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Retrospective view of American affairs in the year 1776. Preparation in Canada for the armament on Lake Champlain. State of the American force. Engagement near the ifle Valicour. Arnold retires; pursuit ; overtaken; burns his vessels. Crown Point deftroyed and abandoned. General Carleton lands there with the army. Motives for not attacking Ticonderoga. General Carleton returns with the army to Canada. Situation of affairs to the fouthward. General Lee taken. Perfeverance of the Congress. Measures for renewing their armies. Lands allottea for ferving during the war. Money borrowed. Address to the people. Petitions from the inhabitants of New-York, and from those of Queen's county in Long Island, to the Commiffioners. Critical State of Philadelphia. Congress retire to Baltimore. Divifions in Penfylvania. Defertions. Surprize at Trenton. Lord Cornwallis returns to the Jerfeys. Prevented from attacking the enemy at Trenton by impediments of fituation. General Washington quits his camp, and attacks Colonel Mawhood, near Princetown. Lord Ĉornwallis returns from the Delaware to Brunswick. Americans over-run the Jerfeys. British and Auxiliary forces keep poffeffion of Brunswick and Amboy, during the remainder of Indian war. Articles of confederation and perpetual union between the thirteen revolted Colonies.

the winter.

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HE efforts to remove thofe obftacles that had reftrained the progrefs of the British arms on the fide of Canada, in the VOL. XX.

fummer of 1776, were equal to the importance of the objects in view, and the greatness of the difficulties which were to be furmounted. [4]

The

The weight and execution of the naval equipment, fell of course upon the officers and men of that department, whofe ability, zeal, and perfeverance in the performance, can never be too much applauded. The talk was indeed arduous. A fleet of above thirty fighting veffels, of different kinds and fizes, all furnished with cannon, was to be little lefs than created; for though a few of the largest were re-conftructions, the advantage derived from thence depended more upon the ufe of materials which the country did not afford, than upon any faving as to time, or leffening of labour. When to this is added, the tranf porting over land, and afterwards dragging up the rapids of St. Therefe and St. John's, 30 long boats, a number of flat boats of confiderable burthen, a gondola, weighing 30 tons, with above 400 battoes, the whole prefented a complexity of labour and difficulty, which feemed fufficient to appal even the spirit of British feamen. However it must be allowed that the labour did not fall folely on them. The foldiers had their part; and what is to be lamented, the peasants and farmers of Canada were taken from their ploughs, and compelled by power to bear a fhare in toils, from whence they could derive no honour or advantage.

Though the equipment was compleated in about three months, the nature of the fervice, as well

as

the eagerness of the commanders and army, required, if it had been poffible, a ftill greater difpatch. The winter was faft approaching, two inland feas to be paffed, the unknown force of. the enemy on each to be fubdued,

and the ftrong pofts of Crown Point and Ticonderoga, defended and fupported by an army, to be encountered fword in hand. To add to thefe impediments, the communication between the Lakes Champlain and George, did not admit the paffage of thofe veffels of force, which, after being fuccefsful on the one, might be equally wanted on the other. And if all thofe difficulties were furmounted, and Lake George paffed, there ftill remained a long and dangerous march through intricate forefts, extenfive moraffes, and an uncleared country, ftill in a state of nature, before they could reach Albany, which was the firft poft to the fouthward that could af ford them reft and accommodation.

