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1781.]

REVOLT OF THE PENNSYLVANIA LINE. 213

lose such experienced soldiers, interpreted the terms of enlistment to mean three years, or to the end of the war should it continue for a longer time.

This chicanery naturally produced great exasperation. It was heightened by the conduct of a deputation from Pennsylvania, which, while it left veteran troops unpaid, distributed gold by handsful among raw six-month levies, whose time was expiring, as bounties on their re-enlisting for the war.

The first day of the New Year arrived. The men were excited by an extra allowance of ardent spirits. In the evening, at a preconcerted signal, a great part of the Pennsylvania line, non-commissioned officers included, turned out under arms, declaring their intention to march to Philadelphia, and demand redress from Congress. Wayne endeavored to pacify them; they were no longer to be pacified by words. He cocked his pistols; in an instant their bayonets were at his breast. "We love, we respect you," cried they, "but you are a dead man if you fire. Do not mistake us; we are not going to the enemy: were they now to come out you would see us fight under your orders with as much resolution and alacrity as ever.

Their threat was not an idle one. In an attempt to suppress the mutiny there was a bloody affray, in which numbers were wounded on both sides; among whom were several officers. One captain was killed.

Three regiments which had taken no part in the mutiny were paraded under their officers. The mutineers compelled them to join their ranks. Their number being

* Quincy's Memoir of Major Shaw, p. 85.

increased to about thirteen hundred, they seized upon six field-pieces, and set out in the night for Philadelphia under command of their sergeants.

Fearing the enemy might take advantage of this outbreak, Wayne detached a Jersey brigade to Chatham, and ordered the militia to be called out there. Alarm

fires were kindled upon the hills; alarm guns boomed from post to post; the country was soon on the alert.

Wayne was not " Mad Anthony" on the present occasion. All his measures were taken with judgment and forecast. He sent provisions after the mutineers, lest they should supply their wants from the country people by force. Two officers of rank spurred to Philadelphia, to apprise Congress of the approach of the insurgents and put it upon its guard. Wayne sent a despatch with news of the outbreak to Washington; he then mounted his horse, and accompanied by Colonels Butler and Stewart, two officers popular with the troops, set off after the mutineers, either to bring them to a halt, or to keep with them, and seek every occasion to exert a favorable influence over them.

a move.

Washington received Wayne's letter at his headquarters at New Windsor on the 3d of January. His first impulse was to set out at once for the insurgent camp. Second thoughts showed the impolicy of such Before he could overtake the mutineers, they would either have returned to their duty or their affair would be in the hands of Congress. How far, too, could his own troops be left with safety, distressed as they were for clothing and provisions? Beside, the navigation of the Hudson was still open; should any dis

affection appear in the neighboring garrison of West

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215

Point, the British might send up an expedition from New York to take advantage of it. Under these circumstances, he determined to continue at New Windsor. He wrote to Wayne, however, approving of his intention to keep with the troops, and improve every favorable interval of passion. His letter breathes that paternal spirit with which he watched over the army; and that admirable moderation mingled with discipline with which he managed and moulded their wayward moods. "Opposition," said he, " as it did not succeed in the first instance, cannot be effectual while the men remain together, but will keep alive resentment, and may tempt them to turn about and go in a body to the enemy; who, by their emissaries, will use every argument and means in their power to persuade them that it is their only asylum; which, if they find their passage stopped at the Delaware, and hear that the Jersey militia are collecting in their rear, they may think but too probable. I would, therefore, recommend it to you to cross the Delaware with them, draw from them what they conceive to be their principal grievances, and promise faithfully to represent to Congress and to the State the substance of them, and endeavor to obtain a redress. If they could be stopped at Bristol or Germantown, the better. I look upon it that if you can bring them to a negotiation, matters may be afterwards accommodated; but that an attempt to reduce them by force will either drive them to the enemy, or dissipate them in such a manner that they will never be recovered.'

How clearly one reads in this letter that temperate and magnanimous spirit which moved over the troubled

waters of the Revolution, allayed the fury of the storms, and controlled every thing into peace.

Having visited the Highland posts of the Hudson and satisfied himself of the fidelity of the garrisons, Washington ordered a detachment of eleven hundred men to be ready to march at a moment's warning. General Knox, also, was despatched by him to the Eastern States, to represent to their governments the alarming crisis produced by a long neglect of the subsistence of the army, and to urge them to send on immediately money, clothing, and other supplies for their respective lines.

In the mean time, as Washington had apprehended, Sir Henry Clinton received intelligence at New York of the mutiny, and hastened to profit by it. Emissaries were despatched to the camp of the mutineers, holding out offers of pardon, protection, and ample pay, if they would return to their allegiance to the crown. On the 4th of January, although the rain poured in torrents, troops and cannon were hurried on board of vessels of every description, and transported to Staten Island, Sir Henry accompanying them. There they were to be held in readiness, either to land at Amboy in the Jerseys, should the revolters be drawn in that direction, or to make a dash at West Point, should the departure of Washington leave that post assailable.

General Wayne and his companions, Colonels Butler and Stewart, had overtaken the insurgent troops on the 3d of January, at Middlebrook. They were proceeding in military form, under the control of a selfconstituted board of sergeants, whose orders were implicitly obeyed. A sergeant-major, who had formerly

1781.] REVOLT OF THE PENNSYLVANIA LINE. 217

deserted from the British army, had the general command.

Conferences were held by Wayne with sergeants delegated from each regiment. They appeared to be satisfied with the mode and promises of redress held out to them; but the main body of the mutineers persisted in revolt, and proceeded on the next day to Princeton. Wayne hoped they might continue further on, and would gladly have seen them across the Delaware, beyond the influence of the enemy; but their leaders clung to Princeton, lest in further movements they might not be able to keep their followers together. Their proceedings continued to be orderly; military forms were still observed; they obeyed their leaders, behaved well to the people of the country, and committed no excesses.

General Wayne and Colonels Butler and Stewart remained with them in an equivocal position; popular, but without authority and almost in durance. The insurgents professed themselves still ready to march under them against the enemy, but would permit none other of their former officers to come among them. The Marquis de Lafayette, General St. Clair and Colonel Laurens, the newly appointed minister to France, arrived at the camp and were admitted; but afterwards were ordered away at a short notice.

The news of the revolt caused great consternation in Philadelphia. A committee of Congress set off to meet the insurgents, accompanied by Reed, the president of Pennsylvania, and one or two other officers, and escorted by a city troop of horse. The committee halted at Trenton, whence President Reed wrote

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