페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub

ing opened to the British, General Sullivan, the commanding officer upon Rhode Island, was compelled to retreat. He and his general officers had remonstrated against Count d'Estaing leaving Newport, and in the moment of disappointment and irritation at the failure of the expedition, General Sullivan in orders, used expressions, which were construed into a severe reflection upon the French Admiral and other marine officers, and which they resented.

General Washington, alarmed at the probable consequences of a misunderstanding and jealousy between the French and Americans, so soon after the alliance was formed, and in the very commencement of their united operations, immediately adopted measures to prevent them. In letters to Generals Heath and Sullivan, he communicated the mode of conduct which he wished might in this delicate transaction be pursued.

To Heath, who commanded in Boston, he expressed his apprehension that resentment of the conduct of the Count might prevent the proper exertion to repair and victual the French feet, and he urged Heath to counteract such prejudices.

“It will certainly be sound policy to combat the effects, and whatever private opinions may be entertained, to give the best construction of what has happened to the public; and at the same time, to exert ourselves to put the French fleet, as soon as possible, in a condition to defend itself, and be useful to us. The departure of the fleet from Rhode Island is not yet publicly announced here; but when it is, I intend to ascribe it to necessity produced by the damage received in the late storm. This, it appears to me, is the idea which ought to be generally propagated. As I doubt not, the force of these reasons will strike you equally with myself, I would recommend to you to use your utmost influence to palliate and soften matters, and to induce those, whose business it is to provide succours of every kind for the fleet, to employ their utmost zeal and activity in doing it. It is our duty to make the best of our misfortunes, and not suffer passion to interfere with our interest and the public good.”

To General Sullivan he mentioned “ his apprehension that should the expedition fail, in consequence of being abandoned by the French fleet, loud complaints might be made by the officers employed on it. Prudence,” he said “ dictated the propriety of giving this affair the best appearance, and of attributing the withdrawing the fleet from Rhode Island, to absolute necessity. The reasons," he added, " for this line of condnct, were too obvious to need explanation. That of most importance was that their enemies, both internal and external, would seize the first cause of disgrist between the allies, and endeavour to convert it into a serious rupture.”

When the General received the resolution of Congress, directing him to take every measure in his power to prevent the publication of the protest entered into by General Sullivan and his officers, he communicated the resolution, and with it the following letter. “ The disagreement between

the army

under your command, and the fleet, has given me very singular uneasiness. The contivent at large is concerned in our cordiality, and it should be kept up by all possible means consistent with our honour and policy. First impressions, you know, are generally longest retained, and will serve to fix, in a great degree, our national character with the French. In our conduet towards them, we should remember, that they are a s vpleold in war, very strict in military etiquette, and apt to take fire when others scarcely seemed warmed. Permit me to recommend, in the most particular manner, the cultivation of harmony and good agreement, and your endeavours to destroy that ill humour which may have found its way among the officers.

It is of the utmost importance too, that the soldiers and the people should know nothing of this misunderstanding, or, if it has reached them, that means may be used to stop its progress and prevent its effects.”

In a correspondence with Count d'Estaing, General Washington strove to soften bis resentments, to sooth the chagrin of disappointment, and to conciliate his good affections towards the United States.

These prudent measures were attended with the most salutary effects,

With the battle of Monmouth, active operations for the campaign closed in the Middle States. On the approach of winter, the American army went into quarters in the neighbourbood of the High Lands. Being better clothed and fed than in the preceding winter, their si

tuation was greatly ameliorated, and their sufferings were comparatively nothing.

At the close of the campaign of 1778, the local situation of the hostile armies did not greatly differ from that of the commencement of the campaign of 1776, except the possession of New York by the British.

This fact is impressively stated by General Washington, in a letter written to a friend. It is not a little pleasing, nor less wonderful to contemplate, that after two years manæuvring, and undergoing the strangest vicissitudes, both armies are brought back to the very point they set out from, and the offending party in the beginning is now reduced to the use of the pickaxe and the spade for defence. The hand of Providence has been so conspicuous in all this, that he must be worse than an infidel, that lacks faith, and more than wicked, that has not gratitude to acknowledge his obligations.”

CHAPTER VI.

Plan formed by Congress and the French Minister for the inra

sion of Canada and Nova Scotia Generul Washington's objections to it --Delinquency of the United States to prepare for the approaching Campaign-The exertions of the General

- His Letter on the State of the NationThe Remonstrance of Officers belonging to the New Jersey Brigade to the Legislature of that Statem Letters of the Commander in Chief on the Subject--Expedition against the Indians under General Stilliran-He destroys their Touns - The American Army posted for the Defence of the High Lands on the North River, and for the protection of the Country against the Incursions of the British-Sir llenry Clinton moves up the lIudson, takes Possession of Stony and Verplank Points, and Fortifies them - Arrangements made for assaulting these Post3 General Wayne carries Stony Point by storm-The attack upon Verplank fails-Congress vote their Thanks to General Washington and to the brave Troops employed in this service. They rote General Wayne a MedalEvils of short Inlistments Plan of the Generals to remedy them— The Army in two Divisions erect Huts for Winter Quarters, one near l'est' Point, and the other at Morristown in New Jersey.--The Troops suffer through the scarcity of Provisions - Colonel Wadsworth resigns his Office-Confusion in the Commissary's Department - The Commander in Chief is necessitated to apportion supplies of Meat and Flour upon the Counties of New JerseyThe Winter eccessively cold, and the Waters around New York frozen orer; but the Commander in Chief is too weak to urail himself of this opportunity to assail the British PostsExpedition to Staten Island fails.

1779.) THE emancipation of Canada liad ever been an important object with Congress. By its incorporation with the revolted colonies, the

« 이전계속 »