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BATTLES OF AMERICA



BY



SEA AND LAND



WITH



BIOGRAPHIES OF NAVAL AND MILITARY COMMANDERS.



VOLUME I.

COLONIAL AND REVOLUTIONARY.



BY ROBERT TOMES, M. D.



ILLUSTRATED WITH NUMEROUS STEEL ENGRAVINGS,



NEW YORK
JAMES S. VIRTUE

12 DEY STEEET.



COPYRIGHT, 1878, BY ROBERT TOMES.



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS,

VOL. I.

COLONIAL AND REVOLUTIONARY.



PAGE.

BATTLE OF BUNKER S HILL - Frontispiece.

WASHINGTON AT VALLEY FORGE Vignette Title.

THE SIEGE OF LOUISBURG 2

FALL OF BRADDOCK - 7

WASHINGTON RAISING THE BRITISH FLAG AT FORT DU QUESNE Io6

WOLFE S INTERVIEW WITH PITT, BEFORE HIS DEPARTURE FOR CANADA - 108

THE STRUGGLE ON CONCORD BRIDGE 145

SPAULDING MONUMENT, FOREST HILL CEMETERY, BUFFALO - I?!

GENERAL HOWE EVACUATING BOSTON - 251

INTERVIEW OF HOWE*S MESSENGER WITH WASHINGTON - 310

LORD STIRLING AT THE BATTLE OF LONG ISLAND - 328

BATTLE OF HARLEM - 354

WASHINGTON CROSSING THE DELAWARE - ~ 4 2 ^

BATTLE OF PRINCETON " 435

GENERAL STARK AT BENNINGTON - 5 22

LAFAYETTE WOUNDED " 534

SURRENDER OF BURGOYNE 573

MOLL PITCHER - " "4 1

INDIAN MASSACRE AT WILKESBARRE, (VALLEY OF WYOMING) - 654

LAST MOMENTS OF MAJOR ANDRE " 7 8 7

DEATH OF FERGUSON, AT KING S MOUNTAIN 800



INTRODUCTION.



To the general reader history would be uninteresting were it not for its
battle scenes. Take the battle scenes out of the famous histories which have
come down to us from Ancient Greece and Rome, and what would be left of
them ? It is the battle pictures which give life to the pages of Xenophon and
Thucydides, of Livy and Tacitus ; and the modern historians have found it as
much a pleasure as a necessity to dwell upon these scenes in which nations are
seen struggling against some fierce internal enemy, or measuring their strength
with a powerful foreign foe. What more readable book than Napier s History
of the Peninsular War ? Gibbon is nevermore brilliant than when he lingers
over a battle scene. And who would read through the bulky volumes of Alison
and Thiers were it not for the wars of the Great Napoleon, which occupy the
chief portions of the narrative.

It is the object of the author to present in detail in the following pages, the
great battles which have been associated with the rise and progress of America ;
and it is his confident belief that the work will commend itself to all who take
any interest in the welfare and prosperity of the Great Republic.

History seems to teach that conflict and progress are convertible terms ;
and, indeed, no Nation has ever risen to eminence that has not passed through a
succession of conflicts, either within itself, or in defensive war against the
encroachments of powerful neighbors. To mark the course of these, and to
observe how victory almost always has finally remained with a people true to
themselves and firmly united against the aggressor, however powerful, is a source
of unmingled satisfaction to every friend of man ; and, indeed, nothing can more
excite the sympathy of the right-minded than to follow in history the fortunes of
a heroic people, struggling for the preservation of independence and liberty
against overwhelming forces, and finally throwing off the oppressor by force of.
heroism and superior capacity for self-sacrifice and perseverance.

Such a series of conflicts America has passed through ; and it is pro
posed in this work to give a compendious account of the struggles and heroic
conflicts by which it has risen from the condition of a few feeble and scattered



r*"



INTRODUCTION.



colonies to a position among the first, if not the very first, of the great Nations
of the modern world, and to indicate therefrom something of the future grandeur
that awaits them.

It will adopt tl^e order of time, and begin with the colonial struggle with the
French, in the course of which occurred the capture and siege of Louisbourg,
accomplished mainly by the daring and energy of the men of New England ; the
disastrous defeat and death of General Braddock, memorable as the scene of
Washington s early distinction, the loss of Fort William Henry, the capture of
Fort Du Quesne, the battle on the Heights of Abraham, the death of Wolfe and
Montcalm, and the capture of Quebec.

