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for orders, and reserve his fire until he is sure of doing execution; of this the officers are to be particularly careful."

The possession of Long Island is essential to the defence of New-York. It had been determined in a Council of war, to fortify a camp at Brooklyn, front ing New-York; and stretching across that end of Long Island, from East river to Gowan's cove. The rear of this encampment was defended by batterics on Red Hook and Governour's Island, and by works on East River, which secured the communication with the city. In front of the encampment, ran a range of hills from east to west across the island. These were covered with wood, and were steep, but could any where be ascended by infantry. Over this range were three passes, leading by three roads to Brooklyn ferry.

A strong detachment of the American army was posted on Long Island, under the command of General Greene, who made himself intimately acquainted with the passes on the hills; but unfortunately becoming sick, General Sullivan succeeded him in this command only a few days before active operations commenced. The main body of the American army remained on York Island. A flying camp, composed of militia, was formed at Amboy, to prevent the depredations of the enemy in New-Jersey; and a force was stationed near New Rochelle, and at East and West Chester on the Sound, to check the progress of the enemy, should they attempt to land above King's bridge, and enclose the Americans on York Island. The head quarters of General WASHINGTON were in the city, but he was daily over at Brooklyn to inspect the state of that camp, and to make the best arrangements circumstances would admit.

An immediate attack being expected on Long Island, General Sullivan was reinforced, and directed carefully to watch the passes.

On the 26th the main body of the British troops

with a large detachment of Germans, landed under cover of the ships, on the south western extremity of Long Island. A regiment of militia stationed on the coast, retreated before them to the heights. A large reinforcement was sent to the camp at Brooklyn, and the command of the post given to General Putnam, who was particularly charged to guard the woods, and to hold himself constantly prepared to meet the assault of the enemy.

On the same day, the British, in three divisions, took post upon the south skirt of the wood; General Grant upon their left, near the coast; the German General de Heister in the centre at Flatbush; and General Clinton upon their right at Flatland. The range of hills only now separated the two armies, and the different posts of the British were distant from the American camp, from four to six miles. Upon their left, a road to Brooklyn lay along the coast by Gowan's cove, before General Grant's division. From Flatbush a direct road ran to the American camp, in which the Germans might proceed. General Clinton might either unite with the Germans, or take a more eastern route, and fall into the Jamaica road by the way of Bedford. These three roads unite near Brooklyn. On the pass at Flatbush, the Americans had thrown up a small redoubt, mounted it with artillery, and manned it with a body of troops. Major General Sul livan continued to command on the heights.

In the evening, General Clinton, without AUG 26. beat of drum, marched with the infantry of his division, a party of light horse, and fourteen field pieces, to gain the defile on the Jamaica road. A few hours before day, he surprised an Ameri can party stationed here to give the alarm of an ap proaching enemy, and undiscovered by Sullivan seized the pass. At day light he passed the heights, and descended into the plain on the side of Brooklyn Early in the morning, General de Heister, at Flatbush,

and General Grant upon the west coast, opened a can. nonade upon the American troops, and began to ascend the hill; but they moved very slowly, as their object was to draw the attention of the American commander from his left, and give General Clinton opportunity to gain the rear of the American troops stationed on the heights. General Putnam, in the apprehension that the serious attack would be made by de Heister and Grant, sent detachments to reinforce General Sullivan and Lord Sterling at the defiles, through which those divisions of the enemy were approaching. When General Clinton had passed the left flank of the Americans, about eight o'clock in the morning of the 27th, de Heister and Grant vigorously ascended the hill; the troops which opposed them, bravely maintained their ground, until they learned their perilous situation from the British columns, which were gaining their


As soon as the American left discovered the progress of General Clinton, they attempted to return to the camp at Brooklyn; but their flight was stopped by the front of the British column. In the mean time, the Germans pushed forward from Flatbush, and the troops in the American centre, under the immediate command of General Sullivan, having also discovered that their flank was turned, and that the enemy was gaining their rear, in haste retreated towards Brooklyn. Clinton's columns continuing to advance, intercepted them, they were attacked in front and rear, and alter nately driven by the British on the Germans, and by the Germans on the British. Desperate as their situa ti was, some regiments broke through the enemy's columns and regained the fortified camp; but most of the detachments upon the American left and centre were either killed or taken prisoners.

The detachment on the American right, under Lcrd Sterling, behaved well, and maintained a severe conflict with General Grant for six hours, until the van of

General Clinton's division, having crossed the whole island, gained their rear. Lord Sterling perceived his danger, and found that his troops could be saved only by an immediate retreat over a creek near the cove He gave orders to this purpose; and, to facilitate their execution, he in person attacked Lord Cornwallis, who, by this time having gained the coast, had posted a small corps in a house, just above the place where the American troops must pass the creek. The attack was bravely made with four hundred men, who, in the opinion of their commander, were upon the point of dislodging Cornwallis; but his Lordship being reinforced from his own column, and General Grant attacking Lord Sterling in the rear, this brave band was overpowered by numbers, and those who survived were compelled to surrender themselves prisoners of war; but this spirited assault gave opportunity for a large proportion of the detachment to escape.

The loss of the Americans on this occasion, for the number engaged, was great; General WASHINGTON stated it at a thousand men ; but his returns probably included only the regular regiments. General Howe, in an official letter, made the prisoners amount to one thousand and ninety-seven. Among these were Major General Sullivan, and Brigadier Generals Sterling and Woodhull. The amount of the killed was never with precision ascertained. Numbers were supposed to have been drowned in the creek, and some to have perished in the mud on the marsh. The British loss acknowedged by General Howe, was twenty-one officers, and three hundred and forty-six privates killed, wounded, and taken.

General WASHINGTON passed over to Brooklyn in the heat of the action; but unable to rescue his men from their perilous situation, was constrained to be the inactive spectator of the slaughter of his best troops.

At the close of the day, the British approached in front of the American works, and it has been said, that

the troops, in their ardour, exhibited a strong inclination to storm the lines; but General Howe, remembering Bunker Hill, prudently restrained them from the assault.

Determining to carry the American works by regu lar approaches, the British commander broke ground, on the night of the 28th, within six hundred yards of a redoubt.

General WASHINGTON was fully sensible of the danger that awaited him. The success of the enemy by regular approaches was certain. His troops were without tents, and had already suffered extremely by heavy rains. The movements of the British fleet indicated an intention to force a passage into the East river, and cut off the retreat of the troops to the city. Should they accomplish this, the situation of the army on Long Island would be desperate. An immediate retreat to the city was therefore thought expedient. The measure was happily accomplished, on the night of the 29th, with all the stores, and military apparatus, except a few pieces of heavy artillery, which the softness of the ground rendered it impossible to move.

This important retreat was made with so much silence and address, that the enemy did not perceive it, although so near that the noise of their intrenching tools was distinctly heard by the Americans. A heavy fog hung over Long Island until late in the morning of the 30th, which hid the movements of the American army from General Howe. When it cleared, the rear guard was seen crossing East river, out of reach of the British fire. The General in person inspected the details of this critical retreat; and for the forty-eight hours, which preceded its completion, in his own language, he was "hardly off his horse, and never closed his eyes." He did not leave the island before the covering party marched from the lines.

The attempt to defend Long Island has by many been considered, as an errour in the military opera

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