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Washington takes Command of the Armies. — Sketch of
General Lee. Characters of the British Commanders, Howe, Clinton, and Burgoyne. — Survey of the Camps from Prospect Hill – The Camps contrasted. — Description of the Revolutionary Army. – Rhode Island Troops. Character of General Greene. – Washington represents the Deficiencies of the Army. – His Apology for the Massachu. setts Troops. — Governor Trumbull.-- Cragie House, Washington's Head-quarters.
N the 3d of July, the morning after his
arrival at Cambridge, Washington took
formal command of the army. drawn up on the common about half a mile from head-quarters. A multitude had assembled there, for as yet military spectacles were novelties, and the camp was full of visitors, men, women, and children, from all parts of the country, who had relatives among the yeoman soldiery.
An ancient elm is still pointed out, ander which Washington, as he arrived from head-quarters accompanied by General Lee and a numerous suite, wheeled his horse, and drew his sword as commander-in-chief of the armies. We have cited
the poetical description of him furnished by the pen of Mrs. Adams; we give her sketch of his military compeer less poetical, but no less graphic.
“General Lee looks like a careless, hardy veteran ; and by his appearance brought to my mind his namesake, Charles XII. of Sweden. The elegance of his pen far exceeds that of his
Accompanied by this veteran campaigner, on whose military judgment he had great reliance, Washington visited the different American posts, and rode to the heights, commanding views over Boston and its environs, being anxious to make himself acquainted with the strength and relative position of both armies : and here we will give a few particulars concerning the distinguished commanders with whom be was brought immediately in competition.
Congress, speaking of them reproachfully, observed, “Three of England's most experienced generals are sent to wage war with their fellowsubjects.” The first here alluded to was the Honorable William Howe, next in command to Gage. He was a man of a fine presence, six feet high, well proportioned, and of graceful deportment. He is said to have been not unlike Washington in appearance, though wanting his energy and activity. He lacked also his air of authority; but affability of manners, and a generous disposition, made him popular with both officers and soldiers.
1 Mrs Adams to John Adams, 1775.