The Jetmakers | Perry's Saints | Thrilling Incidents In American History | Prev | Next

Thrilling Incidents In American History

• Title
• Preface

Revolutionary War
• Opening Of The Revolution
• The Boston Massacre
• Affair of the Sloop Liberty
• Affair of the Gaspee
• The Tea Riot
• The Boston Port Bill
• The First Continental Congress-Consequent Parliamentary proceedings
• Organization of the Minute-Men
• Patrick Henry-Second Provincial Congress-First Military Enterprise
• Battles of Lexington and Concord
• Battle of Bunker's Hill
• Capture of Ticonderoga
• Second Continental Congress-Washington's Appointment
• Siege of Boston
• Incidents at the Evacuation of Boston
• Burning of Falmouth
• Arnold's Expedition to Quebec
• Siege of Quebec, and Death of Montgomery
• Scenes at Quebec during the Siege
• Expedition against Charleston
• The Declaration of Independence
• The Battle of Long Island
• Washington's Retreat through New Jersey-Capture of General Lee
• Battle of Trenton
• Battle of Princeton
• Capture of General Prescott
• Battle of Brandywine
• Battle of Germantown
• Battle of Red-Bank
• Attack on Fort Mifflin-Retirement of the Army to Valley Forge
• Battle of Bennington
• Murder of Miss M'Crea
• Battle of Stillwater
• Battle of Bemis' Heights, and Retreat of Burgoyne
• Capture of Forts Clinton and Montgomery
• Surrender of Burgoyne
• The Treaty with France
• Attack on Savannah, and Death of Pulaski
• Storming of Stony Point
• General Sullivan's Campaign against the Mohawks
• Tarleton's Quarters
• Battle of Camden, and Death of De Kalb
• Arnold's Treason
• The Loss of the Randolph
• The British Prison-Ships
• Capture of the Serapis
• Putnam's Feat at Horseneck
• Battle of Eutaw Springs
• Wayne's Charge at Green Spring
• Capture of the General Monk
• The Mutinies
• Battle of the Cowpens
• Capture of New London
• Massacre of Wyoming
• Surrender of Cornwallis

War With France
• Capture of L'Insurgente
• The Constellation and Vengeance

War With Tripoli
• Burning of the Philadelphia
• Bombardment of Tripoli
• Loss of the Intrepid
• Expedition of General Eaton

Second War With England
• Battle of Tippecanoe
• Capture of the Guerriere
• Tragical Affair of an Indian Chief
• Battle and Massacre at the River Raisin
• Captain Holmes's Expedition
• Capture of the Caledonia and Detroit
• The Wasp and Frolic
• Gallant Conduct of Lieutenant Allen at the Capture of the Macedonian
• Capture and Destruction of the Java
• Siege of Fort Meigs
• Capture of York, and Death of General Pike
• Defence of Sackett's Harbour
• Defence of Fort Stephenson
• Battle of Lake Erie
• Battle of the Thames
• Gallant Action of Commodore Chauncey under the guns of Kingston Citadel
• The Sacking of Hampton
• Capture of the Peacock
• Massacre at Fort Mimms
• Surrender of Weatherford
• Battle of Niagara
• BattIe of New Orleans

War With Mexico
• Battle of Palo Alto
• Battle of Resaca de la Palma
• Capture of Monterey
• Battle in the Streets of Monterey
• Thrilling Scenes in the Battle of Buena Vista
• Bombardment of Vera Cruz
• Battle of Cerro Gordo
• Battles of Contreras and Churubusco
• Storming of Chapultepec


To the American arms, the 9th of October, 1779, was a day of misery, disaster, and defeat. For five days, nine mortars and fifty-two cannon had poured their iron showers upon the English lines; but now the allied armies gathered their legions for a closer and more terrible struggle. Forty-five hundred men arranged themselves in two columns, and moved to the attack. On the left of the enemy's line was the flower of the troops, led on by D'Estaing and Lincoln; the other column was led by Count Dillon; while a third movement was made against the enemy's centre and left, to attract attention, and press any advantage which might be derived from the assault on the left.

