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leaving it, deserves my thanks, and justly entitles you to the thanks of the country."

An opportunity occurred before long, for Arnold again to signalize himself.

The amount of stores destroyed at Peekskill had fallen far short of General Howe's expectations. Something more must be done to cripple the Americans before the opening of the campaign. Accordingly, another expedition was set on foot against a still larger deposit at Danbury, within the borders of Connecticut, and between twenty and thirty miles from Peekskill.

Arnold was, in truth, deeply wounded by | danger to the public might ensue from your the omission. "I am greatly obliged to your Excellency," writes he to Washington, "for interesting yourself so much in respect to my appointment, which I have had no advice of, and know not by what means it was announced in the papers. Congress undoubtedly have a right of promoting those whom, from their abilities, and their long and arduous services, they esteem most deserving. Their promoting junior officers to the rank of major-generals, I view as a very civil way of requesting my resignation, as unqualified for the office I hold. My commission was conferred unsolicited, and received with pleasure only as a means of serving Ex-governor Tryon, recently commissioned my country. With equal pleasure I resign it, major-general of provincials, conducted it, acwhen I can no longer serve my country with companied by Brigadier-General Aguew, and honor. The person who, void of the nice feel- Sir William Erskine. He had a mongrel force, ings of honor, will tainely condescend to give two thousand strong; American, Irish, and up his right, and retain a commission at the British refugees from various parts of the conexpense of his reputation, I hold as a disgrace tinent, and made his appearance on the Sound to the army, and unworthy of the glorious the latter part of April, with a fleet of twentycause in which we are engaged. * * * *six sail, greatly to the disquiet of every assailaIn justice, therefore, to my own character, and ble place along the coast. On the 25th, towfor the satisfaction of my friends, I must re-ards evening, he landed his troops on the beach quest a court of inquiry into my conduct; and though I sensibly feel the ingratitude of my countrymen, yet every personal injury shall be buried in my zeal for the safety and happiness of my country, in whose cause I have repeatedly fought and bled, and am ready at all times to risk my life."

He subsequently intimated that he should avoid any hasty step, and should remain at his post until he could leave it without any damage to the public interest.

at the foot of Canepo Hill, near the mouth of the Saugatuck River. The yeomanry of the neighborhood had assembled to resist them, but a few cannon-shot made them give way, and the troops set off for Danbury, about twenty-three miles distant; galled at first by a scattering fire from behind a stone fence. They were in a patriotic neighborhood. General Silliman, of the Connecticut militia, who resided at Fairfield, a few miles distant, sent out expresses to rouse the country. happened that General Arnold was at New Haven, between twenty and thirty miles off, on his way to Philadelphia for the purpose of settling his accounts. At the alarm of a British inroad, he forgot his injuries and irritation, mounted his horse, and, accompanied by Gen


It so

The principle upon which Congress had proceeded in their recent promotions was explained to Washington. The number of general officers promoted from each State was proportioned to the number of men furnished by it. Connecticut (Arnold's State) had already two major-generals, which was its full share. "Ieral Wooster, hastened to join General Silliconfess," writes Washington to Arnold, "this is a strange mode of reasoning; but it may serve to show you that the promotion, which was due to your seniority, was not overlooked for want of merit in you."

"The point," observes he, "is of so delicate a nature that I will not even undertake to advise. Your own feelings must be your guide. As no particular charge is alleged against you, I do not see upon what grounds you can demand a court of inquiry. Your determination not to quit your present command while any

man. As they spurred forward, every farmhouse sent out its warrior, until upwards of a hundred were pressing on with them, full of the fighting spirit. Lieutenant Oswald, Arnold's secretary in the Canada campaign, who had led the forlorn hope in the attempt upon Quebec, was at this time at New Haven, enlisting men for Lamb's regiment of artillery. He, too, heard the note of alarm, and mustering his recruits, marched off with three field-pieces for the scene of action.*

Life of Lamb, p. 157.

ET. 45.]



In the mean while the British, marching all | morning, conducting it in regular style, with night with short haltings, reached Danbury flanking parties, and a rear-guard well furnished about two o'clock in the afternoon of the 26th. with artillery. As soon as they had passed his There were but fifty Continental soldiers and position, Wooster attacked the rear guard with one hundred militia in that place. These re- great spirit and effect; there was sharp skirtreated, as did most of the inhabitants, except- mishing until within two miles of Ridgefield, ing such as remained to take care of the sick when, as the veteran was cheering on his men, and aged. Four men, intoxicated, as it was who began to waver, a musket ball brought said, fired upon the troops from the windows him down from his horse, and finished his galof a large house. The soldiers rushed in, drove lant career. On his fall his men retreated in them into the cellar, set fire to the house, and disorder. left them to perish in the flames.

