Skip to main content

Full text of "A tour on the prairies. Annotations"

See other formats


This is a digital copy of a book that was preserved for generations on library shelves before it was carefully scanned by Google as part of a project 

to make the world's books discoverable online. 

It has survived long enough for the copyright to expire and the book to enter the public domain. A public domain book is one that was never subject 

to copyright or whose legal copyright term has expired. Whether a book is in the public domain may vary country to country. Public domain books 

are our gateways to the past, representing a wealth of history, culture and knowledge that's often difficult to discover. 

Marks, notations and other maiginalia present in the original volume will appear in this file - a reminder of this book's long journey from the 

publisher to a library and finally to you. 

Usage guidelines 

Google is proud to partner with libraries to digitize public domain materials and make them widely accessible. Public domain books belong to the 
public and we are merely their custodians. Nevertheless, this work is expensive, so in order to keep providing tliis resource, we liave taken steps to 
prevent abuse by commercial parties, including placing technical restrictions on automated querying. 
We also ask that you: 

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Google Book Search for use by individuals, and we request that you use these files for 
personal, non-commercial purposes. 

+ Refrain fivm automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort to Google's system: If you are conducting research on machine 
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the 
use of public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help. 

+ Maintain attributionTht GoogXt "watermark" you see on each file is essential for in forming people about this project and helping them find 
additional materials through Google Book Search. Please do not remove it. 

+ Keep it legal Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just 
because we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States, that the work is also in the public domain for users in other 
countries. Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of 
any specific book is allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Google Book Search means it can be used in any manner 
anywhere in the world. Copyright infringement liabili^ can be quite severe. 

About Google Book Search 

Google's mission is to organize the world's information and to make it universally accessible and useful. Google Book Search helps readers 
discover the world's books while helping authors and publishers reach new audiences. You can search through the full text of this book on the web 

at |http: //books .google .com/I 







Til': '•.•.'. 

.4 « 

Arrival of Knox with Artillery. 

From a LJCbign by F. O 





Life of Washington 






v/. IZ 

Contents of Volume IL 



Vuliliigton takes oommand of the Annies.— Sketch of (General Lee. 
—Characters of the British Commanders, Howe, Clinton, and 
Boigojne. — Snirej of the Camps from Prospect Hill^^The 
Gamps contrasted. — Description of the Berolatknutty Annj.-* 
Rhode Island Troops. — Character of Gknerai Greene. — ^Washin^ 
ion represents the Deficiencies of the Army. — His Apciogy fat 
the Massachusetts Troops. — Goyemor TmmbuIL — Oragie House, 
Washington's Head-quarten 81 


QoeBtlons of Military Rank. — ^Popularity of Putnam. — ^Arrangementi 
at Head-quarters.— Colonel Mifflin and John Trumbull, Aides- 
de-camp.— Joseph Reed, Washington's Secretary and Confident 
tial Frlend.^-Gates as Adjutant-general. — Hazardous Situation 
of the Army.— Strengthening of the Defenses. — ^Efficiency of 
PutnanL — Rapid Changes. — New Distribution of the Forces. — 
Rigid Discipline. — Lee and his Cane. — ^His Idea as to strong 
Battalions. — ArriTal of Rifle Companies. — ^Daniel Morgan and 
his Sharpshooters.— Washington declines to detach Troops to 
DiiUiit Points for their Protection.— His Reasons lor so ddng. . 8Q 





Wiuliisgton's Object in distreesmg Boston. — ScaioHy and SkskneBs 
in the Town. — ^A Startling DiBoovery. — Scaioity of Powder in 
the Camp. — Its Perilous Situation. — Economy of Ammunition. 
^Correspondence between Lee and Burgoyne. — Ck>rre8pondenoe 
between Washington and Gage.— The Dignity of the Patriot 
Axmyaflserted 4 


Pingeri in the Interior. — Machinations of the Johnson Famllj.^ 
Biyalry of Ethan Allen and Benedict Arnold. — (Jovemment Pev> 
plezities about the Ticonderoga Capture. — Measures to secuie 
the Prize.— Allen and Arnold ambitious of Future Laurels.— 
PM^ects for the Inyasion of Canada.— Ethan Allen and Seth 
Warner honored by Congress.— Arnold displaced by a Commit- 
tee of Inqidry. — His Indignation. — ^News from Canada. — ^Thd 
BeYolution to be extended into that Proyince. — ^Enlistment at 
Green Mountain Boys.— Schuyler at Ticonderoga.— State of Af- 
fairs there. — Election for Officers of the Green Mountain Bqya. 
^^ithan Allen dismounted. — Joins the Army as a Volunteer.'-^ 
Preparations for the Invasion of Canada.— General Montgomery. 
—Indian Chie& at Cambridge. — Council Fire. — Plan for an Ex- 
pedition against Quebec.— Departure of Troops from Tioonde* 
.—Arrival at Isle Auz Noix. fll 


A Challenge declined.— A Blow meditated. — A Cautious CouneQ of 
War. — Preparation for the Quebec Expedition. — Benedict Ar- 
nold the Leader. — Advice and Instructions. — ^Departure. — Gen- 
eral Schuyler on the SoreL — ^Beconnoiters St. John's. — Camp aft 
Isle Aux Noix. — ^Illnessof Schuyler. — ^Returns to Ticonderoga.— 
Bi^pedition of Montgomery against St. John's. — ^Letter of Ethaa 


ASkoL^BHa Dash against Montreal— Its Gatastiophe.— A Hero 
in Irons. — Correspondence of Washington with Sohnyler and 
Arnold. — ^His Anxiety about them 89 


British in Boston send oat Cmisers.— Depredations of Captain Wal- 
lace along the Coast — ^Treason in the Camp. — ^Arrest of Dr. 
Church.— His Trial and Fate.— Conflagration of Falmouth. — 
Irritation throoghont the Conntrj.— Fitting oat of Vessels of 
War. — ^Embarkation of General Gage for England.— Committee 
from Congress.— Conferences with Washington.— Besolations of 
Congress to oarrj on the War.— Betam of Secretarj Beed to 
Philadelphia. 101 


Mnsores of General Howe.— Desecration of Churches. — Three Proo- 
lamations. — Seizure of Tories. — Want of Artillery. — Henry 
Knox, the Artillerist — ^His Mission to Ticonderoga. — ^BeSnlist- 
ment of Troops. — ^Lack of Public Spirit— Comments of Gten- 
•Eal Greene. 118 


Afiairs in Canada.— Capture of Fort Chamblee.— Siege of St John's. 
—Maclean and his Highlanders.— Montgomery on the Treatment 
of Ethan Allen. — Repulse of Carleton. — Capitulation of the Qar- 
tison of St John's. — Generous Conduct of Montgomery. — Mac- 
lean reembarks for Quebec. — ^Weary Struggle of Arnold through 
the Wilderness. — Defection of Colonel Enos. — Arnold in the 
Valley of the Chaudiere. — His ArriTal opposite Quebec. — Sur- 
render of MontreaL — ^Escape of Carleton. — ^Home-sickness of the 
American TroopB 180 



WatUogtoQ^ AntidpftttoDB of Snocen at Qnebeo.— Hii Bakghna oC~ 
Arnold.— Sohayler and Montgomery talk of Bedgning. — "Exgo^ 
tnlationa of Washington.— Their Efleot— Sohojkr's Ooodnot to 
nO^ifeiTeFoeL HI 


DifBooltlee in FUUng np the Army.— The Ocmneotloat Troops Fenlit 
in going Home.— Their Beoeption There.— Timelj Ani?al of 
SpoQa in the Gamp. — ^Putnam and the Piin Mortar.— A Munmi 
by Amerioan8.^-Bebiiic6d by Washington.— CorreBpondenoe of 
Waaliington with Cteneral Howe about the Treatment of Btiiaa 
Allen.— Fraternal Zeal of Ley! Allen.-»Treatment of General 
Presoott— PreparatioDs to Bombard Boetcm.— Battery at Ledi- 
flMce^ Point.— Firayer of Potnam for Powder. ]M 


Mount Vernon in Danger.— Mrs. Washington inyited to the Gamp.-* 
Land Waahington, the General's Agent— Terms on whioh ha 
nnres.— Instmoted to keep np the Hospitality of the Honsei^ 
^oomey of Mrs. Washington to Camp. —Her Equipage and Lfr- 
«rie8.^Arriyal at Camp.<— Domestic AfCairs at Head-qnarters.— 
Gayeties in Gamp.— A Brawl between Bound-jadLets and Bifla- 
ahirts Ifil 


iBsSn in Oanada. — ^Arnold at Point Leyi.— Quebec B elnf breed. — 
Oiossfaig of the St. Lawrence. — Landing in Wolfe's Oove. — ^Aiw 
nold on the Heights of Abraham. — Cautious CounaeL — Qnebeo 
Aroused. — The Invaders bafAed. — Withdraw to Point Auz 
Trembles. — ^Booming of Cannon.— Carieton at Quebec.— Letter 
of Washington to Arnold .... 161 

oojsmsm& jx 


Ini Bnnmom.— flb Flans of hninHBing Tbghiia.— Iioifii Mkj re- 

^wctiiig Tory Qcfnamaa and Plaoemeiu— Bhode Idaiid haiassed 

by Wallaoe and his Ornlsen, and infested bj Tories.— Lee sent 

to its Beliel^His Yigocons Measoros.— The Anny Disbanding. 

—Washington's Perplezitifls.— flljrnipathj oi General Greene.*— 

Bib Lq^alty in Time of Trouble.— The Giisis.— Cheering News 

torn GanadA.— Gloomy Opening of the Kew Tear.— News from 

OoionelEjioz. 169 


■Utery Pnpaistlons in Boston.— A Secret Expedition.— Its Object 
--Lee's Plan lor the Seoority of New York.— Opinion of Adams 
oo the Subject- Instmctions to Lee. — ^Transactions of Lee in 
Oonnectiont — ^Lee's Policy in regard to the Tories. — ^Uneasiness 
In Kew York. — ^Letter of the Committee of Safety to Lee.— His 
Beply. — ^His Opinion of the People of Connecticat — Of the Hys- 
lerioal Letter from the Kew York Congress 179 


Kontgomery betee Qnebeo. — His Plan of Operations. — A SommoDS 
to Surrender. — ^A Flag insulted. — The Town besieged. — Plan of 
an Escalade. — Attack of the Lower Town. — Montgomery in the 
Adyanoe. — ^His Death. — ^Retreat of CoL Campbell — Attack by 
Amold.-»I>efen8e of Lower Town. — Arnold Wounded. — Retreat 
of the Anufffcana — Gkdlant Besolye of Arnold. 181 


Oon«q)ondenoe of Washington and Schuyler on the Disasters in 
Canada.— Reinforcements required from Kew England. — Dan- 
in the Interior of Kew York.— Johnson Hall Beleaguered.— 

IS otMVTffirm 

Sir John 0ftpitii]ate8.<~G«i6ioci8 Oonchwt of Sohn^ar.- 
nor TryoQ and the Tories.— Tofj Maohiiiatioos.— Leo at Kev 
Tark.— Sir Henry Clinton in the Haiter.— Menaces of Lea- 
Hie €% and BiTer Fcntiiled.— Lee's Treatment of the Tories.— 

His Plans of Foiiifloatlon.— Ordered to the Oomniand in ChttUMbL 
-His Speoolaliflns oo Titles of Dignity 


MoDotonoQs State of Affairs before Boston.— Wssbingfeoa ^^T'^if m 
for Action.— Exploit of Pntnanu— -Its Drmmatio Cooseqiienoea.— 
The Faroe of the Blockade of Boston. — ^An Alarming Internqn 
tion.— Distresses of the Besieged.- Washington's Ltenne Pie* 
dioament— His Bold Proposition. — ^Demor of the Coimoil of 
War.— Arrival of Knox with Artillery.— Dorchester Heights to 
be Seised and F(irtified.—Prepaiations for the Attempt tU 


Che Affair of Dorchester Heights. — American and Wnglish Leitett 
respecting it.— A Laborious Night — ^Revelations at Daybreak. — 
Howe in a Perplexity.— A Night Attack meditated.— Stormy 
Weather.— ^The Town to be Evacuated. — ^Negotiations and Ar* 
nuigemeQts.-»Pl»parations to Embark.— Excesses of the troopa 
—Boston BvBonated.— Speech of the Duke of Manchester on the 
Subjeot.— A. Medal voted by Gongress. 


Destination of the Fleet — Ck>mmi8sion of the Two Howes.— Chano> 
ter of Lord Howe.— The Oolonies divided into Departments. — 
Lee assigned to the Southern Department— General Thomas to 
Canada.— Character of Lee, by Washington.-»Letter8 of Lee 
from the South.— A Dog in a Dancing SohooL— Committee oC 
Safety in Virginia.— Lee's Grenadiers.— Putnam in Command aft 


Ncftr York.— State of AlEain there.— Airiyal of WashingtoiL— 
Kew Amngements.— Pezplezitifis with Begpeot to Oanada.— 
Rngland snbsidixeB Hefldan Troops 241 


Arnold bloekades Qoebeo. — 'EHb BifflcultieB. — Aniral of General 
Wboster. — Of General Thomas. — ^Abortiye Attempt on Qaebea 
— ^Preparations for Betreat — Sortie of Carleton. — ^Ketreat of the 
Americans. — ^Halt at Point Deschambault. — ^Alarm in the Colo- 
nies at tibe Betreat of the Armj. — ^Popular Clamor against 
Sdhnjler.— Slanders Befoted dM 


Qites sent to Philadelphia with the Canada Despatches.— Promoted 
to the Bank of Major^peneraL — ^Washington sommoned to Phila- 
delphia. — Pntnam left in Command. — Conference with Congress. 
—Army Arrangements. — A Board of War instituted. — The 
CQintons of New York. — ^Mrs. Washington inoculated.— Beed 
made Adjutant-general 26| 


Af&UTB in Canada. — Disaster at the Cedars. — Hostile Designs of the 
Johnsons. — A Bloody Summer expected. — Forts in the EQgh- 
hnds. — Colonel James Clinton in command. — Fortiflcations at 
King's Bridge, and on Long Island. 871 


Retreat of General Thomas. — His Death. — (General Sullivan in Ocnn^ 
mand. — Scene on the SoreL — Sanguine Expectations of SulB- 
Tsn. — Washington's Opinion of Sullivan's Character. — Gbtes 
appointed to the command in Canada. — ^Beinforoements of tha 


Bnemy.— B fl y ersea ,— Thompeon oaptoiecL— B otwat dt SuIttviiL 
^dose of the InTiflion of CanadA 961 


OesigiiB of the Enemy against New York and the HndaoQ. — Plot dt 
Tryon and the Tories. -^ArriTml of a Fleet — Alann Pdata. — 
Traaohery up the Hudson. — Fresh ArriTala.— General Ho>W6 it 
Staten Island.— Wadiington's Preparationa 961 


First Appearance of Alexander Hamilton. — ^His Barly Days*— Gen- 
eral Hugh Mercer in Command of the Flying Gamp. — ^Dedar^ 
Hon of Independence. — ^Announced to the Army. — ^Downfall at 
the King's Statue 


Arriyal of more Ships.— Movements of the PhcBnix and the Bom.^^ 
Panic in the City.— Hostile Ships up the Hndson.— Stir of War 
along the River. — General George Clinton, and the Militia of UI* 
ster Coonty.— Fresh Agitation of New York.— Arrival of Lofd 
Howe M8 


Precantions against Tories.— Secret Committees. » Declaration of 
Lord Howe. — His Letter to the Colonial Governors. — His Letter 
to Washington rejected. — Interview between the British Adjn* 
tant-general and Colonel Reed. — Reception of the Adjntant- 
general by Washington. — The Phcenix and Bow in the Tappan 
Sea and Haverstraw Bay.— Arming of the River Yeomanry. — 
Geozge Clinton at the Gates of the Highlands 814 


^B w tk m of CommflBd between Gates and Sohnyler.— Dondition dt 
the Anny at Grown Pdnt— DInootent and departoie of Salli« 
Tan.— FortUlcatioiui at Ticondeioga. — The QaHtkm of Command 
adjusted. — Seoiet Discontents. — Sectional Jealousies hi the 
Anny. — Southern Troops.— Smallwood's Macaroni Battalion. — 
Oonnecticut Light hfflne 885 


Boothem Croise of Sur Henry Clinton.— Fortifications at Charleston. 
— Aniyal there of General Lee.— Battle at SnlliTan's Idand.— 
Washington annovmoes the Besah to the Army 880 


Putnam's Military Pn^eots.— Cheyaox-de-frise at Fort Washington. 
—Meditated Attack on Staten Island. — ^Arrival of Ships.— Hes- 
sian Reinforcements. — Scotch Highlanders.— Sir Henry Clinton 
and Lord Comwallis. — Putnam's Obstmctions of the Hudson. — 
The Phcenix and Rose attacked by Bow Galleys at Tarrytown. — 
General Order of Washington on the Subject of Sectional Jeal- 
ousies. — Profane Swearing prohibited in the Camp. — Prepara- 
tions against Attack. — ^Levies of Yeomanry. — George Clinton in 
Command of the Levies along the Hudson. — Alarms of the Peo- 
ple of New York. — Benevolent Sympathy of Washington. — 
The FhmUx grappled by a Fire-ship. — The Ships eyaouate the 
Hudson 847 

As Battle of Long Island « 861 

the Betreat from Long Island 889 



Long Island in Poeseesion of the Bnemy.^DistresBed Sitoatian of 
the American Army at New York. — Question of Abandoning the 
City. — Letters from either Camp. — ^Enemy's Ships in the Sonnd. 
— ^Removal of Women and Children from the City. — Teaming 
for Home among the Militia. — Tolerant Ideas of Washington 
and Greene. — Fort Constitution. — Conference of Lord Howe 
with a Committee from Congress 881 


Movements of the Enemy. — Councils of War. — Question of the Aban- 
donment of the City. — ^Distribution of the Army. — Ships in the 
Bast River.— The Enemy at Hell (Hte.— Skirmish at Turtle Bay. 
— Panic of the Connecticut Militia. — Rage and Personal Peril of 
Washington. — Putnam's Perilous Retreat from the City. — ^Brit- 
ish Regale at Murray Hill 404 


Fortified Camp at King's Bridge. — ^American and British Lines. — 
The Morris House. — Alexander Hamilton. — The Enemy Ad- 
vance. — Successful Skirmish. — ^Death of Enowlton. — Great Fire 
in New York. — Reorganization of the Army. — ^Exchange of Prie> 
oners. — ^Daniel Morgan Regained.— De Lancey's Tory Brigade. — 
Robert Rogers, the Partisan. —His Rangers. — The Boebuckf 
Fhcsnio^ and Tartar in the Hudson. — Military Movements by 
Land and Water.— >Letter of John Jay. 411 


Lee expected in Camp.— His Letter of Advice to the Fteddent of 
Congress. —The Enemy at Threes Neck.— Washington's Ar- 
langements.— Rides to Throg's Neck.— The Enemy brought to a 

00NTEN113. 17 

8lttii^ — Military MoTements. — ^Aniral of L8e.*A Cknnmand 
UBigned to Him. — CritioifleB the Conduct of CongroBS and the 
Anny. — ConncU of War. — ^The Army to more to the Mainland. 
—Fort Washington to be kept np 485 


koBLj ArzBDgementB.— Washington at White Plains. — ^The Bnemy 
at Throg's Point. — Skirmish of Colonel Gloyer. — ^Attempt to 
surprise Rogers, the Renegade.— Troopers in a Rough Country. — 
Alarms at White Plains. — Cannonading of Ships at Fort Wash- 
ington.— March of Lee.— Fortified Camp at White Plains.— Reo- 
(Rmoitezing.— The Afhir at Chatterton Hill. — ^RelatiTe Sltnation 
of the Armies.— Change of Position. — Contrast of the Appear- 
aooe of the Troops.— G^rge Clinton's Idea of Stxategy.— Moye- 
ment of the British Army.— Incendiaries at White Plains 445 


CoDJectares as to the Intentions of the Enemy. — Consequent Precau- 
tions. — Correspondence with Greene respecting Fort Washing- 
ton. — Distribution of the Army. — Lee left in Command at North- 
castle. — Instmctions to him. — Washington at Peekskill. — ^Visits 
to the Posts in the Highlands 489 


Affairs on Lake Champlain. — Gates at Ticonderoga. — Arnold's Flo- 
tilla. — Military Preparations of Sir Guy Carleton at St. John's. 
—Nautical Encounters. — Gallant Conduct of Arnold and Water- 
bury. — Carieton in Possession of Crown Point. — ^His Return to 

Ouiada and Winter Quarters 479 

lou ii»— 3 



WiMhingtoQ orosses the HndBon.— Arriyes st Fort Lea. — ASaAn at 
Fort Washington. — Question aboat its Abandonmenl — ^More- 
ments of Howe. — The Fort sommoned to Surrender. — Befnsal of 
Cblonel Magaw. — The Fort attacked.— Capture of the Fort and 
flarrison. — Commenta of Wellington on the State of AiEain .. . 489 


The Enemy cross the Hudson.— Retreat of the Ghunjson fram Foit 
Lee. — The Crossing of the Hackensack. — Lee ordered to mofe to 
the West Side of the Riyer. — Beed's Letter to him.— Second 
Moye of the Army beyond the Passaic. — Assistance sought from 
Various Quarters. — Correspondences and Schemes of Lee. — 
Heath stanch to his Instructions. — Aiixiety of G^rge Clinton 
for the Safety of the Hudson. — Critical Situation of the Army. — 
Disparaging Correspondence between Lee and Reed. — Washing- 
ton retreats across the Raritan. — Arrives at Trenton. — ^RemoTes 
his Baggage across the Delaware. — Dismay and Despondency of 
the Country. — Proclamation of Lord Howe. — ^Exultation of the 
Boemy.— Washington's Resolve in Case of Extremity 4M 


Lee at PeekskilL— Stanch Adherence of Heath to Orders. — ^Lee crosns 
tho Hudson. — Washington at Trenton. — ^Lee at the Heels of the 
Enemy. — His Speculations on Military Greatness. — Forced 
Haroh of Comwallis. — ^Washington crosses the Delaware. — Put- 
nam in Command at Philadelphia. — Baffling Letters of Lee. — 
Hopes to reconquer the Jerseys. — Crates on the March. — Lee 
Quartered at Baskingridge. — Surprised and Captured. — Specula- 
tions on his Conduct 518 



Waahin^fton dothed with Additional Powen. — ^Beoroitmflnt of the 
Army. — ^Inoroased Pay. — Colonel John CadwaUder. — Amyalof 
SnlliTan. — Gkites.— Wilkinson.— A Co>up de Main Meditated.— 
Postore of Aflaiis at Trenton. — Crates declines to take a Part — 
His Comments on Washington's Plans. — Preparations for the 
Coup de Main. — Crossing of the Delaware. — Attack on the Eno' 
mfB Forces at Trenton.— Death of RahL— His Character 688 


Treatment of Hie Hessian Prisoners. — ^Their Intenrisws with Wash- 
ington. — Their Beoeption by the People 664 


Spiflode. — Colone. GrifDn in the Jerseys. — Donop decoyed. — Inroad of 
Cadwalader and Reed. — ^Retreat and Confusion of the Enemy's 
Outposts. — Washington recrosses the Delaware with his Troops. 
—The Game Reversed. — The Hessians hunted back through the 
Country. — Washington made Military Dictator 668 


Hove hears of the Affair at Trenton. — Comwallis sent back to the 
Jerseys. — Reconnoitering Expedition of Reed.— His Exploits. — 
Washington in Peril at Trenton. — Reinforced by Troops under 
Cadwalader and Mifflin. — Position of his Men. — Comwallis at 
Trenton. — Repulsed at the Assunpink. — The American Camp 
Menaced. — Night March of Washington. — Affair at Princeton. — 
Death of Mercer.— Rout of British Troops.— Pursued by Wash- 
ington. — Comwallis at Princeton. — Baffled and Perplexed. — 
Washington at Morristown.— His System of Annoyance.— The 
Tables turned upon the Enemy 576 






Life of WASHmoToir. 



the 3d of Jtiljy the morning after his arriyal 
at Oambridge, Washington took formal com- 
H mand of the army. It was drawn up on the 
common about half a mile from head-qnarters. A mul- 
titude had assembled there, for as yet military spectacles 
were noyelties, and the camp was full of visitors, men, 
women, and children, from all parts of the country, who 
had relatives among the yeoman soldiery. 

An ancient elm is still pointed out, under which Wash- 
ington, as he arrived from head-quarters accompanied 
by General Lee and a numerous suite, wheeled his horse, 


24 UFB OF WAanmQTOXr. 

and drew his sword as commander-in-chief of ihe armiea 
We have cited the poetical description of him famished 
by the pen of Mrs. Adams; we give her sketch of his 
military compeer — less poetical, but no less graphia 

** General Lee looks like a careless, hardy veteran; and 
by his appearance brought to my mind his namesake, 
Charles XTT. of Sweden. The elegance of his pen far 
exceeds that of his person." * 

Accompanied by this veteran campaigner, on whose 
military judgment he had great reliance, Washington 
visited the different American posts, and rode to the 
heights, commanding views over Boston and its environs^ 
being anxious to make himself acquainted with the 
strength and relative position of both armies : and here 
we will give a few particulars concerning the distinguished 
commanders with whom he was brought immediately in 

Congress, speaking of them reproachfully, obaerved, 
^ Three of England's most experienced generals are sent 
to wage war with their fellow-subjects." The first here 
alluded to was the Honorable William Howe, next in 
command to Gage. He was a man of a fine presence, six 
feet high, well proportioned, and of graceful deport- 
ment He is said to have been not unlike Washington 
in appearance, though wanting his energy and activity. 
He lacked also his air of authority ; but affiftbiliiy of 

* Mrs. Adams to John Adams, 1778. 

iatWM--aiAiJitvjr.—jttjaatinrs. sq 

numecB, and & genaioiu disposition, mode him popnlax 
villi both ofBoen and ooldien. 

There ma a sentiiaeni in hig favor eTen amoog Ameri- 
OHoa at the time when he arrived at Boston. It was xe- 
membered that he was hxother to the gallant and generous 
youth. Lord Howe, who fell in the flower of his dajs, on 
the banks of Lake Gteorge, and whose ontinielj death had 
been lamented thronghont the oolonieB. It was remem- 
bered that the general himself had won lepotation in the 
same campaign, commanding the light Infantry tmder 
WolfeiOnthefamons Plains of Abraham. A moomfol fear- 
ing had therefore gone through the ooonlzy, when Gtonezal 
Howe was died as one of the British oommanders who had 
Bost diaiingDiahed themselTes in the bloody bottle of 
finnker'sHilL Congress spoke of it with generons sensibil- 
ity, in their address to the people of Ireland already quoted. 
"America is amazed," said they, " to find the name of Howe 
cm the catalc^oe of her enemies — «Ae hved hia brother / " 

General Henry Clinton, the next in command, was 
grandson of the Earl of Lincoln, and son of George Clin- 
ton, who had been governor of the province of New York 
for ten years, from 1743. The general had seen service 
on the continent in the Seven Years' War. He was of 
short stature, and inclined to corpulency ; with a fall face 
and prominent nose. His manners were reserved, and 
altc^ther he was in strong contrast with Howe, and by 
no means so popular. 

Burg<^ne, the other British general of note, waa 

ad LtfE Of WABsmerojr. 

Bfttnral ion of Lord Bingley, and had entaied tbe amy 
at an early age. While yet a subaltern, he had made a 
mnaway match with a daughter of the Earl of Derby, 
who threatened never to admit the offdndem to hia pro a- 
enoe. In 1768, Burgoyne was a lientenant^oolcxnel of 
light dragoons. In 1761, he was sent with a foroe to aid 
the Portuguese against the Spaniards^ joined the anny 
commanded by the Count de la lippe, and aignaliaftd 
himself by surprising and capturing the town of Alcan- 
tara. He had since been elected to Parliament for the 
borough of Middlesex, and displayed considerable pai^ 
liamentary talents. In 1772, he was made a mi^jor-gen* 
eral. His taste, wit, and intelligence, and his aptness at 
devising and promoting elegant amusements, made him 
for a time a leader in the gay world ; though Juniua ac- 
cuses him of unfair practices at the gaming table. IBb 
reputation for talents and services had gradually molli- 
fied the heart of his father-in-law, the Earl of Derby. In 
1774, he gave celebrity to the marriage of a son of the 
Earl with Lady Betty Hamilton, by producing an el^^ant 
dramatic trifle, entitled, <' The Maid of the Oaks,*' after- 
wards performed at Drury Lane, and honored with a bit- 
ing sarcasm by Horace Walpole. ** There is a new pup- 
pet show at Drury Lane,** writes the wit, ''as fine as the 
scenes can make it, and as dull as the author could not 
help making ii'* * 

* Walpde to the Hbnu W. 8. Oonwai; 


It ia bnt jaBiioe to Bnrgoyne's memory to add» that in 
after years he produced a dramatic work, ** The Heiress," 
which extorted eyen Walpole's approbation^ who pro* 
nonnced it the genteelest comedy in the English Ian* 

Snch were the three British commanders at Boston, 
who were considered especially formidable; and they 
had with them eleyen thousand yeteran troops, well ap- 
pointed and well disciplined. 

In Tisiting the different posts, Washington halted far a 
time at Prospect Hill, which, as its name denotes, com- 
manded a wide view oyer Boston and the surrounding 
oountiy. Here Putnam had taken his position after the 
hatUe of Bunker^s Hill, fortifying himself with works 
which he deemed impregnable ; and here the veteran was 
enabled to point out to the commander-in-chief, and to 
Lee, the main features of the belligerent region, which 
lay spread out like a map before them. 

Bunker's Hill was but a mile distant to the east, the 
British standard floating as if in triumph on its summit 
The main force under (General Howe was intrenching 
itself strongly about half a mile beyond the place of the 
lecent battle. Scarlet uniforms gleamed about the hill • 
tents and marquees whitened its sides. All up there 
was bright, brilliant, and triumphant At the base of the 
hill lay Oharlestown in ashes, ''nothing to be seen of 
that fine town but chimneys and rubbish.** 

Howe*8 sentries extended a hundred and fifty yards 


beyond the neck or isihmns, oyer which {he Amerieaofl 
retreated after the battle. Three floating batteries in 
Mystic Biyer commanded this isthmus, and a twenty-gun 
ship was anchored between the peninsula and Boston. 

Qeneral Qage, the oommander-in-chie^ still had his 
head-quarters in the town, but there were few troops 
there besides Burgoyne's light horse. A large force, 
howeyer, was intrenched sooQi q| {he tovn oa the neck 
leading to Boxbuiy, — fhe only entrance to Boston by 

The American troops were irregularly distributed in a 
kind of semicircle eight or nine miles in extent ; the left 
resting on Winter Hill, the most northern post ; the right 
extending on the south to Boxbury and Dorchester Neck. 

Washington reconnoitered the British posts from yari- 
ous points of yiew. Eyerything about them was in ad- 
mirable order. The works appeared to be constructed 
with military science, the troops to be in a high state of 
discipline. The American camp, on the contrary, disap- 
pointed him. He had expected to find eighteen or twenty 
thousand men under arms ; there were not much more 
than fourteen thousand. He had expected to find some 
degree of system and discipline ; whereas all were raw 
militia. He had expected to find works scientifically 
constructed, and proofs of knowledge and skill in en- 
gineering : whereas, what he saw of the latter was yeiy 
imperfect, and confined to the mere manual exercise of 
oannon. There was abundant eyidence of aptness al 


trenching and tlirowing up rongli defenses ; and in thai 
way General Thomas had fortified Boxbnry Neck, and 
Putnam had strengthened Prospect Hill. But the semi** 
circular line which Unked the extreme posts, was formed 
of rudely-constructed works, far too extensiye for the 
troops which were at hand to man them. 

Within this attenuated semicircle, the British forces 
lay concentrated and compact ; and having command of 
the water, might suddenly bring their main strength to 
bear upon some weak point, force it, and sever the 
American camp. 

In fact, when we consider the scanty, ill-conditioned» 
and irregular force which had thus stretched itself out to 
beleaguer a town and harbor defended by ships and float* 
ing batteries, and garrisoned by eleven thousand strongly 
posted veterans, we are at a loss whether to attribute its 
hazardous position to ignorance, or to that daring self- 
confidence, which at times, in our military history, has 
snatched success in defiance of scientific rules. It was 
revenge for the slaughter at Lexington, which, we are 
told, first prompted the investment of Boston. ''The 
universal voice,'* says a contemporary, ** is, starve them 
out Drive them from th« town, and let His Majesty's 
ships be their only place of refuge.*' 

In riding throughout the camp, Washington observed 
that nine thousand of the troops belonged to Massachu- 
setts; the rest were from other provinces. They were 
encamped in separate bodies, each with its own regiH 


lations, and officers of its own appointmeni Some had 
tents, others were in barraoks, and others sheltered them* 
selves as best they might. Many were sadly in want of 
dothing, and all, said Washington, were strongly imbned 
with the spirit of insubordination, which they mistook 
for independence. 

A chaplain of one of the regiments * has left on record 
a graphic sketch of this primitiYe army of the Bevoln- 
tion. ^^ It is very diverting,'* writes he, ^ to walk among 
the camps. They are as different in their forms, as the 
owners are in their dress ; and every tent is a portraitnre 
of the temper and taste of the persons who encamp in it 
Some are made of boards, and some are made of sail- 
doth ; some are partly of one, and partly of the other 
Again others are made of stone and turf, brick and brush. 
Some are thrown up in a hurry, others curiously wrought 
with wreaths and withes." 

One of the encampments, however, was in striking con- 
trast with the rest, and might vie with those of the Brit- 
ish for order and exactness. Here were tents and mar- 
quees pitched in the English style ; soldiers well drilled 
and well equipped ; everything had an air of discipline 
and subordination. It was a body of Rhode Island 
troops, which had been raised, drilled, and brought to 
the camp by Brigadier-general Greene, of that province, 
whose subsequent renown entitles him to an introdnotioQ 
to the reader. 

* The Ber. William EmenoiL 


Nathaniel Greene was bom in Rhode Islancl, on the 
26th of Maj, 1742. His father was a miller, an anohor- 
smith, and a Quaker preacher. The waters of the Potow- 
hammet turned the wheels of the mill and raised the 
ponderous sledge-hammer of the forge. Qreene, in his 
boyhood, followed the plough, and ocoasionallj worked 
at the forge of his father. His education was of an ordi- 
nary kind ; but haying an early thirst for knowledge, he 
applied himself sedulously to yarious studies, while sub- 
sisting by the labor of his hands. Nature had endowed 
him with quick parts, and a sound judgment, and his 
assiduity was crowned with success. He became fluent 
and instnictiye in conyersation, and his letters, still ex- 
tant^ show that he held an able pen. 

In the late turn of public affairs, he had caught the 
belligerent spirit preyalent throughout the country. Plu- 
tarch and OsBsar's Commentaries became his delight. He 
applied himself to military studies, for which he was pre- 
pared by some knowledge of mathematics. His ambition 
was to organize and discipline a corps of militia to which 
he belonged. For this purpose, during a yisit to Boston, 
he had taken note of eyerything about the discipline of 
the British troops. In the month of May, he had been 
elected commander of the Bhode Island contingent of the 
army of obseryation, and in June had conducted to the 
hues before Boston three regiments, whose encampment 
we haye just described, and who were pronounced the 
best disciplined and appointed troops in the army* 

82 t^XFB OF WASnmGTOlt. 

Oieene made a soldier-like address to Washington, 
welcoming him to the camp. His appearance and mannef 
were caloolatod to make a favorable impression. He was 
abont thirty-nine years of age, nearly six feet high, well 
bnilt and yigorous, with an open, animated, intelligent 
countenance, and a frank, manly demeanor. He may be 
said to have stepped at once into the confidence of the 
oommander-in-chiet which he never forfeited, bnt became 
one of his most attached, &dthfal, and efficient coadjutors 
throughout the war. 

Haying taken his survey of the army, Washington 
wrote to the President of Congress, representing its va- 
rious deficiencies, and, among other things, urging the 
appointment of a commissary-general, a quartermaster* 
general, a commissary of musters, and a commissary of 
artillery. Above all things, he requested a supply of 
money as soon as possible. ** I find myself already much 
embarrassed for want of a military chest." 

In one of his recommendations we have an instance of 
frontier expediency, learnt in his early campaigns. Speak* 
ing of the ragged condition of the army, and the difficulty 
of procuring the requisite kind of clothing, he advises 
that a number of hunting shirte, not less than ten fhon* 
sand, should be provided; as being the cheapest and 
quickest mode of supplying this necessity. *^I know 
nothing in a speculative view more trivial,'* observes 
he, ** yet which, if put in practice, would have a happief 
tendency to unite the men, and abolish those provitti 


^ial distinctions that lead to jealonsj and dissatisfao* 

Among the troops most destitate, were those belonging 
to Massachusetts, which formed the larger part of the 
army. Washington made a noble apology for them. ''This 
unhappy and devoted proyince/' said he, " has been so 
long in a state of anarchy, and the yoke has been laid so 
heavily on it, that great allowances are to be made for 
troops raised nnder snch circnmstanoes. The deficiency 
of numbers, discipline, and stores, can only lead to this 
conclusion, that their spirit has exceeded their strength.^* 

This apology was the more generous, coming from a 
Southerner; for there was a disposition among the 
Southern officers to regard the Eastern troops dispara- 
gingly. But Washington abready felt as commander-in-* 
diie^ who looked with an equal eye on all ; or rather as 
a true patriot, who was above all sectional prejudices. 

One of the most efficient cooperators of Washington 
at this time, and throughout the war, was Jonathan 
Tmmbully the governor of Connecticut. He was a well- 
educated man, experienced in public business, who had 
sat for many years in the legislative councils of his na- 
ftve province. Misfortune had cast him down from affiu- 
ence, at an advanced period of life, but had not subdued 
Ids native energy. He had been one of the leading spirits 
of the Bevolution, and the only colonial governor who, at 
Us commencement, proved true to the popular cause. 
Be was now sixty-five years of age, active, zealous, de« 


84 ^^2^ OF WABBINQTOir. 

Tont^ a patriot of the primitiTe New Tgn gj im^ atampi 
whose religion sanctified his patriotism. A letter ad- 
dressed by him to Washington, jost after the latter ha^ 
entered upon the command, is worthy of the parefll 
days of the Ooyenanters. '* Oongress," writes he, '' hairo^ 
with one united yoice, appointed you to the high statioii 
you possess. The Supreme Director of all eyents hath 
caused a wonderful union of hearts and counsels to sob* 
sist among u& 

''Now, therefore, be strong, and very oourageoua 
May the Ood of the armies of Israel shower down the 
blessings of his Divine providence on you ; give joa wis* 
dom and fortitude, cover your head in the day of battle 
and danger, add success, convince our enemies of thel 
mistaken measures, and that all their attempts to deprive 
these colonies of their inestimable constitutional nights 
and liberties are injurious and vain.** 


We aie obliged to Professor Felton of Cambridge for o on eo Un g an 
error in oar first Tolnme in regard to Washington's head-qnarteni and 
for some partioolars conoeming a house assooiated with the history and 
literature of our ooontry. 

The house assigned to Washington for head-quarters, was that of the 
president of the provincial Ck>ngre6s, not of the UniTersity. It had been 
one of those tory mansions noticed by the Baroness Beidesel, in her men* 
tion of Cambridge. " Seven families, who were oonneoted by relation* 
ship, or lived in great intimacy, had here farms, gardens, and qptaodid 
mansions, and not far off, orchards ; and the buildings wen at a quaitsf 
of a mile distant from each other. The owners had been in the hafaitel 
ibling every aftfvooon in one or other of these houses^ and of diveii^ 

OBACfta aouBB. 


tbg UiemaelTBB with musio or dancing ; and liTed in affluence, in good 
iramary and without care, until this onfortonate war diepennd tkiem, and 
tnuutomed all these houses into solitary abodes.** 

The house in question was oonflsnated by GoremmeDt It stood on 
the Watertown road, about half a mile west of the college^ and has 
long been known as the Cmgie House, from the name of Andrew Cragie, 
a wealthy gentleman, who purchased it after the war, and reviyed its 
tomer hospitality. He is said to haye acquired great influence among 
the leading memben of the ^' great and general court," by dint of Jorial 
dlmieta. He died long ago, but his widow surviyed until within fifteen 
yean. She was a woman of much talent and singularity. She refused 
to haye the canker-worms destroyed, when they were making sad rayages 
imoog the beautiful trees on the lawn before the house. " We are all 
wonns^" said she, <* and they haye as good a right here as I haye.** The 
oopsequenee was that more than a half of the trees perished. 

The Cragie House is associated with American literature through some 
«l its subsequent occupants. Mr. Bdward Byerett resided in it the first 
fear or two after his marriage. Later, Mr. Jared Sparia, during part of 
the time that he was preparing his collection of Washington's writings ; 
iditang a yolume or two of his letters in the yery room from which they 
were written. Next came Mr. Worcester, author of the pugnacious dio- 
tionary. and <rf many excellent books, and lastly, Longfellow, the poeit, 
who, haying married the heroine of Hyperion, purchased the house of the 
bdrs of Mr. Cngie and refitted it 



justdce and impartiality of Washington weie 
oalled into exercise as soon as he entered upon 
his oommandy in allaying discontents among his 
aaiiurid officers, caused by the recent appointments and 
iiriauotiouH made by the Continental Congress. General 
HiMHUHtr wiuft HO offended that Putnam should be promoted 
iivor IiIm h(«ad, that he left the army, without visiting the 
itMiiMiuviHlor-Iii'Oliiof ; but was subsequently induced to 
m4ui'U. (loiiitral Thomas felt aggrieved by being out- 
iHukiMl by lliu vt^tcrau Pomeroy ; the latter, however, de- 
I«M^U«|| io Borvo, ho found himself senior brigadier, and 

'II^M M^tvKiiM luorits of Putnam soon made every one 


aoqiiieBce in his promotioiL There was a generosiiy and 
booyancj about the brave old man that made him a fa- 
Torite throughout the army ; espeoiallj with the younger 
officers, who spoke of him familiarly and fondly as ** Old 
Put;" a sobriquet by which he is called even in one of 
tiie private letters of the commander-in-chief. 

The Congress of Massachusetts manifested considerate 
liberality with respect to head-quarters. According to 
their minutes, a committee was charged to procure a 
steward, a housekeeper, and two or three women cooks — 
Washington, no doubt, having brought with him none 
but the black servants who had accompanied him to 
Philadelphia, and who were but little fitted for New Eng* 
land housekeeping. His wishes were to be considted in 
regard to the supply of his table. This his station, as 
oommander-in-chief^ required should be kept up in ample 
and hospitable style. Every day a number of his officers 
dined with him. As he was in the neighborhood of the 
seat of the Provincial Government, he would occasionally 
have members of Congress and other functionaries at his 
board* Though social, however, he was not convivial in 
his habits. He received his guests with courtesy ; but 
his mind and time were too much occupied by grave and 
anxious concerns, to permit him the genial indulgence of 
the table. His own diet was extremely simple. Some- 
times nothing but baked apples or berries, with cream 
and milk. He would retire early from the board, leaving 
ail aide-de-camp or one of his officers to take his place. 


Oclonel 'M'lfflin was the first person who officiated as aide 
de-oamp. He was a Philadelphia gentleman of high re- 
speotabilitjy who had accompanied him from that oiiy, 
and received his appointment shortly after their arriTa] 
at Cambridge. The second aide-de-camp was John Tmm- 
bnll,* son of the governor of Oonnecticat. He had ao- 
companied (General Spencer to the camp, and had caught 
the favorable notice of Washington by some drawings 
which he had made of the enemy's works. ** I now sud- 
denly found myself*' writes Trumbnll, " in the &unily of 
one of the most distinguished and dignified men of the 
age ; surroimded at his table by the principal officers of 
the army, and in constant intercourse with them — ^it was 
further my duty to receive company, and do the honors 
of the house to many of the first people of the coimtry of 
both sexes.'* Trumbull was young, and unaccustomed to 
society, and soon found himself, he says, imequal to the 
elegant duties of his situation ; he gladly exchanged it^ 
therefore, for that of major of brigade. 

The member of Washington's family most deserving of 
mention at present, was his secretary, Mr. Joseph Beed. 
With this gentleman he had formed an intimacy in the 
course of his visits to Philadelphia, to attend the sessions 
of the Continental Congress. Mr. Beed was an acoom« 
plished man, had studied law in America, and at the 
Temple in London, and had gained a high repuiaiioa at 

^ In after yean distiDguished as a historical painta; 


the Pliiladelphia bar. In the dawning of the Beyolntion 
he had embraced the popular cause, and carried on a 
eorrespondence with the Earl of Dartmouth, endeavoring 
to enlighten that minister on the subject of colonial af- 
fairs. He had since been highly instrumental in rousing 
the Philadelphians to cooperate with the patriots of Bos«> 
ton. A sympathy of views and feelings had attached 
him to Washington, and induced him to accompany Tiitt^ 
to the camp. He had no definite purpose when he left 
home, and his friends in Philadelphia were surprised, on 
receiving a letter from him written from Cambridge, to 
find that he had accepted the post of secretary to the 

They expostulated with him by letter. That a man 
in the thirty-fifth year of his age, with a lucrative pro- 
fession, a young wife and growing family, and a happy 
home, should suddenly abandon all to join the hazardous 
fortunes of a revolutionary camp, appeared to them the 
height of infatuation. They remonstrated on the peril of 
the step. **I have no inclination," replied Beed, ** to be 
hanged for half treason. When a subject draws his sword 
against his prince, he must cut his way through, if he 
means to sit down in safety. I have taken too active a 
part in what may be called the civil part of opposition, 
to renounce, without disgrace, the public cause when it 
seems to lead to danger ; and have a most sovereign con- 
tempt for the man who can plan measures he has not the 
spirit to execute." 


40 LiFB OF WAanmGTOnr. 

Washington has occasionally been represented as oold 
and reserved ; yet his intercourse with Mr. Beed is a 
proof to the contrary. His friendship towards him was 
frank and cordial, and the confidence he reposed in him 
fall and implicit Beed, in fact, became, in a little time^ 
the intimate companion of his thoughts, his bosom coun- 
selor. He felt the need of such a friend in the present 
exigency, placed as he was in a new and xmtried situation, 
and having to act with persons hitherto unknown to him. 

In military a£Eairs, it is true, he had a shrewd counselor 
in General Lee ; but Lee was a wayward character ; a 
cosmopolite, without attachment to country, somewhat 
splenetic, and prone to follow the bent of his whims and 
huxnors, which often clashed with propriety and sound 
policy. Beed, on the contrary, though less informed on 
tniliUry matters, had a strong common sense, xmdouded 
by passion or prejudice, and a pure patriotism, which 
roKardod everything as it bore upon the welfare of his 


WaHliington*s confidence in Lee had always to be meas- 
urnd and guarded in matters of civil policy. 

Tho arrival of Gates in camp was heartily welcomed by 
tlio coinuiandor-in-chief, who had received a letter from 
lliiii ()fil(5cr, gratefully acknowledging his friendly in- 
flijnnco in procuring him the appointment of adjutant^ 
goni)raI. Washington may have promised himself much 
cvmlial cooperation from him, recollecting the wann 
friendship professed by him when he visited at Mount 


Temon, and they talked together oyer their early com- 
panionship in arms; but of that kind of friendship there 
was no farther manifestation. Gates was certainly of 
great service, from his practical knowledge and military 
experience at this joncture, when the whole army had in 
a manner to be organized ; bnt from the familiar intimacy 
of Washington he gradually estranged himselL A con- 
temporary has accounted for this, by alleging that he was 
secretly chagrined at not having received the appointment 
of major-general, to which he considered himself well fit- 
ted by his military knowledge and experience, and whidi 
he thought Washington might have obtained for him had 
he used his influence with Congress. We shall have to ad- 
vert to this estrangement of Gates on subsequent occasions. 
The hazardous position of the army from the great ex« 
tent and weakness of its lines, was what most pressed on 
the immediate attention of Washington; and he sum* 
moned a council of war, to take the matter into consid- 
eration. In this it was urged that, to abandon the line 
of works, after the great labor and expense of their con* 
struction, would be dispiriting to the troops and encour* 
aging to the enemy, while it would expose a wide extent 
of the surroimding country to maraud and ravage. Be- 
sides, no safer position presented itself on which to fall 
back. This being generally admitted, it was determined 
to hold on to the works, and defend them as long as pos- 
sible ; and, in the meantime, to augment the army to ak 
feast twenty thousand men. 



WaBhington now huBiened to improTe the defanaeg ol 
ibe camp, strengthen the weak parts of the line^ and 
throw np additional works roond the main forts. No 
one seconded him more effectually in this matter than 
General Patnam. No works were thrown up with equal 
rapidiiy to those imder his superintendence. ** You seenii 
general," said Washington, '^ to have the faculty of infus- 
ing jour own spirit into all the workmen you employ ;** 
•^and it was the fact 

The obsenring chaplain already cited, gaaed with wan- 
der at the rapid effscts soon produced by the labors of an 
army. '^ It is surprising/' writes he, ** how much work 
has been done. The lines are extended almost from 
Cambridge to Mystic Biyer ; very soon it will be moralty 
impossible for the enemy to get between the works, ex« 
cept in one place, which is supposed to be left purposely 
unfortified, to entice the enemy out of their fortresses. 
Who would have thought, twelve months past, that all 
Cambridge and Charlestown would be covered over wiih 
American camps, and cut up into forts and intrench- 
ments, and all the lands, fields, orchards, laid common,^ 
horses and cattle feeding on the choicest mowing land, 
whole fields of com eaten down to the ground, and large 
parks of well-regulated forest trees cut down for fire- 
wood and other public uses." 

Beside the main dispositions above mentioned, about 
seven hundred men were distributed in the small towns 
and villages along the coast, to prevent depredations l^ 


water; and horses were kept ready saddled at yariomi 
points of the widely extended lines, to convey to head« 
quarters intelligence of any special moyement of the 

The army was distributed by Washington into three 
grand divisions. One, forming the right wing, was 
stationed on the heights of Boxbury. It was commanded 
by Major-general Ward, who had under him Brigadier- 
generals Spencer and Thomas. Another, forming the 
left wing, imder Major-general Lee, having with him 
Brigadier-generals Sullivan and Greene, was stationed on 
Winter and Prospect Hills; while the centre, under 
Major-general Putnam and Brigadier-general Heath, was 
stationed at Cambridge. With Putnam was encamped 
his favorite officer Enowlton, who had been promoted by 
Congress to the rank of major for his gallantry at Bun- 
ker's HilL 

At Washington's recommendation, Joseph Trumbull, 
the eldest son of the governor, received, on the 24th of 
July, the appointment of commissary-general of the con- 
tinental army. He had already officiated with talent in 
that capacity in the Connecticut militia. ^' There is a 
great overturning in the camp as to order and regularity,'* 
writes the military chaplain ; ** new lords, new laws. 
The generals Washington and Lee are upon the lines 
every day. New orders from his excellency are read to 
the respective regiments every morning after prayers. 
The strictest government is taking place, and ccreat dis- 


is made between officers and soldiers. Ereiy 
one is made to know his place and keep it» or be tied up 
and receive thirty or forty lashes according to his crime. 
Thousands are at work every day from four till eleven 
o'clock in the morning." 

Lee was supposed to have been at the bottom of this 
rigid discipline — the result of his experience in European 
campaigning. TTig notions of military authorilry were 
acquired in the armies of the North. Quite a sensation 
waSy on one occasion, produced in camp by his threaten- 
ing to cane an officer for unsoldierly conduct His lax- 
ity in other matters occasioned almost equal scandal. 
He scoffed, we are told, ** with his usual profaneness," at 
a resolution of Congress appointing a day of fasting and 
prayer, to obtain the favor of Heaven upon their cause. 
^^Seaven,*' he observed, ^'was ever foimd favorable to 
strong battalions." * 

Washington differed from him in this respeci By his 
orders the resolution of Congress was scrupulously en- 
forced. All labor, excepting that absolutely necessary, 
was suspended on the appointed day; and officers and 
soldiers were required to attend divine service, armed 
and equipped and ready for immediate action. 

Nothing excited more gaze and wonder among the 
rustic visitors to the camp, than the arrival of several 
companies, fourteen himdred men in all, from Pemfe* 

* GrajFdon's Memoira, p. 188. 


sflTania, Maryland, and Virginia; such stalwart fellows 
as Washington had known in his early campaigns. Stark 
hunters and bosh fighters ; many of them upwards of six 
feet high, and of vigorous frame; dressed in fringed 
frocks, or rifle shirts, and round hats. Their displays 
of sharpshooting were soon among the marrels of the 
camp. We are told that while advancing at quick step, 
fhey could hit a mark of seven inches diameter, at the 
distance of two hundred and fifty yards.* 

One of these companies was commanded by Captain 
Daniel Morgan, a native of New Jersey, whose first 
experience in war had been to accompany Braddock's 
army as a wagoner. He had since carried arms on the 
frontier and obtained a command. He and his rifle- 
men in coming to the camp had marched six hundred 
miles in three weeks. They will be found of signal effi- 
ciency in the sharpest conflicts of the Revolutionary 

While all his forces were required for the investment 
of Boston, Washington was importuned by the Legisla- 
ture of Massachusetts and the governor of Connecticut, 
to detach troops for the protection of different points of 
the sea-coast, where depredations by armed vessels were 
apprehended. The case of New London was specified by 
Governor Trumbull, where Captain Wallace of the Boae 
frigate, with two other ships of war, had entered the 

* Thacher's Military Journal, p. 37. 


harbor, landed men, spiked the oannon, and gone oA 
threatening fatnre visits. 

Washington referred to his instructions, and oonsnlted 
with his general officers and such members of the Con- 
tinental Congress as happened to be in camp, before he 
replied to these requests ; he then respectfully declined 

In his reply to the Ceneral Assembly of Massachusetts, 

he stated frankly and explicitly the policy and system on 

which the war was to be conducted, and according to 

which he was to act as commander-in-chiel ''It has 

boon debated in Congress and settled," writes he, ** that 

tho militia, or other internal strength of each proTince, 

Im to 1)0 applied for defense against those small and par- 

tioiilar depredations, which were to be expected, and to 

whioh tlioy were supposed to be competent This will 

Appoar tlie more proper, when it is considered that OTeiy 

town, and indeed every part of our sea-coast, which is 

oipoNiMl to these depredations, would have an equal claim 

upon thiM army. 

"It Im the misfortune of our situation which exposes 
llM U} thoHo ravages, and against which, in my judgment, 
no Niinli tnniporary relief could possibly secure us. The 
|/r<mt liilviuitfigo the enemy have of transporting troops, 
\iy l»nlnf< inaHti^rs of the sea, will enable them to harass 
MM \iy illvht'NionH of this kind; and should we be tempted 
to pto'MiiM thnni, upon every alarm, the army must either 
liM mi wimkonttd as to expose it to destruction, or a great 



part of the coast be still left nnproteoted. Nor, indeed, 

does it appear to me that such a pursuit would be at* 

tended with the least effect The first notice of such an 

exoorsion would be its actual execution, and long before 

any troops ootdd reach the scene of action, the enemy 

would have an opportunity to accomplish their purpose 

and retire. It would give me great pleasure to have it in 

my power to extend protection and safeiy to every indi« 

yidual ; but the wisdom of the Qeneral Court will antici-* 

pate me on the neoessiiy of conducting our operations on 

A general and impartial scale, so as to exclude any just 

cause of complaint and jealousy." 

His reply to the governor of Connecticut was to the 
same c^ci ''I am by no means insensible to the situa- 
tion of the people on the coast. I wish I could extend 
protection to all, but the numerous detachments neces- 
sary to remedy the evil would amount to a dissolution of 
the army, or make the most important operations of the 
campaign depend upon the piratical expeditions of two or 
three men-of-war and transports." 

His refusal to grant the required detachments gave 
much dissatisfaction in some quarters, until sanctioned 
and enforced by the Continental Congress. All at length 
saw and acquiesced in the justice and wisdom of his de- 
cision. It was in fact a vital question, involving the 
whole character and fortune of the war ; and it was ao« 
knowledged that he met it with a forecast and determi* 
nation befitting a commander-in-chic^f. 


WiflnmTov*8 OBnoT ni bibtbbbsino bo0tok.— maboitt askd niUKwrnB if 




great object of Washington at present^ 
to force the enemy to come out of Boston and 
try a decisive action. His lines had for some 
time out off all communication of the town with the oonn* 
try, and he had caused the live stock within a consider- 
able distance of the place to be driven back from the 
ooasty out of reach of the men-of-war's boats. Fresh 
provisions and vegetables were consequently growing 
more and more scarce and extravagantly dear, and sick- 
ness began to prevaiL " I have done and shall do every- 
thing in my power to distress them/' writes he to his 
brother John Augustine. "Tlie transports have all ar- 
rived, and their whole reinforcement is landed, so that 
I see no reason why they should not, if they ever at- 
tempt it, come boldly out and put the matter to isBoe 


* We aie in the strangest state in the world,** writes a 
hdy from Boston, ** sorronnded on all sides. The whole 
oonntry is in arms and intrenched. We are deprived of 
fresh provisions, subject to continual alarms and can« 
nonadings, the provincials being very audacious and ad<- 
Tsndng to our lines, since the arrival of generals Wash- 
ington and Lee to command them." 

At this critical juncture, when Washington was press- 
ing the siege, and endeavoring to provoke a general ac- 
tion, a startling fact came to light; the whole amount 
of powder in the camp would not furnish more than nine 
cartridges to a man I* 

A gross error had been made by the committee of sup- 
plies when Washington, on taking command, had re- 
quired a return of the ammunition. They had returned 
the whole amount of powder collected by the province, 
apwards of three hundred barrels ; without stating what 
had been expended. The blunder was detected on an 
order being issued for a new supply of cartridges. It 
was found that there were but thirty-two barrels of pow- 
der in store. 

This was an astounding discovery. Washington in- 
Btantiy despatched letters and expresses to Bhode Island, 
the Jerseys, Ticonderoga and elsewhere, 'irging immediate 
supplies of powder and lead ; no quantity, however small, 
to be considered beneath notice. In a letter to Gk>vemor 

* Letter to the Pireeideat of CkmgreflB, Aug. 4 


Oooke of Bhode Island, he suggested that an armed tob* 
sel of that province might be sent to seize upon a maga- 
zine of gnnpowdery said to be in a remote part of the 
island of Bermuda. "I am very sensible/' writes he, 
" that at first view the project may appear hazardouSy 
and its success must depend on the concurrence oi 
many circumstances ; but we are in a situation which re- 
quires us to run all risks. • • • • Enterprises which 
appear chimerical, often prove successful from that very 
circumstance. Common sense and prudence will suggest 
vigilance and care, where the danger is plain and obvi- 
ous ; but where little danger is apprehended, the more 
the enemy will be unprepared, and, consequently, there 
is the fairest prospect of success." 

Day after day elapsed without the arrival of any sup- 
plies ; for in these irregular times, the munitions of war 
were not readily procured. It seemed hardly possible 
that the matter could be kept concealed from the enemy. 
Their works on Bunker's Hill commanded a full view of 
those of the Americans on Winter and Prospect hilla. 
Each camp could see what was passing in the other. 
The sentries were almost near enough to converse* 
There was furtive intercourse occasionally between the 
men. In this critical state, the American camp remained 
for a fortnight ; the anxious commander incessantly ap« 
prehending an attack. At length a partial supply from 
the Jerseys put an end to this imminent risk. Washing- 
ton's secretary, Heed, who had been the confidant of hia 


hoables And anxieties, gives a yivid expression of his 
fBelings on the arriyal of this reliel *^ I can hardly look 
back without shuddering, at our situation before this in« 
erease of our stocL Stock did I say ? it was next to noth- 
ing. Almost the whole powder of the army was in the 
eartridge-boxes.** * 

It is thought that, oonsidering the clandestine inter- 
oourse carried on between the two camps, intelligence of 
fliis defideuoy of ammunition on the part of the besiegers 
must have been conveyed to the British commander ; but 
that the bold face with which the Americans continued 
to maintain their position made him discredit ii 

Notwithstanding the supply from the Jerseys, there 
vas not more powder in camp than woxdd serve the artil- 
lery for one day of general action. None, therefore, was 
allowed to be wasted ; the troops were even obliged to 
bear in silence an occasional cannonading. '* Our poverty 
in ammunition,'* writes Washington, *^ prevents our mak- 
ing a suitable return.'* 

One of the painful circumstances attending the out- 
break of a revolutionary war is, that gallant men, who 
have held allegiance to the same government, and fough: 
aide by side under the same flag, suddenly find them- 
aelves in deadly conflict with each other. Such was th9 
case at present in the hostile camps. General Lee. rj 
^rill be recollected, had once served under Qeneral Bur* 

* Seed to Thomas Biadfoid. lAfe and Correspondence, tqL i p. 118L 


goyne, in Portugal, and had won his brightest laoreLi 
when detached by that commander to sorprise the Span- 
ish camp, near the Moorish castle of Villa Yelha. A 
soldier's friendship had ever since existed between ihem, 
and when Lee had heard at Philadelphia^ before he had 
engaged in the American service, that his old comrade 
and commander was arrived at Boston, he wrote a letter 
to him giving his own views on the points in dispute be- 
tween the colonies and the mother conntiy, and invei^- 
ing with his usual vehemence and sarcastic pointy against 
the conduct of the court and ministry. Before sending 
the letter, he submitted it to the Boston delegates and 
other members of Congress, and received their sanctiQiL 

Since his arrival in camp he had received a reply from 
Borgoyne, couched in moderate and courteous langoage, 
and proposing an interview at a designated house on 
Boston Neck, within the British sentries, mutual pledges 
to be given for each other's safety. 

Lee submitted this letter to the Provincial Oongress 
of Massachusetts, and requested their commands with 
respect to the proposed interview. They expressed, in 
reply, the highest confidence in his wisdom, discretion, 
and integrity, but questioned whether the interview 
might not be regarded by the public with distrust ; ** a 
people contending for their liberties being naturally dis* 
posed to jealousy." They suggested, therefore, as a 
means of preventing popular misconception, that Lee, on 
seeking the interview, should be accompanied by 1I& 


Elbridge Geny ; or that the adyice of a oonnoil of war 
should be taken in a matter of snoh apparent delicacy. 

Lee became aware of the snrmises that might be awa< 
kened by the proposed interview, and wrote a friendly 
note to Bnrgoyne declining it 

A correspondence of a more important character took 
place between Washington and Qeneral Gage. It was 
one intended to put the hostile services on a proper foot- 
ing. A strong disposition had been manifested among 
the British officers to regard those engaged in the patriot 
canse as malefactors, outlawed from the courtesies of 
chivabic warfare. Washington was determined to have 
a full understanding on this point He was peculiarly 
sensitive with regard to Gktge. They had been com- 
panions in arms in their early days ; but Gage might now 
affect to look down upon him as the chief of a rebel 
army. Washington took an early opportunity to let him 
know, that he claimed to be the commander of a legiti- 
mate force, engaged in a legitimate cause, and that both 
himself and his army were to be treated on a footing of 
perfect equality. The correspondence arose from the 
treatment of several American officers. 

" I understand," writes Washington to Gage, ** that the 
officers engaged in the cause of liberty and their country, 
who by the fortune of war have fallen into your hands, 
have been thrown indiscriminately into a common jail, 
appropriated to felons; that no consideration has been 
had for those of the most respectable rank, when Ian- 


goishing with wonnds and sickness^ and that some haTQ 
been amputated in this unworthy situation. Let your 
opinion, sir, of the principles which actuate them, be 
what it may, they suppose that they act from the noblest 
of all principles, love of freedom and their country. But 
political principles^ I conceive, are foreign to this point 
The obligations arising from the rights of humanity and 
daims of rank are universally binding and extensive, ex- 
cept in case of retaliation. These, I should have hoped, 
would have dictated a more tender treatment of those 
individuals whom chance or war had put in your power. 
Nor can I forbear suggesting its fatal tendency to widen 
that unhappy breach which you, and those ministers 
under whom you act, have repeatedly declared your wish 
to see forever dosed. My duty now makes it necessary 
to apprise you that, for the future, I shall regulate all my 
conduct towards those gentlemen who are, or may be, in 
our possession, exactly by the rule you shall observe to- 
wards those of ours, now in your custody. 

" If severity and hardships mark the line of your con- 
duct, painful as it may be to me, your prisoners will feel 
its e£fects. But if kindness and humanity are shown to 
us, I shall with pleasure consider those in our hands 
only as unfortunate, and they shall receive from me 
that treatment to which the unfortunate are ever en- 

The following are the essential parts of a letter fxoam 
General Gage in reply : — 

aXPLT OF &A&m 66 

''BoL, — ^To ihe gloiy of dyilized nationBy humanity and 
war have been oompatible, and humanitj to ihe subdued 
has become almost a general system. Britons, ever pre* 
eminent in mercy, have outgone common examples, and 
oferlooked the criminal in the captive. Upon these prin* 
eiples your prisoners, whose lives by the law of the land 
are destined to the cord, have hitherto been treated with 
eare and kindness, and more comfortably lodged than the 
kbg^s troops in the hospitals ; indiscriminately, it is true^ 
bft I acknowledge no rank that is not derived from the 

** My intelligence from your army would justify severe 
leeriminations. I xmderstand there are of the king's 
fuihful subjects, taken some time since by the rebels, 
laboring, like negro slaves to gain their daily subsistence, 
or reduced to the wretched alternative to perish by 
famine or take arms against their king and country. 
Those who have made the treatment of the prisoners in 
my hands, or of your other friends in Boston, a pretense 
for such measures, found barbarity upon falsehood. 

''I would willingly hope, sir, that the sentiments of 
liberality which I have always believed you to possess, 
win be exerted to correct these misdoings. Be temper^ 
ate in political disquisition : give free operation to 
truth, and punish those who deceive and misrepresent ; 
and not only the effects, but the cause, of this unhappy 
conflict will be removed. Shoxdd those, under whose 
uaorped authority you act, control such a disposition. 


and dare to oall seyeriiy retaliation ; to Gk)d, who knows 
all hearts, be the appeal of the dreadful oonaeqaencea»" 

There were expressions in the foregoing letter well 
calculated to rouse indignant feelings in the most tern* 
perate bosom. Had Washington been as readily moved 
to transports of passion as some are pleased to represent 
him, the rebd and the cord might readily have stung 
Mm to fury; but with him, anger was checked in its 
impulses by higher energies, and reined in to give a 
grander effect to the dictates of his judgment The fol- 
lowing was his noble and dignified reply to General 
Gage: — 

"I addressed you, sir, on the 11th instant^ in terms 
which gave the fairest scope for that humanity and 
politeness which were supposed to form a part of your 
character. I remonstrated with you on the unworthy 
treatment shown to the officers and citizens of AmerioSi 
whom the fortune of war, chance, or a mistaken confi- 
dence, had thrown into your hands. Whether British or 
American mercy, fortitude, and patience are most pre- 
eminent ; whether our virtuous citizens, whom the hand 
of tyranny has forced into arms to defend their wives, 
their children, and their property, or the merciless in- 
struments of lawless domination, avarice, and revenge^ 
best deserve the appellation of rebels and the pnniBh- 
ment of that cord which your affected clemen<^ has for- 
borne to inflict; whether the authority under whioli I 


act IB usurped, or founded upon the genuine principles 
of liberty, were altogether foreign to the subject. I pur- 
posely avoided all political disquisition ; nor shall I now 
ayail myself of those advantages which the sacred cause 
of my oountry, of liberty, and of human nature give 
me over you ; much less shall I stoop to retort and in- 
TOctiye ; but the intelligence you say you have received 
from our army requires a reply. I have taken time, sir, 
to make a strict inquiry, and find it has not the least 
foundation in truth. Not only your officers and soldiers 
have been treated with the tenderness due to fellow- 
citizens and brethren, but even those execrable par- 
ricides, whose counsels and aid have deluged their 
country with blood, have been protected from the 
fury of a justly enraged people. Far from compel* 
ling or permitting their assistance, I am embarrassed 
with the numbers who crowd to our camp, animated 
with the purest principles of virtue and love to their 
country. • • • • 

" You affect, sir, to despise all rank not derived from 
the same source with your own. I cannot conceive one 
more honorable than that which flows from the uncor- 
ropted choice of a brave and free people, the purest 
source and original fountain of all power. Far from 
mfilriTig it a plea for cruelty, a mind of true magna- 
nimity and enlarged ideas would comprehend and re- 
spect it. 

"What may have been the ministerial views which 

68 ijFE oif WAsmmros. 

have precipitated the present crisis, Lexington, Concord, 
and Charlestown can best declare. May that God, to 
whom yon, too, appeal, judge between America and you. 
Under his providence, those who inflaenoe the oooncils 
of America^ and all the other inhabitants of the united 
oolonies, at the hazard of their lives, are determined to 
hand down to posterity those just and invaluable privi- 
leges which they received from their ancestors. 

*^ I shall now, sir, dose my correspondence with you» 
perhaps forever. If your officers, our prisoners, receive 
a treatment from me different from that which I wished 
to show them, they and you will remember the occasion 
of it." 

We have given these letters of Washington almost en- 
tire, for they contain his manifesto as commander-in-chief 
of the armies of the Bevolution ; setting forth the opin- 
ions and motives by which he was governed, and the 
principles on which hostilities on his part would be con- 
ducted. It was planting with the pen, that standard 
which was to be maintained by the sword. 

In conformity with the threat conveyed in the latter 
part of his letter, Washington issued orders that British 
officers at Watertown and Cape Ann, who were at large 
on parole, should be confined in Northampton jail ; ex- 
plaining to them that this conduct, which might appear 
to them harsh and cruel, was contrary to his disposition, 
but according to the rule of treatment observed by Gen- 
eral Gage towards the American prisoners in his hands ; 



making no distinctions of rank. CircnmstanceSy of which 
we have no ezplanationy indnced subsequently a revo* 
cation of this order ; the officers were permitted to re^ 
main as before, at large upon parole, experiencing every 
indulgence and civilitf consistent with their security. 



p^^^^E must interrupt our narrative of the siege of 
||^||m Boston to give an account of events in other 
W^^ml quarters, requiring the superintending care of 
Washington as commander-in-chief. Letters from Gen- 
eral Schuyler, received in the course of July, had awakened 
apprehensions of danger from the interior. The John- 
sons were said to be stirring up the Indians in the west- 
em parts of New York to hostility, and preparing to join 
the British forces in Canada ; so that, while the patriots 

were battling for their rights along the seaboard, they 



veie menaced by a powerful combination in rear. To 
place this matter in a proper light, we will give a brief 
statement of occurrences in the upper part of New York, 
and on the frontiers of Canada, since the exploits of 
Ethan Allen and Benedict Arnold, at Ticonderoga and on 
Lake Champlain. 

Great riyahy, as has already been noted, had arisen 
between these doughty leaders. Both had sent off ex- 
presses to the provincial authorities, giving an accotmt of 
their recent triumphs. Allen claimed command at Ticon%. 
deroga^ on the authority of the committee from the Oon- 
nectieat Assembly, which had originated the enterprise. 
Arnold claimed it on the strength of his instructions from 
the Massachusetts committee of safety. He bore a com- 
mission, too, given him by that committee ; whereas Allen 
Had no other commission than that given him before the 
war by the committees in the Hampshire Grants, to com- 
mand their Green Mountain Boys against the encroach- 
ments of New York. 

'* Colonel Allen," said Arnold, '' is a proper man to head 
Kis own wild people, but entirely unacquainted with mili- 
tary service, and as I am the only person who has been 
legally authorized to take possession of this place, I am 
determined to insist on my right ; • . • • and shall 
keep it [the fort] at every hazard, until I have further 

^ Arnold to Mass. Comm. of Safety. Am, AreK iL 907* 

82 1^^^ OF WAsnmQTON. 

The public bodies themselyes seemed perplexed whal 
to do with the prize, so bravely seized upon by these 
bold men. Allen had written to the Albany committee^ 
for men and provisions, to enable him to maintain his 
oonqnesi The committee feared this daring enterprise 
might involve the northern part of the province in the 
horrors of war and desolation, and asked advice of the 
New York committee. The New York committee did not 
think themselves authorized to give an opinion upon a 
matter of such importance, and referred it to the Oonti« 
nental Congress. 

The Massachusette committee of safety, to whom Ar- 
nold had written, referred the afiEEur to the Massachu- 
sette Provincial Oongress. That body, as the enterprise 
had begun in Connecticut, wrote to ite General Assembly 
to take the whole matter under their care and direction, 
until the advice of the Continental Congress could be had. 

The Continental Congress at length legitimated the 
exploit, and, as it were, accepted the captured fortress. 
As it was situated within New York, the custody of it 
was committed to that province, aided if necessary by 
the New England colonies, on whom it was authorized to 
call for military assistance. 

The Provincial Congress of New York forthwith in- 
vited the ** Gbvemor and Company of the EngUsh colony 
of Connecticut" to place part of their forces in these 
captured poste, until relieved by New York troops ; and 
Trumbull, the governor of Connecticut, soon gave notice 


that one fhonsand men, nnder Colonel Hinman, were oa 
the point of marohing for the reinforcement of Ticonde* 
roga and Grown Point 

It had been the idea of the Continental Congress to 
have those posts dismantled, and the cannon and stores 
remoTed to the south end of Lake George, where a 
strong post was to be established. But both Allen and 
Arnold exclaimed against such a measure ; vaunting, and 
with reason, the importance of those forts. 

Both Allen and Arnold were ambitious of farther lau- 
rels. Both were anxious to lead an expedition into 
Canada ; and Ticonderoga and Crown Point would open 
the way to ii ** The key is ours," writes Allen to the 
New York Congress. *'If the colonies would suddenly 
push an army of two or three thousand men into Canada^ 
they might make an easy conquest of all that would 
oppose them, in the extensive province of Quebec, except 
a reinforcement from England should prevent ii Such 
a diversion would weaken Gktge, and insure us Canada. I 
wish to God America would, at this critical juncture, ex- 
trt herself agreeably to the indignity offered her by a 
tyrannical ministry. She might rise on eagle's wings, 
and mount up to glory, freedom, and immortal honor, if 
she did but know and exert her strength. Fame is now 
hovering over her head. A vast continent must now 
sink to slavery, poverty, horror, and bondage, or rise to 
unconquerable freedom, immense wealth, inexpressible 
felioityy and immortal fame. 

64 I'l^ OF wAssmoTOjr. 

'^I will lay mj life on it, that with fifteen hnndzed 
men, and a proper train of artillery, I will take Montreal 
Provided I could be thus furnished, and if an army 
oould command the field, it would be no insuperable 
difficulty to take Quebec.*' 

A letter to the same purport, and with the same rhe- 
torical flourish, on which he appeared to value himself 
was written by Allen to Trumbull, the governor of Con- 
necticui Arnold urged the same project, but in less 
magniloquent language, upon the attention of the Conti- 
nental Congress. His letter was dated from Crown Pointy 
where he had a little squadron, composed of the sloop 
captured at Si John's, a schooner, and a flotilla of ba- 
teaux. All these he had equipped, armed, manned and 
officered ; and his crews were devoted to him* In his 
letter to the Continental Congress, he gave information 
concerning Canada, collected through spies and agents. 
Carleton, he said, had not six hundred effective men un- 
der him. The Canadians and Indians were disaffected to 
the British Gbvemment, and Montreal was ready to 
throw open its gates to a patriot force. Two thousand 
men, he was certain, would be sufficient to get possession 
of the province. 

" I beg leave to add," says he, " that if no person ap- 
pears who will undertake to carry the plan into execu- 
tion, I will undertake, and, with the smiles of Heaven, 
answer for the success, provided I am supplied with moD^ 
etc, to carry it into execution without loss of time*^' 


III a postscript of his letter, he specifies the fixroes 
requisite for his suggested invasion. ** In order to give 
satisfaction to the different colonies, I propose that 
Colonel Hinman's regiment, now on their march from 
Oonnecticut to Ticonderoga^ should form part of the 
annj ; say one thousand men ; five hundred men to be 
sent from New York, five hundred of General Arnold's 
regiment^ including the seamen and marines on board 
the Tessels (no Oreen Mountain Boysy* 

Within a few days after the date of this letter. Colonel 
HinmATi with the Oonnecticut troops arrived. The 
greater part of the Green Mountain Boys now returned 
home, their term of enlistment having expired. Ethan 
Allen and his brother in arms, Seth Warner, repaired to 
Congress to get pay for their men, and authority to raise 
a new regiment. They were received with distinguished 
honor by that body. The same pay was awarded to the 
men who had served under them as that allowed to the 
continental troops ; and it was recommended to the New 
Tork Convention that, should it meet the approbation of 
General Schuyler, a fresh corps of Green Mountain Boys 
about to be raised, should be employed in the army 
under such officers as they (the Green Mountain Boys) 
should choose. 

To the New Tork Convention Allen and Warner now 
repaired. There was a difficulty about admitting them 
to the Hall of Assembly, for their attainder of outlawry 
had not been repealed. Patriotism, however, pleaded in 


their behalf. They obtoinod an audience. A regiment 
of Qreen Monntain Boys, five hundred strong, was de- 
creed, and General Schuyler notified the people of the 
New Hampshire Grants of the resolve, and requested 
them to raise the regiment 

Thus prosperously went the affairs of Ethan Allen and 
Seth Warner. As to Arnold, difficulties instantly took 
place between him and Colonel Hi n man, Arnold refused 
to give up to him the command of either post, claiming 
on the strength of his instructions from the committee of 
safety of Massachusetts, a right to the command of all 
the posts and fortresses at the south end of Lake Oham- 
plain and Lake George. This threw everything into con- 
fusion. Oolonel Hinman was himself perplexed in this 
conflict of various authorities; being, as it were, but a 
locum tenena for the province of New York. 

Arnold was at Grown Point, acting as commander of 
the fort and admiral of the fleet ; and, having about a 
hundred and fifty resolute men under him, was expecting 
vnth confidence to be authorized to lead an expedition 
into Canada. 

At this juncture arrived a committee of three members 
of the Congress of Massachusetts, sent by that body to 
inquire into the manner in which he had executed his 
instructions; complaints having been made of his arro* 
gant and undue assumption of command. 

Arnold was thunderstruck at being subjected to in« 
qniry, when he had expected an ovation. He requested 

AJUfOLD '8 WMQISrATlOlsr. 67 

A nghi of the committee's instmctioiis. The sight of 
them only increased his indignation. Thej were to ac- 
quaint themselves with the manner in which he had exe« 
eated his commission; with his spirit, capacity, and 
oonduot Shonld they think proper, they might order 
bim to return to Massachusetts, to render account of the 
znoneys, ammunition, and stores he had received, and the 
debts he had contracted on behalf of the colony. While 
at Tioonderoga^ he and his men were to be under com* 
mand of the principal officer from Connecticut. 

Arnold was furious. He swore he would be second in 
command to no one, disbanded his men, and threw up his 
commission. Quite a scene ensued. His men became 
turbulent ; some refused to serve under any other leader; 
others clamored for their pay, which was in arrears. Pari 
joined Arnold on board of the vessels which were drawn 
out into the lake ; and among other ebullitions of passion, 
there was a threat of sailing for St. John's. 

At length the storm was allayed by the interference of 
several of the officers, and the assurances of the committee 
that every man should be paid. A part of them enlisted 
under Colonel Easton, and Arnold set ofif for Cambridge 
to settle his accounts with the committee of safety. 

The project of an invasion of Canada, urged by Allen 
and Arnold, had at first met with no favor, the Continen- 
tal Congress having formally resolved to make no hostile 
attempts upon that province. Intelligence subsequently 
received, induced it to change its plans. Carleton was 


Baid to be strengthening the fortifications and garrison al 
St John's, and preparing to launch vessels on the lake 
wherewith to regain command of it, and retake the cap- 
tured posts. Powerful reinforcements were coming from 
England and elsewhere. Guj Johnson was holding conn* 
cils with the fierce Cayugas and Senecas, and stirring up 
the Six Nations to hostilit j. On the other hand, Canada 
was full of religious and political dissensions. The late 
exploits of the Americans on Lake Ohamplain, had pro- 
duced a favorable effect on the Canadians, who would 
flock to the patriot standard if unfurled among them by 
an imposing force. Now was the time to strike a blow 
to paralyze all hostility from this quarter ; now, while 
Carleton's regular force was weak, and before the arrival 
of additional troops. Influenced by these considerations^ 
Congress now determined to extend the Bevolution into 
Canada, but it was an enterprise too important to be in* 
trusted to any but discreet hands. General Schuyler, 
then in New York, was accordingly ordered, on the 27th 
June, to proceed to Ticonderoga, and, '' should he flnd it 
practicable and not disagreeable to the Canadians, imme- 
diately to take possession of St John's and Montreal, and 
pursue such other measures in Canada as might have a 
tendency to promote the peace and security of these 

It behooved General Schuyler to be on the alert, lest 
the enterprise should be snatched from his hands. Ethan 
Allen and Seth Warner were %i Bennington, among the 


Gre^n Motmtain& Enlistments were going on, but too 
slow for AUen's impatience, who had his old hankering 
for a partisan foray. In a letter to Governor Trumbull 
(July 12th)9 he writes, ^' Were it not that the grand Con- 
tinental Congress had totally incorporated the Green 
Mountain Boys into a battalion under certain regulations 
and command, I would forthwith advance them into Can- 
ada and invest Montreal, exclusive of any hdp fnym the 
cdonies; though under present circumstances I would 
not, for my right arm, act without or contrary to order. 
J^ my fond teoifor redticing the king's fortresses and destroy^ 
ing or imprisoning his troops in Canadabethe resvUofenthii* 
siasm, I hope and expect the wisdom of the continent will 
treat it as such ; and on the other hand, if it proceed from 
sound policy, that the plan will be adopted." * 

Schuyler arrived at Ticonderoga on the 18th of July. 
A letter to Washington, to whom, as commander-in-chie^ 
he made constant reports, gives a striking picture of a 
frontier post in those crude days of the Bevolution. 

** You will expect that I should say something about 
this place and the troops here. Not one earthly thing for 
offense or defense has been done ; the commanding t^fwer 
hasno orders; he only oavne to reinforce the garriso% and he 
expected the general About ten last night I arrived at the 
landing-place, at the north end of Lake George ; a post 
ocoapied by a captain and one hundred men. A sentineli 

• FaroeTs Am. Archives, IL 1640. 


70 -tira? Of WAssmoToir. 

on being informed that I was in the boat, quitted hit 
post to go and awaken the guard, consisting of three men, 
in which he had no success. I walked up and came to 
another, a sergeant's guard. Here the sentinel challenged, 
but suffered me to come up to him; the whole guard, 
like the first, in the soundest sleep. With a penknife 
only I could have cut off both guards, and then have set 
fire to the block-house, destroyed the stores, and starved 
the people here. At this post I had pointedly re<y 
ommended vigilance and care, as aU the stores from Lake 
George must necessarily be landed here. But I hope to 
get the better of this inattention. The officers and men 
are all good-looking people, and decent in their deport- 
ment, and I really belieye will make good soldiers aa 
soon as I can get the better of this nonchalanoe of theirs. 
Bravery, I believe, they are far from wanting.'* 

Oolonel TTinman, it will be recollected, was in tempo- 
rary command at Ticonderoga, if that could be called 
a command where none seemed to obey. The garrison 
was about twelve hundred strong : the greater part Oon- 
nectibut men brought by himself ; some were New York 
troops, and some few Green Mountain Boys. Schuyler, 
on taking command, despatched a confidential agent into 
Canada, Major John Brown, an American, who resided at 
the Sorel Biver, and was popular among the Canadians. 
He was to collect information as to the British forces and 
fortifications, and to ascertain how an invasion and an 
attack on St John's would be considered by the people 


ol the proyince : in the meantime, Schuyler set diligently 
to work to build boats and prepare for the entexpriaet 
should it ultimately be ordered by Oongress. 

Schuyler was an authoritative man, and inherited from 
his Dutch ancestry a great love of order ; he was exces* 
siyely amioyed, therefore, by the confusion and negligence 
preyalent around him, and the difficulties and delays 
thereby occasioned. He chafed in spirit at the disre* 
gard of discipline among his yeoman soldiery, and their 
opposition to all system and regularity. This was es« 
pecially the case with the troops from Connecticut, offi« 
oered generally by their own neighbors and fn-milmr com- 
panions, and unwilling to acknowledge the authority of a 
commander from a different province. He poured out 
his complaints in a friendly letter to Washington; the 
latter consoled him by stating his own troubles and 
grievances in the camp at Cambridge, and the spirit with 
which he coped with them. ** From my own experience,'* 
writes he (July 28), ** I can easily judge of your difficul- 
ties in introducing order and discipline into troops, who 
h»7e, from their in&ncy, imbibed ideas of the most con- 
trary kind. It would be far beyond the compass of a 
letter, for me to describe the situation of things here [at 
Cambridge], on my arrival Perhaps you will only be 
able to judge of it, from my assuring you, that mine must 
be a portrait at full length of what you have had in 
miniature. Confusion and discord reigned in every de- 
psirtment, which, in a little time, must have ended eithei 


in the separation of the army, or £atal contests with ons 
another. The better genius of America has prevailed, 
and, most happily, the ministerial troops have not availed 
themselves of these advantages, till, I trust, the oppor- 
tunity is in a great measure passed over. . • • • We 
mend every day, and, I flatter myself, that in a little time 
wo shall work up these raw materials into a good manu« 
facture. I must recommend to you, what I endeavor to 
practice myself patience and perseverance." 

Schuyler took the friendly admonition in the spirit in 
which it was given. ''I can easily conceive," writes he 
(Aug. 6th), ** that my difficulties are only a faint sem- 
blance of yours. Yes, my general, I will strive to copy 
your bright example, and patiently and steadily perse- 
vere in that line which only can promise the wished-foir 

He had calculated on being joined by this time l^ the 
regiment of Green Mountain Boys which Ethan Allen 
and Seth Warner had undertaken to raise in the New 
Hampshire Grants. Unfortunately, a quarrel had arisen 
between those brothers in arms, which filled the Green 
Mountains with discord and party feuds. The election 
of officers took place on the 27th of July. It was made 
by committees from the different township& Ethaa 
Allen was entirely passed by, and Seth Warner nomi- 
nated as lieutenant-colonel of the regiment. Allen was 
thunderstruck at finding himself thus suddenly dis- 
mounted. His patriotism and love of adventoze, how«* 


8Ter, were not quelled ; and he forthwith repaired to the 
army at Tioonderoga to offer himself as a yolonteer. 

Sohnjler, at first, hesitated to accept his seryice& He 
was aware of his aspiring notions, and feared there 
would be a difficulty in keeping him within due bounds, 
but was at length persuaded by his officers to retain him, 
to act as a pioneer on the Oanadian frontier. 

In a letter from camp, Allen gave Governor Trum* 
bull an account of the downfall of his towering hopes. 
'' Notwithstanding my zeal and success in my country's 
cause, the old farmers on the New Hampshire (Grants, 
who do not incline to go to war, have met in a commit- 
tee meeting, and in their nomination of officers for the 
regiment of Green Mountain Boys, have wholly omitted 

His letter has a consolatory postscript ** I find my- 
self in the favor of the officers of the army and the young 
Gtoeen Mountain Boys. How the old men came to reject 
me I cannot conceive, inasmuch as I saved them from the 
encroachments of New York." * — ^The old men probably 
doubted his discretion. 

Schuyler was on the alert with respect to the expedi- 
tion against Canada. From his agent Major Brown, and 
from other sources, he had learnt that there were but 
about seven hundred king's troops in that province; 
thzee hundred of them at St John's, about fifty at Que* 

* Am* ArekwftB, 4th Series, iiL 17. 

74 ItM OF WAsmNGTOJr. 

beo, the remainder at Montreal, Ohamblee, and the nppef 
posts. Oolonel Quy Johnson was at Montreal with three 
hnndred men, mostly his tenants, and with a number of 
Tndianpu Two batteries had been finished at Si John's, 
mounting nine guns eaoh : other works were intrenched 
and picketed. Two large row-galleys were on the stocks, 
and would soon be finished. Now was the time, accord* 
ing to his informants, to carry Canada. It might be done 
with great ease and little cost The Canadians were 
disaffected to British role, and would join the Americansi 
and so would many of the Indians. 

** I am prepared,'* writes he to Washington, ''to more 
against the enemy, unless your Excellency and OongroB B 
should direct otherwise. In the course of a few days I 
expect to receive the ultimate determination. Whatever 
it may be, I shall try to execute it in such a manner aa 
will promote the just cause in which we are engaged.** 

While awaiting orders on this head, he repaired to 
Albany, to hold a conference and negotiate a treaty wifh 
the Caughnawagas, and the warriors of the Six Nationflp 
whom, as one of the commissioners of Indian affairs, he 
had invited to meet him at that place. Qeneral Biohaid 
Montgomery was to remain in command at Ticonderog% 
du2dng his absence, and to urge forward the military 
preparations. As the subsequent fortunes of this gal* 
lant officer are inseparably connected with the Canadian 
campaign, and have endeared his name to AmericanSy 
pause to give a fow particulars concerning him. 


General Biohard Montgomery was of a good family in 
ihe north of Ireland, where he was bom in 1736. He 
entered the army when about eighteen years of age; 
serred in America in the French war ; won a lieutenancy 
by gallant conduct at Louisburg ; followed (General Am- 
herst to Lake Ohamplain, and, after the conquest of 
Canada, was promoted to a captaincy for his services in 
the West Indies. 

After the peace of Yersailles he resided in England; 
bat, about three years before the breaking out of the 
Seyolution, he sold out his commission in the army and 
emigrated to New York. Here he married the eldest 
daughter of Judge Bobert R Liyingston, of the Clermont 
branch of that family ; and took up his residence on an 
estate which he had purchased in Dutchess County on 
the banks of the Hudson. 

Being known to be in fayor of the popular cause, he 
was drawn reluctantly from his rural abode, to represent 
his county in the first convention of the province ; and on 
the recent oi^anization of the army, his military reputa- 
tion gained him the unsought commission of brigadier- 
generaL '* It is an event," writes he to a friend, ^^ which 
must put an end for a while, perhaps forever, to the quiet 
scheme of life I had prescribed for myself ; for, though 
entirely unexpected and undesired by me, the will of an 
oppressed people, compelled to choose between liberty 
and slavery, must be obeyed." 

At the time of receiving his commission, Montgomery 

76 £i3V OF WASnntQTOir. 

was about thirty-nine years of age, and the hean tdeoil of a 
soldier. His form was well proportioned and vigorous ; 
his countenance expressive and prepossessing; he was 
cool and discriminating in council, energetic and fearless 
in action. His principles commanded the respect of 
friends and foes, and he was noted for winning the a£foo- 
tions of the soldiery. 

While these things were occurring at Ticonderoga» 
several Indian chie& made their appearance in the camp 
at Oambridge. They came in savage state and costume, 
as ambassadors from their respective tribes, to have a 
talk about the impending invasion of Canada. One was 
chief of the Caughnawaga tribe, whose residence was on 
the banks of the St Lawrence, six miles above MontreaL 
Others were from St Francis, about forty-five leagues 
above Quebec, and were of a warlike tribe, from which 
hostilities had been especially apprehended. 

Washington, accustomed to deal with the red warriors 
of the wilderness, received them with great ceremoniaL 
They dined at head-quarters among his officers, and it is 
observed that to some of the latter they might have 
served as models, such was their grave dignity and de- 

A council-fire was held. The sachems all offered, on 
lielialf of their tribes, to take up the hatchet for the 
Americans, should the latter invade Canada. The offer 
was embarrassing. Congress had publicly resolved to 
HOok nothing but neutrality from the Indian nation^ 

UfDIAN ovBBTxmsa. 77 

unless the ministerial agents should make an offensive 
alliance with them. The chief of the Si Francis tribe 
declared that Gbyemor Oarleton had endeayored to per« 
snade him to take up the hatchet against the Americans, 
but in Tain. *'As our ancestors gave this countiy to 
youy" added he grandly, ** we would not hare you de- 
stroyed by England; but are ready to afford you our 

Washington wished to be certain of the conduct of the 
enemy, before he gaye a reply to these Indian oyertures. 
He wrote by eatress, therefore, to (General Schuyler, re- 
questing him to ascertain the intentions of the British 
goyemor with respect to the natiye tribes. 

