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ORDERS AND COUNTER ORDERS-AMBITION OF GATES.

ment you have ascertained it to your satisfac- I a moment's loss of time. tion."

On the 31st, he was informed that the enemy's fleet of two hundred and twenty-eight sail, had arrived the day previous at the Capes of Delaware. He instantly wrote to Putnam to hurry on two brigades, which had crossed the river, and to let Schuyler and the commanders in the Eastern States know that they had nothing to fear from Howe, and might bend all their forces, Continental and militia, against Burgoyne. In the mean time he moved his camp to Germantown, about six miles from Philadelphia, to be at hand for the defence of that city.

* * *

The very next day came word, by express, that the fleet had again sailed out of the Capes, and apparently shaped its course eastward. "This surprising event gives me the greatest anxiety," writes he to Putnam (Aug. 1), "and unless every possible exertion is made, may be productive of the happiest consequences to the enemy and the most injurious to us. The importance of preventing Mr. Howe's getting possession of the Highlands by a coup de main, is infinite to America; and, in the present situation of things, every effort that can be thought of must be used. The probability of his going to the eastward is exceedingly small, and the ill effects that might attend such a step inconsiderable, in comparison with those that would inevitably attend a successful stroke on the Highlands."

Under this impression Washington sent orders to Sullivan to hasten back with his division and the two brigades which had recently left Peekskill, and to recross the Hudson to that post as speedily as possible, intending to forward the rest of the army with all the expedition in his power. He wrote, also, to General George Clinton to reinforce Putnam with as many of the New York militia as could be collected. Clinton, be it observed, had just been installed Governor of the State of New York; the first person elevated to that office under the Constitution. He still continued in actual command of the militia of the State, and it was with great satisfaction that Washington subsequently learnt he had determined to resume the command of Fort Montgomery in the Highlands: "There cannot be a more proper man," writes he, on every account."

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Washington, moreover, requested Putnam to send an express to Governor Trumbull, urging assistance from the militia of his State without

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"Connecticut cannot

be in more danger through any channel than this, and every motive of its own interest and the general good demands its utmost endeavors to give you effectual assistance. Governor Trumbull will, I trust, be sensible of this."

And here we take occasion to observe, that there could be no surer reliance for aid in time of danger than the patriotism of Governor Trumbull; or were there men more ready to obey a sudden appeal to arms than the yeomanry of Connecticut; however much their hearts might subsequently yearn toward the farms and firesides they had so promptly abandoned. No portion of the Union was more severely tasked, throughout the Revolution, for military services; and Washington avowed, when the great struggle was over, that, "if all the States had done their duty as well as the little State of Connecticut, the war would have been ended long ago.'

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CHAPTER XII.

WE have cited in a preceding page a letter from Washington to Gates at Philadephia, requiring his vigilant attention to the movements of the enemy's fleet; that ambitious officer, however, was engrossed at the time by matters more important to his individual interests. The command of the Northern department seemed again within his reach. The evacuation of Ticonderoga had been imputed by many either to cowardice or treachery on the part of General St. Clair, and the enemies of Schuyler had, for some time past, been endeavoring to involve him in the disgrace of the transaction. It is true he was absent from the fortress at the time, zealously engaged, as we have shown, in procuring and forwarding reinforcements and supplies; but it was alleged that the fort had been evacuated by his order, and that, while there, he had made such dispositions as plainly indicated an intention to deliver it to the enemy. In the eagerness to excite popular feeling against him, old slanders were re vived, and the failure of the invasion of Canada, and all the subsequent disasters in that quarter, were again laid to his charge as commandinggeneral of the Northern department. "In short," writes Schuyler in one of his letters,

*Communicated by Professor B. Silliman.

ET. 45.]

GATES APPOINTED TO THE NORTHERN DEPARTMENT.

66 every art is made use of to destroy that confidence which it is so essential the army should have in its general officers, and this too by people pretending to be friends to the country.

These charges, which for some time existed merely in popular clamor, had recently been taken up in Congress, and a strong demonstration had been made against him by some of the New England delegates. "Your enemies in this quarter," writes his friend the Hon. William Duer (July 29th), are leaving no means unessayed to blast your character, and to impute to your appointment in that department a loss which, rightly investigated, can be imputed to very different causes.

