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sions, by land and water, with Generals Carleton, Burgoyne, Philips, and Riedesel; while a considerable number under General Fraser had arrived at Three Rivers, and others, under General Nesbit, lay near them on board of transports. Sullivan's dispatch, dated on the 8th of June, at the mouth of the Sorel, began in his former sanguine vein, anticipating the success of General Thompson's expedition to Three Rivers. "He has proceeded in the manner proposed, and made his attack at daylight, for at that time a very heavy cannonading began, which lasted with some intervals to twelve o'clock. It is now near 1 P.M.; the firing has ceased, except some irregular firing with cannon, at a considerable distance of time one from the other. At eight o'clock a very heavy firing of small-arms was heard even here, at the distance of forty-five miles. I am almost certain that victory has declared in our favor, as the irregular firing of the cannon for such a length of time after the small-arms ceased shows that our men are in possession of the ground."
The letter was kept open to give the particulars of this supposed victory; it closed with a dismal reverse. General Thompson had coasted in bateaux along the right bank of the river at the expanse called Lake St. Pierre, and arrived at Nicolete, where he found St. Clair and his detachment. He crossed the river in the night, and landed a few miles above Three Rivers, intending to surprise the enemy before daylight; he was not aware at the time that additional troops had arrived under General Burgoyne.
After landing, he marched with rapidity toward Three Rivers, but was led by treacherous guides into a morass and obliged to return back nearly two miles. Day broke, and he was discovered from the ships. A cannonade was opened upon his men as they made their way slowly for an hour and
a half through a swamp. At length they arrived in sight of Three Rivers, but it was to find a large force drawn up in battle array, under General Fraser, by whom they were warmly attacked, and after a brief stand thrown into confusion. Thompson attempted to rally his troops, and partly succeeded, until a fire was opened upon them in rear by Nesbit, who had landed from his ships. Their rout now was complete. General Thompson, Colonel Irvine, and about two hundred men were captured, twenty-five were slain, and the rest pursued for several miles through a deep swamp. After great fatigues and sufferings, they were able to get on board of their boats, which had been kept from falling into the hands of the enemy. In these they made their way back to the Sorel, bringing General Sullivan a sad explanation of all the firing he had heard, and the alarming intelligence of the overpowering force that was coming up the river.
"This, my dear general," writes Sullivan, in the conclusion of his letter, "is the state of this unfortunate enterprise. What you will next hear I cannot say. I am every moment informed of the vast number of the enemy which have arrived. I have only two thousand five hundred and thirtythree rank and file. Most of the officers seem discouraged, and, of course, their men. I am employed day and night in fortifying and securing my camp, and am determined to hold it as long as a person will stick by me."
He had, indeed, made the desperate resolve to defend the mouth of the Sorel, but was induced to abandon it by the unanimous opinion of his officers and the evident unwillingness of his troops. Dismantling his batteries, therefore, he retreated with his artillery and stores, just before the arrival of the enemy, and was followed, step by step along the Sorel, by a strong column under General Burgoyne.
On the 18th of June he was joined by General Arnold with three hundred men, the garrison of Montreal, who had crossed at Longueil just in time to escape a large detachment of the enemy. Thus re-enforced, and the evacuation of Canada being determined on in a council of war, Sullivan succeeded in destroying everything at Chamblee and St. John's that he could not carry away, breaking down bridges, and leaving forts and vessels in flames, and continued his retreat to the Isle aux Noix, where he made a halt for some days until he should receive positive orders from Washington or General Schuyler. In a letter to Washington, he observes, "I am extremely sorry it was not in my power to fulfill your Excellency's wishes by leading on our troops to victory." After stating the reason of his failure, he adds, "I think we shall secure all the public stores and baggage of the army, and secure our retreat with very little loss. Whether we shall have well men enough to carry them on, I much doubt, if we don't remove quickly; unless Heaven is pleased to restore health to this wretched army, now, perhaps, the most pitiful one that ever was formed."
The low, unhealthy situation of the Isle aux Noix obliged him soon to remove his camp to the Isle la Motte, whence, on receiving orders to that effect from General Schuyler, he ultimately embarked with his forces, sick and well, for Crown Point.
Thus ended this famous invasion; an enterprise bold in its conceptions, daring and hardy in its execution; full of ingenious expedients and hazardous exploits; and which, had not unforeseen circumstances counteracted its welldevised plans, might have added all Canada to the American confederacy.
Designs of the Enemy against New York and the Hudson-Plot of Tryon and the Tories-Arrival of a Fleet-Alarm Posts-Treach. ery up the Hudson-Fresh Arrivals-General Howe at Staten Island-Washington's Preparations
THE great aim of the British, at present, was to get possession of New York and the Hudson, and make them the basis of military operations. This they hoped to effect on the arrival of a powerful armament, hourly expected, and designed for operations on the seaboard.
At this critical juncture there was an alarm of a conspiracy among the tories in the city and on Long Island, suddenly to take up arms and co-operate with the British troops on their arrival. The wildest reports were in circulation concerning it. Some of the tories were to break down King's Bridge, others were to blow up the magazines, spike the guns, and massacre all the field-officers. Washington was to be killed or delivered up to the enemy. Some of his own bodyguard were said to be in the plot.
Several publicans of the city were pointed out as having aided or abetted the plot. One was landlord of the Highlander, at the corner of Beaver Street and Broadway. An. other dispensed liquor under the sign of Robin Hood. Another named Lowry, described as a "fat man in a blue coat," kept tavern in a low house opposite the Oswego market. Another, James Houlding, kept a beer house in Tryon Row, opposite the gates of the upper barracks. It would seem as if a network of corruption and treachery had
been woven throughout the city by means of these liquor dealers. One of the most noted, however, was Corbie, whose tavern was said to be "to the southeast of General Washington's house, to the westward of Bayard's Woods, and north of Lispenard's Meadows," from which it would appear that at that time the general was quartered at what was formerly called Richmond Hill; a mansion surrounded by trees, at a short distance from the city, in rather an isolated situation.
A committee of the New York Congress, of which John Jay was chairman, traced the plot up to Governor Tryon, who, from his safe retreat on shipboard, acted through agents on shore. The most important of these was David Matthews, the tory mayor of the city. He was accused of disbursing money to enlist men, purchase arms, and corrupt the soldiery.
Washington was authorized and requested by the committee to cause the mayor to be apprehended, and all his papers secured. Matthews was at that time residing at Flatbush, on Long Island, at no great distance from General Greene's encampment. Washington transmitted the warrant of the committee to the general on the 21st, with directions that it should "be executed with precision, and exactly by one o'clock of the ensuing morning, by a careful officer."
Precisely at the hour of one, a detachment from Greene's brigade surrounded the house of the mayor and secured his person; but no papers were found, though diligent search was made.
Numerous other arrests took place, and among the number some of Washington's bodyguard. A great dismay fell upon the tories. Some of those on Long Island who had proceeded to arm themselves, finding the plot discovered,