A sketch of the life and services of Gen. Otho Holland Williams

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Excerpt: We do not learn that Williams was engaged in any very noted service until the following year, but he acquired the confidence and esteem of his superiors—among others Gen. Gates, whose friendship often professed, was afterwards proven. In 1776 he was promoted to the rank of Major, in a rifle regiment formed from Maryland and Virginia troops, and we learn that his first trial in actual battle, occurred at the fall of Fort Washington, on the Hudson River. He was stationed in a wood with his troops, in advance of the Fort, and was attacked by the Hessian allies. They were several times repulsed with heavy loss, but being reinforced, they succeeded in beating back Williams and his company into the Fort, where all were eventually taken prisoners. The enemy accomplished this by reinforcements, as has been already mentioned, and from the unfortunate condition of the rifles of the attacked party. By long continued and incessant fire, these had become so foul as to be nearly useless, and Williams reluctantly retreated at the last moment, only to delay capture for a short period. The feelings of an officer, when obliged to yield his sword, and suffer an imprisonment, he knows not how long or cruel it may be, must be sufficiently agonizing to feel that utter inactivity is forced upon him, at the very instant that his country is most in need of the services he would cheerfully render. In the last attack of the Hessians, Williams received a severe and dangerous shot wound in the groin, though he entirely recovered from its effects in due time. His career was suddenly checked, and he was doomed to languish fifteen months, before he again saw the sun shine on his freedom. The first half of his captivity, though painful enough to an ardent patriot, was not total eclipse.
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