« ПредишнаНапред »
attempting an escape, determined on the latter. Boats were prepared under different pretences, for the reception of the troops by ten at night, in order to pass them over to Gloucester Point. The arrangements were made with the utmost secrecy. The intention was to abandon the baggage, and to leave a detachment behind to capitulate for the town's people, and for the sick and wounded; his Lordship having already prepared a letter on the subject, to be delivered to General Washington after his departure. The first embarkation had arrived at Gloucester Point, and the greater part of the troops were already landed, when the weather, which was before moderate and calm, instantly changed to a most violent storm of wind and rain. The boats with the remaining troops were all driven down the river, and the design of passing over was not only entirely frustrated, but the absence of the boats rendered it impossible to bring back the troops from Gloucester. Thus weakened and divided, the army was in no small danger. However, the boats returned, and the troops were brought back in the course of the forenoon, with very little loss.
Things were now hastening to a period which could no longer be protracted ; for
the British works were sinking under the weight of the French and American artillery. All hopes of relief from New York were over, and the strength and spirits of the royal army were broken down and exhausted by their constant and unremitting fatigue. Matters being in this situation, on the 17th of October, Lord Cornwallis sent a letter to General Washington, requesting a cessation of arms for twenty-four hours, and that commissioners might be appointed for digesting the terms of capitulation. Commissioners were accordingly appointed; and on the side of the allies were Viscount De Noailles, and Lieutenant-Colonel Laurens, whose father was in close confinement in the Tower of London, whilst the son was drawing up articles, by which an English nobleman and a British army became prisoners.
On the 19th of October, the posts of York Town and Gloucester were surrendered. The honour of marching out with colours flying, which had been denied to General Lincoln, was now refused to Lord Cornwallis, and Lincoln was appointed to receive the submission of the royal army at York Town, precisely in the same way his own had been conducted, about eighteen months before, at Charleston. The troops that surrendered
exceeded seven thousand ; but so great was the number of sick and wounded, that there were only three thousand eight hundred capable of doing duty. The officers and soldiers retained their baggage and effects. Fifteen hundred seamen shared the same fate as the garrison. The Guadaloupe frigate, of 24 guns, and a number of transports, were surrendered to the conquerors. About twenty transports had been sunk or burned during the siege, including the ships already mentioned. The land forces became prisoners to Congress; but the seamen and ships were assigned to the French admiral. The Americans obtained a fine train of artillery, consisting of seventy-five brass ordnance, and sixty-nine iron cannon, howitzers and mortars. The regular troops of France and America employed in this siege, consisted of about seven thousand of the former, and five thousand five hundred of the latter; and they were assisted by about four thousand militia. · On the part of the combined army about three hundred were killed or wound. ed. On the part of the British about five hundred ; and seventy were taken in the redoubts which were stormed on the 14th of October.
Lord Cornwallis tried to obtain an indemnity for those of the inhabitants who had joined him; but he was obliged to consent to deliver them up to the unconditional mercy of their countrymen. His Lordship nevertheless obtained permission for the Boneta sloop of war to pass unexamined to NewYork. This gave an opportunity of skreening such of them as were most obnoxious to the Americans.
A British feet of twenty-five sail of the line, two fifty gun ships, and eight frigates, having on board Sir Henry Clinton, with seven thousand of his best troops, destined for the relief of Lord Cornwallis, arrived off the Chesapeak on the fifth day after his surrender ; but on receiving advice of this event, they returned to Sandy Hook. And De Grasse remained in the Chesapeak till the 5th of November, when he set sail for the West-Indies.
Washington felt all the honest exultation of a patriot at this auspicious event. The orders published in his camp, on the 20th of October, was strongly expressive of his satisfaction. He congratulated the officers and soldiers of the combined armies on their success, and issued a general pardon to all persons in the continental army who were under arrest, “that every heart might parti ate the general joy.” Nor did he omit what he
knew would be peculiarly acceptable to the religious turn of many of his countrymen.His orders concluded with a particular injunction, “That a thanksgiving service should be performed," at which it was solemnly recommended to the troops to assist with that seriousness and sensibibility of heart, which the surprising interposition of Providence in their favour so justly claimed.
Washington was solicitous that the prisoners of war should be well treated. By his · orders they were distributed in the three provinces of Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania ; and their allowance of provisions was the same as that of the American army. .
Congress voted an address of thanks to Washington, Count Rochambeau, Count De Grasse, and all the officers and soldiers of the combined armies for the services they had performed. They also resolved, “ That in remembrance of the surrender of the British army, a marble column should be erected at York-Town, Virginia, adorned with emblems of the alliance between France and the United States of America, and inscribed with a succinct narrative of the memorable event it was intended to commemorate."
Washington now returned with the principal part of his army to the vicinity of New