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ing his pistols at some of the most audacious of the mutineers, several bayonets were at his breast, the men exclaiming : “We respect you, we love you; but you are a dead man if you fire! Do not mistake us : we are not going to the enemy ; on the contrary, were they to come out, you should see us fight under you with as much resolution and alacrity as ever ; but we wish a redress of grievances, and will no longer be amused.” Such of the Pennsylvania troops as had at first taken no part in the disturbance were prevailed on to join the mutineers; and the whole, amounting to 1,300 men, with six field-pieces, marched from Morristown, under temporary officers of their own election. General Washington's headquarters were then at New Windsor, on the North river.
Next day General Wayne and Colonels Butter and Stewart, officers who in a high degree enjoyed the confidence and affection of the troops, followed the mutineers; but, though civilly received, they could not succeed in adjusting the differences, or in restoring subordination. On the third day the mutineers resumed their march, and in the morning arrived at Princeton. Congress and the Pennsylvania government, as well as General Washington, were much alarmed by this mutiny ; fearing the example might be contagious, and lead to the dissolution of the feeble American army. Therefore a committee of congress, with the governor and some members of the executive council of Pennsylvania, set out from Philadelphia for the purpose of allaying this dangerous commotion.
Sir Henry Clinton, who heard of the mutiny on the morning of the 3d, was equally active in endeavoring to turn it to the advantage of his government. He ordered a large corps to be in readiness to march on a moment's notice; and sent two American spies by way of Amboy, and two by way of Elizabethtown, as agents from himself to treat with the mutineers. But two of the persons employed were actually spies on himself, and soon disclosed his proposals to the American authorities. The two real spies, on reaching Princeton, were seized by the mutineers, and afterward delivered up to General Wayne, by whom they were tried and executed on the 10th.
At first the mutineers declined leaving Princeton ; but, finding their demands would be substantially complied with, they marched to Trenton on the 9th, and before the 15th the matter was so far settled that the committee of congress left Trenton and returned to Philadelphia. All who had enlisted for three years, or during the war, were to be discharged ; and in cases where the terms of enlistment could not be produced, the oath of the soldier was to be received as evidence on the point. They were to receive immediate certificates for the depreciation on their pay, and their arrears were to be settled as soon as circumstances would admit. On those terms about one half of the Pennsylvania troops obtained their discharge.
The success of the Pennsylvania troops, in exacting from their country by violence what had been denied to the claims of equity, produced a similar spirit of insubordination in another division of the army. On the night of the 20th of January, about 160 of the Jersey brigade, which was quartered at Pompton, complaining of grievances similar to those of the Pennsylvania line, and hoping for equal success, rose in arms, and marched to Chatham, with the view of prevailing on some of their comrades stationed there to join them. Their number was not formidable ; and General Washington, knowing that he might depend on the fidelity of the greater part of his troops, detached General Robert Howe against the mutineers, with orders to force them to ununnditional submission, and to execute some of the most turbulent of them on the spot. These orders were promptly obeyed, and two of the ringleaders were put to death.
Sir Henry Clinton, as in the case of the Pennsylvanians, endeavored to taka advantage of the mutiny of the Jersey brigade. He sent emissaries to negotiate with them, and detached General Robertson with 3,000 men to Staten Island, to be in readiness to support them, if they should accede to his proposals ; but the mutiny was so speedily crushed that his emissaries had no time to act.
These commotions among the soldiers awakened congress to a sense of its danger, and rendered it more attentive in soothing the army than it had hitherto been. It raised about three months' pay in specie ; and even that small sum was gratefully received by the troʻps, who considered it a token that the civil authorities were not entirely regardless of their sufferings or indifferent to their comfort. But, in attempting to escape one danger, congress felt itself exposed to another scarcely less alarming. The means used to sooth the army irritated the people. The troops were scantily supplied; and yet the inhabitants. murmured at the contributions levied upon them.
Hitherto the United States had been held together by a very slender bond. The powers of congress were limited; and it was not to be expected that thirteen independent states, each jealous of its liberty, power, and property, would promptly, harmoniously, and vigorously, combine their strength during a protracted, expensive, and bloody struggle. But though every man of discernment was sensible of the propriety of increasing the powers of congress, and consequently of leaving less in the hands of the state legislatures, yet the several states, having once been in possession of power, felt no inclination to relinquish any part of their authority, how incompetent soever they might be to the advantageous exercise of it: thus the concentration of a due degree of power in the hands of congress was a measure which could not be easily accomplished.
