Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

major Lee's corps to proceed immediately to join the southern army. A few days after they promoted the major to the rank «»f. lieutenant-colonel. We How turn to view the scenes northward of Philadelphia.

-Gen. Washington's difficulties continued. He wrote from, Grange-town on the 20th of August, to Joseph ReedT esq. whose name has so often occurred in different departments, and who is now president or governor of Pennsylvania—" With every exertion,. I can- scarcely keep the army in this camp, entirely continental, fed from day today, Tis mortifying that we should not, at this advanced period of the campaign, have magazines of provision for even one half of the men necessary for our intended operations. I have every assurance from the French land and sea commanders, that the second division iway, without some very unexpected accident, be daily expected. Should we, upon the arrival of this reinforcement,, he found (after alt our .promises of a co-operating force) deficient in men, provision, and every other essential, your excellency can easily perceive what •will be the opinion of our allies, and of all tl>e world, and what will be the consequences in the deranged distracted state of our affairs." In another of the same date were these sentiments— ''Tome it will appear miraculous, if our affairs can maintain; themselves much longer in their present train. If cither the temper or- the resources of the country will not admit of an altcra~ tion., we may soon expect to be reduced to the humiliating condition of seeing the cause of America held up in Americaby foreign .arms. It may easily be shown, that all the misfortunes we have ijnet with in the military line, are to be attributed to short enlistments. A great part of the embarrassments in the civil, flow from the same source. The derangement of our finances is essentially to be ascribed to it. The expences of the war and the paper emissions, have been greatly multiplied by it. We have had a great part of the time two sets of men to feed and pay, the discharged men going home, and the levies comingin. The difficulties and cost of engaging men have increased atevcry successive attempt, till among the present levies we find there are. some who have received 150 dollars in specie (3S£. 15s. sterling) for five months service, while our officers are reduced to the disgraceful necessity of performing the duties of drill sergeants to them. The frequent calls upon the militia have also interrupted the cultivation of their lands, and of course have lessened the •quantity of die produce, occasioned a scarcity, and.enhanced the prices. In an army so unstable as ours, order and (economy have •been impracticable.—The discontents of the trowps have been ■. .. gradually

gradually'matured to a dangerous extremity.' Something satjfc factory must be done, or the army must cease to exist at the enl of the campaign ; or it will exhibit an example of more virtue, fortitude, self-denial and perseverance, than has perhaps e\$f been paralleled in the history of human enthusiasm."

Gen. Washington, in compliance with a prior appointment set out with his suite, gen. Knox and the masquis de la Fayette* to meet count de Rochambeau and adm. Ternay at Hartforct, The general, with the rest of the company, mustered up an4 borrowed all the money they could, in order to pay their exoe^ees. They could procure no more thaa 8000 paper dollars. -Sucfe was the scarcity even of that depreciated commodity at camp. Before they quitted the New-York state they had expended mori than half their stock, and were not a little pained with the idea, of their being soon incapable of discharging the landlord's demand. They put on a good countenance when in Connecticutcalled for what they wanted, and were well supplied; but &% thought of reckoning with their host damped their pleasure* However, to their great joy, when the bills were called toy' they were informed, that the governor of Connecticut had giyen orders that they should pay nothing in that state, but should be at free cost. They met the French general and admiral on" Thursday the 21st of September at the place appointed. Ge'n^" Washington, in his conference with the count, stated the army, in the quarter he commanded, for the next campaign, at 15,O0O Operative continental troops. On the idea of 15,000, a memorial, with a plan of the next campaign, has been transmitted^XjL the court of France. On Friday morning count de Rochainbeau. and adm. Ternay set off on their return to Newport, and on Sa? turday morning the American gentlemen commenced their re-, turn to camp. During their absence a discovery of the utmost importance had been made, viz. a scheme for delivering Wes^ Point into the hands of Sir H.Clinton. Gen. Arnold who had the command of that post, was brave but mercenary, fond of parade,. and extremely disirous of acquiring money to defray the expences of it. When he entered Philadelphia after the evacuation* he made gov. Penn's the best house in it his head-quarters.

This he furnished in a very costly manner, and lived in a sti'e^ far beyond his income. He continued his extravagant course gf living, was unsuccessful in trade and privateering, his funds wets/, exhausted, and his creditors importunate, while his lust for high. life was not in the least assuaged. About July 1779, he exhibit-^ ed heavy accounts and demands against the public : the con> missioncrs, upon examination, rejected about one half of the

amount.

amount. He appealed to congress, and a committee was appointed, who were of opinion, that the commissioners had alWed more than the general had a right to expect or demand.

[his provoked him to outrageous expressions and proceedings.

Jisgusted at the treatment he had met with, embarrassed in his circumstances, and having a growing expensive family, he turned his thoughts toward bettering his fortune by new means.—» l^lajor Andre, adjutant-general to the British army, a rising young officer of great hope and merit, had commenced a correspondence with Mrs. Arnold in 1179, under the plea of supplying her with millenery; whether it was continued, and cofeftiy improved by the general, without her being in the least privity to it, till ripened into the scheme of giving up WestPoint, is not yet ascertained. But the design is generally thought to have been some time in agitation.

