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Custis, a young and beautiful lady, of great accomplishments, and an amiable character. Retiring to the estate at Mount Vernon, which he had acquired a few years before by the death of his elder brother, he devoted himself assiduously to the business of agriculture He became one of the greatest landholders in North America. His Mount Vernon estate alone consisted of nine thousand acres, and his domestic and farming establishments were composed of nearly a thousand persons.

From the close of the frontier war to the commencement of the revolution, Washington acted as judge of a county court, and as a member of the House of Burgesses of his native province. In this body he was never distinguished as a speaker, yet he secured the esteem and confidence of all who knew him, by the firmness and propriety of his conduct, and the uniform good sense of his counsels. While in this situation, he took an active part in opposition to the principle of the British parliament, to tax the American colonies. He was elected a representative to the first Congress, which met at Philadelphia, in 1774, and was the active member of all the committees on military affairs. When the commencement of hostilities made it necessary to appoint a commander-in-chief of the American forces, George Washington was unanimously elected to the office. On receiving from the President of Congress official notice of this appointment, he thus addressed him: “Mr. President, although I am truly sensible of the high honor done me in this appointment, yet I feel great distress from a consciousness that my abilities and military experience may not be equal to the extensive and important trust. However, as the Congress desire it, I will enter upon the momentous duty, and exert every power I possess in their service, and for support of the glorious cause. I beg they will accept my most cordial thanks, for this distinguished testimony of their approbation.

“But, lest some unlucky event should happen, unfavorable to my reputation, I beg it may be remembered by every gentleman in the room, that I this day declare, with the utmost sincerity, I do not think myself equal to the command I am honored with.

“As to pay, Sir, I beg leave to assure the Congress that as no pecuniary consideration could have tempted me to accept this arduous employment, at the expense of my domestic ease and happiness, I do not wish to make any profit from it. I will keep an exact account of my expenses; those I doubt not they will discharge, and that is all I desire."

A special commission was made out for him, and at the same time an unanimous resolution was adopted by Congress, “that they would maintain and assist him, and adhere to him with their lives and fortunes, for the maintenance and preservation of American liberty

He prepared to enter immediately on the duties of his high station. Having passed a few days in New York, and making some arrangement with General Schuyler who commanded there, he proceeded to Cambridge, which was the headquarters of the American army. On his way thither, he received from individuals and public bodies, the most flattering attention and the strongest promises of support and assistance. A committee of the Massachusetts Congress met him at Springfield, about one hundred miles from Boston, and conducted him to the army

Immediately after his arrival, the Congress presented him an address, in which they expressed their approbation of his appointment, and the great respect and affection they entertained for him. His reply was well calculated to increase these sentiments. He returned the warmest acknowledgments of their kindness, and promised ever to retain it in grateful remembrance. In the course of this reply, he observed, “In exchanging the enjoyments of domestic life for the duties of my present honorable, but arduous situation, I only emulate the virtue and public spirit of the whole province of Massachusetts, which, with a firmness and patriotism without example, has sacrificed all the comforts of social and political life, in support of the rights of mankind, and the welfare of our common country. My highest ambition is to be the happy instrument of vindicating these rights, and to see this devoted province again restored to peace, liberty and safety."

On reaching the camp, the first movements of the commander-in-chief were directed to an examination of the strength and situation of his forces. They amounted to about fourteen thousand and five hundred men; occupying several posts in an extent of about twelve miles. Some were stationed at Roxbury, some at Cambridge, and some on Winter and Prospect Hills in front of Bunker's Hill. A few companies were posted in the towns about Boston Bay, which were most exposed to attacks from British armed vessels. The troops were not sufficiently numerous to defend so large an extent of country, but it was difficult to make a more compact arrangement. The British army were posted in three divisions. The main body, under General Howe, was intrenching itself on Bunker's Hill, in Charlestown. Another division was stationed on Copp's Hill, and the third was strongly entrenched and fortified on Roxbury Neck. There were three floating batteries in Mystic river, and a small body of infantry and light horse stationed in Boston.

