island devolved upon the commander-in-chief. General Woodhull, who had been ordered to guard the road from Bedford to Jamaica, with the Long-Island militia, remained at Jamaica. The neglect which lost us the day, cost him his life. Riding home, after disbanding the volunteers under his command, he was captured by the British, and infamously cut to pieces, on his refusing to say, 'God save the king.'
Impartiality must award high praise, on this occasion, to the bravery of the enemy's troops, who followed so hotly in pursuit, that they were with difficulty withheld from attacking the American trenches. At night, the patriots within them told their missing brethren ; and when their loss became known, and uncertainty veiled the fate of the absent ones, gloom and despondency pervaded the camp. The victorious British, on the contrary, hastened to secure the ground they bad gained, and, flushed with victory, passed the night in exultation.
On the lwenty-eighth, a violent rain kept the two armies in their respective encampments. That night, the enemy broke ground within about six hundred yards of Fort Greene, and on the following day were busily engaged in throwing up entrenchments. Their main force was advancing, by slow but sure approaches, to besiege the American fortifications, and their superior artillery would doubtless soon silence our batteries. The advanced sentinel of the British army was surprised, on the morning of the thirtieth, by the unwonted stillness within the American lines. Calling a comrade or two around him, they proceeded to reconnoitre. Emboldened by the silence, they crept near the embankment, and cautiously peeping into our camp, perceived not a vestige of the army to whose challenges they had listened the night before. The alarm was given, and the party who first rushed in, to take possession of the works, saw in the mid-stream, out of gun-shot and filled with well-pleased Americans, the last of the barges which had borne their comrades across the waters that night. Beyond it, in a small boat, there sat an American officer, of calm and dignified mien. On his pale countenance the anxious muscles were relaxing into a heavenly smile. This bark bore Cæsar and his fortunes ; and a prayer seemed to escape the lips of WASHINGTON, as a glance at the distant shore told him the American army was beyond the reach of danger.
Nine thousand men, with all their stores and ammunitions, crossed the East River during the night, unperceived by the enemy. For four-and-twenty hours previous, the commander-in-chief had not left the saddle. The immediate embarcation of the troops was under the direction of General M'Dougall, to whose vigilant activity high praise is due.
Incurious popular opinion has admitted this to have been a shameful defeat. I trust that all who have watched the phases of the day, and the concurrence of good and evil fortune on the respective parts of the British and Americans, will acknowledge the injustice of this decision. One great advantage of the assailant lies in the choice of points for attack, presented by any extensive field. This was pecu
liarly the case in the battle of the twenty-seventh of August. The outer line of defence was disproportioned to the force employed; and the enemy's subsequent moves, compelling cur army to retreat, proved the fortifications within, to have been planned on too small a scale for the defence of that part of the island.
It was no disgraceful rout. We have shown, that the troops behaved with high spirit; and would that we might do justice to the distinguished courage displayed by the bands under General Sullivan and Lord Stirling, on this occasion. In particular, may the attack of the latter upon Lord Conwallis, be singled out as a feat of chivalrous gallantry; and the stand long maintained by the Marylanders, upon the hill, with flying colors, under the enemy's severest fire, be cited as examples of Spartan heroism. Some blame has been attached by Gordon to General Sullivan, for neglect of vigilance upon the unfortunate Jamaica road. This officer is defended by Judge Marshall, who observes, that the paucity of his troops, and the entire want of cavalry, forced him to rely upon General Woodhull for the defence of that
pass. It may be asked, why a defeat has been selected for my theme, in lieu of some one of the victories of the revolution. I answer, that even a reverse, when stamped by so much bravery, and incurred through such unforseen ill-chance, is itself a high encomium upon the valor of our ancestors. We have no stronger comment to offer those who would stigmatise it, than our actual liberties. By falling, the infant learns to walk; by losses, the merchant learns to gain; by defeat, and all history tends to prove it, an army is taught to conquer. Moreover, the reverses imbue us with a saner spirit than the triumphs of the revolution.
They recall to mind the price of our liberty. If success flushes the brow of the victorious, and lends impetuosity to determination, defeat still more powerfully operates to paralyze courage, and depression is its immediate, if not lasting, result. It is, then, a manlier study, to mark the workings of the spirit which took breath in discomfiture for renewed resistance at Harlem, where Leitch and Knowlton fell, and at White-Plains. Such a soul filled the breast of WASHINGTON. His glory lay more in retrieving the war's losses, throughout the long struggle, than even in the laurels of Princeton, and Trenton, and York.
This splendid retreat won civic crowns for the American hero; and its parallel is only to be found in the Spanish campaign of the conqueror of Gaul. But the favorable breeze, the calm water, and the thick fog which, toward two in the morning, veiled the Americans from the British, and yet left the river clear, seem direct interpositions of that gracious Providence, which in after days, guided our revolution to victory.
