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New York. The general command of the posts required to be adjusted. Several persons accused of being “notorious tories," had recently been sent into Fort Montgomery by the district committees of the counties of Albany, Dutchess, and Westchester, with directions to the commanding officers, to keep them at hard labor until their further order. They were employed upon the fortifications.
In view of all these circumstances, Washington, on the 14th of June, ordered Colonel James Clinton to take command of both posts, and of all the troops stationed at them. He seemed a fit custodian for them, having been a soldier from his youth; brought up on a frontier subject 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 communication between New York and the mainland, and to the security of the Hudson, were reconnoitered by Washington on horseback, about the middle of the month; ordering where works should be laid out. 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 Duivel Creek, as that inlet of the Hudson is called, which links it with the Harlaem River.
A strong work, intended as a kind of citadel, was to crown a rocky height between two and three miles south
FORTIFYING THE HUDSON.
of the bridge, commanding the channel of the Hudson; and below it were to be redoubts on the banks of the river at Jeffrey's Point. In honor of the general, the citadel received the name of Fort Washington.
Colonel Rufus Putnam was the principal engineer, who had the direction of the works. General Mifflin encamped in their vicinity, with part of the two battalions from Pennsylvania, to be employed in their construction, aided by 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 superintendence of General Greene. In a word, the utmost exertions were made at every point, to put the city, its environs, and the Hudson River, in a state of defense, before the arrival of another hostile armament.
RETREAT OF GENERAL THOMAS.-HIS DEATH.-GENERAL SULLIVAN IN COM MAND.-SCENE ON THE SOREL.--SANGUINE EXPECTATIONS OF SULLIVAN.WASHINGTON'S OPINION OF SULLIVAN'S CHARACTER.-GATES APPOINTED TO THE COMMAND IN CANADA.-REINFORCEMENTS OF THE ENEMY.-REVERSES. -THOMPSON CAPTURED.-RETREAT OF SULLIVAN.-CLOSE OF THE INVASION OF CANADA.
PERATIONS in Canada were drawing to a disastrous close. General Thomas, finding it impossible to make a stand at Point Deschambault, 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 June.
On his death, General Sullivan, who had recently arrived with the main detachment of troops from New York, succeeded to the command, General Wooster hav
GENERAL SULLIVAN'S OPERATIONS.
ing been recalled. He advanced immediately with his brigade to the mouth of the Sorel, where he found General Thompson with but very few troops to defend that post, having detached Colonel St. Clair, with six or seven hundred men, to Three Rivers, about fifty miles down the St. Lawrence, to give check to an advanced corps of the enemy of about eight hundred regulars and Canadians, under 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 Rivers, 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 former troops have so shamefully lost."
Sullivan's letter to Washington, written at the same time, is full of sanguine anticipation. It was his fixed determination to gain post at Deschambault, and fortify it so as to make it inaccessible. "The enemy's ships are now above that place," writes he; "but if General Thompson succeeds at Three Rivers, I will soon remove the ships below Richelieu Falls, and after that, approach Quebec as fast as possible."
"Our affairs 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 disaffection 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 impossible."
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 affairs, from the confused, distracted, and almost forlorn state in which you found them, will change, and assume an aspect