George Washington Papers
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[Diary entry: 14 October 1781]

14th. The day was spent in compleating our parallel, and maturing the Batteries of the second parallel. The old batteries were principally directed against the abattis & salient angles of the enemys advanced redoubts on their extreme right & left to prepare them for the intended assault for which the necessary dispositions were made for attacking the two on the left and,

At half after Six in the Evening both were carried—that on their left (on the Bank of the river) by the Americans and the other by the French Troops. The Baron Viominel commanded the left attack & the Marqs. de la fayette the right on which the light Infantry were employed.1

In the left redoubt (assaulted by the Americans) there were abt. 45 men under the command of a Major Campbell; 2 of which the Major a Captn. & Ensign, with 17 Men were made Prisoners—But few were killed on the part of the Enemy & the remainder of the Garrison escaped. The right Redoubt attacked by the French, consisted of abt. 120 Men, commanded by a Lieutenant Colo.—of these 18 were killed, & 42 taken Prisoners—among the Prisoners were a Captain and two Lieutenants. The bravery exhibited by the attacking Troops was emulous and praiseworthy—few cases have exhibited stronger proofs of Intripidity coolness and firmness than were shown upon this occasion. The following is our loss in these attacks and since the Investiture of York.

Periods Killed Wounded
From the Investe. to openg. 1st. parall. Colo. Lt. Colo. Maj. Captn. C. Lieu Lieut. Sergt. R & F Colo. Lt. Colo. Majr. Captn. C. Lt. Lieut. Sergt. R & F Total
1 1 4 8 14
To the opening of the 2d. parl. 2 6 8
To the Storm on the 14th. 1 6 1 14 22
At the Storm 8 2 1 2 1 1 1 28 44
Total 1 1 1 20 2 1 3 1 1 1 56 88

The loss of the French from the Investiture to the Assault of the Redoubts Inclusive, is as follows—viz.—

Officers— killed 2
Wounded 7
Soldiers Killed 50
Wounded . . . . . . 127
Total . . . . . . 186

1Antoine Charles du Houx, baron de Vioménil (1728–1792), was at this time Rochambeau’s second-in-command in America. Ever since the épaulement had been started on 12 Oct., American and French guns had been pounding at the advanced British redoubts. By the evening of the 14th the engineers reported that the two British works had been sufficiently damaged by the shelling to make an assault practicable. It was decided that the redoubt on the extreme left would be attacked by American light infantry under the command of the marquis de Lafayette and the other by French grenadiers and chasseurs under Vioménil. In the midst of preparations for the attack, GW was forced to settle a squabble between Lafayette’s two ranking subordinates, Alexander Hamilton and the chevalier de Gimat, as to which was to command the attack on the extreme left redoubt. GW decided in Hamilton’s favor on grounds of seniority. Hamilton’s subordinates in the attack were Maj. Nicholas Fish and Lt. Col. John Laurens; Guillaume, comte de Deux-Ponts, and baron d’Estrade were over the French assault force. Diversionary fire was ordered from Gloucester and from Saint-Simon’s troops on the left flank. For descriptions of the attack, see FREEMAN description begins Douglas Southall Freeman. George Washington: A Biography. 7 vols. New York, 1948–57. description ends , 5:36872; CARRINGTON description begins Henry B. Carrington. Battles of the American Revolution, 1775–1781, including Battle Maps and Charts of the American Revolution. 1877 and 1881. Reprint. New York, 1968. description ends , 638–39; Hamilton to Lafayette, 15 Oct. 1781, DLC:GW; DEUX-PONTS description begins Samuel Abbott Green, ed. My Campaigns in America: A Journal Kept by Count William de Deux-Ponts, 1780–81. Boston, 1868. description ends , 142–48.

2Maj. James Campbell was an officer in the 71st Regiment.

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