The morning was dark and lowering. A dense mist hung over the city and river, shrouding the opposing forces from sight; while the thick, damp air, clogged with the exhalations of night, depressed each spirit as it contemplated the work before it.

Under this thick cloud the Americans advanced to the attack. Onward through thick darkness they move, with nothing to disturb the harrowing silence but their muffled tread. Led on by D'Estaing and Lincoln, the first column presses forward, until the enemy's fortifications, magnified through the surrounding mist, are dimly seen in the distance. They have advanced undiscovered; but at that moment a fiery sheet flashes through the gloom, a roar like thunder follows, and iron showers are crushing and tearing among their ranks. Then there was a pause -the words of command rung out, the broken lines united, and the column moved on. Nearer and nearer they draw, until the frowning batteries of the enemy are distinctly seen. The artillery reopens, and the long lines reel and. stagger before it. Yet still the two commanders hurry from point to point, the stern column recloses, the soldiers press on. Then the British open all their guns-full in front of the moving mass that dark fortification glares and thunders like a volcano, and troop and company wither before it. Yet over the uproar of battle the shouts of command rang along the line, and kept each man to duty. Fear had given way to callous indifference--a stern resolution of vengeance. They sweep along under the iron hurricane, face the guns, and stretch forward to leap the parapet. In that terrible moment, while victory is oscillating in the balance, no one pauses to look for the other column- no one knows that it has been bewildered in the darkness, lost its path, and failed in co-operation. Those iron men leap the breastwork, plant their standards, and close with the foe.

Now began the fierce struggle for conquest. The British were commanded at that point by the gallant Colonel Maitland, whose voice could drive the troops upon the hottest battery. Now it rang with thrilling energy along the battlements, and invited each soldier to his post. The cannon was hushed; then a loud roll of musketry died away; then bayonet crossed with bayonet, and all was still. It was not the silence of repose or expectation-but of gloom and horror, and racking energy.

At this moment the grenadiers and marines were In ought up to charge the American flank. Full of ardour and resolution, these fresh troops poured upon our worried column, sweeping away all resistance, and hurling the former shouting victors into the ditches or through the abattis. Then they encountered the rear, and there was a period of wild and obstinate struggling. The commanders of France and America still called their broken legions round them, and vied with each other in feats of daring. Undismayed by heavy loss, the troops closed with the enemy, and fought with a heroism unsurpassed in the annals of our country.

At this critical moment, two hundred horsemen came dashing through the works, crushing and blasting everything that opposed them. The British commander grew dark at the sight, for he knew that Pulaski was heading that resistless avalanche. There was a moment of fearful excitement-of outcry and confusion; then those furious riders swept on against the British rear. Pulaski sprung upward in his stirrups, his sword flashing through the smoke of battle, and his terrible voice ringing like a spirit's through the stirring uproar. The next moment he fell from his horse, his bosom torn and shattered. Then a cry of horror went up to heaven, the iron hoof ceased its tramplings, the charge was stayed. Loud shouts went up from the British line, fresh troops poured in overwhelming torrents on the exhausted Americans, till slowly and sadly they commenced their retreat. Then the artillery reopened, tearing and scattering their drooping regiments until the camp was gained. Seven hundred Frenchmen, and two hundred and fifty Americans, were left dead and wounded around the works of Savannah.

The retreat of the Americans was conducted in good order. No attempt to convert it into a rout was made by the British genera], who, having gained his object, wisely refrained from hazarding by this measure the safety of the town and garrison. Being protected by skilful1y constructed works, his total loss was but about one hundred in killed and wounded.

In this attack, everything was done by the assailants which brave men could do. The darkness of the morning produced the loss of punctual combination between the columns, which unfortunate occurrence probably led to the repulse. The daring effort of Pulaski to retrieve the day, with his much regretted fall, presents additional proof of the high spirit which actuated the besiegers, and demonstrates that every difficulty was encountered, every danger braved, to crown the enterprise with success. The real causes of defeat are to be found in the character of the operations previous to the assault.