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causes contributed to produce the revolt of the Penn- 1781. fylvania line. The officers, when they inlifted the men, imagined that the war would not continue more than three years; and thought, at their inliftment, of holding them no longer than for that term at furtheft, though they were to be discharged fooner was the war ended: the men understood the agreement in the fame manner. The officers finding the war did not close as was expected, and recruiting difficult; the foldiers alfo being well trained by the three years fervice; they were unwilling to part with them, and impofed a new fenfe upon the original agreement, viz. that the men were 'eld to ferve the whole war, though it lafted beyond the three years. This the men refented as an impofition, and fubmitted to only from neceffity, and till the moment fhould offer for the redrefs of fuch an iniquitous grievance. The officers, to footh the foldiers, relaxed in their discipline, which made the men feel their own importance. Major M'Pherfon having quitted the British service in an honorable way, and attached himself to the Americans, gen. Washington, when occafion required his forming a particular corps, gave the còmmand of it to the major in token of respect, and by way of encouragement. Upon that the Pennfylvania officers formed themselves into parties; combined in an oppofition to the appointment; and offered to refign their commiffions upon the occafion. They also countenanced the non-commiffioned officers of their line to unite in applying to head quarters for certain favors. Such conduct contributed to ftrengthen and ripen that difpofition which produced the revolt. The language which the officers of rank talked upon thefe occafions, VOL. IV. C within
1781. within the hearing of the injured foldiers, was not unnoticed; but was applied to direct the conduct of the latter, while it cherished their difcontent: fo that the revolt would have taken place before, had the opportunity and profpect of fuccefs been equally favorable. To the capital grievance abovementioned muft be added -the total want of pay for near twelve months-the want of clothing-and not unfrequently the want of provifion beyond defcription. A further aggravation was produced by the arrival in camp of a deputation from the Pennsylvania ftate with 600 half joes, to be given, three, to each man, as a bounty to each of the fix months levies (whofe time was then expiring) that would inlift 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. The operation of this upon the animal frame, and the other circumftances confpiring, the Pennfylvania line mutinied. The whole, except three regiments, upon a fignal for the purpofe, turned out under arms without their officers, and declared for a redrefs of grievances. Gen. Wayne and the other officers did every thing in their power to quell the tumult. But the troops faid— "We neither can, nor will be any longer amufed. We are determined, at every hazard, to march in a body to congrefs and obtain redrefs." On Wayne's cocking his piftols, there were a hundred bayonets at his breaft with-"We love you, we refpect you, but you are a dead man if you 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
with as much refolution 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 cafe of refufal, and actually fired on, they complied. They then feized upon fix field pieces, and forcing the artillery men who had not joined them, to do it inftantly, 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 provifions after them, to prevent the otherwise inevitable depredation which would be made on private property. He and three principal officers, fuppofed higheft in their efteem, concluded upon following and mixing with them, that they might affift with their advice, and prevent outrages. They were civilly received, and acquired much of the confidence of the mutineers. Thefe however elected temporary officers from their own body; and appointed a fergeant major, who had formerly deferted from the British army, to be their commander. They marched through the country with greater regularity and good conduct, and did lefs 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 fhould prove infectious. The commander in chief concluded upon fending off immediately a proper perfon to the eaftern states, to enforcé upon them the doing of fomething without delay for the relief and comfort of their respective lines. Hard money was to be found in the C 2
1781. hands of but one officer, fufficient for the expences of
money which will be of fome value to them; and at the
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 fent two fpies 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-fpies; who gave information of the others upon being defignedly taken up; and had the propofals with which they were intrufted taken from
them. The two that got fafe to Princeton carried fimi- 1781.