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We need only add, that the Berkshire committees which, in a time of agitation and alarm, had hastily given countenance to these imputations, investigated them deliberately in their cooler moments, and acknowledged, in a letter to Washington, that they were satisfied their suspicions respecting General Schuyler were wholly groundless. We sincerely hope," added they, "his name may be handed down, with immortal honor, to the latest posterity, as one of the great pillars of the American
GATES SENT TO PHILADELPHIA WITH THE CANADA DESPATCHES PROMOTED TO THE RANK OF MAJOR-GENERAL WASHINGTON SUMMONED TO PHILADELPHIA PUTNAM LEFT IN COMMAND CONFERENCE WITH CONGRESS ARMY ARRANGEMENTS — A BOARD OF WAR INSTITUTED THE CLINTONS OF NEW YORK MRS. WASHINGTON INOCULATED
REED MADE ADJUTANT-GENERAL.
As the reverses in Canada would affect the fortunes of the Revolution elsewhere, Washington sent General Gates to lay the despatches concerning them before Congress. "His military experience," said he, "and intimate acquaintance with the situation of our affairs, will enable him to give Congress the fullest satisfaction about the measures necessary to be adopted at this alarming crisis; and, with his zeal and attachment to the cause of America, he will have a claim to their notice and favors."
Scarce had Gates departed on his mission (May 19), when Washington himself received a summons to Philadelphia, to advise with Congress concerning the opening campaign. He was informed also that Gates, on the 16th of May, had been promoted to the rank of major-general, and Mifllin to that of brigadier-general, and a wish was intimated that they might take the command of Boston.
Washington prepared to proceed to Philadelphia. His gen eral orders issued on the 19th of May, show the anxious situation of affairs at New York. In case of an alarm the respective regiments were to draw up opposite to their encampments or quarters, until orders to repair to the alarm posts. The alarm signals for regulars, militia, and the inhabitants of the city, were, in the day-time- two cannon fired from the rampart at Fort George, and a flag hoisted on the top of Washington's
head-quarters. In the night-two cannon fired as above, and two lighted lanterns hoisted on the top of head-quarters.'
In his parting instructions to Putnam, who, as the oldest major-general in the city, would have the command during his absence, Washington informed him of the intention of the Provincial Congress of New York to seize the principal tories, and disaffected persons in the city, and the surrounding country, especially on Long Island, and authorized him to afford military aid, if required, to carry the same into execution. He was also to send Lord Stirling, Colonel Putnam the engineer, and Colonel Knox, if he could be spared, up to the Highlands, to examine the state of the forts and garrisons, and report what was necessary to put them in a posture of defence. Their garrisons were chiefly composed of parts of a regiment of New York troops, commanded by Colonel James Clinton, of Ulster County, and were said to be sufficient.
The general, accompanied by Mrs. Washington, departed from New York on the 21st of May, and they were invited by Mr. Hancock, the President of Congress, to be his guests during their sojourn at Philadelphia.
Lee, when he heard of Washington's visit there, augured good effects from it. "I am extremely glad, dear general,” writes he, that you are in Philadelphia, for their councils sometimes lack a little of military electricity." Washington, in his conferences with Congress, appears to have furnished this electricity. He roundly expressed his conviction, that no accommodations could be effected with Great Britain, on acceptable terms. Ministerialists had declared in Parliament that, the sword being drawn, the most coercive measures would be persevered in, until there was complete submission. The recent subsidizing of foreign troops was a part of this policy, and indicated unsparing hostility. A protracted war, therefore, was inevitable; but it would be impossible to carry it on successfully with the scanty force actually embodied, and with transient enlistments of militia.
1 The following statement of the batteries at New York, we find dated May 22:
The Grand Battery, on the south part of the town.
Fort George, immediately above it.
White Hall Buttery, on the left of the Grand Battery.
Oyster Battery, behind General Washington's head-quarters.
Grenadier Battery, near the Brew House on the North River.
Spencer's Redoubt, on the hill where his brigade is encamped.
In consequence of his representations, resolutions were passed in Congress that soldiers should be enlisted for three years, with a bounty of ten dollars for each recruit; that the army at New York should be re-enforced until the 1st of December, with thirteen thousand eight hundred militia; that gondolas and fire-rafts should be built, to prevent the men-ofwar and enemy's ships from coming into New York Bay, or the Narrows; and that a flying camp of ten thousand militia, furnished by Pennsylvania, Delaware and Maryland, and likewise engaged until the 1st December, should be stationed in the Jerseys for the defence of the Middle colonies. Washington was, morever, empowered, in case of emergency, to call on the neighboring colonies for temporary aid with their militia.
Another important result of his conferences with Congress was the establishment of a war office. Military affairs had hitherto been referred in Congress to committees casually appointed, and had consequently been subject to great irregularity and neglect. Henceforth a permanent committee, entitled the Board of War and Ordnance, was to take cognizance of them. The first board was composed of five members; John Adams, Colonel Benjamin Harrison, Roger Sherman, James Wilson, and Edward Rutledge; with Richard Peters as secretary. It went into operation on the 12th of June.
