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AT the suggestion of many leading educators and librarians, this
edition of the " Battles of the American Revolution," practically a
continuous military history of the War for American Independence,
assumes a less expensive form, and one more convenient for library
and family use.

The Introductory Chapters upon Military Science, or the " Art of
War," originally approved by General William T. Sherman, of the
American Army, and later, by Colonel Edward Bruce Hamley, Com
mandant of the Queen s Staff College, England, as well as by military
authors and instructors, both at home and abroad, remain unchanged.
No variations of Army Formation, Tactics, or Armament can lessen
the value of those principles which govern all activities, both in
peace and war.

In Chapter IV., entitled "Apology for the Military Art," grave
problems respecting the future of Asia, which, since the opening of
the Twentieth Century, more seriously command the attention of the
civilized world, were both anticipated and carefully considered, as
well as the basis upon which all nations could realize permanent
peace and escape the limitless waste of protracted war.

In such a review, along military lines, the uniform recognition by
other authorities, of the value of original and official data herein
applied to the Revolutionary struggle, has afforded additional induce
ment to adopt the form now proposed.




THIS volume had its origin at Tarry town, New York, in 1847,
through the statement of Washington Irving that the battle known as
that of White Plains was actually fought on Chatterton Hill. He
pointed out the localities minutely, and approved the sketch which
has developed as the present map. He stated, very seriously, that a
similar examination and chart of other battle-fields, with the use of
British, French, and Hessian field-notes, reports, and dispatches,
would be necessary, before the character of Washington as a soldier,
and of the contest itself, could be fully understood ; but that years,
possibly a generation, would be requisite for the task.

The undertaking, deliberately begun and kept in view through
many interruptions, was completed at the end of nearly thirty years.

The proof-sheets of the first edition, six in number, were patiently
and critically read by Ex-President Theodore D. Woolsey, of Yale
College ; Rev. Dr. Oliver Crane, of Morristown, New Jersey ;
Benson J. Lossing, Esq., Historian, and Adjutant-general Wm. S.
Striker, of New Jersey, and the chief portion by General William T.
Sherman. Hon. William M. Evarts, Henry Day, Esq., and James B.
Brinsmade, Esq., of New York city, so fully examined maps and text
as to endorse the accuracy of the research.

The subsequent endorsement of George Bancroft, the American
Historian ; of Earl Derby ; Colonel Hamley, President of the Queen s
Staff College ; Sir Joseph Hooker, President of the Royal Society ;
Thomas Hughes and others, in Great Britain ; and of President Thiers ;
Monsieur A. de Rochambeau ; Senator Oscar de Lafayette ; Louis
d Orleans, Comte d Paris, and others, in France, inspired special care
as to succeeding editions.

In preparing this, the fifth edition, additional aid has been ren
dered by other painstaking scholars, who have endeavored to eliminate
even typographical errors ; but in no material sense has the text been
called in question, at home or abroad.


Special thanks are due to William L. Stone, Esq., Historian, of
Jersey Heights, New Jersey ; Frederick D. Stone, Esq., Librarian
Penn. Hist. Society, Philadelphia ; Francis S. Drake, Esq., historical
writer, Roxbury, Mass. ; General J. Watts de Peister, of New York
City ; General Horatio Rogers, of Providence, R. I. ; Thomas C.
Amory, Esq., of Boston ; Rev. Dr. M. B. Riddle, late of Hartford,
Conn., and now of Alleghany Theological Seminary, Pennsylvania,
and Teacher George W. Rollins, of the Boston Latin School, Boston,

To no one does a sense of personal obligation flow more spon
taneously than toward Hon. Robert C. Winthrop, late, and for so
many years, President of the Massachusetts Historical Society, for
his personal sympathy, scholarly scrutiny, and emphatic endorsement.

The closing examination paragraph by paragraph, before it goes
to the publisher by Rev. Dr. William Elliot Griffis, of Boston, him
self an accurate historical writer, adds one more to the many contri
butions of -scholars and teachers, which stimulate to effort and call for
something more than the slight modification of the text.

HYDE PARK, near Boston, January ist, 1888.




