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officers withdrew their remonstrance, and continued to do their duty.
The consequences likely to result from the measures adopted by the Jersey officers being parried by the good sense and prudence of General Washington, he improved the event when communicated to Congress, by urging on them the absolute necessity of some general and adequate provision for the officers of their army; and observed, so that the distresses in some corps are so great, that officers have solicited even to be supplied with the clothing destined for the common soldiery, coarse and unsuitable as it was._I had not power to comply with the request.
“ The patience of men animated by a sense of duty and honour, will support them to a certain point, beyond which it will not go.
I doubt not Congress will be sensible of the danger of an extreme in this respect, and will pardon my anxiety to obviate it."
The members of Congress were of different opinions respecting their military arrangements. While some were in unison with the General for a permanent national army, well equipped and amply supported ; others were apprehensive of danger to their future liberties from such establishments, and gave a preference to enlistments for short periods, not exceeding a year. These also were partial to state systems, and occasional calls of the militia, instead of of a numerous regular force, at the disposal of Congress or the commander in chief. From the various aspect of public affairs, and the frequent change of members composing the national legislature, sometimes one party predominated, and sometimes another. On the wbole, the support received by Washington was far short of what economy, as well as sound policy, required.
The American Army in these years was not only deficient in clothing, but in food. The seasons both in 1779 and 1780, were unfavourable to the crops. The labours of the farmers had often been interrupted by calls of militia duty. The current paper money was so depreciated as to be deemed no equivalent for the productions of the soil, So great were the necessities of the American army, that Gen. Washington was obliged to call on the magistrates of the adjacent counties for specified quantities of provisions, to be supplied in a given number of days. At other times
he was compelled to send out detachments of his troops to take provisions at the point of the bayonet from the citizens. This expedient at length failed, for the country in the vicinity of the army afforded no further supplies. These impressments were not only injurious to the morals and discipline of the army, but tended to alienate the affections of the people. Much of the support which the American General had previously experienced from the inhabitants, proceeded from the difference of treatment they received from their own army compared with what they suffered from the British. The General, whom the inhabitants hitherto regarded as their protector, had now no alternative but to disband his troops, or to support them by force. The army looked to him for provisions; the inhabitants, for protection of their property. To supply the one and not offend the other, seemed little less than an impossibility. To preserve order and subordination in an army of free republicans, even when well fed, paid, and clothed, would have been a work of difficulty ; but to retain them in service and restrain them with discipline, when destitute not only of the comforts, but often of the necessaries of life, required address and abilities of such magnitude as are rarely found in human nature. In this choice of difficulties, Gen. Washington not only kept his army together, but conducted with so much discretion as to command, the approbation both of the army and of the citizens.
Nothing of decisive importance could be attempted with an army so badly provided, and so deficient in nuinbers. It did not exceed ihirteen thousand men, while the British, strongly fortified in New York and Rhode Island, amount. ed to sixteen or seventeen thousand: These were supported by a powerful fleet, which, by commanding the coasts and the rivers, furnished easy means for concentrating their force in any given point before the Americans could march to the same. This disparity was particularly striking in the movements of the two armies in the vicinity of the Hudson. Divisions of both were frequently posted on each side of that noble river. While the British could cross directly over and unite their forces in any enterprise, theAmericans could not safely effect a correspondent junction, unless they took a considerable circuit to avoid the Britisins shippiog.
To preserve West Point and its dependencies, was a primary object with Washington. To secure these, he was obliged to refuse the pressing applications from the neighbouring states for large detachments from the con. tinental army for their local defence. Early in the year, Sir Henry Clinton made some movements up the North River, which indicated an intention of attacking the posts in the Highlands ; but in proportion as these were threatened, Washington concentrated his force for their defence. This was done so effectually, that no serious direct attempt was made upon them. Clinton, hoping to allure the Americans from these fortresses, sent detachments to burn and lay waste the towns on the coast of Connecticut. This was done extensively. Norwalk, Fairfield, and New London, were destroyed. Washington, adhering to the principle of sacrificing small objects to secure great ones, gave no more aid to the suffering inhabitants than was compatible with the security of West Point.
Though the force under his immediate command throughout the campaign of 1779, was unequal to any great undertaking, yet his active mind sought for and embraced such opportunities for offensive operations, as might be attempted without hazarding too much.
