« PrejšnjaNaprej »
he could pour them forth to the man he loved better than his life. The meeting of Washington and Lafayette was like that of a son and father. The eager delight with which the one recounted what he had done, and told of the aid that was approaching, and the deep and affectionate interest with which the other listened, would form a subject for a noble picture. The marquis had obtained the promise of large supplies of clothing, while he had purchased on his own account, a quantity of swords and military equipage for the light-infantry he commanded. In speaking in council one day, of the enthusiasm and impetuosity of Lafayette, the Prime Minister of France, old Count de Maurepas, remarked -“It is fortunate for the king that Lafayette did not take it into his head to strip Versailles of its furniture, to send to his dear Americans, as his majesty would be unable to refuse it.” How little the governments of France and Spain dreamed what a train they were laying under their own thrones, when they came to our relief in the struggle for independence. There never has been a more striking illustration of the folly of human scheming, and of the ease with which Heaven works out its grand designs, over all earthly mutations, as the ultimate result of our success on bite destiny of Europe.
As the summer advanced, the destitution of the troops in the article of clothing became an object of the deepest solicitude. Many of the officers looked like beggars, while the tattered soldiers, most of them, had not a shirt to their backs. Congress being apparently unable to do any thing, private sympathy was invoked. The ladies of Philadelphia, from the highest to the lowest, met together to make garments for the soldiers. Lafayette gave a hundred guineas in the name of his wife. The wife of the French minister six hundred dollars of continental paper. Like the heroines of old, the women sacrificed their jewelry, and labored as common seamstresses in the noble work. Twenty
two hundred shirts were thus made, each bearing the name of the maker. A ship load of military stores and clothing, belonging to Robert Morris, arriving about this time, this, noble financier immediately made a present of the whole to the army. Such flashes of light shot through the gloom, keeping alive the faith, and love, and courage of those on whose shoulders the Revolution rested.
Fall of Charleston-Arrival of the French Fleet--Defeat of Gates-Washington
visits Rochambeau-Treason of Arnold-Arrest of Andre-His ExecutionCornwallis in the South-Project of an Attack on New York-Suffering of the Troops-Mutiny in Wayne's Command-Mutiny of the New Jersey Troops, and prompt action of Washington-Inefficiency of Congress, and Jealousies of the States-Arnold's Expedition into Virginia-Action between the English and French Fleets-Lafayette sent South to cooperate with Steuben-Operations in Virginia
-Washington's Letter to the Manager of his Estate-State of the Army--Letter to Paul Jones—Patriotism of Robert Morris-Washington prepares to Attack New York-Cornwallis Retreats before Lafayette to Yorktown-The Allied Army marches rapidly South- Washington visits Mount Vernon-Arrival of the French Fleet in the Chesapeake-Anxiety of Washington-Yorktown Invested Progress and Incidents of the Siege-Capitulation of the Army-Excitement and Joy of the American People--Effect of the News on the British Ministry.
WASHINGTON remained comparatively inactive during the summer, waiting the arrival of the French fleet and army Nothing could be done with his feeble force, unsustained by a fleet, except to hold the country around New York. In the meantime his heart was filled with the deepest solicitude for the fate of Charleston and the army under Lincoln, which occupied it. Hemmed in by the enemy, whose shot and shells fell with an incessant crash into the dwellings of the inhabitants, this intrepid commander, who had held out long after hope had abandoned every heart, was at last compelled with his three thousand troops to surrender. A dark cloud was resting on the South ; and that portion of the country which had hitherto escaped the ravages of an army, seemed now marked out for general devastation.
In the meantime, the French fleet arrived (July 10) at Newport. Rochambeau, the commander of the land forces, was required by his government to act in all cases under the direction of Washington, while American oificers were to command French officers of equal rank. This wise arrangement produced harmony between the two armies,
and gave universal satisfaction. Washington immediately drew up a plan for a combined attack on New York by sea and land. But the British fleet having received a rein forcement which gave it a decided superiority, the French squadron dared not put to sea, and remained blockaded in Newport. There also the French army remained for its protection, waiting the arrival of the other division of the fleet* and land forces, and the summer passed away without any thing being accomplished.
In the place of success, there came the news of successive defeats at the South. The fall of Charleston in May was followed in August by the complete overthrow of Gates, at Camden--the loss of many noble troops and the death of Baron de Kalb.
While in this state of inaction Rochambeau wrote to Washington, requesting an interview. This was granted, and the latter passing through Peekskill, met the former on the 21st, at Hartford. Before starting he had written to Arnold, commanding at West Point, to send a guard of fifty men to meet him at Peekskill, and collect forage for about forty horses.
Arnold came down the river in his barge, and crossed the river with him at King's Ferry. The English vessel Vulture was in sight, and Washington scanned it long and carefully with his glass, and spoke at the same time, in a low tone, to one of his officers. This made Arnold very uneasy. Soon after, Lafayette, turning to Arnold, said,
General, as you have secret correspondence with the enemy, you must learn what has become of Guichen.” For a moment the traitor thought himself discovered, and demanded, sharply, what the marquis meant. The next minute, however, the boat touched the shore and nothing more was said.
* This was blockaded in Brest, and never arrived.
† Guichen was the commander of the other portion of the French fleet, which had for a long time been expected, but which at this time was blockaded at Brest
Washington's visit to Rochambeau resulted in no plan of action, as every thing depended on the arrival of the expected fleet and forces.
After two days of pleasant intercourse, he started on his return, taking the upper route by way of Fishkill, so as to visit West Point. In the meantime, Arnold had completed his scheme, by which a blow was to be struck, against the colonies so momentous in all the circumstances attending it, and in the results designed to be accomplished, that even its failure fell like a thunderbolt at noon-day on the nation. This intrepid commander, who had won such laurels before Quebec, on Lake Champlain, and at Saratoga, sought and obtained the important command at West Point solely to deliver it into the hands of the enemy. Incensed at the injustice of Congress in promoting juniors over him, maddened by the accusations of his enemies, and mortified by the reprimand ordered to be administered by a court-martial; he, with a baseness almost unparalleled in history, resolved to quench his rage in the ruin of his country. Down the abyss of infamy into which he was about to plunge, he gazed without flinching, hurried forward by the single intense, burning passion for revenge. He had long been in correspondence with Sir Henry Clinton for the delivery of West Point, and the absence of Washington to the east, was thought to be a favorable time to effect his object.
Major Andre, under the name of Anderson, had been the medium through which the correspondence was carried on, and he was, therefore, selected to consummate and close the bargain. He proceeded up the river with the intention of having an interview with Arnold, on board the British vessel Vulture.
But difficulties being thrown in the way of this arrange ment, he was finally induced to consent to go ashore. After