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An army composed of two English regiments never regained in the provinces that renown for and some corps of provincials, raised for the pur- military invincibility, which formed one of the pose of striking a serious blow at the enemy, was strongest bands of colonial dependence. placed under the orders of General Braddock, a The reputation of Washington, both for conduct brave soldier, but otherwise of unfounded repu- and courage, was greatly increased by the camtation. The military talents and local knowledge paign of the Monongahela: it was generally known of Washington were considered essential to the among the troops, that his advice would have success of the expedition; and he was consequently saved the army from defeat, and perhaps coninvited to join it, with the rank of aid-de-camp to duced 10 ultimate success, while his coolness in the commander.
batile was the theme of universal panegyric. The Great delays occurred from the difficulty of ob. legislature of Virginia, at this period of public distaining wagons, which, according to the rules of tress, ordered a regiment of sixteen companies to European warfare, were deemed indispensable. It be formed, and the command was immediately bewas long in vain that the experienced aid-cle-camp stowed upon Colonel Washington, with the addiadvised the substitution of pack-horses; but at last tional title of " commander in chief of all the the reason of his counsel became too strong for the forces raised or to be raised in the colony of prejudices of the regular commander, and Brad- Virginia.” The power annexed of selecting all dock marched for Fort Du Quesne, with the confi- field officers, was an extraordinary exhibition of the dent expectation of driving the French from their confidence and respect with which he had already strong hold on the Ohio. Celerity was considered impressed his countrymen. by Washington the secret of success; for the The duties of Washington's new station were arFrench force assembled to oppose them was known duous and responsible, without any of the corres. to be small, though there was reason to apprehend ponding gratifications. He was called upon to its immediate and formidable increase. Advice to protect an extensive and exposed frontier, against this effect was urgently repeated to the general, the predatory incursions of an enemy subdivided but his council of war regularly overruled it as into small parties, and formidable from their acrash and contrary to established custom. When tivity and skill in the warfare of the wilderness; rapidity was at length determined upon, four days while the forces of Virginia where wholly inwere occupied in advancing nineteen miles; and adequate to the results expected from their harassed according to a letter written by the aid-de-camp, commander. It is needless to enter into the details " they were halting to level every mole-hill, and io of his history at this period, for they present little erect bridges over every brook.” This ridiculous more than a series of laborious exertiens for the delay was unaccompanied by even ordinary cau- welfare and discipline of his soldiers, mixed with tion. The army marched without advanced guards constant remonstrances to the government of Viror scouts, and the whole force of French and ginia, which was not always well advised in its reIndians was embodied in their front, without the solutions. In the way of active hostilities, the proleast suspicion, on the part of the English com- vincial troops had frequent skirmishes with the mander, of the approach of a single enemy. It enemy, in all of which they exhibited the fruits of was on the 9th of July 1755 that the British army their strict training; but no conflict occurred of was suddenly attacked on the Monongahela, and a sufficient consequence to deserve special commebattle was fought long memorable in the annals of moration. At length, in 1758, Fort Du Quesne the colonies.
was captured without resistance by the advanced Within a very short time after the commence- guard of General Forbes's expedition, commanded ment of the fight, from the advantageous position by Colonel Washington; and thenceforward the and deadly fire of the French, the whole duty of middle colonies were freed from the terrors of transmitting the general's orders devolved upon French and Indian hostility. Our hero (and surely Washington, who was the only aid-de-camp alive no man was ever better entitled to the appellation), and unwounded. Trying occasions, however, were now felt himself at liberty to return to that enjoy. those in which his remarkable qualities were best ment of private happiness, which had for some developed; and it was in the midst of the carnage time been the object of his warmest aspirations; and horrors of " Braddock's defeat," that men and he laid down his commission amid the general first began to prophesy the glorious career pre- regret of his countrymen, who treated the resigpared for him in the wisdom of an all-seeing Pro- nation as a public loss. He shortly after was marvidence. Two horses were shot under him, and ried to Mrs. Custis, a lady possessing personal his coat pierced by four balls, but he escaped with merits more than equal to her extensive estates, out a wound. Five borses were also killed under and who contributed largely during the whole of General Braddock, and when at last that gallant her husband's after life, to his domestic quiet and but unfortunate commander fell mortally wounded, felicity. He was not, however, entirely withdrawn the whole British force fled outright, leaving the from public duties, for about this period he took care of their general to Washington and two other his seat in the General Assembly of Virginia, as a individuals. The provincial troops bore the whole member for the county of Frederick. brunt of the day, and suffered dreadfully: in two The life of Washington is wholly identified with companies, every officer but one was killed, in the service of his country-always tranquil while cluding the very corporals. The regulars saved she remained at peace, and active only when her their lives by their disgraceful panic, but they rights or territory were threatened with invasion.
