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480

RETALIATION ON DONOP'S RANGERS-ARRIVAL OF ADMIRAL BYRON.

It was indeed a massacre similar to those of the bayonet-loving General Grey. Fifty of the infantry were butchered on the spot; among whom were two of the foreign officers, the Baron de Bose and Lieutenant de la Broderie. The clattering of hoofs gave note of the approach of Pulaski and his horse, whereupon the British made a rapid retreat to their boats and pulled down the river, and thus ended the marauding expedition of Captain Ferguson, worthy of the times of the buccaneers. He attempted afterwards to excuse his wanton butchery of unarmed men, by alleging that the deserter from Pulaski's legion told him the count, in his general orders, forbade all granting of quarters; information which proved to be false, and which, had he been a gentleman of honorable spirit, he never would have believed, especially on the word of a deserter.

The detachment on the east side of the Hudson likewise made a predatory and disgraceful foray from their lines at King's Bridge, toward the American encampment at White Plains, plundering the inhabitants without discrimination, not only of their provisions and forage, but of the very clothes on their backs. None were more efficient in this ravage than a party of about one hundred of Captain Donop's Hessian yagers, and they were in full maraud between Tarrytown and Dobbs' Ferry, when a detachment of infantry under Colonel Richard Butler, and of cavalry under Major Henry Lee, came upon them by surprise, killed ten of them on the spot, captured a lieutenant and eighteen privates, and would have taken or destroyed the whole, had not the extreme roughness of the country impeded the action of the cavalry, and enabled the yagers to escape by scrambling up hill-sides or plunging into ravines. This occurred but three days after the massacre of Colonel Baylor's party, on the opposite side of the Hudson.

The British detachments having accomplished the main objects of their movements, returned to New York; leaving those parts of the country they had harassed still more determined in their hostility, having achieved nothing but what is least honorable and most detestable in warfare. We need no better comment on these measures than one furnished by a British writer of the day. Upon the whole," observes he, " even if the treaty between France and America had not rendered all hope of success from the present conciliatory system hopeless, these predatory and irritating expeditions

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[1778.

would have appeared peculiarly ill-timed and unlucky. Though strongly and warmly recommended by many here as the most effectual mode of war, we scarcely remember an instance in which they have not been more mischievous than useful to the grand objects of either re ducing or reconciling the provinces." *

We may add here that General Grey, who had most signalized himself in these sanguinary exploits, and who from his stealthy precaution to insure the use of the bayonet, had acquired the surname of "no flint," was rewarded for a long career of military services by being raised to the peerage as Lord Grey of Howick, ultimately Earl Grey. He was father of the celebrated prime minister of that name.

About the middle of September Admiral Byron arrived at New York with the residue of the scattered armament, which had sailed from England in June to counteract the designs of the Count D'Estaing. Finding that the count was still repairing his shattered fleet in the harbor of Boston, he put to sea again as soon as his ships were refitted, and set sail for that port to entrap him. Success seemed likely to crown his schemes: he arrived off Boston on the 1st of November: his rival was still in port. Scarce had the admiral entered the bay, however, when another violent storm drove him out to sea, disabled his ships, and compelled him to put into Rhode Island to refit. Meanwhile the count having his ships in good order, and finding the coast clear, put to sea, and made the best of his way for the West Indies. Previous to his departure he issued a proclamation dated the 28th of October, addressed to the French inhabitants of Canada, inviting them to resume allegiance to their former sovereign. This was a measure in which he was not authorized by instructions from his government, and which was calculated to awaken a jealousy in the American mind as to the ultimate views of France in taking a part in this contest. It added to the chagrin occasioned by the failure of the expedition against Rhode Island, and the complete abandonment by the French of the coasts of the United States.

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The force at New York, which had been an object of watchful solicitude, was gradually dispersed in different directions. Immediately after the departure of Admiral Byron for Boston, another naval expedition had been set on

* Annual Register, 1778, p. 215.

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ET. 46.]

CAPTURE OF SAVANNAH-LINCOLN IN COMMAND AT THE SOUTH.

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foot by Sir Henry Clinton. All being ready, a | provisions; their loss was only seven killed fleet of transports with five thousand men, and nineteen wounded. under General Grant, convoyed by Commodore Hotham with a squadron of six ships of war, set sail on the third of November, with the secret design of an attack on St. Lucia.

Towards the end of the same month, another body of troops, under Lieutenant-Colonel Campbell, sailed for Georgia in the squadron of Commodore Hyde Parker; the British cabinet having determined to carry the war into the Southern States. At the same time General Prevost, who commanded in Florida, was ordered by Sir Henry Clinton to march to the banks of the Savannah River, and attack Georgia in flank, while the expedition under Campbell should attack it in front on the seaboard. We will briefly note the issue of these enterprises, so far beyond Washington's control.