The fpirit of the commanders rofe in proportion to the difficulties which were to be encountered. The objects in view were great, the glory to be acquired tempting, and the defire of their attainment feemed to leffen or remove obftacles, which to a cold or lukewarm fpeculation would have appeared infuperable. If the Lakes could be recovered, and Albany poffeffed, betore the feverity of the winter fet in, the northern army would hold a principal fhare in the honour of bringing the war to a fpeedy conclufion. It was conceived that they could then pour destruction at will, into the heart either of the middle or the northern colonies, each of which would be expofed to them in its moft tender and defenceless part. Whilft the poffeffion of Hudion's river would establish and fecure their communication with General Howe, it would equally fever and disconnect the fouthern and nor

thern

thern provinces, leaving thereby the latter to fink under the joint weight of both armies, or to accept of fuch terms as they could obtain, without the participation of the others. Nor could General Washington attempt to hold any poft in New York or the Jerfeys, with fuch a fuperiority of force as already oppreffed him in front, and General Carleton's army at his back. The fucceffes of their fellows on the fide of New York, in.... creafed the impatience, and excited the jealoufy of this army, every one apprehending that the war would be brought to an end, before he could have an opportunity of Charing in the honour of that happy

event.

With all this ardour, and the most unremitting induftry, it was not until the month of October, that the fleet was in a condition to feek the enemy on Lake Champlain. The force was very confiderable with refpe& to the place and service, extraordinary in regard to the little time spent in its formation, and fuch as, a very few ages ago, would have been deemed formidable even upon the European feas. The hip Inflexible, which may be confidered as Admiral, had been re-contructed at St. John's, from whence the failed in 28 days after laying her keel, and mounted 18 twelve pounders. One fchooner mounted 14, and another 12, fix-pounders. A flatbottomed radeau carried fix 24, and fix 12 pounders, befides how itzers; and a gondola, 7 nine pounders. Twenty fmaller veffels, ander the denomination of gunboats, carried brass field pieces from 9 to 24 pounders, or were armed with howitzers. Some

long-boats were furnished in the fame manner. About an equal number of large boats acted as tenders. Thote we have taken notice of, were all intended for, or appertaining to battle; we omit the valt number defined for the tranfportation of the army, with its ftores, artillery, baggage, and provisions.

The armament was conducted by Captain Pringle, and the fleet navigated by above 700 prime eamen, of whom 200 were volunteers from the tranfports, who after having rivalled thofe belonging to the hips of war in all the toil of preparation, now by and freely partook with them in the danger of the expedition. The guns were ferved by detachments of men and officers belonging to the corps of artillery. In a word, no equip ment of the fort was ever better appointed, ́or more amply fur. nithed with every kind of provifin neceffary for the intended fervice.

The enemy's force was in no degree equal, either with refpec to the goodness of the veff ls, the number of guns, furniture of war, or weight of metal. Senfible, though they were, of the neceffity of preferving the dominion of the Lakes, and aided in that defign by the original force in their hands, with a great advantage in point of time for its increafe, their intentions in that refpect were counteracted by many effential, and fome irremediable deficiencies. They wanted timber, artillery, fhip builders, and all the materials neceffary for fuch an equipment. Carpenters, and all others concerned in the bulinefs of shipping, were fully engaged at the fea-ports [A] 2

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in the conftruction and fitting out of privateers, whilft the remotenefs, and difficulty of communication, rendered the fupply of bulky materials extremely tedious. When we confider the difficulties on their part, we think it not just to deny the Americans the praife, of having combated, and in part overcome them, with an affiduity, perfeverance, and fpirit, which did not in the least fall fhort of what had been employed against them. For their fleet amounted to 15 veffels of different kinds, confifting of two fchooners, one floop, one cutter, three gallies, and eight gondolas. The principal schooner, mounted 12 fix and four pounders. They were commanded by Benedict Arnold, who was now to fupport upon a new element, that renown which he had acquired on land in the Canada expedition.

General Carleton was too full of zeal, and too anxious for the event, not to head the British armament, and having proceeded Oct. 11. up, the Lake, difcovered the enemy's fleet drawn 1776. up with great judgment, being very advantageously posted, and forming a ftrong line, to defend the paffage between the island of Valicour and the weftera main. Indeed they had at the beginning placed themselves with fo much kill behind the island, that an accident only discovered their pofition. The King's fquadron, without this feasonable discovery, would have left them behind; an event, which if it had happened, might have been attended with the moft ferious confequences. It is faid, that the unexpected fight of a three mafted fhip of fuch force, upon the Lake, threw the

enemy into the utmoft, and moft vifible confternation. It does not feem, however, probable, that a matter of fuch public notoriety in Canada, fhould have been fo long, withheld from them.