The American army was very badiy provided with the necessaries of war. Of military stores, they were almost entirely destitute. All the powder in New-England would not have furnished nine rounds to each soldier. In this condition, the army remained for a fortnight. There was no discipline among the troops, owing to their being enlisted only for short periods. The appointment of general officers by Congress gave great dissatisfaction, and induced several of those who thought themselves injured, to quit the service. To remedy all these evils, to form an uniform mass of discordant materials, and subject men striving for independence to the rigid discipline of a camp, required patience, firmness, and a spirit of conciliation.

General Gage had received a small reinforcement from New York, so that the whole number of the British army now amounted to about eight thousand men. Their plans were principally directed to self-defence. With little interruption, both armies were employed in strengthening their respective fortifications. But few skirmishes took place, and those without much bloodsheu. This state of things did not satisfy the mind of Washington. He was eager for some active measures to destroy the British army in Boston, before it should receive additional reinforcements; and before the resources of the colonies should be entirely exhausted.

The situation of the enemy was frequently reconnoitered, and every effort made to ascertain their strength. To carry their works by storm was a dangerous project, but it appeared to Washington practicable, and he determined to suggest it to his general officers. A council of war was called, and the measure proposed. It was decided that the attempt ought not to be at that time made. The original plan of continuing the blockade appeared the most advisable, and Washington acquiesced in the decision of the council.

The scarcity of fresh provisions in Boston, induced the enemy to send small parties to forage along the shores of the continent, under the protection of their armed vessels. The defence of their property imposed such a heavy burden upon the seaboard towns, that the governors of several colonies applied to Washington to send detachments to their assistance. Repeated applications of this nature were very embarrassing, till Congress passed a resolution “that the army before Boston was designed only to oppose the enemy in that place, and ought not to be weakened by detachments for the security of other parts of the country.”

In the course of the autumn, gradual approaches were made towards the British posts. The army was also reinforced by the arrival of more than fourteen hundred riflemen, from Pennsylvania and Maryland. Through the season, the most active exertions of the commander-inchief were directed to procuring arms and ammunition for his troops. A voyage was made to Africa, and every pound of gunpowder for sale in the British factories along the coast, was obtained by the exchange of New-England rum. A British ordnance ship, completely 1: den with military stores, was captured by a privateer under the command of Captain Manly. On the fifth of September, a committee of Congress was appointed to visit the camp at Cambridge, and confer with the chief magistrates of the northern colonies, and the Council of Massachusetts, on the continuance and regulation of the continental army. The result of their conference was, that the new army should consist of twenty thou sand three hundred seventy-two men, to serve till the last day of December, 1776. This short term of enlistment proved a very serious and almost a fatal evil.

In the execution of this resolve, Washington called upon the soldiers and officers to make their election, whether to retire or remain with the army. Great difficulties occurred in effecting the re-enlistment. Many were unwilling to continue in the army on any terms; some required leave of absence to visit their families, and others were in doubt, and uncertain what course to pursue. In his general orders, Washington appealed directly to the pride and patriotism of both officers and men "The times,” he observed in the orders of October twentieth, "and the importance of the great cause we are engaged in, allow no room for hesitation and delay. When life, liberty and property are at stake; when our country is in danger of being a melancholy scene of bloodshed and desolation; when our towns are laid in ashes, innocent women and children driven from their peaceful habitations, exposed to the rigors 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 reasonable time; but this must be done in such a manner as not to injure the service, or weaken the army too much at once.'

The new regiment did not fill so rapidly as had been expected. The old troops, whose terın of service had expired, were eager to return home; the new troops were slow in coming in. From this circumstance, the lines were often in a defenceless state. “It is not,” says General Washington, in a communication to Congress, “in the pages of history to furnish a case like ours. To maintain a post within musket shot of the enemy, for six months together, without ammunition, and at the same time to disband one army and recruit another, within that distance of twenty odd British regiments, is more, probably, than ever was attempted.”

