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cious maneuvres, kept him in continual alarm.
In the meantime, Lord Cornwallis took possession of York-Town, in Virginia, and he was followed by the Marquis de la Fayette, who had been dispatched by Washington with two thousand light infantry to watch the motions of the British army.
On the 30th of August, Count de Grasse anchored in Chesapeak Bay, with twentyfour ships of the line.
The combined forces proceeded on their way to York-Town, partly by land and partly down the Chesapeak. The whole, together with a body of Virginia militia under the command of General Nelson, amounting in the aggregate to twelve thousand men, rendezvoused at Williamsburg on the 25th of September, and in five days after, moved down to the investiture of York-Town.The French fleet at the same time moved to the mouth of York River, and took a position which was calculated to prevent Lord Cornwallis either from retreating or receiving succours by water. Before the army marched from Williamsburg to York-Town, Gen. Washington gave out in general orders as follows: “ If the enemy should be tempted to meet the arıny on its march, the general particularly enjoins the troops to place their principal reliance on the bayonet, that they may prove the vanity of the boast which the British make of their peculiar prowess in deciding battles with that weapon.”
The combined army halted in the evening, about two miles from York-Town, and lay on their arms all night. On the next day, Colonel Scammell, an officer of great merit, was mortally wounded and taken prisoner, in approaching the out-works of the British. About this time, Earl Cornwallis received a letter from Sir Henry Clinton, announcing the arrival of Admiral Digby with three ships of the line from Europe, and the determinations of the general and fag officers in NewYork to embark five thousand men in a fleet, which would probably sail on the 5th of October--that this ficet consisted of twentythree sail of the line, and that joint exertions of the navy and army would be made for his relief. On the night after the receipt of this intelligence, Earl Cornwallis quitted his out, ward position, and retired to one more inward. On the 9th and 10th of October, the French and Americans opened their batteries; and a tremendous roar of cannon and mortars was continued for six or eight hours without ceasing Major Cochran was sent
from New York on the 3d of October, with a duplicate of Sir Henry Clinton's letter.-That gallant officer went in a vessel to the Capes, and made his way to Earl Cornwallis, through the whole French fleet, in an open boat. He got to York-Town on the same day the Americans opened their batteries; and soon after his arrival, had his head carried off by a cannon ball. On the 10th ảnd lith, the shells of the besiegers set on fire and burned the Charon, of 44 guns, together with a guard ship and a transport. Earl Cornwallis, it is said, was advised at this juncture to evacuate York. Town, and, after passing over to Gloucester, to force his way into the country. But had this movement been made, and the royal army been defeated or captured in the interior country, and in the mean time had Sir Henry Clinton reached York-Town with the promised relief, the precipitancy of the noble Earl would have been perhaps more the subject of censure, that his resolution of standing his ground and resisting to the last extremity.
On the 11th, the besiegers commenced their second parallel, two hundred yards from the works of the besieged. Two redoubts, which were advanced on the left of the British, greatly retarded the progress of the besiegers ; it was therefore determined to attack both at the same hour, on the evening of the 14th, as soon as it was dark. To accomplish their reduction as soon as possible, as well as to prevent jealousies, the attack of the one was committed to the French, of the other to the Americans. Both detachments having passed the abbatis and palisades, with unloaded muskets, carried them in a few minutės. The Americans had only eight killed and twenty-eight wounded; but the French lost a considerable number of men. Lieutenant Colonel Laurens, son to the former President of Congress, took the commanding officer prisoner. His humanity, and that of his associates, so overcame their resentment that they spared the British, though they were charged, when they went to the assault, to remember New-London, and to retaliate by putting the men in the redoubt to the sword. Being asked why they had disobeyed orders by bringing them off as prisoners, they answered, “We could not put them to death, when they begged for their lives." About five of the British were killed, and the rest were captured. Colonel Hamilton, who conducted the enterprise, in his report to the Marquis de la Fayette, mentioned to the honor of his detachment, “tha's
incapable of imitating examples of barbarity, and forgetting recent provocations, they spared every man who ceased to resist.”
The British were so weakened by the fire of the combined armies, but chiefly by sickness, that Earl Cornwallis could not venture any considerable number in the making of sallies. The present emergency, however, was such, that he ordered a sortie of about four hundred men, under Lieutenant Colonel Abercrombie. He made the attack with such impetuosity, that the redoubts which covered the batteries were forced, and eleven pieces of cannon spiked. The French troops, who guarded that part of the entrenchment, suffered considerably. This successful exploit did honor to the officers and troops engaged, but produced no essential benefit.The cannon, being hastily spiked, were again rendered serviceable; and the combined forces were so industrious, that, about four o'clock in the afternoon of the same day, the batteries were finished, and fired briskly.Their several batteries were now covered with nearly one hundred pieces of heavy ordnance, whilst the British works were so destroyed that they could scarcely shew a single gun).
Lord Cornwallis being now reduced to the necessity of preparing for a surrender, or of