By the same express, he commimicated a plan which 
had occupied his thoughts for seyeral days. As the con- 
templated moyement of Schuyler would probably cause ' 
all the British force in Canada to be concentrated in the 
neighborhood of Montreal and Sb John's, he proposed to 
send off an expedition of ten or twelye hundred men, to 
penetrate to Quebec by the way of the Kennebec Biyer. 
^ If you are resolyed to proceed," writes he to Schuyler, 
^ which I gather from your last letter is your intention, 
it would make a diyersion that would distract Carleton. 
He must either break up, and follow this party to Que- 
bec, by which he would leaye you a free passage, or he 
must suffer that important place to fall into other hands 
— an event that would haye a decisiye effect and influence 
on the public interest . • • . The few whom I have 


oonsnltod on the project approve it much, bnt the final 
determination is deferred until I hear from yon. Not a 
moment's time is to be lost in the preparations for this 
enterprise, if the advices from you favor it With the 
utmost expedition the season will be considerably ad« 
vanced, so that you will dismiss the express as soon aa 

The express found Schuyler in Albany, where he had 
been attending the conference with the Six Nations. He 
had just received intelligence which convinced him of the 
propriety of an expedition into Canada ; had sent word 
to General Montgomery to get everything ready for ii^ 
and was on the point of departing for Ticonderoga to 
cany it into effect In reply to Washington, he declared 
his conviction, from various accounts which he had re- 
ceived, that Carleton and his agents were exciting the 
Indian tribes to hostility. '^I should, therefore, not 
hesitate one moment," adds he, ** to employ any savages 
that might be willing to join us." 

He expressed himself delighted with Washington's 
project of sending off an expedition to Quebec, regretting 
only that it had not been thought of earlier. ^* Should 
the detachment from your body penetrate into Oanada,** 
added he, ** and we meet with success, Canada must in- 
evitably fall into our hands." 

Having sent off these despatches, Schuyler hastened 
back to Ticonderoga. Before he reached there, Mont' 
gomery had received intelligence that Carleton had oom« 


plated his armed vessels at St. John'si and was about to 
send tbem into Lake Champlain by the Sorel Biver. No 
time, therefore, was to be lost in getting possession of 
the Isle Anx Noix, which commanded the entrance to 
that river. Montgomery hastened, therefore, to embark 
with about a thousand men, which were as many as the 
boats now ready could hold, taking with him two pieces of 
artillery; with this force he set off down the lake. A 
letter to General Schuyler explained the cause of his 
sudden departure, and entreated him to follow on in a 
whaleboat^ leaving the residue of the artillery to come 
on as soon as conveyances could be procured. 

Schuyler arrived at Ticonderoga on the night of the 
30ih of August^ but too ill of a bilious fever to push on 
in a whaleboat. He caused, however, a bed to be pre- 
pared for him in a covered bateau, and, ill as he was, 
continued forward on the following day. On the 4th 
of September he overtook Montgomery at the Isle la 
Motte, where he had been detained by contrary weather, 
and, assuming command of the little army, kept on the 
same day to the Isle Aux Noix, about twelve miles south 
of St John's — where for the present we shall leave him, 
and return to the head-quarters of the commander-iii- 


k OHAUunroB DBOLnm). — a. blow mbditatbd.— a. oaxttioub oodvoil of 


[BDEi siege of Boston had been kept up for sey-* 
eral weeks without any remarkable occurrence. 
The British remained within their lines, dili- 
gently strengthening them ; the besiegers having received 
further supplies of ammunition, were growing impatient 
of a state of inactivity. Towards the latter part of Au- 
gust there were rumors from Boston, that the enemy 
were preparing for a sortie. Washington was resolved 
to provoke it by a kind of challenge. He accordingly 
detached fourteen hundred men to seize at night upon 
a height within musket-shot of the enemy's line on 
Oharlestown Neck, presuming that the latter would sally 
forth on the following day to dispute possession of it^ 
and thus be drawn into a general battle. The task was 


exeoaied with silenoe and celerity, and bj daybreak the 
hill presented to the aetonished foe the aspect of a forti^ 

The challenge was not accepted. The British opened 
a hea^y cannonade from Bunker's Hill, but kept within 
their works. The Americans, scant of ammunition, conid 
only reply with a single nine-ponnder ; this, howeyer, 
sank one of the floating batteries which guarded the 
NecL They went on to complete and strengthen this 
adyanced poet^ exposed to daily cannonade and bom* 
bardment^ which, howeyer, did bnt little injury. They 
continued to answer from time to time with a single gun; 
reserving their ammunition for a general action. ^'We 
are just in the situation of a man with little money in his 
pocket,** writes Secretaiy Beed; ''he will do twenty 
mean things to preyent his breaking in upon his little 
stock. We are obliged to bear with the rascals on Bun« 
ker's Hill, when a few shot now and then in return would 
keep our men attentiye to their business and giye the 
enemy alarms." * 

The eyident unwillingness of the latter to come forth 
was perplexing. ** Unless the ministerial troops in Bos« 
ton are waiting for reinforcements,** writes Washington, 
**! cannot deyise what they are staying there for, nor 
why, as they affect to despise the Americans, they do 
not come forth and put an end to the contest at once.'* 

•Xf/«o/i2aacf,ToLi. 119. 


Perhaps they persuaded themselyes thai his army, 
oomposed of crude, half-disciplined levies from different 
and distant quarters, would gradually fall asunder and 
disperse, or that its means of subsistence would be ex* 
hausted. He had his own fears on the subject, and 
looked forward with doubt and anxiety to a winter's 
campaign; the heavy expense that would be incurred 
in providing barracks, fuel, and warm clothing ; the dif- 
ficult there would be of keeping together, through the 
rigorous season, troops unaccustomed to military hard- 
ships, and none of whose terms of enlistment extended 
beyond the first of January : the supplies of ammunition, 
too, that would be required for protracted operations; 
the stock of powder on hand, notwithstanding the most 
careful husbandry, being fearfully smalL Bevolving 
these circumstances in his mind, he rode thoughtfully 
about the commanding points in the vicinity of Boston, 
considering how he might strike a decisive blow that 
would put an end to the murmuring inactivity of the 
army, and relieve the country from the consuming 
expense of maintaining it. The result was, a letter to 
the major and brigadier-generals, summoning them to a 
council of war to be held at the distance of three days, 
and giving them previous intimation of its purpose. It 
was to know whether, in their judgment, a successful 
attack might not be made upon the troops at Boston by 
means of boats, in cooperation with an attempt upon 
their lines at Boxbury. '^ The success of such an enter- 

A OAiTTiotrB WAR oomroiL. 68 

prise,** adds he, ** depends, I well know, npon the All- 
wise Disposer of eyents, and it is not within the reaoh 
of human wisdom to foretell the issne ; but if the pros- 
pect is fair, the undertaking is justifiable." 

He proceeded to state the considerations already cited, 
which appeared to justify ii The council having thus 
had time for preyious deliberation, met on the 11th of 
September. It was composed of Major-generals Ward, 
Lee, and Putnam, and Brigadier-generals Thomas, Heath, 
Salliyan, Spencer, and Greene. They unanimously pro- 
nounced the suggested attempt inexpedient, at least for 
the present. 

It certainly was bold and hazardous, yet it seems to 
haye taken strong hold on the mind of the commander* 
in-chief, usuaUy so cautious. '' I cannot say," writes he 
to the President of Oongress, '^ that I have wholly laid it 
aside ; but new eyents may occasion new measures. Of 
tiiis I hope the honorable Oongress can need no assur- 
ance, that there is not a man in America who more 
earnestly wishes such a termination of the campaign, as 
to make the army no longer necessary." 

In the meantime, as it was eyident the enemy did not 
intend to come out, but were only strengthening their 
defenses and preparing for winter, Washington was en- 
abled to turn his attention to the expedition to be sent 
into Oanada by the way of the Kennebec Biyer. 

A detachment of about eleyen hundred men, chosen for 
the pnrpose, was soon encamped on Oambridge Oommon. 

84 -W2rff OF WA8BINQT0N. 

There weie ten oompanies of New England infantry, some 
of them from (General Greene's Bhode Island regiments ; 
three rifle oompanies from Pennsjlyania and Virginia^ 
one of them Oaptain Daniel Morgan's famous company ; 
and a number of Tolonteers; among whom was Aaron 
Burr, then bnt twenty years of age, and just commencing 
his varied, brilliant, but ultimately unfortunate career. 

The proposed expedition was wild and perilous, and 
required a hardy, skillful, and intrepid leader. Such a 
one was at hand. Benedict Arnold was at Cambridge, 
occupied in settling his accounts with the Massachusetts 
committee of safety. These were nearly adjusted. What- 
ever faults may have been found with his conduct in some 
particulars, his exploits on Lake Champlain had atoned 
for them ; for valor, in time of war, covers a multitude 
of sins. It was thought, too, by some, that he had been 
treated harshly, and there was a disposition to soothe his 
irritated pride. Washington had given him an honorable 
reception at head-quarters, and now considered him the 
very man for the present enterprise. He had shown apt- 
ness for military service, whether on land or water. He 
was acquainted, too, with Canada, and especially with 
Quebec, having, in the course of his checkered life, 
traded in horses between that place and the West Indies. 

With these considerations he intrusted him with the 

command of the expedition, giving him the commission 
of lieutenant-colonel in the continental army. 
As he would be intrusted with dangerous powers^ 


Washiiigtony beside a general letter of instructions, ad- 
dressed a special one to him indiyidaaUj, fall of cautious 
and considerate advice. " Upon jour conduct and couiy 
age, and tliat of the officers and soldiers detailed on this 
expedition, not only the success of the present enter- 
prise, and your own honor, but the safefy and welfare of 
the whole continent, may depend. I charge you, there- 
fore, and the officers and soldiers under your command, 
as you value your own safety and honor, and the favor 
and esteem of your country, that you consider yourselves 
as marching, not through the country of an enemy, but 
of our friends and brethren ; for such the inhabitants of 
Canada and the Indian nations have approved them- 
selves, in this unhappy contest between Great Britain 
and America; and that you check by every motive of 
duty and fear of punishment every attempt to plunder or 
insult the inhabitants of Canada. Should any American 
soldier be so base and infamous as to injure any Cana- 
dian or Indian in his person or property, I do most 
earnestly enjoin you to bring him to such severe and 
exemplary punishment as the enormity of the crime may 
require. Should it extend to death itself, it will not be 
disproportioned to its guilt at such a time and in such a 

cause I also give in charge to you, to avoid 

ail disrespect to the religion of the country and its cere- 
monies While we are contending for our own 

liberty, we should be very cautious not to violate the 
lights of conscience in others, ever considering that Gk>d 


alone is the jndge of the hearts of men, and to him Qnlji 
in this case, are they answerable." 

In the general letter of instructions, Washington 
inserted the following clause : " If Lord Chatham's son 
should be in Canada, and in any way fall into your power, 
you are enjoined to treat him with all possible deference 
and respect. You cannot err in paying too much honor 
to the son of so illustrious a character and so true a 
friend to America.*' 

Arnold was, moreoTer, furnished with hand-bills for 
distribution in Canada, setting forth the friendly objects 
of the present expedition, as well as of that under (Gen- 
eral Schuyler ; and calling on the Canadians to furnish 
necessaries and accommodations of eyery kind; for which 
they were assured ample compensation. 

On the 13th of September Arnold struck his tents, and 
set out in high spirits. More fortunate than his rival, Ethan 
Allen, he had attained the object of his ambition, the com- 
mand of an expedition into Canada ; and trusted, in the cap- 
ture of Quebec, to eclipse even the surprise of Ticonderoga. 

Washington enjoined upon him to push forward as 
rapidly as possible, success depending upon celerity ; and 
counted the days as they elapsed after his departure, im- 
patient to receive tidings of his progress up the Ken- 
nebec, and expecting that the expedition would reach 
Quebec about the middle of October. In the interim 
came letters from Oeneral Schuyler, giving 
of the main expedition. 

ON THE 80BEL. 87 

In a preceding chapter we left the general and his lit* 
tie army at the Isle Anx Noix, near the Sorel Eiver, the 
outlet of the lake. Thence, on the 5th of September, he 
sent Colonel Ethan Allen and Major Brown to reconnoi- 
ter the country between that river and the St Lawrence, 
to distribute friendly addresses among the people and 
ascertain their feelings. This done, and having landed 
his baggage and provisions, the general proceeded along 
the Sorel Biver the next day with his boats, until within 
two miles of St John's, when a cannonade was opened 
from the fort Keeping on for half a mile further, he 
landed his troops in a deep, close swamp, where they 
had a sharp skirmish with an ambuscade of tories and 
Indians, whom they beat off with some loss on both sides. 
Night coming on, they cast up a small intrenchment, and 
encamped, disturbed occasionally by shells from the fort, 
which, however, did no other mischief than slightly 
wounding a lieutenant 

In the night the camp was visited secretly by a person 
who informed (General Schuyler of the state of the fort 
The works were completed, and furnished with cannon. 
A vessel pierced for sixteen guns was launched, and 
would be ready to sail in three or four days. It was not 
probable that any Canadians would join the army, being 
disposed to remain neutral This intelligence being dis- 
cussed in a council of war in the morning, it was deter- 
mined that they had neither men nor artillery sufficient 
to undertake a siege. They returned, therefore, to the 

68 LIFE OF wAsmmroir. 

Isle Anx Noix, oast np fortifications, and threw a boom 
across the channel of the river to prevent the passage of 
the enemy's vessels into the lake, and awaited the arrival 
of artillery and reinforcements from Ticonderoga. 

In the course of a few days the expected reinforce* 
ments arrived, and with them a small train of artillery. 
Ethan Allen also returned from his reconnoitering ex- 
pedition, of which he made a most encouraging report. 
The Canadian captains of militia were ready, he said, to 
join the Americans, whenever they should appear with 
sufficient force. He had held talks, too, with the Indians, 
and found them well disposed. In a word, he was con* 
vinced that an attack on St John's, and an inroad into 
the province, would meet with hearty cooperation. 

Preparations were now made for the investment of Sb 
John's by land and water. Major Brown, who had al- 
ready acted as a scout, was sent with one hundred Amer- 
icans, and about thirty Canadians towards Chamblee, to 
make friends in that quarter, and to join the army as 
soon as it should arrive at St John's. 

To quiet the restless activity of Ethan Allen, who had 
no command in the army, he was sent with an escort of 
thirty men to retrace his steps, penetrate to La Prairie, 
and beat up for recruits among the people whom he had 
recently visited. 

For some time past, (General Schuyler had been strug- 
gling with a complication of maladies, but exerting liiai* 
fself to the utmost in the harassing business of the camj^ 


still hoping to be able to move with the army. When 
eyeijthing was nearly ready, he was attacked in the night 
by a severe access of his disorder, which confined him to 
his bed, and compelled him to surrender the conduct of 
the expedition to (General Montgomery. Since he could 
be of no further use, therefore, in this quarter, he caused 
his bed, as before, to be placed on board a coyered bateau^ 
and set off for Ticonderoga^ to hasten forward reinforce- 
ments and supplies. An hour after his departure, he 
met Oolonel Seth Warner, with one hundred and seyenty 
Qreen Mountain Boys, steering for the camp, ** being the 
firsts'* adds he, ''that have appeared of that boasted corps.** 
Some had mutinied and deserted the colonel, and the re- 
mainder were at drown Point ; whence they were about 
to embark. 

Such was the purport of different letters received from 
Schuyler ; the last bearing date September 20tlL Wash- 
ington was deeply concerned when informed that he had 
qnitted the army, supposing that General Wooster, as the 
eldest brigadier, would take rank and command of Mont- 
gomery, and considering him deficient in the activity and 
energy required by the difficult service in which he was 
engaged. " I am, therefore," writes he to Schuyler, " much 
alarmed for Arnold, whose expedition was built upon 
yours, and who will in&Jlibly perish, if the invasion and 
entry into Canada are abandoned by your successor. I 
lu)pe by this time the penetration into Oanada by your 
ttmy is effected ; but if it is not, and there are any inten« 


tions to lay it aside, I beg it may be done in snoli a man* 
ner that Arnold may be saved, by giving him notioe ; and 
in the meantime, your army may keep sach appearanoes 
as to fix Carleton, and to prevent the force of Canada 
being turned wholly upon Arnold. 

" Should this find you at Albany, and General Wooster 
about taking the command, I entreat you to impress him 
strongly with the importance and necessity of proceeding, 
or so to conduct, that Arnold may have time to retreat*' 

What caused this immediate solicitude about Amoldi 
was a letter received from him, dated ten days previ* 
ously from Fort Western, on the Kennebec Biver. He 
had sent reconnoitering parties ahead in light canoes, to 
gain intelligence from the Indians, and take the courses 
and distances to Dead Biver, a branch of the Kennebec^ 
and he was now forwarding his troops in bateaux in five 
divisions, one day's march apart ; Morgan with his rifle- 
men in the first division. Lieutenant-colonel Boger Enos 
commanding the lasi As soon as the last division 
should be under way, Arnold was to set off in a light 
skiff to overtake the advance. Chaudiere Pond, on the 
Chaudiere Biver, was the appointed rendezvous, whence 
they were to march in a body towards Quebea 

Judging from the date of the letter, Arnold must at 
this time be mating his way, by land and water, through 
an uninhabited and unexplored wilderness ; and beyond 
the reach of recall ; his situation, therefore, would be 
desperate should General Wooster fail to follow up tiia 


eampaign against Si J0W& The solicitude of Wash- 
ington on his acconnt was heightened by the conscious- 
ness that the hazardous enterprise in which he was en- 
gaged had chiefly been set on foot by himself and he felt 
in some degree responsible for the safely of the resolute 
partisan and his companions. 

Fortunately, Wooster was not the successor to Schuy- 
ler in the command of the expedition. Washington was 
mistaken as to the rank of his commission, which was 
one degree lower than that of Montgomery. The veteran 
himself who was a gallant soldier, and had seen service 
in two wars, expressed himself nobly in the matter, in 
reply to some inquiry made by Schuyler. '^Ihave the 
cause of my country too much at heart," said he, *^ to at« 
tempt to make any difficulty or uneasiness in the army, 
upon whom the success of an enterprise of almost infinite 
importance to the country is now depending. I shall 
consider my rank in the army what my commission from 
the Continental Oongress makes it, and shall not attempt 
to dispute the command with General Montgomery at 
Si John's.'' We shall give some further particulars 
eonceming this expedition against Si John's, towards 
which Washington was turning so anxious an eye. 

On the 16th of September, the day after Schuyler's de- 
parture for Ticonderoga, Montgomery proceeded to cany 
out the plans which had been concerted between them* 
T^mling on the 17th at the place where they had formerly 
encamped, within a mile and a half of the fort, he de« 


taohed a force of fiye hundred men, among whom were 
three hundred Ghreen Mountain Boys under Colonel Seth 
Warner, to take a position at the junction of two roads 
leading to Montreal and Chamblee, so as to intercept re- 
lief from those points. He now proceeded to invest St 
John's. A battery was erected on a point of land com- 
manding the forty the ship-yards, and the armed schooner. 
Another was thrown up in the woods on the east side of 
the fort, at six hundred yards' distance, and furnished 
with two small mortars. All this was done under an in* 
oessant fire from the enemy, which, as yet, was but feebly 

Sb John's had a garrison of five or six hundred regu* 
lars and two hundred Canadian militia. Its commander. 
Major Preston, made a brave resistance. Montgomery 
haa not proper battering cannon ; his mortars were de- 
fective ; his artillerists unpracticed, and the engineer ig- 
norant of the first principles of his art The siege went 
on slowly, until the arrival of an artillery company un- 
der Captain Lamb, expedited from Saratoga by General 
Schuyler. Lamb, who was an able officer, immediately 
bedded a thirteen-inch mortar, and commenced a fire of 
shot and shells upon the fort The distance, however, was 
too great, and the positions of the batteries were ill chosen. 

A flourishing letter was received by the general from 
Oolonel Ethan Allen, giving hope of further reinforce- 
ment "I am now," writes he, "at the Parish of St. 
OarSy four leagues from Sorel to the south. I have two 


Irandred and fifty Canadians under arms. As I march, 
they gather fasi You may rely on it, that I shall join 
jon in about three days, with five hundred or more Oana* 
dian volunteers. I could raise one or two thousand in a 
week's time ; but I will first visit the army with a less 
number, and, if neoessaiy, go again recruiting. Those 
that used to be enemies to our cause, come cap in hand 
to me ; and I swear by the Lord, I can raise three times 
the number of our army in Canada, provided you con- 
tinue the siege. .... The eyes of all America^ nay, 
of Europe, are or will be on the economy of this army 
and the consequences attending ii" * 

Allen was actually on his way toward St. John's, when, 
between Longueil and La Prairie, he met Colonel Brown 
with his party of Americans and Canadians. A conver- 
sation took place between them. Brown assured him 
that the garrison at Montreal did not exceed thirty men, 
and might easily be surprised. Allen's partisan spirit 
was instantly excited. Here was a chance for another 
bold stroke equal to that at Ticonderoga. A plan was 
forthwith agreed upon. Allen was to return to Longueil, 
which is nearly opposite Montreal, and cross the Sb 
Lawrence in canoes in the night, so as to land a little 
below the town. Brown, with two hundred men, was to 
cross above, and Montreal was to be attacked simultane- 
ously at opposite points. 

•Asoi. AreKivea, 4th Series, iiL 764. 

94 LlfS or WJ SBIJS^GTON'. 

All this was arranged and put in action without \ 
consent or knowledge of General Montgomery ; Allen 17 
again the partisan leader, acting from individual impu] 
His late letter also to General Montgomery, would se 
to have partaken of fanfaronade ; for the whole force w 
which he undertook his part of this inconsiderate < 
terprise was thirty Americans and eighty Canadia 
With these he crossed the river on the night of the 2^ 
of September, the few canoes found at Longueil hav 
to pass to and fro repeatedly, before his petty force coi 
be landed. Guards were stationed on the roads to p 
vent any one passing and giving the alarm in Montn 
Day dawned, but there was no signal of Major Bro 
having performed his part of the scheme. The ent 
prise seems to have been as ill concerted as it was 
advised. The day advanced, but still no signal ; it t 
evident Major Brown had not crossed. Allen woi 
gladly have recrossed the river, but it was too late, 
alarm had been given to the town, and he soon fon 
himself encountered by about forty regular soldiers, a 
a hasty levy of Canadians and Indians. A smart act: 
ensued ; most of Allen's Canadian recruits gave way a 
fled, a number of Americans were slain, and he at lenj 
surrendered to the British officer, Major Campbell, be: 
promised honorable terms for himself and thirty-ei( 
of his men, who remained with him, seven of whom w< 
wounded. The prisoners were marched into the to 
and delivered over to General Prescott, the commands 


Their rough appearance, and mde eqiiipmenis, were 
not likely to gain them &yor in the eyes of the mili<- 
taiy tactician, who doubtless considered them as little 
better than a band of freebooters on a maraud. Their 
leader, albeit a colonel, must haye seemed worthy o| 
the band; for Allen was arrayed in rough frontiei 
style — a deer-skin jai^et, a vest and breeches of coarse 
aeq^, worsted stockings, stout shoes, and a red woolen 

We giye Allen's own account of his reception by the 
Britash officer. '' He asked me my name, which I told 
bim. He then asked me whether I was that Golonel 
Allen who took Ticonderoga. I told him I was the very 
nuoL Then he shook his cane over my head, calling me 
many hard names, among which, he frequently used the 
word rebel, and put himself in a great rage." * 

Ethan Allen, according to his own account, answered 

with becoming spirit. Indeed he gives somewhat of a 


melodramatic scene, which ended by his being sent on 
board of the Qnspee schooner of war, heavily ironed, to 
be transported to England for trial ; Prescott giving him 
the parting assurance, sealed with an emphatic oath, that 
be would grace a halter at Tyburn. 

Neither Allen's courage nor his rhetorical vein deserted 
him on this trying occasion. From his place of confine* 
meat he indited the following epistle to the general 

•Am. ArchmB.^ 800. 


^ HoNOBABLB SiB, — ^In the wheel of transitoiy events I 
find mjaelf prisoner, and in irons. Probably your honor 
has certain reasons to me inoonceiyable, though I chal- 
lenge an instance of this sort of economy of the Ameri- 
cans during the late war to any officers of the crown. On 
my party I have to assure your honor, that when I had 
the command and took Captain Delaplace and Lieuten- 
ant Fulton, with the garrison of Ticonderoga, I treated 
Ihem with every mark of friendship and generosity, the 
imdence of which is notorious, even in Oanada. I have 
<mly to add, that I expect an honorable and humane 
treatment, as an officer of my rank and merit should have, 
and subscribe myself your honor's most obedient servant^ 

Ethan Allbn.** 

In the British publication from which we cite the above, 
the following note is appended to the letter, probably 
on the authority of General Prescott: "N. B.— The 
author of the above letter is an outlaw, and a reward is 
offered by the New York Assembly for apprehending 

The reckless dash at Montreal was viewed with oon* 
.cem by the American commander. " I am apprehensive 
of disagreeable consequences arising from Mr. Allen's im* 
prudence," writes General Schuyler. ** I always dreaded 
his impatience of subordination, and it was not until aftex 


a solemn promise made me in the presence of seyeraJ 
officers that he wonld demean himself with propriety, 
that I wonld permit him to attend the army ; nor would 
I have consented then, had not his solicitations been 
backed by several officers." 

The conduct of Allen was also severely censured by 
Washington. " His misfortune/* said he, ** will, I hope, 
teach a lesson of prudence and subordination to others 
who may be ambitious to outshine their general officers, 
and, regardless of order and duty, rush into enterprises 
which have unfavorable effects on the public, and are 
destructive to themselves." 

Partisan exploit had, in fact, inflated the vanity and 
bewildered the imagination of Allen, and unfitted him for 
r^ular warfare. Still his name will ever be a favorite 
one with his countrymen. Even his occasional rhodo- 
montade will be tolerated with a good-humored smile, 
backed as it was by deeds of daring courage ; and among 
the hardy pioneers of our Bevolution whose untutored 
valor gave the first earnest of its triumphs, will be re- 
membered, with honor, the rough Green Mountain par- 
tisan, who seized upon the ^'Keys of Champlain." 

In the letters of Schuyler, which gave Washington ac- 
counts, from time to time, of the preceding events, were 
sad repinings at his own illness, and the multiplied an- 
noyances which beset him. ''The vexation of spirit 
under which I labor," writes he, " that a barbarous com- 
plication of disorders should prevent me from reaping 



those laurels for whioli I have imweariedlj wrought sinoi 
I was honored with this command ; the anxiety I hayi 
suffered since my arriyal here (at Ticonderoga), lest tb 
army should starve, occasioned by a scandalous want o 
subordination and inattention to my orders, in some o 
the officers that I left to command at the different posts 
the vast variety of disagreeable and vexatious inoidenti 
that almost every hour arise in some department o] 
other, — ^not only retard my cure, but have put me con 
siderably back for some days pasi If Job had been i 
general in my situation, his memory had not been 8< 
famous for patience. But the glorious end we have ii 
view, and which I have confident hope will be attained 
will atone for alL'* Washington replied in that spirit o: 
friendship which existed between them. **You do mc 
justice in believing that I feel the utmost anxiety fo] 
your situation, that I sympathize with you in all yom 
distresses, and shall most heartily share in the joy o: 
your success. My anxiety extends itself to poor Arnold 
whose &te depends upon the issue of your campaign 
• . . . The more I reflect upon the importance o: 
your expedition, the greater is my concern, lest it shoxdc 
sink under insuperable difficulties. I look upon the in- 
terests and salvation of our bleeding country in a greai 
degree as depending upon your success." 

Shortly after writing the above, and while he was stil 
full of solicitude about the fate of Arnold, he received 
a despatch from the latter dated October 13th, from the 


great portage or carrjing-plaoe between the Kennebec 
and Dead Biver. 

**Tonr Exoellenoy/' writes Arnold, "may possibly think 
we haye be^i tardy in oar march, as we have gained so 
little ; but when you consider the badness and weight of 
ike bateaux, and large quantities of provisions, etc., we 
have been obliged to force np against a yery rapid stream, 
where you would have taken the men for amphibious ani- 
mals, as they were a great part of the time under water : 
add to this the great &tigue in the portage, you will 
think I have pushed the men as fast as they could possi- 
bly bear." 

The toils of the expedition up the Kennebec Biver had 
indeed been excessive. Part of the men of each divis- 
ion managed the boats — ^part marched along the bank& 
Those on board had to labor against swift currents ; to 
unload at rapids ; transport the cargoes, and sometimes 
the boats themselves, for some distance on their shoul- 
ders, and then to reload. They were days in making their 
way round stupendous cataracts ; several times their 
boats were upset and filled with water, to the loss or 
damage of arms, ammunition, and provisions. 

Those on land had to scramble over rocks and preci- 
pices, to struggle through swamps and fenny streams ; or 
cut their way through tangled thickets, which reduced 
their clothes to rags. With all their efforts, their prog- 
ress was but from four to ten miles a day. At night the 
men of each division encamped together. 

100 LlFle OF WASBmQTOJSr. 

By the time they arriyed at the place whence the letter 
was written, fatigue, swamp fevers and desertion had re- 
duced their numbers to about nine hundred and fifty 
effective men. Arnold, however, wrote in good heart 
*'The last division," said he, "is just arrived; three 
divisions are over the first carrying-place, and as the men 
are in high spirits, I make no doubt of reaching the river 
Ohaudiere in eight or ten days, the greatest difficulty 
being, I hope, already pasi" 

He had some days previously despatched an Tndian, 
whom he considered trusty, with a letter for General 
Schuyler, apprising him of his whereabouts, but as yet 
had received no intelligence either of, or from the gen- 
eral, nor did he expect to receive any until he should 
reach Chaudiere Pond. There he calculated to meet the 
return of his express, and then to determine his plan of 




the two expeditions were threatening 
Canada from different quarters, the war was 
going on along the seaboard. The British in 
Boston, cut off from supplies by land, fitted out small 
armed vessels to seek them along the coast of New Eng- 
land. The inhabitants drove their cattle into the in- 
terior, or boldly resisted the aggressors. Parties land- 
ing to forage were often repulsed by hasty levies of 
the yeomanry. Scenes of ravage and violence occurred. 
Stonington was cannonaded, and further measures of 
vengeance were threatened by Captain Wallace of the 
£o9e man-of-war, a naval officer, who had acquired an 
ahnost piratical reputation along the coast, and had his 
rendezvous in the harbor of Newport, domineering over 
the waters of Bhode Island.* 

^ Got. Tromboll to Washin^^n. Sparia' Corretp. of (he Bev. L 87. 


102 ^^^^ ^^ WA8HINQT0N. 

About this time there was an oocorrencey which caused 
great excitement in the armies. A woman, coming from 
the camp at Cambridge, applied to a Mr. Wainwood of 
I^ewport, Bhode Island, to aid her in gaining access to 
Captain Wallace, or Mr. Dudley, the collector. Wain- 
wood, who was a patriot, drew from her the object of her 
errand. She was the bearer of a letter from some one in 
camp, directed to Major Kane in Boston : but which she 
was to deliver either to the captain or the collector. Sus- 
pecting something wrong, he prevailed upon her to leave 
it with him for delivery. After her departure he opened 
the letter. It was written in cipher, which he could not 
read. He took it to Mr. Henry Ward, secretary of the 
colony. The latter, apprehending it might contain trea- 
sonable information to the enemy, transmitted it to Gen- 
eral Greene, who laid it before Washington. 

A letter in cipher, to a person in Boston hostile to the 
cause, and to be delivered into the hands of Captain Wal- 
lace the nautical marauder ! — there evidently was treason 
in the camp; but how was the traitor to be detected? 
The first step was to secure the woman, the bearer of the 
letter, who had returned to Cambridge. Tradition gives 
us a graphic scene connected with her arresi Washing- 
ton was in his chamber at head-quarters, when he beheld 
from his window, General Putnam approaching on horse- 
back, with a stout woman en croupe behind him. He had 
pounced upon the culprit. The group presented by the 
old general and his prize, overpowered even Washington's 


gmTiiy. It was the only occasion throughout the whole 
campaign, on which he was known to laugh heartily. He 
had recoyered his gravity by the time the delinquent was 
brought to the foot of the broad staircase in head-quar- 
ters, and assured her in a severe tone from the head of 
it, that, unless she confessed everything before the next 
morning, a halter would be in readiness for her. 

So far the tradition ; — ^his own letter to the President 
of Congress states that, for a long time, the woman was 
proof against every threat and persuasion to discover the 
author, but at length named Dr. Benjamin Church. It 
seemed incredible. He had borne the character of a 
distinguished patriot; he was the author of various patri- 
otic writings ; a member of the Massachusetts House of 
Bepresentatives ; one of the committee deputed to con- 
duct Washington to the army, and at present he dis- 
oharged the functions of surgeon-general and director of 
the hospitals. That such a man should be in traitorous 
correspondence with the enemy, was a thunderstroke. 
Orders were given to secure him and his papers. On his 
arrest he was extremely agitated, but acknowledged the 
letter, and said it would be found, when deciphered, to 
contain nothing criminal His papers were searched, but 
nothing of a treasonable nature discovered. ''It ap- 
peared, however, on inquiry," says Washington, "that 
a confidant had been among the papers before my mes-^ 
aenger arrived." 

The letter was deciphered. It gave a description of 

104 LIFE OF WABHrnamif. 

the army. The doctor made an awkward defense, pro* 
testing that he had giyen an exaggerated acooont of the 
Amerioan force, for the purpose of deterring the enemy 
from attacking the American lines in their present de* 
fenseless condition from the want of powder. His ex" 
planations were not satisfactory. The army and country 
were exceedingly irritated. In a council of war he was 
oouTicted of criminal correspondence; he was expelted 
from the Massachusetts House of Bepresentatiyes, and 
the Oontinental Oongress ultimately resolved that he 
should be confined in some secure jail in Gonnectioui^ 
without the use of pen, ink, or paper ; " and that no per- 
son be allowed to converse with him, except in the pres- 
ence and hearing of a magistrate or the sheriff of the 

His sentence was afterwards mitigated on account of 
his health, and he was permitted to leave the country. 
He embarked for the West Indies, and is supposed to 
have perished at sea. 

What had caused especial irritation in the case of Dr. 
Ohurch, was the kind of warfare already mentioned, car- 
ried on along the coast by British cruisers, and notori- 
ously by Captain Wallace. To check these maraudings, 
and to capture the enemy's transports laden with sup- 
plies, the provinces of Massachusetts, Bhode Island, and 
Connecticut, fitted out two armed vessels each, at their 
own expense, without seeking the sanction or aid of Con- 
gress. Washington, also, on his own responsibility, or* 


lared several to be equipped for like purpose, whioh 
were to be manned by hardy mariners, and commanded 
by able sea captains, actually serving in the army. One 
of these vessels was despatched, as soon as ready, to 
omise between Cape Ann and Cape Cod. Two others 
were fitted out with all haste, and sent to cruise in the 
waters of the St. Lawrence, to intercept two unarmed 
bngantines which Congress had been informed had sailed 
from England for Quebec, with ammunition and military 
stores. Among the sturdy little New England seaports^ 
▼hioh had become obnoxious to punishment by resist- 
ance to nautical exactions, was Falmouth (now Portland), 
in Maine. 

On the evening of the 11th of October, Lieutenant 
Mowat, of the royal navy, appeared before it with several 
armed vessels, and sent a letter on shore, apprising the 
inhabitants that he was come to execute a just punish- 
ment on them for their ''premeditated attacks on the 
legal prerogatives of the best of sovereigns." Two hours 
were given them, ''to remove the human species out of 
the town,*^ at the period of which, a red pendant hoisted 
at the main-top-gallant masthead, and a gun, would be 
the signal for destruction* 

The letter brought a deputation of three persons on 
board. The lieutenant informed them verbally, that he 
had orders from Admiral Graves to set fire to all the sea- 
port towns between Boston and Halifax ; and he expected 
Kew York, at the present moment, was in ashes. 


With muoli difficulty, and on the surrendering of some 
arms, the committee obtained a respite until nine o'clock 
the next morning, and the inhabitants employed the 
juiteryal in removing their families and effects. The next 
morning the committee returned on board before nine 
o'docL The lieutenant now offered to spare the town on 
certain conditions, which were refused About half-past 
nine o'clock the red pendant was run up to the masthead, 
and the signal gun fired. Within five minutes seyeral 
houses were in flames, from a discharge of carcasses and 
bombshells, which continued throughout the day. The 
inhabitants, ^' standing on the heights, were spectators of 
the conflagration ; which reduced many of them to pen- 
ury and despair." One hundred and thirty-nine dwelling- 
houses, and two hundred and twenty-eight stores, are 
said to have been burnt* All the vessels in the harbor, 
likewise, were destroyed or carried away as prizes. 

Having satisfied his sense of justice with respect to 
Falmouth, the gallant lieutenant left it a smoking ruin, 
and made sail, as was said, for Boston, to supply himself 
with more ammunition, having the intention to destroy 
Portsmouth also.f 

The conflagration of Falmouth was as a bale-fire 
throughout the country. Lieutenant Mowat was said to 
have informed the committee at that place, that orders 
had come from England to bum all the seaport towns 

• Holmes' winfMiZs, 11220. \ljsMba ot ^, ^oobg. 


fliat would not lay down and deliyer ap iheir arms, and 
give hoBtages lor their good beliavior.^ 

Washington himself supposed such to be the case. 
** The desolation and misery/' writes he, " which minis- 
terial yengeance had planned, in contempt of every prin- 
ciple of humanity, and so lately brought on the town of 
Falmouth, I know not how sufficiently to commiserate, 
nor can my compassion for the general suffering be con- 
OBiyed beyond the true measure of my feelings." 

General Greene, too, in a letter to a friend, expresses 
himself with equal warmth. '' O, could the Congress be- 
hold the distresses and wretched condition of the poor 
inhabitants driven from the seaport towns, it must, it 
would, kindle a blaze of indignation against the commis- 
sioned pirates and licensed robbers. . • . • People 
begin heartily to wish a declaration of independence." t 

General Sullivan was sent to Portsmouth, where there 
was a fortification of some strength, to give the inhabit 
tants his advice and assistance in warding off the menaced 
blow. Newport, also, was put on the alert, and recom- 
mended to fortify itsell " I expect every hour," writes 
Washington, '' to hear that Newport has shared the same 
late of unhappy Falmouth." J Under the feeling roused 
by these reports, the General Court of Massachusetts, 
Bxercising a sovereign power, passed an act for encourage 

♦ Letter from Gen. Greene to Qor, Cooke. 
f Letter to the President of Congress. 
X Am, ArchiveSf iii. 1145. 


ii^ the fitiang oat oi armed vesaels to defend the sea- 
ooast of Amerioa^ and for erecting a court to try and 
condemn all vessels that should be found infesting the 
same. This act, granting letters of marque and reprisal, 
anticipated any measure of the kind on the part of the 
General Qoyemmenty and was pronounoed by John Adams 
** one of the most important documents in history." * 

The British ministry have, in latter days, been excul- 
pated from the charge of issuing such a desolating order 
as that said to have been reported by Lieutenant Mowai 
The orders under which that officer acted, we are told, 
emanated from (General Gage and Admiral Ghraves. The 
former intended merely the annoyance and destruction of 
rebel shipping, whether on the coast or in the harpors to 
the eastward of Boston ; the burning of the town is sur- 
mised to have been an additional thought of Admiral 
Graves. Naval officers have a passion for bombardments. 

Whatever part General Gage may have had in this 
most ill-advised and discreditable measure, it was the 
last of his military govomment, and he did not remain 
long enough in the country to see it carried into effect. 
He sailed for England on the 10th of October. The 
tidings of the battle of Bunker's Hill had withered his 
laurels as a commander. Still he was not absolutely 
superseded, but called home, '' in order," as it was con- 
siderately said, ** to give His Majesty exact information 

♦ See Lift of &erfy, p. IW. 


of flVBiTthiii^ and BOggest saoh matten as his knovle^e 
and expeiienoe of the aerrioe might eitable hitn to for- 
niah." I>aiiiig his absenoe, Majoi-genezal Howe Toold 
M)i aa oo m manda r -in-ohigf of the colonies on the Atlantic 
Ooaan, and Hajjor-geueral Oorleton of the Britiah foxoes 
in Canada and on the frontieTa. Gage folly expected to 
retnm and reaome the command. In a letter written to 
the miiuata', Lord Dartmouth, the day before sailing, he 
nged the arriral, early in the spring, of reinforoemente 
vhioh had been ordered, anticipating great hazard at the 
t^iening of the campaign. In the meantime he trosted 
that iwo thonsand troops, shortly expected from Ireland, 
would enable him " to distress the rebels by incursiona 
■loog the ooas^" — and — "he hoped Portsmonth in New 
^mpehire would feel the weight of His Majesty's arms." 
"Poor Gage," writes Horace Walpole, "is to be the 
soape-goat for what was a reason gainst employing him 
— incapacity." He never returned to America. 

On the 15th of October a Committee from Congress 
arrived in camp, sent to hold a Conference with Wash- 
ington, and with delegates from the govemmeDts of Con- 
necticut, Bhode Island, Massachnsetts, and New Hamp> 
flhiie, on the subject of a new organization of the army. 
The committee consisted of Benjamin Franklin, Thomas 
Lynch of Carolina, and Colonel Harrison of Virginia. 
It was just twenty years since Washington had met 
Franklin in Braddock's camp, aiding that onwary genera] 
by his sagacioos coonsels and prompt expedients. Frank- 


lin was regarded with especial deference in the camp al 
Cambridge. Greene, who had never met with him be 
fore, listened to him as to an oracle. 

Washington was president of the board of confer- 
ence, and Mr. Joseph Beed secretary. The committee 
brought an intimation from Congress that an attack 
upon Boston was much desired, if practicable. 

Washington called a council of war of his generals on 
the subject ; they were unanimously of the opinion that 
an attack would not be prudent at present 

Another question now arose. An attack upon the British 
forces in Boston, whenever it should take place, might 
require a bombardment; Washington inquired of the 
delegates how far it might be pushed to the destruction 
of houses and property. They considered it a question 
of too much importance to be decided by them, and said 
it must be referred to Congress. But though they de- 
clined taking upon themselves the responsibility, the 
majority of them were strongly in favor of it; and ex- 
pressed themselves so, when the matter was discussed 
informally in camp. Two of the committee, Lynch and 
EEarrison, as well as Judge Wales, delegate from Con* 
necticut, when the possible effects of a bombardment 
were suggested at a dinner table, declared that they 
would be willing to see Boston in ilames. Lee, who was 
present, observed that it was impossible to bum it 
unless they sent in men with bundles of straw to do 
it ''It could not be done with carcasses and red-hoi 


diot Isle Bojal,** be added, "in tlie river St. Lav- 
renoe, had been fized at for a long time in 1760, with a 
fine train of artilleiy, hot-ehot and oaroaaaes, without 

The board of oonferenoe was repeatedly in aeaaion, for 
Uiree or fonr daya. The report of ita deliberations ren- 
dered bj the oommittee, prodnoed a resolution of Con- 
peaa, that a new armj of twenty-two thooaand two ban- 
died and aerenty-two men and cheers, shonld be formed, 
to be recxnited as mnoh as possible from the troops 
ictoally in service. Uofortiinately the term for whioh 
they were to be enlisted was to be &ti< for one year. It 
tonned a precedent which became a reonrring oanse of 
embarrassment throughout the war. 

Washington's secretary, Mr. Beed, had, after the close 
o{ the conference, signified to him his intention to return 
to Philadelphia, where his private concerns required his 
pnaence. His departure was deeply regretted. His 
Wnt pen had been of great assistance to Washington 
in the despatch of his multifarious correspondence, and 
Mg jndicions counsels and cordial sympathies had been 
stiU more appreciated by the commander-in-chief, amid 
the multiplied difficulties of his situation. On the de- 
PUtnre of Mr. Beed, his place as secretary was tempo- 
rarily supplied by Mr. Robert Harrison of Maryland, and 
sabsequently by Colonel Mi fflin ; neither, however, at- 
* Uft of Dr Belknap, p. H. The doctor wbb piesent at tbe atxif» 


tained to the affectionate confidence reposed in their 

We shall have occasion to quote the correspondence 
kept up between Washington and Beed, during the ab- 
sence of the latter. The letters of the former are pecu- 
liarly interesting, as giTing views of what was passing; 
not merely around him, but in the recesses of hid own 
heart. No greater proof need be given of the rectitude 
of that heart, than the clearness and fullness with which, 
in these truthful documents, every thought and feeling y 




S measures whicli General Howe had adopted 
after taking oommand in Boston, rejoiced the 
I royalists, seeming to justify their anticipations. 
He proceeded to strengthen the works on Bunker's TTilT 
uid Boston Neok, and to clear away honses and throw 
up redonhts on eminences within the town. The patriot 
inhabitants were shocked by the desecration of the Old 
fioath Chnrch, which for mora than a hundred years had 
1>een a favorite place of worship, where some of the most 
eminent divines had officiated. The pulpit and pews 
were now removed, the floor was covered with earth, and 
the sacred edifice was converted into a riding-school for 
Borgoyne's light dragoons. To excuse its desecration, 
it was spoken of scoffingly as a " meeting-hoiiae, where 
edition had often been preached." 

The North Church, another " meeting-hoose," was en- 
tirely demolished and was used for fuel " Thos," says 

114 -"^^ OF WAanmoTON. 

the olironicler of the day, '' thus are our houses devoted 
to religious worship, profaned and destroyed by the sub* 
jects of His Boyal Majesty." * 

About the last of October, Howe issued three procla- 
mations. The first forbade all persons to leave Boston 
without his permission under pain of military execution; 
the second forbade any one, so permitted, to take with 
him more than five pounds sterling, under pain of for- 
feiting all the money found upon his person and being 
subject to fine and imprisonment ; the third called upon 
the inhabitants to arm themselves for the preservation 
of order within the town; they to be commanded by 
officers of his appointment 

Washington had recently been incensed by the confla- 
gration of Falmouth ; the conduct of Governor Dunmore 
who had proclaimed martial law in Virginia, and threat- 
ened ruin to the patriots, had added to this provocation; 
the measures of General Howe seemed of the same harsh 
character, and he determined to retaliate. 

"Would it not be prudent," writes he to Gk)vemor 
Trumbxdl of Connecticut, "to seize those tones who 
have been, are, and we know will be active against us ? 
Why should persons who are preying upon the vitals of 
their country, be suffered to stalk at large, whilst we 
know they will do us every mischief in their power? " 

In this spirit he ordered General Sullivan, who 

* Thaoher's Military Jaumdl, p. OOl 


bntifjring Portsmonih, " to seize upon such persons as 
held oommieaione onder the crown, and were acting as 
open and avowed enemies to their conntiy, and hold 
them as hostages for the secority of tiie town." Still he 
vaa moderate in his retaliation, and stopped short of 
private indiTidnals. "For the preaent," said he, "I shall 
iToid giving the like order with regard to the toriea of 
Fortsmooth ; bnt the day is not far off when thej will 
meet with this, or a worse fate, if there is not a consider- 
able reformation in their conduct.** * 

The season was fast approaching when the bay be> 
tween the camp and Boston woidd be frozen over, and 
militarj operations might be oondncted upon the ice- 
General Howe, if reinforced, would then very probably 
" endeavor to relieve himself from the disgraceful confine- 
ment in which the ministerial troops had been all sum- 
mer." Washington felt the necessity, therefore, of goard- 
ing the camps wherever they were most assailable ; and 
of throwing up batteries for the purpose. He had been 
embarrassed throoghout the siege by the want of artil- 
lery and ordnajice stores ; but never more so than at the 
present moment. In this juncture, Mr. Henry Knox 
stepped forward, and offered to proceed to the frontier 
forts on Ohamplain in guest of a supply. 

Enox was one of those providential characters which 
spring np in emergencies, as if they were formed by and 

•Letter to WilUunPaUier. Sporkf, UL ISSL 


for the oooaBion. A thnTing bookseller in Boston, he 
bad thrown np business to take up arms for the liberties 
of his oonntry. He was one of the patriots who had 
fonght on Bunker's Hill, since when he had aided in 
planning the defenses of the camp before Boston. The 
aptness and talent here displayed by him as an artQ- 
lerist, had recently induced Washington to recommend 
him to Oongress for the command of the regiment of 
artillery in place of the veteran Gridley, who was con- 
sidered by all the officers of the camp too old for active 
employment Oongress had not yet acted on that reoom« 
mendation; in the meantime Washington availed him- 
self of the offered services of Knox in the present in- 
stance. He was accordingly instructidd to examine into 
the state of the artillery in camp, and take an account 
of the cannon, mortars, shells, lead, and ammunition 
that were wanting. He was then to hasten to New York, 
procure and forward all that could be had there; and 
thence proceed to the head-quarters of General Schuyler, 
who was requested by letter to aid him in obtaining 
what further supplies of the kind were wanting from the 
forts of Ticonderoga, Crown Point, St. John's, and even 
Quebec, should it be in the hands of the Americans. 
Enox set off on his errand with promptness and alacrity, 
and shortly afterwards the commission of colonel of the 
regiment of artillery which Washington had advised, 
was forwarded to him by Congress. 
The reenlistment of troops actually in service was now 


ittemptedy and proved a froitfol source of perplexity. In 
a letter to the President of Congress, Washington ob- 
seryes that half of the officers of the rank of captain were 
inclined to retire ; and it was probable their example 
wonld influence their men. Of those who were disposed 
to remain, the officers of one colony were unwilling to 
mix in the same regiment with those of another. Many 
sent in their names, to serve in expectation of promotion; 
others stood aloo^ to see what advantages they could 
nuike for themselves ; while those who had declined sent 
in their names again to serve.* The difficulties were 
greater, if possible, with the soldiers than with the offi- 
cers. They would not enlist unless they knew their 
colonel, lieutenant-colonel, and captain ; Connecticut men 
being unwilling to serve under officers from Massachusetts, 
and Massachusetts men under officers from Bhode Island ; 
Bo that it was necessary to appoint the officers firsi 

Twenty days later he again writes to the President of 
Congress : '' I am sorry to be necessitated to mention to you 
the egregious want of public spirit which prevails here. 
Instead of pressing to be engaged in the cause of their 
country, which I vainly flattered myself would be the case, 
I find we are most likely to be deserted in a most critical 

time Our situation is truly alarming, and of 

this Oeneral Howe is well apprised. No doubt when he 
is reinforced he will avail himself of the information." 

* Waahingtoii to the President of Congreoi, Kor. 8L 


In a letter to Beed he disburdened his heart more com- 
pletely. '' Such dearth of public spirit, and such want 
of virtue ; such stock-jobbing, and fertility in aU the low 
arts to obtain advantage of one kind or another in this 
great change of military arrangement, I never saw before, 
and I pray God's mercy that I may never be witness to 
again. What will be the end of these maneuvers is be- 
yond my scan. I tremble at the prospect We have 
been till this time (Nov. 28) enlisting about three thou- 
sand five hundred men. To engage these, I have been 
obliged to allow furloughs as far as fifty men to a reg- 
iment, and the officers I am persuaded indulge many 
more. The Connecticut troops will not be prevailed 
upon to stay longer than their term, saving those who 
have enlisted for the next campaign, and are mostly on 
furlough; and such a mercenary spirit pervades the 
whole, that I should not be surprised at any disaster that 

may happen Could I have foreseen what I 

have experienced and am likely to experience, no consid- 
eration upon earth should have induced me to accept 
this command.'* 

No one drew closer to Washington in this time of his 
troubles and perplexities than General Greene. He had 
a real veneration for his character, and thought himself 
*^ happy in an opportunity to serve under so good a gen- 
eral." He grieved at Washington's annoyances, but at- 
tributed them in part to his being somewhat of a stranger 
in New England. ''He has not had time," writes he, ** to 


Buka himaelf scqaoiiited wiUi Qm genioB of this people ; 
tliey are naturaUj as bntTs and spirited as the peasantry 
of any other ootmtry, but yon oannot expect veterans of a 
nv militia from only a few months' serrioe. The oom- 
um people are exoeedingly avarioions ; the genins of the 
people is oommeroial, from their long interoonzse ol 
tnds. The sentiment of honor, the tme oharaoteristio 
«f » soldier, has not yet got the better of interest His 
feeelleney has been tan^t to belieTO the people here a 
nperior zaoe of mortals ; and flniling them of the same 
temper and dispositiona, passions and prejndioes, Tirtaes 
Hid Tioes of the oonmuHi people of other goTemmenta, 
tbfij Bank in his esteem." * 




[ESPATCHES from Schnjler dated October 
26th9 gave Washington another ohaptor of the 
Canada expedition. Ghamblee, an inferior fort^ 
within five miles of St John's, had been taken by Majors 
Brown and Livingston at the head of fifty Americans and 
three hnndred Canadians. A large quantity of gunpow- 
der and other military stores found there, was a season- 
able supply to the army before S& John's, and consoled 
(General Montgomery for his disappointment in regard 
to the aid promised by Colonel Ethan Allen. He now 
pressed the siege of S& John's with vigor. The garrison, 
out off from supplies, were suffering from want of pro- 
visions; but the brave commander, Major Preston, still 
held out manfully, hoping speedy relief from General 


Garleton, who was asBembling troops for that purpose at 

Carleton, it is true, had but about one hnndred regn« 
lars, several hundred Canadians, and a number of TiK^mTifiy 
with him ; but he calculated greatly on the cooperation 
of Colonel Maclean, a veteran Scot, brave and bitterly 
loyal, who had enlisted three hundred of his countrymen 
at Quebec, and formed them into a regiment called ** The 
Boyal Highland Emigrants." This doughty Highlander 
was to land at the mouth of the Sorel, where it empties 
into the Si Lawrence, and proceed along the former 
river to Si John's, to join Carleton, who would repair 
thither by the way of LongueiL 

In the meantime Montgomery received accounts from 
various quarters that Colonel Ethan Allen and his men, 
captured in the ill-advised attack upon Montreal, were 
treated with cruel and unnecessary severity, being loaded 
with irons ; and that even the colonel himself was sub- 
jected to this ''shocking indignity." Montgomery ad- 
dressed a letter to Carleton on the subject, strong and 
decided in its purport, but written in the spirit of a cour- 
teous and high-minded gentleman, and ending with an 
expression of that sad feeling which gallant officers must 
often have experienced in this revolutionary conflict, on 
being brought into collision with former brothers in 

"Tour character, sir," writes he, " induces me to hope 
I am ill-informed. Nevertheless, the duty I owe the 

122 i^^ ^^ WA8HINQT0lf. 

troops oommitted to my charge, lays me under tlie necM* 
sity of aoqoainting your Excellency, that, if you allow 
this conduct and persist in it, I shall, though with the 
most painful regret, execute with rigor the just and neo* 
essary law of retaliation upon the garrison of Ohamblee, 
now in my possession, and upon all others who may here- 
after fall into my hands. . • • • I shall expect your 
Excellency's answer in six days. Should the bearer not 
return in that time, I must interpret your silence into a 
declaration of a barbarous war. I cannot pass this op- 
portunity without lamenting the melancholy and fiital 
necessity, which obliges the firmest friends of the consti- 
tution to oppose one of the most respectable officers of 
the crown." 

While waiting for a reply, Montgomery pressed the 
siege of St John's, though thwarted continually by the 
want of subordination and discipline among his troops 
—hasty levies from varioug colonies, who, said he, '' oarzy 
the spirit of freedom into the field, and think for them- 
selves." Accustomed as he had been, in his former mili* 
tary experience, to the implicit obedience of European 
troops, the insubordination of these yeoman soldiery was 
intolerable to him. " Were I not afraid," writes he, ** the 
example would be too gener Jly followed, and that the 
public service might suffer, T would not stay an hour at 
the head of troops whose oj erations I cannot direct. I 
must say I have no hopes of success, unless from iha 
garrison's wanting provisions." 

ilXSLSTOir'S BEPUL8K. 123 

He had adTanoed his lines and played from his batter- 
isB on two sides of the fort for some hours, when tidings 
brought hy four ptiaoners caused him to cease his fire. 

General Carleton, on the 31st of September, had em- 
barked his motley force at Montreal in thirty-foor boats, 
to cross the St. lATrence, land at Longneil, and posh on 
br St. John's, vhere, as oonoerted, he was to be joined by 
Ifaclean and hi^ Highlandera As the boats approached 
tbe right bank of the river at Longneil, a terrible fire of 
artillery and mnsketry was unexpectedly opened upon 
them, and threw them into confusion. It was from 
Ookinel Seth Warner's detachment of Green Monntain 
Boys and Kew Yorkers. Some of the boats were dis- 
abled, some were driTen on shore on an island ; Carleton 
retreated with the rest to Montreal, with some loss in 
killed and wounded. The Americans captured two Cana- 
dians and two Indians ; and it was these prisoners who 
brought tidings to the camp of Oarleton's signal repulse. 
Awaie that the gairison held out merely in expectation 
of tbe relief thus intercepted Montgomery ceased his 
fire, and sent a flag by one of the Canadian prisoners with 
a letter informing Major Preston of the event, and invit- 
iiig a Burrender to spare the effasion of blood. 

Preston in reply expressed a doubt of the tmth of the 
Teport brought by the prisoners, but offered to surrender 
if not relieved in fonr days. The condition was refosed, 
and the gallant major was obliged to capitulate. His 
gmiaoQ oonsiated of five hundred regulars and one hnn- 

19,4 Wyy^ "OF WASHINGTOir. 

dred Oanadians ; among the latter were several of the 
provincial noblesse. 

Montgomery treated Preston and his garrison with the 
courtesy inspired by their gallant resistance. He had 
been a British officer himself, and his old associations 
with the service made him sympathize with the brave 
men whom the fortune of war had thrown into his hands. 
Perhaps their high-bred and aristocratic tone contrasted 
favorably in his eyes, with the rough demeanor of the 
crude swordsmen with whom he had recently associated, 
and brought back the feelings of early days when war 
with him was a gay profession, not a melancholy duty. 
According to the capitulation, the baggage of both officers 
and men was secured to them, and each of the latter re- 
ceived a new suit of clothing from the captured stores. 
This caused a murmur among the American soldiery, 
many of whom were nearly naked, and the best but scant- 
ily provided. Even some of the officers were indignant 
that all the articles of clothing had not been treated as 
lawful spoiL "I would not have sullied my own reputa* 
tion, nor disgraced the Continental arms by such a breach 
of capitulation for the universe," said Montgomery. 
Having sent his prisoners up Lake Ghamplain to Ticon- 
deroga, he prepared to proceed immediately to Montreal; 
requesting General Schuyler to forward all the men he 
could possibly spare. 

The Boyal Highland Emigrants who were to have co- 
operated with General Carleton, met with no better for- 

Bvoosaa or tbb patriots. 12s 

iane than that oommander. Maclean landed at the moath 
of the Sorel, and added to his force by reamiting a nom- 
ber of Canadians in the neighborhood, at the point of the 
bayonet He was in fall march for St John's when he 
waa enooiuttered by Majors Brown and LiTiogston with 
iheir paHry, freah from the oaptnre of Chamblee, and rein* 
broed by a nmnber of Green Monntaiu Boys. These 
pressed him back to the month of the Sorel, where hear- 
ii^ oi the repnlse of Oarleton, and being deserted by his 
Oauadian recmits, he embarked the residue of bis troops, 
kod set off down the St. Lawrence to Quebec. The Amep> 
loans now took post at the month of the Sorel, where they 
erected batteries so as to command the St. Lawreooe, and 
pzevent the descent of any armed vessels from MontreoL 
Thos closed another chapter of the invasion of Canada 
"Kot a word of Arnold yet," said Montgomery, in his last 
despatch. "I have sent two expresses to him lately, ons 
by an Indian who promised to retam with ezpeditioiL 
The instant I have any news of him, I will aoqnaint yon 
by express." 

We will anticipate his express, by giving the reader the 
purport of letters received by Washington direct from 
Amold himself bringing forward the collateral branch of 
Uiia eventfal enterprise. 

The transportation of troops and effecte across the oar- 
lying-plaoe between the Kennebec and Dead Itivers, had 
been a work of severe toil and difficulty to Arnold and his 
men, but performed with admirable spirit There weia 

126 J^^ OF WAaHnSfQTOJBr. 

ponds and streams full of trout and salmon, which {in> 
nished them with fresh provisions. Lannohing theii 
boats on the sluggish waters of the Dead BiTer, they 
navigated it in divisions, as before, to the foot of snow- 
orowned mountains; a part of the great granite chain 
which extends from southwest to northeast throughout 
Dur continent Here, while Arnold and the first division 
were encamped to repose themselves, heavy rains set in, 
and they came near being swept away by sudden torrents 
from the mountains. Several of their boats were over- 
turned, much of their provisions was lost, the sick list 
increased, and the good spirits which had hitherto sus- 
tained them began to give way. They were on scanty al- 
lowance, with a prospect of harder times, for there were 
still twelve or fifteen days of wilderness before them, where 
no supplies were to be had. A council of war was now 
held, in which it was determined to send back the sick 
and disabled, who were mere encumbrances. Arnold, ao- 
eordingly, wrote to the commanders of the other divisions, 
to press on with as many of their men as they could fur- 
nish with provisions for fifteen days, and to send the rest 
back to a place on the route called Norridgewock. This 
order was misunderstood, or misinterpreted, by Colonel 
Enos, who commanded the rear division ; he gave all the 
provisions he could spare to Colonel Greene of the third 
division, retaining merely enough to supply his own 
corps of three hundred men on their way back to Kor> 
ridgewock, whither he immediately returned. 

oi>NnDEjiTOE nr absold. 127 

Lfttteis from Arnold and Edoh apprised Woshiiigdon of 
Ibis grievous flaw in the enterprise. He regarded i^ 
luweTer, aa usual, with a hopeful eje. " Notwithstand< 
ing this great defection," said he, "I do not despair of 
OoIoDel Axnold's snooess. He will have, in all probfr* 
biHtjr, monj more diffionlties to enoonnter, than if he had 
been a ftntnight sooner; as it is likelj that Qovemcn 
Osrlekm, will, with what forces he can collect after the 
nrrender of the rest of Canada, throw himself into Qn»- 
bec^ and there make his last effort." * 

Washington was not mistaken in the confidence he had 
placed in the ene^y of Arnold. Thoogh the latter fonnd 
his petty force greatlj reduced by the retrograde move of 
Enos and his party, and althon^ snow and ice rendered 
his march still more bleak among the moontains, he kept 
on with tinflinftliing spirit ontil he arrived at the ridge 
which divides the streams of New England and Canada. 
Here, at Lake Megantio, the source of the Chaadiere, he 
met an emissary whom he had sent in advance to ascer- 
tain the feelings of the habUana, or French yeomanry, in 
the fertile valley of that stream. His report being favor- 
able, Arnold shared out among the different companies 
the scanty provisions which remained, directing them to 
make the best of their way for the Ohandiere settlements; 
while he, with a light foraging party, wonld posh rapidly 
aihead, to pnxsore and send back supplies. 

* TlHlmgton to tbe Fntldait of Coiigi«% Nor. IMh. 


He aooordingly embarked with his little party in Ato 
bateaux and a birch oanoe, and launched forth without a 
guide on the swift current of the Ghaudiere. It was little 
better than a mountain torrent, full of rocks and rapids. 
Three of their boats were dashed to pieces, the cargoes 
lost, and the crews saved with difficulty. At one time, 
the whole party came near being precipitated over a cat- 
aract, where all might have perished; at length they 
reached Sertigan, the first French settlement, where they 
were cordially received. Here Arnold bought provisions, 
which he sent back by the Oanadians and TudiauB to his 
troops. The latter were in a state of starvation. Some 
had not tasted food for eight- and-forty hours; others 
had cooked two dogs, followers of the camp ; and others 
had boiled their moccasins, cartouoh boxes, and other 
articles of leather, in the hope of rendering them eatable- 
Arnold halted for a short time in the hospitable valley 
of the Ghaudiere, to give his troops repose, and dis- 
tributed among the inhabitants the printed manifesto 
with which he had been furnished by Washington. Here 
he was joined by about forty Norridgewock Indians. On 
the 9th of November, the little army emerged from the 
woods at Point Levi, on the S& Lawrence, opposite to 
Quebea A letter written by an inhabitant of that place, 
speaks of their sudden apparition. 

" There are about five hundred provincials arrived at 
Point Levi, opposite to the town, by the way of Ghau- 
diere across the woods. Surely a miracle must have been 


wiooglit in their favor. It is an trndertakiiig abore tlia 
eommon race of men in this debaaohed age. Tliej ham 
travelled through irooda and bogs, and over preeipioea, 
for the epaoe of one himdzed and twenty mileB, attended 
with eveTj- inoonvenienoe and diffienlt;, to be sormoanted 
<nilj \(j men of inde&tigable zeal and indnatry." 

Leaving Arnold in fall flight of Qnebeo, whioh, after his 
hmg abnggle through the wilderness, most have appeared 
Hke a land of promise, we torn to narrate the events of 
the upper expedition into Canada, of which the letters 
of Sohnjler kept Washington faithfully informed. 

Ifontgomeiy appeared before Montreal on the 12th of 
November. Oeneral Oarleton had embarked with his 
httle garrison, and several of the civil (^oers of the 
place, on board of a flotilla, of ten or eleven small ves- 
sels, and made sail in the night, with a favorable breese, 
carrying away with him the powder and other important 
etores. The town oapitnlated, of course; and Montgom- 
ery took quiet possession. His urbanity and kindness 
soon won the good-will of the inhabitants, both EngUsh 
snd French, and made the Canadians sensible that he 
nally came to secure their rights, not to molest thent 
Intercepted letters acquainted him with Amold'a arrival 
in the neighborhood of Qaebec, and the great alarm 
di "the king's friends," who expected to be besieged: 
"whidi, with the blessing of God, they shall be," said 
Montgomery, " if the severe season holds ofi^ and I can 
^vul on the troops to accompany me." 
v(H- n.— • 


His great immediate object was the capture of Carle« 
ton, wliich would form a triumphal close to the enter- 
prise, and might decide the fate of Canada. The flotilla 
in which the g^eral was embarked, had made repeated 
attempts to escape down the Si Lawrence ; but had as 
often been driven back by the batteries thrown up by 
the Americans at the mouth of the SoreL It now lay 
anchored about fifteen miles above that river, and Mont- 
gomery prepared to attack it with bateaux and light ar- 
tillery, so as to force it down upon the batteries. 

Carleton saw his imminent periL Disguising himself 
as a Canadian voyager, he set off on a dark night accom- 
panied by six peasants, in a boat with muffled oars, which 
he assisted to pull, slipped quietly and silently past all 
the batteries and guard-boats, and effected his escape to 
Three Bivers, where he embarked in a vessel for Quebea 
After his departure the flotilla surrendered, and all those 
who had taken refuge on board were made prisoners of 
war. Among them was Gteneral Prescott, late commander 
of Montreal 

Montgomery now placed garrisons in Montreal, S& 
John's, and Chamblee, and made final preparations for 
descending the Si Lawrence, and cooperating with Arnold 
against Quebec. To his disappointment and deep chagrin, 
he found but a handful of his troops disposed to accom- 
pany him. Some pleaded ill-health ; the term of enlistment 
of many had expired, and they were bent on returning 
borne ; and others, who had no such excuses to make, be* 

MOSraoMSBT^a dststAJfcxa. isi 

flttu flxoeediiigly tarbnlent, and indeed matinooB. Noth- 
ing bat a sense of public duty, and gratitude to Oongrees 
for an misoaght oommiasion, bad indaoed Montgomeiy to 
ei^age in the serrioe ; wearied l^ the oontinnal rezatituis 
which beset it, he avowed, in a letter to Sohajler, his 
determination to retire as soon as the intended expedi- 
tion against Quebec was finished. "Will not ^or health 
permit jon to reside at Montreal this winter?" writes he 
to Schnyler; "I most go home, il I walk bj the aide of 
the lake. I am weaij of power, and totally want that 
patienoe and temper so requisite for such a oommand." 
Koch of the insnbordination of the troops he atfacibated 
to the want of tact and ooltiTation in their officers, who 
had been snddenlj advanced from inferior stations and 
ooaise employments. " An affair happened yesterday," 
writes he to Schnyler on the 24th of November, "which 
Ud rery near sent me home. A nnmber of officers pre- 
nuued to remonstrate against the indnlgenoe I had given 
■ome of the king's troops. Sach an insnlt I could not 
bur, and immediately resigned. To<day they qaalified it 
by such an apology, as pot it in my power to resome the 
oommand." In the same spirit he writes : " I wish some 
method coold be &lleD apon for engaging gendemea to 
serve. A point of honor and more knowledge of the 
world, to be found in that class of men, wonld greatly 
refcnm discipline, and render the troops much more 
The taroops which had given Montgomery so mooh 

182 ^^^ ^^ WABHINQTON. 

annoyanoe and refused to oontinne with him in Oani 
soon began to arrive at Tioonderoga. Schnjleri in a 
ter to Congress, gives a half qnenilonsy half hnmor 
aoooont of their conduct ''About three hundred of 
troops raised in Oonnecticut, passed here within a 
days. An unhappy home-sickness prevails. These 
came down as invalids, not one willing to reengage 
the winter's service ; and, unable to get any work d 
by them, I discharged them en groupe. Of all the c 
cifics ever invented for any^ there is none so efficacioui 
a discharge for this prevailing disorder. No sooner 
it administered but it perfected the cure of nine on 
ten ; who, refusing to wait for boats to go by the wa; 
Lake Gteorge, slung their heavy packs, crossed the lak 
this place, and undertook a march of two hundred n 
with the greatest good-will and alacrity.*' 

This home-sickness in rustic soldiers, after a ro 
campaign, was natural enough, and seems only to 1 
provoked the testy and subacid humor of Schuyler ; 
other instances of conduct roused his indignation. 

A schooner and tow galley arrived at Crown P( 
with upwards of a hundred persons. They were di 
tute of provisions ; none were to be had at the Point, 
the ice prevented them from penetrating to Ticonder 
In starving condition they sent an express to Gtei) 
Schuyler, imploring relief. He immediately ord 
three captains of Gteneral Wooster's regiment, wil 
eonsid^able body of men in bateaux, to ** attempt a 


lief for ihe nnliappj sufferers." To his surprise and dis« 
gust^ they manifested the utmost unwillingness to comply, 
and made a variety of excusesi which he spumed at as 
frivolouSy and as evincing the greatest want of human- 
ity. He expressed himself to that effect the next day, 
in a general order, adding the following stinging words; 
" The general, therefore, not daring to trust a matter of 
80 much importance to men of so little feeUng, has ordered 
Lieutenant Biker, of OoL Holmes* regiment, to make the 
attempt He received the order with the alacrity becom- 
ing a gentleman, an officer, and a Christian.'* 

This high-minded rebuke, given in so public a man- 
ner, rankled in the breasts of those whose conduct had 
merited it, and insured to Schuyler that persevering hos- 
tility with which mean minds revenge the exposure of 
iheir meanness* 



OAPnys worn. 

have endeavored to compress into a sucoinot 
aoconnt varions events of the invasion of Can- 
ada, famished to Washington by letters from 
Schuyler and Arnold. The tidings of the capture of 
Montreal had given him the liveliest satisfaction. He 
now looked forward to equal success in the expedition 
against Quebec. In a letter to Schuyler, he passed a 
high eulogium on Arnold. '' The merit of this gentleman 
is certainly great," writes he, " and I heartily wish that 
fortune may distinguish him as one of her favorites. I 
am convinced that he will do everything that prudence 
and valor shall suggest to add to the success of our arms, 
and for reducing Quebec to our possession. Should he 
not be able to accomplish so desirable a work with the 
forces he has, I flatter myself that it will be effected 
when General Montgomery joins him, and our conquest 
of Canada will be complete." 
Certain passages of Schuyler's letters, however, gave 



hini deep conoem, wherein that general complained of 
the embarrassments and annojanoes he had experienced 
from the insubordination of the army. '' Habituated to 
order/' said he, '^ I cannot without pain see that disre- 
gard of discipline, confusion and inattention, which reign 
80 generally in this quarter, and I am determined to re* 
tire. Of this resolution I have advised Oongress." 

He had indeed done so. In communicating to the 
President of Congress the complaints of General Mont« 
gomery, and his intention to retire, ''my sentiments," 
said he, '' exactly coincide with his. I shall, with him« 
do eyerything in my power to put a finishing stroke to 
the campaign, and make the best arrangement in my 
power, in order to insure success to the next. This 
done, I must beg leave to retire." 

Congress, however, was too well aware of his value, 
readily to dispense with his services. His letter pro- 
duced a prompt resolution expressive of their high sense 
of his attention and perseverance, ''which merited the 
ihanks of the United Colonies." He had alleged his im- 
paired health, — ^they regretted the injuries it had sus- 
tained in the service, but begged he would not insist on 
a measure "which would deprive America of the bene- 
fits of his zeal and abilities, and rob him of the honor of 
completing the work he had so happily begun." 

What, however, produced a greater effect upon Schuy- 
ler than any encomium or entreaty on the part of Con- 
gE6Sfl» were the expostulations of Washington, inspired 


by strong friendship and kindred sympathies. "I am 
exceedingly sorry," writes the latter, '^to find you so 
much embarrassed by the disregard of discipline, oonfa- 
sion and want of order among the troops, as to have occa 
sioned you to mention to Congress an inclination to re- 
tire. I know that your complaints are too well founded, 
but would willingly hope that nothing will induce you to 

quit the service I have met with difficulties 

of the same sort, and such as I never expected ; but they 
must be borne with. The cause we are engaged in is so 
just and righteous, that we must try to rise superior to 
every obstacle in its support ; and, therefore, I beg that 
you will not think of resigning, unless you have carried 
your application to Congress too far to recede." 

And in another letter he makes a still stronger appeal 
to his patriotism. "I am sorry that you and General 
Montgomery incline to quit the service. Let me ask 
you, sir, when is the time for brave men to exert them- 
selves in the cause of liberty and their country, if this is 
not ? Should any difficulties that they may have to en- 
counter at this important crisis deter them ? Gk>d knows 
there is not a difficulty that you both very justly com- 
plain of, that I have not in an eminent degree experi- 
enced, that I am not every day experiencing; but we 
must bear up against them, and make the best of man* 
kind, as they are, since we cannot have them as we wish. 
Let me, therefore, conjure you, and Mr. Montgomery, to 
lay aside such thoughts — as thoughts injurious to your- 

A Sa001T8IDERA.TtOS. 137 

■dres, and extremely ao to your ooontiy, which caUs 
*bnd for gentlemen of jonr abili^." 

This noble appeal irest straight to the heart of Soha]r~ 
ler, and brought out a magnanimaiia reply. " I do not 
hesitate," writes he, " to answer mj dear general's qae»- 
tkm in the affirmatiTe, l^ declaring that now or never ig 
the time for every -nrtnons Amerioan to exert himself in 
the oanse of Kberfy and his oonntry ; and that it is be- 
oane a duty oheerfally to sacrifice the sweete of domestic 
felicity to attain the honest and glorions end America 
h»8 in riew." 

In the same letter he reveals in confidence the trne 
ctose of his wish to retire from an official station ; it was 
the annoyance he had snfiered throoghont the campaign 
Emm Bectional prejudice and jealonsy. "I could point 
rat particular persons of rank in the army," writes he, 
"who have frequently declared that the general com- 
aanding in this quarter ought to be of the colony from 
vkence the majority of the troops came. But it is not 
(torn opinions or principles of individuals that I have 
^wn the following conclusion : that troops from the 
colony of Connecticut will not bear with a general from 
uother colony ; it is from the daily and common conver- 
iation of all ranks of people from that colony, both in and 
ODt of the army ; and I assure you that I sincerely lament 
that people of so much public virtue should be actu- 
ated by such an unbecoming jealousy, founded on such a 
narrow principle." Having made this declaration, he 


adds, " although I frankly own that I feel a- resentmeni 
yet I shall oontinae to sacrifice it to a nobler object^ the 
weal of that country in which I have drawn the breath ol 
life, resolved ever to seek, with unwearied assiduiiy, for 
opportunities to fulfill my duty to it" 

It is with pride we have quoted so frequently the eor« 
respondence of these two champions of our Bevolution, 
as it lays open their hearts^ and shows the lofty patriot* 
ism by which they were animated. 

A letter from John Adams to General ThomaSy alleges 
as one cause of Schuyler's unpopularity with the eastern 
troops, the *' politeness " shown by him to Oanadian and 
British prisoners ; which '^ enabled them and their min- 
isterial friends to impose upon him." * 

The ^' politeness " in fact, was that noble oonrieijf 
which a high-minded soldier extends towards a oaptbtt 
foe. If his courtesy was imposed upon, it only proYed 
that, incapable of double-dealing himself, he suspected it 
not in others. All generous natures are liable to impo- 
sition ; their warm impulses being too quick for selfish 
caution. It is the cold, the calculating, and the meai^ 
whose distrustful wariness is never taken in. 

* Letter book of Gen. Thomas. MBL 




lu. ZBU. or um . 

■AtlOM TO 


; lorming even of the skeleton of an army 
under the nev regnlationB, had been a work of 
I infinite dif&cultj ; to fill it np was atill more 
difficult The first burst of revoltttionaiy zeal had passed 
unj : enthusiasm had been chilled bj the inaction and 
monotony of a long encampment, — an encampment, more- 
onr, destitute of those comforts which, in experienced 
nrt&re, are provided by a well-regnlated oommissariat. 
The troops hod suffered privations of every kind, want of 
food, clothing, provisions. They looked forward with 
dismay to the rigors of winter, and loi^ed for their rus- 
iio homes and their &mily firesides. 

Apprehending that some of them would incline to go 
home when the time of their enlistment expired. Wash- 


ington snmmoued the general officers to liead-qiiartei8| 
and invited a delegation of the General Court to be prea- 
ent, to adopt measures for the defense and support of the 
lines. The result of their deliberations was an order that 
three thousand of the minute men and militia of Massa- 
chusetts, and two thousand from New Hampshire, should 
be at Cambridge by the tenth of December, to relieye 
the Connecticut regiments, and supply the deficiency 
that would be caused by their departure, and by the ab- 
sence of others on furlough. 

With this arrangement the Connecticut troops were 
made acquainted, and, as the time of most of them would 
not be out before the 10th, they were ordered to remain 
in camp until relieved. Their officers assured Washing- 
ton that he need apprehend no defection on the part of 
their men ; they would not leave the lines. The officers 
themselves were probably mistaken in their opinion of 
their men, for on the 1st of December, many of the latter, 
some of whom belonged to Putnam's regiment, resolved 
to go home immediately. Efforts were made to prevent 
them, but in vain ; several carried off with them their 
arms and ammunition. Washington sent a list of theii 
names to Governor Trumbull. "I submit it to your 
judgment," writes he, " whether an example should nol 
be made of these men who have deserted the oause of 
their country at this critical juncture, when the enemy 
are receiving reinforcements ? " 

We anticipate the reply of Governor Trumbull, received 


MTeral days BabseqaenUj. " The late extraordinarj and 
teprehensibld ooudnot of some of the troops of thin ool- 
ooy," vrites he, " impresses me, tmd the minds of many 
of OUT people, with great surprise and indignation, since 
the treatment thej met with, aad the order and request 
made to them, were so reasonable, and apparently neces- 
sary for the defense of onr common caoee, and safety 
of onr rights and privileges, for which they freely en- 

We will here add, that the homeward-bound warriors 
seem to have ran the gauntlet along the road ; for their 
oonduot on quitting the army drew upon them such in- 
d^nation, that they oould hardly get anything to eat oq 
their journey, and when they uriTed at home they met 
with such a reception (to the credit of the Connecticut 
women be it recorded), that many were Boon disposed to 
letnm again to the camp.* 

On the veiy day after the departure homeward of these 
troops, and while it was feared their example would be 
eontagioas, a long, lumbering train of wagons, laden with 
ordnance and military stores, and decorated with flags, 
eame wheeling into the camp escorted by continental 
troops and country nulitia. They were part of the oai^ 
of a lai^ brigantine laden with munitions of war, cap- 
tured and sent in to Cape Ann by the schooner Lee, Cap* 
tain Manly, one of the cruisers sent out by Washington. 


^ Saoh Tuiiversal joy ran through the whole oamp/* writes 
an offioer, '' as if each one grasped a Tiotory in his own 

Beside the ordnance captured, there were two thou- 
sand stand of arms, one hundred thousand flints, 
thirty thousand round shot, and thirty-two tons of mus- 

'^ Surely nothing," writes Washington, ** ever came more 
d propoa.*^ 

It was indeed a cheering incident, and was eagerly 
turned to account Among the ordnance was a huge 
brass mortar of a new construction, weighing near three 
thousand poimds. It was considered a glorious trophy, 
and there was a resolve to christen it Miflflin, Wash- 
ington's secretary, suggested the name. The mortar was 
fixed in a bed ; old Putnam moxmted it, dashed on it a 
bottle of rum, and gave it the name of ** Congress." The 
shouts which rent the air were heard in Boston. When 
the meaning of them was explained to the British, they 
observed, that '^should their expected reinforcements 
arrive in time, the rebels would pay dear in the spring 
for all their petty triumphs." 

With Washington, this transient gleam of nautical 
success was soon overshadowed by the conduct of the 
cruisers he had sent to the St Lawrence. Failing to 
intercept the brigantines, the object of their cruise, they 
landed on the island of St John's, plxmdered the house 
of the governor and several private dwellings, and 


brought off three of the principal inhahitanta prisoners ; 
one oJE vhom, Mr. Oallbeok, -was president of the ooanail« 
and acted as goTemor. 

Theae gentlemen made a memorial to Washington of 
this soandalons marand. He instantly ordered a resto- 
ration of the effeotfl which had been pillaged : of his 
oondaot towards the gentlemen personally, we may judge 
by the following note addressed to him by Mr. Oall- 

*'I ahonld iU deserre the generous treatment which 
your Bzoellency has been pleased to show me, had I not 
the gratitude to acknowledge so great a &Tor. I cannot 
asoribe any port of it to my own merit, but mnst impute 
ibe wh(^ to the philanthropy and humane disposition 
that so tmly characterize Oenerol Washington. Be so 
obliging, therefore, as to accept the only retnm in my 
power, that of my most grateful thanks." * 

Shortly after the foregoing occurrence, information 
ns received of the indignities which had been heaped 
Dpon Colonel Ethan Allen, when captured at Montreal 
by General Frescott, who, himself was now a prisoner 
in the hands of the Americans. It touched Washing- 
ton on a point on which he was most sensitive and te- 
sacious, the treatment of American officers when cap< 
tared ; and produced the following letter from him to 
General Howe : — 

* SsaAa. WaaKUgton'e Writmgi. toI. ilL p. 191 


** SiB» — ^We have jnst been informed of a oirciimBtanoft 
which, were it not so well authenticated, I should 
Bcaroelj think credible. It is that Colonel Allen, who, 
with his small party, was defeated and made prisoner 
near Montreal, has been treated without regard to de- 
cency, humanity, or the rules of war ; that he has been 
thrown into irons, and suffers all the hardships inflicted 
upon common felons. 

'^ I think it my duty, sir, to demand, and do expect 
from you, an edaircissement on this subject. At the 
same time, I flatter myself from the character which 
Mr. Howe bears as a man of honor, gentleman, and 
soldier, that my demand will meet with his approbation. 
I must take the liberty, also, of informing jou that I 
shaU consider your silence as a confirmation of the 
report, and further assuring you, that whatever treat- 
ment Ck)lonel Allen receives, whatever fate he under- 
goes, such exactly shall be the treatment and fate of 
Brigadier Prescott, now in our hands. The law of re- 
taliation is not only justifiable in the eyes of God and 
man, but absolutely a duty, which, in our present cir- 
cumstances, we owe to our relations, friends, and fellow 

'' Permit me to add, sir, that we have all here the 
highest regard and reverence for your great personal 
qualities and attainments, and the Americans in general 
esteem it as not the least of their misfortunes, that the 
name of Howe, a name so dear to them, shoxdd appear at 


ihe head of the oatalogne of the instmmentB employed 
by a wicked ministiy for iheir destmotion." 

General Howe felt acutely the sorrowfol reproach in 
the latter part of the letter. It was a reiteration of what 
liad already been expressed by Congress ; in the present 
instance it produced irritation, if we may judge from the 

** SiB» — ^In answer to your letter, I am to acquaint you 
that my command does not extend to Canada. Not hav- 
ing any accounts wherein the name of Allen is mentioned, 
I cannot give you the smallest satisfaction upon the sub- 
ject of your letter. But trusting Major-general Carleton's 
conduct will never incur censure upon any occasion, I am 
to conclude in the instance of your inquiry, that he has 
not forfeited his past pretensions to decency and hu- 

" It is with regret, considering the character you have 
always maintained among your friends, as a gentleman of 
the strictest honor and delicacy, that I find cause to re- 
sent a sentence in the conclusion of your letter, big with 
invective against my superiors, and insulting to myself, 
which should obstruct any further intercourse between 
OS. I am, sir, etc." 

In transmitting a copy of his letter to the President of 

Congress, Washington observed : " My reason for point* 

ing out Brigadier-general Frescott as the object who is 
VOL. n.— 10 


to suffer for Mr. Allen's fate, is, that bj letters from 
General Schuyler and copies of letters from General 
Montgomery to Schuyler, I am given to understand that 
Prescott is the cause of Allen's sufferings. I thought it 
best to be decisive on the occasion, as did the generals 
whom I consxdted thereon." 

For the sake of continuity we will anticipate a few 
fiEkcts connected with the story of Ethan Allen. Within a 
few weeks after the preceding correspondence, Washing- 
ton received a letter from Levi Allen, a brother to the 
colonel, and of like enterprising and enthusiastic charac- 
ter. It was dated from Salisbury in Oonnecticut; and 
inclosed affidavits of the harsh treatment his brother had 
experienced, and of his being confined on board of the 
Oaspee^ *' with a bar of iron fixed to one of his legs and 
iron to his hands." Levi was bent upon effecting his de** 
Uverance, and the mode proposed was in unison with the 
bold, but wild schemes of the colonel We quote his 
crude, but characteristic letter. 

''Have some thoughts of going to England, incognito, 
after my brother ; but am not positively certain he is sent 
there, though believe he is. Beg your Excellency will 
favor me with a line, and acquaint me of any intelligence 
concerning him, and if your Excellency please, your 
opinion of the expediency of going after him, and whether 
your Excellency would think proper to advance any 
money for that purpose, as my brother was a man blessed 
with more fortitude than fortune. Your Excellency laarf 

SETALtATmHr. lit 

flunk, at fixBt thought, I can do nothing 1^ going to En^f- 
land ; I feel as if I ooold do a great deal, by raising a mob 
in London, bribing the jailer, or bj getting into Bome 
aervile employment viih the jailer, and oyer-faithfalneu 
moke myself master of the key, or at least be able to lay 
my hand on it some night I beg yoor Ikoellenciy Till 
ooontenanoe my going ; can mnster more than one hun- 
dred pounds, my own property; shall regard spending 
that no nune than one copper. Your Excellency most 
knov Allen was not onfy a brother, bat a real friend that 
atioketh closer than a brother." 

In a postscript he adds, " cannot lire without going to 
Blnglii.Tii^j if my toother is sent there. " 

In reply, Washington intimated a belief that the cot 
imel had been sent to England, but discountenanced 
Levi's wild project of following him thither ; as there was 
no probability of its snooess, and he woidd be ronning 
Himself into danger without a prospect of rendering ser- 
fioe to his brother. 

The measnre of retaliation mentioned in Washington's 
letter to Howe, was actnally meted ont by Congress on 
the arrival of (General Frescott in Philadelphia. He was 
ordered into close confinement in the jail; though not 
put in irons. He was subsequently released from con- 
finement, on aocoont of ill-health, and was treated hy 
aome Philadelphia families with unmerited hospitality.* 

* Tbomu Walker, « merchuit of Hontreftl, vho, ftooased of tnltorona 
with the Amerioaiu, had beea throvn into prison doring Prv 


At the time of the foregoing correspondenoe with 
Howe, Washington was earnestly oocapied preparing 
works for the bombardment of Boston, should that meas- 
ure be resolved upon by Congress. General Patnam, in 
the preceding month, had taken possession in the night 
of Cobble Hill without molestation from the enemy, 
though a commanding eminence ; and in two days had 
constructed a work, which, from its strength, was named 
Putnam's impregnable fortress. 

He was now engaged on another work on Lechmere 
Point, to be connected with the works at Cobble Hill by 
a bridge thrown across Willis* Creek, and a covered way. 
Lechmere Point is immediately opposite the west part of 
Boston; and the Soarborotyh shipof-war was anchored 
near it. Putnam availed himself of a dark and foggy day 
(Dec. 17), to commence operations, and broke ground 
with four hundred men, at ten o'clock in the morning, on 
a hill at the Point "The mist," says a contemporary 
account, " was so great as to prevent the enemy from dis- 
covering what he was about until near twelve o'clock, 

oott's sway, and his country-house burnt down, undertook a journey to 
Philadelphia in the depth of winter, when he understood the general was 
a oaptiTe there, trusting to obtain satisfaction for his ill-treatment To 
his great surprise, he found Mr. Prescott lodged in the best tayem of the 
place, walking or riding at large through Philadelphia and Bucks ooun- 
tioB, feasting with gentlemen of the first rank in the province, and keep- 
ing a levee for the reception of the grandees. In consequence of which 
iinaocountable phenomena, and the little prospect of his obtaining any 
adequate redress in the present unsettled state of public affairs, Mr. 
Walker has returned to MontreaL— Am. Arehiw9, 4th Series, toL iy. 


when it deared up, and opened to their view onr whole 
party at the Point, and another at the causeway throwing 
a bridge over the oreek. The Scarborough, anchored ofl 
the Pointy poured in a broadside. The enemy from Bos- 
ton threw shells. The garrison at Cobble Hill re« 
tamed fire. Onr men were obliged to decamp from the 
Pointy bat the work was resumed by the brave old gen« 
eral at night" 

On the next morning, a cannonade from Cobble Hill 
obliged the Scarborough to weigh anchor, and drop down 
below the ferry ; and Oeneral Heath was detached with 
a pariy of men to carry on the work which Putnam had 
commenced. The enemy resumed their fire. Sentinels 
were placed to give notice of a shot or shell ; the men 
would crouch down or dodge it, and continue on with 
Uieir work. The fire ceased in the afternoon, and Wash- 
ington visited the hill accompanied by several officers, 
tnd inspected the progress of the work. It was to con- 
sist of two redoubts, on one of which was to be a mortar 
battery. There was, as yet, a deficiency of ordnance ; 
but the prize mortar was to be mounted which Putnam 
had recently christened, ''The Congress." From the 
spirit with which the work was carried on, Washington 
trusted that it would soon be completed, " and then,** 
said he, ''if we have powder to sport with, and Congress 
gives the word, Boston can be bombarded from this point.** 

For several days the labor at the works was continued; 
tlie redoubts were thrown up, and a covered way was 

ISO iJ^^ OP WAssmoTor. 

eonstraoted leading down to the bridge. AH this waa 
done notwithstanding the continaal fire of the enemy. 
The letter of a British officer gives his idea of the effi- 
cdenqy of the work. 

** The rebels for some days have been ereoting a bat* 
tery on Phipps* Farm. The new constmcted mortar 
taken on board the ordnanoe brig, we are told, will be 
mounted upon it, and we expect a warm salute from the 
shells, another part of that vessel's cargo; so that, in 
spite of her capture, we are likely to be complimented 
with the contents of her lading. 

** If the rebels can complete their battery, this town 
will be on fire about our ears a few hours after ; all our 
buildings being of wood, or a mixture of brick and wood* 
work. Had the rebels erected their battery on the other 
side of the town, at Dorchester, the admiral and all his 
booms would have made the first blaze, and the burning 
of the town would have followed. If we cannot destroy 
the rebel battery by our guns, we must march out and 
take it sword in hand.** 

Putnam anticipated great effects from this work, and 
especially from his grand mortar, " The Congress.** Shells 
there were in abundance for a bombardment; the only 
thing wanting was a supply of powder. One of the officers, 
writing of the unusual mildness of the winter, observes: 
'' Everything thaws here except old Pui He is still aa 
hard as ever, crying out for powder — ^powder — ^powdeiE^ 
Te gods, give us powder.*' 


wnmn vwaaKoa a danobb.— mbs. washinoton invitbd to ths camp.— lums 


...y> ^ 

Mil) the yarioas concerns of the war, and the mul- 
tiplied perplexities of the camp, the thoughts 
of Washington continually reverted to his home 
on the banks of the Potomac. A constant correspondence 
was kept up between him and his agent, Mr. Lund Wash- 
ington, who had charge of his various estates. The gen- 
eral gave dear and minute directions as to their manage- 
ment, and the agent rendered as clear and minute returns 
of eyetything that had been done in consequence. 