I. The Revolutionary Epoch 3

II. Lexington and Concord. Their Lessons 8

III. Military Science the Key to Military History 13

IV. Apology for the Military Art 18

V. Wars between Nations 24

VI. Civil War. Distinction between Insurrection, Rebellion and Revolution 29

VII. Providence in War illustrated 35

VIII. Statesmanship in War illustrated 40

IX. Principles denned. Strategy illustrated.. .: . 46

X. Strategy in War continued \ 53

XI. Grand Tactics illustrated 60

XII. Logistics 68

XIII. Miscellaneous Considerations 73

XIV. The Hour of Preparation 82

XV. Bunker Hill. The Occupation 92

XVI. " Preparation ^ 99

XVII. " " " Battle 104

XVIII. Battle of Bunker Hill. Notes 112

XIX. The Northern Campaign. Preliminary Operations 117

XX. Expeditions to Quebec and Montreal. Their Value 122

XXI. The Assault upon Quebec 130

XXII. Campaign of 1775. Brief Mention 138

XXIII. Campaign of 1776. Boston evacuated. Concurrent Events 146

XXIV. Washington at New York. April to July, 1776 155

XXV. American Army driven from Canada . 161

XXVI. British Preparations. Clinton s Expedition unfolded 170

XXVII. The Republic of South Carolina. Preparations for Defense 176

XXVIII. Clinton s Expedition. Attack on Fort Moultrie 185

XXIX. The two Armies in July and August, 1776 191

XXX. Battle of Long Island. Preparations 199

XXXI. Battle of Long Island 207

XXXII. Retreat from Long Island 214

XXXIII. The American Army retires from New York 220

XXXIV. Harlem Heights and Vicinity, 1776 228

XXXV. Operations near New York, White Plains, Chatterton Hill 234



XXXVI. Operations near New York. White Plains to Fort Washington 242

XXXVII. Plans and Counter Plans. Fort Washington to Trenton 254

XXXVIII. Washington returns the Offensive. Trenton his first Objective 264

XXXIX. Hessians surprised at Trenton 270

XL. Miscellaneous Events. Washington clothed with Powers of Dictator.

Opinions of Trenton 278

XLI. From Princeton to Morristown. The Assanpink and Princeton 284

XLII. Minor Events. January to July, 1777 294

XLIII. Burgoyne s Campaign opened, 1777 303

XLIV. From Ticonderoga to Fort Edward, 1777 313

XLV. Fort Schuyler, Oriskany, and Bennington, 1777 322

XLVI. Battle of Freeman s Farm 335

XLVII. Bemis Heights, Burgoyne s Surrender, 1777 345

XLVIII. Clinton s Expedition up the Hudson. Capture of Forts Clinton ancj

Montgomery, 1777 355

XLIX. Movement on Philadelphia. From New York to the Brandyvvine, 1777 362

L. Battle of Brandy wine 369

LI. Operations near Philadelphia. Battle of Germantown, 1777 382

LII. " " " Minor Mention. Close of Campaign, 1777 392

LIII. " " " From January to June, 1778. Valley Forge.

Barren Hill 401

LIV. From Philadelphia to Monmouth. Monmouth and Vicinity, 1778.. . 412

LV. Preparations for the Battle of Monmouth, 1778 422

LVI. The Battle of Monmouth, 1778 433

LVII. From Monmouth to New York. Siege of Newport. Concurrent

Events 446

LVIII. Campaign of 1778, July to December 457

LTX. January to July, 1779. Position of the Armies. Incidents of the

general Campaign 463

LX. July to December, 1779. Desolating Incursions. Minor Mention. . 468

LXI. Siege of Savannah. General Clinton sails for Charleston, 1779 477

LXII. January to July, 1780. Condition of the Armies 485

LXIII. South Carolina and New Jersey invaded. Siege of Charleston.

Battle of Springfield, 1780 403

LXIV. French Auxiliaries. Arnold s Treason. Southern Skirmishes, 1780. 503
LXV. Battle of Camden. King s Mountain. Position of Southern Armies. 513
LXVI. Minor Mention, 1780. European Coalition against England. Gen
eral Greene at the South 523