The war had continued much longer than the Americans had originally anticipated ; and the natural resources of the country were so much exhausted, that it became apparent the war could not be carried on without a foreign loan; and France was the only country to which congress could look for pecuniary aid. Accordingly, Lieutenant-Colonel Laurens was employed on this mission ; and, besides endeavoring to negotiate a loan, was instructed to press on the French monarch the advantage of maintaining a naval superiority in the American
While the energies of America were thus paralysed by the financial difficulties of congress, the mutinous spirit of part of the army, and the apathy of several of the states, the British interest in the provinces seemed in a prosperous condition. General Greene maintained a doubtful and hazardous struggle against Cornwallis on the northern frontier of North Carolina... A British detachment from New York made a deep impression on Virginia, where the resistance was neither so prompt nor so vigorous as had been expected from the strength of that state and the unanimity of its citizens.
The untoward condition of American affairs could not be concealed from the British ministry, who flattered themselves that they would soon compel General Washington and his feeble arıy to take refuge in the states of New England, and that they would reduce all the provinces south of the Hudson to submission to the British crown. But exertions on the one side, and reverses on the other, which neither had anticipated, were soon to change the relative state of the contending parties.
The business of the executive had hitherto been conducted by committees of congress. This system was at length superseded by a minister of foreign affairs, a superintendent of finance, a secretary of war, and a secretary of the navy. Such was the tardy progress of congress, that the year was far spent before this improvement could be completed.
From the relative position and strength of the hostile armies on the Hudson, neither could hope to gain any decisive advantage. The force under the American commander-in-chief was entirely inadequate to attack New York; and Sir Henry Clinton had no prospect of being able to force the strong posts of General Washington in the highlands. Neither party could do more than carry on a
petty and desultory warfare. Hitherto the Americans had received no direct aid from the French army. Ever since its arrival, the fleet of that nation had been blockaded at Newport; and the land forces remained in a position to cooperate with the fleet for mutual defence.
About the middle of January, the British fleet was overtaken by a storm off the east end of Long Island, and sustained so much loss and damage as to give the French fleet a temporary superiority on the coast. Destouches, the French admiral, was prevailed on to seize that opportunity of sending a small force to the Chesapeake bay to act against Arnold, who was then pillaging Virginia ; but that force returned to Newport, without accomplishing anything except taking the Romulus, a fifty-gun ship, on her way from Charleston to Chesapeake bay. General Washington, unwilling to relinquish the attempt against Arnold, repaired to Newport; and, on the 6th of March, had a conference with the French commanders, at which it was agreed that the whole fleet should immediately sail to the Chesapeake, with a detachment of troops on board ; but, owing to unforeseen circumstances, it was the evening of the 8th before the fleet left the harbor.
Meanwhile due notice of the expedition was sent to the American officers commanding in Virginia, and instructions to co-operate with their allies. From this enterprise General Washington entertained sanguine expectations of being able to apprehend Arnold ; and directed the Marquis de la Fayette to grant him no terms which would save him from the consequences of his crimes. However, the delay in the sailing of the fleet frustrated the design of the American commander-in-chief.
Admiral Arbuthnot, having repaired his damages, pursued, and on the 16th overtook the French fleet, off the capes of Virginia. An indecisive engagement ensued, in which each party claimed the victory; but the object of the French expedition was defeated, and the fleet returned to Newport.
The British began their hostile operations against America in the provinces of New England; but there they met with such a stubborn resistance as soon induced them to abandon that part of the country, and to direct their attacks against more vulnerable points. New York had been less hostile to the parent state ; and there they effected a lodgement, with the view of separating the middle from the northern colonies. From that station the war had been carried on with doubtful success. In 1776, an attempt against Charleston was gallantly repulsed ; and for some years the southern states enjoyed the reward of the brave defence of Fort Moultrie. In 1780, however, the British arms were more successful in that quarter, and when, toward the close of the campaign, and in the early part of 1781, it was believed that Cornwallis had subdued Georgia and the Carolinas, measures were concerted for invading Virginia also, which had hitherto escaped the scourge of war.
By means of Chesapeake bay and the great rivers which fall into it, that state is particularly open to incursory depredations by a power which has an undisputed naval superiority. Chesapeake bay is a remarkable gulf or inland sea. Its entrance, between Capes Henry and Charles, is twelve miles wide. At first it runs straight into the land, but afterward turns northward, and extends in that direction upward of 150 miles. It is generally about nine fathoms deep, and varies in breadth from five to upward of twenty miles. Its shores are indented with bays and projecting points; and the James, York, Rappahannock, Potomac, and Susquehannah, large and navigable rivers, besides a number of smaller streams, pour their waters into it. The same causes which so much exposed the state to invasion by means of a superior naval force, prevent the speedy concentration of a large body of militia at any one point.