About the middle of February, 1776, the waters about Boston had become sufficiently frozen to bear the troops. Washington was now desirous to execute his plan of attacking the enemy. A council of war was again called, and was again almost unanimous against the measure. It was therefore reluctantly abandoned. The regular force engaged for the year, now amounted to more than fourteen thousand men, and tho militia to about six thousand. With these troops, Washington determined to take possession of the heights of Dorchester ; a step which he thought must certainly bring on a general action. To favor the execution of this plan, a heavy bombardment on the town, and lines of the enemy, was comme

menced, on the evening of the second of March, and continued on the two succeeding nights. On the night of the fourth, a detachment, under the command of General Thomas, crossed the neck from Roxbury, and took possession of the heights. The ground was deeply frozen, and it was with great labor that the party were able, during the night, to raise works which nearly covered them from the shot of the enemy.

The British were very much surprised at the first view of these works, and immediately commenced a tremendous cannonade from their shipping in the harbor, and their forts in Boston. This scene has been very vividly described by Dr. Thacher. “Cannon shot are continually rolling and rebounding over the hill; and it is astonishing to observe how little our soldiers are terrified by them. During the forenoon, we were in momentary expectation of witnessing an awful scene; nothing less than the carnage of Breed's hill battle was expected. The royal troops are perceived to be in motion, as if embarking to pass the harbor, and land on Dorchester shore, to attack our works. The hills and elevations in this vicinity are covered with spectators to witness deeds of horror in the expected conflict. His Excellency, General Washington, is present, animating and encouraging the soldiers, and they, in their turn, manifest their joy, and express a warm desire for the approach of the enemy; each man knows his place, and is resolute to execute his duty.” General Howe determined to attack the heights, 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 dispersea by a tremendous storm. Before they could be in readiness to proceed, the American works were in such a state of security as to discourage any attempt against them.

The British now resolved to evacuate Boston as soon as possible. A paper signed by four of the selectmen was sent out with a flag of truce, containing a proposition, which purported to come from General Howe, that the town should be left uninjured if the troops were allowed to embark without molestation. This letter was directed to the commander-inchief, but did not bear the signature of General Howe. Washington therefore declined taking any notice of it, but at the same time he “ intimated his good wishes for the security of the town." On the seventeenth, the royal army commenced their embarkation on board of the transports. They were suffered to depart without annoyance.

Immediately after their departure, Washington ordered a part of his army to New-York, to defend that town against the expected invasion cf the enemy. On entering Boston, the commander-in-chief was welcomed on all sides with the warmest gratulations. Congress passed a vote of thanks, to express the public approbation of his conduct; and ordered the striking of a medal, with suitable devices, to perpetuate the remembrance of the event. The town had received much less injury than was at first anticipated. During the siege, the Old South Church, a brick building near the centre of the town, had been converted into a riding school for Burgoyne's dragoons. The pulpit and pews were removed, and the floor covered with earth, to make it suitable for exercising their horses upon.

A beautiful pew, ornamented with silk and carved work, was broken up, and its pieces taken for a fence to a hog-stye. The North Church was torn down, and consumed for fuel.

After providing for the security of Boston, Washington marched with the main army to New-York, and made every preparation for the defence of this very important position. In these labors, the American army was incessantly occupied, until Lord and General Howe arrived at Sandy Hook with their naval and land forces. Before the commencement of hostilities, an attempt was made at negociation. General Howe sent a letter by a flag, directed to “George Washington, Esq.” This the general refused to receive, as it did not recognise the public character with which he had been invested by Congress. His conduct on this occasion met with the approbation of this body, and they resolved, “ that he had acted with the dignity becoming his character.” The British general was very anxious to obtain an interview with the commander-inchief, but was unwilling to adopt his military address. He accordingly sent Colonel Patterson to the American headquarters, with a letter to “George Washington, &c. &c. &c.” The general still declined receiving it. He said it was true, the etceteras implied every thing; they also implied any thing: and a letter directed to a public character should have an address descriptive of that character.

Colonel Patterson then said that General Howe would not urge his delicacy any further ; repeating his assertion that not the slightest disre

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