The Unveiling of Canadian History Vol 3: FORLORN HOPE – Quebec and Nova Scotia, and the War for Independence

We here at the Canadian Patriot project are proud to present the third installment of a work by historian Gerald Therrien which features a principled approach to Canadian history by doing what few other moderns historians have had the courage or intelligence to do… be truthful. This begins by recognizing that Canada’s existence is in truth the by-product of a schism between two worldviews: the oligarchical and republican which define mankind, thought and government in diametrically opposed ways. One sees man as a beast with rights and laws given to him by a hereditary class and the other recognizes the intrinsic rights in all mankind and laws as being founded on the consent of the governed, while being rooted in reason. Nothing labelled “Canadian” past or present can be understood as something unto itself, but rather as a tragic fallacy. Tragic due to the inability of certain english and french speaking subjects to meet the challenge of becomming citizens when a unique moment in history presented itself, and fallacious because generations of of those subjects have continued to believe in an artificial narrative of their history shaped around a pride of being little more than “well behaved” and “not American”.

Following the previous installment, Gerald Therrien takes us through a chapter of history beginning in 1775 and ending with the signing of the US Constitution. In order to fully appreciate the scope of this work, it is vital that the reader be introduced to Graham Lowry’s groundbreaking 1987 book How the Nation Was Won, as well as Pierre Beaudry’s The Tragic Consequences of the Quebec Act of 1774

-The Canadian Patriot editorial board

 

 

 

    “According to Washington’s plan, it was to be attempted by light-infantry only, at night, and with the utmost secrecy.  Between one and two hundred chosen men and officers were to make the surprise; preceded by a vanguard of prudent, determined men, well commanded, to remove obstructions, secure sentries and drive in the guards.  The troops were divided into two columns for simultaneous attacks on opposite sides of the works.  One hundred and fifty volunteers formed the vanguard of the right column.  One hundred volunteers, the vanguard of the left.  In advance of each was a ‘forlorn hope’ of twenty men; it was their desperate duty to remove the abatis  … The fierce resistance they met at the outset may be judged by the havoc made in their ‘forlorn hope’; out of twenty-two men, seventeen were either killed or wounded.”   from Washington Irving’s ‘The Life of Washington’, volume 3 (1856)  
  At first glance, the term ‘forlorn hope’ might seem to mean, as its literal reading would suggest, a hopeless cause, one that was almost certainly doomed to failure.  Almost.  But that term was used to refer to a small group of soldiers sent on an extremely risky mission. One may be chosen for it because of your courage or your perseverance, or, because while many around you thought that the cause was hopeless, you didn’t.        
As a young congressman so much more clearly expressed, “Many free countries have lost their liberty and ours may lose hers; but if she shall, be it my proudest plume, not that I was the last to desert, but that I never deserted her.”    from Abraham Lincoln`s  Speech on the Sub-Treasury’ (December 26, 1839)

Chapter 1 – 1775, the Road to Canada

Quebec's (aka: Canada's) borders defined by the 1774 Quebec Act

Quebec’s (aka: Canada’s) borders defined by the 1774 Quebec Act

 

With the passage of the Quebec Act in October 1774, the land policy, the settlement policy and the Indian policy of the Ohio country was now controlled by the military government of Quebec, under the direct rule of the parliament of Britain, which tried to end any colonization plans of the American colonies.  The British were now, in essence, siding with the French, who had refused the demand of Virginia Governor Dinwiddie to leave the Ohio country, that was delivered to them by George Washington in November 1753.  The American colonists had hoped that the winning of the French and Indian war would stop the French-led Indian attacks on their frontier settlements.  The Quebec Act now exposed their entire rear flank to possible Indian raids out of Canada.  Again!!

1 – The Continental Congress Letter of October 24th 1774

On Monday, September 5th 1774, the Continental Congress met at Carpenters’ Hall in Philadelphia.  It was to sit until October 26th.  The people of Canada (renamed the Province of Quebec by the British in 1763), who were still under the seigniorial system and still forced to pay tithes, who were ruled by a British governor and an appointed council with no elected assembly(1) and with its only newspaper under British censorship, sent no delegates to attend the congress.  However, after the closing of the port of Boston, in order to show their support for the protesting colony, on September 6th the ‘colonial’(2) merchants of Quebec, led by a former citizen of Massachusetts, Jonas Clark Minot, sent 1,000 bushels of wheat to Boston.  This gift was acknowledged, with fulsome expressions of gratitude, by the Committee of Donations on October 10th.  The ‘colonial’ merchants of Montreal collected subscriptions amounting to ₤100, which was sent to Boston in February.

In October 1774, General Gage, the Commander-in-chief of British forces in North America, asked Major General Carleton, the Governor of the Province of Quebec, to send his two regiments (the 10th & 52nd) from Quebec to Boston.  Congress charged three of its members – Thomas Cushing, Richard Henry Lee and John Dickinson, with the task of preparing an appeal to the Canadiens.  On October 24th, the Continental Congress adopted a ‘Letter to the Inhabitants of the Province of Quebec’ to outline the results of the congress and to

submit it to your consideration, whether it may not be expedient for you to meet together in your several towns and districts, and elect Deputies, who afterwards meeting in a provincial Congress, may chuse Delegates, to represent your province in the continental Congress to be held at Philadelphia on the tenth day of May, 1775”.

The Congress recommended the delegates of Pennsylvania to “superintend the translation, printing, publishing and dispersing them” and recommended the delegates of New Hampshire, Massachusetts and New York “to assist in and forward the dispersion.”  The translation was completed by Eugene du Simitiere, and the printer Fleury Mesplet ran off 2,000 copies.  On October 21st, the Massachusetts Provincial Congress adopted a proposal to send an agent “to repair to the government of Canada, in order to consult with the inhabitants therof, and to settle a friendly correspondence and agreement with them”. 

By early November, news of the actions of the Continental Congress had reached Montreal.  The ‘colonists’ – English Canadians – met at the Coffee House to discuss their situation.  At a further meeting, a committee of action was set up, including Thomas Walker(3), James Price, John Blake and Isaac Todd.  The committee then went to Quebec and called for a meeting of the ‘colonists’ at the tavern of Miles Prentice.  A committee of seven was chosen and instructed to consult with the committee from Montreal. Several American-style town hall meetings, open to all, were held, as well as joint meetings of the two committees.  The committees decided to thank the mayor and the city of London for their help in the campaign to prevent the passage of the Quebec Act.  They also thanked their advisor in London, Maseres(4), and rewarded his services with a handsome honorarium.

A motion was adopted to address petitions to the King, the House of Lords, and the House of Commons.  The petitions, dated November 12th 1774, were signed by 185 citizens, and forwarded to Maseres who delivered them in January 1775. Some of the colonists travelled over the countryside, in the course of trying to buy wheat from the farmers, or travelling from parish to parish as horse dealers, or speaking in the market places, and read them the letter from the Continental Congress.

By the middle of November, the letter from the congress had been dispersed from one end of the province to the other, along with the colonists’ propaganda against the Quebec Act: that keeping the French religion simply meant forced tithes, which could be increased at any time, and meant a state-religion; that keeping the old French laws simply meant ridding the courts of jury trials and habeas corpus and keeping the lettres de cachet (banishment or emprisonment); that keeping French customs simply meant that the seigneurial land rents could be increased at any time, that taxes and duties to pay for expenses and salaries could be raised at any time, and that a forced call to militia duty leaving family and home could happen at any time; and that no elected representation meant they were “too ignorant to enjoy liberty”.  Most Canadiens had no first-hand knowledge of the Quebec Act, as a french translation of it would not be seen until it was published in the Quebec Gazette on December 8th, four months after the appearance of the English version.  Soon, a circular letter that tried to refute the allegations of the ‘colonists’ appeared in the Quebec Gazette, signed Le Canadien Patriote.

On December 6th, in the Massachusetts Provincial Congress,

the committee appointed to devise means of keeping up a correspondence between the province, Montreal and Quebec, and of gaining frequent intelligence from thence of their movements, reported, that a committee be appointed to correspond with the inhabitants of Canada.  Accordingly, the Hon. Major Hawley, Col. Pomeroy, Mr. Brown, Mr. Samuel Adams, Doct. Warren, Hon. Mr. Hancock and Doct. Church were appointed a committee for that purpose.”

On December 8th, the Massachusetts Provincial Congress ordered “that the expense of transmitting the address to the Canadians be paid by this government”.  On February 15th 1775, in the Massachusetts Provincial Congress,

the committee appointed to bring in a resolve empowering the committee of correspondence of the town of Boston, to correspond with Quebec, &c., for in behalf of this province, reported; the report was read and accepted, and is as followeth, viz.: Whereas, it appears the manifest design of administration, to engage and secure the Canadians and remote tribes of Indians, for the purpose of harassing and distressing these colonies, and reducing them to a state of absolute slavery: and, whereas, the safety and security of said colonies depend in a great measure, under God, on their firmness, unanimity, and friendship;  Therefore, Resolved, That the committee of correspondence for the town of Boston, be and they are hereby directed and empowered, in such way and manner as they shall think proper, to open and establish an intimate correspondence and connection with the inhabitants of the province of Quebec, and that thay endeavour to put the same immediately into execution.” 

John Brown, a member of the committee, volunteered and was accepted.  He left Boston, escorted by Peleg Sunderland and Winthrop Hoyt – Green Mountain Boys from the New Hampshire Grants, with ₤20 and copies of a letter ‘The Committee of Correspondence of Boston to Inhabitants of the Province of Quebec’ (written by Samuel Adams, dated February 21st) seeking support from Canadians and inviting them to send delegates to the next Continental Congress.   On the way to Montreal, they stopped at the forts at Ticonderoga, Crown Point, St. Jean and Chambly, the isolated soldiers of the garrisons welcoming the travellers “buying Canadian horses for the American market”.  Brown would count the number of soldiers and note the number of canon at each fort.  On March 29th, Brown would send a letter to the Massachusetts Committee of Correspondence about his trip to Montreal, that the Caghnawaga Indians were refusing to fight with the British, and that “there was no prospect of Canada sending delegates to the Continental Congress … should the English join in the non-importation agreement, the French(5) would immediately monopolize the Indian trade”.  On April 4th, the colonists gathered at the Montreal Coffee House to hear John Brown read the letter from Boston and speak in support of it.  Thomas Walker also spoke at the meeting and recommended that a committee be set up to correspond with Massachusetts, and to select two delegates to the next Continental Congress at Philadelphia on May 10th.  But these recommendations could not be agreed to by both the British and the American colonists, and so they were not adopted.

On April 28th, a reply to Massachusetts was written by Thomas Walker, John Welles, James Price, and William Haywood.  It offered the fact that the colonists “have neither numbers nor wealth sufficient to do you any essential service”(6), and desired whether English delegates would be accepted without entering into the non-importation or non-exportation of British goods.  They said that, the Indians of Canada “know their own interests better, than to interfere as a nation, in this family quarrel: for let which side will, prevail, they are sure in that case to be the victims”.  On May 1st 1775 – the day the Quebec Act came into force – visitors to the Place d’Armes in Montreal saw the bust of George III with its face blackened, and suspended about its neck was a rosary of potatoes(7) with a wooden cross and the inscription ‘Behold the Pope of Canada or the English fool’.

Meanwhile, on April 19th the “shot heard ‘round the world” was fired at the battle of Concord and Lexington.

2 – The Continental Congress Letter of May 29th 1775

After the battle of Lexington and Concord, the Massachusetts militia under General Artemas Ward surrounded Boston,

Benedict Arnold

Benedict Arnold

but without heavy artillery it would be impossible to drive out the British.  On May 3rd, the Massachusetts Provincial Congress commissioned Colonel Benedict Arnold and approved a plan to send Arnold to attack Fort Ticonderoga and to send the captured cannon to Boston.  At the same time, the Connecticut Committee of Correspondence authorized a plan to recruit the Green Mountain Boys under Ethan Allen to attack Fort Ticonderoga, before it could be reinforced by the British and used for an attack on the rear of the colonies.

Colonel Philip Skene was sailing from Britain as the new governor of Ticonderoga and Crown Point, with instructions to raise a regiment to hold the forts for the British, who had earlier spent nearly ₤2 million to rebuild the forts but had then let them fall into disrepair and to molder.  The forts were now guarded only by forty-six soldiers under two officers.  When Skene landed at Philadelphia, he was seized and jailed.

Forty-five volunteers from Pittsfield, Massachusetts had ridden to join the one hundred and thirty Green Mountain Boys.  The men elected Ethan Allen as Colonel Commandant, James Easton as Colonel, John Brown as Major and Edward Mott as Captain.  Captain Mott, along with Captain Noah Phelps of Connecticut and military engineer Bernard Romans, were sent to spy on the fort at Ticonderoga.  Colonel Easton and thirty men set out to attack Skene’s 30,000-acre plantation at the southern tip of Lake Champlain, to seize Skene and his schooner and any small boats, and to bring them up the lake to Hand’s Cove at Shoreham (a mile from Ticonderoga) to rendezvous with Allen and the rest of the men.

Hearing of their plan, Arnold raced after Allen, finally catching up with him at Shoreham, where Arnold demanded the right to command the attack, but the men would only follow orders from their own officers.  Allen allowed Arnold to command the Massachusetts troops, while he would command his Green Mountain Boys as well as the Connecticut troops.  Not finding Skene’s schooner, Easton instead found a bateaux and arrived in the bateaux with his men at Hand’s Cove on May 9th at 3 am, to ferry Allen’s and Arnold’s men across the lake to attack Fort Ticonderoga.  At 4 am, with only 83 men having crossed over, Allen and Arnold launched a surprise attack on the fort which quickly surrendered.  Many of the cannon at the fort were in wretched condition – some buried in the ruins, some covered with water from the spring runoff.

*Note* – In November 1775, General Washington would send a 25-year-old bookseller-turned-soldier, Colonel Henry Knox, appointed chief of artillery of the Continental Army, to Ticonderoga to transport the cannon to the heights overlooking Boston – where they would help bring about the British withdrawal from the city on March 17th 1776.

montreal-campaign-october-16-1775On May 11th, Bernard Romans and 16 Connecticut men successfully captured Fort George, guarded by two retired British officers, and on May 11th, Captain Seth Warner and his men captured Fort Amherst at Crown Point with its nine-man garrison.  Also on May 11th, Captain Samuel Herrick captured Skene’s schooner and brought it to Ticonderoga, where on May 14th Arnold and fifty men set sail in the schooner, towing two bateaux, to try and capture the British sloop, which patrolled Lake Champlain, before it sailed from Fort St. Jean with provisions to retake Fort Ticonderoga.  Allen and his men followed, rowing in four bateaux.  Arnold reached the north end of Lake Champlain on May 17th, but with no wind, left the schooner with fifteen men, and with the other thirty-five men rowed in the two bateaux down the Richelieu River all night til they reached Fort St. Jean.  At 6 am on May 19th, they charged the fort, and the sargeant and his thirteen men surrendered, without a shot being fired.  Arnold and his men then surprised and captured the British sloop and its seven-man crew.  On hearing that British reinforcements were expected any time, Arnold stripped the fort of supplies, took four of the British bateaux while sinking five other bateaux, and returned up the Richelieu to go back to Lake Champlain, where they met Allen and his one hundred and fifty men, who decided they would continue on to retake Fort St. Jean and try to hold the fort against the British, while Arnold and his men sailed back to Fort Ticonderoga.

Allen arrived at Fort St. Jean on May 19th where he was warned by a Montreal merchant Bindon, that Major Preston and 140 British soldiers were approaching, and Allen was forced to return to Fort Ticonderoga.  Before leaving, on May 18th, Allen wrote a letter to the merchants of Montreal, and asked Bindon to deliver it to James Morrison, telling them that the forts were in the hands of the colonials, and asked for ₤500 worth of provisions and ammunition, and that his directives were “not to contend with or any way injure or molest the Canadians or Indians but on the other hand treat them with the greatest friendship and kindness”.  On May 24th from Crown Point, Arnold would send a letter to Walker in Montreal, asking information on the number and movements of British troops, and warning Canadians that if any of them joined the British troops, the Colonials would send an army into the heart of Canada.  On May 29th, both Arnold and Allen would write letters to the Continental Congress.

Governor Carleton

Governor Carleton

Governor Carleton was informed of the capture of Ticonderoga by Moses Hazen(8), a retired British officer who owned half of a seigneury – Bleury Sud – on the east side of the Richelieu river opposite St. Jean.  Carleton left Quebec with the 7th regiment, picking up the garrison at Trois Rivieres, on the way to Montreal.  The 26th regiment was to leave Montreal and go to St. Jean.  This left Quebec with only 61 soldiers, a few gunners, and 26 fusileers on outpost duty up the Chaudiere river.  At Montreal, Colonel Preston issued a proclamation calling for a general meeting of the population at the Recollet church.  Eight citizens, seigneurs and bourgeois, were chosen to draw up lists of men to be called up for the militia.  Tenant farmers were to be enrolled by their seigneur.  The proclamation, instead of reestablishing the old Canadian militia under a captain in each parish, would be under the noblesse and seigneurs(9).  The proclamation was met with a wall of opposition, with open resistance in some parishes, and with others chasing the officers out of the parish.  A message was also sent to the Indians, ordering them to be ready to take up arms.  Only fifty Canadien volunteers from the seigneurs and bourgeois came forward, which occupied Fort St. Jean under Lieutenant Samuel McKay until regular troops could arrive.  The Indians refused to make a move.

For the Americans, Fort Ticonderoga was too badly breached to repair and too many of its cannon were useless.  Fort Amherst at Crown Point was in better condition with one hundred cannon worth salvaging.  Arnold took his men to Crown Point to try to dig out the cannon and to fix up the sloop and schooner to defend the lake.  He also learned that the Canadiens and Indians were refusing to join the King’s troops, and that Carleton had threatened the inhabitants of Montreal that if the English merchants wouldn’t defend Montreal, that he would burn the city and retire to Quebec.  Carleton had three hundred British regulars entrenching Fort St. Jean – half of the total number of British troops left in Canada!!! (General Gage had earlier ordered Carleton to send the two regiments in Quebec to Boston.)  The Canadian militia was in disarray with no volunteers from the habitants or colonists.

On May 17th, news of these American victories at Ticonderoga and Crown Point would be brought to Philadelphia by John Brown.  On May 18th, he addressed the Continental Congress at Carpenters’ Hall, giving them his reports on the attacks and his analysis of the conditions in Canada that he had observed during his mission to Montreal for Massachusetts.  Congress passed a resolution approving the attacks due to “indubitable evidence that a design is formed by the British Ministry of making a cruel invasion from the province of Quebec, upon these colonies”.  Congress recommended that the cannon and military stores at Ticonderoga, that would certainly have been used by the British in their intended invasion of the colonies, be removed to the south end of Lake George, and that New Hampshire, Massachusetts Bay and Connecticut would supply an additional body of men as will be sufficient to establish a strong post at that place.

The General Assembly of Connecticut appointed a committee to meet with the Montreal merchant, James Price.  On May 22nd, Price reported to the committee that to the Canadian people, the idea of marching against the colonies was repugnant.  This report was forwarded to the New York Provincial Congress which, on May 26th, decided “as hostile measures have been carried on in the neighbourhood of Canada … a committee be appointed to draw up a letter or address ‘To the Inhabitants of Quebeck’ (dated June 2nd) in order to convince the Canadians that nothing hostile is intended against their persons, liberty, or property” and ordered 1500 copies in French and 50 copies in English be dispatched to Montreal.

John Jay

John Jay

After also hearing “a full and just account of the state and affairs of Canada” from James Price on May 27th, the Continental Congress appointed John Jay, Samuel Adams and Samuel Deane as a committee to compose a second letter to the Canadian people.  On May 29th, the Congress approved the ‘Letter to the Oppressed Inhabitants of Canada’, composed by John Jay, and agreed to have it translated by Pierre Simitiere and printed by Fleury Mesplet, and 1,000 copies to be sent to Canada for distribution.

On May 31st, Congress requested that Connecticut send a strong reinforcement to the garrisons of Ticonderoga and Crown Point, and requested that New York furnish them with provisions and bateaux.  On June 1st, the Congress also resolved

that no expedition or incursion ought to be undertaken or made, by any colony, or body of colonists, against or into Canada; and that this resolve be immediately transmitted to the commander of the forces at Ticonderoga”, and ordered “that the above resolve be translated into the french language and transmitted, with the letter, to the inhabitants of Canada”.

However, on May 27th after a council of war, Allen and Arnold agreed on the necessity of attacking the Canadian forts, while holding command over the lake.  On June 4th, Allen would send another letter to the people of Quebec.  On June 6th, Arnold, with one hundred and fifty-five men in the schooner, the sloop and three bateaux, left Crown Point for Fort St. Jean, to confirm the number of British troops there, while probing the fort and sniping the regulars.  On June 9th, Arnold returned to Crown Point to pick up enough troops to return and attack St. Jean, but was not able to do so.  The Albany Committee of Safety, in following the Continental Congress’ advice, began pulling their companies out of Crown Point back to Fort George.  On June 16th, Colonel Hinman arrived at Crown Point with three Connecticut companies and demanded that Arnold turn over command of the lake and all its forts and ships to him.  Arnold refused.  On June 22nd, an investigative committee of the Massachusetts Committee of Safety arrived at Crown Point and ordered Arnold to step down as commander.  Arnold resigned instead.

On June 12th, James Price conferred with the New York Provincial Congress, which would compose a letter addressed ‘To the Merchants of Canada’ (dated June 13th).  Price was sent back to Montreal with two copies of this letter and with 800 copies of the letter from the Continental Congress.  On June 15th, the Continental Congress appointed George Washington the commander in chief of the Continental Army, and sent him north to Boston to build the army.  Most of the army was from Massachusetts Bay, under General Artemas Ward, with the rest from New Hampshire under Colonel John Stark, from Rhode Island under General Nathaniel Greene, and from Connecticut under General Israel Putnam.  It was an army of volunteers, and many were hasty levies of yeomenry, who had seized their rifles or fowling-pieces and turned out in their working clothes and homespun country garbs.  There were about six to eight thousand yeoman spread out over ten or twelve miles, beleaguring the town of Boston, with a population of seventeen thousand, and garrisoned by four thousand British regulars.

On May 25th, ships-of-war and transports had brought another two thousand reinforcements from Britain, under Generals Howe, Burgoyne and Clinton.  While on his way to Boston, General Washington would learn of the June 17th bloody battle of Bunker’s Hill, and the British burning of Charlestown.

3 – General George Washington’s Letter of September 6th 1775,  and the surrender of Montreal to General Montgomery, November 13th 1775

On June 27th, the Continental Congress authorized Major General Philip Schuyler to put together a northern army, “for

Gen. Philip Schuyler

Gen. Philip Schuyler

securing to the United Colonies the command of those waters adjacent to Crown Point and Ticonderoga” and “as Governor Carleton is making preparations to invade these colonies and is instigating the Indian Nations to take up the Hatchet against them” … to “exert his utmost power to destroy or take all vessels, boats or floating batteries, preparing by said Governor or by his order, on or near the waters of the lakes”.  Congress resolved “that if General Schuyler finds it practicable, and that it will not be disagreeable to the Canadians, he do immediately take possession of St. Johns, Montreal, and any other parts of the country, and pursue any other measures in Canada, which may have a tendency to promote the peace and security of these Colonies”.  Earlier in June, John Adams had written to James Warren, “Whether we should march into Canada with an army sufficient to break the power of Governor Carleton, to overawe the Indians, and to protect the French has been a great question.  It seems to be the general conclusion that it is best to go, if we can be assured that the Canadians will be pleased with it, and join us.”

Schuyler arrived at Ticonderoga in mid-July to prepare his army.  While waiting for reinforcements from Hinman’s Connecticut troops, Dutch troops from New York, and a regiment of Green Mountain Boys, Schuyler ordered the building of more boats for the expedition into Canada.  He sent Major John Brown, accompanied by Ethan Allen, on another intelligence mission to Montreal to learn of Carleton’s plans and to learn of the sentiments of the inhabitants as well as those of the Indians.  Schuyler would be ill for most of August, suffering intense pain from a severe case of rheumatic gout.

Benedict Arnold, in Massachusetts to give an account of his expenses to the Provincial Congress, was introduced to General Washington by Horatio Gates, the adjutant general of the army.  Arnold met with General Washington on August 15th, and briefed him on conditions on the border with Canada.  General Washington appointed Arnold a colonel, on August 20th, and endorsed a plan for Arnold to lead an attack on Quebec with a thousand men, travelling up the Kennebec river and down the Chaudiere river to the St. Lawrence river across from Quebec.  A surprise attack by Arnold on Quebec in the north, would force Carleon to draw off men from Fort St. Jean, while Schuyler attacked Fort St. Jean from the south.  If it succeeded it would neutralize Canada, before any British reinforcements could be sent from Britain, and stop Canada from being used for British invasions against New England and New York. General Washington would not authorize Arnold’s mission until Arnold had cleared his account with the Massachusetts Provincial Congress, until Arnold agreed to be subordinate to General Schuyler, and until Schuyler had approved of the plan in writing.  On September 6th, General Washington would also prepare a proclamation ‘To the Inhabitants of Canada’, which Arnold would take with him to distribute.

On August 22nd, a party of Indians(10) had attacked an American reconnoitring party, killing and beheading Remember Baker, one of Ethan Allen’s men.  Schuyler was at Albany, meeting with the leaders of the Six Nations Indians to get their agreement(11) that “as it was a family quarrel, they would not interfere, but remain neuter”, when he received General Washington’s letter, and replied to it on August 27th, agreeing with Washington’s plan.

Richard Montgomery

Richard Montgomery

Brigadier General Montgomery, in command at Ticonderoga while Schuyler was away, received news from John Brown on another secret mission, that the British warships being built at St. Jean would soon be ready, and he decided to attack immediately before Schuyler could return from Albany.  On August 30th, Montgomery and one thousand men (750 Connecticut troops and 250 New Yorkers) left Crown Point in their vessels down Lake Champlain.  On September 1st, Schuyler followed with 800 men (500 Connecticut men and 300 New Yorkers).  By September 4th Schuyler had joined Montgomery, as they landed at Ile aux Noix at the northern end of Lake Champlain and prepared to move down the Richelieu river into Canada.  On September 6th Schuyler tried a surprise attack to test the British troops that defended Fort St. Jean.  Major Preston had 474 regulars at Fort St. Jean, in addition to 90 Canadien militia under Sieur de Belestre (the former commandant at Detroit) and a party of Indians, and had 38 trained gunners of the Royal Artillery to serve the 42 cannons and 7 mortars.  Preston sent out the 90 militia along with the Indians, to harass Schuyler’s troops, while firing on them with his long range cannon, forcing Schuyler to return to Ile aux Noix to build defensive positions and a boom to block passage down the river on either side of the island.  Schuyler’s troops were reinforced with 400 New Yorkers and 300 more Connecticut men.

On September 16th Major General Schuyler, due to the severity of his illness, was forced to leave Ile aux Noix to return to Fort Ticonderoga, leaving Brigadier General Montgomery in charge.  On the same day, 170 Green Mountain Boys and 100 New Hampshire Rangers joined Montgomery’s troops, and Montomery began moving his troops of about 2000 men, downriver in bateaux and gunboats, to begin the encirclement and seige of Fort St. Jean – located on the west bank of the Richelieu river, where it was defended by the British 14-gun schooner, the Royal Savage.  By October, only a few of the militia were left, and none of the Indians.  The siege continued, and on October 10th, a large mortar called the ‘Old Sow’, was brought up from Ticonderoga, was set up at a redoubt on the east bank of the Richelieu river, and was fired into the British fort, and also fired on and sunk the British schooner.

Montgomery had sent Major John Brown and 120 men north, later joined by Lt. Colonel Warner and the Green Mountain Boys, and Colonel Bedell and the New Hampshire Rangers, to waylay and stop any British convoys (with food, clothing and ammunition) on the road from Montreal from reaching Fort St. Jean.  James Livingston, from Chambly, and Jeremy Duggan, a Quebec barber, had been raising regiments among the French and English Canadians along the lower Richelieu to join with Montomery(12).  Montgomery now had boats slip past Fort St. Jean in the night, to carry canon down-river to be met by Brown and Livingston and their men, who began to bombard Fort Chambly.  Major Stopford, who had been sent by Carleton from Quebec with his 10 officers and 78 fusileers to Fort Chambly, surrendered the fort on October 18th, and the Americans captured 350 barrels of flour and food, as well as 6 tons of gunpowder, along with weapons and ammunition.

Ethan Allen had been sent north to Sorel, where the Richelieu river enters the St. Lawrence, to raise troops among the Canadiens.  On October 24th, without awaiting orders from Montgomery, Ethan Allen, with over 100 Canadiens, crossed the St. Lawrence river from Longueuil, to Longue-Pointe, east of Montreal.  Upon hearing of Allen’s arrival, Governor Carleton sent out Major John Campbell, the recently appointed Superintendant of Quebec Indians, with 20 officers of the Indian Department and a small band of Indians, along with 34 British regulars, and 200 militia.  Allen sent out a detachment to try to flank the British troops, but they were forced to flee.  Allen and his remaining troops tried to withdraw back toward the river, but he and 27 men were captured – Allen was imprisoned aboard ship and sent to Britain.  Carleton used the victory over Allen to raise more militia.  He also ordered Colonel Allan Maclean, who had been left to defend Quebec with 120 of his Royal Highland Emigrants(13) and 60 fusiliers, to leave Quebec and sail to Sorel, to raise the militia there and move upriver to retake Fort Chambly from the Americans, and then to join with Carleton where together they would relieve Fort St. John.

On October 30th, Carleton embarked his 800 militia, 130 highlanders and fusiliers, and 80 Indians to cross the St. Lawrence from Montreal to Longueuil, where they could begin the march to Fort St. Jean.  But just as they were about to land, Colonel Warner and 200 Green Mountain Boys, who were lying in wait on the other shore, fired on the incoming British, who then retreated back to Montreal.  At Sorel, Maclean received word that Carleton would not be joining him, dismissed his 400 militia, and returned to Quebec.  When news reached Fort St. Jean that no assistance from Carleton would arrive, the British garrison surrendered on November 3rd, and Montogmery began marching his army towards Montreal, sending James Price and two others ahead to negotiate the terms of surrender.  The articles of capitulation were signed by John Porteous, Pierre Panet, John Blake, Pierre Meziere, James Finlay, St. George Dupre, James McGill, Louis Carignan, Richard Huntly, Francois Malhiot, Edward Gray and Pierre Guy – duly elected for that purpose.  On November 11th, Carleton and his remaining troops fled Montreal in eleven boats, with Thomas Walker and Moses Hazen as prisoners.

On November 12th, Montgomery crossed the St. Lawrence river and marched into Montreal the next day, where he was presented with an address of welcome by Valentin Jautard and forty other supporters of the Americans.  The inhabitants of Trois Rivieres would send Jean-Baptiste Badeaux and William Morris to present a petition of surrender to Montgomery.  Montomery had sent Colonel Easton, with Brown and Livingston, to Sorel to try to stop any British boats trying to escape from Montreal, arriving too late to stop Maclean, but arriving in time to stop Carleton, where under a flag of truce, Major John Brown advised Carleton to surrender.  During the night, Carleton abandoned his fleet and escaped in a small whaleboat to Trois Rivieres.  On November 19th, the British fleet surrendered without firing a shot, the Americans captured the ships’ cannons and arms and 200 pairs of (needed) shoes, and freed Thomas Walker and Moses Hazen.  The ships would be used to transport Montgomery and his men down the St. Lawrence to Quebec.

Montgomery made arrangements with Christophe Pelissier, the proprietor of the Forges St. Maurice, for the manufacture of guns and ammunition, and also discussed with him the possibility of electing a Canadian assembly – which they thought couldn’t be done while Quebec was in British hands.  Then, Montgomery with his 300 New York men (the Connecticut men, the Green Mountain Boys and Bedel’s Rangers had returned home), with Major John Brown and his 160 western Massachusetts men, and with Colonel James Livingston and 200 men of the 1st Canadian Regiment of Continentals, sailed to Quebec.

Brigadier General Wooster, with a garrison of 500 men, was left in charge of Montreal, where Wooster distributed the September 6th letter from General Washington ‘To the Inhabitants of Canada’.  Wooster would do away with the old militia and ordered that new militia officers were to be elected and hold their commissions from Congress.  Those militia officers who refused to give up their old British commissions were arrested and imprisoned in Fort Chambly.

4 – General George Washington’s Letter of September 6th 1775, and the seige of Quebec begun by Colonel Arnold, November 13th 1775

*Note* – The standard story is that after the surrender of Quebec to the British in 1760, General Murray appointed surveyor Lieutenant John Montresor to map out the newly acquired territory.  In doing so, Montresor made trips from Quebec to the Kennebec river in 1760 and 1761 and recorded them with a map in his journals.  It is claimed that Arnold somehow got hold of a copy of this map.  However, in 1763 after his return to Philadelphia from London, Dr. Franklin took a five-month tour of the colonies post offices from Savannah Georgia to Falmouth (Portsmouth) New Hampshire.  As deputy Postmaster General along with John Foxcroft, he appointed Hugh Finlay as postmaster of Canada, and helped to set up a weekly postal service between Quebec, Trois Rivieres and Montreal and a monthly service between Montreal and New York.  In 1772, Hugh Finlay also was made the ‘surveyor of the post roads in North America’.  One of his duties was to ascertain the practicability of a direct road between Quebec and Falmouth.  In September 1773, during an eleven-day trip, Finlay and 4 Indian guides explored “the uninhabited country beyond the most southerly settlements on the river Chaudiere in Canada and the most northerly habitations on the River of Kennebek in the Government of Massachusets Bay”. This trip is recorded in Finlay’s journal.  Finlay ended his tour in June 1774, when Dr. Franklin was relieved of his duties as deputy postmaster general and was replaced by Hugh Finlay.  On July 26th 1775, the Continental Congress appointed Dr. Franklin as Postmaster General for the colonies.

[We should also bear in mind the importance of these postal roads in connecting the American colonies, the importance of Dr. Franklin in promoting and building them, and the potential importance of their upcoming use by General Washington.]

Back on September 11th, Arnold had began marching his 1080 men (including 252 riflemen) the fifty miles from Cambridge to Newburyport, where Nathaniel Tracy provided them with boats, crews and provisions to travel by sea to the Kennebec river in Maine, past the British ships(14) which were farther up the coast at Penobscot Bay, hauling firewood for the British troops in Boston.  The British were concerned about a possible attack on Halifax.

By September 19th, Arnold and his men were sailing up the Kennebec to Georgetown, were joined by a company of the militiamen of Maine, and continued thirty-four miles upriver to Gardinerstown.  Due to a summer-long drought that left the Kennebec river shallow with its rocks and shoals either exposed or covered by only a few feet of water, Arnold had to leave the ships and continue in the 200 bateaux that he had ordered only two weeks before.  Some men travelled with the supplies (rations to last each man for forty-five days) in the bateaux – sometimes paddling or polling the bateaux upriver and sometimes wading and hauling the bateaux through the rapids in icy water, while others (the relief crew) marched along the dirt road.

At the portages to get around the falls, the men had to unload and carry the supplies and heavy bateaux (it took four men to carry each bateaux).  They travelled this way to Fort Western(15) and Fort Halifax, and reached Skowhegan (the last Maine settlement, fifty miles upriver from the mouth of the Kennebec) on October 2nd.

From here to the first Canadien settlement lay 300 miles of wilderness – forests, swamps, wild rivers and lakes.  Much of the food supplies would be damaged and spoiled, as cracked barrels of salted meat leaked brine and went bad, or cracked barrels of flour soaked up river water and burst, or salted fish had the salt washed away and rotted – leaving only some salt pork and flour, in short supply (and any fish they could catch along the way).

On October 11th, they reached the first carrying place, left the Kennebec river, and after one week of four portages (the last one through bog and mud a foot deep), each portage taking eight or nine trips to carry all the bateaux and supplies, they reached the Dead river.  Part way along the portage, some tired and thirsty men became sick after drinking brackish pond water.  Arnold left the company of Maine woodsmen to build a hospital – a log building protected by a blockhouse, in order to leave behind the one hundred sick men, until they were fit to go on.  On October 12th, Lieutenant Steele returned from his three-week reconnaissance misssion to the Chaudiere river.

After two days and nights of heavy rains (caused by a West Indies hurricane that had been moving across Maine) the Dead river was flooded, having risen more than twelve feet.  The water was moving so rapidly that it overturned seven bateaux, and the men had to be rescued, and seven more boatloads of food, ammunition and clothing were lost the next day.  Because the course of the river could not be discovered, the men marching on shore took a wrong turn and became lost.  These men too had to be rescued.  That night, October 23rd, Arnold held a council of war with the officers of the first two battalions under Meigs and Greene, and they agreed with Arnold – to march on to Quebec.  Arnold ordered the sick to be sent back to Fort Halifax (74 men), ordered Captain Hanchet and fifty men to go ahead to clear the route for the main force and to reach the Canadien settlement and bring back food, and ordered the rest of the army to wait until Enos came up with the excess supplies and then to proceed.  Arnold himself, would set out with Hanchet.  The next morning two inches of snow fell.  On October 25th, Colonel Enos arrived at the main camp and held a council of war to question Arnold’s orders.  Enos insisted there was not enough food supplies to continue and that they should instead return to Cambridge.  Colonel Greene disagreed, but Enos(16) decided to give up and to turn back with his entire battalion – one third of Arnold’s army!!!

On October 29th, Arnold’s men began travelling up the Dead river – an ocean of swamps, with moss covering frigid water and ice, as they waded into water up to their waists, where acres of trees had been laid flat, and with precipices and ravines on either side of the swamps.  They had to portage across marshes, rivulets and a string of small lakes looking for a channel, until they reached the Chain of Ponds, a string of ponds, lakes and waterfalls carrying them higher toward the height of land, where they would reach the carrying place – a four-mile thirty-five-degree slope to the top of the 2100-foot Height of Land.  After stumbling down from the height of land, they waded through a five-mile wide swamp, and after finally finding a crossing, and a fifteen-mile march, on October 31st they reached the shore of Lake Megantic, the source of the Chaudiere river.  The next day they marched along the shore of the river, and the ten boats that had been carried over the height of land and were launched on the Chaudiere, were overturned and wrecked by the boiling current.

For the next two days the men had nothing to eat, until on November 3rd the men saw some men and horses and cattle, that had been sent by Colonel Arnold, making towards them.  That night, after marching thirty miles that day, the remainder of Arnold’s starving and exhausted, but still determined, army of 675 men (called les Bostonnais by the Canadiens) reached Sartigan, the first settlement on the Chaudiere, and could now receive provisions either purchased or freely given by the French Canadiens.  “Our clothes were torn in pieces by the bushes and hung in strings.  Few of us had any shoes, but moccasins made of new skins, many of us without hats, and beards long and visages thin and meager.  I thought we much resembled the animals which inhabit New Spain called the Ourang-outang”.  The march of “that little army is thought equal Hannibal’s over the Alps”.

Those of Arnold’s men who were sick, exhausted or lost and had been left behind, were found by the Indians, who nursed them and brought them safely to Sartigan.  At Ste. Marie, thirty miles from Quebec, Arnold met with Natanis and 800 Abenaki Indians, from Odanak and Wolinak in Canada.  Here, through his interpreter, he read them Washington’s letter, and distributed copies of it in French.  Arnold, without Washington’s orders, hired fifty Abenaki to join his attack on Quebec – he would need their canoes to cross the St. Lawrence river, as Cramahe, the Lt. Governor of Quebec, learned of the coming of the Americans and had ordered all boats within fifty miles to be burned.  On November 7th, they reached Point Levis, on the south side of the St. Lawrence across from Quebec, but for five days a crossing was prevented by a gale accompanied by heavy snows and was also prevented by the two British men-of-war whose guns could easily sink Arnold’s canoes, as well as patrols by a sloop, a frigate, and an armed transport (all of whose guns had been taken to defend the Upper Town of Quebec), and the British longboats.  Quebec would be defended by over 1100 men, not the handful of regulars that Arnold had expected. Quebec had 200 British Canadian militia and 300 French Canadien militia and over 300 sailors from all of the British ships still at Quebec. On November 5th, the frigate Lizard and its 35 marines arrived at Quebec, bringing also Captain Malcolm Fraser, who had been sent to recruit Irishmen for the Royal Highland Emigrants in St. John’s Newfoundland with a promise of 200 free acres of land, and his 90 volunteers.  On November 12th, Colonel McLean arrived back at Quebec with his 140 Scottish Highlanders and 60 fusiliers.

invasion of 1775 mapOn November 12th, at a council of war, Arnold and Greene agreed to cross the river and storm the city without waiting for reinforcements.  Washington had thought that “in consequenceof Enos’s return, Arnold will not be able to make a sucessful attack on Quebec without the cooperation of Montgomery”.  On November 13th, the same day that Montgomery captured Montreal, when heavy cloud masked the moonlight, Arnold and Morgan crossed the St. Lawrence, landed near Wolfe’s Cove, and sent the canoes back for more men – 500 men crossed before being discovered by the British patrols.   Arnold and his men marched up the same road used by Wolfe, and then camped at Ste. Foy at the farm of Major Caldwell, two miles southwest of Quebec, where they could block any traffic along the two western roads leading to the gates of St. Jean and St. Louis.  Some Quebec merchants held a secret meeting and decided to send a messenger to Arnold, who was warned that McLean was planning to attack him that morning with 600 men and artillery.  Arnold decided to advance immediately and marched his men to within a half mile of the walls of Quebec.  Arnold sent his aide, Matt Ogden, with a drummer under a white flag to deliver a demand to surrender.  McLean ordered his cannons to fire on the Americans.  Arnold pulled back his troops and began a blockade of Quebec.  During the night of November 18th, Arnold retreated 20 miles to Point aux Trembles, where his men were housed and fed by the Canadiens, to wait for reinforcements from Montgomery.

5 – The Continental Congress Letter of January 24th 1776

While Arnold retreated upriver, two British ships, one of which carried Carleton, would sail downriver to Quebec.  On November 22nd, Carleton issued a proclamation that those who refused to enroll in the militia and those in the militia who refused to take up arms against the Americans must quit the town within four days or they would be “under pain of being treated as rebels or spies.”  Many merchants left Quebec, including John McCord, Zachary Macaulay, Edward Antill (who Montgomery made his chief engineer), John Bondfield, John Wells and others.  On the same day, Lieutenant Pringle left Quebec and sailed for London with letters from Carleton asking for “a large and powerful Land and Naval Armament to reconquer the Country.”

On December 3rd, General Montgomery and his 660 men arrived in three schooners, at Point aux Trembles to join Colonel Arnold and his 500 men, bringing them new British winter uniforms, hats and leggings, shoes and snowshoes – captured from British transports at Montreal.  On December 4th, Montgomery led them back to Quebec where they blocked all the roads to the city and erected batteries with guns brought from Montreal; while Carleton prepared to simply withstand the seige until spring, when British ships would arrive with relief.  On December 20th, a smallpox epidemic hit the American camp.  The sick, as fast as discovered, were taken several miles away and everything was done to prevent contagion.

*Note* It has been alleged that in December, the British fort commander had civilians immunised against the disease and then deliberately sent out to infect the American and Canadien troops.  A few weeks later a major smallpox epidemic broke out.

Death of Gen. Montgomery

Death of Gen. Montgomery

Knowing that he could not capture Quebec through siege warfare, Montgomery planned an attack on the city to force Carleton into battle.  Montgomery would lead his troops along the narrow road from Wolfe’s Cove, following the St. Lawrence river below the cliff at Cape Diamond, to attack the Lower Town from the south, while Arnold would lead his men from St. Roch past the Palace Gate, following the Charles river below the cliff, to attack the Lower Town from the north, and join with Montgomery and together force their way to attack the Upper Town, while Livingston and the Canadien Regiment and Brown and his men would carry out a diversion at the St. Jean gate, to draw the British to the walls overlooking the Plains of Abraham.

In the early morning of December 31st they attacked.  As Montgomery led his men through a barricade along the narrow road, they were fired on by a canon from a nearby blockhouse – as the militia and sailors in it were fleeing from the approaching Americans, and General Montgomery was killed(17), along with Captain Cheesman, Captain McPherson and two pioneers.  Now in command, Colonel Donald Campbell, along with Montgomery`s aide-de-camp, Aaron Burr, hastily ordered the troops to retreat.  As Arnold and his men passed the Palace Gate, they were fired on from atop the wall by British muskets, grenades and bomb shells as they moved single file past the warehouses and dockyards until they reached the first barricade and were fired on by the British soldiers.  Here Arnold was wounded in the left leg and had to turn back.  Captain Daniel Morgan now led the troops, and attacked and scaled the first barricade, and took over 100 prisoners.

The British fend off an American assault on Quebec in the Winter of 1775

The British fend off an American assault on Quebec in the Winter of 1775

At dawn, Carleton sent a small force to strengthen the militia and sailors at the barricade below Cape Diamond, and then sent two hundred men under Captain Lawes out the Palace Gate and onto the rear of Arnold’s troops, where they caught up to Captain Dearborn who surrended, being lost and wandering among the warehouses.  Carleton sent more troops from the Upper Town down to the Lower Town where they encountered Morgan and his men at the second barricade.  With Lawes at the first barricade, and the British now at the second barricade, Morgan and his men were now caught in the open between the two barricades under musket and cannon fire, where they took heavy casualties.  With no coming rendezvous with Montgomery, due to the actions of Campbell, Lieutenant Colonel Christopher Greene was forced to surrender.  A total of 426 Americans were taken prisoner(18) and about 60 had been killed.  Although only having 6 killed and 1 wounded, Carleton did not counter-attack but remained behind the walls of Quebec with its cannon, waiting for the British ships to come in the spring.

Due to his injury, Arnold wrote to General Wooster, asking for as many men as could be spared, and resigning his command to Colonel Campbell.  But after hearing from his officers of Campbell’s timidity during the retreat of December 31st (conduct for which Campbell was later court-martialed) and requesting he withdraw his resignation, General Arnold(19) resumed his command on January 24th, and continued the siege of Quebec from his sick bed.  Wooster had only 500 men to garrison Montreal, Chambly and St. Jean, had no more cash to pay for transporting the men and ammunition (he had already spent the ₤20,000 advanced by Price) and instead he secured Montreal for a possible retreat.  The British later were to try a few sallies out of the Palace gate to try and seize the American’s field pieces, but were attacked and forced to retreat back inside the fort.  Arnold had 700 American and Canadien troops, but most of the Canadiens who joined had no weapons.  Arnold had no more than ₤500 in cash and just 20 barrels of salt pork and was obliged to beg, borrow and squeeze to get money for their subsistence, while the Canadiens were increasingly reluctant to accept the American paper money.  But the worst problem of all was smallpox, and it began to take its toll on the troops.

Arnold had sent Edward Antill to Wooster with his report.  On January 13th, Wooster sent Antill, along with Moses Hazen, to Schuyler in Albany.  Schuyler had few troops to send to Montreal, and was faced with the danger of several hundred Tories at Tryon county being roused against him by Guy Johnson.  Antill (with Hazen) was sent on to Philadelphia, with Wooster`s, Arnold`s and Schuyler’s letters, to notify Congress of the death of Montgomery and to urge relief for the situation in the north.  He delivered the letters on January 17th and ‘had conference with congress’ – answering questions for two hours.

On January 19th, the Continental Congress resolved “that the American army in Canada be reinforced with all possible dispatch” and asked New Jersey and Philadelphia “immediately to quicken the officers employed in levying the forces directed to be raised in those colonies and marched to Canada” and “that for the more speedy raising the battalions, ordered on the 8th of January, to be raised in the colonies of New Hampshire, Connecticut, New York, and Pennsylvania, for the defence of Canada, it is recommended … to exert their utmost endeavours in raising the said battalions”.  (In addition, General Washington would ask Massachusets to also raise a regiment for service in Canada.)