The principal expedition of this kind, was directed against the Six nations of Indians, who inhabited the fertile country between the western settlements of New York and Pennsylvania, and the lakes of Canada. These, from their vicinity and intercourse with the white people, had attain." ed a degree of civilization exceeding what was usual among savages. To them, many refugee tories had fled, and di. rected them to the settlements, which they laid waste, and at the same time massacred the inhabitants. In the early period of Washington's life, while compander of the Vira givia troops, he had ample experience of the futility of Ports, for defence against Indians, and of the superior advantage of carrying offensive operations into their towns and setilements. An invasion of the country of the Six Nations being resolved upon, the commander in chief be. stowed much thought on the best mode of conducting it. The instructions he gave to Gen. Sullivan, who was appointed to this service, were very particular, and much more severe than was usial, but not more so than retalia
tion justified, or policy recommended. Sullivan, with a considerable force, penetrated into the country of the Indians in three directions, laid waste their crops, and burnt their towns. His success was decisive, and in a great measure secured the future peace of the frontier settlements. The late residence of the savages was rendered so far uninhabitable, that they were reduced to the necessity of seeking an asylum in the more remote western country.
While the British were laying waste Connecticut, Washington, after reconnoitring the ground in person, planned an expedition against Stony Point, a commanding hill, projecting far into the Hudson, on the top of which a fort had been erected, which was garrisoned with about six hundred. men. One of the motives for assaulting this work, was the hope that, if successful, it might induce the detachment which had invaded Connecticut, to desist from their devastations, and to return to the defence of their own outposts.. The enterprise was assigned to General Wayne, who completely succeeded in reducing the fort and capturing its garrison.
Sir Henry Clinton, on receiving intelligence of Wayne's success, relinquished his views on Connecticut, and made a forced march to Dobb's ferry, twenty-six miles above New York.
The reduction of Stony Point was speedily followed by the surprise of the British garrison at Paules Hook. This was first conceived and planned by Major Henry Lee. On being submitted to General Washington, he favoured the enterprise, but withheld his full assent, till he was satisfied of the practicability of a retreat, of which serious doubts were entertained. Lee, with three hundred men, entered the fort about three o'clock in the morning, and with very inconsiderable loss, took one hundred and fifty-nine prisoners, and brought them off in safety from the vicinity of large bodies of the enemy.
The reasons already mentioned, for avoiding all hazardous offensive operations, were strongly enforced by a well founded expectation that a French feet would appear on the coast, in the course of the year 1779. Policy required that the American army should be reserved for a co-operation with their allies. The fleet, as expected, did arrive, but in the vicinity of Georgia. The French troops, in
conjunction with the southern army, commanded by General Lincoln, made an unsuccessful attempt on the British post in Savannah. This town had been reduced in December, 1778, by Colonel Campbell, who had proceeded so far as to re-establish British authority in the state of Georgia. Soon after the defeat of the combined forces before Savannah, and the departure of the French fleet from the coast, Sir Henry Clinton proceeded with the principal part of his army to Charleston, and confined his views in New York to defensive operations.
The campaign of 1779 terminated in the northern states as has been related, without any great events on either side. Washington defeated all the projects of the British for getting possession of the Highlands. The Indians were scourged, and a few brilliant strokes kept the public mind from despondence. The Americans went into winter quarters when the month of December was far advanced. These were chosen for the convenience of wood, water, and provisions, and with an eye to the protection of the coun, try. To this end, the army was thrown into two grand divisions. The northern was put under the command of General Heath, and stationed with a view to the security of i West Point, its dependences, and the adjacent country. The other retired to Morristown, in New Jersey. In this situation, which was wel} calculated to secure the country to the southward of New York, Washington, with the principal division of his army, took their station for the winter. The season following their retirement, was uncommonly
The British in New York and Staten Island no longer enjoyed the security which their insular situation usually afforded. The former suffered from the want of fuel, and other supplies from the country. To add to their difficulties, Washington so disposed his troops as to give the greatest possible obstruction to the communication between the British garrison, and such of the inhabitants without their lines as were disposed to supply their wants. This brought on a partisan war, in which individuals were killed, but without any national effect. Had Washington been supported as he desired, the weakness of the British army, in consequence of their large detachments to the southward, in conjunction with the severity of the winter, would have given him an opportunity for indulging his não