The squadron of Commodore Hyde Parker anchored in the Savannah River towards the end of December. An American force of about six hundred regulars, and a few militia under General Robert Howe, were encamped near the town, being the remnant of an army with which that officer had invaded Florida in the preceding summer, but had been obliged to evacuate it by a mortal malady which desolated

his camp.

Lieutenant-Colonel Campbell landed his troops on the 29th of December, about three miles below the town. The whole country bordering the river is a deep morass, cut up by creeks, and only to be traversed by causeways. Over one of these, six hundred yards in length, with a ditch on each side, Colonel Campbell advanced, putting to flight a small party stationed to guard it. General Howe had posted his little army on the main road with the river on his left and a morass in front. A negro gave Campbell information of a path leading through the morass, by which troops might get unobserved to the rear of the Americans. Sir James Baird was detached with the light infantry by this path, while Colonel Campbell advanced in front. The Americans, thus suddenly attacked in front and rear, were completely routed; upwards of one hundred were either killed on the spot, or perished' in the morass; thirty-eight officers and four hundred and fifteen privates were taken prisoners, the rest retreated up the Savannah River and crossed into South Carolina. Savannah, the capital of Georgia, was taken possession of by the victors, with cannon, military stores, and

Colonel Campbell conducted himself with great moderation; protecting the persons and property of the inhabitants, and proclaiming security and favor to all that should return to their allegiance. Numbers in consequence flocked to the British standard: the lower part of Georgia was considered as subdued, and posts were established by the British to maintain possession.

While Colonel Campbell had thus invaded Georgia in front, General Provost, who commanded the British forces in Florida, had received orders from Sir Henry Clinton to take it in flank. He accordingly traversed deserts to its southern frontier, took Sunbury, the only remaining fort of importance, and marched to Savannah, where he assumed the general command, detaching Colonel Campbell against Augusta. By the middle of January (1779) all Georgia was reduced to submission:

A more experienced American general than Howe had by this time arrived to take command of the Southern Department, Major-General Lincoln, who had gained such reputation in the campaign against Burgyone, and whose appointment to this station had been solicited by the delegates from South Carolina and Georgia. He had received his orders from Washington in the beginning of October. Of his operations at the South we shall have occasion to speak hereafter.

CHAPTER XXXVIII.

ABOUT the beginning of December, Washington distributed his troops for the winter in a line of strong cantonments extending from Long Island Sound to the Delaware. General Putnam commanded at Danbury, General McDougall in the Highlands, while the head-quarters of the commander-in-chief were near Middlebrook in the Jerseys. The objects of this arrangement were the protection of the country; the security of the important posts on the Hudson, and the safety, discipline, and easy subsistence of the army.

In the course of this winter he devised a plan of alarm signals, which General Philemon Dickinson was employed to carry into effect.

On Bottle Hill, which commanded a vast map of country, sentinels kept watch day and

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LAFAYETTE'S CANADA SCHEME-CONDEMNED BY WASHINGTON.

[1778.

night. Should there be an irruption of the | in-chief. Washington opposed the scheme, enemy, an eighteen pounder, called the Old both by letter and in a personal interview with Sow, fired every half hour, gave the alarm in Congress, as too complicated and extensive, and the daytime or in dark and stormy nights; an requiring too great resources in men and money immense fire or beacon at other times. On the to be undertaken with a prospect of success. booming of that heavy gun, lights sprang up He opposed it also on political grounds. Though from hill to hill along the different ranges of it had apparently originated in a proposition of heights; the country was aroused, and the yeo- the Marquis Lafayette, it might have had its manry, hastily armed, hurried to their gather- birth in the French cabinet, with a view to ing places. some ulterior object. He suggested the danger Washington was now doomed to experience of introducing a large body of French troops great loss in the narrow circle of those about into Canada, and putting them in possession of him, on whose attachment and devotion he the capital of a province attached to them by could place implicit reliance. The Marquis all the ties of blood, habits, manners, religion, Lafayette, seeing no immediate prospect of ac- and former connection of government. Let us tive employment in the United States, and an- realize for a moment, said he, the striking adticipating a war on the continent of Europe, vantages France would derive from the posseswas disposed to return to France to offer his sion of Canada; an extensive territory, aboundservices to his sovereign; desirous, however, ing in supplies for the use of her islands; a vast of preserving a relation with America, he source of the most beneficial commerce with merely solicited from Congress the liberty of the Indian nations, which she might then mogoing home for the next winter; engaging him-nopolize; ports of her own on this continent inself not to depart until certain that the cam-dependent of the precarious good-will of an paign was over. Washington backed his application for a furlough, as an arrangement that would still liuk him with the service; expressing his reluctance to part with an officer who united "to all the military fire of youth an uncommon maturity of judgment." Congress in consequence granted the marquis an unlimited leave of absence, to return to America whenever he should find it convenient.