It will then take up the Revolutionary War, and omit no conflict of those
days which tried men s souls. From the battle of Lexington to the surrender at
Yorktown, every contest will be described : the struggle on Concord Bridge, the
capture of Ticonderoga by Ethan Allen and the "Green Mountain Boys," the
battle of Bunker s Hill, in which the provincials first discovered that they were
a match for British regulars, the surrender of Montreal and the unsuccessful
siege of Quebec, the capture of Johnstown by Schuyler, the defeat of Lord
Dunmorc in Virginia, the British evacuation of Boston, the defence of Charles
ton and Fort Sullivan by General Moultrie, the battle of Long Island, the
evacuation of New York by the Patriot forces, the battles of Harlem and White
Plains, the siege and capture of Fort Washington by the British, the naval
engagement on Lake Champlain, the battles of Trenton and Princeton, the fall of
Ticonderoga and the battle of Hubbardtown, the battle at Fort Stanwix and the
death of Herkimer, the battles of Bennington and the Brandywine and Bemis s
Heights, followed by the surrender of Burgoj iie, the battles of Gcrmantown
and Monmouth, the massacre at Wyoming, the defence of Charleston, the capture
of Vincennes. the storming of Stony Point, the exploits of Paul Jones, and the
desperate fight between the Bon Homme Richard and the Serapis, the disastrous
assault on Savannah under D Estaing and Lincoln, the fall of Charleston, the
battles of Camclen, King s Mountain, the Cowpens, Guilford Court House,
Hobkirk s Hill and Eutaw Springs, the siege of Yorktown and the surrender of
Cornwallis, with all the minor incidents and exploits that contributed to make
the war memorable, and the States independent.

Then, also in the order of time, will come the battles of the War of 1812,
brought about by arbitrary French decrees and the British orders in council,
together with the right of search claimed by British cruisers. After sketching
the affairs of the Leopard and the Chesapeake, and the President and Little Belt,
and Harrison s victory at Tippecanoe events that immediately preceded and
hastened the outbreak of actual hostilities will be narrated the long series of
triumphs, with a few reverses, of the American Navy, so gratifying at home, and



INTRODUCTION. Ill



producing such astonishment in Europe, among which may be named as
deserving the reader s special attention, the memorable chase of the frigate
Constitution by a British squadron, the battles between the Alert and the Essex,
the Guerriere and the Constitution, the daring exploits of Decatur at Tripoli,
and the capture of the Macedonia, the battles between the Frolic and the Wasp,
the Constitution and the Java, the Hornet and the Peacock, the Chesapeake and
the Shannon, the Pelican and the Argus, the Enterprise and the Boxer, the
Essex and the Pho3be, off Valparaiso, the battles of Lakes Erie and Champlain,
and other less memorable sea fights, in which American courage and daring were
conspicuous.

Turning to military operations, it will be seen that though at first these were
less fortunate, there were not wanting displays of daring and energy, worthy of
more brilliant success. It will be necessary to tell of the shameful surrender of
General Hull at Detroit, and of the massacre of Captain Heald s command at
the beginning of the war, and subsequently of the surrender of Winchester and
the massacres at the Eiver Eaisin and Fort Mines. Less painful will be the task
of the historian in narrating Taylor s gallant defence of Fort Harrison, the battle
of Queenstown and the defence of Fort Niagara, and of Fort Stephenson by
Croghan, the siege of Fort Meigs and the capture of York (now the large and
nourishing City of Toronto) and Fort George, the battle of Sackett s Harbor, the
battle of the Thames and death of Tecumseh, the battles of Chippewa, Lundy s
Lane, Bladensburg, Baltimore, and New Orleans one of the memorable battles
of the world.

In the War with Mexico the Nation will be exhibited no longer contending
with the superior forces of an aggressive European Power, but taking the
offensive to secure the independence of Texas, threatened by the persistent
claims of the Mexicans. In the account of this war the historian has little more
to do than to recount a succession of victories. The superiority of the American
troops, in everything but numbers, soon made it evident that there could be only
one conclusion to a contest between Anglo-Saxon and Mexican. Beginning with
the disaster to Colonel Thornton s command, then will follow the world-renowned
battles of Palo- Alto and Kesaca-de-la-Palma, of the gallant defence of Fort
Brown, of the battles of Monterey and Buena Vista, El Paso and Sacramento,
the siege and capture of Vera Cruz, the battles of Cerro Gordo, Contreras and
El Molino del Rey, the capture of Chapultepec, and the surrender and occupation
of the City of Mexico the crowning triumph of the war.