Toward the end of October, 1780, General Leslie entered Chesapeake bay, landed at Portsinouth, and began to fortify himself there with about 3,000 men. But, on experiencing unexpected and increasing difficulties in the Carolinas, Cornwallis directed that officer with his detachment to proceed to Charleston. The invasion of Virginia, however, though interrupted, was not relinquished. Sir Henry Clinton resolved to prosecute the war with vigor in that quarter; and in the end of the year sent the notorious General Arnold, with 1,600 men, to Chesapeake bay. That officer sailed up James' river, and on the 4th of January, 1781, landed at Westover, 140 miles from the capes, and twenty-five below Richmond, the capital of the state, which stands on the north side of the river at the falls or rapids.
Major-General Baron Steuben, who commanded in that part of Virginia,
FIG. 151.-Baron Steuben. thought the expedition was intended against Petersburgh, situated on the Appomattox, which falls into James river a little above Westover. At that place a considerable quantity of stores had been collected for the use of the southern army; and those stores the baron caused his feeble body of raw troops, scarcely amounting to 300 men, to remove to a place of groater security.
At Westover, Arnold landed with the greater part of his troops, and marched directly toward Richmond. A few regulars who were in that vicinity, and some militia, were ordered to impede his progress; but their weak efforts were ineffectual. Meanwhile, Steuben made every exertion to remove the stores from Richmond, carrying them partly across the river, and partly to West Ham at the head of the rapids.
On the day after landing at Westover, Arnold entered Richmond, with little opposition. There he halted with 500 men, and sent Lieutenant-Colonel Simcoe forward with other 500 to West Ham, where he burned and destroyed a valuable foundry, a boring mill, a powder magazine, and a considerable quantity of military stores. Colonel Simcoe returned to Richmond, where the public property, as well as a large quantity of rum and salt belonging to individuals, were destroyed. After completing the work of destruction at Richmond, Arnold returned to Westover on the 7th ; and, after some skirmishing, reimbarked on the 10th, sailed down he river, destroying on his way the stores at Smithfield and Mackay's mills, and on the 20th arrived at Portsmouth, where he manifested an intention of establishing a permanent post. In this expedition Arnold, while he destroyed a large quantity of military stores and other valuable property of different kinds, stated his loss at only seven men killed and twenty-three wounded.
Baron Steuben being in no condition to attack Arnold at Portsmouth, was careful to station his troops at the most convenient passes leading from that place into the country, in order to afford the inhabitants all the protection in his power. It was while Arnold lay at Portsmouth, that General Washington formed the plan of apprehending him, which failed through the backwardness of the French to engage in it.
As Arnold's force was not sufficient to make any deep and permanent impression on the powerful state of Virginia, the British commander-in-chief resolved to increase it; and for that purpose, about the middle of March, sent General Philips with 2,000 chosen men from New York to Chesapeake bay. General Philips arrived at Portsmouth on the 26th; and, being the superior officer, took the command of the army in Virginia.
After employing some time in completing the fortifications of Portsmouth, General Philips began offensive operations, with a force much superior to what congress could oppose to him in that part of the country. On the 18th of April he embarked 2,500 men on board his smaller vessels, and sailed up James river in order to destroy everything that had escaped the ravages of Arnold. He landed at Burrel's ferry, and marched to Williamsburgh, the former seat of government in Virginia. A small body of militia assembled there retreated on his approach, and he entered the place without opposition. He sent parties through all the lower district of that narrow tract of land, which lies between James and York rivers, who destroyed all public stores and property which fell in their way. He then reimbarked, sailed up the river to City point, where he landed on the afternoon of the 24th, and next day marched to Petersburgh, where he destroyed an immense quantity of tobacco and other property, together with the vessels lying in the river.
Baron Steuben was unable to make any effectual resistance to this ruthless work of devastation. The regular troops of the state had been sent to reinforce General Greene, and the militia then in the field did not much exceed 2,000. Even although the whole of that number could have been collected at any one point, yet with that kind of force no enterprise of importance could be undertaken. To have hazarded a battle with the militia against regular troops would only have been to ensure defeat, the loss of arms, and the consequent discouragement of the country. Steuben had the mortification to see the state laid waste, without being able to relieve it; and after some slight skirmishing he retreated toward Richmond.
Arnold was detached to Osborne's, a small village on the south side of James river, fifteen miles below Richmond; while General Philips marched to Chesterfield courthouse, which had been appointed the place of rendezvous for the new levies of Virginia, where he destroyed the barracks and some public stores which had not been removed. About half way between Osborne's and Richmond, a few small armed vessels which had been collected to co-operate with the French against Portsmouth, after a slight resistance, were scuttled and set on fire by their crews, who joined the militia and fled.
On the 30th of April, Generals Philips and Arnold reunited their forces near Osborne's and marched against Manchester, a small town on the south bank of James river, opposite Richmond, where, as usual, they set fire to the warehouses and consumed the tobacco and other property.
At that critical and disastrous period in the history of Virginia, the Marquis