The marquis, in truth, was full of a grand project for the following summer's campaign, which he was anxious to lay before the cabinet of Versailles; it was to effect the conquest of Canada by the combined forces, naval and military, of France and the United States. Of course it embraced a wide scope of operations. One body of American troops was to be directed against Detroit; another against Niagara; a third was to seize Oswego, launch a flotilla, and get command of Lake Ontario; and a fourth to penetrate Canada by the river St. Francis, and secure Montreal and the posts on Lake Champlain. While the Americans thus invaded Upper Canada, a French fleet with five thousand men was to ascend the St. Lawrence, and make an attack on Quebec. The scheme met the approbation of a great majority in Congress, who ordered it to be communicated to Dr. Franklin, then minister at Paris, to be laid by him before the French cabinet. Previous to a final determination, the House prudently consulted the opinion of the commander

ally; the whole trade of Newfoundland whenever she pleased to engross it, the finest nursery for seamen in the world; and finally, the facility of awing and controlling these States, the natural and most formidable rival of every maritime power in Europe. All these advantages he feared might prove too great a temptation to be resisted by any power actuated by the common maxims of national policy; and, with all his confidence in the favorable sentiments of France, he did not think it politic to subject her disinterestedness to such a trial. "To waive every other consideration," said he, grandly, in the conclusion of a letter to the President of Congress, "I do not like to add to the number of our national obligations. I would wish, as much as possible, to avoid giving a foreign power new claims of merit for services performed to the United States, and would ask no assistance that is not indispensa ble."

The strenuous and far-seeing opposition of Washington was at length effectual; and the magnificent, but hazardous scheme, was entirely, though slowly and reluctantly abandoned. It appears since, that the cabinet of France had really no hand either in originating or promoting it; but, on the contrary, was opposed to any expedition against Canada; and the instructions to their minister forbade him to aid in any such scheme of conquest.

Much of the winter was passed by Washington

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Er. 47.]

DISSENSIONS IN CONGRESS PATRIOTIC APPEALS OF WASHINGTON.

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in Philadelphia, occupied in devising and discuss- | all in case of a favorable issue to the dispute; ing plans for the campaign of 1779. It was an by one who wishes the prosperity of America anxious moment with him. Circumstances most devoutly, but sees it, or thinks he sees it, which inspired others with confidence, filled on the brink of ruin; you are besought most him with solicitude. The alliance with France earnestly, my dear Colonel Harrison, to exert had produced a baneful feeling of security, yourself in endeavoring to rescue your country, which, it appeared to him, was paralyzing the en- by sending your best and ablest men to Conergies of the country. England, it was thought, gress. These characters must not slumber nor would now be too much occupied in securing sleep at home in such a time of pressing danger. her position in Europe, to increase her force They must not content themselves with the or extend her operations in America. Many, enjoyment of places of honor or profit in their therefore, considered the war as virtually at an own State, while the common interests of end; and were unwilling to make the sacri- America are mouldering and sinking into irrefices, or supply the means necessary for impor- trievable ruin. *If I were to be called tant military undertakings. upon to draw a picture of the times and of men, from what I have seen, heard, and in part know, I should in one word say, that idleness, dissipation, and extravagance seem to have laid fast hold of most of them; that speculation, peculation, and an insatiable thirst for riches, seem to have got the better of every other consideration, and almost of every order of men; that party disputes and personal quarrels are the great business of the day; while the momentous concerns of an empire, a great and accumulating debt, ruined finances, depreciated money, and want of credit, which in its consequences is the want of every thing, are but secondary considerations, and postponed from day to day, from week to week, as if our affairs wore the most promising aspect. In the present situation of things, I cannot help asking where are Mason, Wythe, Jefferson, Nicholas, Pendleton, Nelson, and another I could name? And why, if you are sufficiently impressed with your danger, do you not, as New York has done in the case of Mr. Jay, send an extra member or two, for at least a limited time, till the great business of the nation is put upon a more respectable and happy establishment? * I confess to you I feel more real distress on account of the present appearance of things, than I have done, at any one time since the commencement of the dispute."

Dissensions, too, and party feuds were breaking out in Congress, owing to the relaxation of that external pressure of a common and imminent danger, which had heretofore produced a unity of sentiment and action. That august body had, in fact, greatly deteriorated since the commencement of the war. Many of those whose names had been as watchwords at the Declaration of Independence, had withdrawn from the national councils; occupied either by their individual affairs, or by the affairs of their individual States. Washington, whose comprehensive patriotism embraced the whole Union, deprecated and deplored the dawning of this sectional spirit. America, he declared, | had never stood in more imminent need of the wise, patriotic, and spirited exertions of her sons than at this period. The States, separately, were too much engaged in their local concerns, and had withdrawn too many of their ablest men from the general council, for the good of the common weal. "Our political system," observed he, "is like the mechanism of a clock; it is useless to keep the smaller wheels in order, if the greater one, the prime mover of the whole, is neglected." It was his wish, therefore, that each State should not only choose, but absolutely compel its ablest men to attend Congress, instructed to investigate and reform public abuses.