On January 20th, the Continental Congress resolved, “that General Washington be desired to despatch a general officer, if he can be spared from the service at Cambridge, to command the army in Canada”, “that, exclusive of Colonel Livingston and his regiment, already determined upon, there be one thousand Canadians more raised … and form one regiment”, and “that the committee of safety of Pennsylvania be desired to provide and despatch fifes and drums to Canada, for the two regiments directed to be raised in that Colony”.  On January 22nd, Moses Hazen was unanimously elected Colonel Commandant, and Edward Antill Lieutenant Colonel.  (Clement Gosselin and Pierre Ayotte would become their recruiting agents.)

On January 24th, the Continental Congress approved a “Letter to the Inhabitants of the Province of Canada”, which had been written by the appointed committee of William Livingston, Thomas Lynch and James Wilson, and ordered that it be immediately translated and printed.  Hazen carried this letter with him when he returned to Montreal, and Wooster had it published and disseminated.

On January 23rd, five horsemen, who had been sent from Philadelphia with all the specie that had adorned the continental treasury, arrived in Montreal.  On January 23rd, 120 troops sent by Wooster from Montreal arrived to reinforce Arnold at Quebec, and by February 4th, eighty-five more men would arrive. Arnold had 100 men in the hospital with smallpox by then.  On January 26th, Arnold appointed Abbe Louis de Lotbiniere as chaplain to Livingston’s Canadian Regiment, since the priests, on the orders of the pro-British bishop Briand, would not give the sacraments to those who supported the Americans.  (Hazen would recruit Father Floquet as chaplain for his Canadian regiment.)

On March 8th, the advance guard of the 1st Pennsylvania Regiment (under Colonel John de Haas) had begun arriving at Quebec, soon followed by the advance of the 2nd New Jersey Regiment (under Colonel William Maxwell).  There also were now 200 Canadians in Livingston’s regiment and 250 Canadians in Hazen’s regiment.  The beseiging American army numbered 2500, but almost one-third were unfit for duty, due to smallpox!

Carleton had sent word to Beaujeu, a seigneur of Ile aux Grues, to cut off Arnold’s guard at Point Levi and to break the blockade of Quebec.  Beaujeu marched with 350 men towards Point Levi.  When he heard of the coming attack, on March 22nd, Arnold sent Major Duboys with 80 men and Colonel Nicholson with 70 men, along with a large number of Canadiens who joined these forces, down river to meet them.  Duboys surprised Beaujeu’s advance party at a priest’s house, killing six, wounding three, and taking forty as prisoners.  Beaujeu’s main force then scattered.

With enough troops now to secure a retreat to Montreal, on April 1st, Wooster arrived to take command of the siege at Quebec.  Having now undone the damage which was done to the cannon by the British when they fled from Montreal, the cannon were moved up to Quebec, and two 24-pounders were also sent from St. Jean.  New batteries were opened at Point Levis, to bombard the town and also the British ships in the harbour, and new batteries were planned for the Heights of Abraham and for the other side of the Charles river.  Two fire-ships were built to attack the British ships in the harbour, once the ice melted.  (One fire-ship was unsuccessful in its attempt to attack and burn the British fleet in the harbour, on May 3rd.)

Wooster had left Moses Hazen in command at Montreal until Arnold should arrive.  On rumors that a force of Indians and British regulars were planning to descend the St. Lawrence river and attack Montreal, Hazen ordered Colonel Bedel and 390 of the New Hampshire and Connecticut men and two pieces of artillery to proceed forty miles above Montreal and entrench himself behind a wooden stockade at a mission post known as the Cedars, to guard against a surprise from the enemy or from the Indians.  After recovering from an injury to his injured leg by a fall from a horse, Arnold left Quebec and arrived at Montreal on April 19th.

The rest of the 1st Pennsylvania Regiment and the rest of the 2nd New Jersey Regiment, along with the 2nd Pennsylvania Regiment (under Colonel Arthur St. Clair), the Connecticut Regiment (under Colonel Charles Burrell), and a company of Pennsylvania artillery (under Captain Bernard Romans) would have to wait until the ice broke up on the lakes before travelling north.  On April 25th, these remaining troops began leaving Ticonderoga, and on May 5th would begin arriving in Canada.  The New Hampshire Regiment (under Colonel Timothy Bedel) and the Massachusetts Regiment (under Colonel Elisha Porter) travelled to Quebec by way of Fort Number Four to the Onion river.

On March 6th, Congress had confirmed General Washington’s appointment of Brigadier-General John Thomas to command the army in Canada, and Congress had also promoted Thomas to Major-General.  Thomas left Roxbury on March 21st, arrived at Albany on March 28th but had to wait almost three weeks while Lake Champlain was impassable due to ice.  (Also waiting at Albany were cannon sent from New York, another 1500 troops, and $3200 in gold.)  On April 17th, Thomas finally could leave Albany and travel to Montreal. On April 26th, Major General Thomas arrived in Montreal.  After a hasty meeting with Arnold, Thomas left down the St. Lawrence river and arrived at Quebec on May 1st.

6 – Instructions to the Commissioners to Canada of March 20th 1776

On February 12th, the Continental Congress “being informed that a gentleman was arrived from Canada, who had some matters of consequence to communicate, ordered the Committee of Correspondence do confer with him and report to Congress”.  After meeting with Prudent Lajeunesse, the report (written in Dr. Franklin’s handwriting) said that

He says that when the Canadians first heard of the Dispute they were generally on the American side; but that by the influence of the Clergy and the Noblesse, who have been continually preaching and persuading them against us, they are now brought into a State of Suspence or Uncertainty which Side to follow … the common People being generally unable to read … That he therefore thinks it would be of great Service if some Persons from the Congress were sent to Canada, to explain viva voce to the People there the Nature of our Dispute with England, which they do not well understand”.

On February 15th, the Continental Congress resolved

that a committee of three, on the reports of the committee of correspondence, (two of whom to be members of Congress) be appointed to proceed to Canada, there to pursue such instructions as shall be given them by Congress: the members chosen, Dr. Benjamin Franklin, Mr. Samuel Chase, and Mr. Charles Carroll of Carrollton”, and “that Mr. Carroll be requested to prevail on Mr. John Carroll to accompany the committee to Canada, to assist them in such matters as they shall think useful”.

Ben Franklin

Ben Franklin

Nine months ago, on May 5th 1775, Dr. Franklin had arrived in Philadelphia, after sailing from London to return to America.  The next morning, he was chosen by the Pennsylvania Assembly to be one of their deputies to the Continental Congress, which was to meet in Philadelphia in four days.  He was appointed to all the most important committees in Congress.  Appointed by Congress as chairman of a committee to establish a postal system, he brought in their report and the next day was elected Postmaster General at a salary of $1,000 a year – which he gave for the relief of wounded soldiers.  He was assigned to committees to report the petition to the king, to promote the manufacture of saltpetre for gunpowder in the colonies, to draw up the declaration by Washington on taking command, to arrange for the printing of paper money, to devise ways and means to protect the trade of the colonies, to have charge of the Indians living west of Pennsylvania and Virginia, to make inquiries about lead and lead ore throughout the colonies and the cheapest and easiest way of making salt, was appointed chairman of a committee to consider Lord North’s February motion for conciliation, and when Congress resolved itself into a committee of the whole to take into consideration the state of America, he read his Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union which he had drawn up for the United Colonies of North America. Congress did not adjourn until August 1st and returned September 13th.

Dr. Franklin had also been elected to the Pennsylvania Assembly and when the assembly adjourned from July to September, it appointed a Committee of Safety to defend the province during the recess, and the Committee elected him president – working on a project to furnish a model for a pike for infantrymen, on machines for the interruption of navigation across a river, on building armed boats with a brass canon, on building a fort near Gloucester with a watchman to signal from the lighthouse on the approach of armed vessels.  The Committee of Safety took no recess.  When Congress resumed, he was appointed to the secret committee for the importation of gunpowder and to the committee on American trade, was chosen as a delegate to go to confer with Washington and the New England authorities on the support of the army – where the council sat for four days planning the reorganization of the army, revising the articles of war, making rules for the exchange of prisoners and for the disposal of prizes taken at sea by the armed schooners, was appointed to committees to arrange for two swift packets for the mails, to deal with vessels and cargoes of the enemy taken by the colonies, to deal with persons who refused to accept the Continental currency, and to the Committee of Secret Correspondence with ‘the sole purpose of corresponding with our friends in Great Britain, Ireland and other parts of the world” – he also met with a secret agent of France, Achard de Bonvouloir.  When Congress voted to send Silas Deane to represent Congress to France, he carried instructions written by Dr. Franklin and also letters to Dr. Franklin’s friends in Paris.

thomas-paine-common-sense-620x330On January 10th 1776, Thomas Paine had published his pamphlet ‘Common Sense’ in Philadelphia.  He had been asked in October by Dr. Franklin to write “a history of the present transactions”, and “got it ready for the press as fast as I conveniently could, and sent him (Dr. Franklin) the first pamphlet that was printed off”.

Now at seventy years of age, Dr. Franklin was asked to go to Canada with thirty-five year-old Samuel Chase, also a member of Congress, and with thirty-seven year-old Charles Carroll, a rich and influential Catholic layman, and his cousin, John Carroll, a Jesuit priest – both because they were Catholic and had been educated in France.  Dr. Franklin would leave it to the two Carroll’s to keep a record of their journey.  Being now too occupied with this work in Congress, Dr. Franklin resigned from the Pennsylvania Assembly and Committee of Safety.

Dr. Franklin also thought that Congress should take charge of boundary disputes between the colonies and of the planting of new colonies “when proper”.  And so, just before he left for Canada, Dr. Franklin chaired a meeting on March 20th of the Ohio Company!

On March 16th, Congress appointed Baron de Woedtke to Brigadier-General, and directed him to go to Albany and to wait there for the commissioners and to accompany them to Canada, and on March 19th, Congress authorized that $50,000 be sent to Schuyler, in Albany, for the Canada campaign.  On March 29th, the Congress “took into consideration the report of the committee on the means of supplying the troops in Canada: whereupon” it was “resolved that a deputy commissary general of stores and provisions be appointed for the army of the United Colonies in Canada”.  Mr. J. Price was elected, and on April 3rd, Congress resolved to advance the sum of $64,358.60 to Messrs. Price and Haywood on settlement of their account of supplies to the army of Canada.

Also sent to Montreal was Fleury Mesplet, a French printer from Philadelphia.  On February 26th, Congress resolved “Mons. Mesplet, Printer, be engaged to go to Canada, and there set up his press and carry on the printing business, and the Congress engage to defray the expense of transporting him, his family and printing utensils to Canada, and will moreover pay him the sum of two hundred dollars”.  He left Philadelphia on March 18th with 5 wagons and his printing equipment, arrived at Montreal on May 6th, and set up his press in the Chateau de Ramezay.

Earlier that January, Colonel Henry Knox had returned to Cambridge with 60 tons of heavy artillery that had been captured from the British at Fort Ticonderoga, travelling on sledges over the frozen Hudson and Connecticut rivers.  On March 2nd Washington used them to begin bombing the British in Boston, and on March 5th moved some of the canon to Dorchester heights, where they were now within range of the British fleet.  Feeling that their ships and their troops were now at risk, General Howe(20) decide to evacuate Boston, with orders for the troops to burn the town if there were any disturbances while they were loading the ships.  On March 17th the British fleet of 120 ships with over 11,000 on board, left the harbour and sailed for Halifax.

On March 20th, the Continental Congress agreed to the instructions for the commission to Canada.

Represent to them, that the arms of the United Colonies, having been carried into that province for the purpose of frustrating the designs of the British court against our common liberties … that we shall put it into the power of our Canadian brethren, to pursue such measures for securing their own freedom and happiness, as a generous love of liberty and sound policy shall dictate to them … that the people of Canada may set up such a form of government, as will be most likely, in their judgment, to produce their happiness.”

On March 25th, Congress, upon receiving Washington’s letter informing them of the British evacuation, now instructed Washington to send four additional battalions to Canada, “as soon as he shall be of opinion that the safety of New York … will permit”.  But Washington feared a possible British attack on New York and on April 4th he left Cambridge with his army for Manhattan.  As the British had now evacuated Boston, on April 1st Washington would send two companies of Knox’s artillery (under Captain Ebenezer Stevens) to Canada with two 13-inch mortars, by cutting a road across the Green mountains and by raft down Otter creek.  On April 12th, as asked by Congress, General Washington would send General William Thompson to Canada with four more regiments of 1100 men in all – the 8th Continental Regiment (from New Hampshire under Colonel Enoch Poor), the 15th Continental Regiment (from Massachusetts under Colonel John Patterson), the 24th Continental Regiment (from Massachusetts under Colonel John Greaton), and the 25th Continental Regiment (from Massachusetts under Colonel William Bond).  On April 26th, General Washington would send General John Sullivan to Canada with six regiments of 2500 men in all – the 4th Pennsylvania Regiment under Colonel Anthony Wayne, the 6th Pennsylvania Regiment under Colonel William Irvine, the 1st New Jersey Regiment under Colonel William Wind, the 3rd New Jersey Regiment under Colonel Elias Dayton, the 2nd Continental Regiment (from New Hampshire) under Colonel James Reed(21) and the 5th Continental Regiment (both from New Hampshire) under Colonel John Stark.

In the last week of March, the commissioners for Canada set out on their mission, first travelling to New York – where General Washington was also travelling.  After two days in New York, the commissioners took a sloop for Albany on April 2nd and arrived on April 7th where they met General Schuyler, staying two days in Albany, and on April 9th the commissioners travelled with the Schuyler family to their house at Saratoga, where they spent a week.  On April 16th they rowed up the Hudson and spent the night at a frontier inn at Fort Edward, and the next day they travelled by horseback and spent the night at Wing’s tavern, half way to Fort George, and arrived at Fort George the next day, where they joined General Schuyler, who had left for Fort George ahead of them.  Here they embarked on Lake George in open flatboats that had to fight their way through the ice, spending the night on shore where Dr. Franklin slept under an awning on one of the boats.  On April 25th they reached Lake Champlain, after a tedious portage at the end of Lake George, and continuing in the boats, reached Fort St. Jean on April 27th, where they drove in caleches toward LaPrairie, crossed the St. Lawrence river in boats, and finally on April 29th reached Montreal, where they stayed at the house of Thomas Walker, and where they were met by General Arnold.

7 – Letters of the Commissioners in Canada, May 1st to May 11th 1776

On May 1st, the commissioners wrote to Congress, warning of “the lowness of the continental credit here” and

therefore the utmost dispatch should be used in forwarding a large sum hither (we believe twenty thousand pounds will be necessary) … therefore, til the arrival of money, it seems improper to propose the Federal union of this province with the others … til they see our credit recovered, and a sufficient army arrived to secure the possession of the country … we are told that not less than the eight thousand ordered by Congress will be a sufficent army for this quarter”.  “Yesterday we attended a Council of War, the minutes of which we enclose.  The places proposed are proper to prevent the further progress of the enemy in case they should oblige us to raise the siege of Quebeck. The plank and timber for the gondolas are all prepared and ready at Fort Chambly, and some of the carpenters are arrived from New-York; others are to be engaged here; and as hard money is necessary for these, we have agreed to advance some out of what the Congress put into our hands for our own subsistence, to be replaced when cash shall arrive”.  “We have directed the opening of the Indian trade, and granting passports to all who shall enter into certain engagements to do nothing in the upper country prejudicial to the Continental interests”.

At Montreal, in addition to granting passports to open the Indian trade, the arrests of suspected British supporters ceased and the militia officers lodged in the prisons at Fort Chambly were released and allowed to return home.  [In January, after Wooster had heard of Montgomery’s death, he ordered the arrest of twelve prominent Montreal citizens who were known to be supporters of the British. Following a protest from some of the citizens, Wooster yielded and released them. On January 6th, Wooster issued a public warning that any person seeking to injure the cause of Congress by word or deed, or send help of any kind to the British garrison at Quebec, or who disobeyed the American authorities, would be considered a traitor and punished.  On January 16th, Wooster ordered the disarming of three Montreal suburbs regarded as sympathetic to the British and odered the surrender of Hertel de Rouville and William Gray as hostages.  Wooster also ordered the captains of militia to surrender their British commissions, and for the new companies to elect their militia captains, who would receive their commissions from Congress.  Any captains who refused to give up their British commissions were arrested and imprisoned in Fort Chambly.]

On May 6th, the commissions wrote a second letter to Congress that

the want of money frequently constrains the commanders to have recourse to violences in providing the Army with carriages, and other conveniences, which indispose and irritate the minds of the people”.  “If hard money cannot be procured and forwarded with despatch to Canada, it would be advisable, in our opinion, to withdraw our Army, and fortify the passes on the lakes, to prevent the enemy, and the Canadians, if so inclined, from making irruptions into, and depredations on, our frontiers”.

On May 8th, the commissioners again wrote to Congress, that

many of our friends are drained dry … they show us long accounts, no part of which we are able to discharge, of the supplies they have furnished to our Army, and declare that they have borrowed and taken up on credit so long for our service, that they can now be trusted no longer … the Tories will not trust us a farthing, and some who, perhaps, wish us well, conceiving that we shall, through our own poverty, or from superior force, be soon obliged to abandon the country, are afraid to have any dealings with us, lest they should hereafter be called to account for abetting our cause”(22).  “We have daily intimations of plots hatching and insurrections intended, for expelling us on the first news of the arrival of the British Army … In short, if money cannot be had to support your Army here with honour, so as to be respected, instead of being hated by the people, we report it as our firm and unanimous opinion, that it is better immediately to withdraw it”.

These messages were received by Congress on May 18th, and on May 22nd Congress resolved

That the specie now in the treasury, and as much more as can be procured, not exceeding the sum of one hundred thousand dollars, be immediately remitted to the commissioners for the payment of debts due from these colonies in Canada, and for the preservation of public credit … That the commissioners in Canada, and General Schuyler, be informed, that we cannot give then any assurance of maintaining our army there by hard money; but, that this ought not to discourage our operations, Congress being determined to send, from these colonies, supplies of provisions and all the necessaries, if hard money cannot be obtained; and that, in the mean time, the best endeavours shall be used to procure the sum of one hundred thousand dollars in hard money … That 500,000 dollars be sent as soon as possible to General Schuyler”.

On May 24th, the President of Congress wrote to the commissioners,

I have forwarded to General Schuyler, by this conveyance, the sum of sixteen hundred and sixty-two pounds one shilling and three pence, in hard money, which was all that was in the Treasury”.

On May 10th the commissioners received a letter from General Thomas (written on May 7th) that

immediately on my arrival at the camp before Quebeck, which was on the 1st instant, I examined into the state of the Army, and found, by the returns, there were one thousand nine hundred men, only one thousand of whom were fit for duty, including officers; the rest were invalids, chiefly with the small-pox(23). Three hundred of those effective were soldiers whose inlistments expired the 15th ultimo, many of whom refused duty, and all were very importunate to return home. There were several posts to be supported with this small number, at such distances from each other that not more than three hundred men could be rallied to the relief of any one, should it be attacked by the whole force of the enemy”. General Thomas also told the commissioners that on May 5th he held a council of war, with General Wooster and the field officers, and that fearing that British vessels may arrive at any time and sail up the river and cut off their line of communication it was voted against an assault on the town, to lift the siege, to remove all the sick to Trois Rivieres, and to let the whole army follow in a deliberate retreat to some post “where there would be a prospect of resisting with success”.

That evening Thomas “received certain intelligence of fifteen ships being forty leagues below Quebeck, making up the river”.  The next day, as they “were employed at this time in carrying the sick, artillery, &c., on board the bateaus”, three British ships(24) having left Britain carrying 300 troops of the 29th regiment, reached Quebec and sailed to the mouth of the Charles river and began landing the troops and the marines that were aboard.  On seeing the Americans decamping, Carleton ordered an advance party with 4 brass field-pieces, of 100 grenadiers and 80 marines of these new troops, along with 720 men from the garrison at Quebec to march out onto the Plains of Abraham.

Thomas was able to gather not more than 200 men to meet them, but the British artillery forced them to retreat in such haste that thay had to leave behind their cannon on the batteries, all their provisions, and five hundred stand of small-arms.  Their “movements were retarded by the change the arrival of these vessels had produced in the dispositions of the inhabitants; for they would neither furnish us with teams nor in any way afford us assistance, but kept themselves concealed”. Two hundred of the sick (with smallpox) had to be left behind – to fall into the hands of the British.  Carleton halted for an hour, before sending out scouting parties to burn the American barracks.  Carleton sent the Surprize and the Martin up the river to fire on the retreating Americans and they also recaptured one armed vessel, the Gaspe, and some boats containing some brass cannon along with two tons of gunpowder and 100 barrels of flour.

On May 7th, Thomas and the army began to arrive at Deschambault, forty-five miles from Quebec, meeting Colonel Burrell and his Connecticut regiment that was advancing to Quebec.  Another council of war was held, and it was decided “to advance still farther up the river”, since the British “ships of war were hastening forward with all possible despatch, and had already got up as far as Jacques Cartier; we had no cannon to prevent their passing the falls of Richelieu; and it was voted not to make a stand at Deschambault”.  Thomas and his army had been pursued by the two British ships and the recaptured schooner Gaspe, and on May 9th, eight boat-loads of men disembarked four miles below Deschambault.  Thomas then sent the 1st Pennsylvania regiment to attack them, and after a slight skirmish the British retreated back to their ships.

On May 10th, the commissioners wrote a short message to Congress, informing them of what they had read in Thomas’s letter (of May 7th), that

this day General Arnold goes down there; and if he can get information of the enemy’s real strength, and it should be found inconsiderable, perhaps a council of war, on reconsideration, may think proper to march the Army back to Deschambault”, and that “we are afraid it will not be in our power to render our country any further services in this Colony.  If our Army should maintain possession of any considerable part of this country, it will be absolutely necessary to keep some power to control the military”.

On May 10th, the commissioners also wrote to General Schuyler that

from the present appearance of things, it is very probable we shall lie under the necessity of abandoning Canada, at least all except that part which lies on the Sorel.  We may certainly keep possession of St. Johns until the enemy can bring up against that post a superior force, and an artillery to besiege it.  A further reinforcement will only increase our distress.  An immediate supply of provisions from over the Lakes is absolutely necessary for the preservation of the troops already in this Province, as we shall be obliged to evacuate all this country, except that part of it already mentioned.  No provisions can be drawn from Canada; the subsistence, therefore, of our Army will entirely depend on the supplies it can receive, and that immediately, from Ticonderoga.  We need not mention the propriety of immediately fitting out the vessels at that place to bring over provisions, and the sending off batteaus, and constructing more, for drawing the troops out of Canada, should we be constrained by superior force to take that measure, and in the interim to bring provisions”.

The next day, May 11th, the commissioners wrote to General Schuyler,

the enclosed intelligence came to hand at two o’ clock this morning.  It is impossible to procure any pork in this Colony; there is none but what came over the Lakes.  A schooner sails this afternoon for Deschambault with three hundred and fifty barrels of flour and about ten barrels of pork, which is the whole to be procured here.  After the arrival of the brigade under General Thompson, we compute there will be about five thousand troops in Canada. We understand this brigade brings only ten days’ provisions with them … General Arnold leaves us this afternoon to go down to Deschambault”.

On May 11th, much fatigued and suffering from boils and a swelling of his legs that he thought was dropsy, and after hearing of the arrival of the British reinforcements at Quebec, Dr. Franklin decided to leave Canada.  Since the American army was short of money, Dr. Franklin advanced them ₤353 in gold of his own.  Samuel Chase, Charles Carroll and Father John Carroll followed Dr. Franklin to Fort St. Jean.  Samuel Chase and Charles Carroll went “to examine into the state of the garrison and of the batteaux” where they met General Thompson and Colonel Sinclair and travelled with them down the Sorel, past the rapids to Fort Chambly, before returning to La Prairie and Montreal on May 14th.  John Carroll went to accompany Dr. Franklin back to Philadelphia “seeing it was out of my power to be of any service after the commissioners had thought it advisable for them to leave Montreal” – since the Canadien clergy had refused to meet with Father Carroll, although he did have a number of interviews with Father Floquet.  Dr. Franklin and Fr. Carroll were later joined by Thomas Walker and his wife, who travelled with them to Albany.  From Albany, with the friendly assistance and tender care of Fr. Carroll(25), Dr. Franklin travelled by land, as arranged by General Schuyler, and arrived at New York on June 27th, and at Philadelphia on May 31st.

8 – Letters of the Commissioners in Canada, May 15th to May 27th 1776

On May 15th, in a letter to the commissioners from Sorel, Arnold wrote,

I have purchased twenty-seven hundred bushels of wheat … it is now sending to the mills. I have also received two hundred bags of flour from below, and expect a quantity more every moment; also, three tons of flour, which I had engaged before I left Montreal. I make no doubt, in a few days, of collecting a magazine of flour sufficient for ten thousand men for three months.  A Commissary that I sent out to purchase provisions, returned yesterday with twenty oxen.  I have put the people to half an allowance of meat, and added to their bread.  I make no doubt of supporting the Army until provisions can come over the Lakes”.

Arnold also asked the commissioners,

I should be glad to know your sentiments in regard to inoculation as early as possible.  Will it not be best, considering the impossibility of preventing the spreading of the small-pox, to inoculate five hundred or a thousand men immediately, and send them to Montreal, and as many more every five days, until the whole receive it, which will prevent our Army being distressed hereafter; and I make no doubt we shall have more effective men in four weeks than by endeavouring to prevent the disorder spreading — a period so near that the enemy will not, with any considerable force, be able to reach this place by that time”.  Arnold, in another letter that day, also informed them, “Mr. Bonfield further acquaints me that General Carleton was to set out on Friday, from Quebeck, to attack General Thomas; of which he acquainted the latter”.

On May 15th, in a letter to the Commissioners from Trois Rivieres, General Thomas wrote that,

in my return from Quebeck I halted at Jacques Cartier(26) and Deschambault; which appear to me the most advantageous posts on the river St. Lawrence, to prevent the progress of the enemy into the country.  I continued six days, in hopes of receiving a supply of provisions, intrenching tools, and many et ceteras; the want of which compelled me at length, with great reluctance, to quit them … I this morning arrived at this place with about eight hundred men … I shall repair immediately to the Sorel, and advise with the principal officers there; if the boats and gondolas are in readiness, it will be my opinion to return with the utmost expedition to Deschambault, a post I am, for many substantial reasons, extremely unwilling to abandon to the enemy. Not a vessel of theirs has yet been able to pass the falls of Richelieu, so difficult is the navigation … The small-pox is an infinite detriment to the service; notwithstanding which, and the most express orders to the contrary, both officers and soldiers privately inoculate themselves”.

On May 16th and 17th the commissioners wrote letters to General Schuyler that

the following intelligence was communicated to us about an hour ago, and we think may be depended on: John McChord left Loretto, in sight of Quebeck, on Monday last. He was told by French people who came out of Quebeck on Sunday, that two companies arrived of the Twenty-Ninth Regiment, one frigate, and one transport from Halifax”.

On May 8th, the British 47th regiment had arrived at Quebec, which had been sent by General Howe aboard the frigate Niger on April 20th from Halifax.  And on May 10th, the rest of the 29th regiment had arrived from Britain in four more British ships.

At Trois Rivieres, General Thomas left the sick, with Maxwell and his New Jersey troops for protection, and retreated with the rest of his army to Sorel, arriving there on May 17th, where he met Arnold and his men, and General Thompson who had just arrived with Greaton`s and Bond`s regiments and St. Clair`s 2nd Pennsylvania regiment.  The rest of Thompson’s brigade had arrived at Fort St. Jean.

On May 17th, Arnold wrote from Sorel to the commissioners that

I am very happy to find you are in sentiments with me in regard to the small-pox.  General Thompson and all the officers here agree with us.  I think it advisable to inoculate Colonel Patterson’s Regiment at Montreal, Colonel Bedel’s at the Cedars, and the troops posted at La Prairie and Longueil, at those places.  It is thought most advisable to send all the troops at Montreal here, who have had the small-pox, and to send five or six hundred men from this to Montreal … It will be very difficult to provide them quarters on the Sorel, except at such a distance as will render it extremely difficult to visit and supply them with provisions and other necessaries. This difficulty will be obviated at Montreal … The distance of time you mention between inoculating them will doubtless be most prudent”.

On May 17th, the Commissioners wrote to Congress concerning Arnold’s two letters and also warned them that they now faced a British attack from the west of Montreal,

Colonel Bedel, who commands at the Cedars, a post of great consequence, about thirty-six miles from this city, up the St. Lawrence, being informed by two Indians that a body of savages, about one hundred, headed by some English soldiers, number unknown, were come within nine miles of his post, with an intention to attack it, brought this intelligence himself to town, and left his garrison, consisting of three hundred effective men … Colonel Paterson, who now commands in Montreal, immediately ordered a detachment from his regiment, of one hundred and fifty men, to reinforce the Cedars; a fresh supply of provisions and ammunition was sent with his detachment”.

On May 20th, Thomas wrote from Sorel to the commissioners that

a great part of the Army are, or speedily will be, unfit for duty by means of inoculation, notwithstanding everything I have been able to do to prevent it … in consequence of the intelligence I have this day received of the unhappy situation of the troops under the command of Colonel Bedel, I have thought it prudent to detach two regiments, the one to Montreal, the other to Chambly and St. Johns.  The want of provisions has made it absolutely necessary for me to order Colonel Maxwell, with the troops under his command at Three Rivers, immediately to join me here”.

On May 21st, the commissioners Chase and Carroll, set out from Montreal to travel down the St. Lawrence river to Sorel, where they met General Thomas and General Thompson, and Colonel de Haas was sent with 400 men to reinforce Arnold at Montreal.  On May 22nd, the commissioners returned down the Sorel river to Fort Chambly, and then by road to Longueil, and across the St. Lawrence to Montreal.

Thomas sent Dr. Senter back to Montreal to open up a hospital (using the house belonging to the British East India Company) to be able to send all the sick at Trois Rivieres back to this hospital.  Thomas had tried to deny the inoculation of the troops, to maintain the efficiency of the army (although some troops disobeyed orders and secretly inoculated themselves), and since he denied it to his men, he refused to be inoculated himself.  Thomas was seized with smallpox, on May 21st – the same day he met with the commissioners, and was removed to Fort Chambly where he died on June 2nd.

In a letter to Congress on May 27th, the commissioners wrote about their trip to Sorel,

in our last, we informed you of the deplorable state of the Army; matters have not mended since … General Thomas is now at Chambly, under the small-pox; being taken with that disorder, he left the camp at Sorel and wrote to General Wooster to come and take the command.  When the interest of our country and the safety of your Army is at stake, we think it a very improper time to conceal our sentiments, either with respect to persons or things.  General Wooster is, in our opinion, unfit, totally unfit, to command your Army, and conduct the war; we have hitherto prevailed on him to remain in Montreal … Your Army in Canada do not exceed four thousand; above four hundred are sick with different disorders; three-fourths of the Army have not had the small-pox. The greater part of Greaton’s, Bond’s, and Burrell’s Regiments have been lately inoculated”.

On May 25th, General Thompson, now in command at Sorel, wrote to the commissioners,

I have despatched people up the Sorel, to collect all the wheat on both sides of the river that can be spared for the Army, and have it sent to the mills as soon as possible … Colonel Maxwell, with his party, arrived here yesterday. He is very unhappy in being ordered up, and thinks that he could, with the few troops he had with him, have kept his post at Deschambault, till a reinforcement of both men and provisions could have been sent to him. He believes that, with two gondolas and a small battery on each side the river opposite to them, the pass can be supported against any number of troops or ships that the enemy can send for some weeks; and it is probable that our reinforcements, both of men and provisions, will arrive before that of the enemy … Mr. Bonfield says that about three or four miles below the Three Rivers, the channel runs within musket-shot of the north shore; that the banks are high, and, indeed, everything in our favour to engage us to take possession of that spot, which would be taking a great and necessary step towards our going farther down the river … that a person was met on the road between the Three Rivers and Quebeck, going up the country express, who, on hearing of the affair at the Cedars, returned immediately to carry the account of it to General Carleton, and it was supposed that some forces would be sent up in consequence of it”.

At Oswegatchie (one of the British western posts), Captain George Forster(27) with his 36 men had assembled a force of about 160 Indians, and on May 12th they began their descent towards Montreal, picked up an additional 54 Indians at the mission post at St. Regis, and on May 18th disembarked from their canoes about three miles from Colonel Bedel’s post at the Cedars and prepared to attack.

Colonel Bedel(28), having been informed by his Indian spies, turned over command to Major Isaac Butterfield, and hastened to Montreal to warn Colonel Patterson of the coming attack.  Major Henry Sherburne was sent from Montreal with 150 men and by May 18th had reached a landing point, nine miles from the Cedars, where Forster and Butterfield were exchanging musket fire.  Sherburne sent a scout to see what was happening, and received the news that a force of 500 British and Indians were marching to attack him, and he hurriedly re-embarked and returned to Fort St. Anne on Montreal Island.  Unaware that help was near, Butterfield offered to surrender if the lives of his men could be secured from the Indians.  They were then marched out of the fort at the Cedars, while the Indians plundered inside the fort, and were then returned to the fort as prisoners.  When he found out the next morning that Butterfield was still holding out, Sherburne set out once more, but when they were within four miles of the Cedars they were attacked by the Indians under Lorimier and a small group of Canadians under the Sieur de Montigny, and thinking they were outnumbered, Sherburne surrendered with 97 men to Lorimier, and were marched back to the Cedars.

On May 21st, Forster set out with his men and prisoners for Montreal, arriving on May 24th at Pointe Claire where he had been told a number of Canadians were ready to join his ranks.  His force, now numbering almost 500, continued towards La Chine.  Arnold had just returned to Montreal from Sorel, gathered about 100 men and marched to La Chine, entrenched with a cannon in a stone house.  The garrison at Fort St. Anne, upon learning that the Indians were about to land, abandoned the fort and retreated to join Arnold.  Arnold was also reinforced by Greaton’s and Reed’s regiment.  When Colonel Haas and 400 men sent from Sorel arrived at Montreal and marched to relieve Arnold, Forster was forced to retreat.  Arnold wrote from La Chine to the commissioners on May 26th that “I intend to send off four hundred men in batteaus immediately, to proceed to the isle Perot, and endeavour to cut off the enemy’s retreat”.  Colonel De Haas set off immediately with his regiment for Fort St. Anne and was followed by Arnold and his men.

On May 27th, Arnold wrote from Fort St. Anne to the commissioners, that they had arrived here and

discovered several of the enemy’ s batteaus taking our unhappy prisoners off an Island at one league distance from us …  it was not in our power to relieve them; our batteaus were a league behind, coming up the rapids very slowly”.   He sent a message to the Indians “demanding a surrender of our prisoners; and, in case of refusal, and that any of them were murdered, I would sacrifice every Indian who fell into my hands, and would follow them to their towns, and destroy them by fire and sword”.  “The answer I received was, that they had five hundred of our prisoners collected together, and that if we offered to land and attack them at Quinze Chiens, where they were posted, they would immediately kill every prisoner, and give no quarter to any who should fall into their hands hereafter”.  Arnold “ordered the boats to row for Quinze Chiens … there the enemy had two brass six-pounders, were intrenched round the church, and well fortified.  They began firing upon us when we approached within three-quarters of a mile of the shore, with their cannon and small-arms “.

Arnold returned to Fort St. Anne.

Lieutenant Parke was sent to me with a flag, and articles for exchange of prisoners, entered into by Major Sherburne and Captain Forster; one article was, that there should be an exchange of prisoners of equal rank, and that our troops should be under an obligation not to take up arms again; but the King’s troops were to be at full liberty”.

Arnold agreed, but only after this article was changed “for exchange of prisoners on equal terms”.   That night the exchange of the American prisoners began, and they returned back to the colonies.  Arnold returned to Montreal, Forster returned to Oswegatchie.

On May 27th, as well as writing about their trip to Sorel and about relieving General Wooster, the commissioners wrote to Congress about the prisoner exchange at the Cedars.

The enclosed is a copy of the agreement entered into.  This hypocritical, insidious, base, and wicked conduct of a British officer, needs few comments.  The Governours, agents, and officers of a British King, incite the savages to join them in a war against these Colonies, without the least provocation or injury. No cause of quarrel subsists between the savages and the Colonies … The British troops secure their safety by threats from the savages to murder the prisoners if attacked … This same conduct in the French, during the last war, was censured and execrated by the British nation.  Captain Forster had sufficient influence over the savages to induce them to deliver up their prisoners, (though our troops surrendered to him,) in order to procure an exchange of so many of the King’ s troops, now our prisoners.  He could control their will for the advantage of the British nation, but had not the least influence over them to prevent their murdering our people in cold blood … Five or six of our prisoners were murdered by the Indians, in the most cruel manner, after the surrender”.

On May 29th, Chase and Carroll left Montreal “to go to Chambly, to be present at a council of war of the generals and field-officers, for concerting the operations of the campaign”.  On May 30th, General Wooster called a council of war, attended by Generals Arnold, Thompson and de Woedtke,

and determined to maintain possession of the country between the St. Lawrence and Sorel, if possible; in the meantime to dispose matters so as to make an orderly retreat from Canada”.

On May 31st, the commissioners left Chambly for Fort St. Jean.  On June 1st, they met General John Sullivan(29), who had just arrived with fourteen hundred men.  Early on June 2nd, they left Fort St. Jean, and with their crew rowing all night, arrived at Fort Ticonderoga at one am on June 4th, where they met General Schuyler.  They travelled with Schuyler as far as Fort Edward, then rode to Saratoga, and then travelled by boat to Albany, and by sloop to New York, where on June 9th they met and gave a report to General Washington at his headquarters.  The next day they left to return to Philadelphia, arriving early on June 11th.

9 – The Retreat to Crown Point and the Declaration of Independence, July 4th 1776

On June 1st, Thompson learned that Colonel Maclean with eight hundred regulars (from the 29th and 47th regiments) had now advanced up the river to Trois Rivieres, forty-five miles from where he was at Sorel.  Thompson had sent Colonel St. Clair with part of the 2nd Pennsylvania regiment and Colonel Maxwell and the 2nd New Jersey regiment (over 600 men in all) to attack Maclean’s camp if it could be done with the least prospect of success.  They landed at Nicolet, on the south side of the river about nine miles above Trois Rivieres.  Thompson sent a guard of fifty men to Berthier, on the north side of the St. Lawrence river, opposite from Sorel.  Thompson had ordered De Woedtke to send on to Sorel the first new regiment that arrived at St. Jean’s, and also ordered Arnold to send back to Sorel, Colonel De Haas and the 1st Pennsylvania Regiment.  But De Haas had left Montreal for Sorel on June 4th, and proceeded to within eighteen miles of Sorel, when Arnold received intelligence that 500 Indians were about to attack the post at La Chine and ordered him to return to Montreal.  Thompson also sent the sick, and the heavy baggage (including the intrenching tools) back to Fort Chambly and Fort St. Jean, so as to facilitate his retreat should it become necessary.

On June 1st General John Sullivan had arrived at Fort St. Jean with Colonels Irvine’s, Stark’s and Reed’s regiments, and with three companies of Wayne’s regiment, but without Colonel Dayton and the 3rd New Jersey regiment(30).  Sullivan also met with Wooster(31), who was leaving to return to Connecticut.

Sullivan, thinking that if Thompson was successful at Trois Rivieres over the 800 men under Maclean, we “will soon remove the ships below Richelieu Falls and after that approach Quebec as fast as possible”.  He ordered all the heavy baggage and intrenching tools to be sent back to Sorel.

Sullivan then ordered Arnold to not only send back De Haas and his men to Sorel, but to send every man that could be spared from Montreal.  He was anxious to have back the 1st Pennsylvania regiment, because between the men that he still had of the six New England regiments of Patterson, Bond and Greaton (of Massachusetts), and Poor, Stark, and Reed (of New Hampshire) there was not one hundred men fit for duty – so much infected with or afraid of small-pox.  There were about three thousand sick at Fort Chambly.

On June 1st, Lieutenant-General John Burgoyne and a fleet of 78 British ships reached Quebec – 16 vessels carrying the Brunswick troops, 4 ships with the Hessian troops(32), 6 ships with a British corps of artillery, 6 ships with the 21st and 31st regiments, 42 transports carrying six Irish regiments (9th, 20th, 24th, 34th, 53rd, and 62nd), 2 transports carrying provisions and ammunition (enough provisions for 12,000 men for one year) and 2 frigates as convoys.  At Quebec, the Brunswick dragoons and infantry were left as garrison, all the rest rushed ahead to join Maclean – Carleton now had almost 8,000 men at Trois Rivieres.

On June 4th, Sullivan arrived at Sorel.  On June 6th, Sullivan sent Thompson and one thousand Pennsylvania men – Irvine’s regiment, the three companies of Wayne’s regiment, and the rest of St. Clair’s regiment, to reinforce Sr. Clair at Nicolet.  Four companies were sent by Arnold from Montreal, two arrived on the 7th and two on the 8th.  Wind’s New Jersey regiment was sent, but didn’t arrive until the 8th.

On the night of June 7th, still thinking there were only 800 British troops at Trois Rivieres, the American troops at Nicolet crossed the end of Lac St. Pierre to Point du Lac on the north shore.  Leaving two hundred and fifty men behind to guard their fifty boats, Thompson marched the men towards Trois Rivieres, moving with great perseverance, difficulty and fatigue, through swamp and heavily wooded terrain.  After extricating themselves from the swamp and reaching the shore, they were then fired upon by the British ships that were above the town.  Continuing the march while under fire, they discovered the advance guard of the British, composed of the 9th and 62nd regiments and Maclean’s Royal Highland Emigrants, the Canadian militia and the Indians.  Wayne attacked and drove the advance back upon the main body under Simon Fraser.  When the British opened up a massive gun and cannon fire from behind the works, they were forced to give way. The British ships dropped down the river, and landed a strong detachment in their rear, to cut off the retreat to the boats.  The guard was forced to escape in the boats as the British captured the landing.  As large numbers began advancing towards them, the Americans were forced to retreat through the swamp.  The main body of troops, about 1200, finally reached Berthier on the evening of June 10th.  During the battle, twenty-five Americans and eight British were killed.  General Thompson, Colonel Irvine and some of the men, after wandering in the swamp for twenty-four hours, finally surrendered.  About four hundred were made prisoners – they were released on parole by Carleton and sent to New York on August 6th.

The British proceeded slowly and cautiously up Lac St. Pierre in the ships, while 1200 troops under Fraser marched along the shore, which was also patrolled by the Canadians and Indians in canoes.  When word reached Sullivan that the British fleet had entered Lac St. Pierre, a council of war decided it would be worse than useless to attempt to defend Sorel against the superior numbers of troops and guns of the British fleet.  On June 14th, the army retreated, bringing everything with them (the heavy baggage, the ordinance, provisions and sick) – everything except 3 canons at the battery at Sorel.  They reached Fort Chambly and the garrison of Porter’s regiment, the night of June 15th.  The small guard at Berthier was forced to abandon the boats and escape to Chambly by way of Montreal.  The British arrived at Sorel on the evening of June 14th, a few hours after the last of the Americans had left.  At Sorel, Carleton split his army into two divisions.  Burgoyne with 4000 men was to pursue Sullivan’s retreating troops, while Carleton and the fleet continued up the St. Lawrence to Montreal.

On June 15th, Arnold had sent his aide, Captain Wilkinson, with despatches to Sullivan, when Wilkinson discovered the approaching British fleet.  Arnold had already prepared to evacuate his troops from Montreal, sending the sick and the baggage to Fort St. Jean, and removing the goods that he had seized for use of the army from the ‘Tories’.  Arnold sent the seized goods to Hazen at Fort Chambly, but Hazen refused to accept them, recognizing them as the property of his Montreal friends, and sent them on to Fort St. Jean, where they were broken into and plundered, for which Arnold later blamed Hazen(33). 

Arnold left Montreal with his 300-man garrison of Reed’s and Patterson’s regiments.  On June 16th, Carleton landed at Montreal with the 29th regiment, and sent the rest of the troops, under General Phillips, to march from La Prairie to Fort St. Jean.

On June 16th, Sullivan abandoned Fort Chambly, burning the fort, the sawmills and any of the boats and schooners that they did not use; and continued their retreat thirteen miles (burning all bridges behind them as they went) to Fort St. Jean, which was garrisoned by Poor’s and Greaton’s regiments.  The rear guard, under Major Fuller, had barely left Chambly before the arrival of the advance guard of Burgoyne.  On June 17th, Sullivan arrived and met Arnold and his men, called a council of war, where it was determined to continue the retreat to Crown Point.

The sick had first been moved by boat from Fort St. Jean to Ile aux Noix, and the boats then returned to help remove the army.  The barracks, fortifications and shipyards were stripped of everything and burned, and Sullivan and his men left for Ile aux Noix, arriving there on June 18th.  Arnold, Wilkinson, Major Bigelow and forty men were posted at St. Jean to protect the retreat.  When Burgoyne’s advance guard was seen approaching, they left in the remaining boats.  Not wanting to leave anything behind for the British to use, when Arnold and Wilkinson rode back to the water’s edge, they dismounted, stripped their horses of any accoutrements and shot them through the head, and left in the last boat, with Arnold indulging “the vanity of being the last man who embarked from the shores of the enemy”.

On June 20th, Sullivan began moving the sick to Crown Point, a five-day journey from Ile aux Noix, without any attempt by the British to attack them, but with the Indians lurking in ambush.  On June 24th, a small party from the Pennsylvania regiment was surprised and attacked by the Indians, who killed and scalped four, and took six others prisoners.  On June 26th, the retreat of the army began, with the rear of the army arriving at Crown Point on July 2nd – with half of the men sick with smallpox or other diseases.

John Adams would write of this,

Our misfortunes in Canada are enough to melt a heart of stone.  The small-pox is ten times more terrible than British, Canadians and Indians together”.

While the tired American troops were retreating from the loss at Trois Rivieres, on June 11th, in Congress at Philadelphia, “Mr. (Samuel) Chase, and Mr. (Charles) Carroll, (of Carrollton,) two of the commissioners being arrived from Canada, attended, and gave an account of their proceedings, and the state of the army in that country”.  That same day, on June 11th, Congress “resolved, that the committee, to prepare the declaration, consist of five members: The members chosen, Mr. (Thomas) Jefferson, Mr. J(ohn) Adams, Mr. (Benjamin) Franklin, Mr. (Roger) Sherman, and Mr. R(obert) R. Livingston.” – a declaration to the effect, which is in these words:

That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent states; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown; and that all political connexion between them and the state of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved”.

On June 17th, Congress resolved “that General Washington be directed to send Major General Gates into Canada to take command of the forces in that province”.  On June 21st, Congress resolved

that General Washington be directed to order an enquiry to be made into the conduct of the officers heretofore employed in the Canada department … that all officers accused of cowardice, plundering, embezzlement of public monies, and other misdemeanors, be immediately brought to trial”.

On June 24th, Congress resolved

that a committee be appointed to enquire into the cause of the miscarriages in Canada”.

On June 21st, General Washington ordered the arrest of the mayor of New York, David Matthews, and others (including some of Washington’s own bodyguards), to stop a conspiracy of tories in the city, who were to take up arms and cooperate with the British troops on their arrival.

On June 28th, four men-of-war under General William Howe arrived at New York from Halifax.  The next day, another man-of-war and seven smaller warships arrived, along with transports carrying 6,000 troops – Howe’s troops that had been expelled from Boston in March 1776.  Also on June 29th, 28 transports arrived from Scotland with 3,000 men – one ship with 200 Highlanders was captured by the Americans.  Washington believed that General Howe was only waiting for the arrival from Britain of his brother, Admiral Richard Howe, (with more British troops and Hessian troops) to commence hostile operations.

