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On the 22d of December the commissary announced the alarming fact, that the last rations in store had been served to the troops. • A small number of the men discovered a disposition to mutiny at a privation for which they could not account, but in the criminal inattention of their country; but the majority of the army submitted to the scarcity without a murmur, General Washington ordered the country to be scoured, and provisions to be seized wherever they could be found. At the same time he stated the situation of the army to Congress, and warned that body of the dangerous consequences of this mode of obtaining supplies. It was calculated, he
, said, to ruin the discipline of the soldiers, and to raise in them a disposition for plunder and licentiousness. It must create in the minds of the inhabitants jealousy and dissatisfaction. the occasion which compelled me to the measure the other day, and shall consider it among the greatest of our misfortunes to be under the necessity of practising it again. I am now obliged to keep several parties from the army threshing grain, that our supplies may not fail, but this will not do.” During the whole winter, the sufferings of the troops at Valley Forge were extreme,
“ I regret
Progress and Issue of the Northern Campaign-Plan to displace
General Washington--His Correspondence on the Subject Letter of General Gates-Remonstrance of the Legislature of Pennsylvania against closing the Campaign-Observations of the Commander in Chief upon it-Sufforings of the Army for the want of Provisions and Clothing--Measures adopted by the Commander in Chief to obtain Supplies— Methods taken to recruit the Army-Sir Henry Clinton appointed Commander in Chief of the British Forces—He evacuates Philadelphia, and marches through New Jersey to New York-General Wash ington pursues him--Battle of Monmouth-Thanks of Con.. gress to the General and Army-- General Lee censured-He demands a Court Martial, and is suspended from his Command - French Fleet appears on the American Coast-Erpedition against Rhode Island
- It fails-- Disaffection between the American and French Officers—Measures of the Commander in, Chief to prevent the ill Consequences of it-Army goes into Winter Quarters in the High Lands.
1777.] DURING these transactions in the middle States, the northern campaign had issued in the capture of General Burgoyne and army. That department had ever been considered as a separate command, and more particularly under the direction of Congress; but the opinion of the Commander in Chief had been consulted in many of its transactions, and most of its details had passed through his hands. Through, him that
army had been supplied with the greater part of its artillery, ammunition, and provisions.
Upon the loss of Ticonderoga, and the disastrous events which followed it, he exerted himself to stop the career of General Burgoyne, although by this exertion, he weakened himself in his conflicts with Sir William Howe. Without waiting for the order of Congress, in his own name he called out the militia of New England, and directed General Lincoln to command them. Strong detachments were sent to the northward from his, own army. General Arnold, who had already greatly distinguished himself in the field, was sent at the head of these reinforcements, in the expectation that his influence would do much to reanimate that army, and inspirit them to noble exertions. Soon after Colonel Morgan, with his regiment, the best partisan corps in the American army, was also detached to that service. General Washington encouraged General Schuyler to look forward to brighter fortune. “ The evacuation of Ticonderoga and Mount Independence,” said he, in a letter to that General, “is an event of chagrin and surprise, not apprehended, nor within the compass
my reasoning. This stroke is severe indeed, and has distressed us much. But notwithstanding things at present wear a dark and gloomy aspect, I hope a spirited opposition will check the progress of General Burgoyne's arms, and that the confidence derived from success will hurry him into measures that will, in their consequences, be favourable to us.
We should never despair. Our situation has before been unpro
mising, and has changed for the better, so I trust it will again. If new difficulties arise, we must only put forth new exertions, and proportion our efforts to the exigency of the times.” When informed by General Schuyler, that Burgoyne had divided his force to act in different quarters, General Washington foresaw the consequences, and advised to the measures that proved fatal to that commander Although our affairs," replied he to General Schuyler, “ have some days past worn a dark and gloomy aspect, I yet look forward to a fortunate and happy issue. I trust General Burgoyne's army will, sooner or later, experience an effectual check; and, as I suggested before, that the success he had will precipitate his ruin. From your account he appears to be pursuing that line of conduct, which of all others is most favourable to us; I mean acting by detachments. This conduct will certainly give room for enterprise on our part, and expose his parties to great hazard. Could we be so happy as to cut one of them off, though it should not exceed four, five, or six hundred men, it would inspirit the people, and do away much of their present anxiety. In such an event, they would lose sight of past misfortunes; and, urged at the same time by a regard to their own security, they would fly to arms, and afford
every aid in their power."
The community was not intimately acquainted with the state of things in the northern department. In consequence, strong prejudices were excited against General Schuyler. On account of this popular prejudice, Congress conceived it pru
dent to change the general of this army, and the Commander in Chief was requested to nominate a successor to General Schuyler. Through delicacy he declined this nomination ; but never did the semblance of envy at the good fortune of General Gates, whom Congress a pointed, appear in any part of General Washington's conduct. His patriotism induced him to aid this subordinate General by every means in his power, and the successes of the northern army filled his heart with undissembled joy.
This magnanimity was not in every instance repaid. The brilliant issue of the northern campaign in 1777, cast a glory around General Gates, and exalted his military reputation. During his separate command, some parts of his conduct did not correspond with the ingenuousness, and delicacy with which he had been treated by the Commander in Chief. After the action of the 19th of September, when it was ascertained that General Gates's force was superior to that of the British General, and was increasing, General Washington apprehended that General Gates might return him Colonel Morgan's corps, whose services he greatly needed while the enemy was marching through Pennsylvania : but unwilling absolutely to order the return of Morgan, he stated that General Howe was pressing him with a superior force, and left General Gates to act in the concern according to his discretion. General Gates retained the corps, and mentioned as his reason,
- Since the action of the 19th, the enemy have kept the ground they occupied on the morning of that day