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MEETING OF JERSEY TROOPS.
apprehensions were soon justified by events. On the night of the 20th of January, a part of the Jersey troops, stationed at Pompton, rose in arms, claiming the same terms just yielded to the Pennsylvanians. For a time, it was feared the revolt would spread throughout the line.
Sir Henry Clinton was again on the alert. Troops were sent to Staten Island to be ready to cross into the Jerseys, and an emissary was despatched to tempt the mutineers with seductive.
In this instance, Washington adopted a more rigorous course than in the other. The present insurgents were not so formidable in point of numbers as the Pennsylvanians; the greater part of them, also, were foreigners, for whom he felt less sympathy than for native troops. He was convinced too of the fidelity of the troops under his immediate command, who were from the Eastern States. A detachment from the Massachusetts line was sent under Major-general Howe, who was instructed to compel the mutineers to unconditional submission; to grant them no terms while in arms, or in a state of resistance; and on their surrender, instantly to execute a few of the most active and incendiary leaders. "You will also try," added he, "to avail yourself of the services of the militia, representing to them how dangerous to civil liberty, is the precedent of armed soldiers dictating to their country."
His orders were punctually obeyed, and were crowned with complete success. Howe had the good fortune, after a tedious night march, to surprise the mutineers napping in their huts just at daybreak. Five minutes only were allowed them to parade without their arms and give up their ringleaders. This was instantly complied with, and two of them were executed on the spot.
Thus, the mutiny was quelled, the officers resumed their command, and all things were restored to order.*
Thus terminated an insurrection, which, for a time, had spread alarm among the friends of American liberty, and excited the highest hopes of its foes. The circumstances connected with it had ultimately a beneficial effect in strengthening the confidence of those friends, by proving that, however the Americans might quarrel with their own government, nothing could again rally them under the royal standard.
A great cause of satisfaction to Washington was the ratification of the articles of confederation between the States, which took place not long after this agitating juncture. A set of articles had been submitted to Congress by Dr. Franklin, as far back as 1775. A form had been prepared and digested by a committee in 1776, and agreed upon, with some modifications in 1777, but had ever since remained in abeyance, in consequence of objections made by individual States. The confederation was now complete, and Washington, in a letter to the President of Congress, congratulated him and the body over which he presided, on an event long wished for, and which he hoped would have the happiest effects upon the politics of this country, and be of essential service to our cause in Europe.
It was, after all, an instrument far less efficacious than its advocates had anticipated; but it served an important purpose in binding the States together as a nation, and keeping them from falling asunder into individual powers, after the pressure of external danger should cease to operate.
* Memoir of Major Shaw, by Hon. Josiah Quincy, p. 89.
EXPEDITION OF ARNOLD INTO VIRGINIA-BUCCANEERING RAVAGES-CHECKED
STEUBEN-ARNOLD AT PORTSMOUTH-CONGRESS RESOLVES TO FORM HEADS OF DEPARTMENTS--HAMILTON SUGGESTED BY SULLIVAN FOR DEPARTMENT OF FINANCE-HIGH OPINION OF HIM EXPRESSED BY WASHINGTON-MISUNDERSTANDING BETWEEN HAMILTON AND THE COMMANDER-IN
THE armament with which Arnold boasted he was "to shake the continent," met with that boisterous weather which often rages along our coast in the winter. His ships were tempest-tost and scattered, and half of his cavalry horses and several of his guns had to be thrown overboard. It was the close of the year when he anchored in the Chesapeake.
Virginia, at the time, was almost in a defenceless state. Baron Steuben, who had the general command there, had recently detached such of his regular troops as were clothed and equipped, to the South, to reinforce General Greene. The remainder, five or six hundred in number, deficient in clothing, blankets, and tents, were scarcely fit to take the field, and the volunteers and militia lately encamped before Portsmouth, had been disbanded. Governor Jefferson, on hearing of the arrival of the fleet, called out the militia from the neighboring counties; but few could be collected on the spur of the moment, for the whole country was
terror-stricken and in confusion. Having land and sea forces at his command, Arnold opened the new year with a buccaneering ravage. Ascending James River with some small vessels which he had captured, he landed on the fourth of January with nine hundred men at Westover, about twenty-five miles below Richmond, and pushed for the latter place, at that time little more than a village, though the metropolis of Virginia. Halting for the night within twelve miles of it, he advanced on the following day with as much military parade as possible, so as to strike terror into a militia patrol, which fled back to Richmond, reporting that a British force, fifteen hundred strong, was at hand.
It was Arnold's hope to capture the governor; but the latter, after providing for the security of as much as possible of the public stores, had left Richmond the evening before on horseback to join his family at Tuckahoe, whence, on the following day, he conveyed them to a place of safety. Governor Jefferson got back by noon to Manchester, on the opposite side of James River, in time to see Arnold's marauders march into the town. Many of the inhabitants had fled to the country; some stood terrified spectators on the hills; not more than two hundred men were in arms for the defence of the place; these, after firing a few volleys, retreated to Richmond and Shockoe Hills, whence they were driven by the cavalry, and Arnold had possession of the capital. He sent some of the citizens to the governor, offering to spare the town, provided his ships might come up James River to be laden with tobacco from the warehouses. His offer was indignantly rejected, whereupon fire was set to the public edifices, stores, and workshops; private houses were pillaged, and a great quantity of tobacco consumed.
While this was going on, Colonel Simcoe had been detached
RAVAGING INCURSION OF ARNOLD.
to Westham, six miles up the river, where he destroyed a cannon foundry and sacked a public magazine; broke off the trunnions of the cannon, and threw into the river the powder which he could not carry away, and, after effecting a complete devastation, rejoined Arnold at Richmond, which during the ensuing night resounded with the drunken orgies of the soldiery.
Having completed his ravage at Richmond, Arnold re-embarked at Westover and fell slowly down the river, landing occasionally to burn, plunder, and destroy; pursued by Steuben with a few Continental troops and all the militia that he could muster. General Nelson, also, with similar levies opposed him. Lower down the river some skirmishing took place, a few of Arnold's troops were killed and a number wounded, but he made his way to Portsmouth, opposite Norfolk, where he took post on the 20th of January, and proceeded to fortify.
Steuben would have attempted to drive him from this position, but his means were totally inadequate. Collecting from various parts of the country all the force that could be mustered, he so disposed it at different points as to hem the traitor in, prevent his making further incursions, and drive him back to his intrenchments should he attempt any.
Governor Jefferson returned to Richmond after the enemy had left it, and wrote thence to the commander-in-chief an account of this ravaging incursion of "the parricide Arnold." It was mortifying to Washington to see so inconsiderable a party committing such extensive depredations with impunity, but it was his opinion that their principal object was to make a diversion in favor of Cornwallis; and as the evils to be apprehended from Arnold's predatory incursions were not to be compared with the injury to the common cause, and the danger to Virginia in par