Siege of York & Glouster, Virginia

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Title

Siege of York & Glouster, Virginia

Description

Anonymous manuscript journal, by a member of the Light Infantry, chronicling the events of the Yorktown campaign from the arrival of George Washington in Williamsburg on September 14th and culminating with the British surrender on October 19th. The author describes the digging of parallels, artillery fire, the burning of the British warship Charon, a lackluster sortie by the British and their surrender. Also mentioned are Admiral de Grasse, Generals Lafayette, Muhlenberg, and Steuben as well as Colonel Alexander Scammell who died of his wounds in Williamsburg.

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Text

Siege of York & Glouster
Virginia


Septmr 14th General. Arrived at Williamsburgh
1781


15 Recd. the Marquiss Command & Count St. Simmons Troops who
Arrived on the 30th August with Count Degrasse and Landed at
James Town the 3rd Instant.


21 First Division of the Northern Army Arrived in James River


23 and 24 Almost the whole Got on and Landed


27 Whole Army Moved & Encamped in a Line 3/4 Miles Advanced of
Williamsburgh distant from York Town 11 Miles.


28 The whole Moved at day Light after two Halts Arrived within one
& half Mile of the Enemies work Displayed and Lay on our Arms
all Night Beaver Pond Creek and Morass in our Front over
which Bridges were built that Night & Genl Mulenburgs Brigade
of L.I. formed a Picquette in Advance.


29 About Sunrise moved to within 3/4 of a Mile of the Enemies out
works and Displayed in two Lines a Ravine in Front to View
our Ground Advanced Small parties in Front to Cover our Recon-
nitring parties at 4 P.M. Moved to our Ground on the Right
& Encamped within Range of the Enemies Artillery in
two Lines Advanced a LIne of Piquetts in Front & Increased
our Camp Guards.


30 The Enemy fearing we Should turn their Left & Get
Between there out works & the Town Abandoned the whole
of them & Retired to Town a Little before day Light Leaving
a few Light Horse to protect there Rear Coll. Scammel being
Offcr. of the day Advanced to Rconitre & Report Accordingly
when he was Intercepted Wounded and taken Prisoner
(Died in 6 Days of his Wounds) by a few Light Horse who
lay concealed. - Both Lines were put in motion and
Advanced with Caution to ther works Suspecting some
fient of the Enemy lay on our Arms all Day that Night
the L.I. Remained on the Ground as a Covering party
to the Fatigued Men Bruised in Erecting a Chain of


Page 2


Redoubts to Guard our Camp & Cover our working Parties
Occupied in procuring Materials for the Siege.


31 L.I. Relieved by Waynes Division this evening and the Redoubts
Compleated this Night & filled with a proper No. of Men


from 1st to 6th Employed in preparing Materials Getting up our Artillery
& at 6 oClock moved on the Ground & Oppened our first
Parralell about 600 yards from the Enemies works under
Cover by day Light no Accidents Continued working till
Morning when the Light Troops


7 Entered in Line Reversed with Drums Beating & Colours
Flying planted our Standards on the top of the Line of the
Paralell continued working on the Batterys which were
Compleated About 5 oclock.


9 P. M. when the Enemy Recd. the first Shot from us which
was Continued with Spirit from Cannon & Mortars
the Enemies fire Slackened Several of their Guns were Dis-
mounted and they were Obliged to fill up their Embrasures.


10 L.I. Mounted & the Charon of 44 & two Smaller Vessels
were Burnt by some Hot Shot from the Left of the Line
Commanded by St. Simon this Happened About 3 oClock in
the Evening the Weather being Serene & Calm and offered
a Grand pleasing Melancholly Sight the Charron was on fire
from the Waters Edge to her Truck at the Same time I never
saw any thing so Magnificent.


11 In the Morning the 2d. Paralell opened by B. Stubends Division
the Men Covered before Day Light this Paralel was Carried
on with Amazing Rapidity at 360 yards distance from
the Enemies Batterys under a very heavy fire the Enemies
Shot & Shells Directed at the work Men our Shot and
Shells going over our heads in a Continual Blaze the
whole Night the Light was Beautifully Tremenduous we
Lost but one Man Shot by our own Men the Gun not
Being Sufficiently Elevated or being fired with a bad
Catridge.


