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Lord Cornwallis endeavoured to obtain permiffion 1781. for the British and German troops to return to their respective countries, under engagements not to ferve against France or America; and also an indemnity for those inhabitants who had joined him: but he was obliged to confent, that the former fhould be retained in the governments of Virginia, Pennsylvania and Maryland, and that the latter, whofe cafe lay with the civil authority of the states, fhould be given up to the unconditional mercy of their countrymen. His lordship however obtained permiffion for the Bonetta floop of war to pass unexamined, which gave an opportunity of screening those of the royalifts who were moft obnoxious to the refentments of the Americans. He took care alfo to have it stipulated, that no article of the capitulation fhould be infringed on pretext of reprifal. His lordship, with all civil and military officers, except those of the latter who were neceffarily left behind for the protection and government of the foldiers, were at liberty to go upon parole, either to Great Britain or New York. He acknowledged in his public letter, that the treatment which he and the army had received after the furrender, was perfectly good and proper. His lordship fpake in thefe warm terms of the kindness and attention fhown to them, by the French officers in particular—
Their deliberate fenfibility of our fituation, their generous and preffing offers of money, both public and private, to any amount, has really gone beyond what I can poffibly describe.”
On the 20th of October, the American commander in chief, congratulated in general orders the army on the glorious event of the preceding day; and tendered
1781 to the generals, officers and privates, his thanks in the warmeft language. He with gratitude returned his fincere acknowledgments to gov. Nelfon of Virginia, for the fuccours received from him and the militia under him. To spread the general joy in all hearts, he commanded that thofe of the army, who were under arrest, should be pardoned and fet at liberty. The orders closed with-" Divine fervice fhall be performed to-morrow in the different brigades and divifions. The commander in chief recommends, that all the troops that are not upon duty, do affift at it with a ferious deportment, and that fenfibility of heart which the recollection of the surprising and particular interpofition of Providence in our favor claims."
The British fleet and army deftined for the relief of O lord Cornwallis, arrived off the Chesapeak on the 24th;
but on receiving authentic accounts of his furrender, they returned to New York. A few days after their first return, the fleet was increased by four fhips of the line: but fuch was the fuperiority of the French by de Barras's junction with de Graffe, that nothing short of defperate circumftances could juftify attempting a fresh engageThese circumftances however exifting, the British naval commanders ufed all poffible expedition in refitting the fhips, with the defign of extricating Cornwallis and his army. The delay occafioned by this bufinefs seemed to be compenfated by the arrival of the Prince William and Torbay men of war from Jamaica. It was determined that every exertion fhould be used both by the fleet and army, to form a junction with the British force in Virginia. Sir Henry Clinton embarked with above 7000 of his best forces. It was neverthe
lefs the 19th of October before the fleet could fall down 1781. to the Hook. They amounted to 25 fhips of the line, 2 fifties, and 8 frigates. When they appeared off the Chesapeak, the French made no manner of movement, though they had 36 fhips of the line, being fatisfied with their present success. The main error, which paved the way to the capture of the British army, appears to be the omiffion of fending a larger force from the Weft Indies than that which was dispatched under Sir Samuel Hood. A few more ships in the first instance might have prevented that most woful difappointment, with which both Sir Henry Clinton and lord Cornwallis have been painfully exercised.
Every argument and perfuafion was ufed with the count de Graffe to induce him to aid the combined army in an operation against Charlestown; but the advanced season, the orders of his court, and his own engagements to be punctual to a certain time fixed for his ulterior operations, prevented his compliance. His instructions had fixed his departure even to the 15th of October; he however early engaged to ftay longer. Could he have extended his co-operation two months more, there would moft probably have been a total extirpation of the British force in the Carolinas and Geor gia. On the 27th, the troops under the marquis St. Simon began to embark for the Weft Indies; and about the 5th of November de Graffe failed from the Chefapeak.
The marquis de la Fayette being about to leave America, the following expreffions made a part of the orders iffued by him previous to his departure from York Town" Orders for the firft brigade of light infantry, 0 4 iffued
1981.iffued by major general the marquis de la Fayette, O&, 31, 1781. In the moment the major general leaves this place, he wishes once more to exprefs his gratitude to the brave corps of light infantry, who for nine months past have been the companions of his fortunes. He will never forget, that with them alone of regular troops, he had the good fortune to manoeuvre before an army, which after all its reductions, is ftill fix times fuperior to the regular force he had at that time." Four days after, this brigade embarked for the Head of Elk; the invalids of the American troops destined for the northward having previously done it. The New Jersey and part of the New York lines marched by land, and were to join the troops which went by water, at the Head of Elk. Such cavalry as were wanted by gen. Greene marched several days before; and on the 5th of November a reinforcement marched under gen. St. Clair, in order to strengthen him for further offenfive operations in South Carolina. The feafon of the year was unfavorable for the return of the troops to the North river, fo that they fuffered much in doing it. But they and their comrades had been bleffed with a series of the moft delightful weather from the beginning of their march toward York Town until the reduction of the place..
No fooner had congress received and read gen. Washington's letter, giving information of the reduction of the British army, than they refolved on the 24th of October, that they would at two o'clock go in proceffion to the Dutch Lutheran church, and return thanks to Almighty God, for crowning the allied arms of the United States and France, with fuccefs by the furrender of the whole British army under the command of earl Corn