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speeiy advance to the relief of Washington, then hastened to Albany, where Gates was holding the main body with a view to an expedition against Fort Ticonderoga in the spring. Washington's orders to Gates were, unfortunately, not peremptory, and that officer demurred to sparing iny men, urging that he needed them to guard the arms and stores captured with Burgoyne, and removed to Albany. At last Hamilton succeeded in procuring the detachment of three brigades to proceed to the Delaware. He then returned to Peekskill and was much mortified to find that the troops from that point had not yet moved. The reasons for this tardiness were that the pay of the men was in arrears, and that they deemed their service ended with the campaign. Hamilton, always quick in expedient, borrowed enough money with the aid of Clinton, the Governor of New York, to pay the men, and hurried them on to the army.
Before the coming of any of these reinforcements, Howe had regained the control of the Delaware, by what would have been the cheapest and the surest means in the first instance. He strengthened the works on Province island, mounted them with twenty-four and thirty-six pounders and eight-inch howitzers, and, on the morning of the roth of November, opened a terrible fire upon Fort Mifflin, at a range of about five hundred yards, which was maintained for several days. The garrison had been instructed to hold the fort at all hazards, and nobly did they comply with instructions. Their barracks were battered to pieces; the works terribly injured; the guns dismounted, -still they remained at their posts, working all night to repair the damage of the day, and hurrying to their places at daybreak to keep up the answering cannonade. Only a few hours' sleep was allowed each man, and that on the cold and muddy ground. From time to time, relief was sent from Varnum's brigade, which lay for that purpose on the Jersey shore of the river. Finding the defense so unexpectedly stubborn, the British Aleet was called upon for co-operation; several war vessels moved up before the fort and added their fire to that of the works upon Province island. Still the garrison held the works and answered as best it was able, though the fire from the vessels as it enfiladed the works was more destructive than any they had yet met. At last the Vigilant ship of war succeeded in securing a position between Mud and Province islands, and at a range of not more than one hundred yards from the works, opened a terrible cannonade, also throwing hand grenades and keeping up a fire from musketeers in the rigging, which was fatal to every man of the garrison who showed himself. From that time it became evident that an attempt to hold the works would be nothing better than the murder of its defenders. Consequently, at about 11 o'clock on the night of the 17th of November the garrison was withdrawn. After this result, it was at first determined to defend Fort Mercer, but that plan was relinquished, and ord Cornwallis appearing with a large force, for its reduction, it was, a few days
later, evacuated, and the Howe's, general and admiral, at last, and after six weeks' constant struggle, attended with great loss and expense, were masters of water communication from Philadelphia to the sea.
The remainder of the campaign may be dismissed in a few words. Its principal feature was the demonstration of General Howe against the American position upon the heights at Whitemarsh. It began with an effort at a surprise made on the night of December 4th. General Howe then marched quietly out of Philadelphia at the head of his entire force, and moved toward the American lines. Washington was, however, amply forewarned, and Howe was so effectively assailed in his front by small skirmishing parties, that he was obliged to change his line of march, and finally found himself at daylight, on Chestnut hill, three miles in front of the American right. The American position was upon a range of hills parallel with those thus occupied, and farther northward, to the right of the ground then held by the British, the two heights approached each other much more closely. During the 7th and 8th Howe moved along the height, thus coming much nearer the American front. On the second day Washington, believing a general active movement imminent, detached Morgan's rifles and a body of Maryland militia to attack the advance of the British. A sharp action followed, in which the British were driven in, and Washington, not desiring to fight Howe on the ground where he lay, did not reinforce his, skirmishers, and withdrew them with small loss. During the 7th and 8th the British continued to maneuvre toward the left of the Americans, and Washington changed his position accordingly. On the afternoon of the latter day Howe confounded the Americans by filing off and marching to Philadelphia, thus closing active operations for the season.
His loss was not far from one hundred killed and wounded, while that of the Americans was much less. This was the first occasion when the two armies had faced each other upon the open field, with anything like numerical equality. The arrival of the reinforcements from the north had raised Washington's force to exactly twelve thousand one hundred and sixty-one Continental troops, and three thousand two hundred and forty-one militia, while that of Howe was not far from fourteen thousand regulars.
Washington has been criticized for not having precipitated a battle upon this occasion. That he was quite right in not doing so now seems evident. The same considerations which induced Howe to forego the attack, were sufficient to more than justify him, whose force, though numerically stronger, was infinitely less effective than that of the enemy. Whoever took the initiative, as between two armies thus placed upon opposite heights, must have been at a nearly fatal disadvantage. Howe recognized this fact as clearly as did Washington. Neither commander deemed it safe to make au attack, hence the battle was not fought.
The cold was now so intense, and the suffering so terrible, that Wash
ington resolved to place his men in winter quarters. A strong position was chosen at Valley Forge, on the west side of the Schuylkill, about twentyfive miles from Philadelphia, and the army crossed the river, and took possession on the 12th day of December. The cold became more and more severe; the sufferings of the army increased in proportion. The work of building the rude log huts which were to be their shelter for the winter engrossed all hands however, and in a few days the soldiers were under cover, and as comfortable as men could be, who were poorly clad for enduring even a summer rain. Washington gave direction for the maintenance of a routine and discipline, exact as would have been required in camp, during active service. The enemy was too near to render safe the slightest laxity. He also commended the men for their bravery and faithfulness, exhorted them to continued courage, and did everything in his power to nerve them to the endurance of a winter which he knew could not but be full of hardship and suffering.