Page 3

12. 13. 14. Continued Compleating the Batteries of the Second Paralell
and Wounding their Abaties & Frize works with our Shot and
Shells when About 2 oClock P.M. the out Defences of two
Redoubts that were Advanced on their Left 250 yards in
there Front were thought Sufficiently weakened to attempt
them that evening by Storm the L.I. were Relieved and
directed to Refresh themselves with dinner & a Nap
and About dusk moved on Under the Marquis & were in
Possestion of one in 9 Minutes the other by the French
Granadeers & L.I. under the Barron Viominic was Carried
near About the Same time when the 2nd Paralel was
Continued on & Enveloped these two Redoubts & finished
a Line of Communication Between the Rights of the
first and second Paralel before day light the next
Morning a Line of upwards of a Mile; the whole of this
was performed under a very Incessant and heavy fire
from the Enemy with Amazing Steadiness and Expedition.


15 Employed in Repairing the Redoubts & Erecting Battreis
now within Reach of the Enemies Grape Riffles and
wall Pieces.


16 This Night a Timid ill Conducted Sortie was Attempted
under Lieut. Coll. Abercrombie with About 600 Men they
Entered the Paralel About the Centry nearly Between
the French & American Troops at a Battery Erecting by
the Americans not Compleated they killed a Serjt. and
2 Privates of Captn. Savages Compy. of Artillery Spiked
6 Guns with the Ends of there Bayonets which they Broke
of in the Vent Holes turned About & went of with the
Utmost Precipitation in there Retreat they were pursued
Lost 12 Men 6 killed & 6 wounded & taken prisoners
the L.I. in the Trenches - Lord Cornwallis in his Accts.
of this Matter Says our Loss was upwards of 100


17 L.I. Still in the Trenches Between 10 & 11 A.M. Chamade
Beat & Propositions for Surrender Sent out by his Lord-
ship and Recd. by the Marquis forwarded to Head Quart[ers]


Page 4

A Cessation of firing About 20 Minutes till flag was Safely
Returned within their works on our Beginning the fire
a Second Chamade Beat & the Officer Retuning was told
the Answer as soon as Recd. from head Quarters would be
forwarded the firing on Both Sides Returned & went on as
Usual only Small Intermission during the Passing of two
or three Letters from Each side - L.I. Relieved by the
Barron Stubends Division and the Bussiness being
Concluded that Evening the firing Ceased about
5 oClock P.M. the 18th. and part of 19th. taken up in
Adjusting Matters (viz.) Articles of Capitulation
publick Letters &. 19th. P.M. they Marched out
& Laid down their Amrs the whole of the Kings Troops
Including Sailors & Marines Consisting of 8054 Officers
Included this Ended this Bussiness in 9 Days Com-
pleat from our Breaking Ground the whole of our
Strength Including every Person that drew provisi-
ons by the Comissary Generals Return Amounting
to 12,200 our Loss was 324 Killed Wounded and
died in Hospital. Sick in Hospital about 600 unfit
for Duty About 850 so that when the Necessary detail
of the whole Army was Compleated his Lordship
was never Opposed by more than an Equal No.
& very Frequently from our Strong Fatique parties
at a Great Distance from Camp & Trenches two
Miles often if he had Come out to us we Could not
have Opposed him with but very Little more
than two thirds his No. this I Believe will be
Allowed by any Officer of Decernment who was
Acquainted with the Details of the Victorious
Combined Army.


Notes


L.I. Light Infantry
Chamade. A signal by drum or trumpet, given by an Enemy when they have a mind to parley.

Original Format

Ink on paper

Citation

“Siege of York & Glouster, Virginia,” Special Collections, John D. Rockefeller Jr. Library, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, accessed November 27, 2022, https://cwfjdrlsc.omeka.net/items/show/322.

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