We find no remarkable event in his history, until rendered in his station; he expected no more than the commencement of the colonial difficulties with a mere indemnity for expenses actually incurred, the mother empire, when he was among the first in of which his intention was to keep a regular and the Virginia legislature to offer a firm resistance exact account. It was unanimously resolved, that to the unconstitutional pretensions set up by par Congress would maintain, assist and adhere to liament. When measures of defence were con him as the general and commander-in-chief of the sidered requisite, he was chosen to command the forces raised for the maintenance and preservation independent companies raised by his native pro- of American liberty, with their lives and fortunes.” vince; and he was afterwards elected, in the year Washington prepared at once for the execution of 1774, one of her representatives in the continental lis high duties; and amid the general acclamations congress. He was appointed in this body, upon of all classes and sections of the country, he asall committees relating to military preparations: sumed the supreme command of the army then enbut a moment soon approached pregnant with the gaged in the siege of Boston. most important consequences to Washington and The American force numbered fourteen thouto the world.
sand five hundred men, lying on both sides of Bloody conflicts had taken place in the north, Charles river, and scattered along an extensive which in their results had excited the provincials line of at least twelve miles. The right was posted to enthusiasm and revenge, while they inspired on the hills about Roxbury, extending towards them with new confidence in their military effi- Dorchester, and was commanded by Major-general ciency. The spirit of insurrection spread through Ward: Washington fixed his head quarters, and all the land, and the British, notwithstanding their personally directed the centre and reserve: Majorsanguinary success at Bunker's Hill, were closely general Lee lay with the left wing vear the river besieged in Boston by an overwhelming American Mystic. force under General Ward. It now became impe The garrison of Boston exceeded twenty regi. riously necessary for Congress to settle some defi ments. Bunker's Hill was the post fortified and nite organization of their army, calculated to fix held by the main body under General Sir William the floating confidence of the country at large; and Howe-another division was intrenched on Rox. the question of the selection of a proper com- bury neck-and their position was further strengthmander was therefore one of engrossing interestened by a battery on Cop's hill, three floating batto the assembled patriots. It was felt sensibly by teries in Mystic river, and a twenty gun ship. the New England delegation, that in point of direct The American forces were very far from posinterest and aggression, the cause of the provincial sessing an efficiency by any means equal to their hostilities had been hitherto entirely local. Their numbers. The commander-in-chief found the natural sagacity taught them that it was of material materials for a good army-a great number of men, consequence to adopt some measure tending to able bodied, active, zealous in the cause, and of strengthen the ties of union with the southern unquestionable courage”—but in all military requicolonies: and they were disposed to acquiesce in sites he soon perceived radical and almost irremeany nomination of a general, which might con diable deficiencies. A few days after his arrival, it tribute to render resistance universal. Then it was discovered that the whole quantity of ammuwas that a few words from John Adams determined nition on hand could barely supply nine rounds to the fate of America, and advanced the cause of each man: and in this situation, an army without liberty throughout the world. In an able and bayonets, remained for two weeks, when a small eloquent speech, he set forth the numerous and pe supply of powder was received from Elizabeth culiar difficulties of the country and the army; and Town in New Jersey. A siege ivas to be conducted when all his hearers were deeply engrossed in the without engineers, and with a scarcity of working subject, and anxiously awaiting the remedy to be tools: and the rigours of winter were to be supsuggested, he nominated as commander of the ported by troops without tents or sufficient clothing. forces, a member of the house, George Waslı But there were other difficulties lying at the root ington of Virginia.” On the 14th of June 1775, of military government and organization, greater by an unanimous vote of the delegates of the pro- and more important even than these. Each provinces, the motion was adopted, and Washington vince had levied its own quota of troops, according was appointed “ General and Commander-in-chief to regulations established by itself: and hence of the army of the United Colonies, and of all the arose evils, of which the least was a dangerous forces now raised or to be raised by them, and of want of uniformity. As an example, the soldiers all others who shall voluntarily offer their service." of the Massachusetts line lived on a footing of per
