THE RETHEAT FROM LONG ISLAND.
THE works for the defence of New York Island, including the fortifications in Brooklyn, had been planned by Lee in concert with a New York committee and a committee from congress. Jay thought it proper to lay Long Island waste, burn New York, and retire to the Highlands; but, as it was the maxim of congress not to give up a foot of territory, Washington promised “his utmost exertions under every disadvantage;” “the appeal,” he said, “may not terminate so happily as I could wish, yet any advantage the enemy may gain I trust will cost them dear.” To protect New York city he was compelled to hold King’s Bridge, Governor’s Island, Paulus Hook, and the heights of Brooklyn. For all these posts, divided by water, and some of them fifteen miles apart, he had in the first week of August but ten thousand five hundred and fourteen men fit for duty. Of these, many were often obliged to sleep without cover, exposed to the dews. There was a want of good physicians, medicines, and hospitals; more than three thousand lay sick, and their number was increasing.
Of the effective men, less than six thousand had had any experience, and none had seen more than one year’s service. Some were wholly without arms; not one regiment of infantry was properly equipped. The regiment of artillery, five hundred and eighty-eight in number, including officers, had no skilled gunners or engineers. Knox, its colonel, had been a Boston bookseller. Most of the cannon in the field-works