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expect Howe was preparing to give us a general action. 1777,
The American army marched from White Marsh to 11.
OF THE 1 1777. Marsh to Valley-forge by the blood of their feet*. The
taking of this position was highly requisite. Had the army retired to the towns in the interior parts of the state, a large tract of fertile country would have been exposed to ravage and ruin; and they must have distressed in a peculiar manner the virtuous citizens from Philadelphia, who had fled thither for refuge. .. Sir W. Howe has plainly the advantage of the American general, but nothing to boast of; for all the fruits derived from his various manœuvrings and engagements, 'from the beginning to the close of the campaign, amount to little befide good winter quarters for his army in
Philadelphia, while the troops possess no more of the of adjacent country than what their arms immediately com''mand. Certain persons indeed are permitted to carry
provisions into the city; that so upon their return they may supply the Americans with intelligence. These must submit to spare a little for fuch purposes, though in the utmost want themselves. At one time the army remained quiet four days together, without bread; on the fifth two regiments refused to do duty upon the account; but the prudence and persuasion of the com
mander in chief restored order. To a similar event, Dec. there was probably an allusion, in the following extract 23. from his letter of the 23d—“ This brought forth the
only commissary in the purchasing line in this camp, and with him this melancholy alarming truth, that he had not a single hoof of any kind to slaughter, and not more than twenty-five barrels of four, and could not tell when to expect any.-The present commissaries are
* General Washington mentioned it to me, when at his table, June 3, 1784.
by no means equal to the execution of the office, or the 1977. disaffection of the people is past all belief. The change in that department took place contrary to my judgment, and the consequences thereof were predicted.--No man ever had his measures more impeded than I have, by every department of the army. Since the month of July we have had no assistance from the quarter master general, and to want of assistance from this department the commissary general charges great part of his defici. ency. We have by a field return this day, no less than 2898 men in camp unfit for duty, because they are barefoot and otherwise naked.Our whole strength in continental troops, (including the eastern brigades, which have joined us since, the surrender of Burgoyne) exclusive of the Maryland troops sent to Wilmington, is no more than 8200 in camp fit for duty.--Since the fourth our number fit, through hardships, particularly on account of blankets (numbers have been, and still are obliged to sit up all night by fires, instead of taking comfortable rest in a common way) have decreased near two thousand men.-Upon the ground of safety and policy, I am obliged to conceal the true state of the army from public view, and thereby expose myself to detraction and calumny.--There is as much to be done in preparing for a campaign, as in the active part of it.” Gen. Mifflin in a letter of October the eighth, had represented to congress, that his health was so much impaired, and the probability of a recovery fo distant, that he thought it his duty to return to them their commifsions to him of major general and quarter malter gene ral. While the army was suffering as above related for want of shoes, &c. hogsheads of shoes, stockings and
1777. clothing were at different places, upon the road and in
the woods; lying and perishing, for waht' of teams, and proper management, and money to pay the teamsters.
Nothing great has happened in the neighbourhood of New York; fince the return of the troops under gen. Vaughan from their expedition up the North river : buc it may not displeafe you to read the following particulars. On the 18th of November, gen. Trýon sent about Too 'men under capt. Emmerick to burn fome houses, on Phillips's manor, within about four milés' of gen. Parsons's guards. They effected it with circumstances of barbárity, stripping the clothing off the women and children, and turning them almost naked into the streets in a moft severely cold night. The men were made prisoners, and led with halters about their necks, with
no other clothes than their shirts and breeches, in tri; umph to the British lines. A few days after Parsons
wrote to Tryone upon the occasion, expoftulating with him upon the business, and told him, That he could destroy' the houses and buildings of col. Phillips and thosë belonging to the Delancey family, each aš near their lines
as the building's destroyed were to his guards; that not-' "Withstanding all their vigilance, the destruction could
not be prevented; and that it was not fear or want of opportunity, but a sense of the injustice and savägeness of such a line of conduct, that had hitherto saved the buildings. Tryon answered from Kingsbridge on the 23d, and said among other things, “ Sir, could I poffibly conceive myself accountable to any revolted fubjects of the king of Great Britain, I might answer your Jerter of yesterday respecting the conduct of capř. Emmerick's party upon the taking of Peter and Cornelius" Vantaffel:' As much as I' abhor every principle of in- 1577. humanity or ungenerous conduct, I should, were I in more authority, burn every committee man's houfe within my reach, as I deem them the wickedi inftruments of the continued calamities of this country; and in order the sooner to purge this colony of them, I am willing to give twenty silver dollars for every acting committee man who shall be delivered up to the king's troops." The stinging repartee made to this letter was' contained in an expedition undertaken immediately after to Greenwich, about three miles from New York, where a small party arrived in the evening, advanced to Mr. Oliver Delancey's house, secured the sentry, dismissed a few ladies in peace, though rather hastily, made a few men prisoners, burnt the house, occasioned the firing of the alarm guns in New York, then crossed the river and got såfé off.
New York reminds me of the American prisoners confined in that city, and in Philadelphia. In the courfe of letters that passed between gens.Howe and Washington, the former alluded to the cases of 'royal prisoners of war being injuriously and unjustifiably loaded with irons. The latter, in one of November the 14th, says-“ If there is a single instance of a prisoner of war being in irons, I am ignorant of it, nor can I find on the most minute inquiry, that there is the least foundation for the charge. I wish you to particularize the cases you allude to, that' relief may be had, if the complaints are well-founded. Now we are upon the subject of griev: ances, I am constrained to observe, that I have a variety of accounts, not only from prisoners who have made their escape, but from perfons who have left Philadels