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Gates sent to Philadelphia with the Canada Dispatches. 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-gen
S the reverses in Canada would affect the fortunes of the Revolution elsewhere, Washington sent General Gates to lay the dispatches 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 19th), 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 Mifflin to that of brigadier-general, and a wish was intimated that they might take the command of Boston.
Washington prepared to proceed to Philadel phia. His general 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 encanipments or quarters, until ordered 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.1
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
1 The following statement of the batteries at New York, we find dated May 22d:
The Grand Battery, on the south part of the town.
Fort George, immediately above it.
White Hall Battery, 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. Jersey Battery, on the left of the Grenadier Battery. Bayard's Hill Redoubt, on Bayard's Hill.
Spencer's Redoubt, on the hill where his brigade is encamped. Waterbury's Battery (fascines), on a wharf below this hill. Badlam's Redoubt, on a hill near the Jews' burying ground.
CONFERENCE WITH CONGRESS.
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 neces sary to put them in a posture of defense. 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 accommodation 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.
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 reinforced until the 1st of December, with thirteen thousand eight hundred militia ; that gondolas and fire-rafts should be built, to prevent the men-of-war 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 of December, should be stationed in the Jerseys for the defense of the Middle colonies. Washington was, moreover, 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 fre quent consultations with George Clinton, one of the delegates from New York, concerning the in
THE CLINTONS OF NEW YORK. 239
terior defenses 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 1725, 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,