LXVII. Condition of Southern Affairs. Mutiny at the North. Operations of

Generals Greene and Cornwallis. Battle of Cowpens 534

LXVIII. From Cowpens to Guilford Court House. Manceuvers of the Armies. 547

LXIX. Battle of Guilford Court House 556

LXX. Southern Campaign. Battle of Hobkirk Hill 566

LXXI. Battle of Eutaw Springs. Closing Events of Southern Campaign,

1781. Partisan Warfare 577

LXXII. La Fayette s Virginia Campaign. Condition of the two armies 584

LXXIII. La Fayette and Cornwallis in Virginia 598

LXXIV. Washington and Rochambeau. Arnold at New London. From the

Hudson to Yorktown 617

LXXV. Siege of Yorktown. Surrender of Cornwallis. Close of Campaign, 1781 631

LXXVL Conclusion 647



WASHINGTON Frontispiece

i. Outline of Atlantic Coast follows page 2

2. Battle of Bunker Hill follows page in

3. Siege of Quebec " " 137

4. Boston and Vicinity " 154

5. Operations in Canada " " 169

6. Battle of Long Island " " 213

7. New York and Vicinity " " 227

8. Capture of Fort Washington " " 253

9. Trenton and Vicinity " " 269

10. Trenton and Princeton " " 277

ii. Operations in New Jersey " " 302

12. Burgoyne s Saratoga Campaign " " 312

13. Battle of Hubbardton " " 321

14. " " Bennington " " 334

15. " " Freeman s Farm " " 344

16. " " Bemis Heights " " 349

17. Surrender of Burgoyne " " 354

18. Capture of Forts Clinton and Montgomery " " 361

19. Battle of Brandywine " " 381

20. " Germantown " " 391

21. Operations on the Delaware " " 395

22. near Philadelphia " " 398

23. Encampment at Valley Forge " " 401

24. La Fayette at Barren Hill " " 407

25. Battle of Monmouth " " 445

26. Siege of Newport " " 456

27. " " Savannah " " 483

28. " "Charleston " " 497

29. Battle of Springfield " " 502

30. Outline Map of Hudson River, Highlands " " 512

31. Battle of Camden " " 522

32. Arnold at Richmond and Petersburg " " 533

33. Battle of Cowpens " " 546

34. Operations in Southern States " " 556

35. Battle of Guilford " " 565

36. " " Hobkirk s Hill " " 575

37. " " Eutaw Springs " " 582

38. Operations in Chesapeake Bay " 596

39. La Fayette in Virginia " " 616

40. Benedict Arnold at New London " " 629

41. Siege of Yorktown " " 645


IT is eminently proper that an effort to give fresh distinctness to
facts and principles should be introduced to the public by some
outline of the method adopted.

The author has accepted the reports of commanding officers as to
all matters peculiarly within their personal knowledge, unless some
serious conflict of opinion, or marked discrepancy in statements of
fact, has compelled resort to other authority.

Anecdotes, whether authentic or traditional, as well as incidents
affecting the personal habits or life, of officers engaged in the Revolu
tionary War, are excluded from consideration. So long as military
negligence, errors of judgment, or of execution, and incompetency,
or the correlative excellencies, can be determined from operations and
results, without the introduction of special criticism, it has been more
agreeable to the author, and more consonant with the spirit of this
undertaking, to submit all issues to that simple test.

The Bibliographical Table, at the end of the volume, embraces the
list of authors consulted.

No statements of fact have been made without responsible

No map has been completed without the careful study of those
heretofore published, and of many never in print at all, and a personal
examination of the battle-fields, or consultation with those who have
made such examination.

In the correction of river courses, as in the " Plan of the Battle of
Monmouth," reference has been made to modern atlases and actual
surveys, geological or otherwise.

The delineation of surface is not designed to furnish a technical
exactness of detail, but aims to so impress the reader with the objective
of the text, that there may be that real recognition of the battle-fields
and battle movements which topographical illustration alone can


inducements which led the author to preface the historical
record with simple outlines of military science are elsewhere stated.

While it has appeared best to avoid technical terms as a general
rule, there has been ever present, as the prime incentive to the whole
work, the assurance that the education of the times, and the depend
ence of all authority upon the people for its ultimate protection,
enforce upon the people the consideration of military principles, as
well as of military history. A nation which values a patriotic record,
and has the nerve to sustain that record, is never harmed by an intel
ligent idea of " The principles which underlie the national defence."
The dedication of this volume is therefore the key to its mission.

The impulse which started this venture upon the sea of thought
has gained fresh breath from the sympathy of scholar and soldier.
The words of Bancroft, Woolsey, Day, Evarts, Brinsmade and Crane,
and of Generals Sherman, Townsend, and Humphreys, have imparted
courage, as well as zest, to both study and execution.

