Slike strani

Er. 43.]



enable us to return to our private stations, in | bridge, excepting one room reserved by the the bosom of a free, peaceful, and happy country."

The landing of Governor Tryon took place about eight o'clock in the evening. The military honors were repeated; he was received with great respect by the mayor and common council, and transports of loyalty by those devoted to the crown. It was unknown what instructions he had received from the ministry, but it was rumored that a large force would soon arrive from England, subject to his directions. At this very moment a ship of war, the Asia, lay anchored opposite the city; its grim batteries bearing upon it, greatly to the disquiet of the faint-hearted among its inhabitants.

president for his own use, was to be taken, cleared, prepared, and furnished for the reception of the Commander-in-Chief and General Lee. The Congress had likewise sent on a deputation which met Washington at Springfield, on the frontiers of the province, and provided escorts and accommodations for him along the road. Thus honorably attended from town to town, and escorted by volunteer companies and cavalcades of gentlemen, he arrived at Watertown on the 2d of July, where he was greeted by Congress with a congratulatory address, in which, however, was frankly stated the undisciplined state of the army he was summoned to command. An address of cordial welcome was likewise made to General Lee.

The ceremony over, Washington was again in the saddle, and, escorted by a troop of light

the head-quarters provided for him at Cambridge, three miles distant. As he entered the confines of the camp, the shouts of the multitude and the thundering of artillery gave note to the enemy beleaguered in Boston of his arrival.

In this situation of affairs Washington was happy to leave such an efficient person as General Schuyler in command of the place. Ac-horse and a cavalcade of citizens, proceeded to cording to his instructions, the latter was to make returns once a month, and oftener, should circumstances require it, to Washington, as commander-in-chief, and to the Continental Congress, of the forces under him, and the state of his supplies; and to send the earliest advices of all events of importance. He was to keep a wary eye on Colonel Guy Johnson, and to counteract any prejudicial influence he might exercise over the Indians. With respect to Governor Tryon, Washington hinted at a bold and decided line of conduct. "If forcible measures are judged necessary respecting the person of the governor, I should have no difficulty in ordering them, if the Continental Congress were not sitting; but as that is the case, and the seizing of a governor quite a new thing, I must refer you to that body for direction."

Had Congress thought proper to direct such a measure, Schuyler certainly would have been the man to execute it.

At New York, Washington had learned all the details of the battle of Bunker's Hill; they quickened his impatience to arrive at the camp. He departed, therefore, on the 26th, accompanied by General Lee, and escorted as far as Kingsbridge, the termination of New York Island, by Markoe's Philadelphia light horse, and several companies of militia.

In the mean time the provincial Congress of Massachusetts, then in session at Watertown, had made arrangements for the expected arrival of Washington. According to a resolve of that body, "the president's house in Cam

His military reputation had preceded him, and excited great expectations. They were not disappointed. His personal appearance, notwithstanding the dust of travel, was calculated to captivate the public eye. As he rode through the camp, amidst a throng of officers, he was the admiration of the soldiery, and of a curious throng collected from the surrounding country. Happy was the countryman who could get a full view of him, to carry home an account of it to his neighbors. "I have been much gratified this day with a view of General Washington," writes a contemporary chronicler. "His Excellency was on horseback, in company with several military gentlemen. It was not difficult to distinguish him from all others. He is tall and well-proportioned, and his personal appearance truly noble and majestic."

The fair sex were still more enthusiastic in their admiration, if we may judge from the following passage of a letter written by the in telligent and accomplished wife of John Adains to her husband: "Dignity, ease, and complacency, the gentleman and the soldier, look agreeably blended in him. Modesty marks every line and feature of his face. Those lines of Dryden instantly occurred to me:

Thacher.-Military Journal.



'Mark his majestic fabric! He's a temple
Sacred by birth, and built by hands divine;
His soul's the deity that lodges there;
Nor is the pile unworthy of the God.""


of war anchored about its harbor, and strong outposts guarding it, he felt the awful responsibility of his situation, and the complicated With Washington, modest at all times, there and stupendous task before him. He spoke of was no false excitement on the present occait, however, not despondingly, nor boastfully sion; nothing to call forth emotions of self- and with defiance; but with that solemn and glorification. The honors and congratulations sedate resolution, and that hopeful reliance on with which he was received, the acclamations Supreme Goodness, which belonged to his magnanimous nature. The cause of his country, of the public, the cheerings of the army, only told him how much was expected from him; he observed, had called him to an active and and when he looked round upon the raw and dangerous duty, but he trusted that Divine rustic levies he was to command, "a mixed Providence, which wisely orders the affairs of multitude of people, under very little disci-men, would enable him to discharge it with fidel ity and success: * pline, order, or government," scattered in rough encampments about hill and dale, beleaguering a city garrisoned by veteran troops, with ships

* Letter to Governor Trumbull.-Sparks, iii. 31.