When this election was announced to the new fect equality with platoon officers elected by them. generalissimo by the president of congress, he selves; and this sort of sociability was a greater reexhibited the modesty, patriotism, and disinterest- commendation to promotion than individual fitness. edness which were ever the prominent character. The creation of discipline in an army is, even under istics of his life. He expressed the distress he felt the most favourable circumstances, a work of time from a diffidence in his abilities and military expe- and attention: the embarrassments of a general rience, but at the same time a firm determination may therefore be conceived, when placed at the was declared to exert every power for his country's head of such a host, all of whom were to be dis. service, and the success of her glorious cause. He charged and replaced by new levies before the end declined any pecuniary reward for the duties to be of the succeeding month of December. An over
ruling Providence had provided the only instru- and every exertion used to strengthen the defence ment that was fitted for ihe time and the occasion. of the place. In consequence of the earnest reWashington applied himself indefatigably to the presentations of Washington, Congress was induced subduing of the difficulties around him.
to vote a reinforcement of thirteen thousand eight ganized his army into brigades and divisions, and hundred militia, and to form a flying camp for the proceeded to drill them with untiring perseverance. purpose of repelling any attempt of the enemy Through his recommendation, Congress was in to land.on the Jersey shore; but it was long before duced to appoint a paymaster, quartermaster- other deficiencies, equally important, could be regeneral, and other regular staff of a military estab- medied, or even partially supplied. The sinews of lishment.
war are not to be created by the prudence and exTowards the close of the season, the whole Ame: perience of a commander; comforts and necessaries rican army, officers and soldiers, was to be dis for an army require something more than vigilance banded and renewed in the face of their be and courage; and the fatal errors of short enlistleaguered enemy.
In the beginning of January, ments and incomplete regiments, could only be arowing to discharges and unavoidable furloughs, rested by time and misfortune. the total of the forces scarcely exceeded nine thou-. Upon the evacuation of Boston, the British army sand men, though the number was afterwards retired to Halifax, at which place reinforcements increased to about fourteen thousand, when con from England were expected by Sir William Howe. gress, at the instance of their general, offered a He at length, however, re-embarked his forces and bounty upon enlistment. It was with deep morti- sailed to Staten Island, where a landing was effication that the commander-in-chief felt himself fected on the 3d and 4th of July. Ample supplies compelled to submit to a state of comparative in were immediately procured, owing to the extreme activity, by the utter inadequacy of his means to disaffection of a great portion of the inhabitants of the purposes of offensive warfare: but he never those parts; and the intrigues and popularity of neglected to make advances upon the enemy, when Governor Tryon even collected a considerable force a favourable opportunity was presented. Ploughed of loyalists, as they were termed, who were emHill, Cobble's Hill, and Lechmere's Point were suc bodied under his own immediate command. The cessively occupied by the Americans: and the machinations of these concealed foes severely tested floating batteries were driven from their moorings the vigilance of the American leader. Among by the cannonade to which they became exposed. other things, a conspiracy was discovered in the