According to recent accounts, Mount Yemon had been 
considered in danger. Lord Dunmore was exercising 
martial law in the Ancient Dominion, and it was feared 
that the fayorite abode of the ** rebel commander-in-chief*' 
would be marked out for hostility, and that the enemy 
might land from their ships in the Potomac, and lay it 
traste. Waahington*s brother, John Augustine, had en- 



treated Mrs. Washington to leave ii The people of Loil« 
dooD had advised her to seek refuge beyond the Blue 
Bidge, and had offered to send a guard to escort her. 
She had declined the offer, not considering herself in 
danger. Lund Washington was equally free from appre- 
hensions on the subject. "Lord Dunmore/' writes he^ 
" will hardly himself venture up this river, nor do I be- 
Ueve he will send on that errand. You may depend I wiU 
be watchful, and upon the least alarm persuade her to 

Though alive to everything concerning Mount Vernon, 
Washington agreed with them in deeming it in no present 
danger of molestation by the enemy. Still he felt for the 
loneliness of Mrs. Washington's situation, heightened as 
it must be by anxiety on his own account On taking 
command of the army, he had held out a prospect to her, 
that he would rejoin her at home in the autumn ; there 
was now a probability of his being detained before Bos- 
ton all winter. He wrote to her, therefore, by express, 
in November, inviting her to join him at the camp. He 
at the same time wrote to Lund Washington, engaging 
his continued services as an agent This person, though 
bearing the same name, and probably of the same stock, 
does not appear to have been in any near degree of rela- 
tionship. Washington's letter to him gives a picture of 
his domestic policy. 

" I will engage for the year coming, and the year foL 
lowing, if these troubles and my absence continue, that 


your wages shall be standing and certain at the highest 

amoimt that any one year's crop has produced you yet. 

I do not offer this as any temptation to induce you to go 

on more cheerfully in prosecuting those schemes of mine. 

I should do injustice to you were I not to acknowledge, 

that your conduct has ever appeared to me above eyery- 

thing sordid ; but I offer it in consideration of the great 

charge you have upon your hands, and my entire depend* 

ence upon your fidelity and industry. 

"It is the greatest, indeed it is the only comfortable 
loflection I enjoy on this score, that my business is in the 
hands of a person concerning whose integrity I have not 
a doubt, and on whose care I can rely. Were it not foi 
this, I should feel very unhappy on account of the situa- 
tion of my aflEEurs. But I am persuaded you will do for 
ma as you would for yoursell'* 

The following were his noble directions concerning 
Monnt Yemon : — 

^Let the hospitality of the house with respect to the 

poor be kept up. Let no one go hungry away. If any of 

this kind of people should be in want of com, supply 

their necessaries, provided it does not encourage them to 

idleness; and I have no objection to your giving my 

money in charity to the amount of forty or fifty pounds a 

jear, when you think it well bestowed. What I mean by 

having no objection is, that it is my desire it should be 

done. You are to consider that neither myself nor wife 

la now in the way to do those good offices." 

164 UFB OF WA8HINGT0]f. 

Mrs. Washington came on with her own carriage and 
horseSy accompanied by her son, Mr. Cnstis, and his wife. 
She travelled by very easy stages, partly on aooonnt of 
the badness of the roads, partly oat of regard to the 
horses, of which Washington was always very careful, and 
which were generally remarkable for beaaty and excel* 
lence. Escorts and guards of honor attended her from 
place to place, and she was detained some time at Phila- 
delphia, by the devoted attention of the inhabitants. 

Her arrival at Cambridge was a glad event in the 
army. Incidental mention is made of the equipage in 
which she appeared there. A chariot and four, with 
black postilions in scarlet and white liveries. It has 
been suggested that this was an English style of equi- 
page, derived from the Fairfaxes ; but in truth it was a 
style still prevalent at that day in Virginia. 

It would appear that dinner invitations to head-quar- 
ters were becoming matters of pride and solicitude. '' I 
am much obliged to you," writes Washington to Beed» 
** for the hints respecting the jealousies which you say 
are gone abroad. I cannot charge myself with incivility, 
or what in my opinion is tantamount, ceremonious civility 
to gentlemen of this colony ; but if such my conduct ap- 
pears, I will endeavor at a reformation ; as I can assure 
you, my dear Beed, that I wish to walk in such a line as 
will give most general satiisfaction. You know that it 
was my wish at first to invite a certain number to dinner, 
but unintentionally we somehow or other missed of iv 


If ihiB has given rise to the jealoosyy I can only say that 
I am Teiy sony for it ; at the same time I add, that it was 
rather owing to inattention, or, more properly, too muoh 
attention to other matters, whioh cansed me to neglect ii " 

And in another letter : — 

''My constant attention to the great and perplexing 
olijects which continually arise to my view, absorbs all 
leaser considerations ; and, indeed, scarcely allows me to 
reflect that there is such a body as the Gbneral Court of 
this colony, but when I am reminded of it by a com- 
mittee; nor can I, upon recollection, discover in what 
instance I have been inattentive to, or slighted them* 
They could not surely conceive that there was a propri** 
ety in unbosoming the secrets of the army to them; that 
it was necessary to ask their opinion in throwing up an 
intrenohment or forming a battalion. It must be, there- 
fore, what I before hinted to you ; and how to remedy it 
I hardly know, as I am acquainted with few of the mem- 
bers, never go out of my own lines, nor see any of them 

The presence of Mrs. Washington soon relieved the 
general from this kind of perplexity. She presided at 
head-quarters, with mingled dignity and affiEtbility. We 
liave an anecdote or two of the internal affairs of head- 
quarters, furnished by the descendant of one who was an 
occasional inmate there. 

Washington had prayers morning and evening, and was 
regular in his attendance at the church in which he was 

166 i^^^Q'^ OF WASSmGTOJr. 

a commtuiicant. On one occasion^ for want of a cleigj« 
man, the Episcopal service was read by Oolonel William 
Faifrey, one of Washington's aides-de-camp ; who snb« 
stituted a prayer of his own composition in place of the 
one formerly offered up for the king. 

Not long after her arrival in camp, Mrs. Washington 
claimed to keep Twelfth-night in dne style, as the anni* 
versary of her wedding. " The general," says the same 
informant, **was somewhat thoughtful, and said he was 
afraid he must refuse ii" His objections were overcome, 
and Twelfth-night and the wedding anniversary were 
duly celebrated. 

There seems to have been more conviviality at the 
quarters of some of the other generals ; their time and 
minds were less intensely engrossed by anxious cares, 
having only their individual departments to attend ta 
Adjutant-general Mifflin's house appears to have been a 
gay one. '^He was a man of education, ready apprehen- 
sion, and brilliancy," says Graydon; "had spent some 
time in Europe, particularly in France, and was very 
easy of access, with the manners of genteel life, though 
occasionally evolving those of the Quaker." * 

Mrs. Adams gives an account of an evening party at 
his house. " I was very politely entertained and noticed 
by the generals," writes she, "more especially Qeneral 
Lee, who was very urgent for me to tarry in town, and 

* Qiaydon's Memoirs, p. 154. 

Fg ari r r r iB s at ssaj>-quabtsb3. 157 

dine vith him and the ladies present at Hol^blin Hall ; 
bat I excused niTBdli The general waa determined that 
I shoold not onlj be aoqnainted vith him, bat with his 
oompaiiions too; and therefore placed a chair before 
me, into which he ordered Mr. Spada (his d(^ to mount, 
■nd present his paw to me for a better acquaintance. I 
ocntld not do otherwise than accept it" * 

John Adams, likewise, gives ns a picture of festiTities 
at head-qoarters, where he was a visitant on the recess 
of CongreBB. 

"I dined at Colonel Mifflin's with the general (Wash- 
ington) and lady, and a vaet collection of other company, 
among whom were six or seven sachems and warriors o! 
the French Canghnawaga Indians, with their wives and 
diildren. A savage feast they made of it ; yet were very 
polite in the Indian style. I was introduced to them by 
ttie general as one of the grand cooncil at Philadelphia, 
which made them prick op their ears. They came and 
shook hands with me." t 

While giving these fATnilinr scenes and occurrences at 
the camp, we are tempted to subjoin one famished from 
the manoscript memoir of an eye-witness. A large party 
of Virginia riflemen, who had recently arrived in camp, 
were strolling abont Cambridge, and viewing the colle- 

'LttUnofMr. Adamt, toL i p. SB. 

f Adaou' Ldten, rot. ii. p. 80. Adams adda, that they mode him 
"low bovB and •crapes'' — a kind at homage narer paid by an Indias 


giate btiildiiigs, now turned into barracks. Their half* 
Indian equipments^ and fringed and ruffled hunting garbsi 
provoked the merriment of some troops from Marble** 
head, chiefly fishermen and sailors, who thought noth- 
ing equal to the round jacket and trowsers. A banter- 
ing ensued between them. There was snow upon the 
ground, and snow-balls began to fly when jokes were 
wanting. The parties waxed warm with the contest 
They closed, and came to blows ; both sides were rein- 
forced, and in a little while at least a thousand were at 
fisticufls, and there was a tumult in the camp worthy of 
the days of Homer. '' At this juncture," writes our in- 
formant, ''Washington made his appearance, whether 
by accident or design, I never knew. I saw none of his 
aides with him; his black servant just behind him 
mounted. He threw the bridle of his own horse into his 
servant's hands, sprang from his seat, rushed into the 
thickest of the melee, seized two tall brawny riflemen by 
the throat, keeping them at arm's-length, talking to and 
shaking them." 

As they were from his own province, he may have felt 
peculiarly responsible for their good conduct ; they were 
engaged, too, in one of those sectional brawls which were 
his especial abhorrence ; his reprimand must, therefore, 
have been a vehement one. He was commanding in his 
serenest moments, but irresistible in his bursts of indig- 
nation. On the present occasion, we are told, his ap- 
pearance and strong-handed rebuke put an instant end 

aroppnrG a camp b&awl. 


fo the tnmnlt The oombatantB dispersed in all direo- 
tiona, and in less ihan three minutes none remained on 
the groDud but the two be had collared. 

The Teteran who records this ezeroise of military aiH 
tliority, seems at a loss which most to admire, the Bio>- 
plicity of the process or the vigor with which it was 
administered. "Here," writes be, "bloodshed, impris- 
onments, trials \>j oonrt-martial, Tevengefol feelings be- 
tween the difGarent corps of the armj, were happily 
piBvented \fj the physical and mental energies of a sin- 
gle person, and the only damage resulting from the fierce 
moonnteT was a few torn hnnting frocks and roond 

* I^om memoianda written st uiadvanoed age, bjUielate Hon. Inael 
Tnak ; wbt^ •mbea bnt ten jean cdd, wu in tha oamp at Oamlnldgs wiOi 
U> Uher, wbo wm » UentenanL 




|E again torn from the siege of Boston, to the 
invasion of Canada, which at that time shared 
the anxious thoughts of Washington. His last 
accounts of the movements of Arnold, left him at Point 
Levi, opposite to Quebec. Something brilliant from thai 
daring officer was anticipated. It was his intention to 
cross the river immediately. Had he done so, he might 
have carried the town by a coup de main ; for terror as well 
as disaffection prevailed among the inhabitants. At Point 
Levi, however, he was brought to a stand; not a boat 
was to be found there. Letters which he had despatched 
some days previously, by two Lidisms, to Generals Schuy- 
ler and Montgomery, had been carried by his faithless 
messengers, to Oaramhe, the lieutenant-governor, who, 
thus apprised of the impending danger, had caused all 
the boats of Point Levi to be either removed or de- 



Arnold was not a man to be disheartened by diffiool- 
ties. With great exertions he procured aboat forty birch 
canoes from the Canadians and Indians, with forty of the 
latter to nayigate them ; bat stormy winds arose, and for 
some days the river was too boisterous for such frail 
craft In the meantime the garrison at Qaebec was 
gaining strength. Recmite arrived from Nova Scotia. 
The veteran Madean, too, who had been driven from the 
moaih of the Sorel by the detachment under Brown and 
livingston, arrived down the river with his corps of 
Boyal Highland Emigrante, and threw himself into the 
place. The lAstard frigate, the Hornet sloop-of-war, and 
two armed schooners were stetioned in the river, and 
gnard-boate patrolled at nighi The prospect of a suo- 
cessfnl attack upon the place was growing desperate. 

On the 13th of November, Arnold received intelligence 
that Montgomery had captured St. John's. He was in- 
Btanily roused to emulation. His men, too, were inspir- 
ited by the news. The wind had abated ; he determined 
to Gross the river that very night At a late hour in the 
evening he* embarked with the first division, principally 
riflemen. The river was wide; the current rapid; the 
birdi canoes, easy to be upset, required skillful manage- 
ment By four o'clock in the morning, a large part of his 
force bad crossed without being perceived, and landed 
about a mile and a half above Oape Diamond, at Wolfe's 
Cbve, BO called from being the landing-place of that gal« 
lant commander. 



Just then a guard-boaty belonging to the Lizard^ oame 
slowly along shore and disoovered them. They hailed iti 
and ordered it to land. Not complying it was fired into^ 
and three men were killed. The boat instantly pnlled 
for the frigate, giving yociferoos alarm. 

Without waiting the arrival of the residue of his men, 
for whom the canoes had been despatched, Arnold led 
those who had landed to the foot of the cragged defile, 
once scaled by the intrepid Wolfe, and scrambled up it 
in all haste. By daylight he had planted his daring flag 
on the far-famed Heights of Abraham. 

Here the main difficulty stared him in the &ce. A 
strong line of walls and bastions traversed the promon- 
tory from one of its precipitous sides to the other; in- 
closing the upper and lower towns. On the right, the 
great bastion of Cape Diamond crowned the rocky height 
of that name. On the left was the bastion of La Potasse, 
close by the gate of St. John's opening upon the bar- 
racks; the gate where Wolfe's antagonist, the gallant 
Montcalm, received his death wound. 

A council of war was now held. Arnold, who had 
some knowledge of the place, was for dashing forward 
at once and storming the gate of St John's. Had they 
done so, they might have been successful. The gate was 
open and unguarded. Through some blunder and delay, 
a message from the commander of the Lizard to the lieu- 
tenant-governor had not yet been delivered, and no alarm 
had reached the fortress. 


The foniiidable aspect of the pUce, however, awed 
Arnold's asBocdates in ooonoiL Thej oonsidered thai 
their vhole foroe waa bat betveen Beven and ei^t hun- 
dred men ; that nearly one tlkird of their fire-arms had 
been rendered useless, and much of their ammnnition dam- 
aged in their march throogh the -wilderness ; they had no 
artillery, and the fortress looked too strong to be carried 
try a cowp de mam. Cantioos ooimsel is often fatal to a 
daring enterprise. While the oonnoil of war deliberated, 
the fsTorable moment passed away. The lientenanfrf^T- 
smor reoeiTed the tardy message. He hastily assembled 
the merchants, offioeis of Tnilirift, and oaptains of mer> 
chant Tessels. All promised to stand by him ; he had 
itrong distnist, however, of the French part of the popn- 
Istion "■"'^ the Canadian militia; his main reliance was 
on Colonel Maclean and his Boyal Highland Emigrants. 

The din of arms now resonnded throagh the streets. 
The cry was np — "The enemy are on the Heights of 
Abraham I The gate of St. John's is open t " There was 
an attempt to shnt it. The keys were not to be fonnd. 
It was hastily secured by ropes and handspikes, and the 
walls looking npon the heists were soon manned by the 
militaiy, and tiironged by the populace. 

Arnold paraded his men within a hundred yards of the 
walls, and caused them to ^ve three hearty cheers; 
hoping to excite a revolt in the place, or to provoke the 
scanty garrison to a sally. There were a few scattered 
cheerily in retom; bat the taunting bravo failed to 


produce a sortie ; the goyemor dared not yentnre beyond 
the walls with part of his garrison, having too little con- 
fidence in the loyalty of those who would remain behind. 
There was some firing on the part of the Americans, but 
merely as an additional taunt ; they were too far off for 
their musketry to have effect A large cannon on the 
ramparts was brought to bear on them, and nmtohes 
were procured from the Lizard^ with which to fire it off 
A few shots obliged the Americans to retire and encamp. 

In the evening Arnold sent a flag, demanding in the 
name of the United Oolonies the surrender of the place. 
Some of the disaffected and the faint-hearted were in-« 
clined to open the gate, but were held in check by the 
mastiff loyalty of Maclean. The veteran guarded the 
gate with his Highlanders; forbade all communication 
with the besiegers, and fired upon their flag as an ensign 
of rebellion. 

Several days elapsed. Arnold's flags of truce were re< 
peatedly insulted, but he saw the futility of resenting it, 
and attacking the place with his present means. The 
inhabitants gradually recovered from their alarm, and 
armed themselves to defend their property. The sailors 
and marines proved a valuable addition to the garrison, 
which now really meditated a sortie. 

Arnold received information of all this from friends 
within the walls ; he heard about the same time of the 
capture of Montreal, and that deneral Oarleton, having 
escaped from that place, was on his way down to Quebea 

WJuBBmeTOir to arutold. igg 

Xe thought at present, therefore, to drsv off on the 19th 
"to Point aux Tren^iea (Aspen-tree Point), twenty miles 
sboTe Quebec^ there to await the aniTal of Qeneral 
Hftmtgomeiy with troops and artillerj. Ab his little 
armj wauded its way along the high bank of the river 
&owardB its destined encampment, a vessel passed below, 
'^hioh had jnst tonohed at Point anx Trembles. On 
tioard of it wag General Oarleton, hnnjing on to Qnebeo. 
It was not long before the distant booming of artillery 
-told of his arriTal at his post, where he resnmed a stem 
oonunand. He was nnpopnlor among the inhabitants ; 
even the British merohants and other men of bosiness 
"Were offended by the coldness of his manners, and his 
oonfining tiiti intiniacT to the military and the Canadian 

He was aware of his nnpopnlarity, and looked ronnd 
him with distrust ; his first measure was to turn ont of 
Uie place all suspected persons, and all who refused to 
^ in its defense. This caused a great " trooping out of 
town," but what was lost in numbers was gained in 
rtrength. With the loyally disposed who remained, he 
Wied himself in improving the defenses. 

Of the constant anxiety, yet endnring hope, with which 
Vashington watched this hazardous enterprise, we have 
eTidenoe in his various letters. To Arnold, when at 
Point Levi, baffled in the expectation of finding the means 
of m wiring a dash upon Quebec, he writes : " It is not in 
the power of any man to command saccess, but yon havo 


done morOy yon have deserved it ; and before this t 
(Deo. 6th)) I hope jon have met with the laurels wl 
are due to jonr toils^ in the possession of Quebec. 

** I haye no doubt but a junction of jour detachn 
witn the army under General Montgomery, is effected 
fore this. If so, you will put yourself under his o 
mand, and will, I am persuaded, give him all the asf 
anoe in your power, to finish the glorious work you 1: 



T wAuxn un> h 

GAKiDL— ouXHCi oemraa o 

■ BMW IMU.— nVWB 7 

the month of DeoemheT a reasel had been 
I captured, bearing supplies from Lord Don- 
I more, to the army at BoBton. A letter on 
hoard from his lordship io Q«neral Howe, incited him 
to transfer the war to the sonthem colonies ; or, at all 
eTBnts, to send reinforcements thither ; intimstiug at the 
8ime time his plan of proclaiming liberty to indentured 
Berrants, negroes, and others appertaining to rebels, 
And iuTiting them to join His Majes^'s troops. In a 
word, — ^to inflict npon Yii^nia the horrors of a servile 

" If this man is not crashed before spring," irrites 
Washington, " he will become the most formidable enemy 
America has. His strength will increase as a snowball 



• , . • Motiyes of resentment actuate his conduct to 
a degree equal to the destruction of the colony." 

Gteneral Lee took the occasion to set forth his own 
system of policy, which was particularly rigid wherever 
men in authority and tories were concerned. It was the 
old grudge against ministers and their adherents set on 

'' Had my opinion been thought worthy of attention," 
would he say, "Lord Dunmore would have been dis- 
armed of his teeth and claws." He would have seized 
Tryon too, " and all his tories at New York/' and, having 
struck the stroke, would have applied to Congress for 

"I propose the following measures," would he add: 
''To seize every governor, government man, placeman, 
tory, and enemy to liberty on the continent, to confiscate 
their estates ; or at least lay them under heavy contribu- 
tions for the public Their persons should be secured, 
in some of the interior towns, as hostages for the treat- 
ment of those of our party, whom the fortune of war shall 
throw into their hands ; they should be allowed a rea- 
sonable pension out of their fortunes for their mainte- 
nance." * 

Such was the policy advocated by Lee in his letters 
and conversation, and he soon had an opportunity of car* 
rying it partly into operation. Bhode Island had for 

* Lee to Rich. Henry Lee. Am. ArcMves, 4th Seriefl, iv. 948. 


■ome time past been donuneeied over by Osptain 'Wal- 
lace of the ro7«l navy; vho had stationed himBelf at 
Xewpoii iriUi an armed veesel, and oUiged the plaoe io 
famish him with enpplies. Latterly he had landed in 
Conaniont Island, opposite to NsTrport; vith a nnmbei 
itf sailors and marines, plundered and bnmt booses, and 
driven off cattle for the sapply of the army. In his ex- 
actions and marandings, be was said to have reoeiTed 
oonntenanoe from the toiy part of the inhsbitasts. It 
"vras nov reported that a naval armament was ooming 
txam Boston against the island. In this emergency, the 
goTemor (Oooke) wrote to Washington, requesting mili- 
±aij aid, and an efficient officer to pat the island in a 
state of defense, snggesting the name of General Lee ha 
ftlie purpose. 

Lee undertook the task with alacrity. "I sincerely 
"wish," said Washington, " he may be able to do it with 
effect ; as that place, in its present state, is an asylum for 
SQoh as are disaffected to American liberty." 

Lee set out for Bhode Island with his gntud and a 
puty of riflemen, and at Providence was joined by the 
eadet company of that place, and a number of minate 
Bien. Preceded by these, he entered the town of New- 
prat on Christmas-day, in military style. While there, 
be summoned before him a nnmber of persQns who had 
supplied the enemy ; some according to a convention 
originally made between Wallace and the autiiorities, 
others^ aa it was suspected, through tory fiaelings. AU 

170 ^^^ ^^ wAsmnrQTOir. 

weie obliged by Lee to take a test oath of his own de< 
vising, by which they " religiously swore that they wonld 
neither directly, nor indirectly, assist the wicked instm- 
ments of ministerial tjrranny and villainy commonly called 
the king's troops and navy, by famishing them with pro- 
i visions and refreshments." They swore, moreover, to 
''denounce all traitors before the public authority, and 
to take arms in defense of American liberty, whenever 
required by Congress or the provincial authority." Two 
custom-house officers, and another person, who refused 
to take the oath, were put under guard and sent to Provi- 
dence. Having laid out works, and given directions for 
fortifications, Lee returned to camp after an absence of 
ten days. Some of his proceedings were considered too 
high-handed, and were disapproved by Congress. Lee 
made light of legislative censures. ''One must not be 
trammeled by laws in war-time," said he ; " in a revolu- 
tion all means are legaL" 

Washington approved of his measures. "I have seen 
General Lee since his expedition," writes he, " and hope 
Bhode Island will derive some advantage from it I am 
told that Captain Wallace's ships have been supplied for 
some time by the town of Newport, on certain conditions 

stipulated between him and the committee I 

know not what pernicious consequences may result from 
a precedent of this sort Other places, circumstanced as 
Newport is, may follow the example, and by that means 
their whole fleet and army vnll be furnished with what it 


bighly oonoems us to keep from theuL .... Vigor- 
ens regulations, and such as at another time would ap< 
pear extraordinary, are now beoome absolutely necessary 
for preserving our country against the strides of tyranny, 
making against it." * 

December had been throughout a month of severe trial 
to Washington; during which he saw his army dropping 
away piecemeal before his eyes. Homeward every fac9 
was turned as soon as the term of enlistment was at an. 
end. Scarce could the disbanding troops be kept a few 
days in camp until militia could be procured to supply 
their place. Washington made repeated and animated ap* 
peals to their patriotism ; they were almost unheeded. He 
caused popular and patriotic songs to be sung about the 
camp. They passed by like the idle wind. Home! home I 
home ! throbbed in every heari ^' The desire of retiring 
into a chimney-comer/' says Washington reproachfully, 
" seized the troops as soon as their terms expired.'* 

Can we wonder at it? They were for the most part 
yeomanry, unused to military restraint, and suffering all 
the hardships of a starveling camp, almost within sight 
of the smoke of their own firesides. 

Greene, throughout this trying month, was continually 
by Washington's side. His letters expressing the sam^ 
oares and apprehensions, and occasionally in the same 
language with those of the commander-in-chie^ show 

• Waihington to Got. Cooke. Sparks, iiL SST. 


how oompletelj he was in his councils. He ootdd well 
Bympathizse with him in his solicitudes. Some of his own 
Bhode Island troops were with Arnold in his Oanada ex- 
pedition. Others encamped on Prospect Hill, and whose 
order and discipline had been his pride, were eyincing 
the prevalent disposition to disband. ** Thej seem to be 
so sick of this way of life, and so homesick," writes he, 
** that I fear the greater part of the best troops from our 
colony will soon go home." To provide against such a 
contingency, he strengthened his encampment, so that, 
'' if the soldiery should not engage as cheerfully as he 
expected, he might defend it with a less number." * 

Still he was buoyant and cheerful ; frequently on his 
white horse about Prospect Hill, haranguing his men, 
and endeavoring to keep them in good humor. '' This is 
no time for disgusting the soldiery," would he say, " when 
their aid is so essential to the preservation of the rights 
of human nature and the liberties of America." 

He wore the same cheery aspect to the commander-in* 
chief ; or rather he partook of his own hopeful spirit. " I 
expect," would he say, " the army, notwithstanding all the 
difficulties we meet with, will be full in about six weeks.** 

It was this loyalty in time of trouble, this buoyancy 
onder depression, this thorough patriotism, which won 
for him the entire confidence of Washington. 

The thirty-first of December arrived, the crisis of the 

*Greea» to Henry Ward. 

BLOOMY opmrme of thb new tbab, 173 

army ; for with that month expired the last of the old 
terms of enlistment. ''We never have been so weak, 
writes Greene, ** as we shall be to-morrow, when we dis- 
miss the old troops.'* On this day Washington received 
cheering intelligence from Canada. A junction had taken 
place, a month previonsly, between Arnold and Mont- 
gomery at Point anz Trembles. They were about two 
thousand strong, and were making every preparation for 
attacking Quebec. Oarleton was said to have with him 
but about twelve hundred men, the majority of whom 
were sailors. It was thought that the French would give 
up Quebec, if they could get the same conditions thai 
were granted to the inhabitants of Montreal^ 

Thus the year closed upon Washington with a ray of 
light from Canada, while all was doubt around him. 

On the following morning (January Ist, 1776), his army 
did not amount to ten thousand men, and was composed 
of bat half-filled regiments. Even in raising this inade- 
quate force, it had been necessary to indulge many of 
the men with furloughs, that they might visit their fami- 
lies and friends. The expedients resorted to in equip- 
ping the army, show the prevailing lack of arms. Those 
soldiers who retired from service, were obliged to leave 
their weapons for their successors, receiving their ap- 
praised value. Those who enlisted, were required to 
bring a gun, or were charged a dollar for the use of one 

* Lttter ol Waahington to the President of OongneB, Deo. 81* 


during ihe campaign. He who brought a blanket wai 
allowed two dollars. It was impossible to furnish uni* 
forms ; the troops, therefore, presented a motlej appear* 
ance, in garments of divers cuts and colors ; the price d 
each man's garb being deducted from his pay. 

The detachments of militia from the neighboring piov* 
inoes which replaced the disbanding troops, remained 
but for brief periods ; so that, in despite of every effort^ 
the lines were often but feebly manned, and might easil} 
have been forced. 

The anxiety of Washington, in this critical state of the 
army, may be judged from his correspondence with Beed. 
*^ It is easier to conceive than to describe the situation o{ 
my mind for some time past, and my feelings under oux 
present circumstances," writes he on the 4th of January. 
** Search the volumes of history through, and I much 
question whether a case similar to ours is to be found, 
namely, to maintain a post against the power of the British 
troops for six months together, Trithout powder, and then 
to have one army disbanded ard another raised within 
the same distance (musket shot; of a reinforced enemy. 
What may be the issue of the last mancBuvre, time only 
can unfold. I wish this month were well over our head. 
.... We are now left with a good deal less than 
half-raised regiments, and about five thousand militia, 
who only stand engaged to the middle of this month ; 
when, according to custom, they will depart, let the ne- 
cessity of their stay be ever so urgent Thus, for more 


tlian two months past, I hare soaroely ameTged from ons 
diffionltjr before I hATe been plauged in aoother. How 
it will end, God, in his great goodness, will direct. I am 
tttankfol for his protection to this time. We are told that 
re shall soon get the army oompleted, bat I have been 
tcdd so many things which have never oome to pass, that 
I distrust everything." 

In a sabseqnent letter to Mr. Beed, he reverts to the 
■abject, and poon forth his feelings with confiding frank- 
ness. What can be more toaohing than the pictore he 
draws of himself and his lonely vigils abont his sleepily 
esmp ? " The refleotioQ on my sitoation ood that of this 
army, prodaoes many an anhappy hour, when all aroond 
me are wrapped in sleep. Few people know the predica- 
ment we are in on a thooBand acooonts ; fewer still will 
believe, if any disaster happens to these lines, &om what 
CftOBe it flows. I have often thon^t how mnoh happier 
I ahoald have been, i^ instead of accepting the command, 
under each drcamstancea, I had taken my musket on 
s^ shoalder and entered the ranks; or, if I ooold have 
jmtified the measore to posterity and my own conscience, 
tad retired to the back conntry and Uved in a wig- 
mm. If I shall be able to rise snperior to these and 
many other difficolties, which might be enamerated, I 
siball most religioaely believe that the finger of Provi- 
dence is in it, to blind the eyes of oar enemies ; for surely 
if we get well throngh this month, it most be for want of 
their knowing the disadvantages whidi we labor onder." 


Becuning to the project of an attack npon Boston, 
which he had reluctantly abandoned in deference to the 
adverse opinions of a council of war, — '' Oould I haye fore- 
seen the difficulties which have come upon us ; oould I 
have known that such a backwardness would haye been 
discovered among the old soldiers to the sendee, all the 
generals upon earth should not haye conyinoed me of the 
propriety of delaying an attack upon Boston till this 
time. When it can now be attempted, I will not under- 
take to say; but thus much I will answer for, that no 
opportunity can present itself earlier than my wishes.'* 

In the midst of his discouragements, Washington re- 
ceiyed letters from Knox, showing the spirit and energy 
with which he was executing his mission, in quest of 
cannon and ordnance stores. He had struggled manfullj 
and successfully with all kinds of difficulties from the ad* 
yanced season, and head winds, in getting them from Ti- 
conderoga to the head of Lake George. ** Three days ago,** 
writes he, on the 17th of December, "it was yery uncer- 
tain whether we could get them oyer until next spring ; 
but now, please God, they shall go. I haye made forty- 
two exceedingly strong sleds, and haye provided eighty 
yoke of oxen to drag them as far as Springfield, where I 
shall get fresh cattle to take them to camp." 

It was thus that hardships and emergencies were 
bringing out the merits of the self-made soldiers of the 
Beyolution; and showing their commander-in-chief oil 
whom he might rely* 



ABLY in the month of January, there was a 
great stir of preparation in Boston harbor. A 
fleet of transports were taking in supplies, and 
making arrangements for the embarkation of troops. 
Bomb -ketches and flat -bottomed boats were getting 
ready for sea^ as were two sloops-of-war, which were to 
conTey the armameni Its destination was kept secret ; 
bnt was confidently surmised by Washington. 

In the preceding month of October, a letter had been 
laid before Congress, written by some person in London 
of high credibility, and revealing a secret plan of opera- 
tions said to haye been sent out by ministers to the com- 
manders in Boston. The following is the purport : Pos- 
sesflion was to be gained of New York and Albany, 

through the assistance of Qovemor Tryon, on whose in« 
Tou n.— Id 177 


flnenoe with the torj part of the population, muoh reli- 
ance was placed. These cities were to be yexy strongly 
garrisoned. All who did not join the king's forces were 
to be declared rebels. The Hudson Biyer, and the East 
Biver or Sound, were to be commanded by a number of 
small men-of-war and cutters, stationed in different parts, 
so as wholly to cut off all communication by water be- 
tween New York and the provinces to the northward of 
it; and between New York and Albany, except for the 
king's service; and to prevent, also, all communication 
between the city of New York and the provinces of New 
Jersey, Pennsylvania, and those to the southward of 
them. ** By these means," said the letter, " the admin- 
istration and their friends fancy they shall soon either 
starve out or retake the garrisons of Grown Point and 
Ticonderoga, and open and maintain a safe intercourse 
and correspondence between Quebec, Albany, and New 
York ; and thereby offer the fairest opportunity to their 
soldiery and the Canadians, in conjunction with the In- 
dians to be procured by Guy Johnson, to make con- 
tinual irruptions into New Hampshire, Massachusetts, 
and Connecticut, and so distract and divide the provin- 
cial forces, as to render it easy for the British army at 
Boston to defeat them, break the spirits of the Massa- 
chusetts people, depopulate their country, and compel 
an absolute subjection to Great Britain." * 

• Am. Arehivea, 4th Series, iiL 188L 

I • 1 

. i."'r;ilv'3- 'i 






i.r It- 


.'^rii •»:' 


. . r 

j ■■ •' 

• tf;*- 


; ' 

. li. 

:"".; .■/'■■. I ■/. 

■.■•j- .^.-n" .'■" . 


It was added that a lord, high in the American depart- 
ment, had been yery particular in his inquiries about the 
Hudson River ; what sized vessels could get to Albany ; 
and whether, if batteries were erected in the Highlands, 
they would not control the navigation of the river, and 
prevent vessels from going up and down. 

This information had already excited solicitude re- 
specting the Hudson, and led to measures for its protec- 
tion. It was now surmised that the expedition preparing 
to sail from Boston, and which was to be conducted by 
Sir Henry Clinton, might be destined to seize upon New 
York. How was the apprehended blow to be parried ? 
General Lee, who was just returned from his energetic 
visit to Rhode Island, offered his advice and services in 
the matter. In a letter to Washington, he urged him to 
act at once, and on his own responsibility, without await- 
ing the tardy and doubtful sanction of Congress, for 
which, in military matters, Lee had but small regard 

" New York must be secured," writes he, " but it will 
never, I am afraid, be secured by due order of the Con- 
gress, for obvious reasons. They find themselves awk- 
wardly situated on this head. You must step in to their 
reliel I am sensible no man can be spared from the 
lines under present circumstances ; but I would propose 
that you should detach me into Connecticut, and lend 
your name for collecting a body of volunteers. I am as- 
sured that I shall find no difficulty in assembling a suf- 
ficient number for the purposes wanted. This body, in 


oonjtmction (if there should appear occasion to snmmon 
them) with the Jersey regiment nnder the command of 
Ijord Stirling, now at Elizabethtown, will effect the se- 
cnritj of New York, and the expulsion or suppression ol 
that dangerous banditti of tories, who have appeared on 
Long Island, with the professed intention of acting 
against the authority of Congress. Not to crush these 
serpents before their rattles are grown would be ruinous. 
''This manoeuvre, I not only think prudent and righ^ 
but absolutely necessary to our salvation ; and if it meets, 
as I ardently hope it will, with your approbation, the 


sooner it is entered upon the better ; the delay of a single 
day may be fatal" 

Washington, while he approved of Lee's military sug- 
gestions, was cautious in exercising the extraordinary 
powers so recently vested in him, and fearful of tran- 
scending them. John Adams was at that time in the 
vicinity of the camp, and he asked his opinion as to the 
practicability and expediency of the plan, and whether it 
** might not be regarded as beyond his line." 

Adams, resolute of spirit, thought the enterprise mighfe 
easily be accomplished by the friends of liberty in New 
York, in connection with the Connecticut people, ** who 
are very ready," said he, " upon such occasions." 

As to the expediency, he urged the vast importance, in 
the progress of this war, of the city and province of New 
York, and the Hudson Biver, being the tiespua of the 
northern and southern colonies, a kind of key to ihm 


irhole oontiitent, as it is a passage to Canada, to tlie 
Great Lakes, and to all the Indian nations. No effort to 
eecnie it ought to be omitted. 

That it was vithin the limits of Washington's oom- 
anaud, he considered perfectly clear, he being " vested 
nith fnll power and authority, to act as he should think 
Cor the good and welfare of the serrice." 

If there was a body of people on Long Island, armed 
"to oppose the American system of defense, and fomish- 
xng supplies to the British army and navy, they were in- 
-vading American liberty as much as those besieged in 

JS, in the city of New York, a body of tories were wait- 
ing only tar a force to protect them, to declare them- 
selves on the side of the enemy, it was high time that 
«iiy was secured.* 

Thus fortified, as it were, by congressional sanction, 
through one of ite most important members, who pro- 
nounced Kew York as much within his command as 
Uassachusette, he gave Lee authority to carry out his 
[dans. He was to raise volunteers in Connecticut ; 
march at their head to Xew York ; call in military aid 
from New Jersey ; pat the city and the poste on the Hnd- 
Bon in a posture of security gainst surprise ; disarm all 
persons on Long Island and elsewhere, inimical to the 
views of Congress, or secure them in some other manner 

'Adams t<i Waahingtcm, dorr. efSm., L 118. 

182 -E^^ OF WASHrnGTON. 

if neoessaay ; and seize upon all medicines, shirts, and 
blankets, and send them on for the use of the American 

Lee departed on his mission on the 8th of Jannaiy. 
On the 16th he was at New Haven, railing at the inde- 
cision of Congress. Thej had ordered the enlistment of 
troops for the security of New York. A Oonnectioitt 
regiment under Colonel Waterbury had been raised, 
equipped, and on the point of embarking for Oyster Bay, 
Long Island, to attack the tories, who were to be at* 
tacked on the other side by Lord Stirling, " when sad* 
denly," says Lee, " Colonel Waterbury receiyed an order 
to disband his regiment ; and the tories are to remain 
tmmolested till they are joined by the king's assassins." 

Trumbull, the governor of Connecticut, however, **like a 
man of sense and spirit,*' had ordered the regiment to be 
reassembled, and Lee trusted it would soon be ready to 
march with him. '^ I shall send immediately," said he, 
*^ an express to the Congress, informing them of my situ- 
ation, and at the same time, conjuring them not to suffer 
the accursed Provincial Congress of New York to defeat 
measures so absolutely necessary to salvation." 

Lee's letter to the President of Congress, showed that 
the instructions dictated by the moderate and consider- 
ate spirit of Washington, were not strong enough on 
some points, to suit his stem military notions. The 
scheme, simply of disarming the tories, seemed to him 
totally ineffectual; it would only embitter their minds^ 

PAsrm m saw toss. 


maid add Tims to their Tenom. They ooxild and vonl^ 

nX-wa,j9 be supplied irith fresh arms by the enemy. 

ThAt of seizing the most dai^roos would, from iti 

Tagoeness, be attended trith some bad oonseqaenoes, 

Knd ooold ansver no good one. " The plan of explaining 

io these deluded people the jostioe of the American 

cause, is oertsinlj generous and hnmane," observed he, 

"bat I am afraid will be fmitless. They are so riveted 

in their opinions, that I am persuaded, shonld an oogel 

desoend from heaven with hia golden tmmpet, and ring 

intheir eazs that their oondnot was criminal, he wonld 

be disr^arded." 

Lee's notion of the policy proper in the present case 
viB, to disarm the disaffected of all classes, supplying 
ov own troops with the arms thus seized ; to appraise 
tlieir estates, and oblige them to deposit at least one 
Wf the valne with the Continental Congress, as a se- 
niity for good behavior; to administer the strongest 
oath that conld be devised, that they wonld act offen- 
nrely and defensively in snpport of the common rights; 
ttd finally, to transfer all such as should prove refrao- 
toTy, to some place in tie interior, where they would not 
be dangerous. 

The people of New York, at all times very excitable, 
vere thrown into a panic on hearing that Lee was in Con- 
necticut, on his way to take military possession of the 
aty. They apprehended his appearance there would 
provoke an attack from the ships in the harbor. Some^ 


who thoaghl the war about to be brought to their own 
doors/ packed np their effects, and made off into the 
oonntry with their wives and children. Others be- 
leagaered the committee of safety with entreaties against 
the deprecated protection of General Lee. The com* 
mittee, through Pierre Van Cortlandt, their chairman, 
addressed a letter to Lee, inquiring into the motives oi 
his coming with an army to New York, and stating the 
incapacity of the diy to act hostilely against the ships 
of war in port, from deficiency of powder, and a want of 
military works. For these, and other reasons, they 
urged the impropriety of provoking hostilities for thi^ 
present, and the necessiiy of ^' saving appearances," with- 
the ships of war, till at least the month of March, whenB 
they hoped to be able to face their enemies with aoms 

" We, therefore," continued the letter, " ardently wiaH 
to remain in peace for a little time, and doubt not w — 
have assigned sufficient reasons for avoiding at present 
dilemma, in which the entrance of a lai^ body of troo£M 
into the city, will almost certainly involve u& Shonlt/ 
you have such an entrance in design, we beg at least the 
troops may halt on the western confines of ConnecticQ^ 
till we have been honored by you with such an explana- 
tion on this important subject, as you may conceive your 
duty may permit you to enter upon with us, the grounds 
of which, you may easily see, ought to be kept an entire 


Lee, in reply, dated Stamford, Jannary 23d, disclaimed 
all intention of commencing actual hostilities against the 
men-of-war in the harbor, his instructions from the com- 
mander-in-chief being solely to prevent the enemy from 
taking post in the city, or lodging themselves on Long 
Idand. Some subordinate purposes were likewise to be 
executed, which were much more proper to be communi- 
cated by word of mouth than by writing. In compliance 
with the wishes of the committee, he promised to carry 
with him into the town just troops enough to secure it 
againBt any present designs of the enemy, leaving his 
main force on the western border of Oonnecticui ^'I 
give you my word,'* added he, " that no active service ia 
proposed, as you seem to apprehend. If the ships of war 
are quiet, I shall be quiet ; but I declare solemnly, thai 
if they make a pretext of my presence to fire on the town, 
the first house set on flames by their guns shall be the 
funeral pile of some of their best friends.*' 

In a letter to Washington, written on the following day, 
he says of his recruiting success in Connecticut : '^ I find 
the people throughout this province more alive and zeal- 
ous than my most sanguine expectations. I believe I 
might have collected two thousand volunteers. I take 
only lour companies with me, and Waterbury*s regiment 
• • • • These Oonnecticutians are, if possible, more 
eager to go out of their country, than they are to return 
home, when they have been absent for any considerable 



Speaking of the people of New York, and Che lettei 
from their Proyincial Congress, which he incloses: '^The 
whigSy" says he, '' I mean the stoat ones, are, it is said, 
very desirous that a body of troops should march and be 
stationed in the ciiy — the timid ones are averse, merely 
from the spirit of procrastination, which is the character- 
istio of timidity. The letter from the Provincial CongresSi 
you will observe, breathes the very essence of this spirit ; 
it is wofully hysterical." 

By the by, the threat contained in Lee*s reply about a 
'^ funeral pile,*' coming from a soldier of his mettle, was 
not calculated to soothe the hysterical feelings of the 
committee of safety. How he conducted himself on his 
arrival in the city, we shall relate in a future ohaptez; 


r BirOHB QinBM.— BU flak or ofsutkom.— ^ tumro i w M 



IM amid aarroonding perplexities, Washing- 
ton still tamed a hopeful eye to Oanada. He 
expected daily to receive tidings tbat Mont- 
gomety and Arnold were within the walls of Quebec, and 
he had even written to the former to forward as much as 
could be spared of the lai^e quantities of arms, blankets, 
clothing and other military stores, said to be deposited 
there, the army before Boston being in great need of snch 

On the 18^1 of January came despatches to him from 
Oeneral Schuyler, containing withering tidings. The fol- 
lowing is the purport. Montgomery, on the 2d of De- 
wmher, the day after his arrival at Point auz Trembles, 
nt off in face of a driving snow-storm for Quebec, and 
anivBd. before it on the 6th. The works, from their great 
txteni, appeared to him incapable of being defended by 


{he actual garrison ; made up, as lie said, of ^Maolean*fl 
banditti," the sailors from the frigates and other vessels, 
together with the citizens obliged to take up arms ; most 
of whom were impatient of the fatigues of a siege, and 
wished to see matters accommodated amicably. '' I pro- 
pose," added he, " amusing Mr. Carleton with a formal 
attack, erecting batteries, etc., but mean to assault the 
works, I believe towards the lower town, which is the 
weakest part" 

According to his own account, his whole force did not 
exceed nine hundred effective men, three hundred of 
whom he had brought with him ; the rest he found with 
Colonel Arnold. The latter he pronounced an exceeding 
fine corps, inured to fatigue, and well accustomed to a 
cannon shot, having served at Cambridge. " There is a 
style of discipline among them," adds he, ^' much supe- 
rior to what I have been used to see in this campaign. 
He, himself (Arnold), is active, intelligent and enterpris- 
ing. Fortune often baffles the sanguine expectations of 
poor mortals. I am not intoxicated with her favors, but 
I do think there is a fair prospect of success." * 

On the day of his arrival, he sent a flag with a sum- 
mons to surrender. It was fired upon, and obliged to 
retire. Exasperated at this outrage, which, it is thought, 
was committed by the veteran Maclean, Montgomery 
wrote an indignant, reproachful, and even menacing let- 

* Montgomery to Schuyler, Dec. 0. 


iex to Carleton, reiterating the demand, magaifying the 
nambei of lus troops, and warning him against the oonse- 
qnenoes oi an aseaolt Finding it was rejected from tha 
mUs, it was oonrajed in by a woman, tt^Uier with let- 
ters addressed to the prinoipal merchants, promising 
great indnlgenoe in case of immediate sabmission. By 
Carleion's orders, the messenger was sent to prison for a 
£bw days, and tiien drammed oat of town. 

Uontgomeiy now prepared for au attack. The groond 
mm frozen to a great depth, and oovered with snow ; he 
was scantily provided with intrenching tools, and had 
only a field train of artdUery, and a few mortars. By dint 
of exoesshre labor a breastwork was thrown np, fonr hun- 
dred yards distant from the walls and opposite to the gate 
tA St Louis, which is nearly in the centre. It was formed 
of gabions, ranged side l^ side, and filled with snow, over 
which water was thrown until thoroughly frozen. Here 
Captain Lamb mounted five light pieces and a howitzer. 
Several mortars were placed in the suburbs of St Boque, 
which extends on the left of the promontory, below the 
heights, and nearly on a level with the river. 

From the " Ice Sattery " Captain Lamb opened a well- 
BDBtained and well-directed fire upon the walls, but his 
field-pieces were too light to be effective. With his how> 
Hser he threw shells into the town and set it on fire in 
several places. For five days and nights the garrison 
was kept on the alert by the teasing fire of this battery. 
The object of Montgomery was to harass the town, luut 


increase the dissatisfaction of the inhabitants. His flag 
of trace being still fired upon, he caused the TTi<lifl.i^tf in 
his camp to shoot arrows into the town, having letters 
attached to them, addressed to the inhabitants, represent- 
ing Carleton's refusal to treat, and advising them to rise 
in a body, and compel him. It was all in vain ; whatever 
might have been the disposition of the inhabitants, they 
were completely under the control of the military. 

On the evening of the fifth day, Montgomery paid a 
visit to the ice battery. The heavy artillery from the 
wall had repaid its ineffectual fire with ample usury. 
The brittle ramparts had been shivered like glass ; sev<i 
eral of the guns had been rendered useless. Just as they 
arrived at the battery, a shot from the fortress dismounted 
one of the guns, and disabled many of the men. A second 
shot immediately following, was almost as destructive. 
** This is warm work, sir,*' said Montgomery to Captain 
Lamb. " It is indeed, and certainly no place for you, air.** 
"Why so, Captain?** " Because there are enough of us 
here to be killed, without the loss of you, which would 
be irreparable.** 

The general saw the insufficiency of the battery, and, 
on retiring, gave Captain Lamb permission to leave it 
whenever he thought proper. The veteran waited until 
after dark, when, securing all the guns, he abandoned the 
ruined redoubt The general in this visit was attended 
by Aaron Burr, whom he had appointed his aide-de-camp. 
Lamb wondered that he should encumber himself with 


taoh a boy. The perfect coolness and self-poaseBsion 
irith which the youth mingled in this dangeroTts aoene, 
and the fire which sparkled in his eye, soon oonrinced 
Lunb, according to his own aocoont, that " the young 
volimteer was no ordinary man." * 

Nearly three weeks had been oonsiimed in these fntile 
operations. The army, ill-olothed and ill-proTided, was 
beooming impatient of the rigors of a Canadian winter ; 
the term for which part of the troops had enlisted would 
expire witti the year, and they already talked of retom- 
ing home. Montgomery was sadly oonscioos of the in< 
sufficiency of his means ; still he ooold not endure the 
thonghts of retiring from before the place withoat strik- 
ing a blow. He knew that much was expected from him, 
in oouseqnence of his late achieveinents, and that the 
eyes of the pnblio were fixed apon this Canadian entei^ 
prise. He determined, therefore, to attempt to carry 
the place by escalade. One third of his men were to set 
fire to the houses and stookadea of the snbnrb of St. 
Boqne, and force the barriers of the lower town ; while 
the main body shonid scale the bastion of Cape I>ia- 

It was a hazardone, almost a desperate prcgeot, yet it 
has met with the approbation of military men. He calca- 
lated npon the devotion and daring spirit of his men ; 
upcm the discontent which prevailed among the Oana- 

*L^ efJoh» Xomfi, p. ISO. 

192 ^^^S OF WABHmGTOir. 

dians, and upon the incompetenqy of the garrison for the 
defence of such extensive works. 

In regard to the devotion of his men, he was ihreatene<^ 
with disappointment When the plan of assault was sub- 
mitted to a council of war, three of the captains in Ar* 
nold*s division, the terms of whose companies were neat 
expiring, declined to serve, unless they and their meu 
could be transferred to another command. This almost 
mutinous movement, it is supposed, was fomented by 
Arnold's old adversary. Major Brown, and it was with in- 
finite difficulty Montgomery succeeded in overcoming it. 

The ladders were now provided for the eaooltufe, and 
Montgomery waited with impatience for a favorable night 
to put it into execution. Small-pox and desertion had 
reduced his little army to seven hundred and fifty men. 
From certain movements of the enemy, it was surmised 
that the deserters had revealed his plan. He changed, 
therefore, the arrangement Colonel Livingston was to 
make a false attack on the gate of St John's and set fire 
to it ; Major Brown, with another detachment, was to 
menace the bastion of Cape Diamond. Arnold, with 
three hundred and fifty of the hardy fellows who had 
followed him through the wilderness, strengthened by 
Captain Lamb and forty of his company, was to assault 
the suburbs and batteries of St Boque ; while Montgom* 
ery, with the residue of his forces, was to pass below the 
bastion at Cape Diamond, defile along the river, carry the 
defenses at Drummond*s Wharf, and thus enter the lower 


town on one side, wUle Arnold forced his way into it on 
the other. These movements were all to be made at the 
same time, on the discharge of signal rockets, thns dis- 
tracting the enemy, and calling their attention to four 
several points. 

On the 31st of December, at two o'clock in the morn- 
ing, the troops repaired to their several destinations, 
nnder cover of a violent snow-storm. By some accident 
or mistake, such as is apt to occur in complicated plans 
of attack, the signal rockets were let off before the lower 
divisions had time to get to their fighting ground. They 
were descried by one of Maclean's Highland officers, who 
gave the alarm. Livingston, also, failed to make the 
false attack on the gate of St. John's, which was to have 
caused a diversion favorable to Arnold's attack on the 
suburb below. 

The feint by Major Brown, on the bastion of Oape Dia- 
mond, was successful, and concealed the march of Qen- 
end Montgomery. That gallant commander descended 
from the heights to Wolfe's Cove, and led his division 
along the shore of the Si Lawrence, round the beetling 
promontory of Cape Diamond. The narrow approach 
to the lower town in that direction was traversed by a 
picket or stockade, defended by Canadian militia; be- 
yond which was a second defense, a kind of block-house, 
forming a battery of small pieces, manned by Canadian 
militia, and a few seamen, and commanded by the cap« 
tarn of a transport The aim of Montgomery was to come 
IQU n.— 18 


upon these barriers by surprise. The pass which they 
defended is formidable at all times, haying a swift river 
on one side, and overhanging precipices on the other ; 
but at this time was rendered peculiarly difficult by drift- 
ing snoWy and by great masses of ice piled on each other 
at the foot of the cliffs. 

The troops made their way painfully, in extended and 
straggling files, along the narrow footway, and over the 
slippery piles of ice. Among the foremost, were some of 
the first New York regiment, led on by Captain Cheese- 
man. Montgomery, who was familiar with them, urged 
them on. " Forward, men of New York 1 " cried he. 
''You are not the men to fiinch when your general leads 
you on ! ** In his eagerness, he threw himself far in the 
advance, with his pioneers and a few officers, and made 
a dash at the first barrier. The Canadians stationed 
there, taken by surprise, made a few random shots, then 
threw down their muskets and fled. Montgomery sprang 
forward, aided with his own hand to pluck down the 
pickets, which the pioneers were sawing, and having 
made a breach sufficiently wide to admit three or four 
men abreast, entered sword in hand, followed by his stafi^ 
Captain Cheeseman, and some of his men. The Cana- 
dians had fled from the picket to the battery or block- 
house, but seemed to have carried the panic with them, 
for the battery remained silent. Montgomery felt for a 
moment as if the surprise had been complete. He paused 
in the breach to rally on the troops, who were stumblinc; 


■long the difficult pass. " Pnsli on, my lirsvB boyH," 
cried he, " Quebec is oars I " 

He again dashed forward, hat, vhen vithin Eorfy paoes 
of the battery, a diacha^e of grape-shot from a single 
cannon, made deadly havoa Montgomery and MoPher- 
Bon, one of his aides, were killed on the spot Captain 
Gheesemaii, vho was leading on hia New Yorkers, re- 
oeiTed a canister-shot through the body ; made an effort 
to rise and push forward, but fell back a corpse ; with 
him fell his orderly sei^ant and aeveral of his men. 
This fearful slaughter, and the death of their general, 
threw everything in confusion. The officer next in lineal 
laok to the general, was far in the rear ; in this emei^ 
gency. Colonel Campbell, quartermaster-general, took 
the command, bat, instead of rallying the men, and en- 
deavoring to effect the junction with Arnold, ordered a 
retreat, and abandoned the halt-won field, leaving behind 
him the bodies of the slain. 

While all this was occurring on the side of Cape Disp 
mond, Arnold led hia division against the opposite side 
(A the lower town along the suharb and street of St. 
Boque. Like Montgomery, he took the advance at the 
head of a forlorn hope of twenty-five men, accompanied 
by his secretary, Oswald, formerly one of his captains at 
Ticonderc^a. Captain Lamb and his artillery company 
came next, with a field-piece moanted on a sledge. Then 
came a company with ladders and scaling implements, 
followed by Morgan and his riflemen. In the rear of al] 

196 tl^ OF WASSmOlVS. 

these oame the main body. A battery on a wbarf oom« 
manded the narrow pass by which they had to adyanoe. 
This was to be attacked with the field-piece, and then 
scaled with ladders by the forlorn hope ; while Captain 
Morgan with his riflemen, was to pass ronnd the wharf 
on the ice. 

The false attack which was to have been made by liy- 
ingston on the gate of St John's, by way of diversion^ had 
not taken place ; there was nothing, therefore, to call off 
the attention of the enemy in this quarter from the de- 
tachment The troops, as they straggled along in length- 
ened file through the drifting snow, were sadly galled by 
a flanking fire on the right, from wall and pickets. The 
field-piece at length became so deeply embedded in a 
snow-drift, that it could not be moved. Lamb sent word 
to Arnold of the impediment ; in the meantime he and 
his artillery company were brought to a halt The com- 
pany with the scaling ladders would have halted also, 
haying been told to keep in the rear of the artillery ; but 
they were urged on by Morgan with a thundering oath, 
who pushed on after them with his riflemen, the artillery 
company opening to the right and left to let them pass. 

They arrived in the advance just as Arnold was lead- 
ing on his forlorn hope to attack the barrier. Before he 
reached it, a severe wound in the right leg with a muskei- 
ball completely disabled him, and he had to be borne 
from the fleld. Morgan instantly took the command. 
Just then Lamb came up with his companyi armed with 

uoB&AiT'a attach: 197 

muskets and bajronets, having reoeived orders to abandon 
the field-pieoe, and sapport the adranoe. Osirald joined 
him with tiie forlorn hope. The Irattery -which com- 
manded the defile moonted tvo pieces of cannon. There 
vas a discharge of grape-shot when the aasaihuita veie 
eloae nnder tiie mnszles of the gons, jet bnt one man 
was killed. Before there ooold be a second discharge, 
the battery was carried by assault, some firing into the 
embrasures, others scaling the walls. The captain and 
thirty of his men were taken prisoners. 

The day was jnst dawning as Mo^an led on to attack 
the second barrier, and his men had to advanoe nnder a 
fire from the town walls on their right, which incessantly 
thinned their ranks. The second barrier was reached; 
they applied their scaling ladders to storm it. The de* 
fense was brave and obstinate, bnt the defenders were 
at length driven from their gons, and the battery was 
gained. At the last moment one of the gnnners ran 
back, linstock in hand, to give one more shot. Captain 
Lamb snapped a fasee at him. It missed fire. The can- 
non was discharged, and a grape-shot wounded Lamb in 
the bead, carrying away part of the cheek-bone. He was 
borne off senseless, to a neighboring shed. 

The two barriers being now taken, the way on this side 
into the lower town seemed open. Morgan prepared to 
enter it with the riotorioos vangnard, first stationing 
Captain Dearborn and some provincials at Palace Gate, 
which opened down into the defile from the npper town. 


Bj this time, howeyer, the death of Montgomery and xe* 
treat of Campbell, had enabled the enemy to torn all 
their attention in this direction* A large detaohment 
sent by General Carleton, sallied out of Palace Gate afler 
Morgan had passed it, surprised and ci^tnred Dearborn 
and the gnard, and completely cut off the advanced party. 
The main body, informed of the death of Montgomery, 
and giving np the game as lost, retreated to the camp, 
leaving behind the field-piece which Lamb's company 
had abandoned, and the mortars in the battery of St 

Morgan and his men were now hemmed in on all sides, 
and obliged to take refuge in a stone house, from the in- 
veterate fire which assailed them. From the windows of 
this honse they kept np a desperate defense, until cannon 
were brought to bear upon it Then, hearing of the death 
of Montgomery, and seeing that there was no prospect of 
relief, Morgan and his gallant handful of followers were 
compelled to surrender themselves prisoners of war. 

Thus foiled at every point, the wrecks of the little army 
abandoned their camp, and retreated about three miles 
from the town ; where they hastily fortified themselves, 
apprehending a pursuit by the garrison. General Carl»- 
ton, however, contented himself with having secured the 
safety of the place, and remained cautiously passive until 
he should be properly reinforced ; distrusting the good 
faith of the motley inhabitants. He is said to have 
treated the prisoners with a humanity the more honor* 


able, oonsidermg the ''habitual military seyeritj of his 
temper ;** their heroic daring, displayed in the assault 
upon the lower town, having excited his admiration. 

The remains of the gallant Montgomery receiyed a sol- 
dier's graye, within the fortifications of Quebec, by the 
care of Oramah^, the lieutenant-goyemor, who had for- 
merly known him. 

Arnold, wounded and disabled, had been assisted back 
to the camp, dragging one foot after the other for nearly 
a mile in great agony, and exposed continually to the 
musketry from the walls at fifty yards* distance, which 
shot down several at his side. 

He took temporary command of the shattered army, 
until Qeneral Wooster should arrive from Montreal, to 
whom he sent an express, urging him to bring on succor. 
" On this occasion,** says a contemporary writer, " he 
discovered the utmost vigor of a determined mind, and a 
genius full of resources. Defeated and wounded, as he 
was, he put his troops into such a situation as to keep 
fhem still formidable.*' * 

With a mere handful of men, at one time not exceeding 
five hundred, he maintained a blockade of the strong 
fortress from which he had just been repulsed. '' I have 
no thoughts," writes he, " of leaving this proud town 
until I enter it in triumph. / am in the way of my dtdy, 
and I know no fear / *' t 

♦ avU War in America, vol. i. p. 113. 

t See Arnold's Letter. Bemembraneer^ iL 868. 


Happy for him Iiad he fallen at this moment — ^Happy 
for him had he found a soldier's and a patriot's grave, 
beneath the rook-built walls of Quebec. Those walls 
would have remained enduring monuments of his re- 
nown. His name, like that of Montgomery, would have 
been treasured up among the dearest though most mourn- 
ful recollections of his country, and that country would 
hhr^ been spared the single traitorous blot that dims the 
bright page of ite reyolutionary history. 


^^tm M WP i mfH r"^^ of washiuqton amd bghutlbr oh thb DiaisTBas nr oar* 


CHUTLEB'S letter to Washington, announcing 
the recent eyents, was written with manly feel- 
ing. '' I wish/* said he, " I had no occasion to 
send my dear general this melancholy account My ami* 
able friend, the gallant Montgomery, is no more; the 
braye Arnold is wounded ; and we haye met with a se- 
yere check in an unsuccessful attempt on Quebec. May 
Heayen be graciously pleased that the misfortune may 
terminate here : I tremble for our people in Oanada.*' 

Alluding to his recent request to retire from the army, 
he writes : '* Our affidrs are much worse than when I made 
the request. This is motiye sufficient for me to continue 
to serye my country in any way I can be thought most 
seryioeable ; but my utmost can be but little, weak and 
indisposed as I am.'* 



Wasliiiigton was deeply moyed by the disastrons intel* 
ligenoe. ** I most sincerely condole with yon,** writes he, 
in reply to Schnyler, '' npon the fall of the braye and 
worthy Montgomery. In the death of this gentleman, 
America has sustained a heavy loss. I am mnch con- 
cerned for the intrepid and enterprising Arnold, and 
greatly fear that consequences of the most alarming na- 
ture will result from this well-intended but unfortunate 

General Schuyler, who was now in Albany, urged the 
necessity of an immediate reinforcement of three thou- 
sand men for the army in Canada. Washington had 
not a man to spare from the army before Boston* He 
applied, therefore, on his own responsibility, to Massa- 
chusetts, New Hampshire, and Connecticut, for three 
regiments, which were granted. His prompt measure 
received the approbation of Congress, and further rein- 
forcements were ordered from the same quarters. 

Solicitude was awakened about the interior of the proY- 
ince of New York. Arms and ammunition were said to 
be concealed in Tryon County, and numbers of the tones 
in that neighborhood preparing for hostilities. Sir John 
Johnson had fortified Johnson Hall, gathered about him 
his Scotch Highland tenants and Indian allies, and it was 
rumored he intended to carry fire and sword along the 
valley of the Mohawk. 

Schuyler, in consequence, received orders from Oon* 
gress to take measures for securing the military storeay 


disarming the disaffected, and apprehending their chiefa 
He forthwith hastened from Albany, at the head of a 
body of soldiers ; was joined by Colonel Herkimer, with 
the militia of Tryon County marshaled forth on the 
frozen bosom of the Mohawk Biver, and appeared before 
Sir John's stronghold, near Johnstown, on the 19th of 


Thus beleaguered, Sir John, after much negotiation, 
capitulated. He was to surrender all weapons of war 
and military stores in his possession, and to giye his 
parole not to take arms against America. On these con* 
ditiouB he was to be at liberty to go as far westward in 
Tryon County as the Gterman Flats and Kingsland dis- 
tricts, and to every part of the colony to the southward 
and eastward of these districts ; provided he did not go 
into any seaport town. 

Sir John intimated a trust that he, and the gentlemen 
with him, would be permitted to retain such arms as 
were their own property. The reply was characteristic : 
** Gbneral Schuyler's feelings as a gentleman induce him 
to consent that Sir John Johnson may retain the few 
favorite family arms, he making a list of them. General 
Schuyler never refused a gentleman his side-arms." 

The capitulation being adjusted, Schuyler ordered his 
troops to be drawn up in line at noon (Jan. 20th), be« 
tween his quarters and the court-house, to receive the 
surrender of the Highlanders, enjoining profound silence 
on his officers and men, when the surrender should be 


made. Everything wa« conducted with great regard to 
the feelings of Sir John's Scottish adherents; they 
marched to the front, grounded their arms, and were 
dismissed with exhortations to good behavior. 

The conduct of Schuyler, throughout this affair, drew 
forth a resolution of Congress, applauding him for his 
fidelity, prudence, and expedition, and the proper temper 
he had maintained toward the '^ deluded people " in ques- 
tion. Washington, too, congratulated him on his suc- 
cess. " I hope," writes he, " General Lee will execute a 
work of the same kind on Long Island. It is high time 
to begin with our internal foes, when we are threatened 
with such severity of chastisement from our kind parent 

The recent reverses in Canada had, in fact, height- 
ened the solicitude of Washington about the province of 
New York. That province was the central and all-im- 
portant link in the confederacy ; but he feared it might 
prove a brittle one. We have already mentioned the 
adverse influences in operation there. A large number 
of friends to the crown, among the official and commer- 
cial classes ; rank tories (as they were called), in the city 
and about the neighboring country ; partictdarly on Long 
and Staten Islands; king's ships at anchor in the bay 
and harbor, keeping up a suspicious intercourse with the 
citizens ; while Governor Tryon, castled, as it were, on 
board one of these ships, carried on intrigues with those 
disaffected to the popular cause, in all parts of the neigh* 


borhood. Ooontj oommitteea hod been empowered by 
the Neir York Congress and Conveation, to apprehend 
all pezsons notorioaalj disaflEected, to examine into their 
oondnct, and ascertain whether thej were guilty of anj 
hostile act or machination. Imprisonment or banish- 
ment was the penally. The committees conld call upon 
the "''^'<^* to aid in the discha^e of their functions. 
Btill, disaffection to the caoae was said to be rife in the 
prorinoe, and Washington looked to General Lee for 
efiectiTe measures to suppress it. 

Lee arrived at New York on the 4th of February, his 
caostdo hnmom sharpened by a severe attack of the goat, 
whioh had rendered it necessary, while on Uie march, to 
carry him for a considerable part of the way in a litter. 
His correspondence is a complete mental barometer. "I 
consider it as a piece of the greatest good fortone," 
writes he to Washington (Feb. 6th), " that the Congress 
have detached a committee to this place, otherwise I 
should have made a most ridionloos figure, besides 
bringing upon myself the enmity of the whole province. 
My hands were effectually tied up from taking any step 
necessaiy for the pablio service by the late resolve of 
Congress, putting every detachment of the continental 
forces under the command of the Provincial Congress 
where such detachment is." 

By a singular coincidence, on the veiy day of his ar- 
rival, Sir Henry Clinton, with the squadron which had 
sailed so mysteriously from Boston, looked into the har- 


bor. '' Thoagh it was Sabbath/* says a letter-writer of 
the day, '' it threw the whole city into such a convulsioii 
as it never knew before. Many of the inhabitants has- 
tened to move their effects into the country, expecting 
an immediate conflict All that day and all night, were 
there carts going and boats loading, and women and 
children crying, and distressed voices heard in the roads 
in the dead of the night" * 

Clinton sent for the mayor, and expressed much sur- 
prise and concern at the distress caused by his arrival ; 
which was merely, he said, on a short visit to his friend 
Tryon, and to see how matters stood« He professed a 
juvenile love for the place, and desired that the inhabi- 
tants might be informed of the purport of his visits and 
that he would go away as soon as possible. 

" He brought no troops with him,'* writes Lee, *' and 
pledges his honor that none are coming. He says it is 
merely a visit to his friend Tryon. If it is really so, it is 
the most whimsical piece of civility I ever heard of.'* 

A gentleman in New York, writing to a friend in Phila* 
delphia, reports one of the general's characteristic men- 
aces, which kept the town in a fever : — 

"Lee says he will send word on board of the men-of- 
war, that, if they set a house on fire, he will chain a hun- 
dred of their friends by the neck, and make the housi 
their funeral pile." f 

* Reimmnbnmcerf y6L ili. 

t Am. AreMvee, 5th Series, iy. 941. 


For ihis tiiee, ibe inhabitants of New York were let 
off for their feara Clinton, after a brief -risi^ oontini»d 
his iDTBteriotis omise, openly avowing h^ destination to 
be Ncnth Carolina — whioh nobodj believed, simplj be- 
oanae he avowed it 

The Dake of Manoheeter, speaking in the House of 
Lords of the oondnct of Clinton, ccatrasts it with that ol 
Ijord I>iimQore, who wrapped Norfolk in flames. *' I wUl 
pftss no oensnre tm. that noble lord," said he, "bnt I oonld 
wish that he had acted with that generous spirit thai 
forbade Clinton uselessly to destroy the town of New 
lork. Uy lords, Clinton visited New York ; the inhabiF 
tants expected its destmction. Lee appeared before ii 
with an army too powerful to be attacked, and Clinton 
passed by without doing any wanton damage." 

The neoessity of conferring with committees at every 
step, was a hard restraint upon a man of Lee's ardeni 
and impatient temper, who had a soldierlike contempt 
for the men of peace around him ; yet at the outset he 
bore it better than might have been expected. 

** The Congress committees, a certain number of the 
ooDunittees of safety, and yonr humble servant," writes 
he to Washington, " have had two conferences. The re- 
sult is such as will agreeably surprise yon. It is in the 
first place agreed, and justly, that to fortify the town 
against shipping is impracticable ; but we are to foriify 
lodgments on some commanding part of the city for two 
thousand men. We are to erect inclosed batteries od 

908 ^^I^^ OF WASHmGTOJr. 

both sides of the water, near Hell Gate, which will aa> 
swer the doable purpose of securing the town against 
piracies through the Sound, and secure our communica* 
tion with Long Island, now become a more important 
point than ever; as it is determined to form a strong 
fortified camp of three thousand men, on the island, im« 
mediately opposite to New York The pass in the High- 
lands is to be made as respectable as possible, and 
guarded by a battalion. In shorty I think the plan judi- 
oious and complete.** 

The pass in the Highlands aboye alluded to, is that 
grand defile of the Hudson, where, for upwards of fifteen 
miles, it wends its deep channel between stem, forest* 
dad mountains and rocky promontories. Two fortSi 
about six miles distant from each other, and command 
ing narrow parts of the river at its bends through these 
TTigliUTi<1fl^ had been commenced in the preceding au« 
tumn,by order of the Oontinental Congress; but they 
were said to be insufficient for the security of that im- 
portant pass, and were to be extended and strengthened* 

Washington had charged Lee, in his instructions, to 
keep a stem eye upon the tories, who were active in New 
York. " You can seize upon the persons of the princi- 
pals/' said he ; ** they must be so notoriously known, 
that there will be little danger of committing mistakes.'* 
Lee acted up to the letter of these instructions, and 
weeded out with a vigorous hand some of the rankest ol 
the growth. This gave great o£fense to the peace-loving 


dtizeiis, who insisted that he was arrogating a power 
vested solely in the civil authority. One of them, well- 
affiooted to the cause, writes, '^ To see the vast number of 
houses shut up, one would think the city almost evacu- 
ated. Women and children are scarcely to be seen in the 
streets. Troops are daily coming in ; they break open 
and quarter themselves in any house they find shut" * 

The enemy, too, regarded his measures with apprehen* 
sion. ''That arch rebel Lee,*' writes a British officer, 
'' has driven all the well-affected people from the town of 
New YorL If something is not speedily done. His Bri- 
tannic Majesty's American dominions will be confined 
within a very narrow compass." t 

In the exercise of his miUtary functions, Lee set Gov 
emor Tryon and the captain of the Asia at defiance. 
'' They had threatened perdition to the town," vnrites he 
to Washington, ** if the cannon were removed from the 
batteries and wharves, but I ever considered their threats 
as a hrvtumfvlmm^ and even persuaded the town to be of 
the same way of thinking. We accordingly conveyed 
them to a place of safety in the middle of the day, and 
no cannonade ensued. Captain Parker publishes a 
pleasant reason for his passive conduct He says that it 
was manifestly my intention, and that of the New Eng- 
land men under my command, to bring destruction on 
this town, so hated for their loyal principles, but that he 

* Fred. Bhinelander to Peter Van Schaack» Feb. 28L 
t Am, ArcMtfea, y. 425, 


was determined not to indulge us ; so remained qtdel 
out of spite. The people here laugh at his nonsenaei 
and begin to despise the menaces which formerly used to 
throw them into convulsions." 

Washington appears to hare shared the merriment 
In his reply to Lee, he writes, " I could not avoid laugh* 
ing at Captain Parker's reasons for not putting his re« 
peated threats into execution/' — a proof, by the way, 
under his own hand, that he could laugh occasionally ; 
and even when surrounded by perplexities. 

According to Lee's account, the New Yorkers showed 
a wonderful alacrity in removing the cannon. ** Men and 
boys of all ages,** writes he, ** worked with the greatest; 
zeal and pleasure. I really believe the generality are as 
well affected as any on the continent." Some of the well- 
affected, however, thought he was rather too self-willed 
and high-handed. "Though General Lee has many 
things to recommend him as a general,'* writes one of 
them, " yet I think he was out of luck when he ordered 
the removal of the guns from the battery ; as it was with* 
out the approbation or knowledge of our Congress.** *— 
Lee. seldom waited for the approbation of Congress in 
moments of exigency. 

He now proceeded with his plan of defenses. A strong 
redoubt, capable of holding three hundred men, was 
oommenced at Horen's Hook, commanding the pass at 

* Fred. Bhinelander to Peter Van Sohaadk. 


Hell Gate, so as to block up from the enemy's ships the 
passage between the mainland and Long Island. A reg- 
iment was stationed on the island, making fascines, and 
preparing other materials for constructing the works for 
an intrenched camp, which, Lee hoped would render it 
impossible for the enemy to get a footing there, " What 
to do with this city," writes he, " I own, puzzles me. It 
is so encircled with deep navigable water, that whoeve] 
commands the sea must command the town. To-morrow 
I shall begin to dismantle that part of the fort next to 
the town, to prevent its being converted into a dtadeL 
I shall barrier the principal streets, and, at least, if 1 
cannot make it a continental garrison, it shall be a dis- 
putable field of battle.** Batteries were to be erected on 
an eminence behind Trinity Church, to keep the enemy's 
ships at so great a distance as not to injure the town. 

King's Bridge, at the upper end of Manhattan or New 
Tork Island, linking it with the main land, was pro- 
nounced by Lee '' a most important pass, without which 
the city could have no communication with Connecticut.** 
It was, therefore, to be made as strong as possible. 

Heavy cannon were to be sent up to the forts in the 
Highlands, which were to be enlarged and strengthened. 

In the midst of his schemes, Lee received orders from 
Cbngress to the command in Canada, vacant by the death 
of Montgomery. He bewailed the defenseless condition 
of the city ; the Continental Congress, as he said, not 
having as yet taken the least step for its security. ^* The 


instant I leave it," said he, *' I conolnde the ProyinciaS 
Oongress, and inhabitants in general, will relapse into 
their former hysterics. The men-of-war and Mr. Trjon 
will return to their old station at the wharves, and the 
first regiments who arrive from England will take quiet 
possession of the town and Long Island." 

It must be observed that, in consequence of his military 
demonstrations in the city, the enemy's ships had drawn 
o£f and dropped down the bay ; and he had taken vigor- 
ous measures, without consulting the committees, to put 
an end to the practice of supplying them with provisions. 

" Gbvemor Tryon and the -4«ta," writes he, to Wash- 
ington, " continue between Nutten and Bedlow's TalRTiflq, 
It has pleased his Excellency, in violation of the compact 
he has made, to seize several vessels from Jersey laden 
with flour. It has, in rettim, pleased my Excellency to 
stop all provisions from the city, and out off all inter- 
course with him, — a measure which has thrown the 
mayor, council, and tories into agonies. The propensity, 
or rather rage, for paying court to this great man, is in- 
conceivable. They cannot be weaned from him. We 
must put wormwood on his paps, or they will cry to 
suck, as they are in their second childhood." 

We would observe in explanation of a sarcasm in the* 
above quoted letter, that Lee professed a great contempt 
for the titles of respect which it was the custom to prefix 
to the names of men in office or command. He scoffed 
at them as unworthy of ^' a great, free, manly, equal com* 


monwealth." ** For my own part," said he, *^ I would as 
lief they would pat ratsbane in my moath, as the Excel •> 
lency with which I am daily crammed. How much more 
trae dignity was there in the simplicity of address among 
the Bomans I Marcus Tnllins Cicero, Decios Brato Im- 
peratori, or Caio Marcello Consnli, than to * His Excel- 
lency Major-general Noodle/ or to the * Honorable John 




|HE siege of Boston continued through the win- 
ter, without any striking incident to enliven its 
monotony. The British remained within their 
works, leaving the beleaguering army slowly to augment 
its forces. The country was dissatisfied with the inaction 
of the latter. Even Congress was anxious for some suc- 
cessful blow that might revive popular enthusiasm. Wash- 
ington shared this anxiety, and had repeatedly, in councils 
of war, suggested an attack upon the town, but had found 
a majority of his general officers opposed to ii He had 
hoped some favorable opportunity would present, when, 
the harbor being frozen, the troops might approach the 
town upon the ice. The winter, however, though severe 
at first, proved a mild one, and the bay continued open. 
General Putnam, in the meantime, having completed the 



new works at Leclimere Point, and being desirous of 
keeping np the spirit of his men, resolved to treat them 
to an exploit Accordingly, from his '^ impregnable for^ 
tress '* of Cobble Hill, he detached a party of about two 
hundred, under his favorite officer, Major Enowlton, to 
surprise and capture a British guard stationed at Charles- 
town. It was a daring enterprise, and executed with 
spirit As Charlestown Neck was completely protected, 
£nowlton led his men across the mill-dam, round the 
base of the hill, and immediately below the fort ; set fire 
to the guard-house and some buildings in its vicinity; 
made several prisoners, and retired without loss, although 
thundered upon by the cannon of the fort The exploit 
was attended by a dramatic effect on which Putnam had 
not calculated. The British officers, early in the winter, 
had fitted up a theatre, which was well attended by the 
troops and tories. On the evening in question, an after* 
piece was to be performed, entitled, ^' The Blockade of 
Boston," intended as a burlesque on the patriot army 
which was beleaguering it Washington is said to have 
been represented in it as an awkward lout, equipped with 
a huge wig, and a long rusty sword, attended by a coun- 
try booby as orderly sergeant, in rustic garb, with an old 
firelock seven or eight feet long. 

The theatre was crowded, especially by the military. 
The first pioce was over, and the curtain was rising for 
the &rcc, when a sergeant made his appearance, and an« 
jiounoed that 'Hhe alarm guns were firing at Charlestown, 


and the Yankee;: attacking Bunker's Hill." At first tliia 
was supposed to be a part of the entertamment^ until 
General Howe gave the word, " Officers, to your alarm 

Great confusion ensued ; every one scrambled out of 
the theatre as fast as possible. There was, as usual^ 
some shrieking and fainting of ladies ; and the farce oi 
^'The Blockade of Boston" had a more serious than 
oomic termination. 

The London " Chronicle/' in a sneering comment on 
Boston affiiiirs, gave Burgoyne as the author of this bur- 
lesque afterpiece, though perhaps unjustly. ''General 
Burgoyne has opened a theatrical campaign, of which 
himself is sole manager, being determined to act with the 
proyincials on the defensive only. Tom Thumb has been 
already represented ; while, on the other hand, the pro- 
vincials are preparing to exhibit, early m the spring, 
' Measure for Measure.' " 

The British officers, like all soldiers by profession, en* 
deavored to while away the time by every amusement 
within their reach ; but, in truth, the condition of the be- 
sieged town was daily becoming more and more distress- 
ing. The inhabitants were without flour, pulse, or vege- 
tables ; the troops were nearly as destitute. There waa 
a lack of fuel, too, as well as food. The small-pox broke 
out, and it was necessary to inoculate the army. Men, 
women, and children either left the city voluntarily, or 
were sent out of it ; yet the distress increased. Several 

WASBlNOTOir'B DtFflOULTlBa. 217 

honses were broken open and plundered; others were 
demolished by the soldiery for fneL General Howe re- 
sorted to the sternest measures to put a stop to these 
exoesses. The provost was ordered to go the rounds 
with the 'hangman, and hang up the first man he should 
detect in the fact, without waiting for further proof for 
triaL Offenders were punished with four hundred, six 
hundred, and even one thousand lashes. The wife of a 
private soldier, convicted of receiving stolen goods, was 
sentenced to one hundred lashes on her bare back, at the 
cart*s tail, in different parts of the town, and an imprison- 
ment of three months. 

Meanwhile, Washington was incessantly goaded by the 
impatient murmurs of the public, as we may judge by his 
letters to Mr. Beed. '' I know the integrity of my own 
heart/' writes he, on the 10th of February ; " but to de- 
clare it, unless to a friend, may be an argument of vanity. 
I know the unhappy predicament I stand in ; I know that 
much is expected of me ; I know that, without men, with- 
out arms, without ammunition, without anything fit for 
the accommodation of a soldier, little is to be done ; and, 
what is mortifying, I know that I cannot stand justified 
to the world without exposing my own weakness, and 
injuring the cause, by declaring my wants ; which I am 
determined not to do, further than unavoidable necessity 
brings every man acquainted with them. 

^My own situation is so irksome to me at times, that, 
if I did not consult the public good more than my own 



tranquillity, I should long ere this have put eyerything 
on the cast of a die. So far from my having an army of 
twenty thousand men, well armed, I have been here with 
less than one half of that number, including sick, fur- 
loughed, and on command ; and those neither armed nor 
clothed as they should be. In short, my situation has 
been such, that I have been obliged to use art to conceal 
it from my own officers." 

How precious are those letters I And how fortunate 
that the absence of Mr. Beed from camp, should have 
procured for us such confidential outpourings of Wash* 
ington's heart at this time of its great triaL 

He still adhered to his opinion in favor of an attempt 
upon the town. He was aware that it would be attended 
with considerable loss, but believed it would be success- 
ful if the men should behave well. Within a few days 
after the date of this letter, the bay became sufficiently 
frozen for the transportation of troops. " This," writes 
he to Beed, '' I thought, knowing the ice would not last, 
a favorable opportunity to make an assault upon the 
troops in town. I proposed it in council; but behold, 
though we had been waiting all the year for this favor- 
able event, the enterprise was thought too dangerous. 
Perhaps it was; perhaps the irksomeness of my situa- 
tion led me to undertake more than could be warranted 
by prudence. I did not think so, and I am sure yet thai 
the enterprise, if it had been undertaken with resolution, 
must have succeeded ; without it, any would faiL*' 


ffis proposition was too bold for the field-officers as- 
sembled in council (Feb. 16th), who objected that there 
was not force, nor arms and ammunition sufficient in 
camp for such an attempt Washington acquiesced in 
the decision, it being almost unanimous ; yet he felt the 
irksomeness of his situation. '' To have the eyes of the 
whole continent," said he, '' fixed with anxious expecta- 
tion of hearing of some great event, and to be restrained 
in every military operation for want of the necessary 
means of carrying it on, is not very pleasing, especially 
as the means used to conceal my weakness from the en- 
emy, conceal it also from our friends, and add to {heir 

In the council of war above mentioned, a cannonade 
ind bombardment were considered advisable, as soon as 
there should be a sufficiency of powder ; in the mean- 
time, preparations might be made for taking possession 
of Dorchester Heights and Noddle's Island. 

At length the camp was rejoiced by the arrival of 
Colonel Enox, with his long train of sledges drawn by 
oxen, bringing more than fifty cannon, mortars, and 
howitzsers, besides supplies of lead, and flints. The seal 
and perseverance which he had displayed in his wintry 
expedition across frozen lakes and snowy wastes, and 
the intelligence with which he had fulfilled his instruc- 
tions, won him the entire confidence of Washington. 
His conduct in this enterprise was but an earnest of thai 
energy and ability which he displayed throughout the wac 


Further ammunition being received from the royal 
arsenal at New York, and other quarters, and a rein- 
forcement of ten regiments of militia, Washington no 
longer met with opposition to his warlike measures. 
Leohmere Point, which Putnam had fortified, was im- 
mediately to be supplied with mortars and heavy can- 
non, so as to command Boston on the north; and 
Dorchester Heights, on the south of the town, were 
forthwith to be taken possession of. "If anything," 
said Washington, '' will induce the enemy to hazard an 
engagement, it will be our attempting to fortify those 
heights, as, in that event taking place, we shall be able 
to command a great part of the town, and almost the 
whole harbor.'* Their possession, moreover, would ena- 
ble him to push his works to Nook's Hill, and other 
points opposite Boston, whence a cannonade and bom- 
bardment must drive the enemy from the city. 

The council of Massachusetts, at his request, ordered 
the militia of the towns contiguous to Dorchester and 
Boxbury, to hold themselves in readiness to repair to the 
lines at those places with arms, ammunition, and accou- 
trements, on receiving a preconcerted signaL 

Washington felt painfully aware how much depended 
upon the success of this attempt. There was a cloud of 
gloom and distrust lowering upon the public mind. Dan- 
ger threatened on the north and on the south. Mont- 
gomery had fallen before the walls of Quebec. The 
army in Canada was shattered. Tryon and the tories 


were plotting miscliief in New York. Zhuunore was 
harasaing the lower part of Yirginia, and Clinton and 
hia fleet were prowling along the coast, on a eeoret er- 
rand of niiBcluef. 

Washington's general orders evince the solemn and 
utzioos state of Hia feelings. In those of the 26th of 
Febmaiy, he forbade aU playing at cards and other 
james of ohanoe. "At this time of public distress," 
grrites he, " men may find eooogh to do in the service of 
Gh>d and their oonntry, without abandoning themselves 

to -vioe and immorality It is a noble cause 

are are engaged in ; it is the oanse of virtne and man' 
kind ; every advantage and comfort to ns and onr pos* 
beri^ depend npon the vigor of oor exertions ; in short, 
freedom or slavery mnst be the result of oor conduct ; 
there can, therefore, be no greater indncement to men to 
bebAve well Bnt it may not be amiss to the troops to 
know, that if any man in action shall presume to skulk, 
hide himself, or retreat from the enemy without the or* 
ders of his commanding officer, he will be instantly shot 
down as an example of cowardice ; cowards having too 
frequently disconcerted the best formed troops by their 
dastardly behavior." 

In the general plan it was concerted that, should the 
enemy detach a large force to dislodge our men from Dor- 
chester Heights, as had been done in the affair of Buu' 
tar's Hill, an attack npon the opposite side of the town 
ihotdd forthwith be made by Oeneral Putnam. For this 


purpose he was to have four thousand picked men in 
readiness, in two divisions, under Generals Sullivan and 
Ghreene. At a concerted signal from Boxburj, they were 
to embark in boats near the mouth of Charles Biver, 
cross under cover of the fire of three floating batteries, 
land in two places in Boston, secure its strong posts, 
force the gates and works at the Neck, and let in the 
Eoxbury troops. 


! eveiUDg of Mondaj, the 4tli of Harch, vas 
I fixed npon for the occapatdon of DorcheBter 
I Heights. The groiud was frozen too hard to 
be eaailj intrenohed ; koines, therefore, and gabions, and 
bundles of screwed hay, were collected daring the two 
preceding nights, with which to form breastworks and 
redoubts. Dnring these two busy nights the enemy's 
batteries were cannonaded and bombarded from oppo- 
site points, to occupy their attention, and prevent their 
noticing these preparations. They replied with spirit, 
and the incessant roar of artillery thus kept np, ooveied 
cwmpletely the rumbling of w^i;ons and ordnance. 

How little the enemy were aware of what was impend- 
ing, we may gather from the following extract of a letter 
from an officer of distinction in the British army in Bee* 


BoBton to his friend in London^ dated on the 3d of 
March : — 

** For these last six weeks or near two months we have 
been better amused than could possibly be expected in 
our situation. We had a theatre, we had balls, and 
there is actually a subscription on foot for a masque- 
rade. England seems to have forgot us, and we ha^e 
endeavored to forget ourselves. But we were roused to 
a sense of our situation last night, in a manner unpleas- 
ant enough. The rebels have been for some time past 
erecting a bomb battery, and last night began to play 
upon us. Two shells fell not far from me. One fell 
upon Colonel Monckton's house, but luckily did not 
burst until it had crossed the street. Many houses were 
damaged, but no lives lost The rebel army,** adds he» 
'4s not brave, I believe, but it is agreed on aQ hands 
that their artillery officers are at least equal to ours." * 

The wife of John Adams, who resided in the vicinity 
of the American camp, and knew that a general action 
was meditated, expresses in a letter to her husband the 
feelings of a patriot woman during the suspense of these 

" I have been in a constant state of anxiety since yon 
left me,'* writes she on Saturday. "It has been said 
to-morrow, and to-morrow for this month, and when the 
dreadful to-morrow will be, I know noi But harkt 

* Am, Archives, 4th Series, v. 4dS. 


The honse this inBtant shakes with the roar of oannoiL 
I haye been to the door, and find it is a cannonade from 
our army. Orders, I find, are come, for all the remain- 
ing militia to repair to the lines Monday night, by twelve 
o*olook. No sleep for me to-nighi" 

On Sunday the letter is resumed. " I went to bed after 
twelve, but got no rest ; the cannon continued firing, and 
my heart kept pace with them all nighi We have had 
a pretty quiet day, but what to-morrow will bring forth, 
God only knows.'* 

On Monday, the appointed evening, she continues : ^ I 
have just returned from Penn's Hill, where I have been 
sitting to hear the amazing roar of cannon, and from 
whence I could see every shell which was thrown. The 
sound, I think, is one of the grandest in nature, and is of 
the true species of the sublime. 'Tis now an incessant 
roar ; but O, the fatal ideas which are connected with the 
sound 1 How many of our dear countrymen must fall I 

''I went to bed about twelve, and arose again a little 
after one. I could no more sleep than if I had been in 
the engagement ; the rattling of the windows, the jar of 
the house, the continual roar of twenty-four-pounders, 
and the bursting of shells, give us such ideas, and realize 
a scene to us of which we could scarcely form any concep- 
tion. I hope to give you joy of Boston, even if it is in 
nuns, before I send this away." 

On the Monday evening thus graphically described, as 

■oon as the firing commenced, the detachment under 
VOL. n.— 15 



General Thomas set out on its cautions and secret march 
from the lines of Boxburj and Dorchester. Everything 
was conducted as regularly and quietly as possible. A 
coyering parly of eight hundred men preceded the carts 
with the intrenching tools ; then came General Thomas 
with the working pariy, twelve hundred strong, followed 
by a train of three hundred wagons, laden with fascines^ 
gabions, and hay screwed into bundles of seven or eight 
hundred-weighi A great number of such bundles were 
ranged in a line along Dorchester Neck on the side next 
the enemy, to protect the troops, while passing, from 
being raked by the fire of the enemy. Fortunately, al- 
though the moon, as Washington writes, was shining in 
its full lustre, the flash and roar of cannonry from oppo- 
site points, and the bursting of bombshells high in the 
air, so engaged and diverted the attention of the enemy, 
that the detachment reached the heights about eight 
o'clock, without being heard or perceived. The covering 
party then divided; one half proceeded to the point 
nearest Boston, the other to the one nearest to Castle 
Williams. The working party commenced to fortify, 
under the directions of Gridley, the veteran engineer, 
who had planned the works on Bunker's Hill. It was 
severe labor, for the earth was frozen eighteen inches 
deep ; but the men worked with more than their usual 
spirit, for the eye of the commander-in-chief was upon 
them. Though not called there by his duties, Wash- 
ington could not be absent from this eventful operation. 


