« PrejšnjaNaprej »
DIFFICULTIES IN RECRUITING.
God's mercy that I may never be witness to again. What will be the end of these maneuvres is beyond my scan. I tremble at the prospect.
We have been till this time (Nov. 28) enlisting about three thousand five hundred men. these, I have been obliged to allow furloughs as far as fifty men to a regiment, and the officers I am persuaded indulge many more. The Connec. ticut troops will not be prevailed upon to stay longer than their term, saving those who have enlisted for the next campaign, and are mostly on furlough; and such a mercenary spirit pervades the whole, that I should not be surprised at any disaster that may happen.
Could I have foreseen what I have experienced and am likely to experience, no consideration upon earth should have induced me to accept this command.”
No one drew closer to Washington in this time of his troubles and perplexities than General Greene. He had a real veneration for his character, and thought himself “ happy in an opportunity to serve under so good a general.” He grieved at Washington's annoyances, but attributed them in part to his being somewhat of a stranger in New England. “ He has not had time," writes he, “to make himself acquainted with the genius of this people; they are naturally as brave and spirited as the peasantry of any other country, but you cannot expect veterans of a raw militia from only a few months' service. The common people are exceedingly avaricious ; the genius of the people is commercial, from their long intercourse of trade. The sentiment of honor, the true characteristic of a soldier, has not yet got the better of interest. His Excellency has been taught to believe the people here a superior race of mortals; and finding them of the same temper and dispositions, passions and prej. udices, virtues and vices of the common people of other governments, they sank in his esteem.”
Affairs in Canada. — Capture of Fort Chamblee. - Siege of
St. John's. — Maclean and his Highlanders. – Montgomery on the Treatment of Ethan Allen. — Repulse of Carleton.Capitulation of the Garrison of St. Johns. Generous Conduct of Montgomery. — Maclean reëmbarks for Quebec. — Weary Struggle of Arnold through the Wilderness. - Defection of Colonel Enos. — Arnold in the Valley of the Chaudiere. His Arrival opposite Quebec. – Surrender of Montreal. — Escape of Carleton. - Home-sickness of the Annerican Troops.
ISPATCHES from Schuyler dated
October 26th, gave Washington another
chapter of the Canada expedition. Chamblee, an inferior fort, within five miles of St. John's, had been taken by Majors Brown and Livingston at the head of fifty Americans and three hundred Canadians. A large quantity of gunpowder and other military stores found there, was a seasonable supply to the army before St. John's, and consoled General Montgomery for his disappointment in regard to the aid promised by Colonel Ethan Allen. He now pressed the siege of St. John's with vigor. The garrison, cut off from supplies, were suffering from want of provisions; but the brave commander, Major Preston, still held out manfully, hoping speedy relief from General Carleton, who was assembling troops for that purpose at Montreal.
Carleton, it is true, had but about one hundred regulars, several hundred Canadians, and a numver of Indians with him; but he calculated greatly on the coöperation of Colonel Maclean, a veteran Scot, brave and bitterly loyal, who had enlisted three hundred of his countrymen at Quebec, and formed them into a regiment called “ The Royal Highland Emigrants.” This doughty Highlander was to land at the mouth of the Sorel, where it empties into the St. Lawrence, and proceed along the former river to St. John's, to join Carleton, who would repair thither by the way of Longueil.
In the mean time Montgomery received accounts from various quarters that Colonel Ethan Allen and his men, captured in the ill-advised attack upon Montreal, were treated with cruel and unnecessary severity, being loaded with irons ; and that even the colonel himself was subjected to this "shocking indignity." Montgomery addressed a letter to Carleton on the subject, strong and decided in its purport, but written in the spirit of a courteous and high-minded gentleman, and ending with an expression of that sad feeling which gallant officers must often have experienced in this revolutionary conflict, on being brought into collision with former brothers in arms.
“ Your character, sir," writes he, “induces me to hope I am ill informed. Nevertheless, the duty I owe the troops committed to my charge, lays me under the necessity of acquainting your Excellency, that, if you allow this conduct and persist in it, I shall, though with the most painful
SIEGE OF ST. JOHN S.
regret, execute with rigor the just and necessary law of retaliation upon the garrison of Chamblee, now in my possession, and upon all others who may hereafter fall into my hands.
I shall expect your Excellency's answer in six days. Should the bearer not return in that time, I must interpret your silence into a declaration of a barbarous war. I cannot pass this opportunity without lamenting the melancholy and fatal necessity, which obliges the firmest friends of the constitution to oppose one of the most respectable officers of the crown.”
While waiting for a reply, Montgomery pressed the siege of St. John's, though thwarted continually by the want of subordination and discipline among
hasty levies from various colonies, who, said he, carry the spirit of freedom into the field, and think for themselves.” Accustomed as he had been, in his former military experience, to the implicit obedience of European troops, the insubordination of these yeoman soldiery was intolerable to him. “ Were I not afraid,” writes he, “ the example would be too generally followed, and that the public service inight suffer, I would not stay an hour at the head of troops whose operations I cannot direct. I must say I have no hopes of success, unless from the garrison's wanting provisions."
He had advanced his lines and played from his batteries on two sides of the fort for some hours, when tidings brought by four prisoners, caused him to cease his fire.
General Carleton, on the 31st of September,