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distance to render any service. This fortunate CHAP. L. circumstance enabled Arnold to keep up the 1776. engagement for several hours. Towards night, the English commander thought it advisable to discontinue the action for the present; and the whole fleet was anchored in a line as near that of the Americans as it could be brought, for the purpose of preventing their escape. In this engagement, the best schooner belonging to the American flotilla was burnt, and a gondola carrying three or four guns was sunk.

The best eulogium which can be bestowed on the conduct of the Americans in this affair is, that notwithstanding their inferiority of force, they were not defeated, though the enemy spoke with great praise of the conduct of their own officers and men.

Finding it impossible to renew the action next day, Arnold made his escape in the night in the hope of reaching Ticonderoga, and being sheltered under the guns of the fort. The wind being favourable he was the next morning entirely out of sight. An immediate pursuit however was made, and, about noon, he was overtaken, and brought to action, a few leagues short of Crown Point.

He kept up a very warm engagement for October 12. about two hours, in the course of which, those vessels, which were most ahead, pushed on with the utmost speed, and, passing Crown Point, escaped to Ticonderoga. Two gallies

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Arnold defeated on the lakes.

CHAP. I. and five gondolas which remained, made a 1776. desperate resistance. One of them, the Wash

ington, having on board the second in command, at length struck, and was taken. Unable longer to maintain the action, and determined not to fall into the hands of the enemy, Arnold ran the remaining vessels on shore, in such a manner as to land their crews in safety; after which, he blew them up, and saved his men, in spite of the efforts made to prevent both.

This defeat did not dispirit the Americans, nor diminish the reputation of Arnold. The gallant resistance he had made with such inferiority of force; his having, when defeated, saved his men, and prevented his vessels from falling into the hands of the enemy, were consoling circumstances, which were considered as deducting something from the loss of the lakes.

Asmall detachment, which had been stationed at Crown Point as an out post, immediately on the approach of the enemy, set fire to the houses, evacuated the place, and retired to Ticonderoga, which it was determined to de. fend to the last extremity.

General Carleton took possession of Crown acron before, Point, and advanced a part of his fleet into lake

George within view of Ticonderoga. His army also approached that place as if designing to lay siege to it.

General
Carleton a

.

The combined force of Schuyler and Gates CHAP. L. amounted to between eight and nine thousand 1776. men. Care had been taken to lay in a sufficient stock of provisions, and to strengthen the works very considerably. Application was made to general Washington for directions for calling in a re-enforcement of militia. That officer had smarted so severely for depending on essential aid from this source, that his opinion was against calling them to the assistance October 22. of the garrison, unless it should be absolutely 'insufficient for the defence of the works. He conceived that, if he was not misinformed res. pecting the strength of the northern army, it might certainly maintain Ticonderoga until the rigour of the season, and the freezing of the lake, should compel the enemy to retire into Canada for winter quarters. In the mean time, he recommended the securing all the cattle and horses in the country behind them, in order to deprive the British army, if it should slip by Ticonderoga, of the means of conveying their artillery, military stores, and baggage; or of subsisting themselves.

These considerations seem to have weighed also with the English general. After recon- Retires into noitring the works, and observing the steady cuarters in countenance of the garrison, he thought it too late in the season to derive any solid advantages from laying siege to it this campaign, and therefore re-embarked his army and returned

CHAP. I. to Canada, where he placed it in winter quar1776. ters as commodiously as the country would

admit; making the isle Aux Noix his most advanced post.

It has been supposed that this retreat of general Carleton was an ill judged measure; and that Ticonderoga might have been taken without any considerable loss; in which case, the army might have wintered on the lake, and have commenced its operations early in the spring, from that point.

The probability of success in any attempt on Ticonderoga, very much depended on the conduct which might be observed by a considerable part of the garrison, composed of troops from Pennsylvania, and Jersey, whose terms of service expired in October. If their aid could have been depended on, the place could not have been taken without great loss. But this circumstance certainly rendered the situation of the army extremely critical.

It must be admitted too, that wintering on lake George, an army whose supplies were to be drawn from Canada, would have been attended with great difficulty, and that the attempt, at that late season, to penetrate the then dreary and inhospitable wilderness between that place and Albany, would have been extremely hazardous, if at all practicable.

This retreat however relieved very much the apprehensions of the Americans, and enabled

1776.

general Gates, at the instance of the commander CHAP. I. in chief, to march with a considerable detachment of the northern army, now just about to disband, to join him on the Delaware.

The great superiority of the British army under Howe in point of numbers, was such as to induce in its general the opinion that some impression might be made to the eastward, without endangering or impeding in any manner, the execution of his plans against New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Indeed, it might well be supposed, that by creating a diversion in that quarter, and alarming those states for their own safety, their attention would be particularly directed to the protection of themelves; and they might be deterred from affording to the grand army, that aid, which might be expected from their energy of character, and to which their zeal in the common cause would probably prompt them.

Accordingly, an expedition was planned against Rhode Island. The land forces, amounting to about three thousand men, were commanded by general sir Henry Clinton, and the fleet to be employed in this service, was intrusted to sir Peter Parker. They sailed from New York about the last of November, and without any material opposition, took possession of the island on which Newport, the capital of that state, stands, and gave, for a short time, a very serious alarm to the states

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