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Nothing can exceed his appeal to the pa- Nothing seems to have disgusted him more triotism of his native State, Virginia, in a letter during his visit to Philadelphia, than the manto Colonel Harrison, the speaker of its House ner in which the concerns of the patriot camp of Delegates, written on the 30th of December. were forgotten amid the revelry of the capital. "Our affairs are in a more distressed, ruinous," An assembly, a concert, a dinner, a supper, and deplorable condition than they have been since the commencement of the war. By a faithful laborer, then, in the cause; by a man who is daily injuring his private estate without the smallest earthly advantage, not common to

that will cost three or four hundred pounds, will not only take men off from acting in this business, but even from thinking of it; while a great part of the officers of our army, from absolute necessity, are quitting the service, and

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INDIAN ATROCITIES TO BE SUPPRESSED THE JERSEY TROOPS.

[1779.

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the more virtuous few, rather than do this, are | tated to obey. By the depreciation of paper sinking by sure degrees into beggary and want." money, their pay was incompetent to their In discussing the policy to be observed in support; it was, in fact, merely nominal; the the next campaign, Washington presumed the consequence was, as they alleged, that they enemy would maintain their present posts, and were loaded with debt, and their families at conduct the war as heretofore; in which case home were starving; yet the Legislature of he was for remaining entirely on the defensive; their State turned a deaf ear to their comwith the exception of such minor operations plaints. Thus aggrieved, they addressed a reas might be necessary to check the ravages of monstrance to the Legislature on the subject the Indians. The country, he observed, was of their pay, intimating that, should it not rein a languid and exhausted state, and had need ceive the immediate attention of that body, of repose. The interruption to agricultural they might, at the expiration of three days, be pursuits, and the many hands abstracted from considered as having resigned, and other offihusbandry by military service, had produced a cers might be appointed in their place. scarcity of bread and forage, and rendered it difficult to subsist large armies. Neither was it easy to recruit these armies. There was abundance of employment; wages were high, the value of money was low; consequently there was but little temptation to enlist. Plans had been adopted to remedy the deranged state of the currency, but they would be slow in operation. Great economy must in the mean time be observed in the public expenditure.

Here was one of the many dilemmas which called for the judgment, moderation, and great personal weight and influence of Washington. He was eminently the soldier's friend, but he was no less thoroughly the patriot general. He knew and felt the privations and distresses of the army, and the truth of the grievances complained of; but he saw, also, the evil consequences that might result from such a course as that which the officers had adopted. Acting, therefore, as a mediator, he corroborated the statements of the complainants on the one hand, urging on government the necessity of a more general and adequate provision for the officers of the army, and the danger of subjecting them to too severo and continued privations. On the other hand, he represented to the officers the difficulties with which government itself had to contend from a deranged currency and exhausted resources; and the unavoidable delays that consequently impeded its moneyed operations. He called upon them, therefore, for a further exertion of that patience and perseverance which had hitherto done them the highest honor at home and abroad, had inspired him with unlimited confidence in their virtue, and consoled him amidst every perplexity and reverse of fortune to which the national affairs had been exposed. "Now that we have made so great a progress to the attainment of the end we have in view," "observed he, any thing like a change of conduct would imply a very unhappy change of principle, and a forThe policy thus recommended was adopted getfulness, as well of what we owe to ourselves, by Congress. An expedition was set on foot as to our country. Did I suppose it possible to carry that part relative to the Indians into this could be the case even in a single regiment execution but here a circumstance occurred, of the army, I should be mortified and chawhich Washington declared gave him more grined beyond expression. I should feel it as pain than any thing that had happened in the a wound given to my own honor, which I conwar. A Jersey brigade being ordered to sider as embarked with that of the army at march, the officers of the first regiment hesi- | large.

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The participation of France in the war, also, and the prospect that Spain would soon be embroiled with England, must certainly divide the attention of the enemy, and allow America a breathing time; these and similar considerations were urged by Washington in favor of a defensive policy. One single exception was made by him. The horrible ravages and massacres perpetrated by the Indians and their tory allies at Wyoming, had been followed by similar atrocities at Cherry Valley, in the State of New York, and called for signal vengeance to prevent a repetition. Washington knew by experience that Indian warfare, to be effective, should never be merely defensive, but must be carried into the enemy's country. The Six Nations, the most civilized of the savage tribes, had proved themselves the most formidable. His idea was to make war upon them in their own style; penetrate their country, lay waste their villages and settlements, and at the same time destroy the British post at Niagara, that nestling-place of tories and refugees.

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