While this danger was gathering around New York, on July 4th, ‘the Unanimous Declaration of the thirteen United States of America’ was agreed to by the Continental Congress at Philadelphia.  When Congress came to sign it, John Hancock said: “We must be unanimous; there must be no pulling different ways; we must all hang together”.  Dr. Franklin replied, “Yes, we must indeed all hang together, or most assuredly we shall all hang separately.”  On July 9th, at six o’clock in the evening, General Washington had it read at the head of each brigade of the army.  On July 28th, St. Clair read it to the troops at Ticonderoga.

10 – The Battle of Valcour Island, October 11th 1776

Horatio Gates

Horatio Gates

On July 5th 1776, Horatio Gates, sent as a Major-General by Congress on June 17th 1776, along with Colonel John Trumbull, his adjutant-general, Morgan Lewis, his quartermaster-general, and Dr. Jonathan Potts, arrived at Crown Point from Albany, accompanied by Major-General Philip Schuyler and General Arnold, and joined the remains of the army from Canada.

On July 7th, a council of war was held with Schuyler, Gates, Arnold, Sullivan(34) and De Woedtke (who died two weeks later of smallpox).  The plan was to delay the British attack until winter and halt their invasion plans until spring.  It was decided to abandon Crown Point, which was in great disrepair and also had been originally built by the French to block a British invasion from the south – not to thwart an invasion from the north.

The 6th Pennsylvania regiment was left at Crown Point as an advance guard while the 5200 fit men of the army were moved to Ticonderoga, which had been garrisoned by the New York regiment of Colonel Cornelius Wynkoop.  The army was then divided into four brigades.  The First brigade (Bond’s, Greaton’s and Porter’s Massachusetts regiments and Burrell’s Connecticut regiment), the Second brigade (Reed’s, Poor’s and Bedel’s New Hampshire regiments and Patterson’s Massachusetts regiment) and the Third brigade (Stark’s New Hampshire regiment, Maxwell’s and Wind’s New Jersey regiments, along with Wynkoop’s New York regiment) were ordered to encamp at the point on the east side of Lake Champlain across from Ticonderoga, called Mount Independence, to clear the forest and to throw up earthworks, and to construct a redoubt and a twenty-gun battery.  The Fourth brigade (St. Clair’s, De Haas’s, Wayne’s and Irvine’s Pennsylvania regiments), which comprised more than half the army, stayed at Ticonderoga to begin building new defences – an eight-foot thick rampart, a ditch ten feet wide by five feet deep, and a stockade of sharpened sticks – and to build carriages to mount some of their 120 cannon.

Early in August, the 1st New Jersey, under Lt. Colonel Matt Ogden, was transferred from the Third brigade to the Fourth brigade, to construct a redoubt with 8 cannons, known as the Jersey redoubt, on the lowlands on the peninsula’s point.  By September, two regiments of militia from New Hampshire arrived (600 men under Colonel Wyman and 629 men under Colonel Wingate) and were assigned to help the Third brigade; and two regiments of militia from Connecticut arrived (445 men under Colonel Swift and 282 men under Colonel Mott) and were sent to help the First Brigade, at Mount Independence.  Four regiments of militia from Massachusetts arrived (500 men under Colonel Wigglesworth, 152 men under Colonel Read, 533 men under Colonel Wheelock, and 579 men under Colonel Woodbridge), and were formed into a Fifth Brigade at Ticonderoga, to began to repair the old French redoubts on the lake shore.  By authority of Congress, General Washington ordered Major-General Ward at Boston to send three of the fullest regiments stationed at Boston to march to Ticonderoga (four regiments were sent).  Colonel Whitcomb and his 449 men were assigned to the Fourth brigade, Colonel Willard and his 387 men, plus Colonel Brewer and his 631 men, were sent to encamp at the old sawmill on the outlet of lake Champlain, as part of the Fifth brigade.  And Colonel Phinney and his 218 men were sent to Fort George, which was garrisoned by the New York regiments of Colonel Goose Van Schaick and Colonel Cornelius Van Dyke.  The 2800 sick would be removed to hospital camps, which were to be set up at Fort George.  The success or failure of the northern army depended upon the elimination of smallpox!

Schuyler, in overall command, would return to Albany to maintain the flow of men and material, while Gates would be in command of the army at Ticonderoga, and Arnold would be sent to Skenesboro to build gondolas and galleys for the defence of Lake Champlain.  To assist Arnold, a company of 50 shipbuilders from Philadelphia, a company of 50 from Connecticut, a company of 50 from Massachusetts, and a company of 50 from Rhode Island, were sent to Skenesboro.  An additional 124 men would be drafted from the four Pennsylvania regiments to serve as seamen and marines (most of the seaman would be New Hampshire men) on board the fleet, which was to gather intelligence on British shipbuilding and advances.

In July, a general court-martial with Colonel Poor as president was convened for the purpose of trying Colonel Moses Hazen upon charges made by General Arnold, from the injury of the goods that Arnold had seized from the merchants of Montreal.  Hazen was honourably acquitted of all responsibility by the court, at which Arnold was very indignant and filed a protest, accompanied with abusive and profane language.

When Arnold refused to acknowledge his misconduct, the court requested that Arnold be put under arrest.  The court-martial was then dissolved by General Gates, who needed Arnold as the commander of his fleet.  Lt. Colonel John Brown then presented a formal complaint to Gates, asking that Arnold be arrested for defamation of character.  (Brown was accused by Arnold and by Montgomery of plundering the personal belongings of British prisoners in Canada.)  Gates ignored Brown and referred Brown back to the Board of War in Philadelphia.  (There, Brown would be busy blackening Arnold’s reputation in Congress.)

In Canada, Carleton set up three shipyards, at Montreal, at Fort Chambly and at Fort St. Jean.  In the holds and on the decks of the British warships that had arrived at Quebec in May, were the planks and masts, guns, rigging and sails of twenty-five ships that were made in Britain, then disassembled and shipped to be reassembled in Canada.  Later, a frigate arrived with ten gunboats to be taken apart and hauled to Lake Champlain, and more transports arrived with more prefabricated craft – 30 longboats, a 30-ton gondola, a number of flatboats and over 400 bateaux.  For the fleet destined for Lake Champlain, all the ships and boats had to be hauled by oxen from Sorel to Fort Chambly, then around the falls, and on to Fort St. Jean.

The British aim was for Carleton with this navy and with Burgoyne’s army, to proceed down Lake Champlain and Lake George and to capture Albany on the Hudson river.  They were then to join up with the Howe brothers who, with their navy and army, would capture New York and then proceed north up the Hudson river – thus splitting the American colonies in two.

In Quebec, Carleton had appointed a commission of three members – Francois Baby, Gabriel Taschereau and Jenkins Williams in the Quebec district, and St. George Dupre, Pierre Panet, and William Gray in the Montreal district – to visit each parish and assemble the militia, cancelling the congressional commissions, granting new royal commissions to loyal supporters, and obtaining the names of those who gave assistance to the Americans.  Carleton called upon the militia to round up any enemy stragglers and any habitants that had gone over to the enemy’s side.  After a brief detention, they were allowed to return home, if they promised to respond to service under the British flag.  Since the retreating Americans had blocked the roads and destroyed the bridges, the Canadien militia was called in to repair them – providing labour, and also to transport food and ammunition for the British army.  Those pro-Americans who were serving prison terms were freed of their irons and put to work too.  When this system of corvees (work without pay) met with any resistance, the defaulters were arrested as army prisoners.  Those who refused the orders of the new militia officers were sent to do forced labour on the fortifications at Ile aux Noix.  Habitants who failed to denounce or who helped American spies were also sent there.  When the German troops were quartered for the winter, they were not billeted on those who had served the British during the campaign, who were also to be exempt from the corvee, and not asked to provide servants, horses or carts, and were also given back pay.  The German troops were known for their brutal treatment of civilians, and Generals Gall and Riedesel were summoned to the commissioners, and instructed to put an end to abuses on the part of their troopers.

Bishop Briand, in a mandate of May 12th, instructed all cures to admit to the sacraments ‘only those who, having displayed an attitude of rebellion or indifference, confessed their fault and publicly renounced it both by word and deed, and who were prepared to expiate it in any way which might be considered suitable’, or face excommunication.  Father Floquet was placed under an interdict, until he had written a letter of submission to Briand.  Other priests, who were also pro-American, were castigated.  In the summer, the number of Canadiens, who had not met the bishop’s requirements, was so considerable that Briand issued another mandate, attacking the Americans because ‘they promised you exemption from seigneurial duties, and you were pleased with this injustice.  They promised that you would pay no more tithes, and you did not spurn with horror this impious and sacrilegious ingratitude towards God’.

In August, Carleton appointed his council – Lt. Governor Cramahe, Thomas Dunn, Hugh Finlay, Adam Mabane and John Collins – no French Canadiens were on the council!!!  The council would later adopt an ordinance on March 29th 1777, that made militia service obligatory for every male between the ages of sixteen and sixty; anyone guilty of evading his obligation was fined five pounds for the first offence, and the second offence was punishable by a fine, a month in prison and withdrawal of the right to possess a firearm.  They were also required to provide carts and horses for the King’s service.  Militia officers were ordered to arrest deserters and agents of the American colonies.  Anyone guilty of giving any kind of help to deserters or agents was liable to a fine and a month in prison.  Exempt from military service and the obligation to provide transport were high officials, former seigneurs, gentry, officers on half-pay, clergy, seminarians and persons engaged in the public service!!!

During the summer, while Gate’s troops were busy fortifying Mount Independence and Ticonderoga, the ship-carpenters were building Arnold’s fleet at Skenesboro.  On August 24th, Arnold and his fleet sailed down lake Champlain from Crown Point – the schooner Royal Savage with 4 six-pounders, 8 four-pounders and fifty men; the sloop Revenge with 4 four-pounders, 4 two-pounders and thirty-five men; the sloop Enterprise, that Arnold had captured from the British in May 1775, with 12 four-pounders and fifty men; the schooner Liberty, that had also been captured from the British in May 1775, with 4 four-pounders, 4 two-pounders and thirty-five men; and with six gondolas, each with 1 twelve-pounder, 2 six-pounders and forty-five men.

On September 3rd they reached Windmill Point, at the northern end of the lake, a few miles from the border of Canada, and were soon joined by the row-galley Lee with 1 twelve-, 1 nine-, and 4 four-pounders and eighty-six men; and by another gondola with 1 twelve- and 2 six-pounders and forty-five men.  On September 6th, after a boat crew of the Enterprise that had gone on shore was attacked by a party of British troops and Indians, with three men killed and six wounded, Arnold moved his fleet to Isle la Motte, eight miles further south up the lake.  At Isle la Motte they were joined by another gondola with 1 twelve- and 2 six-pounders and forty-five men.  On September 19th, Arnold sailed north to Bay St. Amand and was pursued on shore by 300 British and Indians, and shots were exchanged.  On September 23rd, Arnold sailed his fleet back south to Valcour Island, where he moored his vessels in an arc across the narrow half-mile wide pass between the island and the western shore.  By October 6th, they were joined by two row-galleys each with 1 eighteen-, 1 twelve-, 2 nine- and 4 six-pounders, and one row-galley with 2 eight-, 2 twelve-, and 4 six-pounders.  Arnold’s fleet was now 16 sail, with 94 guns and 800 men.

In Canada, during the summer, the British were busy constructing their fleet of boats at Fort St. Jean.  General Fraser and the 24th regiment were the advance guard at Isle aux Noix, which was the British base of supplies, and where their magazines, depots, block-houses and barracks were erected.

At Quebec, a regiment of Hessian artillery (350 men) arrived on July 29th, and then a second Hessian division (a regiment of infantry and a regiment of riflemen) of 2000 men, arrived on September 17th.  On September 10th, the British troops began moving up the Richelieu river in boats towards lake Champlain.  The sick, and heavy baggage, were sent back to Montreal, which was garrisoned by the Royal Highland Emigrants.  The 20th and 62nd regiments were left at Isle aux Noix to guard the supplies, General Burgoyne moved his troops to Windmill Point, on the east side of lake Champlain and General Fraser moved his troops to Pointe au Fer, on the west side of the lake.  The Hessian troops, except for the Hanau artillery, remained in Canada.

By October 4th, Carleton’s fleet of 29 sail, carrying 89 guns, and manned by 670 experienced seamen from the British transports in the St. Lawrence, began sailing from Fort St. Jean to Isle aux Noix and lake Champlain – the schooner Inflexible with 18 twelve-pounders, the schooner Maria with 14 six-pounders, the schooner Carleton with 12 six-pounders, the bomb ketch Thunderer with 6 twenty-four-pounders, 6 twelve-pounders and two howitzers (each ship with a company of the 29th regiment for service as marines).  Also with them was the gondola Loyal Convert, captured from the Americans at Quebec, with 7 nine-pounders and a half-company of the 29th; along with 24 gunboats – each with a brass field-piece manned by 7 Hessian or British artillerists and 12 British sailors – and with 24 longboats carrying provisions.  The fleet arrived at Isle la Motte on October 9th, along with 400 Indians in 30-foot war canoes, and proceeded cautiously up the lake in pursuit of the Americans.

Arnold knew that he could not fight the faster British ships in open water – the lake was 16 miles wide just below Valcour island.  His plan was to wait until the British men-of-war had sailed downwind in the main channel past Valcour island and then to try to lure the British back upwind into the shallow narrow channel between the island and the eastern shore, where it was only ¾ mile wide, and only one British ship at a time could tack upwind into the narrow bay, where Arnold had his ships anchored stem to stern in an arc across the channel.

Battle of Valcour

Battle of Valcour

On the morning of October 11th, Carleton had sailed past Valcour island.  Upon seeing the first of the British ships (the Maria, the Inflexible, and the Carleton) sail past, Arnold then sent the Royal Savage, the Enterprise and three row-galleys after the British ships.  As the British ships swung around to intercept the Americans, the American ships also changed course and headed back to Valcour bay.  The Inflexible bore down on the Royal Savage and fired broadsides tearing through its rigging and shattering its mainmast, and as the Royal Savage tried to come about and head into the bay, it sailed onto an underwater ledge and ran aground on the south tip of the island.  The British gunboats, after swarming around the grounded American ship, now tried to maneuver up the channel to confront the Americans, but were hit with fire from their swivel guns and cannon, sinking three of the British gunboats, and the gunboats drew back.  The Carleton, which had been chasing the Enterprise, now came up and with the gunboats formed a line across the channel, just south of Arnold’s line, and the battle raged in earnest for five hours.  A party of Indians and British under Fraser had advanced up the western shore, while the Indians in their canoes had landed on Valcour island, and both directed sniper fire at the outermost American ships.  The British also sent boarding parties in bateaux at the American line.

A shot from one of the American’s eighteen-pounders crashed just past the head of Carleton on board the Maria, and he ordered it to sail away from the channel, and it anchored two miles away out of the battle.  With the Maria out of action, the Thunderer and the Loyal Convert nowhere to be seen, and the Infexible unable to get close to the battle line, Arnold and his men concentrated their fire on the single British warship, the Carleton, and it had to eventually be towed by British longboats out of the channel.  The Inflexible now sailed up to the bay and fired its cannons at the Americans for an hour.  As darkness began to fall and end the fighting, the British gunboats fell back out of the bay, and the British sent boarding parties to the Royal Savage, capturing Americans attempting to once again tow her off, and set fire to the ship (the British captured the chest with all of Arnold’s papers, which was also on board).  On board the Congress, Arnold met with his captains in his cabin, which had doubled as an operating room for the wounded.  About sixty men had died, three-fourths of their gunpowder was gone, and every ship was badly damaged and was leaking (one gondola had been so holed that it sank).  But, under cover of fog, during the night, with every sail but one tied off, and each oar muffled by wrapping it with a shirt, Arnold’s ships slipped alongshore, one behind the other, between the Indians on shore and the British gunboats in the bay.  By morning, they were seven miles away, making repairs.  Three gondolas were too badly damaged, and had to be stripped and scuttled.  The Liberty took the wounded and Arnold’s dispatch and sailed quickly to Crown Point.

The next morning, October 12th, seeing that Arnold’s fleet had given them the slip, Carleton immediately gave orders for the entire fleet to up anchor and sail north – he thought that Arnold had sailed out the north end of the channel and was sailing north to attack his army back at Windmill Point.  Lookouts later discovered that Arnold’s fleet was south, up the lake, and by the end of the day, the British fleet had returned to Valcour island to anchor for the night.  By the next morning, October 13th, Arnold’s crew had rowed overnight another twelve miles south to Willsboro, but the British were now about to give chase.

Arnold sent four of the less damaged vessels to go on ahead to Crown Point (one of the row-galleys would be run aground and abandoned on the way).  The row-galley Washington was badly damaged and was falling behind, and soon it was overtaken by the British ship Inflexible and was forced to surrender.  Only 16 of its crew were able to escape in a small boat, and the British captured General Waterbury and 110 men.  The British ships then caught up to Arnold, on the row-galley Congress, and the four remaining gondolas, in the narrows at Split Rock, and all afternoon they duelled.  Once clear of the narrows, the Congress was attacked broadsides by the Inflexible and from the stern by the Maria and the Carleton.  Refusing to surrender, Arnold maneuvered his ships into shallow Buttonmould bay, and ran them aground and burnt them.  Arnold and his remaining 150 men (27 Americans had died that day) hurried the last ten miles along a path to Chimney Point, opposite to Crown Point, before they were attacked by the Indians, who had been sent by Carleton, to land and ambush the Americans.  At Chimney Point, they met the five remaining ships – the Revenge, the Liberty, the Enterprise, and one gondola and one row-galley, and crossed over to Crown Point.  Seeing that it would be useless to attempt to make a stand against the British here, Arnold ordered all the buildings and houses, including the sawmill, to be burnt, and retreated to Ticonderoga with his men, with the 6th Pennsylvania regiment garrisoned there, and with the remaining fleet.  In these two battles the British lost about forty men.  On October 14th, the British anchored off Crown Point.  Three vessels and a number of flat-bottomed boats remained there and the other vessels went back for supplies and to bring up the army.  In a few days the British army occupied Crown Point and Chimney Point.

The Americans at Ticonderoga were expecting an attack, constructing gun-carriages and mounting cannon, working on lines and redoubts, building alarm posts, and throwing a boom of heavy logs across the lake and anchoring the two galleys in the channel to prevent the enemy advancing higher up the lake.  A floating bridge was built across the lake to facilitate communication between Ticonderoga and Mount Independence.  Scouting parties were thrown out to find out any moves of the enemy.  A supply of powder and ammunition was received from Congress.  Richard Stockton and George Clymer, appointed by Congress to confer with General Gates about the condition of the northern army, arrived at Ticonderoga.  The militia was called out from Tryon, Charlotte, Gloucester and Albany counties, at posts to secure communication between Albany and Ticonderoga.  Schuyler sent the militia from Fort Edward to Tryon county to relieve Colonel Dayton and the 3rd New Jersey regiment, who marched at once for Ticonderoga.  The Green Mountain Boys also sent men to Ticonderoga.  Eight regiments of New England militia marched over the Green mountains to Ticonderoga.

On October 27th, General Fraser with his grenadiers, light infantry and the 24th regiment, advanced to Putnam’s Point, nine miles below Ticonderoga, and set up an advance post, under the watch of the guns of the British ships which had sailed up the lake.  On the morning of October 28th, five enemy gunboats landed troops and Indians on the west side of the lake at Three Mile Point, near the American alarm post.  Two of the gunboats proceeded up the lake until fired upon from the Jersey redoubt and from the galley, stationed by the boom, and the gunboats withdrew when two of their men were killed.  Thirteen bateaux and canoes crossed from Three Mile Point and landed troops on the east side of the lake, about four miles from the redoubts at Mount Independence.  About four o’clock, the British began to re-embark and they retired.  On November 2nd, 400 men under Major Dunlop of the 6th Pennsylvania regiment were sent down the west side of the lake, and 500 men under Lt. Colonel Conner of Connecticut were sent down the east side of the lake, to attack the enemy’s advance post at Putnam Point.  They found the posts abandoned.  The last of the British troops had abandoned Crown Point on November 4th, had sailed down the lake to St. Jean, and the British troops would go into winter quarters.  The Americans had succeeded in their plan to delay and to halt the British invasion from Canada – until next year.

Upon learning of the British retreat back to Canada, General Gates detailed about 2400 men as the permanent garrison at Ticonderoga under Colonel Wayne – Colonel Wood’s(35) 2nd Pennsylvania, Colonel Wayne’s 4th Pennsylvania, Colonel Irvine’s 6th Pennsylvania, Colonel Dayton’s 3rd New Jersey, Colonel Burrell’s(36) Connecticut, and Colonel Whitcomb’s Massachusetts regiments; and dismissed the militia – the regiments of Willard, Brewer, and Phinney, and the militias of Wiggleworth, Read, Wheelock and Woodbridge returned home to Massachusetts; the militias of Wyman and Wingate returned home to New Hampshire; and the militias of Swift and Mott returned to Connecticut.

The Canadian regiments – men who had given up all their worldly goods to follow the retreating American army, were ordered into winter quarters at Fishkill, to guard the principal depot of the army.  In September, Congress voted to raise 88 battalions, allotted by quota among the states, and on October 23rd, Congress voted to maintain the Canadian regiment, to be officered and paid for by Congress itself.

When their time of service had ran out at the end of October, De Haas’s 1st Pennsylvania and Maxwell’s(37) 2nd New Jersey regiments agreed to remain as long as an enemy was in their front, while Wind and most of the 1st New Jersey regiment would not, and on November 6th, they left camp to return home.

On November 15th, Gates sent General St. Clair, along with De Haas’s Pennsylvania regiment and General Maxwell with Wood’s 2nd New Jersey regiment (with the remainder of Wind’s), to embark for their homes.  General Washington sent pressing orders for them to join his army.

But, on November 5th, all New Jersey regiments were ordered to New Jersey for discharge and reforming, and one of the conditions of their re-enlistment was that they should be allowed to visit their homes before again engaging in active service.  They arrived at Morristown on December 3rd and disbanded.  The 1st New Jersey regiment would now be reorganized under Colonel Mattias Ogden.

At the end of November, General Gates left Ticonderoga with Bond’s(38), Porter’s, Greaton’s(39), and Patterson’s Massachusetts regiments, and with Reed’s(40), Bedel’s, Stark’s, and Poor’s New Hampshire regiments to reinforce General Washington’s army.

On November 19th, Arnold left Ticonderoga to see his family and straighten out his personal finances.  On December 2nd, as Arnold arrived at Albany, he had to face a court of inquiry into charges that he had slandered Hazen.  (Hazen was found innocent of disobedience or corruption.)  Arnold now decided to go with Gates instead, to talk to General Washington, and then to go and see Congress, to clear his name.

 

Chapter 2 – 1776, the Road to Nova Scotia

1 – The Petition of Cumberland County to General Washington, February 8th 1776

Since 1763, Nova Scotia had been populated by New Englanders (from Massachusetts, Connecticut and New Hampshire) who had settled in the province along the northern coast of the bay of Fundy, north of Maine(1), and the settlements around St. John river in Sunbury county, and around the peninsula, from Cumberland county, down to Cape Sable, and up the south shore to Halifax county.  Although Passamaquoddy bay was considered to be the eastern boundary of Massachusetts(1), the settlers of Sunbury county considered themselves, like the Maine settlers, to be part of Massachusetts.

After the battle of Concord and Lexington in April 1775, the British sent all their troops from Halifax to Boston, and Nova Scotia became a source of supplies for the besieged British there.  The American colonies then sent privateers to harass the British shipping of these supplies.  In May, a haystack was set on fire in an attempt to burn the British navy yard in Halifax, and in July, another attempt was made to burn the navy yard.

Also in May, Admiral Graves, then in command of the British fleet at Boston, had sent two sloops, accompanied by an armed schooner, the Margaretta, to Machias to obtain lumber for the use of his troops.  Upon arriving, Moor, the captain of the Margaretta, demanded that the inhabitants remove the liberty pole or he would fire on the town.  On June 11th 1775, the Machias Committee of Safety tried to capture the captain while he was at church and to seize the vessel, but he managed to escape back to his ship and was able to sail away.  The next day, Benjamin Foster and a few men tried to make a sudden attack on the ship, but their schooner ran aground, and the Margaretta was able to escape.  Jeremiah O’Brien with a crew of 40 men took command of one of the sloops and they pursued the British schooner, and during the fight in which Moor and 4 others were killed, they boarded and took possession of the schooner.  From Machias, 3 men died and 3 others were wounded.   This was to be called the first naval battle in the war for independence.  In August, Stephen Smith and the militia from Machias attacked and burned Fort Frederick, at the mouth of the St. John river in Nova Scotia, capturing its 4 defenders and returning with a captured provision ship as a prize.

On July 3rd, General Washington arrived at Boston to assume command of the Continental Army – the ill-clothed, ill-conditioned, ill-supplied, and irregular troops that he said ‘were all strongly imbued with the spirit of insubordination, which they mistook for independence’.  While the general was trying to augment his scanty force, he was importuned by Massachusetts and Connecticut to detach troops for the protection of different points of the seacoast, where depredations by armed vessels were apprehended.  As well, Congress had authorized Philip Schuyler to raise a northern army to prepare against an invasion from Canada by the British, who were instigating the Indians to go to war against the colonies.  General Washington was now asked by Massachusetts for troops for an invasion of Nova Scotia.

On August 12th, General Washington wrote to the Massachusetts General Court that

As to the expedition proposed against Nova Scotia by the people of Machias, I cannot but applaud their spirit and zeal, but after considering the reasons offered for it, several objections occur which seem to me unanswerable.  I apprehend such an enterprise inconsistent with the general principle upon which the united colonies have proceeded.  It is true, that province has not acceded to measures of the Congress and they have therefore been excluded from all commercial intercourse with the other colonies; but they have not commenced hostilities against them, nor are any to be apprehended; to attack them therefore is a step of conquest rather than defence, and may be attended with very dangerous consequences.  It might perhaps be easy with the force proposed to make an incursion into the province, to overawe those of the inhabitants who are inimical to our cause and for a short time prevent their supplying the enemy with provisions, but the same force must continue to produce any lasting effects.  As to the furnishing vessels of any force … there would be great danger, that with the best preparation we could make, they would fall an easy prey, either to the man-of-war on that station, or some who would be detached from Boston … I could offer many other reasons against it … when our situation as to ammunition absolutely forbids our sending a single ounce out of the camp at present.”

On August 20th, General Washington approved a plan for a surprise attack on Quebec by Benedict Arnold, by travelling overland through Maine.  By September 19th, Arnold and his men had arrived in Maine and were sailing up the Kennebec river. General Gage, however, thought that Arnold was really intending to attach Nova Scotia, and Admiral Graves sent Captain Henry Mowat with 6 ships to search for Arnold along the Maine coast.  When they were unable to find Arnold, they returned and (supposedly, in retaliation against the privateers) stopped at Falmouth, in the Maine district.  Arriving there on October 16th, Mowat proclaimed that he was there to execute a just punishment for the town’s rebellious state.

When the townspeople refused to swear an oath of allegiance and refused to surrender all their arms and ammunition, on October 18th Mowat bombarded the town with incendiary cannonballs all day, and then sent parties ashore to burn any remaining buildings, before returning to Boston.  More than 400 buildings were destroyed and more than 1000 people were made homeless.

Gov. Francis Legge

Gov. Francis Legge

On December 5th, the same day that he learned of the surrender of Montreal to the Americans, Governor Francis Legge declared martial law in Nova Scotia because of opposition to the militia bill, whereby each town would have to send one-fifth of their militia to Halifax, and new taxes would be levied to pay for the expenses.  General William Howe, who replaced Gage in October, ordered a review of the province’s defence works, intending to re-garrison the frontier forts.  And Brigadier General Eyre Massey and the 27th regiment arrived at Halifax from Ireland.  Petitions against the bill were sent from Hopewell, Yarmouth, Truro, Onslow and Cumberland.  Outside of Halifax, the inhabitants feared that it was the governor’s intention “to draw them to Halifax and thence to transport them to New England and make soldiers of them”.  The petition from Cumberland stated “Those of us who belong to New England, being invited into the Province by Governor Lawrence’s Proclamation, it must be the greatest piece of Cruelty and Imposition, for them to be subjected to march into different parts in arms against their Friends and Relatives”.   Public meetings proliferated – despite the ban.  Many militia companies refused to assemble.  Legge then determined that the arrival of Massey with his reinforcements “has given such an addition of strength as not to require the Militia from the out-settlements”, and on January 11th, the militia and tax bills were suspended.  But martial law would remain and there would be no new elections for the Assembly – the last election had been held in 1770.

The Committee of Safety in Cumberland county met at Amherst, Sackville, Fort Lawrence and Cumberland, and held a ‘general congress’ on January 29th, that decided to appoint a special committee to draft a petition to the Continental Congress.  But since time was of the essence, it was felt that General Washington would respond quicker than Congress, so the petition was addressed to him.  Jonathan Eddy(2) volunteered to deliver the petition of February 8th (plus an unsigned letter from an inhabitant of Cumberland) and he set off for Boston the next day, accompanied by Samuel Rogers(2) and Isaiah Boudreau, an Acadian.

On November 10th, Congress had resolved

that two persons be sent … to Nova Scotia to enquire into the state of that colony, the disposition of the inhabitants towards the American cause and the condition of the fortifications, docks, yards, the quantity of artillery and warlike stores and the number of soldiers, sailors and ships of war there and transmit the earliest intelligence to General Washington” and also “that General Washington be directed in case he should judge it practicable and expedient to send into that colony a sufficient force to take away the cannon and warlike stores and to destroy the docks, yards and magazines, and to take and destroy any ships of war and transports there belonging to the enemy”.

On January 30th 1776, General Washington wrote a reply to Congress, that

if the persons sent for Information should report favourably of the expediency and practicability of the Measure, that it will not be in my Power to detach any Men from these lines, the situation of our Affairs will not allow on it. I think it would be advisable to raise them in the Eastern parts of this Government.  If it is attempted, It must be by people from the country. A Col. (Samuel) Thompson a Member of the General Court, from the Province of Maine, and who is well spoken of by the Court, and a Captain (Jeremiah) Obrien have been with me. They think the Men necessary, may be easily engaged there and the measure practicable; provided there are not more than 200 British Troops at Halifax. They are willing and ready to embark in the matter, upon the Terms mentioned in their plan, which I enclose you.”  Their plan was “for the expedition purposed, one thousand men including officers, four armed vessels and eight transports, the men to be raised at the eastward, the fleet to be made up at Machias & then proceed to Windsor, captivate the torys, make all the proselytes we can & then proceed to Halifax, if possible destroy the King’s Dock Yard & town if thought proper.”

Aaron Willard and Moses Child were the two persons sent to Nova Scotia by General Washington, and on February 14th 1776, they reported that

we did repair to a place called Campobello … but could not cross the Bay of Fundy for no vessel could be hired or procured except we purchase one, as every vessel even to a boat that crossed the bay was seized as soon as they came into port except cleared from Halifax and we could not travel any farther into the country by reason of governor Legge establishing martial law in said province and issuing several proclamation.  One bearing date July the 5, 1775 … hereby notifying and warning all persons that they do not in any manner directly or indirectly aid or assist with any supplies whatever any rebel or rebels nor hold intelligence or correspondence with them nor conceal harbour or protect any such offenders as they would avoid being deemed rebels and traitors and be proceeded against accordingly.”

… Also a proclamation dated December the 8, 1775 forbidding any strangers to be in Halifax more than two hours without making his business known to a Justice of the Peace upon the pain and peril of being treated as spies, also forbidding any person entertaining any such stranger for more than two hours without giving information on the penalty aforesaid.  From our own knowledge and the best information from others about eight parts out of ten of the inhabitants of Nova Scotia would engage in the common cause of America could they be protected …”

In the same letter to Congress on January 30th, General Washington mentions the arrival at his camp of 3 Indians from eastern Maine and Nova Scotia (1 from St. John and 2 from Passamaquoddy).  At their meeting they told him

The English people are mad, and very cross, and want us to fight against the New England people.  God is on the side of our brothers, and they will beat them … We want to go home quick, to tell our friends what we have seen and done here, and next Spring many of our Nation will come and help the New England people.  We are in much want of Powder to Hunt with – the Old English people will not let us have any, Unless we will fight against our Brothers & Countrymen”.

General Washington asked them to deliver letters that he would write to the chiefs of the St. John’s Indians (Maliseets) and the Passamaquoddy Indians, and also to the chiefs of the Micmac Indians, offering them ‘a chain of friendship’.

Massachusetts resolved to send a truck-master to Machias to help supply their Indian allies with ‘ammunition and other articles of goods as may be necessary’.

2 – The Petition of Sunbury County to the Provincial Congress of Massachusetts, May 21st, 1776

When Colonel Knox arrived at Boston from Ticonderoga, with his long train of sledges drawn by oxen, bringing more than 50 cannon, mortars and howitzers, General Washington ordered the building of fortifications on Dorchester Heights during the night of March 4th.  In the morning, the British realized that the shells, thrown from the heights into the town, proved that it was no longer tenable and that the ships could no longer remain in the harbour, and they determined to evacuate the place as soon as possible.

On March 10th, the British began a week of loading their 8900 troops, with 1000 women and children of the soldiers’ families, along with 1100 loyalists who wished to flee Boston, into ships – a week of pillage, robbery and destruction by the British troops, where any goods that could help the Americans to carry on the war were seized.  But the ships wouldn’t sail until March 27th, and the first ships would not begin to reach Halifax until April 2nd.

But General Washington conjectured that the British were not going to Halifax, but instead were destined for New York, and so, he then sent Lee to take command of the southern army and to keep watch upon the movements of Henry Clinton, while he himself prepared to march to New York with his army.  General Washington then sent Thomas (instead of Lee) to take command of the northern army in Canada, where, on March 8th, the first 2 battalions that Congress had resolved to send to Canada had begun to arrive.  On March 15th, Congress resolved to send to Canada an additional 4 battalions, and on March 20th, Congress resolved on the instructions for the 3 commissioners to be sent to Canada.  In the midst of these movements and deliberations, Jonathan Eddy (along with Rogers and Boudreau, and the petition from the Cumberland Committee of Safety) arrived at General Washington’s headquarters near Boston.

On March 27th, General Washington wrote to Congress, that

… I beg leave to transmit you the Copy of a Petition from the Inhabitants of Nova Scotia, brought me by Jonathan Eddy Esquire mentioned therein, who is now here with an Accadian.  From this it appears, they are in a distressed situation, and from Mr. Eddy’s account, are exceedingly apprehensive that they will be reduced to the disagreeable alternative of taking up Arms and Joining our Enemies, or to flee their Country, unless they can be protected against their Insults and Oppressions.  He says that their Committees think many salutary and valuable consequences would be derived from five or 600 Men being sent there, as it would not only quiet the Minds of the People from the anxiety and uneasiness they are now filled with and enable them to take a part in behalf of the Colonies, but be the means of preventing the Indians (of which there are a good many) from taking the side of Government, and the Ministerial Troops from getting such Supplies of Provisions from thence as they have done.  How far these good purposes would be answered, if such a force was sent, as they ask for, is impossible to determine, in the present uncertain State of things.  For if the Army from Boston is going to Halifax, as reported by them before their departure, that or a much more considerable force would be of no avail.  If not and they possess the friendly disposition to our Cause, suggested in the Petition and declared by Mr. Eddy; It might be of great service, unless another body of Troops should be sent there by Administration too powerful for them to oppose.  It being a matter of some Importance, I judged it prudent to lay it before Congress, for their consideration, and requesting their directions upon the Subject, shall only If they determine to adopt it desire that they will prescribe the Number to be sent and Whether it is to be from the Regiments which will be left here.  I shall wait their decision and whatever it is, will endeavour to have it carried into execution.”

General Washington sent Eddy (with Boudreau) to Philadelphia, with a letter of recommendation to Congress, and advanced him 50 dollars to defray his expenses.  At the time, Congress was very concerned about the situation of the northern army, and on April 12th they resolved to send 4 additional battalions to Canada, and on April 23rd resolved to send 6 more battalions – for a total commitment sent to Canada of 16 battalions!!!

On April 24th, the committee of the whole met to discuss the petition from Nova Scotia, but resolved to postpone any decision, and on the 27th they gave $250 to Eddy and $100 to Boudreau, for their services, who now returned home.  At Providence, they rejoined Rogers and travelled back to Cumberland by way of Machias and Maugerville.  At Machias, they learned of the reward offered by the British for their capture, dead or alive!!!

At Maugerville, they learned that on May 14th, the inhabitants of Sunbury county had met and resolved

that we can see no shadow of Justice in the Extensive Claim of the British Parliament the Right of Enacting Laws binding on the Colonies in all Cases whatsoever.  This System if once Established hath a direct tendency to Sap the foundation, not only of Liberty that dearest of names, but of property that best of subjects.  That as tyranny out to be Resisted in its first appearance we are Convinced that the united Provinces are just in their proceedings in this Regard.  That it is in our Minds and Desire to submit ourselves to the government of Massachusetts Bay and that we are Ready with our Lives and fortunes to Share with them the Event of the present Struggle for Liberty, however God in his Providence may order it.”

The resolutions were circulated for signing, up and down the St. John river, and 125 names were collected.  Some of the tories were intimidated, while the Maliseets (St. John’s Indians) plundered the people that they thought were tories.  A committee was appointed to “conduct all matters, civil and military”.  Later, the militia would assemble, choose their officers and form companies.

On May 21st, the committee wrote a petition, asking to join Massachusetts and asking for their protection.  Asa Perley and Asa Kimball were chosen to carry the petition, resolutions and list of signatures to Boston.  They would return in July with a barrel of gunpowder, 250 weight of lead and a stand of small arms “for the use of their constituents”.  By the time Eddy, Rogers and Boudreau reached Cumberland at the end of June, much had changed in the 4 months since they had left in early February.

On April 2nd, Howe and the British navy, transporting 9000 troops, began to arrive in Halifax from Boston.  On April 20th, Legge had received a letter informing him that he was recalled to London to answer to charges against him (leaving on May 12th), and that Commodore Marriot Arbuthnot, the commissioner of the royal dockyard, was the new lieutenant-governor of Nova Scotia.

Howe had been preparing to leave Halifax for New York for the summer campaign, once reinforcements arrived from Britain.  His plans for Nova Scotia were to send 100 Royal Highland Emigrants(3) to Fort Edward (to replace the 3 divisions of dragoons that had been sent there on April 10th and that Howe wanted to bring with him to New York), and to send 200 Royal Fencible Americans(3) to Fort Cumberland.

On May 24th, the Royal Highland Emigrants and the Royal Fencible Americans left Halifax and marched to Windsor.  The Highlanders remained there to garrison and rebuild Fort Edward, while the Fencibles boarded 12 transports and with 2 armed schooners sailed to Cumberland basin, to garrison and rebuild the shambles of Fort Cumberland – uninhabited since it had been vacated by the British in 1768.  They also brought provisions and ammunition for the Micmacs, to try to buy their allegiance.  An Indian conference was later held with Goreham at the end of June, with the chiefs leaving with the provisions and ammunition.

Also on board was Michael Francklin, the former lieutenant-governor, who tried to recruit for his militia in Cumberland county and the Cobequid district, as he had done in Kings county(4).  But he could only recruit 30 men.  Francklin was also there to collect evidence that could be used to expel Rogers and others from the Assembly.

On June 10th, Howe with his troops and his fleet left Halifax to sail to New York – leaving behind the royal marines.

On June 15th, the Assembly was reconvened, and during the session, John Allan (elected for Cumberland), Samuel Rogers (elected for Sackville), William Scurr (elected for Cumberland county) and Joshua Lamb (elected for Onslow) were removed from the Assembly.  The Onslow patriots now wrote a letter to Massachusetts asking for help.  But news soon arrived of the northern army’s retreat from Canada.

3 – The battle of Fort Cumberland, November 13th 1776

While Eddy and Rogers had been away, John Allan had taken leadership of the patriots, and sent a letter to Massachusetts to advance his plan for reducing the province.  (Allan`s letter didn’t reach Boston, as it had been thrown overboard in St. John harbour, when the vessel carrying it was challenged by a British warship.)  When they arrived back in Cumberland, the discussion of Allan’s plan raised the idea of building a road to New England, and Rogers was prevailed upon to reconnoitre and to find a proper way for the road through the wilderness between Cumberland and Sunbury counties.  The road could be used as an invasion route, but also to forge stronger ties with their Maugerville colleagues, to provide a warpath for the Indians and to assist deserting soldiers from Fort Cumberland.  Allan’s plan had also included the idea to recruit a regiment of Micmacs – an idea that was also being proposed by General Washington.

On July 4th, General Washington had written to Congress

whether … it may not be advisable to take measures to engage those of the Eastward, the St. Johns, Nova Scotia, Penobscot &ca. in our favor   …  It will prevent our Enemies from securing their friendship, and further, they will be of infinite service, in annoying and harassing them should they ever attempt to penetrate the country.”

On July 8th, Congress resolved to give General Washington

permission to call forth and engage in the service of the United States so many Indians of the St. Johns, Nova Scotia and Penobscot tribes, as he shall judge necessary, and that he be desired to write to the general court of Massachusetts bay, requesting their aid in this business”.

On July 11th, General Washington then wrote to the Massachusetts Legislature to request their assistance in recruiting their Indian allies.  In Boston at the time, there was an Indian delegation of 3 Maliseets from the St. John river and 7 Micmacs (representing 5 villages), who were there to talk with the council concerning General Washington’s (February) letter to them.  After a week of discussions, a treaty of alliance and friendship was signed on July 19th.

On September 19th, John Allan arrived at the Micmac village of Cocagne to discuss the current situation and the cause of the Americans(5) and the part that the Indians could play in his plan.  The Micmacs were very upset with the treaty that had been signed at Boston, “to require us to take up the hatchet”.  They wished to remain neutral and to bargain for provisions with both the British and the Americans, without taking part until they saw which side proved the stronger.  The chiefs asked Allan to carry a letter from them to Boston, explaining that the two delegates that they had sent(6) were not chiefs and did not have the authority to sign a treaty, and that “still depending upon the promise of our Brother Washington, and relying upon the friendship of all our brothers & friends your way, we hope & trust no offence in sending it back”.

When it was learned that Allan’s letter had not reached Boston, Eddy decided to leave for Boston, to try to make a final bid to obtain American help for the rebellion.  He also took with him the letter from Onslow, which he presented to the Massachusetts State Council on August 2nd, when he outlined the situation in Nova Scotia and asked for their assistance.  The Council responded that they would “be glad to afford them assistance were it in their power but as the General Court is not sitting … we are not authorized to do anything”, and referred the matter to Congress in Philadelphia, who agreed to go along with any assistance Massachusetts might chose to provide.  On August 28th, when the Massachusetts General Court resumed its session, Jonathan Eddy, along with William How and Zebulon Roe, petitioned “for themselves & friends in the county of Cumberland, Nova Scotia, That the enemy are repairing the forts in that province to the detriment of the inhabitants of said county, which can be of no other end, but to keep the inhabitants in subjection to their tyrannical measures &c. That the greater part of the people at Nova Scotia are greatly concerned about it, & has been the cause of many to leave their estates to be confiscated, & come over to this state, and will cause many more to leave their homes unless they can have some supplies, and assistance.  That if they could be supplied with necessaries, such as provisions, and ammunition with a small number to join their brethren there, they could destroy their enemies forts, and relieve their brethren by permission from this Honorable Court for so doing, or in any other way &c”.  On September 2nd, the Court resolved to deliver them 200 pounds weight of gunpowder, 500 weight of musket ball, 300 gun flints and 20 barrels of pork” (which was later changed to 10 barrels of pork and as much bread as shall amount to the value of 10 barrels of pork).

On October 1st, Eddy arrived at Machias with Roe and How, and there they met Rogers who had arrived a few days earlier.  Rogers had stopped building his road as he neared Shepody Point when it became impossible to carry on, because Goreham had established an outpost there at the mouth of the Memramcook river – ‘putting an entire stop to Desertion and preventing any intercourse with this Country thro their Rivers by the Machias people’.

At Machias they recruited 20 volunteers and left in a schooner on October 13th.  On their way to Campobello Island on the Passamaquoddy river, they met Allan who was in a boat on his way to Boston.  Allan took every step and used every argument to dissuade them but all to no effect, and Allan proceeded on to Boston.  Arriving at Campobello, Eddy recruited 9 more volunteers, and then sailed to Maugerville on the St. John river, where he recruited 27 men.  Eddy then proceeded upriver to Aukpaque, the Maliseet village, where Ambroise St Aubin (one of the signers of the treaty of alliance and friendship in July) and 15 warriors joined with Eddy.  But none of the French Acadians in the upper valley would join.

On October 22nd, Eddy with 72 men left Maugerville in 3 whaleboats and 5 Indian canoes and heading north, followed the shore.  On October 29th, they arrived at Hopewell on Shepody bay, 5 miles from the British outpost, where they then crossed the bay and followed the eastern shore to the Memramcook river, beached their canoes, and quietly entered the woods to surround and attack the Brtitish camp, guarded by 14 Fencibles under Lieutenant John Walker.  After a sharp exchange of fire that killed 1 British soldier, Walker, after being wounded, surrendered the outpost.  The 14 prisoners were sent to Massachusetts.

Eddy then split his force unto three.  Eddy and one party went to Memramcook to recruit from among the Acadians, and on November 1st, after being joined by 21 Acadian volunteers, Eddy marched to Sackville to meet with members of the Committee of Safety to recruit volunteers from Cumberland county.  Another party, including the Maliseets, was sent up river to recruit from among the Micmacs at Cocagne, but on November 2nd, they returned with only 4 Micmac volunteers.  A third party went to Maccan on the far side of the Tantramar river, to block communication from Fort Cumberland to Windsor and also to spy out the fort – where they discovered two British ships.  The British had sent a 32-gun frigate, from Halifax to Fort Cumberland, along with a sloop loaded with winter provisions, that arrived and began unloading on October 31st.  Eddy would not dare to attack the fort while 32 guns ranged just offshore.  He would have to secure the countryside and to confine any tory inhabitants to their homes – in order to conceal his presence from the British in hopes for a surprise attack on the fort, and he would have to wait until the frigate sailed away, on the morning of November 3rd.

That same day, Goreham ordered the garrison command boat to sail from Fort Cumberland for the Shepody Outpost with provisions, and to leave a sergeant and 6 men there while bringing back Walker and his 14 men.  The next day the boat landed at Hopewell and heard about Eddy’s invasion and capture of the post, and the boat then returned immediately to Goreham with the news.

Eddy’s next target was the provision sloop anchored in Cumberland creek.  From Sackville, Eddy sent Zebulon Roe with 30 men on the night of November 6th.  After marching 12 miles to Westcock on the Aulac river, they found a boat with 40 cords of wood (that was to supply the fort with fuel), threw the wood into the river and seized the boat.

While proceeding to the mouth of the river, several other boats plus a schooner were also seized.  Leaving a small party to guard the boats until the tide came in, Roe and the rest of his men marched along the shore and up Cumberland creek to the provision sloop.  Up to their knees in mud, they rushed towards the sloop, and surprised the sergeant and 12 men onboard the sloop.  Told by Roe ‘that if one gun were fired, then every man would be put to death’, they surrendered without firing a shot.  Roe decided to send most of his men with the prisoners back down the creek to the seized boats with orders to sail to Fort Lawrence as soon as possible, while he remained onboard the sloop that rested in the mud and waited and hoped for the tide to come in before being discovered by Goreham at Fort Cumberland.

