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and abhorred by him, as it could be by the tenderest of her friends. "I would not," declared he, "be conscious of the acts you presume to impute to me, for the whole continent of America; though the wealth of worlds was in its bowels, and a paradise upon its surface."
We have already shown what was the real conduct of Burgoyne in this deplorable affair, and General Gates could and should have ascertained it, before "he presumed to impute" to a gallant antagonist and a humane and cultivated gentleman, such base and barbarous policy. It was the government under which Burgoyne served that was chargeable with the murderous acts of the savages. He is rather to be pitied for being obliged to employ such hellhounds, whom he endeavored in vain to hold in check. Great Britain reaped the reward of her policy in the odium which it cast upon her cause, and the determined and successful opposition which it provoked in the American bosom.
We will now shift the scene to Washington's camp at Wilmington, where we left him watching the operations of the British fleet, and preparing to oppose the army under Sir William Howe in its designs upon Philadelphia,
LANDING OF HOWE'S ARMY ON ELK RIVER-MEASURES TO CHECK IT--EXPOSED SITUATION OF WASHINGTON IN RECONNOITRING-ALARM OF THE COUNTRY -PROCLAMATION OF HOWE-ARRIVAL OF SULLIVAN-FOREIGN OFFICERS IN CAMP-DEBORRE-CONWAY-FLEURY-COUNT PULASKI-FIRST APPEARANCE IN THE ARMY OF LIGHT-HORSE HARRY' OF VIRGINIA-WASHINGTON'S APPEAL TO THE ARMY-MOVEMENTS OF THE RIVAL FORCES-BATTLE OF THE BRANDYWINE-RETREAT OF THE AMERICANS-HALT IN CHESTER -SCENES IN PHILADELPHIA DURING THE BATTLE-CONGRESS ORDERS OUT MILITIA-CLOTHES WASHINGTON WITH EXTRAORDINARY POWERS-REMOVES TO LANCASTER-REWARDS TO FOREIGN OFFICERS.
On the 25th of August, the British army under General Howe began to land from the fleet in Elk River, at the bottom of Chesapeake Bay. The place where they landed was about six miles below the Head of Elk (now Elkton), a small town, the capital of Cecil County. This was seventy miles from Philadelphia; ten miles further from that city than they had been when encamped at Brunswick. The intervening country, too, was less open than the Jerseys, and cut up by deep streams. Sir William had chosen this circuitous route in the expectation of finding friends among the people of Cecil County, and of the lower counties of Pennsylvania; many of whom were Quakers and non-combatants, and many persons disaffected to the patriot
Early in the evening, Washington received intelligence that the enemy were landing. There was a quantity of public and private stores at the Head of Elk, which he feared would fall into their hands if they moved quickly. Every attempt was to be made to check them. The divisions of Generals Greene and Stephen were within a few miles of Wilmington; orders were sent for them to march thither immediately. The two other divisions, which had halted at Chester to refresh, were to hurry forward. Major-general Armstrong, the same who had surprised the Indian village of Kittaning in the French war, and who now commanded the Pennsylvania militia, was urged to send down, in the cool of the night, all the men he could muster, properly armed. "The first attempt of the enemy," writes Washington, "will be with light parties to seize horses, carriages and cattle, and we must endeavor to check them at the outset."
General Rodney, therefore, who commanded the Delaware militia, was ordered to throw out scouts and patrols toward the enemy to watch their motions; and to move near them with his troops, as soon as he should be reinforced by the Maryland militia.
Light troops were sent out early in the morning to hover about and harass the invaders. Washington himself, accompanied by General Greene and the Marquis de Lafayette and their aides, rode forth to reconnoitre the country in the neighborhood of the enemy, and determine how to dispose of his forces when they should be collected. The only eminences near Elk were Iron Hill and Gray's Hill; the latter within two miles of the enemy. It was difficult, however, to get a good view of their encampment, and judge of the number that had landed. Hours were passed in riding from place to place reconnoitring, and tak
ing a military survey of the surrounding country. At length a severe storm drove the party to take shelter in a farm house. Night came on dark and stormy. Washington showed no disposition to depart. His companions became alarmed for his safety, there was risk of his being surprised, being so near the enemy's camp. He was not to be moved either by advice or entreaties, but remained all night under the farmer's roof. When he left the house at daybreak, however, says Lafayette, he acknowledged his imprudence, and that the most insignificant traitor might have caused his ruin.
DISTRIBUTION OF THE FORCES.
Indeed, he ran a similar risk to that which in the previous year had produced General Lee's catastrophe.
The country was in a great state of alarm. The inhabitants were hurrying off their most valuable effects, so that it was difficult to procure cattle and vehicles to remove the public stores. The want of horses, and the annoyances given by the American light troops, however, kept Howe from advancing promptly, and gave time for the greater part of the stores to be saved.
To allay the public alarm, Howe issued a proclamation on the 27th, promising the strictest regularity and order on the part of his army; with security of person and property to all who remained quietly at home, and pardon to those under arms, who should promptly return to their obedience. The proclamation had a quieting effect, especially among the loyalists, who abounded in these parts.
The divisions of Generals Greene and Stephen were now stationed several miles in advance of Wilmington, behind White Clay Creek, about ten miles from the Head of Elk. General Smallwood and Colonel Gist had been directed by Congress to take command of the militia of Maryland, who were gathering
on the western shore, and Washington sent them orders to cooperate with General Rodney and get in the rear of the enemy.
Washington now felt the want of Morgan and his riflemen, whom he had sent to assist the Northern army; to supply their place, he formed a corps of light troops, by drafting a hundred men from each brigade. The command was given to Majorgeneral Maxwell, who was to hover about the enemy and give them continual annoyance
The army about this time was increased by the arrival of General Sullivan and his division of three thousand men. He had recently, while encamped at Hanover in Jersey, made a gallant attempt to surprise and capture a corps of one thousand provincials stationed on Staten Island, at a distance from the fortified camp, and opposite the Jersey shore. The attempt was partially successful; a number of the provincials were captured; but the regulars came to the rescue. Sullivan had not brought sufficient boats to secure a retreat. His rear-guard was captured while waiting for the return of the boats, yet not without a sharp resistance. There was loss on both sides, but the Americans suffered most. Congress had directed Washington to appoint a court of inquiry to investigate the matter; in the mean time, Sullivan, whose gallantry remained undoubted, continued in command.
There were now in camp several of those officers and gentlemen from various parts of Europe who had recently pressed into the service, and the suitable employment of whom had been a source of much perplexity to Washington. General Deborre, the French veteran of thirty years' service, commanded a brigade in Sullivan's division. Brigadier-general Conway, the Gallicized Hibernian, was in the division of Lord Stirling. Beside these,