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night. On the 30th Colonel Scammel was mortally wounded, and taken prisoner by a party of the enemy, whilst attempting to reconnoiter a little too closely. Lord Cornwallis now found himself closely invested in his camp at York-Town. Count De Grasse, at the earnest and pressing solicitations of General Washington, by his letter, and the personal address of the Marquis La Fayette, who was the bearer of it, moved his whole fleet up to the mouth of York River, and his lordship was closely invested by sea and land. On the 6th of October, the trenches were opened by the combined army, upon his lordship, at the distance of 600 yards. On the 9th the Americans completed their batteries in the afternoon, and began to play upon the camp of his lordship, with their twenty-fours, eighteens, and 10 inch mortars, which continued through the night, without intermission. The next morning the French opened a terrible fire from their batteries, without intermission, for about eight hours, and on the succeeding night a tremendous fire was kept up through the whole line, without intermission through the night. The horrors of this scene, were greatly heightened by the conflagration of two British ships, which were set on fire by the shells, and consumed in the night. October 10th. The next morning another guard ship of the enemy was consumed by the shells of the besiegers, and at the same time they opened their second parallel, at the distance of 200 yards from the enemy’s lines. On the 14th General Washington ordered two battalions to advance to the 2d parallel, and begin a large battery, upon the centre and in advance. During this operation the enemy kept up an incessant fire, which proved very destructive, and continued through the night. - General Washington detached the Marquis La Fayette at the head of the American light-infantry, to storm a
redoubt on the left of the British, and about 200 yards in advance of their lines; with full powers to revenge upon the enemy the cruelties practised at New-London, (as will be noticed,) and put the captives to the sword. The redoubt was carried at the point of the bayonet; but such was the humanity of these sons of liberty, that the captives were spared and treated with kindness. The fire of the allies, and the sickness that prevailed in the British camp, weakened his lordship, and prevented his making such sorties as he otherwise would have done; but the besieged on the morning of the 16th, made a sortie, with a detachment of about 400 men, under the command of Lieut. Col. Abercrombie; carried two batteries which were nearly ready to open their fire, and spiked the cannon. The French suffered severely in defending these batteries, but the British gained no considerable advantage. On the same day, at four in the afternoon, the allies opened their batteries, covered with about 100 pieces of heavy cannon, and such was their destructive fire, that the British works were soon demolished, and silenced. Alarmed for his safety, Lord Cornwallis now began to prepare to retire; his boats were collected, and a part of his army embarked across to Gloucester-Point; but a violent storm arose suddenly, which defeated the plan, and his lordship was enabled with the greatest difficulty to recover his boats, and restore the division that had already been embarked. His lordship now saw that all hopes of succour or escape had failed, and that the tremendous fire of the allies, with its overwhelming destruction, bore down, killed and destroyed the British army, so as to compel him to request a parley on the 18th for 24 hours, and that commissioners" * The commissioners on the part of the allies, were the Viscount De Noaille, and Lieut. Col. Laurens, whose father had been appointed by Congress minister to the Court of Versailles, and who was captured by might be appointed, to draw up the terms of capitulation, to which General Washington assented, and commissioners were appointed accordingly. On the 19th, the articles of capitulation were signed, and on the 20th, his lordship, with his whole army, marched out, prisoners of war. Thus fell this hero of the south, by a stratagem concerted at Hartford and Wethersfield, Connecticut. - To enumerate the particulars of this ever memorable event will exceed the limits of this work, suffice it to say, that 7000 troops under the command of Earl Cornwallis, together with 1500 seamen, were the subjects of this convention; together with 1 frigate of 24 guns, besides transports, (20 of which had been sunk or otherwise destroyed.,) 75 brass ordnance, and 69 iron cannon, howitzers, and mortars. Also a military chest containing 21 13l. 6s. sterling, which, trifling as it was, could not fail to be acceptable to the army. In arranging the articles of capitulation, the commissioners were not unmindful of the terms imposed by the British commander upon Gen. Lincoln at Charleston, just 18 months before, and they prescribed the same to him now, by refusing to him the honors of war, when he march'ed out his troops; and Gen. Lincoln was appointed to receive the submission of his lordship. Lord Cornwallis pressed hard for permission to embark the British and German troops to Europe, under suitable engagements not to serve during the war, either in Europe or America; also that tories might be protected ; but he was constrained to yield unconditional submission to both. The commissioners, however, indulged his lordship with the permission, that the Bonetta sloop of war might pass without search, and many of the most obnoxious Jonahs were conveyed away from the rage of their injured and insulted coountrymen, in the belly of this whale.
the British on his passage, and confined in the tower at London, where he remained in close confinement at that very time.
The noble generosity of the French officers, to those of the British, after the capitulation, called forth this acknowledgment from his lordship. “The deliberate sensibility of the officers of his most christian majesty towards our situation; their generous, and pressing offers of money, both public and private, to any amount, has really gone beyond what I can possibly describe.”
His excellency Gen. Washington closed this glorious scene at York. Town, by publishing in general orders, the grateful effusions of his heart, to the army, both officers and soldiers, and ordered the whole army to be assembled in divisions and brigades, to attend divine service, and render thanks to that God who had given them the victory.
Congress received the letter of Gen. Washington on the 24th, announcing the capture of the British army at
York-Town, with the most heartfelt satisfaction, and im
mediately resolved to move in procession, at 2 o’clock, to the Lutheran Church, and return public thanks to Almighty God, for crowning with success the allied arms of the United States and France, by the capture of the whole British army under the command of Earl Cornwallis. Congress next proceeded to issue a proclamation for the religious observance of the 13th day of December next, as a day of public Thanksgiving and Prayer, throughout the United States. Thus joy, gratitute, and praise to Gqd, were united, and became universal, and swelled with transports every patriotic breast throughout United America. On the 29th Congress resolved, “that thanks be prepresented to Gen. Washington, Count De Rochambeau, Count De Grasse, and the officers of the different corps, and the men under their command, for their services in the reduction of Lord Cornwalliss.” They next resolved, “that a marble column be erected at York-Town, adorned with emblems of the alliance between the United States, and his most christian majesty; and inscribed with a succint account of the surrendery of the British army. Congress next resolved that two stands of colours, taken at York-Town, be presented to his excellency Gen. Washington, in the name of the United States, in Congress asssmbled; and that two pieces of ordnance thus taken, be presented by his excellency Gen. Washington, to Count Rochambeau, with an inscription thereon, “that Congress were induced to present them from considerations of the illustrious part which he bore in effectuating the surrender.” Congress further resolved, “that the Chevalier De La Luzerne be requested to inform his most christian majesty, that it was the wish of Congress that Count De Grasse might be permitted to accept a testimony of their approbation, similar to that to be presented to Count De Rochambeau.” The troops under the command of the Marquis De St. Simon were embarked for the West-Indies, and the American troops repaired to their former stations; excepting such cavalry, and infantry, as were necessary to the service of General Greene; these were sent forward about the first of November, under the command of General St. Clair, to co-operate in the southern war. The French fleet under Count De Grasse, sailed at the same time for the West-Indies, and the operations of the season were generally closed. His excellency General Washington, repaired to Philadelphia, to give repose to his mind, and at the same time to confer with Congress upon the future exigencies of the nation. Congress pursued the plan of loans from France and Holland, and through their ministers, liberal supplies were obtained. A spirit of gratitude and mutual congratulation blazed throughout America; addresses from all public bodies, as well as many societies flowed spontaneously to his excel