An eloqnent orator has imagined liis situation, — ''All 
around him intense movement ; while nothing was to 
be heard excepting the tread of busy feet, and the 
dtdl soiind of the mattock upon the frozen soil. Be- 
neath him the slumbering batteries of the castle; the 
roadsteads and harbor filled with the vessels of the 
royal fleets motionless, except as they swung round at 
their moorings at the turn of the midnight tide ; the 
beleaguered city occupied with a powerful army, and a 
considerable non-combatant population, startled into un- 
natural vigilance by the incessant and destructive can- 
nonade, yet unobservant of the great operations in prog- 
ress so near them ; the surrounding country, dotted with 
a hundred rural settiements, roused from the deep sleep 
of a New England village, by the unwonted glare and 
tumulf' ♦ 

The same plastic fancy su^ests the crowd of visions^ 
phantoms of the past, which may have passed through 
Washington's mind, on this night of feverish excitement 
'' Hir eady training in the wilderness ; his escape from 
drowning, and the deadly rifle of the savage in the peril- 
ous mission to Venango ; the shower of iron hail through 
which he rode unharmed on Braddock's field ; the early 
stages of the great conflict now brought to its crisis, and, 
still more solemnly, the possibilities of the future for 
himself and for America — ^the ruin of the patriot cause if 

•Ontion ol the Hon. Bdward Bverett at Dorohester, Julj 4th, 186S. 

228 ^^^ OF WASSmGTOm 

he failed at the outset ; the triumphant oonsolidatioii o( 
the Beyolution if he prevailed." 

The labors of the night were carried on by the Amer- 
loans with their usual aotiyity and address. When a 
relief party arrived at four o'clock in the morning, two 
forts were in sufficient forwardness to furnish protection 
against small-arms and grapeshot; and such use was 
made of the fascines and bundles of screwed hay, that, at 
dawn, a formidable-looking fortress frowned along the 
height. We have the testimony of a British officer al« 
ready quoted, for the faci " This morning at daybreak 
we discovered two redoubts on Dorchester Point, and 
two smaller ones on their flanks. They were all raised 
during the last night, with an expedition equal to that of 
the genii belonging to Aladdin's wonderful lamp. From 
these hills they command the whole town, so that we 
must drive them from their post, or desert the place.*' 

Howe gazed at the mushroom fortress with astonish- 
ment, as it loomed indistinctly, but grandly, through a 
morning fog. " The rebels," exclaimed he, '* have done 
more work in one night, than my whole army would have 
done in one month." 

Washington had watched, with intense anxiety, the 
effect of the revelation at daybreak. " When the enemy 
first discovered our works in the morning," writes he, 
** they seemed to be in great confusion, and from theit 
movements, to intend an attack." 

An American, who was on Dorchester Heights, gives 8 

pichurd of the scene. A tremendous cannonade was com- 
menced from the forts in Boston, and the shipping in the 
harbor. '' Cannon shot," writes he, *^ are continually roll- 
ing and rebounding over the hill, and it is astonishing 
to observe how little our soldiers are terrified by them. 
The royal troops are perceived to be in motion, as if 
embarking to pass the harbor and land on Dorchester 
shore, to attack our works. The hills and elevations in 
this vicinity are covered with spectators, to witness deeds 
of horror in the expected conflict. His Excellency, Gen- 
eral Washington, is present, animating and encouraging 
the soldiers, and they in return manifest their joy, and 
express a warm desire for the approach of the enemy ; 
each man knows his own place. Our breastworks are 
strengthened, and among the means of defense are a 
great number of barrels, filled with stones and sand, and 
arranged in front of our works, which are to be put in 
motion, and made to roll down the hill, to break the legs 
if the assailants as they advance." 

(General Thomas was reinforced with two thousand 
men. Old Putnam stood ready to make a descent upon 
the north side of the town, with his four thousand picked 
men, as soon as the heights on the south should be as- 
sailed: "All the forenoon," says the American above 
cited, ** we were in momentary expectation of witnessing 
an awful scene ; nothing less than the carnage of Breed's 
Hill battle was expected." 

As Washington rode about the heights, he reminded 



the troops that it was the 5th of March, the anniyersary 
of the Boston massacre, and called on them to revenge 
the slaughter of their brethren. They answered him 
with shouts. ** Our officers and men," writes he, " ap- 
peared impatient for the appeal The event, I think, 
must have been fortunate ; nothing less than success and 
victory on our side." 

Howe, in the meantime, was perplexed between his 
pride and the hazards of his position. In his letters to 
the miBistiy. he had scouted the idea of " being in dan- 
ger from the rebels." He had " hoped they would attack 
him.'* Apparently they were about to fulfill his hopes, 
and with formidable advantages of position. He must 
dislodge them from Dorchester Heights, or evacuate 
Boston. The latter was an alternative too mortifying to 
be readily adopted. He resolved on an attack, but it 
was to be a night one. 

''A body of light infantry, under the command of 
Major Mulgrave, and a body of grenadiers, are to em- 
bark to-night at seven," writes the gay British officer 
already quoted. '' I think it likely to be a general affair. 
Adieu balls, masquerades, etc., for this may be looked 
upon as the opening of the campaign." 

In the evening the British began to move. Lord 
Percy was to lead the attack. Twenty-five hundred men 
were embarked in transports, which were to convey them 
to the rendezvous at Castle Williams. A violent storm 
set in from the easi The transports could not reach 


{heir plaoe of destination. The men-of-war oonld not 
cover and support them. A furious snrf beat on the 
shore where the boats would have to land. The attack 
was consequentlj postponed until the following day. 

That daj was equally unpropitious. The storm con- 
tinued, with torrents of rain. The attack was i^ain 
postponed. In the meantime, the Americans went on 
strengthening their works ; by the time the storm sub- 
sided, (General Howe deemed them too strong to be 
easily carried ; the attempt, therefore, was relinquished 

What was to be done ? The shells thrown from the 
heights into the town, proved that it was no longer ten- 
able. The fleet was equally exposed. Admiral Shuld- 
ham, the successor to Ghraves, assured Howe that if the 
Americans maintained possession of the heights, his 
ships could not remain in the harbor. It was determined, 
therefore, in a council of war, to evacuate the place as 
soon as possible. But now came on a humiliating per* 
plexity. The troops, in embarking, would be exposed 
to a destructive fire. How was this to be prevented? 
(General Howe's pride would not suffer him to make cap- 
itulations; he endeavored to work on the fears of the 
Bostonians, by hinting that if his troops were molested 
while embarking, he might be obliged to cover their re- 
treat by setting fire to the town. 

The hint had its effect Several of the principal in- 
habitants communicated with him through the medium 


of General Bobertson. The result of the negotiation was, 
that a paper was concocted and signed by several of the 
'' selectmen " of Boston, stating the fears they had enter- 
tained of the destruction of the place, but that those fears 
had been quieted by General Howe's declaration that 
it should remain uninjured, provided his troops were 
unmolested while embarking; the selectmen, therefore, 
begged ''some assurance that so dreadful a calamity 
might not be brought on, by any measures from with- 

This paper was sent out from Boston, on the evening 
of the 8th, with a fli^ of truce, which bore it to the 
American lines at Boxbury. There it was received by 
Colonel Learned, and carried by him to head-quarters. 
Washington consulted with such of the general officers 
as he could immediately assemble. The paper was not 
addressed to him, nor to any one else. It was not au- 
thenticated by the signature of General Howe ; nor was 
there any other act obliging that commander to fulfill the 
promise asserted to have been made by him. It was 
deemed proper, therefore, that Washington should give 
no answer to the paper ; but that Colonel Learned should 
signify in a letter, his having laid it before the com- 
mander-in-chief, and the reasons assigned for not an- 
swering it. 

With this uncompromising letter, the flag returned to 
Boston. The Americans suspended their fire, but con- 
tinued to fortify their positions. On the night of the 9th, 


a detaohment was sent to plant a battery on Nook's Hill, 
an eminence at Dorohester, which lies nearest to Boston 
Keck. A fire kindled behind the hill revealed the proj* 
ect. It provoked a cannonade from the British, which 
was retomed with interest from Gobble Hill, Lechmere 
Pointy Cambridge, and Boxburj. The roar of cannonry 
and bursting of bombshells prevailed from half after 
eight at night, until six in the morning. It was another 
night of terror to the people of Boston ; but the Ameri- 
cans had to desist, for the present, from the attempt to 
fortify Nook's Hill. Among the accidente of the bom- 
bardment, was the bursting of Putnam's vaunted mortar, 
"The Congress-" 

Daily preparations were now made by the enemy for 
departure. By proclamation, the inhabitante were or- 
dered to deliver up all linen and woolen goods, and all 
other goods, that, in possession of the rebels, would aid 
them in carrying on the war. Grean Bush, a New York 
tory, was authorized to take possession of such goods, 
and put them on board of two of the transports. Under 
cover of his commission, he and hiis myrmidons broke 
open stores, and stripped them of their contents. Ma% 
rauding gangs from the fleet and army followed their ex- 
ample, and extended their depredations to private houses. 
On the 14th, Howe, in a general order, declared that the 
first soldier caught plundering should be hanged on the 
spot. Still on the 16th houses were broken open, goods 
destroyed, and furniture defaced by the troops. Some 

234 ^^^^ OF wAsnmGTOJsr. 

of the fomitorey it is true, belonged to the officers, and 
was destroyed because thej could neither sell it nor 
carry it away. 

The letter of a British officer gives a lively picture of 
the hurried preparations for retreai ''Our not being 
burdened with provisions, permitted us to save some 
stores and ammunition^ the light field-pieces, and such 
things as were most convenient of carriage. The rest, I 
am sorry to say, we were obliged to leave behind ; such 
of the guns as by dismounting we could throw into the 
sea was so done. The carriages were disabled, and eveiy 
precaution taken that our circumstances would permit ; 
for our retreat was by agreement The people of the 
town who were friends to government, took care of noth- 
ing but their merchandise, and found means to employ 
the men belonging to the transports in embarking their 
goods, so that several of the vessels were entirely filled 
with private property, instead of the king's stores. By 
some unavoidable accident, the medicines, surgeons' 
chests, instruments, and necessaries, were left in the 
hospital The confusion unavoidable to such a disaster, 
will make you conceive how much must be forgot, where 
every man had a private concern. The necessary care 
and distress of the women, children, sick, and wounded, 
required every assistance that could be given. It was 
not like breaking up a camp, where every man knows hia 
duty ; it was like departing your country with your wives, 
your servants, your household furniture, and all your en« 


cnmbranoes. The officers, who felt the disgrace of their 
retreat, did their utmost to keep up appearances. The 
men, who thought they were changing for the better, 
strove to take advantage of the present times, and were 
kept from plunder and drink with difficulty." * 

For some days the embarkation of the troops was de- 
layed by adverse winds. Washington, who was imper- 
fectly informed of affidrs in Boston, feared that the 
movements there might be a feint Determined to bring 
things to a crisis, he detached a force to Nook's Hill oq 
Saturday, the sixteenth, which threw up a breastwork in 
the night regardless of the cannonading of the enemy. 
This commanded Boston Neck, and the south part of the 
town, and a deserter brought a false report to the British 
that a general assault was intended. 

The embarkation, so long delayed, began with hurry 
and confusion at four o'clock in the morning. The har- 
bor of Boston soon presented a striking and tumultuous 
scene. There were seventy-eight ships and transports 
casting loose for sea, and eleven or twelve thousand men, 
soldiers, sailors, and refugees, hurrying to embark ; many, 
especially of the latter, with their families and personal 
effdcts. The refugees, in fact, labored under greater dis- 
advantages than the king's troops, being obliged to man 
their own vessels, as sufficient seamen could not be spared 
from the king's transports. Speaking of those ** who had 

* Eemembraneer, vol. iiL p. 1061 


taken upon fhemselves the style and title of goyemment 
men " in Boston, and acted an unfriendly part in this 
great contest, Washington observes: "By all accounts 
there never existed a more miserable set of beings than 
these wretched creatures now are. Taught to believe 
that the power of Great Britain was superior to all op« 
position, and that foreign aid, if not, was at hand, they 
were even higher and more insulting in their opposition 
than the Begulars. When the order issued, therefore, 
for embarking the troops in Boston, no electric shock — 
no sudden clap of thunder, — in a word the last trump 
could not have struck them with greater consternation. 
They were at their wits' end, and conscious of their black 
ingratitude, choose to commit themselves, in the manner 
I have above described, to the mercy of the waves at a 
tempestuous season, rather than meet their offended 
countrymen." * 

While this tumultuous embarkation was going on, the 
Americans looked on in silence from their batteries on 
Dorchester Heights, without firing a shot. ''It was 
lucky for the inhabitants now left in Boston, that they 
did not," writes a British oflScer ; " for I am informed 
everything was prepared to set the town in a blaze, had 
they fired one cannon." f 

At an early hour of the morning, the troops stationed 
at Cambridge and Boxbury had paraded, and several 

* Letter to John A. Washington, Am, ArehiMS, 4th Series, ▼. 660. 
f Frothingham, Siege of Boeton^ p. 810. 


regiments under Putnam had embarked in boats, and 

dropped down Charles Biver, to Sewall's Point, to watch 

the movements of the enemy by land and water. About 

nine o'clock a large body of troops was seen marching 

down Bunker's Hill, while boats full of soldiers were 

putting off for the shipping. Two scouts were sent from 

fhe camp to reconnoiter. The works appeared still to be 

occupied, for sentries were posted about them with shoul* 

dered muskets. Observing them to be motionless, the 

scouts made nearer scrutiny, and discovered them to be 

mere effigies, set up to delay the advance of the Ameri* 

cans. Pushing on, they found the works deserted, and 

gave signal of the fact; whereupon a detachment was 

fient from the camp to take possession. 

Part of Putnam's troops were now sent back to Oam^ 
bridge ; a part were ordered forward to occupy Boston. 
General Ward, too, with five hundred men, made his way 
from Boxbury, across the Neck, about which the enemy 
had scattered caltrops or crow's feet,"*^ to impede inva- 
sion. The gates were unbarred and thrown open, and 
the Americans entered in triumph, with drums beating 
and colors flying. 

By ten o'clock the enemy were all embarked and under 
way ; Putnam had taken command of the city, and occu« 
pied the important points, and the flag of thirteen stripes, 
the standard of the Union, floated above all the forts. 

* lion bftlls, with four sharp points, to wound the feet of men or horsef. 


On the following day, Wasliington himself entered 
the town^ where he was joyfully welcomed. He beheld 
around him sad traces of the devastation caused by the 
bombardment, though not to the extent that he had 
apprehended There were evidences, also, of the haste 
with which the British had retreated — ^five pieces of ord- 
nance with their trunnions knocked ofiF; others hastily 
spiked ; others thrown oflf the wharf. " General Howe's 
retreat," writes Washington, "was precipitate beyond 
anything I could have conceived. The destruction of 
the stores at Dunbar's camp, after Braddock's defeat, 
was but a faint image of what may be seen at Boston ; 
artillery carts cut to pieces in one place, gun carriages 
in another; shells broke here, shots buried there, and 
everything carrying with it the face of disorder and oon« 
fusion, as also of distress." * 

To add to the mortification of General Howe, he re- 
ceived, we are told, while sailing out of the harbor, de- 
spatches from the ministry, approving the resolution he 
had so strenuously expressed of maintaining his post 
until he should receive reinforcements. 

As the small-pox prevailed in some parts of the town, 
precautions were taken by Washington for its purifica- 
tion ; and the main body of the army did not march in 
until the 20th. " The joy manifested in the countenances 
*of the inhabitants," says an observer, " was overcast bj 

* Leo's Memoirs, p. 1621 


the melancholy gloom caused by ten tedious months of 
siege ; " but when, on the 22d, the people from the coun- 
try crowded into the town, "it was truly interesting," 
writes the same observer, " to witness the tender inter- 
views and fond embraces of those who had been long 
separated under circumstances so peculiarly distress- 

Notwithstanding the haste with which the British 
army was embarked, the fleet lingered for some days in 
Nantaskei Boad. Apprehensive that the enemy, now 
that their forces were collected in one body, might 
attempt by some blow to retrieve their late disgrace, 
Washington hastily threw up works on Fort Hill^ which 
commanded the harbor, and demolished those whicli 
protected the town from the neighboring country. The 
fleet at length disappeared entirely from the coast, and 
the deliverance of Boston was assured* 

The eminent services of Washington throughout this 
arduous siege, his admirable management, by which ''in 
the course of a few months, an undisciplined band oj 
huinindmen became soldiers, and were enabled to invest, 
for nearly a year, and finally to expel a brave army of 
veterans commanded by the most experienced generals," 
drew forth the enthusiastic applause of the nation. No 
h^her illustration of this great achievement need be 
given than the summary of it contained in the speech 

• Tbacher'8 Mil Journal, p. 150. 

240 I'^^ OF WAaHmOTON. 

of a Britisli statesman, the Duke of Manohestery in the 
House of Lords. '^The army of Britain," said he, 
''equipped with every possible essential of war; a chosen 
army, with chosen officers, backed by the power of a 
mighty fleet, sent to correct revolted subjects; sent to 
chastise a resisting city ; sent to assert Britain's author- 
ity, — has, for many tedious months, been imprisoned 
within that town by the provincial army; who, their 
watchful guards, permitted them no inlet to the country ; 
who braved all their efforts, and defied all their skill and 
ability in war could ever attempt One way. indeed, of 
escape was left ; the fleet is yet respected ; to the fleet 
the army has recourse ; and British generals, whose name 
never met with a blot of dishonor, are forced to quit that 
town which was the first object of the war, the immediate 
cause of hostilities, the place of arms, which has cost 
this nation more than a million to defend." 

We close this eventful chapter of Washington's history, 
with the honor decreed to him by the highest authority 
of his country. On motion of John Adams, who had first 
moved his nomination as commander-in-chief, a unani- 
mous vote of thanks to him was passed in Oongress ; and 
it was ordered that a gold medal be struck, commemora- 
ting the evacuation of Boston, bearing the effigy of Wash« 
ington as its deliverer. 


mnnXATIOV OV THS VLBBT.— commission of the two HOWB8.— charactbb 

IHE Britisli fleet bearing the armj from Boston, 
had disappeared from the coasi "Whither 
they are bounds and where they next will pitch 
their tents,'' writes Washington, " I know not" He con- 
jectnred their destination to be New York, and made his 
arrangements accordingly; but he was mistaken. Gen- 
eral Howe had steered for Halifax, there to await the 
arriyal of strong reinforcements from England, and the 
fleet of his brother, Admiral Lord Howe ; who was to be 
commander-in-chief of the naval forces on the North 

American station. 

It was thought these brothers would cooperate admir- 
ably in the exercise of their relative functions on land 
and water. Tet they were widely different in their habits 
VOL. n.— 16 241 


and dispositions. Sir William, easy, indolent^ and self- 
indulgent, '' hated business," we are told, " and never did 
any. Lord Howe loved it, dwelt upon it, never could 
leave ii" Beside his nautical commands, he had been 
treasurer of the navy, member of the board of admiralty, 
and had held a seat in Parliament ; where, according to 
Walpole, he was ** silent as a rock," excepting when naval 
afiEears were under discussion; when he spoke briefly and 
to the i)oini " My Lord Howe," said Gleorge EL, ** your 
life has been a continued series of services to your coun- 
try." He was now about fifty-one years of age, tall and 
well proportioned like his brother; but wanting his ease 
of deportment His complexion was dark, his countenance 
grave and strongly marked, and he had a shy reserve, oc- 
casionally mistaken for haughtiness. As a naval officer, 
he was esteemed resolute and enterprising, yet cool and 
firm. Li his younger days he had contracted a friendship 
for Wolfe ; ''it was like the union of cannon and gunpow- 
der," said Walpole. Howe, strong in mind, solid in judg- 
ment, firm of purpose, was said to be the cannon ; Wolfe, 
quick in conception, prompt in execution, impetuous in 
action, the gunpowder.* The bravest man, we are told, 
could not wish for a more able, or more gallant com- 
mander than Howe, and the sailors used to say of "hini, 
" Give us Black Dick, and we fear nothing." 
Such is his lordship's portrait as sketched by "Rrigmii 

'Barrows, Life of Earl Howe, p. 400l 


pencils ; we shall see hereafter how far his conduct con- 
forms to it. At present we must consider the state of the 
American army, in the appointments and commands of 
which various changes had recently taken place. 

It was presumed the enemy in the ensuing campaign 
would direct their operations against the Middle and 
Southern colonies. Congress divided those colonies into 
two departments ; one comprehending New York, New 
Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Maryland, was to be 
under the command of a major-general, and two brigadier- 
generals ; the other, comprising Virginia, the Carolinas, 
and Georgia, to be under the command of a major-general, 
and four brigadiers. 

In this new arrangement, the orders destining General 
Lee to Canada were superseded, and he was appointed 
to the command of the Southern department, where he 
was to keep watch upon the movements of Sir Henry 
Clinton. He was somewhat dissatisfied with the change 
in his destination. '' As I am the only general officer on 
the continent," writes he to Washington, '' who can speak 
or think in French, I confess I think it would have been 
more prudent to have sent me to Canada; but I shall 
obey with alacrity, and I hope with success." 

In reply, Washington observes, *' I was just about to 
congratulate you on your appointment to the command 
in Canada, when I received the account that your desti- 
nation was altered. As a Virginian, I must rejoice at the 
change, but as an American, I think you would have done 

244 T^^ OF WASEmGTOir. 

more essential service to the common cause in Oanada. 
For, beside the advantage of speaking and thinking in 
French, an officer who is acquainted with their maimers 
and customs, and has travelled in their country, must 
certainly take the strongest hold of their affection and 

The command in Canada was given to General Thomas* 
who had distinguished himself at Boxbury, and was pro- 
moted to the rank of major-general It would have been 
given to Schuyler, but for the infirm state of his health ; 
still Congress expressed a reliance on his efforts to com- 
plete the work '^ so conspicuously begun and well con- 
ducted " under his orders, in the last campaign ; and, as 
not merely the success but the very existence of the army 
in Canada would depend on supplies sent from these 
colonies across the lakes, he was required, until further 
orders, to fix his head-quarters at Albany, where, with- 
out being exposed to the fatigue of the camp until his 
health was perfectly restored, he would be in a situation 
to forward supplies ; to superintend the operations neces* 
sary for the defense of New York and the Hudson Bivei; 
and the affsdrs of the whole middle department 

Lee set out for the South on the 7th of March^ carry 
ing with him his bold spirit, his shrewd sagacity, and hii^ 
whimsical and splenetic humors. The following admf« 
rably impartial sketch is given of him by Washington, in 
a letter to his brother Augustine : " He is the first in 
military knowledge and experience we have in the whole 


army. He is zealously attached to the cause ; honest and 
well meaning, but rather fickle and violent, I fear, in his 
temper. However, as he possesses an uncommon share 
of good sense and spirit, I congratulate my countrymen 
on his appointment to that department" * 

We give by anticipation a few passages from Lee's let* 
ters, illustrative of his character and career. The news 
of the evacuation of Boston reached him in Virginia. In 
a letter to Washington, dated Williamsburg, April 6, he 
expresses himself on the subject with generous warmth. 
" My dear general," writes he, " I most sincerely con- 
gratulate you ; I congratulate the public, on the great 
and glorious event, your possession of Boston. It will 
be a most bright page in the annals of America^ and 
a most abominable black one in those of the beldam 
Britain. Gk> on, my dear general ; crown yourself with 
glory, and establish the liberties and lustre of your coun- 
try on a foundation more permanent than the Capitol 

Then reverting to himself his subacid humors work 
up, and he shows that he had been as much annoyed in 
Williams burg, by the interference of committees, as he 
had been in New York. " My situation," writes he, " is 
just as I expected. I am afraid I shall make a shabby 
figure, without any real demerits of my own. I am like 
a dog in a dancing-school; I know not where to turn 

• Foroe's Am. Archive; 4th Series, v. Sea 


myself where to fix myself. The cironmstanoes of the 
oonntry, intersected with navigable rivers; the uncer- 
tainty of the enemy's designs and motions, who can fly in 
an instant to any spot they choose, with their canvas 
wings, throw me, or would throw JuUus Csesar into this 
inevitable dilemma; I may possibly be in the North, 
when, as Bichard says, I should serve my sovereign in 
the West. I can only act from surmise, and have a very 
good chance of surmising wrong. I am sorry to grate 
your ears with a truth, but must, at all events, assure 
you, that the Provincial Congress of New York are angels 
of decision, when compared with your countrymen, the 
committee of safety assembled at Williamsburg. Page, 
Lee, Mercer, and Payne, are, indeed, exceptions; but 
from Pendleton, Bland, the Treasurer, and Co. — lAbera 
no8 domine ! " 

Lee's letters from Virginia, written at a later date, were 
in a better humor. *^ There is a noble spirit in this prov- 
ince pervading aU orders of men ; if the same becomes 
universal, we shall be saved. I am, fortunately for my 
own happiness, and, I think, for the well-being of the 
community, on the best terms with the senatorial part^ 
as well as the people at large. I shall endeavor to pre« 
serve their confidence and good opinion."''^ 

And in a letter to Washington : — 

* I have formed two companies of grenadiers to eaoh 

* Faroe's Am. Arehivea, 4th Series, v. 708L 


egimeni^ and with spears tliirteen feet long. Their rifles 
Car they are all riflemen) sling over their shoulders, their 
ppearanoe is formidable, and the men are conciliated to 
beweapon. .... I am likewise furmshing myself 
dth fonr-oonoed rifled amnsettes, which will carry an 
Eifemal distance; the two-ounced hit a half sheet of 
taper, at five hundred yards distance." 

On Lee's departure for the South, Brigadier-general 
jord Stirling had remained in temporary command at 
few York. Washington, however, presuming that the 
txitish fleet had steered for that port, with the force 
rhich had evacuated Boston, hastened detachments 
biiher under Generals Heath and Sullivan, and wrote 
nr three thousand additional men to be furnished by 
knmecticut. The command of the whole he gave to 
leneral Putnam, who was ordered to fortify the city and 
be passes of the Hudson, according to the plans of Gen- 
ral Lee. Li the meantime, Washington delayed to 
ome on himselt until he should have pushed forward 
lie main body of his army by divisions. 

Lee's anticipations that laxity and confusion would 
revail after his departure, were not realized. The 
eteran Putnam, on taking command, put the city under 
igorous military rule. The soldiers were to retire to 
lieir barracks and quarters at the beating of the tattoo, 
nd remain there until the reveille in the morning. The 
ohabitants were subjected to the same rule. None 
rould be permitted to pass a sentry, without the counter* 

24d i^^ OP VTABEmoTOir. 

sigHy which would be famished to them on applying to 
any of the brigade majors. All communication between 
the '^ ministerial fleet " and shore was stopped ; the ships 
were no longer to be furnished with provisions. Any 
person taken in the act of holding communication with 
them would be considered an enemy, and treated accord- 
We have a lively picture of the state of the city, in let* 

ters written at the timey and abeady cited. ^ When you 
ore informed that New York is deserted by its old in- 
habitants, and filled with soldiers from New England, 
Philadelphia, Jersey, etc, you will naturally conclude the 
environs of it are not very safe from so undisciplined a 
multitude as our provincials are represented to be ; but 
I do believe there are very few instances of so great & 
number of men together, with so little mischief done by 
them. They have all the simplicity of ploughmen in 
their manners, and seem quite strangers to the vices of 
older soldiers : they have been employed in creating for- 
tifications in every part of the town. • • • • Gbvemor 
Try on loses his credit with the people here prodigiously; 
he has lately issued a proclamation, desiring the deluded 
people of this colony to return to their obedience, prom- 
ising a speedy support to the friends of government, de- 
claring a door of mercy open to the penitent, and a rod 
for the disobedient, etc The friends of government were 
provoked at being so distinguished, and the friends to 
liberty hung him in effigy, and printed a dying speech fox 


A letter, too, was intercepted from him, hastening 
Lord Howe to New York, as the rebels were fortifying. 
These have entirely lost him the good-will of the people. 
• • • • You cannot think how sorry I am the governor has 
Bo lost himself a man once so much beloved. O Lucifer, 
once the son of mom, how fallen 1 General Washington 
Is expected hourly ; Qeneral Putnam is here, with several 
other generals, and some of their ladies. .... The 
variefy of reports keeps one's mind always in agitation. 
Clinton and Howe have set the continent a racing from 
Boston to Carolina. Clinton came into our harbor : away 
flew the women, children, goods, and chattels, and in 
oame the soldiers flocking from every pari No sooner 
was it known that he was not going to land here, than 
expresses were sent to Virginia and Carolina, to put 
them on their guard; his next expedition was to Vir- 
ginia ; there they were ready to receive him ; from thence, 
without attempting to land, he sailed to Carolina. Now 
General Howe is leading us another dance." * 

Washington came on by the way of Providence, Nor- 
wich and New London, expediting the embarkation of 
troops from these posts, and arrived at New York on the 
13th of April Many of the works which Lee had com" 
menoed were by this time finished ; others were in prog- 
ress. It was apprehended the principal operations of 
the enemy would be on Long Island, the high grounds oi 

* Bemembrancer^ vol. iiL p. 85. 

260 i^i^ OF WASHINGTOJSr. 

which, in the neighborhood of Brooklyn, commanded fhe 
cify. Washington saw that an able and efficient officer was 
needed at that place. Greene was accordingly stationed 
there, with a division of the army. He immediately 
proceeded to complete the fortifications of that important 
post, and to make himself acquainted with the topography, 
and the defensive points of the surrounding country. 

The aggregate force distributed at several extensive 
posts in New York and its environs, and on Long Island, 
Staten Island, and elsewhere, amounted to little more 
than ten thousand men ; some of those were on the sick 
list, others absent on command, or on furlough ; there 
were but about eight thousand available and fit for duty. 
These, too, were without pay; those recently enlisted^ 
without arms, and no one could say where arms were to 
be procured. 

Washington saw the inadequacy of the force to the 
purposes required, and was full of solicitude about thft 
security of a place, the central point of the Confederacy, 
and the grand deposit of ordnance and military storea 
He was aware, too, of the disaffection to the cause among 
many of the inhabitants, and apprehensive of treachery. 
The process of fortifying the place had induced the ships 
of war to fall down into the outer bay, within the Hook, 
upwards of twenty miles from the city; but Governor 
Tryon was still on board of one of them, keeping up an 
active correspondence with the tories on Staten and Liong 
Islands, and in other parts of the neighborhood. 


Wasliington took an early occasion to address an ur^ 
gent letter to the committee of safety^ pointing out the 
dangerous and even treasonable nature of this corre- 
spondence. He had more weight and influence with that 
body than had been possessed by General Lee, and pro- 
cured the passage of a resolution prohibiting, under 
severe penalties, all intercourse with the king's ships. 

Head-quarters, at this time, was a scene of incessant 
toil on the part of the commander-in-chief, his secre- 
taries and aides-de-camp. *'I give in to no kind of 
amusements myself" writes he, '^ and consequently those 
about me can have none, but are confined from morning 
until evening, hearing and answering applications and 
letters." The presence of Mrs. Washington was a solace 
in the midst of these stem military cares, and diffused a 
feminine grace and decorum, and a cheerful spirit over 
the domestic arrangements of head-quarters, where every- 
thing was conducted with simplicity and dignity. The 
wives of some of the other generals and officers rallied 
around Mrs. Washington, but social intercourse was 
generally at an end. " We all live here," writes a lady 
of New York, "like nuns shut up in a nunnery. No 
society with the town, for there are none there to visit ; 
neither can we go in or out after a certain hour without 
the countersign." 

In addition to his cares about the security of New 
Tork, Washington had to provide for the perilous exi- 
gencies of the army in Canada. Since his arrival in 

262 L^^ 0^ WASHINGTON. 

the city, four regiments of troops, a company of riflemen, 
and another of artificers had been detached under the 
command of Brigadier-general Thompson, and a farther 
corps of six regiments under Brigadier-general SalliyaD, 
with orders to join General Thomas as soon as possible. 
Still Congress inquired of him, whether farther rein- 
forcements to the army in Oanada woold not be neces- 
sary, and whether they coold be spared from the army 
in New York. His reply shows the peculiar perplexities 
of his situation, and the tormenting uncertainiy in which 
he was kept, as to where the next storm of war would 
breaL ''With respect to sending more troops to that 
country, I am really at a loss what to advise, as it is 
impossible, at present, to know the designs of the enemy. 
Should they send the whole force under General Howe 
up the river Si Lawrence, to relieve Quebec and recover 
Canada, the troops gone and now going, will be insuf- 
ficient to stop their progress; and, should they think 
proper to send that, or an equal force, this way from 
Oreat Britain, for the purpose of possessing this city and 
securing the navigation of Hudson's Biver, the troops 
left here will not be sufficient to oppose them ; and yet, 
for anything we know, I think it not improbable they 
may attempt both ; both being of the greatest import- 
ance to them, if they have men. I could wish, indeed, 
that the army in Canada should be more powerfully rein- 
forced ; at the same time, I am conscious that the trust- 
ing of this important post, which is now become the 


grand magazine of America, to the handful of men re- 
maining here, is running too great a risk. The secur- 
ing of this post and Hudson's Biver is to us also of so 
great importance, that I cannot, at present, adyise the 
sending any more troops from hence ; on the contrary, 
the general officers now here, whom I thought it my 
duty to consult, think it absolutely necessary to in- 
crease the army at this place with at least ten thou- 
sand men ; especially when it is considered, that from 
this place only the army in Canada must draw its sup- 
plies of ammunition, provisions, and most probably of 

Washington at that time was not aware of the extraor- 
dinary expedients England had recently resorted to, 
against the next campaign. The Duke of Brunswick, the 
Landgrave of Hesse Cassel, and the Hereditary Prince of 
Gassel, Count of Hanau, had been subsidized to furnish 
troops to assist in the subjugation of her colonies. Four 
thousand three hundred Brunswick troops, and nearly 
thirteen thousand Hessians, had entered the British ser- 
vice. Beside the subsidy exacted by the Qerman princes, 
they were to be paid seven pounds four shillings and four 
pence sterling for every soldier furnished by them, and 
as much more for every one slain. 

Of this notable arrangement, Washington, as we ob- 
served, was not yet aware. " The designs of the enemy," 
writes he, *' are too much behind the curtain for me to 
form any accurate opinion of their plan oi operations for 

261 ^^^ OF WABHINQTOli. 

the snmmer's campaign. We are left to wander, there* 
fore, in the field of conjecture." * 

Within a few days afterwards, he had vagae accounts 
of ^* Hessians and Hanoverian troops coming over ; " but 
it was not until the 17th of May, when he received let- 
ters from General Schuyler, inclosing others from the 
commanders in Canada, that he knew in what direction 
some of these bolts of war were launched ; and this calls 
for some further particulars of the campaign on the 
banks of the St. Lawrence ; which we shall give to the 
reader in the ensuing chapter. 

• Letter to the Pteodent of Oongran 5tli Mai; 



nn Axm.— forouB ci,^iiok AaAixar aoHUTLn.— aLAMsm 

r a former ohspter, we left Arnold before the 
I valla of Quebec, voonded, crippled, almost dis- 
I abled, yet not diBheartened ; blockading that 
"proud town" with a force inferior, by half, in nomber 
to that of the garrison. For his gallant serrices. Con- 
gress promoted him in Janoary to the rank of brigadier- 

Throoghoat the winter he kept ap the blockade with 
his shattered army ; thoogh had Carleton Tentnred npon 
a sortie, he might have been forced to decamp. That 
oantions general, howeTer, remained within his walls. 
He was snre of reinforcements from England in the 
Spring, and, in the meantime, trusted to the elements of 
diasolntiou at work in the besieging army. 

Arnold, in truth, had dif&culties of all kinds to con- 
tend with. His military chest was exhausted ; his troops 

256 U^^ OF WABHINGTOir. 

were in want of necessaries ; to proonre supplies, he was 
compelled to resort to the paper money issned by Oon- 
gressy which was oncorrent among the Canadians; he 
issned a proclamation making the refusal to take it in 
payment a penal offense. This only produced irritation 
and disgust. As the terms of their enlistment expired, 
his men claimed their discharge and returned home. 
Sickness also thinned his ranks; so that, at one time, 
his force was reduced to five hundred men, and for two 
months, with all his recruitments of raw militia^ did not 
exceed seven hundred. 

The failure of the attack on Quebec had weakened the 
cause among the Canadians ; the peasantry had been dis- - 
pleased by the conduct of the American troops ; they had - 
once welcomed them as deliverers ; they now began to» 
regard them as intruders. The seigneurs, or noblesse^ 
also, feared to give further countenance to an invasion, 
which, if defeated, might involve them in ruin. 

Notwithstanding all these discouragements, Arnold still 
kept up a bold face ; cut off supplies occasionally, and 
harassed the place with alarms. Having repaired his bat- 
teries, he opened a fire upon the town, but with little 
effect ; the best part of the artillerists, with Lamb, their 
capable commander, were prisoners within the walls. 

On the 1st day of April, General Wooster arrived from 
Montreal, with reinforcements, and took the command. 
The day after his arrival, Arnold, by the falling of his 
horse, again received an injury on the leg recently 


Tooncled, and was disabled for npwarda of a veek. 
Otmsidezing himself slighted by General Wooster, who 
did not oonsalt him in militaij affiiirs, he obtained 
leave of absence nntil he shonld be recovered from bis 
lameness, and repaired to Montreal, vhere he took com- 

General Thomas arrived at the camp in the oonrse ol 
A.pril, and found the army in a forlorn condition, scat- 
tered at different posts, and on the island of Orleans. It 
was nnmerioally increased to upwards of two thousand 
men, bnt several htmdred were unfit for service. The 
Bmall-pcnt had made great ravages. They had inoculated 
each other. In their sick and debilitated state, they were 
without barracks, and almost vrithoat medicine. A por* 
tion, whose term of enlistment had expired, refused to do 
duty, and clamored for their dischai^. 

The winter was over, the river was breaking np, rein* 
forcements to the garrison might immediately be ex- 
pected, and then the case woold be desperate. Observing 
that the river aboat Quebec was dear of ice, General 
Thomas determined on a bold effort It was, to send np 
a fire-ship with the flood, and, while the ships in the har- 
bor were in flames, and the town in confnaion, to scale 
the walls. 

Accordingly, on the 3rd of May, the troops tnmed out 
with scaling ladders; the fire-ship came np the river 
under easy sail, and arrived near the shipping before it 
was discovered. It was fired into. The crew applied a 

258 ^^^ OF wAanmoTON. 

slow matoh to the train and pulled o£ The ship waa 
soon in a blaze, but the flames caught and consumed the 
sails ; her way was checked, and she drifted off harm-* 
lessly with the ebbing tide. The rest of the plan was^ 
of course, abandoned. 

Nothing now remained but to retreat before the enemy 
should be reinforced. Preparations were made in all 
haste, to embark the sick and the military stores. While 
this was taking place, five ships made their way into the 
harbor, on the 6th of May, and began to land troops. 
Thus reinforced, General Carleton sallied forth, with eight 
hundred or a thousand men. We quote his own letter 
for an account of his sortie. " As soon as part of the 29th 
regiment with the marines, in all about two hundred were 
landed, they, with the greatest part of the garrison, by 
this time much improved, and in high spirits, marched 
out of the ports of St Louis and St John's, to see what 
these mighty boasters were about They were found very 
busy in their preparations for a retreat A few shots 
being exchanged, the line marched forward, and the place 
was soon cleared of these plunderers." 

By his own account, however, these " mighty boasters ** 
had held him and his garrison closely invested for five 
months; had burnt the suburbs, battered the waUs, 
thrown red-hot shot among the shipping, made repeated 
and daring attempts to carry the place by assault and 
stratagem, and rendered it necessary for soldiers, sailors, 
marines, and even judges and other civil officers to mount 


guard.* One officer declajres, in a letter, that for eighty 
snooessiye nights he slept in his clothes, to be ready in 
ease of alarm. 

All this, too, was effected by a handfol of men, exposed 
in open encampments to the rigors of a Canadian winter. 
If in truth they were boasters, it must be allowed their 
deeds were equal to their words. 

The Americans were in no condition to withstand Car- 
leton's unlooked-for attack. They had no intrenchments, 
and could not muster three hundred men at any point. 
A precipitate retreat was the consequence, in which bag- 
gage, artillery, everything was abandoned. Even the sick 
were left behind ; many of whom crawled away from the 
oamp hospitals, and took refuge in the woods, or among 
the Canadian peasantry. 

General Carleton did not think it prudent to engage in 
a pursuit with his newly-landed troops. He treated the 
prisoners with great humanity, and caused the sick to be 
sought out in their hiding-places, and brought to the 
general hospitals, with assurances, that, when healed, they 
should have liberty to return to their homes. 

Gtoneral Thomas came to a halt at Point Deschambault, 
about sixty miles above Quebec, and called a council of 
war to consider what was to be done. The enemy's ships 
were hastening up the St. Lawrence ; some were already 
bat two or three leagues' distance. The camp was with' 

* Carleton to Lord G^rge (^ennaine, May 14th. 

260 J^^^ OF WABSmQTOJt. 

out oannon ; powder, forwarded by General Sohnyler, liad 
fallen into the enemy's hands ; there were not provisions 
enongh to subsist the army for more than two or three 
days ; the men-of-war, too, might ran np the river, inter- 
cept all their resources, and reduce them to the same 
extremity they had experienced before Quebec. It was 
resolved, therefore, to ascend the river still farther. 

Qeneral Thomas, however, determined to send forward 
the invalids, but to remain at Point Deschambanlt with 
about five hundred men, until he should receive orders 
from Montreal, and learn whether such supplies oould be 
forwarded immediately as would enable him to defend 
his position.* 

The despatches of Qeneral Thomas, setting forth the 
disastrous state of affairs, had a disheartening effect oik. 
Schuyler, who feared the army would be obliged to aban- 
don Canada. Washington, on the contrary, spoke oheer- 
ingly on the subject *^ We must not despair. A manly 
and spirited opposition only can insure success, and pre- 
vent the enemy from improving the advanti^ they have 
obtained." t 

He regretted that the troops had not been able to 
make a stand at Point Deschambanlt, but hoped they 
would maintain a post as far down the river as possible. 
The lower it was, the more important would be the ad- 
vantages resulting from it, as all the country above would 

* General Thomas to Washington, May 8. 
f Washington to Schuyler, May 17th. 


be £aTorable> and fumisli assistance and support ; while all 
below would necessarily be in the power of the enemy. 

The tidings of the reverses in Canada and the retreat 
of the American arrny^ had spread consternation through- 
oat the New Hampshire Grants, and the New England 
frontiers, which would now be laid open to invasion. 
Committees of towns and districts assembled in varioua 
places, to consult on the alarming state of affiEdrs. In a 
time of adversity, it relieves the public mind to have 
some individual on whom to charge its disasters. (Gen- 
eral Schuyler, at present, was to be the victim. We have 
already noticed the prejudice and ill-will, on the part 
of the New England people, which had harassed him 
throughout the campaign, and nearly driven him from 
the service. His enemies now stigmatized him as the 
cause of the late reverses. He had neglected, they said, 
to forward reinforcements and supplies to the army in 
Canada. His magnanimity in suffering Sir John Johnson 
to go at large, while in his power, was again miscon- 
strued into a crime : he had thus enabled that dangerous 
man to renew his hostilities. Finally, it was insinuated 
that he was untrue to his country, if not positively leagued 
with her enemies. 

These imputations were not generally advanced; and 
when advanced, were not generally countenanced ; but a 
committee of Eing's County appears to have given them 
credence, addressing a letter to the commander-in-chief 
on the subject, accompanied by documents. 


262 I'^^ OF WASHmGTOJf. 

Waslimgton, to whom Sohnjler's heart had been laid 
open throughout all its trials, and who knew its recti- 
tude, received the letter and documents with indignation 
and disgust, and sent copies of them to the generaL 
*^ From these," said he, " you will readily discover the 
diabolical and insidious arts and schemes carrying on by 
the tories and friends of government to raise distrust, 
dissensions, and divisions among us. Having the utmost 
confidence in your integrity, and the most incontestable 
proof of your great attachment to our common country 
and its interest, I could not but look upon the charge 
against you with an eye of disbelief, and sentiments of 
detestation and abhorrence ; nor should I have troubled 
you with the matter, had I not been informed that copies 
were sent to different committees, and to Governor Trum* 
bull, which I conceived would get abroad, and that you» 
should you find I had been furnished with them, would 
consider my suppressing them as an evidence of my be- 
lief, or at best of my doubts, of the charges." * 

We will go forward, and give the sequel of this matter. 
While the imputations in question had merely floated in 
public rumor, Schuyler had taken no notice of them; 
" but it is now," writes he, in reply to Washington, ** a 
duty which I owe myself and my country, to detect the 
scoundrels, and the only means of doing this is by re* 
questing that an immediate inquiry be made into the 

• Washington to Schuyler, May 81. 


matter ; when I trust it will appear that it was more a 
scheme caloolated to rain me, than to disunite and ore- 
ate jealousies in the friends of America. Your Excel- 
lencj, willy therefore, please to order a court of inquiry 
the soonest possible ; for I cannot sit easy under such 
an in&mous imputation; since on this extensive conti 
nent numbers of the most respectable characters may not 
know what your Excellency and Oongress do of my prin- 
ciples and exertions in the common cause." 

He further adds : *'I am informed by persons of good 
credit, that about one hundred persons, living on what 
are commonly called the New Hampshire Grants, have 
had a design to seize me as a tory,and perhaps still have. 
There never was a man so infamously scandalized and 
ill-treated as I aoL" 

We need only add, that the Berkshire committees 
which, in a time of agitation and alarm, had hastily 
given countenance to these imputations, investigated 
them deliberately in their cooler moments, and acknowl- 
edged, in a letter to Washington, that they were satis- 
fied their suspicions respecting General Schuyler were 
wholly groundless. "We sincerely hope," added they, 
''his name may be handed down, with immortal honor, 
to the latest posteriiy, as one of the great pillars of the 
American cause.** 



IS the reverses in Canada would affect the for* 
tunes of the Bevolution elsewhere, Washington 
sent Gteneral Gates to lay the despatches con- 
cerning them before Congress. " His militarj experience/' 
said he, ** and intimate acquaintance with the situation of 
our affiedrs, will enable him to give Congress the fullest 
satisfaction about the measures necessary to be adopted 
at this alarming crisis ; and, with his zeal and attachment 
to the cause of America, he will have a claim to their no- 
tice and favors." 

Scarce had Gates departed on his mission (May 19th), 
when Washington himself received a summons to Phila- 
delphia, to advise with Congress concerning the opening 
campaign. He was informed also that Gates, on the 16th 
of May, had been promoted to the rank of major-gen- 
eral, and Mifflin to that of brigadier-general, and a wish 



was intimated that they might take the command of 

WaBhington prepared to proceed to Philadelphia. His 
general orders issued on the 19th of May, show the anx- 
ious situation of affiedrs at New York. In case of an alarm 
the zespectiye regiments were to draw up opposite to 
their encampments or quarters, until ordered to repair 
to the alarm posts. The alarm signals for regulars, 
militia^ and the inhabitants of the city, were, in the day- 
timey two cannon fired from the rampart at Fort (George, 
and a flag hoisted on the top of Washington's head-quar- 
ters. In the night, two cannon fired as above, and two 
lighted lanterns hoisted on the top of head-quarters.* 

In his parting instructions to Putnam, who, as the 
oldest major-general in the city, would have the com- 
mand during his absence, Waediington informed him of 
the intention of the Provincial Congress of New York to 
sein the principal tories and disaffected persons in the 

*Tlie foOowing statement of the batteries at New York, we And dated 

The Ortmd Battery, on the soath part of the town. 

Fort Qeorgty immediately above it. 

irhUe BaU Battery, on the left of the Grand Battery. 

Oyst&r Battery, behind General Washington's head-qnartera 

Grenadier Battery, near the Brew House on the North Biyer* 

Jirmy Battery, on the left of the Grenadier Battery. 

Bayctrd^B BUI Redoubt, on Bayard's Hill. 

Speneer^B Redoubt, on the hill where his brigade is encamped. 

Waterbwry*8 Battery (fascines), on a wharf below this hill. 

BadlanCs Redoubt, on a hill near the Jews' burying ground. 

266 L^^ 0^ WASHINGTOir. 

oiiy, and the surroonding country, especiaU^ on Long 
Island, and authorized him to afford military aid, if re« 
quired, to carry the same into execution. He waB also 
to send Lord Stirling, Colonel Putnam the engineer, and 
Colonel Knox, if he could be spared, up to the Highlands, 
to examine the state of the forts and garrisons, and re- 
port what was necessary to put them in a posture of 
defense. Their garrisons were chiefly composed of parii 
of a regiment of New York troops, commanded by Col- 
onel James Clinton, of Ulster Couniy, and were said to be 

The general, accompanied by Mrs. Washington, de- 
parted from New York on the 21st of May, and they were 
invited by Mr. Hancock, the President of Congress, to be 
his guests during their sojourn at Philadelphia. 

Lee, when he heard of Washington's visit there, ar- 
gued good effects from ii '^ I am extremely glad, dear 
general," writes he, " that you are in Philadelphia, for 
their councils sometimes lack a little of military elec- 

Washington, in his conferences with Congress, appears 
to have furnished this electricity. He roundly expressed 
his conviction, that no accommodation could be effected 
with Great Britain, on acceptable terms. Ministerialists 
had declared in Parliament, that, the sword being drawn, 
the most coercive measures would be persevered in, until 
there was complete submission. The recent subsidizing 
of foreign troops was a part of this policy, and indicated 

aosrs&sxoE wite oonobbbb. 267 

nnsparing hostility. A protracted var, therefore, was 
inentable; but it would be impoBsible to carry it on 
BQooesafally vith the scanty force actnally embodied, and 
Tith transient enlistments of militia. 

In oonseqnenoe of his representations, resolntionB 
vere passed in Congress that soldiers shoold be enlisted 
for three years, with a bounty of ten dollars for each re- 
croii ; that tiie army at Kew Tork should be reinforced 
nntil the first of December, with thirteen thoosand eight 
hundred militia ; tiiat gondolas and fire-rafts should be 
bnilt, to prevent the men-of-war and enemy's ships from 
coming into New Tork Bay, or the Narrows ; and that a 
flying camp of ten thousand miUtia, famished by Penn- 
sylvaoia, Delaware, and Maryland, and likewise eng^^ed 
ontil the lat of December, should be stationed in the 
Jerseys for the defense of the Middle colonies. Wash- 
ington was, moreover, empowered, in case of emergency, 
te call on the neighboring colonies for temporary aid with 

tbeij Tnilif-ift 

Another important result of his conferences with Oon- 
giess was the establishment of a war ofBoe. Military 
affiurs had hitherto been referred in Congress to com- 
mittees casoally appointed, and had conaeqaently been 
subject to great irregularity and neglect. Henceforth a 
permanent committee, entitled "the Board of War and 
Ordnance," was to take cognizanoe of them. The first 
board was composed of five members ; John Adams, Col- 
onel Benjamin Harrison, Soger Sherman, James Wilson* 


and Edward Butledge ; with Bichard Peters as seoretazy. 
It went into operation on the 12th of June. 

While at Philadelphia, Washington had frequent oon« 
saltations with Gteorge Clinton, one of the delegates from 
New York, concerning the interior defenses of that proy- 
ince, especiallj those connected with the security of the 
Highlands of the Hudson, where part of the regiment of 
Colonel James Clinton, the brother of the delegate, was 
stationed. The important part which these brothers 
were soon to act in the military a£EiEdrs of that proyinoe, 
and ultimately in its political history, entitles them to a 
special notice. 

They were of the old Clinton stock of England, being 
descended from (General James Clinton, an adherent of : 
royalty in the time of the civil wars, but who passed . 
over to Ireland, after the death of Charles L Theirs 
father, Charles Clinton, grandson of the general, emi — 
grated to America in 1729, and settled in Ulster, now"* 
Orange County, just above the Highlands of the Hudson-i^ 
Though not more than fifty miles from the city of New^ 
York, it was at that time on the borders of a wilderness^ 
where every house had at times to be a fortress. Charles 
Clinton, like most men on our savage frontier in those 
days, was a warrior by necessity, if not by choice. He 
took an active part in Indian and French wars, com- 
manded a provincial regiment stationed at Fort Herki- 
mer, joined in the expedition under General Bradstreet, 
when it passed up the valley of the Mohawk, and was 

THB ozmroirs or saw tobk. 369 

pzesent at the oaptnre of Fort Frontenao. His Bons, 
James and Qeoige, one twenfy, the other seventeen yean 
ol age, served in the same campaign, the one as oaptoin, 
the other as lieatenant ; thus taking an early lesson in 
that st^ool of American soldiers, the French war. 

James, whose propensities vere always military, oon- 
tinned in the provinoial army until the close of that war ; 
and afterwards, when settled on an estate in Ulster 
Ooonty, was able and aodTe in organizing its Tniliri|>, 
George applied himself to the law, and became sncoeas- 
fol at the bar, in the same ooonty. Their father, having 
laid aside the sword, ooonpied for many years, with dis> 
oemment and integrity, the honorable station of Judge of 
tiie Oonrt of Common Pleas. He died in TTlster Connfy, 
in 1773, in the eighty-third year of his age, " in fall view 
of that Bevolntion in which his sons were to act distin- 
gniflhed parts." With his latest breath he charged them 
" to stand by the liberties of their oonntry." 

They needed no such admonition. From the very first, 
they had been heart and hand in the oaose. Oeorge had 
championed it for years in the New York legislature, 
pgnaltging himself by his zeal as one of an intrepid mi- 
nority in opposing ministerial oppression. He had bat 
teoentlj taken his seat aa delegate to the Ckmtinental 

James Clinton, appointed colonel on the 30th of Jnne, 
1775, had served with his regiment of New York troops 
nnder Montgomery at the siege of St John's, and the 

270 ^'^^ OF WABHmOTON. 

capture of Montreal, after which he had returned homa 
He had sabsequentlj been appointed to the command oi 
a regiment in one of the four battalions raised for the 
defense of New York. We shall soon have occasion to 
speak farther of these patriot brothers. 

The prevalence of the small-pox had frequently ren- 
dered Washington uneasy on Mrs. Washington's acoount 
during her visits to the army ; he was relieved, therefore, 
by her submitting to inoculation during their sojourn in 
Philadelphia, and having a very favorable time. 

He was gratified, also, by procuring the appointment 
of his late secretary, Joseph Beed, to the post of adjn* 
tant-general, vacated by the promotion of General Gateay 
thus placing him once more bv his side. 



JomrsoHS. — a bloodt summer exfeoted. — forts in the highlands. — 


ISPATCHES from Canada continued to be dis- 
astrous. General Arnold, who was in command 
at Montreal, had established a post on the Si 
Lawrence, about forty miles above that place, on a point 
of land called the Cedars; where he had stationed 
Colonel Bedel, with about four hundred men, to prevent 
goods being sent to the enemy, in the upper country, and 
to guard against surprise from them, or their Indians. 

In the latter part of May, Colonel Bedel received in- 
telligence that a large body of British, Canadians, and 
Indians, under the command of Captain Forster, were 
coming down from Oswegatchie, to attack him. Leaving 
Major Butterfield in command of the post, he hastened 
down to Montreal to obtain reinforcements. Arnold im- 
mediately detached one hundred men, under Major Shel- 
bume, and prepared to follow in person, with a much 

greater force. In the meantime, the post at the Cedars 



had been besieged, and Major Butterfield intimidated 
into a surrender, by a threat from Captain Forster, that 
resistance would provoke a massacre of his whole garri- 
son by the Indians. The reinforcements under Major 
Shelbume were assailed within four miles of the Cedars, 
by a large party of savages, and captured after a sharp 
skirmish, in which several were killed on both sides. 

Arnold received word of these disasters while on the 
march. He instantly sent forward some Caughnawaga 
Indians, to overtake the savages, and demand a surren- 
der of the prisoners ; with a threat that, in case of a re- 
fusal, and that any of them were murdered, he would 
sacrifice every Indian who fell into his hands, and would 
follow the offenders to their towns, and destroy them by 
fire and sword. He now embarked four hundred of his 
men in bateaux, and pushed on with the remainder by 
land. Arriving at Si Ann's, above the rapids of the Si 
Lawrence, he discovered several of the enemy's bateaux, 
taking the prisoners off from an island, a league distani 
It was a tormenting sight, as it was not in his power to 
relieve them. His bateaux were a league behind, oom- 
ing up the rapids very slowly. He sent several ex- 
presses to hurry them. It was sunset before they ar- 
rived and he could embark all his people ; in the mean- 
time, his Caughnawaga messengers returned with an 
answer from the savages. They had five hundred pris- 
oners collected together, they said, at Quinze Chiens, 
where they were posted; should he offer to land and 

ARNOLD* a DiaiBEBa. 278 

attack them, they would kill every prisoner, and give no 
quarter to any who should fall into their hands there-* 

''Words cannot express my feelings," writes Arnold, 
** at the delivery of this message. Tom by the conflict- 
ing passions of revenge and humaniiy ; a sufficient force 
to take ample revenge, raging for action, urged me on 
one hand, and humanity for five hundred unhappy 
wretches, who were on the point of being sacrificed, if 
our vengeance was not delayed, pleaded equally strong 
on the other." In this situation, he ordered the boats 
to row immediately for the island, whither he had seen 
the enemy taking their prisoners. Before he reached it, 
the savages had conveyed them all away, excepting five, 
whom he found naked, and almost starved, and one or 
two, whom, being unwell, they had butchered. Arnold 
now pushed for Quinze Ohiens, about four miles distant, 
on the mainland. Here was the whole force of the 
enemy, civilized and savage, intrenched and fortified. 
As Arnold approached, they opened a fire upon his 
boats, with small arms, and two brass six-pounders. He 
rowed near the land without returning a shoi By this 
time it was too dark to distinguish anything on shore, 
and being unacquainted with the ground, he judged it 
prudent to return to Si John's. 

Here he called a council of war, and it was determined 

to attack the enemy early in the morning. ' In the course 

of the night, a fiag was sent by Captain Forster, with 
YOL. n.— 18 


articles for an exchange of prisoners which had been 
entered into by him and Major Shelbame. As the 
terms were not equal, they were objected to by Arnold, 
and a day passed before they were adjusted. A cartel 
was then signed, by which the prisoners, consisting of 
two majors, nine captains, twenty subalterns, and four 
hundred and forty-three privates, were to be exchanged 
for an equal number of British prisoners of the same 
rank, and were to be sent to the south shore of the St. 
Lawrence, near Caughnawaga, whence to return to their 
homes. Nine days were allowed for the deliyery of the 
prisoners, during which time hostiUties should be sus- 

Arnold, in a letter to the commissioners of Oongress 
then at Montreal, giving an account of this arrangement, 
expressed his indignation at the conduct of the king's 
officers, in employing savages to screen their butcheries, 
and suffering their prisoners to be killed in cold blood. 
" I intend being with you this evening," added he," " to 
consult on some effectual measures to take with these 
savages, and still more savage British troops, who are 
still at Quinze Chiens. As soon as our prisoners are re- 
leased, I hope it will be in our power to take ample ven- 
geance, or nobly fall in the attempt." * 

The accounts which reached Washington of these af- 
fairs were vague and imperfect, and kept him for some 

• Arnold to the Cominissioners of Congress, 27tli Maj, 


days in pamfol suspense. The disasters at the Cedars 
were attributed entirely to the base and cowardly con- 
duct of Bedel and Butterworth, and he wrote to Schuyler 
to have good courts appointed, and bring them, and every 
other officer guiliy of misconduct to triaL 

** The situation of our affairs in Canada,'* observes he, 
''is truly alarming. I sincerely wish the next letters 
from the northward may not contain the melancholy ad- 
vices of Gteneral Arnold's defeat, and the loss of Mont- 
real The most vigorous exertions will be necessary to 
retrieve our circumstances there, and I hope you wiU 
strain every nerve for that purpose. Unless it can be 
done now, Canada will be lost to us forever." 

While his mind was agitated by these concerns, letters 
from Schuyler showed that mischief was brewing in 
another quarter. 

Colonel Guy Johnson, accompanied by Sachem Brant 
and the Butlers, had been holding councils with the In- 
dians, and designed, it was said, to come back to the Mo- 
hawk country, at the head of a British and savage force. 
A correspondence was carried on between him and his 
cousin. Sir John Johnson, who was said to be preparing to 
cooperate with his Scotch dependants and Indian allies. 

Considering this a breach of Sir John's parole, Schuy- 
ler had sent Colonel Elias Dayton with a force to appre- 
hend him. Sir John, with a number of his armed 
tenants, retreated for refuge among the Indians, on the 
borders of the lakes. Dayton took temporary possession 


of Johnson Hall, placed guards about it, seized upon Sii 
John's papers, and read them in presence of Lady John« 
son, and subsequently conveyed her ladyship as a kind 
of hostage to Albany. 

Shortly afterwards came further intelligence of the de« 
signs of the Johnsons. Sir John, with his Scotch war- 
riors and Indian aUies, was said to be actuaUy coming 
down the yalley of the Mohawk, bent on reyenge, and 
prepared to lay eyerything waste ; and Schuyler collect- 
ing a force at Albany to oppose him. Washington in* 
stantly wrote to Schuyler, to detach Colonel Dayton with 
his regiment on that service, with instructions to secure 
a post where Fort Stanwix formerly stood, in the time of 
the French war. As to Schuyler himself, Washington, 
on his own responsibility, directed him to hold a confer- 
ence with the Six Nations, and with any others whom he 
and his brother commissioners on Indian affidrs might 
think necessary, and secure their active services, with- 
out waiting further directions from Congress — that body 
haying recently resolved to employ the Indian allies in 
the war, the enemy having set the example. 

** We expect a bloody summer in New York and Can- 
ada," writes Washington to his brother Augustine, ** and 
I am sorry to say that we are not, either in men or arms, 
prepared for it. However, it is to be hoped, that, if our 
cause is just, as I most religiously believe it, the same 
Providence which has in many instances appeared for uSi 
will still go on to afford its aid." 


Lord Sidrlingy who, by Washington's orders, had yisitod 
and inspected the defenses in the Highlands, rendered a 
report of their condition, of which we giye the purport. 
Fort Montgomery, at the lower part of the Highlands, 
was on the west bank of the river, north of Donderberg 
(or Thunder Hill). It was situated on a bank one hun- 
dred feet high. The river at that place was about half 
a mile wide. Opposite the fort was the promontory of 
Anthony's Nose, many hundred feet high, accessible only 
to goats, or men expert in climbing. A body of riflemen 
stationed here, might command the decks of yessel& 
Fort Montgomery appeared to Lord Stirling the proper 
place for a guard posi 

Fort Constitution was about six miles higher up the 
riyer, on a rocky island of the same name, at a narrow 
strait where the Hudson, shouldered by precipices, makes 
a sudden bend round West Point A redoubt, in the 
opinion of Lord Stirling, would be needed on the point, 
not only for the preseryation of Fort Constitution, but for 
its own importance. 

The garrison of that fort consisted of two companies of 
Colonel James Clinton's regiment, and Captain Wisner's 
company of minute men, in all one hundred and sixty 
rank and file. Fort Montgomery was garrisoned by three 
companies of the same regiment, about two hundred rank 
and file. Both garrisons were miserably armed. The 
direction of the works of both forts was in the hands of 
commissioners appointed by the Proyincial Congress of 


New York. The general command of the posts required 
to be adjusted. Seyeral persons accused of being ^^no- 
torious tories," had recently been sent into Fort Mont* 
gomery by the district committees of the counties of 
Albany, Dutchess, and Westchester, with directions to 
the commanding ofiSicers, to keep them at hard labor 
until their further order. They were employed upon the 

In Tiew of all these circumstances, Washington, on the 
14th of June, ordered Oolonel James Olinton to take com- 
mand of both posts, and of all the troops stationed at 
them. He seemed a fit custodian for them, haying been 
a soldier from his youth ; brought up on a frontier sub- 
ject to Indian alarms and incursions, and acquainted with 
the strong points and fastnesses of the Highlands. 

King's Bridge, and the heights adjacent, considered by 
General Lee of the utmost importance to the communi- 
cation between New York and the mainland, and to the 
security of the Hudson, were reconnoitered by Washing- 
ton on horseback, about the middle of the month ; order- 
ing where works should be laid oui Breastworks were 
to be thrown up for the defence of the bridge, and an 
advanced work (subsequently called Fort Independence), 
was to be built beyond it, on a hill commanding Spyt den 
Duiyel Greek, as that inlet of the Hudson is called, which 
links it with the Harlaem Biver. 

A strong work, intended as a kind of citadel, was to 
crown a rocky height between two and three miles south 


of the bridge, commanding the channel of the Hudson ; 
and below it were to be redoubts on the banks of the 
river at Jefiej's Point. In honor of the general, the 
<dtadel received the name of Fort Washington. 

CSolonel Bofos Putnam was the principal engineer, who 
Jhad the direction of the works. General Mifflin encamped 
xn their yicimty, with part of the two battalions from 
iPennsjlyania, to be employed in their construction, aided 
lofj the militia. 

While these preparations were made for the protection 
of the Hudson, the works about Brooklyn on Long Island 
"were carried on with great activity, under the superin- 
tendence of (General Greene. In a word, the utmost ex- 
ertions were made at every point, to put the city, its 
environs, and the Hudson Biver, in a state of defense, 
before the arrival of another hostile armament 



^EBATIONS in Canada were drawing to a dis* 
astrons close. General Thomas, finding it im- 
possible to make a stand at Point Descham- 
bault, had continued his retreat to the mouth of the 
Sorel, where he found General Thompson with part of 
the troops detached by Washington, from New York, who 
were making some preparations for defense. Shortly 
after his arrival, he was taken ill with the small-pox, and 
removed to Chamblee. He had prohibited inoculation 
among his troops, because it put too many of their scanty 
number on the sick list ; he probably fell a victim to his 
own prohibition, as he died of that malady on the 2d of 

On his death. General Sullivan, who had recently ar- 
rived with the main detachment of troops from New 
York, succeeded to the command. General Wooster hav- 



ing been recalled. He advanced immediately with his 
brigade to the mouth of the Sorely where he found Qen« 
eral Thompson with but very few troops to defend that 
post, having detached Colonel St. Clair, with six or seven 
hundred men, to Three Bivers, about fifty miles down the 
St. Lawrence, to give check to an advanced corps of the 
enemy of about eight hundred regulars and Canadians, un- 
der the veteran Scot, Colonel Maclean. In the meantime 
General Thompson, who was left with but two hundred 
men to defend his post, was sending off his sick and his 
heavy baggage, to be prepared for a retreat, if necessary. 
''It really was affecting,'* writes Sullivan to Washington, 
^ to see the banks of the Sorel lined with men, women, and 
children, leaping and clapping their hands for joy, to see 
me arrive ; it gave no less joy to General Thompson, who 
seemed to be wholly forsaken, and left to fight against an 
unequal force or retreat before them." 

Sullivan proceeded forthwith to complete the works 
on the Sorel; in the meantime he detached General 
Thompson with additional troops to overtake St. Clair, 
and assume command of the whole party, which would 
then amount to two thousand men. He was by no means 
to attack the encampment at Three Bivers, unless there 
was great prospect of success, as his defeat might prove 
the total loss of Canada. '^ I have the highest opinion of 
the bravery and resolution of the troops you command,'* 
says Sullivan in his instructions, ''and doubt not but, 
under the direction of a kind Providence, you will open 


the way for our recovering that ground which formei 
troops have so Bhamefnllj lost." 

Sulliyan's letter to Washington, written at the same 
time, is full of sanguine anticipation. It was his fixed 
determination to gain post at Deschambanlt, and fortify 
it so as to make it inaccessible. ''The enemy's ships are 
now above that place," writes he ; '' but if General Thomp- 
son succeeds at Three Bivers, I will soon remove the 
ships below Bichelieu Falls, and after that, approach 
Quebec as fast as possible." 

''Our affiedrs here," adds he, "have taken a strange 
turn since our arrival The Canadians are flocking by 
hundreds to take a part with us. The only reason of 
their disa£fection was, because our exertions were so 
feeble that they doubted much of our success, and even 
of our ability to protect them. 

" I venture to assure you, and the Congress, that I can 
in a few days reduce the army to order, and with the 
assistance of a kind Providence, put a new face to our 
affairs here, which a few days since seemed almost im- 

The letter of Sullivan gave Washington an unexpected 
gleam of sunshine. " Before it came to hand," writes he 
in reply^ " I almost dreaded to hear from Canada, as my 
advices seemed to promise nothing favorable, but rather 
further misfortunes. But I now hope that our afiEEdrs, 
from the confused, distracted, and almost forlorn state in 
which you found them, will change, and assume an aspect 

WABHm&TON'B OPimos OF aUlLTFAN. 388 

<tf order and Baocees." Still his sagaoioos mind pei> 
oeired a motiTe for tbis fiivorable coloring of affairs. Sol' 
liran waB aiming at the command in Canada ; and Wash- 
ington soberly veighed his merits for the appointment 
in a letter to the President of Oongress. " He is aotiTBi 
spirited, and zealooslj attached to the caose. He has 
hia vanis, and he has his foibles. The latter are mani- 
fested in his little tincture of vaiiity, and in an orer-desin 
of being pt^nlar, which now and then lead him into em- 
barrassments. His wants are common to ns alL He 
wants experience to more upon a grand scale ; for the 
limited and contracted knowledge, which any of ns have 
in militaiy matters, stands in very little stead." This 
want was overbalanced, on the part of General SnlliTan, 
\tj sound judgment, some acqQaintfmoe with men and 
books, and an enterprising genins. 

"As the seoorify of Canada is of the last importance 
to the well-being of these colonies," adds Washington, 
"I shonid like to know the sentiments of Congress, re- 
specting the nomination of any officer to that command. 
The character I have drawn of General Snllivan is jnst, 
according to mj ideas of him. Congress will therefore 
determine apon the propriety of continning him in Can- 
ada, or sending another, as they shall see fit." * 

Scarce had Washington despatched this letter, when 
lie leoeired one from the President of Congress, dated the 

■ WwhinfUmtotliePreBlileiitof CcmgTMi, Jnly IS, 1770^ 


18th of June, informing liim that Major-general Gates 
had been appointed to command the forces in OaDada, 
and requesting him to expedite his departure as soon as 
possible. The appointment of Gates has been attributed 
to the influence of the eastern delegates, with whom he 
was a favorite ; indeed, during his station at Boston, he 
had been highly successful in cultivating the good graces 
of the New England people. He departed for his com- 
mand on the 26th of June, vested with extraordinary 
powers for the regulation of affiedrs in that *' distant, dan- 
gerous, and shifting scene." '' I would fain hope," writes 
Washington, '' his arrival there will give our a&irs a com- 
plexion different from what they have worn for a long time 
past, and that many essential benefits will result from it." 
Despatches just received from General Sullivan, had 
given a different picture of affisdrs in Canada from thai 
contained in his previous letter. In fact, when he wrote 
that letter, he was ignorant of the actual force of the 
enemy in Canada, which had recently been augmented to 
about 13,000 men ; several regiments having arrived from 
Ireland, one from England, another from General Howe, 
and a body of Brunswick troops under the Baron Beide- 
seL Of these, the greater part were on the way up from 
Quebec in divisions, by land and water, with Generals 
Carleton, Burgoyne, Philips, and Beidesel ; while a con- 
siderable number under General Frazer had arrived at 
Three Bivers, and others, under (General Nesbit, lay near 
them on board of transports. 


SnlliTan's despatch, dated on the 8th of Jane, at the 
month of the Sorel, began in his former sanguine vein, 
anticipating the snooess of General Thompson's enpedi- 
tion to Three Bivers. " He has proceeded in the manner 
proposed, and made his attack at daylight, for at that 
time a rery heavy cannonading began, which lasted vith 
Bome intervals to twelve o'clock. It ia now near one 
p. K. ; the firing has ceased, except some irregular firing 
viih cannon, at a considerable distance of time one from 
the other. At eight o'clock a very heavy firing of small* 
anns was heard even here, it the distance of forty-five 
miles. I am almost certain that victory has declared in 
oar favor, as the irregolar firing of the cannon few snch a 
length of time after the small-arms ceased, shows that 
onr men are in posaeseion of the ground." 

The letter was kept open to give the partiDalars of 
this gapposed victory ; it closed with a dismal reverse. 
General Thompson had coasted in bateaux along the 
right bank of the river at that expanse called Lake St. 
Pierre, and arrived at Nicolete, where he found St Clair 
and his detachment. He crossed the river in the night, 
and landed a few miles above Three Bivers, intending to 
Baiprise the enemy before daylight ; he was not aware at 
the time that additional troops had arrived under Oen- 
etal Bnif;oyne. 

After landing, he marched with rapidity towards Three 
Bivers, but was led by treacherous guides into a morass, 
and obliged to return back nearly two miles. Day broke) 


and he was discovered from the ships. A oaxmonade was 
opened upon his men as they made their way slowly for 
an hour and a half throngh a swamp. At length they 
arrived in sight of Three Bivers, but it was to find a 
large force drawn up in battle array, under General 
Frazer, by whom they were warmly attacked, and after a 
brief stand thrown into confusion. Thompson attempted 
to rally his troops, and partly succeeded, until a fire was 
opened upon them in rear by Nesbit, who had landed 
from his ships. Their rout now was complete. General 
Thompson, Colonel Irvine, and about two hundred men 
were captured, twenty-five were slain, and the rest pur- 
sued for several miles through a deep swamp. After 
great fatigues and sufferings, they were able to get on 
board of their boats, which had been kept from idling 
into the hands of the enemy. In these they made their 
way back to the Sorel, bringing (General Sullivan a sad 
explanation of all the firing he had heard, and the alarm- 
ing intelligence of the overpowering force that was com- 
ing up the river. 

" This, my dear general,'* writes Sullivan, in the con- 
clusion of his letter, " is the state of this unfortunate en^ 
terprise. What you will next hear I cannot say. I am 
every moment informed of the vast number of the enemy 
which have arrived. I have only two thousand five hun- 
dred and thirty-three rank and file. Most of the officers 
seem discouraged, and of course, their men, I am em- 
ployed day and night in fortifying and securing my camp 


ftnd am detennined to hold it as long as a persoQ will 
stick by me." 

He had, indeed, made the desperate leBolTe to defend 
the month of the Sorel, bnt vas indnoed to abandon it hj 
the tinanimons opinion of his officers, and the evident 
unwillingness of his troops. Dismantling his batteries, 
therefore, he retreated with his artillery and stores, just 
before the arrlTal of the enemy, and was followed, step 
by step along the Sorel, by a strong ooliimn under Gen* 
eral Borgc^ne. 

On the 16th of June he was joined by Qenerol Arnold 
with three htmdred men, the garrison of Montreid, who 
had crossed at Longneil just in time to escape a laige 
detachment of the enemy. Thos reinforced, and the 
evacnatioQ of Canada being determined on in a connci] 
of war, SnlliTati snoceeded in destroying eTerything at 
Chomblee and St John's that he could not carry away, 
breaking down bridges, and leaving forts and Tesaels in 
flames, and continued his rebvat to the ' Isle anx Noix, 
where he made a halt for some days, nntil he shonld re- 
oeive positive orders from Washington or General Sohay- 
ler. In a letter to Washington, he observes, " I am ex- 
tremely sorry it was not in my power to fnlfill your 
Excellency's wishes, by leading on oar troops to victory." 
After stating the reason of his failore, he adds, " I think 
we shall secore chll the public stores and b^^^e of the 
army, and secnre onr retreat with very little loss. 
Whether we shall have weU men enough to carry them 


on, I much donbi, if we don't remove qnicklj ; nnlen 
Heaven is pleased to restore health to this wretched 
army, now, perhaps, the most pitiful one that ever was 

The low, unhealthy situation of the Isle aux Noix, 
obliged him soon to remove his camp to the Isle La 
Motte, whence, on receiving orders to that effect from 
(General Schuyler, he ultimately embarked with his 
forces, sick and well, for Crown Point 

Thus ended this famous invasion ; an enterprise bold 
in its conceptions, daring and hardy in its execution; 
full of ingenious expedients, and hazardous exploits; 
and which, had not unforeseen circumstances counter- 
acted its well-devised plans, might have added all Oanada 
to the American Confederacy. 




- v<!v« •-» w . 5X\ A 

great aim of the British, at present, was to 
get possession of New York and the Hudson, 
and make them the basis of military opera- 
tions. This they hoped to effect on the arrival of a 
powerful armament, hourly expected, and designed for 
operations on the seaboard. 

At this critical juncture there was an alarm of a con- 
spiracy among the tories in the city and on Long Island, 
suddenly to take up arms and cooperate with the British 
troops on their arrivaL The wildest reports were in cir- 
culation concerning it. Some of the tories were to break 
down King's Bridge, others were to blow up the magazines, 
spike the guns, and massacre all the field-officers. Wash- 
ington was to be killed or delivered up to the enemy. 
Some of his own body-^ard were said to be in the plov. 
Several publicans of the city were pointed out, as hav- 
ing aided or abetted the plot. One was landlord of the 
Tou n.— 19 289 

290 L^^^ OF WABSmGTOJr. 

*< Highlander/' at the comer of Beaver Street and Broad« 
way. Another dispensed liquor under the sign of ^'Bobui 
Hood." Another, named Lowrj, described as a '' fat man 
in a blue coat/' kept tavern in a low house opposite the 
Oswego market. Another, James Hotdding, kept a beer- 
house in Trjon Bow, opposite the gates of the upper 
barracks. It would seem as if a network of corruption 
and treachery had been woven throughout the city by 
means of these liquor dealers. One of the most noted, 
however, was Corbie, whose tavern was said to be '^ to 
the southeast of Qeneral Washington's house, to the 
westward of Bayard's Woods, and north of Lispenard's 
Meadows," from which it would appear that, at that 
time, the general was quartered at what was formerly 
called Bichmond Hill ; a mansion surrounded by trees, 
at a short distance from the city, in rather an isolated 

A committee of the New York Congress, of which John 
Jay was chairman, traced the plot up to Governor Tryon, 
who, from his safe retreat on shipboard, acted through 
agents on shore. The most important of these was David 
Matthews, the tory mayor of the city. He was accused 
of disbursing money to enlist men. pnrohase arms, and 
corrupt the soldiery. 

Washington was authorized and requested by the com- 
mittee, to cause the mayor to be apprehended, and all 
his papers secured. Matthews was at that time resid- 
ing at Flatbush on Long Island, at no great 


frcHo General Greene's encampment. Washington trasth 
mitted the varrant of the committee to the general on 
the Slst, with directions that it ahonld " be executed 
wiUi precision, and exactly by one o'clock of the ensuing 
mominj^ bj a careful officer." 

Fredaely at tiie hour of one, a detachment from 
Greene's brigade snrroonded the house of the mayor, 
and seoTtred his person ; bat no papers were foond, 
though diligent search was made. 

Nomerons other arrests took place, and among the 
nomber, some of Washington's body-goard. A great dis- 
may fell npon the (ories. Bome of those on Long Island 
who had proceeded to arm themselves, finding the plot 
discovered, sought refoge in woods and morasses. Wash- 
ington directed that those arrested, who belonged to the 
umy, should be tried by a coort-martial, and the rest 
handed over to the secular power. 

Ax»!ordlDg to statements made before the committee, 
fire guineas bounty was offered by Governor Tryon to 
each man who should enter the king's service ; with a 
promise of two hundred acres of land for himself one 
hundred for his wife, and fifty for each child. The men 
thus recruited were set to act on shore, in cooperation 
with the king's troops when they came. 

Corbie's tavern, near Washington's quarters, was a 
kind of rendesvous of the conspirators. There one Gil- 
bert Forbes, a gunsmith, "a short, thick man, with a 
white coat," enlisted men, gave them money, and " swore 

2d2 LIFE Of WAaHm&TOnr. 

them on the book to secrecy." From this house a cot* 
respondence was kept up with Governor Tryon on ship- 
board, through a '^ mulatto-colored negro, dressed in 
blue clothes." At this tavern it was supposed Washing* 
ton's bodj-guards were tampered with. Thomas Hiokej, 
one of the guards, a dark-complexioned man, five feet six 
inches high, and well set, was said not only to be enlisted, 
but to have aided in corrupting his comrades; among 
others, Ghreen the drummer, and Johnson the fifer. 

It was further testified before the committee, that one 
Sergeant Graham, an old soldier, formerly of the royal 
artillery, had been employed by Gbvemor Tryon to prowl 
round and survey the grounds and works about the city, 
and on Long Island, and that, on information thus pro* 
cured, a plan of operations had been concerted. On the 
arrival of the fleet, a man-of-war should cannonade the 
battery at Bed Hook ; while that was doing, a detachment 
of the army should land below with cannon, and by a 
circuitous march surprise and storm the works on Long 
Island. The shipping then, with the remainder of the 
army, were to divide, one part to run up the Hudson, the 
other up the East River ; troops were to land above New 
York, secure the pass at King's Bridge, and cut off all 
communication between the city and country.* 

Much of the evidence given was of a dubious kind. It 
was certain that persons had secretly been enlisted, and 

^ Am. ArchiveSy 6th Series, tL 1177. 


Rwora io hoetile operations, bat WaBhington did not think 
tiiai anj regular plan had been digested by the oonspira 
tors, "The matter," writes he> "I am in hopes, by s 
timely discovery, wUl be suppressed." * 

Aooording to the mayor's own admission before the 
committee, he had been cognizant of attempts to enlist 
tories and corrapt Washington's gnards, though he de- 
clared he had disoonntenauced them. He had on one 
ocoasion, also, at the request of Qovemor Tryon, paid 
money for him to Gilbert Forbes, the gonsmith, for rifles 
and roond-bored gans which he had already famished, 
and for others which he was to make. He had dons so, 
however (according to his acoonnt), with great reluctance, 
and after much hesitation and delay, warning the gun- 
smiih that he wonld be hanged if found out. The mayor, 
with a number of others, were detained in prison to await 

Thomas Hickey, the indi-ridnal of Washington's guard, 
was tried before a coart-martial. He was an Irishman, 
and had been a deserter from the British army. The 
oourt-martial found him guilty of mutiny and sedition, 
and treacherous correspondence with the enemy, and 
sentenced him to be hanged. 

The sentence was approved by Washington, and was 
earried promptly into effect, in the most solemn and im- 
pressive manner, to serve as a warning and example in 

* Waahingtoa to tbe President of Congnaa^ Juiu St 


this time of treachery and danger. On the morning oi 
the 28th, all the officers and men off dufy, belonging to 
the brigades of Heath, Spencer, Stirling, and Scott, as- 
sembled under arms at their respective parades at ten 
o'clock, and marched thence to the ground. Twenty men 
from each brigade, with bayonets fixed, guarded the pris- 
oner to the place of execution, which was a field near the 
Bowery Lane. There he was hanged in the presence, we 
are told, of nearly twenty thousand persons. 

While the city was still brooding over this doleful 
spectacle, four ships-of-war, portentous visitants, ap- 
peared off the Hook, stood quietly in at the Narrows, 
and dropped anchor in the bay. 

In his orderly book, Washington expressed a hope that 
the unhappy fate of Thomas Hickey, executed that day 
for mutiny, sedition, and treachery, would be a warning 
to every soldier in the line, to avoid the crimes for which 
he suffered.* 

* As a specimen of the reports, which drculated thioughoat the ooan- 
tiy, oonoeming this conspiracy, we give an extract from a letter, written 
from Wethersfield, in Connecticut, 9th of July, 1776, by the Beyerend 
John Marsh. 

" You haye heard of the infernal plot that has been discoTered. About 
ten days before any of the conspirators were taken up, a woman went to 
the general and desired a private andience. He granted it to her, and she 
let him know that his life was in danger, and gave him such an aoooont 
of the conspiracy as gained his confidence. He opened the matter to a 
few friends, on whom he could depend. A strict watch was kept night 
and day, until a fayorable opportunity occurred ; when the general went 
to bed as usual, arose about two o'dock, told his lady he was a-going, 
with some of the Provincial Congress, to order some tories aeiied— dniral 


On the 29th of Jane, an express from the lookont on 
Staten Island, announced that forty sail were in sight. 
They were, in fact, ships from Halifax, bringing between 
nine and ten thousand of the troops recently expelled 
from Boston, t<^ther with six transports filled with 
JTighhtnd troops, whioh had joined the fleet at sea. At 
sight of this formidable armament standing into the har- 
~bor, Washington instantly sent notice of its arriral to 
"^Jolonel James Glinton, who had command of the posts 
dn the Highlands, and urged all possible preparations to 
^ve the enemy a worm reception shoold they push their 
frigates np the river. 

AxMwrding to general orders issned from head-qnarters 
•^m the following day (June 30), the officers and men, not 
on duty, were to march from their respectiTe regimental 
^larades to their alarm posts, at least once every day, 
~tliat they mi^^t become well acquainted with them. 

«he woold Duke henell easf, and go to sleep. He vent o9 without tuj 
«I hia aidee-dfr-aunp, except the captain of hia life-guard, was Joined by 
« Dumber of chooen man, with lanterns, and proper instrameiits to Ireak 
vpea bonseB, and before sis o'clocli next morning, had fort; men onaei 
gOMxA at the City Hall, among whom was the maTor of the city, several 
niEichBiita, and Ave or six of his oim life-giiard. Upon e xamina tion, one 
l^)Ibe■ ctmfeeMd th&t the plan was to assasBinate the general, and as 
■Muy of the saperior officers as they conld, and to blow op the magazine 
upon the appearance of the enemy's fleet, and tn go ofl in boats prepared 
for that pnrpGoe to join the enemy. Thomas Hickey, who haa been ex- 
tcoted, went bom this place. He came from Ireland a few years ago. 
That win be done with the mayor is uncertain. He cant be tried by 
eooit-martiBl, and, it Is »aid, there is no Uw of that colony by which he 
laa be condemned. May be havo bis deaerts," 


Thej were to go by routes least exposed to a fire iron 
the shipping, and all the officers, from the highest ii 
the lowest, were to make themselves weU aoqaamte< 
with the grounds. Upon a signal of the enemy's a{ 
proachy or upon any alarm, all fatigue parties were in 
mediately to repair to their respective corps, with thei 
arms, ammunition, and accoutrements, ready for instai 

It was ascertained that the ramifications of the ooi 
spiracy lately detected, extended up the Hudson. Man 
of the disaffected in the upper counties were enliste 
in ii The committee of safely at Oomwall, in Orang 
County, sent word to Oolonel James Clinton, Fort Coi 
stitntion, of the mischief that was brewing. Jame 
Ha£^ a tory, had confessed before them, that he wa 
one of a number who were to join the British troops a 
soon as they should arrive. It was expected the latte 
would push up the river and land at Verplanck*s Point 
whereupon the guns at the forts in the Highlands wer 
to be spiked by soldiers of their own garrisons ; an. 
the tones throughout the country were to be up i 

Clinton received letters, also, from a meeting of coit 
mittees in the precincts of Newburg, apprising him ths 
persons dangerous to the cause were lurking in the 
neighborhood, and requesting him to detach twenty-fii 

* Extracts from minutes of the committee. Am. Arekwes^ ^h Seni 

ABBiTAL or. emrssAZ sows. 997 

nan under a certain lieutenant acquainted with the 
Toods, " to aid in getting some of these raaoala appT&- 
hended and aeonred." 

While city and ooontry were thos agitated by apprfr* 
hensiona of danger, internal and external, other arriTals 
swelled the nomber of ships in the bsj of New York to 
one handled and thirty, men-of-war and tranapaxta. 
Thej made no movement to aaoend the Hndaon, Imt 
anoluned off Staten Island, where they landed their 
troops, and the hill-sides were soon whitened with their 

In the frigate Oreyhound, one of the four ships which 
first arrived, came General Howe. He had preceded the 
fleet in order to confer with Qovemor Tryon, and inform 
himself of the state of affairs. In a letter to his govern- 
ment he writes : " I met with Ckiremor Tryon on board 
of a ship st the Hook, and many gentlemen, iaat frienda 
of government, attending him, from whom I have the foll- 
est information of the state of the rebels. .... We 
passed the Narrows with three ships-of-war, and the first 
division of transports, landed the grenadiers and light 
infantry, as the ships came up, on this island, to the great 
joy of a most loyal people, long suffering on that accoont 
onder the oppression of the rebels stationed among them ; 
who precipitately fled on the approach of the shipping. 
.... There is great reason to expect a nnmeroos 
body of the inhabitants to join the army from the prov- 
ince of York, the Jerseys and Gounecticat, who, in this 


time of nniyersal oppression, only wait for opportimities 
to giye proofs of their loyalty and zeaL" * 

Washington beheld the gathering storm with an anx* 
ions eye, aware that (General Howe only awaited the ar- 
rival of his brother, the admiral, to oommenoe hostile 
operations. He wrote to the President of Oongress, nrg- 
ing a call on the Massachusetts government for its quota 
of oontinental troops ; and the formation of a flying oamp 
of ten thousand men, to be stationed in the Jerseys as 
a central force, ready to act in any direction as oiroum- 
stances might require. 

On the 2d of July, he issued a general order, calling 
upon the troops to prepare for a momentous conflict 
which was to decide their liberties and fortunes. Those 
who should signalize themselves by acts of bravery, 
would be noticed and rewarded ; those who proved cra- 
ven would be exposed and ptmished. No favor would be 
shown to such as refused or neglected to do their duiy at 
so important a crisis. 

* Governor Tryon, in a letter dated about this time from on board of 
the Ducheaa of Gord&n, off Staten Island, writes : ** The testimony given 
by the inhabitants of the island, of loyalty to His Majesty, and attach- 
ment to his government, I flatter myself will be general throoghout the 
province, as soon as the army gets the main body of the rebels between 
them and the sea; which will leave all the back country open to the 
command of the king's friends, and yield a plentiful resource of provi- 
sions for the army, and place them in a better situation to out off tht 
rebeb* retreat when forced from their stronghold.**— Am. Archives, 9tk 
Series, 123. 



IBOUT this tdmey we have the first appearance 
in the military ranks of the Beyolation, of one 
destined to take an active and distinguished 
part in public affairs ; and to leave the impress of his 
genius on the institutions of the country. 

As General Greene one day, on his way to Washing- 
ton's head-quartersy was passing through a field, — ^then 
on the outskirts of the eily, now in the heart of its 
busiest quarter, and known as '^ the Park/* — ^he paused 
to notice a provincial company of artillery, and was 
struck with its able performances, and with the tact and 
talent of its commander. He was a mere youth, appar- 
ently about twenty years of age; small in person and 
stature, but remarkable for his alert and manly bearing. 
It was Alexander Hamilton. 

Greene was an able tactician, and quick to appreciate 
any display of military science; a little conversatioii 


sufficed to conyince him that the youth before him had a 
mind of no ordinary grasp and quickness. He invited 
him to his quarters, and from that time cultivated his 

Hamilton was a native of the island of Nevis, in the 
West Indies, and at a very early age had been put in a 
counting-house at Santa Cruz. His nature, however, 
was aspiring. " I contemn the groveling condition of a 
clerk to which my fortune condemns me," writes he to 
a youthful friend, ''and would willingly risk my life, 
though not my character, to exalt my station. .... 
I mean to prepare the way for futurity. I am no philoso- 
pher, and may be justly said to build castles in the air; 
yet we have seen such schemes succeed, when the pro- 
jector is constant I shall conclude by saying, I wish 
there was a war.** 

Still he applied himself with zeal and fidelity to the 
duties of his station, and such were the precocity of his 
judgment, and his aptness at accounts, that, before he 
was fourteen years of age, he was left for a brief interval, 
during the absence of the principal, at the head of the 
establishmeni While his situation in the house gave 
him a practical knowledge of business, and experience in 
finance, his leisure hours were devoted to self-cultivation. 
He made himself acquainted with mathematics and 
chemistry, and indued a strong propensity to literature. 
Some early achievements of his pen attracted attention, 
and showed such proof of talent, that it was determined 


^ve him the adyantage of a regular education. Ha 
I aooordiugly seat to Elizabethtoirn, in the Jerseys, in 
antamn of 1772, to prepare, hy a coarBe of studies, 
admissioB into King's (now Colombia) College, at 
w York. He entered in the oollege as a private Btn-> 
it, in the latter part of 1773; and endeavored, by dili- 
it application, to fit himself for the medical professicoL 
fhe contentions of the colonies with the mother ooan>^ 
gave a different direotion and impnlH«i to his ardent 
1 aspiring mind. He soon signalized himself by the 
iroise of his pen, sometimes in a grave, sometimes in 
satirical manner. On the 6th of July, 1774, there was 
jeneral meeting of the citizens in the "Fields," to ex> 
na their abhorrence of the Boston Port Bill. Ham- 
in was present, and, prompted by his excited feelings 
1 the instigation of yoathfnl companions, ventured to 
iress the moltitade. The vigor and maturity of his 
eUect, contrasted with bis yonthfnl appearance, won 
) admiration of his auditors ; even his diminutive size 
re additional effect to his eloquence. 
Fhe war, for which in his boyish days he had sighed, 
8 approaching. He nov^Muted himself to military 
idies, especially pyrote6h^^|Ptid gunnery, and formed 
amateur corps out of a nunber of his fellow-students, 
1 the young gentlemen of the city. In the month of 
LTch, 1776, he became captain of artillery, in a provin- 
I corps, newly raised, and soon, by able drilling, ren- 
ed it oonspionous for discipline. 


