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guide themselves by the horses' tracks. At daybreak they pressed forward more rapidly, and from the summit of a hill descried Champe, not more than half a mile in front. The sergeant at the same moment caught sight of his pursuers, and now the chase became desperate. Champe had originally intended to make for Paulus Hook, but changed his course, threw his pursuers at fault, and succeeded in getting abreast of two British galleys at anchor near the shore beyond Bergen. He had no time to lose. Cornet Middleton was but two or three hundred yards behind him. Throwing himself off his horse, and running through a marsh, he plunged into the river, and called to the galleys for help. A boat was sent to his assistance, and he was conveyed on board of one of those vessels.
For a time, the whole plan promised to be successful. Champe enlisted in Arnold's corps; was employed about his person; and every arrangement was made to surprise him at night in a garden in the rear of his quarters, convey him to a boat, and ferry him across the Hudson. On the appointed night, Lee, with three dragoons and three led horses, was in the woods of Hoboken on the Jersey shore, waiting to receive the captive. Hour after hour passed away,-no boat approached,-day broke; and the major, with his dragoons and his led horses, returned perplexed and disappointed to the camp.
Washington was extremely chagrined at the issue of the undertaking, fearing that the sergeant had been detected in the last scene of his perilous and difficult enterprise. It subsequently proved, that on the day preceding the night fixed on for the capture, Arnold
1780.] GREENE TO COMMAND AT THE SOUTH. 169
had removed his quarters to another part of the town, to superintend the embarkation of troops, preparing (as was rumored) for an expedition to be directed by himself, and that the American legion, consisting chiefly of American deserters, had been transferred from their barracks to one of the transports. Among the troops thus transferred was John Champe; nor was he able for a long time to effect his escape, and resume his real character of a loyal and patriotic soldier. He was rewarded when he did so, by the munificence of the commander-in-chief, and the admiration of his old comrades in arms; having so nobly braved, in his country's cause, not merely danger, but a long course of obloquy.
We have here to note the altered fortunes of the once prosperous General Gates. His late defeat at Camden had withered the laurels snatched at Saratoga. As in the one instance he had received exaggerated praise, so in the other, he suffered undue censure. The sudden annihilation of an army from which so much had been expected, and the retreat of the general before the field was absolutely lost, appeared to demand a strict investigation. Congress therefore passed a resolution (October 5th), requiring Washington to order a court of inquiry into the conduct of Gates as commander of the Southern army, and to appoint some other officer to the command until the inquiry should be made. Washington at once selected Greene for the important trust, the well-tried officer whom he would originally have chosen, had his opinion been consulted, when Congress so unadvisedly gave the command to Gates. In the present instance, his
choice was in concurrence with the expressed wishes of the delegates of the three Southern States, conveyed to him by one of their number.
Washington's letter of instructions to Greene (October 22d) showed the implicit confidence he reposed in the abilities and integrity of that excellent officer. "Uninformed as I am," writes he, "of the enemy's force in that quarter, of our own, or of the resources which it will be in our power to command, for carrying on the war, I can give you no particular instructions, but must leave you to govern yourself entirely according to your own prudence and judgment, and the circumstances in which you find yourself. I am aware that the nature of the command will offer you embarrassments of a singular and complicated nature, but I rely upon your abilities and exertions for every thing your means will enable you to effect.'
With regard to the court of inquiry, it was to be conducted in the quarter in which Gates had acted, where all the witnesses were, and where alone the requisite information could be obtained. Baron Steuben, who was to accompany Greene to the South, was to preside, and the members of the court were to be such general and field-officers of the Continental troops as were not present at the battle of Camden, or, having been present, were not wanted as witnesses, or were persons to whom General Gates had no objection. The affair was to be conducted with the greatest impartiality, and with as much despatch as circumstances would permit.
Washington concludes his letter of instructions to Greene, with expressions dictated by friendship as well
INCURSIONS FROM CANADA.
as official duty. "You will keep me constantly advised of the state of your affairs, and of every material occurrence. My warmest wishes for your success, reputation, health and happiness accompany you."
Ravaging incursions from Canada had harassed the northern parts of the State of New York of late, and laid desolate some parts of the country from which Washington had hoped to receive great supplies of flour for the armies. Major Carleton, a nephew of Sir Guy, at the head of a motley force, European, Tory, and Indian, had captured Forts Anne and George. Sir John Johnson also, with Joseph Brant, and a mongrel half-savage crew, had laid waste the fertile region of the Mohawk River, and burned the villages of Schoharie and Caughnawaga. The greatest alarm prevailed throughout the neighboring country. Governor Clinton himself took the field at the head of the militia, but before he arrived at the scene of mischief, the marauders had been encountered and driven back by General Van Rensselaer and the militia of those parts: not, however, until they had nearly destroyed the settlements on the Mohawk. Washington now put Brigadier-general James Clinton (the governor's brother), in command of the Northern department.
The state of the army was growing more and more a subject of solicitude to the commander-in-chief. He felt weary of struggling on, with such scanty means, and such vast responsibility. The campaign, which, at its commencement, had seemed pregnant with favorable events, had proved sterile and inactive, and was drawing to a close. The short terms for which most of the troops were enlisted must soon expire, and then the
present army would be reduced to a mere shadow. The saddened state of his mind may be judged from his letters. An ample one addressed to General Sullivan, fully lays open his feelings and his difficulties. "I had hoped," writes he, "but hoped in vain, that a pros pect was displaying which would enable me to fix a period to my military pursuits, and restore me to domestic life. The favorable disposition of Spain; the promised succor from France; the combined force in the West Indies; the declaration of Russia (acceded to by other governments of Europe, and humiliating to the naval pride and power of Great Britain); the superiority of France and Spain by sea in Europe; the Irish claims and English disturbances, formed, in the aggregate, an opinion in my breast, which is not very susceptible of peaceful dreams, that the hour of deliverance was not far distant; since, however unwilling Great Britain might be to yield the point, it would not be in her power to continue the contest. But, alas! these prospects, flattering as they were, have proved delusory, and I see nothing before us but accumulating distress.
We have been half of our time without provisions, and are likely to continue so. We have no magazines, nor money to form them; and in a little time we shall have no men, if we have no money to pay them. In a word, the history of the war is a history of false hopes and temporary devices, instead of system and economy. It is in vain, however, to look back, nor is it our business to do so. Our case is not desperate if virtue exists in the people, and there is wisdom among our rulers. But to suppose that this great Revolution can