"Be not surprised if you should be desired to attend Congress, to give an account of the loss of Ticonderoga. With respect to the result of the inquiry I am under no apprehensions. Like gold tried in the fire, I trust that you, my dear friend, will be found more pure and bright than ever. * * * * * * From the nature of your department, and other unavoidable causes, you have not had an opportunity, during the course of this war, of evincing that spirit which I and your more intimate friends know you to possess; of this circumstance prejudice takes a cruel advantage, and malice lends an easy ear to her dictates. A hint on this subject is sufficient. You will not, I am sure, see this place till your conduct gives the lie to this insinuation, as it has done before to every other which your enemies have so industriously circulated." +

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Schuyler, in reply, expressed the most ardent wish that Congress would order him to attend and give an account of his conduct. He wished his friends to push for the closest scrutiny, confident that it would redound to his honor. "I would not, however, wish the scrutiny to take place immediately," adds he, as we shall probably soon have an engagement, if we are so reinforced with militia as to give us a probable chance of success. * * * Be assured, my dear friend, if a general engagement takes place, whatever may be the event, you will not have occasion to blush for your friend." +

It seemed to be the object of Mr. Schuyler's enemies to forestall his having such a chance of distinguishing himself. The business was pushed in Congress more urgently than even Mr. Duer had anticipated. Beside the allega

Schuyler to Governor Trumbull. Letter-Book. ↑ Schuyler's Papers. Schuyler's Letter-Book.

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tions against him in regard to Ticonderoga, his unpopularity in the Eastern States was urged as a sufficient reason for discontinuing him in his present command, as the troops from that quarter were unwilling to serve under him. This had a great effect in the present time of peril, with several of the delegates from the East, who discredited the other charges against him. The consequence was that after long and ardent debates, in which some of the most eminent delegates from New York, who intimately knew his worth, stood up in his favor, it was resolved (Aug. 1st), that both General Schuyler and General St. Clair should be summoned to head-quarters to account for the misfortunes in the North, and that Washington should be directed to order such general officer as he should think proper to succeed General Schuyler in the command of the Northern department.

The very next day a letter was addressed to Washington by several of the leading Eastern members, men of unquestionable good faith, such as Samuel and John Adams, urging the appointment of Gates. "No man, in our opinion," said they," will be more likely to restore harmony, order, and discipline, and retrieve our affairs in that quarter. He has, on experience, acquired the confidence and stands high in the esteem of the Eastern troops."

Washington excused himself from making any nomination, alleging that the Northern department had, in a great measure, been considered a separate one; that, moreover, the situation of the department was delicate, and might involve interesting and delicate consequences. The nomination, therefore, was made by Congress; the Eastern influence prevailed, and Gates received the appointment, so long the object of his aspirations, if not intrigues.

Washington deeply regretted the removal of a noble-hearted man with whom he had acted so harmoniously, whose exertions had been so energetic and unwearied, and who was so peculiarly fitted for the various duties of the department. He consoled himself, however, with the thought that the excuse of want of confidence in the general officers, hitherto alleged by the Eastern States for withholding reinforcements, would be obviated by the presence of this man of their choice.

With the prevalent wisdom of his pen, he endeavored to allay the distrusts and apprehensions awakened by the misfortune at Ticonderoga, which he considered the worst conse

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372

GATES ORDERED TO THE NORTH-PREJUDICES AGAINST SCHUYLER.

quence of that event. "If the matter were coolly and dispassionately considered," writes he to the council of safety of the State of New York, "there would be nothing found so formidable in General Burgoyne and the force under him with all his successes to countenance the least degree of despondency, and experience would show, that even the moderate exertions of the States more immediately interested, would be sufficient to check his career, and, perhaps, convert the advantages he has gained to his ruin. * * * * If I do not give so effectual aid as I could wish to the Northern army, it is not from want of inclination, nor from being too little impressed with the importance of doing it; but because the state of affairs in this quarter will not possibly admit of it. It would be the height of impolicy to weaken ourselves too much here, in order to increase our strength there; and it must certainly be considered more difficult, as well as of greater moment, to control the main army of the enemy, than an inferior, and, I may say, dependent one; for it is pretty obvious that if General Howe can be kept at bay, and prevented from effecting his purposes, the successes of General Burgoyne, whatever they may be, must be partial and temporary."

The sagacity and foresight of this policy will be manifested by after events.

On the same day on which the above letter was written, he officially announced to Gates his appointment, and desired him to proceed immediately to the place of his destination: wishing him success, and that he "might speedily be able to restore the face of affairs in that quarter."

About this time took effect a measure of Congress, making a complete change in the commissariat. This important and complicated department had hitherto been under the management of one commissary-general, Colonel Joseph Trumbull of Connecticut. By the new arrangement there were to be two commissaries-general, one of purchases, the other of issues; each to be appointed by Congress. They were to have several deputy commissaries under them, but accountable to Congress, and to be appointed and removed by that body. These, and many subordinate arrangements, had been adopted in opposition to the opinion of Washington, and, most unfortunately, were brought into operation in the midst of this perplexed and critical campaign.

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of Colonel Trumbull, who had been nominated commissary of purchases; and the entrance into office of a number of inexperienced men. The ultimate effect was to paralyze the organization of this vital department; to cause delay and confusion in furnishing and forwarding supplies; and to retard and embarrass the operations of the different armies throughout the year. Washington had many dangers and difficulties to harass and perplex him throughout this complicated campaign, and not among the least may be classed the "stumblings of Congress."