A warm action enfued, and was vigorously fupported on both fides for fome hours; but the wind being unfavourable, fo that the fhip Inflexible, and fome other veffels of force could not be worked up to the enemy, the weight of the action fell upon the fchooner Carleton and the gun-boats, which they fuftained with the greateft firmness, fuch extraordinary efforts of refolution being displayed both by men and officers, as merited and received the highest applause from their commanders. It is to be prefumed, that when fo much praise was due and given to the conduct and valour of a fuperior force on our fide, the enemy must not have acted their part amifs.

The detachment belonging to the corps of artillery, were highly diftinguifhed, and did most effential fervice in the gun-boats. But the fame impediments ftill continuing, which prevented their being feconded by the other veffels, Captain Pringle, with the approbation of the General, thought it neceffary for the prefent, to withdraw thofe that were engaged from the action. At the approach of night, he brought the whole fleet to anchor in a line, and as near as possible to the enemy, in order to prevent their retreat.

In this engagement the best fchooner belonging to the enemy was burnt, and a gondola carrying three or four guns funk, from whence we may form fome reafonable conjecture of the execution

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done upon their other veffels. Being now fully fenfible of their inferiority, they took the opportunity which the darkness of the night afforded, of endeavouring to escape from their prefent imminent danger, hoping to obtain fhelter and protection at Crown Point. Arnold concerted and executed this defign with ability, and fortune feemed at first fo favourable to his purpose, that they were out of fight by the next morning. The chace being, however, continued without intermiffon both on that and the fucceeding day, the wind, and other circumftances peculiar to the navigation of the Lake, which had been at first in favour of the Americans, became at length otherwife, fo that they were overtaken and brought to action a few leagues hort of Crown Point, about noon on the 13th.

A very warm engagement enfued, and continued about two hours, during which thofe veffels that were most a-head, pushed on with the utmost fpeed, and paffing Crown Point, elcaped to Ticonderoga; but two gallies and five gondolas which remained with Arnold made a desperate refiftance. During this action, the Washing ton galley, with Waterburg, a Brigadier General, and the fecond in command, on board, ftruck, and was taken. Arnold, at length, finding it was impoffible to withftand the fuperiority of force, fkill, and weight of metal, with which he was overberne, and finding himself but ill feconded by the Captains of fome of his veffels, determined that his people fhould not become prifoners, nor the effels a prey to the enemy. He

executed this defign with equal refolution and dexterity, and run the Congrefs galley, in which himfelf was, with the five gondolas, on fhore in fuch a manner, as to land his men fafely and blow up the veffels, in fpite of every effort that was used to prevent both.

Lofs and defeat were fo far from producing their usual effect with refpect to Arnold, that his conduct in this command raised his character ftill higher than it was before with his countrymen. They faid that he not only acted the part of a brave foldier, but that he alfo amply filled that of an able naval commander. That the most experienced feaman could not have found a greater variety of resources, by the dexterity of manœuvre, evolution, and the most advantageous choice of fituation, to compenfate for the want of force, than he did; that when his veffels were torn almost to pieces, he retreated with the fame refolution that he fought, and by the happiest and moft critical judgment, prevented his people and them from falling into the hands of the enemy. But they chiefly gloried in the dangerous attention he paid to a nice point of honour, in keeping his flag flying, and not quitting his galley till he was in flames, left the enemy fhould have boarded and truck it.

The

Thus was Lake Champlain re-. covered, and the enemy's force nearly deftroyed, a galley, and three fmall veffels being all that efcaped to Ticonderoga. enemy, upon the rout of their fleet, having fet fire to the houses, and destroyed every thing which they could not carry off, at Crown Point, evacuated that place, and [4] 3

retired

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