On the 3d of July, the morning after his arrival at Cambridge, Washington took formal command of the army. It was drawn up on the Common about half a mile from headquarters. A multitude had assembled there, for as yet military spectacles were novelties, and the camp was full of visitors, men, women, and children, from all parts of the country, who had relatives among the yeoman soldiery.

An ancient elm is still pointed out, under which Washington, as he arrived from headquarters accompanied by General Lee and a numerous suite, wheeled his horse, and drew his sword as commander-in-chief of the armies. We have cited the poetical description of him furnished by the pen of Mrs. Adams; we give her sketch of his military compeer-less poetical, but no less graphic.

"General Lee looks like a careless, hardy veteran; and by his appearance brought to my mind his namesake, Charles XII. of Sweden. The elegance of his pen far exceeds that of his person.

[ocr errors]

Accompanied by this veteran campaigner, on whose military judgment he had great reliance, Washington visited the different American posts, and rode to the heights, commanding views over Boston and its environs, being anxious to make himself acquainted with the strength and relative position of both armies: and here we will give a few particulars concerning the distinguished commanders with whom he was brought immediately in competition.

Congress, speaking of them reproachfully, Mrs. Adams to John Adams, 1775.

observed, "Three of England's most experienced generals are sent to wage war with their fellow-subjects." The first here alluded to was the Honorable William Howe, next in command to Gage. He was a man of a fine presence, six feet high, well proportioned, and of graceful deportment. He is said to have been not unlike Washington in appearance, though wanting his energy and activity. He lacked also his air of authority; but affability of manners, and a generous disposition, made him popular with both officers and soldiers.

There was a sentiment in his favor even among Americans at the time when he arrived at Boston. It was remembered that he was brother to the gallant and generous youth, Lord Howe, who fell in the flower of his days, on the banks of Lake George, and whose untimely death had been lamented throughout the colonies. It was remembered that the general himself had won reputation in the same campaign, commanding the light infantry under Wolfe, on the famous plains of Abraham. A mournful feeling had therefore gone through the country, when General Howe was cited as one of the British commanders who had most distinguished themselves in the bloody battle of Bunker's Hill. Congress spoke of it with generous sensibility, in their address to the people of Ireland already quoted. ica is amazed," said they, "to find the name of Howe on the catalogue of her enemies-sho loved his brother!"


General Henry Clinton, the next in command, was grandson of the Earl of Lincoln, and son of George Clinton, who had been Governor of the province of New York for ten years, from 1743. The general had seen




service on the continent in the Seven Years' | of Bunker's Hill, fortifying himself with works War. He was of short stature, and inclined which he deemed impregnable; and here the to corpulency; with a full face and prominent veteran was enabled to point out to the comnose. His manners were reserved, and alto- mander-in-chief, and to Lee, the main features gether he was in strong contrast with Howe, of the belligerent region, which lay spread out and by no means so popular. like a map before them.

Burgoyne, the other British general of note, was natural son of Lord Bingley, and had entered the army at an early age. While yet a subaltern, he had made a runaway match with a daughter of the Earl of Derby, who threatened never to admit the offenders to his presence. In 1758, Burgoyne was a lieutenantcolonel of light dragoous. In 1761, he was sent with a force to aid the Portuguese against the Spaniards, joined the army commanded by the Count de la Lippe, and signalized himself by surprising and capturing the town of Alcantara. He had since been elected to Parliament for the borough of Middlesex, and displayed considerable parliamentary talents. In 1727, he was made a major-general. His taste, wit, and intelligence, and his aptness at devising and promoting elegant amusements, made him for a time a leader in the gay world; though Junius accuses him of unfair practices at the gaming table. His reputation for talents and services had gradually mollified the heart of his father-in-law, the Earl of Derby. In 1774, he gave celebrity to the marriage of a son of the Earl with Lady Betty Hamilton, by producing an elegant dramatic trifle, entitled, "The Maid of the Oaks," afterwards performed at Drury Lane, and honored with a biting sarcasm by Horace Walpole. "There is a new puppet-show at Drury Lane," writes the wit,

as fine as the scenes can make it, and as dull as the author could not help making it."*

It is but justice to Burgoyne's memory to add, that in after years he produced a dramatic work,

"The Heiress," which extorted even Walpole's approbation, who pronounced it the genteelest comedy in the English language.

Such were the three British commanders at Boston, who were considered especially formidable; and they had with them eleven thousand veteran troops, well appointed and disciplined.

In visiting the different posts, Washington halted for a time at Prospect IIill, which as its name denotes, commanded a wide view over Boston and the surrounding country. Here Putnam had taken his position after the battle

* Walpole to the Hon. W. S. Conway.

Bunker's Hill was but a mile distant to the west; the British standard floating as if in triumph on its summit. The main force under General Howe was intrenching itself strongly about half a mile beyond the place of the recent battle. Scarlet uniforms gleamed about the hill; tents and marquees whitened its sides. All up there was bright, brilliant, and triumphant. At the base of the hill lay Charlestown in ashes, "nothing to be seen of that fine town but chimneys and rubbish."