"There was not an indi

An author, eminent for his historical researches, expresses himself at a loss to explain the prejudice existing against General Schuyler among the people of the New England States. vidual connected with the Revolution," observes he, "concerning whom there is more abundant evidence of his patriotism and unwearied services in the cause of his country."

Wilkinson, at that time a devoted follower of Gates, and likely to know the influences that operated against his rival, traces this prejudice up to times prior to the the part of New York in settling the partition line Revolution, when Schuyler acted as commissioner on

between that colony and Massachusetts Bay. This gave rise to the feuds and controversies concerning the Hampshire Grants, in which, according to Wilkinson, the parties were distinguished by the designations of Yankee and Yorker. The zealous exertions of

Schuyler on behalf of New York, gained him the ill of the first rank with whom he came in collision. This will of the Hampshire grantees, and of eastern men feeling survived the controversy, and existed among the militia from those parts. On the other hand, Wilkinson observes, "It was General Gates's policy to favor the views of the inhabitants of the Hampshire Grants, which made him popular with these people."

Somewhat of the prejudice against Schuyler Wilkinson ascribes to social habits and manners, "those of New England at the time being democratic and puritanical, whilst in New York they were courtly and aristocratical." Schuyler was a man of the world, and of society, cultivated, and well-bred; he was an eléve too of Major-General Bradstreet in the seven years' war; and had imbibed notions of military carriage and decorum in an aristocratic school; all this rendered him impatient at times of the deficiencies in these respects among the raw militia officers, and made the latter consider him haughty and reserved.

CHAPTER XIII.

FOR several days Washington remained at Germantown in painful uncertainty about the British fleet; whether gone to the south or to The first effect was to cause the resignation the east. The intense heat of the weather

ET. 45.]

PUTNAM ON THE ALERT-WASHINGTON REINFORCES GATES.

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made him unwilling again to move his army, | Highlands, and actually at his post at Fort already excessively harassed by marchings and Montgomery, was equally on the alert. He counter-marchings. Concluding, at length, had faithfully followed Washington's directhat the fleet had actually gone to the east, tions, in ordering out militia from different he was once more on the way to recross the counties to reinforce his own garrison and the Delaware, when an express overtook him on army under Schuyler. "I never knew the the 10th of August, with tidings that three militia come out with greater alacrity," "writes days before it had been seen off Sinepuxent he; "but, as many of them have yet a great Inlet, about sixteen leagues south of the Capes part of their harvests in the field, I fear it will be of Delaware. difficult to detain them long, unless the enemy will make some movements that indicate a design of coming this way suddenly, and so obvious as to be believed by the militia.”

At the same time, the worthy governor expressed his surprise that the Northern army had not been reinforced from the eastward. "The want of confidence in the general officers to the northward," adds he, "is the specious reason. To me it appears to be a very weak one. Common gratitude to a sister State, as well as duty to the continent at large, conspire in calling on our eastern neighbors to step forth on this occasion."

Again he came to a halt, and waited for further intelligence. Danger suggested itself from a different quarter. Might it not be Howe's plan, by thus appearing with his ships at different places, to lure the army after him, and thereby leave the country open for Sir Henry Clinton with the troops at New York to form a junction with Burgoyne? With this idea Washington wrote forthwith to the veteran Putnam to be on the alert; collect all the force he could to strengthen his post at Peekskill, and send down spies to ascertain whether Sir Henry Clinton was actually at New York, and what troops he had there. "If he has the number of men with him that is reported," observes Washington, "it is probably with the intention to attack you from below, while Bur-companied Burgoyne were objects of great goyne comes down upon you from above."

The old general, whose boast it was that he never slept but with one eye, was already on the alert. A circumstance had given him proof positive that Sir Henry was in New York, and had roused his military ire. A spy, sent by that commander, had been detected furtively collecting information of the force and condition of the post at Peekskill, and had undergone a military trial. A vessel of war came up the Hudson in all haste, and landed a flag of truce at Verplanck's Point, by which a message was transmitted to Putnam from Sir Henry Clinton, claiming Edmund Palmer as a lieutenant in the British service.

One measure more was taken by Washington, during this interval, in aid of the Northern department. The Indians who ac

dread to the American troops, especially the militia. As a counterpoise to them, he now sent up Colonel Morgan with five hundred riflemen, to fight them in their own way. "They are all chosen men," said he, "selected from the army at large, and well acquainted with the use of rifles and with that mode of fighting. I expect the most eminent services from them, and I shall be mistaken if their presence does not go far towards producing a general desertion among the savages." It was, indeed, an arm of strength, which he could but ill spare from his own army.

