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took the field before the enemy had quitted their winter quarters, and towards the end of May he made a movement from Morristown to Middlebrook, where he encamped in a strong position. General Howe no sooner heard that the Americans were in motion, than he advanced from Brunswick to Somerset Court House, apparently with an intention of pushing for the Delaware; but the country rising in arms on every side of him, he was deterred from prosecuting this design, and hastily measured back his steps to his former position. On their retreat, his troops committed great ravages, and particularly incensed the inhabitants by burning some of their places of worship. After frequently trying in vain to entice Washington from his strong position, General Howe at length retired to Amboy. There learning that his adversary had descended to Quibbletown, he hastened back to attack him; but had the mortification on his arrival at the spot lately occupied by the Americans, to learn that his vigilant foe had withdrawn into his fastnesses. Despairing of being able to penetrate into Pennsylvania by the way of the Jerseys, he passed over into Staten Island, from which point he resolved to prosecute the future views of his campaign by the assistance of his fleet. What those views might be, it was difficult for Washington to ascertain. The whole coast of the United States was open to the British commander-in-chief. He might at his pleasure sail to the north or to the south. General Washington was inclined to believe that his intention was to move up Hudson river to co-operate with General Burgoyne, who was advancing with a large army on the Canadian frontier, and, impressed with this idea, he
What movement did Washington make? Where did Gen. Howe advance
moved a part of his army to Peekskill, whilst he posted another portion at Trenton, to be ready, if required, to march to the relief of Philadelphia. Whilst he was in this state of uncertainty, he received intelligence that Howe had embarked with 16,000 men, and had steered to the southward. Still apprehending that this might be a feint, he cast an anxious eye to the northward, till he was further informed that the British General, after looking into the Delaware, had proceeded to the Chesapeake. The plans of the invaders were then clearly developed. It was evident that they intended to march through the northern part of the State of Delaware, and take possession of Philadelphia. Much time was lost to the British by their voyage, in consequence of unfavorable winds. Though they set sail on the 23d of July, they did not arrive at Elk-ferry, the place fixed upon for their landing, till the 25th of August. General Howe had no sooner disembarked his troops than he advanced through the country by forced marches, to within two miles of the American army, which having proceeded rapidly from Jersey to the present scene of action, was stationed at Newport.
CAPTURE OF PHILADELPHIA, 26TH OF SEPTEMBER, 1776.
On the approach of the enemy General Washington resolved to dispute their passage over the Brandywine Creek. In taking this step he appears to have acted con
Why did Washington send part of his army to Peekskill?
trary to his better judgment. By throwing himself upon the high ground to his right, he might have brought on a war of posts, much better adapted to the capacities of his undisciplined forces, than a battle fought on equal terms. But he dreaded the impression which would be made upon the public feeling, should he leave the road to Philadelphia open, and yielded to the general voice which called upon him to fight for the preservation of the seat of the American government. The action was fought at Chadd's ford, on the Brandywine, on the 11th of September. On this occasion Howe showed his generalship by the skilfulness of his combinations. While a part of his army, under the command of General Knyphausen, made a false attack at the ford, a strong column, headed by Lord Cornwallis, crossing the Brandywine at its fork, turned the left of the Americans, and Knyphausen forcing a passage at that moment of alarm and confusion, the Americans gave way, and retired to Chester, their retreat being covered by Wooster's brigade, which preserved its ranks upbroken. Their loss in killed and wounded amounted to 1200.Among the latter was the Marquis de Lafayette, who, inspired with zeal for the cause of freedom, had, at the age of nineteen, quitted his country at considerable hazard, and entered into the American army, in which he at once obtained the rank of major-general. By the event of the battle of the Brandywine the country was in a great degree open to the British. Washington in vain made one or two attempts to impede their progress, and on the 26th
What was the number of the American army? The
of September, General Howe made his triumphant entry into Philadelphia. On his approach the congress, who had returned thither from Baltimore, once more took flight, and withdrew first to Lancaster and afterwards to Yorktown.
General Howe, on marching to the Pennsylvanian capital, had left a considerable number of troops at Germantown, a few miles from that place. As these were unsupported by the main body of his army, General Washington determined upon an attempt to cut them off. was well laid, and the forces which he despatched on this expedition took the enemy by surprise, and at first drove all before them. But a check having been given them by a small party of the British who had thrown themselves into a stone house, they were soon opposed by the fugitives who had rallied in force, and obliged to retreat with loss.
When General Howe quitted New York for the purpose of gaining possession of Philadelphia, he was deterred from making his approaches by the Delaware, by the preparations made by the Americans to obstruct the navigation of that river. The principal of these consisted of a fort erected on Mud Island, which is situated in the middle of the river, about seven miles below the city. On a height on the Jersey side of the river, called Red Bank, they had erected a strong battery. The channels on both sides of Mud Island were closed by strong and heavy chevaux de frise, through which was left a single passage closed by a boom. As it was absolutely necessary to make himself master of these works, in order to open a communication with his fleet, General Howe, gave orders that they should
What took place on the 26th September?
be forced. In his first attack he was unsuccessful. In storming the battery of Red Bank, Count Donop was mortally wounded, and his troops were repulsed with considerable loss. But the bulk of the chevaux de frise having, by diverting the current of the river, deepened the channel on the Pennsylvania side of Mud Island, a ship of war mounted with twenty-four pounders was warped through it into a position where she could enfilade the fort, which, being no longer tenable, the garrison retired from it to Red Bank. By these operations General Howe obtained full command of the Delaware, and by its means every facility for the conveyance of supplies to his army.
Mr. Hancock having on the 29th of October of this year resigned the presidency of congress, on the 1st of November ensuing, Mr. Henry Laurens was appointed to succeed him.
When the news of General Howe's success arrived in England, the great majority of the nation were transported with joy. In the defeat of Washington, the capture of Philadelphia, and the expulsion of the congress, the members of which were represented as miserable fugitives, seeking in trembling anxiety for a temporary shelter from the
vengeance of the law, they fondly saw an earnest of the termination of the war by the submission of the rebels. But their exultation was speedily damped by the annuncia
Describe the removal of these obstructions.