It was while exercising his artillery company that hi0 
attracted, as we have mentioned, the attention of Qffof 
eral Greene. Farther acquaintance heightened the geft" 
eral's opinion of his extraordinary merits, and he took an 
early occasion to introduce him to the commander-iik- 
chie^ by whom we shall soon find him properly appied' 

A valuable accession to the army at this anxious time: 
was Washington's neighbor, and former companion ii 
arms, Hugh Mercer, the veteran of OuUoden and Fori 
Duquesne. His military spirit was alert as ever ; tiu 
talent he had shown in organizing the Virginia miUtia 
and his zeal and efficiency as a member of the oommittei 
of safety, had been properly appreciated by Oongresfl 
and on the 5th of June he had received the oomnussio] 
of brigadier-general He was greeted by Wadungton witi 
the right hand of fellowship. The flying camp was abou 
forming. The committee of safety of Pennsylvania war 
forwarding some of the militia of that province to th 
Jerseys, to perform the service of the camp until the mi 
litia levies, specified by Oongress, should arrive. Wasl 
ington had the nominatioMIII^ some continental officer t 
the command. He gav^^«» Mercer, of whose merits l 
felt sure, and sent him over to Paulus Hook, in the Je 
seys, to make arrangements for the Pennsylvania milit 
as they should come in ; recommending him to Brigadie 
general William Livingston, as an officer on whose exp 
rience and judgment great confidence might be repoiaed. 


liyingston was a man inexperienced in arms, but of 
edncationy talent, sagacity, and ready wii He was of the 
New York family of the same name, but had resided for 
some time in the Jerseys, having a spacious mansion in 
Elizabethtown, which he had named Liberiy HalL Mer- 
cer and he were to consult together, and concert plans to 
repel invasions ; the New Jersey militia, however, were 
distinct from the flying camp, and only called out fox 
local defense. New Jersey's greatest danger of invasion 
was from Staten Island, where the British were throwing 
up works, and whence they might attempt to cross to 
Amboy. The flying camp was therefore to be stationed 
in the neighborhood of that place. 

''The known disaffection of the people of Amboy,** 
writes Washington, "and the treachery of those on Staten 
Island, who, after the fairest professions, have shown 
themselves our most inveterate enemies, have induced me 
to give directions that all persons of known enmity and 
doubtful character should be removed from those places.** 

According to General Livingston's humorous account, 
his own village of Elizabethtown was not much more 
reliable, being peopled in those agitated times '' by un« 
known, unrecommended strangers, guilty-looking tories, 
and very knavish whigs.** 

While danger was gathering round New York, and its 
inhabitants were in mute suspense and fearful anticipa- 
tions, the General Congress at Philadelphia was dis- 
cussing, with closed doors, what John Adams pronounced 

804 ^^^ OF WASHINGTOlSr. 

— *'TIie greatest question ever debated in Amerioa, and 
as great as ever was or will be debated among men." The 
result was, a resolution passed unanimously, on the 2d of 
July, '' that these United Colonies are, and of right ought 
to be, free and independent States." 

'' The 2d of July," adds the same patriot statesman, 
^will be the most memorable epoch in the history of 
America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated 
by succeeding generations, as the great anniversary festi- 
val It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliv- 
erance, by solemn acts of devotion to Almighty God. It 
ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with 
shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illumi- 
nations, from one end of this continent to the other, from 
this time forth for evermore." 

The glorious event has, indeed, given rise to an annual 
jubilee, but not on the day designated by Adams. The 
fourth of July is the day of national rejoicing, for on thai 
day the '^ Declaration of Independence," that solemn and 
sublime document, was adopted. Tradition gives a dra- 
matic effect to its announcement It was known to be 
under discussion, but the closed doors of Congress ex- 
cluded the populace. They awaited, in throngs, an ap- 
pointed signal. In the steeple of the state-house was a 
bell, imported twenty-three years previously from Lon- 
don by the Provincial Assembly of Pennsylvania. It 
bore the portentous text from Scripture : " Proclaim 
liberty throughout all the land, unto all the inhabitants 


Jierent" A joy ous peal from that bell gave notice that 
he bill had been passed. It vas the knell of British 

No one felt the importance of the event more deeply 
han John Adams, for no one had been more active in 
kTododng it We quote hig words written at the mo- 
nent. " When I look back to the year 1761, and recol- 
eot the argoment concerning writs of assistance in the 
nperior ooort, which I have hitherto considered as the 
onunenoement of tiie oontrorersj between Omai Britain 
tad America, and ran throogh the whole period from 
hat time to this, and recollect the series of political 
(▼ents, the dhain of causes and effects, I am surprised at 
lie saddennesfl, as well as the greatness of this Bevo- 
ntion ; Great Britain has been filled with folly, America 
^tti wisdom." 

His only regret was, that the declaration of indepen- 
^nce had not been made sooner. " Had it been made 
Keren months ago," said he, " we should hare mastered 
Qnebec, and been in poaseBaion of Canada, and might be- 
Iflte this honr have formed alliances with foreign states. 
Hany gentlemen in high stations, and of great inflnence, 
li»Te been duped by the ministerial bubble of commis- 
sioners to treat, and have been slow and languid in pro- 
moting measures for the reduction of that proTince." 

Washington hailed the declaration with joy. It is true, 
it was but a formal recognition of a state of things which 
had long existed, but it pat an end to all those temporiz" 

TOL. IL^O ... 


ing hopes of reoonciliation which had dogged the mili* 
tary action of the countiy. 

On the 9th of July, he caused it to be read at six 
o'clock in the evening, at the head of each brigade of the 
army. ''The general hopes," said he in his orders, ''that 
this important event will serve as a fresh incentive to 
every officer and soldier, to act with fidelily and courage, 
as knowing that now the peace and safety of his conntiy 
depend, under God, solely on the success of our anns ; 
and that he is now in the service of a state, possessed oi 
sufficient power to reward his merit, and advance him to 
the highest honors of a free country/* 

The excitable populace of New York were not conteift'fc 
with the ringing of bells to proclaim their joy. Ther^ 
was a leaden statue of (George TTT. in the Bowling Qiee 
in front of the fort Since kingly rule is at an em 
why retain its effigy ? On the same evening, therefoi^s 
the statue was pulled down amid the shouts of the mxk%^ 
titude, and broken up to be run into bullets " to be U8»^ 
in the cause of independence.*' 

Some of the soldiery having been implicated in thi^ 
popular effervescence, Washington censured it in geners/ 
orders, as having much the appearance of a riot and a 
want of discipline, and the army was forbidden to in- 
dulge in any irregularities of the kind. It was his con- 
stant effort to inspire his countrymen in arms with hia 
own elevated idea of the cause in which they were en- 
gaged, and to make them feel that it was no ordinary 



rfare, admittmg of mlgar passions and perturbations, 
he general hopes and trasts," said he, "that every 
oer and man will endeavor so to live and act as be- 
aes a Christian soldier, defending the dearest rights 
I liberties of his ootmtry."* 

• <Me4rl»ok,Jtilj9. ^«ifca,liL4K 


— ^PAHIO Df THl 





|HE exultation of the patriots of New Tork, 
caused by the Declaration of Independenoe, 
was soon overclouded. On the 12th of July, 
several ships stood in from sea, and joined the nayal 
force below. Every nautical movement was now a mftt- 
ter of speculation and alarm, and all the spy-glasses in 
the city were incessantly reconnoitering the bay. 

" The enemy are now in the harbor/' writes an Ameri- 
can officer, " although they have not yet ventured them- 
selves within gunshot of the city, but we hourly expect 
to be called into action. The whole army is out between 
two and three every morning, at their respective alarm 
posts, and remain there until sunrise. I am morally cer- 
tain that it will not be long before we have an engage* 

Scarce had this letter been penned, when two ships* 
of-war were observed getting under way, and standing 


toward (Jie city. One was the Phoemx, of forly gtins; 
ihe other the BosCf of twenty guns, commanded by Cap- 
tain Wallace, of ttnenyiable renown, who had marauded 
the New England coast, and domineered over Bhode Isl- 
and. The troops were immediately at their alarm posts. 
It was about half-past three o'clock in the afternoon, as 
the ships and three tenders came sweeping up the bay 
wiih the advantage of wind and tide, and shaped their 
course up the Hudson. The batteries of the city and of 
Paulns Hook, on the opposite Jersey shore, opened a fire 
npon theoL They answered it with broadsides. There 
was a panic throughout the city. Women and children 
ran hither and thither about the streets, mingling their 
shrieks and cries with the thundering of the cannon. 
'' The attack has begun ! The city is to be destroyed I 
What will become of us ? ** 

The Plwenix and the Rose continued their course up 
ihe Hudson. They had merely fired upon the batteries 
as they passed ; and on their own part had sustained but 
little damage, their decks having ramparte of sand-bags. 
Ihe ships below remained in sullen quiet at their an- 
chors, and showed no intention of following them. The 
firing ceased. The fear of a general attack upon the city 
died away, and the agitated citizens breathed more freely. 

Washington, however, apprehended this movement of 
tiie ships might be with a different object They might 
be sent to land troops and seize upon the passes of the 
Hig^l^^-^^^g- Forte Montgomery and Constitution were 


far from oomplete, and were scantily manned. A small 
force might be sufficient to surprise them. The ships 
might intend, also, to distribute arms among the tories 
in the river counties, and prepare them to cooperate in 
the apprehended attack upon New York. 

Thus thinking, the moment Washington saw these 
ships standing up the riyer, he sent off an express to 
put Qeneral Mifflin on the alert, who was stationed with 
his Philadelphia troops at Fort Washington and Eling's 
Bridge. The same express carried a letter from him to 
the New York Convention, at that time holding its ses- 
sions at White Plains in Westchester CSounty, apprising 
it of the impending danger. His immediate solicitude 
was for the safety of Forts Oonstitution and Mont- 

Fortunately Gteorge Clinton, the patriotic legislator, 
had recently been appointed brigadier-general of the 
militia of Ulster and Orange counties. Called to his na- 
tive State by his military duties in this time of danger, 
he had only remained in Congress to vote for the Decla- 
ration of Independence, and then hastened home. He was 
now at New Windsor, in Ulster County, just above the 
Highlands. Washington wrote to him on the afternoon 
of the 12th, urging him to collect as great a force as pos- 
sible of the New York militia, for the protection of the 
Highlands against this hostile irruption, and to solicit 
aid, if requisite, from the western parts of Connecticut 
*'I have the strongest reason to believe,*' added he, *'it 

0ATasama vf tbe m&ELAsi>B. sil 

will be abaolntelj necessaiT', if it were onlj to pieveiit an 
insairection of joar own tories." 

Long before the receipt of Washington's letter, Clinton 
had been put on the alert Abont nine o'dock on the 
jnoming of the 13th, an alarm gnn from his brother at 
Fort Constitation, thondered throogh the echoing defiles 
of the mountains. Shortly afterwards, two river sloops 
came to anchor above the Highlands before the general's 
residence. Their oaptaios informed him that New York 
had been attacked on the preceding afternoon. The; 
had seen the cannonade from a distance, and judged from 
the sabseqnent firing that the eneraj's ships were np the 
river as far as King's Bridge. 

Clinton was as prompt a soldier as he had been an 
intrepid legislator. The neighboring militia were forth' 
with pnt in motion. Three regiments were ordered ont ; 
one was to repair to Fort Montgomery' ; another to Fort 
Conaiitation ; the third to rendezvous at Newbnrg, jost 
above the Highlands, ready to hasten to the assistance of 
Fort Constitation, should another signal be given. All 
the other regiments under his command were to be pre- 
pared for service at a moment's notice. In ordering these 
lusty levies, however, he was as considerate as he was 
«itergetio. The colonels were directed to leave the fron- 
tier companies at home, to protect the country against 
tiie Indians, and some men ont of each company to gnard 
■gunst internal enemies. 
Another of his sagaoions measures was to send ex- 

dia Lifs OP wAsmsrctTOA 

presses to all the owners of sloops and boats twenty 
miles up the west side of the river, to haul them ofF ao 
as to prevent their grounding. Part of them were to be 
ready to carry over the militia to the forts ; the rest were 
ordered down to Fort Oonstitntion^ where a chain of them 
might be drawn across the narrowest part of the river, to 
be set on fire, should the enemy's ships attempt to pass. 

Having made these prompt arrangements, he proceeded 
early in the afternoon of the same day, with aboni forty 
of his neighbors, to Fort Oonstitution ; whence, leaving 
some with his brother, he pushed down on the same 
evening to Fort Montgomery, where he fixed his head- 
quarters, as being nearer the enemy and better situated 
to discover their motions. 

Here, on the following day (July 14th), he received 
Washington's letter, written two days previously ; but by 
this time he had anticipated its orders, and stirred up the 
whole country. On that same evening, two or three hun- 
dred of the hardy Ulster yeomanry, roughly equipped, 
part of one of the regiments he had ordered out, marched 
into Fort Montgomery, headed by their colonel (Wood- 
hull). Early the next morning five hundred of another 
regiment arrived, and he was told that parts of two other 
regiments were on the way. 

"The men," writes he to Washington, "turn out of 
their harvest fields to defend their country with surpris- 
ing alacrity. The absence of so many of them, however, 
at this time, when their harvests are perishing for want 


of the aickle, frill greatlj distress the oonntiy. I oonld 
wish* therefore, that a leas number might answer the 

On no one oonld this prompt and brave gathering of 
tiie jeomamy produce a more gratrfying efTect than npon 
the oommander-in-chief ; and no one could be more feel- 
ingly ali-TO, in the midst of stern military daties, to the 
appeal in behalf of the peaoefnl interests of the hnsband- 

While the vigilant Clinton was preparing to defend 
the passes of the Highlands, danger was growing more 
imminent at the month of the Hudson. 

New York hss always been a city prone to agitations. 
That into which it was thrown on the afternoon of the 
13th of Joly, by the broadsides of the Fhanix and the 
£oae, was almost immediately followed by another. On 
Ute same evening there was a great booming of cannon, 
with clouds of smoke, from the shipping at anchor at 
Btaten Island. Every spy-glass was ^ain in requisition. 
The British fleet were saluting a ship of the line, just 
arrived from sea. She advanced grandly, every man-of- 
war thundering a salute as she passed. At her foretop 
mast-head she bore St George's flag. *' It is the admi- 
ral's ship I" cried the nautical men on the look-out at 
ihe Battery. " It is the admiral's ship I " was echoed 
from mouth to mouth, and the word soon flew through 
the dty, " Lord Howe is come I " 



OBD HOWE was indeed oomey and affiaiis now 
appeared to be approaching a crisis. In con- 
sequence of the recent conspiracy, the Conven- 
tion of New York, seated at White Plains in Westchester 
County, had a secret committee stationed in New York 
for the purpose of taking cognizance of traitorous machi- 
nations. To this committee Washington addressed a let- 
ter the day after his lordship's arrival, suggesting the 
policy of removing from the city and its environs, " all 
persons of known disaffection and enmity to the cause of 
America ; " especially those confined in jail for treason- 
able offenses ; who might become extremely dangerous in 
case of an attack and alarm. He took this step with great 
reluctance ; but felt compelled to it by circumstances. 
The late conspiracy had shown him that treason might be 



lurking in his camp. And lie was well aware that the 
city and the neighboring country, especiallj Westchester 
County, and Queens and Suffolk counties on Long Island, 
abounded with ** tories " ready to rally under the royal 
standard whenever backed by a commanding force. 

la consequence of his suggestion, thirteen persons in 
confinement for traitorous offenses, were removed to the 
jail of Litchfield in Oonnecticut Among the number was 
-the late mayor ; but as his offense was not of so deep a 
dye as those whereof the rest stood charged, it was 
xeoommended by the president of the Convention that he 
should be treated with indulgence. 

The proceedings of Lord Howe soon showed the policy 
of these precautions. His lordship had prepared a dec- 
laration addressed to the people at large, informing them 
of the powers vested in his brother and himself as com- 
missioners for restoring peace ; and inviting communities 
as well as individuals, who, in the tumult and disasters 
of ihe times, had deviated from their allegiance to the 
erown, to merit and receive pardon by a prompt return 
to their duty. It was added, that proper consideration 
wonld be had of the services of all who should contribute 
to the restoration of public tranquillity. 

His lordship really desired peace. According to a con- 
temporary, he came to America ^^ as a mediator, not as a 
destroyer,*' * and had founded great hopes in the efficacy 

* Letter of Mr. Dennie de Berdt, to Mr. Joseph Beed. Am, Archives, 
Bth Series, i, 872. 


of this document in rallying back the people to theii 
allegiance ; it was a sore matter of regret to him, there- 
fore, to find that, in consequence of his tardy arriyal, his 
invitation to loyalty had been forestalled by the Decla- 
ration of Independence. 

Still it might have an e£fect in bringing adherents to 
Ihe royal standard ; he sent a flag on shore, therefore, 
bearing a circular letter, written in his civil and military 
capacity, to the colonial goyemor, requesting him to pub- 
lish his address to the people as widely as possible. 

We have heretofore shown the tenacity with which 
Washington, in his correspondence with Generals Gage 
and Howe, exacted the consideration and deference due to 
him as commander-in-chief of the American armies ; he 
did this not from official pride and punctilio, but as the 
guardian of American rights and dignities. A further 
step of the kind was yet to be taken. The British officers, 
considering the Americans in arms rebels without valid 
commissions, were in the habit of denying them all mili- 
tary title. Washington's general officers had urged him 
not to submit to this tacit indignity, but to reject all let- 
ters directed to him without a specification of his official 

An occasion now presented itself for the adjustment ol 
this matter. Within a day or two an officer of the Brit- 
ish navy, Lieutenant Brown, came with a flag from Lord 
Howe, seeking a conference with Washington. Colonel 
Beed, the adjutant-general, embarked in a barge, and met 


Mm half way between Gbvemor's and Staten lalanda 
The lientenant informed him that he was the bearer of a 
letter from Lord Howe to Mr. Washington. Oolonel 
Beed replied, that he knew no such person in the Ameri-« 
can army. The lientenant produced and offered the let- 
ter. It was addressed to George Washington, Esquire. 
He was informed that it could not be received with such 
a direction. The Ueutenant expressed much concern. 
The letter, he said, was of a civil, rather than a military 
nature — ^Lord Howe regretted he had not arrived sooner 
— ^he had great powers — ^it was much to be wished the 
letter could be received. 

While the lieutenant was embarrassed and agitated, 
Beed maintained his coolness, politely declining to re- 
ceive the letter, as inconsistent with his duty. They 
parted; but after the lieutenant had been rowed some 
tittle distance, his barge was put about, and Beed waited 
to hear what further he had to say. It was to ask by 
what title Oeneral — ^but catching himself Mr. Washing- 
ton chose to be addressed. 

Beed replied that the general's station in the army was 
well known ; and they could not be at a loss as to the 
proper mode of addressing him, especially as this matter 
had been discussed in the preceding summer, of which, 
he presumed, the admiral could not be ignorant The 
lieutenant again expressed his disappointment and regret, 
and their interview closed. 

On the 19th, an aide-de-camp of General Howe came 


with a flag, and requested to know, as there appeared ta 
be an obstacle to a correspondenoe between the two 
generals, whether Colonel Patterson, the British adjn« 
tant-general, could be admitted to an interview with 
General Washington. Colonel Beed, who met the flag, 
consented in the name of the general, and pledged his 
honor for the safety of the adjutant-general during the 
interview, which was fixed for the following morning. 

At the appointed time, Colonel Beed, and Colonel 
Webb, one of Washington's aides, met the flag in the 
harbor, took Colonel Patterson into their barge, and es- 
corted him to town, passing in front of the grand battery. 
The customary precaution of blindfolding was dispensed 
with ; and there was a lively and sociable conversation 
the whole way. Washington received the adjutant-gen- 
eral at head-quarters with much form and ceremony, in 
full military array, with his officers and guards about 

Colonel Patterson, addressing him by the title of yowr 
taooeBency, endeavored to explain the address of the letter 
as consistent with propriety, and founded on a aimiUr 
address in the previous summer, to Gteneral Howe. That 
General Howe did not mean to derogate from the rank or 
respect of General Washington, but conceived such an 
address consistent with what had been used by ambas 
sadors or plenipotentiaries where difficulties of rank had 
arisen. He then produced, but did not offer, a letter ad* 
dressed to (George Washington, Esquire, eta eta. 

QOUONSL pATTxsaos's Moawir. 319 

ttuU ihe et ceteras, vhioh implied eTerytiiiiig, vould m- 
more &11 impediments. 

Washington replied that it waa true the et ceteras im- 
plied eTeiything, bat they also implied anything. His 
letter alluded to, of the prenoos sommer, was in reply 
to one addressed in like manner. A letter, he added, 
iddreased to a person acting in a public character, 
ihonld have some insoriptionB to designate it from a mere 
prxTate letter ; and he shoold absolntely dedine any let- 
ter addressed to himself as a prirate person, when it te- 
isted to his pnblio station. 

Colonel Patterson, finding the letter vonld not be re- 
jeiTed, endeaTored, as far as he oonld reoolleot, to oom- 
nttnioate the scope of it in the coarse of a somewhat 
loBaltoiy oonTersation. What he chiefly dwelt upon was, 
hat Lord Howe and bis brother had been specially 
tominated commissioners for the promotion of peace, 
rhich was esteemed a mark of favor and regard to 
Lmerioa ; that they had great powers, and woold derive 
ihe highest pleasure from effecting an accommodation; 
md he conclnded by adding, that he wished his visit to 
y& considered as mftVing the first advance toward tiiat 
lesirable object. 

Washington replied that, by what had appeared (al* 
"odin^ no doabt, to Lord Howe's cirotdar), their pow- 
vn, it wOTild seem, were only to grant pardons. Now 
^oae who had committed no fanlt needed no pardon ; 
hod soch was the case with the Americans, who were 


only defending what thej considered their indisputabls 

Colonel Patterson avoided a discussion of this matter, 
which, he observed, would open a very wide field ; so 
here the conference, which had been conducted on both 
sides with great courtesy, terminated. The colonel took 
his leave, excusing himself from partaking of a coUatioii, 
having made a late breakfast, and was again conducted to 
his boai He expressed himself highly sensible of the 
courtesy of his treatment, in having the usual ceremony 
of blindfolding dispensed with. 

Washington received the applause of Oongress and of 
the pubUc for sustaining the dignity of his station. His 
conduct in this particular was recommended as a model 
to all American officers in corresponding with the enemy; 
and Lord Howe informed his government that, thencefor- 
ward, it would be politic to change the superscription of 
his letters. 

In the meantime the irruption of the Phasnix and the 
Boae into the waters of the Hudson had roused a bellig- 
erent spirit along its borders. The lower part of that 
noble river is commanded on the eastern side by the 
bold woody heights of Manhattan Island and West- 
chester County, and on the western side by the rocky 
clifiis of the Palisades. Beyond those cliffs, the river ex- 
pands into a succession of what may almost be termed 
lakes ; first the Tappan Sea, then Haverstraw Bay, then 
the Bay of Feekskill ; separated from each other by long 

HUDSON KIVP:R and the H1QHLAND8. 321 

etretching points, or high beetUng promontories, but af- 
fording ample sea-room and safe anchorage. Then come 
the redoubtable Highlands, that strait, fifteen miles in 
length, where the river bends its course, narrow and 
deep, between rocky, forest^lad mountains. 

** He who has command of that grand defile,'* said an 
old navigator, '' may at any time throttle the Hudson.** 

The New York Convention, aware of the impending 
danger, despatched military envoys to stir up the yeo- 
manry along the river, and order out militia. Powder 
snd ball were sent to Tarrytown, before which the hostile 
ships were anchored, and yeoman troops were stationed 
-there and along the neighboring shores of the Tappan 
Sea^ In a little while the militia of Dutchess Counfy 
snd Gortlandt's Manor were hastening, rudely armed, to 
j>rotect the public stores at Peekskill, and mount guard 
at the entrance of the Highlands. 

No one showed more zeal in this time of alarm, than 

C!olonel Pierre Van Oortlandt, of an old colonial family, 

^which held its manorial residence at the mouth of the 

Oroton. With his regiment he kept a dragon watch 

^ong the eastern shore of the Tappan Sea and Haver- 

atraw Bay ; while equal vigilance was maintained night 

ttnd day along the western shore, from Nyack quite up 

to the Dunderberg, by Colonel Hay and his regiment of 

Saverstraw. Sheep and cattle were driven inland, out 

of the reach of maraud. Sentinels were posted to keep a 

lookout from heights and headlands, and give the alarm 
VOL. n.— 21 

322 ^^^ OF WASSmQTOir. 

Bhoold any boats approach the shore ; and rustic marks- 
men were ready to assemble in a moment, and give them 
a warm reception. 

The ships of war which caused this alarm and turmoil, 
lay quietly anchored in the broad expanses of the Tap- 
pan Sea and Haverstraw Bay ; shifting their ground oo- 
oasionaUy, and keeping out of musket shot of the shore, 
apparently sleeping in the summer sunshine, with awn- 
ings stretched above their decks ; while their boats were 
out taking soundings quite up to the Highlands, evi- 
dently preparing for further operations. At night, too, 
their barges were heard rowing up and down the river 
on mysterious errands ; perriaugers, also, paid them fur- 
tive visits occasionally ; it was surmised, with communi- 
cations and suppUes from tories on shore. 

While the ships were anchored in Haverstraw Bay, one 
of the tenders stood into the Bay of Peekskill, and beat 
up within long shot of Fort Montgomery, where General 
Oeoi^ Clinton was ensconced with six hundred of the mi- 
litia of Orange and Ulster counties. As the tender ap- 
proached, a thirty-two pounder was brought to range upo 
her. The ball passed through her quarter ; whereupon sha 
put about, and ran round the point of the Dunderberg, 
where the boat landed, plundered a solitary house at the 
foot of the mountain, and left it in flames. The maraud- 
ers, on their way back to the ships, were severely galled 
by rustic marksmen, from a neighboring promontory. 

The ships, now acquainted with the channel, moved up 

ctmroK OS tbe albrt. 323 

rithin BIX miles of Fort Montgomeiy. General Clinton 
pprehended they might mean to take adyantage of a 
Ark night, and slip b; him in the deep shadows of the 
lonntains. The shores were high and bold, the river 
■as deep, the navigation of coarse safs and eaaj. Onoe 
bove the Highlands, thej might ravage the coonbry be- 
ond, and destroy certain veaeels of war which were 
eing conatrooted at Fonghkeepsie. 
To prevent this, he stationed a guard at night on the 
irtliest point in view, about two miles and a half below 
tie fort, prepared to kindle a blazing fire should the 
bips appear in sight. Large piles of dry bmsbwood 
lized with combastibles, were prepared at varioiu 
laces np and down the shore opposite to the fort, and 
ten stationed to set fire to them as soon as a signal 
tkonld be given from the lower point The fort, there* 
>Te, while it remained in darkness, woold have a fair 
hance with its batteries as the ships passed between it 
Old these conflagrations. 

A private committee sent np by tiie New York Con- 
vention, had a conference with the general, to devise far- 
ther means of obstructing the passage of ships ap the 
river. Fire rafts were to be brought from Poaghkeepsie 
U)d kept at hand ready for action. These were to be 
lashed two together, with chains, between old sloops 
iiQed with combnatibles, and sent down with a strong 
wind and tide, to drive npon the ships. An iron chain, 
also, was to be stretched obliquely across die river from 

824 ^^^ OF WAaBm&TOV. 

Fort Montgomery to the foot of Anthony's Nose, thus, a 
it were, chaining up the gate of the Highlands, 

For a protection below the Highlands, it was propose 
to station whale-boats about the coves and promontorie 
of Tappan Sea and Haverstraw Bay ; to reconnoiter th 
enemy, cruise about at night, carry intelligence from pa 
to post, seize any river craft that might bring the shi{ 
supplies, and cut o£F their boats when attempting to lan< 
Galleys also, were prepared, with nine-pounders mounte 
at the bows. 

Colonel Hay of Haverstraw, in a letter to Washingtoi 
rejoices that the national Congress are preparing to pn 
tect this great highway of the country, and anticipate 
that the banks of the Hudson were about to become tfa 
chief theatre of the war. 


Thb Van Oobtlanbt Familt.— Two members of this old and homo 
able family were conspicuous patriots throughout the Bevolutioii. Pier 
Van Ck>rtlandt, the father, at this time about 66 years of age, a stanc 
friend and ally of G^rge Clinton, was member of the first Provinci 
Congress, and president of the Committee of Public Safety, (ioyem 
Tryon had visited him in his old manor-house at the mouth of the Crotoi 
in 1774, and made him offers of royal favors, honors, grants of land, etc 
if he would abandon the popular cause. His offers were nobly rejeotei 
The Cortlandt family suffered in consequence, being at one time obliged! 
abandon their manorial residence : but the head remained true to the cans 
and subsequently filled the office of lieutenant-governor with great dignit 

His son Pierre, mentioned in the above chapter, and then about 27 yea 
of age, had likewise resisted the overtures of Tryon, destroying a majoi 
commission in the Cortlandt militia, which he sent him. Oongress, i 
1775, made him lieutenant-colonel in the continental servioe, in wfaii 
capacity we now find him, acquitting himself with leal and ability. 



I tfCatriOYI OF -MMMAXD tjt- 

sotrrax&M noon.— BitAu.wooD'B luoABom batulioh.— ooKRcmoDT 


HHIii'R the seoarify of the Hadaon horn inTod- 
ing ships was olaiming the attention of Wash- 
ington, he was equally anzions to prevent an 
irruption of the enemy from Canada. He was grieved, 
therefore, to find there vas a clashing of anthorities be- 
tween the generals -who had charge of the Northern 
frontier. Gates, on his vaj to take command of the 
army in Canada, had heard with snrprise in Albany, of 
itB retreat across the New York frontier. He still con- 
ddered it nnder his orders, and was proceeding to act 
accordingly ; when General Schayler observed, that the 
lesolntion of Congress, and the instmctiong of Washing- 
ton, applied to the army only while in Canada ; the mo- 
ment it retreated within the limits of New York, it came 
within his (Schnyler's) command. A letter from Schuy- 
ler to Washington, written at the time says: "If C!on- 


gress intended that General Ghites shonld command the 
Northern army, wherever it may be, as he assures me 
they did, it ought to have been signified to me, and I 
should then have immediately resigned the command to 
him; but until such intention is properly conveyed to 
me, I never can. I must, therefore, entreat your Excel- 
lency to lay this letter before Congress, that they may 
clearly and explicitly signify their intentions, to avert 
the dangers and evils that may arise from a disputed 

That there might be no delay in the service at this 
critical juncture, the two generals agreed to refer the 
question of command to Congress, and in the meantime 
to act in concert They accordingly departed together 
for Lake Champlain, to prepare against an anticipated 
invasion by Sir Guy Carleton. They arrived at Crown 
Point on the 6th of July, and found there the wrecks of 
the army recently driven out of Canada. They had been 
harassed in their retreat by land ; their transportation 
on the lake had been in leaky boats, without awnings^ 
where the sick, suffering from small-pox, lay on straw, 
exposed to a burning July sun ; no food but salt pork, 
often rancid, hard biscuit or unbaked flour, and scarcely 
any medicine. Not more than six thousand men had 
reached Crown Point, and half of those were on the sick 
list ; the shattered remains of twelve or fifteen very fine « 
battalions. Some few were sheltered in tents, some un« — 
der sheds, and others in huts hastily formed of bushes; ^ 


•oaroe one of whieh but oontained a dead or dying man. 
TwD thooBand eight hnndzed weie to be Bent to a bos' 
pital leoenily establiBhed at tbe eonth end of Xaika 
George, a distance of fifty miles ; when they were gone, 
-with those who were to row them in boats, there wonld 
TOmain bat the shadow of an army.* 

In a oouuoil of war, it was determined that, under 
present dronmstanoes, the post of Grown Point was noi 
tenable; neither was it capable of being made so this 
anmmer, without a force greatly saperior to any they 
might reasonably expect ; and that, therefore, it was ex- 
pedient to tall baok, and take a strong position at Tiocm- 

General Sullivan had been deeply hurt that Gates, his 
forzaer inferior in rank, should have been appointed oret 
liim to the command of the army in Canada ; considering 
it a tacit intimation that Congress did not esteem him 
competent to the trust which had devolved upon him. 
Se now, therefore, requested leave of absenoe, in order 
to wait on the commander-in-chie& It was granted with 
relnctanoe. Before departing, he communicated to the 
army, through General Schuyler, his high and gratefnl 
sense of their exertions in secnring a retreat from Canada, 
and the oheerfnlnesa with which his commands had been 
received and obeyed. 

On the 9ih of July, Schayler and Gates returned to 

* (M. John TnunbiiU'i ^ufoMo^rapAjr, p. 38S, Appendlz. 



Tioonderoga^ accompanied by Arnold. Instant arrange- 
ments were made to encamp the troops, and land the 
artillery and stores as fast as they should arrive. Great 
exertions, also, were made to strengthen the defenses of 
the place. Colonel John Tmmbnll, who was to have 
accompanied Gkites to Canada, as adjatant-generaly had 
been reconnoitering the neighborhood of Ticonderoga^ 
and had pitched upon a place for a fortification on the 
eastern side of the lake, directiy opposite the east point 
of Ticonderoga, where Fort Independence was snbse- 
qnentiy boilt. He also advised the erection of a work on 
a lofty eminence, the termination of a mountain ridge, 
which separates Lake George from Lake Champlain. His 
advice was unfortunately disregarded. The eminence, 
subsequently called Mount Defiance, looked down upon 
And commanded the narrow parts of both lakes. We 
shall hear more of it hereafter. 

Preparations were made, also, to augment the naval 
force on the lakes. Ship carpenters from the Eastern 
States were employed at Skenesborough, to build the 
hulls of galleys and boats, which, when launched, were 
to be sent down to Ticonderoga for equipment and arma- 
ment, under the superintendence of General Arnold. 

Schuyler soon returned to Albany, to superintend th 
general concerns of the Northern department. He waar 
indefatigable in procuring and forwarding the necessary 
materials and artillery for the fortification of Tioonde* 

TBS qUSBTIOlf OF 001tl£Ain> SETTLED 329 

The qnestion of oommand between him and Gates was 
apparently at reat A letter from the President of Con- 
greaa, dated July 8th, informed General Gates, tiiat ac- 
cording to the resolation of that body under which he 
had been appointed, his oommand was totally indepen- 
dent of General Sohnyler tokSe the army was in Canada, 
but no longer. Congress had no design to direst Gen- 
eral Sohnyler of the command while the troops were on 
ttw aide of Canada. 

To Sohnyler, under the same date, the president 
writes : " The Congress highly approve of yonr patriot- 
ism and magnanimily in not suffering any difference of 
<^inion to hurt the pnblio service. 

" A mntnol confidence and good nnderstanding are at 
this time essentially necessary, so that I am persnaded 
they wiU take place on all occasions between yourself 
and General Gates." 

Gates professed himself entirely satisfied with the ex- 
planation he had received, and perfectly disposed to 
obey the commands of Schnyler. "I am confident," 
added he, " we shall, as the Congress wish, go hand in 
hand to promote the public welfare." 

Schuyler, too, assured both Congress and Washii^ton, 
" that the difference in opinion between Gates and him- 
self had not caused the least iU-will, nor interrupted that 
harmony necessary to subsist between their officers." 

Samuel Adams, however, who was at that time in Con' 
gress, had strong doubts in the matter. 

830 ^'^^ OF WAaHUIfGTOir. 

"Schnjler and Gates are to oommand ihe troopB," 
writes he, '' the former while they are without^ the latter 
while they are within the bounds of Canada. Admitting 
these generals to have the accomplishments of a Marl- 
borough, or a Eugene, I cannot conceive that such a dis- 
position of them will be attended with any good effects, 
unless harmony subsiste between them. Alas, I fear this 
is not the case. Already disputes have arisen, which 
they have referred to Congress ; and, although they a&ot 
to treat each other with a politeness becoming their rank, 
in my mind, altercations between commanders who have 
pretensions nearly equal (I mean in point of oommand), 
forebode a repetition of misfortune. I sincerely wish my 
apprehensions may prove groundless." * 

We have a letter before us, also, written to Gates, by 
his friend Joseph Trumbull, commissary-general, on 
whose appointment of a deputy, the question of com- 
mand had arisen. Trumbull's letter was well calculated 
to inflame the jealousy of Gates. " I find you are in a 
cursed situation," writes he ; '' your authority at an end; 
and commanded by a person who will be willing to have 
you knocked in the head, as General Montgomery waa, 
if he can have the money chest in his power." 

Governor Trumbull, too, the father of the commis- 
sary-general, observes subsequently : " It is justly to be 
expected that General Gkites is discontented with hia 

* S. Adams to R. H. Lee. Am, Archives, 6th Series, L 847. 


situation, finding himself limited and removed from the 
command, to be a wretched spectator of the rain of the 
army, withont power of attempting to save them." * We 
shall have frequent occasion hereafter to notice the dis- 
oord in the service caused by this rankling discontent 

As to (General Sullivan, who repaired to Philadelphia 
and tendered his resignation, the question of rank which 
Iiad aggrieved him was explained in a manner that in- 
diioed him to continue in service. It was universally 
allowed that his retreat had been ably conducted through 
all lands of difficulties and disasters. 

A greater source of solicitude to Washington than this 

jealousy between commanders, was the sectional jealoufify 

springing up among the troops. In a letter to Schuyler 

(July 17th), he says, ** I must entreat your attention to do 

away vrith the unhappy and pernicious distinctions and 

jealousies between the troops of different governments. 

Unjoin this upon the officers, and let them inculcate and 

press home to the soldiery, the necessity of order and 

Iiannony among those who are embarked in one common 

cause, and mutually contending for all that freemen hold 


Nowhere were these sectional jealousies more preva- 
lent than in the motley army assembled from distant 
quarters under Washington's own command. Beed, the 
adjutant -general, speaking on this subject, observes: 

* QoYemor TrombuU to Mr. William Williami. 

332 ^ZJT^r OF WAJSSmOTOir. 

''The Southern troops, comprisiiig the xegiments south 
the Delaware, looked with yeij unkiiid feelings on those 
New England ; especially those from Oonnectiont, whos^ 
{>eculiarities of deportment made them the objects of ill'- 
disguised derision among their fellow-soldiers.'' * 

Among the troops thus designated as Southern, we 
some from Virginia, under a Major Leitch ; others fro: 
Maryland, under Colonel Smallwood ; others from 
ware, led by Colonel Haslei There were four oon 
tinental battalions from Pennsylyania^ oommanded 
Colonels Shee, Si Clair, Wayne, and Magaw ; and 
yincial battalions, two of which were seyerally com — 
manded by Colonels Miles and Atlee. The continental 
battalion under Colonel Shee, was chiefly from the ciiy 
of Philadelphia, especially the officers; among whom 
were Lambert Cadwalader and William Allen, members 
of two of the principal and most aristocratic families, 
and Alexander Graydon, to whose memoirs we are in- 
debted for some graphic pictures of the times. 

These Pennsylvania troops were under the command 
of Brigadier-general Mifflin, who, in the preceding year, 
had acted as Washington's aide-de-camp, and afterwards 
as quartermaster-generaL His townsman and intimate, 
Graydon, characterizes him as a man of education and 
cultivated manners, with a great talent at haranguing; 
highly animated in his appearance, full of activity and 

♦ Life of Beedy voL i. p. 389. 


apparently of fire; bat rather too maoh of a bnsiler, 
TiftTftflflirig hia men uimeooasatily. " He assumed," adds 
Orajdon, " a little of the Teteran, from haviog been be- 
fore Boston." Hia troops were ohieflj encamped near 
King's Bridge, and employed in oonstmoiing works at 
fort Washington. 

SmaUwood's Maryland battalion vas one of the bright- 
est in point of eqoipment. The scarlet and boff Tiniforms 
of those SoQthemers contrasted vividly with the nutio 
attire of the yeoman battalions from the East. Their 
officers, too, looked down npon tiieir Conneotioat oom> 
peers, vho could only be distingoished from their men 
by wearing a oodcade. "There were none," says Gray- 
don, " by whom an oni^oer-like appearance and deport- 
ment could be tolerated less than by a city-bred Mary- 
lander ; who, at this time, was distinguished by the most 
fashionable cut ooat, the moat macaroni cocked-hat, and 
hottest blood in the Union." Alas, for the homespnu- 
clad (^oers from Counectiout Biver I 

The Pennsylvania regiment onder Shee, according to 
Graydon, promoted balls and other entertainments, in 
contradistinction to the fast-days and sermons borrowed 
from New England. There was nothing of the pnritan- 
ical spirit among the Pennsylvania soldiery. 

In the same sectional spirit, he speaks of the Oonnei>- 
tiont light-horse : " Old-^shioned men, tmly irregnlars ; 
whether their clothing, equipments, or caparisons were 
r^arded, it would have been difficult So bivo discovered 

884 I^I^^ OF WASHmGTOy. 

any oircnmstance of iiniformitj. Instead of carbinds and 
sabresy they generally carried fowling-pieoes, some of 
ihem very long, such as in Pennsylvania are nsed for 
shooting ducks. Here and there one appeared in a dingy 
regimental of scarlet, with a triangular, tarnished, laced 
hai These singular dragoons were volunteers, who came 
to make a tender of their services te the commander-in- 
ohiei But they stayed not long in New York. As such 
a body of cavalry had not been counted upon, there was 
in all probability a want of forage for their jades, which, 
in the spirit of ancient knighthood, they absolutely re- 
fused to descend from ; and as the general had no use for 
cavaliers in his insular operations, they were forthwith 
dismissed, with suitable acknowledgmente for their truly 
chivalrous ardor." * 

The troops thus satirized, were a body of between four 
imd five hundred Connecticut light-horse, under Colonel 
Thomas Seymour. On an appeal for aid to the governor 
of their State, they had voluntarily hastened on in ad- 
vance of the militia, to render the most speedy succor. 
Supposing, from the suddenness and ui^ncy of the call 
upon their services, that they were immediately to be 
called into action and promptly to return home, they had 
come oflf in such haste, that many were unprovided even 
with a blanket or a change of clothing. 

Washington speaks of them as being for the most par<i 

* Graydon*s Memoirs, p. 16S. 


all, men of repatation and properly. They vera, in 
oostlj &rmen. As io their aanyjadea, theyvere 

oosntry borseB, saoh as formera kjep, not for shoT, 
orioe. Aa to their dingy regimentala, ve qaote s 
in their &vor irom a writer of that day. " Some of 
voithy soldieTB aaaiated in their present nnifoTms 
< redaction of Loaiaborg, and their 'lank oheeka and 
'om ooata* are vieved with more veneration hj their 
t ooontrymen, than if &ey were glittering nabobs 
bidia, or bashaws with nine tails." * 
arriving, their horses, from acaroity of forage, bad 
pastured about King's Bridge. In &ct, Waahington 
jed them that, nnder present circomatanoea, thej 

not be of nae as horsemen ; on whioh they con- 
i to Btaj, and do dnty on foot till the arrival of the 
sriea-t In a letter to Governor Trumbnll (Jnly 11), 
tngton observes : " The officers and men of that corps 
manifested so firm an attachment to the canse we 
igaged in, that they have consented to remain here, 
oh a body of troopa are marched from your colony 
[1 be a sufficient reinforcement, so as to admit of 
Leaving this city with safety. .... They have 
Iditionat merit of determining to stay, even if they 
t>liged to maintain their horses at their own ex- 

* Am. Arehivee, Sth Series, L 175 

fWebb to Got. Trumbull. 

t Am. Arehivet, Sth Series, 1. 193. 

S36 ^^^^ ^^ WABHINQTQN. 

In a T6iy few days, however, the troopers on being 
quested to mount guard like other soldiers, grew restlesar 
and uneasy. Oolonel Seymour and his brother field-offi— - 
oers, therefore, addressed a note to Washington, stating^ 
that» by the positive laws of Oonneoticui, the light-horse 
were expressly exempted from staying in garrison, or 
doing duty on foot, apart from their horses ; and that 
they found it impossible to detain their men any longer 
under that idea, they having oome ^^ without the least 
expectation or preparation for such services." They re- 
spectfully, therefore, asked a dismission in form. Wash- 
ington's brief reply shows that he was nettled by their 

** Oentlemen, — ^In answer to yours of this date, I can 
only repeat to you what I said last nighty and that is, that 
if your men think themselves exempt from the common 
duty of a soldier — ^will not mount guard, do garrison duty, 
or service separate from their horses — ^they can no longer 
be of any use here, where horses cannot be brought to 
action, and I do not care how soon they are dismissed.** 

In fact, the assistance of these troops was much 
needed ; yet he apprehended the exemption from fatigue 
and garrison duty which they demanded as a right, 
would, if granted, set a dangerous example to others, 
and be productive of many evil consequences. 

In the hurry of various concerns, he directed his aide* 


de-camp, Colonel Webb, to write in his name to Gk>Ter* 
nor Tmmbnll on the subjeci 

Colonel Seymour, on his return home, addressed a long 
letter to the goyemor explanatory of his conduct. **I 
can't help remarking to your Honor," adds he, ** that it 
may with truth be said. General Washington is a gentle- 
man of extreme care and caution : that his requisitions 
(or men are fuUy equal to the necessities of the case. 
• • . • I should have stopped here, but am this mo- 
ment informed that Mr. Webb, General Washington's aide- 
de-camp, has written to your Honor something dishonor^ 
able to the light-horse. Whatever it may be I know not» 
but this I do know, that it is a general observation both 
in camp and country, if the butterflies and coxcombs were 
away from the army, we should not be put to so much 
difficulty in obtaining men of common sense to engage in 
the defense of their country." * 

As to the Connecticut infantry which had been fur- 
nished by Governor Trumbull in the present emergency, 
they likewise were substantial farmers, whose business, 
he observed, would require their return, when the neces- 
sity of their further stay in the army should be over. 
They were all men of simple rural manners, from an ag- 
ricultural State, where great equality of condition pre- 
vailed ; the officers were elected by the men out of their 
0"wn ranks, they were their own neighbors, and every way 

* Am, ArehiveSf 5th Series, L 518. 
you n. — f " 



their equals. All this, as yet^ was but litUe nndeistood 
or appreciated by the troops from the South, among 
whom militarj rank was more defined and tenaciously 
observed, and where the officers were men of the cities, 
and of aristocratic habits. 

We have drawn out from contemporary sources these 
few particulars concerning the sectional jealousies thus 
early springing up among the troops from the different 
States, to show the difficulties with which Washington 
had to contend at the outset, and which formed a grow- 
ing object of solicitude throughout the rest of his career. 

John Adams, speaking of the violent passions, and 
discordant interests at work throughout the country, 
from Florida to Canada, observes: "It requires more 
serenity of temper, a deeper understanding, and more 
courage than fell to the lot of Marlborough, to ride in 
this whirlwind.'* * 

* Am, Archives, 4th Series, y. IIIS. 



1 from Gteneral Lee gave Washington 
intelligence of the &te of Sir Henry Clinton's 
I expedition to the Soath ; that expedition which 
had been the subject of so mach saTmise and perplexit^r. 
Sir S.ewrj in his cruise along the coast had been repeat- 
edly foiled by Lee. First, as ve have shown, when he 
looked in at New York ; next, when he paused at Nor- 
folk in Yirginia; and lastly, when he made a bold at- 
tempt at Cbarleston in South Carolina; for scarce did 
his ships appear off the bar of the harbor, than the omni- 
present Lee was marching his troops into the city. 

Within a year past, Charleston had been fortified at 
Tarions points. Fort Johnson, on James Island, three 
miles from the city, and commanding the breadth of the 
channel, was garrisoned by a regiment of South Carolina 
regulars under Colonel Gadsden. A strong fort had re- 
cently been constructed nearly opposite, on the south- 
west point of SulliTan's Island, about six miles below the 


city. It was moxLnted with twentj-six guns, and garri- 
Boned by three hundred and seyenty-five regulars and a 
few militia^ and commanded by Colonel William Moul- 
trie of South Carolina, who had constructed it. This 
fort, in connection with that on James Island, was con- 
sidered the key of the harbor. 

Cannon had also been mounted on Haddrell's Point on 
the mainland, to the northwest of Sulliyan's Island, and 
along the bay in front of the town. 

The arrival of Q^neral Lee gaye great joy to the people 
of Charleston, from his high reputation for military skill 
and experience. According to his own account in a letter 
to Washington, the town on his arrival was " utterly de- 
fenseless.'* He was rejoiced therefore, when the enemy, 
instead of immediately attacking it, directed his whole 
force against the fort on Sullivan's Island. " He has lost 
an opportunity," said Lee, " such as I hope will never 
occur again, of taking the town." 

The British ships, in fact, having passed the bar with 
some difficulty, landed their troops on Long Island, situ- 
ated to the east of Sullivan's Island, and separated from 
it by a small creek called the Breach. Sir Henry Clinton 
meditated a combined attack with his land and naval 
forces on the fort commanded by Moultrie ; the capture 
of which, he thought, would insure the reduction of 

The Americans immediately threw up works on the 
northeastern extremity of Sullivan's Island, to prevent 


flie passage of the enemj over the Breach, stationiiig a 
foroe of regalan and militia there, ander Oolonel Thomp- 
son. Qeneral Lee encamped on Haddrell's Point, on the 
mainland, to the north of the island, vhenoe he intended 
to keep np a commonication by a bridge of boaia, so aa 
to be ready at any moment to aid either Moultrie or 

Sir Henry Clinton, on the other hand, had to oonstmofc 
batteries on Long Island, to oppose those of Thompson, 
and cover the passage of his troops by boats or by the 
ford. Thns time was oonenmed, and the enemy vere, 
from the Ist to the 28th of Jane, preparing for the attack; 
their troops snffering from the intense heat of the son on 
the boming sands of Long Island, and both fleet and 
army oomplaining of brackish water and scanty and bad 

M length on the 28& of Jnne, the Thonder Bomb com- 
=menoed the attack, throwing shells at the fort as the fleet, 
imder Sir Peter Parker, advanced. About eleven o'clock 
^e ships dropped their anchors directly before the frcAit 
l)attery. " I was at this time in a boat," writes Lee, " en> 
^earoring to make the island ; bat the wind and tide 
Tteing violently against ns, drove as on the main. They 
immediately commenced the most farloas fire I ever 
lieard or saw. I confess I was in pain, from the little 
oonfidenoe I reposed in our troops ; the o£Soers being all 
Im^s, and the men raw recmits. What angmented my 
■Dzietry was, that we had no bridge finished for retreat or 

342 ^^^ OF WABHINGTOJf. 

commnnioation ; and the creek or cove which separates 
it from the continent is near a mile wide. I had reoeiyed^ 
Ukewise, intelligence that their land troops intended at 
the same time to land and assault I neyer in my life 
felt myself so uneasy ; and what added to my nneasiness 
was, that I knew our stock of ammunition was miserably 
low. I had once thought of ordering the commanding 
officer to spike his guns, and, when his ammunition was 
spent, to retreat with as little loss as possible. However, 
I thought proper previously to send to town for a fresh 
supply, if it could possibly be procured, and ordered mj 
aide-de-camp, Mr. Byrd (who is a lad of magnanimous 
courage), to pass over in a small canoe, and report the 
state of the spirit of the garrison. If it had been low, 
I should have abandoned all thoughts of defense. His 
report was flattering. I then determined to maintain the 
post at all risks, and passed the creek or cove in a small 
boat, in order to animate the garrison in propria peraond ; 
but I found they had no occasion for such an encourage- 

^'They were pleased with my visit, and assured me 
they never would' abandon the post but with their lives. 
The cool courage they displayed astonished and enrap« 
tured me, for I do assure you, my dear general, I never 
experienced a better fire. Twelve full hours it was oon-^ 
tinned without intermission. The noble fellows who were 
mortally wounded, conjured their brethren never to aban- 
don the standard of liberty. Those who lost their limbs 


deserted not their poets. tJpon the whole, they acted like 
Somans in the third ceutarj." 

Hnoh of the forgoing is oorroborated hj the state- 
ment of a British historian. " While the continued fire 
of oar ships," writes he, " seemed sufficient to shake the 
£eroene88 of the brarest enemy, and daunt the courage 
of the most veteran soldier, the return made by the fort 
oonld not fail calling for the respect, as well as of highly 
incommoding the brave seamen of Britain. In the midst 
of that dreadful roar of artillery, they stuck with the 
greatest constancy and firmness to their guns ; fired de- 
liberately and slowly, and took a cool and efiective ainL 
^The ships suffered accordingly; they were torn almost 
■k^ pieces, and the slai^;hter was dreadfuL Kever did 
IBritiBh valor shine more conspicuous, and never did our 
znarine in an engagement of the same nature with any 
foreign enemy experience so rnde an encounter. " * 

The fire from the ships did not prodace the expected 
effect The fortifications were low, composed of earth 
and palmetto wood, which is soft, and makes no splin- 
ters, and the merlons were extremely thick. At one time 
there was a considerable pause in the American fire, and 
the enemy thought the fort was abandoned. It was only 
because the powder was exhausted. As soon as a supply 
could be forwarded from the mainland by General Lee, 
the fort resumed its fire with still more deadly effect. 

* iKi& CVtftI War in Amer^a, Dublin, 1770. ^HMtml Stffisler. 

34i J^X^^ OF WASEDfGnS. 

Through wnnkillfBl pilotege, a cf M i cC tike ASfg xtt 
aground, where one, the frjgito liiiiWj iCBBBed; As 
rest weie exirieated with dHEfwHy. TVnti wUcih ban 
the bmnft of the aetMHi were aradi cat vfL One t— to d 
and flerenty-fiTe men were killed^ and 
wounded. Captain Seott, commanding Ibe 
of fiftj gonsy loat an arm, and was otterwii 
Captain Morrisy commanding the AdtBom^ wna alaia. So 
also was Lord Campbell, hite governor of Ibe piaiinee^ 
who eerred as a Tolnnteer cm board of the squadron. 

Sir Henry Clinton, with two thonaand troops and fife 
or six hundred seamen, attempted repeatedly to craai 
from Long Island, and cooperate in the attack iqpon Ae 
fort^ bnt was as often foiled by Colonel ThampsoBiy wiBi 
his battery of two cannons, and a body of Sooth rSMwKii^ 
rangers and North Carolina regulars. ''Upon the whole," 
says Lee, ** the South and North Carolina troops and ^St> 
ginia rifle battalion we have here, are admirable soldiers.* 

The combat slackened before sunset, and ceased before 
ten o'clock. Sir Peter Parker, who had receiyed a seTere 
contusion in the engagement, then slipped his cables, and 
drew off his shattered ships to Five Fathom Hole. The 
AcUpon remained aground. 

On the following morning Sir Henry Clinton made 
another attempt to cross from Long Island to SnlliTan*6 
Island; but was again repulsed, and obliged to take 
shelter behind his breastworks. Sir Peter Parker, too^ 
giving up all hope of reducing the fort in the shattered 


condition of his sliipSy ordered that the Adceon should be 
set on fire and abandoned. The crew left her in flames, 
with the guns loaded, and the colors flying. The Ameri- 
cans boarded her in time to haul down her colors, and 
secore them as a trophy, discharge her guns at one of the 
enemy's ships, and load three boats with stores. They 
then abandoned her to her fate, and in half an hour she 
blew up. 

Within a few days the troops were reembarked from 
Long Island ; the attempt upon Charleston was for the 
present abandoned, and the fleet once more put to sea. 

In this action, one of the severest in the whole course 
of the war, the loss of the Americans in killed and 
wounded, was but thirty-fiye men. Oolonel Moultrie de- 
rived the greatest glory from the defense of Sullivan's 
Island ; though the thanks of Congress were voted as 
well to (General Lee, Colonel Thompson, and those under 
their command. 

''For God's sake, my dear general," writes Lee to 
Washington, ''urge the Congress to furnish me with a 
thousand cavalry. With a thousand cavalry I could in- 
sure the safety of these Southern provinces ; and without 
cavalry, I can answer for nothing. From want of this 
species of troops we had infallibly lost this capital, but 
the dilatoriness and stupidity of the enemy saved us." 

The tidings of this signal repulse of the enemy came 
most opportunely to Washington, when he was appre« 
bending an attack upon New York. He writes in a famil' 


iar yein to Schuyler on the snbjeci ''Sir Peter Parker 
and his fleet got a severe drubbing in an attack upon onr 
works on Sulliyan's Island, just by Charleston in South 
Carolina ; a part of their troops, at the same time, in 
attempting to land, were repulsed." He assumed a differ- 
ent tone in announcing it to the army in a general order 
of the 21st July. '^ This generous example of our troops 
under the like circumstances with us, the general hopes, 
will animate every officer and soldier to imitate, and even 
outdo them, when the enemy shall make the same attempt 
on us. With such a bright example before us of what 
oau be done by brave men fighting in defense of their 
ootuitry, we shall be loaded with a double share of shame 
and infamy if we do not acquit ourselves with courage, 
and manifest a determined resolution to conquer or die." 


nnuM'B HLiTAXT raotmcn.—CBavixix-B 

EKAL FTTTNAM, beside his braTerj in the 
I field, was somewhat of a mechanical projector. 
I The batteries at Fort Washington had proved 
inefiectnal is opposing the passage of hostile ships op 
the Htidson. Ma waa nov engt^ed on a plan for ob- 
straeting the channel opposite the fort, so as to prevent 
the passing of any more ships. A letter from him to 
General Gates (July 26th) eiplflins his project " We are 
preparing choTanx-de-frise, at which we make great de- 
spatch by the help of ships, which are to be annk — a 
scheme of mine which you may be assured is very sim- 
ple ; s plan of which I send jon. The two ships' sterna 

848 ^^^ OF wAsnmGToir. 

lie towards each other, about seyenij feet apari Three 
large logs, which reach from ship to ship, are fsistened to 
them. The two ships and logs stop the riyer two hmi^ 
dred and eighty feci The ships are to be sunk, and 
when hauled down on one side, the pricks will be raised 
to a proper height, and they must ineyitably stop the 
river, if the enemy will let us sink them." 

It so happened that one Ephraim Anderson, adjutant 
to the second Jersey battalion, had recently submitted a 
project to Congress for destroying the enemy's fleet in 
the harbor of New York. He had attempted an enter- 
prise of the kind against the British ships in the harbor 
of Quebec during the siege, and, according to his own 
account, would have succeeded, had not the enemy dis- 
coyered his intentions, and stretched a cable across the 
mouth of the harbor, and had he not accidentally been 
much burnt 

His scheme was favorably entertained by Congress, 
and Washington, by a letter dated July . 10th, was in- 
structed to aid him in carrying it into effect Anderson, 
accordingly, was soon at work at New York constructing 
fire-ships, with which the fleet was to be attacked. Si- 
multaneous with the attack, a descent was to be made on 
the British camp on Staten Island, from the nearest point 
of the Jersey shore, by troops from Mercer's flying camp, 
and by others stationed at Bergen under Major Enowl- 
ton, Putnam's favorite officer for daring enterprises. 

Putnam entered into the scheme as zealously as if it 


liad been his oim. Indeed, bj the tenor of hia letter to 

dates, already quoted, he seemed almost to consider it 

BO. " The enemy's fleet," writes he, " now lies in the 

iMy, close nnder Staten Island. Their troops poBsess no 

land here hat the Island. Is it not strange that those 

inrinoible troops, vho were to lay waste all this conntry 

with their fleets and army, are so fond of islands and 

peninsulas, and dare not put their feet on the main ? 

Bat I hope, by the blessing of Ood, and good friends, we 

shall pay them a visit on their island. For that end we 

are preparing fonrteen flre-ships to go into their fleet, 

some of which are ready charged and fitted to sail, and 

I hope soon to have them all fixed." 

Anderson, also, on the 31st July, writes from New York 

to the President of Congress : " I have been for some 

time past very assidaons in the preparation of fire-ships. 

"Hwo are already complete, and hauled off into the stream ; 

two more will be off to-morrow, and the residue in a very 

flhort time. In my next, I hope to give jon a partioalar 

aooonnt of a general conflagration, as STerything in my 

power shall be exerted for the demolition of the enemy's 

fleet. I expect to take an active part, and be an instm- 

ment for that purpose. I am determined (Ood willing) 

to make a ocmspicnons figore among them, by being a 

* l>mning and abining light,' and thereby serve my conn- 

tx7, and have the honor of meeting the approbation of 

• Am. ArMvu, 0th Stake, I ISB. 


Projectors are subject to disappointments. It was inh* 
possible to constmct a sufficient number of fire-ships and 
galleys in time. The flying camp, too, recruited but 
slowly, and scarcely exceeded three thousand men ; the 
combined attack by fire and sword had therefore to be 
given up, and the "burning and shining light" again 
failed of conflagration. 

Still, a partial night attack on the Staten Island en« 
campment was concerted by Mercer and Ejiowlton, and 
twice attempted. On one occasion, they were prevented 
from crossing the strait by tempestuous weather, on an- 
other by deficiency of boats. 

In the course of a few days arrived a hundred sail, with 
large reinforcements, among which were one thousand 
Hessians, and as many more were reported to be on the 
way. The troops were disembarked on Staten Island, and 
fortifications thrown up on some of the most commanding 

All projects of attack upon the enemy were now out of 
the question. Indeed, some of Washington's ablest ad- 
visers questioned the policy of remaining in New York, 
where they might be entrapped as the British had been 
iQ Boston. Beed, the adjutant-general, observed that, as 
the communication by the Hudson was interrupted, there 
was nothing now to keep them at New York but a mere 
point of honor; in the meantime, they endangered the 
loss of the army and its military stores. Why should 
they risk so much in defending a city, while the greatel 


part of its inhabitauts were plotting their destmotioti? 
His adrioe vas, that, vhen they ooald defend the oify no 
longer, they ehonld evacuate, and bom it, and retire from 
Manhattan Island; should avoid any general action, or 
indeed any aotioo, nnleaa in view of great advant^es ; 
oad should make it a war of poets. 

During the latter part of Jnly, and the early part of 
August, ships of war with their tenders oontinned to 
arrive, and Scotch Highlanders, Hesraans, and other 
troops to be landed on Staten Island. At the beginning 
of Angost, the sqnadron with Sir Henry Clinton, recently 
Tepolsed at Charleston, anchored in the bay. " His com- 
ing," writes Colonel Beed, " was as nnezpected as if he 
had dropped from the doads." He was accompanied by 
Lord ComwaUifi, and brooght three thousand troops. 

In the meantime, Putnam's contrivances for obstraot- 
ing the channel had reached their destined place. A let- 
ter dated Fort Washington, Aogost 3d, says : " Four 
ahipB chained and boomed, with a nomber of amftging 
large chevanx-de-£rise, were sank close by the fort under 
command of General Mifflin, which fort mounts thirty-two 
pieces of heavy cannon. We are thoroughly sanguine 
ttiat they [the ships up the river] never will be able to 
join the British fleet, nor assistance from (he fleet be 
Afforded to them ; so that we may set them down as oar 

Another letter, written at the same date from Tarry- 
town, on the borders of the Tappan Sea, gives an aooonnt 

862 I^^^ OF WABHINQTOir. 

of an attack made by six row galleys upon the Phoeniss 
and the Boae. They fought bravely for two hours, hull** 
ing the ships repeatedly, but sustaimng great damage in 
return ; tmtil their commodore. Colonel Tupper, gave the 
signal to draw ofL ** Never/' says the writer, " did men 
behave with more firm, determined spirit, than our little 
crews. One of our tars being mortally wounded, cried to 
his companions : 'I am a dying man; revenge my blood, 
my boys, and carry me alongside my gun, that I may die 
there.* We were so preserved by a gracious Providence, 
that in all our galleys we had but two men killed and 
fourteen wounded, two of which are thought dangerous 
We hope to have another touch at those pirates before 
they leave our river ; which God prosper 1 ** 

Such was the belligerent spirit prevailing up the Hud- 

The force of the enemy collected in the neighborhood 
of New York was about thirty thousand men ; that of the 
Americans a little more than seventeen thousand, but 
was subsequently increased to twenty thousand, for the 
most part raw and undisciplined. One fourth were on 
the sick-list with bilious and putrid fevers and dysen- 
tery ; others were absent on furlough or command ; the 
rest had to be distributed over posts and stations fifteen 
miles apari 

The sectional jealousies prevalent among them were 
more and more a subject of tmeasiness to Washingtoik 
In one of his general orders he observes : ^' It is with 


great oonoerD that the general onderstands that jealoaaies 
have arisen among the troops from the difEerent prov* 
inoea, and reflections ore freqneniJj thrown oat which can 
obIj tend to irritate each other, and injnre the noble 
cause in which we ore engaged, and which we ought to 
snpport with one hand and one heart The general most 
earnestly entreats the officers and soldiers to consider the 
conseqnenceB ; that thej can no waj assist onr enemies 
more effeotoally than hj making divisions among onr* 
Belves ; that the honor and snccesa of the army, and the 
safety of oar bleeding conntry, depend npon harmony and 
good agreement with each other ; that the proTinces are 
all anited to oppose the common enemy, and all distino- 
tions sank in the name of an American. To make this 
name honorable, and to preserve the liberty of our conn- 
tiy, oaght to be onr only emalation ; and he will be the 
best soldier and the best patriot, who contribates most to 
this glorious work, whatever be his station, or from what- 
ever part of the continent he may come. Let all distinc- 
tion of nations, countries, and provinces, therefore, be lost 
in the generous contest, who shall behave with the most 
ooorage against the enemy, and the most kindness and 
good-humor to each other. If there be any officers or 
soldiers so lost to virtue and a love of their country, so as 
to oontiuoe in such practices ^tor this order, the general 
assures them, and is aathorized bj Oongress to declare 
to the whole army, that snch persons shall be severely 
punished, and dismissed from the service with disgrace." 

854 ^'^^^V 0^ WASHINGTOW. 

The nrgenoy of such a general oxder is apparent ui 
that early period of our confederation, when its yarioni 
parts had not as yet been sufficiently welded together to 
acquire a thorough feeling of nationality ; yet what an 
enduring lesson does it furnish for every stage of oui 

We subjoin another of the general orders issued in 
this time of gloom and anxiety : — 

'' That the troops may have an opportunity of attend- 
ing public worship, as well as to take some rest after the 
great fatigue they have gone through, the general, in 
future, excuses them from fatigue duty on Sundays, ex- 
cept at the ship-yards, or on special occasions, until 
further orders. The general is sorry to be informed, that 
the foolish and wicked practice of profane cursing and 
swearing, a vice heretofore little known in an American 
army, is growing into fashion. He hopes the officers 
will, by example as well as influence, endeavor to check 
it, and that both they and the men will reflect, that we 
can little hope of the blessing of Heaven on our arms, if 
we insult it by our impiety and folly. Added to this, it 
is a vice so mean and low, without any temptation, that 
every man of sense and character detests and despises it" * 

While Washington thus endeavored to elevate the 
minds of his soldiery to the sanctity of the cause in which 
they were engaged, he kept the most watchful eye upon 

* Orderly Book, Aug. 8, as cited by Sparks. Wr%t%ng$ of Wcuihinfftot^ 
ToL iv. p. 28. 


the moyements of the euemj. Beside their great superi- 
ority in point of numbers as well as discipline, to his 
own cmde and scanty legions, they possessed a vast ad- 
vantage in their fleet. ''They would not be half the 
enemy they are/' observed Colonel Beed, " if they were 
once separated from their ships." Every arrival and de- 
parture of these, therefore, was a subject of speculation 
and conjecture. Aaron Burr, at that time in New York, 
aide-de-camp to General Putnam, speaks in a letter to an 
unde, of thiriy transports, which, under convoy of three 
frigates, had put to sea on the 7th of August, with the 
intention of sailing round Long Island and coming 
through the Sound, and thus investing the city by the 
North and East Bivers. " They are then to land on both 
sides of the island," writes he, ''join their forces, and 
draw a line across, which will hem us in, and totally cut 
off all communication ; after which, they will have their 
own fun." He adds : " They hold us in the utmost con- 
tempt. Talk of forcing all our lines without firing a gun. 
The bayonet is their pride. They have forgot Bunker's 
Hill." ♦ 

In this emergency, Washington wrote to General Mer- 
cer for 2,000 men from the flying camp. Colonel Small- 
wood's battalion was immediately furnished, as a part of 
them. The Convention of the State ordered out hasty 
levies of country militia, to form temporary camps on the 


* Am, AreMveSf Sth Series, i. 887. 

866 iJ^^ OP WABmscntonr. 

shore of the Sound, and on that of the Hudson abort 
King's Bridge, to annoy the enemy, should they attempt 
to land from their ships on either of these waters. 
Others were sent to reinforoe the posts on Long Island. 
As King's County on Long Island was noted for being a 
stronghold of the disaffected, the Convention ordered 
that, should any of the militia of that couniy refuse to 
serve, they should be disarmed and secured, and their 
possessions laid waste. 

Many of the yeomen of the country, thus hastily sum- 
moned from the plough, were destitute of arms, in lieu 
of which they were ordered to bring with them a shovel, 
spade, or pickaxe, or a scythe straightened and fastened 
to a pole. This rustic array may have provoked the 
thoughtless sneers of city scoffers, such as those cited by 
Ghraydon ; but it was in truth one of the glorious features 
of the Bevolution, to be thus aided in its emergencies by 
** hasty levies of husbandmen." * 

* Gteneral orders, Aug. 8th, show the feverish state of affairs in the 
city. *' As the moyements of the enemy, and intelligence by deeerters, 
give the utmost reason to believe that the great struggle in which we ara 
contending for everything dear to us and our posterity is near at hand, 
the general most earnestly recommends the closest attention to the state 
of the men's arms, ammunition, and flints ; that if we should be sod* 
denly called to action, nothing of this kind may be to provide. And he 
does most anxiously exhort both officers and soldiers not to be out of their 
quarters or encampments, especially in the morning or upon the tide of 

" A flag in the daytime, or a light at night, in the fort on Bayard's 
Hill, with three guns from the same place flred quick but distinot, is to 
be considered as a signal for the troops to repair to their alarm posts, and 

By the anthori^ of the Nev York Convention, Waah- 
ington had appointed Oeneral George Clinton to the 
command of the leTies on both sides of the Hadaon. He 
nov ordered him to hasten down with them to the fort 
just erected on the north side of King's Bridge ; leaving 
two hundred men under the command of a brave and 
alert officer to throw np works at the pass of Anthony's 
Noee, where the main road to Albany crossea that moon* 
tun. Troops of horse also were to be posted by him 
along the river to watch the motions of the enemy. 

Washington now made the last solemn preparations 
tor the impending oonfliot. All suspected persons, whose 
presence might promote the plans of the enemy, were re- 
moved to a distance. All papers respecting affairs of 
state were pat np in a large case, to be delivered to Con- 
gress. As to his domestic arrangements, Mrs. Washing- 
ton had some time previoosly gone to Philadelphia, with 
the intention of retoming to Yirgioia, as there was no 
I>ro8pect of her being with him any part of the summer, 
vhich threatened to be one of turmoil and danger. The 
other ladies, wives of general officers, who nsed to grace 
find enliven head-quarters, had all been sent out of the 
way of the storm which was lowering over this devoted oi^. 

p«pue for action. And that the alarm inaf be more eSeotuallj giTen, 
tbe drnmfl are immediately to beat to arms upon the signal being giTen 
from BajBid's Hill. This order is not to be ccmsidered as conntermand- 
ing the Oring two guns at Fort George, as formerly ordered. That ia 
■1k> to be dcHie on an alarm, but tbe flag will not be hoisted M tlie dd 
bMd-qaarten in Broaiws>j."~Am. Arekivet, Bth Series, i. SIS. 


Aooounts of deserters, and other intelligenoe, informed 
Washington on the 17th, that a great many of the ene- 
my's troops had gone on board of the transports ; that 
three days' provisions had been cooked, and other steps 
taken indicating an intention of leaving Staten Island. 
Putnam, also, came up from below with word that at 
least one fourth of the fleet had sailed. There were many 
conjectures at head-quarters as to whither they weie 
bound, or whether they had not merely shifted their 
station. Everything indicated, however, that affairs veie 
tending to a crisis. 

The "hysterical alarms" of the peaceful inhabitants 
of New York, which had provoked the soldierlike impa- 
tience and satirical sneers of Lee, inspired different sen- 
timents in the benevolent heart of Washington, and pro- 
duced the following letter to the New York Convention : 

" When I consider that the city of New York will, in 
all human probability, very soon be the scene of a bloody 
conflict, I cannot but view the great numbers of women, 
children, and infirm persons remaining in it, with the 
most melancholy concern. When the men-of-war (the 
Phoenix and Bose) passed up the river, the shrieks and 
cries of these poor creatures, running every way with 
their children, were truly distressing, and I fear they 
will have an unhappy effect upon the ears and minds of 
our young and inexperienced soldiery. Can no method 
be devised for their removal ? *' 

How vividly does this call to mind the compassionate 


■enBihUity of his yonnger Aajs, when oommanding ak 
'Wincfaester, in Virginia, in time of public peril ; and 
melted to " deadly sorrow *" by the " supplicating tears oi 
the women, and moviDg petitionB of the men." As then, 
he listened to the prompt soggestions of his own heart ; 
and, without awaiting the aotiau of the Convention, is- 
sued a pTocbuoation, advising the inhabitants to remove, 
and requiring the officers and soldiery to aid the helpless 
and the indigent. The Convention soon responded to 
his appeal, and appointed a committee to effect these 
purposes in the most humane and expeditions manner. 

A gallant little exploit at this juncture, gave a fillip to 
the spirits of the community. Two of the fire-ships re- 
cently eonstraoted, went np the Hudson to attempt the 
destruction of the ships which bad so long been domi- 
neering over its waters. One sncoeeded in grappling the 
PheiTux, and would soon have set her in flames, but in 
the darkness got to leeward, and was cast looae without 
effecting suy damage. The other, in making for the JSose, 
fell foul of one of the tenders, grappled and burnt her. 
The enterprise was conducted with spirit, and though it 
failed of its main object, had an important effect. The 
commanders of the sliips determined to abandon those 
waters, where their boats were fired upon by the very 
yeomanry whenever they attempted to land ; and where 
their ships were in danger from midnight incendiaries, 
while riding at anchor. Taking advantage of a brisk 
wind, and favoring tide, they made all sail early on the 

860 ^^^ OF WAaHINQTON^ 

morning of the 18th of Augost, and stood down the riTdFi 
keeping close under the eastern shore, where they sup- 
posed the guns from Mount Washington could not be 
brought to bear upon them, Notwithstanding this pre- 
eaution, the Phoenix was thrice hulled by shots from the 
fort, and one of the tenders once. The Bo9e, also, was 
hulled once by a shot from Burdett's Ferry. The men 
on board were kept close, to avoid being picked off by a 
party of riflemen posted on the river bank. The ships 
fired grapeshot as they passed, but without effecting any 
injury. Unfortunately, a passage had been left open in 
the obstructions on which General Putnam had calcu- 
lated so sanguinely ; it was to have been closed in the 
course of a day or two. Through this they made their 
way, guided by a deserter; which alone, in Putnam's 
opinion, saved them from being checked in their careei^ 
and utterly destroyed by the batterieSi 

^' • .— V 



I moTementfi of the British fleet, and ol th« 
I oamp on Staten Island, gave signs of a meditated 
I attack ; but, as the nature of that attack was 
imoertain, Washington was obliged to retain the greater 
part of his troops in the dtj for its defense, holding them 
ready, however, to be transferred to any point in the 
Tioinitj. General Mifflin, with abont fire hundred of the 
PennsylTania troops, of Colonels Shee and Magaw's regi- 
ments, were at King's Bridge, ready to aid at a moment's 
notice. "They are the best disciplined of any troops 
that I have yet seen in the army," said General Heath, 
who had jnst reviewed them. General George Clinton 
was at that post, with abont foorteeH hundred of his 
yeomanry of the Hndson. As the Phanix and Boee had 
explored the shores, and taken the soondings aa far as 
they had gone np the river, General Heath thought Howe 
might attempt an attack somewhere above King's Bridge, 
lather than in the &oe of the many and strong works 
erected in and aronnd the city. " Should his inclination 
lead him this way," adds he, " nature has done maoh for 

862 . I^^^ OF WASffmGTOJr. 

ns, and we shally as fast as possible, add the strengih 
of art. We are poshing our works with great dili* 
genoe." * 

Beports from different quarters, gaye Washington rea- 
son to apprehend that the design of the enemy might be 
to land part of their force on Long Island, and endeavor 
to get possession of the heights of Brooklyn, which over- 
looked New York ; while another part should land above 
the city, as General Heath suggested. Thus, various 
disconnected points, distant from each other, and a great 
extent of intervening country, had to be defended by raw 
troops, against a superior force, well disciplined, and pos- 
sessed of every faciliiy for operating by land and water. 

General Greene, with a considerable force, was sta- 
tioned at Brooklyn. He had acquainted himself with all 
the localities of the island, from Hell Gate to the Nar- 
rows, and made his plan of defense accordingly, 
troops were diligently occupied in works which he laidK* 
out, about a mile beyond the village of Brooklyn, an£ 
facing the interior of the island, whence a land attack 
might be attempted. 

Brooklyn was immediately opposite to New York. The 
Sound, commonly called the East Biver, in that place 
about three-quarters of a mile in width, swept its rapid 
tides between them. The village stood on a kind of 
peninsula, formed by the deep inlets of Wallabout Bay 

* Heath to Washinjrton, Aug. 17-ia 


on the northy and Gbwanns Cove on the south. A line 
of intrenchments and strong redoubts extended across 
the neck of the peninsula, from the bay to a swamp and 
creek emptying into the cove. To protect the rear of 
the works from the enemy's ships, a battery was erected 
at Bed Hook, the southwest comer of the peninsula, and 
a fort on Governor's Island, nearly opposite. 

About two miles and a half in front of the line of 
intrenchments and redoubts, a range of hills, densely 
wooded, extended from southwest to northeast, forming 
a natural barrier across the island. It was traversed by 
three roads. One, on the left of the works, stretched 
eastwardly to Bedford, and then by a pass through the 
Sedford Hills to the village of Jamaica ; another, central 
and direct, led through the woody heights to Flatbush ; 
a third, on the right of the lines, passed by Gowanus 
Cove to the Narrows and Gravesend Bay. 

The occupation of this range of hills, and the protect 
tion of its passes, had been designed by General Greene ; 
but unfortunately, in the midst of his arduous toils, he 
was taken down by a raging fever, which confined him to 
his bed ; and General Sullivan, just returned from Lake 
Ohamplain, had the temporary command. 

Washington saw that to prevent the enemy from land- 
ing on Long Island would be impossible, its great extent 
affording so many places favorable for that purpose, and 
the American works being at the part opposite to New 
York. '^ However," writes he to the President of Con^ 


gresSy ** we shall attempt to harass them as much as poa- 
sible, which is all that we can do." 

On the 21st came a letter, written in all haste by Briga- 
dier-general William Livingston, of New Jersey. Moye- 
ments of the enemy on Staten Island had been seen from 
his camp. He had sent over a spy at midnight, who 
brought back the following intelligence. Twenty thou- 
sand men had embarked to make an attack on Long Isl- 
and, and up the Hudson. Fifteen thousand remained on 
Staten Island, to attack Bergen Point, Elizabethtown. 
Point, and Amboy. The spy declared that he had heard^ 
orders read, and the conversation of the generals. '' Thej — 
appear very determined," added he, '^ and will put all to^ 
the sword I " 

Washington sent a copy of the letter to the New York=: 
Oonvention. On the following morning (August 22d) the^ 
enemy appeared to be carrying their plans into execution* 
The reports of cannon and musketry were heard fronv 
Long Island, and columns of smoke were descried rising 
above the groves and orchards at a distance. The city, 
as usual, was alarmed, and had reason to be so ; for word 
soon came that several thousand men, with artillery and 
light-horse, were landed at Gravesend ; and that Colonel 
Hand, stationed there with the Pennsylvania rifle regi- 
ment, had retreated to the lines, setting fire to stacks of 
wheat, and other articles, to keep them from falling into 
the enemy's hands. 

Washington apprehended an attempt of the foe by a 


forced march, to surprise the lines at Brooklyn. He 
immediately sent oyer a reinforcement of six battalions. 
It was all that he could spare, as with the next tide the 
ships might bring up the residue of the army, and attack 
the city. Five battalions more, howeyer, were ordered 
to be ready as a reinforcement, if required. ** Be cool, 
but determined," was the exhortation giyen to the depart- 
ing troops. *^ Do not fire at a distance, but wait the 
commands of your officers. It is the general's express 
orders, that if any man attempt to skulk, lie down, ox 
retreat without orders, he be instantly shot down for 
aai example." 

In justice to the poor fellows, most of whom were going 
for the first time on a service of life and death, Washing- 
ton observes, that '' they went off in high spirits," and 
that the whole capable of duty evinced the same cheer- 

Nine thousand of the enemy had landed, with forty 
pieces of cannon. Sir Henry Clinton had the chief com- 
mand, and led the first division. EUs associate officers 
were the Earls of Comwallis and Percy, General Grant, 
and (General Sir William Erskine. As their boats ap- 
proached the shore Colonel Hand, stationed, as has been 
said, in the neighborhood with his rifle regiment, re- 
treated to the chain of wooded hills, and took post on a 
height commanding the central road leading from Flat- 

* Washington to the Prefiident of Congrees. 

866 -"^^ OF WASHINGTON. 

bush. The enemy haying landed without opposition, 
Lord Comwallis was detached with the reserre to Flat- 
bnshy while the rest of the army extended itself from the 
ferry at the Narrows through Utrecht and GraTesend to 
the village of Flatland. 

Lord Comwallis, with two battalions of light-infantry. 
Colonel Donop's corps of Hessians, and six field-pieces, 
advanced rapidly to seize upon the central pass through 
the hills. He found Hand and his riflemen ready to make 
a vigorous defense. This brought him to a halt, having 
been ordered not to risk an attack should the pass be 
occupied. He took post for the night, therefore, in the 
village of Flatbush. 

It was evidently the aim of the enemy to force the 
lines at Brooklyn, and get possession of the heights. 
Should they succeed. New York would be at their mercy. 
The panic and distress of the inhabitants went on in- 
creasing. Most of those who could afford it, had abready 
removed to the country. There was now a new cause of 
terror. It was rumored that, should the American army 
retreat from the city, leave would be given for any one to 
set it on fire. The New York Convention apprised Wash- 
ington of this rumor. "I can assure you, gentlemen," 
writes he in reply, " that this report is not founded on 
the least authority from me. On the contrary, I am so 
sensible of the value of such a city, and the consequences 
of its destruction to many worthy citizens and their fami- 
lies, that nothing but the last necessity, and that such as 


would justify me to the whole world, would induce me to 
^ve orders to that purpose." 

In this time of general alarm, head-quarters were 
besieged by applicants for safeguard from the impend- 
ing danger; and Washington was even beset in his 
walks by supplicating women with their children. The 
patriot's heart throbbed feelingly under the soldier's 
belt. Nothing could surpass the patience and benig- 
nant sympathy with which he listened to them, and en- 
deavored to allay their fears. Again he urged the Oon- 
Tention to carry out their measures for the remoyal of 
these defenseless beings. ''There are many/' writes 
he, '' who anxiously wish to remove, but have not the 


On the 24th he crossed oyer to Brooklyn, to inspect 
the lines and reconnoiter the neighborhood. In this visit 
he £elt sensibly the want of General Greene's presence, 
to explain his plans and point out the localities. 

The American advanced posts were in the wooded 
hills. Colonel Hand, with his riflemen, kept watch over 
the central road, and a strong redoubt had been thrown 
up in front of the pass, to check any advance of the 
enemy from Flatbush. Another road leading from Flat- 
bush to Bedford, by which the enemy might get round 
to the left of the works at Brooklyn, was guarded by two 
regiments, one under Colonel Williams, posted on the 
north side of the ridge, the other by a Pennsylvania rifle 
raiment, under Colonel Miles, posted on the south side. 


The enemy were stretched along the oonntiy beyond the 
chain of hills. 

As yety nothing had taken place bnt skirmishing and 
irregular firing between the outposts. It was with deep 
concern Washington noticed a prevalent disorder and 
confusion in the camp. There was a want of system 
among the officers, and cooperation among the troops, 
each corps seeming to act independently of the resi 
Few of the men had auy military experience, except, 
perchance, in bush-fighting with the Indians. Unaccus- 
tomed to discipline and the restraint of camps, they sal- 
lied forth whenever they pleased, singly or in squads, 
prowling about and firing upon the enemy, like hunters 
after game. 

Much of this was no doubt owing to the protracted ill< 
ness of General Greene. 

On returning to the city, therefore, Washington gavi 
the command on Long Island to General Putnam, warn 
ing him, however, in his letter of instructions, to sun • 
mon the officers together, and enjoin them to put a sto^ 
to the irregularities which he had observed among the 
troops. Lines of defense were to be formed round the 
encampment, and works on the most advantageous 
ground. Guards were to be stationed on the linos, with 
a brigadier of the day constantly at hand to see that 
orders were executed. Field-officers were to go the 
rounds and report the situation of the guardsi^ and no one 
was to pass beyond the lines without a special permit in 


writing. At the same time, partisan and scouting parties, 
under proper officers, and with regular license, might 
sally forth to harass the enemy, and prevent their carry- 
ing off the horses and cattle of the country people. 

Especial attention was called to the wooded hills be- 
tween the works and the enemy's camp. The passes 
through them were to be secured by abatis, and defended 
by the best troops, who shoxdd, at all hazards, prevent 
the approach of the enemy. The militia being the least 
tutored and experienced, might man tiie interior works. 

Putnam crossed with alacrity to his posi ''He was 
made happy," writes Colonel Beed, '' by obtaining leave 
to go over. The brave old man was quite miserable at 
being kept here." 

In the meantime, the enemy were augmenting their 
forces on the island. Two brigades of Hessians, under 
Xieutenant-general De Heister, were transferred from 
the camp on Staten Island on the 25th. This movement 
did not escape the vigilant eye of Washington. By the 
aid of his telescope, he had noticed that from time to 
time tents were struck on Staten Island, and portions of 
the encampment broken up; while ship after ship 
weighed anchor, and dropped down to the Narrows. 

He now concluded that the enemy were about to make 

a push with their main force for the possession of 

Brooklyn Heights. He accordingly sent over additional 

reinforcements, and among them Colonel John Haslet's 

well equipped and well disciplined Delaware regiment^ 
VOL. n.— 24 


which was joined to Lord Stirling's brigade, chiefly oom« 
posed of Southern troops, and stationed outside of the 
lines. These were troops which Washington regarded 
with peculiar satisfaction, on account of their soldier-like 
appearance and discipline. 

On the 29th, he crossed over to Brooklyn, accompanied 
by Beed, the adjutant-general There was much move- 
ment among the enemy's troops, and their number was 
evidently augmented. In ^t, General De Heister had 
reached Flatbush with his Hessians, and taken command 
of the centre ; whereupon Sir Henry Clinton, with the 
right wing, drew off to Flatlands, in a diagonal line to the 
right of De Heister, while the left wing, commanded by 
Oeneral Grant, extended to the place of landing on 
Gravesend Bay. 

Washington remained all day, aiding General Putnam 
with his counsels, who, new to the command, had not 
been able to make himself well acquainted with the for- 
tified posts beyond the lines. In the evening Washing* 
ton returned to the city, full of anxious thought. A gen- 
eral attack was evidently at hand. Where would it bo 
made ? How would his inexperienced troops stand the 
encounter? What would be the defense of the city if 
assailed by the ships ? It was a night of intense solici- 
tude, and well might it be ; for during that night a plan 
was carried into effect, fraught with disaster to the 

The plan to which we allude was concerted by General 


Howe, the oommander-in-chiel Sir Henry Clinton, with 
the Tan-goard, composed of the choicest troops, was by 
a cmmitoos march in the nighty to throw himself into the 
road leading from Jamaica to Bedford, seize upon a pass 
through the Bedford Hills, within three miles of that 
Tillage, and thus tnm the left of the American advanced 
posts. It was preparatory to this nocturnal march, that 
Sir Henry during the day had fallen back with his 
troops from Flatbush to Flatlands, and caused that stir 
and movement which had attracted the notice of Wash- 

To divert the attention of the Americans from this 
stealthy march on their left. General Grant was to men* 
aoe their right flank toward Ghravesend before daybreak, 
and General De Heister to cannonade their centre, where 
Colonel Hand was stationed. Neither, however, was to 
press an attack until the guns of Sir Henry Clinton 
should give notice that he had effected his purpose, and 
turned the left flank of the Americans ; then the latter 
were to be assailed at all points with the utmost vigor. 

About nine o'clock in the evening of the 26tli, Sir 
Henry Clinton began his march from Flatlands with the 
van-guard, composed of light infantry. Lord Percy fol- 
lowed with the grenadiers, artillery, and light dragoons, 
forming the centre. Lord Comwallis brought up the 
rear-guard with the heavy ordnance. General Howe ac- 
companied this division* 

It was a silent march, without beat of drum or sound 


of trumpet^ under gnidanoe of a Long Island toiy along 
by-roads traversing a swamp by a narrow oanseway, and 
po across the oountry to the Jamldoa road. About two 
honrs before daybreak, they arriyed within half a mile 
of the pass through the Bedf cnrd Hills, and halted to pre- 
pare for an attaok. At this jnnctnre they captued an 
American patrol, and learnt, to their sorprise, that the 
Bedford pass was unoccupied. In fact» the whole road 
beyond Bedford, leading to Jamaica, was left unguarded, 
excepting by some light yolunteer troops. Colonels Wil- 
liams and Miles, who were stationed to the left of Colo- 
nel Hand, among the wooded hills, had been instructed 
to send out parties occasionally to patrol the road, but 
no troops had been stationed at the Bedford pass. The 
road and pass may not have been included in QeneraL 
Greene's plan of defense, or may have been thought toc^ 
fer out of the way to need special precaution. The neglect 
of them, however, proved fatal. 

Sir Henry Clinton immediately detached a battalion of 
light-infantry to secure the pass ; and, advancing with his 
corps at the first break of day, possessed himself of the 
heights. He was now within three miles of Bedford, and 
his march had been undiscovered. Having passed the 
heights, therefore, he halted his division for the soldiers 
to take some refreshment, preparatory to the morning's 

There we will leave them, while we note how the othet 
divisions performed their part of the plan. 


Aboat midnight General Grant moyed from Gravesend 
Bay, with the left wing, composed of two brigades and a 
regiment of regulars, a battalion of New York loyalists, 
and ten field-pieces. He proceeded along the road lead- 
ing past the Narrows and Gk>wanus C!oye, toward the 
right of the American works. A picket goard of Penn- 
qrlTanian and New York militia^ under Colonel Atlee, 
retired before him fighting to a position on the skirts 
of the wooded hills. 

In the meantime, scouts had brought in word to the 
American lines that the enemy were approaching in force 
upon the right General Putnam ordered Lord Stirling 
to hasten with the two regiments nearest at hand, and 
hold them in check. These were Haslet's Delaware, and 
Smallwood's Maryland regiments; the latter the maca^ 
rofiis, in scarlet and buff, who had outshone, in camp, 
their yeoman fellow-soldiers in homespim. They turned 
out with great alacrity, and Stirling pushed forward with 
them on the road toward the Narrows. By the time he 
had passed Gk>wanus Oove, daylight began to appear. 
Here, on a rising ground, he met Colonel Atlee with his 
Pennsylvania provincials, and learned that the enemy 
were near. Indeed, their front began to appear in the 
uncertain twilight. Stirling ordered Atlee to place him- 
self in ambush in an orchard on the left of the road, and 
await their coming up, while he formed the Delaware and 
Maryland regiments along a ridge from the road, up to a 
pieoe of woods on the top of the hilL 


Atlee gave the enemy two or three voile js as they ap- 
proachedy and then retreated and formed in the wood on 
Lord Stirling's left By this time his lordship was rein- 
forced by Kichline's riflemen, part of whom he placed 
along a hedge at the foot of the hill, and part in front of 
the wood. General Grant threw his light troops in the 
advance, and posted them in an orchard and behind 
hedges, extending in front of the Americans, and about 
one hundred and fifty yards distant. 

