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prehended, would probably drive the whole Jersey brigade from the service ; and to assume the exercise of the powers of Commander in Chief, and then recede without producing the effect, must hazard his own authority, and injure the discipline of the army. Under these embarrassing circumstances, he prudently resolved to take no further notice of this address, than to notify the officers, through General Maxwell, that while they continued to do their duty,' he should only regret the step they had taken, and hope that they themselves would perceive its impropriety.
This alarming transaction, the General commu. nicated to Congress, and at the same time remind. ed them of his repeated and urgent intreaties in behalf of his officers. Some general provision for them he now recommended as a measure of absolute necessity.
“ The distresses in some corps,' he observed, “ are so great, either where they were not until lately attached to any particular state, or where the state has been less provident, that officers have solicited even to be supplied with the clothing destined for the common soldiers, coarse and unsuitable as it was. I had not power to comply with
“The patience of men animated by a sense of duty and honour, will support them to a certain point, beyond which it will not go. I doubt not Congress will be sensible of the danger of an extreme in this respect, and will pardon my anxiety to obviate it."
The regiment marched agreeably to orders, and the officers withdrew their remonstrance. The Legislature took measures for their relief, and they continued in the service.
The situation of the hostile armies not favouring active operations, General WASHINGTON planned an expedition into the Indian country. rience while he commanded the troops of Virginia in the French war, convinced him, that the only effectual method to defend the frontiers from the destructive invasion of Indian foes, is to carry the war into their own country. To retaliate in some measure, the cruelties the Indians had inflicted on the Americans, and to deter them from their repetition, General Sullivan, the commanding officer, was ordered, on this occasion, to exercise a degree of severity, which in the usual operations of war, was abhorrent to the humane disposition of the Commander in Chief. In the course of the summer months, General Sullivan successfully prosecuted the plan, and destroyed the Indian towns upon the northern boundary of the state of New York.
The disposable force of Sir Henry Clinton this year consisted of between sixteen and seventeen thousand men. The troops under the immediate command of General WASHINGTON amounted to about sixteen thousand. A view of the numbers of the two hostile armies is sufficient to shew, that offensive operations against the strong posts of the British, were not in the power of General WASHINGTON. The marine force, by which these posts were supported, facilitated the designs of the British
commander in predatory expeditions upon the American shores and rivers; but in the middle states, the campaign passed away without any military operations upon a large scale. The American General posted his troops in a situation the most favourable to protect the country from the excursions of the enemy, and to guard the high lands on the north river. These highlands were the object of the principal manoeuvres of the opposing Generals, and the scene of some brilliant military atchievments.
West Point was now the chief post of the Amer. icans on the Hudson. Here was their principal magazine of provisions and military stores. It was situated upon the western side of the river, in the bosom of the mountain, was difficult of approach, and its natural strength had been increased by fortifications, although they were not completed. Lower down at the foot of the mountain is King's ferry, over which
road from the eastern to the middle states. This ferry is commanded by the points of land on the two shores. The point on the west side is high, rough ground, and is called Stony Point. That on the east side is a low neck of land projecting into the river and denominated Verplank's Point. On each shore General WASHINGTON had erected fortifications, and a small garrison under the command of a Captain was placed in Verplank.
Sir Henry Clinton, on the last of May, moved with the greater part of his force up the river towards these posts. On his approach Stony Point was evacuated; but the celerity of his movements obliged the garrison at Verplank to surrender themselves pris.
oners of war. The possession of King's ferry could not have been the sole object of Sir Henry's movement, his force was much greater than this purpose required. The possession of West Point was prob. ably the ultimate design of the expedition ; but the excellent disposition of the American troops, defeated this intention of the British Commander. Hav. ing fortified the positions of Stony Point and Ver. plark, and placed garrisons in them, Sir Henry returned with his army to New York.
The Americans were subjected to great inconvenience by the loss of King's ferry. To pass the North river, they were necessitated to take a route by the way of Fish Kill, through a rough and mountainous country, and the transportation of heavy articles for the army by this circuitous road became
General WASHINGTON was induced by a variety of motives to attempt the recovery of Stony and Verplank points. The very attempt would recall the British detachments that were out on predatory expeditions. Success in the plan would give reputation to the American arms, reconcile the publick mind to the plan of the campaign, and restore to the Americans the convenient road across King's fer. ry. In pursuance of this intention, he reconnoitred the posts, and, as far as possible, gained information of the situation of the works, and of the strength of the garrisons.
The result was a plan to carry posts by storm.
The assault upon Stony point was committed to General Wayne, and that no alarm might be given, his force was to consist only of the
light infantry of the army, which corps was already on the lines. The night of the 15th of July was assigned for the attack.
The works were strong, and could be approached only by a narrow passage over a piece of marshy ground, and the garrison consisted of six hundred men. About midnight the troops moved up to the works through a heavy fire of artillery and musketry, and without the discharge of a single gun, carried them at the point of the bayonet. The Americans, on this occasion, displayed their usual humanity ; they put not an individual to the sword after resistance ceased.
The loss of the Americans in the assault was inconsiderable, compared with the nature of the service. Their killed and wounded did not exceed one hundred men. General Wayne received a wound on the head, which, for a short time stunned him ; but he insisted upon entering the fort, which by the support of his aids he accomplished. Sixty three of the garrison were killed and sixty eight wounded, and five hundred and forty three made prisoners. Military stores to some amount were found in the fort.
General Howe was intrusted with the execution of the design against Verplank; but through a number of unfortunate incidents, to which military operations are always liable, it miscarried.
Stony Point alone did not give the Americans the use of King's ferry. Sir Henry Clinton imme. diately moved up the North river with a large force to recover the post, and General WASHINGTON, not thinking it expedient to take from his
the number of troops necessary to garrison it, destroyed