« PrejšnjaNaprej »
grand magazine of America, to the handful of men remaining here, is running too great a risk. The securing of this post and Hudson's River is to us also of so great importance, that I cannot, at present, advise 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 increase the army at this place with at least ten thousand men; especially when it is considered, that from this place only the army in Canada must draw its supplies of ammunition, provisions, and most probably of men.'
Washington at that time was not aware of the extraordinary expedients England had recently resorted to, against the next campaign. The Duke of Brunswick, the Landgrave of Hesse Cassel, and the Hereditary Prince of Cassel, 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 service. Beside the subsidy exacted by the German princes, they were to be paid seven pounds four shillings and four pence sterling for every soldier furnished by them, and every one slain.
as much more for
Of this notable arrangement, Washington, as we observed, 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 of operations for
the summer's campaign. We are left to wander, therefore, in the field of conjecture.'
Within a few days afterwards, he had vague accounts of "Hessians and Hanoverian troops coming over; " but it was not until the 17th of May, when he received letters 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 President of Congress 5th May.
ARNOLD BLOCKADES QUEBEC. -HIS DIFFICULTIES. ARRIVAL OF GENERAL WOOSTER.-OF GENERAL THOMAS.-ABORTIVE ATTEMPT ON QUEBEC.-PREPARATIONS FOR RETREAT.-SORTIE OF CARLETON.-RETREAT OF THE AMERICANS.-HALT AT POINT DESCHAMBAULT.-ALARM IN THE COLONIES AT THE RETREAT OF THE ARMY.-POPULAR CLAMOR AGAINST SCHUYLER.-SLANDERS REFUTED.
N a former chapter, we left Arnold before the walls of Quebec, wounded, crippled, almost disabled, yet not disheartened; blockading that "proud town" with a force inferior, by half, in number to that of the garrison. For his gallant services, Congress promoted him in January to the rank of brigadiergeneral.
Throughout the winter he kept up the blockade with his shattered army; though had Carleton ventured upon a sortie, he might have been forced to decamp. That cautious general, however, remained within his walls. He was sure of reinforcements from England in the spring, and, in the meantime, trusted to the elements of dissolution at work in the besieging army.
Arnold, in truth, had difficulties of all kinds to contend with. His military chest was exhausted; his troops
were in want of necessaries; to procure supplies, he was compelled to resort to the paper money issued by Congress, which was uncurrent among the Canadians; he issued 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 displeased 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 batteries, 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
THE CAMP BEFORE QUEBEC.
wounded, and was disabled for upwards of a week. Considering himself slighted by General Wooster, who did not consult him in military affairs, he obtained leave of absence until he should be recovered from his lameness, and repaired to Montreal, where he took command.
General Thomas arrived at the camp in the course of April, and found the army in a forlorn condition, scattered at different posts, and on the island of Orleans. It was numerically increased to upwards of two thousand men, but several hundred were unfit for service. The small-pox had made great ravages. They had inoculated each other. In their sick and debilitated state, they were without barracks, and almost without medicine. A portion, whose term of enlistment had expired, refused to do duty, and clamored for their discharge.
The winter was over, the river was breaking up, rein forcements to the garrison might immediately be expected, and then the case would be desperate. Observing that the river about Quebec was clear of ice, General Thomas determined on a bold effort. It was, to send up a fire-ship with the flood, and, while the ships in the harbor were in flames, and the town in confusion, to scale the walls.
Accordingly, on the 3rd of May, the troops turned out with scaling ladders; the fire-ship came up the river under easy sail, and arrived near the shipping before it was discovered. It was fired into. The crew applied a