It was now broad daylight. A rattling fire commenoed 
between the British light troops and the American rifle- 
men, which continued for about two hours, when the 
former retired to their main body. In the meantime, 
Stirling's position had been strengthened by the arrival 
of Captain Oarpenter with two field-pieces. These were 
placed on the side of the hill, so as to command the road 
and the approach for some hundred yards. (General Orant, 
likewise, brought up his artillery within three hundred 
yards, and formed his brigades on opposite hills, about six 
hundred yards distant There was occasional cannonad- 
ing on both sides, but neither party sought a general 

Lord Stirling's object wus merely to hold the enemy 
in check ; and the instructions of General Grant, as we 
have shown, were not to press an attack until aware that 
Sir Henry Olinton was on the left flank of the Americans. 

During this time, De Heister had commenced his part 
of the plan by opening a cannonade from his oamp at 


Flatlnisliy upon the redoubt, at the pass of the wooded 
hills, where Hand and his riflemen were stationed. On 
hearing this General Solliyan, who was within the lines, 
rode forth to C!olonel Hand's post to reoonnoiter* De 
Heisier, however, according to the plan of operations, 
did not advance from Flatbnsh, but kept up a brisk fire 
from his artillery on the redoubt in front of the pass, 
which replied as briskly. At the same time, a cannon- 
ade from a British ship upon the battery at Bed Hook, 
contributed to distract the attention of the Americans. 

In the meantime terror reigned in New York. The 
volleying of musketry and the booming of cannon at early 
dawn, had told of the fighting that had commenced. As 
£he morning advanced, and pktoon firing and the oc 
easional discharge of a field-piece were heard in different 
directions, the terror increased. Washington was still in 
doubt whether this was but a part of a general attack, in 
which the city was to be included. Five ships of the line 
were endeavoring to beat up the bay. Were they to can- 
nonade the city, or to land troops above it ? Fortunately, 
a strong head-wind baffled all their efforts ; but one ves- 
sel of inferior force got up far enough to open the fire 
already mentioned upon the fort at Bed Hook. 

Seeing no likelihood of an immediate attack upon the 
city, Washington hastened over to Brooklyn in his barge, 
and galloped up to the works. He arrived there in time 
to witness the catastrophe for which all the movements 
of the enemy had been concerted. 


The thnndering of artillery in the direction of Bedfoid, 
had given notice that Sir Henry had tamed the left ol 
the Americans. . De Heister immediately ordered Col- 
onel Connt Donop to advance with his Hessian regiment^ 
and storm the redonbt, while he followed with his whob 
division. Sullivan did not remain to defend the redoubt 
Sir Henry's cannon had apprised him of the &tal truth, 
that his flank was tamed, and he in danger of being S1l^ 
rounded. He ordered a retreat to the lines, bat it was 
already too late. Scarce had he descended from the 
height, and emerged into the plain, when he was met by 
the British light-infantry, and dragoons, and driven back 
into the woods. By this time De Heister and his Hes- 
sians had come ap, and now commenced a scene of con- 
fusion, consternation, and slaughter, in which the troope 
under Williams and Miles were involved. Hemmed is 
and entrapped between the British and Hessians, and 
driven from one to the other, the Americans fought for a 
time bravely, or rather desperately. Some were cut down 
and trampled by the cavalry, others bayoneted without 
mercy by the Hessians. Some rallied in groups, and 
made a brief stand with their rifles from rocks or behind 
trees. The whole pass was a scene of carnage, resound- 
ing with the clash of arms, the tramp of horses, the toI- 
leying of fire-arms and the cries of the combatants, with 
now and then the dreary braying of the trumpet We 
give the words of one who mingled in the fight, and whom 
we have heard speak with horror of the sanguinary loiy 


whicli the Hessians plied the bayonet At length 
some of the Americans, by a desperate effort, cut their 
way through the host of foes, and effected a retreat to the 
lines, fighting as they went. Others took refuge among 
the woods and fastnesses of the hills, but a great part 
were either killed or taken prisoners. Among the latter 
was (General Sallivan. 

Washington, as we have observed, arriyed in time to 
witness this catastrophe, but was unable to prevent it. 
He had heard the din of the battle in the woods, and 
seen the smoke rising from among the trees ; but a deep 
column of the enemy was descending from the hills on 
the left ; his choicest troops were all in action, and he 
had none but militia to man the works. His solicitude 
was now awakened for the safety of Lord Stirling and his 
corps, who had been all the morning exchanging can- 
nonades with General Qrant. The forbearance of the 
latter in not advancing, though so superior in force, had 
been misinterpreted by the Americans. According to 
C!olonel Haslet's statement, the Delawares and Mary- 
landers, drawn up on the side of the hill, *^ stood up- 
wards of four hours, with a firm and determined counte- 
nance, in close array, their colors flying, the enemy's 
artillery playing on them all the while, 7u>t daring to ad- 
vance and attack them, though six times their number, and 
nearly surrounding them." * 

* Atlee to Colonel Bodnoy. Sparks, iv. 516i. 

876 -t22?» OF WASSmQTOS. 

Washington saw the danger to which these bra^e fel- 
lows were exposed, though they could not. Stationed on 
a hill within the lines, he commanded, with his tele- 
scope, a view of the whole field, and saw the enemy's re- 
serve, under Comwallis, marching down by a cross road 
to get in their rear, and thus place them between two 
fires. With breathless anxiety he watched the result 

The sound of Sir Henry Clinton's cannon apprised 
Stirling that the enemy was between him and the linea 
Oeneral Ghrant, too, aware that the time had come for 
earnest action, was closing up, and had already taken 
Colonel Atlee prisoner. His lordship now thought to effect 
a circuitous retreat to the lines, by crossing the creel 
which empties into Gowanus Coye, near what was called 
the Yellow Mills. There was a bridge and milldani, and 
the creek might be forded at low water, but no time vas 
to be lost, for the tide was rising. 

Leaving part of his men to keep face towards General 
Grant, Stirling advanced with the rest to pass the creek, 
but was suddenly checked by the appearance of Covor 
wallis and his grenadiers. 

Washington, and some of his officers on the hill, who 
watched every movement, had supposed that Stirling and 
his troops, finding the case desperate, would surrender 
in a body, without firing. On the contrary his lordship 
boldly attacked Comwallis with half of Smallwood*s bat- 
talion, while the rest of his troops retreated across the 
creek. Washington wrung his hands in agony at th« 


right "Good God!" cried he, "what brave fellows I 
must this day lose I "* 

It was, indeed, a desperate fight ; and now Smallwood's 
maoaronia showed their game spirit. They were repeat- 
edly broken, but as often rallied, and renewed the fight. 
"We were on the point of driving Lord Comwallis from 
his station,'* writes Lord Stirling, " but large reinforce- 
ments arriving, rendered it impossible to do more than 
provide for safety." 

^ Being thus surrounded, and no probability of a rein- 
loroement," writes a Maryland officer, " his lordship or- 
dered me to retreat with the remaining part of our men, 
and force our way to our camp. We soon fell in with a 
party of the enemy, who clubbed their firelocks, and 
waved their hats to us as if they meant to surrender as 
prisoners ; but on our advancing within sixty yards, they 
presented their pieces and fired, which we returned with 
so much warmth that they soon quitted their post, and 
retired to a large body that was lying in ambuscade." f 

The enemy rallied, and returned to the combat with 
additional force. Only five companies of Smallwood's 
battalion were now in action. There was a warm and 
close engagement for nearly ten minutes. The struggle 
became desperate on the part of the Americans. Broken 
and disordered, they rallied in a piece of woods, and 
made a second attack. They were again overpowered 

* Letter from an American officer. Am. Archives, 5th Series, ii. 108l 
f Letter from a Marylander. Am, Archives^ 5th Series, i. 1282. 


with nnmbers. Some were surrounded and bayoneted is 
a field of Indian com ; others joined their comrades who 
were retreating across a marsh. Lord Stirling had en- 
couraged and animated his young soldiers by his voice 
and example, but when all was lost» he sought out (Gen- 
eral De Heister, and surrendered himself as his prisoner. 

More than two hundred and fifty brave fellows, most 
of them of SmaUwood's regiment, perished in this deadly 
struggle, within sight of the lines of Brooklyn. Tliat 
part of the Delaware troops who had first crossed the 
creek and swamp, made good their retreat to the lines 
with a trifling loss, and entered the camp covered with 
mud and drenched with water, but bringing with them 
twenty-three prisoners, and their standard tattered by 

The enemy now concentrated their forces within a few 
hundred yards of the redoubts. The grenadiers were 
within musket shot. Washington expected they woold 
storm the works, and prepared for a desperate defense. 
The discharge of a cannon and volleys of musketry from 
the part of the lines nearest to them, seemed to bring 
them to a pause. 

It was, in truth, the forbearance of the British com- 
mander that prevented a bloody conflict. TTia troops, 
heated with action and flushed with success, were eager 
to storm the works; but he was unwilling to risk the 
loss of life that must attend an assault, when the object 
might be attained at a cheaper rate, by regular ap* 


ihes. Checking the ardor of his men, theiefore, 
;h with some difficulty, he drew them off to a hollow 
in front of the lines, but out of reach of the mns- 
', and encamped there for the nighi* 
e loss of the Americans in this disastrous battle 
been variously stated, but is thought, in killed, 
ded, and prisoners, to have been nearly two thou 
; a large number, considering that not above five 
land were engaged. The enemy acknowledged a 
>f 880 killed and wounded.! 

e success of the enemy was attributed, in some 
ore to the doubt in which Washington was kept as 
) nature of the intended attack, and at what point 
old chiefly be made. This obliged him to keep a 
part of his forces in New York, and to distribute 
at Brooklyn over a wide extent of country, and at 
y distant places. In fact, he knew not the superior 
»er of the enemy encamped on Long Island, a ma- 
of them having been furtively landed in the night, 
days after the debarkation of the first division, 
ich of the day's disaster has been attributed, also, 
confusion in the command, caused by the illness of 
ral Oreene. Putnam, who had supplied his place 
e emergency after the enemy had landed, had not 
to make himself acquainted with the post, and the 

neral Howe to Lord G. Oermaine. Refnemltranetr, iiL 847. 

»we states the prisoners at 1,004^ and oomputes the whole Ameiioatt 



Burronnding ooimtry. SnlliYan, thongh in his letters lie 
professes to have considered himself subordinate to Gen- 
eral Putnam within the lines, seems still to have exer- 
cised somewhat of an independent command, and to 
have acted at his own discretion: while Lord Stirling 
was said to have command of all the troops outside of 
the works. 

The fatal error, however, and one probably arisiog 
from all these causes, consisted in leaving the pasfltf 
through the wooded hills too weakly fortified and 
guarded ; and especially in needing the eastern road, 
by which Sir Henry Clinton got in the rear of the ad- 
ranced troops, cut them off from the lines, and subjected 
them to a cross fire of his own men and De Heister's 

This able and fatal scheme of the enemy might have 
been thwarted, had the army been provided with a few 
troops of light horse to serve as videttes. With these 
to scour the roads and bring intelligence, the night 
march of Sir Henry Clinton, so decisive of the fortunes 
of the day, could hardly have failed to be discovered and 
reported. The Connecticut horsemen, therefore, ridi- 
culed by the Southerners for their homely equipments, 
sneered at as useless, and dismissed for standing on their 
dignity and privileges as troopers, might, if retained, 
have saved the army from being surprised and severed, 
its advanced guards routed, and those very Southern 
troops cut up, captured, and almost annihilated. 




night after the battle was a weary, yet al« 
most sleepless one to the Americans. Fatigued, 
dispirited, many of them sick and wounded, 
yet they were, for the most part, without tent or other 
shelter. To Washington it was a night of anxious vigiL 
Everything boded a close and deadly conflict The en<- 
emy had pitched a number of tents about a mile distant. 
Their sentries were but a quarter of a mile off, and close 
to the American sentries. At four o'clock in the morn- 
ing, Washington went the round of the works, to see that 
all was right, and to speak words of encouragement The 
morning broke lowering and dreary. Large encamp- 
ments were gradually descried ; to appearance, the enemy 
were twenty thousand strong. As the day advanced, their 
ordnance began to play upon the works. They were pro- 
ceeding to intrench themselves, but were driven into their 
tents by a drenching rain. 

Early in the morning General Mifflin arrived in camp, 
with part of the troops which had been stationed at Fori 
Washington and King's Bridge. He brought with him 


884 £I7» OF WASHINQTOir. 

Shee's prime Philadelphia regiment, and Magaw's Fenn- 
Bjlyania regiment, both well disciplined and officered, 
and accustomed to act together. They were so much re- 
dnced in number, however, by sickness, that they did not 
amount in the whole, to more than eight hundred men. 
With Mifflin came also Oolonel Glover's Massachusetis 
regiment, composed chiefly of Marblehead fishermen and 
sailors, hardy, adroit, and weather-proof ; trimly dad iiL 
bluejackets and trowsers. The detachment numbered^ 
in the whole, about thirteen hundred men, all fresh aoA 
full of spirits. Every eye brightened as they marched 
briskly along the line with alert step and cheery aspect. 
They were posted at the left extremity of the intrench- 
ments towards the Wallaboui 

There were skirmishes throughout the day, between 
the riflemen on the advanced posts and the British 
** irregulars," which at times were quite severe ; but no 
decided attack was attempted. The main body of the 
enemy kept within their tents until the latter part of the 
day; when they began to break ground at about five 
hundred yards' distance from ijie works, as if preparing 
to carry them by regular approaches. 

On the 29th, there was a dense fog over the island, 
that wrapped everything in mystery. In the course of 
the morning. General Mifflin, with Adjutant-general 
Beed, and Colonel Grayson of Virginia, one of Wash- 
ington's aides-de-camp, rode to the western outposts, 
in the neighborhood of Bed Hook. While they were 


there, a light breeze lifted the fog from a part of the 
New York Bay, and revealed the British ships at their 
anchorage opposite Staten Island There appeared to 
be an tmnsnal bustle amoi^ them. Boats were passing 
to and from the admiral's ship, as if seeking or car- 
rying orders. Some movement was apparently in agi- 
tation. The idea occurred to the reconnoitering party 
that the fleet was preparing, should the wind hold and 
the fog clear away, to come up the bay at the turn of 
the tide, silence the feeble batteries at Bed Hook and 
the city, and anchor in the East Biver. In that case the 
army on Loi^ Island would be completely surrounded 
and entrapped. 

Alarmed at this perilous probabiUty, they spurred 
back to head-quarters, to urge the immediate withdrawal 
of the army. As this might not be acceptable advice, 
Beed, emboldened by his intimacy with the commander- 
in-chief undertook to give it. Washington instantly 
summoned a council of war. The difficulty was already 
apparent, of guarding such extensive works with troops 
fatigued and dispirited, and exposed to the inclemencies 
of the weather. Other dangers now presented them- 
selves. Their communication with New York might be 
cut off by the fleet from below. Other ships had passed 
round Long Island, and were at Flushing Bay on the 
3ound. These might land troops on the east side of 
Harlem Biver, and make themselves masters of King's 
Bridge ; that key of Manhattan Island. Taking all these 
VOL. n.— 25 


things into consideration, it was resolved to cross witk 
the troops to the city that very night. 

Never did retreat require greater secrecy and circom* 
spection. Nine thousand men, with all the mnnitions of 
war, were to be withdrawn from before a victorious army, 
encamped so near that every stroke of spade and pickaxe 
from their trenches could be heard. The retreating 
troops, moreover, were to be embarked and conveyed 
across a strait three-quarters of a mile wide, swept by 
rapid tides. The least alarm of their movement would 
bring the enemy upon them, and produce a terrible scene 
of confusion and carnage at the place of embarkation. 

Washington made the preparatory arrangements with 
great alertness, yet profound secrecy. Verbal orders 
were sent to Colonel Hughes, who acted as quartermas- 
ter-general, to impress all water craft, large and small, 
from Spyt den Duivel on the Hudson round to Hell Gkite 
on the Sound, and have them on the east side of the city 
by evening. The order was issued at noon, and so 
promptly executed, that, although some of the vessels 
had to be brought a distance of fifteen miles, they were 
all at Brooklyn at eight o'clock in the evening, and put 
imder the management of Colonel Glover's amphibious 
Marblehead regimeni 

To prepare the army for a general movement without 
betraying the object, orders were issued for the troops to 
hold themselves in readiness for a night attack upon the 
enemy. The orders caused surprise, for the poor fellows 


were exhausted, and their arms rendered nearly useless 
by the rain ; all, however, prepared to obey ; but several 
made nuncupative wills, as is customary among soldiers 
on the eve of sudden and deadly periL 

According to Washington's plan of retreat, to keep the 
enemy from discovering the withdrawal of the Americans 
until their main body should have embarked in the boats 
and pushed off from the shore, General Mifflin was to re- 
main at the lines with his Pennsylvania troops, and the 
gallant remains of Haslet, Smallwood, and Hand's reg- 
iments, with guards posted and sentinels alert, as if 
nothing extraordinary was taking place ; when the main 
embarkation was effected, they were themselves to move 
off quietly, march briskly to the ferry, and embark. In 
case of any alarm that might disconcert the arrange- 
ments, Brooklyn church was to be the rallying place, 
whither all should repair, so as unitedly to resist any 

It was late in the evening when the troops began to 
retire from the breastworks. As one regiment quietly 
withdrew from their station on guard, the troops on the 
right and left moved up and filled the vacancy. There 
was a stifled murmur in the camp, unavoidable in a 
movement of the kind ; but it gradually died away in the 
diiection of the river, as the main body moved on in 
Bilenoe and order. The youthful Hamilton, whose mili- 
tary merits had won the favor of (General Ghreene, and 
who had lost his baggage and a field-piece in the battle, 


brought up the rear of the retreating parfy. In the dead 
of the night, and in the midst of this hnshed and anxions 
moyementy a cannon went off with a tremendous roar. 
''The effect,*' sajs an American who was present, ''was 
at once alarming and sublime. If the explosion was 
within our lines, the gun was probably discharged in the 
act of spiking it, and could have been no less a matter of 
speculation to the enemy than to ourselyes." * 

" What with the greatness of the stake, the darkness of 
the night, the uncertainty of the design, and the extreme 
hazard of the issue," adds the same writer, " it would be 
difficult to conceive a more deeply solemn and interesting 

The meaning of this midnight gun was never ascer- 
tained ; f ortimately, though it startled the Americans, it 
failed to rouse the British camp. 

In the meantime the embarkation went on with all 
possible despatch, under the vigilant eye of Washington, 
who stationed himself at the ferry, superintending every 
movement In his anxiety for despatch, he sent back 
Colonel Scammel, one of his aides-de-camp, to hasten 
forward all the troops that were on the march. Scammel 
blimdered in executing his errand, and gave the order 
to MiffliTi likewise. The general instantly called in his 
pickets and sentinels, and set off for the ferry. 

By this time the tide had turned ; there was a strong 

• Grajdon's Memoirs, edited by I. S. Littell, jk lOT. 


wind from the northeast ; the boats with oars were insuf- 
ficient to oonvej the troops ; those with sails oonld not 
make headway against wind and tide. There was some 
confusion at the ferry, and in the midst of it, (General 
Mi£Bin came down with the whole oovering party, adding 
to the embarrassment and uproar. 

'' Good God 1 General Mifflin I " cried Washington, *' I 
am afraid yon have mined ns by so unseasonably with- 
drawing the troops from the lines.** 

'' I did so by yonr order," replied Mifflin with some 

^ It cannot be I " exclaimed Washington. 

"By G— , I did! " was the blunt rejoinder. "Did 
Scammel act as aide-de-camp for the day, or did he not ? ** 

"He did." 

" Then," said Mifflin, " I had orders through him." 

" It is a dreadful mistake," rejoined Washington, " and 
unless the troops can regain the lines before their absence 
is discovered by the enemy, the most disastrous con- 
sequences are to be apprehended." 

Mifflin led back his men to the lines, which had been 
completely deserted for three-quarters of an hour. Fortu- 
nately, the dense fog had prevented the enemy from dis-» 
covering that they were unoccupied. The men resumed 
their former posts, and remained at them until called off 
to cross the ferry. " Whoever has seen troops in a simi- 
lar situation," writes General Heath, " or duly contem- 
plates the human heart in such trials, will know how to 


appreciate the conduct of these brave men on this oooa* 


The fog which prevailed all this time, seemed almost 
providential While it hung over Long Island, and con- 
cealed the movements of the Americans, the atmosphere 
was clear on the New York side of the river. The adverse 
wind, too, died away, the river became so smooth that th^ 
row-boats could be laden almost to the gunwale ; and ^ 
favoring breeze sprang up for the sail-boats. The whol^ 
embarkation of troops, artillery, ammunition, provisions, 
cattle, horses and carts, was happily effected, and by day— 
break the greater part had safely reached the city, thanks 
to the aid of Glover's Marblehead men. Scarce anything 
was abandoned to the enemy, excepting a few heavy 
pieces of artillery. At a proper time, MiiBin with his 
covering party left the lines, and effected a silent retreat 
to the ferry. Washington, though repeatedly entreated, 
refused to enter a boat until all the troops were em- 
barked ; and crossed the river with the last. 

A Long Island tradition tells how the British camp 
became aware of the march which had been stolen upon 
it.* Near the ferry, resided a Mrs. Bapelye, whose hus* 
band, suspected of favoring the enemy, had been removed 
to the interior of New Jersey. On seeing the embar- 
kation of the first detachment, she, out of loyalty or re- 
venge, sent off a black servant to inform the first British 

^Eist, Long Island, p. S6& 


officer he conld find, of what was going on. The negro 
Buooeeded in passing the American sentinels, but arrived 
at a Hessian outpost, where he could not make himseli 
understood, and was put under guard as a suspicious per- 
son. There he was kept until daybreak, when an officer 
yisiting the post, examined him, and was astounded by 
his story. An alarm was given, the troops were called 
to arms; Captain Montresor, aide-de-camp of General 
Howe, followed by a handful of men, climbed cautiously 
over the crest of the works and found them deserted. 
Advanced parties were hurried down to the ferry. The 
fog had cleared away sufficiently for them to see the 
rear boats of the retreating army half-way across the 
river. One boat, still within musket shot, was compelled 
to return ; it was manned by three vagabonds, who had 
lingered behind to plunder. 

This extraordinary retreat, which, in its silence and 
celerity, equaled the midnight fortifying of Bunker's Hill, 
was one of the most signal achievements of the war, and 
redounded greatly to the reputation of Washington, who, 
we are told, for forty-eight hours preceding the safe extri- 
cating of his army from their perilous situation, scarce 
closed his eyes, and was the greater part of the time on 
horseback. Many, however, who considered the variety 
of risks and dangers which surrounded the camp, and the 
apparently fortuitous circumstances which averted them 
all, were disposed to attribute the safe retreat of the pa- 
triot army to a peculiar Providence. 



:#:^ 1 1 

umo iiLAjn> ni poflsmsiON or thb bkkmt.— di8Trm8kd nruATiov ov fll 


or woMBM Aio) childbui raoM thb oitt.— tbabnino roB bomb amom 



enemy had now possession of Long Isl^ 
and. British and Hessian troops garrisoned 
the works at Brooklyn, or were distributed ai 
Bnshwicky Newton, Hell Gate, and Flashing. Admiral 
Howe came up with the main body of the fleet, and an- 
chored close to Governor's Island, within cannon shot of 
the city. 

** Onr situation is truly distressing," writes Washington 
to the President of Congress, on the 2d of September. 
''The check our detachment sustained on the 27th ultimo 
has dispirited too great a proportion of our troops, and 
filled their minds with apprehension and despair. The 
militia, instead of calling forth their utmost efforts to a 
brave and manly opposition in order to repair our losses 


are disniftyed, intractable, and impatient to return. Great 
nnmbers of them have gone off; in some instances almost 
\fj whole regiments, by half ones, and by companies, at a 
time. .... With the deepest concern, I am obliged 
to confess my want of confidence in the generality of the 
troops. • • • • Oar number of men at present fit for 
duty is under twenty thousand. I have ordered General 
Uercer to send the men intended for the flying camp 
to this place, about a thousand in number, and to try 
with the militia^ if practicable, to make a diversion 
npon Staten Island. Till of late, I had no doubt in 
my own mind of defending this place; nor should I 
haye yet, if the men would do their duty, but this I de- 
spair o£ 

** If we should be obliged to abandon the town, ought 
it to stand as winter quarters for the enemy ? They would 
derive great conveniences from it, on the one hand, and 
much property would be destroyed on the other. It is 
an important question, but will admit of but little time 
for deliberation. At present, I dare say the enemy mean 
^ preserve it if they can. If Congress, therefore, should 
I^solve upon the destruction of it, the resolution should 
^ a profound secret, as the knowledge will make a cap- 
ital change in their plans." 

Colonel Beed, writing on the same day to his wife, says, 

"I have only time to say I am alive and well ; as to spir- 

Ub, but middling. .... My country will, I trust, yet 

be free, whatever may be our fate who are cooped up, or 

394 tsIFB OF WASSmOTOir. 

aie in danger of so being, on this tongue of land^ wbere 
we onght never to have been." * 

We turn to cite letters of the very same date from Brit* 
ish officers on Long Island, fall of rumors and surmiseSi 
**I have just heard," writes an English field-officer, ** there 
has been a most dreadful fray in the town of New Toric 
The New Englanders insisted on setting tiie town on fire 
and retreating. This was opposed by the New Yorken, 
who were joined by the Pennsylvanians, and a battle has 
been the consequence, in which many have lost theii 
lives. By the steps our general is taking, I imagine he 
will effi)ctually cut off their retreat at King's Bridge, by 
which the island of New York is joined to the oontineni** 

An English officer of the Guards, writing from camp 
on the same day, varies the rumor. The Pennsylvaniaiis, 
according to his version, joined with the New Englanden 
in the project to set fire to the town ; both had a battle 
with the New Yorkers on the subject, and then withdrew 
themselves from the city — which, " with other favorable 
circumstances," gave the latter writer a lively "hope 
that this distressful business would soon be brought to a 
happy issne." 

Another letter gives a different version. ** tn the night 
of the 2d instant, three persons escaped from the city in 
a canoe and informed our general that Mr. Washington 
had ordered three battalions of New York provincials to 

*F6roe'B Am. ArMves, 5th Seriee, IL 188, 

STATE OF FEEL ma. 398 

leave New York, and thai they should be replaced by an 
eqnal number of Gonnecticnt troops ; but the former, as- 
sored that the Connectiontians would bum and destroy 
all the houses, peremptorily refused to give up their city, 
declaring that no cause of exigency whatever should in- 
duce them to intrust the defense of it to any other than 
her own inhabitants. This spirited and stubborn resolu* 
tion prevailed over the order of their commander, and 
the New Yorkers continue snugly in possession of the 
place." ♦ 

''Matters go on swimmingly/' writes another officer. 
** I don't doubt tiie next news we send you, is, that New 
York is ours, though in ashes, for tiie rebel troops have 
vowed to put it in flames if the tory troops get over." 

An American officer writes to an absent New Yorker, 
in a different tone. ** I fear we shall evacuate your poor 
d^. The very thought gives me the horrors I " Still he 
indulges a vague hope of succor from (General Lee, who 
was returning, all glorious, from his successes at the 
South. " General Lee," writes he, " is hourly expected, 
as if from heaven, — ^with a legion of flaming swordsmen." 
It was, however, what Lee himself would have termed a 
mere hrvinmh fvlmen. 

These letters show the state of feeling in the opposite 
camps, at this watchful moment, when matters seemed 
hnnying to a crisis. 

* /onid*% Am, Archives, 5th Series, iL 108. 


On the night of Monday (Sept. 2d), a feriy-gim Aift 
taking advantage of a fayorable wind and tide, passed 
between Goyemor's Island and Long Island, swept im< 
harmed by the batteries which opened npon her, and 
anchored in Turtle Bay, aboye the city. In the nioniiii{^ 
Washington despatched Major Orane of the artillery, with 
two twelye-pounders and a howitzer to annoy her from 
the New York shore. They hnlled her several times, and 
obliged her to take shelter behind Blackwell's Island. 
Several other ships of war, with transports and store- 
ships, had made their appearance in the apper part of 
the Sound, having gone round Long Island* 

As the ciiy might speedily be attacked, WashingtocB. 
caused all the siok and wounded to be conveyed to 
Orangetown, in the Jerseys, and such military stored 
and baggage as were not immediately needed, to be r»^ 
moved, as fast as conveyances could be procured, to & 
post partially fortified at Dobbs' Ferry, on the eastern 
bank of the Hudson, about tweniy-two miles above the 

Beed, in his letters to his wife, talks of the dark and 
3iysterious motions of the enemy, and the equally dark 
and intricate councils of Congress, by which the army 
were disheartened and perplexed. " We are still here,** 
writes he on the 6th, " in a posture somewhat awkward; 
we think (at least I do) that we cannot stay, and yet we 
do not know how to go, so that we may be properly said 
to be between hawk and buzzard." 


The '^ shameful and soandaloas desertionB/' as Wash- 
ington termed them, continued. In a few days the Oon- 
necticat militia dwindled down from six to less than 
two thousand* ''The impulse for going home was so 
irresistible," writes he, " that it answered no purpose to 
oiipose ii Though I would not disohaige them, I hare 
been obliged to acquiesce." 

Still his considerate mind was tolerant of their defeo- 
tion. '' Men," said he, " accustomed to unbounded free- 
dom, cannot brook the restraint which is indispensably 
necessary to the good order and government of an army." 
And again, ''Men just dragged from the tender scenes of 
domestic life, unaccustomed to the din of arms, totally 
unacquainted with every kind of miUtary skill (which 
is followed by a want of confidence in themselves, when 
opposed to troops regularly trained, superior in knowl- 
edge, and superior in arms), are timid and ready to fly 
from their own shadows. Besides, the sudden change 
in their manner of living, brings on an unconquerable 
desire to return to their homes." 

Greene, also, who coincided so much with Washington 
in opinions and sentiments, observes : " People coming 
from home with all the tender feelings of domestic life, 
are not sufficiently fortified with natural courage to stand 
the shocking scenes of war. To march over dead men, 
to hear without concern the groans of the wounded, I 
say few men can stand such scenes unless steeled by 
habit or fortified by military pride." 

898 ^^^ 0^ WASSmGTOir. 

Nor was this ill-timed jeaming for home confined to 
the yeomanry of Connecticut, who might well look back 
to their humble farms, where they had left the plough 
standing in the furrow, and where eyerything might go 
to ruin, and their family to want, in their absence. Some 
of the gentlemen volunteers from beyond the Delaware^ 
who had made themselyes merry at the expense of the 
rustic soldiery of New England, were likewise among the 
first to feel the homeward impxdse. '^ When I look around," 
said Beed, the adjutant-general, " and see how few of the 
numbers who talked so loudly of death and honor are 
around me, I am lost in wonder and surprise. Some of 
our Philadelphia gentiemen who came over on yisiis, 
upon the first cannon, went off in a most violent hunj. 
Tour noisy sons of liberty, are, I find, the quietest on 
the field." ♦ 

Present experience induced Washington to reiterate 
the opinion he had repeatedly expressed to Congress, 
that little reliance was to be placed on militia enlisted 
for short periods. The only means of protecting the 
national liberties from great hazard, if not utter loss, was, 
he said, an army enlisted for the war. 

The thousand men ordered from the flying camp were 
furnished by (General Mercer.' They were Maryland 
troops under Colonels Griffith and Bichardson, and were 
a seasonable addition to his effective forces ; but the am* 

^ Life of Reed, l 291. 


munition carried o2F by the disbanding militia^ was a 
serious loss at this critical juncture. 

A work had been commenced on the Jersey shore, op- 
posite Fort Washington, to aid in protecting Putnam's 
oheyaux-de-frise which had been sunk between them. 
This work had received the name of Fort Constitution 
(a name already borne by one of the forts in the High- 
lands). Troops were drawn from the flying camp to 
make a strong encampment in the Ticiniiy of the fort, 
with an able officer to command it and a skillful engineer 
to strengthen the works. It was hoped, by the coopera- 
tion of these opposite forts and the chevaux-de-frise, to 
command the Hudson, and prevent the passing and re- 
passing of hostile ships. 

The British, in the meantime, forebore to press further 
hostilities. Lord Howe was really desirous of a peace- 
ful adjustment of the strife between the colonies and the 
mother country, and supposed this a propitious moment 
for a new attempt at pacification. He accordingly sent 
off Qeneral Sullivan on parole, charged with an overture 
to Congress. In this he declared himself empowered 
and disposed to compromise the dispute between Great 
Britain and America, on the most favorable terms, and, 
though he could not treat with Congress as a legally or- 
ganized body, he was desirous of a conference with some 
of its members. These, for the time he should consider 
only as private gentlemen, but if in the conference any 
probable scheme of accommodation should be agreed 


upon, the authority of Oongress would afterwaids be ao* 
knowledgedy to render the compaot complete.* 

The message caused some embarrassment in C!ongre8& 
To accede to the interview might seem to waive the ques- 
tion of independence ; to decline it was to shut the door 
on all hope of conciliation, and might alienate the coojh 
eration of some worthy whigs who still dung to that 
hope. After much debate, Oongress, on the 6th Septem- 
ber, replied, that, being the representatives of the free 
and independent States of America, they could not send 
any members to confer with his lordship in. their prifate 
characters, but that, ever desirous of establishing peace 
on reasonable terms, they would send a oommittee of 
their body to ascertain what authority he had to treat 
with persons authorized by Oongress, and what proposi- 
tions he had to offer. 

A committee was chosen on the 6th of September, 
composed of John Adams, Edward Butledge, and Doctor 
Franklin. The latter, in the preceding year, during hiB 
residence in England, had become acquainted with Lord 
Howe, at the house of his lordship's sister, the Honor- 
able Mrs. Howe, and they had held frequent conversationB 
on the subject of American affairs, in the course of which 
his lordship had intimated the possibility of his being 
sent commissioner to settle the differences in America. 

Franklin had recently adverted to this in a letter to 

• Oiva War, voL L p. 190. 


Lord Howe. '^Yonr lordship may possibly remember 
the tears of joy that wet my oheek, when, at your good 
sister's in London, you gave me expectations that a rec 
onoiliation might soon take place. I had the misfor« 
tone to find those expectations disappointed. 

''The well-founded esteem, and, permit me to say, 
affection, which I shall always haye for yonr lordship^ 
makes it painful for me to see you engaged in conducting 
a war, the great ground of which, as expressed in your 
letter, is 'the necessity of preventing the American 
trade from passing into foreign channels.' • . . • I 
know your great motive in coming hither, was the hope 
of being instrumental in a reconciliation ; and I believe 
that when you find thai impossible on any terms given to 
you to propose, you will relinquish so odious a com- 
mand, and return to a more honorable private situa- 

"I can have no difficulty to acknowledge," repUed 
Lord Howe, "that the powers I am invested with were 
never calculated to negotiate a reunion with America^ 
under any other description than as subject to the crown 
of Great Britain. But I do esteem these powers com- 
petent, not only to confer and negotiate with any gen- 
tleman of influence in the colonies upon the terms, 
but also to effect a lasting peace and reunion between 

the two countries, were the tempers of the colonies 
TOL.n.— S6 


tEmch as professed in the last petition of Cbngressto 
the king." * 

A hope of the kind lingered in the breast of his lord- 
ship when he sought the proposed conference. It was 
to take place on the llth, at a house on Staten Island, 
opposite to Amboj; at which latter place the yeteran 
Mercer was stationed with his flying camp. At Amboy, 
the committee found Lord Howe's barge waiting to re- 
ceive them ; with a British officer of rank, who was to 
remain within the American lines during their absence, 
as a hostage. This guarantee of safety was promptly 
declined, and the parties crossed together to Staten Isl- 
and. The admiral met them on their landing, and con- 
ducted them through his guards to his house. 

On opening the conference, his lordship again inti- 
mated that he could not treat with them as a committee 
of Congress, but only confer with them as private gen- 
tlemen of influence in the colonies, on the means of 
restoring peace between the two countries. 

The commissioners replied that, as their business was 
to hear, he might consider them in what light he pleased; 
but that they should consider themselves in no other 
character than that in which they were placed by order 
of Congress. 

Lord Howe then entered into a discourse of consider- 
able length, but made no explicit proposition of peace, 

♦ Franklin's Wriiinqs. y. 108. 


ItoT promiae of redress of grievaooes, excepting on oondi- 
tion that the colonies shoold retom to their allegiance. 

This, the oommissioners replied, was not now to be 
expected. Their repeated hnmble petitions to the king 
and parliament haTing been treated with contempt, and 
answered by additional injorieB, and war having been 
declared against them, the colonies had declared their 
independence, and it was not in the power of Congress to 
agree for them that thej should return to their former 
dependent state.* 

Hie lordship expressed his sorrow that no acoommo- 
dation was likely to take place ; and, on breaking up the 
conferenoe, assored his old friend. Dr. Franklin, that be 
should Boffer great pain in being obliged to distress fJuwe 
for whom he had bo much regard. 

" I feel thankful to your lordship for your regard," 
replied Franklin good-humoredly ; " the Americana, on 
their part, will endeavor to lessen the pain yon may feel, 
l^ taking good care of themselves." 

The result of this conferenoe had a beneficial effeot 
It showed that his lordship hod no power bnt what was 
given by the act of Parliament ; and put an end to the 
popular notion that he was vested with secret powers to 
negotiate an adjustment of grievances. 

* Bepwt of tha OommiBaionen to Congreas, Sept. 18, 177SL 



%-J0QO.-i ■ .'^.wvsOt ■ 

INCE the retreat from Brooklyn, Washingtoii 
had narrowly watched the movements of the 
enemy to discoyer their farther plans. Their 
whole force, excepting about four thousand men, had 
been transferred from Staten to Long Island. A great 
part was encamped on the peninsula between Newtown 
Inlet and Flushing Bay. A battery had been thrown up 
near the extremity of the peninsula, to check an Amer> 
can battery at Horen's Hook opposite, and to command 
the mouth of Harlem Biver. Troops were subsequently 
stationed on the islands about Hell Gate. ** It is evi- 
dent," writes Washington, " the enemy mean to inclose 
us on the island of New York, by taking post in our rear, 
while the shipping secures the front, and thus, by cut- 
ting off our communication with the country, oblige us 
to fight them on their own terms, or surrender at 



Hon; or by a brilliant stroke endeavor to oat this armj 
in pieces, and seoore the collection of arms and stores, 
which, they well know, we shall not be able soon to xe« 

The question was, how conld their plans be most sue- 
oessfolly opposed ? On every side, he saw a choice of 
difficulties ; every measure was to be formed with some 
apprehension that all the troops would not do their duty. 
Qistoiy, experience, the opinions of able friends in Eu- 
rope, the fears of the enemy, even the declarations of 
Oongress, all concurred in demonstrating that the war on 
the American side should be defensive ; a war of posts; 
Qiat, on all occasions, a general action should be avoided, 
md nothing put at risk unnecessarily. " With these 
news/' said Washington, ''and being folly persuaded 
diat it would be presumption to draw out our young 
troops into open ground against their superiors, both in 
lumber and discipline, I have never spared the spade 
Udd pickaxe." 

In a council of war, held on the 7th of September, the 
question was discussed, whether the ciiy should be de- 
fended or evacuated. All admitted that it would not be 
tenable, should it be cannonaded and bombarded. Sev- 
eral of the council, among whom was General Putnam, 
were for a total and immediate removal from the city ; 
urging that one part of the army might be cut off before 

* LeiUr to the President of Oongnfli, 

406 I'^^ OF WASBmQTOS. 

the other conid support it ; the extremities being at least 
sixteen miles apart, and the whole, when collected, being 
inferior to the enemy. By removing, they would deprive 
the enemy of the advantage of their ships ; they would 
keep them at bay ; put nothing at hazard ; keep the army 
together to be recruited another year, and preserve the 
unspent stores and the heavy artillery. Washington 
himself inclined to this opinion. Others, however, were 
unwilling to abandon a place which had been fortified 
with great cost and labor, and seemed defensible ; and 
which, by some, had been considered the key to the 
northern country ; it might dispirit the troops, and en- 
feeble the cause. General Mercer, who was prevented 
by illness from attending the councU, communicated his 
opinion by letter. " We should keep New York if possi- - 
ble,*' said he, *' as the acquiring of it will give eclat to the^ 
arms of Ghreat Britain, afford the soldiers good quarterSss. 
and furnish a safe harbor for the fleet.'' 

General Greene, also, being still unwell, conveyed hi^ 
opinion in a letter to Washington, dated September Stln. 
He advised that the army should abandon both city and 
island, and post itself at King's Bridge and along tbd 
Westchester shore. That there was no object to be ob- 
tained by holding any position below King's Bridge. The 
enemy might throw troops on Manhattan Island, from 
their camps on Long Island, and their ships on the Hud- 
son, and form an intrenched line across it, between the 
dty and the middle division of the army, and support 


the two flanks of the line by their ehipping. In snoh 
sue, it would be neoeBsaiy to fight them on disadvantf^ 
geoos temiB or mibntit. 

The dty and island, he observed, were objeotB not to be 
pat in oompetiticai with the general interests of America. 
Two thirds of the oit;' and saborbs belonged to tories ; 
there was no great reaeon, therefore, to ran any consider- 
able risk in its defense. The honor and interest of 
America required a general and speedy retreat. Bat as 
the enemy, once in posseBsion, coold never be dislodged 
without a superior naval force ; as the place would fur- 
nish &em with excellent winter qaarters and barrack 
room, and an abundant market, he advised to bom both 
ci^ and suburbs before retreating.* 

Well might the poor, harassed citizena feel hysterical, 
threatened as they were by sea and land, and their very 
defenders debating the policy of burning their booses 
over their heads. Fortunately for them, Congress had 
axpressly forbidden that any harm should be done to 
Kew York, trusting, that though the enemy might occupy 
it for a time, it would ultimately be regained. 

After maoh discussion a middle course was adopted. 
Putnam, with five thousand men, was to be stationed in 
the city. Heath, with nine thousand, was to keep guard 
on the upper part of the island, and oppose any attempt 
of tiie enemy to land His troops, among whom were 

*Fone^..lm..inAttiH,5tb Series, iL 182. 

408 t^B 09 wAaaiN&toir. 

Ifagaw's, Shea's, Hand's, and Miles's PennsylTanian l)at- 
talions, and Haslet's Delaware regiment, were posted 
about King's Bridge and its yicinitj. 

The third division, composed principally of militiai 
was under the command of (Generals Greene and Spencer, 
the former of whom, however, was still unwelL It was 
stationed about the centre of the island, chiefly along 
Turtle Bay and Eip's Bay, where strong works had been 
thrown up, to guard against any landing of troops from 
the ships or from the encampments on Long Island. It 
was also to hold itself ready to support either of the 
other divisions. Washington himself had his head-qua^ 
ters at a short distance from the city. A resolution of 
Congress, passed the 10th of September, left the occupa- 
tion or abandonment of the ciiy entirely at Washing- 
ton's discretion. Nearly the whole of his officers, too, in 
a second council of war, retracted their former opinion, 
and determined that the removal of his army was not 
only prudent, but absolutely necessary. Three members 
of the council, however, Generals Spencer, Heath, and 
George Clinton, tenaciously held to the former de- 

Convinced of the propriety of evacuation, Washington 
prepared for it by ordering the removal of all stores, ex- 
cepting such as were indispensable for the subsistence of 
the troops while they remained. A letter from a Bhode 
Island officer, on a visit to New York, gives an idea of its 
agitations. '^ On the 13th of September, just after din* 


Mr, three frigates and a forty-gnu ship sailed np the 
East Biyer with a gentle breeze, toward Hell Gate, and 
kept np an incessant fire, assisted by the cannon at Gbv* 
mior's Island. The batteries of the city returned the 
iliipB the like salutation. Three men agape, idle specta- 
iors, had the misfortune of being killed by one cannon 
ImJL One shot struck within six feet of General Wash- 
ngton, as he was on horseback, riding into the fort" * 

On the 14:th, Washington's baggage was remoyed to 
Sing's Bridge, whither head-quarters were to be trans- 
erred the same eyening, it being clear that the enemy 
rere preparing to encompass him on the island. '* It is 
tow a trial of skill whether they will or not," writes 
Jolonel Beed, '' and eyery night we lie down with the 
dOst anxious fears for the fate of to-morrow." f 

About sunset of the same day, six more ships, two of 
hem men-of-war, passed up the Sound and joined those 
Jbore. Within half an hour came expresses spurring to 
Lead-quarters, one from Mifflin at Swing's Bridge, the 
4lier from Colonel Sargent at Horen's Hook. Three or 
our thousand of the enemy were crossing at Hell Ghtte to 
ihe islands at the mouth of Harlem Biyer, where num- 
bers were already encamped. An immediate landing at 
Sarlem, or Morrisania, was apprehended. Washington 
WBB instantly in the saddle, spurring to Harlem Heights. 
Che night, howeyer, passed away quietly. In the mom« 

* CoL Baboock to (}oy. Cooke. Am. Archives^ 6th BerieB, li. 448. 
t Beed to Mn. Beed. 


ing the enemy oommenoed operations. Three ships d 
war stood up the Hudson, " causing a most tremendovi 
firing, assisted by the cannons of Gk>yenior*s Ishuid, 
which firing was returned from the city as well as the 
scarcity of heayy cannon would allow."* Hie ships 
anchored opposite Bloomingdale, a few miles above the 
dty, and put a stop to the remoyal by water of stores aod 
provisions to DobVs Ferry. About eleven o*olodk, the 
ships in the East Biver commenced a heavy oannomde 
upon the breastworks between Turtle Bay and the dtf. 
At the same time two divisions of the troops encamped 
on Long Island, one British, under Sir Henij dinioD, 
the other Hessian, under Colonel Donop, emerged in 
boats from the deep, woody recesses of Newton Lilet^ 
and under cover of the fire from the ships, began to land 
at two points between Turtle and Eip*s Bays. The 
breastworks were manned by militia who had recentlj 
served at Brooklyn. Disheartened by their late defeat, 
they fled at the first advance of the enemy. Two bri- 
gades of Putnam's Connecticut troops (Parsons' and Fel- 
lows') which had been sent that morning to support then, 
caught the panic, and, regardless of the commands and 
entreaties of their officers, joined in the general scamper. 
At this moment Washington, who had mounted his 
horse at the first sound of the cannonade, came galloping 
to the scene of confusion ; riding in among the fugitiveti 

* Letter of CoL Baboock to Gof. Oooka. 


lie endeayoied to ratty and restore them to order. All in 
yain. At the first appearance of sixty or seventy red- 
coats, they broke again without firing a shot, and fled in 
headlong terror. Losing all self-oommand at tiie sight 
of snch dastardly conduct, he dashed his hat upon the 
ground in a transport of rage. ''Are these the men,** 
exdaimed he, " with whom I am to defend America I " 
In a paroi^m of passion and despair he snapped his 
pistols at some of them, threatened others with his sword, 
and was so heedless of his own danger, that he might 
hBTe fallen into the hands of the enemy, who were not 
eighty yards distant, had not an aide-de-camp seized the 
bridle of his horse, and absolutely hurried him away.* . 

It was one of the rare moments of his life, when the 
Tehement element of his nature was stirred up from its 
deep recesses. He soon recovered his self-possession, and 
took measures agarnst the general peril The enemy 
might land another force about Hell Gate, seize upon. 
Harlem Heig^its, the strong central portion of the island, 
out off all retreat of the lower divisions, and effectually 
sever his army. In all haste, therefore, he sent off an 
express to the forces encamped above, directing them to 

* Giajdon's MemoirB^ Idttell's ed., p. 174. (General Greene^ in a letter 
to a Mend, writes : ''We made a miserable, disorderly retreat from New 
Yo^ owing to the oondnot of the militia, who ran at the appearanoe of 
the enemy's adranced guard. Fellows' and Parsons' brigades ran away 
from aboat fifty men, and left his ExceUency on the ground, within 
eiglity yards of tiie enemy, so vexed at the infamons oondnot of bis troops, 
thai ha sought death rather than life." 


secure that position immediately ; while another express 
to Putnam, ordered an immediate retreat from the city to 
those heights. 

It was indeed a perilous moment Had the enemy fol- 
lowed up their advantage, and seized upon the heights, 
before thus occupied ; or had they extended themselyes 
across the island, from the place where they had effected 
a landing, the result might have been most disastrous to 
the Americans. Fortunately, they contented themselTcs 
for the present with sending a strong detachment down 
the road along the East Biyer, leading to the city, while 
the main body, British and Hessians, rested on their 

In the meantime, Putnam, on receiying Washington's 
express, caUed in his pickets and guards, and abandoned 
the city in all haste, leaving behind him a large quantity 
of provisions and military stores, and most of the heavy 
cannon. To avoid the enemy he took the Bloomingdale 
road, though this exposed him to be raked by the enemy's 
ships anchored in the Hudson. It was a forced march, 
on a sultry day, under a burning sun and amid clouds of 
dust. Hift army was encumbered with women and chil- 
dren and all kinds of baggage. Many were overcome by 
fatigue and thirst, some perished by hastily drinking cold 
water ; but Putnam rode backward and forward hurrying 
every one on. 

Oolonel Humphreys, at that time a volunteer in his 
division, writes : I had frequent opportunities that day 


d. beholding him, for the purpose of iBsaing orders and 
enoonragiog the troops, fljing on his horse oorered with 
foam, wherever his presence wu most necessary. With- 
out hie extraordinary exertions, the guards most have 
been inevitably lost, and it is probable the entire corps 
would have been cat in pieoes. 

" When we were not far from Bloomingdale, an aide- 
de-camp came to him at foil speed, to inform him that a 
oolamn of British infantry was descending npon our 
right. Onr rear was soon fired npon, and f^e colonel of 
onr regiment, whose order was jost oommonicated for the 
front to file off to the left, was killed npon the spot With 
no other loss, we joined the army after dark npon the 
heights of HarleuL" * 

Tradition gives a circumstance which favored Putnam's 
retreat. The British generals, in passing by Murray 
Hill, the country residence of a patriot of that name who 
was of the Society of Friends, made a halt to seek some 
refreshment. The proprietor of the house was absent ; 
bat his wife set cake and wine before them in abun- 
dance. So grateful were these refreshments in the heat of 
the day, that they lingered over their wine, qnafiOng and 
langhin^ and bantering their patriotio hostess about the 
lodiorouB panic and discomfiture of her countrymen. In 
the nuantime, before they were roused from their re- 
gale, Putnam and his forces had nearly passed by, within 

•?oiltKAj. Life of Putnam. BpvAi Am. Biog., J&. -m. 

414 I'^^s OF wAaniNGToir. 

a mile of them. All the loss sustained by him in Ida 
perilous retreat, was about fifteen killed, and about thiee 
hundred taken prisoners. It became, adds the tradition, 
a common saying among the American officers, that Aba 
Mxirray saved Putnam's division of the army.* 

# Tbacher's MOUary Jawmal, p. Nl 



-^^ — :^> 

fortified oamp, where the main body of the 
army was now assembled, was upon that neck of 
land several miles long, and for the most part 
not above a mile wide, which forms the upper part of Man<* 
hattan or New York Island. It forms a chain of rocky 
heights, and is separated from the mainland by Harlem 
Biver, a narrow strait, extending from Hell Gktte on the 
Sound, to Spyt den Duivel, a creek or inlet of the Hud* 
son. Fort Washington occupied the crest of one of the 
rocky heights above mentioned, overlooking the Hudson^ 
and about two miles north of it was King's Bridge, 
crossing Spyt den Duivel Creek, and forming at that time 
the only pass from Manhattan Island to the mainland. 

About a mile and a half south of the fort, a double row 
of lines extended across the neck from Harlem Biver to 



the Hudson. They faced south towards New York, wen 
about a quarter of a mile apart, and were defended by 

There were strong adyanoed posts, about two miles 
south of the outer line ; one on the left of Harlem, com- 
manded by General Spencer, the other on the right, at 
what was called McGbwan's Pass, commanded by Gen- 
eral Putnam. About a mile and a half beyond these 
posts the British lines extended across the island from 
Horen's Hook to the Hudson, being a continuous en- 
campment^ two miles in length, with both flanks covered 
by shipping. An open plain intervened between the hos- 
tile camps. 

Washington had established his head-quarters about a 
quarter of a mile within the inner line ; at a countiy-seat^ 
the owners of which were absent. It belonged in fact to 
Colonel Boger Morris, his early companion in arms in 
Braddock's campaign, and his successful competitor for 
the hand of Miss Mary Philipse. Morris had remained 
in America, enjoying the wealth he had acquired by his 
marriage ; but had adhered to the royal party, and was a 
member of the council of the colony. It is said that at 
this time he was residing in the Highlands at Beverley, 
the seat of his brother-in-law, Washington's old friend, 
Beverley Robinson.* 

* The portrait of Wm Marj Philipse is still to be seen in the poawMgi oQ 
of Frederick Phillips, Esquire, at the Grange, on the Highlands opposite 
West Point. 


While ihoB posted, Washington was incessantly ooon- 
pied in fortifying the approaches to his camp by re- 
doubts, abatis, and deep intrenchments. "Here," said 
he, '^ I should hope the enemy, in case of attack, wonld 
meet a defeat, if the generality of onr troops would be- 
haye with tolerable bravery ; but experience, to my ex- 
treme affliction, has convinced me that it is rather to be 
wished than expected. However, I trust there are many 
who will act like men worthy of the blessings of free- 
dom.'* The late disgraceful scene at Kip's Bay was evi- 
dently rankling in his mind. 

In the course of his rounds of inspection, he was struck 
with the skill and science displayed in the construction 
of some of the works, which were thrown up under the 
direction of a youthful captain of artillery. It proved to 
be the same young officer, Alexander Hamilton, whom 
Greene had recommended to his notice. After some con- 
versation with him, Washington invited him to his mar- 
quee, and thus commenced that intercourse which has 
indissolubly linked their memories together. 

On the morning of the 16th, word was brought to head- 
quarters that the enemy were advancing in three large 
columns. There had been so many false reports, that 
Beed, the adjutant-general, obtained leave to sally forth 
and ascertain the truth. Washington himself soon mounted 
his horse and rode towards the advanced posts. On ar- 
riving there he heard a brisk firing. It was kept up for 
a time with great spirit There was evidently a sharp 
T0U s.— 87 

^8 JU2^ OF WAsnnr&Tow. 

oonflicL At length Beed oame gaUopiiig bade wilh in- 
fbrmatioiL A strong detachment of the enemy had at* 
tacked the most advanced post, which was situated on % 
hill skirted by a wood. It had been bravely defended by 
Lieutenant-colonel Enowlton, Putnam's favorite officer, 
who had distinguished himself at Bunker's HOI ; he had 
under him a party of Oonnecticut rangers, volunteen 
from di£GBrent regiments. After skirmishing lor a time, 
the party had been overpowered by numbers and driven 
in, and the outpost was taken possession of by the en- 
emy. Beed supposed the latter to be about three hundred 
strong, but they were much stronger, the main part hav- 
ing been concealed behind a rising ground in the wood. 
They were composed of a battalion of light infantry, an- 
other of Boyal Highlanders, and three companies of Hes- 
sian riflemen ; all under the command of Oeneral Leslie. 

Beed urged that troops should be sent to support the 
brave fellows who had behaved so welL While he waa 
talking with Washington, " the enemy," he says, " ap- 
peared in open view, and sounded their bugles in the 
most insulting manner, as usual after a fox-chase. I 
never,*' adds he, '' felt such a sensation before ; it seemed 
to crown our disgrace." 

Washington, too, was stung by the taunting note of 
derision ; it recalled the easy triumph of the enemy at 
Kip's Bay. Besolved that something should be done to 
wipe out that disgrace, and rouse the spirits of the army, 
he ordered out three companies from Colonel Weedon'i 

A 8W0B88FVL aKtOMiaB. 419 

tegimetii jtut arrived from '^zgiiuB« and ssni th«m under 
Major Leitdi, to join Enovlton's raagers. The troops 
thus united were to get in the rear of tiie enen^, while a 
feigned attack was made npon them in front. 

The plan was partiallj BnooeesfoL As the foroe od' 
Tanoed to nuike tiie blae attack, the enemy ran down the 
hill, and took what they otmsidered an advantageoos po< 
■ition behind some fenosB and boshes whioh skirted it 
A filing oommenoed between them and the advandng 
parfy, bnt at too great a dietanoe to do maoh harm on 
either side. In the meantime, Snowlton and Leitch, 
ignorant of Ihie change in the enemy's position, h&vii^ 
znode a drooit, came upon them in fiank instead cA in 
xear. They were sharply received. A vivid contest took 
plaoe, in whioh Oonnectiont vied with Tirgini&in bravery. 
In a little while Major Leitoh received three ballets in 
bis side, and was borne off the field. Shortly afterward, 
a wonnd in the head from a mnsket ball, bronght Enowl- 
hm to the ground. Colonel Beed placed him on his 
hone, and conveyed him to a distant redonbt The men, 
undismayed by the fall of their leaden, fooght with nu- 
flinohing resolution nnder the command of their captains. 
The anemy were reinforced by a battalion of Hessians and 
a oompany of ehassennu Washington likewise sent rein- 
forcements of New England and Maryland troops. The 
action waxed hotter and hotter ; the enemy were driven 
from the wood into the plain, and pushed for some dis- 
tance; the Americans were pnrsmng tikem with ardcn; 

420 ^^^^ Of WABHWQTON. 

when Washington, having effected the object of this 
nal encounter, and being unwilling to risk a general 
action, ordered a retreat to be sounded. 

It was with difficulty, however, his men could be called 
off, so excited were they by the novelty of pursuing an 
enemy. They retired in good order; and, as it subse^ 
quently appeared, in good season, for the main body of 
the enemy were advancing at a rapid rate, and might 
have effectually reversed the scene. 

Colonel Enowlton did not long survive the action. 
** When gasping in the agonies of death,*' says Colonel 
Beed, " all his inquiry was whether he had driven in the 
enemy." He was anxious for the tarnished honor of 
Connecticui He had the dying satisfaction of knowing 
that his men had behaved bravely, and driven the enemy 
in an open field-fighi So closed his gallant career. 

The encounter thus detailed was a small affedr in itself 
but important in its effects. It was the first gleam of 
success in the campaign, and revived the spirits of the 
army. Washington sought to turn it to the greatest ad" 
vantage. In his general orders, he skillfully distributed 
praise and censure. The troops under Leitch were 
thanked for being the first to advance upon the enemy ; 
and the New England troops for gallantly supporting 
them ; and their conduct was honorably contrasted with 
that of the recreant troops at Kip's Bay. Of Knowlton, 
who had fallen while gloriously fighting, he spoke as 
** one who would have done honor to any country." 


The name of Leitch was given by him for the next 
day's parole. That brave officer died of his wounds on 
the 1st of October, soothed in his last moments by that 
recompense so dear to a soldier's heart, the encomium 
of a beloved commander. 

In the dead of the night, on the 20th of September, a 
great light was beheld by the picket guards, looming up 
from behind the hills in the direction of the city. It 
continued throughout the night, and was at times so 
strong that the heavens in that direction appeared to 
them, they said, as if in flames. At daybreak huge col- 
umns of smoke were still rising. It was evident there 
had been a great conflagration in New York. 

In the course of the morning Captain Montresor, aide- 
de-camp to Gteneral Howe, came out with a flag, bearing 
a letter to Washington on the subject of an exchange of 
prisoners. According to Montresor's account a great 
part of the city had been burnt down, and as the night 
was extremely windy, the whole might have been so, but 
for the exertions of the officers and men of the British 
army. He implied it to be the act of American incen- 
diaries, several of whom, he informed Colonel Beed, had 
been caught in the fact and instantly shot. (General 
Howe, in his private correspondence, makes the same 
assertion, and says they were detected, and killed on the 
spot by the enraged troops in garrison. 

Enraged troops, with weapons in their hands, are not 
apt, in a time of confusion and alarm, to be correct 


judges of &cty or dispensers of jnstioe. The Aot was 
always disclaimed by the Americans^ and it is oertain 
their oommanders knew nothing about ii We hafe 
shown that the destmotion of the city was at one time 
discussed in a council of war as a measure of policy^ but 
ne^er a&pted, and was expressly forbidden by Cod- 

The enemy were now bringing up their heary cannon, 
preparatory to an attack upon the American camp by* 
the troops and by the ships. What was the state ot 
Washington's army ? The terms of engagement of man^ 
of his men would soon be at an end, most of them wonlc 
terminate with the year, nor did Congress hold out offai^^ 
to encourage reenlistments. ''We are now, as it iretOp^ 
upon the e^e of another dissolution of the army/* writes^ 
he, '' and unless some speedy and effectual measures are ^ 
adopted by Congress, our cause will be losi** Under ' 
these gloomy apprehensions, he borrowed, as he sfdd, 
'' a few moments from the hours allotted to sleep,*' and - 
on the night of the 24th of September, penned an admir- ^ 
able letter to the President of Congress, setting forth the ^ 
total inefficiency of the existing military system, ihe^ 
total insubordination, waste, confusion, and disconten*^ 
produced by it among the men, and the harassing care^ 
and vexations to which it subjected the commander^-' 
Nor did he content himself with complaining, but» in hitf 
full, clear, and sagacious manner, pointed out the reme- 
To the achievements of his indefatigable pen, we 


may trace the most fortunate turns in the current of ou 
revolutionary affidrs. In the present instance his repre- 
sentations, illustrated by sad experience, produced at 
length a reoi^anization of the army, and the establish- 
ment of it on a permanent footing. It was decreed that 
eighty-eight battalions should be furnished in quotas, by 
the different States, according to their abilities. The pay 
of the officers was raised. The troops which engaged to 
serve throughout the war were to receive a bounty of 
twenty dollars and one hundred acres of land, besides a 
yearly suit of clothes while in service. Those who en- 
listed for but three years, received no bounty in land. 
The bounty to officers was on a higher ratio. The States 
were to send commissioners to the army, to arrange with 
the commander-in-chief as to the appointment of officers 
in their quotas; but, as they might occasionally be slow 
in complying with this regulation, Washington was em- 
powered to fill up all vacancies. 

All this was a great relief to his mind. He was grati- 
fied, also, by effecting, after a long correspondence with 
the British commander, an exchange of prisoners, in 
which those captured in Canada were included. Among 
those restored to the service were Lord Stirling and 
Oaptain Daniel Morgan. The latter, in reward of his 
good conduct in the expedition with Arnold, and of " his 
intrepid behavior in the assault upon Quebec where the 
brave Montgomery fell," was recommended to Congress 
by Washington for the command of a rifle regiment about 

431 MFB OF WAasmGTOIf. 

to be raised. We shall see how eminenily he pioyed 
himself worthy of this recommendation. 

About this time information was reoeiyed that the 
enemy were enlisting great numbers of the loyalists of 
Long Island, and collecting large quantities of stock for 
their support Oliver De Lancey, a leading loyalist of 
New York, member of a wealthy family of honorable 
Huguenot descent, was a prime agent in the matter. He 
had recently been appointed brigadier-general in the 
royal service, and authorized by General Howe to raise a 
brigade of provincials ; and was actually at Jamaica, on 
Long Island, offering commissions of captain, lieutenant, , 
and ensign, to any respectable person who should raise m 
a company of seventy men ; the latter to receive British^ 


A descent upon Long Island, to counteract these proj — 
ects, was concerted by General Q«orge Clinton of Ne^" 
York, and General Lincoln of Massachusetts, but m 
and water craft were wanting to carry it into effect, ml* 
the " tory enlistments continued." They were not coix- 
fined to Long Island, but prevailed more or less on 
Staten Island, in the Jerseys, up the Hudson as far as 
Dutchess County, and in Westchester County, mow 
especially. Many of the loyalists, it must be acknowl- 
edged, were honorable men, conscientiously engaged in 
the service of their sovereign, and anxious to put down 
what they sincerely regarded as an unjustifiable rebel* 
lion; and among these may be clearly classed the Do 


Lanceys. There were others, however, of a different 
stamp, the most notorious of whom, at this juncture, was 
one Bobert Bogers of New Hampshire. He had been a 
worthy comrade of Putnam and Stark, in some of their 
early enterprises during the French war, and had made 
liiniself famous as major of a partisan corps called 
3Kogers' Bangers. Governor Trumbull described him as 
& ** famous scouter and wood-hunter, skilled in waylay- 
ing, ambuscade, and sudden attack." His feats of arms 
Iiad evidently somewhat of the Indian character. He 
Iiad since been governor of Michilimackinac (1766), and 
iMxrased of a plot to plunder his own fort and join the 
IFrench. At the outbreak of the Bevolution he played 
a skulking, equivocal part, and appeared ready to join 
either party. In 1775, Washington had received notice 
that he was in Canada^ in the service of Carleton, and 
had been as a spy, disguised as an Indian, through the 
American camp at St John's. 

Becently, on learning that he was prowling about the 
ooimtry under suspicious circumstances, Washington had 
caused him to be arrested. On examination, he declared 
that he was on his way to offer his secret services to Con- 
gress. He was accordingly sent on to that body, iu 
custody of an officer. Congress liberated him on his 
pledging himself in writing, '^ on the honor of a gentle- 
man," not to bear arms against the American United 
Colonies in any manner whatever, during the contest 
with Great Britain. 


Scarcely was he liberated when he forfeited his parole^ 
offiBred his services to the enemy, reoeived a colonel's 
commission, and was now actually raising a toxy corps 
to be called the Queen's Bangers. All such aa should 
bring recruits to his standard were promised oommis^ 
sions, portions of rebel lands, and privileges equal 
any of His Majesty's troops. 

Of all Americans of note enlisted under the ^^y* I 
standard, this man had rendered himself the mos^Kii 
odious. He was stigmatized as an arrant ren^^ade, 41 
perfect Judas Iscariot; and his daring, adventuro 
spirit and habits of Indian warfare rendered him a fo 
midable enemy. 

Nothing perplexed Washington at this juncture moxv 
than the conduct of the enemy. La beheld before hinn a 
hostile army, armed and equipped at all points, superior 
in numbers, thoroughly disciplined, flushed with sucoesfl^ 
and abounding in the means of pushing a vigorous cam- 
paign, yet suffering day after day to elapse unimproved. . . 
What could be the reason of this supineness on the part I . 
of Sir William Howe ? He must know the depressed and 
disorganized state of the American camp ; the absolato 
chaos that reigned there. Did he meditate an irruption 
into the Jerseys? A movement towards Philadelpliia' 
Did he intend to detach a part of his forces for a winter's 
campaign against the South ? 

In this uncertainty, Washington wrote to General l:i 
Mercer, of the flying camp, to keep a vigilant watch fron I »^ 

< 1 

OBsmuoTioNa of the EUDSOJT. 427 

Jersey shore on the moyements of the enemy, by sea 
ind land, and to station yidettes on the Neversink 
Bbights, to give immediate intelligence should any of 
ihe British fleet pat to sea. At the same time he him- 
lelf practiced unceasing vigilance, visiting the different 
Murts of his camp on horseback Occasionally he crossed 
nrer to Fort Constitution, on the Jersey shore, of which 
General Qreene had charge, and, accompanied by him, 
ixtended his reconnoiterings down to Paulus Hook, to 
^beerve what was going on in the city and among the 
inemy's ships. Greene had recently been promoted to 
he rank of major-general, and now had command of all 
he troops ia the Jerseys. He had liberty to shift his 
[uarters to Baskingridge or Bergen, as circumstances 
oight require ; but was enjoined to keep up a communis 
tation with the main army, east of the Hudson, so as to 
leoure a retreat in case of necessity. 

The security of the Hudson was at this time an object 
d great solicitude with Congress, and much reliance was 
>laced on Putnam's obstructions at Fort Washington. 
?'oiir galleys, mounted with heavy guns and swivels, were 
ttationed at the chevaux-de-frise, and two new ships were 
it hand, which, filled with stones, were to be sunk where 
liey would block up the channeL A sloop was also at 
mchor, having on board a machine, invented by a Mc 
Bushnell, for submarine explosion, with which to blow 
ap the men-of-war ; a favorite scheme with Oeneral Put* 
nam. The obstructions were so commanded by batteries 

^8 XZFil? OF WABEHr&TOir. 

on each shore, that it was thought no hostile ship wonld 
be able to pass. 

On the 9th of October, howeTer, the Boebndt and 
PJuBfdx, each of forfy-fonr gtins» and the Tartar of 
twenty gnns, which had been lying for some time op* 
posite Bloomingdale, got under way with their three 
tenders, at eight o'clock in the morning, and came stand- 
Ing up the river with an easy southern breese. At thei] 
approach, the galleys and the two ships intended to 
sunk, got under way with all haste, as did a 8ch< 
laden with rum, sugar, and other supplies for the Ameri- 
can army, and the sloop with Bushnell's submarine 

The Bodmcikf Phoenix^ and Tartar, broke through th « 

Taunted barriers as through a cobweb. Seven ba 
kept a constant fire upon them, yet a gentleman was o1 
served walking the deck of the second ship as coolly 
if nothing were the matter.* Washington, indeed, in 3 
letter to Schuyler, says '^ they passed without any kizmd 
^ damage or interruption ; " but Lord Howe reports to 
the admiralty that they suffered much in their masts and 
rigging, and that a lieutenant, two midshipmen, and sii 
men were killed, and eighteen wounded. 

The hostile ships kept on their course, the American 
vessels scudding before them. The schooner was ove^ 
hauled and captured ; a well-aimed shot sent the sloop 

* OoL Bwing to the Maryland Committee of Saletj. 


and BoBlinell's submarine engine to the bottom of the 
river. The two new ships would have taken refuge in 
Spyt den Duiyel Creek, but fearing there might not be 
water enough, they kept on and drove ashore at Philips' 
Mills at Yonkers. Two of the galleys got into a place of 
safety, where they were protected from the shore ; the 
other two trusted to outsail their pursuers. The breeze 
freshened, and the frigates gained on them fast ; at 11 
o'dock began to fire on them with their bow-chasers, and 
at 12 o'clock overreached them, which caused them to 
bear in shore ; at half-past one the galleys ran aground 
just above Dobb's Ferry, and lay exposed to a shower of 
grape-shoi The crews, without stopping to bum or 
bilge them, swam on shore, and the enemy took posses* 
sion of the two galleys, which were likely to be formi<< 
dable means of annoyance in their hands. 

One express after another brought Washington word 
of these occurrences. First, he sent off a party of rifle 
and artillery men, with two twelve-pounders, to secure 
the new ships which had run aground at Yonkers. Next, 
he ordered Colonel Sargent to march up along the east- 
em shore with five hundred infantry, a troop of light 
horse, and a detachment of artillery, to prevent the land- 
ing of the enemy. Before the troops arrived at Dobb's 
Ferry the ships' boats had plundered a store there, and 
set it on fire. 

To prevent, if possible, the men-of-war already up the 
liver from coming down, or others from below joining 


them, Washington gave orders to complete the obstme* 
tions. Two hulks which lay in Spyt den DuiYol Greek, 
were hastily ballasted by men from General Heath's 
division, and men were sent np to get off the ships which 
had ran aground at Philips' Mills, that they might be 
brought down and sunk immediately. 

It is difficult to give an idea of the excitement caxised 
by this new irruption of hostile ships into the waters o; 
the Hudson or of the various conjectures as to their 
jeci They might intend merely to interrupt navigatio 

and prevent supplies from coming down to the Americans 
army. They might be carrying arms and ammunition foi^ 
domestic enemies skulking about the river, and only waii 
ing an opportunity to strike a blow. They might ha^ 
troops concealed on board with intent to surprise thi 
posts in the Highlands, and cut off the intercourse 
tween the American armies. To such a degree had th« 
spirit of disaffection been increased in the counties ad- 
jacent to the river, since the descent of the Jiose and 
Phoenix^ by the retreats and evacuation which had takeii 
place, and so great had been the drain on the militia oi 
those counties for the army of Washington, that, in case 
of insurrection, those who remained at home and were 
well affected, would be outnumbered, and might easily 
be overpowered, especially with the aid of troops landed 
from ships. 

While this agitation prevailed below, fugitive river 
crafts carried the news up to the Highlands that the 


tr^tes were already before Tarrytown in the Tappan 
Sea. Word was instantly despatched to Peter B. liying- 
Bton, president of the Proyinoial Congress, and startled 
that deliberative body, which was then seated at Fishldll 
just above the Highlands. The Committee of Safely 
pnrote, on the spnr of the moment, to Washington. 
< Nothing," say they, ** can be more alarming than the 
^resent sitnation of onr State. We are daily getting the 
nost authentic intelligence of bodies of men enlisted and 
unned in order to assist the enemy. We much fear that 
ihey, cooperating with the enemy, may seize snch passes 
\B will cut off the communication between the army and 
18, and prevent your supplies. • • . . We beg leave 
o suggest to your Excellency the propriety of sending 
k body of men to the Highlands or Peekskill, to secure 
he passes, prevent insurrection, and overawe the dis- 

Washington transmitted the letter to the President of 
Uongress on the 12th. *^ I have ordered up," writes he, 
'' part of the militia from Massachusetts, under General 
Lincoln, to prevent, if possible, the consequences which 
(hey suggest may happen, and which there is reason to 
believe the conspirators have in contemplation. I am 
persuaded that they are on the eve of breaking out, and 
that they will leave nothing unessayed that will distress 
IS, and favor the designs of the enemy, as soon as their 
schemes are ripe for it" In fact, it was said that the 
were arming and collecting in the Highlands under 

432 LI^S OF WASEnrGTOir. 

the direction of disguised officers, to aid the conspiraoiei 
formed by Gbyemor Tryon and his adherents. 

As a farther precaution, an express was sent off by 
Washington to Colonel Tash, who, with a regiment of 
New Hampshire militia, was on his way from Hartford io 
the camp, ordering him to repair with all possible de- 
spatch to Fishkill, and there hcAd himself at the dispo- 
sition of the Committee of Safety. 

James Clinton, also, who had charge of the poets in the 
Highlands, was put on the alert That tmsiy officer was 
now a brigadier-general, haying been promoted by Con- 
gress, on the 8th of August He was charged to have all 
boats passing up and down the river rigidly searched, 
and the passengers examined. Beside the usual sentries, 
a barge, well manned, was to patrol the river opposite to 
each fort every night; all barges, row-boats, and other 
small craft, between the forts, in the Highlands and the 
army, were to be secured in a place of safety, to prevent 
their falling into the enemy's hands and giving intelli- 
gence. Moreover, a French engineer was sent up to aid 
in strengthening and securing the passes. The command- 
ing officers of the counties of Litchfield and Fairfield in 
Connecticut, had, likewise, orders to hold their militia in 
readiness to render assistance in case of insurrections in 
the State of New York. 

So perilous appeared the condition of affairs to resi* 
dents up the river, that John Jay, a member of the Kew 
York Convention, and one of the secret committee for the 


detense of the Hudson, applied for leave of absence, that 

he might remove his aged parents to a place of safety. 

[ A letter from him to Edward Bntledge, of the Board of 

War, oontains this remarkable sentence: ^^I wish our 

army well stationed in the Highlands, and all the lower 

ooimtry desolated ; we might then bid defiance to all the 

farther efforts of the enemy in that quarter." 

Nor was this a random or despairing wish. It shows a 

brave spirit of a leading civilian of the day, and the sac* 

rifioes that true patriots were disposed to make in the 

cause of independence. 

But a few days previously he had held the following 

language to Gbuvemeur Morris, chairman of a special 

committee : *' Had I been vested with absolute power in 

this State, I have often said, and still think, that I would 

last spring have desolated all Long Idomi^ Staien Idand, 

the city and county of New Tork^ and all that part of the 

county of Westchester which lies below the mountains. I 

would then have stationed the main body of the army in 

the mountains on the east, and eight or ten thousand men 

in the Highlands on the west side of the river. I would 

have directed the river at Fart Montgomery^ which is 

nearly at the southern extremity of the mountains, to be 

so shallowed as to afford only depth sufficient for an 

Albany sloop, and all the southern passes and defiles in 

the mountains to be strongly fortified. Nor do I think 

the shallowing of the river a romantic scheme. Bocky 

mountains rise immediately from the shores. The breadth 
VOL. n.~28 

434 -^^^^ ^^ WABHINQTOXr. 

is not very great, though the depth is. But what oumoi 
eight or ten thousand men, well worked, e£Bdot ? Acoord*- 
ing to this plan of defense the State would be absolutely 
impregnable against all the world, on the seaside, aod 
would have nothing to fear except from the way of the 
lake. Should the enemy gain the river, even below the 
mountains, I think I foresee that a retreat would become 
necessary, and I can't forbear wishing that a desire of 
saying a few acres may not lead us into difficulties.*' * 

Three days after this remarkable letter was written, 
the enemy's ships did gain the river ; and two days after- 
wards, October 11th, Beed, the adjutant -general, the 
confidant of Washington's councils, writes to his wife 
from Harlem Heights : ** My most sanguine views do Dot 
extend further than keeping our ground here tiU thu 
campaign doses. If the enemy incline to press iiB,it 
is resolved to risk an engagement, for, if we cannot 
fight them on this ground, we can on none in America. 
The ships are the only circumstances un&vorable to ns 
on the same day that this letter was written, a small 
vessel, sloop-rigged, with a topsail, was descried from 
Fort Washington, coming down the river with a fresh 
breeze. It was suspected by those on the look-out to 
be one of the British tenders, and they gave it a shot 
from a twelve-pounder. Their aim was unfortunately 

*iiffi. Arck/ivu^ 5th Series, toL iL (XU* 



> true. Three of the crew were killed and the captain 
funded. It proved to be Washington's yacht, which 
i ran np the river preyioosly to the enemy's shipsi 
1 was now on its return.* 

* Heath's Mmno¥r$, 



Bmn TO thboq'b mbgk.— tbb smMT bbouost to a btaxii.— muTAir 


Oeneral Lee should be in Philadelphia,** 
writes John Jay to Butledge, ** pray hasten his 
departure — ^he is much wanted at New Tort" 
The successes of Lee at the south were contrasted by 
many with the defeat on Long Island, and eyacuation of 
New York, and they began to consider him the maiii hope 
of the army. Hazard, the postmaster, writing from Har- 
lem Heights to Oeneral Oates on the 11th, laments it as a 
misforttme that Lee should have been to the southward 
for several months past, but adds cheeringly, ** he is ex- 
pected here to-day." 

Joseph Trumbull, the commissary-general, also writes 
to Oates under the same date : ** Oeneral Lee is to be 
here this eyoning. He left Philadelphia on the 8th." 
Lee, the object of so many hopes, was actually in the 


Jerseys, on his way to the camp. He writes from Amboy 
on the 12thy to the President of Congress, informing him 
that the Hessians, encamped opposite on Staten Island, 
had disappeared on the preceding night, quitting the isl- 
and entirely, and some great measure was believed to be 
in agitation. '^ I am confident,'' writes he, ** they will not 
attack General Washington's lines ; such a measure is too 
absurd for a man of Mr. Howe's genius ; and unless they 
have received flattering accounts from Burgoyne, that he 
will be able to effectuate a junction (which I conceive 
they have not), they will no longer remain kicking their 
heels at New York. They will put the place in a respect- 
able state of defense, which, with their command of the 
waters, may be easily done, leave four or five thousand 
men, and direct their operations to a more decisive ob- 
ject. They will infallibly proceed either immediately up 
the river Delaware with their whole troops, or, what is 
more probable, land somewhere about South Amboy or 
Shrewsbury, and march straight to Trenton or Burling- 
ton. On the supposition that this will be the case, what 
are we to do ? What force have we ? What means have 
we to prevent their possessing themselves of Philadel- 
phia ? Gbneral Washington's army cannot possibly keep 
pace with them. The length of his route is not only in- 
finitely greater, but his obstructions almost insuperable. 
In short, before he could cross Hudson Biver, they might 
be lodged and strongly fortified on both banks of the 
Delaware For Heaven's sake arouse your« 


selyesl For Heaven's sake let ten thousand men Im 
immediately assembled, and stationed somewhere about 
Trenton. In my opinion, yoor whole depends upon ii 
I set ont immediately for head-qnarters, where I shall 
communicate my apprehension that such will be the next 
operation of the enemy, and urge the expediency of spar- 
ing a part of his army (if he has any to spare) for this 
object" ♦ 

On the very morning that Lee was writing this letter 
at Amboy, Washington received intelligence by express 
from General Heath, stationed above King's Bridge, that 
the enemy were landing with artillery on Throg's Neckt 
in the Sound, about nine miles from the camp. Wash- 
ington surmised that Howe was pursuing his original 
plan of getting into the rear of the American army, cut- 
ting off its supplies, which were chiefly derived from the 
East, and interrupting its communication with the main 
country. Officers were ordered to their alarm posts, and 
the troops to be ready, under arms, to act as occasion 
might require. Word, at the same time, was sent to 
General Heath, to dispose of the troops on his side of 
King's Bridge, and of two militia regiments posted on 
the banks of Harlem Biver opposite the camp, in such 
manner as he should think necessary. 

made all his arrangements as promptly as pes* 

^Am, Arehives, 6th Series, iL 1008. 

t Properiy Throok's Neck, from Throckmorton, the mme of the oi%l 
nal proprietor. 


sible, Washington mounted his horse, and rode oyer 
towards Throg's Neck to reconnoiter. 

Throg*8 Neok is a peninsula in Westchester Gonnty, 
stretohing upwards of two miles into the Sound. It was 
separated from the mainland by a narrow creek and a 
marsh, and was surrounded by water every high tide. A 
bridge across a creek connecting with a ruined causeway 
across the marsh, led to the mainland, and the upper end 
of the creek was fordable at low water. Early in the 
morning, eighty or ninety boats full of men had stood up 
the Sound from Montresor's Island, and Long Island, 
and had landed troops to the number of four thousand 
on Throg's Point, the extremity of the Neok. Thence 
tiieir advance pushed forward toward the causeway and 
bridge, to secure that pass to the mainland. General 
Heath had been too rapid for them. Colonel Hand and 
his Philadelphia riflemen, the same who had checked the 
British advance on Long Island, had taken up the planks 
of the bridge, and posted themselves opposite the end of 
the causeway, whence they commenced firing with their 
rifles. They were soon reinforced by Colonel Prescott, 
of Bunker's Hill renown, with his regiment, and Lieu- 
tenant Bryant of the artillery, with a three-pounder. 
Checked at this pass, the British moved toward the head 
of the creek ; here they found the Americans in posses- 
sion of the ford, where they were reinforced by Colonel 
Graham, of the New York line, with his regiment, and 
Lieutenant Jackson of the artillery, with a six-pounder. 


These skillful dispositions of his troops bj G^enend 
Heath had brought the enemy to a stand. By the time 
Washington arrived in the vicinity, the British had en- 
camped on the Neck ; the riflemen and yagers keeping 
up a scattering fire at each other across the marsh ; and 
Captain Bryant now and then saluting the enemy with 
his field-piece. 

Having surveyed the ground, Washington ordered 
works to be thrown up at the passes from the Neck to 
the mainland. The British also threw up a work at the 
end of the causeway. In the afternoon nine ships, irith 
a great number of schooners, sloops, and flat-bottomed 
boats full of men, passed through Hell (}ate, towards 
Throg's Point; and information received from two de- 
serters, gave Washington reason to believe that the 
greater part of the enemy*s forces were gathering in that 
quarter. Gbneral McDougall's brigade, in which were 
Oolonel Smallwood and the independent companies, was 
sent in the evening to strengthen Heath's division at 
King's Bridge, and to throw up works opposite the ford 
of Harlem Biver. Greene, who had heard of the landing 
of the enemy at Throg's Neck, wrote over to Washing- 
ton, from Fort Constitution, informing him that he had 
three brigades ready to join him if required. '' If the 
troops are wanted over your side," said he, ** or likely to 
be so, they should be got over in the latter part of the 
night, as the shipping may move up from below, and im- 
pede, if not totally stop the troops from passing. The 

LBB*8 8TBI0TUBE8 ON C0NQBE88. 441 

tents upon Staten Island/' he added, ''had all been 
struck, as far as oonld be ascertained." It was plain the 
Rrhole scene of action was changing. 

On the Mth, General Lee arrived in camp, where he 
was welcomed as the harbinger of good luck. Washing- 
ton was absent, visiting the posts beyond King's Bridge, 
uid the passes leading from Throg's Neck ; Lee immedi- 
ately rode forth to join him. No one gave him a sincerer 
l^reeting than the commander-in-chief, who, diffident of 
bis own military knowledge, had a high opinion of that 
[>f Lee. He immediately gave him command of the 
troops above King's Bridge, now the greatest part of the 
urmy, but desired that he would not exercise it for a day 
3r two, until he had time to acquaint himself with the 
localities and arrangements of the post ; Heath, in the 
interim, held the command. 

Lee was evidently elevated by his successes at the 
South, and disposed to criticise disparagingly the mili- 
tary operations of other commanders. In a letter, writ- 
ten on the day of his arrival to his old associate in arms, 
Gieneral Gates, he condemns the position of the army, 
Emd censures Washington for submitting to the dictation 
of Congress, whose meddlesome instructions had pro- 
duced it " Inter nos,** writes he, " the Congress seem to 
stumble every step. I do not mean one or two of the 
cattle, but the whole stable. I have been very free in 
delivering my opinion to them. In my opinion General 
Washington is much to blame in not menacing 'em with 

44^ Life of WASttmotoir. 

resignation, unless they refrain from unliinging the army 
by their absurd interference. 

** Keep us Ticonderoga ; much depends upon ii We 
ought to have an army in the Delaware. I have roared 
it in the ears of Congress, but earent aurtbua. Adieu, mj 
dear friend ; if we do meet again — ^why, we shall smile."* 

In the meantime, Congress, on the 11th of October, 
having heard of the ingress of the Phosnix, Roebuck^ and 
Tarixir^ passed a resolution that Gbneral Washington be 
desired, if it be practicable, by every arjb, and at what- 
ever expense, to obstruct effectually the navigation of 
the North Biver between Fort Washington and Fort 
Constitution, as well to prevent the regress of the ene- 
my's vessels lately gone up as to hinder them from re- 
ceiving succors. 

Under so many conflicting circumstances, Washington 
held a council of war on the 16th, at Lee's head-quarters, 
at which all the major-generals were present, excepting 
Greene, and all the brigadiers, as well as Colonel Knox, 
who commanded the artillery. Letters from the Con- 
vention and from individual members of it were read, 
concerning the turbulence of the disaffected in the upper 
parts of the State; intelligence gained from deserters 
was likewise stated, showing the intention of the enemy 
to surround the camp. The policy was then discussed 
of remaining in their present position on Manhattan Ist 

* Am. Archives, 5th Series, ii. 108& 


md, and awaiting there the menaced attack : the strength 
>f the position was urged ; its being weU fortified, and 
extremely difficult of access. Lee, in reply, scoffed at 
Aie idea of a position being good merely because its ap^ 
proaches were difficult. How could they think of hold«- 
ing a position where the enemy were so strong in front 
ind rear ; where ships had the command of the water on 
)ach side, and where King's Bridge was their only pass 
\yj which to escape from being wholly inclosed? Had 
lot their recent experience on Long Island and at New 
fork taught them the danger of such positions ? *' For 
tn J part," said he, ** I would have nothing to do with the 
islands to which you have been clinging so pertina- 
dously — ^I would give Mr. Howe a fee-simple of them." 

** After much consideration and debate," says the record 
•>i the council, ''the following question was stated: 
VHiether (it haying appeared that the obstructions in 
the North Biver have proved insufficient, and that the 
enemy's whole force is now in our rear on Frog Point) 
it is now deemed possible, in our situation, to prevent 
the enemy from cutting off the communication with the 
oonntry, and compelling us to fight them at all disad- 
vantages or surrender prisoners at discretion ? " 

All agreed, with but one dissenting voice, that it was 
not possible to prevent the commxmication from being 
out o£^ and that one of the consequences mentioned in 
&e question must follow. 

The dissenting voice was that of General George Clin- 


ton, a brave downright man, bat little versed in the 
science of warfare. He could not comprehend the policy 
of abandoning so strong a position ; they were equal in 
number to the enemy, and, as they must fight them 
somewhere, could do it to more advantage there than 
anywhere else. Clinton felt as a guardian of the Hudson 
and the upper country, and wished to meet the enemj, 
as it were, at the very threshold. 

As the resolve of Congress seemed imperative with re- 
gard to Fort Washington, that post, it was agreed, should 
be ^* retained as long as possible.'* 

A strong garrison was accordingly placed in it, com- 
posed chiefly of troops from Magaw's and Shee's Penn- 
sylvania regiments, the latter under Lieutenant-colonel 
Lambert Cadwalader, of Philadelphia. Shee having ob- 
tained leave of absence. Colonel Magaw was put in com- 
mand of the post, and solemnly charged by Washington 
to defend it to the last extremity. The name of the op- 
posite post on the Jersey shore, where Greene was sta- 
tioned, was changed from Fort Constitution to Fort Lee, 
in honor of the general Lee, in fact, was the military 
idol of the day. Even the family of the commander-in- 
chief joined in paying him homage. Colonel Tench 
Tilghman, Washington's aide-de-camp, in a letter tea 
friend, writes : '^ You ask if General Lee is in health, and 
our people bold. I answer both in the affirmative. His 
appearance amongst us has contributed not a little to the 



IKEYIOUS to decamping from Manhattan Isl- 
and, Washington formed four divisions of the 
armjy which were respectively assigned to 
Gbnerals Lee, Heath, Sullivan (recently obtained in ex- 
change for General Prescott), and Lincoln. Lee wa» 
stationed on Valentine's Hill on the mainland, immedi- 
ately opposite King's Bridge, to cover the transportation 
across it of the military stores and heavy baggage. The 
other divisions were to form a chain of fortified posts, 
extending about thirteen miles along a ridge of hills on 
the west side of the Bronx, from Lee's camp up to the 
Tillage of White Plains. 

Washington's head-quarters continued to be on Har- 
lem Heights for several days, during which time he was 


446 J^*^^ OF WASSmOTOJT. 

oontmually in the saddle, riding about a broken, woody, 
and half wild oountry, forming posts, and choosing sites 
for breastworks and redoubts. By his skillful disposi 
tion of the army, it was protected in its whole length by 
the Bronx, a narrow but deep stream, fringed with trees, 
which ran along the foot of the ridge ; at the same time 
his troops faced and outflanked the enemy, and coYei«d 
the roads along which the stores and baggage had to be 
transported. On the 21st, he shifted his head-quarters 
to Valentine's Hill, and on the 23d to White Plains, 
where he stationed himself in a fortified camp. 

While he was thus incessantly in action, Qeneral, now 
Sir William Howe (having recently, in reward for his 
services, been made a knight companion of the Bath), 
remained for six days passive in his camp on Throg's 
Point awaiting the arrival of supplies and reinforce- 
ments, instead of pushing across to the Hudson, and 
throwing himself between Washington's army and the 
upper country. His inaction lost him a golden oppor^ 
tunity. By the time his supplies arrived, the Americans 
had broken up the causeway leading to the mainland, 
and taken positions too strong to be easily forced. 

Finding himself headed in this direction. Sir William 
leembarked part of his troops in flat boats on the 18th, 
crossed Eastchester Bay, and landed on Pell's Point, at 
the mouth of Hutchinson's Biver. Here he was joined 
in a few hours by the main body, with the baggage and 
artillery, and proceeded through the manor of Pelham 


towards New Bochelle; still with a view to get aboye 
Washington's army. 

In their march, the British were waylaid and harassed 
by Colonel Qlover of Massachusetts, with his own, Seed's, 
and Shepard's regiments of infantry. Twice the British 
adTance guard were thrown into confusion and driven 
back with severe loss, by a sharp fire from behind stone 
fence& A third time they advanced in solid columns. 
The Americans gave them repeated volleys, and then 
retreated with the loss of eight killed and thirteei) 
wounded, among whom was Colonel Shepard. Colonel 
Glover, and the officers and soldiers who were with him 
in this skirmish, received the public thanks of Washing* 
ton for their merit and good behavior. 

On the 21st, General Howe was encamped about two 
miles north of New Bochelle, with his outposts extend- 
ing to Mamaroneck on the Sound. At the latter place 
was posted Colonel Bogers, the renegade, as he was 
called, with the Queen's Bangers, his newly-raised corps 
of loyalists. 

