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rigours of an inclement season, to depend perhaps on the hand of charity for support; when calamities like these are staring us in the face, and a brutal savage enemy threatens us and every thing we hold dear with destruction from foreign troops, it little becomes the character of a soldier to shrink from danger, and condition for new terms. It is the General's intention to indulge both officers and soldiers who compose the new army with furloughs for a rea. sonable time; but this must be done in such a manner as not to injure the service, or weaken the army too muck at once.” In the instructions.given to the recruiting officers, the General enjoined upon them "not to inlist any person suspected of being unfriendly to the liberties of America, or any abandoned vagabond, to whom all-causes and countries are equal and alike indifferent."
Though great exertions had been made to procure recruits, yet the regiments were not filled. Several causes operated in producing this disinclination to the service. The sufferings of the army had been great. Fuel was very scarce. Clothes, and even provisions, had not been fur. nished them in sufficient quantities. The small-pox deterred many from entering; but the principal reason was a dislike to a military life. Much also of that enthusiasm which brought numbers to the field, on the commencement of hostilities, had abated. The army of 1775 was wasting away by the expiration of the terms of service, and recruits for lhe new, entered slowly. The regiments which were entitled to their discharge on the 1st of December, were with great difficulty persuaded to stay ten days, when reinforcements of militia were expected to supply their place. From the eagerness of the old troops to go home, and the slowness of the new to enter the service, it was difficult to keep up the blockade. On the last day of the year, when the first were entirely disbanded, the last only amounted to . nine thousand six hundred and fifty men, and many of these were absent on furlough. At this time the royal army in Boston was about eight thousand. To assist the recruiting service, the General recommended to Congress to try the effects of a bounty, but this was not agreed to till late in January, 1776. In that and the following month the ariny was considerably increased.
The blockade of Boston was all this tiine kept up, and
the enemy confined to the city, but this was far short of what the American people expected.' Common fame represented the troops under the command of Washington to be nearly treble the royal army. This ample force was supposed to be furnished with every thing necessary for the most active operations. Their real numbers and deficient equipments were, for obvious reasons, carefully concealed: The ardour and impatience of the public had long since counted on the expulsion of the British from Boston. Washington was equally ardent, but better informed and more prudent. He well knew the advantages that would result to the cause in which he was engaged from some brilliant stroke, nor was he insensible to insinuations by some that he was devoid of energy, and by others that he wished to prolong his own importance by continuing the war. He bore these murmurs with patience ; but nevertheless, had his eyes directed to Boston, and wished for an opening to commence offensive operations. The propriety of this measure was submitted to the consideration of repeated councils of war, who uniformly declared against it. A hope was nevertheless indulged that ice in the course of the winter, would be favourable to an assault. That this opportunity might not be lost, measures were adopted for procuring large reinforcements of militia to serve till the first of March, 1776. From four to five thousand men were accordingly procured. Contrary to what is usual, the waters about Boston continued open till the middle of Feb ruary Councils of war were hitherto nearly unanimous against an assault. General Washington was less opposed to it than some others, but the want of ammunition for the artillery, together with the great probability of failure, induced him to decline the attempt. In lieu of it he formed a bold resolution to take a new position that would either compel the British General to come to an action, or to evacuate Boston. The American army was now stronger than ever. Recruiting for the two last months had been unusually successful. The regular army exceeded fourteen thousand men, and the militia were about six thousand. Washington, thus reinforced, determined to fortify the heights of Dorchester, from which he could annoy the ships in the harbour, and the army in the town. To favour the execution of this plan, the town and lines of the enemy
Fere bombarded on the 2d, 3d and Ath of March. On the night of the 4th, Gen. Thomas, with a considerable de. tachment; took possession of the heights of Dorchester. By great exertions this party in the course of the night, nearly covered themselves from the shot of the enemy. The appearance of their works caused no little surprise in the British camp. These were every hour advancing so as to afford additional security to the Americans posted' behind them. The Admiral informed Gen. Howe, that if the Americans kept possession of these heights, he would not be able to keep one of the British ships in the harbour. The enemy were now brought to the alternative which Washington wished for. They must either risk an action without their lines, or abandon the place. Gen. Howe preferred the former, and ordered three thousand men on this service. These were embarked, and fell down to the Castle with the intention of proceeding up the river to the attack, but were dispersed by a tremendous storm. Before they could be in readiness to proceed, the American works were advanced to such a state of security as to discourage any attempt against them.