In the Four Years War into which the Nation was permitted to fall, will be
narrated a series of battles of a magnitude with few parallels in modern times,
as might be expected when men of the same race and country were arrayed
against each other in vast armies of equal numbers, and commanded by officers



IV INTRODUCTION.



of similar experience and training, and whose operations extended through
every Southern State, there will be seen no longer, as in Mexico, a rapid
succession of victories, but a series of persistent and terrific struggles, of which
the termination might well seem doubtful to European observers. From the first
gun fired on Fort Sumter, whose echoes rang throughout the world, to the final
surrender of General Lee, occurred a vast multitude of actions and operations, on
land and sea, of which only a few of the more prominent can be named here. It
will be the duty of the historian to describe the battles of Booneville, Rich
Mountain and Carrack s Ford, the disastrous defeat of Bull Run, the battle of
Springfield, the bombardment of Fort Hatteras, the battles of Ball s Bluff and
Drainsville, the capture of Port Royal, the battle of Mill Spring, the capture of
Forts Henry and Donelson and of Nashville, the battle of Pea Ridge, the battle
between the Monitor and the Merrimac, the battles of Winchester the battle at
Pittsburg Landing and Shiloh, the capture of New Orleans, McClellan s siege of
Yorktown, the battle of Williamsburg, the attack at Drury s Bluff, the battles
of Hanover Court House, Fair Oaks and Green Pines, the naval battle before
Memphis, the Seven Days battles on the Peninsula, the battles of South Mountain,
Antietam and Fredericksburg, the tedious siege of Yicksbnrg and Charleston
and Fort Sumter and Petersburg, the bombardment of Fort Fisher, Farragut s
twenty days work at Mobile, the engagement between the Kearsarge and
Alabama, the great battles of Chancellorsville, Salem Heights, Lookout Moun
tain, the Wilderness, Spottsylvania Court House, Cold Harbor, the Chickahominy,
Atlanta, Nashville and Five Forks, Sheridan s battles in the Shenandoah Valley,
Sherman s great march to the sea, and the brilliant closing events of the war.

But attractive, as it is hoped the literary portion of this work will be, the
pictorial illustrations all steel engravings of the first class will be pronounced
unrivalled for their beauty and accuracy. These will be profusely distributed,
and will consist of battles on sea and land, accurate pictures of battle-fields,
fortresses, and scenes of memorable events ; also fine portraits of all the more
distinguished military and naval commanders. Besides which will be given a
number of beautifully colored maps, by means of which the reader may readily
follow the movements of armies in the fields.

In brief, it is confidently anticipated that "The Battles of America" will be
made so complete a work that nothing can be added to it with advantage ; and
that, in all time to come, the United States may have no more battles to record,
but that peace may become the true panoply of all Nations.



BATTLES OF AMERICA,



PART I, COLONIAL BATTLES,



CHAPTER I.

The Rivalry between England and France in the Old World revived in the New. France s Lnst of Dominion m Amer
ica. Jealousy of English Colonists. Frequent Conflicts, with no Results but Spilling of Blood. Louis the Four
teenth s Contemptuous Disregard of his American Subjects. His Fatal Concessions to Great Britain by the Treaty
of Utrecht. The Consequent Danger of Canada. The French guard against it by the Founding of Louisburg.
Its Extensive Fortifications. The Jealousy of the English Colonists excited. Their Trade endangered. The French
deemed a Horde of Dangerous Interlopers. Anxiety to get rid of them. The French commence Hostilities. Can-
seau attacked by the French and captured. Annapolis repels the Invaders. New England aroused Governor Shir
ley, of Massachusetts, boldly resolves upon a Secret Expedition against Louisburg. The Secret disclosed by a Pious
Member of the General Court. Shirley asks the Aid of the Home Government for the Defence of Nova Scotia. So
licits the Assistance of the English West-India Fleet. Shirley opposed by the Legislature. He finally triumphs over
the Opposition. Massachusetts foremost in voting Men and Money. Land-Forces and the Fleet of New England.
Embarrassment of the Governor in the Choice of a Commander of the Expedition. Colonel William Peppercll finally
chosen. Governor Wentworth passed over, on the Score of Ill-Health. Wentworth, disappointed, declares he nas
thrown away his Crutches, and offers his Services, but too late. Pcpperell hesitates to accept. The famous Whitcfield
advises him religiously. The Expedition against Louisburg a Religious Crusade. The Pious Enthusiasm of the
People. Pepperell s Origin, Life, and Character. A Great Merchant. Immense Popularity. Military Experience.
Recruits crowd to his Standard. Shirley, anxious to take Louisburg by a Coup de Main, cuts off all Communication
with the Place. The Expedition prepares to sail. A Heavy Blow, and Great Discouragement. Admiral Warren,
of the West-India Station, at the Last Moment, refuses to co-operate. Prayers and Sermons. Expedition sails for
Canseau.



