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ous; an artillery superior to their own, would be planted to play upon the front of the assailing columns, and the brick houses would be lined with a formidable infantry to thin their flanks; a defeat, which, calculating upon the scale of probability, must be expected, would ruin the army, and open the country to the depredation of the enemy; the hardy enterprises and stubborn conflicts of two campaigns, had given the British general only the command of two or three towns, protected in a great measure by the shipping, why then forego the advantage of confining the British army in narrow quarters, to place the stores in camp, and the very independence of America at risk upon this forlorn hope P The General was supported in his opinion by those officers in whose judgment he placed the most confidence, and he disregarded the clamours of ignorance and rashmeSS. On the 4th of December, Sir William Howe marched his whole army out of Philadelphia to White Marsh, the encampment of General Washington. He took a position on Chesnut Hill, in front of the American right wing. Mr. Stedman, a British historian of the revolutionary war, who at this time was with Sir William, states his force at fourteen thousand men. The continental troops at White Marsh amounted to about twelve thousand, and the militia to three. The ground of the Americans was strong, but no fortifications had been erected. Never before had General Washington met his enemy in this manner, with . a superiority of numbers. He wished to be at
tacked, but was not disposed to relinquish the advantage of ground. The British Commander spent the 6th in reconnoitring the American right. At night he marched to their left on the hill, which here approached nearer to their camp, and took a good position within a mile of it. The next day he advanced further to the American left, and in doing it approached still nearer this wing. General Washington made some changes in the disposition of his troops, to oppose, with a greater force, the attack he confidently expected on his left. Momentarily expecting the assault, he rode through each brigade of the army with perfect composure, giving his orders, animating his men to do their duty to their country, and exhorting them to depend principally on the bayonet. During these manoeuvres, some sharp skirmishing took place. At evening the disposition of General +Howe indicated the design to attack the next morning. The American Commander impatiently waited the assault, promising himself some compensation for the disasters of the campaign in the issue of this battle; but his hopes were disappointed. On the afternoon of the 8th, Sir William returned to Philadelphia with such rapidity, as not to be overtaken by the American light troops, which were sent out to harass his rear. Sir William Howe moved out of Philadelphia with a professed design to attack General Washington, and to drive him over the mountain. He must have felt mortification in receding from this intention, and by it acknowledging, in the face of the world, the respect he entertained for the military talents of his opponent, and proclaiming his reluctance to engage an American army of equal numbers, unless he could command the ground of action. The American troops were badly clothed, and were generally destitute of blankets. The winter setting in with severity, it became necessary to lodge them in winter quarters. The General had revolved the subject in his mind, and weighed all its difficulties. Should he quarter his army in villages, his men would be exposed to the destructive enterprises of partizan British corps, and a large district of country would be opened to the forage of the enemy. To remedy these dangers and inconveniences, the General resolved to march his army to Valley Forge, a strong position behind Philadelphia, covered with wood, and there shelter them. On the march to the place, for the first time, the disposition for the winter was announced. He applauded the past fortitude of the army, and exhorted them to bear their approaching hardships with the resolution of soldiers, assuring them that the public good, and not his inclination, imposed them. The men bore their temporary sufferings with patience. They felled trees, and of logs built themselves huts, closing their crevices with mortar, and soon assumed the form and order of an encampment. Light troops were stationed around Philadelphia to straiten the enemy's quarters, and to cut off their communication with those of the country who were disposed to supply them with provision.
On the 22d of December the commissary announced the alarming fact, that the last rations in store had been served to the troops. A small number of the men discovered a disposition to mutiny at a privation for which they could not account, but in the criminal inattention of their country; but the majority of the army submitted to the scarcity without a murmur. General Washington ordered the country to be scoured, and provisions to be seized wherever they could be found. At the same time he stated the situa"tion of the army to Congress, and warned that body of the dangerous consequences of this mode of obtaining supplies. It was calculated, he said, to ruin the discipline of the soldiers, and to raise in them a disposition for plunder and licentiousness. It must create in the minds of the inhabitants jealousy and dissatisfaction. “I regret the occasion which compelled me to the measure the other day, and shall consider it among the greatest of our misfortunes to be under the necessity of practising it again. I am now obliged to keep several parties from the army threshing grain, that our supplies may not fail, but this will not do.” During the whole winter, the sufferings of the troops at Valley Forge were extreme.
Progress and Issue of the Northern Campaign—Plan to displace General Washington—His Correspondence on the SubjectLetter of General Gates—Remonstrance of the Legislature of Pennsylvania against closing the Campaign—Observations of the Commander in Chief upon it—Sufferings of the Army for the want of Provisions and Clothing—Measures adopted by the Commander in Chief to obtain Supplies—Methods taken to recruit the Army—Sir Henry Clinton appointed Commander in Chief of the British Forces—He evacuates Philadelphia, and marches through New Jersey to New York—General Washington pursues him—Battle of Monmouth-Thanks of Congress to the General and Army-General Lee censured—He
demands a Court Martial, and is suspended from his Command —French Fleet appears on the American Coast—Expedition against Rhode Island–It fails—Disaffection between the American and French Officers—Measures of the Commander in Chief to prevent the ill Consequences of it—Army goes into Winter Quarters in the High Lands.
1777..] DURING these transactions in the middle States, the northern campaign had issued in the capture of General Burgoyne and army. That department had ever been considered as a separate command, and more particularly under the direction of Congress; but the opinion of the Commander in Chief had been consulted in many of its transactions, and most of its details had passed through his hands. Through, him that