About the end of February 1776, Washington city of New York, headed by its mayor, 'to excite resolved by a decisive movement to bring the siege an insurrection upon the landing of the British, to some determinate conclusion. For this purpose, and to deliver into their hands the post and the during the night, he occupied the commanding po- person of the general. The design was fortunately sition of Dorchester heights with a strong force; defeated, and some of the most guilty brought to and the besiegers were thus enabled to annoy the condign punishment; but the spirit of disaffection fleet in the harbour, and the army in the city of still remained to cripple the progress of liberty, Boston itself. The British commander had now and to assist the movements of its more open adthe alternative of dislodging the Americans by versaries. main force from their new post, or of wholly eva Meanwhile the great change was advancing, cuating the place. A plan to effect the former which was to affect the whole character of the war, purpose was frustrated by a violent tempest, which and to build the foundations of a new empire out scaitered the vessels containing Lord Percy's of the massive materials rent from the crumbling chosen division: and evacuation was rendered in structure of the old. The banners of the colonies evitable by the increased strength of the American had hitherto only been unfurled for the redress of intrenchments. On the 17th of March, the retreat tyrannical grievances inflicted by arbitrary acts of the enemy's legions to their ships was witnessed of the British parliament, without impeachment of by the undisciplined array of the besiegers; and the sovereignty of George III.: national indeshortly afterwards the British fleet bent its sails pendence was an experiment too daring, and unand was borne from the neighbourhood of the compromising to meet with early and welcome accapital of New England. The glorious conquest ceptation. But the bitter animosities engendered thus achieved was hailed with joyful triumph by protracted warfare, had slowly undermined the throughout the colonies. A golden medal, com
A golden medal, com- kindly feelings of origin and kindred. It was genememorative of the occasion was struck by order of rally acknowledged that no reconciliation with the Congress, and a vote of thanks was passed to mother-country could be cordial or lasting-no Washington and the army," for their wise and greater or more dangerous struggle was necessary, spirited conduct in the siege and acquisition of even if independence were to be the meed of triBoston.'
umph-and the tempting advantages of self-governIn anticipation of the early retreat of The be- ment, compared with a distant controul exercised sieged, and the probability of a hostile attempt for the commercial benefit of the rulers alone, upon New York, the commander-in-chief had al- gradually led the minds of men to this great and ready detached a strong force for the protection of important contemplation. The progress of popular that important city. The main American army feeling was regularly exhibited in the successive was now marched southward, and reached New resolutions of congress; the measures adopted beYork on the 14th of April: batteries were erected, came more and more vigorous, and the tone of the
public declarations rapidly increased in boldness posed, and he announced them to Congress: but at and determination. At length, on the 7th of June, the same time he expressed his stern confidence of independence was directly moved by Richard Henry forcing the enemy to buy dearly any advantage Lee, seconded by John Adams; and the committee they might obtain. In the energetic proclamations to whom it was referred, reported a resolution addressed to the army, he exhorted them “ to ani" that these United Colonies are, and of right mate and encourage each other, and show the ought to be, free and independent states; and that whole world that a freeman contending for liberty, all political connexion between them and the state on his own ground, is superior to any slavish mer. of Great Britain is and ought to be totally dis- cenary on earth.” solved.” Some necessary delays took place after The principal position of the American army on this report, but on the 4th of July, when all was Long Island was at the village of Brooklyn, where matured, the glorious declaration went forth, which a camp had been intrenched, and was held by Put. claimed for the United States of America that nam with a strong detachment: the troops beyond stand among the nations of the earth, which God these lines were more exposed, though the pruand nature had assigned them. The army hailed dence of the general-in-chief had foreseen all danthe new epoch with all the ardour of military enthu- gers, and provided for every casualty. The Brisiasm, and the friends of liberty rejoiced that their tish having landed on the island, attacked these holy struggle was no longer to be characterized as outposts vigorously on the 26th of August. Unthe war of subjects with their acknowledged king. fortunately, owing to very blameable neglect of