This long campaign, extending from May until December of the year 1777, was made the basis of much adverse criticism of Washington, and was turned to account by jealous enemies who desired to supplant him in his command. Posterity has done justice, however, by uniting in the verdict that not the most brilliant achievement of the war was more worthy of a great general, than was the conduct of the American armies from White Plains to Valley Forge. With a vastly inferior force,-a force which his enemies sneered at as a rabble and an army of beggars-he held Lord Howe's splendid army for months in an advance of less than one hundred miles. He made every step a costly one for the British; he lost battles, when ruin seemed to be the price of defeat, only to regain his feet, reform and present himself anew in the face of his enemy. With little and inadequate artillery, he held divorced the British fleet and army for weeks, in spite of the best efforts of both to the contrary, and finally, though Philadelphia fell into the hands of the enemy, he was left with an army better than that with which he began. A small or reckless man may by chance win a battle; it requires a great one to plan and execute a campaign calling for such patience, care and foresight as did that of 1777.
THE BURGOYNE CAMPAIGN.
EFORE following further the immediate fortunes of Washington, a
short review of movements in the North will be given, as necessary to a just understanding of subsequent events. The final retirement of the American army from offensive operations in Canada, had left Ticonderoga upon Lake Champlain and Fort George upon the lake of the same name, the northern outposts of the colonial power. The question of precedence between Gates and Schuyler had been for the time accommodated, Schuyler, in command of the Northern department, holding the headquarters fixed for him by Congress, at Albany; while Gates, as second in command, was stationed at Ticonderoga. That an invasion from Canada was more than likely, no one doubted, yet for many months the position on the lakes was rather one of expectancy than of immediate apprehension. During the continuation of this state of affairs, Schuyler, though an able and singularly patriotic commander and a kindhearted and unselfish man, was far from popular, especially with the people of New England, and was made the victim of much unjust and very vexatious criticism and misrepresentation. It was sought to lay at his door all the misfortunes, reverses, and the final failure of the American arms in Canada, to which so great a variety of unavoidable circumstances contributed At last, goaded out of all patience, he forwarded his resignation to Congress. This Congress refused to accept, at the same time passing a vote of confidence in his ability and loyalty, and expressing high appreciation of his services. There is no doubt that the assaults made upon Schuyler, from time to time, originated in the ambition and jealousy of Gates, who would hesitate at no treachery or meanness to remove an obstacle from his path, and that this first failure was a most bitter disappointment to him. Schuyler had evidently no suspicion of the duplicity of his subordinate; his letters to Gates show confidence and some of them are almost affectionate. The resolutions referred to restored matters for a time
to the status quo; Gates remained at Ticonderoga, Schuyler returned to Albany. It was not long, however, before the sensitive honor of the latter was again offended.
A packet of letters captured by the British and recap. tured, was found to contain one from Colonel Joseph Trumbull, commissarygeneral, in which it was insinuated that Schuyler had withheld a commission sent to the brother of the writer, Colonel John Trumbull, to be deputy adjutant-general. Schuyler, who was fiery upon any point touching his honor, at once wrote to Congress, demanding an instant investigation of the matter, also indignantly denying any connection with it. Congress did not at once comply with his demand, and, at the same time when it was received, discharged from the service of the Government an army surgeon whom Schuyler had especially recommended. The effect of this neglect and, as Schuyler regarded it, the deliberate slight offered him in the person of his protege, was to bring the anger of the general to the boiling point. While in this state of mind, he wrote a communication to Congress, which was none of the mildest, reiterating his demand for an inquiry, and asserting that Congress should have advised him of the reason for the surgeon's dismissal. Many members of Congress took great umbrage at this letter; the opportunity was improved by the partisans of Gates, who, find. ing support from many New England delegates, acting from more honest motives, secured the adoption of a resolution censuring Schuyler for disrespect. Gates was at the time in the shadow of the capitol, having obtained leave, for the purpose of prosecuting his personal schemes with Congress. Almost immediately after the vote of censure, it was determined to appoint a general officer for the northern department, a step which Schuyler had recommended. In accordance with this resolve, President Hancock notified Gates to at once "proceed to Ticonderoga and take command of the army stationed in that department.” This language was certainly ill-considered. Upon receiving a copy of the resolutions of censure, and learning of this order to Gates, Schuyler considered himself superseded; while Gates proceeded to his post, filled with exultation at having finally attained his desired independence of command. Yet Congress had no idea, in providing for the appointment of a general officer for the department, that he should displace, or be the equal in command of Schuyler, who was then at its head. Gates received his order on the 25th of March, and immediately set out as desired; on the road he passed Schuyler, who was bent upon going before Congress to obtain the justice of an inquiry, which should permit him, as he ardently desired, to lay down his command with honor to himself. It was after reaching Philadelphia that he learned of the censure, and of Gates' appointment. Being accredited to Congress as a delegate from New York, he took his seat as a member of that body, and on the 18th, the desired committee of inquiry, consisting of one delegate from each colony, was appointed. In the mean time, Lee being a prisoner, Schuyler