There was a great quantity of stores of all kinds in the village, and no vehicles to convey them to the ships. The work of destruction commenced. The soldiers made free with the liquors found in abundance; and throughout the greater part of the night there was revel, drunkenness, blasphemy, and devastation. Tryon, full of anxiety, and aware that the country was rising, ordered a retreat before daylight, setting fire to the magazines to complete the destruction of the stores. The flames spread to the other edifices, and almost the whole village was soon in a blaze. The ex- | treme darkness of a rainy night made the conflagration more balefully apparent throughout the country.

The delay which his attack had occasioned to the enemy, had given Arnold time to throw up a kind of breast work or barricade across the road at the north end of Ridgefield, protected by a house on the right, and a high rocky bank on the left, where he took his stand with his little force now increased to about five hundred men. At about eleven o'clock the enemy advanced in column, with artillery and flanking parties. They were kept at bay for a time, and received several volleys from the barricade, until it was outflanked and carried. Arnold ordered a retreat, and was bringing off the rearguard, when his horse was shot under him, and came down upon his knees. Arnold remained seated in the saddle, with one foot entangled in the stirrups. A tory soldier, seeing his plight, rushed towards him with fixed bayonet. He had just time to draw a pistol from the holster. "You're my prisoner," cried the tory. "Not yet! exclaimed Arnold, and shot him dead. Then extricating his foot from the stirrup, he threw himself into the thickets of a neighboring swamp, and escaped, unharmed by the bullets that whistled after him, and joined his retreating troops.

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General Tryon intrenched for the night in

While these scenes had been transacted at Danbury, the Connecticut yeomanry had been gathering. Fairfield and the adjacent counties had poured out their minute men. General Silliman had advanced at the head of five hundred. Generals Wooster and Arnold joined him with their chance followers, as did a few more militia. A heavy rain retarded their march; it was near midnight when they reached Bethel, within four miles of Danbury. Here they halted to take a little repose and put their | Ridgefield, his troops having suffered greatly arms in order, rendered almost unserviceable in their harassed retreat. The next morning, by the rain. They were now about six hundred after having set fire to four houses, he constrong. Wooster took the command, as first tinued his march for the ships. Colonel Huntmajor-general of the militia of the State. ington, of the Continental army, with the troops Though in the sixty-eighth year of his age, he which had been stationed at Danbury, the was full of ardor, with almost youthful fire and scattered force of Wooster which had joined daring. A plan was concerted to punish the him, and a number of militia, hung on the rear of enemy on their retreat; and the lurid light of the enemy as soon as they were in motion. Danbury in flames redoubled the, provocation. Arnold was again in the field, with his rallied At dawn of day, Wooster detached Arnold with forces, strengthened by Lieutenant-Colonel four hundred men, to push across the country Oswald with two companies of Lamb's artillery and take post at Ridgefield, by which the Brit- regiment and three field-pieces. With these ish must pass; while he with two hundred he again posted himself on the enerny's route. remained to hang on and harass them in flank Difficulties and annoyances had multiplied and rear. upon the latter at every step. When they The British began their retreat early in the came in sight of the position where Arnold


was waiting for them, they changed their route, wheeled to the left, and made for a ford of Saugatuck River. Arnold hastened to cross the bridge and take them in flank, but they were too quick for him. Colonel Lamb had now reached the scene of action, as had about two hundred volunteers. Leaving to Oswald the charge of the artillery, he put himself at the head of the volunteers, and led them up to Arnold's assistance.

The enemy, finding themselves hard pressed, pushed for Canepo Hill. They reached it in the evening, without a round of ammunition in their cartridge-boxes. As they were now within cannon shot of their ships, the Americans ceased the pursuit. The British formed upon the high ground, brought their artillery to the front, and sent off to the ships for reinforcenents. Sir William Erskine landed a large body of inarines and sailors, who drove the Americans back for some distance, and covered the embarkation of the troops. Colonel Lamb, while leading on his men gallantly to capture the British field-pieces, was wounded by a grape-shot, and Arnold, while cheering on the militia, had another horse shot under him. In the mean time, the harassed marauders effected their embarkation, and the fleet got under


In this inroad the enemy destroyed a considerable amount of military stores, and seventeen hundred tents prepared for the use of Washington's army in the ensuing campaign. The loss of General Wooster was deeply deplored. He survived the action long enough to be consoled in his dying moments at Danbury, by the presence of his wife and son, who hastened thither from New Haven. As to Arnold, his gallantry in this affair gained him fresh laurels, and Congress, to remedy their late error, promoted him to the rank of major-general. Still his promotion did not restore him to his former position. He was at the bottom of the list of major-generals, with four officers above him, his juniors in service. Washington felt this injustice on the part of Congress, and wrote about it to the president. "He has certainly discovered," said he, "in every instance where he has had an opportunity, much bravery, activity, and enterprise. But what will be done about his rank? He will not act, most probably, under those he commanded but a few weeks ago."