If nothing new has been evolved out of fresh readings of many
authors, there will be this satisfaction to the citizen or stranger that
the substantial issues of arms which marked the war of American
Revolution have been compressed into a single volume ; that the
topographical illustrations are in harmony with all fair historical
narratives of that war, and that they so reconcile the reports of
opposing commanders as to give some intelligible idea of the battle-
issues themselves.

It would be indeed rude not to thank the British and French
authorities, American Legations abroad, and many eminent scholars
of both countries, as well as gentlemen in charge of American public
libraries, who extended courtesies, facilitated research, and expressed
their warm sympathy, during visits in behalf of the enterprise now
floating out of port to meet its destiny.

It w.ould be a violation of honor not to testify of obligation to one
who, long since, visited every battle-field herein discussed, who
obtained from survivors of the revolutionary struggle the data which
otherwise would have had no record, and who, as the only living link
which connects times present with times a hundred years ago has
invited the author to share the benefit of his labors, and has made
possible much that must have been crude or imperfect but for the
generous cooperation of BENSON J. LOSSTNG



THE soldiers of 1775-1781 were not deficient in military skill and
ready appliance of the known enginery and principles of war.
In spite of modern improvements in gunnery, transportation, and
hospital adjustments, and in all that relates to pure Logistics, there
has been no substitution of agencies that has involved other prin
ciples than those which belonged to those campaigns. Then, as
now, every contest was largely determined by the skillful application
of the laws which underlie all human success. Even the introduction
of steam-propulsion has not suspended the laws of Nature, which
laws, for all time, have made sport of those who go upon the sea in
ships. The repeated storms which diverted British and French fleets
from their projected course, or those which affected the operations on
land at times of real crisis, are not without their equally decisive
counterparts in all wars of early or later date. It is an instructive
fact, in military as in civil life, to illustrate the inability of human fore
sight to force the future to its feet and then compel its issues. No
more then than since did the negligence of a picket-guard, the reck
lessness of a rash leader, or the waste of a commissary, prove fatal to
well-advised movements and blast a fair promise of real fruit. Then,
as since, one gallant defense at an unexpected point, one error of
guides, one precipitancy of an issue not fully ripe, determined that
issue adversely.

Then, as since, injustice to an antagonist, or an undue confidence
in attack or defense, brought dismal defeat. Then, as ever, the
violation of the claims of humanity, contempt for conscientious oppo
nents and attempts to use force beyond a righteous limit, worked its
fatal reaction ; and then, as since, the interference of cabinets, or the


substitution of extrinsic for vital issues, worked the discomfiture of
wise military plans on either side of the struggle. It is equally true
that in the face of the more sharply defined social grades then exist
ing the general spirit of the warfare was honorable to both parties ;
and the issues between Washington and Howe, or other generals of
responsible command, as disclosed in their correspondence, were as
courteously discussed as are like issues now.

Even with the modern miracle of journalism, which fastens its
imprint upon the minutest word or fact in the career of men and
nations, there is as much of license, of hyperbole and partisan abuse,
as in those days when the mother country and the colonies engaged
in a deadly wrestle. Jealousies of rank, thirst for office, aspersions of
character, and suspicions of all who attained success, had their place
then, as since ; and as a century of time has revived only the more
agreeable features of that struggle, it is not to be overlooked that
Howe and Clinton and Cornwallis, as well as Washington and his
generals, had their heartaches as well as their laurels, and administered
their trusts under responsibilities and burdens never surpassed.

The war itself was no sudden rebellion against authority, nor a
merely captious and arbitrary assertion of the popular will. It was
even then admitted by the noblest of English statesmen that the
English government, as so tersely stated by Mr. Bancroft, " made war
on the life of her own life."

The era of facts, therefore, which marks this volume, was the fruit
of English thought relating back to Magna-Charta.

Humanity made constant progress in the assertion of normal
rights, and the passing issues which ripened into American independ
ence only indicated the culmination of those issues to a more substan
tial vindication. Prerogative of church and state, the centralization
of property and authority, the irresponsibility to the people of men
who asserted absolutism by virtue of ancestry, or the so-called divine
right, had involved England in bloody wars, alienated faithful subjects,
induced domestic disorders, and made natural, as certain, the separa
tion of the American colonies.

Emancipation from Papal dictation did not bring a corresponding
grant of genuine religious liberty to the earnest people.

