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QUARREL BETWEEN GATES AND ARNOLD. 219
posed to make him an address, thanking him for his past services. particularly in the late action, and entreating him to stay. Others suggested that the general officers should endeavor to produce a reconciliation between the jarring parties. Lincoln was inclined to do so; but, in the end, neither measure was taken through fear of offending General Gates. In the mean time Arnold remained in camp, treated, he said, as a cipher, and never consulted; though when Congress had sent him to that department, at the request of General Washington, they expected the commander would at least have taken his opinion on public matters.
On the 30th, he gave vent to his feelings in an indignant letter to Gates. "Notwithstanding I have reason to think your treatment proceeds from a spirit of jealousy," writes he, "and that I have every thing to fear from the malice of my enemies, conscious of my own innocency and integrity, I am determined to sacrifice my feelings, present peace and quiet, to the public good, and continue in the army at this critical juncture, when my country needs every support.
"I hope," concludes he, "you will not impute this hint to a wish to command the army, or to outshine you, when I assure you it proceeds from my zeal for the cause of my country, in which I expect to rise or fall."*
All this time the Americans were harassing the British camp with frequent night alarms and attacks on its pickets and outposts.
"From the 20th of September to the 7th of October," writes Burgoyne, "the armies were so near, that not a night passed without firing, and sometimes concerted attacks upon our advanced pickets. I do not believe either officer or soldier ever slept in
*Gates's Papers, N. Y. Hist. Lib.
that interval without his clothes; or that any general officer or commander of a regiment passed a single night, without being upon his legs occasionally at different hours, and constantly an hour before daylight."
Still Burgoyne kept up a resolute mien, telling his soldiers, in a harangue, that he was determined to leave his bones on the field, or force his way to Albany. He yet clung to the hope, that Sir Henry Clinton might operate in time to relieve him from his perilous position.
We will now cast a look toward New York, and ascertain the cause of Sir Henry's delay in his anxiously expected operations on the Hudson.
* Burgoyne's Expedition, p. 166.
PREPARATIONS OF SIR HENRY CLINTON-STATE OF THE HIGHLAND DEFENCES -PUTNAM ALARMED-ADVANCE OF THE ARMAMENT UP THE HUDSONPLAN OF SIR HENRY CLINTON-PEEKSKILL THREATENED-PUTNAM CEIVED-SECRET MARCH OF THE ENEMY THROUGH THE MOUNTAINSFORTS MONTGOMERY AND CLINTON OVERPOWERED NARROW ESCAPE OF THE COMMANDERS-CONFLAGRATION AND EXPLOSION OF THE AMERICAN FRIGATES-RALLYING EFFORTS OF PUTNAM AND GOVERNOR CLINTON-THE SPY AND THE SILVER BULLET-ESOPUS BURNT-RAVAGING PROGRESS OF THE ENEMY UP THE HUDSON.
THE expedition of Sir Henry Clinton had awaited the arrival of reinforcements from Europe, which were slowly crossing the ocean in Dutch bottoms. At length they arrived, after a three months' voyage, and now there was a stir of warlike preparation at New York; the streets were full of soldiery, the bay full of ships; and water craft of all kinds were plying about the harbor Between three and four thousand men were to be embarked on board of ships of war, armed galleys and flat-bottomed boats A southern destination was given out, but shrewd observers sur mised the real one.
The defences of the Highlands, on which the security of the Hudson depended, were at this time weakly garrisoned; some of the troops having been sent off to reinforce the armies on the
Delaware and in the North. Putnam, who had the general com mand of the Highlands, had but eleven hundred continental and four hundred militia troops with him at Peekskill, his headquarters. There was a feeble garrison at Fort Independence, in the vicinity of Peekskill, to guard the public stores and workshops at Continental Village.
The Highland forts, Clinton, Montgomery, and Constitution, situated among the mountains and forming their main defence, were no better garrisoned, and George Clinton, who had the command of them, and who was in a manner the champion of the Highlands, was absent from his post, attending the State Legislature at Kingston (Esopus), in Ulster County, in his capacity of governor.
There were patriot eyes in New York to watch the course of events, and patriot boats on the river to act as swift messengers. On the 29th of September Putnam writes to his coadjutor the governor: "I have received intelligence on which I can fully depend, that the enemy had received a reinforcement at New York last Thursday, of about three thousand British and foreign troops; that General Clinton has called in guides who belong about Croton River; has ordered hard bread to be baked; that the troops are called from Paulus Hook to King's Bridge, and the whole troops are now under marching orders. I think it highly probable the designs of the enemy are against the posts of the Highlands, or of some part of the counties of Westchester or Dutchess." Under these circumstances he begged a reinforcement of the militia to enable him to maintain his post, and intimated a wish for the personal assistance and counsel of the governor. In a postscript, he adds: "The ships are drawn up in the river,