Abbildungen der Seite

only child me time, the kndis friends had fortunate genera

was not the most painful stroke that the unfortunate general had to suffer at that period. His friends had cautiously kept from him for some time, the knowledge of the death of his son--an only child, an amiable youth of about nineteen, whose natural genius, improved by education promised service to his country and honor to his family. Amid the general's other trials, this came suddenly upon him. He bore all with a firmness that would reflect credit on the most pliilosophic mind; and notwithstanding the indelicacy with which he thought himself treated, he continued to do all he could to promote the interest of the cause in which he was engaged. He remained at Hillsborough a day or two, to give an account of the measures he had taken and was about to take, to retrieve the lost country; then went on to the camp at Salisbury, where he arrived on the 11th November, with about 130 dragoons; and had the pleasure of hear. ing within four days of gen. Sumpter's success.

Sumpter, after the dispersion of his force on the 18th of August, collected a corps of volunteers, and received such occasional re. inforcements as enabled him to keep the field, though there was no continental army in South-Carolina for three months. He varied his position from time to time, and had frequent skirmishes with his adversaries. Having inounted his followers, he infested the British, beat up their quarters, intercepted their convoys, and so harrassed them with successive alarıns, that their movements could not be made but with caution and difficulty. On the 12th he was attacked at Broad-river by major Weyms, commanding 2 corps of infantry and dragoons. In this action the British were defeated, and the major taken prisoner, having had his thigh broken. Though he had deliberately hung Mr. Cusack, in Chic. raw district, and had in his pocket a memorandum of several houses burned by his command, yet he received every indula gence by his conquerors. Gen. Sumpter was afterwards attacked on the 20th, by lieut. col. Tarleton. Sumpter being apprised of Tarleton's approach, possessed himself of a strong post on Blackstock's hill, close to Tyger-river. Tarleton, without waiting for the rest of his detachment, directed a precipitate attack with 170 dragoons and 80 men of the 63d regiment, to that part of the hill which was nearly perpendicular, with a small rivulet, brush-wood and a railed fence in front. A considerable division of Sumpter's force had been thrown into a large log barn, from which the men fired with security, as the apertures between the logs served them for loop-holes. British valor was conspicuous

upon this occasion; but no valor could surmount the obstacles · and disadvantages that here stood in its way. The 63d was


roughly handled ; the commanding officer, two others, with one third of their privates fell. Tarleton observing their situation, charged with his cavalry; unable to dislodge the enemy either from the log-barn or the height on his left, he was obliged to fall back. Lieut. Skinner, attached to the cavalry, covered the retreat of the 63d: In this manner did the wliole party continue to retire still they formed a junction with their infantry, who were advancing to sustain them) leaving Sumpter in quiet possession of the field. The general occupied the hill for several hours ; but having received a bad wound, and knowing that the British would be reinforced the next morning, he thought it ha. zardous to wait. He accordingly retired, and taking his wounded men with him, crossed the Tyger. His loss was very small; The wounded of the British detachment were left to his mercy. The strictest humanity was exercised towards them, and they were supplied with every comfort in his power. *

Gen Gates moved his head-quarters to Charlotte ; gen. Smallwood, with the militia, encamped below at Providence on the way to Camden; and the light troops under Morgan (raised by congress the 13th of Octoberto the rank of a brigadier-gene: ral, upon the repeated recommendation of Gates) were further advanced on that route, Gates ordered huts to be built in regular encampment, apprehending that the winter would be too se. vere a season for military operations in that latitude. Such was the situation of the southern army when gen. Greene arrived at Charlotte the 2d of December, and delivered to Gates the first official information of his removal from the command--in so unceremonious a manner was he treated! The army was surrendered into Greene's hands, agreeably to the order of congress, in the following terms the next day--- Head-quarters, Charlotte, 3d December, 1780. Parole Springfield Counter-sign Greene: The honorable maj. gen. Greene, who arrived yesterday afternoon in Charlotte, being appointed by his excellency. gen. Wash; ington, with the approbation of the honorable congress, to the

command of the southern army, all orders will for the future is

sue from him, and all reports are to be made to him." ; “Gen. Gates returns his sincere and greatful thanks to the

southern army for their perseverance, fortitude, and patient endurance of all the hardships and sufferings they have undergone while under his command. He anxiously hopes their misfortunes A will cease therewith ; and that victory and the glorious advanta: ges attending it inay be the future portion of the southern army." 2.-* See lieut, Mackenzie's Strictures on lieut. col. Farleton's biftory, p.71--772


Gen. Greene, one the 4th of December, dignified his general orders with this graceful expression" Gen. Greene returns his.. thanks to the honorable maj, gen. Gates for the polite manner : in which he has introduced him to his command in the orders of yesterday, and for his good wishes for the success of the southeri army." The manly resignation of Gates on the one part, and the delicate disinterestedness of Greene on the other, prevented the embarrassments naturally to be apprehended on such an oc* casion. The latter, approved and perpetuated the standing ores ders of the former, and treated him with that candid respect whicli testified his remembrance of the past services of that officer...!