Human conscience, bound to its Author by intrinsic obligation,
which no human authority can long control or evade, asserted its
power over the lives and conduct of sober-minded men.

The bonds which confined its expression, and drove devout Chris-


tian men and women to secret conclave and worship, became too
stringent for those who obeyed God as the Supreme Arbiter of life
present and life future.

The presumption that the governed should have a voice in shap
ing the policy which exercised control, was solved by its positive
averment as a principle ; and the reluctance of authority to bend its
measures to meet this human craving and rightful demand, only
quickened the sentiment of resistance to every evasion or defiance
of the right. Every domestic struggle which marked the centuries
of British growth, had this warp for every woof.

Invisible, but present ! despised, but quick with life, the new ele
ment was giving robustness and nerve to the British people, and both
shape and endurance to the British constitution.

The state itself, as it began to feel the spur of the new impulse,
began also to render tribute to the true patriotism which a high moral
and religious obligation alone develops.

The interregnum of Cromwell was resplendent with national
glory ; and the enthusiasm of free men began to testify in clear and
significant tones of the greatness of a people, who so freely con
tributed of life and treasure to dignify and maintain a genuine national

Ripe statesmen and hereditary officials, alike, saw the drift of
human thought ; but, as this pulse-beat strengthened, the hatred of
innovation, and cultivated doubt of the capacity and nerve of the
commons to mingle with and share the control of public affairs pro
longed the established contempt for the commons, while intensify
ing the popular purpose to resist the presumption of caste and undele
gated authority.

The exodus of colonists to America, was the combined fruit of
this misconception of the rights of the people, and of the latent
resistance which rules the life whenever the human soul makes duty
its purpose, and conscience its guide.

The Puritans of New England, the Huguenots of South Carolina,
and the emigrants to Maryland, alike shared in the impulse to escape
from hierarchical control, and work for freedom, self-government, and
the best interests of the governed. The emigration to Maryland
had its small element which maintained the obligation of conscience
to superior, foreign control ; but the majority, who were laboring
men, and independent of every such obligation, asserted their due
share in giving shape to the colony, and thus its birth-hour was


accompanied by the same birth-rights which made the New England
colonies memorable for all time.

A century, and then a half century more, passed by, while the
dynastic element persistently failed to realize the fact, that the col
onies were energized by principles which belonged to man by right,
and which no physical forms could long restrain.

They were the principles which, in fact, made Great Britain great.
The Anglo-Saxon blood was directing the heart-beats, but it had the
oxygen of a higher life, and a bolder, if not a fiercer, activity. Prompt
to meet obligation and render legitimate homage to lawful authority,
it brooked no trammels which partook of oppression or injustice ;
still hopeful, and for a long time confident, that sagacious statesmen
would so control and shape dynastic power as to admit of genuine
loyalty without the loss of self-respect.

The old French war of 1756, brought home to the colonies some
very heavy responsibilities, and these they met with a free expendi
ture of blood and treasure. But it taught them how much they must
cultivate their own resources, and how little could be realized from
the throne, in the assurance of a pervasive and lasting peace.

Sacrifices brought only partial equivalents, so that ordinary taxes
took the color of enforced tribute. Slowly but surely the procrasti
nation, uncertainty, and prevarications of officials compelled the sub
jects to repeated demonstrations of their wishes, and of their claim to
be represented in the councils of the nation, until the Revolution
enforced their will and determined their future.

After the lapse of more than a century, the great English Nation
and the American Republic review that period of struggle with equal
satisfaction, as the evidence of the superintending control of a Higher
Authority, and both nations accept the results of the war and the
developments since realized, as the best possible conclusion of the
ordeal undergone, and the best pledge to the world of the spirit with
which both nations shall aim to dignify national life, while honoring
the rights and highest interests of every individual life.

The power and glory of England, are not in her army or navy, or
her displays of physical force, so much as in the development of all her
people of all classes, in the culture and ripeness which peace and free
dom involve. And the American Republic, which dismissed to thei*
farms and merchandise a million men, when their use was needless,
while unarmed, is, by the compensations of intelligence and industry,
armed to the teeth against all unrighteous intervention or violence.


It is the earnest man of peace, calmly pursuing life s ends, render

Online LibraryHenry Beebee CarringtonBattles of the American Revolution, 1775-1781 → online text (page 1 of 74)