THE rivalry between England and
France in the Old World was revived in
the New under circumstances calculated
no less to excite jealousy, and stir up con
tention, than those which had for ages
brought these tw r o nations in another
hemisphere into almost constant conflict.
As in Europe, so in America, the English
find French were near neighbors; and
with this proximity of two different and
aspiring people, came naturally a clash
ing of interests, and repeated struggles
for supremacy. France, in possession of



Canada and Louisiana, was, with its usual
lust of dominion, eager to enlarge the
boundaries of its American territory: with
this view, she claimed the whole region
which extended back of the original Brit
ish colonies from the mouth of the St.
Lawrence to that of the Mississippi, and
strove on every occasion to make good
her claims by military possession. The
English settlers, with their rapidly-devel
oping commercial and trading interests,
looked at these encroachments with a
jealous eye, and sought every opportuni-



BATTLES OF AMERICA.



[PART i.



1713,



ty to check the advances of their French
rivals. Frequent collisions ensued in
consequence, and the colonial annals are
fall of recorded conflicts between the two
competitors for American dominion. The
temporary military triumph of the one or
the other was the only result of these re
peated contests, and the combatants were
left, for the most part, in the possession
of their original territorial claims.

In 1713, however, Louis XIV.,
with a contemptuous disregard of
the interests of his American subjects,
ceded to Great Britain, by the treaty of
Utrecht, the province of Nova Scotia
called by the French Acadie Newfound
land with its wealth of fisheries, and the
territory bordering Hud3on s bay.

This concession was a fatal blow to
French dominion in America. Newfound
land and Nova Scotia should have been
retained at all hazards by France, as they
were, from their position off the mouth
of the St. Lawrence, the natural guards to
Canada. It is true that the island of Cape
Breton, to the west, was reserved for the
protection of the Canadian possessions;
but its proximity to the coast of New Eng
land, and to Nova Scotia from which it
was only separated by a narrow strait,
exposed it to attack from those quarters.

The French were alive to the danger
incurred by the concessions of the treaty
of Utrecht, and strove to secure the safety
of their Canadian territory by strongly for
tifying Cape Breton, as their only means
of guarding the approach to the St. Law
rence, and thus protecting the extensive
territory of which that river is the outlet.
They accordingly founded a walled town



on a tongue of land, at the southeastern
part of Cape Breton, and called it Louis-
burg, in honor of their monarch. The
most skilful engineers of France were
commissioned to fortify it on the most
extensive plan, and according to the best
approved systems of defence.

The site of the town and fortifications
embraced a circumference of no less than
two and a half miles ; while a solid ram
part of masonry, with a height of more
than thirty feet and a ditch of the width
of eighty feet, was constructed to protect
every part that was approachable. Tow
ard the sea, there was no occasion for
more than the defence of a dike and pick
ets, since the water here was so shallow
and so underspread with dangerous reefs,
that there was no danger from the ap
proach of armed vessels. The entrance to
the harbor was only four hundred yards
wide, and this was defended by the con
struction of a battery of thirty twenty-
eight pounders upon a small island which
was conveniently situated in the very
centre of the strait. Another battery
was built on the land bordering the up
per part of the harbor, and directly facing
the town. This was termed the Royal
battery, and was provided with twenty-
eight forty-two and two eighteen-pound
cannon. On the elevated ground of the
main-land opposite to the fortified island,
stood the lighthouse, and at some distance
to the north were built the necessary
magazines and storehouses.

The town itself was handsomely con
structed of wood and stone, and was en
tered through a gate at the west over a
drawbridge, which was defended by a cir-



COLONIAL.]



LOUISBURG AND ITS FORTIFICATIONS.



cular battery containing thirteen twenty-
four pounders. The cost of the \vhole
construction, of town and fortifications,
amounted to no less than six millions of
dollars ; and such had been the deliber
ate care with which the works were con
ducted, that they required twenty-five
years for their completion.

The English colonists of the New Eng
land coast naturally beheld the rising of
this strongly-fortified citadel with anx
ious alarm. They began to fear for the
safety of their trade and commerce : they
saw, in Louisburg, a cover for French
cruisers and privateers, which, on the
least pretence of hostility, might sail out
and pounce upon their merchantmen and
fishing-vessels. The English, with a natu
ral instinct for trade, had largely devel
oped the Atlantic fisheries and commerce,
while the French, more intent upon mili
tary possession, seemed eager only for
the glory of dominion. The latter, there
fore, were regarded by the former as a
horde of dangerous interlopers, whom it
was necessary to get rid of at all hazards,
as fatal obstacles to British colonial pros
perity.

