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resorted to, against the next campaign. The Duke of Brunswick, the Landgrave of Hesse Cassel, and the Hereditary Prince of Cassel, Count of Hanau, had been subsidized to furnish troops to assist in the subjugation of her colonies Four thousand three hundred Brunswick troops, and nearly thirteen thousand Hessians, had entered the British service. Beside the subsidy exacted by the German princes, they were to be paid seven pounds four shillings and four pence sterling for every soldier furnished by them, and as much more for every one slain.
Of this notable arrangement, Washington, as we observed, was not yet aware. "The designs of the enemy," writes he, "are too much behind the curtain for me to form any accurate opinion of their plan of operations for the summer's campaign. We are left to wander, therefore, in the field of conjecture."
Within a few days afterwards, he had vague accounts of "Hessians and Hanoverian troops coming over;" but it was not until the 17th of May, when he received letters from General Schuyler, inclosing others from the commanders in Canada, that he knew in what direction some of these bolts of war were launched; and this calls for some further particulars of the campaign on the banks of the St. Lawrence; which we shall give to the reader in the ensuing chap
1 Letter to the President of Congress, 5th May. VOL. II.
Arnold blockades Quebec.-His Difficulties. - Arrival of General Wooster. Of General Thomas. - Abortive At tempt on Quebec. - Preparations for Retreat.- Sortie of Carleton. Retreat of the Americans.- Halt at Point Deschambault. Alarm in the Colonies at the Retreat of the Army. - Popular Clamor against Schuyler. — Slanders Refuted.
N a former chapter, we left Arnold before the walls of Quebec, wounded, crip
pled, almost disabled, yet not disheartened; blockading that "proud town" with a force inferior, by half, in number to that of the garrison. For his gallant services, Congress promoted him in January to the rank of brigadier-general.
Throughout the winter he kept up the blockade with his shattered army; though had Carleton ventured upon a sortie, he might have been forced to decamp. That cautious general, however, remained within his walls. He was sure of reinforcements from England in the spring, and, in the mean time, trusted to the elements of dissolution at work in the besieging army.
Arnold, in truth, had difficulties of all kinds to contend with. His military chest was exhausted; his troops were in want of necessaries; to procure supplies, he was compelled to resort to the paper money issued by Congress, which was un.
THE CAMP BEFORE QUEBEC.
current among the Canadians; he issued a proclamation making the refusal to take it in payment a penal offense. This only produced irritation and disgust. As the terms of their enlistment expired, his men claimed their discharge and returned home. Sickness also thinned his ranks; so that, at one time, his force was reduced to five hundred men, and for two months, with all his recruitments of raw militia, did not exceed seven hundred.
The failure of the attack on Quebec had weakened the cause among the Canadians; the peasantry had been displeased by the conduct of the American troops; they had once welcomed them as deliverers; they now began to regard them as intruders. The seigneurs, or noblesse, also, feared to give further countenance to an invasion, which, if defeated, might involve them in ruin.
Notwithstanding all these discouragements, Arnold still kept up a bold face; cut off supplies occasionally, and harassed the place with alarms. Having repaired his batteries, he opened a fire upon the town, but with little effect; the best part of the artillerists, with Lamb, their capable commander, were prisoners within the walls.
On the 1st day of April, General Wooster arrived from Montreal, with reinforcements, and took the command. The day after his arrival, Arnold, by the falling of his horse, again received an injury on the leg recently wounded, and was disabled for upwards of a week. Considering aimself slighted by General Wooster, who did not consult him in military affairs, he obtained leave
of absence until he should be recovered from his lameness, and repaired to Montreal, where he took command.
General Thomas arrived at the camp in the course of April, and found the army in a forlorn condition, scattered at different posts, and on the island of Orleans. It was numerically increased to upwards of two thousand men, but several hundred were unfit for service. The small-pox had made great ravages. They had inoculated each other. In their sick and debilitated state, they were without barracks, and almost without medicine. A portion, whose term of enlistment had expired, refused to do duty, and clamored for their discharge.
The winter was over, the river was breaking up, reinforcements to the garrison might immediately be expected, and then the case would be desperate. Observing that the river about Quebec was clear of ice, General Thomas determined on a bold effort. It was, to send up a fire-ship with the flood, and, while the ships in the harbor were in flames, and the town in confusion, to scale the walls.
Accordingly, on the third of May, the troops turned out with scaling ladders; the fire-ship came up the river under easy sail, and arrived near the shipping before it was discovered. It was fired into. The crew applied a slow match to the train and pulled off. The ship was soon in a blaze, but the flames caught and consumed the sails; her way was checked, and she drifted off harmlessly with the ebbing tide. The rest of the plan was, of course, abandoned.
SORTIE OF CARLETON.
Nothing now remained but to retreat before the enemy should be reinforced. Preparations were made in all haste, to embark the sick and the military stores. While this was taking place, five ships made their way into the harbor, on the 6th of May, and began to land troops. Thus reinforced, General Carleton sallied forth, with eight hundred or a thousand men. We quote
his own letter for an account of his sortie. 66 "As soon as part of the 29th regiment with the marines, in all about two hundred were landed, they, with the greatest part of the garrison, by this time much improved, and in high spirits, marched out of the ports of St. Louis and St. John's, to see what these mighty boasters were about. They were found very busy in their preparations for a retreat. A few shots being exchanged, the line marched forward, and the place was soon cleared of these plunderers."
By his own account, however, these "mighty boasters" had held him and his garrison closely invested for five months; had burnt the suburbs, battered the walls, thrown red-hot shot among the shipping, made repeated and daring attempts to carry the place by assault and stratagem, and rendered it necessary for soldiers, sailors, marines, and even judges and other civil officers to mount guard. One officer declares, in a letter, that for eighty successive nights he slept in his clothes, to be ready in case of alarm.
All this, too, was effected by a handful of men, exposed in open encampments to the rigors of a
1 Carleton to Lord George Germaine, May 14th.