페이지 이미지

them pass unimproved, for want of a force which the country was completely able to afford; to see the country ravaged, our towns burnt, the inhabitants plundered, abused, murdered with impunity from the same cause.

“ There is every reason to believe the war has been protracted on this account. Our opposition being less, made the successes of the enemy greater. The fluctuation of the army kept alive their hopes; and at every period of the dissolution of a considerable part of it, they have flattered themselves with some decisive advantages. Had we kept a permanent army on foot, they enemy could have had nothing to hope for, and would, in all probability, have listened to terins long since. If the army is left in its present situation, it must continue an encouragement to the efforts of the enemy; if it is put in a respectable one, it must have a contrary effect, and nothing I believe will tend more to give us peace the ensuing winter. It will be an interesting winter. Many circumstances will contribute to a negotiation, An army on foot, not only for another campaign, but for many campaigns, would determine the enemy to pacific measures, and enable us to insist upon favourable terms in forcible language. An army insignificant in numbers, dissatisfied, crumbling to pieces, would be the strongest temptation they could have to try the experiment a little longer. It is an old maxim, that the surest way to make a good peace, is to be prepared for war.”

Congress having at length resolved to new model the army, determined upon the number of


regiments of infantry and cavalry, which should compose their military establishment, and apportioned upon the several states their respsective quotas. The states were required to raise their men for the war, and to have them in the field by the first of the next January : but provision was made, that if any state should find it impracti

cable to raise its quota by the first of December, 'this state might supply the deficiency by men

engaged to serve for a period not short of one year.

This arrangement of Congress was submitted to the Commander in Chief, and his opinion desired upon it. He in a respectful manner stated his objections to the plan. The number of men contemplated was, he conceived, too small, and he proposed that the number of privates in each regiment should be encreased. Instead of distinct regiments of cavalry, he recommended legionary corps, that the horse might always be supported by the infantry' attached to them. He deplored the necessity of a dependence on state agency to recruit and support the army, and lamented that Congress had made provision for the deficiency of any state to procure men for the war, to be supplied by temporary draughts ; because, he conceived that the states, upon the urgent requisition of Congress, would have brought their respective quotas into the field for the war; but the provision for the deficiency being made, their exertions would be weak, and the alternative generally embraced. He warmly recommended konourable provision for the cfficers,


The repeated remonstrances of General Washington, supported by the chastisements of experience, finally induced Congress to lay aside their jealousy of a standing army, and to adopt a military establishment for the war.

The expected superiority of the French at sea failing, the residue of the campaign passed away. without any remarkable event. The hostile armies merely watched each other's motions, until the inclemency of the season forced them into winter quarters. The Pennsylvania line wintered at Morristown; the Jersey line about Pompton on the confines of New York and New Jersey ; and the troops belonging to the New England States at West Point and its vicinity, on both sides of the North river. The New York line had previously been stationed at Albany, to oppose any invasion that might be made from Canada, and here it remained through the winter.


Arnold is appointed a Brigadier in the British Service and in

vades VirginiaPlan to capture him— Mutiny in the American Camp— Violence of the Pennsylvania Line-Order restoredWeak State of the Army.-- The French Court grants a Loan to the United States-Exertion of the States to enable the General to open the Campaign-The French Troops march to the American Camp-Plan to surprise the British Post at King's Bridge - Expedition to Virginia--Count de Grasse arrives in the Chesapeak-Yorktown besieged--British Redoubts stormedThe British make a Sortie-Lord Cornwallis attempts to escape-He capitulates and surrenders his PostsIndecisive Action between the French and English Fleets-Sir Henry, too late, embarks his Troops for Yorktown-Thanks of Congress to the American and French Commanders, and to the Army-General St. Clair dispatched to Carolina-The other Corps of the Army return to the Neighbourhood of New York, and go

into Winter Quarters.

1781.] ARNOLD, baving been appointed a brigadier general in the British army, was with about sixteen hundred men detached to inyade Virginia. With his armed ships, he sailed up James' river, and at Richmond and other places destroyed public and private property to a great amount. He at length indicated a design to establish a permanent post at Portsmouth.

The French fleet since its arrival on the American coast had been blocked up in the harbour of New Port, and the land forces had remained inactive in the town. But about this time the

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

British blockading squadron suffered by a violeat storm, and a temporary superiority was given to the French.

General Washington thought that a fair opportunity presented to strike a decisive blow at the British detachment in Virginia, and to obtain the person of Arnold. In pursuance of this scheme, the General detached the Marquis La Fayette to Virginia with twelve hundred of the American infantry : at the same time he requested the co-operation of the French from Rhode Island. The commanding officers gladly embraced the opportunity to engage in active services, that might prove advantageous to their American allies.

On the death of Admiral de Turney, at New Port, the command of the fleet devolved on D'Estanches. In compliance with the request of General Washington, he sailed with the whole squadron for the Chesapeak, having eleven hundred troops on board. [March 8.] The British Admiral Arbuthnot having repaired the damages sustained by the storin, immediately followed the French, and on the 25th an action took place between the two hostile fleets. The battle ended without loss to either fleet, but the fruits of vietory were on the side of the English. The joint expedition was frustrated, the French returned to New Port, and Arnold was rescued from the fate which he merited.

The winter of 1781 in a degree renewed the privations and sufferings of the American army. The men were badly clothed and scantily fed ;

[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]
« 이전계속 »