Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

in the beginning of June ; but before they could receive an answer from Congress, Gen. Clinton evacuated Philadelphia, after the British army had kept possession of it for nine months. This event took place on the 18th of June; and it was considered by the Americans as the harbinger of their independence. They asserted, that the strength of Britain was broken on the American continent; and that the army retreated towards the sea, to be in readiness to embark if the exigencies of Britain required its assistance.

The British army marched out of Philadelphia at three o'clock in the morning, and crossed the Delaware before noon, with all its baggage.

Washington had been apprised of this movement, and dispatched expressesses into the Jerseys to collect troops. He passed the Delaware with the main body of his army, and was hourly joined by reinforcements of regular troops and militia.

General Clinton retreated across the country towards Sandy Hook, whence a passage to New-York might be easily effected. In the meantime, Washington pursued the British army, he sent the Marquis de la Fayette with a detachment of chosen troops to harrass the rear of the enemy; General Lee,

who had lately been exchanged, followed with a division to support him; and Washington himself moved with the main body to sustain the whole.

On the 27th of June, the British army encamped in a strong position at Monmouth, near Freehold ; and, on the morning of the 28th, the van-division of the Americans, under Gen. Lee, commenced the attack by a severe cannonade ; but Sir Henry Clinton, had made such judicious arrangements of his troops, that the enemy were unable to make any impression on his rear. The British grenadiers and light infantry engaged the Americans with such vigour that their first Jine, commanded by General Lee, was completely broken; their second line was also defeated; they both rallied, however, and posted themselves with a morass in their front. They were again charged by the British troops, and were with difficulty preserved from a total defeat by the junction of their main body under Washington.

In this action, the bravery and discipliņe of the British troops was conspicuous. They had forced an enemy superior in number from two strong positions, and had endured excessive fatigue both from the intense heat of the day and unremitting toil. The loss

21

of the royal army was about three hundred men, and that of the Americans much more considerable.

The conduct of Washington on this occasion was highly praise-worthy. His timely interposition with the main body had preserved his army from being entirely cut off, and by his subsequent movements, he placed it so advantageously, as to secure it from an attack. Confiding in superiority of numbers, he now resolved to act offensively : his troops lay on their arms in the feld, and he reposed himself in his cloak under a tree, that he might be ready to renew the action next morning. He was disappointed on finding that the British troops had resumed their march during the night. On their anival at Sandy Hook, they embarked on board the fleet, and soon afterwards arrived at Ner

York.

General Lee, who commanded the vandivision of the American army in the action at Monmouth, was, in consequence of his misconduct, put under arrest, tried by a court martial, and sentenced to a temporary suspension from his command.

Charles Lee was the third son of John Lee, Esquire, of Dernhall, in the county of Chester. This gentleman was a colonel of a regiment of infantry, and his son Charles was an officer at eleven years of age, he may be considered as born in the army, From his early youth he was ardent in the pursuit of knowledge, and his fondness for travel gave him an opportunity of obtaining several languages.

Tactics, however, became his favourite study. He was appointed captain of a company of grenadiers in the 44th regiment, and was at the battle of Ticonderoga, where General Abercrombie was defeated. In the vear 1762, he bore a Colonel's commission, and served under General Burgoyne in Portugal.

During the years 1771, 1772, and to the beginning of autumn, 1773, he travelled : over the prifcipal parts of the continent of

Europe. On his return to London, in August, 1773, he embarked on board the packet for New-York, where he arrived the 10th of November following:

As Lee had ever professed himself a friend of America, he was received with enthusiasm by the most active political characters in that country. He now blazed forth a whig of the first magnitude ; his company and correspondence were courted; many ingenious political pieces, the production of his pen,

were much admired; and, from his popularity, he looked forward in expectation of being advanced to the first military rank. . On the 21st of June, 1775, having received a commission of the rank of major-general from Congress, he accompanied Washington to the camp at Cainbridge. General Lee served in this and the subsequent campaign with distinguished activity, zeal, and valour, till, on the 13th of December, 1776, he was surprised and captured by a party of British light-horse. He remained a prisoner of war till the capture of General Burgoyne at Saratoga, when he was exchanged. The battle of Monmouth terminated his military career. In consequence of his behaviour at this action, he was tried at Brunswick, on the 4th of July following. The charges against him were, : “Ist. For disobedience of orders in not attacking the enemy on the 28th of June, agreeable to repeated instructions.

“2ndly. For misbehavour before the ene- . my on the same day, by making an unnecessary, disorderly, and shameful retreat.

“ 3dly. For disrespect to the commander in chief in two letters, dated the 28th of June, and 1st of July.”

« ПредишнаНапред »