In the morning, a work party left the fort to unload supplies from the sloop in the hour or two before the tide ran high.  Under the cover of fog, Roe and his men hid in the tall grass by the pathway and surprised the work party and took 49 men prisoner, including a captain who was being sent in the garrison command boat with an express message for Halifax.

As the fog cleared, Goreham discovered the schooner and boats that Roe’s men were sailing to Fort Lawrence, with their prisoners.  Goreham had one cannon(7) hauled up and fired about 20 shots which fell rather short of the boats and schooner.  Before Goreham could drag another cannon down the hill and across the marsh to fire at the escaping provision sloop, Roe was sailing out of the creek with barely enough tide to weigh the vessel, and sailed to the Eddy farm on the Leplanche river in Fort Lawrence.

At low tide later that day, Eddy led his army across the Leplanche river, across the marsh, then across the Missiguash river and through the large central marsh to Fort Cumberland ridge, where he set up camp about a mile from the fort at Camphill, a small community on the Baie Verte Road(8).

While Eddy set up roadblocks to stop any message from getting out of the fort and to stop any tories from reaching the fort to join with Goreham’s 176 remaining troops, Eddy’s force now grew to over 200 men, as it was joined by almost 100 of the local inhabitants, as well as about 10 men from Pictou and about 25 men from the Cobequid district.  Eddy began a siege of the fort, remaining out of cannon range during the day, but after dark moving his men in close to the fort to fire on the garrison.  On November 10th, after sending rumours into the fort exaggerating the size of his force, Eddy wrote to Goreham, demanding that he surrender.  In reply, Goreham refused and instead, commanded Eddy to disarm and surrender.

At 4 a.m. on November 13th, Eddy led 80 men in an attempt on the fort, dividing his force into 3 parties – the 1st party, of Acadians, would create a diversionary attack at the flagstaff bastion, Eddy and the 2nd party would make a furious attack on the weak eastern bastions, while a 3rd party carrying ladders and tools would scale the outer palisade.  Meanwhile, Goreham had placed large logs on rollers all around the parapet, where they could be loosened to roll down on any intruders who had breached the palisade and attempted to storm the slopes of the parapet.  When the Acadians opened up a heavy fire, Goreham was not fooled and kept his main force at the weakest part of the garrison, where Eddy would attack.  When Eddy pressed his men forward, Goreham then used his cannon to repel the attack.  After 2 hours of heavy firing, Eddy decided to retreat, fearing that the attack could not be made without the risk of losing too many lives, or without cannon.

Later that day (the 13th), Josiah Throop was sent to Boston with a petition from the Cumberland county Committee of Safety that they find it impracticable to storm the garrison and “therefore beg, for the preservation of our lives and the lives of our families, for immediate help of 500 or a regiment of men, if it may be, with 2 mortars, ammunition and provision”.  A separate letter was also sent from Eddy that we “have attempted the garrison, but cannot take it without some cannon and mortars” and we “entreat of the province of Massachusetts, for ourselves and for the inhabitants of Nova Scotia, to send some privateers into the bay, and some troops and military stores, that we may be able to promote the general cause and add another province to the United Colonies.

4 – The Battle of Camphill, November 29th 1776

Goreham did not risk a counterattack, but instead awaited reinforcements from Halifax.  After receiving Eddy’s summons, at night on November 11th, Goreham had sent Lieutenant Thomas Dixson and 3 other soldiers, who eluded Eddy’s patrols and escaped in a small boat down Cumberland creek, to Windsor for help.  They would not arrive at Windsor until November 15th, and then would march on to Halifax.

Earlier, on November 8th an American privateer had seized the Partridge island ferry that ran to Windsor.  Michael Francklin heard this report and sent a courier with the news to Halifax.  On November 9th, he set out in a schooner with 30 men and fired on and chased away the privateer, and then retook the ferry.  Upon receiving the news, on November 10th, Collier sent the sloop Vulture to Windsor to patrol Minas Basin and sent the sloops Albany and Diligent to patrol the Passamaquoddy and Penobscot bays.

While near Partridge island, Franklin learned of the siege at Fort Cumberland and sent an urgent message to Halifax.  On November 14th, upon receiving this message Collier then sent the sloop Hope to sail in search of the sloops Albany and Diligent and to send them to Cumberland.  But, three days later near Cape Sable, the Hope chased and captured a prize ship, and returned with it to Halifax on the 19th.  The next day, Collier sent the Hope with 20 marines, along with a provisions transport to Fort Cumberland.  Meanwhile, on the 17th, while chasing privateers in Penobscot bay with the Diligent, the Albany became grounded on a rock, and it would take 2 days, with the Diligent’s help, to get free of the rock, and the Albany then returned to Halifax for repairs.

On November 16th, Massey sent 2 companies of Royal Marines (89 men) from Halifax to Windsor to help with the relief to Fort Cumberland, and when Dixson arrived with Goreham’s dispatch, he also sent a grenadier company of Royal Highland Emigrants, to join the 4 companies of Royal Highland Emigrants that were already garrisoned at Fort Edward.

When only the armed sloop Vulture arrived at Windsor on November 16th, Massey sent the 89 Royal Marines aboard the Vulture and 120 of the Royal Highland Emigrants (the grenadier company plus a light infantry company) aboard a sloop, the Lavinia, and on the morning of November 22nd the two ships sailed for Fort Cumberland, but were forced back by bad weather.

After midnight, in the early morning on November 22nd, Eddy assembled 80 men to try to burn out the garrison.  The buildings to the north of the fort were set on fire, and with a strong north wind, the shingles and pieces of wood on fire were blown by the wind onto the buildings inside the fort.  Goreham ordered the Fencibles onto the rooftops to put out the fires, as they were exposed to musket-fire from Eddy’s men, and organized a bucket brigade to put out the larger fires.  As the buildings that had been torched burned down and as the wind fell, Eddy discontinued the attack.

The roofs of several buildings inside the fort were scarred and blackened, but the fort survived the attack.  Outside the fort, those buildings that were set afire were burned-out hulks.  In the morning, Goreham ordered his men to begin demolishing the remaining buildings outside the fort – to prevent any future burnings.  That evening, without any wind, Eddy’s men set fire to the remaining buildings, but this time in order to prevent Goreham from using the wood from these buildings for firewood.  The siege continued as both sides waited for reinforcements.

Some of Eddy’s men had been in Baie Verte trying unsuccessfully to float a schooner that they had hoped to use to fetch cannon from Charlotte Town, on St. John’s island (now called Prince Edward island).  The Committee-of-Safety then sent Nathaniel Reynolds and 16 men to try to capture a ship that was at Pictou, loading lumber for Scotland.  On November 29th, Reynolds would capture the ship’s captain and seize the ship, while most of its crew were in the woods cutting lumber for the cargo.

On November 24th, the Vulture lost sight of the Lavinia, that was leaking and in want of provisions and that would return to Windsor on November 28th with the Royal Highland Emigrants.  The next day, the Vulture would end its search for the Lavinia and resume its course for Cumberland.  On November 25th, near the southern tip of Nova Scotia, the Hope sighted the American brig Independence, and after giving chase, forced the Independence to surrender, and escorted its prize to Yarmouth.  On November 29th, the Hope would leave Yarmouth and (for a third time) resume its voyage to Cumberland.  On November 28th, the Diligent would arrive at Annapolis Royal and receive orders to proceed to Cumberland.

On November 27th, Josiah Throop had arrived at Machias, where the Committee-of-Safety were considering the letters, from Eddy and from the Cumberland Committee-of-Safety, asking for aid.  James Lyon and 49 volunteers immediately set out in boats as reinforcements.  But at Fort Cumberland, early that same morning, a skirmish occurred as some of Eddy’s men, while the area was blanketed in fog, tried to raid the garrison’s cattle that were grazing outside the fort.  But as the fog lifted later, the Vulture could be seen – having finally arrived in Cumberland Basin.  Two boats of marines rowed up the creek to relieve the fort.  The next day, the remaining marines along with the cargo of arms, ammunition and 350 round shot for the cannons were transported to the fort.

On November 29th, with a pressing food shortage and being now reinforced with the 89 Royal Marines, Goreham sent out a force of the 89 Marines and 74 Fencibles under Major Thomas Batt to attack Camphill.  Batt marched out of the fort and along the edge of the marsh to Camphill, at the edge of the fog bank that still covered the hill.  The Marines would sweep the right and left flanks, while the Fencibles would march up the centre to the Baie Verte road, and then head for Eddy’s army command post at Read’s farm.  The marines on the right flank swept through the Maliseet’s camp, who fled at the first sign of attack.  The Fencibles charged past the out-guards, joined up with the marines and began the surprise attack on the farm buildings that were make-shift barracks(9) and the farm house that was Eddy’s headquarters.  The farm was soon surrounded and later burned, as Eddy and his men were routed, firing as they fled.

The British force then proceeded to Gardiner’s farm, where the Committee-of-Safety held its meetings, and burned it.  They then marched up the Baie Verte road and fanned out across the fields of each farm (both New Englander and Acadian), firing on the remnants of Eddy’s army that fought rearguard actions house to house along the road, and after forcing them to flee, set fire to the buildings and destroyed the crops and livestock.  Mothers with their children fled their homes and escaped into the woods, at the sign of the advance of the British army.  Batt continued along the road to the Acadian village of Bloody Ridge and the farms of Isaiah Boudreau and John Allan, where all the houses were looted before being burned.  Here the army rested, before continuing on to the village of Jolicure, but as it began raining, Batt decided to return to the fort – and Jolicure was spared.  The British had 2 dead and 4 wounded.  While the loss to Eddy’s army could not be ascertained, Batt reported “2 Indians and 1 white man” were killed.  Later that day, Goreham sent a force to Fort Lawrence, where they burned the farms of Jonathan Eddy and William How.  Eddy retreated with his men to Sackville.  On November 30th, Goreham offered a pardon to the inhabitants who had joined Eddy’s army(10) if they gave up their arms, and upwards of a hundred surrendered at the fort.  A force, sent by Goreham, captured the Molly as it sailed into Baie Verte, but Reynolds was able to escape.

On December 2nd, the Hope arrived at Fort Cumberland, along with the Nancy, the Independence and the Diligent.  Goreham sent a patrol of Fencibles to Sackville to burn the farm of Elijah Ayers, and Eddy with his men retreated through the wilderness to Maugerville, with their returning volunteers.  At Maugerville on January 5th, Eddy wrote a letter to the Massachusetts council to inform them of his actions.  Eddy and about 60 of his men, including the members of the Cumberland Committee-of-Safety, along with Isaiah Boudreau and about 20 Acadians, would journey to Machias, with their returning volunteers.

5 – The Battle of Saint John River, June 30th 1777

On October 13th, after meeting and failing to dissuade Eddy of his plan to attack Fort Cumberland, John Allan had left for Machias, where he remained for 2 weeks trying to persuade the people there against Eddy’s expedition.  On November 7th, Allan arrived in Boston, and the next week met with members of the state council (on the 13th) and also with John Adams (on the 15th).  On November 29th, Allan left Boston to visit Congress.  On December 22nd, he met with General Washington, and on the 30th he arrived at Baltimore.  On January 4th 1777, he was presented to Congress to give them his understanding of matters in Nova Scotia.

On January 8th, Congress resolved “that the council of the state of Massachusetts bay be desired to attend to the situation of the enemy in the province of Nova Scotia, and, if they are of opinion that an advantageous attack in the course of the winter and early in the spring may be made on fort Cumberland and the said province, whereby the enemy’s dock yard and other works with such stores as cannot be speedily removed can be destroyed, they are hereby impowered to conduct the same in behalf of these united States.”

On January 14th, Allan was elected the agent “for transacting business between the United States and the several Indian nations and tribes in Nova Scotia.”  On January 15th, Congress prepared Allan’s instructions – “to engage their friendship, and prevent their taking a part on the side of Great Britain” and resolved to pay him $900 annually as Indian agent.  On January 17th Allan left to return to Boston.

Along the way, he learned of Eddy’s defeat at Fort Cumberland. (The British had offered a ₤100 reward for Allan`s apprehension, his farm had been sacked and burned, and his wife was held a prisoner in Halifax – because she would not tell the British where her husband was.)  On February 3rd, Allan arrived at Boston with the resolve from Congress, and on February 25th wrote to the council that he had hoped they would send a sufficient force to support the people of Nova Scotia; that he intended to make some part of the river St. Johns his place of residence and expected to have a conference with the Micmac, St. Johns and Passamaquoddy Indians; and that he hoped the council would order the river St. Johns to be fortified to prevent the Britains from annoying the Eastern settlements and opening a communication with Canada.  On March 25th, a committee of the legislature of Massachusetts reported on Allan’s memorial.

On April 2nd, Massachusetts would resolve to pay a total of ₤372 to John Allan – ₤162 “to relieve the distresses of the Committee and others from the Counties Cumberland and Sunbury now here”, ₤150 “for the relief of the distressed people in those Counties that remain there, some of whom have fled to the Woods”, and ₤60 “to defray the expenses of bringing up & supporting Ambrose and the other Indians”.

On June 7th, Massachusetts resolved that “as it appears to us both practicable & prudent to form an expedition to the River St. Johns in Nova Scotia, in order to secure the inhabitants (of Cumberland and Sunbury counties); to preserve our eastern settlements; & to prevent a communication, through said river, between our Enemies in Nova Scotia and with those in Canada”, to raise 1 regiment in Lincoln and Cumberland counties in Massachusetts and to raise 1 regiment in Nova Scotia or the eastern parts of the state.

On May 11th, Allan had arrived in Machias and on the 29th he received word that the British sloop Vulture had left the St. John river and Allan decide to now proceed on his mission.  On May 30th, Allan left Machias with 43 men – Captain West and 20 men (many who were from Nova Scotia) along with the Indians plus his own men, in 4 whale boats and 4 canoes.

On May 31st Allan arrived at Passamaquoddy bay and held a conference with the Indians there, before proceeding on to the old fort at the St. John river on June 2nd.  Allan left Captain West and his men there to guard the falls and to annoy the enemy should any come to repair the fort, while he proceeded to the Maliseet village of Aukpaque to tell them of his appointment by Congress as Indian agent and to negotiate terms of trade.  On June 14th Colonel Shaw arrived from Machias with another 43 men.  On June 21st, Shaw returned to Machias leaving Captain Dyer in charge of his men.  Also on June 21st, a barge arrived with some supporters from Cumberland with intelligence from there.

On June 23rd, the British sloop Vulture arrived at the mouth of the St. John river and sent toward the shore two boats, fully manned, and each with a swivel gun, that fired at Allan’s men, who returned their fire from behind ambuscades and who prevented the boats from landing.  On June 26th, the Vulture was joined by the frigate Milford and the sloop Gage, that had arrived with a detachment of the Fencibles and Highlanders.  Upon hearing this news, Allan left Aukpaque and set off for the mouth of the St. John river.

On June 30th, about 150 British troops in 8 barges rowed to the shore and landed.  About 30 of Allan`s men had gone to ambush them, but soon found themselves surrounded by a flanking party on each side, and were forced to flee upriver to join Allan at Maugerville.  One of Allan`s men was wounded and captured, and two others were killed and scalped by the British.

On July 1st, after receiving provisions and necessaries from the inhabitants of Maugerville and warning them to expect the arrival of the British, Allan and the Cumberland men retreated to Aukpaque, while Captains Dyer and West with the Machias men remained at Maugerville.  Allan held a conference with the Maliseets who decided that they would go to meet the British troops, while Allan would stay with the Indians’ families who would strike camp and then retreat upriver.

On July 4th, when Allan was informed that the British were sending 100 soldiers in search of him and 200 soldiers in search of Dyer and West, he sent them on ahead to make their way to Machias while he retreated further upriver with the Indians to the Meductick settlement of the Acadians, who assisted them.  (Later, the Acadians would have their homes plundered and burned by the British, for helping Allan to escape.)  After being joined by the returning Maliseets, Allan and his party travelled across the carrying place from Meductick to the Passamaquoddy river, down the river to Passamaquoddy lake, over another carrying place to the Machias river, and down the river until they encamped near Machias on August 2nd.

On August 13th, Allan, Colonel Eddy(11), Major Stillman of the army and Captain Smith of the militia, held a conference with the deputies of the Penobscots, together with the chiefs of the Maliseets and the Passamaquoddys.  In the midst of the meeting, they received the unwelcome news of the arrival of British ships with the Royal marines from Halifax – the frigates Rainbow and Mermaid, the brig Blonde and the sloop Hope.  (During the battle at the river St. John, some of Allan’s papers, with plans for another attack on Fort Cumberland, were captured by the British.  In response to this proposed assault, Collier decided to attack Machias, the base for Allan’s operations.)

The Brig was towing 8 boats full of marines, that attempted a landing near the battery at Rim point, but a constant fire from Colonel Foster and his 35 men prevented them from landing, and the British marines returned to the brig.  During the night, Captain Smith and his men brought a cable and an anchor to secure the log boom across the river.

But the next morning, under cover of a very thick fog, the marines were able to effect a landing, and to cut the boom, allowing the Hope to sail on up the river, while the marines marched to the battery.  The militia were forced to retreat back to the falls near the town, while continuing their fire from the woods.  At the battery, the marines set fire to three buildings (and their store of clothing, provisions and ammunition) as well as a large corn mill and 3 sawmills, and then re-boarded the ship and small boats and proceeded towards the town to try to destroy the other saw mills at the falls.  At the town, a small redoubt was raised, in which was placed 20 men under Major Stillman, with 2 small guns.  A breastwork was also raised near the mills, and manned by Lt. Colonel Nevers and a small party, with swivel guns and a cannon.  Captain Smith lay upon the point with a body of men, and on a hill nearby lay about 30 Indians in support of Smith.  A small scouting party was sent to the west side of the river.  The whole Machias force amounted to 180 men.

The brig and sloop came to anchor near the falls, saw the increased defence and heard the Indians yelling at the different places (that led the British to suppose there was a much larger number of them) and after a short period of firing, they retreated back down the river.  Stillman and about 30 men were sent to follow after them, to see what their real intentions were.  But, in the retreat during ebb tide, the sloop Hope ran aground, and Stillman and his men fired on the ship and the men in the boats.  The next morning, Foster and his men continued the attack on the boats, while Smith and a group of his men and a number of Indians marched up the other side of the river and also attacked the troops in the boats, so that they were unable to row to try and free the Hope.  With the tide coming in and a heavy rain coming on, the Hope finally was freed and sailed out into the bay.  The British had 3 killed and 18 wounded, while the Machias troops had but 1 killed and 1 wounded.

More pressing news was now arriving in Boston of a British invasion by General Burgoyne from Canada.  On August 6th, the Massachusetts House of Representatives resolved to comply to a requisition from General Schuyler to reinforce the northern army with 2000 men, and on August 8th, they resolved “that the expedition to St. Johns river in Nova Scotia be laid aside for the present.”  On August 9th, they resolved “Whereas by the loss of the important fortress of Ticonderoga a way is open to the ravages of our cruel and inveterate enemies which they are vigorously improving, and a few days, if we are supine and inactive, may introduce them into the bowels of this state, and with them, all the horrors of a savage Indian war, one-sixth part of the militia be ordered to march to reinforce the American army.”

Chapter 3 – 1777, the Road to Saratoga

1 – The Retreat across the Jerseys and The American Crisis, December 19th 1776

Gen. William Howe

Gen. William Howe

On June 29th 1776, General William Howe and his 5 men-of-war had arrived at New York from Halifax with 6000 troops, along with 3000 Scottish troops sent from Britain.  On July 12th, two British ships, the Rose and the Phoenix, sailed up the Hudson river as far as Peekskill bay near Fort Montgomery, to cut off the American supplies and communications.  Also on July 12th, Admiral Richard Howe and his armada with 3000 more British troops began arriving at New York, landing at Staten Island.

Admiral Howe sent a letter to Dr. Franklin, that Dr. Franklin read to Congress on July 30th, with a proposal for a truce and offers of pardons.  Congress resolved that Dr. Franklin might answer the letter, in which he replied that

 

“… Directing Pardons to be offered the Colonies, who are the very Parties injured, expresses indeed that Opinion of our Ignorance, Baseness, and Insensibility which your uninform’d and proud Nation has long been pleased to entertain of us; but it can have no other Effect than that of increasing our Resentment.  It is impossible we should think of Submission to a Government, that has with the most wanton Barbarity and Cruelty, burnt our defenceless Towns in the midst of Winter, excited the Savages to massacre our Farmers, and our Slaves to murder their Masters, and is even now bringing foreign Mercenaries to deluge our Settlements with Blood.  These atrocious Injuries have extinguished every remaining Spark of Affection for that Parent Country we once held so dear: But were it possible for us to forget and forgive them, it is not possible for you (I mean the British Nation) to forgive the People you have so heavily injured; you can never confide again in those as Fellow Subjects, and permit them to enjoy equal Freedom, to whom you know you have given such just Cause of lasting Enmity.  And this must impel you, were we again under your Government, to endeavour the breaking our Spirit by the severest Tyranny, and obstructing by every means in your Power our growing Strength and Prosperity.”

Gen. Cornwallis

Gen. Cornwallis

On August 1st, Admiral Peter Parker and his 9 men-of-war, escorting Major General Charles Cornwallis and his 2500 Irish troops, arrived at New York, after their attempted assault on Charleston had been prevented by the American forces under Maj-General Lee and Colonel William Moultrie on June 28th.  On August 12th, 9000 Hessians arrived at New York from Britain.  The British fleet now numbered over 400 ships (including 73 war ships) and 34000 men.  On August 22nd, 15000 British troops, along with 40 pieces of cannon, and later followed by 5000 Hessians, crossed over from Staten Island and landed at the western end of Long Island.  The 8000 American troops were commanded by General Greene, who became ill and was replaced temporarily by Sullivan (lately returned from Canada) until Maj-General Putnam could arrive to take command.  On August 24th, General Washington arrived at Brooklyn and ordered more troops.

On the evening of August 26th, the British advanced from three directions in a flanking operation, and after major fighting and cannon fire at Guana heights, the Americans were surrounded and were forced to retreat back to their fortifications at Brooklyn heights, where the British began digging trenches for a siege.  General Mifflin arrived with 2000 more troops early the next morning.  But fearing that Howe might bring his ships up the East river and surround and entrap them, General Washington successfully evacuated his 9000 troops from Long Island, with their artillery, ammunition, provisions, cattle, horses and carts, across the East river to York island, in a dense fog during the early hours of August 30th.  General Mifflin and his troops held the line while the rest of the troops departed, and were the last to retreat, along with General Washington, who refused to enter a boat until all the troops were embarked.  During the battle, the British had 64 killed, 31 missing and 294 wounded, while the Americans had 300 killed and 1000 captured, including Maj-General Sullivan and General Stirling(1).  Sullivan was released on parole to deliver a message to Congress from Howe, proposing a meeting to discuss ending the conflict.

Congress sent John Adams, Dr. Benjamin Franklin and Edward Rutledge to a conference with Howe at Staten Island on September 11th.  In their report to Congress they wrote …

His lordship then entered into a discourse of considerable length which contained no explicit proposition of peace except one viz.  That the colonies should return to their allegiance and obedience to the government of great Britain.  The rest consisted principally of assurances that there was an exceeding good disposition in the King and his ministers to make that government easy to us, with intimations that in case of our submission, they would cause the offensive acts of parliament to be revised and the instructions to Governors to be reconsidered, that so if any just causes of complaint were found in the acts or any errors in government were perceived to have crept into the instructions they might be amended or withdrawn.  We gave it as our opinion to his lordship that a return to the domination of great Britain was not now to be expected.  We mentioned the repeated humble petitions of the colonies to the King and parliament, which had been treated with contempt and answered only by additional injuries, the unexampled patience we had shewn under their tyrannical government and that it was not till the last act of parliament, which denounced war against us and put us out of the King’s protection that we declared our independence.”

On September 15th, after bombarding the American positions in the centre of York island and causing them to retreat north, Howe landed 12000 men at Kip’s bay and marched a strong detachment down the road along the East river and quickly took control of New York, forcing General Washington to order Putnam, with his 5000 troops that had been left in the city, to retreat to Harlem heights.  On September 16th, the British were pursuing the Americans, and were lured by General Washington into a hollow, where they were almost surrounded and forced to retreat.  British reinforcements arrived to bring their numbers up to 5000, while the Americans now numbered 1800.  After a four-hour battle, the British retreated, having fired away their ammunition, with 14 killed and 154 wounded, while the Americans had 30 killed and 100 wounded.  With the British now capturing New York at the southern tip of York island, General Washington had kept 10000 men with him to defend Harlem Heights and Fort Washington at the northern end of York island, Heath had taken 5000 men to defend Kingsbridge and Greene had taken 5000 men to defend the other side of the Hudson river, around Fort Constitution, renamed Fort Lee.

On October 12th, General William Howe embarked his troops in 80 vessels and proceeded up the East river, through Hell Gate and tried to land 4000 troops, under Henry Clinton, at Throcks Neck to attempt a flanking operation against Washington’s troops (he wanted to use the road running from Throcks Neck to Kingsbridge and to come up behind the American troops there) but when they landed on an island and tried to cross over to the mainland, they were surprised by the Americans under Colonel Edward Hand, who opened fire on them, and Howe withdrew his troops.  Howe waited for more supplies and reinforcements (7000 Hessians under Knyphausen) and on October 18th, landed 4000 troops under Henry Clinton, but the advance troops were repulsed by an ambush from the Americans under Colonel John Glover.  Howe then attacked with all 4000 troops plus cannon, and after a fierce battle, the Americans withdrew and the next day retreated to Yonkers.  General Washington then withdrew most of his army from Harlem Heights to White Plains, leaving 1200 men under Greene to guard Fort Washington.

Howe advanced his troops slowly through New Rochelle, where he was reinforced by the landing of the troops under Knyphausen, and on October 28th, marched to White Plains and attacked the Americans.  After an intense battle, General Washington was forced to retreat and withdrew into the hills at Northcastle, where he would now divide his army.  All the troops belonging to states west of the Hudson river, were to be stationed in the Jerseys under Maj-General Putnam.  Another division of Connecticut and Massachusetts troops under General Heath were sent to Peekskill and were to cooperate with the New York militia under General George Clinton in securing the Highland posts on both sides of the river.  Those troops remaining at Northcastle were to be commanded by Maj-General Lee.  General Washington then left with Heath to visit and inspect the Highland posts.  Later, General Washington had to cross the Hudson river, with the troops that were going to the Jerseys, at the ferry below Stony Point, because the British ships (Phoenix, Roebuck and Tartar) were anchored in Haverstraw bay and Tappan sea, and guarded all the lower ferries.  After crossing, General Washington then went to Fort Lee, being anxious about Fort Washington, and found to his disappointment that General Greene had taken no measures for its evacuation, but on the contrary had reinforced it.  General Washington’s orders for evacuation had been left up to Greene’s judgement ‘as being on the spot’, and Greene and Colonel Magaw believed that the fort could be maintained.

After having failed to draw Washington’s army out, Howe moved his troops south to attack Fort Washington.  On November 16th, Lord Percy with 1600 men advanced from the south.  Knyphausen and his Hessian troops had crossed over in boats from Kingsbridge and advanced from the north.  Brigadier Matthews with two battalions of light infantry and two battalions of guards crossed the Harlem river in flat-boats and landed on the right of the fort.  Colonel Stirling and the 47th, was to drop down the Harlem river in bateaux to the left of the American lines.   During the battle, the Americans troops, being surrounded and overpowered in numbers, were forced back into the fort.  With the enemy now in possession of the redoubts and now able to shell the fort, Magaw surrendered, and over 2800 Americans were taken prisoner.  The object of obstructing the navigation of the Hudson at that point was at an end.  General Washington now ordered the troops to begin the evacuation of Fort Lee and the removal of all ammunition and stores.

On November 20th, Howe began landing 6000 troops under Cornwallis in 200 boats on the west side of the Hudson river at New Dock Landing, to try to hem in the 3000 American troops between the Hudson and Hackensack rivers.  General Washington ordered an immediate retreat, leaving behind a great quantity of stores and provisions.  His retreat was closely followed by Cornwallis, across the river to Hackensack, where he wrote to General Lee to bring his troops across the Hudson river, to join him.  Lee(2) would try to send Heath’s troops instead, but Heath refused to disobey orders from General Washington.

Then, not wanting to again be trapped between two rivers, General Washington crossed the Passaic river to Newark, where he again wrote to Lee, telling him to advance.  Breaking camp once more, General Washington then crossed the Raritan river to New Brunswick.  From Brunswick, General Washington wrote to William Livingston, governor of the Jerseys, requesting him to have all boats and river craft for seventy miles along the Delaware river, removed to the western bank out of reach of the enemy and put under guard.  At Brunswick, he now had only 4000 men, including the New Jersey militia, and not being reinforced by Lee, he was unable to make a stand there.

On December 1st, on seeing Cornwallis’s vanguard appear on the opposite side of the Raritan, General Washington broke down the end of the bridge and resumed his retreat.  As the river was fordable, Captain Alexander Hamilton planted his field pieces on high commanding ground and opened a spirited fire to check any attempt of the enemy to cross while the troops retreated to Princeton.  At Princeton, General Washington left 1200 men in two brigades under Lord Stirling and General Adam Stephen to cover the country and watch the motions of the enemy, and on December 2nd, General Washington reached Trenton.   On December 6th, after being reinforced by 1500 Pennsylvania militia, which were procured by Mifflin, General Washington and his troops set off for Princeton.

Cornwallis, knowing how weak was the situation of Washington’s army, and being himself strongly reinforced, made a forced march from Brunswick and was within two miles of Princeton.  Stirling, to avoid being surrounded, immediately set out with the two brigades for Trenton.  Upon receiving intelligence of these movements, General Washington hurried back to Trenton, and having boats collected from all quarters, the stores and all the troops were transported across the Delaware.  General Washington had the boats destroyed and had troops posted opposite the fords.

With an able disposition of troops along the upper river, and with row galleys on the lower river, General Washington was able to stop the crossing by Cornwallis, who gave up the pursuit, and distributed the Hessian troops in cantonments along the river, and stationed his main force back at Brunswick.  Cornwallis would wait until he was able to cross the Delaware on the ice.

General Washington sent Putnam, to take command of Philadelphia and put it in a state of defence, and sent Mifflin to have charge of the munitions of war that were deposited there.  By their advice, Congress was adjourned on December 12th, and was to meet again on December 20th at Baltimore.  With his 5500 men, and if he was reinforced by the arrival of Gates’s regiments and of Lee’s, General Washington believed he could defend Philadelphia, ‘whose loss must prove of the most fatal consequence to the cause of America’.

Notwithstanding the repeated and pressing orders and entreaties of General Washington, to bring his division across the Hudson to join him in the Jerseys, Lee did not reach Peekskill until November 30th, and didn’t cross over until December 4th.  On December 12th, Lee decamped his troops from Morristown and marched that day to Vealtown (barely an 8-miles distance!), where Sullivan was left with the troops.

Meanwhile, Lee took up quarters 3 miles off, at a tavern in Baskingridge, with only a small guard with him for protection, as there wasn’t a British cantonment within twenty miles.  A tory, who had visited Lee the night before to complain of the loss of a horse taken by the army, and having found out where Lee was to lodge and breakfast, had ridden 18 miles in the night to Brunswick, and had given the information to the British, and then piloted back Colonel Harcourt and his dragoons, who surprised the guards and demanded Lee surrender or they’d burn down the house.  Lee surrendered – bareheaded, in his slippers and blanket coat.

General Washington wrote in a letter to his brother Augustine

you will undoubtedly have heard of the captivity of General Lee.  This is an additional misfortune and the more vexatious as it was by his own folly and imprudence and without a view to effect any good that he was taken … If every nerve is not strained to recruit the army with all possible expedition, I think the game is pretty nearly up … You can form no idea of the perplexity of my situation.  No man I believe ever had a greater choice of evils and less means to extricate himself from them.  However, under a full persuasion of the justice of our cause, I cannot entertain an idea that it will finally sink.”

Thomas Paine had joined Washington’s camp, ‘from Fort Lee to the edge of Pennsylvania’, and at Washington’s request wrote the ‘American Crisis’ that began …

These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.”

It was printed on December 19th, in the Pennsylvania Journal, and on December 23rd, General Washington had it read to his troops.

Richard Bache

Richard Bache

Meanwhile, back on September 26th 1776, Dr. Benjamin Franklin had been appointed by Congress as one of the commissioners to represent it at the court of France.  Though France was not yet ready to form an alliance with America, it was willing to ship blankets, shoes, clothing, arms and ammunition to some port in the West Indies where Congress might claim them.  Dr. Franklin turned the post office over to Richard Bache, as deputy, and turned all the money he could raise (between three and four thousand pounds) into a loan to Congress.

On October 26th – the same day that Howe was marching towards White Plains, and Carleton was advancing on Ticonderoga – Dr. Franklin left Philadelphia and embarked on the armed sloop ‘Reprisal’, accompanied by his two grandsons: Temple Franklin, now 17 years old, and Benjamin Franklin Bache, 7 years old.  Dr. Franklin, who was almost certain to be hanged for high treason if the ‘Reprisal’ was captured, noted the temperature of air and water every day, again studying the Gulf Stream.  Within two days of France, the ‘Reprisal’, under Captain Wickes, took two British prizes and brought them into Quiberon bay off the coast of Brittany.

On December 3rd, a local fisherman rowed Dr. Franklin, suffering from boils that had erupted over every square inch of his torso, and his two grandsons ashore at Auray, and Dr. Franklin finished the journey to Nantes by post-chaise, where he was honoured with a grand dinner.  At Nantes, 230 miles from Paris, Dr. Franklin wrote to Silas Deane, who was in France to try to procure clothing and munitions for the Continental army(3), and to his friend, Jacques Barbeau-Dubourg, who’d both receive their letters after the post office had read and copied them.

On December 22nd, Dr. Franklin arrived at the Hotel d’Entragues in Paris, where he would meet with Congress’s other two commissioners – Silas Deane, who Dr. Franklin left in charge of the covert shipping operation of war materiel to America, and Arthur Lee, who would later travel to Madrid to represent the United States to Spain.  Soon, Dr. Franklin would move to Passy, a village two miles from Paris and home to mineral spas and a royal scientific laboratory, and stay rent-free as the guest of Jacques Le Ray de Chaumont in apartments at an outlying villa on the grounds of the Hotel de Valentinois, which would soon have its own lightning rod.  Benny would attend a boarding school there, and join Dr. Franklin and Temple on the weekends.

2 – The Battle of Trenton, December 25th 1776

Prior to their adjournment, Congress had resolved that ‘until they should otherwise order, General Washington should be possessed of all power to order and direct all things relative to the department and to the operations of war’.  To those whose terms were expiring, Washington’s promise of increased pay and bounty of ten dollars to the men for six weeks’ service, kept together the dissolving army.  Colonel John Cadwalader arrived with a large volunteer detachment, well equipped and composed principally of Philadelphia troops, and was assigned by General Washington to Bristol, along with Colonel Reed, to keep a watchful eye upon Count Donop’s Hessians, who were cantoned along the opposite shore from Bordentown to the Black Horse.  And, instead of marching toward Princeton as Lee had ordered him to, Sullivan now pressed forward to join General Washington, and arrived at his camp on December 20th, the same day that St. Clair, Arnold and Gates and his regiments arrived.  After meeting with General Washington, and being told that another British invasion was expected at Rhode Island(4), Arnold now agreed to take a temporary command in New England – instead of going to see Congress.

On December 9th, General Burgoyne, who had received permission from Carleton to return to Britain to attend to personal matters because of the death of his wife, arrived at Portsmouth, on his way to meet with Lord George Germain, Secretary of State for the Colonies, who was planning for the next year’s campaign.

At New York, Howe was in winter quarters, while Cornwallis, thinking his work accomplished, had obtained leave of absence and was likewise at New York, preparing to embark for London.  The British troops were loosely cantoned about the Jerseys, from the Delaware river to Brunswick.  The Hessians were in the advance, stationed along the Delaware, facing the American lines that were on the west bank.  General Washington now felt the time was propitious to cross the Delaware at night at different points and make simultaneous attacks upon the Hessian advance points.  But it must be done quickly before the river was frozen, when it was suspected that Howe would resume active operations, cross the river on the ice and push triumphantly to Philadelphia.  General Washington wrote to Reed, “yet nothing but necessity, dire necessity, will, nay must, justify an attack”.

General Washington’s plan was to cross the Delaware river with a considerable force at McKonkey’s Ferry, about nine miles above Trenton, and march down upon that place, where a brigade of three Hessian regiments (1500 men) were stationed.  General Ewing with a body of Pennsylvania militiamen was to cross at a ferry about a mile below Trenton, and secure the bridge over Assunpink creek, a stream flowing along the south side of the town, to cut off any retreat of the enemy in that direction.  Maj-General Putnam, with those troops occupied in fortifying Philadelphia and those troops under Cadwalader, was to cross below Burlington and attack the lower posts under Count Donop. The several divisions were to cross the Delaware at night, so as to be ready for simultaneous action by five o’clock in the morning.

When General Washington wrote Gates of his plan and asked him to go to Bristol and take command there, Gates, who, like Lee had a disparaging opinion of Washington, pleaded ill health and requested leave to go to Philadelphia, where he was intent on making interest among the members of Congress for an independent command.  Gates did not even stop for a day or two at Bristol to concert a plan of operations with Reed and Cadwalader, but set out for Baltimore on December 24th.

On Christmas day at sunset, General Washington and his 2400 men and 20 pieces began to cross the Delaware – with the weather intensely cold, the wind high, the current strong and the river full of floating ice, led by Colonel Glover’s regiment of Marblehead fishermen – the same ones who had navigated the army in its retreat from Brooklyn to New York.  Colonel Knox attended to the crossing of the artillery.  After crossing, General Washington formed his troops into two columns, the first led by himself with Greene, Stirling, Mercer and Stephen that made a circuit by the upper road to the north of Trenton, the second led by Sullivan, with St. Clair, that took the lower road leading to the west of town.  As it began to hail and snow, it made the march intolerable, but helped to surprise the pickets, and the outposts were driven in.  General Washington advanced his column into the town from the north, while his advance guard rushed forward and drove the Hessian artillerists away before they could fire their two cannons.  Sullivan approached on the west, and sent Stark to press on the south end of the town.

Crossing of the Delaware

Crossing of the Delaware

A troop of British light horse and about five hundred Hessians and chasseurs, which had been quartered in the lower part of the town, upon seeing Washington’s column pressing in front and hearing Stark thundering in the rear, fled over the bridge across the Assunpink, and then along the banks of the Delaware toward Count Donop’s encampment at Bordentown.  Their retreat was not cut off, as General Ewing had been prevented from crossing the river by the ice and did not secure the bridge.  Cadwalader was hindered from crossing by the same obstacle, and no attack was made against Donop.  Colonel Rahl with some difficulty extricated his troops from the town and led them into an adjacent orchard, and then turned and led his grenadiers back into the town to attack, when he was fatally shot and fell from his horse.  The Hessians now retreated up the banks of the Assunpink, intending to escape to Trenton.  General Washington then threw Colonel Hand’s corps of Pennsylvania riflemen in their way, while a body of Virginia troops gained their left, and as General Washington was ordering a discharge of canister shot, the Hessians surrendered, with nearly one thousand taken prisoner.

With a superior force under Donop below him and a strong battalion of infantry at Princeton, and with his own troops exhausted and having to guard a thousand prisoners, General Washington gave up any idea of pursuing the enemy or of keeping Trenton, and determined to recross the Delaware river with his captured artillery and his prisoners, who were then marched off to Newtown, and subsequently from place to place until they reached Winchester in the interior of Virginia.

Donop, meanwhile, had sent one half of his troops to Princeton and had hurried on with the remainder to Brunswick.  When word was brought to Howe of the capture of the Hessians at Trenton, he instantly stopped Cornwallis, who was on the point of embarking for London, and sent him back in all haste to resume the command in the Jerseys.  Now bent upon following up this blow and with a fair opportunity of driving the enemy entirely from the Jerseys, on December 29th Washington’s forces began to again cross the Delaware river.

An advance of two parties of light troops was sent in pursuit of the enemy, to harass Donop in his rear until the other troops came up.  Cadwalader also detached a party of riflemen from Bordentown to do the same.  General Washington now was effecting the passage of his main force and artillery over the icy river to Trenton, which with great labour and difficulty took two days.  This gave the British time to draw in their scattered cantonments and assemble their whole force at Princeton.  Cornwallis had now joined General Grant at Princeton with a reinforcement of chosen troops.

General Washington now called to his aid, Cadwalader and Mifflin, who joined him with their collective forces of 3600 men, on January 1st 1777.  General Washington assembled his main body on the east bank of the Assunpink, and planted his artillery on the stone bridge across it, and stationed his advance guard about three miles off in a wood, behind Shabbakong creek.

On January 2nd came word that Cornwallis was approaching with all his force.  Strong parties under Greene were sent out to skirmish with the enemy and harass them in their advance.  By noon, Cornwallis had reached the Shabbakong, crossed it and drove the advance guard out of the woods and pushed on until they reached a high ground near the town.  Here Hand’s corps of several battalions was drawn up and held them in check for a time.  All the parties in advance, after crowding over the narrow bridge, ultimately reached the main body on the east bank of the Assunpink.  Cornwallis and the head of his army finally entered the town at sunset, while his rearguard was at Maiden Head, about six miles away – nearly half way between Trenton and Princeton.  Though Cornwallis’s troops made repeated attempts to cross the Assunpink, they were repulsed by Washington’s artillery, until finally camping for the night.

Worried that his raw, inexperienced army would prove no match against an enemy vastly superior in numbers and discipline, and that behind him was the Delaware river – impassable from floating ice, General Washington decided on a plan of a rapid night-march along a different road from that on which Cornwallis’s rear guard was resting, and of getting past that force undiscovered and surprising those troops left at Princeton and of capturing or destroying what stores were left there, and of possibly pushing on to Brunswick where the British army’s baggage and principal store were weakly guarded.  To deceive the enemy, men were employed to noisily dig trenches near the bridge, while others were to go the rounds to relieve guards at the bridge and keep the camp-fires going, until daybreak and then to hasten after the army.  The army baggage was silently removed to Burlington.  In the dead of night, the army quietly left its encampment and began its march on the new Quaker road, that was a complete roundabout that joined the main road about two miles from Princeton.  Before reaching the main road, General Washington led the main army across a bridge over Stony Brook and then turned onto a less exposed by-road to Princeton, and sent Mercer and his brigade to continue on to the main road to secure and if possible destroy a bridge over Stony Brook, so as to intercept any fugitives coming from Princeton and also to check any British troops coming from Trenton.

However, 3 regiments of the British had been quartered all night in Princeton, under orders to join Cornwallis in the morning.  The 17th regiment under Mawhood was already on the march, and after crossing the bridge over Stony Brook on the main road, they spotted Mercer’s troops marching along the Quaker road toward the bridge.  Mawhood turned around, recrossed the bridge and, after sending messengers for the other two regiments at Princeton to hasten forward, attacked Mercer’s troops.  Mercer’s mount was shot in the leg and one of his colonels was mortally wounded, and in the confusion, the British charged with the bayonets.  The American riflemen, having no bayonets, retreated.  Mercer tried to rally them but was knocked to the ground, surrounded, bayoneted repeatedly and left for dead by the British.  Mawhood pursued the retreating Americans, until a body of American militia emerged from the woods and advanced to the rescue.  Mawhood drew up his artillery and by a heavy discharge brought the militia to a stand.  General Washington himself now arrived at the scene in advance of his troops to rally the militia, the 7th Virginia regiment emerged from the woods, the American artillery fired at the British, and a desperate battle began.  Mawhood was able to fight his way back to the main road and to retreat back over the bridge towards Trenton to join Cornwallis.  General Washington detached Major Kelly with a party of Pennsylvania troops to destroy the bridge at Stony Brook.

In the meantime, the 55th regiment had left Princeton, encountered the American advance guard under St. Clair, and after some sharp fighting in a ravine, the 55th retreated across fields and along a by-road to Brunswick.  Part of the remaining 40th regiment fled to Brunswick, while the rest took refuge in the college at Princeton, but a few artillery shots by the Americans compelled them to surrender.  The British left about 100 dead on the field, and nearly 300 were taken prisoners.  The Americans lost about thirty men.  After pursuing the routed regiments towards Brunswick, General Washington stopped at Kingston, 3 miles from Princeton, and while on horseback, held a council of war.  Thinking that Cornwallis would be upon them before they reached Brunswick, it was determined to stop the pursuit and push for Morristown, breaking the bridges behind them.  At Morristown they would be in mountainous country, heavily wooded and on the enemy’s flank.

After his surprise and chagrin, when at daybreak Cornwallis saw only the expiring campfires and the deserted camp of the Americans, he could not learn where the army had directed its stealthy march, until there was a booming of cannon in the direction of Princeton, and he then broke camp and made a rapid march towards Princeton.  At the bridge at Stony Brook, he beheld Kelly and his men busy in its destruction.  A shot from his field-pieces drove them away.  Not wanting to take time to repair it, Cornwallis urged his troops chest-high through the turbulent and icy stream, and pushed forward, but was brought to a stand by the discharge of a thirty-two pounder from a distant breastwork.  After sending some horsemen to reconnoitre, he advanced to storm the battery, but found there was no one there.  (It had been left behind as too unwieldy, and had been lit by one of Washington’s rear-guard before retreating.)  Cornwallis crossed the bridge at Kingston and hurried forward toward Brunswick, thinking that General Washington was still before him.  At Morristown, General Washington would order Colonel Reed’s rangers and militia to scour the country, waylay the British foraging parties, cut off supplies and keep the cantonments of the enemy in a constant state of siege. Cornwallis was now forced to draw in his troops, which were posted about the country, and to collect them at Brunswick and Amboy, so as to have a communication by water with New York.   Here at Morristown, smallpox again began to appear, as also did the question of inoculation(5).

General Washington, who was immune from smallpox (he had already contracted it in 1751 at nineteen years of age, when he had gone to Barbados with his half-brother Lawrence, who had hoped a change of climate would help his tuberculosis) wrote to Doctor William Shippen, on January 6th 1777,

Finding the small pox to be spreading much and fearing that no precaution can prevent it from running thro’ the whole of our Army, I have determined that the Troops shall be inoculated.  This Expedient may be attended with some inconveniences and some disadvantages, but yet I trust, in its consequences will have the most happy effects.  Necessity not only authorizes but seems to require the measure, for should the disorder infect the Army, in the natural way, and rage with its usual Virulence, we should have more to dread from it, than from the Sword of the Enemy”.

3 – The Retreat from Ticonderoga, July 6th 1777

On April 1st, three ships with supplies from ‘Roderigue Hortalez et Compagnie’ eluded the British fleet and arrived in Portsmouth, New Hampshire – 30,000 muskets, 400 tons of gunpowder, 5000 tents and 60 artillery pieces.

On April 25th 1777, William Tryon (former royal governor of New York) and 1500 British regulars and 300 of the Prince of Wales Regiment (formed by loyalists in Connecticut who had fled behind British lines on Long island) had landed at Cedar Point, at the mouth of the Saugatuck river – three miles east of Norwalk.  The next day they marched to Danbury, the main supply base in Connecticut that served the American forces in the Hudson river valley, drove off the militia there under Colonel Cooke and set fire to the ammunition and supply depots.  General David Wooster, now commander of the Connecticut militia, along with General Benedict Arnold, left New Haven for Fairfield and then rode to join the 500 Connecticut militia and the 100 Continental Army soldiers assembled under General Gold Silliman at Bethel, two miles from Danbury.  The next morning, the British burnt more than twenty houses that belong to patriots, and marched toward Ridgefield.  Arnold and Silliman, with 400 men, went to Ridgefield, met another 100 militia-men and began erecting barricades on the road through town, while Wooster and the other 200 men, in order to gain time for Arnold and Silliman, chased and attacked the British rear guard, killing 2 and taking 40 prisoners.  While rallying his men, Wooster was mortally wounded, and died five days later at Danbury.  Arriving at Ridgefield, the British launched an hour-long artillery barrage of the barricade, and then advanced on three fronts – at the barricade and both flanks at the same time.  Outnumbering the Americans three to one, the British breached the barricade and soon gained the town.  While withdrawing his men, Arnold was pinned when his horse was killed, but he still managed to escape with an injury to his leg.

