« PreviousContinue »
pitulation. This was agreed to, and in consequence thereof, the posts of York and Gloucester were surrendered on certain stipulations; the principal of which were as follows ;.“ The troops to be prisoners of war to Congress, and the naval force to France ; the officers to retain their side arms and private property of every kind, but every thing obviously belonging to the inhabitants of the United States, to be subject to be reclaimed ; the soldiers to be kept in Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania, and to be supplied with the same rations as are allowed to soldiers in the service of Congress ; a proportion of the officers to march into the country with the prisoners, the rest to be allowed to proceed on parole to Europe, to New York, or to any other American maritime post in possession of the British.” The honour of marching out with colours flying, which had been refused to Gen. Lincoln on his giving up Charleston, was now refused to Earl Cornwallis; and Gen. Lincoln was appointed to receive the submission of the royal army at Yorktown, precisely in the same way his own had been conducted about eighteen months before.
The regular troops of Anerica and France, employed in this siege, consisted of about five thousand five hundred of the former, ånd seven thousand of the latter, and they were assisted by about four thousand m litia. On the part of the conbined army, about three hundred were killed or wounded. On the part of the Britislı about five hundred, and seventy were taken in the redonbts, which were carried by assault on the 14th. of October. The
every kind that surrendered
prisoners of war, exceeded seven thousand men ; but so great was the number of sick and wounded, that there were only three thousand eight hun. dred capable of bearing arms.
Congress honoured Gen. Washington, Count de Rochambeau, Count de Grasse, and the officers of the different corps, and the men under them, with thanks for their services in the reduction of lord Cornwallis. The whole project was conceived with profound wisdom, and the incidents of it had been combined with singular propriety. It is not therefore wonderful, that from the remarkable coincidence in all its parts, it was crowned with uny ed success.
General Washington, on the day after the surrender, ordered “ that those who were under arrest, should be pardoned and set at liberty.” His orders closed as follows; " Divine service shall be performed tomorrow in the different brigades and divisions. The commander in chief recommends that all the troops that are not upon duty, do assist at it with a serious deportment, and that sensibility of heart which the recollection of the surprising and particular interposition of Providence in our favour claims." The interesting event of captivating a second royal army, produced strong emotions, which broke out in all the variety of ways in which the most rapturous joy usually displays itself.
After the capture of lord Cornwallis, Washington, with the greatest part of his army, returned to the vicinity of New York. In the preceding six years he had been accustomed to look forward and to provide for all possible events.
In the hab
it of struggling with difficulties, his courage at all times grew with the dangers which surrounded him. In the most disastrous situations he was far removed from despair. On the other hand, those fortunate events which induced many to believe that the revolution was accomplished, never operated on him so far as to relax his exertions or precautions. Though complete success had been obtained by the allied arms in Virginia, and great advantages had been gained in 1781 in the Carolinas, yet Washington urged the necessity of being prepared for another campaign. In a letter to Gen. Greene he observed, “I shall endeavour to stimu. late Congress to the best improvement of our late success, by taking the most vigorous and effectual *measures to be ready for an early and decisive campaign the next year. My greatest fear is that, viewing this stroke in a point of light which may too much magnify its importance, they may think our work too nearly closed, and fall into a state of languor and relaxation. To prevent
To prevent this error, I shall employ every means in my power; and if unhappily we sink into this fatal mistake, no part of the blame shall be mine."
1782 and 1783.
Prospects of peace..... Languor of the States..... Discontents of the army.
Gen. Washington prevents the adoption of rash measures..... Some new levies in Pennsylvania mutiny, and are quelled..... Washingtort recommends measures for the preservation of independence, peace, liberty, and happiness..... Dismisses his army...Enters New York. Takes leave of his officers.....Settles his accounts.... Repairs to Annapolis..... Resigns his commission..... Retires to Mount Vernon, and resumes his agricultural pursuits.
The military establishment for 1782, was passed with unusual celerity shortly after the surrender of lord Cornwallis ; but no exertions of America alone could do more than confine the British to the sea coast. To dislodge them from their strong holds in New York and Charleston, occupied the unceasing attention of Washington. While he was concerting plans for farther combined operations with the French, and at the same time endeavouring by circular letters to rouse his countrymen to spirited measures, intelligence arrived that sundry motions for discontinuing the American war had been debated in the British Parlia. ment, and nearly carried. Fearing that this would relax the exertions of the states, he added in his circular letters to their respective Governors, “I have perused these debates with great attention and care, with a view, if possible, to penetrate their real design; and upon the most mature deliberation I can bestow, I am obliged to declare it as my candid opinion, that the measure, in all its views, so far as it respects America, is merely delusory, having no serious intention to admit our independence upon its true principles; but is calculated to produce a change of ministers to quiet the minds of their own people, and reconcile them to a continuance of the war; while it is meant to amuse this country with a false idea of peace, to draw us from our connexion with France, and to lull us into a state of security and inactivity ; which taking place, the ministry will be left to prosecute the war in other parts of the world with greater vigour and effect. Your excellency will permit me on this occasion to observe, that even if the nation and parliament are really in earnest to obtain peace with America, it will undoubtedly be wisdom in us to meet them with great caution and circumspection, and by all means to keep our arms firm in our hands ; and instead of relaxing one iota in our exertions, rather to spring forward with redoubled vigour, that we may take the advantage of every favourable opportunity, until our wishes are fully obtained. No nation yet suffered in treaty by preparing, even in the moment of negotiation, most vigorously for the field.”