For the speedy completion of the negotiation that was carrying qn between Sir Henry and gen. Arnold, the Vulture sloop of W"af was, stationed in the North-River, at such a distance from the American posts as, without exciting suspicion, would serve for the necessary communication. Before this a written correspondence, through other channels, had been maintained between Arnold ind Andre at New-York, under the names of Gustayus and Anoerson. The necessary arrangements being made, a boat was sent at niejhtfrom the shore to the Vulture, to fetch major Andre, which brought him to the beach without the posts of .either ar-« liiy, where he met Arnold. Day-light approaching, he was told that he must be concealed until the next night. In order to it, be was conducted within one of the American posts, against his

Kevious stipulation, intention and knowledge. He continued th Arnold during the following day. The next night the boatmen refusing to conduct him back to the Vulture, which had shifted her position, as she lay exposed to the hie of a cannon sent to annoy her, he was obliged to concert his escape by land. He quitted his uniform, which he had hitherto worn under a surtout, for a common coat, and was furnished with a horse, and under the name of John Anderson, with a passport from Arnold, to go to the lines at White-Plains, or lower if he thought proper,, he being on public business. He pursued his journey alone to New-York, passed all the. guards and posts on the road without suspicion, and was much elated as he travelled on the next day, with the thought of his having succeeded. Butuphappily for him, though providentially for the American's, three of the NewTYork militia, John Paulding, David Wilt Hams and Isaac Fan Vert, wece with, others. Qut on scouting "Yo$.* 111. P between

between the out-posts of the two armies. One of them sprang from his covert, and seized Andre's horse by the bridle. The; major, instead of instantly producing his pass, asked the nuijp where he belonged to, who answered to below. Andre, suspecting no deceit, said, so do I; then declared himself a British officer, and pressed that he might not be detained, for that he; was upon urgent business. Upon the other two coming up and joining their comrade, he discovered his mistake. The confusion that followed was apparent, and they proceeded to search him till they found his papers. He offered the captors a considerable purse of gold and a very valuable watch, to let him passj but they nobly disdained the temptation, beside the fascinating offers ofpermanent provision, and even of future promotion, o'n condition of their conveying and accompanying him to NewYork. They conducted him to lieut. col. Jameson, the continental officer who had the command of the scouting parties^ amounting to 8O0 men, chiefly militra. Arnold's conduct lyub. regard to this body of men; and in other respects, had exateti such suspicions in the breasts of the lieut. col. and the rest of the officers, that they had determined upon seizing the general at all adventures, had he came down and ordered them nearer theenemy. Jameson, notwithstanding his strong jealousy of Arnold, was in the issue, the occasion of his escape.

When Andre appeared before him, it was under the namcof Anderson; which he supported, choosing to hazard the greatest danger rather than let any discovery be-made which could involve Arnold, before he had time to provide for his safety. With » view to the general's escaping, he requested that a line might bor sent to acquaint him with Anderson's detention, which Jameson, through- an ill-judged delicacy, granted. The papers, which, were found in the major's boot, were in Arnolds hand-writing, and contained exact returns of the state of the forces, ordnance and defences-at West-Point and its dependencies, with the artillery orders, critical remarks on the works, an estimate of thenumber of men that were ordinarily on duty to man them, and/ the copy of a state of matters that had been laid before a council' of war by the commander in chief, on the 6th of- the month. These papers were enclosed in a packet to gen: Washington, accompanied with a letter from the prisoner, avowing himself to be major John Andre, adjutant-general to the British army,, relating the manner of his capture, and endeavoring to shew tfiat he did not come under the description of a spy; and weiperorwarded by Jameson. Washington was upon his return frank Hartford, and the messenger missed him by taking a differ. ." , en*.

road from that on which the general was. Through this ao ent, and the man's being obliged to make a circuit, the letter 6 Arnold, informing of Anderson's capture, reached him some fours before Washington arrived at his quarters. No sooner liad he received it, than he hastened on board the Vulture, which, flay some miles below Stoney and Verplank's points. The cornanander in chief crossed over to West-Point, and expected t# meet him there ; when he returned, the cause of Arnold's absence was soon discovered upon opening the packet from Jameson which had arrived in the mean while. His excellency immediately ordered two brigades from the main army to these

fosts and took ample measures for their security. Andre had ecn full forty-eight hours in custody before Arnold's .design was lcnown in camp. Had it succeeded, the consequences must have 'Jbeen ruinous in the highest degree. The plan for delivering up the post seems to have been, that of engaging in a shamdefence 'fit the defiles, while a large body of the enemy took a circuit 'itnd possessed themselves of the fort. Arnold on the 8th of Aujgust had written to gen, Washington, expressing his wish, that a map of the country from Robinson's house to New-York,pariicularly on the east side of the river, might be sent him. Head-, "ded—"The Massachusetts- troops [militia 1234] are good and 'well armed. Would it not be better to continue a part or the r whole of the New-York brigade at this post [West Point] whose officers can be depended upon, and the troups have in general bad arms and few bayonets. The Massachusetts or Hampshire Troops will be better in the field from this circumstance in their ^Srms." In conversation with one of the officers under him,- he "asked which he thought would be the best mode of defence ins ''jcaseof an attack, whether to defend the works, or to go and fight the enemy in the defiles as they advanced. The officer said, to defend the works; Arnold declared for the other, These things were recollected, and supposed to have had a particular meaning, when his main project was discovered. Had the execution of that been completed, the forces under his command must probably have either laid down their arms or have been cut to pieces. Their loss and the immediate possession of West Point, and all Its neighboring dependencies, must have exposed the emainder of Washington's army so to the joint exertion of the (ritish forces by land and water, that nothing but final ruin could have been the result with respect to the Americans. "Such a stroke could scarcely have been recovered. Independent of the loss of artillery and stores, such a destruction of their disciplined force, and many of their best officers, must have 'been fatal The British might also have turned their whok

force.

« ZurückWeiter »