I began this paper with the remark, that all knowledge is history. Who can now gaze upon our magnificent city, from Flatbush Hill, or wind his way among the populous streets, which intersect a portion of the old battle-ground, without owning that the chapter of past events I have reviewed, is the most instructive lesson we can derive from the metamorphosed present? I recently visited the localities of this conflict, on one of those genial days, when the opening earth sympathises with the heart-ihaw of memory. Beneath the fight-scene, the dead are soon to rejoin those who perished there. A grave-gar
den has been laid out among the hills of Gowanus; and beneath the trees, quiet tomb-stones will soon be reflected in the lake, whose banks rëechoed, sixty-two years since, the alarum of soldiers then mirrored in its placid bosom, now engulfed in the stream of eternity.
TO THE VALE OF THE GRAYLOCK, WILLIAMSTOWN, MASSACHUSETTS.
Sweet vale! reclining in the soft embrace
From out their circling groves, where studious thought,
But hence, sweet vale, adieu! the parting hour
Though fate should lead my wandering feet to climes
In the autumn of 1836, while travelling through a portion of the interior of the state of Maine, I stopped at a small new village, between the Kennebec and Penobscot rivers, nearly a hundred miles from the sea-board, for the purpose of giving my horse a little rest and provender, before proceeding some ten miles farther that evening. It was just after sun-set; I was walking on the piazza, in front of the neat new tavern, admiring the wildness of the surrounding country, and watching the gathering shadows of the gray twilight, as it fell upon the valleys, and crept softly up the hills, when a light onehorse wagon, with a single gentleman, drove rapidly into the yard, and stopped at the stable door.
Tom,' said the gentleman to the ostler, as he jumped from his wagon, take my mare out, rub her down well, and give her four quarts of oats. spry, now, Tom; you need n't give her any water, for she sweats like fury. I'll give her a little when I am ready to start.'
Tom sprang, with uncommon alacrity, to obey the orders he had received, and the stranger walked toward the house. He was a tall, middle-aged gentleman, rather thin, but well proportioned, and well dressed. It was the season of the year when the weather began to grow chilly, and the evenings cold; and the frock-coat of the stranger,
trimmed with fur, and buttoned to the throat, while it insured comfort, served also to exhibit his fine elastic form to the best advantage. His little wagon, too, had a marked air of comfort about it; there was the spring-seat, the stuffed cushions, and the buffalo robes ; all seemed to indicate a gentleman of ease and leisure ; while, on the other hand, his rapid movements and prompt manner, betokened the man of business. As he stepped on to the piazza, with his long and handsome driving whip in his hand, the tavern-keeper, who was a brisk young man, and well understood his business, met him with a hearty shake of the hand, and a familiar 'How are you, colonel? Come, walk in.'
There was something about the stranger that strongly attracted my attention, and I followed him into the bar-room. He stepped up to the bar, laid his whip on the counter, and called for a glass of brandy and water, with some small crackers and cheese.
• But not going to stop to supper, colonel ? Going farther to-night ?' inquired the landlord, as he pushed forward the brandy bottle.
Can't stop more than ten minutes,' replied the stranger; “just long enough to let the mare eat her oats.'
Is that the same mare,' asked the host, ‘that you had when you were here last ?'
• Yes,' answered the colonel; I've drove her thirty miles since dinner, and am going forty miles farther, before I sleep.'
• But you 'll kill that mare, colonel, as sure as rates,' said the landlord ; she 's too likely a beast to drive to death.'
* No, no,' was the reply; "she 's tough as a pitch-knot; I feed her well; she 'll stand it, I guess. I go to Norridgewock before I sleep to-night.'
With a few more brief remarks, the stranger finished his brandy, and crackers and cheese; he threw down some change on the counter, ordered his carriage brought to the door, and bidding the landlord good night, jumped into his wagon, cracked his whip, and was off like a bird. After he was gone, I ventured to exercise the Yankee privilege of asking who he might be.'
• That 's Colonel Kingston,' said the landlord ; a queer sort of a chap he is, too; a real go-ahead sort of a fellow as ever I met with ; does more business in one day than some folks would do in a year. He's a right good customer ; always full of money,
well.' • What business or profession does he follow ? I asked.
Why, not any particular business,' replied the landlord; he kind o' speculates round, and sich like.'
But,' said I, • I thought the speculation in timber-lands was all over ; I did n't know that a single person could be found, now, to purchase lands.'
“O, it is n't exactly that kind of speculation,' said the landlord; he's got a knack of buying out folks' farms ; land, house, barn, live stock, hay, and provisions, all in the lump.'
• Where does he live? said I. •O, he 's lived round in a number of places, since he 's been in
He's been round in these towns only a year or two, and it's astonishing to see how much property he 's accumulated. He stays in Monson most of the time, now. That's where he came