Odious, however, as the threatening
aspect of the fortified Louisburg was to
the New-Englanders, and eager as they
were to rid themselves of so dangerous
a neighbor, it was not before the French
had provoked the attack, that the Eng
lish prepared to commence hostilities.

Nova Scotia, in possession of Great
Britain, was poorly defended by two
small English garrisons : one on the is
land of Canseau, at the mouth of the
strait of that name, which separates No



va Scotia from Cape Breton; and the
other at Port Royal, or Annapolis, situ
ated to the north. The French com
mander at Louisburg, anticipating a dec
laration of war between France and Eng
land, sent out a detachment of nine
hundred men against the garrison
of Canseau. The English, consisting only
of a single company of soldiers, and sus
pecting nothing, were taken by surprise
and conveyed to Louisburg as captives.
A similar attempt was made upon An
napolis; but William Shirley, governor
of Massachusetts, anticipating the dan
ger, had sent a small force from Boston
to the aid of the garrison, which succeed
ed with much difficulty in repelling the
French attack.

The colonists of Massachusetts were
greatly provoked by these invasions, and
prepared to take revenge. Their thoughts
naturally turned to Louisburg, the pos
session of which by the French was be
lieved to be so dangerous to the British
colonial interests. The prisoners who
had been captured at Canseau and taken
to L ouisburg, had been set free. On their
arrival in Boston, their imprisonment be
came naturally a general topic of conver
sation, and served to stimulate the desire
for an attack upon the place of their cap
tivity. They, moreover, were enabled to
give the exactest information in regard
to Louisburg and its fortifications. With
this definite knowledge, Governor Shir
ley conceived the bold idea of getting uj
a secret invasion of the French citadel,
with the view of taking it by surprise
and capturing it at once by a coup de main.
Shirley was so bent upon his scheme.



BATTLES OF AMERICA.



[PART i.



and so convinced of the necessity of se
crecy, that he extorted from each mem
ber of the general court a solemn oath
not to divulge his plan. The secret was,
however, only kept for a few days ; it
having been disclosed through the piety
of one whose voice was heard, not only
in the legislature, but the church. In
his capacity as member of the latter, be
ing called upon to pray, he piously in
voked the blessing of Heaven upon Shir
ley s scheme, and thus disclosed the gov
ernor s important secret. The subject
now became the common talk, and gen
eral opinion was freely expressed against
the proposition, as reckless and impossi
ble

Shirley strove even to mystify the
British ministry ; and, while he invoked
their aid, he carefully concealed from
them the exact purpose of his demand.
He wrote to the home government, ask
ing for the assistance of a naval force, on
the plea that Nova Scotia was threatened
by the French ; and addressed also a let
ter to Warren, who had the naval com
mand on the West-India station, and was
then at Antigua, soliciting his aid.

The indefatigable Shirley was not to
be balked of his favorite purpose by the
opposition of the legislature, which had
reported, through a committee, unfavor
ably to the attack on Louisburg. He
accordingly used his influence with the
traders of New England, to prevail upon
them to get up a petition to the legisla
ture to reconsider its former vote. This
was done, and had its effect ; for a new
committee was appointed, which report-
ed in favor of the expedition. Upon the



report being warmly and longly discussed,
the governor s plan was finally carried
by the majority of one. The vote was
given ; there was no longer any opposi
tion to carrying out its object ; and all the
colonists warmly seconded the efforts 01
Shirley for the execution of the proposed
attack upon Louisburg.

New England, and particularly Massa
chusetts, felt naturally the greatest inter
est in the enterprise, and the share borne
in it by that portion of the colonies was
accordingly the greatest. Massachusetts
was foremost, and voted to contribute
more than three thousand men. Next
came Connecticut, with five hundred ;
and then Rhode Island and New Hamp
shire, with three hundred each. Aid was
solicited from the other colonies, but
there was little active sympathy show r n
Avith the cause, and New England was
left to bear the chief burden. Pennsyl
vania, however, sent some provisions, and
New York contributed a small supply of
artillery. In addition to the land-forces,
there were fourteen small armed vessels,



Online LibraryRobert TomesBattles of America by sea and land. With biographies of naval and military commanders (Volume 01) → online text (page 1 of 126)