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Amold is appointed a Brigadier in the British Service and invades Virginia-Plan to capture him-Mutiny in the American Camp - Violence of the Pennsylvania Line-Order restored-Weak 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 stormed–The British make a SortieLord Cornwallis attempts to escape-He capitulates and surrenders his Posts—Indecisive Action between the French and English Fleets—Sir Henry, too late, embarks his Troops for YorktownThanks of Congress to the American and French
Commanders, and to the Army-General St. Clair despatched to Carolina-Thé other corps of the Army return to the Neighbourhood of NewYork, and go into Winter Quarters.
1781. ARNOLD, having been appointed a Brigadier General in the British army, was with about sixteen hundred men detached to invade Virginia. With his armed ships he sailed up James' river, and at Richmond and other places destroyed publick 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 Newport, and the land forces had remained inactive in that town. But about this time the British blockading squadron suffered by a violent storm, and a temporary superiority was given to the French.
General WASHINGTON thought that a fair opportu
nity 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 Ternay, at Newport, the command of the fleet devolved on Destonches. In compliance with the request of General WASHINGTON,
he sailed with his whole squadron for the MARCH 8.
Chesapeak, having eleven hundred land troops on board. The British Admiral Arbuthnot hav. ing repaired the damages sustained by the storm, 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 victory were on the side of the English. The joint expedition was frustrated, the French returned to Newport, 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; and they had served almost a year without pay. Without murmuring they long endured their accumulated distresses. But the fortitude of the firmest men may be worn down. Disheartened by their sufferings, despairing of relief, and dissatisfied, that their country did not make more effectual exertions for their support, the spirit of mutiny broke out with alarming appearances.
The Pennsylvania line stationed at Morristown, with the exception of three regiments, revolted. On a concerted signal, the non-commissioned officers and privates turned out with their arms, and announced the
design of marching to the seat of Congress, there to demand a redress of their intolerable grievances. The mutiny defied opposition. In the attempt to quell it, one cfficer was killed, and several dangerously wounded. General Wayne, in a threatening attitude, drew his pistol, the mutineers presented their bayonets to his breast and said, “General, we love and respect you, but if you fire, you are a dead man. We are not going to the enemy, on the contrary if they were now to come out, you should see us fight under your orders with as much alacrity as ever; but we will no longer be amused, we are determined on obtaining what is our just due.” Thirteen hundred of them, under officers of their own election, marched in order for Princeton with their arms and six field pieces. They committed no other act of violence, than to demand of the inhabitants provisions for their necessary support.
Congress sent a Committee of their own body to confer with them. They demanded the redress of their grievances as the basis of accommodation. Sir Henry Clinton sent out agents to invite them to his standard, promising them more advantageous terms than those demanded of Congress. They with indige nation rejected his proposals, and delivered over his emissaries to General Wayne, who hanged them as spies. President Reed offered the mutineers a purse of a hundred guineas as a reward for the surrender of the British emissaries. This they refused, declaring that “what they had done was only a duty they owed their country, and they neither desired, nor would receive any reward but the approbation of that country, for which they had so often fought and bled.”
The Council of Pennsylvania appointed Mr. Reed, their President, and General Potter, a Committee to compromise with the soldiery, to whom the gentlemen from Congress transferred their powers. The Committee felt themselves compelled to yield more to the demands of these soldiers in a state of mutiny, than