Hearing of this. Lord Stirling resolved, if possible, to 
cut off this outpost and entrap the old hunter. Colonel 
Haslet^ of his brigade, always prompt on such occasions, 
undertook the exploit at the head of seven hundred and 
fifty of the Delaware troops, who had fought so bravely 
on Long Island. With these he crossed the line of the 
British march, came undiscovered upon the post, drove 
in tiie guard, killed a lieutenant and several men. and 


bronght away thirtj-six prisoners^ with a pair of colon, 
sixty stands of arms, and other spoils. He missed the 
main prize, however. Sogers skulked off in the dark at 
the first fire. He was too old a partisan to be easily en- 

For this exploit, Colonel Haslet and his men were pub- 
licly thanked by Lord Stirling, on parade. 

These, and other spirited and snocessfol skirmishes, 
while they retarded the advance of the enemy, had the 
far more important effect of exercising and i^TiimAfing the 
American troops, and accustomed them to danger. 

While in this neighborhood, Howe was reinforced by a 
second division of Hessians under Gbneral Knyphanseiit 
and a regiment of Waldeckers, both of which had recently 
arrived in New York. He was joined, also, by the whole 
of the seventeenth light dragoons, and a part of the six- 
teenth, which had arrived on the 3d instant from Ireland, 
with Lieutenant-colonel (afterwards Earl) Harcourt Some 
of their horses had been brought with them across the 
sea, others had been procured since their arrivaL 

The Americans at first regarded these troopers with 
great dread. Washington, therefore, took pains to con- 
vince them, that in a rough, broken country, like the 
present, full of stone fences, no troops were so inefficient 
as cavalry. They could be waylaid and picked off by 
sharpshooters from behind walls and thickets, while they 
oould not leave the road to pursue their covert foe. 

Further to inspirit them afisaiust this new enemy, he 


proclaimed, in general orders, a reward of one hundred 
dollars for every trooper brought in with his horse and 
acooutrements, and so on, in proportion to the oomplete* 
ness ot the capture. 

On the 25th, about two o'clock in the afternoon, intel« 
ligence was brought to head-quarters that three or four 
detachments of the enemy were on the march, within 
four miles of the camp, and the main army following in 
columns. The drums beat to arms ; the men were ordered 
to their posts ; an attack was expected. The day passed 
away, however, without any demonstration of the enemy. 
Howe detached none of his force on lateral expeditions, 
evidently meditating a general engagement To prepare 
for it, Washington drew all his troops from the posts 
along the Bronx into the fortified camp at White Plains. 
Here everything remained quiet but expectant, through^ 
out the 26th. In the morning of the 27th, which was 
Sunday, the heavy booming of cannon was heard from a 
distance, seemingly in the direction of Fort Washington* 
Scouts galloped off to gain intelligence. We will antici- 
pate their report 

Two of the British frigates, at seven o'clock in the 
morning, had moved up the Hudson, and come to anchor 
near Burdett's Ferry, below the Morris House, Washing- 
ton's old head-quarters, apparently with the intention of 
stopping the ferry, and cutting off the communication 
between Fort Lee and Fort Washington. At the same 

time, troops made their appearance on Harlem FlainSi 
VOL. n.— 29 

450 -2;iF» OF WASnmOTOlT. 

where Lord Percy held command. Colonel Morgan in* 
mediately manned the lines with troops from the garrisoo 
of Fort Washington. The ships opened a fire to enfilade 
and dislodge them. A barbette battery on the difib ol 
the Jersey shore, left of the ferry, fired down npon the 
frigates, bat with little effect Colonel Magaw got dovn 
an eighteen-ponnder to the lines near the Morris House, 
and fired fifiy or sixty ronnds, two balls at a time. Two 
eighteen-pounders were likewise brought down from Fort 
Lee, and planted opposite the ships. By the fire from 
both shores, they were hulled repeatedly. 

It was the thundering of these cannonades which had 
reached Washington's camp at White Plains, and even 
startled the Highlands of the Hudson. The ships soon 
hoisted all sail The foremost slipped her cable, and 
appeared to be in the greatest confusion. She ooold 
make no way, though towed by two boats. The other 
ship seeing her distress, sent two barges to her assist- 
ance, and by the four boats she was dragged out of reach 
of the American fire, her pumps going all the time. '' Had 
the tide been flood one half hour longer," writes General 
Greene, ^' we should have sunk her." 

At the time that the fire from the ships began. Lord 
Percy brought up his field-pieces and mortars, and made 
an attack upon the lines. He was resolutely answered 
by the troops sent down from Fort Washington, and 
several Hessians were killed. An occasional firing was 
kept up until evening, when the ships fell down the river. 


ft&d the troops which had adyanced on Harlem Plaimi 
drew within their lines again. 

''We take this day's moyement to be only a feint^'* 
writes one of the garrison at Fort Lee ; '' at any rate, it 
is little honorable to the red-coats." Its chief effect was 
to startle the distant camp, and astound a quiet country 
with the thundering din of war. 

The celebrated Thomas Paine, author of ** The Bights 
of Man," and other political works, was a spectator of 
the affiEdr from the rocky summit of the Palisades, on the 
Jersey shore. 

While these things were passing at Fort Washington, 
Lee had struck his tents, and with the rear diyision, eight 
thousand strong, the baggage and artillery, and a train 
of wagons four miles long, laden with stores and ammu- 
nition, was lumbering along the rough coxmtry roads to 
join the main army. It was not until Monday morning, 
after being on the road all night, that he arrived at White 

Washington's camp was situated on high ground, facing 
the east The right wing stretched towards the south 
ilong a rocky hill, at the foot of which the Bronx, making 
tin elbow, protected it in flank and rear. The left wing 
rested on a small, deep lake among the hills. The camp 
iras strongly entrenched in front. 

About a quarter of a mile to the right of the camp, and 
ieparated from the height on which it stood by the Bronx 
ind a marshy interval, was a corresponding height called 

462 ^^^^^ OF wABEnmro. 

Oliatterton's Hill. As this partly conunanded the riglil 
flank, and as the interyening bend of the Bronx was 
easily passable, Washington had stationed on its snrnxmi 
a miUtia regiment 

The whole encampment was a temporary one, to be 
changed as soon as the military stores collected there 
conld be removed ; and now that Gbneral Lee was arrived, 
Washington rode oat with him, and other general officers 
who were off duty^ to reconnoiter a height which ap- 
peared more eligible. When arrived at it, Lee pointed 
to another on the north, still more commanding. '' Yon- 
der," said he, " is the ground we ought to occupy." " Let 
us go, then, and view it^" replied Washington. They were 
gently riding in that direction, when a trooper came 
spurring up his panting horse. '* The British are in the 
camp, sir ! " cried he. '^ Then, gentlemen," said Wash- 
ington, ** we have other business to attend to than recon- 
noitering." Putting spurs to his horse, he set off for the 
camp at full gallop, the others spurring after him. 

Arrived at head-quarters, he was informed by Adjutant- 
general Beed, that the picket guards had all been driven 
in, and the enemy were advancing : but that the whole 
American army was posted in order of battle. ** Gentle- 
men," said Washington, turning calmly to his compan- 
ions, '< you will return to your respective posts, and do 
the best you can." 

Apprehensive that the enemy might attempt to get 
possession of Ghatterton's Hill, he detached Colonel 


Haslet with his Delaware regiment, to reinforce the mili- 
tia posted there. To these he soon added Gbneral Mo- 
Dongall's brigade, composed of Smallwood's Maryland* 
ers, Bitzema's New Yorkers, and two other regiments. 
These were much reduced by sickness and absence. 
(General McDongall had command of the whole force 
npon the hill, which did not exceed 1,600 men. 

These dispositions were scarcely made, when the en* 
emy appeared glistening on the high grounds beyond 
the Tillage of White Plains. They advanced in two 
columns, the right commanded by Sir Henry Clinton, 
the left by the Hessian general, De Heister. There was 
also a troop of horse ; so formidable in the inexperienced 
eyes of the Americans. *'It was a brilliant but formi- 
dable sight," writes Heath in his memoirs. '* The sun 
shone bright, their arms glittered ; and perhaps troops 
never were shown to more advantage." 

For a time they halted in a wheat field, behind a rising 
ground, and the general officers rode up in the centre to 
hold a consultation. Washington supposed they were 
preparing to attack him in front, and such indeed was 
their intention ; but the commanding height of Chatter- 
ton's Hill had caught Sir William's eye, and he deter- 
mined first to get possession of ii 

Colonel Bahl was accordingly detached with a brigade 
of Hessians, to make a circuit southwardly, round a piece 
of wood, cross the Bronx about a quarter of a mile below, 
and ascend the south side of the hill; while (General 


Leslie, with a large force, Britisli and HesBian, ahomU 
adyanoe direoUy in fronts throw a bridge across the 
stream, and charge up the hilL 

A forions cannonade was now opened bj the Britisli 
from fifteen or twenty pieces of artillery, placed on h^ii 
ground opposite the hill; under coyer of which, the 
troops of General Leslie hastened to construet the 
bridge. Li so doing, they were seyerely galled by two 
field-pieces, planted on a ledge of rock on Ohatterttm'fl 
Hill, and in charge of Alexander Hamilton, the youthful 
captain of artillery. Smallwood's Maryland battslioo, 
also, kept up a sharp fire of small arms. 

As soon as the bridge was finished, the British and 
Hessians under Leslie rushed oyer it» formed and ohaiged 
up the hill to take Hamilton's two field-pieces. Three 
times the two field-pieces were discharged, ploughing the 
ascending columns from hill-top to riyer, while Small^ 
wood'9 ** blue and buff " Marylanders kept up their Tol- 
leys of musketry. 

In the meantime Bahl and his Hessian brigade forded 
the Bronx lower down, pushed up the south side of the 
hill, and endeayored to turn MoDougall's right flsnt 
The militia gaye the general but little support They 
had been dismayed at the opening of the engagement by 
a shot from a British cannon, which wounded one of them 
in the thigh, and nearly put the whole to flight. It wis 
with the utmost difficulty McDougaU had rallied them, 
and posted them behind a stone wall. Here they did 


some serrioe, until a troop of British oayaby, haying 
gained the inrest of the hill, oame on, brandishing their 
sabres. At their first charge the militia gare a random, 
scattering fire, then broke, and fled in complete confa- 

A brave stand was made on the somtnit of the hill by 
Haslet, Bitsema, and Smallwood, with their troops. 
Twice they repulsed horse and foot, British and Hefr- 
sians, until, cramped for room and greatiy outntmibered, 
they slowly and sullenly retreated down the north side 
of the hill, where there was a bridge across tiie Bronx. 
Smallwood remained upon the ground for some time after 
ihe retreat had begun, and receiyed two flesh wounds, 
one in the hip, the other through the arm. At tiie bridge 
oyer the Bronx, the retreating troops were met by Qen- 
eral Putnam, who was coming to their assistance with 
Beall's brigade. In the rear of this they marched back 
into the camp. 

The loss on both sides, in this short but seyere action, 
was nearly equaL That of the Americans was between 
three and four hundred men, killed, wounded, and taken 
prisoners. At first it was thought to be much more, many 
of the militia and a few of the regulars being counted as 
lost, who had scattered themselyes among the hills, but 
afterwards returned to head-quarters. 

The British army now rested with their left wing on 
the hill they had just taken, and which they were busy 
intrenching. They were extending their right wing to 


ihe left of ihe Anierioan lines 8o thai their two liii^ 
centre formed nearly a semicixole. It wae eYidenily their 
design to outflank the American camp, and get in the 
rear of ii The day, however, being far adTanoed, was 
Bn£fored to pass withont any farther attack ; bat the mor- 
row was looked forward to for a deadly conflict Wash- 
ington availed himself of this interval to have the sick 
and wounded, and as much of the stores as possible, re- 
moved from the camp. '* The two armies," says General 
Heath in his memoirs, ** lay looking at each other, within 
long cannon shoi In the night-time the British lighted 
up a vast number of fires, the weather growing pretty 
cold. These fires, some on the level ground, some at the 
foot of the hills, and at all distances to their brows, some 
of which were lofty, seemed to the eye to mix with the 
stars. The American side doubtless exhibited to them 
a similar appearance." 

Daring this anxious night, Washington was assiduously 
occupied throwing back his right wing to stronger 
ground; doubling his intrenchments and constructing 
three redoubts, with a line in front, on the summit of his 
post These works were principally intended for defense 
against small arms, and were thrown up with a rapidity 
that to the enemy must have savored of magic. They 
were, in fact, made of the stalks of Indian com or maize 
taken from a neighboring corn-field, and pulled up with 
the earth clinging in masses to the large roots. '* The roots 
of the stalks," says Heath, " and earth on them placed in 


the face of the works, answered the purpose of sods and 
fascines. The tops being placed inwards, as the loose 
earth was thrown upon them, became as so many trees 
to the work, which was carried up with a despatch 
scarcely conceivable. 

In the morning of the 29th9 when Howe beheld how 
greatly Washington had improved his position and 
strengthened it, by what appeared to be solidly con- 
structed works, he postponed his meditated assault, 
ordered up Lord Percy from Harlem with the fourth bri- 
gade and two battalions of the sixth, and proceeded to 
throw up lines and redoubts in front of the American 
camp, as if preparing to cannonade it As the enemy 
were endeavoring to outflank him, especially on his 
right wing, Washington apprehended one of their o1> 
jects might be to advance a part of their force and 
seize on Pine's Bridge over Croton Biver, which would 
cut off his communication with the upper country. Gen- 
eral BeaU, with three Maryland regiments, was sent off 
with all expedition to secure that pass. It was Washing- 
ton's idea that, having possession of Croton Biver and 
the passes in the SEighlands, his army would be safe from 
farther pursuit, and have time to repose after its late 
excessive fatigue, and would be fresh, and ready to ha- 
rass the enemy should they think fit to winter up the 

At present nothing could exceed the war-worn condi- 
tion of the troops, unseasoned as they were to this kind 


of service. A Boomfal letter, written at this time hj a 
Britisli officer to his friend in London, gives a picture of 
the ragged plight to which they were reduced, in this 
rainy and inclement season. " The rebel army are in so 
wretched a condition as to clothing and acGoutremeniB» 
that I believe no nation ever saw such a set of tatterde- 
malions. There are few coats among them but what aie 
out at the elbows, and in a whole regiment there is soaroe 
a pair of breeches. Judge, then, how they mnstbe pinched 
by a winter's campaign. "We, who are warmly dothed 
and well equipped, already feel it severely ; for it is even 
now much colder than I ever felt it in England." 

Alas for the poor half-naked weather-beaten pstriois, 
who had to cope with these well-fed, well-clad, well* 
appointed mercenaries ! A letter written at the veij 
same date (October 31), by General George Olintoiii 
shows what, in their forlorn plight, they had to grapple 

" We had reason,** writes he, " to apprehend an attack 
last night, or by daylight this morning. Our lines were 
manned all night in consequence; and a most horrid 
night it was to lay in cold trenches. Uncovered as ^ 
are, daily on fatigue, making redoubts, fleches, abatis, 
and retreating from them and the little temporary huts 
made for our comfort before they are all finished, I 
fear will ultimately destroy our army without fighting."* 

* Oeorge Clinton to John McKesson, October 81. Am, Arehivt\ 6tk 
Series, U. 1812^ 


** Howeyer/' adds he, honestly, *' I would not be under* 
stood to condemn measures. They may be right for 
aught I know. I do not understand much of the refined 
art of war ; it is said to consist in stratagem and decep- 
tion." In a previous letter to the same friend, in a 
moment of hurry and alarm, he writes, " Pray let Mrs. 
Clinton know that I am well, and that she need not be 
uneasy about me. It would be too much honor to die 
in so good a cause.'* 

Clinton, as we have before intimated, was an honest 
and ardent patriot, of resolute spirit, and plain, direct 
good sense; but an inexperienced soldier. His main 
idea of warfare was straightforward fighting ; and he was 
greatly perplexed by the continual strategy which Wash- 
ington's situation required. One of the aides-de-camp 
of the latter had a truer notion on the subject " The 
campaign hitherto," said he, ''has been a fair trial of 
generalship, in which I flatter myself we have had the 
advantage. If we, with our motley army, can keep Mr. 
Howe and his grand appointment at bay, I think we 
shall make no contemptible military figure." ^ 

On the night of the 31st, Washington made another 
of those moves which perplexed the worthy Clinton. In 
the course of the night he shifted his whole position, set 
fire to the bams and out-houses containing forage and 
stores, which there was no time to remove, and leaving 

* Tench Tilghman to William Doer, October 8t 

160 *^UFB OF wABsmofoir. " 

a strong rear-guard on the heights and in the neighlx^ 
ing woods, retired with his main army a distance of fiie 
miles, among the high, rocky hills about Northcastle. 
Here he immediately set to work to intrench and foriiff 
himself ; his policy at this time being, as he used to say, 
'* to fight with the spade and mattock.** 

(General Howe did not attempt to dislodge him from 
this fastness. He at one time ordered an attack on the 
rear-guard, but a violent rain prevented it, and for two 
or three days he remained seemingly inactive. ''All 
matters are as quiet as if the enemy were one hundred 
miles distant from us," writes one of Washington's aides 
on the 2d of November. During the night of the 4th, 
this quiet was interrupted. A ' mysterious sound was 
heard in the direction of the British camp, like the ram- 
bling of wagons and artillery. At daybreak the meaning 
of it was discovered. The enemy were decamping. Long 
trains were observed defiling across the hilly country, 
along the roads leading to Dobb's Ferry on the HudsoiL 
The movement continued for three successive days, un- 
til their whole force, British and Hessians, disappeared 
from White Plains. 

The night after their departure a party of Americans, 
heated with liquor, set fire to the court-house and other 
edifices in the village, as if they had belonged to the en- 
emy ; an outrage which called forth a general order from 
Washington, expressive of his indignation, and threaten* 
ing the perpetrators with signal punishment when de- 



teoied. We notice this matter, beoaose in British ao* 
counts, the burning of those buildings had been charged 
upon Washington himself ; being, no doubt, confounded 
with the burning of the bams and out-houses ordered by 
him on shifting his encampment. 



[OUS were the speonlations at head-qtiarten 
on the Budden moyement of the enemy. Wash- 
ington writes to General William Livingston 
(now governor of the Jerseys) : " They have gone towards 
the North Biver and King's Bridge. Some suppose they 
are going into winter quarters, and will sit down in New 
York without doing more than investing Fort Washing- 
ton. I cannot subscribe wholly to this opinion mysell 
That they will invest Fort Washington, is a matter of 
which there can be no doubt ; and I think there is a 
strong probability that General Howe will detach a part 
of his force to make an incursion into the Jerseys, pro- 
vided he is going to New York. He must attempt some* 
thing on account of his reputation, for what has he done, 
as yet, with his great army ? " 

In the same letter he expressed his determination, as 
soon as it should appear that the present manoeuvre was 



a real retreat, and not a {eint^ to throw over a body of 
troops into the Jerseys to assist in checking Howe's prog* 
ress. He, moreover, recommended to the governor to 
have the militia of that State pnt on the best possible 
footing, and a part ot them held in readiness to take the 
place of the State levies, whose term of service wonld 
soon expire. He advised, also, that the inhabitants con- 
tigaons to the water, should be prepared to remove their 
stock, grain, effects, and carriages, on. the earliest notice* 

In a letter of the same date, he charged General 
Chreene, shonld Howe invest Fort Washington with part 
of his force, to give the garrison all possible assistance. 

On the following day (Nov. 8), his aide-de-camp, 
Oolonel Tilghman, writes to (General Ghreene from head- 
quarters : " The enemy are at Dobb's Ferry with a great 
number of boats, ready to go into Jersey, or proceed tip 
the river.** 

Greene doubted any intention of the enemy to cross 
the river ; it might only be a feint to mislead ; still, as a 
precaution, he had ordered troops up from the flying 
camp, and was posting them opposite Dobb's Ferry, and 
at other passes where a landing might be attempted ; 
the whole being under the command of Oeneral Mercer. 

Affairs at Fort Washington soon settled the question 
of the enemy's intentions with regard to it. Lord Percy 
took his station with a body of troops before the lines to 
the south. Knyphausen advanced on the north. The 
Americans had previously abandoned Fort Independence^ 


burnt its barracks, and remoTed the stores and cannoa 
Grossing King's Bridge, Enyphansen took a position be^ 
tween it and Fort Washington. The approach to the 
fort, on this side, was exceedingly steep and rocky ; aSi 
indeed, were all its approaches excepting that on the 
south, where the country was more open, and the ascent 
graduaL The fort could not hold within its waUs aboTe 
one thousand men; the rest of the troops were dis- 
tributed about the lines and outworks. While the fort 
was thus menaced, the cheyaux-de-frise had again proved 
inefficient. On the night of the 6th, a frigate and two 
transports, bound up to Dobb's Ferry, with supplies for 
Howe's army, had broken through ; though according to 
Greene's account, not without being considerably shat- 
tered by the batteries. 

Informed of these facts, Washington wrote to Greene on 
the 8th : '^ If we cannot prevent vessels from passing up 
the river, and the enemy are possessed of all the sur- 
rounding country, what valuable purpose can it answer 
to hold a post from which the expected benefit cannot 
be had ? I am, therefore, inclined to think that it will 
not be prudent to hazard the men and stores at Monst 
Washington ; but, as you are on the spot, I leave it 
to you to give such orders as to evacuating Monnt 
Washington as you may judge best, and so far revoking 
the orders given to Oolonel Magaw, to defend it to the 

Accounts had been received at head-guarters of a con* 


siderable movement on the preceding eyening (Not. Tth), 
among the enemy's boats at Dobb's Feny, with the in- 
tention, it was said, of penetrating the Jerseys, and fell- 
ing down upon Fort Lee. Washington, therefore, in the 
same letter directed Ghreene to have all the stores not 
necessary to the defense removed immediately, and to 
destroy all the stock, the hay and grain, in the neighbor- 
hood, which the owners refused to remove. "Experi- 
ence has shown," adds he, ''that a contrary conduct is 
not of the least advantage to the poor inhabitants, from 
whom all their effects of every kind are taken without 
distinction and without the least satisfaction." 

Qreene, in reply (Nov. 9th), adhered with tenacity to 
the policy of maintaining Fort Washington. "The 
enemy," said he, " must invest it with double the num- 
ber of men required for its defense. They must keep 
troops at King's Bridge, to crt off all communication 
with the country, and in considerable force, for fear of an 
attack." He did not consider the fort in immediate dan- 
ger. Colonel Magaw thought it would take the enemy 
until the end of December to carry it In the meantime, 
the garrison could at any time be brought off, and even 
the stores removed, should matters grow desperate. If 
the enemy should not find it an object of importance, 
they would not trouble themselves about it; if they 
should, it would be a proof that they felt an injury from 
its being maintained. The giving it up would open for 
them a free communication with the country by the way 
VOL, n.— 80 


of King's Bridge.* It is doubtful when or where Wash- 
ington received this letter, as he left the camp at North- 
castle at eleyen o'clock of the following morning. There 
being still considerable uncertainty as to the intentioDS 
of the enemy, all his arrangements were made accord- 
ingly. All the troops belonging to the States west of the 
Hudson, were to be stationed in the Jerseys, under com- 
mand of Qeneral Putnam. Lord Stirling had abeady 
been sent forward with the Maryland and Yirginia troops 
to Peekskill, to cross the riyer at King's Ferry. Another 
division, composed of Oonnecticut and Massachusetts 
troops, under (General Heath, was to cooperate with the 
brigade of New York militia under Qeneral Gborge Olintos, 
in securing the Highland posts on both sides of the river. 
The troops which would remain at Northcastle after 
the departure of Heath and his division, were to be com' 
manded by Lee. Washington's letter of instructions to 
that general is characterized by his own modesty, and his 
deference for Lee's superior military experience. He 
suggests, rather than orders, yet his letter is sufficiently 
explicit " A little time now," writes he, " must manifest 
the enemy's designs, and point out to you the measures 
proper to be pursued by that part of the army under 
your command. I shall give no directions, therefore, 
on this head, having the most entire confidence in youi 
judgment and military exertions. One thing, however; 

•Jim. Archives. 5th Series, iii 6ia 


I urill suggest, namely, that the appearance of embarking 
troops for the Jerseys may be intended as a feint to 
weaken ns, and render the post we now hold more ynl** 
nerable, or the enemy may find that troops are assembled 
with more expedition, and in greater numbers, than they 
expected, on the Jersey shore, to oppose them; and, as 
it is possible, from one or other of these motives, that 
they may yet pay the party nnder yonr command a yisit, 
it will be unnecessary, I am persuaded, to recommend to 
you the propriety of putting this post, if you stay at it, 
into a proper posture of defense, and guarding against 
surprises. But I would recommend it to your consider- 
ation whether, under the suggestion above, your retiring 
to Croton Bridge, and some strong post still more east- 
erly (covering the passes through the Highlands), may 
not be more advisable than to run the hazard of an attack 
with unequal numbers. At any rate, I think all your 
baggage and stores, except such as are necessary for im- 
mediate use, ought to be to the northward of Croton 
Biver. .... You will consider the post at Croton's 
(or Pine's) Bridge as under your immediate care. • . • 
If the enemy should remove the whole, or the greater 
part of their force to the west side of Hudson's Biver, I 
have no doubt of your following with all possible de- 
spatch, leaving the militia and invalids to cover the fron 
tiers of Connecticut in case of need." 

We have been minute in stating these matters, from 
their bearing on subsequent operations. 

468 ^^^ 0^ wASHnrGToir. 

On the lOih of Noyember Washington left the oamp al 
Korthoastle at 11 o'olook^ and arrived at Peekskill at Bun- 
Bet ; whither General Heath, with hiB division, had pre- 
oeded ^^rn by a few hours. Lord Stirling was there, 
likewise, having effected the transportation of the Mazy- 
land and Yirginia troops across the river, and landed 
them at the ferry south of Stony Point ; though a better 
landing was subsequently found north of the point. His 
lordship had thrown out a scouting party in the advance, 
and a hundred men to take possession of a gap in 
the mountain, through which a road passed toward the 

Washington was now at the entrance of the Highlanda, 
that grand defile of the Hudson, the object of so much 
precaution and solicitude. On the following morning, 
accompanied by Generals Heath, Stirling, James and 
Gborge Olinton, Mifflin, and others, he made a mihtai; 
visit in boats to the Highland posts. Fort Monlgomery 
was in a considerable state of forwardness, and a work 
in the vicinity was projected to cooperate with it Fort 
Constitution commanded a sudden bend of the river, bat 
Lord Stirling in his report of inspection had intimated 
that the fort itself was commanded by West Point oppo- 
site. A glance of the eye, without going on shore, was 
sufficient to convince Washington of the fact A fortress 
subsequently erected on that point, has been considered 
the Key of the Highlands. 

On the morning of the 12th, at an early hour. Washing* 


km rode out with (General Heath to reconnoiter the east 
edde of the Hudson, at the gorge of the HighlandFu Heniy 
Wisnor, in a report to the New York Gonyention, had 
mentioned a hill to the north of Peekskill, so situated, 
vdth the road winding along the side of it, that ten men 
cm the top, by rolling down stones, might prevent ten 
thousand from passing. "I belieye," said he, *'noth^ 
Lug more need be done than to keep great quantities of 
stones at the dififerent places where the troops must pass, 
if they attempt penetrating the mountains.** 

Near Bobinson's Bridge, in this vicinity, about two 
miles from Peekskill, Washington chose "a place where 
troops should be stationed to cover the south entrance 
into the mountains; and here, afterwards, was estab- 
lished an important military depot called Oontinental 

On the same day (12th), he wrote to General Lee, in- 
doeing a copy of resolutions just received from Congress, 
respecting levies for the new army, showing the impor- 
tance of immediately beginning the recruiting service. 
If no commissioners arrived from Bhode Island, he was 
to appoint the officers recommended to that State by 
General Greene. ** I cannot conclude," adds he, " with- 
out reminding you of the military and other stores about 
your encampment, and at Northcastle, and to press the 
removal of them above Croton Bridge, or such other 
places of security as you may think proper. Gen- 
eral Howe, having sent no part of his force to Jersey 

470 I^^ OF WASHZNGTOir. 

yety makes the measure more neoessary, as he msy 
tarn his yiews another way, and attempt their destnio* 

It was evidently Washington's desire that Lee shonU 
post himself as soon as possible, beyond the CSroton, 
where he wonld be safe from surprise, and at hand to 
throw his troops promptly aoross the Hudson should 
the Jerseys be invaded. 

Having made all these surveys and arrangemeni8» 
Washington plaoed Heath in the general command of 
the Highlands, with written instructions to fortify the 
passes with all possible despatch, and directions how 
the troops were to be distributed on both sides of the 
river ; and here we take occasion to give some personal 
notice of this trusty officer. 

Heath was now in the fortieth year of his age. lSk» 
many of the noted officers of the Bevolution, he had been 
brought up in rural life, on an hereditary farm near Boe- 
ton ; yet, according to his own account, though passion- 
j^tely fond of agricultural pursuits, he had also, almost 
from childhood, a great relish for military affidrs, and 
had studied every treatise on the subject in the Eng- 
lish language, so that he considered himself " fully ac- 
quainted with the theory of war, in all its branches and 
duties, from the private soldier to the commander-in- 

He describes himself to be of a middling stature, light 
complexion, very corpulent and bald-headed, so that the 



French officers who served in America, compared him, in 
person, to the Marquis of Granby.* 

Snch was the officer intrusted with the command of 
the Highland passes, and encamped at Peekskill, their 
portaL We shall find him faithful to his trust ; scrupu- 
lous in obeying the letter of his instructions ; but sturdy 
and punctilious in resisting any undue assumption <4 

• HMth'8 Memain. 



^^^plURING his brief and busy sojonm at Peeks 
KI^PI kill, Washington received important intelligence 
midmSM from the northern army ; especially that part of 
it on Lake Champlain, under the command of Greneral 
Gates. A slight retrospect of affairs in that quarter is 
proper, before we proceed to narrate the eventful cam- 
paign in the Jerseys. 

The preparations for the defense of Ticonderoga, and 
the nautical service on the lake, had met with difficulties 
at every step. At length, by the middle of August, a 
small flotilla was completed, composed of a sloop and a 
schooner each of twelve guns (six and four pounders), 
two schooners mounting eight guns each, and five gon- 
dolas, each of three guns. The flotilla was subsequently 
augmented, and the command given by Gates to Arnold, 

in compliance with the advice of Washington ; who had 



Gt liigli opinion of that officer's energy, intrepidity, and 
fertility in expedients. 

Sir Guy Oarleton, in the meantime, was straining every 
oerve for the approaching conflict The successes of the 
British forces on the sea-board had excited the zealous 
riyalry of the forces in Canada. The commanders, newly 
arrived, were fearful the war might be brought to a close, 
before they could have an opportunity to share in the 
g^ry. Hence the ardor with which they encountered 
Bud vanquished obstacles which might other¥nse have 
appeared insuperable. Vessels were brought from Eng- 
land in pieces and put together at St John's, boats of 
various kinds and sizes were transported over land, or 
dragged up the rapids of the SoreL The soldiers shared 
with the seamen in the toiL The Canadian farmers, also, 
were taken from their agricultural pursuits, and com- 
pelled to aid in these, to them, unprofitable labors. Sir 
Guy was full of hope and ardor. Should he get the com- 
mand of Lakes Ohamplain and George, the northern part 
of New York would be at his mercy ; before winter set in 
he might gain possession of Albany. He would then be 
able to cooperate with General Howe in severing and 
subduing the northern and southern provinces, and bring- 
mg the war to a speedy and triumphant dose. 

In despite of every exertion, three months elapsed 
before his armament was completed. Winter was fast 
ipproaching. Before it arrived, the success of his brill- 
ant plan required that he should fight his way across 


Lake Champlain ; carry the strong posts of Grown Pcnni 
and Ticonderoga ; traverse Lake Qeoi^, and pursue a 
^ng and dangerous march through a wild and nigged 
country, beset with forests and morasses, to Albany. That 
was the first post to the southward where he expected to 
find rest and winter quarters for his troops.* 

By the month of October, between twenty and thirty 
sail were afloat, and ready for action. The flagship (the 
Ii^leximje) mounted eighteen twelve-pounders ; the rest 
were gunboats, a gondola and a flat-bottomed Teasel 
called a radeau, and named the Thunderer; canyinga 
battery of six twenty-four and twelve six-pounders, be- 
sides howitzers. The gunboats mounted brass field- 
pieces and howitzers. Seven hundred seamen navigated 
the fleet ; two hundred of them were volunteers from the 
transports. The guns were worked by detachments from 
the corps of artillery Li a word, according to British 
accounts, " no equipment of the kind was ever better ap- 
pointed or more amply furnished with every kind of pro- 
vision necessary for the intended service.** f 

Captain Pringle conducted the armament, but Sir Gny 
Carleton was too full of zeal, and too anxious for the 
event, not to head the enterprise ; he accordingly took 
his station on the deck of the flag-ship. They made sail 
early in October, in quest of the American squadron, 
which was said to be abroad upon the lake. Amoldi 

* C%v%l War in America, yoL L p. ML 
t Ibid., i. 211. 


however, being ignorant of the strength of the enemy, 
and unwilling to encounter a superior force in the open 
lake, had taken his post under cover of Yalcour Island, 
in the upper part of a deep channel, or strait between 
that island and the mainland. His force consisted of 
three schooners, two sloops, three galleys and eight gon- 
dolas ; carrying in all seventy guns, many of them eigh« 
teen pounders. 

The British ships, sweeping past Cumberland Head 
witii a fair wind and flowing sail on the morning of the 
nth, had left the southern end of Yalcour Island astern, 
^hen they discovered Arnold's flotilla anchored behind 
it, in a line extending across the strait so as not to be 
outflanked. They immediately hauled close to the wind, 
and tried to beat up into the channel The wind, how- 
ever, did not permit the largest of them to enter. Ar« 
nold took advantage of the circumstance. He was on 
board of the galley Congress, and, leaving the line, ad* 
vanced, with two other galleys and the schooner Boyd 
EkwagCf to attack the smaller vessels as they entered be- 
fore the large ones could come up. About twelve o'clock 
the enemy's schooner Oarleton opened a brisk fire upon 
the Boyai Bavage and the galleys. It was as briskly re« 
turned. Seeing the enemy's gunboats approaching, the 
Americans endeavored to return to the line. In so doing, 
the Royci Savage ran aground Her crew set her on fire 
and abandoned her. In about an hour the British 
toought all their gunboats in a range acroes the lowef 

476 ^^^^^ OF WASBUmTOS. 

part of the channel, within musket shot of the AmericiDik 
the schooner Carldon in the advance. They landed, also, 
a large number of Tndians on the island, to keep np a 
galling fire from the shore upon the Americans with theii 
rifles. The action now became general, and was seyere 
and sanguinaiy. The Americans, finding themselves thus 
hemmed in by a superior force, fought with desperation. 
Arnold pressed with his galley into the hottest of the 
fighi The Gangresa was hulled several times, receiTed 
seven shots between wind and water, was shattered in 
mast and rigging, and many of the crew were killed or 
wounded. The ardor of Arnold increased with his duo- 
ger. He cheered on his men by voice and example, often 
pointing the guns with his own hands. He was ably 
seconded by Brigadier-general Waterbury, in the WaA' 
ington galley, which, like his own vessel, was terribly out 
up. The contest lasted throughout the day. Oarried cm 
as it was within a narrow compass, and on a tranquil 
lake, almost every shot took efieci The fire of the In- 
dians from the shore was less deadly than had been ex- 
pected ; but their whoops and yells, mingling with the 
rattling of the musketry, and the thundering of the can- 
non, increased the horrors of the scene. Volumes oi 
smoke rose above the woody shores, which echoed with 
the unusual din of war, and for a time this lovely recess 
of a beautiful and peaceful lake was rendered a perfect 
The evening drew nigh, yet the contest was undecided. 


Oapiaiii Pringle, after a consultation with Sir Ouy Oarle* 
ton, called off the smaller vessels which had been en« 
gaged, and anchored his whole squadron in a line as near 
as possible to the Americans, so as to prevent their es- 
cape; trusting to capture the whole of them when th^ 
wind should prove favorable, so that he could bring hi& 
large vessels into action* 

Arnold, however, sensible that with his inferior and 
crippled force all resistance would be unavailing, took 
advantage of a dark cloudy night, and a strong north 
wind; his vessels slipped silently through the enemy's 
line without being discovered, one following a light on 
the stem of the other : and by daylight they were out of 
sight. They had to anchor, however, at Schuyler's 
Island, about ten miles up the lake, to stop leaks and 
make repairs. Two of the gondolas were here sunk, be- 
ing past remedy. About noon the retreat was resumed, 
but the wind had become adverse ; and they made little 
progress. Arnold's galley, the Congress, the Washington 
galley and four gondolas, all which had suffered severely 
in the late fight, feU astern of the rest of the squadron in 
the course of the night. In the morning, when the sun 
lifted a fog which had covered the lake, they beheld the 
enemy within a few miles of them in full chase, while 
their own comrades were nearly out of sight, making the 
best of their way for Grown Point. 

It was now an anxious trial of speed and seamanship. 
Aniold, with the crippled relics of his squadron, man« 

478 L^^ OF WA8HINQT0N. 

aged by noon to get within a few leagues of Orows 
Pointy when they were overtaken by the UnfleJcStik^ the 
CarleUm, and the schooner Maria of 14 gons. As soon as 
they came up, they poured in a tremendous fire. The 
Washington galley, already shattered, and having lo6t 
most of her officers, was compelled to strike, and GknenI 
Waterbury and the crew were taken prisoners. Amold 
had now to bear the brunt of the action. For a long 
time he was engaged within musket shot with the h^ 
fiexHief and the two schooners, until his galley was re- 
duced to a wreck and one third of the crew were killed. 
The gondolas were nearly in the same desperate oon* 
dition ; yet the men stood stoutly to their guns. Seeing 
resistance vain, Amold determined that neither vesseb 
nor crew should fall into the hands of the enemy. He 
ordered the gondolas to run on shore, in a small cnreek in 
the neighborhood, the men to set fire to them as soon ae 
they grounded, to wade on shore with their muskets, and 
keep off the enemy until they were consumed. He did 
the same with his own galley ; remaining on board of her 
until she was in flames, lest the enemy should get posses- 
sion and strike his flag, which was kept flying to the last 
He now set off with his gallant crew, many of whom 
were wounded, by a road through the woods to Orown 
Point, where he arrived at night, narrowly escaping an 
Indian ambush. Two schooners, two galleys, one sloop, 
and one gondola, the remnant which had escaped of this 
squadron, were at anchor at the Pointy and General 


Waterbnrj and most of his men arriyed there the next 
day on parole. Seeing that the plaoe must soon fall into 
the hands of the enemy, they set fire to the houses, de« 
stroyed eyerything they oonld not carry away, and em- 
barking in the yessels made sail for Tioonderoga. 

The loss of the Americans in these two actions is said 
to haye been between eighty and ninety men ; that of the 
British about forty. It is worthy of mention, that among 
the young officers in Sir Guy Oarleton's squadron, was 
Edward Pellew, who afterwards rose to renown as Ad- 
miral Viscount Exmouth ; celebrated, among other things 
for his yictory at Algiers. 

The conduct of Arnold in these nayal affairs gained 
him new laurels. He was extolled for the judgmenj; with 
which he chose his position, and brought his yessels into 
action ; for his masterly retreat, and for the self-sacrific- 
ing deyotion with which he exposed himself to the oyer* 
whelming force of the enemy in ooyering the retreat of 
part of his flotilla. 

Sir Guy Carleton took possession of the ruined works 
at Crown Point, where he was soon joined by the army. 
He made seyeral moyements by land and water, as if 
meditating an attack upon Ticonderoga ; pushing strong 
detachments on both sides of the lake, which approached 
within a small distance of the fort, while one yessel ap- 
peared within cannon shot of a lower battery, sounding 
the depth of the channel, until a few shot obliged her to 
retire. (General Gates, in the meantime, strengthened 

480 I^^ 0^ WASHmOTOJSr. 

his works with incessant assiduity, and made evei} 
preparation for an obstinate defense. A strong easterfy 
wind prevented the enemy's ships from advanoing to at- 
tack the lines, and gave time for the arrival of reinforce- 
ments of militia to the garrison. It also afforded time 
for Sir Guy Oarleton to cool in ardor, and calculate the 
chances and the value of success. The post, from its 
strength, and the apparent number and resolution of the 
garrison, could not be taken without great loss of lib 
If taken, the season was now too far advanced to think of 
passing Lake George, and exposing the army to the perils 
of a winter campaign in the inhospitable and impracti- 
cable wilds to the southward. Ticonderoga, too, could 
not be kept during the winter, so that the only result of 
the capture would be the reduction of the works and the 
taking of some cannon ; all which damage the Americans 
could remedy before the opening of the summer cam- 
paign. If, however, the defense should be obstinate, the 
British army, even if successful, might sustain a loss 
sufficient to cripple its operations in the coming year.* 

These and other prudential reasons induced Carleton 
to give up all attempt upon the fortress at present; 
wherefore, reembarking his troops, he returned to Si 
John's, and cantoned them in Canada for the winter. It 
was not tmtil about the 1st of November that a recon- 
noitering party, sent out from Ticonderoga by General 

• OMl War in America, vol. L p. 814 



(Sates, brought him back intelligence that Crown Point 
was abandoned by the enemy, and not a hostile sail in 
sight All apprehensions of an attack upon Ticonderoga 
during the present year were at an end, and many of the 
troops stationed there were already on their march 
toward Albany. 

Such was the purport of the news from the north, re« 
oeived by Washington at Peekskill. It relieved him for 
the present from all anxiety respecting affiedrs on Lake 
Ohamplain, and gaye him the prospect of reinforcements 
from that quarter. 



!T the morning of the 12th of Noyember, Waah- 
ington crossed the Hudson^ to the ferry below 
^ Stony Pointy with the residue of the troopB 
destined for the Jerseys. Far below were to be descried 
the Phoenix^ the Boebuck^ and the Tartar , at anchor in the 
broad waters of Hayerstraw Bay and the Tappan 8ea» 
guarding the lower ferries. The army, thus shut out 
from the nearer passes, was slowly winding its way bj a 
circuitous route through the gap in the mountains, which 
Lord Stirling had secured. Leaying the troops which had 
just landed, to pursue the same route to the Hacken* 
sack, Washington^ accompanied by Oolonel Beed, stmck 
a direct course for Fort Lee, being anxious about affiuia 
at Fort Washington. He arriyed there on the follow- 
ing day, and found, to his disappointment, that General 
Ghreene had taken no measures for the eyacuation of that 
fortress ; but on the contrary, had reinforced it with a 



li Colonel Dnrkee's regimenti and the regiment of 
lel Bawlings, so that its garrison now numbered np- 
I of two thousand men ; a great part» however were 
A. Washington's orders for its evaouation had, in 
been discretionary, leaving the execution of them to 
le's judgment, *' as being on the spoi" The latter 
liffered in opinion as to the poliqr of such a meas- 
and Colonel Magaw, who had charge of the fortress, 
ikewise confident it might be maintained, 
ionel Beed was of opposite counsels ; but then he 
personally interested in the safety of the garrison, 
s composed almost entirely of Penner^lvania troops 
r Magaw and Lambert Cadwalader; excepting a 
detachment of Maryland riflemen commanded by 
H. Williams. They were his friends and neigh- 
the remnant of the brave men who had su£Eered so 
Bly under Atlee and Smallwood.* The fort was now 
bed on all sides but one ; and the troops under Howe 
i had been encamped at Dobb's Ferry, were said to 
oving down toward ii Beed*s solicitude was not 
d by the garrison itsel£ Colonel Magaw, its brave 
Lander, still thought it was in no immediate danger, 
flhington was much perplexed. The main object of 
s was still a matter of doubt with him. He could 
link that Sir William was moving his whole force 
that fortress, to invest which a part would be suffi« 

• W. B. Reed's Life of Bud. L VSL 


denb He snspeoted an ulterior objeoti probably a Soaih< 
em expedition^ as he was told a large number of ships 
were taking in wood and water at New YorL He re- 
solved, therefore, to continue a few days in this neigh- 
borhood, during which he trusted the designs of the 
enemy would be more apparent; in the meantime he 
would distribute troops at Brunswick, Amboy, Elizabeth- 
town, and Fort Lee, so as to be ready at these varioiu 
points, to check any incursions into the Jerseys. 

In a letter to the President of Congress he urged for 
an increase of ordnance and field-artillery. The rough, 
hilly country east of the Hudson, and the strongholdfl 
and fastnesses of which the Americans had possessed 
themselves, had preyented the enemy from profiting by 
the superiority of their artillery ; but this would not be 
the case, should the scene of action change to an open 
campaign country like the Jerseys. 

Washington was mistaken in his conjecture as to Sir 
William Howe's design. The capture of Fort Washing- 
ton wfiks, at present, his main object ; and he was en- 
camped on Fordham Heights, not far from King's Bridge, 
until preliminary steps should be taken. In the night of 
the 14th, thirty flat-bottomed boats stole quietly up the 
Hudson, passed the American forts undiscovered, and 
made their way through Spytden Duivel Greek into Har- 
lem River. The means were thus provided for orossbg 
that, river and landing before unprotected parts of the 
American works. 


On the ISih, General Howe sent in a summons to sur- 
render, with a threat of extremities should he have to 
carry the place by assault. Magaw, in his reply, inti« 
mated a doubt that General Howe would execute a threat 
** so unworthy of himself and the British nation ; but giye 
me leaye," added he, ** to assure his Excellency, that, 
actuated by the most glorious cause that mankind ever 
fought in, I am determined to defend this post to theyery 
last extremity." 

Apprised by the colonel of his peril, General Greene 
sent oyer reinforcements, with an exhortation to him to 
persist in his defense; and despatched an express to 
Washington, who was at Hackensack, where the troops 
which had crossed from Peekskill were encamped. It 
was nightfall when Washington arriyed at Fort Lee. 
Greene and Putnam were oyer at the besieged fortress. 
He threw himself into a boat, and had partly crossed the 
riyer, when he met those generals returning. They in- 
formed him of the garrison's haying being reinforced, 
and assured him that it was in high spirits, and capable 
of tn<^lnTig a good defense. It was with difficulty, how- 
eyer, they could preyail on him to return with them to 
the Jersey shore, for he was excessiyely excited. 

Early the next morning (16th), Magaw made his dis- 
positions for the expected attack. His forces, with the 
recent addition, amounted to nearly three thousand men. 
As the fort could not contain aboye a third of that num« 
ber^ most of them were stationed about the outworks. 

486 ^^^ OT WA8HINQT0K. 

Oolonel Lambert Oadwalader, with eight hmidied 
PennsylvanianSy was posted in the outer lines, about 
two miles and a half south of the fort, the side menaced 
by Lord Percy with sixteen hundred men. Oolonel Baw- 
lings, of Maryland, with a body of troops, many of them 
riflemen, was stationed by a three-gun battery, on a 
rooky, preoipitous hill, north of the fort, and between it 
and Spyt den Duivel Greek. C!olonel Baxter, of Bucb 
County, Pennsylvania, with his regiment of Tnilitia, was 
posted east of the fort, on rough, woody heights, border- 
ing the Harlem Biver, to watch the motions of the enemj, 
who had thrown up redoubts on high and commanding 
ground, on the opposite side of the river, apparently to 
cover the crossing and landing of troops. 

Sir William Howe had planned four simultaneous at- 
tacks ; one on the north by Enyphausen, who was en- 
camped on the York side of King's Bridge, within cannon 
shot of Fort Washington, but separated from it by higli 
and rough hills, covered with almost impenetrable wood& 
He was to advance in two columns, formed by detach- 
rments made from the Hessians of his corps, the brigade 
of Bahl, and the regiment of Waldeckers. The second 
attack was to be by two battalions of light infEmtry, and 
two battalions of guards, under Brigadier-general Mathew, 
who was to cross Harlem Biver in flat-boats, under cover 
of the redoubts above mentioned, and to land on the 
right of the fori This attack was to be supported bj 
the first and second grenadiers, and a regiment of light 


infantzy under oommand of Lord Oomwallis. The third 
attack, intended as a feint to distract the attention of the 
Americans, was to be by Colonel Sterling, with the fortj^ 
second regiment, who was to drop down the Harlem 
Biyer in bateaux, to the left of the American lines, &kcing 
New York. The fourth attack was to be on the south, 
bjr Lord Percy, with the English and Hessian troops 
under his command, on the right flank of the American 

About noon, a heavy cannonade thundering along the 
rocky hills, and sharp volleys of musketry, proclaimed 
that the action was commenced. Enyphausen's division 
was pushing on from the north in two columns, as had 
been arranged. The right was led by Colonel Bahl, the 
left by himsell Bahl essayed to mount a steep, broken 
height called Cock Hill, which rises from Spyt den Duivel 
Creek, and was covered with woods. Enyphausen under* 
took a hill rising from the King's Bridge road, but soon 
found himself entangled in a woody defile, difficult to 
penetrate, and where his Hessians were exposed to the 
fire of the three-gun battery, and Bawlings' riflemen. 

While this was going on at the north of the fort, Gen- 
eral Mathew, with his light infantry and guards, crossed 
the Harlem Biver in the flat-boats, under cover of a heavy 
fire from the redoubts. 

He made good his landing, after being severely hauf 

*8ir William Howe to Lord George GermaiiMi. 


died by Baxter and his men, from behind rocks and treei^ 
and the breastworks thrown up on the steep river bauL 
A short contest ensued. Baxter, while brayely encour- 
aging his men, was killed by a British officer. Hu 
troops, overpowered by numbers, retreated to the fort 
General Mathew now pushed on with his guards and 
light infantry to cut off Cadwalader. That officer had 
gallantly defended the lines against the attack of Loid 
Percy, until informed that Colonel Sterling was dropping 
down Harlem Biver in bateaux to flank the lines, and 
take him in the rear. He sent off a detachment to op- 
pose his landing. They did it manfully. About ninety 
of Sterling's men were killed or wounded in their boats, 
but he persevered, landed, and forced his way up a steep 
height, which was well defended, gained the summit^ 
forced a redoubt, and took nearly two hundred prisoners. 
Thus doubly assailed, Cadwalader was obliged to re- 
treat to the fort. He was closely pursued by Percy with 
his English troops and Hessians, but turned repeatedlj 
on his pursuers. Thus he fought his way to the fort^ 
with the loss of several killed and more taken prison- 
ers ; but marking his track by the number of Hessians 

The defense on the north side of the fort was equallj 
obstinate and unsuccessful Bawlings with his Maryland 
riflemen and the aid of the three-gun battery, had for 
some time kept the left column of Hessians and Wal« 
deckers under Elnyphausen at bay. At length Oolonal 


Bahl, with the right coluxnn of the diyision, haying forced 
his way directly up the north side of the steep hill at 
Spyt den Dnivel Creek, came upon Bawlings* men, 
whose rifles from frequent discharges had become foul 
and almost useless, drove them from their strong post, 
and followed them until within a hundred yards of 
the fort, where he was joined by Enyphausen, who 
had slowly made his way through dense forest and over 
felled trees. Here they took post behind a large stone 
house, and sent in a flag, with a second summons to sur- 

Washington, surrounded by several of his officers, had 
been an anxious spectator of the battle from the opposite 
side of the Hudson. Much of it was hidden from him 
by intervening hills and forest ; but the roar of cannonry 
from the valley of Harlem Biver, the sharp and incessant 
reports of rifles, and the smoke rising above the tree 
tops, told him of the spirit with which the assault was 
received at various points, and gave him for a time a 
hope that the defense might be successful The action 
about the lines to the south lay open to him, and could 
be distinctly seen through a telescope ; and nothing en- 
couraged him more than the gallant style in which Oad« 
walader with an inferior force maintained his position* 
When he saw him, however, assailed in flank, the line 
broken, and his troops, overpowered by numbers, retreat* 
ing to the fort, he gave up the game as lost The worst 
sight of all, was to behold his men cut down and bayo« 

|j90 £1737 OF WABBUmfTOJBT. 

neied by fhe HessiaiiiB wbile begging quarter. It is nid 
go completely to have overoome him, that he wept ^wifh 
the tenderness of a child." 

Seeing the flag go into the fort from Knyphansen's 
division, and surmising it to be a summons to surrender, 
he wrote a note to Magaw, telling him that if he ooold 
hold out nntil evening and the place conld not be main- 
tained, he would endeavor to bring off the garrison in 
the night. Captain Gk>och, of Boston, a brave and cb^ 
ing man, offered to be the bearer of the note. ''He no 
down to the river, jumped into a small boat, poshed OTar 
the river, landed under the bank, ran up to the fort and 
delivered the message ; came out, ran and jumped o^er 
the broken ground, dodging the Hessians, some of whom 
struck at him with their pieces and others attempted to 
thrust him with their bayonets ; escaping through them, 
he got to his boat and returned to Fort Lee." * 

Washington's message arrived too late. ''The fort was 
so crowded by the garrison, and the troops which had 
retreated into it, that it was difficult to move about ' The 
enemy, too, were in possession of the little redoubts 
around, and could have poured in showers of shells and 
ricochet balls that would have made dreadful slaughter.** 
It was no longer possible for Magaw to get his troops to 
man the lines; he was compelledt therefore, to yield 
himself and his garrison prisoners of war. The onl| 

• Hfltth'8 Jfemoifi, p. 81 


tenns granted them were, that the men Bhonld retain 
their baggage and the officers their swords. 

The sight of the American flag hauled down, and the 
British flag waving in its place, told Washington of the 
surrender. His instant care was for the safety of the 
upper country, now that the lower defenses of the Hud- 
son were at an end. Before he knew anything about the 
terms of wpitulation, he wrote to General Lee, inform- 
ing him of the surrender, and calling his attention to the 
passes of the Highlands and those which lay east of the 
liyer; begging him to have such measures adopted for 
their defense as his judgment should suggest to be neces- 
sary. ** I do not mean," added he, ** to adyise abandon- 
ing your present post, contrary to your own opinion ; but 
only to mention my own ideas, of the importance of 
those passes, and that you cannot give too much atten** 
tion to their security, by having works erected on the 
most advantageous places for that purpose." 

Lee, in reply, objected to removing from his actual 
encampment at Northcastle. "It would give us," said 
he, '* the air of being frightened ; it would expose a fine, 
fertile country to their ravages ; and I must add, that we 
are as secure as we could be in any position whatever." 
After stating that he should deposit his stores, etc., in # 
place fully as safe, and more central than Peekskill, he 
adds: "As to ourselves, light as we are, several retreats 
present themselves. In short, if we keep a good look-out, 
we are in no danger ; but I must entreat your Excellency 

492 i^s OF WAasmoTos. 

to enjoin the officers posted at Fort Lee, to gi^e ns {hi 
quickest intelligence, if they observe any embarkation on 
the North Biver." As to the affieur of Fort Washington, 
all that Lee observed on the subject was : ** O, general, 
why would you be over-persuaded by men of inferior 
judgment to your own? It was a cursed aflEEor.*' 

Lee's allusion to men of inferior judgment, was prin- 
dpally aimed at Greene, whose influence with the com- 
mander-in-chief seems to have excited a jealousy of othef 
officers of rank So Colonel Tilghman, Washington's 
aide-de-camp, writes on the 17th, to Bobert & Living- 
ston of New York, ** We were in a fair way of finisliing 
the campaign with credit to ourselves, and, I think, to 
the disgrace of Mr. Howe ; and, had the general followed 
his own opinion, the garrison would have been withdrawn 
immediately upon the enemy's fiJling down from Dobb's 
Ferry. But General Greene was positive that our forces 
might at any time be drawn off under the guns of Fort 
Lee. Fatal experience has evinced the contrary.*'* 

Washington's own comments on the reduction of the 
fort, made in a letter to his brother Augustine, are wo^ 
thy of special note. " This is a most unfortunate aflhir, 
and has given me great mortification ; as we have lost, 
not only two thousand men,t that were there, but a good 

* Am, Arehivea, 5th Series, iiL 780. 

t The number of prisoners, as retamed by Sir William Howe, WM 
S;818, of whom 2,607 were privates. Thej were marched off to New Yoik 
at midnight 


deal of artUleiy, and some of the best arms we had. And 
what adds to my mortification is, that this post, after the 
last ships went past it, was held contrary to my wishes 
and opinion^ as I conceived it to be a hazardons one : 
but it having been determined on by a full council of 
general officers, and a resolution of C!ongress having been 
received, strongly expressive of their desire that the 
channel of the river which we had been laboring to stop 
for a long time at that place, might be obstructed, if pos« 
sible ; and knowing that this could not be done, unless 
there were batteries to protect the obstructions, I did 
not care to give an absolute order for withdrawing the 
garrison, till I could get round and see the situation of 
things ; and then it became too late, as the place was 
invested. Upon the passing of the last ships, I had 
given it as my opinion to General Greene, under whose 
care it was, that it would be best to evacuate the place ; 
but, as the order was discretionary, and his opinion dif- 
fered from mine, it was unhappily delayed too long, to 
my great grief." 

The correspondence of Washington with his brother, 
is full of gloomy anticipations. ** In ten days from this 
date, there will not be above two thousand men, if that 
number, of the fixed established regiments on this side 
of Hudson Biver, to oppose Howe's whole army ; and 
very little more on the other, to secure the eastern colo- 
nies, and the important passes leading through the High- 
lands to Albany, and the country about the lake& In 


shorty it is impossible for me, in the compass of a letteii 
to give you any idea of onr situation, of my difficulties, 
and of the constant perplexities I meet with, deriyed from 
the unhappy policy of short enlistments, and delaying 
them too long. Last fall, or winter, before the army, 
which was then to be raised, was set about, I repre- 
sented in clear and explicit terms the evils which would 
arise from short enlistments, the expense which must 
attend the raising an army every year, and the futility of 
such an army when raised ; and if I had spoken with a 
prophetic spirit, I could not have foretold the evils with 
more accuracy than I did. All the year since, I haye 
been pressing Congress to delay no time in engaging men 
upon such terms as would insure success, telling them 
that the longer it was delayed, the more difficult it would 
prove. But the measure was not commenced until it was 
too late to be effected. • • • • I am wearied almost 
to death with the retrograde motion of things ; and I 
solemnly protest, that a pecuniary reward of twenty 
thousand pounds a year would not induce me to undergo 
what I do, and, after all, perhaps to lose my character; 
as it is impossible, under such a variety of distressing 
circumstances, to conduct matters agreeably to publio 




the captnre of Port Wasliingtony the proj- 
ect of obstructing the nayigation of the Hudson, 
at that point, was at an end. Fort Lee, conse- 
quently, became useless, and Washington ordered all 
the ammunition and stores to be removed, preparatory 
to its abandonment. This was effected with the whole 
of the ammunition, and a part of the stores, and every 
exertion was making to hurry off the remainder, when 
early in the morning of the 20th, intelligence was brought 
that the enemy, with two hundred boats, had crossed the 
river and landed a few miles above. General Greene 



immediately ordered the garrison under arms, sent oni 
troops to hold the enemy in check, and sent off an ex- 
press to Washington at Hackensack. 

The enemy had crossed the Hudson on a ymj rainy 
night, in two diyisions, one diagonally upward from 
King's Bridge, landing on the west side, abont ei^t 
o'clock ; the other marched up the east bank, three or 
four miles, and then crossed to the opposite shore. The 
whole corps, six thousand strong, and under the com- 
mand of Lord Comwallis, were landed, with iheir can- 
non, by ten o'clock, at a place called Gloster Dock, fiTe 
or six miles above Fort Lee, and under that line of bfty 
and perpendicular cliffs known as the Palisades. ^ The 
seamen," says Sir William Howe, ** distinguished them- 
selves remarkably on this occasion, by their readiness 
to drag the cannon up a very narrow road, for nearly 
half a mile to the top of a precipice, which bounds the 
shore for some miles on the west side." * 

Washington arrived at the fort in three-quarters of an 
hour. Being told that the enemy were extending them- 
selves across the country, he at once saw that they in- 
tended to form a line from the Hudson to the Hacken- 
sack, and hem the whole garrison in between the two 
rivers. Nothing would save it but a prompt retreat to 

» Some writers have stated that Cornwallis crossed on the 18th. They 
have been misled by a letter of Sir William Howe, which gives that dito. 
Lord Howe, in a letter to the Secretary of the Admiralty, gives the dite 
we have stated (the 80th), which is the true one. 

OBossma of the HAOKBiraAOK. 4sn 

secure the bridge over the Hackensack. No time was to 
be lost. The troops sent out to check the enemy were 
recalled. The retreat commenced in all haste. There 
was a want of horses and wagons; a great quantity of 
baggage, stores, and provisions, therefore, was abandoned. 
So was all the artillery excepting two twelve-ponnders. 
Eren the tents were left standing, and camp-kettles on 
the fire. With all their speed they did not reach the 
Hackensack Biver before the yangoard of the enemy was 
dose upon them. Expecting a brush, the greater part 
hurried over the bridge, others crossed at the ferry, and 
some higher up. The enemy, however, did not dispute 
the passage of the river; but Comwallis stated in his 
despatches, that, had not the Americans been apprised 
of his approach, he would have surrounded them at the 
fort Some of hie troops that night occupied the tents 
they had abandoned. 

From Hackensack, Colonel Grayson, one of Washings 
ton's aides-de-camp, wrote instantly, by his orders, to 
General Lee ; informing him that the enemy had crossed 
into the Jerseys, and, as was reported, in great numbers. 
''His Excellency," adds Grayson, ''thinks it would be 
advisable in you to remove the troops under your com- 
mand on this side of the North Biver, and there wait for 
further commands." 

Washington himself wrote to Lee on the following day 
(Nov. 21st). " I am of opinion," said he, " and the gen- 
tlemen about me concur in it, that the public interest 

498 -Urar OF WABHmGTON. 

lequiieB your coming over to this aide of the Hndsoa 
with the continentftl troops. • • • • The enemy is eTi- 
dently changing the seat of war to this aide of the North 
Biver, and the inhabitants of this conntiy will erp&ck 
the continental army to give them what snpport they 
can ; and &uling in that, they will cease to depend npon, 
or support a force from which no protection is to be de- 
rived. It is, therefore, of the utmost importance, that at 
least an appearance of force should be made, to keep thk 
province in connection with the others.'* 

In this moment of hurry and agitation, Colonel Beed, 
also, Washington's ySiitf Achaiesy wrote to Lee, but in a 
tone and spirit that may surprise the reader, knowing 
the devotion he had hitherto manifested for the com- 
mander-in-chie£ After expressing the common wish that 
Lee should be at the principal scene of action, he adds: 
** I do not mean to flatter or praise you at the expense 
of any other ; but I do think it is entirely owing to yon, 
that this army, and the liberties of America^ so far as 
they are dependent on it, are not entirely cut o£ Ton 
have decision, a quality often wanting in minds otherwise 
valuable, and I ascribe to this our escape from York Isl* 
and. King's Bridge, and the Plains ; and I have no douH 
had you been here, the garrison of Mount Washington 
would now have composed a part of this army ; and from 
all these circumstances, I confess, I do ardently wish to 
see you removed from a place where there will be so lit- 
tle call for your judgment and experience, to the pkoe 


where ihey are likely to be so neoessary. Nor am I sin- 
gular in my opinion ; every gentleman of the family, the 
officers and soldiers generally, have a confidence in yon. 
The enemy constantly inquire where yon are, and seem 
to be less confident when yon are present." 

Then alluding to the late affieur at Fort Washington, he 
oontinaes: '^ General Washington's own judgment, sec- 
onded by representations from us, would, I believe, have 
saved the men, and their arms ; but, unluckily. General 
Gbeene's judgment was contrary. This kept the general's 
mind in a state of suspense, till the stroke was strucL 
O general! An indecisive mind is one of the greatest 
misfortunes that can befall an army; how often have I 
lamented it this campaign. All circumstances consid- 
ered, we are in a very awful and alarming situation ; one 
that requires the utmost wisdom and firmness of mind. 
As soon as the season will admit, I think yourself and 
some others should go to Congress, and form the plan of 

the new army I must conclude, with my 

clear and explicit opinion, that your presence is of the 
last importance."* 

Well might Washington apprehend that his character 
and conduct, in the perplexities in which he was placed, 
would be liable to be misunderstood by the public, when 
the friend of his bosom could so misjudge him. 

Beed had evidently been dazzled by the daring spirit 

• Memoirs of Reed, L 25B. 

600 ^^^ OF WASHnfGTOJr. 

and tmsonipiilotis policy of Lee, who, in oarrjing ont hii 
measores, heeded but little the counsels of others, or 
even the orders of goyemment. Washington's respect 
for both, and the caution with which he hesitated in 
adopting measures in opposition to them, was stamped 
by the bold soldier and his admirers as indecision. 

At Hackensack the army did not exceed three thoo- 
sand men, and they were dispirited by ill-success, and 
the loss of tents and baggage. They were without in* 
trenching tools, in a flat country, where there were no 
natural fastnesses. Washington resolved, therefore, to 
avoid any attack from the enemy, though, by so doin^ 
he must leave a fine and fertile region open to their la?- 
ages ; or a plentiful storehouse, from which they would 
draw voluntary supplies. A second move was necessaiji 
again to avoid the danger of being inclosed between two 
rivers. Leaving three regiments, therefore, to guard the 
passes of the Hackensack, and serve as covering parties^ 
he again decamped, and threw himself on the west bank 
of the Passaic, in the neighborhood of Newark 

His army, small as it was, would soon be less. The 
term of enlistment of those under General Mercer, from 
the flying camp, was nearly expired; and it was not 
probable that, disheartened as they were by defeats and 
losses, exposed to inclement weather, and unaccustomed 
to military hardships, they would longer forego the com* 
forts of their homes, to drag out the residue of a ruinone 


In addition, too, to the superiority of the foroe that 
was following him, the rivers gave the enemy facilities, 
by means of their shipping, to throw troops in his rear. 
In this extremity he cast about in every direction for 
assistance. Colonel Beed, on whom he relied as on a 
second self, was despatched to Burlington, with a letter 
to Gk>vemor William Livingston, describing his hazard- 
ous situation, and entreating him to call out a portion of 
the New Jersey militia ; and General Mifflin was sent to 
Philadelphia to implore immediate aid from Congress 
and the local authorities. 

His main reliance for prompt assistance, however, was 
upon Lee. On the 24th came a letter from that general, 
addressed to Colonel Beed. Washington opened it, as 
he was accustomed to do, in the absence of that officer, 
with letters addressed to him on the business of the 
army. Lee was at his old encampment at Northcastle. 
He had no means, he said, of crossing at Dobb's Ferry, 
and the round by King's Ferry would be so great, that 
he could not get there in time to answer any purpose. 
'' I have therefore,'' added he, ** ordered General Heath, 
who is dose to the only ferry which can be passed, to 
detach two thousand men to apprise his Excellency, and 
await his further orders ; a mode which I flatter myself 
will answer better what I conceive to be the spirit of the 
orders, than should I move the corps from hence. With- 
drawing our troops from hence would be attended with 
some very serious consequences, which at present would 


be tedious to enmnerate ; as to mysel£," adds he, ''I hops 
to set out to-morrow." 

A letter of the same date (Not. 23d), from Lee to 
James Bowdoin, president of the Massaohnsetts oomioi], 
may throw some light on his motives for delaying to 
obey the orders of the oommander-in-chie£ ''Before tlie 
nnfortnnate affair at Fort Washington," writes he, *'it 
was my opinion that the two armies — ^that on the eas^ 
and that on the west side of the North Biver — mnst rest 
each on its own bottom ; that the idea of detaching and 
reinforcing from one side to the other, on every motkm 
of the enemy, was chimerical; but to harbor such a 
thought in our present circumstances, is absolute in- 
sanity. In this invasion, should the enemy alter the 
present direction of their operations, and attempt to 
open the passage of the Highlands, or enter New Eng- 
land, I should never entertain the thought of being suc- 
cored by the western army. I know it is impossible. 
We must, therefore, depend upon ourselves. To Con- 
necticut and Massachusetts, I shall look for assistance. 
.... I hope the cursed job of Fort Washington will 
occasion no dejection : the place itself was of no valne. 
For my own part, I am persuaded that if we only act 
with common sense, spirit, and decision, the day must Im 
our own.*' 

In another letter to Bowdoin, dated on the following 
day, and inclosing an extract from Washington's letter of 
Nov. 21st, he writes : " Indecision bids fair for tumbling 


down the goodly &brio of American freedom, and, with 

it^ the rights of mankbd 'Twas indecision of Oongress 

pieyented our having a noble army, and on an excellent 

footing. 'Twas indecision in onr military councils which 

cost ns the garrison of Fort Washington, the consc 

qnenoe of which mnst be fatal, unless remedied in time 

by a contrary spirit. Inclosed I send yon an extract of 

a letter from the general, on which yon wiU make yonr 

comments; and I have no doubt you will concur with mei 

in the necessity of raising immediately an army to saye 

us from perdition. Affiurs appear in so important a 

crisis, that I think the resolves of the Congress must no 

bi^er too nicely weigh with u& We must save the 

oommunity, in spite of the ordinances of the legislature. 

There are times when we must commit treason against 

the laws of the State, for the salvation of the State. 

The present crisis demands this brave, virtuous kind 

of treason." He urges President Bowdoin, therefore, 

to waive all formalities, and not only complete the 

regiments prescribed to the province, but to add four 

oompanies to each regiment. ^* We must not only have 

a force sufficient to cover your province, and all these 

fertile districts, from the insults and irruptions of the 

tyrant's troops, but sufficient to drive 'em out of all 

their quarters in the Jerseys, or all is lost. . • . • 

In the meantime, send up a formidable body of militia» 

to supply the place of the continental troops, which I am 

Ordered to convey over the river. Let your people be 

504 LIFB Of WASSlNGfOlr. 

well supplied with blankets, and warm dofhes, as I am 
determined, by the help of God, to niinest 'em, eyen in 
the dead of winter.** ♦ 

It is eyident Lee considered Washington's star to be 
on the decline, and his own in the ascendant. The ''afiEair 
of Fort Washington,*' and the ''indecision of the com- 
mander-inohief,'* were apparently his watchwords. 

On the following day (24th), he writes to Washington 
from Northcastle, on the subject of removing troops 
across the Hudson. '' I have receiyed your orders, and 
shall endeavor to put them in execution, but question 
whether I shall be able to carry with me any conside^ 
able number ; not so much from a want of zeal in the 
men, as from their wretched condition with respect to 
shoes, stockings, and blankets, which the present bad 
weather renders more intolerable. I sent Heath orders 
to transport two thousand men across the river, apprise 
the general, and wait for further orders ; but that great 
man (as I might have expected) intrenched himself within 
the letter of his instructions, and refused to part with a 
single file, though I undertook to replace them with a 
part of my own." He concludes by showing that, so hr 
from hurrying to the support of his commander-in-chie( 
he was meditating a side blow of his own devising. "I 
should march this day with Qlover's brigade ; but hate 
just received intelligence that Bogers* corps, a part of the 

* Am. Archivn^ 6th Series, iiL 811. 


light horse, and another brigade lie in so exposed a situ- 
ation, as to present us the fairest opportunity of carrying 
them oft If we succeed, it will have a great effect, and 
amply compensate for two days' delay." 

Scarce had Lee sent this letter, when he received one 
from Washington, informing him that he had mistaken 
his yiews in regard to the troops required to cross the 
Hudson; it was his (Lee's) division that he wanted to 
have over. The force under Heath must remain to guard 
the posts and passes through the Highlands, the im- 
portance of which was so infinitely great, that there 
should not be the least possible risk of losing them. 
In the same letter Washington, who presumed Lee was 
by this time at Peekskill, advised him to take every 
precaution to come by a safe route, and by all means to 
keep between the enemy and the mountains, as he under- 
stood they were taking measures to intercept his march. 

Lee's reply was still from Northcastle. He explained 
that his idea of detaching troops from Heath's division 
was merely for expedition's sake, intending to replace 
them from his own. The want of carriages and other 
causes had delayed him. From the force of the enemy 
remaining in Westchester County, he did not conceive 
the number of them in the Jerseys to be near so great as 
Washington was taught to believe. He had been making 
a sweep of the country to clear it of the tories. Part of 
his army had now moved on, and he would set out on the 
following day. He concluded with the assurance, ''I 

£06 tIFB OF wAssmoToisr. 

shall take care to obey your Excellency's orders, in xo* 
gard to my march, as exactly as possible/' 

On the same day, he vents his spleen in a tart letter to 
Heath* ** I perceive/' writes he, ^* that yon have formed 
an idea, that shonld General Washington remove to the 
Straits of Magellan, the instructions he left with yon, 
upon a particular occasion, have, to all intents and pur* 
poses, invested you with a command separate from, and 
independent of, any other superiors. • • • • That Gen- 
eral Heath is by no means to consider himself obliged to 
obey the second in command." He concluded by inform- 
ing him that, as the commander-in-chief was now separ- 
ated from them, he (Lee) commanded, of course, on this 
side of the water, and for the future would and must be 

Before receiving this letter, Heath, doubtful whether 
Washington might not be pressed, and desirous of hay- 
ing his troops across the Hudson, had sent off an express 
to him for explicit instructions on that point, and, in the 
meantime, had kept them ready for a move. 

General George Clinton, who was with him, and had 
the safety of the Hudson at heart, was in an agony of 
solicitude. *^ We have been under marching orders these 
three days past," writes he, *^ and only wait the direc- 
tions of General Washington. Should they be to move, 
all's over with the river this season, and, I fear, forever. 
Gteneral Lee, four or five days ago, had orders to move 
with his division across the river. Listead of so doings 


he ordered General Heath to marcli his men through, 
and he wonld replace them with so many of his. Gen- 
eral Heath conld not do this consistent with his instruc- 
tionsy but put his men under marching orders to wait his 
Excellency's orders." Honest Gteorge Clinton was still 
perplexed and annoyed by these marchings and counter- 
marchings ; and especially with these incessant retreats. 
'' A strange way of cooking business ! *' writes he. ^^ We 
haye no particular accounts yet from head-quarters, hut 1 
am apt to hdteve retreaUng is yet/ashimable.'* 

The return of the express sent to Washington, relieved 
Olinton's anxiety about the Highlands; reiterating the 
original order, that the division under Heath should re- 
main for the protection of the passes. 

Washington was still at Newark when, on the 27th, he 
received Lee's letter of the 24th, speaking of his scheme 
of capturing Bogers the partisan. Under other circum- 
stances it might have been a sufficient excuse for his 
delay, but higher interests were at stake ; he immediately 
wrote to Lee as follows : " My former letters were so full 
and explicit, as to the necessity of your marching as 
early as possible, that it is unnecessary to add more on 
that head. I confess I expected you would have been 
sooner in motion. The force here, when joined by yours, 
will not be adequate to any great opposition ; at present 
it is weak, and it has been more owing to the badness of 
the weather that the enemy's progress has been checked, 
than any resistance we could make. They are now push- 

608 ^^^ OF WASHINQTOir. 

ing this way — ^part of 'em have passed the Passaio. Their 
plan is not entirely unfolded^ but I shall not be snrprifled 
if Philadelphia should turn out tho object of their moTe* 

The situation of the little army was daily beooming 
more perilous. In a council of war, several of the mem- 
bers urged a move to Morristown, to form a junction with 
the troops expected from the Northern army. Washing" 
ton, however, still cherished the idea of unAViTig a stand 
at Brunswick on the Baritan, or, at all events, of disputing 
the passage of the Delaware ; and in this intrepid reso- 
lution he was warmly seconded by Greene. 

Breaking up his camp once more, therefore, he con- 
tinued his retreat towards New Brunswick ; but so cIo66 
was Comwallis upon him, that his advance entered one 
end of Newark, just as the American rear-guard had left 
the other. 

From Brunswick, Washington wrote on the 29th to 
William Livingston, governor of the Jerseys, request- 
ing him to have all boats and river craft, for seventy 
miles along the Delaware, removed to the western bank 
out of the reach of the enemy, and put under guard. He 
was disappointed in his hope of making a stand on the 
banks of the Earitan. All the force he could muster at 
Brunswick, including the New Jersey militia, did not 
exceed four thousand men. Colonel Beed had &iled in 
procuring aid from the New Jersey legislature. That 
body, shifting from place to place, was on the eve of did* 


BolutioiL The term of the Maryland and New Jersey 
troops in the flying camp had expired. (General Mercer 
endeavored to detain them, representing the disgrace of 
turning their back upon the cause when the enemy was 
at hand: his remonstrances were fruitless. As to the 
Pennsylvania levies, they deserted in such numbers, that 
guards were stationed on the roads and ferries to inter- 
cept them. 

At this moment of care and perplexity, a letter, for- 
warded by express, arrived at head-quarters. It was from 
General Lee, dated from his camp at Northcastle, to 
Oolonel Beed, and was in reply to the letter written by 
that officer from Hackensack on the 21st, which we have 
already laid before the reader. Supposing that it related 
to official business, Washington opened it^ and read as 
follows : — 

^ Mt deab Beed, — ^I received your most obliging, flatter- 
ing letter ; lament with you that fatal indecision of mind, 
which in war is a much greater disqualification than stu- 
pidity, or even want of personal courage. Accident may 
put a decisive blunderer in the right ; but eternal defeat 
and miscarriage must attend the man of the best parts, 
if cursed with indecision. The general recommends in 
so pressing a manner as almost to amount to an order, 
to bring over the continental troops under my command, 
which recommendation, or order, throws me into the 
greatest dilemma from several considerations.*' After 


stttting these considerations, he adds : ** My leasont for 
not haying marched abready is, that we have just re- 
oeived intelligence that Sogers' corps, the light horse, 
part of the Highlanders, and another brigade, lie in so 
exposed a situation as to giye the fairest opportnnify of 
being carried. I should have attempted it last night, but 
the rain was too yiolent, and when our pieces are wet, 
you know our troops are hora de combat. This night I 
hope will be better, .... I only wait myself for 
this business of Bogers and company being oyer. I shall 
then fly to you ; for, to confess a truth, I really think our 
chief will do better with me than without me." 

A glance oyer this letter sufficed to show Washington 
ihat^ at this dark moment^ when he most needed support 
and sympathy, his character and military conduct were 
the subject of disparaging comments, between the friend 
in whom he had so implicitly confided, and a sarcastic 
and apparently self-constituted riyaL Whateyer may 
haye been his feelings of wounded pride and outraged 
friendship, he restrained them, and inclosed the letter to 
Beed, with the following chilling note : 

** DsAB Sm, — ^The inclosed was put into my hands by 
an express from White Plains. Haying no idea of itB 
being a priyate letter, much less suspecting the tendency 
of the correspondence, I opened it ; as I haye done all 
other letters to you from the same place, and Ftekskill, 


upon the business of your office, as I oonceived, and found 
Uiem to be. This, as it is the tmth, must be m j excuse 
&xr seeing the contents of a letter, which neither indinar 
tion nor intention would have prompted me to," eta 

The yery calmness and coldness of this note must have 
had a greater effect upon Beed, than could have been 
produced by the most vehement reproaches. In subse- 
qiient communications, he endeayored to explain away 
ilie offidnsive paragraphs in Lee's letter, declaring there 
was nothing in his own inconsistent with the respect and 
iflection he had ever borne for Washington's person and 

Fortunately for Beed, Washington never saw that let- 
ter. There were passages in it beyond the reach of soft- 
Bning explanation. As it was, the purport of it, as 
reflected in Lee's reply, had given him a sufficient shock. 
His magnanimous nature, however, was incapable of har- 
boring long resentments; especially in matters relating 
lolely to himsel£ His personal respect for Colonel Beed 
continued ; he invariably manifested a high sense of his 
merits, and consulted him, as before, on military affairs ; 
but his hitherto affectionate confidence in him, as a sym-* 
pathizing friend, had received an incurable wound. His 
letters, before so frequent, and such perfect outpourings 
of heart and mind, became few and far between, and con- 
fined to matters of business. 

It must have been consoling to Washington at this 

512 •£>^3rV OF WASHmGTOJn 

moment of bittemdis, to receive the following letlef 
(dated Not. 27th) from William Liyingston, the intelli^ 
gent and patriotic governor of New Jersey. It showed 
that while many misjudged him, and friends seemed fall- 
ing from his side, others appreciated him truly, and the 
ordeal he was undergoing. 

*^ I can easily form some idea of the difficulties under 
which you labor," writes Livingston, ''particularly of 
one for which the public can make no allowance, because 
your prudence and fidelity to the cause will not suffiu* 
you to reveal it to the public; an instance of magna- 
nimity, superior, perhaps, to any that can be shown is 
battle. But depend upon it, my dear sir, the impartial 
world will do you ample justice before long. May God 
support you under the &tigue, both of body and mind, to 
which you must be constantly exposed.'* * 

Washington lingered at Brunswick until the Ist of 
December, in the vain hope of being reinforced. The 
enemy, in the meantime, advanced through the countiy, 
impressing wagons and horses, and collecting cattle and 

• We cannot dkmiBBthbpdiiM incident in Wadiingtcm'slif^ 
a prospeotiye note en the subject. Reed was really of too generonfl aai 
intelligent a natoie not to be aware of the immense Talne of the friend- 
ship he had pnt at hazard. He griered over his mistake, especially tf 
after eyents showed more and more the majestic greatness of Washing 
ton's character. A letter in the following year, in which he songfat to 
convince Washington of his sincere and devoted attachment^ is resDy 
touching in its appeals. We are happy to add, that it appears to hft^e 
been successful, and to have restored, in a great measure^ their xelatkiof 
9f friendly ooiUQideDoe. 


sheep, as if for a distant march. At length their yan« 
guard appeared on the opposite side of the Baritan* 
Washington immediately broke down the end of the 
bridge next the village, and after nightfall resumed his 
retreat. In the meantime, as the river was fordable. 
Captain Alexander Hamilton planted his field-pieces on 
high, commanding ground, and opened a spirited fire, to 
check any attempt of the enemy to cross. 

At Princeton, Washington left twelve hundred men in 
two brigades, under Lord Stirling and General Adam 
Stephen, to cover the country, and watch the motions of 
the enemy. Stephen was the same officer that had served 
as a colonel under Washington in the French war, as 
second in command of the Virginia troops, and had 
charge of Fort Cumberland. In consideration of his 
courage and military capacity, he had, in 1764 been 
intrusted with the protection of the frontier. He had 
recently brought a detachment of Virginia troops to the 
army, and received from Congress, in September, the 
commission of brigadier-generaL 

The harassed army reached Trenton on the 2d of De- 
cember. Washington immediately proceeded to remove 
his baggage and stores across the Delaware. In his let- 
ters from this place to the President of Congress, he 
gives his reasons for his continued retreai '^Nothing 
but necessity obliged me to retire before the enemy, and 
leave so much of the Jerseys unprotected. Sorry am I 

to observe that the frequent calls upon the militia of 
voL.n.— i 

514 I*^^^ OF WAaniNQTOJSf. 

this State, the want of exertion in the principal gentlemen 
of th^ coontiy, and a fatal sapineness and insensibility 
of danger, till it is too late to prevent an evil that was 
not only foreseen, but foretold, have been the causes of 
our late disgraces. 

^* If the militia of this State had stepped forth in sea- 
son (and timelj notice thej had), we might have pre- 
yented the enemy's crossing the Hackensack. We mighty 
with equal possibility of success, have made a stand at 
Brunswick on the Baritan. But as both these riyeis 
were fordable in a variety of places, being knee deep 
only, it required many men to guard the passes, and 
these we had not" 

In excuse for the people of New Jersey, it may be ob- 
served, that they inhabited an open, agricultural country, 
where the sound of war had never been heard. Many of 
them looked upon the Bevolution as rebellion; others 
thought it a ruined enterprise ; the armies engaged in it 
had been defeated and broken up. They beheld the 
commander-in-chief retreating through their country 
with a handful of men, weary, wayworn, dispirited ; with- 
out tents, without clothing, many of them barefooted, 
exposed to wintry weather, and driven from post to post, 
by a weU-clad, well-fed, triumphant force, tricked out in 
all the glittering bravery of war. Could it be wondered 
at, that peaceful husbandmen, seeing their quiet fields 
thus suddenly overrun by adverse hosts, and their very 
hearthstones threatened with outrage, should^ instead oi 


flyiTi g to annBy seek for the safety of their wives and little 
oneSy and the protection of their humble means, from the 
desolation whioh too often marks the course even of 
friendly armies ? 

Lord Howe and his brother sought to profit by this 
dismay and despondency. A proclamation, dated 80th 
of November, commanded all persons in arms against 
TTiR Majesty's government to disband and return home, 
and all Congresses to desist from treasonable acts : offer- 
ing a free pardon to all who should comply within fifty 

Many who had been prominent in the cause, hastened 
to take advantage of this proclamation* Those who had 
most property to lose, were the first to submit The 
middle ranks remained generally steadfast in this time of 

The following extract of a letter from a field-officer in 
ISfew York, dated December 2d, to his friend in London, 
gives the British view of affairs. '* The rebels continue 
ffying before our army. Lord Oomwallis took the fort 
opposite Brunswick, plunged into Baritan Biver, and 
seized the town. Mr. Washington had orders from the 
Congress to rally and defend that post, but he sent them 
word he could noi He was seen retreating with two 
brigades to Trenton, where they talk of resisting; but 
gnoh a panic has seized the rebels, that no part of the 

•Gocdon's EiiA. Am. War, iL p. lam 


JeisejB will hold them, and I doubt whether Philadet 
phia itself will stop their career. The CSongress have lost 
their authority They are in such consterna- 
tion that they know not what to do. The two Adamses 
are in New England ; Franklin gone to France ; Lynch 
has lost his senses ; Butledge has gone home disgusted ; 
Dana is persecuting at Albany, and Jay's in the country 
playing as bad a part ; so that the fools have lost the 
assistance of the knaves. However, should they embrace 
the indosed proclamation^ they may yet escape the halter. 
• . • • Honest David Mathew, the mayor, has made 
his escape from them, and arrived here this day.** * 

In this dark day of peril to the cause and to himself 
Washington remained firm and undaunted. In casting 
about for some stronghold where he might make a des- 
perate stand for the liberties of his country, his thoughts 
reverted to the mountain regions of his early campaigD& 
(General Mercer was at hand, who had shared his perils 
among these mountains, and his presence may have con- 
tributed to bring them to his mind. '' What think yon," 
said Washington ; '^ if we should retreat to the back parts 
of Peimsylvania, would the Peimsylvanians support us?*' 

** If the lower counties give up, the back counties will 
do the same," was the discouraging reply. 

" We must then retire to Augusta County in Virginia," 
said Washington. *' Numbers will repair to us for safety, 

•Am. Ardkivu, 5th Seriea, UL 1067. 



and we will try a predatory war. If overpowered, we 
most cross the Alleghanies." 

Such was the indomitable spirit, rising nnder diffionl- 
ties, and buoyant in the darkest moment^ that kept our 
tempest-toBsed cause from 




IT WITHSTANDING the repeated and pleas- 
ing orders and entreaties of the oommander-in- 
ohief, Lee did not reach Peekskill until the 
30th of November. In a letter of that date to Washing- 
ton, who had complained of his delay, he simply alleged 
difficulties, which he would explain when both had Jekure, 
His scheme to entrap Bogers, the renegade, had failed; 
the old Indian hunter had been too much on the alert; 
he boasted, however, to have rendered more service by 
his delay, than he would have done had he moved sooner. 
His forces were thereby augmented, so that he expected 
to enter the Jerseys with four thousand firm and willing 
men, who would make a very important diversion. 

"The day after to-morrow," added he, "we shall pass 
the river, when I should be glad to receive your instruo* 



tions ; bat I could wish you would bind me as little as 
possible ; not from any opinion, I do assnre yon, of my 
own parts, bat from a persuasion that detached generals 
cannot have too great latitude, unless they are very in* 
competent indeed." 

Lee had calculated upon meeting no further difficulty 
in obtaining men from Heath. He rode to that general's 
quarters in the evening, and was invited by him to alight 
and take tea. On entering the house, Lee took Heath 
aside, and alluding to his former refusal to supply troops 
as being inconsistent with the orders of the commander- 
in-chiei '* Li point of Zau;," said he, '* you are right, but 
in point of policy I think you are wrong. I am going 
into the Jerseys for the salvation of America ; I wish to 
take with me a larger force than I now have, and request 
you to order two thousand of your men to march with 


Heath answered that he could not spare that number. 
He was then asked to order one thousand ; to which he 
replied, that the business might be as well brought to a 
point at once — that not a single man should march from 
the post by his order. '^ Then," exclaimed Lee, *' I will 
order them mysell" "That makes a wide difference,** 
rejoined Heath. '' You are my senior, but I have received 
positive written instructions from him who is superior to 
us both, and I will not myddf break those orders.** In 
proof of his words. Heath produced the recent letter 
received from Washington, repeating his former orders 

620 J^^B OF wAannsrGToy: 

{hat no troops should be removed from that posL Lei 
glanced over the letter. ** The commander-in-chief is now 
at a distance, and does not know what is necessary here 
so well as I do." He asked a sight of the return book of 
{he division. It was brought by Major Huntington, the 
deputy adjutant-generaL Lee ran his eye over it, and 
chose two regiments. " You will order them to march 
early to-morrow morning to join me/* said he to the 
major. Heath ruffling with {he pride of military law, 
turned to the major with an air of authority. " Lena 
such orders at your peril ! " exclaimed he : then address* 
ing Lee, ** Sir/' said he, ** if you come to this post, and 
mean to issue orders here which wiU break the positive 
ones I have received, I pray you to do it oompletefy 
yourself and through your own deputy adjutant-general 
who is present, and not draw me or any of my &mily in 
as partners in the guili'* 

'' It is right/' said Lee ; ** Colonel Scammel, do yon 
issue the order." It was done accordingly ; but Heath's 
punctilious scruples were not yet satisfied. " I have one 
more request to make, sir/' said he to Lee, ** and that is, 
that you will be pleased to give me a certificate that yon 
exercise command at this post, and order from it these 

Lee hesitated to comply, but George Clinton, who was 
present, told him he could not refuse a request so rea- 
sonable. He accordingly wrote, " For the satisfaction oi 
(General Heath, and at his request, I do certify that I am 


oommanding officer, at this present writings in this post, 
and that I have, in that capacity, ordered Prescott's and 
WylLV regiments to march." 

Heath's military punctilio was satisfied, and he smooth^ 
ed his ruffled plumes. Early the next morning the regi** 
ments moved from their cantonments ready to embark, 
when Lee again rode up to his door. ** Upon further 
consideration," said he, ''I have concluded not to take 
the two regiments with me — ^you may order them to re- 
turn to their former posi" 

''This conduct of (General Lee," adds Heath in his 
memoirs, ^* appeared not a little extraordinary, and one 
is almost at a loss to account for it He had been a sol- 
dier from his youth, had a perfect knowledge of service 
in all its branches, but was rather obstinate in his tem- 
per. and conld scarcely brook being crossed in anything 
in the line of his profession."* 

It was not until the 4th of December that Lee crossed 
the Hudson and began a laggard march, though aware of 
the imminent peril of Washington, and his army — ^how 
different from the celerity of his movements in his expe- 
dition to the South I 

Li the meantime, Washington, who was at Trenton^ 
had profited by a delay of the enemy at Brunswick, and 
removed most of the stores and baggage of the army 
across the Delaware; and being reinforced by fifteen 

* The above scene is given almost literally from General Heath's Me* 


hundred of the Penns jlyania militift, procnred by Mifflioi 
prepared to face about, and march back to Prinoeton 
with such of his troops as were fit for service, there to 
be governed by circumstances, and the movements of 
General Lee. Accordingly, on the 6th of December he 
sent about twelve hundred men in the advance, to rein- 
force Lord Stirling, and the next day set off himsftlf with 
the residue. 

** The general has gone forward to Princeton,*' writes 
Colonel Beed, ''where there are about three thousaDd 
men, with which, I fear, he will not be able to make any 
stand." * 

While on the march, Washington received a letter from 
Oreene, who was at Princeton, informing him of a report 
that Lee was " at the heels of the enemy." '* I should 
think,** adds Greene, '' he had better keep on the flanb 
than the rear, unless it were possible to concert an at- 
tack at the same instant of time in front and rear. .... 
I think General Lee must be confined within the lines of 
some general plan, or else his operations will be inde- 
pendent of yours. His own troops, General St Clair's, 
and the militia, must form a respectable army.** 

Lee had no idea of conforming to a general plan ; he 
had an independent plan of his own, and was at that 
moment at Pompton, indulging speculations on military 
greatness, and the lamentable want of it in his Americai 

* 'SLbed to the President of CongieaB. 