While at Philadelphia, Washington had frequent consultations with George Clinton, one of the delegates from New York, concerning the interior defences of that province, especially those connected with the security of the Highlands of the Hudson, where part of the regiment of Colonel James Clinton, the brother of the delegate, was stationed. The important part which these brothers were soon to act in the military affairs of that province, and ultimately in its political history, entitles them to a special notice.
They were of the old Clinton stock of England; being descended from General James Clinton, an adherent of royalty in the time of the civil wars, but who passed over to Ireland, after the death of Charles I. Their father, Charles Clinton, grandson of the general, emigrated to America in 1729, and settled in Ulster, now Orange County, just above the Highlands of the Hudson. Though not more than fifty miles from the city of New York, it was at that time on the borders of a wilderness, where every house had at times to be a fortress. Charles Clinton, like most men on our savage frontier in those days, was a warrior by necessity, if not by
choice. He took an active part in Indian and French wars, commanded a provincial regiment stationed at Fort Herkimer, joined in the expedition under General Bradstreet, when it passed up the valley of the Mohawk, and was present at the capture of Fort Frontenac. His sons, James and George, one twenty, the other seventeen years of age, served in the same campaign, the one as captain the other as lieutenant; thus taking an early lesson in that school of American soldiers, the French war.
James, whose propensities were always military, continued in the provincial army until the close of that war; and afterward, when settled on an estate in Ulster County, was able and active in organizing its militia. George applied himself to the law, and became successful at the bar, in the same county. Their father, having laid aside the sword, occupied for many years, with discernment and integrity, the honorable station of Judge of the Court of Common Pleas. He died in Ulster County, in 1773, in the eighty-third year of his age, "in full view of that revolution in which his sons were to act distinguished parts." With his latest breath he charged them" to stand by the liberties of their country."
They needed no such admonition. From the very first, they had been heart and hand in the cause. George had championed it for years in the New York legislature, signalizing himself by his zeal as one of an intrepid minority in opposing ministerial oppression. He had but recently taken his seat as delegate to the Continental Congress.
James Clinton, appointed colonel on the 30th of June, 1775, had served with his regiment of New York troops under Montgomery at the siege of St. Johns, and the capture of Montreal, after which he had returned home. He had subsequently been appointed to the command of a regiment in one of the four battalions raised for the defence of New York. We shall soon have occasion to speak further of these patriot brothers.
The prevalence of the small-pox had frequently rendered Washington uneasy on Mrs. Washington's account during her visits to the army; he was relieved, therefore, by her submitting to inoculation during their sojourn in Philadelphia, and having a very favorable time.
He was gratified, also, by procuring the appointment of his late secretary, Joseph Reed, to the post of adjutant-general, vacated by the promotion of General Gates, thus placing him once more by his side.
AFFAIRS IN CANADA -DISASTER AT THE CEDARS
HOSTILE DE SIGNS OF THE JOHNSONS A BLOODY SUMMER EXPECTED FORTS IN THE HIGHLANDS — COLONEL JAMES CLINTON IN COMMAND FORTIFICATIONS AT KING'S BRIDGE AND ON LONG
DESPATCHES from Canada continued to be disastrous. General Arnold, who was in command at Montreal, had established a post on the St. Lawrence, about forty miles above that place, on a point of land called the Cedars; where he had stationed Colonel Bedel, with about four hundred men, to prevent goods being sent to the enemy, in the upper country, and to guard against surprise from them, or their Indians.
In the latter part of May, Colonel Bedel received intelligence that a large body of British, Canadians, and Indians, under the command of Captain Forster, were coming down from Oswegatchie to attack him. Leaving Major Butterfield in command of the post, he hastened down to Montreal, to obtain re-enforcements. Arnold immediately detached one hundred men, under Major Shelburne, and prepared to follow in person, with a much greater force. In the mean time, the post at the Cedars had been besieged, and Major Butterfield intimidated into a surrender, by a threat from Captain Forster, that resistance would provoke a massacre of his whole garrison by the Indians. The re-enforcements under Major Shelburne were assailed within four miles of the Cedars, by a large party of savages, and captured after a sharp skirmish, in which several were killed on both sides.
Arnold received word of these disasters while on the march. He instantly sent forward some Caughnawaga Indians to overtake the savages, and demand a surrender of the prisoners, with a threat that, in case of a refusal, and that any of them were murdered, he would sacrifice every Indian who fell into his hands, and would follow the offenders to their towns, and destroy them by fire and sword. He now embarked four hundred of his men in bateaux, and pushed on with the remainder by land. Arriving at St. Anne's, above the rapids of the St. Lawrence, he discovered several of the enemy's bateaux, taking the prisoners off from an island, a league distant. It was a tormenting sight, as it was not in his power to relieve them.