On April 28th, the British left Ridgefield after burning six more houses and the church – which had been used by the Americans as a supply depot and field hospital, and marched toward their ships.  With more militia arriving from Connecticut and New York, the Americans regrouped, and Silliman with 500 men began a swarming harassment of the British column as it retreated southward.  Arnold gathered 500 more men and a company of artillery under Colonel John Lamb and were positioned further south at a bridge crossing the Saugatuck river, where they attacked the oncoming British, trying to entrap them before they reached the beach.  Arnold again had his horse shot from under him.  The British troops were rescued by a reinforcement of Royal Marines from their fleet, whose bayonet charge caused the Connecticut militia to scatter, and who provided cover for the troops to embark and sail back to New York.  The British had 26 killed, 29 missing and 117 wounded, while the Americans had 20 killed and 40 wounded.  On May 2, Congress promoted Arnold to Major General(6) on account of his bravery.

On May 6th, Burgoyne arrived back at Quebec from London with new orders for Carleton from Lord Germain, Secretary of State for the Colonies.  Burgoyne would now be in command of the British army that would leave Canada, travel down lake Champlain, seize Crown Point and Ticonderoga, and force his way to Albany, where he would join up with Howe.  Burgoyne had over 7000 regular troops (3981 British regulars, 3116 Hessians, and 473 British and Hessian artillerymen), along with 400 Indians.  As a diversion, Lt.-Colonel Leger was to travel to Oswego, attack Fort Stanwix, march down and ravage the Mohawk river valley, and then meet up with Burgoyne at Albany.  St. Leger would have about 2000 men (200 British regular troops, 500 Wirtemburg Chausseurs, 50 Quebec militia, 133 tories, 67 rangers and 1000 Indians).  At Quebec, Carleton would be left with 3000 troops.  Carleton now had to resort to the corvee, to force the Canadians to help in transporting the rest of the needed provisions, ammunition and baggage to St. Jeans – it took an entire month!  Instead of the two thousand Canadian militia that Burgoyne had requested, Carleton was only able to form 3 companies(7) of 100 men each!

On May 31st, 18 transports of British reinforcements arrived at New York.  Howe now moved his headquarters to Brunswick.  General Washington moved his camp from Morristown to Middlebrook and ordered Major-General Putnam to send most of the continental troops from Peekskill to Morristown.

Colonel Hazen and the 2nd Canadian Regiment, after spending the winter at Fishkill, were sent to Putnam at Peekskill, but then were re-assigned to Maj-General Sullivan, who had asked General Washington if Hazen’s regiment could remain with him, and they arrived at Princeton on June 1st.  Colonel Livingston and the 1st Canadian Regiment had been sent to the Mohawk valley to garrison Fort Dayton and Fort Johnstown.  The detachment at Fort Dayton was relieved by the 3rd New York regiment on May 24th, and joined the rest of the 1st Canadian regiment at Fort Johnstown.

On June 12th, 39 vessels had arrived at Quebec – including 15 transports with 11 companies from Britain and with 400 chausseurs from Hanau for Riedesel.

On June 13th, Howe advanced his troops to Somerset court-house, and later Howe would feign a move towards Philadelphia to try and draw out Washington’s army into the open.  General Washington, however, with the present state of his forces, did not want to risk a general action against the British, but decided instead to follow on Howe’s rear if he moved toward Philadelphia, and to keep the troops under Major-Generals Mifflin and Arnold along the west side of the Delaware river to block any British attempt to cross the river.  Unable to draw out Washington’s troops into battle, on June 19th Howe returned to Brunswick, burning houses along the way.

On June 14th, Burgoyne embarked on the 14-gun Maria, to leave Fort St. Jean, along with the rest of his navy – the bomb ketch Thunderer, the 22-gun Inflexible, the 12-gun Carleton, the 7-gun Loyal Convert and the newly built 26-gun Royal George.  (Burgoyne’s train included 138 guns, from 24-pounders to 4-inch mortars).  Burgoyne’s advance corps, the 24th regiment under General Fraser, had left camp at the end of May.  Fraser also had in his regiment the King’s Loyal Americans led by Ebenezer Jessup, a New York tory, and the Queen’s Loyal Rangers led by John Peters, a Connecticut tory.  They were followed by Burgoyne’s right wing under Major General Phillips – the first brigade of the 9th, 47th and 53rd regiments, and the second brigade of the 20th, 21st and 62nd regiments; and then by the left wing under Riedesel – the first brigade of the von Rhetz, von Riedesel and Specht regiments, and the second brigade of the Prinz Friedrich and the Hesse-Hanau regiments, one dragoon regiment, one grenadier regiment, and an advance corps of jaegers.  Each day a regiment moved forward, landing at night at the campsite of the regiment that had gone before, until reaching the rendezvous at Cumberland bay.

On June 12th, Major General St. Clair(8) arrived to take command of Ticonderoga.  The troops that had been garrisoned there in November, had left when their enlistment time expired.  They had been replaced with about 2500 men – all from New England.  From New Hampshire were Colonel Pierse Long’s regiment and three newly arrived regiments of Colonel Cilley’s 1st, Colonel Hale’s 2nd and Colonel Scammell’s 3rd, along with Whitcomb’s Rangers. From Massachusetts were Colonel Marshall’s 10th, Colonel Francis’s 11th, Colonel Brewer’s 12th and Colonel Bradford’s 13th regiments, along with Colonel Jackson’s regiment, Leonard’s militia regiment and Well’s militia regiment.  And from the New Hampshire Grants came Colonel Seth Warner’s regiment.  Colonel Jeduthan Baldwin, the army’s engineer, assisted by Colonel Thaddeus Kosciusko (a Polish volunteer) was directing his 200 artificers in the building and repairing of the ships, the redoubts and the batteries, and in constructing a 400-yard boom of logs and a floating bridge across the lake to connect Fort Ticonderoga and the fort at Mount Independence.  After having been appointed to command the Northern Department of the Army(8), Schuyler visited Ticonderoga on June 20th and held a council with St. Clair, and with generals Fermoy, Poor and Patterson.  It was decided that the safety of the troops, cannon and stores was paramount, and it was “prudent to provide for a retreat” if needed.

On June 20th, Burgoyne sailed in the Maria to meet up with Fraser’s advance troops at Bouquet river, and held a congress with the 400 Indians.  On June 24th, Burgoyne’s main army left Cumberland bay and moved toward Crown Point.  On June 25th, Fraser’s advance troops arrived at Crown Point and prepared for an assault landing, but found the fort was deserted.

On June 30th, Fraser was now within sight of the fort at Ticonderoga, and with the main army now at Crown Point, Burgoyne began moving, with Riedesel and his Hessians advancing up the east shore of the lake toward Mount Independence, and with Phillips and the British regulars advancing up the west bank towards Ticonderoga.

On June 22nd, Howe had marched out of Brunswick to Amboy, burning more houses along the way, trying to provoke an attack from the Americans, but General Washington again fell to Howe’s rear and flanks.  Cornwallis, making a circuitous march to the north, fell in with Major-General Stirling’s division, and after a sharp skirmish, Stirling retreated into the hills.  Cornwallis moved on to Spanktown, again burning houses and plundering all before them.  Unable to draw out General Washington’s forces from their strongholds, at the end of June, Howe returned to Staten Island and evacuated his troops from the Jerseys.

When intelligence of the British appearance on lake Champlain reached General Washington, however, he could not move all his troops to Peekskill, because he had to be ready to move towards Pennsylvania, if Howe again tried to attack Philadelphia.  But at the same time, he had to be ready to move to the Highlands, if Howe tried to ascend the Hudson river to link up with Burgoyne coming down from Canada.  General Washington then moved his remaining troops from Middleton back to Morristown (almost all of the Jersey militia had been dismissed because it was their harvest time), and ordered Varnum and Parsons with a couple of brigades to Peekskill.  Sullivan was ordered to move his division (including Hazen’s Canadiens) towards the Highlands as far as Pompton, and ordered Putnam and George Clinton to call out the New York and Connecticut militias, and that when these reinforcements arrived to send four Massachusetts regiments to the aid of Ticonderoga.

On July 2nd, from Three Mile Point on the west side of Lake Champlain below Ticonderoga, Fraser sent 600 regulars along with the Canadians and Indians to go around the American left, trying to reach the sawmills along the portage road from Lake George, and thus to cut off their escape route to Lake George.  Upon seeing the British advance, the Americans abandoned and burnt their advance post on Mount Hope, and abandoned and burnt the blockhouse and the sawmills at the landing, and retreated back behind the lines at Ticonderoga.  The Indians attacked and drove the fifty-man picket guard back to the lines.  The British moved up the 20th regiment to support the advance corps, to control the area between the point and the Lake George landing, and to bring the artillery and troops ashore on the west bank.  Forty-one bateaus landed on the east bank below Mount Independence and unloaded the German troops, to now begin a pincer movement against the Americans, and to try to cut off the American’s retreat route to Hubbardton from the east side.  On July 5th, after surveying the area south of Ticonderoga, the British began to build a road to the summit of Mount Defiance, which overlooked both Ticonderoga and Fort Independence, and to haul cannon up the mountain and to construct a battery.

While being outnumbered by more than four to one, and with both Fort Ticonderoga and Fort Independence nearly surrounded and soon to be exposed to the British canon fire from Mount Defiance, St. Clair called a council of war.   St. Clair could either defend the forts until his men were either killed or captured – “he would save his character and lose the army”, or he could attempt an escape – “he would save the army and lose his character”.  It was resolved that a retreat “ought to be undertaken as soon as possible, and that we shall be very fortunate to effect it”.  After midnight, the garrison at Fort Ticonderoga crossed the floating bridge to Fort Independence and St. Clair had the main body of the army march southeast along the Hubbardton road to Skenesborough.  Throughout the camp, soldiers were recovering from an epidemic of measles that left them unfit for duty though not quite sick enough to be in bed, while about a hundred men, most of them wounded, were still in the hospital.  The invalids, plus a regiment of healthy soldiers under Colonel Pierce to protect them, would be dispatched by boat to Skenesborough along with as much of the guns, tools and supplies as could be put onto the boats.

Major Ebenezer Stevens, the artillery officer (who had been one of the 70 men who had dumped the tea into Boston harbour) although sick, organized the loading of what cannon they could onto what boats were available, and had the remaining cannon spiked.  At 3 a.m., the flotilla of five armed galleys and over 200 bateaus and crafts, under Colonel Long, began to leave.  The retreat of the main army was led by Poor’s brigade and was followed by the militia (whose terms were expiring), Paterson’s and Fermoy’s brigade.  A rear guard of 450 men under Colonel Ebenezer Francis, crossed the floating bridge, damaging it as much as they could.  However, Fermoy had disobeyed orders and had set fire to his quarters on Mount Independence, and exposed the rear of the army and alerted the British to the retreat.  At dawn on July 6th, the British found Fort Ticonderoga deserted, the boats gone and the storehouses empty.  Finding that the floating bridge had only been partially destroyed, planks were brought up and they crossed over to find Fort Independence deserted, but left behind was ammunition, provisions and belongings.  The troops broke out into looting, and it would be 5 a.m. before Fraser had his troops back under control.  After assembling 2 companies of the 24th, and a detachment of 10 companies of grenadiers and 10 companies of light infantry, Fraser marched after the retreating Americans.  Burgoyne would order Riedesel and his Hessian troops (1 company of jagers and some of Breymann’s grenadiers) to follow after Fraser.

Commodore Lutwidge and his seamen broke down the floating bridge and boom, left behind the 62nd regiment at Fort Independence and the Prinz Frederik Hessian troops at Ticonderoga, and sailed their fleet past the remains of the floating bridge toward Skenesborough.

After marching 20 miles in 9 hours, St. Clair’s main army stopped to rest at Hubbardton, a tiny village of nine widely-scattered farmsteads (where the roads from Ticonderoga and from Crown Point met).  St. Clair had heard reports that a troop of Tories and Indians under Captain Alexander Fraser from Crown Point had just recently passed through Hubbardton, looting and taking captives.  After resting for a few hours, and after leaving Warner and his 150 Green Mountain Boys at Hubbardton to wait until colonels Francis and Hale and the rear guard arrived, St. Clair then marched 6 more miles to Castletown, driving away the Tory and Indian raiding party, preparing to march to Rutland the next day.  Warner’s troops rested the night at Hubbardton, while unknowingly, Fraser’s troops stayed the night at Lacey’s Camp – just 3 miles away, while Riedesel and his toops were just 3 miles behind Fraser!

Fraser moved his troops at 3 a.m. the morning of July 7th, and just before reaching Sucker creek, came upon Warner’s troops – while Francis’s men were readying to begin the march, others were still cooking, eating, and packing up.  Without waiting for Riedesel and the Hessians, Fraser attacked with the 24th in the van and the light infantry to flank them on the left, while the grenadiers were held in reserve.  The Americans quickly lined up in a half-moon, with Warner’s troops on the left, Francis’s 11th Massachusetts in the centre and Hale’s 2nd New Hampshire on the right.  After firing on the British grenadiers who were trying to outflank him, Warner pulled his troops back to the east side of the road behind a log fence, where a grenadier charge would have to come over open fields.  Francis’s troops turned back the initial attack by the light infantry and withdrew to a hill which afforded better protection, and waited for their next assault, while sending some troops to help Hale to attack the British left.  After an hour and a half of battle, Riedesel and the Hessians arrived to reinforce Fraser’s men.  Before they could be surrounded, the Americans were trying to pull back when Colonel Francis was killed, and the troops now scattered and ran through the woods towards Rutland, to try to meet up with St. Clair.  About 40 Americans were killed, 96 were wounded and 234 men, including Colonel Hale, were taken prisoner by the British, who had 60 killed and 168 wounded.  The next morning, Riedesel and his 1100 Hessians left to rejoin Burgoyne.  Fraser sent Colonel Hale and the other prisoners to Ticonderoga, and then marched with his 600 remaining men to Castletown, and on July 9th reached Skenesborough.

After sailing all night, Long and his bateaus had travelled the 30 miles up South Bay and then up Wood Creek and arrived at Skenesborough that afternoon.  They embarked at the docks below the waterfalls, and began unloading the boats to start hauling everything up the road around the falls, and then on the portage to Fort Anne.  As they were unloading the British arrived and began firing, blowing up and setting fire to three of the galleys, which then spread to the other bateaus.  The Americans abandoned a mountain of provisions which they sunk, and set fire to the blockhouse (which spread to the sawmill, storehouses and barracks), and raced toward Fort Anne – some by boat up Wood creek and some on a track through the forest.  Bourgoyne landed the 9th, 20th and 21st regiments three miles from Skenesborough and tried to cut off the American retreat, but was unable to do so in time.  The next morning, the 9th regiment marched toward Fort Anne, when they ran into Captain Gray and 167 Americans on a scouting mission out of Fort Anne, and a four-hour skirmish followed.  The next morning, Long and his troops attacked again, and had almost surrounded the British, when a party of Indians arrived, and the Americans had to pull back to Fort Anne.  Fearing British reinforcements were coming, they burnt the fort and marched sixteen miles to Fort Edward.  Burgoyne now set up his headquarters at Skenesborough.  On July 24th, his army would begin marching to Fort Edward, while all their provisions and ammunition would be hauled from Ticonderoga over the portage to Lake George, carried by water to the head of the lake, and hauled overland to Fort Edward.  And, St. Luc de la Corne and Longlade arrived from Canada with a thousand Ottawa and western Indians.

Five days after leaving Hubbardton and marching in steady rain, by a circuitous route St. Clair would reach Fort Edward on the Hudson river on July 12th with 1500 men (the militia had all returned home), leaving Warner and his Green Mountain Boys behind at Manchester, to recruit more militia from Vermont(9).

Schuyler, on hearing the news from Ticonderoga, left Albany at once and rode to Fort Edward. He told Major Yates at Fort George to forward all his powder, cannon and tools before they fell into British hands, and to quit his post if the British drew near.  Schuyler told Warner to round up all the cattle and wagons and to keep them out of the reach of the British.  Schuyler sent Brigadier-General John Fellows and a detachment of Massachusetts militia to fell trees, to block up streams and destroy bridges over Wood creek to obstruct the British army’s route from Fort Anne to Fort Edward.

General Washington, on hearing the news of the loss of Ticonderoga, ordered Sullivan with his division (including Hazen’s Canadiens) to Peekskill to reinforce Putnam, while he advanced with his main army to the Clove, within 18 miles of the Hudson river – to watch and oppose any designs by Howe.  600 recruits, on their march from Massachusetts to Peekskill, were ordered to reinforce Schuyler, and Brigadier-General Nixon arrived with 581 men on July 12th, and were immediately sent to aid Fellows.

On July 23rd, General Glover’s brigade at Peekskill was also ordered to be sent to Schuyler, and General Washington also sent Maj-General Lincoln of Massachusetts to the northern army to take command of the Eastern militia, over whom he had influence, since most of the militia were uneasy to stay due to harvest time.  While almost none of the New Hampshire or Connecticut militia stayed, over 1000 New York militia and 300 out of the 1200 Massachusetts militia agreed to remain for three more weeks.

General Washington wrote to Congress recommending that General Arnold be sent to the Northern army.  When Arnold received a copy of this letter, he wrote to Congress requesting that his resignation (which he had written the day before) be shelved, and Arnold then left Philadelphia and hurried north to join Schuyler, arriving at Fort Edward on July 24th.  As the British slowly made their way through all the obstacles, Schuyler led his men (about 2800 continentals and 1300 militia) from Fort Edward to a more defensible position at Moses Kill, four miles south.  At Moses Kill, Schuyler divided his army into two divisions, occupying opposite sides of the river – the right under St. Clair, the left under Arnold.  He left the Albany County militia behind as a rear guard with orders to retreat at the last moment.  On July 27th, they abandoned Fort Edward.

4 – The Battles of Bennington, August 16th, and of Fort Stanwix, August 24th 1777

On July 24th, General Washington now learned that Howe had embarked 36 British and Hessian battalions (almost 18000 men), while leaving Henry Clinton behind with 17 battalions for the protection of New York, and had finally set sail on July 23rd.  Thinking that Howe was now moving to attack Philadelphia, General Washington set out with his army from the Clove for the Delaware, and halted at Trenton until he could be more certain of Howe’s destination.  General Washington also ordered Sullivan (including Hazen and the 2nd Canadian regiment) and Maj-General Stirling with their divisions to cross the Hudson from Peekskill and proceed to Pennsylvania, and then ordered Putnam to move two brigades across the river to be kept in readiness in case he needed them too.

On July 31st, General Washington received news that Howe had arrived at the Capes of Delaware, and ordered Putnam to send the two brigades.  But Howe was deterred from entering the Delaware river by reports of measures taken to obstuct its navigation, and the British fleet sailed out of the Capes and apparently shaped its course eastward.  This caused General Washington to fear that Howe may be planning a move up the Hudson to join Burgoyne, and while he remained with his army near Germantown, he now ordered Sullivan, with his division (including the 2nd Canadian regiment) and the two brigades, to hasten back to recross the Hudson river to Peekskill.  On August 16th, General Washington would send Morgan’s Corps of Riflemen (500 men) to Schuyler, to allay the northern army’s fear of Burgoyne’s Indians.  And Putnam sent Van Cortland’s and Livingston’s New York Continental regiments to Schuyler.

Schuyler, finding his position at Moses Kill untenable, and being under constant attacks from the Indians, moved his army first to Fort Miller, then to Saratoga on July 31st, and later to Stillwater.  At Fort Miller, Major-General Lincoln arrived, and Schuyler sent him to Manchester in Vermont to take command of the troops gathered there by Colonel Warner.  At Saratoga, Brigadier-General Glover and 1200 men now arrived, but Colonel Long and his New Hampshire regiment left as their time was up, and Poor`s New Hampshire militia followed, leaving Schuyler with about 3000 troops.

On August 10th, Schuyler received from Congress a copy of a resolution passed on July 31st “that an inquiry be made into the reasons of the evacuation of Ticonderoga and Mount Independence, and into the conduct of the general officers who were in the Northern Department at the time of the evacuation” and a copy of a resolution passed on August 1st “that General Washington be directed to order such general officer as he shall think proper to repair immediately to the Northern Department, to relieve Major-General Schuyler in his command there”. Schuyler was ordered to repair to headquarters, but Schuyler felt that it was his duty to remain with the army until his successor should arrive in camp.  On August 13th, Schuyler moved his army further south to the Sprouts, the islands at the fords of the Mohawk river, where it empties into the Hudson.

In answer to an urgent request from Ira Allen of Vermont, the General Court of New Hampshire voted to raise a militia brigade under the command of John Stark(10), who was voted a Brigadier-General, and send it to Bennington, and join with Warner’s men, to defend the frontier from a possible attack by Burgoyne’s army.

By August 13th, Stark had over 1000 men, including the Vermont militia, at Bennington and about 100 men in Warner’s regiment at Manchester.  Schuyler’s plan was to send Lincoln and 500 men to join Stark and Warner, and to harass the enemy at its rear.

Burgoyne had set up his headquarters at Fort Edward, having finally reached the head of navigation on the Hudson river.  But the surrounding countryside had been thoroughly stripped of food and forage by the retreating Schuyler, and the British supplies had to be brought from Fort George and Skenesborough with no oxen or horses available.  Hearing that the Americans had gathered a large quantity of horses and carriages for use of the northern army at Bennington, the British made an attempt to seize them, and at the same time to block an attack on his left flank from New England.

On August 9th, Lieutenant-Colonel Baum, with 850 Hessians, 500 Tories and with 100 Indians, left Fort Edward and marched toward Bennington.  On August 13th, Stark received word that some Indians and a large party (Baum’s advance troops) had reached Cambridge.  Stark sent a reconnaissance force of 200 men under Lieutenant Colonel William Gregg to intercept them, and that night they arrived at the grist mill at St. Croix.  Gregg withdrew the next morning, when Baum’s forces marched into the town and seized the mill, along with 78 barrels of flour.  As Gregg retreated back to Bennington, he was followed closely by Baum, who had to stop when he saw Stark coming to Gregg’s aid.  Baum dug in and waited for reinforcements from Breymann (550 men – a company of riflemen and a battalion of light infantry).

Stark’s plan was to encircle the British camp and hit it on all sides at once.  On August 16th, Colonel Thomas Stickney and Colonel David Hobart from New Hampshire would attack the Tory redoubt, while Stark and 300 men stormed the enemy centre in a frontal attack.  Lieutenant Colonel Moses Nichols of New Hampshire led 350 men north, going around to attack the rear of the dragoon’s redoubt, while Colonel Samuel Herrick from Vermont led 300 men south across the Walloomsac river to attack from the other side of the redoubt.

Within minutes, they were within the redoubt – the men firing the cannon were killed or wounded, the garrison was overwhelmed and the Hessians fled, pursued by the Americans.  The Tory redoubt too was routed and the loyalists fled while being pursued.  After the redoubts fell, they joined Stark’s forces for an attack on Baum.  When the out-numbered Hessians finally ran out of ammunition, Stark’s forces pored over the defences, and forced the Hessians to flee to a nearby field, where in a last desperate charge, Baum was wounded and taken prisoner and the remaining Hessians surrendered.  Breymann’s troops arrived and the Americans, tired from the two-hour battle, had to quickly form a skirmish line, and with the Hessians firing two six-pounders, had to slowly fall back, dodging from tree to tree.  Major John Rand and his militia from Worcester county, Massachusetts arrived along with Major Samuel Safford and Warner’s Green Mountain Boys.  They now charged the Hessians, who suddenly turned and ran with their own cannons being turned and fired on them, as they were pursued until dark.  The British and Hessian loss was over 200 dead and 700 taken prisoner, and the Indians under St. Luc and Langlade declared their intention to return home.  The Americans had 30 dead and 40 wounded.

As a result of this victory, Congress gave Stark a commission as a “brigadier in the army of the United States”, and the General Court of New Hampshire presented him with “a compleat suit of Clothes”.

On June 23rd, Lieutenant Colonel Barry St. Leger left Lachine with 200 men (100 British regulars from the 34th regiment, 50 Hessian jaegers, Captain J.B. de Rouville and a company of 50 men from Samuel McKay’s Canadian militia), and proceeded up the St. Lawrence river to Lake Ontario and then on to Oswego.  On July 14th, a detachment of 300 men from Fort Niagara would join them at Oswego (Lieutenant Henry Bird and 100 men of the 8th regiment, 133 men of Sir John Johnson’s King’s Royal Regiment of New York, and Colonel Daniel Claus and Major John Butler, Indian Department agents, with 67 rangers) along with Joseph Brant and about 800 Indians.

Thayendanega, called Joseph Brant, was a Mohawk warrior, whose sister Mary had been married to Sir William Johnson.  In May 1775, Brant left for Montreal with Guy Johnson and Daniel Claus, and also travelled with them in November to London, returning in the summer of 1776.  Brant then travelled throughout the Mohawk villages, urging them to abandon their treaty of neutrality with the Continental Congress and take up arms with the British, before finally arriving at Fort Niagara with 300 Mohawk warriors.  John Butler, a Mohawk valley loyalist, who also had fled to Canada with Guy Johnson, and now a British deputy Indian agent at Niagara, had convinced the Senecas to join the British in the war.  Butler travelled to Oswego with 200 Seneca warriors to meet St. Leger, and was joined by warriors from the Cayugas and Onondagas at Oswego.  The British Indian Department had split the Iroquois Confederacy.

Together, the British and Indian force would travel from Oswego to old Fort Stanwix – now Fort Schuyler.  (In July 1776, at the urging of the Oneidas, who would remain allies of the Continental Congress, the Americans reoccupied Fort Stanwix, and Colonel Dayton of the 3rd New Jersey regiment – the first garrisons of the fort, renamed it Fort Schuyler.

The fort, at the head of navigation on the Mohawk river, was manned by 550 men of the 3rd New York Continentals under Colonel Peter Gansevoort.  The Oneidas, who were dispersed as pickets and spies throughout the woods around the fort, warned Gansevoort of the approach of the British, the advance led by Butler and Brant.  (Some of the Oneidas helped defend the fort while other Oneida sought refuge inside of the fort.)

By August 2nd, St. Leger reached Fort Schuyler, encamped the regulars and artillery north of the fort and the Indians and loyalists to the south.  St. Leger had arrived too late to stop the arrival of new supplies for the fort – supplies that were guarded by 200 men from the 9th Massachusetts, now also inside the fort.  Oneida messengers, slipped through the British lines, and made their way to Fort Dayton to warn the Americans.  Hearing of the siege, the Tryon County Committee of Safety assembled an 800-man militia under Brigadier General Nicholas Herkimer at Fort Dayton that marched to relieve the fort.  At Oriska, an Oneida village, over 60 Oneida warriors joined with Herkimer`s militia.

St. Leger ordered Johnson, with a company of light infantry, and Butler, with 30 rangers, 200 Seneca and 100 Mohawk warriors, to intercept Herkimer.  Johnson chose a ravine near the Indian village of Oriskany, where the only road wound through the small ravine.  On August 6th, as Herkimer led his men through the ravine, they were ambushed by the Indians and British.  After a murderous battle with over 450 of his men either dead or wounded, a wounded Herkimer led a retreat of his men back to Fort Dayton, where he later died.  The British had 150 dead or wounded – among the dead were three dozen Seneca, and perhaps an equal number of Mohawk.  (The Oneida losses are unknown).

At Fort Schuyler, Lieutenant Colonel Marinus Willett led 250 men from the fort and raided the deserted camps of the Indians and loyalists, taking their provisions and their personal belongings – including brass kettles, blankets, muskets, tomahawks, spears, ammunition and clothing, and returned to the fort without suffering any casualties.  St. Leger continued the seige of the fort with musket and cannon fire, while Oneida scouts, outside the fort, continued to harass the British.  St. Leger then demanded the fort to surrender, with threats that the Indians would be permitted to massacre the garrison and to destroy the Mohawk valley communities.  Taking advantage of this brief truce, Gansevoort sent Willet to notify Schuyler of their situation.  Oneida scouts also gave Schuyler estimates of the number of British forces beseiging the fort.  On hearing the news of Oriskany, Schuyler held a council of war, and then sent Arnold(11) to lead a detachment of 900 men from the 4th Massachusetts under Brigadier general Ebeneezer Learned (including the 1st Canadian regiment)(12) to relieve the besieged fort.

At Fort Dayton, Arnold had a plan to help in the relief.  Among the prisoners recently captured and condemned to death for planning an uprising in Tryon county in support of St. Leger’s invasion, was a half-witted (partially-insane) dutchman, named Hon-Yost Schuyler who the Mohawks revered as someone protected by the Great Spirit – they believed that the Great Spirit talked to the insane, who might be prophets.  Arnold offered Hon-Yost a pardon if he would go with two Oneida Indians, to St. Leger`s Indian camp and spread the word that Arnold was approaching with an overwhelming force of more than 2000 men.  Hon-Yost agreed and they started for Fort Schuyler, arrived at the Indian encampment and spread the news.  The Indians were deeply agitated by this report.  Already unhappy at the slow pace of the siege, the paucity of scalps and plunder, at having all their belongings stolen by the Americans, and now being told by the two Oneidas that Dark Eagle, as Arnold was called by the Abenakis, was coming to punish only the British and not the Indians who did not oppose him, the chiefs could not be persuaded to stay any longer, and after looting some of the British supplies and liquor, left to return home.

Deserted by their allies, St. Leger feared that he now had too small a force left to hold out against the large force coming under Arnold, and that his men were tired from the two weeks of laying siege to the fort, and so ordered his men to take what they could carry on their backs and retreated to Oswego.  While retreating, the British-allied Iroquois attacked the Oneida village of Oriska – burning the houses, destroying the crops, killing the cattle and forcing the women, children and elderly who had been left there to flee into the woods.  In retaliation, the Tryon County militia along with some Oneida warriors attacked the Mohawk village of Canajoharie, taking any valuables, and seizing the livestock and crops, and forcing the residents to flee to Oswego and Niagara.  Later, most of the Indians at Tiononderoga, the other Mohawk village, fled to Canada, before that village was pillaged too.

Arnold left Fort Dayton on August 21st and arrived at the Oriskany battlefield on the 22nd, where he ordered Livingston and the 1st Canadian regiment to bury the dead of the Tryon county militia who had been killed in that battle, but unfortunately the bodies were in such a bad way due to the hot weather, that they could not be buried.  After a forced march of 22 miles on August 24th, Arnold arrived at Fort Schuyler with nearly 1000 men, having relieved the siege without firing a shot.  Arnold sent out a party of Oneidas and 500 troops to pursue the British as far as Oneida lake, before turning back because of heavy rains.

After leaving two militia regiments to support the garrison, Arnold marched east to rejoin the army at Stillwater, where he learned that he had a new commanding officer – Horatio Gates.

On August 19th, Gates had arrived to take command of the Northern Army.  St. Clair immediately left to see General Washington at headquarters.  Schuyler returned to Albany where he remained, hoping to be of assistance to Gates, and also hoping as commissioner of Indian Affairs, to try to keep the Iroquois to their promised neutrality.

On September 15th, Schuyler held a council with 300 Iroquois, mostly Oneidas and Tuscaroras, and thay agreed to a declaration of war against the British.  On September 19th, 150 Oneida warriors would travel to Bemis Heights to join Gates`s army.  They would harrass Burgoyne`s army, capturing any British troops they could, and later exchanging them for the release of those Iroquois that had been captured by the Americans – in hope of proving their desire for peace to the other Iroquois tribes.

5 – The Battle of Brandywine, September 11th 1777

On August 7th, the British fleet was sited off Sinepuxent Inlet (about 16 leagues south of the Capes).  Not knowing what Howe’s intention now were, General Washington kept his army near Philadelphia, at Germantown, and ordered Sullivan to halt where he was, until more was know.  Sullivan was also to find out the situation of the British at Staten island.  While waiting at Hanover, New Jersey, Sullivan learned that with the departure of Howe’s fleet, the British kept only about 900 regular troops, under General John Campbell, at the north-eastern end of Staten island, with about 400 Loyalist New Jersey militia, under General Cortlandt Skinner, at outposts along the western shore.  Sullivan now planned a raid against the loyalist forces, using about 1000 of his men (drawn from the 1st and 2nd Maryland brigades, the 2nd Canadian regiment, and a company of New Jersey militia).

Leaving on August 21st, they arrived that evening at Elizabethtown, and early the next morning, after splitting his forces into three, began crossing to the island.  One detachment, under Colonel Matt Ogden, attacked the outpost of Elisha Lawrence’s brigade, suprising and routing the militia, taking 80 prisoners.  He then attacked the outpost of Edward Vaughan Dongan’s brigade. which put up a stiff resistance, even though Dongan was shot and killed.  Ogden then retreated to the Old Blazing Star ferry, waited as long as he thought prudent, and crossed back to New Jersey.  Sullivan’s column moved to attack the outpost of Joseph Barton’s battalion at the New Blazing Star Ferry, and the militia fled, and Sullivan took 40 prisoners, including Barton.  Some of Sullivan’s men tried to attack Skinner’s headquarters, but had to retreat when Skinner’s forces proved to be too strong.

The other column, under Brigadier general William Smallwood, attacked the outpost of Abraham van Buskirk, whose men then fled, until they were rallied by Skinner, and after destroying the camp supplies and equipment, Smallwood retreated.  Smallwood and Sullivan met near Richmond, and made there way back to the Old Blazing Star ferry.  Sullivan sent for the boats, but when they didn’t arrive, he had only the three boats, that had been used by Ogden, to use to cross his men.  As General Campbell with the British 52nd regiment and two Hessian regiment approached, Sullivan ordered the companies of Majors Stewart and Tillard to cover their retreat.  They held off the British, until they were forced to surrender when they ran out of ammunition.  The British had 6 killed, 25 wounded and lost 171 men as prisoners.  Sullivan(13) had 10 killed, 15 wounded and lost 138 men as prisoners – including Lt-Colonel Edward Antil and 40 men of the 2nd Canadian regiment.

On August 22nd, General Washington received intelligence that the British fleet had arrived at Chesapeake bay and he then ordered Sullivan and his division to move to cross the Delaware river and to join him in Pennsylvania.  The divisions of General Greene and Major-General Stephen were moved up to White Clay creek, about 10 miles above the head of the Elk river.  General Smallwood and the Maryland militia were gathering on the western shore, and were ordered to co-operate with General Rodney and the Delaware militia and to try to get in the rear of the British.  General Washington now formed a corps of light troops, under Major-General Maxwell, to hover about the enemy and give them continual annoyance.

On August 25th, Howe landed his 15000 troops at Turkey Point – six miles below the Head of Elk and seventy miles from Philadelphia.  With his troops both exhausted and seasick, Howe waited until September 3rd to begin his march.  About three miles in front of White Clay creek, Howe’s vanguard was encountered by Maxwell’s light troops and a severe skirmish took place.  Having no artillery, Maxwell had to retreat across the creek.

On September 8th, the British advanced in two columns – the one appeared preparing to attack the Americans in front, while the other moved up the west side of the creek, to the right of the Americans.  Fearing that Howe was attempting to circle around behind him, General Washington moved his troops back across the Brandwine creek, keeping Maxwell’s light troops south of the Brandywine on the road leading to Chadd’s Ford, and keeping Greene’s division on the high grounds in the rear as a reserve to aid either wing of the army.

The right wing of the army, under Sullivan, was composed of the divisions of Sullivan, Stephen and Sterling, and extended two miles up the Brandywine at Brinton’s Ford.  Sullivan sent Hazen and the 2nd Canadian regiment to guard Jones’s Ford.  The left wing, composed of the Pennsylvania militia under Major-General Armstrong, was stationed a mile and a half below, to protect the lower fords.

On September 11th, Knyphausen advanced his division on the road leading to Chadd’s Ford, and was engaged by Maxwell’s light troops until Maxwell was driven back across the Brandywine.  Knyphausen’s troops did not follow but halted on commanding ground, cannonading the American position, while making repeated attempts to force the ford.

Meanwhile, Cornwallis and the main body of Howe’s army, led by experienced guides, had made a circuit of seventeen miles, crossed the two upper forks of the Brandywine, and arrived at Birmingham meeting-house, two miles to the right of Sullivan, gaining the rear of his army.  Sullivan now advanced his troops and formed a line, when Cornwallis attacked with musketry and artillery.  Sullivan’s right and left wings were broken and driven into the woods, while the centre stood firm.  After a while of being exposed to the whole fire of Cornwallis’s army, the centre also gave way, but the British got entangled in the woods in advancing.  Sullivan’s troops rallied on a height to the north of Dilworth and made a spirited resistance, but were dislodged and forced to retreat.  General Washington sent Greene’s division to aid Sullivan, arriving too late to save the battle, but in time to protect their retreat.  The vigorous resistance of Greene’s troops against superior numbers checked the advance of Cornwallis, and Greene gradually drew off his division, while Cornwallis gave up further pursuit as the day was spent.

When Knyphausen learnt of Corwallis’s engagement, he made a push to cross Chadd’s Ford.  Left to oppose Knyphausen were Wayne’s brigade along with Maxwell’s light troops, who withstood the attacks until some of Knyphausen’s troops were able to rout his right wing, and Wayne retreated by the Chester road, while Knyphausen’s troops were too fatigued to pursue them.  The British had 93 killed and 488 wounded. The Americans had about 300 killed, about 600 wounded (including LaFayette, commissioned Major-General by Congress on July 31st) and about 400 captured (most of them wounded).

At Chester, General Washington and his army stopped for the night, and the next day retreated across the Skuylkill to Germantown.  At Philadelphia, Congress determined to leave for Lancaster, and after a day there, they left for York Town.  Before leaving, Congress ordered down 1500 continental troops from Putnam’s command on the Hudson.  The military stores at Philadelphia were moved to Reading.

On Septemer 14th, seeing that the British had not moved, General Washington recrossed the Skuylkill and advanced on the Lancaster road, with the intention of turning the left flank of the British.  Howe was apprised of Washington’s move, and began marching his troops towards the major road junction at the White Horse Tavern.  General Washington sent out an advance force under Wayne, who encountered the Hessian advance force of jaegers and a skirmish ensued.  A violent thunderstorm erupted, drenched the cartridge boxes and musket locks, and not wanting his men to face the British and their bayonets, General Washington decided to retreat, leaving behing Wayne’s division of Pennsylvania regiments to try to harass the British rear, and attempt to capture their baggage train.  However, the British learned of Wayne’s location, and on the night of September 20th, Major-General Grey, with 1200 men, launched a surprise attack on Wayne’s camp near Paoli Tavern.  Without firing a shot, the British rushed in using their bayonets.  Wayne’s troops fled the camp, suffering 272 casualties – about 60 were killed, and about 70 were taken prisoner.

On September 21st, Howe made a rapid march up the Skuylkill on the road leading to Reading, as if intending to capture the miliary stores there, and General Washington kept pace with him on the opposite side of the river up to Pott’s Grove.  But the movement on the part of Howe was a mere feint, and no sooner had he drawn General Washington up the river, Howe ordered a rapid countermarch on the night of the 22nd and reached the ford, threw his troops across the river and pushed forward for Philadelphia.  Howe halted at Germantown and encamped with the main body of his army, and on September 26th, Cornwallis with a large force marched into Philadelphia and took possession of the city.

6 – The Battle of Freeman’s Farm at Saratoga, September 19th 1777

On September 8th, Gates marched back north to Stillwater, where Baldwin’s engineers built a bridge of rafts (more than 900 feet long and 16 feet wide) across the Hudson river – establishing communication and a supply line with the 11th Massachusetts regiment placed on the east bank.  Gates then moved 3 miles north to Bemis Heights, which afforded an unobstructed view for miles around and overlooked the only road to Albany, through which Burgoyne’s heavy train of artillery and baggage would have to pass.  Gates’s engineer, Kosciuszko, supervised the building of a three-sided breastworks with a battery at each corner and in the centre, and to block an enemy advance down the river road, a trench was dug from the foot of Bemis Heights to the river, with a battery behind it.

Gates had his men in two wings – the right consisted of Glover’s, Nixon’s and Paterson’s Continentals, the left under Arnold was made up of Learned’s and Poor’s Continentals, Morgan’s Riflemen Corps and Dearborn’s light infantry (9000 men total, including the militia).

On September 10th, Burgoyne broke camp and moved his main army to the mouth of the Batten Kill. Burgoyne ordered that nothing, only a token force, was to be left at Fort George, and that after the stores passed Fort Edward the rear guard of Hessians there were to move forward.  Skenesborough and Fort Anne were evacuated.  On September 13th, they crossed over a bridge of boats to the west side of the Hudson river, the boats were removed, and they set off for Saratoga.  The supplies were floated downstream to the cove at Dovegat – 7 miles from Gates at Saratoga.   With communication with Canada voluntarily cut off, and with enough provisions for four weeks, Burgoyne had no line of retreat – and to get to Albany, he must attack.

On September 19th, the British army advanced towards the American army on Bemis Heights, not in a frontal assault along the river road, but swinging westward to move onto the heights and outflank Gates’s army, taking advantage of the cleared fields to use their cannon.  Fraser, with 3000 men – the 24th regiment and 2 Hessian regiments under Breymann, reached the Great Ravine and was forced to travel farther west before he located a suitable place to cross the stream, and to swing onto the ridge.  Hamilton, with 1700 men – the 9th, 20th, 21st and 62nd regiments, followed Fraser, and then about midway along the ravine, turned south down the densely-wooded slope, crossed the stream and struggled up the opposite bank, marching parallel to Fraser.  Riedesel, with 3 Hessian regiments and the train of artillery, slowly followed the river road. The Americans had destroyed the bridges and placed debris to hinder any crossing of the streams along the road.  Arnold, not wanting to wait for the British to gain the heights but wanting to attack them first in the woods, was able to at least get Gates(14) to agree to allow Morgan’s riflemen and Dearborn’s light troops to move out and keep an eye on the army’s left flank and harass any enemy troops that came in sight.  Morgan’s troops advanced through the woods and reached the southern edge of the clearing at Freeman’s farm. Soon after, Forbes’s advance troops (in Hamilton’s centre column) emerged from the trees at the northern end of the field, and Morgan’s men fired on them (killing all the officers) and ran into the open field to chase the fleeing British troops.

But then Fraser’s light infantry arrived, brought up a cannon and blasted at the Americans, who had to scramble back into the woods.  Poor was now ordered to dispatch more men in support of Morgan.  Cilley’s 1st New Hampshire took off to the left in hopes of flanking the enemy, and Scammell’s 3rd New Hampshire went straight through the woods towards the clearing.  Burgoyne lined up his troops – the 21st on the right, the 20th on the left, and the 62nd in the centre, with the 9th held in reserve.  An intense skirmish resulted – the American volleys causing the British to flee, the Americans pursuing them trying to capture their cannon, the British grenadiers charging with bayonets to regain their cannon – back and forth all afternoon.  Poor arrived with the rest of his brigade – the 2nd New Hampshire, Van Cortlandt’s 2nd and Livingston’s 4th New York militia, Cook’s and Latimore’s Connecticut militia, and also with Livingston’s 1st Canadian regiment and Major Hull and 300 men of the 8th Massachusetts.

The Americans were driving back the 62nd, and Riedesel was now ordered to attack the American right wing.  Leaving Brigadier Specht to guard their precious supplies, Riedesel led 500 Hessians up a wagon track south of the Great Ravine and opened fire on the American flank and had his two cannon rake them with grapeshot.  Learned’s brigade – the 2nd, 8th and 9th Massachusetts regiments, was ordered up, to support the troops under attack from Riedesel, but got lost in the woods, ending up facing Fraser’s light infantry.  The coming of darkness finally put an end to the battle, with British losses at 160 dead, 364 wounded and 42 missing (the 62nd was reduced to the size of a single company, and three quarters of their artillery men were either killed or wounded).  With only Arnold’s left wing of Gates’s army seeing action, the Americans suffered 300 killed or wounded.  The next day, both sides tended to their dead and wounded.

On September 21st, Burgoyne received a letter from Henry Clinton, written on the 12th in New York, that he was expecting reinforcements from Britain any day, and that he could make an attack on Fort Montgomery in 10 days with 2000 men.  Burgoyne now decided to wait and not attack immediately.  On the same day, Gates received word of Lincoln’s successful attack on Ticonderoga.  At a meeting on September 1st, Lincoln had suggested to Gates that a force could be sent to “annoy, divide and distract the enemy”.

On September 8th, Lincoln moved his 2500-man army (2000 Massachusetts militia, plus Warner’s Continentals and Whitcomb’s rangers from New Hampshire, and Herrick’s rangers and Marsh’s militia from Vermont) to Pawlet, “a strong post, both of our flanks being covered by mountains, in most places impassable, forming, at this place, almost the point of an acute angle, not unlike my ideas of Thermopylae”.

On September 12th, Lincoln sent Colonels Benjamin Woodbridge, Samuel Johnson and John Brown, each with 500 men to harass the posts in Burgoyne’s rear.  Brown was to attack the landing at the north end of Lake George and destroy any boats and supplies there, and if he could do so without risking too much, to attack Fort Ticonderoga.  Woodbridge was to head to Skenesborough (which the British had evacuated) to cover Brown’s retreat, while Johnson would threaten Mount Independence in support of Brown and make an attack if the situation warranted.  After an all-night march, on September 17th Brown reached the heights above the Lake George landing and surprised the enemy’s outposts the next morning, overpowering the guards and surrounding the encampment, taking prisoners and releasing American captives.  Captain Ebeneezer Allen and a company of rangers stormed the British camp atop Mount Defiance, taking 20 prisoners.

Brown next attacked the quay, and then surprised a company of British troops at the French lines, taking more prisoners and freeing more captives – in all, 330 British and Canadians were taken prisoner, while 119 American captives were freed, while Brown only had four killed and five wounded, and a large stand of arms and a large quantity of baggage were seized.  Also, 150 bateaus in Lake Champain and another 50 vessels in Lake George were captured.  Brown then demanded the surrender of the fort, but the commander, Brigadier-General Powell, refused and Brown began a four-day siege and bombardment of the fort, but with little effect.  Without enough men to assault the fort, Brown withdrew, burned the stores and destroyed the wagons and all but 20 boats, and with a small schooner and several gunboats armed with five cannon, Brown and his men embarked down lake George, and attacked the British supply base at Diamond island (3 miles down the lake from Fort George).  After a two-hour naval battle against two companies of the 47th and a dozen Hessians, the sloop was hulled, one gunboat was damaged and many other boats shattered to pieces by their cannon.  Brown thought it proper to retreat, burned what was left of the boats and headed to Skenesborough.  By September 26th, Brown, Johnson and Woodbridge would be back at Pawlet.  Lincoln had left a small detachment at Pawlet to guard the supplies, and had marched with his remaining troops to join Gates at Stillwater – bringing the number of troops there to over 11,000.  By October 5th, Brown, Johnson and Woodbridge and their men would also join Lincoln and Gates at Stillwater.

On September 29th, St. Leger arrived from Canada with 600 reinforcements for Ticonderoga, but was unable to join up with Burgoyne.  But, Burgoyne’s supply line to Ticonderoga had been cut.  His only hope now was to reach Albany and to join up with Henry Clinton’s forces.