As an additional balm to Arnold's wounded pride, Congress, a few days afterwards, voted

that a horse properly caparisoned should be presented to him in their name, as a token of their approbation of his gallant conduct in the late action, "in which he had one horse shot under him and another wounded." But after all he remained at the bottom of the list, and the wound still rankled in his bosom.

The destructive expeditions against the American depôts of military stores, were retaliated in kind by Colonel Meigs, a spirited officer, who had accompanied Arnold in his expedition through the wilderness against Quebec, and had caught something of his love for hardy exploit. Having received intelligence that the British commissaries had collected a great amount of grain, forage, and other supplies at Sag Harbor, a small port in the deep bay which forks the east end of Long Island, he crossed the Sound on the 23d of May from Guilford in Connecticut, with about one hundred and seventy men in whale boats convoyed by two armed sloops: landed on the island near Southold; carried the boats a distance of fifteen miles across the north fork of the bay, launched them into the latter, crossed it, landed within four miles of Sag Harbor, and before daybreak carried the place, which was guarded by a company of foot. A furious fire of round and grape-shot was opened upon the Americans from an armed schooner, anchored about one hundred and fifty yards from shore; and stout defence was made by the crews of a dozen brigs and sloops lying at the wharf to take in freight; but Meigs succeeded in burning these vessels, destroying every thing on shore, and carrying off ninety prisoners; among whom were the officers of the company of foot, the commissaries, and the captains of most of these small vessels. With these he and his party recrossed the bay, transported their boats again across the fork of land, launched them on the Sound, and got safe back to Guilford, having achieved all this, and traversed, about ninety miles of land and water, in twenty-five hours. Washington was so highly pleased with the spirit and success of this enterprise, that he publicly returned thanks to Colonel Meigs and the officers and men engaged in it. It could not fail, he said, greatly to distress the enemy in the important and essential article of forage. But it was the moral effect of the enterprise which gave it the most value. It is difficult, at the present day, sufficiently to appreciate the importance of partisan exploits of the kind in the critical stage of the war of which we are



treating. They cheered the spirit of the people, | on the subject of the Northern department. depressed by overshadowing dangers and severe privations, and kept alive the military spark that was to kindle into the future flame.


THE time was at hand for the committee of inquiry on General Schuyler's conduct to make their report to Congress, and he awaited it with impatience. "I propose in a day or two to resign my commission," writes he to Washington on the 3d of May. done it, I shall transmit to your Excellency my

reasons for such a step."

"As soon as I have

Washington was grieved at receiving this intimation. He had ever found Schuyler a faithful coadjutor. He knew his peculiar fitness for the Northern department, from his knowledge of the country and its people; his influence among its most important citizens; his experience in treating with the Indians; his fiery energy; his fertility in expedients, and his "sound military sense.' But he knew also

Several of the most important of the New York delegates observed that General Gates misapprehended his position. He considered himself as holding the same command as that formerly held by General Schuyler. Such was not the intention of Congress in sending him to take command of the army at Ticonderoga. There had been a question between sending him to that post, or giving him the adjutancy-general, and it had been decided for the former.

It would be nonsense, they observed, to give hin command of the Northern department, and confine him to Ticonderoga and Mount

Independence, where he could not have an ex

tensive idea of the defence of the frontier

of the Eastern States; but only of one spot, to which the enemy were not obliged to confine their operations, and, as it were, to knock their heads against a single rock. The affairs of the north-east, it was added, and of the State of New York in particular, were in a critical condition. Much disaffection prevailed, and great clashing of interests. There was but one man capable of keeping all united against the combis sensitive nature, and the peculiar annoy-commander-in-chief of the Middle, or, as it was mon enemy, and he stood on the books as

ances with which he had to contend. On a former occasion he had prevented him from resigning, by an appeal to his patriotism; he no longer felt justified in interfering. "I am sorry," writes he, "that circumstances are such as to dispose you to a resignation; but you are the best judge of the line of conduct most reconcilable to your duty, both in a public and personal view; and your own feelings must determine you in a matter of so delicate and interesting a nature.'

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Affairs, however, were taking a more favorable turn. The committee of inquiry made a report which placed the character of Schuyler higher than ever as an able and active commander, and a zealous and disinterested patriot.

