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CHAPTER V.

Washington Remonstrates against the Treatment of American Prisoners--Sends

Arnold to Quebec-Want of Powder in the Army“A new Army raised-The National Flag first hoisted—Washington prevented from Assaulting the Enemy's Works-His feelings under the delay-Thinks of the poor at home-- Boston Blockaded,” à farce-Washington takes possession of Dorchester Heights-Howe resolves to storm them-Attempt abandoned, and the Evacuation of Bosa ton commenced-Sufferings of the Tories—Washington orders the Army to New York--Lee sent South-His Letter-Washington visits Congress-His Views of a Declaration of Independence-Defeat of the Northern Army--Attempt to spread disaffection in Washington's guard--Congress discusses the Declaration or Independence-Excitement in Philadelphia at the final vote-Its reception by the Army and People-Operations around New York-Ilowe's Letter to George Washington, Esq.--The assembling of the British force-State of the two Armies.

WHILE Washington was thus cautiously, slowly fusing the discordant elements together, and getting the army into manageable shape, he was told that the American prisoners taken at Bunker Hill were cruelly treated by the Britishofficers, soldiers and citizens being thrown indiscriminately into prison together. He immediately wrote to his old comrade in arms, General Gage, remonstrating against this treatment. Gage denied the charge, declaring it was an act of clemency on his part that they were not strung up on the gallows; and as to the different rank of those who fell into his hands, he recognized no grade but that bestowed by the king. Washington, in replying to this insolent and dishonorable note, said, “ You affect, sir, to despise all rank not derived from the same source as your own. I cannot conceive one more honorable than that which flows from the uncorrupted choice of a brave and free people, the purest source and original fountain of all power.” He inimediately, in retaliation for the treatment of Americans, ordered some British prisoners into the country, to be placed in close confinement. They had not proceeded far

however, before he sent a dispatch countermanding the order, and requesting the Committee of Northampton, to whom they had been intrusted, to treat them with all pos- . sible leniency. Just and politic as the measure was, his heart revolted at making the innocent suffer for the guilty.

In the meantime, Congress had ordered General Schuyler to the Northern Department, to take St. John's, Montreal, and other portions of Upper Canada. Washington, seeing this movement would draw the British troops under Governor Carleton away from Quebec, resolved to send an expedition against it across the wilderness. Eleven hundred men were put under Arnold, who had just returned from the capture of Ticonderoga. This extraordinary man entered upon the desperate undertaking with all the energy, daring and high courage that distinguished him. Nota withstanding the desertion of one of his officers, and the unparalleled difficulties that beset his way, he finally reached Quebec, and effected a junction with Montgomery. While this expedition was progressing to its disastrous issue, Washington made preparations to fall on the English batteries and storm Boston. But no powder was to be had, while there remained only a few rounds to each man. This alarming state of things Washington dare not communicate, except to a few of his own officers, lest it should leak out and get to the ears of the British commander. To those who were ignorant of this fact, the inactivity that followed seemed unaccountable.

A short time previous to this determination, he had caused six armed schooners to be fitted out, to cruise against the enemy in the neighborhood of Boston. Several captures were made, and among them one by Captain Manly, with a quantity of powder aboard.