7 – The Battle of Germantown, October 4th 1777

With Howe and his 9700 men encamped at Germantown and Cornwallis and his 3500 men occupying Philadelphia, General Washington remained at Pott’s Grove to give his troops a rest and to wait for Wayne’s brigade to rejoin them.  Admiral Howe had moved his fleet from the Chesapeake into the Delaware river but was prevented from moving further by a small flotilla under Commodore John Hazelwood and by the obstructions (chevaux-de-frise whose iron-tipped spikes threatened to tear the bottom out of any ship that attempted to pass) that had been placed in the river at Bylling’s point (Fort Billings) and farther upriver between Fort Mifflin on Mud island and Fort Mercer on the Jersey shore, to try and prevent Howe from resupplying his troops at Philadelphia.

On September 23rd, General Washington sent Lieutenant Colonel Samuel Smith and 200 men of the 4th Maryland to Fort Mifflin, who were ferried across the Delaware by Hazelwood.  On September 28th, Howe detached the 10th and 42nd regiments out of Germantown to Chester, to cross over the Delaware, and to march up the Jersey shore toward Fort Billings.  Along the way, they twice routed the New Jersey militia forces under Newcomb.  With the news of the militia in retreat, on October 2nd, Colonel Bradford ordered the immediate evacuation of the 112-man garrison and the ammunition, by guard boat from Fort Billings to Fort Mifflin.  The guns at the fort were spiked and the buildings were burnt.

On September 30th, General Washington advanced to Skippack creek, 14 miles from the British encampment at Germantown, with the idea of making an attack on the Britsh camp, while weakened by the absence of this detachment.  The British forces were encamped across the lower part of the village, divided into two parts by the main street (Skippack road) – with the left wing to the west of the road and the right wing under General Grant to the east, each wing covered by strong detachments and guarded by calvary – with Howe and his headquarters in the rear.  The 2nd battalion of light infantry, the advance of the army, was two miles ahead, while the 40th infantry was three-quarters mile in the rear of the main army.

According to General Washington’s plan of attack, Sullivan was to command the right wing, composed of his own division (including Hazen and the 2nd Canadian regiment) and Wayne’s division, with a reserve under Lord Stirling, composed of Nash’s North Carolina and Maxwell’s Virginia brigades, and flanked by Conway’s brigade.  Sullivan was to march east down the Skippack road and attack Howe’s left wing, while Armstrong with the Pennsylvania militia was to pass down the Monatawny road and get upon their left and rear.

Greene was to command the left wing, composed of his own division and Stephen’s division and flanked by McDougall’s brigade.  Greene was to march south down the Limekiln road and attack Howe’s right wing in front, and Mcdougall’s brigade to attack it in flank, while Smallwood’s Maryland militia and Forman’s Jersey brigade attacked it in the rear.

At dusk on October 3rd, the army marched fifteen miles and arrived at Chestnut hill at dawn with thick fog.  Sullivan’s advance attacked and routed the out-picket, that retreated back to the advance of light infantry.  Wayne led the attack on the infantry, which broke but was joined by the grenediers and returned the charge.  Sullivan and Conway formed on the west of the road and joined the attack, as the infantry broke and ran, being pursued by Wayne’s troops with their bayonets (who took revenge from the slaughter of their comrades by the British bayonets on September 20th).

The whole of the British advance was driven in, and Sullivan, with Conway on his right and Wayne on his left, drove forward.  Colonel Musgrave and six companies, left behind in the British retreat, threw themselves into Chew’s house.  Not wanting to allow a garrison in the rear of their advance, Maxwell’s brigade was brought up to storm the house, whose thick stone walls withstood the light cannons, and their assaults were cut down, causing heavy casualties.

Sullivan’s division stopped often to fire volleys into the fog, and they quickly had expended all their cartridges and were alarmed at seeing the British on their left and drew back.  Wayne had moved ahead, becoming separated from Sullivan, and fearing they would become isolated, they also fell back.  This left Conway’s troops exposed to enemy attack.  Greene had moved down the Limekiln road and his vanguard drove away the British pickets, and as he advanced he encountered the British right wing drawn up.

Because of the thick fog and smoke, Stephen’s brigade veered off course and in the fog they collided with Wayne’s division, mistaking them for redcoats, and the two brigades opened fire on each other, became badly disorganized and fled.  Mcdougall came under attack by the Queen’s rangers and the British reserve guards, and was forced to retreat.  Greene launched an attack on the British line, but the 9th Virginia regiment was soon surrounded by two brigades under Cornwallis that had arrived from Philadelphia, and forced to surrender, while Greene retreated with the rest of his troops.

Maxwell’s forces, having failed to capture the Chew house, had to draw back.  The British now rushed after the retreating Americans. Greene kept up a fighting retreat and Wayne was able to turn his cannon on the British and brought them to a stand, and the American army continued their retreat to Perkiomen creek.  The British had 71 killed, 448 wounded and 14 missing, while the Americans had 152 killed (including General Nash), 521 wounded and 438 taken prisoner.

On October 18th Howe evacuated his camp at Germantown and pulled his forces inside the city of Philadelphia.  Howe was still unable to supply his troops in Philadelphia due to the American defences on the Delaware.  Earlier on October 10th Howe had sent Captain John Montresor(15) and a crew to begin building the batteries to be used in attacking Fort Mifflin.  But on October 11th, Hazelwood and Smith launched a joint attack by row gallies on the working parties, taking 58 prisoners.  On Oct 18th Smith and his men were joined by Lieutenant Colonel John Greene and 200 men of the 7th Virginia regiment.

General Washington was then reinforced with 1200 Rhode Island troops under General Varnum, that had left Peekskill on September 29th after being ordered by Congress to join Washington’s army.  General Washington then moved his army to White Marsh, which was nearer to Philadelphia, and sent Varnum’s 1st and 2nd Rhode Island Continentals, under Colonel Christopher Greene, to Fort Mercer on October 11th.

Howe sent Colonel Donop and 2000 Hessians to attack Fort Mercer on the Jersey shore.  Donop crossed the Delaware at Cooper’s Ferry in Gloucester, four miles upriver from the fort.  On October 22nd, Donop launched a two-prong attack from the southern and norther approaches, while he was supported by a British war ship, 3 frigates 1 sloop and 1 galley from the river that fired on Fort Mifflin.  After a cannonade by the Hessian artillery, Donop attacked the nine-foot-high southern parapet, the Americans attacked with cannon and musket fire, and Donop was forced to retreat.  Donop was mortally wounded and died three days later.  On the north, as the Hessians were trying to get through an abitis, a tangled mass of felled trees with pointed branches, they were fired on by the Americans, suffered heavy casualties and were forced to retreat.

Hazelwood’s gunboats attacked the British ships, and the war ship and the sloop were run aground while trying to avoid the chevaux de frise.  The next day, fire from Fort Mifflin’s batteries, caused the war ship to catch fire and it exploded.  The British then set fire to the sloop and it too exploded.  In all, the British had 337 killed and wounded, with 20 missing, while the Americans had 14 killed and 27 wounded.  Howe now pulled back Donop’s troops and prepared an attack on Fort Mifflin.

8 – The Battle of Barber’s Wheat Field at Saratoga, October 7th 1777

At Saratoga, Burgoyne had his troops build a great redoubt with three gun batteries to protect the artillery park, the baggage and the batteaus.  On his right flank, near Freeman’s farm, a huge enclosed fort was built between the two ravines – 500 yards long with logs and earth mounded 2 feet high, called Balcarres redoubt.  Beyond this and father north, a palisaded breastwork was built – 200 yards long and 8 feet high, called the Breymann redoubt.  Between the two redoubts were several log cabins, manned by the Canadians.

Burgoyne would make a reconnaissance in force with 1700 regulars (plus 100 Canadians, 50 Indians and 450 Loyalists) to reconnoiter Gates’s left wing and determine its strength.  They were divided into three – the right under Fraser at the Balcarres redoubt, with 100 rangers and Indians moving wide to the west in advance, and with Balcarres’s light infantry and with the 24th regiment; the center under von Spaeth with 200 Hessians and 300 Hessian grenadiers, leaving behind 200 other Hessian grenadiers to man the Breymann redoubt; and the left, the British grenadiers under Acland.  Major Williams would command two 12-pounders, six 6-pounders and two howitzers.

On October 7th, the troops marched through the woods and emerged into Barber’s wheat field, about three-quarters of a mile from Gates’s lines.  Gates ordered Morgan and Dearborn to make a wide swing beyond the left of Fraser, and sent Poor’s brigade (the 1st, 2nd and 3rd New Hampshire Continentals on the left and the 2nd and 4th New York regiments on the right) to attack the left of the British line.  Learned’s brigade was held in reserve, ready to attack the centre.  Poor`s men came upon Acland`s forces, and charged and fired at them before Acland could charge them with bayonets, and the British were swept away, with Cilley`s 1st New Hampshire capturing a 12-pounder which they then turned on the retreating British.  Acland was wounded in both legs and was taken prisoner.  Morgan`s men drove in Fraser`s advance and attacked Balcarres`s light infantry on the front and right flank, while Dearborn charged them from the rear, and the British broke and ran back to join the 24th regiment.  While leading the 24th regiment, Fraser was mortally wounded in the stomach by one of Morgan`s sharpshooters (he would die the next morning at the British hospital).  Then General Ten Broeck with his 1800-man New York militia arrived, and the British right wing retreated back to the Balcarres redoubt.

Arnold now led Learned`s brigade (the 2nd, 8th and 9th Massachusetts Continentals, the 1st Canadian regiment) along with the Connecticut militia, in an attack on von Spaeth in the British centre, but made no progress against the determined stand of the Hessians.  With Balcarres`s troops driven back on his right, and with Acland retreating on his left, von Spaeth ordered his men to fall back, before they were surrounded.  After a quick meeting with Morgan, Learned and Poor, instead of being satisfied with driving the enemy from the field, Arnold now led the attack on the Balcarres redoubt.  But each charge on the redoubt would be driven back, and they had to fall back to the trees.  While this attack continued, Arnold then rode between the American and British lines to the cabins between the two redoubts, and with Learned`s men, quickly cleared out the Canadians there.  Arnold then headed to the Breymann redoubt, where Morgan`s men were already attacking from the front, and led an attack on the unprotected rear of the redoubt.  The 200 Hessians fought ferociously, but were finally overwhelmed by superior numbers, and were taken prisoner.  During the battle Breymann was killed, and Arnold(16) was shot in his bad leg, his horse was killed, and the leg was broken when he was pinned to the ground beneath his horse.  The Americans began bringing up more cannon to the captured redoubt.  With the coming of darkness, the battle ended.  The British had 184 killed, 264 wounded and 183 captured, the Hessians had 94 killed, 67 wounded and 102 captured – in total 894 of the 1700 of the reconnaissance force, more than half, had been lost!!!  The Americans had about 30 killed and 100 wounded.  (Gates, again, never left his headquaters – two miles from the battlefield.)

At one oclock in the morning, Burgoyne ordered his troops to move in silence back to the great redoubt.  The next morning, a large number of Americans advanced along the river toward the British camp, but the British artillery kept them at a distance.  During the exchange of gunfire, Lincoln was wounded in the leg.  While still hoping that Henry Clinton might appear, that night Burgoyne began the retreat towards Fort Edward, leaving behind their 400 sick and wounded, and marched 4 miles all night on the narrow road to the heights above Dovegat, while the bateaus with cargoes of food were rowed up river, abreast of the army.

The 9th was a day of short marches and more delays, and by the evening, they had marched another 4 miles onto the heights above Saratoga, burning buildings, houses and bridges as they went (including the home of Philip Schuyler), while being continually harassed from the rear by American riflemen.  On the 9th, Gates sent Brigadier John Fellows and 1300 militiamen on horseback – 2 to a horse – who rode all night, passing the British and took position on the east side of the Hudson river opposite Saratoga, to block any attempt by them to cross the river at Batten Kill.

On October 11th, after receiving news that Burgoyne had retreated to Fort Edward, Gates ordered Nixon and Glover to cross the river and attack what he thought was the rear guard of Burgoyne`s army.  Luckily, a deserter was captured who told them that Burgoyne`s whole army was still there, and they retreated in time before heading into a certain trap against the strongest point of the British line.  Morgan, Learned and some of the Pennsylvania troops had moved into position west of the British.  During the night of the 12th, General Stark and more than 1000 New Hampshire militia crossed the Hudson near the mouth of the Batten Kill and erected a battery on the west side, north of Burgoyne – the British were now surrounded.  The artillery barrages and skirmishes continued, with the riflemen shooting at the men and the horses, with the bateaus under constant attack (most had been captured or destroyed), and with Burgoyne`s army growing smaller every day.  By October 13th, the Americans had taken over 120 prisoners and had received over 160 deserters.

On the afternoon of the 13th, Burgoyne called a council of war, and afterwards a message was sent to Gates to arrange a meeting with him and one of Burgoyne`s officers, Major Kingston, to discuss the terms of a possible surrender.  Gates wanted it to happen very quickly, as he heard that a British fleet of 20 sail was heading upstream with Vaughan`s troops to Esopus.  But with his army worn out and almost out of provisions, Burgoyne would agree to the ‘articles of convention’ and to surrender – knowing that Henry Clinton could not reach them in time.

When additional forces had arrived from Britain at the end of September, Henry Clinton with 3000 men in 56 ships – warships, transports and flatboats – set sail from New York on October 2nd to create a diversion to aid Burgoyne, hoping to force Gates to send some of his troops to counter his movements.  Henry Clinton landed at Tarrytown on October 4th and at Verplanck’s Point on October 5th, landing some troops, who then marched about and reboarded the ships – as a feint to try to draw out Putnam’s troops.

Putnam was three miles north at Peekskill with 1100 Continentals and 400 militia.  Several miles farther upriver were 300 Continentals, 300 militia and 100 artillerymen at Fort Montgomery (on the west side of the Hudson just north of Popolopen creek) under General George Clinton (governor of New York) and at Fort Clinton (on the south side of Popolopen creek) under General James Clinton (his brother).  Just north of the creek, a chain was placed across the Hudson river to stop any British ships, and was guarded also by two frigates, the Montgomery (36 men and eight 12-pounders) and the Congress (nine 9-pounders); the sloop Camden (18 men and six 6-pounders, four 4-pounders and 12 swivel guns) and two row galleys – the Shark (18 men and four 9-pounders) and the Lady Washington (20 men and one 32-pounder and eight 3-pounders).

On October 6th, Henry Clinton crossed over the Hudson from Verplanck’s Point to Stony Point and landed 2100 troops.  Lieutenant Colonel Campbell with 500 regulars and 400 tory militia under Beverly Robinson, began the 7-mile march around to Fort Montgomery, and Henry Clinton with 1200 men marched toward Fort Clinton.  A detachment of 100 men from Fort Montgomery with one cannon engaged Campbell’s forces before retreating back to the fort.  During a vigorous defence, in which Campbell was killed, the British finally broke into the fort, and engaged in a near massacre to avenge the loss of Campbell.  George Clinton and some of the garrison were able to escape.  Henry Clinton attacked Fort Clinton from the northwest, while his row galleys fired on it.  The fort was eventually overwhelmed, but a wounded James Clinton and part of his garrison were able to escape across the river.  The British had 41 killed and 142 wounded, while the Americans had 70 killed and 40 wounded, with 263 men taken prisoner.

The Montgomery, the Shark and the Lady Washington were set on fire to prevent them landing in the hands of the British.  The Congress had sailed north to Fort Constitution the day before, had run aground and was also burnt.  But the Camden had run aground and became a British prize.  The British destroyed Fort Montgomery and left troops at Fort Clinton, which was renamed Fort Vaughan.

By October 8th, Henry Clinton’s fleet had sailed north of Stony Point and had taken Fort Independence (on the Hudson river near Peekskill), had broken the chain across the Hudson river at Fort Montgomery, and had sailed north and occupied Fort Constitution (across from West Point).  The British now controlled the Hudson river and the forts of the Highlands.

Although Henry Clinton had returned to New York (due to illness), the British fleet of 30 sail with 1600 men under Major-General Vaughan sailed up the river, burning or destoying every vessel they found, and small parties, landing from the vessels, desolated neighbourhoods with fire and sword.  On October 14th, Vaughan left Peekskill and late on the 15th arrived at Esopus creek.  Upon hearing of the British landing, the inhabitants of Kingston fled to the neighbouring towns.

The next morning the British arrived at Rondout creek and opened fire on two hastily thrown-up earthworks.  The British then landed and, after forcing the company of 150 Americans to retreat up the creek, marched to attack Kingston, where almost every house was burnt, and a large amount of powder and arms were destroyed.

George Clinton arrived with his troops to see the city in flames and the invading army returning with their plunder to their ships.  Vaughan then crossed the river to Rhinebeck, where he landed some of his men with orders to march north, destroying and looting property, travelling as far north as Clermont, where they torched the home of Robert Livingston(17).

On October 17th at 10 o`clock, Burgoyne`s army marched out of camp to the river, where they parked their cannon, emptied their cartridge boxes and stacked their muskets, and then began their 200 mile march to Boston – 2442 British of the 9th, 20th, 21st, 24th and 62nd regiments; 2198 Hessians of the Rhetz, Riedesel and Specht regiments; along with 600 sick and wounded; trailed by almost 300 women (215 British and 82 German), plus a ragtag of camp followers and accompanied by number of bewildered deer, raccoons, and other wild animals that had been turned into pets by the lonely, homesick Hessians.  The 1100 Canadians(18) were allowed to return home.  Generals Burgoyne, Riedesel and Phillips rode off with Schuyler, who had come to witness the surrender, and stayed at Schuyler`s house, before joining the 21-day march to Boston.

On October 18th, Gates heard that a British fleet was sailing up the Hudson river, and now marched his army south to Albany, passing the ‘convention prisoners’ along the way.  (Morgan’s troops, however, left to join General Washington at White Marsh.)  At Clermont, Vaughan received news of Burgoyne`s surrender at Saratoga, embarked his troops and sailed back down the river to rejoin the rest of the fleet at Esopus.  With Putnam with 5000 men on the east bank, with George Clinton with 1500 men on the west bank, and now with Gates marching his army to Albany, Vaughan sailed to Fort Vaughan on October 26th, destroyed the fort and returned to New York.

On November 8th, Brigadier General Henry Powell ordered the evacuation of Forts Ticonderoga and Mount Independence.  The four remaining companies of the 53rd regiment (after John Brown’s raid in September), the Prinz Friedrich regiment, St. Leger’s reinforcements (that had arrived in September) and the small contingent of Royal Artillery packed up everything of use, set fire to all the buildings, destroyed the defensive works, and returned to Canada.

‘Saratoga’ would become a turning point in the revolutionary war and its accompanying effects would soon be felt around the world.

When news of Burgoyne’s surrender reached Howe on October 22nd, he sent his letter of resignation to London and on May 24th 1778, he would leave America to return to Britain and be replaced by Henry Clinton.

On October 31st, Colonel Wilkinson arrived at Congress with General Gates’s letter of October 18th and the copy of the letter of convention at Saratoga.  On November 1st Congress agreed to the report, by the committee appointed to prepare a recommendation to these states, to set apart a day of thanksgiving, the 18th day of December, as the first national Thanksgiving Day in America.

On November 15th, after a year of debate, the Second Continental Congress, at York Town, Pennsylvania, approved the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union for ratification by the individual states, (the draught was first read by Congress on July 12th 1776).  Article XI read, “Canada, acceding to this Confederation, and adjoining in the Measures of the United States, shall be admitted into and entitled to all the Advantages of this Union”.  Congress would also appoint a committee to procure a translation to be made of the Articles of Confederation into the French language, and an address to the inhabitants of Canada inviting them to accede to the union of these states.

Although Burgoyne and Gates had agreed in the ‘articles of convention’ that the British and Hessian prisoners were to be sent to Britain and were not to serve in America during the present war, on January 8th 1778 Congress resolved “that the embarkation of Lieutenant General Burgoyne and the troops under his command be suspended til a distinct and explicit ratification of the convention of Saratoga shall be properly notified by the court of Great Britain to Congress”.   Britain did not do so, and the troops remained in America as prisoners of war and were called the ‘convention prisoners’.  On March 3rd, Congress would resolve that “Burgoyne, on account of his ill health, have leave to embark for England” on parole.  On May 13th, Burgoyne would arrive in London.  The convention prisoners would be moved to Charlottesville, Virginia in January 1779 for the remainder of the war.

Riedesel and his family were permitted to return to Canada in July 1781.  At that Christmas in 1781, the Riedesels held a party at Sorel, delighting their guests with a fir tree decorated with candles and fruits – the first Christmas tree in Canada.

9 – The Eruption into Canada

News of the surrender at Saratoga had finally reached General Washington on October 25th, and he sent his aide-de-camp, Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Hamilton, north to General Gates with a request to send reinforcements to Washington’s army.  (Poor’s, Paterson’s, Learned’s and Glover’s brigades – with 3300 men fit for duty – would finally be sent but would not arrive until the end of December.  Nixon’s brigade, along with Livingston and the 1st Canadian regiment, would remain in Albany.

On November 3rd, Varnum had sent his 4th and 8th Connecticut Continentals to reinforce Fort Mifflin.  With the batteries now completed on Providence island, opposite Mud island, on November 10th Howe began a massive bombardment of Fort Mifflin and also a bombardment with six war ships and two floating batteries.  Hazelwood tried to attack the ships but was driven back.  Smith was wounded in the hip and was ferried across to Red Bank on the 11th, and Major Simeon Thayer of Rhode Island assumed the command.  After five days, Major Thayer with 250 casualties among his 400 men and with ammunition running low, abandoned the fort and evacuated his 300 surviving men to Fort Mercer.  Thayer and 40 men stayed behind to burn the barracks before joining the others.  The next morning, the British occupied the abandoned fort, having suffered only 13 killed and 24 wounded.

Howe then sent Cornwallis and 2000 men to attack Fort Mercer, crossing the Delaware at Bylling’s port, three miles away.  Colonel Christopher Greene, not wanting his 400-man garrison to be captured, abandoned the fort on November 20th, which was then seized by Cornwallis.  With the forts gone, Hazelwood set his ships on fire, to prevent them being captured by the British.

General Washington sent a detachment under General Nathaniel Greene across the Delaware, just north of Gloucester.  Greene sent Lafayette and 350 men on a reconnaissance mission of Cornwallis’s forces.  Lafayette led the men on a surprise attack on the forward picket of jaegers, who fled back to the main camp.  Afterwards, Greene and his troops returned to White Marsh.

Howe had Montresor supervise the building of 14 redoubts, from Upper Ferry on the Skuylkill river east to the Delaware river.  Daily skirmishes occurred between the British and American troops.  Howe wanted to make one last attempt to try to destroy Washington’s army before winter.  Just before midnight on December 4th, Howe marched his 10,000 men out of Philadelphia in two columns, the first under Cornwallis and the second under Knyphausen.

Early morning December 5th, General Washington sent out a reconnaissance force of General James Irvine’s 600 Pennsylvania militia, General James Potter’s 1000 Pennsylvania militia and Webb’s 200 Connecticut regiment.  Irvine’s troops encountered the British light infantry, but were soon routed.  Irvine had three fingers shot off and was taken prisoner after falling from his horse.  Potter’s troops also retreated and Webb’s forces made a stand but also had to retreat.  Before dawn on December 7th, Howe marched his army in a flanking movement upon Washington’s left.  General Washington sent Morgan`s riflemen (who had arrived from Saratoga) and Colonel Gist`s Maryland militia eastward, and they encountered Howe’s advance and fought tree to tree.

When Cornwallis sent in the 33rd regiment, Morgan and Gist retreated back to the main camp.  After various marches and counter-marches, Howe realized that he could not outflank General Washington or draw him out into the open, and he marched his troops back to Philadelphia.  General Washington decided to march his army to Valley Forge, about twenty miles from Philadelphia, where he could keep a vigilant eye on the city and at the same time protect a great extent of country.  Washington’s army, including Hazen’s 2nd Canadian regiment, arrived there on December 17th for the winter.

On November 24th, General Mifflin recommended to Congress that General Gates be appointed to the Board of War, and on November 27, Gates was elected, by Congress, to be President of the Board of War.

On December 3rd, Congress resolved on a plan “for surprizing and destroying the enemies shipping at St. Johns, or elsewhere, on Lake Champlain,” during the winter season, and appointed James Duane “to communicate the enterprize to Brigadier General Starke, who is appointed to the command”.

Also on December 3rd, Congress`s committee for Indian affairs reported a speech to the Six Nations and instructions to the commissioners for Indian affairs in the northern department – “as the Ottawas, Chippawas, Wiandots and Mingoes at Pluggy`s town are now actually carrying on a predatory war against the inhabitants of the western frontiers of Virginia and Pennsylvania, the Six Nations are to be prevailed upon to oblige them immediately to desist; in case of refusal, to declare war against them and surprise and destroy their towns”, and requested James Duane to confer with the commisssioners.

On January 22nd 1778, Congress resolved “that an irruption be made into Canada and that the Board of War be authorized to take every necessary measure for the execution of the business”.  On January 23rd, Congress elected Major General the Marquis de la Fayette, along with Major General Conway and Brigadier General Stark, to conduct the irruption into Canada.

When informed of the Board of War’s plan in a letter from Gates, General Washington replied, “I am much obliged by your polite request of my Opinion and advice on the Expedition to Canada and other occasions.  In the present instance, as I neither know the extent of the Objects in view, nor the means to be employed to effect them, It is not in my power to pass any judgment upon the subject.  I can only sincerely wish, that success may attend it, both as it may be advancive of the public good and on account of the personal Honor of the Marquis de la Fayette, for whom I have a very particular esteem and regard …  Agreeable to your request I shall order Hazen’s Regiment to march from Wilmington to this place, from whence it will immediately proceed towards Albany.”

Although Lafayette was requested to immediately repair to Albany, after conferring with both General Washington and with a committee of Congress on military affairs that was in camp at that time, Lafayette instead travelled first to York to meet with the Board of War.  In two letters to Henry Laurens, president of Congress, Lafayette expressed his concerns about Conway(19) – “for the board of war, you know, is not in the interest of the friends to gnl Washington … I see with the greatest concern that the two greatest enemys and most insolent calumniators of my friend are directed to follow me, conway as second commandant, and duer as volunteer … Conway is so much despised by every honest frenchman that no body will serve under him … if no french officers go to Canada then no Canadians will join under that irish man”.  “I am Coming from that board — I spoke to them with a great frankness and finished by telling that if they don’t give me Mcdougall or Kalb, and the french officers appointed according to my ideas I decline the appointement … and will go to france with most all the french officers in the army”.

On February 2nd, Congress resolved “that General Washington be informed that in compliance with the request of the Marquis de la Fayette, Congress are willing that Major General McDougal should proceed on the intended incursion into Canada, if his state of health will admit of it; but if not, that the Baron de Kalb be directed to follow the Marquis on the said expedition in case General Washington shall judge it proper”. (Both McDougal and deKalb were senior in rank to Conway, who would no longer be second in command.)

On February 3rd, Lafayette left York, and on February 17th finally arrived in Albany.  Conway had arrived a few days earlier and wrote to Lincoln, Arnold, Schuyler and George Clinton, to ask for their advice.

On February 16th, Lincoln (recovering from a wounded leg suffered at Saratoga) wrote to Conway, “I am honoured with your favor of this days date – I am clearly of opinion that the want of men, money, clothing, sleighes, and forage, as stated in your letter, are objections, to the prosecution of the intended expedition into Canada, which cannot in time be removed … I think the sooner all ideas of executing the Plan are quitted, the more it will be for interest of the United States.”

On February 16th, Arnold (in an Albany hospital recovering from the wounded and broken leg suffered at Saratoga) wrote to Conway, “In answer to your favour of the present date, I am fully of Opinion, as there are no Militia Raised, and the number of Continental Troops fit for Service are so short of those destined for the Expedition, the want of almost every necessary article of clothing, the impossibility of procuring Forage and Carriages, the uneasiness among the Troops (on Account of their Pay and Clothing) will render it impracticable to fulfill the Orders of Congress, and in my Opinion are sufficient objections against your proceeding on the Expedition, as it will be attended with a vast expense to no purpose…”

On February 17th, Schuyler (in Albany) wrote to Conway, “… as you cannot, by the Accounts you have received as communicated in your Letter, collect above one thousand Men, as these, as you observe are naked and destitute of every necessary Article for the March, extremely dissatisfied for want of Pay; as Genl. Stark has not raised a single man, as the clothing expected is insufficient; as several hundred sleds are wanting to transport the provisions and a great quantity of hay, and as the two last articles are not yet ready – I say, in this Situation of Affairs, I conceive the Intentions of Congress are frustrated, for I believe, no person whatever will venture to affirm that with so small a body of Troops and in such a Condition it would be prudent to make the Attempt …”

On February 17th, George Clinton (in Poughkeepsie) wrote to Conway,

I sincerely wish it was in my power to expedite the Movement of the Troops intended for the northern Expedition by furnishing the necessary supply of clothing – but it is not – as there is not in the store of this state a Quantity worth mentioning of any of the articles mentioned by Col. Hazen …”

Colonel Hazen had been appointed deputy quartermaster general for the expedition and ordered to acquire enough sleighs, provisions, ammunition, warm clothing and beef cattle for an army of 2500 men.  In reply to Lafayette’s request “to know very minutely how all your Exertions have succeeded” where Lafayette wrote “I am fully convinced you have done every thing in your power, and I make you my very sincear thanks for all the Activity and Zeal you have shown in this Occation”, Hazen wrote in a letter to Lafayette of February 18th, of his efforts in acquiring carriages and drivers, forage, cattle, salt provisions, artillery and warlike stores, hospital stores, snowshoes, axes and other implements, but wrote that, “I therefore humbly conceive the only Difficulties which will attend you proceeding on the Expedition, is the want of the Number of Men intended for this service and Necessarys of Clothing for them …”

Lafayette received the general return of the troops fit for duty, which numbered only 1437 men – Nixon’s three regiments of 611 men, Van Schaick’s regiment of 291 men, Livingston’s 1st Canadian regiment of 100 men, Hazen’s 2nd Canadian regiment of 345 men, Warner’s 50 men, and Whitcomb’s 40 rangers, “but out of the present return we must not forget that we’l find a large number of little boys and old men”.

On February 20th, Lafayette wrote to the Board of War that, “…You will see very plainly if proper orders, proper monney had been sent some time ago we could have been able to carry the expedition, but the time is now too short.  There is nothing, or almost nothing in the cloathier general’s store, Colonel Hazen has bought some cloathes from Boston – they are much insufficient … It is the full opinion of Gnl. Schuyler, Gnl. Arnold, Gnl. Lincoln, Gnl. Connway … that the enterprise falls and can not be carried on by want of proper measures taken at time … It will be a reflexion upon us, upon myself that such an expedition can not be carried on but an inconsidered step could bring an eternal dishonor upon the army and the general who commands it …”.

On March 2nd, Congress agreed that “Whereas it appears from authentic accounts that difficulties attend the prosecution of the irruption ordered to be made into Canada under the conduct of the Marquis de la Fayette, which render the attempt not only hazardous in a high degree but extremely imprudent; Resolved, That the Board of War instruct the Marquis de la Fayette to suspend for the present the intended irruption”.

On March 6th, Laurens had written to Lafayette that “I have this moment a hint that the Board of War mean to recommend the recall of your Excellency & General DeKalb to join General Washington & that General Conway will remain where he is”.  While still distrustful and angry over the role of Conway and Gates in the campaign against General Washington’s leadership, Lafayette replied to Laurens on March 11th, “… if it is so … I’ll beg leave to object … that if I am recalled to leave this command in the hands of (Conway) … I will look upon myself as not only ill used but very near being affronted – and such will be the sentiment of all those of my nation and Europe whose opinion is dear to me … I am very far from making complaints – but as I hope Congress returns me some of the warm attachment I have showed for theyr country, they will permit me and approve my going to france immediately …” and on March 12th, “… recalling me, and leaving gnl connway in a separate command is a thing which neither me neither any friend of mine will ever suffer … I see nothing in the conduct of gnl Connway and the board of war but deception and treachery …” and on March 20th, “… if gnl gates, general lee (let him be exchanged) gnl schuyller, are sent to Albany even previous to my Consent I have no objections to it – but I will not suffer any of my officers being commander in this department before my refusal…”

On March 13th, Congress had resolved “that General Washington be authorised to order Major General the Marquis de la Fayette and Major General de Kalb to join the main army without delay”, but after considering Lafayette’s letters, on March 23rd, Congress resolved that General Conway be directed to repair to the army at Peeks Kill, now under the command of General McDougal, (Livingston’s and Hazen’s Canadian regiments were also ordered to Peeks Kill), and on April 15th, Congress would resolve that General Gates be directed forthwith to repair to Fishkill on Hudson’s river and to take command of all the troops in the northern department.

Lafayette also attended the Indian conference at Johnstown on March 7th with Schuyler and 723 Indians (mostly Oneidas and Tuscaroras, with about 100 Onondagas, a handful of Mohawks and Cayugas and no Senecas).  Livingston`s regiment was at Johnstown and had to keep alert for any trouble.  Lafayette asked the Oneidas if some of them would join General Washington’s army at Valley Forge.  The next day, the Oneida chief asked the Americans to build a fort in Oneida territory and to provide a small garrison force as well, to help protect their villages from British attacks.

A few days after the council ended, Lafayette initiated steps to build a small citadel at Kanonwalohale, sending three of his countrymen, all trained engineers, Lt. Colonel Gouvion, Captain Celeron and Lt. Colonel Tousard, to design and supervise the construction of the fort and to oversee the enlistment of warriors to Valley Forge.  Although Gouvion designed the fort, and the Oneidas cut down the needed timber, and while Lt. Colonel Willett at Fort Schuyler was willing to lend the tools to construct the fort, he couldn’t spare any soldiers for the job, and likewise the Tryon county militia couldn’t send any troops, and the project stalled.

On March 25th, Lafayette wrote to General Washington “I am very sensible of that goodness which trys to dissipate my fears about that ridiculous Canadian expedition – at the present time we know which was the aim of the honourable board, and for which project three or four men have rush’d the country into a great expense, and risked the reputation of our arms, and the life of many hundred men, had the general your deceived friend been as rash and foolish as they seem to have expected – oh American freedom what schall become of you, if you are in such hands!”

Lafayette left Albany on March 31st and arrived on April 14th to join General Washington`s army at Valley Forge.  On April 25th, forty-seven Oneida warriors followed Tousard to go to Valley Forge.

 

Chapter 4 – 1778, the Road to Kentucky

1 – The capture of Kaskaskia, July 4th 1778

During 1775, following the Wilderness Road through the Cumberland Gap to the Kentucky river, the first permanent settlements were established in Kentucky.  From June 8th to 15th 1776, a general meeting of the Kentucky settlers was held at Harrodsburg where they elected two delegates that they wished to represent them in the Virginia General Assembly and to seek the creation of a new county.  The two delegates were John Gabriel Jones, a twenty-four-year-old lawyer, and George Rogers Clark, a twenty-three-year-old surveyor.  In 1775, Clark had been a deputy-surveyor under Captain Hancock Lee surveying in the Kentucky country, which resulted in the first permanent settlement at Leestown. Clark had also been a surveyor for the Ohio Company.

Over the objections of the many land companies, and due to the efforts of Jones and Clark, Virginia created Kentucky County on December 31st 1776.  Virginia would also ship 500 pounds of gunpowder to Fort Pitt for the use of the inhabitants of Kentucky.  Jones, along with two others, was killed by Indians while delivering the powder from Fort Pitt down the Ohio river to Kentucky county.

From June 17th to 28th 1776, Henry Hamilton, Lieutenant Governor and Superintendent of Indian Affairs at Fort Detroit, held a council with the Ottawa, Huron, Chippewa, Potawatomi, Miami, Shawnee and Delaware Indians, to gain their support for the British policy of sending out war parties and “making a diversion on the frontiers of Virginia and Pennsylvania by parties of Indians”.

On January 1st 1777, the settlers from McClelland`s Station sought refuge at Boonesborough after being attacked by Indians, who killied John McClelland.  Soon seven stations were abandoned, as nearly 300 settlers left Kentucky to return to the eastern settlements in Virginia, leaving only three settlements – Harrod’s Town (started by James Harrod), Boonesborough (started by Daniel Boone) and Logan`s Station (started by Benjamin Logan).  In March, the Kentucky militia was organized under Major George Clark, with Captains Daniel Boone, James Harrod, Benjamin Logan and John Todd.  In April, Clark would send Benjamin Linn and Samuel Moore, who were posing as trappers, to visit Kaskaskia, a town on the Mississippi river of 1000 French inhabitants, in order to gather intelligence on the British garrison at the fort there.  When the British became suspicious of them, they were forced to flee Kaskaskia, and returned to Harrod’s Town on June 22nd.

On April 24th, after leaving some warriors to harass the other stations and prevent them from sending any reinforcements, the Shawnee chief Black Fish with 200 Indians that were armed and supplied by the British, attacked the fort at Boonesborough which was defended by 22 men, wounding four men before withdrawing and destroying the cattle and crops.  On May 23rd, Black Fish attacked the fort at Boonesborough, attempting to set it on fire before withdrawing after midnight.  On July 4th, Black Fish again attacked the fort for two days and nights, before lifting the siege and withdrawing.  On July 19th, Logan’s Station, which was defended by only 15 men, was attacked, and the Indians killed two and wounded one.  On July 25th, 45 riflemen from North Carolina arrived to reinforce the garrison, and were then replaced by Colonel John Bowman and 100 men of the Virginia militia who arrived on August 20th.  For the next six weeks, there were skirmishes with the Indians every day.

On October 1st, George Clark left Harrod’s Town to travel to Williamsburg, arrived there on December 10th, and met with Virginia Governor Patrick Henry and the Executive Council to obtain their permission to lead an attack on the British fort at Kaskaskia, which he received on January 2nd 1778.  The capture of Kaskaskia would cut off one of Detroit’s source of supplies and help stop the Indian attacks.

When the Kentucky settlers’ supply of salt for preserving meat was exhausted, on January 1st 1778 a trip was led by Daniel Boone, with 30 men from the three forts, to the salt springs at Blue Licks on the Licking river where they would make salt by boiling the salt water in large iron kettles over a continuous fire.  On February 1st, while on a meat hunting patrol for buffalo, Boone was captured by an Indian scouting party, and Boone agreed to the surrender of his 27-man crew to Black Fish and 100 Shawnee (who also had two French-Canadian aides of Lt-Governor Hamilton with them).  Boone and some of his men were held captive at one of the Shawnee villages on the Scioto river, while the rest of the men were brought to Hamilton at Fort Detroit.  (Many of the families of the captured men, including Daniel Boone’s, left Kentucky and returned to settlements in North Carolina.)

After being delayed to allow more time for recruiting the 350 men that he had been authorized to raise by Virginia, Clark decided not to wait any longer, and on May 12th 1778 he started out from Redstone with 150 men for Fort Pitt, where he picked up supplies, and travelled down the Ohio river to Fort Randolph, at the mouth of the Great Kanawha river.  The commander of the fort had beaten off an attack by 250 Indians the day before and asked for Clark’s help in pursuing the attackers, but Clark could not spare the time and he and his men continued down the Ohio.  At the mouth of the Kentucky river, he delivered some salt kettles for the settlers and was joined by a few dozen more men from the Holston river settlements.

On May 27th, he stopped at Corn island, near the falls of the Ohio, to make his base and training camp, to construct blockhouses and a stockade fence, and to clear a few acres for planting late corn.  The few men who appeared unable to stand up to the rigors of the campaign would be left behind as the garrison of the fort.  (When John Bowman arrived with some men from the Kentucky forts, Clark decided that they should return home to help protect their own settlements that were in desperate need of men, after the capture of Boone and the others near Blue Licks.)

On June 15, the Shawnee had decided on a raid to surprise and capture Fort Boonesborough.  Upon overhearing these plans, Boone decided to escape in order to warn the settlers at the fort, and after eluding the pursuing Indians and travelling over 160 miles, he arrived at Fort Boonesborough on June 20th.  The settlers immediately began work on strengthening and repairing the fort.

On June 24th (an eclipse of the sun was seen that same day) Clark left Corn island with 175 men, ordered the oars double-manned, and ran the boats down the Ohio river day and night (to keep ahead of any news of their coming) until they reached the mouth of the Tennessee river.  Since the British were keeping close watch on the river traffic at the junction of the Ohio and Mississippi rivers, they concealed their boats near the abandoned Fort Massac, and in the morning of June 29th began the 120-mile march across country, arriving in the evening of July 4th at Kaskaskia, a town of about 500 French and 500 black inhabitants.

At midnight, Clark led one detachment to break into and surprise the fort (on the east side of the river), and he seized it and the governor, Rocheblave, within minutes.  The other two detachments crossed to the town on the west side of the river, raced screaming through the streets, covered the roads leading from the town, and warned the French inhabitants that anyone attempting to leave would be executed and ordered them to turn in their arms.  The next day, a delegation of some of the town’s elderly leaders led by Father Pierre Gibault met with Clark.  Wanting to convince them that they had been misled to believe that the Americans were little better than barbarians, Clark informed them that the king of France had allied his country with the United States, that they were free to join either side without any danger to their private property or having families broken up and exiled, and that all religions were protected in his country and he would punish any insult to their church.

On July 5th, Clark sent Captain Joseph Bowman and thirty men, on horses obtained from the French, about 15 miles north, where they captured Prairie du Rocher (a town of 100 French and 80 black inhabitants) and the nearby Saint Philippe, a small town of three families.  Bowman then hurried on and demanded the surrender of Cahokia, a town of 300 French and 80 black inhabitants, another 35 miles north.  Bowman was left in command of the detachment at Cahokia and set his men to work repairing the fortifications.  Clark now sent Simon Kenton and two other scouts to spy out the situation at Vincennes, a town of 300 French and 80 black inhabitants, about 100 miles east of Kaskaskia, who reported back that there was no British garrison there.  On July 14th, Clark sent Father Gibault and Dr. Jean Baptiste Lafont as delegates, with numerous letters to friends and relatives in Vincennes from the satisfied citizens of Kaskaskia.  Most residents were convinced to take the oath of allegiance, and the delegates returned to Kaskaskia on August 1st.  Clark sent Captain Leonard Helm to take command of the garrison at Vincennes.

Clark was able to persuade 100 men into re-enlisting for another eight months (before their term of enlistment ended), and on August 4th, the other 70 men were sent back to be discharged at Corn island.  Clark was able to enlist two companies of French volunteers in the villages of Kaskaskia and Cahokia, giving out commissions to the necessary militia officers, and he inaugurated courts, permitting the people to elect their own judges.  He visited and established friendly relations with Fernando de Leyba, the Spanish commander at Saint Louis, a few miles from Cahokia on the west side of the Mississippi river.  Clark held councils with a number of Indian tribes (offering them two belts – one for peace, the other for war – theirs was the choice) and signed treaties with ten tribes.  Clark had conquered the Illinois settlements without a single blow.

2 – The massacre in the Wyoming valley, July 3rd 1778

In order to provide some protection from Indian attacks, on April 10th 1777, the Continental Congress resolved, “that Brigadier General Edward Hand … is ordered immediately to repair to Fort Pitt and take measure for the defence of the western frontiers”.

On June 1st, Hand arrived at Fort Pitt and took command of the garrison of two companies of the 13th Virginia regiment – and also the garrisons at Fort Henry at Wheeling creek and Fort Randolph at the Great Kanawha river.  On September 1st, a band of 200 Indians ambushed Captain Mason and his militia at Fort Henry – fourteen militia and nine civilians were killed.  On September 27th, Captain Forman and his militia at Fort Henry were ambushed, losing twenty-one men.  Hand now planned a march against the Shawnee towns on the Scioto river and he called for the militia to meet at Forts Henry and Randolph.

On October 19th, Hand began his march to the Scioto, but at Fort Henry he turned back – because of a lack of men.  In February 1778, Hand planned an expedition to destroy a British magazine, that had been built near the Mingo towns at the mouth of the Cuyahoga river to supply the Indians with arms and provisions for raids in the coming spring.  After travelling down the Ohio, and up the Beaver and Mahoning rivers, Hand was forced to return to Fort Pitt, due to bad weather and swollen and flooded rivers.  In late April 1778, commissioners from Virginia and Pennsylvania met at Fort Pitt to discuss how to defend against British-run Indian attacks on the frontier and sent their report to Congress.

On May 2nd Congress resolved “that two regiments be raised in Virginia and Pennsylvania … for the protection of, and operations on the western frontier; … that Brigadier General Hand be recalled from his command at Pittsburg, agreeably to his request; … that General George Washington be desired to appoint the officer to take command at Fort Pitt and western frontiers”.  On May 26th, General Washington informed Brigadier General Lachlan McIntosh of his appointment to the command at Fort Pitt, and McIntosh journeyed to York to await further instructions from Congress.  On June 11th, upon consideration of the report of the commissioners at Fort Pitt of April 27th, and of the commissioners of Indian affairs convened at Albany on April 15th, Congress resolved “that an expedition be immediately undertaken, whose object shall be, to reduce, if practicable, the garrison of Detroit, and to compel to terms of peace such of the Indian nations now in arms against these states as lie on, or contiguous to, the route betwixt Fort Pitt and Detroit”.

On June 7th, McIntosh wrote to General Washington that the Board of War had not provided him with any stores, arms or ammunition, nor with the two regiments ordered by Congress, and asked General Washington to supply him with men.  McIntosh received the 8th Pennsylvania regiment under Colonel Daniel Brodhead and the 13th Virginia regiment under Colonel John Gibson (part of which was already at Fort Pitt).  McIntosh left Valley Forge with the 13th Virginia regiment at the end of May and arrived at Fort Pitt on August 6th.  Colonel Daniel Brodhead and the 8th Pennsylvania regiment left Valley Forge at the end of June, but were diverted from their march when they responded to a call for help from settlers in the upper Susquehanna Valley to disperse rampaging Indians.

During December 1777, Major John Butler had held a great council with the Iroquois at Fort Niagara, presenting them with rich presents, and seeking their alliance in the war and urging them to seek revenge for their losses at Oriskany.  (The Senecas, Cayugas and Mohawks would join with Butler, while the Onondagas remained divided but the Tuscaroras would continue their support for the Americans and for the Oneidas).   In January 1778, Joseph Brant would leave Butler at Niagara and return to Onoquaga to recruit warriors and tories for his planned raids into Tryon county, New York.  Raids were also being run out of Canada against the settlements along the Mohawk river valley.  On March 15th, a party of tories and Indians attacked Fairfield (a settlement of about 30 families, located about 10 miles from Little Falls), burned the houses, killed and scalped one boy, and took 13 men as prisoners back to Canada, to be surrendered for a reward to the British.  On April 3rd, a party of about 50 tories and Indians attacked and destroyed the grist mill at Snyder’s Bush (a small settlement of about 7 families, 2 miles north of Little Falls), took 8 men prisoner there, and afterwards attacked the other homes in the neighbourhood and took 4 men prisoner.  Then on their way north, they attacked Salisbury (a small settlement of about 6 families, 8 miles east of Fairfield), destroyed the mill and took 4 more men as prisoners back to Canada.  On April 20th, a band of tories and Indians attacked, plundered and burned houses and barns in the small settlement of Ephratah (about 15 miles east of Little Falls), killing several of the town’s militiamen.

In July, Lieutenant McClellan and a detachment from Fort Stanwix destroyed the buildings at Oswego, to prevent their use by the British in launching any Indian raids from Canada.

On May 30th, Brant and over 300 Indians and tories lured a small detachment of regulars and militia into an ambush at Cobus Kill (a town of about 20 families), killing 22 men, wounding 6 and taking 2 prisoners.  After burning the barns and houses and taking the cattle, Brant attacked the nearby settlement of Durlach, and then returned to Oquaga, where he continued his raids.  On July 18th, Brant and his men raided Springfield and Andrus Town, burning the barns, buildings and wagons, killing 8 men and taking 14 as prisoners, and fleeing before the arrival of the militia.