Putnam was directed to have sloops ready to transport them up the Hudson, and Gates The reply of the old general was brief but was informed of their being on their way, and cmphatic.

"HEAD-QUARTERS, 7th Aug., 1777. "Edmund Palmer, an officer in the enemy's service, was taken as a spy lurking within our lines; he has been tried as a spy, condemned as a spy, and shall be executed as a spy; and the flag is ordered to depart immediately.

about what time he might expect them, as well as two regiments from Peekskill, under Colonels Van Courtlandt and Livingston.

"With these reinforcements, besides the militia under General Lincoln," writes Washington to Gates, "I am in hopes you will find yourself at least equal to stop the progress of Mr. Burgoyne, and, by cutting off his supplies. of provisions, to render his situation very ineligible." Washington was thus, in a manner, carrying on two games at once, with Howe on Governor Clinton, the other guardian of the the seaboard and with Burgoyne on the upper

"ISRAEL PUTNAM.

"P. S.—He has, accordingly, been executed."

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374

THE MARQUIS DE LAFAYETTE-BRITISH FLEET IN THE CHESAPEAKE,

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waters of the Hudson, and endeavoring by skil- | nections, he should have the rank of majorful movements to give check to both. It was general in the army of the United States. an arduous and complicated task, especially with his scanty and fluctuating means, and the wide extent of country and great distances over which he had to move his men.

His measures to throw a force in the rear of Burgoyne were now in a fair way of being carried into effect. Lincoln was at Bennington. Stark had joined him with a body of New Hampshire militia, and a corps of Massachusetts militia was arriving. "Such a force in his rear," observed Washington, "will oblige Burgoyne to leave such strong posts behind as must make his main body very weak, and extremely capable of being repulsed by the force we have in front.".

During his encampment in the neighborhood of Philadelphia, Washington was repeatedly at that city, making himself acquainted with the military capabilities of the place and its surrounding country, and directing the construction of fortifications on the river. In one of these visits he became acquainted with the young Marquis de Lafayette, who had recently arrived from France, in company with a number of French, Polish, and German officers, among whom was the Baron de Kalb. The marquis was not quite twenty years of age, yet had already been married nearly three years to a lady of rank and fortune. Full of the romance of liberty, he had torn himself from his youthful bride, turned his back upon the gayeties and splendors of a court, and in defiance of impediments and difficulties multiplied in his path, had made his way to America to join its hazardous fortunes.

He sent in his letters of recommendation to Mr. Lovell, Chairman of the Committee of Foreign Affairs; and applied the next day at the door of Congress to know his success. Mr. Lovell came forth, and gave him but little encouragement; Congress, in fact, was embarrassed by the number of foreign applications, many without merit. Lafayette immediately sent in the following note: "After many sacrifices, I have the right to ask two favors; one is to serve at my own expense; the other, to commence by serving as a volunteer." *

This simple appeal had its effect: it called attention to his peculiar case, and Congress resolved on the 31st of July, that in consideration of his zeal, his illustrious family and con

Momoires du Gen. Lafayette, tom. i., p. 19.

It was at a public dinner, where a number of members of Congress were present, that Lafayette first saw Washington. He immediately knew him, he said, from the officers who surrounded him, by his commanding air and person. When the party was breaking up, Washington took him aside, complimented him in a gracious manner on his disinterested zeal and the generosity of his conduct, and invited him to make head-quarters his home. "I cannot promise you the luxuries of a court," said he, "but as you have become an American soldier, you will, doubtless, accommodate yourself to the fare of an American army."

Many days had now elapsed without further tidings of the fleet. What had become of it? Had Howe gone against Charleston? If so, the distance was too great to think of following him. Before the army, debilitated and wasted by a long march, under a summer sun, in an unhealthy climate, could reach there, he might accomplish every purpose he had in view, and re-embark his troops to turn his arms against Philadelphia, or any other point, without the army being at hand to oppose him.

What, under these uncertainties was to be done? remain inactive, in the remote proba bility of Howe's returning this way; or proceed to the Hudson with a view either to oppose Burgoyne, or make an attempt upon New York? A successful stroke with respect to either, might make up for any losses sustained in the South. The latter was unanimously determined in a council of war, in which the Marquis de Lafayette took part. As it was, however, a movement that might involve the most important consequences, Washington sent his aide-de-camp, Colonel Alexander Hamilton, with a letter to the President of Congress, requesting the opinion of that body. Congress approved the decision of the council, and the army was about to be put in march, when all these tormenting uncertainties were brought to an end by intelligence, that the fleet had actually entered the Chesapeake, and anchored at Swan Point, at least two hundred miles within the capes. (( By General Howe's coming so far up the Chesapeake," writes Washington, "he must mean to reach Philadelphia by that route, though to be sure it is a strange one."

The mystery of these various appearances and vanishings, which has caused so much wonder and perplexity, is easily explained.

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