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HistRevolV2_701-750.indd 1 3/16/12 12:05 PM APPENDIX T 0 V 0 L U M E T H I R D Note No. I. Page 483. Earl Cornwallis to Sir Henry Clinton, K.B. dated York-Town, Virginia, October 21, 1781. Sir, [437) I have the mortification to inform your excellency, that I have been forced to give up the posts of York and Gloucester, and to surrender the troops under my command, by capitulation, on the 19th instant, as prisoners of war, to the combined forces of America and France. I never saw this post in a very favorable light; bur when I found I was to be anacked in it, in so unprepared a state, by so powerful an army and artillery, nothing bur the hopes of relief would have induced me to attempt its defence; for I would either have endeavoured to go to New York, by rapid marches from the Gloucester side, immediately on the arrival of general Washington's troops at Williamsburgh, or I would, notwithstanding the disparity of numbers, have atracked them in the open field, where ir might have been just possible that fortune would have favored rhe gallantry of rhe handful of troops under my command; but being assured by your excellency's leners, that every possible means would be tried by the navy and army to relieve us, I could not [438] think myself ar liberty to venture upon either of those desperate attempts; therefore, after remaining for two days in a strong position, in front of the place, in hopes of being attacked, upon observing that the enemy were taking measures which could nor fail of turning my left flank in a short rime; and receiving, on the second evening, your letter of the 24th of September, informing that the relief would sail about the 5th ofOctober, I withdrew within rhe works on rhe night of the 29th of September, hoping by the labor and firmness of the soldiers, to protract the defence until you could arrive. Every thing was to be expected from the spirit of the troops, but every disadvantage anended their labor, as the works were ro be continued under the enemy's fire, and our stock of entrenching tools, which did not much exceed four hundred, when we began to work in rhe latter end of August, was now much diminished. The enemy broke ground on the night of the 30th, and constructed on that night, and on the two following days and nights, two redoubts, which, with some works that had belonged to our outward position, occupied a gorge between two 701 HistRevolV2_701-750.indd 2 3/16/12 12:05 PM 702 APPE:-.IDIX creeks or ravines, which come from the river on each side of the town. On the night of the 6th of October they made their first parallel, extending from its right on the river to a deep ravine on the left, nearly opposite to the centre of this place, and embracing our whole left, at the distance of six hundred yards. Having perfected this parallel, their batteries opened on the evening of the 9th, against our left, and other batteries fired at the same time against a redoubt advanced over the creek upon our right, and defended by about one hundred and twenty men of the twenty third regiment and marines, who maintained that post with uncommon gallantry. The fire continued incessant from heavy cannon, and from mortars and howitzers, throwing shells from eight to sixteen inches, until all our guns on the left were silenced, our work much damaged, and [439] our loss of men considerable. On the night of the 1lch they began their second parallel, about three hundred yards nearer to us; the troops being much weakened by sickness, as well as by the fire of the besiegers, and observing that the enemy had not only secured their flanks, but proceeded in every respect with the utmost regularity and caution, I could not venture so large sorties as to hope from them any considerable effect; but otherwise, I did every thing in my power to interrupt this work, by opening new embrasures for guns, and keeping up a constant fire with all the howitzers, and small mortars that we could man. On the evening of the 14th, they assaulted and carried two redoubts that had been advanced about three hundred yards, for the purpose of delaying their approaches and covering our left flank, and...


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