But now the term of enlistment of a large part of the army was drawing to a close. A new army must therefore be raised, and a committee from Congress came on to consult with him on the best means of doing it. Six months had elapsed since the battle of Bunker Hill, and the excited expectations of the country had met with sad disappointment. But now nothing could be done till the reorganization of the army was effected. This, however, proceeded slowly. Winter set in, and but five thousand recruits had arrived. So few of the old soldiers reënlisted, and they left in such numbers that Washington at one time feared he would be left without an army. But even for the few that remained no provision had been made, and as the frost and snows of December came on, the troops began to suffer severely, and a feeling of despondency weighed down both officers and men. The latter were scantily clothed and destitute of fuel. Some of the regiments ate their food raw for want of fire, while detached parties were seen in every direction carrying off fences, and cutting down fruit and shade trees, with which to kindle a meagre fire in their dilapidated cabins, through which the winds of winter whistled. Many of those who had joined the army with high spirits now began to think of their distant friends, and watching their opportunity, stole away from camp, and turned their footsteps homeward. The clouds gathered darker and darker around the head of Washington, and his heart was oppressed with the gravest fears, yet he still stood firm and serene, the pillar of hope to all around. As a last resort he issued a stirring call to the New England militia, which met with a warm response, and the hardy yeomanry came pouring in. Provisions were obtained, and in ten days a wonderful transformation was effected. The camp looked bright again, and the arrival, at nearly the same time, of Washington's wife and the wives of several of the other officers, gave to the holydays a cheerful aspect, and rekindled hope and confidence in the commander. The New Year, which threatened to look on a disbanded army, beheld nearly 17,000 well ordered men.

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On the first day of January the national flag of thirteen stripes was hoisted for the first time over the American army, and as it flaunted to the wind, acclamations and shouts and salvos of artillery greeted it. As Washington's eye watched it undulating gracefully in the breeze, what thoughts must have filled his heart. The symbol of liberty, it was to move in front of his battalions to victory or defeat. In the fate of that flag was wrapped all that he hoped for or feared in life. From that moment its destiny and his own were to be one and the same. He expected to carry it, at the head of his columns, through smoke and carnage, perhaps be laid upon it in death after some hard fought fient, but how little he dreamed what its marvelous history would be. What would have been his astonishment had it been whispered in his ear, “ before all those who are now looking on that flag shall die, these thirteen colonies shall be thirty states, the three millions of people, for whose free. dom you are struggling, be more than thirty.”

The king's speech before Parliament, in which he declared that the most efficient measures would be taken to put down the rebellion, but at the same time pardon would be extended to all who sued for it, arrived on the same day the flag was hoisted in the American camp. The salvos of artillery and rejoicings that signalized the latter event, Howe, who had succeeded Gage, took as an expression of joy over the gracious na ure of the king's offer.

Washington, who from the first had been very much embarrassed in prosecuting the siege of Boston, for want of heavy cannon, at length dispatched Knox to the forts on Lake Champlain captured from the British, for them. About this time the latter returned, and the long train of fortytwo sleds, laden with thirty-nine cannon, fourteen mortars, two howitzers, over two thousand pounds of lead, and a hundred bar els of flints, as it slowly entered the camp, put a new facs on affaire, and Washington resolved to assault the enemy's works at once. Congress was also anxious that the attack should be hurried forward. The regiments, however, were not yet filled, and at the council of officers called, a still further delay was decided upon. Nothing could be more irksome and irritating than the position in which Washington found himself. “I know," said he, “the unhappy predicament in which I stand ; I know what is expected of me. I know that I cannot stand justified to the world without exposing my own weakness, and injuring the cause by declaring my wants, and my situation is so irksome to me at times that if I did not consult the public good more than my own tranquillity, I should, long ere this, put every thing on the cast of a die.That is, if it had been a matter of mere personal reputation, he would have ended the suspense that galled him like a fetter, by one desperate onset. He regretted that he had been persuaded into delay on the promise of a larger and better army, and when he saw the disinclination of the soldiers to reënlist, he said, 66 could I have known that such backwardness would have been discovered by the old soldiers to the service, all the generals upon earth would not have convinced me of the propriety of delaying an attack on Boston till this time."

In the midst of these trials and embarrassments came the news of Arnold's failure at Quebec, and Schuyler's in Canada, accompanied by a letter from the latter, requesting a reinforcement of three thousand men. But while enveloped in perplexities, and his mind occupied by such vast and varied schemes, he had time to think of the poor on and around his plantation, and early in the winter he wrote home to Lady Washington, “Let the hospitality of the house, with respect to the poor, be kept up. Let no one go hungry away. If any of this kind of people should be in want of corn, supply their necessities, provided it does not encourage them in idleness.” Although in the present condition of his affairs, and receiving nothing for his ser

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