Q0ENWALLI8'8 MAB€B. 623 

eomtemporaries. In a letter from that place to Gbvemor 
Cooke of Shode Island, he imparts his notions on the 
sabjecL '* Theory joined to practice, or a heaven-bom 
genins, can alone constitute a general. As to the latter, 
Ood Almighty indulges the world very rarely with the 
spectacle; and I do not know, from what I have seen, 
that he has been more profose of this ethereal spirit to 
the Americans, than to other nations.'* 

While Lee was thus loitering and speculating, Com- 
wallis, knowing how far he was in the rear, and how 
weak was the situation of Washington's army, and being 
himself strongly reinforced, made a forced march from 
Brunswick and was within two miles of Princeton. Stir- 
ling, to avoid being surrounded, immediately set out with 
two brigades for Trenton. Washington, too, receiving 
intelligence by express of these movements, hastened 
back to that place, and caused boats to be collected from 
all quarters, and the stores and troops transported across 
the Delaware. He himself crossed with the rear-guard 
on Sunday morning, and took up his quarters about a 
mile from the river ; causing the boats to be destroyed, 
and troops to be posted opposite the fords. He was 
conscious, however, as he said, that with his small force 
he could make no great opposition, should the enemy 
bring boats with them. Fortunately, they did not come 
thus provided. 

The rearguard, says an American account, had barely 
eroBsed the river, when Lord Com wallis ''came marching 

524 ^ZJ^^ OJF WABHmGTOJT. i 

down with all the pomp of war^ in great expectation of got* 
ting boatSy and immediately pursuing." Not one was to be 
had there or elsewhere ; for Washington had caused the 
boats, for an extent of seventy miles up and down the 
river, to be secured on the right bank His lordship 
was effectuaUj brought to a stand. He made some 
moves with two columns, as if he would cross the Dela- 
ware above and below, either to push on to Philadelphia^ 
or to entrap Washington in the acute angle made by the 
bend of the river opposite Bordentown. An able dispo- 
sition of American troops along the upper part of tb 
river, and of a number of galleys below, discouraged anj 
attempt of the kind. Comwallis, therefore, gave up the 
pursuit, distributed the German troops in cantonments 
along the left bank of the river, and stationed his meio 
force at Brunswick, trusting to be able before long io 
cross the Delaware on the ioe. 

On the 8th, Washington wrote to the President of Con- 
gress : '^ There is not a moment's time to be lost in as- 
sembling such a force as can be collected, as the object 
of the enemy cannot now be doubted in the smallest 
degree. Indeed, I shall be out in my conjecture, for it 
is only conjecture, if the late embarkation at New York 
is not for Delaware Biver, to cooperate with the army 
tmder Gteneral Howe, who, I am informed from good 
authority, is with the British troops, and his whole force 
upon this route. I have no certain intelligence of Gen- 
eral Lee, although I have sent expresses to him, and 


lately a Colonel Humpton, to bring me some accurate ao- 
oonnts of his situation* I last night despatched another 
gentleman to him (Major Hoops), desiring he would 
hasten his march to the Delaware, on which I would 
proyide boats near a place called Alexandria, for the 
transportation of his troops. I cannot account for the 
slowness of his march.** 

In further letters to Lee, Washington urged the peril 
of Philadelphia. *^ Do come on," writes he ; ** your ar« 
lival may be fortunate, and, if it can be effected without 
delay, it may be the means of preserving a city, whose 
loss must prove of the most fatal consequence to the 
cause of America." 

Putnam was now detached to take command of Phila- 
delphia, and put it in a stete of defense, and (General 
Ttfifflin to have charge of the munitions of war deposited 
{here. By their advice Congress hastily adjourned on 
{he 12th of December, to meet again on the 20th, at 

Washington's whole force at this time, was about five 
{housand five hundred men ; one thousand of them Jer* 
sey militia, fifteen hundred militia from Philadelphia, 
and a battalion of five hundred of the (German yeomanry 
of Pennsylvania. Gates, however, he was informed, was 
coming on with seven regimente detached by Schuyler 
from the Northern department ; reinforced by these, and 
the troops under Lee, he hoped to be able to attempt a 
stroke upon the enemy's forces, which lay a good deal 

626 -C^^ OF WASHINGTOir. 

Boattered, and, to all appearancesi in a state of secnrity. 
" A lucky blow in this quarter," writes he, " would be 
fatal to them, and would most certainly raise the spirits 
of the people, which are quite sunk by our late misfor- 
tunes.*' * 

While cheering himself with these hopes, and trust- 
ing to speedy aid from Lee, that wayward commander, 
though nearly three weeks had elapsed since he had re- 
ceived Washington's orders and entreaties to join him 
with all possible despatch, was no further on his march 
than Morristown, in the Jerseys; where, with militia 
recruits, his force was about four thousand men. In a 
letter written by him on the 8th of December to a com« 
mittee of Congress, he says: **If I was not taught to 
think the army with General Washington had been con- 
siderably reinforced, I should immediately join him ; but 
as I am assured he is very strong, I should imagine we can 
make a better impression by beating np and barassing 
their detached parties in their rear, for which purpose a 
good post at Chatham seems the best calculated. It 
is a happy distance from Newark, Elizabethtown, Wood- 
bridge, and Boundbrook. We shall, I expect, annoy, 
distract, and consequently weaken them in a desultory 
war." t 

On the same day he writes from Chatham, in reply to 
Washington's letter by Major Hoops, just received: **1 

• Washington to Gov. Trumbull, 14th Dec;, 
f Am* ArcMvtB, 5th Series, iii. 1181« 


am extremely shodced to hear that your force is bo in* 
adequate to the necessity of your situation, as I had been 
taught to think you had been considerably reinforced. 
Your last letters proposing a plan of surprises and forced 
marches, conyinoed me that there was no danger of your 
being obliged to pass the Delaware ; in consequence of 
which proposals, I have put myself in a position the most 
oonTenient to cooperate with you by attacking their rear. 
I cannot persuade myself that Philadelphia is their ob- 
ject at present .... It will be difficult, I am afraid, 
to join you ; but cannot I do you more service by attack- 
ing their rear ? '* 

This letter, sent by a light-horseman, received an in- 
stant reply from Washington. *^ Philadelphia, beyond all 
question, is the object of the enemy's movements, and 
nothing less than our utmost exertions will prevent Gen- 
eral Howe from possessing ii The force I have is weak, 
and utterly incompetent to that end. I must, therefore, 
entreat you to push on with every possible succor you 
can bring." * 

On the 9th, Lee, who was at Chatham, received infor- 
mation from Heath, that three of the regiments detached 
under Qates from the Northern army, had arrived from 
Albany at Peekskill. He instantly writes to him to for- 
ward them, without loss of time, to Morristown : *^ I am 
in hopes,** adds he, '* to reconquer (if I may so express 

^Am Arehivti, Sth Series, liL 1188. 


myself) the Jerseys. It was really in the hands of ths 
enemy before my arrivaL" 

On the 11th, Lee writes to Washington from Morris* 
town, where he says his troops had been obliged to halt 
two days for want of shoes. He now talked of orossiiig 
the great Bronswick post-road, and, by a forced night'i 
march, making his way to the ferry above Burlington, 
where boats should be sent up from Philadelphia to 
receiye him. 

'^ I am much surprised,** writes Washington in repfy, 
*' that you should be in any doubt respecting the ronte 
you should take, after the information you have reoeifed 
upon that head. A large number of boats was procured, 
and is still retained at Tinicum, under a strong guard, to 
facilitate your passage across the Delaware. I have so 
frequently mentioned our situation, and the necessity of 
your aid, that it is painful for me to add a word on the 
subject .... Congress have directed Philadelphia 
to be defended to the last extremity. The fatal conse- 
quences that must attend its loss, are but too obyions to 
every one ; your arrival may be the means of saving it" 

In detailing the close of General Lee's march, so extra- 
ordinary for its tardiness, we shall avail ourselves of the 
memoir already cited, of (General Wilkinson, who was at 
that time a brigade major, about twenty-two years of 
age, and was accompanying (General Gates, who had been 
detached by Schuyler with seven regiments to reinforce 
Washington. Three of these regiments, as we hxn 


shown, had descended the Hudson to Peekskill, and were 
ordered by Lee to Morristown. Gates had embarked 
with the remaining four, and landed with them at Eso- 
pnsy whence he took a back route by the Delaware and 
the Mim'flink. 

On the 11th of December, he was detained by a heavy 
snow storm, in a sequestered yalley near the Wallpeck 
in New Jersey. Being cut o& from all information re- 
specting the adverse armies, he detached Major Wilkin- 
son to seek Washington's camp, with a letter, stating the 
force under his command, and inquiring what route he 
should take. Wilkinson crossed the hills on horseback 
to Sussex court-house, took a guide, and proceeded down 
the country. Washington, he soon learnt, had passed 
the Delaware several days before ; the boats, he was told, 
had been removed from the ferries, so that he would find 
some difficulty in getting over, but Major-general Lee 
was at Morristown. Finding such obstacles in his way 
to the commander-in-chief, he determined to seek the 
second in command, and ask orders from him for General 
Gates. Lee had decamped from Morristown on the 12th 
of December, but had marched no further than Yealtown, 
barely eight miles distant There he left (General Sul- 
livan with the troops, while he took up his quarters 
three miles off, at a tavern, at Baskingridge. As there 
was not a British cantonment within twenty miles, he 
took but a small guard for his protection, thinking him*' 

self perfectly secure. 
VOL. n.— 84 


About four o'clock in the moming, Willdiison 
at his quarters. He was presented to the general as he 
lay in bed, and delivered into his hands the letter of (Gen- 
eral Gates. Lee, observing it was addressed to Wash- 
ington, declined opening it, until apprised by Wilkinson 
of its contents, and the motives of his visit. He then 
broke the seal, and recommended Wilkinson to take re- 
pose. The latter lay down on his blanket^ before a com- 
fortable fire, among the officers of his suite ; '^ for we 
were not encumbered in those days,'* says he, ''with 
beds or baggage." 

Lee, naturally indolent, lingered in bed until eight 
o'clock. He then came down in his usual slovenly style, 
half-dressed, in slippers and blanket coat, his collar 
open, and his linen apparently of some days' wear. After 
some inquiries about the campaign in the North, he gaye 
Wilkinson a brief account of the operations of the main 
army, which he condemned in strong terms, and in his 
usual sarcastic way. He wasted the morning in alterca- 
tion with some of the militia, particularly the Connecti- 
cut light horse : " several of whom," says Wilkinson, 
"appeared in large full-bottomed perukes, and were 
treated very irreverently. One wanted forage, another 
his horse shod, another his pay, a fourth provisions, etc ; 
to which the general replied, *Tour wants are numerous; 
but you have not mentioned the last, — ^you want to go 
home, and shall be indulged; for d — you, you do no good 
here.' •' 


Colonel Scammel, the adjatant-genenJ^ called from 
G(eneral Sullivan for orders concerning the morning 
march. After musing a moment or two, Lee asked him 
if he had a manuscript map of the conntij. It was pro- 
duced, and spread upon a table. Wilkinson observed Lee 
trace with his finger the route from Yealtown to Fluoka- 
min, thence to Somerset court-house, and on, by Bocky 
Hill, to Princeton; he then returned to Fluckamin, 
and traced the route in the same manner bj Bound- 
brook to Brunswick, and after a close inspection care- 
lessly said to Scammel, '^ Tell General Sullivan to move 
down towards Pluckamin; that I will soon be with 

This, observes Wilkinson, was off his route to Alex- 
andria on the Delaware, where he had been ordered to 
cross, and directly on that towards Brunswick and Prince- 
ton. He was convinced, therefore, that Lee meditated 
an attack on the British post at the latter place. 

From these various delays they did not sit down to 
breakfast before ten o'clock. After breakfast Lee sat 
writing a reply to General Gates, in which, as usual, he 
indulged in sarcastic comments on the commander-in- 
chiel '^ The ingenious manoeuvre of Fort Washington,** 
writes he, ''has completely unhinged the goodly fabric 
we had been building. There never was so d — d a stroke ; 
enJtre nousy a certain great man is most damnably deficient. 
He has thrown me into a situation where I have my 
choice of difficulties: if I stay in this province I 

532 i^s OF wAsmsrGTosr. 

myself and army, and if I do not stay, the proTinoe is losi 

forever As to what relates to yourself if yon 

think you can be in time to aid the general^ I would haTS 
you by all means go ; you will at least save your armyi" 

While Lee was writing, Wilkinson was looking out of a 
window down a lane, about a hundred yards in lengUi, 
leading from the house to the main road. Suddenly a 
party of British dragoons turned a comer of the ayenne 
at full charge. **Here, sir, are the British oaYaby!" 
exclaimed Wilkinson. 

** Where ? " replied Lee, who had just signed his letter. 

'^ Around the house 1" — ^for they had opened file and 
surrounded ii 

" Where is the guard ? d — the guard, why don't they 
fire?" Then after a momentary pause — ''Do, sir, see 
what has become of the guard." 

The guards, alas, unwary as their general, and chilled 
by the air of a frosty morning, had stacked their arms, 
and repaired to the south side of a house on the opposite 
side of the road to sun themselves, and were now chased 
by the dragoons in different directions. Li fitct, a torj, 
who had visited the general the evening before, to com- 
plain of the loss of a horse taken by the army, having 
fotmd where Lee was to lodge and breakfast, had ridden 
eighteen miles in the night, to Brunswick, and given the 

•Am. Archives, 5th Series, iiL IML 


iiilcxrmaiion, and had piloted back Colonel Haroowrt with 
his dragoons.* 

The women of the house would fain have concealed 
Lee in a bed, but he rejected the proposition with dis- 
dain. WiUdnson, according to his own account^ posted 
himself in a place where only one person could approach 
at a time, and there took his stand, a pistol in each hand, 
resolTed to shoot the first and second assailant^ and then 
appeal to his sword. While in this ** unpleasant situa- 
tion," as he terms it, he heard a Toice declare, '^ If the 
general does not surrender in fiye minutes, I will set fire 
to the house 1 " After a short pause the threat was re- 
peated, with a solemn oath. Within two minutes he 
heard it proclaimed, " Here is the general, he has sur- 

There was a shout of triumph, but a great hurry to 
make sure of the prize before the army should arrive to 
the rescue. A trumpet sounded the recall to the dra- 
goons, who were chasing the scattered guards. The gen- 
eral, bareheaded, and in his slippers and blanket coai^ 
was mounted on Wilkinson's horse, which stood at the 
door, and the troop clattered off with their prisoner to 
Brunswick. In three hours the booming of the cannon 
in that direction told the exultation of the enemy.t They 
boasted of having taken the American Palladium; for 

* Joseph Tramball to Governor Trnmbii]]. Am, ArMwa, 6th Seriaib 

m. 1S6S. 



ihey considered Lee the most sdentifio and experienoed 
of the rebel generals. 

On the departure of the troops, Wilkinson, finding the 
coast clear, yentnred from his stronghold, repaired to the 
stable, mounted the first horse he oonld find, and rode 
foil speed in quest of General SuUiyan, whom he &mnd 
under march toward Pludkamin. He handed him the 
letter to Qates, written by Lee the moment before hb 
capture, and still open. SuUiyan having read it, returned 
it to Wilkinson, and advised him to rejoin General GateB 
without delay : for his own part, being now in command, 
he changed his route, and pressed forward to join the 

The loss of Lee was a severe shock to the Americans; 
many of whom, as we have shown, looked to him as the 
man who was to rescue them from their critical and well- 
nigh desperate situation. With their regrets, bowevei; 
were mingled painful doubts, caused by his delay in 
obeying the repeated summons of his commander-in- 
chiet when the latter wa8 in peril; and by his ezpodng 
himself so unguardedly in the very neighborhood of the 
enemy. Some at first suspected that he had done so de« 
signedly, and with collusion; but this was soon disap^ 
proved by the indignities attending nis capture, and hifl 
rigorous treatment subsequently by the British; who 
affected to consider him a deserter, from his having for- 
merly served in their army. 

Wilkinson, who was at that time conversant with the 


oabals of the camp, and apparently in the confidence of 
some of the leaders, points oat what he considers the 
true secret of Lee's condnci His military reputation, 
originally very high, had been enhanced of late, by its 
being generally known that he had been opposed to the 
occupation of Fort Washington; while the fall of that 
fortress and other misfortunes of the campaign, though 
beyond the control of the commander-in-chie^ had quick- 
ened the discontent which, according to Wilkinson, had 
been generated against him at Gambridge, and raised a 
party against him in Congress. <' It was confidently as- 
serted at the time," adds he, ''but is not worthy of 
credit, that a motion had been made in that body tend- 
ing to supersede him in the command of the army. In 
this temper of the times, if General Leo had anticipated 
General Washington in cutting the cordon of the enemy 
between New York and the Delaware, the commander- 
in-chief would probably have been superseded. In this 
case, Lee would have have succeeded him." 

What an unfortunate change would it have been for 
the country! Lee was undoubtedly a man of brilliant 
talents, shrewd sagacity, and much knowledge and expe- 
rience in the art of war ; but he was willfal and nncertam 
in his temper, self-indulgent in his habits, and an egoist 
in warfare: boldly dashing for a soldier's glory rather 
than warily acting for a country's good. He wanted 
those great moral qualities which, in addition to military 
capacity, inspired such universal confidence in the wis* 

636 -tiFJy OF WAamNQTON. 

dom, rectitude, and patriotism of Washington, enabling 
him to direct and control legislative bodies as well as 
armies ; to harmonize the jarring passions and jealousies 
of a wide and imperfect confederacy, and to cope with 
the varied exigencies of the Bevolntion. 

The very retreat which Washington had jnst effected 
through the Jerseys bore evidence to his generalship 
Thomas Paine, who had accompanied the army ''from 
Fort Lee to the edge of Pennsylvania," thus speaks in 
one of his writings published at the time : ''With a hand' 
ful of men we sustained an orderly retreat for near an 
hundred miles, brought off our ammunition, all our field*' 
pieces, the greatest part of our stores, and had four 
rivers to pass. None can say that our retreat was pie* 
cipitate, for we were three weeks in performing it, that 
the country might have time tc come vel Twice we 
marched back to meet the enemy, and remained out until 
dark. The sign of fear was not seen in our camp ; and 
had not some of the cowardly and disaffected inhabitants 
spread false alarms through the country, the Jerseys had 
never been ravaged." 

And this is his testimony to the moral qualities of the 
commander-in-chief, as evinced in this time of perils and 
hardships. " Voltaire has remarked, that King William 
never appeared to full advanti^ but in difficulties and in 
action. The same remark may be made of Qeneral Wash- 
ington, for the character fits him. There is a natural 
firmness in some minds, which cannot be unlocked by 



; but which, when unlocked, discovers a cabinet of 
fortitude ; and I reckon it among those kinds of public 
blessings which we do not immediately see, that God 
hath blessed him with uninterrupted health, and given 
turn a mind that can even flourish upon care.** * 



|EFOBE you reoeive this letter/' writes Wash- 
ington to his brother Augostine, ^'jon will 
undoubtedly have heard of the captiyity of 
(General Lee. This is an additional misfortune ; and the 
more yexatious, as it was by his own folly and impni- 
dence, and without a view to effect any good, that he was 
taken. As he went to lodge three miles out of his own 
camp, and within twenty miles of the enemy, a rascally 
tory rode in the night to give notice of it to the enemy, 
who sent a party of light horse that seized him, and car- 
ried him off with every mark of triumph and indignity.*' 
This is the severest comment that the magnanimons 
spirit of Washington permitted him to make on the con- 
duct and fortunes of the man who would have supplanted 
him ; and this is made in his private correspondence with 



his brother. No harsh strictures on them appear in ^ 
official letters to Congress or the Board of War ; nothing 
bat regret for his capture, as a loss to the servioe. 

In the same letter he speaks of the critioal state o{ 
affidrs : '^ If every nerve is not strained to recruit the 
anny with all possible expedition, I think the game is 
pretty nearly up. . • • • You can form no idea of the 
perplexity of my situation. No man I believe ever had a 
greater choice of evils and less means to extricate himself 
from them. However, under a full persuasion of the jus^ 
tice of our cause, I cannot entertain an idea that it will 
finally sink, though it may remain for some time under i^ 

Fortunately, Congress, prior to their adjournment^ had 
resolved that ** until they should otherwise order, Gen<r 
eral Washington should be possessed of all power to order 
and direct all things relative to the department and tq 
the operations of war. " Thus empowered, he proceeded 
immediaiely to recruit three bctttalions of artillery. To 
those whose terms were expiring, he promised an aug^ 
mentation of twenty*five per cent, upon their pay, and ^ 
bounty of ten dollars to the men for six weeks' service. 
^ It was no time," he said, ^^ to stand upon expense ; nqr 
in. matters of self-evident exigency, to refer to Congresf 
at the distance of a hundred and thirty or forty miles.'* 
** 11 any good officers will o£kr to raise men upon con? 
tinental pay and establishment in this quarter, I shall 
encourage them to do so, and regiment them when they 


haye done ii. It may be thought that I am going a good 
deal out of the line of m j duty, to adopt these measuresi 
or to advise thus freely. A oharaoter to lose, an estate 
to forfeit, the inestimable blessings of liberty at stakes 
and a life devoted, must be my excuse.** * 
, The promise of increased pay and bounties had kept 
together for a time the dissolving army. The local mi- 
litia began to turn out freely. Oolonel John Oadwalader, 
a gentleman of gallant spirit, and cultivated mind and 
manners, brought a large volunteer detachment^ well 
equipped, and composed principally of PhiladelphiA 
troops. Washington, who held Oadwalader in high es- 
teem, assigned him an important station at Bristol, with 
Oolonel Beed, who was his intimate friend, as an asso- 
ciate. They had it in charge to keep a watchful eye upon 
Oount Donop*s Hessians, who were cantoned along the 
opposite shore from Bordentown to the Black Horse. 

On the 20th of December arrived Oeneral Sullivan in 
camp, with the troops recently commanded by the un- 
lucky Lee. They were in a miserable plight ; destitute 
of almost everything ; many of tham fit only for the hoe* 
pital, and those whose terms were nearly out, thinking 
of nothing but their discharge. About four hundred of 
them, who were Bhode Islanders, were sent down under 
Oolonel Hitchcock to reinforce Oadwalader; who was 
now styled brigadier-general by courtesy^ lest the con- 

* Letter to the President of Ckmgreei. 


tinental troops might object to act tmder his corn* 

On the same day arrived General Oates, with the rem- 
Hants of four regiments from the Northern army. With 
him came Wilkinson, who now resumed his station as 
brigade major in Si Clair's brigade, to which he be- 
longed. To his memoirs we are indebted for notices 
of the commander-in-chie£ ''When the divisions of 
Sullivan and Gkktes joined General Washington/' writes 
Wilkinson^ ''he found his numbers increased, yet his 
difficulties were not sensibly diminished ; ten days would 
disband his corps and leave him 1,400 men, miserably 
provided in all things. I saw him in that gloomy period ; 
dined with him, and attentively marked his aspect ; al« 
ways grave and thoughtful, he appeared at that time 
pensive and solemn in the extreme." 

There were vivid schemes forming under that solemn 
aspeci The time seemed now propitious for the omp de 
main which Washington had of late been meditating. 
Everything showed careless confidence on the part of the 
enemy. Howe was in winter quarters at New York. His 
troops were loosely cantoned about the Jerseys, from the 
Delaware to Brunswick, so that they could not readily 
be brought to act in concert on a sudden alarm. The 
Hessians were in the advance, stationed along the Dela- 
ware, facing the American lines, which were along the west 
bank. Oomwallis, thinking his work accomplished, had 
obtained leave of absence, and was likewise at New York, 


preparing to embark for England. Waahiiigton had ncnf 
between five and six thousand men fit for service ; with 
these he meditated to cross the river at ni^i, at d]fk^ 
ent points, and make simultaneous attacks upon the Hes- 
sian advance posts. 

He calculated upon the eager support of his troops, 
who were burning to revenge the outrages on their 
homes and families, committed by these foreign merce- 
naries. They considered the Hessians mere hirelings; 
slaves to a petty despot, fighting for sordid pay, and so- 
tuated by no sentiment of patriotism or honor. They 
had rendered themselves the horror of the Jerseys, by 
rapine, brutality, and heartlessness. At first, their mili- 
tary discipline had inspired awe, but of late they had 
become careless and unguarded, knowing the broken and 
dispirited state of the Americans, and considering them 
incapable of any offensive enterprise. 

A brigade of three Hessian regiments, those of Bahl,* 
Lossberg, and Knyphausen, was stationed at Trenton. 
Oolonel Sahl had the command of the post at his own 
solicitation, and in consequence of the laurels he had 
gained at White Plains and Fort Washington. We have 
before us journals of two Hessian lieutenants and a cor- 
poral, which give graphic particulars of the colonel and 

* Seldom has a name of so few letters been spelled so manj ways as 
that of this commander. We find it written Ball in the militarj joxunali 
before us ; yet we adhere to the one hitherto adopted hj ns, apparent!/ 
on good authority. 


his posi According to their representatioiis, he, with 
all his bravery, was little fitted for such an important 
command. He lacked the necessary vigilance and fore* 

One of the lieutenants speaks of him in a sarcastic 
Teiuy and evidently with some degree of prejudice. Ao^ 
cording to his account, there was more bustle than busi- 
ness at the post The men were harassed with watches, 
detachments, and pickets, without purpose and without 
end. The cannon must be drawn forth every day from 
their proper places, and paraded about the town, seem- 
ingly only to make a stir and uproar. 

The lieutenant was especially annoyed by the coloneFs 
passion for music. Whether his men when off duty 
were well or ill dad, whether they kept their muskets 
dean and bright, and their ammunition in good order, 
was of little moment to the colonel, he never inquired 
about it ; but the music! that was the thing! the haut* 
boys — he never could have enough of them. The main 
guard was at no great distance from his quarters, and 
the music could not linger there long enough. There 
was a church close by, surrounded by palings; the offi- 
cer on guard must march round and round it, with his 
men and musicians, looking, says the lieutenant, like a 
Catholic procession, wanting only the cross and the 
banner, and chanting choristers. 

According to the same authority, Sahl was a boon 
companion ; made merry until a late hour in the nighti 

5ii LIFE OF wAannrGTOir. 

and then lay in bed until nine o'clock in the morning. 
When the officers came to parade between ten and eleyen 
o'clock, and presented themselves at head-quarters, he 
was often in his bath, and the guard must be kept wait- 
ing half an hour longer. On parade, too, when any other 
comm^der would take occasion to talk with his staff 
officers and others upon duty about the concerns of the 
garrison, the colonel attended to nothing but the musio 
— ^he was wrapped up in it, to the great disgust of the 
testy lieutenant. 

And then, according to the latter, he took no precau- 
tions against the possibility of being attacked. A veteran 
officer. Major von Dechow, proposed that some works 
should be thrown up, where the cannon might be placed, 
ready against any assault. ''Works! — pooh — pooh:** 
the colonel made merry with the very idea — ^using an un- 
seemly jest, which we forbear to quote. '' An assault by 
the rebels! let them come! We'll at them with the 

The veteran Dechow gravely persisted in his counsel 
''Herr Oolonel," said he, respectfully, ''it costs aknost 
nothing; if it does not help, it does not hann." The 
pragmatical lieutenant, too, joined in the advice, and 
offered to undertake the work. The jovial colonel only 
repeated his joke, went away laughing at them both, and 
no works were thrown up. 

The lieutenant, sorely nettled, observes, sneeringly: 
^'He believed the name of Sahl more fearful and re« 


doubtable than all the works of Yauban and Oohom, and 
that no rebel would dare to encounter it. A fit man 
tmlj to oommand a corps! and still more to defend a 
place lying so near an enemy having a hundred times his 
advantages. Everything with him was done heedlessly 
and without forecast" * 

Such is the account given of this brave, but incon- 
siderate and light-hearted commander; given, however, 
by an officer not of his regiment. The honest corporal 
already mentioned, who was one of Bahl's own men, does 
him more justice. According to his journal, rumors 
that the Americans meditated an attack had aroused 
the vigilance of the colonel, and on the 21st of De* 
oember he had reconnoitered the banks of the I>el»* 
ware, with a strong detachment, quite to Frankfort, to 
see if there were any movements of the Americans in« 
dioative of an intention to cross the river. He had re- 
turned without seeing any ; but had since caused pickets 
and alarm posts to be stationed every night outside the 

Such was the posture of affidrs at Trenton at the time 
ihe oowp de main was meditated. 

Whatever was to be done, however, must be done 
quicUy, before the river was frozen. An intercepted 
letter had convinced Washington of what he had before 
suspected, that Howe was only waiting for that event to 

* Tagebnch eines Heasischen Officien.— MS. 

t Ta^;ebiioh dee Corporals Johannes Beober.— MSL 

voun— 86 


reBome actiye operations, cross the riTsr on the ioe, sod 
push triumphantly to Philadelphiai 

He oommmiioated his project to Gates, and wished 
him to go to Bristol, take command there» and cooperate 
from that quarter. €hktes, however, pleaded ill health, 
and requested leave to proceed to Philadelphia.* 

The request may have surprised* Washington, oonsid* 
ering the spirited enterprise that was on foot ; but GatsBi 
as has before been observed, had a disinclination to serve 
immediately under the commander-in-chief ; like Lee, he 
had a disparaging opinion of him, or rather an imp»» 
tience of his supremacy. He had, moreover, an ulterior 
object in view. Having been disappointed and cha- 
grined, in finding himself subordinate to General Sdhny* 
ler in the Northern campaign, he was now intent on 
making interest among the members of Congress for 
an independent command. Washington ui^d that^ on 
his way to Philadelphia, he would at least stop for a 
day or two at Bristol, to concert a plan of operatkum 
with Bead and Cadwalader, and adjust any little qoes* 
tions of etiquette and command that might arise be- 
tween the continental colonels who had gone thither 
with Lee's troops and the volunteer officers stationed 

He does not appear to have complied even witl^ this 
request According to Wilkinson's account^ he took 

• WMhingtoQ to Oatee. QnMn pap«i» 


quaarteTS at Kewtown, and set out thenoe for Baltimcwe 
on the 24th of December, the yerj day before that of Vbb 
intended otmp de mam. He prevailed cm Wilkinson to 
aooompanj him as far as Philadelphia. On the road he 
appeared to be much depressed in spirits; bnt he re« 
lieyed himself like Lee, by criticising the plans of the 
oommander-in-chiel *'He frequently/' writes Wilkin- 
son, ** expressed the opinion that, while Washington was 
watching the enemy above Trenton, they would construct 
bateaux, pass the Delaware in his rear, and take posses- 
sion of Philadelphia before he was aware ; and that, in* 
stead of vainly attempting to stop Sir William Howe at 
the Delaware, General Washington ought to retire to the 
south of the Susquehanna, and there form an army. Hs 
mM U was Mb intention to propose this measure to Oongreaa 
ai Baltimore^ and urged me to accompany him to that 
place ; but my duty forbade the thought'* 

Here we have somewhat of a counterpart to Lee*s proj* 
eet of eclipsing the commander-in-chiel Evidently the 
two military veterans who had once been in conclave 
with him at Mount Yemon considered the truncheon of 
command falling from his grasp. 

The projected attack upon the Hessian posts was to be 

Isi Washington was to cross the Delaware with a c(m* 
nderable force, at McEonkey's Ferry (now Taylorsville), 
about nine miles above Trenton, and march down upon 
that place, where Bahl's cantonment comprised a brigade 

54d i^^ OF WA6HmQT(ar. 

of fifteen hundred Hessians, a troop of Bxitisli li^ 
horse, and a number of chasseurs. 

2d. General Ewing, with a bod J of PennsylTaaia miliii% 
was to cross at a ferry about a mile below Trenton; se* 
cure the bridge oyer the Assunpink creek, a stream flow- 
ing along the south side of the town, and cut off any 
retreat of the enemy in that direction. 

8d. General Putnam, with the troops occupied in forth 
fying Philadelphia, and those under General Oadwalader, 
was to cross below Burlington, and attack the lower posfai 
under Oount Donop. The seyeral divisions were to ctosB 
the Delaware at night, so as to be ready for simultaneoiia 
action, by fiye o'clock in the morning. 

Seldom is a combined plan carried into full operatunL 
Symptoms of an insurrection in Philadelphia, obliged 
Putnam to remain with some force in that city ; but ha 
detached fiye or six hundred of the Pennsylvania militia 
under Oolonel Griffin, his adjutant-general, who threw 
himself into the Jerseys, to be at hand to cooperate witii 

A letter from Washington to Oolonel Beed, who waa 
stationed with Oadwalader, shows the anxiety of his mind, 
and his consciousness of the peril of the enterprise. 

*^ Ohristmas day at night, one hour before day, is the 
time fixed upon for our attempt upon Trenton. For 
Heaven's sake keep this to yourself, as the discovery of 
it may prove fatal to us ; our numbers, I am sorry to say, 
being less than I had any conception of; yet nothing but 

imB COUP DM MAm 640 

lieoesBitj, dire neoessiiyy will, nay miiBty justify an attack. 
Prepare, and in concert with Gbiffin, attack as many of 
their posts as you possibly can, with a prospect of suc- 
cess ; the more we can attack at the same instant, the 
more confusion we shall spread, and the greater good 
will result from it. • • • • I have ordered our men 
to be provided with three days' provision ready cooked, 
with which, and their blankets, they are to march ; for 
if we are successful, which Heayen grant, and the circum- 
stances fayor, we may push on. I shall direct every ferry 
and ford to be well guarded, and not a soul su&red to 
pass without an officer's going down with the permit 
Do the same with you." 

It has been said that Ohristmas night was fixed upon 
for the enterprise, because the Grermans are prone to 
reyel and carouse on that festival, and it was supposed a 
great part of the troops would be intoxicated, and in a 
state of disorder and confusion; but in truth Washington 
would have chosen an earlier day, had it been in his 
power. ''We could not ripen matters for the attack 
before the time mentioned," said he in his letter to Beed, 
''so much out of sorts, and so much in want of everything 
are the troops under Sullivan." 

Early on the eventful evening (Dec 26th), the troops 
destined for Washington's part of the attack, about two 
thousand four hundred strong, with a train of twenty 
small pieces, were paraded near McEonkey*s Ferxy, 
ready to pass as soon as it grew dark, in the hope of 

560 •^^^'^ ^^ WASHiNaToir. 

being all on the other side by twelye o'dooL Waahing- 
ton repaired to the ground acoompanied bjr Generals 
Ghreene, Sullivan, Meroer, Stephen, and Lord Stirling. 
Ghreene was full of ardor for the enterprise ; eager, no 
doubt, to wipe out the reoolleotion of Fort Washii^toik 
It was, indeed, an anxious moment for alL 

We have here some circumstances famished to us bj 
the memoirs of Wilkinson. That oflScer had returned 
from Philadelphia, and brought a letter from Gkites to 
Washington. There was some snow on the ground, and 
he had traced the march of the troops for the last few 
miles by the blood from the feet of those whose shoes 
were broken. Being directed to Washington's quarten, 
he found him, he says, alone, with his whip in his hand, 
prepared to mount his horse. ** When I presented the 
letter of General Gates to him, before reoeiving it, he 
exclaimed with solemnity, — * What a time is this to hand 
me letters t * I answered that I had been charged with it 
by General Ghttes. 'By General Gates ! Where is he?' 
' I left him this morning in Philadelphia. ' * What was he 
doing there ? ' 'I understood him that he was on his way 
to Congress.* He earnestly repeated, 'On his way to Con- 
gress ! ' then broke the seal, and I made my bow, and 
joined (General Si Clair on the bank of the river.** 

Did Washington surmise the incipient intrigues and 
cabals, that were already aiming to undermine him? 
Had Gates* eagerness to push on to Congress, instead ci 
remaining with the army in a moment of daring ente^ 

OBOssma of the delawabe. 551 

prise, suggested any doubts as to his object? Perhaps 
not. Washington's nature was too noble to be suspicions, 
and yet he had received sufficient cause to be distrustfuL 

Boats being in readiness, the troops began to cross 
about sunset. The weather was intensely cold ; the wind 
was high, the current strong, the river full of floating ice. 
Oolonel Qlover, with his amphibious regiment of Marble- 
head fishermen, was in advance ; the same who had nav- 
igated the army across the Sound, in its retreat from 
Brooklyn on Long Island, to New York. They were men 
accustomed to battle with the elements, yet with all their 
skill and experience, the crossing was difficult and peril- 
ous. Washington, who had crossed with the troops, stood 
anxiously, yet patiently, on the eastern bank, while one 
precious hour after another elapsed, until the transpor- 
tation of the artillery should be effected. The night was 
dark and tempestuous, the drifting ice drove the boats 
out of their course, and threatened them with destruc- 
tion. Colonel Knox, who attended to the crossing of the 
artillery, assisted with his labors, but still more with his 
" stentorian lungs," giving orders and directions. 

It was three o'clock before the artillery was landed, 
and nearly four before the troops took up their line of 
march. Trenton was nine miles distant, and not to be 
reached before daylight. To surprise it, therefore, was 
out of the question. There was no making a retreat 
without being discovered, and harassed in repassing the 
river. Besides, the troops from the other points might 

552 X/7i7 OF wABHnsroToir. 

have crossed, and cooperation was essential to theii 
safety. Washington resolyed to push forward, and trust 
to Providence. 

He formed the troops into two columns. The first he 
led himself, accompanied by Greene, Stirling, Mercer, and 
Stephen ; it was to make a circuit by the upper or Pen- 
nington road, to the north of Trenton. The other, led by 
Snllivan, and including the brigade of Si Glair, was to 
take the lower river road, leading to the west end of the 
town. Solliyan's column was to halt a few moments at a 
cross-road leading to Howland's Ferry, to give Washing- 
ton's column time to effect its circuit, so that the attack 
might be simultaneous. On arriving at Trenton, they 
were to force the outer guards, and push directly into the 
town before the enemy had time to form. 

The Hessian journals before us enable us to give the 
reader a glance into the opposite camp on this eventful 
night. The situation of Washington was more critical 
than he was aware. Notwithstanding the secrecy with 
which his plans had been conducted, Colonel Sahl had 
received a warning from General Grant, at Princeton, of 
the intended attack, and of the very time it was to be 
made, but stating that it was to be by a detachment 
under Lord Stirling. Bahl was accordingly on the alert 

It so happened that about dusk of this very evening, 
when Washington must have been preparing to cross the 
Delaware, there were alarm guns and firing at the Tren- 
ton outpost. The whole garrison was instantly drawn 


out under arms, and Colonel Bahl hastened to the out- 
post. It was found in confusion, and six men wounded. 
A body of men had emerged from the woods, fired upon 
the picket^ and immediately retired.* Oolonel Bahl, with 
two companies and a field-piece, marched through the 
woods, and made the rounds of the outposts, but seeing 
and hearing nothing, and finding all quiet, returned. 
Supposing this to be the attack against which he had 
been warned, and that it was ** a mere flash in the pan," 
he relapsed into his feeling of security; and, as the night 
was cold and stormy, permitted the troops to return to 
their quarters and lay aside their arms. Thus the garri- 
son and its unwary commander slept in fimcied security, 
at the very time that Washington and his troops were 
making their toilsome way across the Delaware. How 
perilous would have been their situation had their enemy 
been more Tigilant I 

It began to hail and snow as the troops commenced their 
march, and increased in yiolence as they advanced, the 
storm driving the sleet in their &ces. So bitter was the 
cold that two of the men were frozen to death that night. 
The day dawned by the time Sullivan halted at the cross- 

* Who it was that made this attack upon the oatpost is not dearly 
asoertaiiied. The Hessian lientenant who commanded at the picket, says 
it was a patrol sent out by Washin^n, under command of a captain, to 
xeoonnoiter, with strict orders not to engage, bat if disoorered, to retire 
instantly as silently as possible. Ck>lonel Beed, in a memorandum, says^ 
it was an advance party returning from the Jerseys to Pennsylvania.-^ 
See Life <md Correep., toL L p. 2T7. 

564 -^kirar OF WASEONQTOJSt. 

ToacL It was disoovered that the storm had vandaied 
many of the muskets wet and useless. '* What is to be 
done ? " inquired Sullivan of Si Glair. '* Yon have noth^ 
ing for it but to push on, and use the bayonet^" was the 
reply. While some of the soldiers were endeaToring to 
clear their muskets, and squibbing off priming, SuniTan 
despatched an officer to apprise the commander-in-oluef 
of the condition of their arms. He came back half dis- 
mayed by an indignant burst of Washington, who ordered 
him to return instantly and tell General Sullivan to ^ad- 
vance and charge." 

It was about eight o'clock when Washington's column 
arrived in the vicinity of the village. The storm, which 
had rendered the march intolerable, had kept every one 
within doors, and the snow had deadened the tread of 
the troops and the rumbling of the artillery. As they 
approached the village, Washington, who was in fronts 
came to a man that was chopping wood by the roadside, 
and inquired, '^ Which way is the Hessian picket ? " ^I 
don't know," was the surly reply. " Tou may tell,** said 
Captain Forest of the artillery, ^'for that is G^eneral 
Washington." The aspect of the man changed in an 
instant. Baising his hands to heaven, ''Gk>d bless and 
prosper you I " cried he. ^' The picket is in that honae, 
and the sentry stands near that tree." * 

The advance guard was led by a brave young offioei; 

a Wilkinson's MemxAfrt^ tol L p. 1911 


Captain William A* Washington, seconded by lientenani 
James Monroe (in after years President of the United 
States). They reoeived orders to dislodge the picket 
Here happened to be stationed the very lieutenant whose 
oensnres of the negligence of Oolonel Bahl we haye just 
quoted. By his own account, he was very near being 
entrapped in the guard-house. His sentries, he says, 
were not alert enough ; and had he not stepped out of 
the picket house himself and discovered the enemy, they 
would have been upon him before his men could scram- 
ble to their arms. '^Der feind! der feindt heraust he- 
rausT' (the enemy! the enemy! turn out! turn out!) was 
now the cry. He at first, he says, made a stand, think- 
ing he had a mere marauding party to deal with; but 
seeing heavy battalions at hand, gave way, and fell back 
upon a company stationed to support the picket; but 
which appears to have been no better prepared against 

By this time the American artillery was unlimbered ; 
Washington kept beside it, and the column proceeded. 
The report of fire-arms told that Snlliyan was at the 
lower end of the town. Colonel Stark led his advance 
guard, and did it in gallant style. The attacks, as con- 
certed, were simultaneous. The outposts were driven in ; 
they retreated, firing from behind houses. The Hessian 
drums beat to arms; the trumpets of the light horse 
sounded the alarm ; the whole place was in an uproar. 
Some of the enemy made a wUd and undirected fire from 

ZJFS OF washobtom: 

the windowB of {heir qnairtan; olhan nuliecl forOi ik 
disorder, and attempted to form in the main street^ while 
dragoons hastily mounted, and galloping aboni^ added 
to the confnsion, Washington adTanoed witii his oolnmn 
to the head of King Street, riding beside Oaptain Forest 
of the artillery. When Forest's battezy of six gons was 
opened the general kept on the left and adTanoed with ii^ 
giying directions to the fire. His position was an ex- 
posed one, and he was repeatedly entreated to fall back; 
bat all snoh entreaties were nselessi when onoe he be- 
oame heated in action. 

The enemy were training a oonple of cannon in ih< 
main street to form a battery, which might haye given 
the Americans a serious check ; but Oaptain Washington 
and Lieutenant Monroe, with a part of the advanced 
guard rushed forward, drove the artillerists from theii 
guns, and took the two pieces when on the point of being 
fired. Both of these officers were wounded ; the captain 
in the wrist, the lieutenant in the shoulder. 

While Washington advanced on the north of the town, 
Sullivan approached on the west, and detached Stark to 
press on the lower or south end of the town. The Brit- 
ish light horse, and about five hundred Hessians and 
chasseurs, had been quartered in the lower part of the 
town. Seeing Washington's column pressing in front, 
and hearing Stark thundering in their rear, they took 
headlong flight by the bridge across the Assunpink, and 
so along the banks of the Delaware toward Oount Do- 


nop's encampment at Bordentown. Had Washington's 
plan been carried into full effdct, their retreat would 
haye been cut off by General Ewing; but that oflScer had 
been preyented from crossing the river by the ice. 

Ciolonel Bahl, according to the account of the lieuten- 
ant who had commanded the picket, completely lost his 
head in the confusion of the surprise. The latter, when 
driyen in by the American advance, found the colonel 
on horseback, endeavoring to rally his panic-stricken 
and disordered men, but himself sorely bewildered. He 
asked the lieutenant what was the force of the assailants. 
The latter answered that he had seen four or five batta^ 
lions in the woods, three of them had fired upon him 
before he had retreated — ^^but," added he, ^* there are 
other troops to the right and left, and the town will soon 
be surrounded." The colonel rode in front of his troops : 
'^Forward! march! advance! advance!" cried he. With 
some difficulty he succeeded in extricating his troops 
from the town, and leading them into an adjacent or- 
chard. Now was the time, writes the lieutenant, for him 
to have pushed for another place, there to make a stipid. 
At this critical moment he might have done so with 
credit, and without loss. The colonel seems to have had 
such an intention. A rapid retreat by the Princeton 
road was apparently in his thoughts ; but he lacked de- 
cision. The idea of flying before the rebels was intoler- 
able. Some one, too, exclaimed at the ruinous loss of 
leaving all their baggage to be plundered by the enemy. 

658 ^^^ OF WASHmGTQJf. 

Changing his mind, he made a rash resolye. ^ All who 
are my grenadiers, forward!" oried he, and went back, 
writes his corporal, like a storm upon the town. '^What 
madness was this ! " writes the critical lieutenant. '' A 
town that was of no use to us ; that but ten or fifteen min- 
utes before he had gladly left; that was now filled with 
three or four thousand enemies, stationed in houses or 
behind walls and hedges, and a battery of six cannon 
planted on the main street. And he to think of retaking 
it with his six or seven hundred men and their bayo- 
nets ! " 

Still he led his grenadiers bravely but rashly on, when, 
in the midst of his career, he received a fatal wound from 
a musket ball, and fell from his horse. His men, left 
without their chief, were struck with dismay ; heedless 
of the orders of the second in command, they retreated 
by the right up the banks of the Assunpink, intending to 
escape to Princeton. Washington saw their design, and 
threw Colonel Hand's corps of Pennsylvania riflemen in 
their way ; while a body of Virginia troops gained their 
left. Brought to a stand, and perfectly bewildered, 
Washington thought they were forming in order of bat- 
tle, and ordered a discharge of canister shot. " Sir, they 
have struck," exclaimed Forest. " Struck I " echoed the 
generaL "Yes, sir, their colors are down." "So thej 
are I " replied Washington, and spurred in that directioni 
followed by Forest and his whole command. The meir 
grounded their arms and surrendered at discretion; "birf 


Iiad not Colonel Bahl been seyerelj wounded,'* remarks 
his loyal corporal, ''we would neyer have been taken 
aUve 1 " 

The skirmiflhing had now ceased in every direction. 
Major Wilkinson, who was with the lower column, was 
sent to the commander-in-chief for orders. He rode up, 
he says, at the moment that Oolonel Bahl, supported by 
a file of sergeants, was presenting his sword. '' On my 
approach," continues he, '' the commander-in-chief took 
me by the hand and observed, ' Major Wilkinson, this is 
a glorious day for our country ! ' his countenance beam- 
ing with complacency ; whilst the unfortunate Bahl, who 
the day before would not have changed fortunes with 
him, now pale, bleeding, and covered with blood, in 
broken accents seemed to implore those attentions which 
the victor was well disposed to bestow on him." 

He was, in fact, conveyed with great care to his quar- 
ters, which were in the house of a kind and respectable 
Quaker family. 

The number of prisoners taken in this affidr was nearly 
one thousand, of which thirty-two were officers. The 
veteran Major von Dechow, who had urged in vain the 
throwing up of breastworks, received a mortal wound, of 
which he died in Trenton. Washington's triumph, how- 
ever, was impaired by the failure of the two simultaneous 
attacks. Greneral Ewing, who was to have crossed before 
day at Trenton Ferry, and taken possession of the bridge 
leading out of the town, over which the light horse and 


Hessians retreated, was preTented by the qnantitjr of io8 
in the river. Oadwalader was hindered by the same 
obstacle. He got part of his troops over, but found it 
impossible to embark his cannon, and was obliged, there- 
fore, to retom to the Pennsylvania side of the river. Had 
he and Ewing crossed, Donop's quarters would have 
been beaten up, and the fugitives from Trenton inter- 

By the failure of this part of his plan, Washington 
had been exposed to the most imminent hazard. The 
force with which he had crossed, twenty-four hundred 
men, raw troops, was not enough to cope with the vet* 
eran garrison, had it been properly on its guard ; and 
then there were the troops under Donop at hand to 
cooperate with it Nothing saved him but the utter 
panic of the enemy ; their want of proper alarm places, 
and their exaggerated idea of his forces : for one of the 
journals before us (the corporars) states that he had 
with him 15,000 men, and another 6,000.* Even now that 
the place was in his possession he dared not linger in ii 
There was a superior force under Donop below him, and 
a strong battalion of infantry at Princeton. His own 
troops were exhausted by the operations of the night and 
morning in cold, rain, snow, and storm. They had to 

* The lieutenant giyes the latter number on the authority of Lord Sta>* 
ling ; but his lordship meant the whole number intended for the thiM 
several attacks. The force that actually crossed with Washingtco wM 
what we have stated. 


gaaxd about a thousand prisoners, taken in action or 
found oonoealed in houses ; there was little prospect of 
(succor, owing to the season and the state of the riyer. 
Washington gave up, therefore, all idea of immediately 
pursuing the enemy or keeping possession of Trenton, 
and determined to recross the Delaware with his pris- 
oners and captured artillery. Understanding that the 
brave but unfortunate Bahl was in a dying state, he paid 
him a visit before leaving Trenton, accompanied by Gen- 
eral Greene. They found him at his quarters in the 
house of a Quaker family. Their visit and the respect- 
ful consideration and unaffected sympathy manifested by 
them, evidently soothed the feelings of the unfortunate 
soldier ; now stripped of his late won laurels, and re- 
signed to die rather than outlive his honor.* 

We have given a somewhat sarcastic portrait of the 
colonel drawn by one of his lieutenants ; another. Lieu- 
tenant Piel, paints with a soberer and more reliable 

" For our whole ill luck," writes he, " we have to thank 
Colonel BahL It never occurred to him that the rebels 
might attack us ; and, therefore, he had taken scarce any 
precautions against such an event. In truth I must con- 
fess we have universally thought too little of the rebels, 
who, until now, have never on any occasion been able to 
withstand us. Our brigadier (Bahl) was too proud to 

* Journal of LimUmani FUL 
TOU JL — 86 

602 ^^^ ^^ 

retiie a step before such an enemy; althon^ noHuiig 
remained for ns but to retreat. 

'^ General Howe had judged this man from a wrong 
point of Tiew, or he would hardly have intrusted such an 
important post as Trenton to him. He was formed for a 
soldier, but not for a general At the capture of Fork 
Washington he had gained much honor while under the 
command of a great general, but he lost all his renown at 
Trenton where he himself was general He had courage 
to dare the hardiest enterprise ; but he alone wanted the 
cool presence of mind necessary in a surprise like that at 
Trenton. His yiyaoilrjr was too great ; one thought crowded 
on another so that he could come to no decision. Oon- 
sidered as a priTate man, he was descrying of high 
regard. He was generous, open-handed, hospitable: 
neyer cringing to his superiors, nor arrogant to his in- 
feriors ; but courteous to alL Eyen his domestics weie 
treated more like friends than seryants." 

The loyal corporal, too, contributes his mite of praise 
to his dying commander. '^ In his last agony,'* writes the 
grateful soldier, '' he yet thought of his grenadiers, and 
entreated General Washington that nothing might be 
taken from them but their arms. A promise was giyen,** 
adds the corporal, '^ and was kepi'* 

Eyen the satirical lieutenant half mourns oyer hia 
memory. '^ He died," says he, " on the following eyen- 
ing, and lies buried in this place which he has rendeted 
so famous, in the grayeyard of the Presbyterian church. 

nracBiPTioN on rahl. 


Sleep well 1 dear Commander ! (thenrer Feldherr). The 
Americans will hereafter set up a stone above thy grave 
with this inscription : — 

••'Hierliegt der Obent Bah]» 
Hit ihm ist ail68 aUl "* 

(Here lies the Colonel Bali^ 
With bim aU is ofoc) 


|HE Hessiaii prisoneTs were oonyeyed aerooB ihe 
Delaware hj Johnson's Ferry, into Pennsyl* 
yania; the private soldiers were mardhed oA 
immediately to Newtown; the officers, iwenfy-ihree in 
number, remained in a small chamber in the Feny House, 
where, according to their own account^ they passed a 
dismal night; sore at heart that their recent triumphs 
at White Plains and Fort Washington should be so sod- 
denly eclipsed. 

On the following morning they were conducted fa> 
Newtown under the escort of Colonel Weedon. His ex- 
terior, writes Lieutenant Piel, spoke but little in his 
&yor, yet he won all our hearts by his kind and friendly 

At Newtown the officers were quartered in inns and 
private houses, the soldiers in the church and jaiL The 
officers paid a visit to Lord Stirling, whom some of them 
had known from his being captured at Long Island. He 
them with great kindness. ** Your general, Yil 


Heistor/* said he, '' treated me like a brother when I was 
a prisoner, and so, gentlemen, will jon be treated by 

** We had scarce seated onrselyes,** continues Lieuten- 
ant Piel, ** when a long, meagre, dark-looking man, whom 
we took for the parson of the place, stepped forth and 
held a discourse in (German, in which he endeayored to 
set forth the justice of the American side in this war. 
He told us he was a Hanoyerian bom ; called the King 
of England nothing but the Elector oi Hanoyer, and 
spoke of him so contemptuously that his garruUlrjr be- 
came intolerable. We answered that we had not come 
to America to inquire which party was in the right; but 
to fight for the king. 

*'Lord Stirling, seeing how little we were edified by 
the preacher, relieyed us from him by proposing to take 
us with him to yisit Oeneral Washington. The latter 
receiyed us yery courteously, though we understood yery 
little of what he said, as he spoke nothing but English, a 
language in which none of us at that time were strongs 
In his aspect shines forth nothing of the great man that 
he is uniyersally considered. His eyes haye scarce any 
fire. There is, howeyer, a smiling expression on his 
countenance when he speaks, that wins affection and 
respect He inyited four of our officers to dine with him ; 
the rest dined with Lord Stirling.'* One of those who 
dined with the commander-in-chief, was the satirical 
lieutenant whom we haye so often quoted, and who was 


stationed at the picket on the morning of the attack 
fiowever disparagingly he may have thought of his niK* 
fortunate commander, he evidently had a yery good opin- 
ion of himseli 

*' (General Washington," writes he in his journal, '^ did 
me the honor to converse a good deal with me concerning 
ihe unfortunate afiEiedr. I told him freely my opinion that 
our dispositions had been bad, otherwise we should not 
haye fallen into his hands. He asked me if I oould have 
made better dispositions, and in what manner ? I told 
him yes ; stated all the faults of our arrangements, and 
showed him how I would haye done; and would have 
managed to come out of the aflTair with honor.*' 

We have no doubt, from the specimens furnished in 
the Ueutenant's journal, that he went largely into his own 
merits and achiLments, and the demerite and short- 
comings of his luckless commander. Washington, he 
added, not only applauded his exposition of what he 
would haye done, but made him a eulogy thereupon, and 
upon his watchfulness and the defense he had made with 
his handful of men when his picket was attacked. Yet 
according to his own account, in his journal, with all his 
watchfulness, he came near being caught napping. 

** General Washington," continues he, " is a courteous 
and polite man, but yery cautious and reserved; talks 
little; and has a crafty (listige) physiognomy." We 
surmise the lieutenant had the most of the talk on that 
oooasiou. and that the crafty or sly expression in Wash* 

TSE HEaaiAN PmaOUfBRB. 667 

ington's physiognomy may haye been a Inrking but 8np« 
pressed smile, provoked by the lieutenant's self-landation 
and wordiness. 

The Hessian prisoners were subsequently transferred 
from place to place, until they reached Winchester in 
the interior of Yi:^ginia. Wherever they arrived, people 
thronged from far and near to see these terrible beings 
of whom they had received such formidable accounts; 
and were surprised and disappointed to find them look- 
ing like other men. At first they had to endure the 
hootings and revilings of the multitude, for having hired 
themselves out to the trade of blood ; and they especially 
speak of the scoldings they received from old women in 
the villages, who upbraided them for coming to rob them 
of their liberty. '* At length,'* writes the corporal in his 
journal, ** (General Washington had written notices put up 
in town and country, that we were innocent of this war 
and had joined in it not of our free will, but through 
compulsion. We should, therefore, be treated not as 
enemies, but friends. From this time," adds he, '' things 
went better with us. Every day came many out of the 
towns, old and young, rich and poor, and brought us 
provisions, and treated us with kindness and humanity/' * 

^Tagebuoh dee Oorponb Jdhannes Beober.— MBL 



jHEKE was a kind of episode in the affidr at 
Trenton. Colonel Griffin, who had thrown him- 
self previously into the Jerseys with his de- 
tachment of Pennsylvania militia, found himself throngli 
indisposition and the scanty number of his troops, un- 
able to render efficient service in the proposed attacL 
He sent word to Cadwalader, therefore, that he should 
probably render him more real aid by making a demon- 
stration in front of Donop, and drawing him off so far 
into the interior as to be out of the way of rendering 
support to Oolonel Bahl. 

He accordingly presented himself in sight of Donop'a 
cantonment on the 25th of December, and succeeded in 
drawing him out with nearly his whole force of two 
thousand men. He then retired slowly before him, 
skirmishing, but avoiding anything like an action, 
until he had lured him as far as Mount Holly; when 



he lefc itija^ to find his way back to his post at his 

The oanncjiade of Washington's attack in Trenton on 
the morning of the 26th, was distinctly heard at Cadwala- 
der's camp at Bristol Imperfect tidings of the result 
reached there about eleyen o'clock, and produced the 
highest exultation and excitement Cadwalader made 
another attempt to cross the river and join Washington, 
whom he supposed to be still in the Jerseys, following 
up the blow he had struck. He could not effect the pas- 
sage of the river with the most of the troops, until mid- 
day of the 27th, when he received from Washington a 
detailed account of his success, and of his having re- 
erossed into Pennsylvania. 

Oadwalader was now in a dilemma. Donop, he pre- 
sumed, was still at Mount Holly, whither Grifl^ had de- 
coyed him ; but he might soon march back. His forces 
were equal, if not superior in number to his own, and 
veterans instead of raw militia. But then there was the 
glory of rivaling the exploit at Trenton, and the impor- 
tance of following out the effort for the relief of the Jer- 
seys, and the salvation of Philadelphia. Besides, Wash- 
ington, in all probability, after disposing of his prisoners, 
had again crossed into the Jerseys and might be acting 

Eeed relieved Cadwalader from his dilemma, by pro- 
posing that they should push on to Burlington, and there 
determine, according to intelligence, whether to proceed 


to Bordentown or Mount Holly. The plan was adopfei 
There was an alarm that the Hessian yagers larked in i 
neighboring wood. Beed, accompanied by two offioersi 
rode in advance to reconnoiter. He sent word to Cad- 
walader that it was a £alse alarm, and the latter took up 
his line of march. 

Beed and his companions spnrred on to reoonnoiter 
the enemy's outposts, about four miles from Bnrlingfam, 
but pulled up at the place where the picket was usnallj 
stationed. There was no smoke, nor any sign of a human 
being. They rode up and found the place deserted. 
From the country people in the neighborhood they re- 
ceived an explanation. Oount Donop had returned to 
his post from the pursuit of Griffin, only in time to hear 
of the disaster at Trenton. He immediately began a 
retreat in the utmost panic and confusion, calling in his 
guards and parties as he hurried forward. The troops 
in the neighborhood of Burlington had decamped pre« 
cipitately the preceding evening. 

Colonel Beed sent back intelligence of this to Cadwala- 
der, and still pushed on with his companions. As they 
rode along, they observed the inhabitants pulling down 
red rags which had been nailed to their doors; toiy 
signs to insure good-will from the British. Arrived at 
Bordentown not an enemy was to be seen ; the fugitives 
from Trenton had spread a panic on the 26th, and the 
Hessians and their refugee adherents had fled in confa** 
aion, leaving their sick behind them. The broken and 

EBBD AT TBEirrOIf. 671 

Iiaggard looks of the inhabitants showed what they had 
suffered dnring the Hessian occupation. One of Heed's 
companions retnmed to Cadwalader, who had halted at 
^nrlington, and advised him to proceed. 

C^walader wrote in the night to Washington, inform- 
ing him of his whereabouts, and that he should march 
for Bordentown in the morning. ** If jou should think 
proper to cross oyer," added he, '4t may easily be 
e£kcted at the place where we passed ; a pursuit would 
keep up the panic. They went off with great precipita- 
tion, and pressed all the wagons in their reach ; I am 
told many of them are gone to South Amboy. If we can 
driye them from West Jersey, the success will raise an 
army next spring, and establish the credit of the conti- 
nental money to support ii" 

There was another letter from Oadwalader, dated on 
the following day, from Bordentown. He had eighteen 
hundred men with him. Five hundred more were on the 
way to join hiuL General Mifflin, too, had sent over fiye 
hundred from Philadelphia, and three hundred from Bur- 
lington, and was to follow with seven or eight hundred 

Colonel Beed, too, wrote from Trenton on the 28th. 
He had found that place without a single soldier of 
either army, and in a still more wretched condition 
than Bordentown. He urged Washington to recross 
the river, and pursue the advantages abeady gained 
Ponop might be overtaken before he could reach 


Princeton or Brunswick, where the enemy were yet in 

Washington needed no prompting of the kind. B&nt 
upon following up his blow, he had barely allowed his 
troops a day or two to recover from recent exposure and 
fatigue, that they might have strength and spirit to pur< 
sue the retreating enemy, beat up other of their quarters, 
and entirely reverse affairs in the Jerseys. In this spirit 
he had written to Oenerals McDougall and Maxwell at 
Morristown, to collect as large a body of militia as xk>8- 
sible, and harass the enemy in flank and rear. Heath, 
also, had been ordered to abandon the Highlands, which 
there was no need of guarding at this season of the year, 
and hasten down with the eastern militia, as rapidly as 
possible, by the way of Hackensack, continuing on until 
he should send him further orders. " A fair opportunity 
is offered," said he, " of driving the enemy entirely from 
the Jerseys, or at least to the extremity of the province." 

Men of influence also were despatched by him into 
different parts of the Jerseys, to spirit up the militia to 
revenge the oppression, the ravage, and insults they had 
experienced from the enemy, especially from the Hes- 
sians. " If what they have suffiered," said he, " does not 
rouse their resentment, they must not possess the feelings 
<vf humanity." 

On the 29th his troops began to cross the river, h 

* Life and Carreapondence of Pres, Reedy vol. L p. 981. 


would be a slow and difficult operation, owing to the ioe ; 
two parties of light troops, therefore, were detached in 
advance, whom Colonel Beed was to send in pursuit of 
the enemy. They marched into Trenton about two 
o'clock, and were immediately put on the traces of Do- 
nop, to hang on his rear and harass him until other 
troops should come up. Cadwalader also detached a 
party of riflemen from Bordentown with like orders. Do- 
nop, in retreating, had divided his force, sending one 
part by a cross-road to Princetown, and hurrying on 
with the remainder to Brunswick. Notwithstanding the 
fieverity of the weather, and the wretchedness of the 
road, it was a service of animation and delight to the 
American troops to hunt back these Hessians through 
the country they had recently outraged, and over ground 
which they themselves had trodden so painfully and de- 
spondingly in their retreat. In one instance the riflemen 
surprised and captured a party of refugees who lingered 
in the rear-guard, among whom were several newly-made 
officers. Never was there a more sudden reversal in the 
game of war than this retreat of the heavy (German veter- 
ans, harassed by light parties of a raw militia, which 
they so lately had driven like chaff before them. 

While this was going on, Washington was effecting the 
passage of his main force to Trenton. He himself had 
crossed on the 29th of December, but it took two days 
more to get the troops and artillery over the icy river, 
and that with great labor and difficulty. And now cama 


a perplexity. With the year expired the term of seyeral 
regiments, which had seen most service, and become in« 
nred to danger. Knowing how indispensable were such 
troops to lead on those which were raw and nndisci- 
plined, Washington had them paraded and invited 
to reenlisi It was a difficult task to persuade them. 
They were haggard with fatigue, and hardship, and pri- 
vation of every kind ; and their hearts yearned for home. 
By the persuasions of their officers, however, and a bounty 
of ten dollars, the greater proportion of those from the 
eastward were induced to remain six weeks longer. 

Hard money was necessary in this emei^ncy. How 
was it to be furnished ? The military chest was incom- 
petent On the 30th, Washington wrote by express to 
Bobert Morris, the patriot financier at Philadelphia, 
whom he knew to be eager that the blow should be fol- 
lowed up. *' If you could possibly collect a sum, if it 
were but one hundred, or one hundred and fifty pounds, 
it would be of service." 

Morris received the letter in the evening. He was at 
his wit*s end to raise the sum, for hard money was 
scarce. Fortunately a wealthy Quaker in this moment of 
exigency supplied the "sinews of war,** and early the 
next morning the money was forwarded by the express. 

At this critical moment, too, Washington received a 
letter from a committee of Oongress, transmitting him re- 
solves of that body dated the 27th of December, investing 
him with military powers quite dictatorial " Happy ii 



it for this conntrj/' write the committee, '^ that the gen« 
eral of their foroes can safely be intrusted with the most 
unlimited power, and neither personal security, liberty, 
or property, be in the least degree endangered thereby." * 
Washington's acknowledgment of this great mark of con« 
fidence was noble and characteristic ** I find Oongress 
hare done me the honor to intrust me with powers, in my 
military capaciiy, of the highest nature and almost un« 
limited extent Instead of <;liiii1riTig myself freed from all 
dvil obligations by this mark of their confidence, I shall 
constantly bear in mind that, as the sword was the last 
resort for the preservation of our liberties, so it ought to 
be the first thing laid aside when those liberties are 
firmly established." 

• Am. ArcMvn, 6th Series fH ISlfll 



SNEBAL HOWE was taking his ease in winter 
qnarters at New York, waiting for the frees- 
ing of the Delaware to pursue his triumphant 
march to Philadelphia, when tidings were brought him 
of the surprise and capture of the Hessians at TrentoiL 
''That three old established regiments of a people 
who made war their profession, should lay down their 
arms to a ragged and tmdisciplined militia^ and that 
with scarcely any loss on either side," was a matter of 
amazement He instantly stopped Lord Comwallis, who 
was on the point of embarking for England, and sent 
him back in all haste to resume the command in the 
The ice in the Delaware impeded the crossing of the 


American troops, and gave the British time to draw in 
their scattered cantonments and assemble their whole 
force at Princeton. While his troops were yet crossing, 
Washington sent ont Colonel Beed to reconnoiter the' 
position and movements of the enemy and obtain infor- 
mation. Six of the Philadelphia light horse, spirited 
young fellows, but who had never seen service, volun- 
teered to accompany Beed. They patrolled the country 
to the very vicinity of Princeton, but oould collect no 
information from the inhabitants; who were harassed, 
terrified, and bewildered by the ravaging marches to and 
fro of friend and enemy. 

Emerging from a wood almost within view of Prince- 
ion, they caught sight, from a rising ground, of two or 
three red-coats passing from time to time from a bam 
to a dwelling-house. Here must be an outposi Keep- 
ing the bam in a line with the house so as to cover 
their approach, they dashed up to the latter without 
being discovered, and surrounded ii Twelve British 
dragoons were within, who, though well armed, were 
80 panic-stricken that they surrendered without mak- 
ing defense. A commissary, also, was taken; the ser- 
geant of the dragoons alone escaped. Oolonel Beed 
and his six cavaliers returned in triumph to head- 
quarters. Important information was obtained from 
their prisoners. Lord Oomwallis had joined (General 
Grant the day before at Princeton, with a reinforcement 
of chosen troops. They had now seven or eight thou- 

578 bill's O^ WABBISeTOa, 

Bftnd men, and were pressing wagons tat & marsh npai 

Oadwalader, stationed at Orosswioks, aboni seven milei 
distant, between Bordentown and Trenton, sent inteDi- 
genoe to the same purport, received by him from a yavag 
gentleman who had escaped from Prinoeton. 

Word, too, was brought from other qoaiters, that Gen- 
eral Howe was on the march with a thousand light troops 
with which he had landed at Amboy. 

The situation of Washington was growing critioaL The 
enemy were beginning to advance their large piokete 
towards Trenton. Everything indicated an approadiii^ 
attack. The force with him was small ; to retreat acioes 
the river wonld destroy the dawn of hope awakened is 
the bosoms of the Jersey militia by the late exploit ; bnt 
to make a stand without reinforcements was impoarabl& 
In this emergency, he called to his aid Qeneral Cadwala- 
der from Crosewioks, and Qeneral Mifflin from Borden- 
town, with their collective forces, amounting to about 
three thousand six hundred men. He did it with re- 
luctance, for it seemed like involving them in the com- 
mon danger ; bnt the exigency of the case admitted of 
no alternative. They promptly answered to his call, 
and marching in the nighty joined him on the Ist of 

WaahingtoQ ohose a positioQ for his main body on thi 

•£<ft nfBMd. L tta. 


Met side of the Assonpink. There was a narrow stone 
bridge across it, where the water was very deep — the 
same bridge over whioh part of Bahl's brigade had es- 
caped in the recent affair. He planted his artillery so as 
to conunand the bridge and the fords. His advance 
guard was stationed about three miles off in a wood, hav- 
ing in front a stream called Shabbakong Oreek. 

Early on the morning of the 2^^ came certain word 
that Comwallis was approaching with all his force. 
Strong parties were sent out under General Greene, who 
skirmished with the enemy and harassed them in their 
advance. By twelve o'clock they reached the Shabba- 
kong, and halted for a time on its northern bank Then 
crossing it, and moving forward with rapidity, they drove 
the advance guard out of the woods, and pushed on until 
they reached a high ground near the town. Here Hand's 
corps of several battalions was drawn up, and held them 
for a time in check. All the parties in advance ulti- 
mately retreated to the main body, on the east side of 
the Assunpink, and found some difficulty in crowding 
across the narrow bridge. 

From all these checks and delays, it was nearly sun- 
set before Comwallis with the head of his army entered 
Trenton* His rear-guard under General Leslie rested at 
Maiden Head, about six miles distant, and nearly half 
way between Trenton and Princeton. Forming his troops 
into columns, he now made repeated attempts to cross the 
Assunpink at the bridge and the fords, but was as often 


xepnlsed by the artdlleiy. For a part of the time Wash- 
ington, mounted on a white horse, stationed himself at 
the south end of the bridge, issuing his orders. Each 
time the enemy was repulsed there was a shout along 
the American lines. At length they drew o£^ came to a 
halt, and lighted their camp firea The Americans did 
the same, using the neighboring fences for the purpose. 
Sir William Erskine, who was with Comwallis, urged 
him, it is said, to attack Washington that evening in his 
camp; but his lordship declined; he felt sure of the 
game which had so often escaped him ; he had at length, 
he thought, got Washington into a situation from which 
he could not escape, but where he might make a des- 
perate stand, and he was willing to give his wearied 
troops a night's repose to prepare them for the dosiiig 
struggle. He would be sure, he said^ to *'bag the ton 
in the morning." 

A cannonade was kept up on both sides until dark ; 
but with little damage to the Americans. When night 
closed in, the two camps lay in sight of each other's fires, 
ruminating the bloody action of the following day. It 
was the most gloomy and anxious night that had jet 
closed in on the American army, throughout its series of 
perils and disasters ; for there was no concealing the 
impending danger. But what must have been the feelings 
of the commander-in-chie( as he anxiously patrolled his 
camp, and considered his desperate position ? A small 
stream, fordable in several places, was all that separated 


raw, inexperienced army, from an enemy vastly 8ape« 
nor in numbers and discipline, and stong to action by 
the mortification of a late defeat A general action with 
them mnst be minoas ; but how was he to retreat ? 
Behind him was the Delaware, impassable from floating 
ice. Granting even (a thing not to be hoi>ed) that a 
retreat across it could be effected, the consequences 
wonld be equally fatal The Jerseys would be left in 
possession of the enemy, endangering the immediate cap» 
ture of Philadelphia^ and flinlring the public mind into 

In this darkest of moments a gleam of hope flashed 
upon his mind : a bold expedient suggested itseli Al« 
most the whole of the enemy's force must by this time 
be drawn out of Princeton, and advancing by detach* 
ments toward Trenton, while their baggage and principal 
stores must remain weakly guarded at Brunswick. Was 
it not possible by a rapid night-march along the Quaker 
road, a different road from that on which (General Leslie 
with the rear-guard was resting, to get past that force 
undiscovered, come by surprise upon those left at Prince* 
ton, capture or destroy what stores were left there, and 
then push on to Brunswick ? This would save the army 
from being cut off; would avoid the appearance of a 
defeat ; and might draw the enemy away from Trenton, 
whfle some fortunate stroke might give additional repu* 
tation to the American arms. Even should the enemy 
march on to Philadelphia^ it could not in any case bo 


prevented ; while a oonnter-blow in the Jerae js would lit 
of great oonsolation. 

Snoh was the plan which Washington reyolved in his 
mind on the gloomy banks of the Assnnpink, and which 
he laid before his officers in a council of war, held after 
nightfall, at the quarters of General Mercer. It met with 
instant concurrence, being of that hardy, adventuroufl^ 
kind, which seems congenial with the American ohaa^ 
acter. One formidable difficulty presented itself. The 
weather was unusually mild ; there was a thaw, by which 
the roads might be rendered deep and miry, and ahnost 
impassable. Fortunately, or rather proyidentially, as 
Washington was prone to consider it, the wind veered to 
the north in the course of the evening ; the weather be- 
came intensely cold, and in two hours the roads were 
once more hard and frost-bound. In the meantime, the 
ba^age of the army was silently removed to Burlington, 
and every other preparation was made for a rapid march 
To deceive the enemy, men were employed to dig trenches 
near the bridge within hearing of the British sentries, 
with orders to continue noisily at work until daybreak ; 
others were to go the rounds; relieve guards at the 
bridge and fords ; keep up the camp fires, and maintain 
all the appearance of a regular encampment. At day- 
break they were to hasten after the army. 

In the dead of the night, the army drew quietly out of 
the encampment and began its march. General Mercer, 
mounted on a favorite gray horse, was in the advance 


vitli the remnant of his flying camp^ now bat about thiee 
hundred and fifty men, principally reUca of the brave 
Delaware and Maryland regiments, with some of the 
Pennsylvania militia. Among the latter were youths be* 
longing to the best families in Philadelphia^ The main 
body followed, under Washington's immediate ^fw»^yn^ii<l^ 

The Quaker road was a complete roundabout, joining 
the main road about two miles from Princeton, where 
Washington expected to arrive before daybreak. The 
road, however, was new and rugged ; cut through woods, 
where the stamps of trees broke the wheels of some of the 
baggage trains, and retarded the march of the troops ; so 
that it was near sunrise of a bright, frosty morning, when 
Washington reached the bridge over Stony Brook, about 
three miles frcmi Princeton. After crossing the bridge, 
he led his troops along the bank of the brook to the edge 
of a wood, where a by-road led off on the right through 
low grounds, and was said by the guides to be a short 
imt to Princeton, and less exposed to view. By this road 
Washington defiled with the main body, ordering Mercer 
to continue along the brook with his brigade, until he 
should arrive at the main road, where he was to secure, 
and if possible destroy, a bridge over which it passes ; so 
as to intercept any fugitives from Princeton, and check 
any retrograde movements of the British troops which 
Slight have advanced towards Trenton. 

Hitherto the movements of the Americans had been 
undiscovered by the enemy. Three regiments of the lat* 

584 -2^^^ ^^ WABEmQTOm 

ter, the 17ih, 4Dth, and 66th, with three troops of dragoon^ 
had been quartered all night in Prinoeton, under march- 
ing orders to join Lord Oomwallis in the morning* The 
17th regiment under Oolonel Mawhood, was alreadj on 
the march ; the 65th regiment was preparing to foUow, 
Mawhood had crossed the bridge by which the old oi 
main road to Trenton passes over Stony Brook, and was 
proceeding through a wood beyond, when, as he attained 
the summit of a hill about sunrise, the ^ttering of armi 
betrayed to him the movement of Mercer's troops to the 
lefty who were filing along the Quaker road to secure the 
bridge, as they had been ordered 

The woods prevented him from seeing their number. 
He supposed them to be some broken portion of the 
American army flying before Lord Comwallis. With 
this idea, he faced about and made a retrograde moye- 
ment, to intercept them or hold them in check ; while 
messengers spurred off at all speed, to hasten forward 
the regiments still lingering at Princeton, so as com- 
pletely to surround them. 

The woods concealed him until he had recrossed the 
bridge of Stony Brook, when he came in full sight of the 
van of Mercer's brigade. Both parties pushed to get 
possession of a rising ground on the right near the house 
of a Mr. Clark, of the peaceful Society of Friends. The 
Americans being nearest, reached it first, and formed be- 
hind a hedge fence which extended along a slope in front 
of the house; whence being chiefly armed with riflefl^ 


tiiej opened a destmotive fire. It was retnmed with 
great spirit by the enemj. At the first discharge Mercer 
was dismounted, ^' his gallant gray " being crippled by a 
musket ball in the leg. One of his colonels, also, was 
mortally wounded and carried to the rear. Ayailing 
ihemselyes of the confusion thus occasioned, the British 
charged with the bayonet ; the American riflemen, having 
no weapon of the kind, were thrown into disorder and 
retreated. Mercer, who was on foot, endeavored to rally 
them, when a blow from the butt end of a musket felled 
him to the ground. He rose and defended himself with 
his sword, but was surrounded, bayoneted repeatedly, 
and left for dead. 

Mawhood pursued the broken and retreating troops to 
the brow of the rising ground, on which Clark's house 
was situated, when he beheld a large force emerging from 
a wood and advancing to the rescue. It was a body of 
Pennsylvania militia^ which Washington, on hearing the 
firing, had detached to the support of Mercer. Maw- 
hood instantly ceased pursuit, drew up his artillery, and 
by a heavy discharge brought the militia to a stand. 

At this moment Washington himself arrived at the 
scene of action, having galloped from the by-road in 
advance of his troops. From a rising ground he beheld 
Mercer's troops retreating in confusion, and th6 detach- 
ment of militia checked by Mawhood's artillery. JlSvery-^ 
thing was at periL Putting spurs to his horse, he dashed 
past the hesitating militia, waving his hat and cheering 


them on. His oommanding figure and wHie liorse mad« 
him a oonspicnons object for the enemy's marksmen, but 
he heeded it not GkJloping forward nnder the fire of 
Mawhood's battery, he called npon Meroer^s broken bri- 
gade. The Pennsylvanians rallied at the sound of his 
voice, and oanght fire from his example. At the same 
time the 7th Virginia regiment emerged from the wood, 
and moved forward with loud cheers, while a fire of 
grapeshot was opened by Oaptain Moidder of the Ameri- 
can artillery, from the brow of a ridge to the south. 

Ck>lonel Mawhood, who a moment before had thought 
his triumph secure, found himself assailed on every side, 
and separated from the other British regiments. He 
fought, however, with great bravery, and for a short time 
the action was desperate. Washington was in the midst 
of it ; equally endangered by the random fire of his own 
men, and the artillery and musketry of the enemy. Wb 
aide-de-camp, Colonel Fitzgerald, a young and ardent 
Irishman, losing sight of him in the heat of the fight 
when enveloped in dust and smoke, dropped the bridle 
on the neck of his horse and drew his hat over his eyes, 
giving him up for lost When he saw him, however, emerge 
from the cloud, waving his hat, and beheld the enemy 
giving way, he spurred up to his side. ** Thank God,** 
said he, " your Excellency is safe I " " Away, my dear 
colonel, and bring up the troops,** was the reply ; ** the 
day is our own ! " It was one of those occasions in 
the latent fire of Washizigton*s character blazed forth. 


Mawhood^ by ihis tiine, had forced his way, at the 
point of the bayonet, through gathering foes, thongh 
with heayy loss, back to the main road, and was in foil 
retreat towards Trenton to join Ck>mwallis. Washington 
detached Major Kelly with a party of PennsylTani» 
troops, to destroy the bridge at Stony Brook, over which 
Slawhood had retreated, so as to impede the advance of 
General Leslie from Maiden Head. 

In the meantime the 66th regiment, which had been 
on the left and nearer Princeton, had been encountered 
by the American advance gnard under General Si Clair, 
and after some sharp %hting in a ravine had given way, 
and was retreating across fields and along a by-road to 
Brunswick. The remaining regiment, the 40th, had not 
been able to come up in time for the action; a part of it 
fled toward Brunswick; the residue took refuge in the 
college at Princeton, recently occupied by them as bar* 
racks. Artillery was now brought to bear on the college, 
and a few shot compelled those within to surrender. 

In this brief but brilliant action, about one hundred of 
the British were left dead on the field, and nearly three 
hundred taken prisoners, fourteen of whom were officers. 
Among the slain was Captain Leslie, son of the Earl of 
Leven. His death was greatly lamented by his captured 

The loss of the Americans was about twenty-five or 
thirty men and several officers. Among the latter was 
Colonel Haslet, who had distinguished himself through- 

088 LiFB OF wAsmnrQTOjar. 

out the campaign, by being among the foremost in 86^ 
vices of danger. He was indeed a gallant officer, and 
gallantly seconded by his Delaware troops. 

A greater loss was that of General Mercer. He was 
said to be either dead or dying, in the honse of M& 
Clark, whither he had been conveyed by his aide-de- 
camp, Major Armstrong, who found him, after the retreat 
of Mawhood's troops, lying on the field gashed with sev« 
eral wounds, and insensible from cold and loss of blood. 
Washington would have ridden back from Princeton to 
visit him, and have him conveyed to a place of greater 
security ; but was assured, that, if alive, he was too des- 
perately wounded to bear removal ; in the meantime he 
was in good hands, being faithfully attended to by his 
aide-de-camp. Major Armstrong, and treated with the 
utmost care and kindness by Mr. 01ark*s family.* 

Under these circumstances Washington felt compelled 
to leave his old companion in arms to his fate. Indeed, 
he was called away by the exigencies of his command, 
having to pursue the routed regiments which were mak- 
ing a headlong retreat to Brunswick. In this pursuit he 
took the lead at the head of a detachment of cavaliy. 
At Kingston, however, three miles to the northeast of 
Princeton, he pulled up, restrained his ardor, and held 
a council of war on horseback. Should he keep on to 
Brunswick or not? The capture of the British store! 

* See Washington to Colonel Beed, Jan. 15. 


and ba^age would make his trimnpli complete ; but, on 
the other hand, his troops were excessively &itigaed by 
their rapid march all night and hard fight in the morn- 
ing. All of them had been one night without sleep, and 
some of them two, and many were half-starved. They 
were without blankets, thinly clad, some of them bar» 
footed, and this in freezing weather. Ck>mwallis would 
be upon them before they could reach Brunswick. His 
rear-guard, under General Leslie, had been quartered 
but six miles from Princeton, and the retreating troops 
must have roused them. Under these considerations, it 
was determined to discontinue the pursuit and push for 
Morristown. There they would be in a mountainous 
country, heavily wooded, in an abundant neighborhood, 
and on the flank of the enemy, with various defiles by 
which they might change their position according to his 

Filing off to the left, therefore, from Kingston, and 
breaking down the bridges behind him, Washington 
took the narrow road by Bocky Hill to Pluckamin. His 
troops were so exhausted, that many in the course of the 
march would lie down in the woods on the frozen ground 
and fall asleep, and were with difficulty roused and 
cheered forward. At Pluckamin he halted for a time, to 
allow them a little repose and refreshment. While they 
are taking breath we will cast our eyes back to the camp 
of Comwallis, to see what was the effect upon him of this 
masterly movement of Washington. His lordship had 

090 ^^^ OF WASHnroTOJsr. 

retired to rest at Trenton with the Bportsman's Tanni 
that he wonld '^bag the fox in the morning.*' Nothing 
ooidd surpass his surprise and chagrin when at daybreak 
the expiring watchfires and deserted camp of the Ameri- 
eans told him that the prize had once more evaded his 
grasp ; that the general whose military skill he had de« 
eried had ontgeneralled him. 

For a time he conld not learn whither the army, which 
had stolen away so silently, had directed its stealthy 
march. By sunrise, however, there was the booming of 
cannon, like the rumbling of distant thunder, in the di- 
rection of Princeton. The idea flashed upon him that 
Washington had not merely escaped, but was about to 
make a dash at the British magazines at BrunswicL 
Alarmed for the safety of his military stores, his lord- 
ship forthwith broke up his camp, and made a rapid 
march towards Princeton. As he arrived in sight of the 
bridge over Stony Brook, he beheld Major Kelly and his 
party busy in its destruction. A distant discharge of 
round shot from his field-pieces drove them away, bnt 
the bridge was already broken. It would take time to 
repair it for the passage of the artillery ; so Comwallifl 
in his impatience urged his troops breast-high through 
the turbulent and icy stream, and again pushed forward. 
He was brought to a stand by the discharge of a thirty- 
two pounder from a distant breastwork. Supposing the 
Americans to be there in force, and prepared to make 
resistance, he sent out some horsemen to reconnoitei) 


and adyanoed to stonn the battery. There was no one 
there. The thirty-two pounder had been left behind hj 
the Americans, as too nnwieldy, and a match had been 
applied to it by some lingerer of Washington's rearw 

Without further delay Oomwallis hurried forward, 
eager to save his magazines. Grossing the bridge at 
Eingston, he kept on along the Brunswick road, suppos-^ 
ing Washington still before him. The latter had got far 
in the advance, during the delays caused by the broken 
bridge at Stony Brook, and the discharge of the thirty- 
two pounder ; and the alteration of his course at King- 
ston had carried him completely out of the way of 
Comwallis. His lordship reached Brunswick towards 
evening, and endeavored to console himself by the safety 
of the military stores, for being so completely foiled and 

Washington, in the meantime, was all on the alert; 
the lion part of his nature was aroused ; and while his 
weary troops were in a manner panting upon the ground 
around him, he was despatching missives and calling out 
aid to enable him to follow up his successes. In a letter 
to Putnam, written from Pluckamin during the halt, he 
says : ** The enemy appear to be panic-struck. I am in 
hopes of driving them out of the Jerseys. March the 
troops under your command to Orosswicks, and keep a 
strict watch upon the enemy in this quarter. Keep as 
many spies out as you think proper. A number of horse- 

692 ^^^ ^^ WASffmGTOX, 

men in the dress of the country mnst be kept 0QU8faai% 
going backwards and forwards for this purpose. If yoa 
discover any motion of the enemy of consequenoe, let me 
be informed thereof as soon as possible, by expross." 

To (General Heath, also, who was stationed in the 
Highlands of the Hudson, he wrote at the same harried 
moment. ** The enemy are in great consternation ; and 
as the panic affords us a favorable opportunity to drive 
them out of the Jerseys, it has been determined in oo«m- 
cil that you shoidd move down towards New York with 
a considerable force, as if you had a design upon the city. 
That being an object of great importance, the enemy will 
be reduced to the necessity of withdrawing a considerable 
part of their force from the Jerseys^ if not the whole, to 
secure the city." 

These letters despatched, he continued forward to 
Morristown, where at length he came to a halt from his 
incessant and harassing marchings. There he learnt 
that General Mercer was still alive. He immediately 
sent his own nephew, Major George Lewis, under the 
protection of a flag, to attend upon him. Mercer had 
indeed been kindly nursed by a daughter of Mr. Clark 
and a negro woman, who had not been frightened from 
their home by the storm of battle which raged around ii 
At the time that the troops of Oomwallis approached, 
Major Armstrong was binding up Mercer's wounds. The 
latter insisted on his leaving him in the kind hands of 
Mr. Clark's household, and rejoining the army. Lewis 


Connd him langnishiiig in great pain; he had been 
treated with respect by the enemy, and great tendemesa 
by the benevolent &imily who had sheltered him. He 
expired in the arms of Major Lewis on the 12th of Jan- 
nary, in the fifty-sixth year of his age. Dr. Benjamin 
Bush, afterwards celebrated as a physician, was with 
him when he died. 

He was upright, intelligent, and brave ; esteemed as a 
soldier and beloved as a man, and by none more so than 
by Washington. His career as a general had been brief; 
but long enough to secure him a lasting renown. His name 
remains one of the consecrated names of the Bevolution, 

From Morristown, Washington again wrote to General 
Heath, repeating his former orders. To Major-general 
Lincoln, also, who was just arrived at Peekskill, and had 
command of the Massachusetts militia, he writes on tha 
7th, ** General Heath will communicate mine of this date 
to you, by which you will find that the greater part ol 
your troops are to move down towards New York, to 
draw the attention of the enemy to that quarter ; and if 
they do not throw a considerable body back again, you 
may, in all probability, carry the city, or at least block"^ 
ade them in it. . • • • Be as expeditious as possible 
in moving forward, for the sooner a panic-struck enemy 
is followed the better. If we can oblige them to evacuate 
the Jerseys, we must drive them to the utmost distress ; 
for they have depended upon the supplies from that 
State for their winter's support" 

TOL. n.— ^ 


Oolonel Beed was ordered to send out rangers and 
bodies of militia to scour the country, waylay foragiiig 
parties, cut off supplies, and keep the cantonments of 
the enemy in a state of si^e. ^'I woidd not suffer a 
man to stir beyond their Unes,'* writes Washington, "nor 
suffer them to have the least oommimication with the 

The expedition under General Heath toward New 
York, from which much had been anticipated by Wash- 
ington, proved a &dlure. It mored in three divisioiUi 
by different routes, but all arriving nearly at the same 
time at the enemy's outpost at King's Bridge. There 
was some skirmishing, but the great feature of the expe- 
dition was a pompous and peremptory summons of Fort 
Independence to surrender. '^Tweniy minutes only can 
be allowed," said Heath, " for the garrison to give their 
answer, and, should it be in the negative, they must 
abide the consequences." The garrison made no answer 
but an occasional cannonade. Heath failed to follow np 
his summons by corresponding deeds. He hovered and 
skirmished for some days about the outposts and Spjt 
den Diiivel Greek, and then retired before a threatened 
snow-storm, and the report of an enemy's fleet from 
Bhode Island, with troops under Lord Percy, who might 
land in Westchester, and take the besieging force in 

Washington, while he spoke of Heath's failure with in- 
4ulgence in his despatches to government, could not but 


give him a rebuke in a priyate letter. ^' Your summonay** 
writes he, *^ as yon did not attempt to fulfill your threats, 
was not only idle, but farcical ; and will not fail of turn- 
ing the laugh exceedingly upon us. These things I 
mention to you as a friendi for you will perceive they 
have composed no part of my public letter/' 

But though disappointed in this part of his plan^ 
Washington, having received reinforcements of Tnili^ni^ 
continued, with his scanty army, to carry on his system 
of annoyance. The situation of Oomwallis, who but a 
short time before traversed the Jerseys so triumphantly, 
became daily more and more irksome. Spies were in his 
camp, to give notice of every movement^ and foes without 
to take advantage of it ; so that not a foraging party could 
sally forth without being waylaid. By degrees he drew 
in his troops which were posted about the country, and 
collected them at New Brunswick and Amboy, so as to 
have a communication by water with New York, whence 
he was now compelled to draw nearly all his supplies ; 
** presenting," to use the words of Hamilton, ** the extra- 
ordinary spectacle of a powerful army, straitened within 
narrow limits by the phantom of a military force, and 
never permitted to transgress those limits with im- 

In fact, the recent operations in the Jerseys had sud- 
denly changed the whole aspect of the war, and given a 
triumphant close to what had been a disastrous campaign. 

The troops, which for months had been driven from 

Ifd6 t'Ov 0^ WAasmGT^olf. 

post to posty apparently an undisciplined rabble, had all 
at once tnmed upon their pursuers, and astounded them 
by brilliant stratagems and daring exploits. The com- 
mander, whose cautious policy had been sneered at bj 
enemies, and regarded with impatience by misjudging 
friends, had all at once shown that he possessed enter- 
prise as well as circumspection, energy as well as en- 
durance, and that beneath his wary coldness lurked a fire 
to break forth at the proper moment This year's cam- 
paign, the most critical one of the war, and especially the 
part of it which occurred in the Jerseys, was the ordeal 
that made his great qualities fully appreciated by IiiB 
countrymen, and gained for him from the statesmen and 
generals of Europe the appellation of the Amebicau 


r ^ 




el 3 bios an 31S 087 I 


^ ^