A few hours after Greene took the command of the army, an: report was made to Gates, of a foraging by the light troops up. ) der Morgan toward Camden. After collecting what the enemy had spared for further occasions in the vicinity of Clermont, that . post was reconnoitred by the cavalry only. Lieut, col. Washing.. ton saw that it was fortified by a block-house impenetrable to small arms, and encompassed by an abbatis. Its vicinity to Camden, 3 from whence it might be speedily succoured, rendered a siegeineligible. Recourse was had to stratagem. He advanced his cay alry in such a direction as to show his front, without discover ing his rear; and dismounting some of his men, planted the trunk of a pine-tree upon some of its branches so pointedly, like a field. piece, that it actually intiinidated the garrison. A corporal of ; dragoons was ordered to ride up and summon the coinmanding officer, lieut. col. Rugeley, to surrender. The lucky: moment.. was seized on, and the order obeyed with confidence. The garrison, of upward of one hundred officers and soldiers, surrender ed at discretion without a shot, and the works were demolished. This favorable incident, in the juncture of affairs then cxisting, through the little superstition to which every man is subject was viewed by the army as an omen of success under the new conimander.

It was on the 5th of October, that congress resolved that the commander in chief order a court of inquiry to be held on the conduct of gen. Gates-though unaccused of any military crime. This resolve was founded on a former resolve, that whoever lost... a post should be subject to a court of inquiry. Had that resolve: * been, that every commanding officer who does not beat the enemy z: shall be recalled and subjected to a court of inquiry, whether or no any crime be laid to his charge, Gates might have submitted : to his fate with as much patience, as officers who surrender a fort or lose a ship. But he had reason to complain, that cons 5 gress, by their special resolve of the 5th, doomed him to tenpoe::


[ocr errors][ocr errors]

rary disesteem and loss of confidence. Gen. Washington was or dered to appoint another officer to the command of the southern army. On the 6th he received a line from a South-Carolina de. legate, acquainting him, that he was authorised by the delegates of the three southern states to communicate to his excellency their wish, that gen. Greene might be the person. He was fixed upon, not from the influence of their wish, but from the opinion the commander in chief entertained of him, as being the most suited to the service ; when reported to congress, he was approved of by them on the 30th. Greene, before he set out, expressed his disapprobation of their passing censure upon Gates by remov. ing him, as what tended to take away an officer's character ; which injury could not be repaired, even by an acquittal after examination. He added in the conversation with a brother general" I should be very well satisfied to serve under Gates." He duly weighed all the circumstances attending Gates's situa. tion, and formed an opinion very different from that which occasioned his recal; and as he travelled on to Hillsborough, ge. nerously represented the same and the reasons for it, to those pers sons he fell into company with, who were blindly led away by having only considered events. Greene found the country through which he passed so fully disaffected to the American ini terests and in favor of the British, that he was not without appre- hension for his personal safety ere he could join the army. Here we take our leave of him for the present, and proceed to mention" some of the proceedings and acts of congress..

You have met with various charges against Dr. Shippen. When congress had the last year expressed their satisfaction with Dr. Morgan's conduct, the last charged the former with mala practices and misconduct in office. The charges were transmitted to the conimander in chief, and a court-martial ensued. When the proceedings of the latter were before congress in Aus gust, a motion was made to insert after W. Shippen, these words - Excepting that part of the second charge relative to his speculating in hospital stores, on which the court judge him highly reprehensible”-it was rejected; and it was resolved" That the court-martial having acquitted the said Dr. Shippen, ordered that he be discharged from arrest." The day after that extraordinary resolve respecting gen. Gates, they re-elected the doctor director-general of the hospital. On the 6th of September they recommended to the several states claiming the western country, to pass such laws, and give their delegates such powers, . as-might effectually remove the only obstacle to a tirral ratification of the articles of confederation, and then resolved, “ that


thelican stated States, tos

the legislature of Maryland be earnestly requested to authorize their delegates in congress to subscribe the articles.". In the beginning of October they resolved, “ that the unappropriated lands that may be ceded to the United States, be disposed of for the common benefit of the United States, to be settled and formed into distinct republican! states.” About the same time they published that the pith and 12th articles of the treaty of amity and commerce with France, were expunged and suppressed the 1st of September, 1778, agreeable to their desire, The articles annulled were as follows: article the 11th2--It is agreed and concluded, that there shall never be any duty imposed on the export ation of the molasses that may be taken by the subjects of any of the United States, from the islands of America which belong or may hereafter appertain to his most Christian majesty article the 12th-In conspensation of the exemption stipulated by the preceding article, it is agreed and concluded, that there shall never be any duties imposed on the exportation of any kind of merchan dise which the subjects of his most Christian majesty may take from the countries and possessions, present or future, of any of the Thirteen United States, for the use of the islands which shalf furnish molasses. On the 6th of Octeber the president wrote a circular letter to the several states, in which, among other matters-" It is recommended to the states, in the most pressing manner, to have their regiments completed, and in the field by the first day of January next at furthest.” On the 16th congress resolved, “that the thanks of congress be given to brigadiers Smallwood and Gist, and to the officers of the Maryland and Delaware lines, the different corps of artillery, col. Porterfield's and maj. Armstrong's corps of light-infantry, and col. Arnand's cavalry, for their bravery and good conduct displayed in the action of the 16th of August." These thanks were not applicable to all with equal propriety. The implied censure cast upon Gates in the formation of the resolve, and its total silence concerning him, was a stigma that he ought not to have received until he had been adjudged to have deserved it, putting all for mer services out of the question. It has been observed, that af ter the disaster near Camden, whenever congress published the sliecesses and various operations of the troops which he cominand ed, they scarcely ever mentioned his name; whether such omissions were accidental or intended, his character was much injured by them. On the 21st congress agreed, that the officers who continued in the service to the end of the war, should be entitled to half-pay during life. At the end of the month baron Stouben was ordered to repair to tlie southern departments and


« ZurückWeiter »