Howe's sentries extended a hundred and fifty yards beyond the neck or isthmus, over which the Americans retreated after the battle. Three floating batteries in Mystic River commanded this isthmus, and a twenty-gun ship was anchored between the peninsula and Boston.

General Gage, the commander-in-chief, still had his head-quarters in the town, but there were few troops there besides Burgoyne's lighthorse. A large force, however, was intrenched south of the town on the neck leading to Roxbury,-the only entrance to Boston by land.

The American troops were irregularly distributed in a kind of semicircle eight or nine miles in extent; the left resting on Winter Hill, the most northern post; the right extending on the south to Roxbury and Dorchester Neck.

Washington reconnoitred the British posts from various points of view. Every thing about them was in admirable order. The works appeared to be constructed with military science, the troops to be in a high state of discipline. The American camp, on the contrary, disappointed him. He had expected to find eighteen or twenty thousand men under arms; there were not much more than fourteen thousand. He had expected to find some degree of system and discipline; whereas all were raw militia. He had expected to find works scientifically constructed, and proofs of knowledge and skill in engineering; whereas, what he saw of the latter was very imperfect, and confined to the mere manual exercise of cannon. There was abundant evidence of aptness at trenching and throwing up rough defences; and in that way General Thomas had fortified Roxbury Neck, and Putnam had strengthened

ET. 43.]



Prospect Hill. But the semicircular line which | striking contrast with the rest, and might vie linked the extreme posts, was formed of rudely constructed works, far too extensive for the troops which were at hand to man them.

with those of the British for order and exactness. Here were tents and marquees pitched in the English style; soldiers well drilled and well equipped; every thing had an air of dis

Within this attenuated semicircle, the British forces lay concentrated and compact; and hav-cipline and subordination. It was a body of ing command of the water, might suddenly bring their main strength to bear upon some weak point, force it, and sever the American camp.

Rhode Island troops, which had been raised, drilled, and brought to the camp by BrigadierGeneral Greene, of that province, whose subsequent renown entitles him to an introduction

In fact, when we consider the scanty, ill-to the reader. conditioned, and irregular force which had thus stretched itself out to beleaguer town and harbor defended by ships and floating batteries, and garrisoned by eleven thousand strongly posted veterans, we are at a loss whether to attribute its hazardous position to ignorance, or to that daring self-confidence, which at times, in our military history, has snatched success in defiance of scientific rules. It was revenge for the slaughter at Lexington which, we are told, first prompted the investment of Boston. 66 'The universal voice," says a contemporary, "is, starve them out. Drive them from the town, and let His Majesty's ships be their only place of refuge."

In riding throughout the camp, Washington observed that nine thousand of the troops belonged to Massachusetts; the rest were from other provinces. They were encamped in separate bodies, each with its own regulations, and officers of its own appointment. had tents, others were in barracks, and others sheltered themselves as best they might. Many were sadly in want of clothing, and all, said Washington, were strongly imbued with the spirit of insubordination, which they mistook for independence.

Nathaniel Greene was born in Rhode Island, on the 26th of May, 1742. His father was a miller, an anchor-smith, and a Quaker preacher. The waters of the Potowhammet turned the wheels of the mill, and raised the ponderous sledge-hammer of the forge. Greene, in his boyhood, followed the plough, and occasionally worked at the forge of his father. His education was of an ordinary kind; but having an early thirst for knowledge, he applied himself sedulously to various studies, while subsisting by the labor of his hands. Nature had endowed him with quick parts, and a sound judgment, and his assiduity was crowned with sucHe became fluent and instructive in conversation, and his letters, still extant, show that he held an able pen.


In the late turn of public affairs, he had caught the belligerent spirit prevalent throughout the country. Plutarch and Cæsar's ComSome mentaries became his delight. He applied himself to military studies, for which he was prepared by some knowledge of mathematics. His ambition was to organize and discipline a corps of militia to which he belonged. For this purpose, during a visit to Boston, he had taken note of every thing about the discipline of the British troops. In the month of May, he had been elected commander of the Rhode Island contingent of the army of observation, and in June had conducted to the lines before Boston, three regiments, whose encampment we have just described, and who were pro

A chaplain of one of the regiments* has left on record a graphic sketch of this primitive army of the Revolution. "It is very diverting," writes he, "to walk among the camps. They are as different in their forms, as the owners are in their dress; and every tent is a portraiture of the temper and taste of the per-nounced the best disciplined and appointed sons who encamp in it. Some are made of troops in the army. boards, and some are made of sail-cloth; some are partly of one, and partly of the other. Again others are made of stone and turf, brick and brush. Some are thrown up in a hurry, others curiously wrought with wreaths and withes." One of the encampments, however, was in intelligent countenance, and a frank, manly de

The Rev. William Emerson.

Greene made a soldierlike address to Washington, welcoming him to the camp. His appearance and manner were calculated to make a favorable impression. He was about thirtynine years of age, nearly six feet high, well built and vigorous, with an open, animated,

meanor. He may be said to have stepped at once into the confidence of the commander-in

« PrejšnjaNaprej »