Major John Butler had left Fort Niagara in early June, and with 110 tory-rangers and almost 500 Indians (mostly Seneca and Cayuga) travelled down the Susquehanna river and on June 30th arrived at the Wyoming valley.  The settlers of the Wyoming valley, along the north branch of the Susquehanna river, were from Connecticut, and held office in the assembly at Hartford and served in the Connecticut continental regiments.  Along the river were the Wilkes-Barre Fort, Forty Fort (3 miles north), a stockade around Wintermoot’s home (3 miles further north), a stockade around the Jenkins’s home (3 miles further north), and three blockhouses at Pittston (across the river from Jenkins).  The men were organized into the 24th Connecticut militia regiment under Colonel Nathan Denison.  Also at Wyoming was one Continental army company under Colonel Zebulon Butler.

On July 1st, John Butler demanded surrender of the Wintermoot’s and it capitulated.  The next day, John Butler demanded surrender of Jenkins’ Fort, and with only a very small garrison, it surrendered too.  On July 3rd, John Butler demanded surrender of all the forts, all the Continental troops and all the stores.  But Colonel Denison refused, delaying until the militia could reassemble at Forty Fort.  The 375 militiamen now gathered at Forty Fort were overwhelmingly in favour of marching out to meet the enemy rather than allowing them to devastate the valley while they suffered through a long siege in the fort.  Almost the entire force of 400 men marched out of the fort in search of the invaders.

John Butler had ordered Wintermoot’s and Jenkins’ stockades burned – to give the impression that he was retreating, and in an open woods nearby, he had his forces lay in ambush, flat on the ground.  When the militia marched to within 100 yards, they opened fire.  When the Indians closed in around the left flank, the Connecticut left wing attempted to fall back to a better position, but the move was mistaken for a retreat and the others fled.  The Indians pursued relentlessly, killing men as they ran or when they stopped to try to surrender.  John Butler reported having 3 killed and 8 wounded, while taking 5 prisoners and 227 scalps.

On the morning of July 4th, John Butler met Denison and demanded surrender.  Denison delayed signing until the afternoon, to allow Zebulon Butler and the continental troops time to escape so they wouldn’t be carried off as prisoners.  Forty Fort and the other two forts were surrendered to the British, and the Indians immediately began looting – 1000 houses were burned, all the mills were destroyed and 1000 head of cattle, sheep and hogs were driven off before they left on July 8th.  The remaining settlers fled the valley.  When word of the massacre reached the settlements on the west branch of the Susquehanna, in Northumberland county Pennsylvania, they fled the valley to Fort Augusta at Sunbury, in the “big runaway”.

Colonel Brodhead was on his march to Fort Pitt when he was diverted to Wyoming, arriving there with 340 men on July 12th.  Finding that he could be of no service to the people of Wyoming, he set up his base at Muncy on the west branch, guarding against the continuing attacks and looting of the Indians.

On July 15th, Congress resolved “that the Board of War be directed, in conjunction with the supreme executive council of Pennsylvania, to take the most speedy and practicable measures for repelling the present irruption of the Indians, and for protecting the continental magazine at Carlisle”.  General Washington sent Colonel Thomas Hartley and his Additional Continental Regiment to defend the valley.

On July 25th, Congress received a report from the Board of War that “success in an expedition against Detroit cannot be reasonably expected, unless the force destined for that service be ready by the first of September … that the capital articles necessary for carrying on the expedition cannot be procured by any means within the time limited … that the expence of it would exceed, in an enormous degree, the estimate formed” and Congress resolved “that the expedition against the fortress of Detroit be, for the present, deferred; that Brigadier General McIntosh … proceed to destroy such towns of the hostile tribes of Indians as he, in his discretion, shall think will most effectually tend to chastise and terrify the savages, and to check their ravages on the frontiers”.

Congress then resolved “that, in respect to the harvest, and the deplorable situation of the frontiers, in consequence of the late irruption of the enemy, Colonel Hartley’s regiment be continued there till the retreat of the enemy be fully ascertained, the harvest secured, and the apprehensions of the inhabitants quieted”.

Colonel Hartley and his 100 men arrived at Sunbury on August 1st, and along with about 600 militiamen, soon began the construction of Fort Muncy, at the mouth of the Lycoming creek.  Hartley ordered about 300 of his men out into the country to assist in gathering the crops, while they were still under constant threat of ambush by the stealthy Indians.  Colonel Zebulon Butler with 40 Continentals and 40 militiamen returned back to the Wilkes-Barre Fort (now called Fort Wyoming) on August 4th.

Having been relieved by Hartley’s troops, Brodhead now resumed his march to Fort Pitt.

3 – The Massacre at Cherry Valley, November 11th 1778

On September 17th, Joseph Brant with 150 Mohawks and over 200 tory rangers under Captain William Caldwell, attacked the town of German Flatts.  Having been warned of the coming attack, the inhabitants gathered into Fort Dayton (on the north side of the Mohawk river) and Fort Herkimer (the stone mansion of the Herkimer family on the south side).  While only 2 people were killed, Brant and his men burned all the buildings (63 houses, 57 barns, 3 gristmills and 1 sawmill), carried off all the livestock (235 horses, 229 cattle and 269 sheep), and made homeless the 719 inhabitants.

In retaliation for Brant’s attack, Lieutenant Colonel William Butler and over 200 men from his 4th Pennsylvania regiment who were stationed at Fort Schoharie, left on October 2nd down the Delaware river, then crossed over to the Susquehanna river, and on Ocober 6th, reached the tory town of Unadilla, which the inhabitants had deserted and had gone to Onoquaga (30 miles south).

Arriving at the Indian village of Onoquaga on October 8th, Butler found that it had also been abandoned, and the next morning the village was burned and two thousand bushels of corn were destroyed.  Thirty men were sent to destroy the small nearby settlement of Tuscarora.  The next day, while returning, they burned Unadilla and finally reached Schoharie on the 16th.

On September 21st, Hartley left Fort Muncy with 200 men, on a 200-mile march through the wilderness to attack the villages of the Senecas and Cayugas at Tioga and Chemung, and also to secure as much information as possible for a more formidable invasion being planned for the next year.  On the morning of the 26th, Hartley`s advance guard of 19 men, discovered an Indian party approaching and fired on them first – one chief was killed and the rest fled.  Now that his mission could no longer be concealed, Hartley hurried on and arrived at the abandoned village of Sheshequin, where they found 15 persons from the settlements that had been captured by the tories and Indians.  Hartley pushed on through the night and finally rested at the abandoned village of Tioga – the inhabitants there had been alarmed and fled to Chemung.

Hartley now learned from prisoners they had taken, that about 500 Indians were assembling near Chemung and that Walter Butler and about 300 tories were also heading toward Chemung.  After gathering any stolen cattle and plunder that they could find, they burned Tioga and on September 27th they began their trip back to Fort Muncy, with 70 men travelling in the 28 captured canoes and the rest marching along, with the 50 head of cattle behind the advance guard.  Along the way they also burned the abandoned villages of Queen Esther`s town, Sheshequin and Wyalusing.

On September 29th, the advance guard was attacked by Indians, who opened fired and then retired, as if trying to draw them into an ambush but really meant to delay Hartley until their main body could come up.  Having failed twice at this tactic, a large body of Indians next attacked the rear.  Hartley sent Captain Spaulding and his men to form on the left flank of the rear guard, while he led two of his three divisions, undetected, onto high ground, which overlooked the enemy.  The men in the canoes came up and joined with the right of the rear guard.  By this movement the Indians were nearly surrounded before they fled, leaving behind 10 dead, while Hartley had 4 killed and 10 wounded.  Hartley reached Fort Muncy on October 1st, left half his men there to help Colonel Zebulon Butler guard against further Indian raids, and returned to Fort Augusta at Sunbury.

On October 24th, Major Christopher Carleton left Ile aux Noix and arrived at Crown Point on November 6th with a force of 350 men and 100 Indians, on orders from the Governor General of Quebec, Frederick Haldimand, “to destroy all the supplies, provisions and animals which the Rebels may have assembled on the shores of Lake Champlain, to take prisoner all the inhabitants who have settled there and have sworn allegiance to the Congress … to destroy all the boats which he could discover, as well as sawmills and gristmills”.  On November 14th, when they returned to Ile aux Noix, Carleton reported having destroyed 1 sawmill, 1 grist mill, 47 houses, 48 barns, 28 stacks of wheat, 75 stacks of hay, and to have captured and brought back 80 head of cattle, and to have taken 79 prisoners.

In early November, Captain William Butler (son of Major John Butler) with 50 men of the 8th regiment, 150 tory rangers, and over 300 Seneca warriors who were joined by Joseph Brant and his Mohawks, moved to attack the settlement of Cherry Valley, which was defended by Colonel Ichabod Alden and 200 men of the 7th Massachusetts regiment at the fort – a picketed church.  On November 11th at daybreak, 50 rangers and the Indians surrounded the Wells house where the officers were lodged (the house was 400 yards outside the fort).  The Indians attacked the house and killed 16 of the officers and guards – including Colonel Alden, who was tomahawked and scalped – and slaughtered the 12 members of the Wells family.  Lt. Colonel Stacy and some soldiers were captured and taken prisoner back to Fort Niagara.

The main force attacked the fort but without success – lacking heavy weapons, while the Indians plundered and massacred throughout the settlement, killing 20 more civilians.  The next day, William Butler sent Brant with 50 Indians and 60 rangers into the village to burn every building and bring off the cattle, taking 70 inhabitants as prisoners to the Indian villages (until exchanged later for loyalist families).

After having been relieved by Hartley’s troops in early August, Brodhead had resumed his march to Fort Pitt, arriving there on September 10th and joining McIntosh who had already arrived on August 6th.  While waiting for supplies from back east to come in, McIntosh invited the Delaware, who remained friendly to the Americans, to come to Fort Pitt where talks were begun on September 12th and a treaty was signed on the 19th.

With permission to now cross Delaware territory, McIntosh planned to build a string of forts from Fort Pitt along the path to Fort Detroit.  On October 1st, with 800 Virginia militia, and 500 men from the 8th Pennsylvania and 13th Virginia, accompanied by 60 Delaware, McIntosh marched out of Fort Pitt and along the Ohio river, building a road on the south shore as they marched.  At the mouth of the Beaver river, about 20 miles down river from Fort Pitt, a fort was built – named Fort McIntosh by its French engineer, Chevalier de Cambray, as an advance depot for provisions and ammunition.

On November 5th, the army left Fort McIntosh and marched over a trail until the 19th when it reached the Tuscarawas river, where they built a stockade named Fort Laurens.  When a reckless militiaman killed the chief White Eyes, the Delaware left.  With no guides and an uncharted hostile Indian territory from there to Detroit, with the militia enlistments about to expire, and with winter weather and supply shortages, McIntosh decided to end the march.  He left Colonel John Gibson and 150 men from the 13th Virginia regiment at Fort Laurens, then left Colonel Brodhead and a detachment of the 8th Pennsylvania regiment at Fort McIntosh and returned with the rest of the army to Fort Pitt.

4 – The capture of Vincennes, February 24th 1779  

At the Kentucky settlements, when no Indian attack happened, in August, Boone led 20 men on a reconnaissance expedition into Indian country.  When they arrived at the Scioto river valley, there was a skirmish with a small band of Indians, and they learned that the village was empty of warriors, and they immediately returned, fearing the Indians may be on their way to attack the fort.

On September 7th, an Indian force of over 400 Shawnee warriors, along with 12 French Canadian advisors of Lt. Governor Hamilton from Detroit, with 40 pack horses carrying extra ammunition and supplies, approached Fort Boonesborough, whose garrison consisted of 30 men and 20 boys, and brought letters from Hamilton demanding that they surrender.

Hoping to gain time for the arrival of reinforcements, Boone asked for a two-day truce to think over the terms.  The people of Boonesborough were unanimous in their decision to fight rather than surrender.  The British then suggested that they negotiate a peace treaty.  When an agreement was finally reached and was being signed at a hollow just outside the fort, the Indians launched a surprise attack on the eight settlers that had been negotiators, but this attack had been suspected and the negotiators fought their way back into the fort, while the settlers inside the fort fired on the Indians.  The Indians tried to rush the stockade but failed, and they continued firing at every porthole and chink in the fort, while the settlers fired at every stir in the brush and woods.  The British now tried digging a tunnel into the fort, while the Indians threw torches into the fort, and fired blazing arrows at the cabin roofs, trying to set the stockade on fire and force the settlers to run out of the fort.

On the eighth day of the siege it rained and this caused parts of the tunnel to cave in, disgusting the Indians and causing them to leave.  A few days later, the Virginia militia arrived.  If Boonesborough had fallen, most likely Harrod’s Town and Logan’s Station would also have fallen and Kentucky would have been emptied of any settlements.

*Note* – Afterwards, Boone appeared before a court martial where he was charged with treason regarding his surrendering the salt-makers, of undertaking the expedition just before the siege and of favouring the British in the treaty negotiation.  He was completely exonerated of all charges and was promoted to Major in the Virginia militia.  Boone left in October to visit his family in North Carolina and to prepare for his family’s return to Kentucky.

Lt. Governor of Detroit, Henry Hamilton had been preparing his resources for an attack on Fort Pitt, when he learned of Clark’s invasion of the Illinois country, and was now ordered “to employ every means which offers, if not to retrieve the injury done, at least to stop its further progress”.  Hamilton himself would lead an attack against Clark’s army, first to Fort Vincennes and later to Kaskaskia.  Hamilton sent Alexander McKee and Matthew Elliott to raise a force from the Shawnee villages on the Scioto river and to join him in the attack.  Hamilton also sent Simon and James Girty to the Mingo villages on the Scioto river to raise war parties to launch raids along the Ohio river in order to stop any supplies from reaching Clark from Fort Pitt.

On October 7th, Hamilton with 33 British regulars, 142 militia and 70 Indians, left by bateaux and canoes down the Detroit river, across Lake Erie to the mouth of the Maumee river, and up the river to Fort Miami, where they portaged to the Wabash river.  On November 11th, Hamilton’s force was joined by McKee and Elliott and over 400 Shawnee warriors, and then travelled down the Wabash, past Ouiatenon, and arrived near Vincennes on December 15th, having covered 600 wilderness miles in 71 days.  A four-man reconnaissance party from Vincennes was captured, and Hamilton sent Major Jedu Hay to seize the fort.  When the French garrison began surrendering to Hay’s men, Captain Helm was forced to give up the fort.  The French inhabitants were now forced to take a humiliating oath to renew their allegiance to the British king.  Because of the bad weather, badly flooded land and a shortage of provisions, Hamilton decided to winter at Vincennes and to wait until spring before attempting to recover the other Illinois settlements.  The Indians were sent away ‘to prowl upon the frontiers or return to their homes’ but to reassemble in the spring.

On January 23rd 1779, after supplying Fort Laurens with provisions and on his return to Fort McIntosh, Captain John Clark and his 15 men were ambushed by Simon Girty and a band of 17 Mingoes – killing two, wounding four and capturing one of Clark’s men.  Girty returned to Detroit with his prisoner.

On February 23rd, Captain Henry Bird and a force of regulars along with Girty and 180 Indians returned and ambushed 18 men who were sent to haul some wood for the fort, killing and scalping them all except two who were taken prisoner.  The Indians then laid siege to the fort.  Gibson refused to surrender and sent a messenger who was able to elude the Indians and reached Fort McIntosh on March 3rd to ask for help.  On March 19th McIntosh and 500 men, escorting a train of pack horses with provisions for the starving men, began a forced march to Fort Laurens, reaching there on the 23rd.  Bird and Girty withdrew before the relief force arrived.  Colonel Gibson’s troops were relieved by Major Vernon and 100 men of the 8th Pennsylvania regiment, while McIntosh and the rest of his men returned to Fort Pitt.

When Clark learned that Hamilton had left Detroit, he had thought it was to counter the campaign of McIntosh, but when he learned, at the end of January, of the capture of Vincennes, he knew that by spring, “that nothing in this quarter could withstand his (Hamilton’s) arms, that Kentucky must immediately fall”.  The only solution “was to attack the enemy in their quarters”.  Surprise should work in his favour, for Hamilton would hardly expect an attack in the middle of winter across 180 miles of flooded country.

Captain Bowman arrived from Cahokia with his company plus a company of French volunteers.  Captain John Rogers was to command the Willing, a large riverboat equipped with 2 four-pounders, 4 swivels, 1 nine-pounder, supplies of ammunition and food, and carrying a crew of 46 men, and to travel down the Kaskaskia river and down the Mississippi, then up the Ohio river and up the Wabash river, towards Vincennes – where they could meet up with the overland party and also could cut off any attempts by Hamilton to escape southward by water.

Rogers left on February 5th, while Clark left on the 6th with 170 men (half of them were French volunteers), travelled over swollen rivers and flooded plains, and arrived on the 22nd near Vincennes.  After capturing a citizen, that was duck hunting on the plain, Clark sent him back into the town with a letter warning the people that he planned to take the fort that night, requesting those loyal to him to remain still in their houses, and that anyone found on the streets would be considered hostile.  (Clark was trying to detach the French inhabitants from support of the British garrison.)  Toward sundown, Clark marched his troops in sight of the town (but not of the fort), marching circuitously around the hillocks and displaying every available flag or banner, to create the impression of a force that greatly outnumbered the garrison, and entered the town after dark.  Clark sent a party of 15 to construct breastworks and to open fire on the fort, while he and the other men occupied the town.  With the desertion of most of the French militia, Hamilton had only 79 men – 30 regulars plus some remaining militia.

On February 24th, Clark agreed to a meeting with Hamilton at the town church.  An unsuspecting party of French and Indians were returning to the fort from raiding Kentucky, and were attacked by Clark’s men, and several were killed or critically wounded, half a dozen were taken prisoner and four warriors were tomahawked and their bodies thrown into the river.  Clark was still bloody and sweating from the battle when he met with Hamilton (using the incidence to convince the Indians that Hamilton couldn’t give them any protection).  Hamilton agreed to surrender Fort Sackville with all its stores.  When Clark learned that several British boats were coming down the Wabash river with provisions, he sent Helm and a group of volunteers, to intercept them.  Armed with four swivels from the fort, Helm ambushed the British and forced their surrender without firing a shot – taking forty more prisoners.  With too many prisoners to feed, Clark told the French prisoners that he understood that they had been misled or perhaps forced to join the British, and that he was freeing them to return home to their families, if they promised not to bear arms against the Americans.

The Willing had arrived at Vincennes on February 27th with its supplies and also a messenger from Governor Patrick Henry of Virginia.  On December 9th 1778, the Virginia Assembly had voted to establish the County of Illinois, to include the inhabitants of Virginia north of the Ohio.  John Todd was commissioned the county lieutenant – the chief executive officer and commander of the militia (he arrived at Kaskaskia in May 1779, and elections for the court justices were held).  George Clark was promoted to Colonel and Joseph Bowman promoted to Major. (Bowman would die on August 18th from an injury he received just after Hamilton’s surrender).  On March 8th, Hamilton and twenty-six other British prisoners were escorted to prison in Virginia.  Clark stayed in Vincennes to provide for the garrisoning of the fort and the governing of the town, and to sign treaties with several Indian tribes, and left on March 20th to return to Kaskaskia.

In late spring, Lt. Colonel John Montgomery arrived with 150 Virginia riflemen – Clark had been expecting 500 men.  And in June, Captain Hugh McGary arrived with only 30 men from Kentucky county – Clark had expected Colonel John Bowman and 300 men.  But Colonel Bowman had led 160 men on a raid against the Shawnees at Chillicothe, where they set fire to 30 cabins, after taking any kettles and blankets, and captured 130 horses.  During the battle, the Shawnee chief, Black Fish, was killed.  This attack created havoc among the Indians of the Ohio country, who quickly dispersed to their own villages fearing that Bowman would attack all their towns, and ended any further British attempts against Fort Laurens.

Realizing that he wouldn’t have enough men to attack Detroit, Clark placed garrisons at Vincennes, Kaskaskia and Cahokia, with Montgomery in command, and returned with the rest of his troops to the new fort(1) at the Falls of the Ohio, arriving there on August 20th 1779.

Also in August, Colonel David Rogers arrived at the Falls of the Ohio from New Orleans, with a large store of gunpowder, goods and specie that he had obtained from the Spanish.  Clark detailed an escort to accompany him up the Ohio river to Fort Pitt.  On October 4th, the party was surprised and attacked by Simon Girty and 200 Indians, near the mouth of the Licking river.  Most of the crew and escorts, including Rogers, were killed, a dozen were taken prisoner, including Major Chapline, and 13 men were able to escape.

On discovering that the British had planned an attack on New Orleans to stop any more assistance being given to the Americans, and on having received instructions that on June 21st 1779, Spain had declared war against Britain, the Spanish governor of Louisiana, Galvez, launched a pre-emptive attack on the British forts on the Mississippi river.  On August 27th, Galvez marched 115 miles to Manchac, with 670 men, along with Oliver Pollock, the agent of Congress, and 9 other Americans, and including some Acadians, and was reinforced with 600 men and 160 Indians along the way.  On September 7th, they defeated the 20 man garrison and captured Fort Bute.  On the 13th, Galvez began the 15 mile march to Baton Rouge, but the fort there was too strong to storm and he began to build batteries.  On September 21st, after an intense bombardment, Lieutenant Colonel Dickson, with 400 regulars and 100 militia, surrendered the fort, and agreed to also surrender Fort Panmure at Natchez, 130 miles distant.

Chapter 5 – 1779, the Road to France

1 – The Treaty with France, May 4th 1778

On December 4th 1777, the commissioners in France finally received a dispatch from America.  In May, Dr. Franklin had learned that the Nantes banker, who oversaw the American bound stores, had turned over his most recent dispatches from the colonies, to the British.  His replacement made a regular habit of removing all American correspondence from the post and delivering it to the British ambassador.  At the end of May, Arthur Lee set out to approach Prussia about a commercial treaty.  In Berlin, his diary was stolen from his room by the British.  In October, the sea captain, entrusted with eight months of confidential correspondence to be sent to America, delivered it instead to the British.

The British secret intelligence service, under William Eden, installed Paul Wentworth as the head of this network of spies in Paris – and he even had a spy inside Dr. Franklin’s household staff, Edward Edwards, who kept the British ambassador informed of “every transaction of the American commissioners, of every step and every vessel taken to supply the revolted colonies with artillery, arms, etc. of every part of their intercourse with the French”!!!

On October 31st, Jonathan Austin, owner of a privateering ship, had left Boston, carrying dispatches with news of the victory at Saratoga, that included the official word of Burgoyne’s surrender, and on arriving in Nantes he galloped off to see Dr. Franklin in Passy, arriving on December 4th.  The news was ‘electric’.  The commissioners composed a brief twenty-two-line announcement, made copies by hand and dispatched them to friends in Paris and Versailles.  On December 6th, Vergennes obtained permission from the French court to open negotiations with the American envoys.

On February 6th 1778, a Treaty of Amity and Commerce and also a Treaty of Alliance were signed between France (Conrad-Alexandre Gerard) and the United States (Dr. Franklin, Silas Deane and Arthur Lee) in Paris.  Included in the Treaty of Alliance, France would renounce any claim on Canada.

Article 5 read, ‘If the united States should think fit to attempt the Reduction of the British Power remaining in the Northern Parts of America, or the Islands of Bermudas, those Countries or Islands in case of Success, shall be confederated with or dependent upon the said united States’.  And, Article 6 read, ‘The Most Christian King renounces for ever the possession of the Islands of Bermudas as well as of any part of the continent of North america which before the treaty of Paris in 1763, or in virtue of that Treaty, were acknowledged to belong to the Crown of Great Britain, or to the united States heretofore called British Colonies, or which are at this Time or have lately been under the Power of The King and Crown of Great Britain’.

On February 23rd 1778, Baron Friedrich von Steuben arrived at Valley Forge to train the soldiers in close-order drill, in loading and re-loading, and in basic camp hygiene.  Although he spoke no English, he drafted a drill manual in French which Alexander Hamilton and Nathaniel Greene then translated into English.  He had been recommended to General Washington by Dr. Franklin, and Beaumarchais lent him money for his trip to America.

On March 17th 1778, four days after the French ambassador informed the British of the French recognition of American independence and the signing of the two treaties with the United States, Britian declared war on France.  On March 20th, the American commissioners were presented to Louis XVI.

On March 31st, Silas Deane, recalled by Congress, sailed home in the flagship of Admiral D’Estaing’s 17-ship squadron, accompanied by France’s envoy to the United States, Conrad-Alexande Gerard.  A few days later, John Adams, the new commissioner appointed by Congress to replace Deane, arrived in France along with his 10-year old son, John Quincy Adams, and with Silas Deane’s 13-year old son, Jesse Deane (who arrived too late to join his father who had already sailed).  Dr. Franklin assumed responsibility for Jesse, enrolling him in school, along with Benny and John Quincy.

On May 2nd, Simeon Deane, Silas Deane’s brother, having sailed from France on March 8th, arrived at Congress, that was then assembled at York, with the two treaties.  On May 4th 1778, Congress ratified the treaties with France.  General Washington held a military fete at Valley Forge on May 6th to celebrate.

2 – The Battle of Monmouth, June 28th 1778

On May 8th, Lieutenant General Henry Clinton arrived in Philadelphia and on the 11th took over command from General William Howe, who had resigned.  On May 18th, Captain John Andre prepared a lavish farewell, a Meschianza, for Howe in Philadelphia – a waterborne parade, a tournament, a dress ball, and an enormous dinner!!!  For the next month the British would be stripping and packing Philadelphia, as Clinton’s new orders were to evacuate Philadelphia and concentrate his forces at New York – a better position to meet the French if they entered the war.

Major General Grey and his staff had been staying at Dr. Franklin’s house on Market Street, and Andre would be busy stealing Dr. Franklin’s rare books, scientific apparatus and musical instruments he had invented, personal account books and even his portrait painting!!(1)

On May 18th, General Washington sent Lafayette with Enoch Poor’s New Hampshire brigade of 1500 men, Captain Allen McLane’s Independent Partisan Corps of 150 troops and 600 Pennsylvania militia, to observe the movement of the British at Philadelphia and to harass any foraging parties.  Lafayette attached Tousard and the 47 Oneidas (who had arrived in camp on the 15th) to McLane`s Partisan Corps and marched his army east from Valley Forge, across the Schuylkill river at Swede`s Ford and south along the Ridge road to the village of Barren Hill.

Lafayette placed his main brigade on the high ground just west of Ridge road, had the militia watch the Germantown road and the Whitemarsh road to the east, and sent McLane and the Oneidas to scout southward along the Ridge road.  Local spies had informed Henry Clinton about Lafayette`s expedition, and on May 19th he sent eight thousand men on an overnight march in three columns to attack Lafayette – the largest one along the Whitemarsh road to block the Ridge road on the north side of town, one along the Germantown road to attack the militia on the left flank, and the third, with Clinton and Howe, along the Ridge road.  In the morning, on hearing the approach of the column of cavalry in the vanguard, the Oneidas tried to ambush the British, concealing themselves among the trees lining both sides of the road and letting loose a flurry of arrows and gunfire.  The cavalry retreated and waited for the main column to move forward, while the Oneidas fell back to the main force.

Lafayette moved some of his main force behind a stone wall to meet the British advance on his left flank, and sent parties into the woods north of town to act as decoys against the British first column which was encircling his troops in the north, cutting off escape by the Ridge road to Swede`s Ford.  Lafayette then withdrew his men from the main position first, then those to the north and then those from the stone wall on his left flank, down a steep down to the Schuylkill river and across Matson`s Ford in waist-deep water where they formed into a defensive position.  Fearing too many casualties if he attempted a crossing, and suspicious that General Washington may be nearby with his army, Clinton marched his troops back to Philadelphia.

The Oneidas were among the last of Lafayette`s troops to cross the Schuylkill river at Matson’s Ford, and during the battle four were killed and two were captured.  When General Washington became worried about bloody attacks near their homeland, the Oneidas agreed to return home, leaving in the middle of June and arriving in Albany on July 1st.

General Washington had also written to Gates, commanding the northern army on the Hudson, urging him to call in as large a force of militia as he could find subsistence for, and to be on the alert for the protection of that river.

On June 4th, Congress had resolved “that should the city of Philadelphia be evacuated by the enemy, it will be expedient and proper for the Commander in Chief to take effectual care that no insult, plunder, or injury of any kind, may be offered to the inhabitants of the said city; that, in order to prevent public or private injury from the operations of ill disposed persons, the General be directed to take early and proper care to prevent the removal, transfer, or sale of any goods, wares, or merchandise in possession of the inhabitants of the said city, until the property of the same shall be ascertained by a joint committee … to determine whether any, or what part thereof may belong to the king of Great Britain or to any of his subjects”.  (All goods belonging to the enemy would be seized, so that the army could contract for any supplies it needed.  And privateers were ready to pounce on any ships trying to smuggle goods out of Philadelphia.)

General Washington appointed Benedict Arnold, who had arrived in camp on May 21st with his leg not healed entirely and still unable to walk without a crutch, the military governor of Philadelphia, a city that had been devastated by the British occupation – with houses, fences, church pews and pulpits burned for firewood, and a potter’s field of mass graves of the two thousand American prisoners of war who had died there that winter.  On June 6th, Congress received a packet containing three acts of parliament, the Conciliatory bills(2).

*Note* – This third act was incorporated into the Constitution Act of Canada in 1791, which repealed parts of the Quebec Act of 1774, split Canada into two parts and established the governments of Upper Canada and Lower Canada.  In other words, Canada would receive the type of government that was proposed by the British peace (sic) commissioners and was rejected by Congress – because it did not include independence!!!

Congress sent a letter in reply, to Howe and to Clinton, which read,

… when the king of Great Britain shall be seriously disposed to put an end to the unprovoked and cruel war waged against these United States, Congress will readily attend to such terms of peace, as may consist with the honor of independent nations, the interest of their constituents, and the sacred regard they mean to pay to treaties”.

General Washington, in a letter to John Banister on April 21st, in commenting on the peace commissioners, had written,

Nothing short of Independence, it appears to me, can possibly do.  A peace on other terms would, if I may be allowed the expression, be a peace of War”.

On June 11th, Congress was informed “that the Earl of Carlisle, Mr. Eden and Governor Johnstone, the commissioners for restoring peace between Great Britain and America, are arrived at Philadelphia” and a letter from the commissioners was read in Congress on June 13th, stating their purpose – “…To consent to a cessation of hostilities, both by sea and land.  To restore free intercourse, to revive mutual affection, and restore the common benefits of naturalisation through the several parts of this empire.  To extend every freedom to trade that our respective interests can require.  To agree that no military force shall be kept up in the different states of North America, without the consent of the general congress, or particular assemblies.  To concur in measures calculated to discharge the debts of America, and raise the value and credit of the paper circulation.  To perpetuate our union by a reciprocal deputation of an agent or agents from the different states, who shall have the privilege of a seat and voice in the parliament of Great Britain; or, if sent from Britain, to have in that case a seat and voice in the assemblies of the different states to which they may be deputed respectively, in order to attend to the several interests of those by whom they are deputed.  In short, to establish the power of the respective legislatures in each particular state, to settle its revenue, its civil and military establishment, and to exercise a perfect freedom of legislation and internal government, so that the British states throughout North America, acting with us in peace and war, under our common sovereign, may have the irrevocable enjoyment of every privilege that is short of a total separation of interest, or consistent with that union of force, on which the safety of our common religion and liberty depends”.

On June 17th, Congress replied,

The acts of the British parliament, the commission from your sovereign, and your letter, suppose the people of these states to be subjects of the crown of Great Britain, and are founded on the idea of dependence, which is utterly inadmissable.  I am further directed to inform your excellencies, that Congress are inclined to peace, notwithstanding the unjust claims from which this war originated, and the savage manner in which it has been conducted.  They will, therefore, be ready to enter upon the consideration of a treaty of peace and commerce not inconsistent with treaties already subsisting, when the king of Great Britain shall demonstrate a sincere disposition for that purpose.  The only solid proof of this disposition, will be, an explicit acknowledgement of the independence of these states, or the withdrawing his fleets and armies”.

Also on June 17th, General Washington called a general council of war on whether the army should remain in its present position or whether it should immediately move, and whether to attack the enemy if it should move, requesting the opinions of his generals in writing.  But before he could receive them, word came that Henry Clinton had begun his evacuation of Philadelphia at 3 a.m. on the morning of the 18th, crossing the Delaware in boats to Gloucester Point on the Jersey shore.  General Washington immediately detached Maxwell with his brigade to cooperate with Dickinson and his New Jersey militia to break down bridges and to harass the enemy’s rear if he should march through the Jerseys, sent Arnold with a force to take command of Philadelphia, and then broke up his camp at Valley Forge and pushed forward with his main army in pursuit of the enemy, crossing the Delaware river at Coryell’s Ferry on the 24th.

Clinton marched his 11000 regulars and 1000 loyalists, with a 12-mile long baggage train of 1500 wagons, north toward South Amboy, but upon hearing a rumour that Gates was moving south to join up with Washington’s army, he decided not to cross the Raritan river, and then turned to make his way instead to Sandy Hook, encamping at Monmouth on June 27th.  With Maxwell’s New Jersey militia, reinforced by Morgan and 600 men and Colonel Moylan’s 4th Continental light dragoons, harassing the British on the flank and rear, Clinton moved his baggage in front, under the convoy of Knyphausen, with the main strength of his army in the rear under Cornwallis.

General Washington ordered Lee(3), commanding the advance forces, to attack the British rear as soon as the front began to leave in the morning, before the British could gain the heights at Middletown, while he and the main army would come up to support him.

Although Dickinson reported the movement of Knyphausen as early as 5 a.m., it was 7 a.m. before Lee began a leisurely advance, and 9 a.m. before he began an attack – without even reconnoitring the field or drawing up a battle plan!

Lee sent Wayne, with Oswald`s artillery, to advance and they ran into the Queen`s Rangers and after a short volley Wayne was forced them to retreat.  Lee then attempted to encircle the rear guard, but failed to inform his subordinates of his plan, as he sent Lafayette with some of Wayne`s men to try to flank Clinton`s left, and told Wayne, in the centre, not to attack but to feint.  When Oswald`s artillery was sent to the rear to get more ammunition, Maxwell and Scott on the left flank mistook it as an ordered retreat and began pulling back.  When Lafayette on the right flank was informed of Scott`s retreat, he also fell back.  Clinton now brought up Cornwallis`s troops, and as Lee ordered a retreat, Clinton attacked, turning the retreat into a rout.

General Washington was now on the march with his troops to support Lee`s advance, when he found the roads full of the soldiers in full retreat, and no notice had been given to him!!!  He galloped forward to rally the troops and to stop the retreat, and angrily confronted Lee(4). 

General Washington now turned around the last two regiments in the line of retreat, Stewart’s 13th Pennsylvania and Ramsay’s 3rd Maryland, and posted them and Oswald’s artillery to keep the enemy at bay while he re-formed the rest of Lee’s troops under Wayne.  He then hurried back to bring on the main army, setting Stirling on the left wing and Greene on the right, and set Lafayette’s men in reserve, while artillery was placed on both wings.  After the arrival of the main army, General Washington sent Lee with the now-exhausted troops of Stewart and Ramsay to the rear at Englishtown.

Clinton and Cornwallis tried to attack the left side but were unable to advance and when three American regiments were sent through the woods and attacked the British right flank, they had to fall back.  Cornwallis then led the attack on the right side, but was again driven back.  Four times the British tried to charge Wayne in the advance, who was now reinforced by Maxwell’s militia and Scott’s Virginians, but failed and finally the British drew back and the battle ended with all the troops overcome by fatigue and the heat, lying on their arms in the field for the night.  The British reported 65 killed – 59 died from heatstroke, 170 wounded and 64 missing, while the Americans had 69 killed, 160 wounded and 130 missing.

During the night, Clinton’s troops were silently awakened and they stole away to join Knyphausen, who had pushed on with the baggage train.  General Washington decided not to pursue Clinton, because of his fatigued troops and the extreme heat and because the embarkation point could only be reached by a very narrow and easily defended passage.

By June 30th, Clinton had reached Sandy Hook and on July 5th Howe’s ships transported the men to where they would be encamped in three divisions – on Staten island, on Long island and on York island.  General Washington ordered Maxwell and Morgan to follow and hang on the rear of the British while he and the rest of the army hurried toward the Hudson, in case Clinton had any designs on the posts there.

While on his march, General Washington had also agreed to Lee’s request to clear his name(4), and a court martial, under Major General Stirling, was first convened on July 1st, when the army halted at Brunswick, and continued as it moved with the army, convening at Paramus, Peekskill and Northcastle, and lasted until August 12th, when the board found Lee guilty of disobedience of orders in not attacking the enemy despite repeated instructions to do so; misbehavior before the enemy in making an unnecessary and in some instances a disorderly retreat; and disrespect to the commander in chief in two letters written after the action.  Lee was to be suspended from all command for one year.

*Note* – Unbekownst to General Washington, was a document, dated March 29th 1777 (it was only found 80 years later) written during his time as a prisoner, where Lee abandoned the American cause, and wrote a war plan for the British to defeat the Americans.  It begins “As on the one hand it appears to me that by the continuance of the war America has no chance of obtaining the ends she proposes to herself … ” and it later reads “the taking possession therefore of Philadelphia or any one or two towns more, which the General may have in view, will not be decisive – to bring matters to a conclusion, it is necessary to unhinge or dissolve, if I may so express myself, the whole system or machine of resistance, or in other terms, Congress Government – this system or machine, as affairs now stand, depends entirely on the circumstances or disposition of the People of Maryland, Virginia and Pennsylvania – if the Province of Maryland or the greater part of it is reduc’d or submits, and the People of Virginia are prevented or intimidated from marching aid to the Pennsylvania army the whole machine is dissolved and a period put to the War, to accomplish which, is, the object of the scheme which I now take the liberty of offering to the consideration of his Lordship and the General” …. “As the difficulty of passing and of re-passing the North River and the apprehensions from General Carlton’s Army will I am confident keep the New Englanders at home, or at least confine them to the East side of the River … to secure N. York and Rhode Island against their attacks will be sufficient …”.

3 – The Battle of Quaker Hill, August 29th 1778

At Paramus on July 13th, while on their march across the Jerseys, General Washington learned of the arrival of the French fleet under the command of Count d’Estaing – 12 ships-of-the-line, 4 frigates and with 4000 soldiers.  D’Estaing had left France on April 13th and after struggling against adverse winds, finally anchored at the entrance of Delaware Bay on July 8th, narrowly missing an opportunity to trap Howe’s fleet up the river.   Accompanying D’Estaing was Silas Deane and Conrad-Alexandre Gerard, France’s envoy to the United States, who both proceeded to Philadelphia to meet with Congress, which had just now returned there after the British evacuation.

Howe and his eleven ships-of-the-line and some frigates and sloops had left the Delaware to assist Clinton’s troops in crossing over to New York, and D’Estaing now weighed anchor and proceeded to Sandy Hook with the intent of trying to capture or destroy the British fleet and of then proceeding against the city with the cooperation of the American troops.

But D’Estaing found that there was not sufficient depth of water on the sand bar, which extended from Sandy Hook to Staten island, to admit the safe passage of the largest ships (a 90-gun and an 80-gun ship) – missing a chance to trap Howe’s fleet in Raritan bay.  After abandoning the attempt, he sailed to Shrewsbury river on the Jersey coast, to take in provisions and water.

To assist in this attempt, General Washington had crossed the Hudson river at King`s Ferry and encamped at Wright’s Mill, near Northcastle on July 20th, and had sent his two aides-de-camp, John Laurens and Alexander Hamilton, to Sandy Hook, to discuss with D’Estaing on a plan of action.  On July 22nd, the French fleet, having finished taking in supplies, appeared again in full force off the sand bar at Sandy Hook, but was again unable to enter the bay.

D’Estaing now sailed to the eastward for a combined operation with the Americans to recapture Rhode Island, arriving there on the 29th.  General Washington sent Lafayette with Varnum’s and Glover’s brigades, and with Livingston’s 1st Canadian regiment, to General Sullivan, then in command at Providence, and authorized Sullivan to call in the militia from Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Connecticut.  General Washington also sent Quarter-master Greene because he was a native of Rhode Island and knew the area well.  Sullivan forces were organized into two divisions, commanded by Greene and Lafayette.

On August 8th, D’Estaing entered the harbour, exchanging cannonade with the batteries as he passed, and anchored a little ways north of Newport.  On his approach, the British sunk two sloops and five frigates and some galleys to avoid having them captured by the French and to prevent the French from passing there.  Sullivan moved his troops down from Providence to Howland’s Ferry on the east side of the island.  The British troops that were stationed opposite them on the north end of the island, evacuated their works during the night of the 8th, and withdrew to the lines at Newport.  On finding the works abandoned the next morning, Sullivan crossed the channel in flat-bottomed boats and took possession of them.

However, on August 9th, Howe’s fleet from New York, which was reinforced by 4 more ships (including 1 that was part of a squadron sent from Britain under Admiral Byron, who had left Britain in June trying to intercept D’Estaing, but his fleet had been scattered by a storm), now arrived at Newport and anchored at Point Judith, at the entrance to the bay – hoping to put the French fleet between two fires, from his ships and from the batteries.

When the wind changed direction overnight, D’Estaing moved his twelve ships-of-the-line out of the harbour in the morning, again having to pass the cannonade of the British batteries, and now having good sea room, formed for battle against Howe’s thirteen ships-of-the-line.  Throughout the day, the two fleets manoeuvred, trying to gain the weathergage.  Sullivan advanced to Quaker Hill, about ten miles north of Newport and waited there until D’Estaing could return and land his troops.  On the 12th there came on a tempest of wind and rain that lasted two days and two nights with unexampled violence, scattering the ships with fearful ravage.  Lord Howe, with what ships he could collect, bore away to New York to refit.  The French fleet returned in a tattered and forlorn condition.

Despite the protests of Sullivan who wanted D’Estaing to leave his land forces for an assault on the British at Newport, the ships were bound for Boston for repair.  Sullivan, after a council of war on the 28th, then retreated that night with his men to the north end of the island, and in the morning the British commenced a pursuit.

The retreat was covered, in part, by Colonel Livingston and the 1st Canadian regiment, who behaved gallantly, making frequent stands, abandoning one eminence only to take post on another, and keeping up a retreating fire that checked the advance of the enemy, and after a series of skirmishes reached the fortified works at the north end of the island.  The British took post on Quaker Hill and began a cannonade, which the Americans returned.  Under the cover fire from two sloops, the British troops were able to advance on the American right flank and capture a redoubt.  Fighting continued until night (between 200 and 300 men were killed on each side), and the British drew back to Quaker Hill.

Upon receiving intelligence that a British fleet was on its way to relieve Newport, Sullivan determined to abandon Rhode Island – during the night, the troops and baggage were transported across the channel to the mainland, before Clinton arrived the next day with 4000 men.  Finding that Sullivan had already retreated, Clinton returned to New York, but he left behind Major General Grey and the troops on a ravaging expedition – destroying more than seventy vessels, laying waste to New Bedford, Fair Haven and the island of Martha’s Vineyard, before returning to New York laden with the spoils.  Howe and his fleet had also sailed for Boston in the hope of intercepting D’Estaing, but on August 30th, found the French fleet safely sheltered and protected by American batteries, and Howe returned to New York.

*Note* – Much criticism was made of D’Estaing’s actions, and in September, in a letter to Lafayette, General Washington wrote of the “illiberal and unthinking reflection which may have been cast upon the Count d’Estaing”, and advised him that “in a free and republican government, you cannot restrain the voice of the multitude; every man will speak as he thinks, or, more properly, without thinking, and consequently will judge at effects without attending to the cause”.

While the British were camped about New York, and General Washington and his army were encamped at Wright’s Mill, the area between them was ground for skirmishing and ambushing by patrols.  The British used the Queen’s Rangers, led by Lieutenant-Colonel John Simcoe, while the Americans used their light infantry in conjunction with the Mohican regiment (the Stockbridge Indians)(5).

On August 31st, Simcoe planned an attack on the American patrols (60 light infantry and 48 Indians), and moved out of Kingsbridge with 500 men in two divisions – Emmerick’s corps along the Mile Square road and Simcoe’s Rangers and the cavalry along the Bronx river to the east.  The Indians first discovered Emmerick’s men and began firing on them from the fences along the road.  Tarleton now advanced with the Hussars and the cavalry to aid Emmerick.  Simcoe advanced with the Rangers to try to flank the Indians on their left, and to cut off the light infantry from coming into the battle.  The Indians were driven from the fences, being pursued by the cavalry and hit in the flank by the infantry, and although overwhelmed, they would not surrender.  Forty Indians and forty British soldiers were reported killed, and a small number of American infantry were killed and ten were taken prisoner.

In early September, General Washington observed preparations by the British at New York – cannon and military stores were embarked and a fleet of 140 transports were made ready to sail.  On September 22nd, Henry Clinton sent Cornwallis with 5000 men into the Jerseys, between the Hackensack and Hudson rivers and sent Knyphausen with 3000 men to Westchester county, between the Hudson river and the Bronx.

Fearing that the British were either attempting an attack on the forts and passes of the Highlands, or else were attempting to attack the French fleet at Boston, General Washington strengthened the works and reinforced the garrison in the Highlands, stationing Putnam with two brigades at West Point, and sent Gates with three brigades and McDougall with two brigades to Danbury, while he moved his army to Fredricksburg, about thirty miles from West Point – to be ready for a movement eastward or for a speedy junction westward back to the Highlands.  Wayne was stationed in front of the division of Cornwallis, with his detachment of militia at New Tappan and a regiment of light horse under Lieutenant Colonel Baylor at Old Tappan.

On the night of September 27th, Knyphausen crossed the Hudson river to come by surprise on the militia at New Tappan, but they were slow in crossing and the militia were apprised of their coming in time to escape, while Grey mobilized a battalion of light infantry to attack Baylor’s 100 Virginian cavalry staying at a small group of farm houses at Old Tappan.  Grey cut off a night patrol, advanced in silence, surrounded three barns where Baylor’s men were sleeping, and with bayonets, made a savage slaughter.  Eleven were killed on the spot, twenty-five were mangled with repeated thrusts (four died later of their wounds) and a total of forty men, some of them wounded, including Baylor, were taken prisoner.

On September 30th, Clinton sent Captain Henry Collins with 300 British regulars and Captain Patrick Ferguson with 100 loyalist troops from New Jersey to attack Little Egg Harbour, which was used by American privateers to attack and seize British ships.  When the British ships couldn’t enter the harbour, because of the wind, four privateers put to sea and escaped while others took refuge up river.

On October 6th, the British then embarked in row galleys and small boats and pushed twenty miles up the Mullica river to the village of Chestnut Neck, which had been used by General Washington to receive supplies for his troops at Valley Forge.  The inhabitants fell back to the woods, firing from behind trees as they went – killing one British officer.  The batteries and storehouses were demolished and the prize ships were burned.

Hearing that Count Pulaski and his men were on their way, the British left on the 7th, stopping at the mouth of the Bass river to destroy the salt-works and to burn the buildings and barns there.  When Pulaski arrived, he then crossed the river and marched to Tuckerton to watch the British movements.  Learning from a deserter where Pulaski’s men were staying, Ferguson and 250 men in small boats went up the river to Tuckerton at night and surrounded the three houses where the infantry were and massacred them while they were sleeping – of the fifty men, all were killed except five who were taken prisoner.  Pulaski led his cavalry and forced Ferguson to retreat to their boats and they eventually returned to New York.