The two armies were now again fairly arrayed, duty in those who were charged with the execution and the fortunes of the new republic were to be of the precautionary measures inculcated in Washweighed in the scales of war. "Lord Howe, and ington's order, Sir Henry Clinton was enabled to his brother Sir William, had been invested with surprise an important pass, and to turn General the royal commission to pacify the colonies, in- Sullivan's position, while Generals Grant and De cluding very large powers of pardon and exemp- Heister occupied his attention with a brisk cantion; their first effort was, therefore, an attempt at nonade. The consequences were extremely disconciliation. Some correspondence that took place astrous; the divisions most exposed to the enemy with the American leader, strongly exhibited the were compelled to take refuge within the lines, elevated tone of character for which Washington after suffering severely in killed, wounded, and pri. was ever distinguished. A fag of truce addressed soners, including among the last the commander, to “ George Washington, Esq.” was sent back Sullivan himself, and Brigadiers Lord Stirling and without an audience, and a like result attended Woodhull. Sir William Howe estimated the other communications of the same nature. The American loss at the exaggerated number of three commander-in-chief declined holding any inter thousand three hundred men, while his own was course, when the public character was not acknow calculated three hundred and sixty-seven. ledged which alone made him the organ of cor- Washington's report, which stated his loss below respondence. To a proud exhibition of the au one thousand, most probably included only the rethority of the British commissioners, he replied gular continental troops, without regard to the that Lord Howe and Sir William were empowered militia. to grant pardons, but that none were needed by As soon as the commencement of the engage. those who had committed no fault: the American ment was announced, Washington passed over to nation was only defending its indubitable rights. Brooklyn from York Island. His military eye It was evident that no arbiter remained but the immediately perceived the impossibility of reforce of arms, and both parties prepared themselves trieving the fortunes of the day; the forces already for immediate conflict.
engaged were entirely too feeble to contend with The English army, swelled by powerful rein- the overwhelming superiority of the British general, forcements, now numbered twenty-four thousand and no reinforcements from the main army could men in its array, perfectly equipped, and veterans have enabled the Americans to keep the field with in the discipline of war; an immense fleet pro a chance of success. Unwilling to attempt a tected its movements, and insured communications movement which could only have produced a waste and supplies. Ten thousand men, enfeebled by of human lives, while it staked the whole fortune of long exposure, and the consequent maladies of America on the hazard of a single die, he confined new soldiers, constituted the whole array of the his exertions to the safe withdrawal of the troops Americans at the landing of Sir William Howe: within the fortified lines, and to preparations for a through the extraordinary and indefatigable ex- general retreat from the island, now rendered inertions of the commander-in-chief, this force was evitable by circumstances. In the meantime he increased to twenty-seven thousand before the mid exhibited so imposing a front to the enemy, that dle of August, though one-fourth were sick, and Sir William Howe and his elated army were dealmost all the levies raw and undisciplined. The terred from a bold and immediate attack, and their main body lay on York island; a strong force under advances were conducted with all the cautious forMajor-general Sullivan was posted on Long Island, malities of a regular siege. and Governor's Island and Powles Hook were oc On the night of the 28th, that celebrated retreat cupied by small detachments. The mind of Wash- was effected, which gained for the American ington was filled with the deepest anxiety: he leader so distinguished a name among the warriors plainly saw all the hazards to which he was ex- of the earth. With the triumphant array of the VOL. XVIII.- PART II.
British army in front, and a powerful fleet prepared Washington continued in his intrenchments, fully to intercept him in the rear, Washington withdrew prepared for the threatened assault; the English across a broad river his defeated forces, and all his general, however, changed his plans, and now conmilitary stores and artillery, except a small quan- sidered it advisable to wait for expected reinforcetity of provisions, and some heavy guns. In the ments under Lord Percy. Several days were spent morning the rising sun displayed to the astonished in mutual observation, until these troops arrived; Britons the last American divisions crossing the the American commander then retired to the waters, and already far beyond the reach of annoy- heights of Newcastle, where his position was so ance or pursuit.
