George Washington Papers

[Diary entry: 12 October 1781]

12th. Began our second parallel within abt. 300 yards (& in some places less) of the enemys lines and got it so well advanced in the course of the Night as to cover the Men before morning. This business was conducted with the same secresy as the former & undertaken so much sooner than the enemy expected (we should commence a second parallel) that they did not by their conduct, & mode of firing, appear to have had any suspicion of our Working parties till day light discovered them to their Picquets; nor did they much annoy the Trenches in the course of this day (the Parallel being opened last Night from the ravene in front, and on the right flank of the Enemy till it came near to the intersection of the line of fire from the American 4 Gun Battery to the enemy’s advanced redoubts on their left. The french Batteries fired over the second parallel.1

1The second parallel was opened “1152 feet from the main fortifications” (CLOSEN description begins Evelyn M. Acomb, ed. The Revolutionary Journal of Baron Ludwig von Closen, 1780–1783. Chapel Hill, N.C., 1958. description ends , 147). It was soon apparent that the guns in two advanced British redoubts on the left would have to be silenced before work on the parallel could proceed effectively. The distance from the first parallel to the redoubts (some 650 yards) was too great to allow a frontal assault, and the suggestion of the engineers to reduce the distance by terminating “the right by a shoulder (épaulement) projection one hundred and twenty yards distant from one of their redoubts” was followed (CROMOT DU BOURG description begins [Marie François Joseph Maxime, Baron Cromot du Bourg]. “Diary of a French Officer, 1781.” Magazine of American History with Notes and Queries 4 (1880): 205–14, 293–308, 376–85, 441–52; 7 (1881): 283–95. description ends , 451–52).

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