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causes contributed to produce the revolt of the Penn- 1781, sylvania line. The officers, when they inlisted the men, imagined that the war would not continue more than three years; and thought, at their inlistment, of holding them no longer than for that term at furthest, though they were to be discharged fooner was the war ended : the men understood the agreement in the same manner. The officers finding the war did not close as was expected, and recruiting difficult; the soldiers also being well trained by the three years service; they were unwilling to part with them, and imposed a new sense upon the original agreement, viz. that the men were 'eld to serve the whole war, though it lasted beyond the three years. This the men resented as an imposition, and submitted to only from necessity, and till the moment should offer for the redress of such an iniquitous grievance. The officers, to footh the soldiers, relaxed in their discipline, which made the men feel their own importance. Major M‘Pherson having quitted the British service in an honorable way, and attached himself to the Americans, gen. Washington, when occasion required his forming a particular corps, gave the command of it to the major in token of respect, and by way of encouragement. Upon that the Pennsylvania officers formed themselves into parties; combined in an opposition to the appointment; and offered to resign their commissions upon the occasion. They also countenanced the non-commissioned officers of their line to unite in applying to head quarters for certain favors. Such conduct contributed to itrengthen and ripen that disposition which produced the revolt. The language which the officers of rank talked upon these occasions, VOL. IV.



1781. within the hearing of the injured soldiers, was not un

noticed; but was applied to direct the conduct of the latter, while it cherished their discontent: fo that the revolt would have taken place before, had the opportunity and prospect of success been equally favorable. To the capital grievance abovementioned must be added -the total want of pay for near twelve months--the want of clothing--and not unfrequently the want of provision beyond description. A further aggravation was produced by the arrival in camp of a deputation from the Pennsylvania state with 600 half joes, to be given, three, to each man, as a bounty to each of the fix months levies (whose time was then expiring) that would inlist again for the war. This was too much for the veterans.

The commencement of the new year was to be celebrated, which occafioned the men's being

charged with more than a common allowance of spirit. Jan.

The operation of this upon the animal frame, and the other circumstances conspiring, the Pennsylvania line mutinied. The whole, except three regiments, upon a signal for the purpose, turned out under arms without their officers, and declared for a redress of grievances. Gen. Wayne and the other officers did every thing in their power to quell the tumult. But the

But the troops faid« We neither can, nor will be any longer amused. We are determined, at every hazard, to march in a body to congress and obtain redress.” On Wayne's cocking his .pistols, there were a hundred bayonets at his breast with---- We love you, we respect you, but you are a dead man if


fire. Do not mistake us, we are not going to the enemy: on the contrary, were they now to come out, you should fee us fight under your orders with as much resolution and alacrity as ever.” Several 1781. officers were wounded and a captain killed in vainly attempting to reduce them. The three regiments paraded under their officers; but being called upon by the others to join them, and threatened with death in case of refusal, and actually fired on, they complied. They then seized upon fix field pieces, and forcing the artillery men who had not joined them, to do it instantly, under penalty of being every man bayonetted, the mutiny became general. They were about 1300, and began their march at night: the next day Wayne forwarded provisions after them, to prevent the otherwise inevitable depredation which would be made on private property. He and three principal officers, supposed highest in their esteem, concluded upon following and mixing with them, that they might assist with their advice, and prevent outrages. They were civilly received, and acquired much of the confidence of the mutineers. These however elected temporary officers from their own body; and appointed a sergeant major, who had formerly deserted from the British army, to be their commander. - They marched through the country with greater regularity and good conduct, and did less damage, than could have been expected. By the third day they were at Princeton.

When the news of their revolt reached gen. Washington, the Pennsylvania government, and the congress, they were all much alarmed, left the example should prove infectious. The commander in chief concluded upon fending off immediately a proper person to the eastern states, to enforcé upon them the doing of something without delay for the relief and comfort of their respective lines. Hard money was to be found in the C 2


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1981. hands of but one officer, sufficient for the expences of

the journey, which could not' be otherwise performed
with a speed answerable to the emergency. Gen. Knox
had obtained a small quantity, which was destined for
the procurement of those family supplies which he must
otherwise have wanted. This annexed to his other

lifications, made him the best and the only agent that
gen. Washington could employ. He readily engaged
in the service, notwithstanding its being the depth of
winter, and carried with him a letter of January the 5th,
wherein his excellency faid-“ It is vain to think an
army can be kept together much longer, under such a
variety of sufferings as ours have experienced; and un-
less some immediate and speedy measures are adopted
to furnish at least three months pay to the troops, in
money which will be of fome value to them; and at the
same time ways and means are devised to clothe and
feed them better (more regularly I mean) the worst that
can befall us may be expected.

I refer you to gen. Knox, &c.” His success was such, that Washington wrote to him about a month after--" The states whose determinations you report, have done themselves honor by their liberality, and by their ready attention to the object of your mission.”

When Sir Henry Clinton received intelligence of the revolt, he left no means untried that could turn it to the advantage of the British. He sent two spies by way of Amboy, and two of Elizabeth town (all Americans) to treat as agents from himself with the mutineers. The last two were counter-spies; who gave information of the others upon being designedly taken up; and had the proposals with which they were intrusted taken from 4


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them. The two that got safe to Princeton carried fimi- 1781. lar ones to the revolters, viz. “ to be taken under the protection of the British government-to have a free pardon for all part offences to have the pay due to them from congress faithfully paid, without any expectation of military service in return, although it would be received if voluntarily offered--and to lay down their arms, and return to their allegiance.” It was recommended to them to move behind the South river, when a body of British troops should be in readiness for their protection as soon as desired. They were requested to send persons to Amboy, to meet others who would be appointed by Sir Henry, to discuss and settle the treaty, and bring matters to a final conclusion. Mean while, the British general passed over to Staten Inand, with a large body of troops, and took the necessary measures for moving them to the continent, whenever circumftances might require their acting. Clinton's proposals were rejected, and his messengers seized and delivered up to gen. Wayne, who put them under guard. Soon after, a committee of the Pennsylvania council repaired to Princeton to meet the foldiery. They agreed to the dismission of all whose terms of inlistment were completed; and precipitately admitted as proof the oath of the party to be benefitted; so that a great number fraudulently procured discharges, and about one half of the line was dismissed before the whole business was concluded, which happened not for some days. A committee of congress came as far as Trenton, and there remained. The revolters marched from Princeton to that place on the gth. The next day the two spies were Jan. tried and executed. By the 15th matters were so ad- 9.


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