Washington expecting an immediate assault on the new raised works at Dorchester, and judging that the best. tronps of the enemy would be ordered on that service, had prepared to attack the town of Boston at the same time; four thousand men were ready for embarkation at the mouth of Cambridge river to proceed on this business, as soon as it was known that the British were gone out in force to their intended attack. It was now resolved by the British to evacuate Boston as soon as possible. In a few days after, a flag came out of Boston with a paper signed by four select men, informing, “that they had applied to Gen. Robertson, who, on an application to Gen. Howe, was authorized to assure them, that he had no intention of burning the town, unless the troops under his command were molested during their embarkation, or at their departure, by the armed force without.” When this paper was presented to Gen. Washington, he replied “that as it was an unauthenticated paper, and without an address, and not obligatory on Gen. Howe, he could take no notice of it;" but at the same time “ intimated his good wishes for the security of the town."
Washington made arrangements for the security of his army, but did not advance his works nor embarrass the British army in their proposed evacuation. He wished to save Boston, and to gain time for the fortification of New York, to which place he supposed the evacuating army was destined. Under this impression, he detached a considerable part of his army to that place, and with the remainder took possession of Boston, as soon as the British troops had completed their embarkation. On entering the town, Washington was received with marks of approbation more flattering than the pomps of a triumph.
The inhabitants, released from the severities of a garri. son life, and from the various indignities to which they were subjected, hailed him as their deliverer. Reciprocal congratulations between those who had been confined within the British lines, and those who were excluded from en. tering them, were exchanged with an ardour which cannot be described. Gen. Washington was honoured by Congress with a vote of thanks. They also ordered a medal to be struck, with suitable devices to perpetuate the remembrance of the great event. The Massachusetts Council, and House of Representatives complimented him in a joint address, in which they expressed their good wishes in the following words: “ May you still go on approved by Heaven, revered by all good men, and dreaded by those ty. rants who claim their fellow men as their property." His answer was modest and proper.
CAMPAIGN OF 1776.
Of the operations of General Washington in New York and New
Jersey.... The battle on Long Island ....The retreat from York
The evacuation of Boston varied the scene, but did not lessen the labours of Washington. Henceforward he had a much more formidable enemy to contend with. The royal-army in Boston was, on a small scale, calculated to awe the inhabitants of Massachusetts into obedience, but the campaign of 1776 was opened in New York with a force far exceeding any thing hitherto seen in America. Including the navy and army, it amounted to fifty-five thousand men, and was calculated on the idea of reducing the whole United Colonies. The operations contemplated could be best carried on from the nearly central province of New York, and the army could be supplied with provisions from the adjacent islands, and easily defended by the British navy. For these reasons, the evacuation of Boston, and the concentration of the royal forces at New York, had been for some time resolved upon in England.
The reasons that induced the British to gain possession of New York, weighed with Washington to prevent or de
He had therefore detached largely from his army before Boston, and sent Gen. Lee to take the command, and after providing for the security of Boston, proceeded soon after the evacuation thereof with the main army to NewYork, and made every preparation in his power for its defence. Considerable time was allowed for this purpose ; for Gen Howe, instead of pushing directly for New York, retired to Halifax with the forces withdrawn from Boston. He there waited for the promised reinforcements from England ; but, impatient of delay, sailed without them for New-York, and took possession of Staten Island in the latter