strong as to induce General Howe to abandon his The American forces were now concentrated designs against the main army, and to direct his upon York Island; and the movements of the movements to other objects. hostile army and fleet began plainly to indicate As soon as the British forces began slowly to that there was no intention to leave them undis- retreat down the Hudson, Washington perceived turbed. The great importance attached by Con- their plan of operations. In his letters to congress, gress to the preservation of the city, was fully to the governor of New Jersey, and to General appreciated by the American commander; but Greene, he expressed his firm conviction that the when it became obvious that Sir William Howe's enemy meditated the investnient of Fort Washplan was to cut off all his communications by ington, and the invasion of the Jerseys; and he taking post in his rear, while the front was effec- strongly recommended that the men and stores in tually guarded by the shipping, Washington's the former post should not be exposed to unnejudgment was soon satisfied that no course could cessary hazard. From a mistaken confidence in be prudent or advisable short of immediate evacu the strength of the fort, this counsel was neglected; ation. The daily advances of the British rendering and Sir William Howe, after carrying the outthe American position every day more critical, works by assault, received the surrender of the brought a large majority of the council of war garrison, who became prisoners of war. The loss to the same opinion; and New York was abandoned thus sustained was the most important that had with a serious loss in heavy cannon and military ever yet visited the American cause. The useless stores. The American army fell back to the nature of the post itself had been repeatedly deneighbourhood of Kingsbridge, where it strongly monstrated by the safe passage of British vessels; fortified itself; while Howe, after taking military but twenty-five hundred good soldiers, with a mapossession of his important conquest, immediately gazine of military stores, were not to be replaced moved in pursuit, and encamped in front of the in- in those days of adversity and discouragement. trenchments. The policy of Washington was now The evacuation of Fort Lee was immediately deto renew the courage and increase the discipline of termined upon and effected, though with the aban*his troops by frequent skirmishes, without ven donment of cannon, tents, and provisions. turing on any considerable engagement; some The American commander passed the North severe contests accordingly took place, which pro- river with a part of his army, and followed the duced honourable results, though not decisive of movement of the British into the state of New any very important consequence. General Howe, Jersey. Not being in sufficient force to prevent on the contrary, was bent upon bringing on a their successes, he was gradually driven from one general action; and as his adversary became more position to another, until he at length crossed the enterprising in attack, he increased his circum- Delaware, and took up a position on its right spection in guarding every vulnerable point. The bank, for the purpose of covering Philadelphia. English army marched always in close column; its Amid all these disasters, the indefatigable courage encampments were compact and guarded by artil- of Washington never flagged, and his exertions lery. When demonstrations upon the American suffered no intermission because weaker minds rear, both by land and water, seriously endangered considered all as lost. With him, the republic the connexion with the country, Washington re was never to be despaired of, and his army always tired towards the White Plains, where he again saw him as calm and collected as when fortune entered into intrenched lines, with the enemy in smiled most graciously upon his banners. General front.
Lee was ordered to join him with the rest of the Sir William Howe now made every preparation main army which had been left on the east side of for storming the American camp, and on the 25th the Hudson. General Schuyler, in the north, was of October the British forces were drawn up for directed to march southward with all possible ex. that purpose in line of battle. A hill on the Ame- pedition; similar instructions were forwarded to rican right, occupied by General M’Dougall, with Generals Gates and Heath, and urgent entreaties sixteen hundred men, chiefly militia, the were addressed to the various states from which first point of attack, and was assailed with great succours might be expected in this perilous crisis. vigour. The regular troops from Maryland and But all of these various armies were suffering New York, commanded by Smallwood and Reit- under a visitation long anticipated by the watchful zimer, disputed the ground with remarkable firm- eye of Washington, and which had been the conness and audacity, and it was not until after a loss stant subject of his thoughts and labours. The on each side of between three and four hundred time had now again arrived when the soldiers men, that the Americans retreated to the main were entitled to their discharges, and no immebody, and the British remained masters of the post. diate means were provided to supply their places.