Page:A French Volunteer of the War of Independence.djvu/97

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OF THE WAR OF INDEPENDENCE.


weather of insupportable heat, which has followed, without any intermediate gradations, a severe frost. The autumns, on the other hand, are long and very fine.

By 15th April our reinforcements had arrived, and we were preparing to open the campaign when we learned, with as much surprise as pleasure, that the British army had received orders to evacuate Philadelphia and fall back on New York. Their army was composed of veteran soldiers, was superior to us in numbers, and, moreover, protected by entrenchments. We imagined that the Cabinet at London had probably heard of the expected arrival of the squadron under Comte d'Estaing. But,—whatever was the cause,—the British prepared to leave Philadelphia and retire on New York, which was also in their hands at that time. They had to make a march of thirty leagues, and cross two rivers,—the Delaware at Philadelphia, and North River,— before arriving at New York. We, on our side, prepared to harass their rear-guard.

General Washington—partly out of