He made a memorial to Congress explaining away or apologizing for, the expressions in his letter of the 4th of February, which had given offence to the House. His memorial was satisfactory; and he was officially informed that Congress now "entertained the same favorable sentiments concerning him that they had entertained before that letter was received."

There were warm discussions in the House

* Schuyler's Letter-Book.

sometimes called, the Northern department. His presence was absolutely necessary in his home quarters for their immediate succor, but if he returned, he would be a general without an army or military chest; and why was he thus disgraced?

The friends of Gates, on the other hand, who were chiefly delegates from New England, pronounced it an absurdity, that an officer holding such an important post as Ticonderoga, should be under the absolute orders of another one hundred miles distant, engaged in treaties with Indians, and busied in the duties of a provedore. The establishment of commands in departments was entirely wrong; there should be a commander-in-chief, and commanders of the different armies.

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GATES' LETTER TO WASHINGTON-DIGNIFIED REPLY OF THE LATTER. [1777. frontiers. It is an unhappy circumstance that | In the petulance of the moment, Gates adsuch is the altercation at the opening of the campaign."

This letter produced an anxious reply: "Why," writes Gates, "when the argument in support of General Schuyler's command was imposed upon Congress, did not you or somebody say, 'the second post upon this continent next campaign will be at or near Peekskill. There General Schuyler ought to go and command; that will be the curb in the mouth of the New York tories, and the enemy's army. He will then be near the convention, and in the centre of the colony, have a military chest, and all the insignia of office.' This command in honor could not be refused, without owning there is something more alluring than command to General Schuyler, by fixing him at Albany. By urging this matter home you would have proved the man. He would have resigned all command, have accepted the government of New York, and been fixed to a station where he must do good, and which could not interfere with, or prevent any arrangement Congress have made, or may hereafter make. Unhappy State! That has but one man in it who can fix the wavering minds of its inhabitants to the side of freedom! How could you sit patiently, and, uncontradicted, suffer such impertinence to be crammed down your throats?"

* *

"Why is it nonsense," pursues Gates, "to station the commanding general in the Northern department at Ticonderoga? Was it not the uniform practice of the royal army all last war? Nothing is more certain than that the enemy must first possess that single rock before they can penetrate the country. *It is foolish in the extreme, to believe the enemy this year can form any attack from the northward but by Ticonderoga. Where, then, ought the commanding general to be posted? Certainly at Ticonderoga. If General Schuyler is solely to possess all the power, all the intelligence, and that particular favorite, the military chest, and constantly reside at Albany, I cannot, with any peace of mind, serve at Ticonderoga."*

dressed the following letter to Washington: "Major Troup, upon being disappointed in procuring tents at Fishkill, acquaints me that he went to head-quarters to implore your Excellency's aid in that particular for the Northern army. He says your Excellency told him you should want every tent upon the continent for the armies to the southward, and that you did not see any occasion the Northern army could have for tents, for, being a fixed post, they might hut. Refusing this army what you have not in your power to bestow, is one thing," adds Gates, "but saying that this army has not the same necessities as the Southern armies, is another. I can assure your Excellency the service of the northward requires tents as much as any service I ever saw."

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However indignant Washington may have felt at the disrespectful tone of this letter, and the unwarrantable imputation of sectional partiality contained in it, he contented himself with a grave and n:casured rebuke. "Can you suppose," writes he, "if there had been an ample supply of tents for the whole army, that I should have hesitated one moment in complying with your demand? I told Major Troup, that on account of our loss, at Danbury there would be a scarcity of tents; that our army would be a moving one, and that consequently nothing but tents would serve our turn; and that, therefore, as there would be the greatest probability of your being stationary, you should endeavor to cover your troops with barracks and huts. Certainly this was not a refusal of tents, but a request that you should, in our contracted situation, make every shift to do without them, or at least with as few as possible.


* *

"The Northern army is, and ever has been, as much the object of my care and attention as the one immediately under my command. * I will make particular inquiry of the quarterinaster-general, concerning his prospect and expectations as to the article of tents; and if, as I said before, there appears a sufficiency for the whole army, you shall most willingly have your share. But, if there is not, surely

This letter was despatched by private hand that army whose movement is uncertain, must to Philadelphia.

While Gates was in this mood, his aide-decamp, Major Troup, reported an unsuccessful application to the commander-in-chief for tents.

Letter to James Lovell, of Massachusetts. Gates's papers, N. Y. Hist. Library.

give up its claims for the present to that which must inevitably take the field the moment the weather will admit, and must continue in it the whole campaign." +

*Gates's Papers.

† Washington's Writings. Sparks, iv. 427.

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