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constructed leading down to the bridge. All this was done notwithstanding the continual fire of the enemy. The letter of a British officer gives his idea of the efficiency of the work.
"The rebels for some days have been erecting a battery on Phipps' Farm. The new constructed mortar taken on board the ordnance brig, we are told, will be mounted upon it, and we expect a warm salute from the shells, another part of that vessel's cargo; so that, in spite of her capture, we are likely to be complimented with the contents of her lading.
"If the rebels can complete their battery, this town will be on fire about our ears a few hours after; all our buildings being of wood, or a mixture of brick and woodwork. Had the rebels erected their battery on the other side of the town, at Dorchester, the admiral and all his booms would have made the first blaze, and the burning of the town would have followed. If we cannot destroy must march out and
the rebel battery by our guns, we
take it sword in hand."
Putnam anticipated great effects from this work, and especially from his grand mortar, "The Congress." Shells there were in abundance for a bombardment; the only thing wanting was a supply of powder. One of the officers, writing of the unusual mildness of the winter, observes: "Everything thaws here except old Put. He is still as hard as ever, crying out for powder-powder-powder. Ye gods, give us powder."
MOUNT VERNON IN DANGER.-MRS. WASHINGTON INVITED TO THE CAMP.-LUND WASHINGTON, THE GENERAL'S AGENT.-TERMS ON WHICH HE SERVES.-INSTRUCTED TO KEEP UP THE HOSPITALITY OF THE HOUSE.-JOURNEY OF MRS. WASHINGTON TO CAMP.-HER EQUIPAGE AND LIVERIES.-ARRIVAL AT CAMP. -DOMESTIC AFFAIRS AT HEAD-QUARTERS.-GAYETIES IN CAMP.-A BRAWL BETWEEN ROUND-JACKETS AND RIFLE-SHIRTS.
MID the various concerns of the war, and the multiplied perplexities of the camp, the thoughts of Washington continually reverted to his home on the banks of the Potomac. A constant correspondence was kept up between him and his agent, Mr. Lund Washington, who had charge of his various estates. The general gave clear and minute directions as to their management, and the agent rendered as clear and minute returns of everything that had been done in consequence.
According to recent accounts, Mount Vernon had been considered in danger. Lord Dunmore was exercising martial law in the Ancient Dominion, and it was feared that the favorite abode of the "rebel commander-in-chief" would be marked out for hostility, and that the enemy might land from their ships in the Potomac, and lay it waste. Washington's brother, John Augustine, had en
treated Mrs. Washington to leave it. The people of Loudoun had advised her to seek refuge beyond the Blue Ridge, and had offered to send a guard to escort her. She had declined the offer, not considering herself in danger. Lund Washington was equally free from apprehensions on the subject. "Lord Dunmore," writes he, "will hardly himself venture up this river, nor do I believe he will send on that errand. You may depend I will be watchful, and upon the least alarm persuade her to move."
Though alive to everything concerning Mount Vernon, Washington agreed with them in deeming it in no present danger of molestation by the enemy. Still he felt for the loneliness of Mrs. Washington's situation, heightened as it must be by anxiety on his own account. On taking command of the army, he had held out a prospect to her, that he would rejoin her at home in the autumn; there was now a probability of his being detained before Boston all winter. He wrote to her, therefore, by express, in November, inviting her to join him at the camp. He at the same time wrote to Lund Washington, engaging his continued services as an agent. This person, though bearing the same name, and probably of the same stock, does not appear to have been in any near degree of relationship. Washington's letter to him gives a picture of his domestic policy.
"I will engage for the year coming, and the year fol lowing, if these troubles and my absence continue, that
AFFAIRS AT MOUNT VERNON.
your wages shall be standing and certain at the highest amount that any one year's crop has produced you yet. I do not offer this as any temptation to induce you to go on more cheerfully in prosecuting those schemes of mine. I should do injustice to you were I not to acknowledge, that your conduct has ever appeared to me above everything sordid; but I offer it in consideration of the great charge you have upon your hands, and my entire dependence upon your fidelity and industry.
'It is the greatest, indeed it is the only comfortable reflection I enjoy on this score, that my business is in the hands of a person concerning whose integrity I have not a doubt, and on whose care I can rely. Were it not for this, I should feel very unhappy on account of the situation of my affairs. But I am persuaded you will do for me as you would for yourself."
The following were his noble directions concerning Mount Vernon :—
"Let the hospitality of the house with respect to the poor be kept up. Let no one go hungry away. If any of this kind of people should be in want of corn, supply their necessaries, provided it does not encourage them to idleness; and I have no objection to your giving my money in charity to the amount of forty or fifty pounds a year, when you think it well bestowed. What I mean by having no objection is, that it is my desire it should be done. You are to consider that neither myself nor wife is now in the way to do those good offices."
Mrs. Washington came on with her own carriage and horses, accompanied by her son, Mr. Custis, and his wife. She travelled by very easy stages, partly on account of the badness of the roads, partly out of regard to the horses, of which Washington was always very careful, and which were generally remarkable for beauty and excellence. Escorts and guards of honor attended her from place to place, and she was detained some time at Philadelphia, by the devoted attention of the inhabitants.
Her arrival at Cambridge was a glad event in the army. Incidental mention is made of the equipage in which she appeared there. A chariot and four, with black postilions in scarlet and white liveries. It has been suggested that this was an English style of equipage, derived from the Fairfaxes; but in truth it was a style still prevalent at that day in Virginia.
It would appear that dinner invitations to head-quarters were becoming matters of pride and solicitude. "I am much obliged to you," writes Washington to Reed, "for the hints respecting the jealousies which you say are gone abroad. I cannot charge myself with incivility, or what in my opinion is tantamount, ceremonious civility to gentlemen of this colony; but if such my conduct appears, I will endeavor at a reformation; as I can assure you, my dear Reed, that I wish to walk in such a line as will give most general satisfaction. You know that it was my wish at first to invite a certain number to dinner, but unintentionally we somehow or other missed of it.