By the end of September, Admiral Byron was in New York with the rest of his fleet, which had been scattered by a storm after it had left Britain in June trying to intercept D’Estaing.  As soon as his ships were refitted, he set sail for Boston, to try to trap D’Estaing’s ships that were still there for repairs, and arrived off Boston on November 1st, when another violent storm drove him out to sea, disabled his ships and compelled him to put into Rhode Island to refit.

Meanwhile, with his ships in good order and the coast clear, D’Estaing put out to sea and sailed for the West Indies, before he could be followed by Byron.

4 – The Plan of an Attack upon Quebec, October 22nd 1778

On September 4th, Congress resolved “that General Washington be directed to pursue such practicable measures for the defence of the frontiers of the states exposed to the incursions of the northern Indians, as to him shall seem best adapted to present circumstances, calculated to check the ravages of the enemy, and to protect the distressed inhabitants of the said frontiers”.

*Note* – Unlike the disastrous attempt at an irruption into Canada earlier in the year (during the time of the plotting by the Conway Cabal to oust General Washington as commander-in-chief) that had been run through the Board of War, that had proceeded without the advice of General Washington, and that had placed in command Lafayette, who would take the blame for the failure of the attempt, this attempt would be done, by first, obtaining the advice of General Washington.

On September 10th, Major General Horatio Gates, Brigadier General Jacob Bayley and Colonel Moses Hazen met at White Plains (at the request of General Washington) “to consider, and report, upon the best ways, and means, for the invasion, and possession of Canada”.  Their report (showing General Washington’s true reasons for contemplating this attempt) stated that “the union of Canada, on which depends a permanent peace with the Indians – the advantages resulting from their trade – the security of our frontiers – and the evasion of the extended limits of Canada by the late Quebec Bill, will, we hope, in due time, have its full weight in the great scale of politicks”.

On September 11th, General Washington wrote to Bayley “to request that you employ proper persons to gain the most authentic intelligence from Canada”.  Bayley would send a 4-man party of Captain Clement Gosselin with his brother Lieutenant Louis Gosselin to the neighbourhood of Quebec, and Captain Travisie with Enoch Hall to Sorel at the mouth of the St. Francois river; and would send a 3-man party to St. Charles, Chamblee and St. Jean on the Richelieu river.

On September 12th, General Washington wrote to Henry Laurens of his initial thoughts regarding an attack on Canada: “The expediency of the undertaking in a military point of view will depend on the enemy’s evacuating these states and on the reinforcements they may send into Canada.  While they keep their present footing, we shall find employment enough in defending ourselves, without meditating conquests; or if they send a large addition of strength into that country, it may require greater force and more abundant supplies on our part, to effect its reduction, than our resources may perhaps admit.  But if they should leave us, and their other exigencies should oblige them to neglect Canada, we may derive essential advantage, from a successful expedition there …”

But on September 25th, General Washington wrote to Lafayette that “If you have entertained thoughts my dear Marquis of paying a visit to your Court … but waver on acct of an expedition to Canada, friendship induces me to tell you, that I do not conceive that the prospects of such an operation is so favourable at this time as to cause you to change your views.  Many circumstances & events must conspire, to render an enterprize of this kind practicable & advisable.  The Enemy in the first place, must either withdraw wholly, or in part from their present Posts to leave us at liberty to detach largely from this army – In the next place, if considerable reinforcements should be thrown into that country, a Winters expedition would become impracticable, on acct of the difficulties which will attend the March of a large body of Men with the necessary apparatus – Provisions – Forage & Stores at that inclement Season – In a word, the chances are so much against the undertaking that they ought not to induce you to lay aside your other purpose  …  but as it is a compliment which is due so am I perswaded you would wish to dispense with the form, of satisfying your desires to Congress on the subject of your Voyage & absence …”.

On October 5th Lafayette met with General Washington to discuss the present situation regarding an expedition to Canada and of his possible return to France.

On October 13th, Lafayette wrote to Henry Laurens of his plan to visit Congress: “As long as I thought I could dispose of myself, I made it my pride and pleasure to fight under American colours, in defence of a cause, which I dare more particularly call ours, because I had the good fortune to bleed for it.  Now Sir, that France is involved in a war, I am urged by a sense of duty, as well as patriotic love, to present myself before the king, to know in what manner he may judge proper to employ my services … As long as there were any hopes of an active campaign, I did not think of leaving the field.  Now that I see a very peaceable and undisturbed moment, I take this opportunity of waiting on congress”.

On October 22nd, Congress resolved “that the Marquis de Lafayette, major-general in the service of the United States, have leave to go to France, and that he return at such time as shall be most convenient to him”.  Congress also wrote a letter of recommendation to the King of France.

And Congress resolved on their instructions to Dr. Franklin, who had been elected the minister plenipotentiary to the Court of France on September 14th, that included “You shall constantly inculcate the certainty of ruining the British fisheries on the banks of Newfoundland, and consequently the British marine, by reducing Halifax and Quebec …”

Congress then resolved on a ‘Plan for reducing the Province of Canada’, that proposed:

(1) a 3000-man attack from the Wyoming valley against Niagara;

(2) a 1500-man attack from Fort Pitt against Detroit, that would then to proceed to join the attack on Niagara;

(3) a 2500-man expedition from Oswego to secure the navigation of lake Ontario; and

(4) a 5000-man attack from Connecticut via the St. Francis river upon Montreal, St. Jean and the north end of lake Champlain, that would leave a sufficient detachment along with as many Canadians as will join them, and join the forces at Oswego, leave a garrison at that post, and then proceed to join those forces at Niagara;

(5) If successful, another campaign must be made against Quebec – but to keep these troops in Canada and to supply them with provisions and clothing would be difficult if not impracticable, and an attack on Halifax could not be attempted, without the aid of France.  If 4000-5000 troops sailed from Brest at the beginning of May under convoy of 4 ships-of-the-line and 4 frigates, and arrive at the end of June at a quite defenceless Quebec.  After possessing that city, they could join up with the American troops at Sorel.  By the end of July, the reduction of Canada might be so far completed as to proceed to an investiture of Halifax by September.

Congress resolved that this plan should be transmitted to General Washington, “that he be requested to make observations thereon as to him shall appear proper, and transmit the same to Congress and deliver a copy to the Marquis de la Fayette”.

Congress also resolved on ‘Observations on the Finances of America’, and that Dr. Franklin should lay these observations, as well as the plan for an attack on Quebec, before the French minister, who could also consult with the Marquis de la Fayette “as he hath made it his particular study to gain information on these important points”.

On November 5th, General Washington received a report from Bayley with some intelligence from Canada that he had received from his nephew, Frye Bayley, and 2 other Americans that had been held in Quebec and Halifax, and also from the 3-man party that had returned after being sent to St. Charles, that said:

… the British forces in Canada does not exceed 5500 including Refugees, Tories & Canadians all they can muster, that not more than 300 or 400 have arrived this year, that Head Quarters is at Sorell where there is 400 men and fortified with 60 pieces of Cannon in Redoubts without Entrenchments, their Pay Office at St. Dennis, where there is 300 men, a small party at Chamblee, 1 Regt at St. Johns, 1 at the Isle Aux Noix, a small party at Montreal, St. Francois & Three Rivers, the Remainder at Quebec, the French very much Attached to our Cause especially since they have heard of our Alliance with France  …  they say they are ready not only to turn out, in our Service, but will if notice given them, of our Coming lay up all the Provisions in their Power ready for us, They inform that Genl Haldimand has Ordered 50 out of every Parish to be ready to assist him in Case of an Invasion and that they will turn out on his Order and immediately Join Us, that the Priests say but little, the Indians about Canada, are all in our favour …”

On November 11th, General Washington, in his official reply to Congress of his considerations on an invasion of Canada, wrote that,

I view the emancipation of Canada, as an Object very interesting to the future prosperity and tranquility of these States; but I am sorry to say – the plan proposed for the purpose does not appear to me to be eligible, under our present circumstances … It seems to me impolitic to enter into engagements with the Court of France for carrying on a combined operation of any kind, without a moral certainty of being able to fulfil our part, particularly if the first proposal came from us … a failure on our part would certainly occasion in them, a misapplication of a considerable land and naval force, which might be usefully employed elsewhere; and probably their total loss … if the Enemy keep possession of their present posts at New York and Rhode Island – it will be impracticable, either to furnish the men – or the other necessary supplies for prosecuting the plan …”

In this very lengthy report, that gives a unique insight into his strategic thinking, he elaborated on the difficulty in raising men for the present campaign before then raising more men for this expedition, plus the additional men needed to open passages through a wilderness, to provide means of long and difficult transportation by land and water, to build and man the vessels necessary to acquire superiority on the lakes and to establish posts of communication and, in addition to all this, to supply a French fleet during the winter.  He criticized the troop operations of the plan itself, to show that

If the Enemy attempt to keep posts in these States – a primary object will be to expel them, if in our power; if not, we must make proper provision to bar their depredations; and must turn our attentions to the security of our frontiers, by pursuing such measures, as shall be within the reach of our abilities.”

Then on November 14th, General Washington, in an unofficial letter to Henry Laurens to present his inner reasons against the plan, wrote that,

The question of the Canadian expedition in the form it now stands appears to me one of the most interesting that has hitherto agitated our National deliberations.  I have one objection to it, untouched in my public letter, which is in my estimation, insurmountable, and alarms all my feelings for the true and permanent interests of my country.  This is the introduction of a large body of French troops into Canada, and putting them in possession of the capital of that Province, attached to them by all the ties of blood, habits, manners, religion and former connexion of government.  I fear this would be too great a temptation, to be resisted by any power actuated by the common maxims of national policy … Let us suppose, that when the five thousand french troops (and under the idea of that number twice as many might be introduced,) were entered the city of Quebec; they should declare an intention to hold Canada, as a pledge and surety for the debts due to France from the United States, [or, under other specious pretences hold the place till they can find a bone for contention], and [in the meanwhile] should excite the Canadians to engage in supporting [their pretences and claims]; what should we be able to say with only four or five thousand men to carry on the dispute? … If France should even engage in the scheme, in the first instance with the purest intentions, there is the greatest danger that, in the progress of the business, invited to it by circumstances and, perhaps, urged on by the solicitations and wishes of the Canadians, she would alter her views”.

On December 5th, Congress heard a report from the committee to respond to General Washington’s November 11th letter, and agreed “That the Reasons assigned by the General against an Expedition to Canada, appear to the Committee to be well founded and to merit the Approbation of Congress”.

Also on December 5th, D’Estaing’s letter to the Canadians was presented to Congress, before being distributed in Canada.  Although, on November 3rd, D’Estaing had put his fleet out to sea from Boston and sailed for the West Indies, on October 28th, before he left America, he had written a “Declaration addressed in the name of the King to all former French subjects in North America”, that proclaimed,

You were born French, you could not have ceased to be French … for a people, when it acquires the right to think and to act, knows its own interest; it knows that to ally itself with the United States is to ensure its own happiness; but I shall declare, and I do formally declare in the name of His Majesty who authorized and commanded me to do so, that all his former subjects in North America who cease to recognize the sovereignty of Britain can count on his protection and support.”

On November 23rd, General Washington received a letter from Bayley, with the intelligence report from the Gosselin brothers, Traversie and Hall – the 4-man party sent to Quebec and Sorel.

On November 25th, General Washington replied to Bayley that “the continuance of the enemy in this quarter – the hazard we should run by detaching from the army – the condition of our supplies in your quarter which fall infinitely short of what I was led to expect with some other weighty considerations, make it necessary to suspend the expedition to Canada for this winter …”

After his visit to Congress, Lafayette had returned to head-quarters, in a high state of fever and during a pelting autumnal rain, and throughout his journey, fetes were given in compliment to him.  At Fishkill, he was obliged to yield to the violence of a raging fever and violent headaches, and reports of his approaching death distressed the army.  After over two months while he was being nursed back to health by Dr. Cochran, who was visited every day by General Washington, he was finally able to meet with General Washington.  Lafayette wrote a letter to the Indians of Canada, on December 18th, inviting them to unite with the French to drive out the British.

On January 1st 1779, the committee appointed to confer with the General brought in a report, which Congress agreed to, “that the plan proposed by Congress for the emancipation of Canada, in co-operation with an armament from France … however desirable and interesting, should be deferred till circumstances shall render the co-operation of these states more certain, practicable, and effectual”.  A letter was also sent to their Minister Plenipotentiary at the Court of Versailles, to the Minister of France in Philadelphia and to the Marquis de la Fayette, informing them of Congress’s decision.

On January 11th, Lafayette set sail from Boston for France with dispatches from Congress – including the plan for an attack on Quebec and the letter to defer the attack.

By May 1779, Clement Gosselin had brought copies of D’Estaing’s proclamation into Canada and they were distributed throughout the province, along with the letter from Lafayette to the Indians, brought by Francois Cazeau and Father Germain.  The proclamation was posted at the doors of the churches – with the knowledge of the cures, and almost none of them reported the appearance or sent copies to the British authorities!!!  Because of the reports of the French alliance and of French troops in America, and of reproaches addressed by the Bishops of France to their Canadian brothers, a profound effect was seen on the Canadian priests, and several joined the ranks of the rebel partisans, even though the Bishop of Canada, Briand, had remained loyal to the British, and had issued a mandement of excommunication that stated,

the list of sins against God of which you have been guilty is a long one!  First, the sin of disobedience to the lawful Sovereign; the sinner guilty of such resistance is damned … they are all liable to excommunication”.

Valentin Jautard and Fleury Mesplet circulated copies of D’Estaing’s proclamation in Montreal.  Jautard also wrote a proclamation, pretending it was signed by King Louis XIV and General Washington, that forbid Canadians to take up arms for the British, and it was printed by Mesplet, and also distributed in Montreal.  In June, the British governor, Haldimand, issued orders for the arrest and imprisonment of Jautard and Mesplet, who would remain prisoners until September 1782!!!

5 – The Beginnings of Treason of Benedict Arnold, May 9th 1779

  General Washington wintered his army, with 9 brigades west of the Hudson – 7 brigades at Middlebrook, 1 New Carolina brigade at Smiths Clove and 1 New Jersey brigade at Elizabethtown; with 6 brigades east of the Hudson under McDougall at the Highlands; and with 3 brigades (including Hazen’s and Livingston’s regiments) under Putnam at Danbury.

He then travelled to Congress at Philadelphia, arriving there on December 22nd and staying until early February, to discuss plans for the campaign for 1779 – expecting the British to remain at their present posts and to conduct the war as heretofore, in which case he was for remaining entirely on the defensive (except for operations to check the ravages of the Indians).  The country, he observed, was in a languid and exhausted state, and had need of repose.  The interruption to agricultural pursuits, and the many hands abstracted from husbandry by military service, had produced a scarcity of bread and forage, and rendered it difficult to subsist large armies.

He was also worried about the dissension and party feuds that were breaking out around the Congress.  In a letter written to Colonel Harrison, the speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates, on December 30th, General Washington wrote “ … If I were to be called upon to draw a picture of the times and of men from what I have seen, heard and in part know, I should in one word say that idleness, dissipation and extravagance seem to have laid fast hold of most of them; that speculation, peculation and an insatiable thirst for riches seem to have gotten the better of every other consideration and almost of every order of men”.  One such man was Major-general Benedict Arnold.

Since June, when Arnold had become military commander of Philadelphia, he had run into disagreements with the Pennsylvania revolutionary leaders, led by Joseph Reed and Charles Willson Peale(6), when Arnold tried to forbid Captain Peale from arresting those who were on a long list of enemy sympathizers which had been drawn up by the supreme executive council of Pennsylvania.  This was seen as an attempt by Arnold to protect Tories, and was quickly overturned by General Washington.

As the American troops entered the devastated city, recently vacated by the British, Arnold chose as his headquarters the Penn mansion that was recently the headquarters for the British general Howe.  The mansion was in that enclave of handsome brick townhouses of the city’s wealthy Quakers and Loyalists – their shops, meeting-houses and market sheds appearing conspicuously unscathed by the British destruction.  Since the mansion had been stripped by the departing British, Arnold refurnished it expensively – buying ₤160 in dining-room furniture from Joseph Stansbury.

While all the stores were closed for a week (to prevent plundering or removal, until goods needed for the army could be contracted for), which drove up prices, Arnold pursued a number of highly profitable business schemes that were a flagrant abuse of his position – buying goods that were not on the list of articles needed by the army, at the depressed prices that had been asked for the goods at the end of the British occupation, and resold for profit or used to maintain his house and staff – he had also hired a steward, a cook, three maids, a coachman and a washer-woman, in addition to his military staff of ten.

At the Fourth of July celebrations, a ‘bewigged’ Arnold again drew the anger of the revolutionary leaders who had begun to take off their wigs and stop powdering their hair.  Arnold also was under attack for issuing passes to accused loyalists in order to leave the state to visit family that had fled to New York, until on August 16th, Congress forbade Arnold to issue any more passes without the countersignature of Pennsylvania authorities.  Although Arnold’s days involved army business – deploying troops, carrying out arrests, supervising the prisons and gathering intelligence of British troop movements, his nights were filled with social activities, as he began to court Margaret Shippen, the daughter of a wealthy loyalist judge and member of the Penn proprietary group.  Arnold purchased a 90-acre estate and country manor, overlooking the Schuylkill river, for ₤7000.

On November 4th, two men(7) were hanged after being convicted of treason – John Roberts and Abram Carlisle.  The night before, Arnold staged a public reception at City Tavern and invited leading Quakers and loyalists, and was accused of showing sympathy for the city’s loyalists.

On December 1st, Joseph Reed, the former aide-de-camp to General Washington, was elected President of the Supreme Executive Council of Pennsylvania, and on February 2nd 1779 issued a public proclamation with eight charges(8) against Arnold.  And the council proclaimed that as long as Arnold remained in command in Philadelphia, they would pay none of the army’s cost and would call out the militia only in the most urgent and pressing necessity.  At the time, Arnold was on his way to New York to negotiate with the state government for a confiscated loyalist manor as a reward for his services in defence of their state during the Canadian campaigns of 1775, 1776 and 1777.

Arnold wrote to Congress requesting that he should only be tried by a court martial, and Congress on February 16th, referred it to a committee to enquire into the grounds for the charges.  On March 17th, the committee reported its findings to Congress – that four of the charges (the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 5th) were triable by a court martial, and that Arnold should be cleared of two of those (the 1st and 2nd), and that Arnold should be cleared also of the other four charges (the 4th, 6th, 7th and 8th).  But on April 3rd, Congress resolved that General Washington be directed to appoint a court martial on all four of the charges.  On March 19th, Congress received, with the permission of General Washington, Arnold’s resignation as military commander of Philadelphia.  On April 8th, the 39 year-old Arnold married the 19 year-old Margaret Shippen.

Having been in charge of gathering intelligence in Philadelphia, Arnold would have come across the name of Joseph Stansbury.  During the British occupation, Howe had appointed him as one of the commissioners for selecting and governing the city police.  After the British withdrawal, he was left behind as part of their secret police.  Having sold dining room furniture to Arnold in June 1778, gave Stansbury easy access to Arnold.

Arnold sent him to New York with a letter offering the services of a high-ranking American general who was willing to aid the British “either by immediately joining the British army or cooperating on some concealed plan with Sir Henry Clinton”.  Stansbury made his way across New Jersey and through the British lines to Jonathan Odell, and was passed on to William Franklin and then on May 9th was passed on to Major Andre, the new British spy chief.

William Franklin, the son of Benjamin Franklin, and former royal governor of New Jersey who had refused the advice of his father to resign and remained loyal to the king, had been jailed and then exchanged and released in November 1778, and now was organizing thousands of loyalist refugees in New York into the Board of Associated Loyalists, was setting up safe houses and was coordinating agents to pass information on to the British Secret Service.  He met with the Carlisle Commission, that urged waging political warfare, using British troops to subdue a district, then raise a loyalist militia while offering amnesty to the rebels, and set up a loyalist government in each area returned to British submission.  William Franklin was drawing up plans for a Loyalist Army, which would need the leadership of a respected American general(9)!!!

6 – The Battle of Savannah, December 29th, 1778

In a letter on March 8th 1778, Lord George Germain(10), the British Secretary of State for the Colonies, had written to Henry Clinton about his ‘southern strategy’ for the future course of the war, that

… the conquest of these provinces is considered by the King as an object of great importance in the scale of the war, as their possession might easily be maintained, and thereby a very valuable branch of commerce would be restored to this country and the rebels deprived of a principal resource for the support of their foreign credit, and of paying for the supplies they stand in need of, as the product of these provinces make a considerable part of their remittances to Europe.

“While these operations are carrying on, every diversion should be made in the provinces of Virginia and Maryland that the remaining troops which can be spared for the offensive service, in conjunction with the fleet, will admit of.  The great number of deep inlets and navigable rivers in these provinces expose them in a peculiar manner to naval attacks, and must require a large force to be kept on foot for their protection, and disable them from giving any assistance to the Carolinas.

“The seizing or destroying their shipping would also be attended with the important consequence of preventing the Congress from availing themselves, as they have done, of their staple commodity, tobacco, on which, and the rice and indigo of Carolina and Georgia, they entirely depend for making remittances to Europe.

“Should the success we may reasonably hope for attend these enterprises, it might not be too much to expect that all America to the south of the Susquehannah would return to their allegiance, and in the case of so happy an event, the northern provinces might be left to their own feelings and distress to bring them back to their duty, and the operations against them confined to the cutting off all their supplies and locking up their ports.”

But, the British war plans were about to change.

On November 3rd 1778, after D’Estaing had set sail for the West Indies, Clinton sent 5000 men under General Grant, convoyed by Commodore Hotham with a squadron of five ships-of-war, to reinforce the British ships in the West Indies under Admiral Barrington.  (Byron, after repairs were done on his ships, would follow later.)

On November 27th, Clinton now sent Lieutenant-colonel Archibald Campbell with 3500 men, in a squadron under Commodore Parker, to join with General Augustine Prevost, and 1200 British regulars from Florida, in an attack on Georgia.  In November, Prevost had moved up from East Florida in two units – 700 men under his brother Lieutenant-colonel Mark Prevost and 500 men under Lieutenant-colonel Lewis Fuser.

On November 22nd Prevost met Colonel John White and his 100 Continentals near Midway, and after a battle, White was forced to withdraw.

On November 25th, Fuser arrived at Sunbury and demanded the surrender of Fort Morris by Lieutenant-colonel John McIntosh and his 200 men, but McIntosh refused, saying “Come and take it”, and Fuser withdrew.  Returning with 2000 men, Prevost demanded again the surrender of Fort Morris, and after a short bombardment and three-day siege, Major Joseph Lane and his 200 men surrendered on January 9th.

By December 27th, Campbell had arrived at Tybee island, at the mouth of the Savannah river, and decided to attack the town of Savannah, without waiting for Prevost and his troops.  On December 29th, they put ashore at a plantation south of the town, and advanced against the forces of General Robert Howe with his 700 Georgia and South Carolina Continentals and with the Georgia militia.

Howe set up a line of defence, with the ends anchored in the swampy woods.  Campbell stopped his troops and feigned an attack on Howe’s left, while he sent 350 light infantry and 250 loyalists on a path through the swamp and around the right of the American forces.  When the flanking manoeuvre was complete, Campbell ordered his main troops to charge.  Howe’s troops were forced to make a retreat through the British forces in their rear and some tried to swim across creeks or through swampy woods.  The Americans had 83 men killed or drowned and 453 captured.  The British suffered 3 killed and 17 wounded, while capturing many ships, cannons, muskets and supplies.  Prevost arrived at Savannah in mid-January and assumed command.

On January 24th 1779, Prevost sent Campbell and 1000 men to capture Augusta.  The Georgia and South Carolina militia, under General Andrew Williamson, withdrew from Augusta as Campbell approached.  General Benjamin Lincoln, who was appointed by Congress in September 1778 to command the southern army, and who had arrived and taken command on January 6th 1779 at Charleston, now sent General Ashe and 1100 North Carolina militia to assist Williamson.

On January 29th, Prevost sent 200 infantry under Major William Gardner to attack Beaufort, on Port Royal island at the mouth of the Broad river in South Carolina.  On learning of their approach, Captain John De Treville and his company of Continental soldiers spiked the cannon and blew up the fort on the island.

General Lincoln sent General Moultrie, with 300 South Carolina militia, to Beaufort, crossing on the main ferry and arriving there on February 1st.  Gardner arrived on February 2nd, burning several plantations and captured several hundred slaves.  When he sent a detachment to secure the ferry, they were forced to retreat when they encountered Moultie’s men.

On February 3rd, the two forces met at Gray’s Hill, in the centre of the island, with the Americans opening fire first with two 6-pounders, forcing the British into the woods.  After 45 minutes of battle, with the Americans running out of ammunition, they began a slow retreat, but Moultrie learned that the British had already begun to withdraw from the field.  Captain John Barnwell and his company of light horse chased after them, capturing 7 men.  The Americans had 8 killed and 22 wounded, while the British retreated to their boats, having 40 killed or wounded.

At Savannah, Campbell had begun recruiting loyalists, and into the Carolinas, he sent John Boyd, who recruited 800 loyalists that plundered and pillaged on their way back to Augusta.  On February 14th, at Kettle Creek, Boyd was attacked by the Georgia and South Carolina militias under Colonels Dooly and Pickens.  Boyd and over 40 loyalists were killed and 75 were taken prisoner – others returned home and were captured or surrendered.  When he heard of the arrival of Ashe and his militia, Campbell decided to abandon Augusta and on February 14th retreated towards Savannah, with Ashe following.

On March 3rd, the British, now under Colonel Prevost, launched a surprise attack on Ashe’s troops, who were encamped at Briar creek, before reinforcements under Generals Rutherford and Williamson could arrive.  Prevost and 900 men made a wide loop covering 50 miles across the creek to the rear of Ashe’s men.  Ashe quickly formed a battle line, with the North Carolina militia on both flanks, and Colonel Elbert, with 60 Continentals and 160 Georgia militiamen in the centre.

When the British charged with bayonets, the militia on the flanks, without any bayonets, broke and ran – some died as they tried to wade through the swamp or cross the creek.  Though Elbert’s troops held and made a valiant stand, they were eventually surrounded and were forced to surrender.  While the British lost 5 men, 150 Americans were killed – over half were Elbert’s men, and over 200 men were captured, including Elbert.

On April 23rd, Lincoln began a march with 3000 men from Charleston to Augusta, leaving behind Colonel Moultrie with 1200 militia at Purysburg.  When Prevost learned of this, he began a march with 2500 men towards Charleston, crossed the Savannah river on April 28th, surprising the troops at Purysburg.  Moultrie retreated, felling trees and destroying bridges to slow Prevost’s pursuit, and on May 9th arrived at Charleston.

On May 11th a 900-man British advance force arrived at Charleston and was attacked by Lieutenant Colonel Pulaski and his legion of cavalry but Pulaski’s men were driven back.  The next day, Prevost demanded the town’s surrender, but the negotiations broke down.  That evening, Prevost learned that Lincoln was now about to reach Charleston, and he retreated to Stono Ferry, building three strong redoubts surrounded by an abatis.  Prevost left with most of his forces by boat by June 16th to return to Savannah, and left a rear guard of 900 men at Stono Ferry.

On June 20th, Lincoln with 1200 men attacked the works on the mainland, while the main British force was on John’s island.  When Lincoln’s diversionary attack on the main force failed, and the British began sending reinforcements over the river, Lincoln withdrew his forces.  The British reported 26 killed and 93 wounded, while the Americans had 34 killed and 113 wounded and 150 missing.  On June 23rd, the British force at Stono Ferry left for Savannah.

7 – The Battle of Stony Point, July 16th 1779

On May 5th, Henry Clinton sent a squadron of 6 ships under Commodore George Collier and 28 transports with 1800 men under General Edward Mathew, for an attack on the Chesapeake bay – to keep any available troops from supporting any operations in Georgia or South Carolina, and as “the most feasible way of ending the rebellion was by cutting off the resources by which the enemy could continue war, these being principally drawn from Virginia, and principally tobacco”.

On May 9th, they attacked Fort Nelson, at the mouth of the Elizabeth river.  During the night, being vastly outnumbered, Major Thomas Matthews spiked the cannon and evacuated his 100 men from the fort.  Collier took possession of the fort, as well as the towns of Portsmouth and Norfolk, destroyed the public stores, captured the ship-yards at Gosport, burning 137 vessels, and later burned the town of Suffolk.

After destroying the fort and the barracks, on May 26th Collier sailed back to New York – leaving behind 2 ships to capture warehouses and cargoes and to burn vessels until they also left on June 22nd.  Arriving at New York on May 29th, Collier now joined Henry Clinton in a planned attack on the two forts guarding the entrance to the Highlands, Fort Lafayette at Verplanck’s Point and the unfinished fort at Stony Point. Sailing up the Hudson river with 5000 men, the British landed in two divisions – one under Vaughan on the east side of the river about 7 miles from Verplanck’s Point, the other under Henry Clinton on the west side about 3 miles from Stony Point.

Upon the approach of Henry Clinton, the 30 Americans abandoned Stony Point, burning the blockhouse, and retreated into the Highlands.  During the night, Henry Clinton had cannon dragged up to the point, and in the morning opened a furious fire upon Fort Lafayette.  The ships also fired on the fort, while Vaughan moved his troops against the now surrounded fort, forcing Captain Armstrong and his 70 men to surrender.

Arnold had travelled to General Washington’s camp at Middlebrook where his court martial finally began on June 1st.  But that evening, after learning that the British were attacking 50 miles north of New York, General Washington rushed north, and the court voted to postpone the hearing for two or three days.  General Washington would postpone it until the military campaign was over – it would resume in late December.  Before Arnold left camp, he would reply to Andre on June 18th, disclosing top-secret troop strengths, dispositions and destinations.  Back in Philadelphia, Arnold again replied to Andre on July 11th, that he expected ₤10,000 for his services!!!  When no guarantee was forthcoming from Andre, and that instead Andre wanted a face-to-face meeting with him and a British officer, General Phillips, a prisoner who Arnold was to help get exchanged, Arnold broke off negotiations.

Leaving Putnam and the main body of the army at Smith’s Clove, General Washington moved his headquarters to New Windsor, and pressed to complete the fortifications at West Point, under the command of McDougall, with Heath and 3 brigades stationed on the opposite side of the river.  This strong disposition of the American forces checked Henry Clinton’s designs against the Highlands, and after leaving garrisons at Verplanck’s Point and Stony Point, Henry Clinton returned to New York.

On July 3rd, Henry Clinton sent Collier with 2600 men under William Tryon and his tory regiment, to raid the coastal towns of Connecticut, while he would wait with a body of troops at Mamaroneck to go after General Washington when he moved troops to oppose the raids.

On July 5th, the British troops landed at New Haven, where it met resistance from the local militia, and after gaining control of the town, dismantled the fort, destroyed the public stores and armaments and any ships in the harbour, destroyed the barns filled with grain and set fire to the local manor houses.  The next morning, they sailed for Fairfield.  Upon the British arriving there on July 8th, the inhabitants fled.  Tryon went on a rampage – destroying 97 houses, 67 barns, 48 store-houses, 3 churches, 2 schoolhouses, the courthouse and the jail, and destroying the public stores and vessels in the harbour.

On July 11th, they arrived at Norwalk, dispersed the 50 militiamen, and destroyed most of the town, burning 130 houses, 87 barns, 22 storehouses, 17 shops, 4 mills, 2 churches, and 5 vessels.  During the expedition, Tryon suffered 20 killed, 96 wounded and 32 missing, before returning to New York.

Henry Clinton failed in trying to draw out General Washington, who anticipated an attack on West Point, 12 miles north of Stony Point, and instead General Washington ordered General Anthony Wayne to prepare an attack to be made on Stony Point, which was garrisoned by Lieutenant Colonel Henry Johnston and 650 men.

On the evening of July 15th just before midnight, Wayne and the 1200 men of the Light Infantry brigade moved forward, led by Major Hardy Murfree in a diversionary attack on the centre of the British line, while two other columns flanked the British from the north and south.  Johnston immediately ordered a counter attack and bayonet charge with 6 companies, but Murfree stopped their charge.  The flanks were then attacked by the two columns.

The British had chopped down all the trees and made a double row of abatis, with trenches and earthworks.  Twenty men from each of the advance troops, called the ‘Forlorn Hopes’, from the 6th and 9th Pennsylvania regiments, wielded their axes to cut the needed gaps in the abatis while under intense fire, sustaining horrible losses, and the light infantry charged through the gaps with bayonets and routed the British, who surrendered – 553 were taken prisoner.  The British also had 20 killed and 58 missing, while the Americans had 15 killed and 83 wounded.  Wayne sent a message to General Washington that “The fort and garrison with Colonel Johnston are ours.  Our officers and men behaved like men determined to be free”.

General Washington was so pleased that he rode to Stony Point the next day, along with von Steuben, to personally shake hands with every man that took part in the attack.  Robert Howe was sent to besiege the British at Verplanck’s Point but lacked adequate artillery.  Henry Clinton mobilized his army to reinforce Verplanck’s Point and to retake Stony Point, hoping that General Washington might risk a battle to keep possession of Stony Point.  Lacking the men to fully protect and to reconstruct the fort, General Washington ordered the post evacuated, taking away the cannon and stores, and the works destroyed.  Henry Clinton retook possession, but was too wary to risk an attack on the Highlands, and returned to New York.

On August 3rd, Collier was now sent to Penobscot bay.  Henry Clinton had assigned General Francis McLean and a detachment of 700 men from Halifax, which arrived on June 16th, to build a military post on a peninsula near the Penobscot river to patrol the frontiers of Massachusetts against privateers and to harvest timber for the royal shipyards.

On July 24th, Massachusetts sent Commodore Dudley Saltonstall with 3 ships of the Continental Navy, and 40 ships of the Massachusetts Navy and private vessels, with 1000 militia and 6 small cannons, under General Lovell from Boston.  On July 28th, General Peleg Wadsworth led an assault force of 200 marines and 200 militiamen, landing on shore and advancing up the bluff leading to the British fort.  100 men were killed or wounded in the assault, and Lovell ordered them to halt and to entrench to begin a siege as both sides cannonaded each other.

On August 12th, Collier arrived, forcing the American ships to flee up the Penobscot river as Collier attacked and pursued them.  Some vessels were captured, several vessels were scuttled and burnt along the way, the rest were destroyed at the rapids at Bangor, and the men had to make their way through 100 miles of wilderness back to Boston.

On August 18th, Major Harry Lee led 300 men from New Bridge in an attack on the British post at Paulus Hook.  It happened that the British had detached a foraging party into New Jersey the day before, and as Lee approached, they were mistaken by the sentry for this patrol on its return.  By 4 a.m. they had passed over the creek and the ditch and had reached the fort before the men were awake.  Major Sutherland and about 60 Hessians threw themselves into a small block-house beside the fort and opened an irregular fire.  As alarm guns from the ships in the river and the forts at New York threatened speedy reinforcements, Lee decided that it would cost too much time to attempt to dislodge them.  Having made 159 prisoners, Lee began his retreat.

Lee had hoped to cross the Hackensack river to return to New Bridge, but the boats he was to have found at Dow’s Ferry had been removed, and he was forced to march up the neck of land between the Hackensack and Hudson rivers in imminent danger of being cut off by the foraging party, but Lord Stirling sent out a force to safely cover his retreat.

On August 25th, Admiral Arbuthnot, the former commander and lieutenant-governor of Halifax, arrived at New York with a fleet of 12 ships and a dozen smaller vessels from Britain, bringing 3000 additional troops and a provision of supplies and stores.

8 – Battle of Newtown, August 29th 1779

On February 26th 1779, Congress had resolved “That the representation of the circumstances of the western frontiers, communicated by a committee of the general assembly of Pennsylvania, and also copies of the memorials and of the letters from the governors of Connecticut and New York, respecting the depredations on the said frontiers, be transmitted to the Commander in Chief, who is directed to take effectual measures for the protection of the inhabitants, and chastisement of the savages”.

General Washington replied on March 3rd that “a plan of offensive operations for the effectual relief of the Western frontier has been some time since determined upon and preparations are making in consequence”.

Earlier on January 25th, General Washington had written to Schuyler, “as I am more and more convinced of the necessity of carrying the War into the Indian Country in the Spring, in order to give peace and security to our own Frontier, I shall be much obliged if you would turn your attention to that matter”, (which Schuyler replied to on February 4th).

*Note* –  Major General Schuyler had not seen active duty since he was replaced as commander of the northern army by Gates on August 19th 1777, and had demanded a court martial to clear his name of accusations resulting from the evacuation of Fort Ticonderoga.  The court martial finally convened on October 1st 1778, and the court were “unanimously of opinion that he is not guilty of any Neglect of Duty in not being at Ticonderoga, as charged, and the court do thereby acquit him with the highest honour.”  On December 3rd, Congress confirmed the acquittal.  On December 27th, Schuyler asked to resign his commission as Major General, but was refused.  On March 5th 1779, Schuyler again asked to resign, but was again refused.  Finally, Schuyler’s third request to resign was accepted by Congress, on April 19th.

Then, shortly after he had arrived at his headquarters at Middlebrook on February 5th, on returning from his visit to Congress at Philadelphia, he had again written to Philip Schuyler on February 11th, requesting his opinion and aid for the ensuing campaign against the Indians, and asked him 13 questions regarding it (which Schuyler replied to in a lengthy letter on March 1st).

On March 6th, General Washington wrote to Sullivan that

Congress having determined upon an Expedition of an extensive nature agt the hostile tribes of the Indians of the six Nations, the command is offered to Majr General Gates(11) as senior Officer, but should he decline, it is my wish it should devolve upon you … I must request you to set out as speedily as possible after the Rect of it to Head Quarters, as the Season is already far advanced. Upon your arrival the whole plan of the Expedition shall be communicated to you and measures concerted for carrying it into execution”.

 

While he had been planning this Indian raid, General Washington was keenly aware that whatever he told to Congress seemed to be immediately communicated to the British.  He then deliberately concocted a ruse of a ‘secret’ invasion of Canada – that an American army under Lafayette would march across Vermont to attack St. Jean, while a French fleet of 8000 French troops would sail and attack Quebec.

Also on March 6th, General Washington wrote to Moses Hazen to march with the 2nd Canadian regiment to Coos to obtain intelligence from Canada –

to know the present disposition of the force in Canada and how it will probably be employed in the spring … While this is doing, your regiment may be employed in extending the road toward the River Sorel or if that shall be deemed too hazardous … you may mend and repair what has been already opened by Colonel Biddle” (i.e. in 1776).

As General Washington would later inform Congress (in a letter of November 20th 1779), Hazen’s road-building

was for the purpose of exciting jealousies at Quebec and at the enemy’s posts on the St. Lawrence etc., and of making a diversion in favor of the late expedition under General Sullivan, by preventing Reinforcements being sent into the Upper Country to oppose him”.

By March 30th, the last division of Hazen’s regiment had left camp at Redding, Connecticut, and marched to Springfield, Massachusetts, and to Charlestown and Haverhill, New Hampshire.  Early in May, while leaving half of his men at Haverhill, Hazen took the rest of his men and part of Bedel’s regiment and began the monumental task of pushing the old Bayley road from Wells River through Cabot, Walden, Hardwick, Greensboro, Craftsbury and Lowell townships (no towns had yet been settled in this area) and ended in a mountain pass called Hazen’s Notch.  Along the way, blockhouses were constructed and garrisoned at Peacham, Cabot, Walden and Greensboro.  Hazen ended the construction late in August when he was ordered by General Washington to rejoin the army at Peekskill.

Sullivan’s three brigades – Maxwell with the 1st (Ogden), 2nd (Shreve), 3rd (Dayton) and 5th (Spencer’s) New Jersey regiments; Poor with the 1st (Cilley), 2nd (Reid) and 3rd (Dearborn) New Hampshire and the 2nd (Van Cortlandt) New York regiments; and Hand, who had arrived from Fort Pitt with the 8th Maryland (the German regiment), Armand’s Legion of light troops, and Schott’s rifle corp, (together with the troops already in Wyoming – the 11th Pennsylvania regiments, the Independent Wyoming Company, and the Wyoming militia); plus Proctor’s artillery unit – General James Clinton’s brigade – the 3rd (Gansevoort), 4th (Weissenfels) and 5th (Dubois) New York, the 6th (Whiting) Massachusetts and the 4th (Butler) Pennsylvania regiments, plus Wool`s New York artillery unit, a battalion of Morgan`s riflemen and a company of volunteers – would travel from Schenectady to Otsego lake and down the north branch of the Susquehanna river to join up with Sullivan at Tioga, where together they would sweep through Iroquoia.

Since Sullivan would be beyond any supply lines, he would have to be self-sufficient.  At Easton, Sullivan had great difficulties obtaining supplies, and in obtaining wagons, as Pennsylvania refused to lift the law that prohibited the impressments of wagons (due to Arnold’s prior misuse of the wagons).  Sullivan was also forced to cut a new road through the wilderness to his supply centre at Wyoming from Easton – sending Cilley’s, Spencer’s and Van Cortlandt’s regiments to make the path passable for wagons and artillery.  On June 14th they reached Wyoming, and Sullivan’s troops left Easton on June 18th, marching through the Wind Gap in the Blue Ridge, and camped at Jacob’s Plains in the Wyoming valley on June 23rd.

While Sullivan was at Easton waiting for his supplies, Colonel Gosen (called Goose) Van Schaick was gathering troops at Fort Schuyler (3 companies from the 1st New York regiment and 1 company each from the 3rd, 4th and 5th New York, the 4th Pennsylvania and the 6th Massachusetts, and 1 company of riflemen) for an attack on the Onondagas(12).

On April 18th, Schaick marched his 550 men to Wood creek where they loaded their supplies on bateaux and continued on to Oneida lake.  By April 20th, they had crossed Oneida lake and marched toward the Onondaga villages.  On April 21st, several different detachments surrounded as many of the settlements as possible at the same time, while the main army advanced on the principal village.  Caught by surprise, the inhabitants fled.  The houses were plundered, and then burned along with large quantities of corn and beans, the horses and animals were killed, and about 100 guns and ammunition were seized.  Van Schaick arrived back at Fort Schuyler on April 24th, not having lost a single man, while 12 Indians were killed and 33 were taken prisoner.

The British meanwhile continued their Indian raids.  During July, Brant with 60 Indians and 27 tories swept through the Neversink valley, forcing the settlers to flee.

On July 20th, Brant raided the settlements of Peenpack and Mahackamack.  After attacking the main fort without success, they laid waste to the entire settlement – burning 10 houses, 11 barns, a church, school, and gristmill, and destroyed much hay and grain, and took away any cattle they could find.  Four people were killed and scalped, and three were taken prisoner, and Brant returned north up the Delaware river.

After word of the raid spread, 120 militiamen from Goshen and Warwick in New York and from Sussex county in New Jersey joined together to pursue Brant, catching up with them on July 22nd as they were crossing the Delaware river with the cattle at Lackawaxen.  After a 4-hour battle, Brant was able to outflank the militia and forced them to retreat, pursuing them relentlessly, as 48 militiamen were killed and scalped.  After the battle, Brant continued his return up the Delaware river.

On July 28th, Cornplanter with 120 Indians and Captain McDonell with 50 tory rangers attacked the settlement at Warrior Run creek, on the west branch of the Susquehanna river, killing 3 men and taking 2 men prisoner, while they were working in the field.  On July 28th, they shot Jacob Freeland and then surrounded and fired upon his stockaded log house (called Fort Freeland), and forced the 21 men inside the fort to surrender.  Upon hearing the firing, Captain Hawkins Boone (Daniel Boone`s cousin) hastened from Fort Boone with 30 militiamen to help the garrison at Fort Freeland, and fired on and killed about 30 Indians, who were surprised while preparing for a feast beside the creek.  The Indians and rangers soon rallied and surrounded Boone`s men, killing 13 men – including Boone.  108 settlers were killed or taken prisoner, but later 56 women, children and old men were released to go to Fort Augusta, and the remainder taken prisoner to Fort Niagara.  The Indians burned the fort, and then ravaged the surrounding countryside.

Sullivan would not let these raids divert his attention, divide his force or delay his movements.  After spending five more weeks in collecting the needed supplies and means of transportation, which he had expected but did not find at Wyoming, on July 31st Sullivan finally began his march and reached Tioga on August 11th.  The next day, Sullivan marched 15 miles to the Indian village of Chemung, battled with and drove away a small party of Delawares that had stayed behind, while the rest of the inhabitants fled.  Sullivan ordered the entire village (2 large public buildings and 40 dwellings) and forty acres of corn and vegetables to be burned.  Sullivan then returned with his army to Tioga to wait for James Clinton, sent Hand`s brigade to meet him, and began building a fort at Tioga point.

On June 11th, James Clinton and his 1500 men, had begun the march from Schenectady to Canajoharie, while moving the supplies and artillery there by boat up the Mohawk river, and had then portaged all the boats and supplies across the carrying place in wagons to Otsego lake, and again by boat across to the south end of the lake – all the while being watched by Brant`s Indians, who were skulking about in the thickets.  Then, on June 21st, in order to make the upper portion of the Susquehanna river navigable, Clinton dammed up the river’s source at Otsego lake, allowing the lake’s level to rise, and then on August 8th destroyed the dam and flooded the river for miles downstream(13).  After meeting up with Hand on August 16th, they marched to Tioga, arriving on the 22nd – 6 Indian villages were desolated along the march.

On August 26th, after leaving 300 men behind to garrison Fort Sullivan (at Tioga Point), Generals John Sullivan and James Clinton and 3200 men marched up the Cayuga river and on August 28th received reports of an enemy camp only a few miles away.  Major John Butler with a small detachment from the British 8th regiment, his rangers and Indians had met up with Brant and Cornplanter (who were returning from their raids) – their combined forces totalling 14 regulars, 250 rangers and over 300 Indians.  About a mile from Newtown, Butler and his Indian allies planned an ambush of Sullivan’s army.

On August 29th, a reconnoitering force of the riflemen discovered the Indians lying concealed behind their breastworks and Sullivan held a council of war to plan his strategy.  Hand’s brigade, backed by Maxwell, would advance to the front of the breastworks and Proctor would begin a cannonade, while Poor, backed by Clinton, would make an assault by flanking the enemy’s left.  Struggling through a thick swamp delayed Poor and Clinton long enough to allow Butler and the Indians time to retreat before being encircled.  Sullivan had 3 dead, while the Butler had 3 rangers and at least 14 Indians killed.  The next day, Sullivan’s men destroyed the fields of corn and vegetables, before continuing their march.

On September 1st, they reached Shechquago (Catherine’s Town) at the southern end of Seneca lake – destroying the village and its crops, marched up the eastern side of the lake – destroying any scattered settlements they found, came to Kendaia (Appletown) on September 5th – destroying the settlement of twenty houses, and marched to Kanadesaga, at the north end of the lake – destroying the village of 50 houses, the orchards and fields of crops on September 7th.

Sullivan sent parties down the west side of Seneca lake to burn any nearby villages.  Sullivan continued his march westward, destroying Kanandaigua and Honeoye, then marched southward to destroy the village of Kanaghsaws, at the south end of Conesus lake.  Sullivan sent Lieutenant Thomas Boyd and 26 men to scout and find the Genesee castle (Chenussio).  After finding the abandoned village of Gathsegwarohare, Boyd skirmished with a small band of Indians, and fearing an ambush, he returned toward Kanaghsaws.

Meanwhile, John Butler with 400 rangers and Indians were planning an ambush near Kanaghsaws as Sullivan’s army would cross a bridge over a creek, when Boyd and his small party unintentionally came upon the attackers.  Though their ambush of Sullivan was spoiled, Butler’s forces killed and scalped 12 of Boyd’s men and their Oneida scout, Thaosagwat, and took Boyd and another (Parker) as prisoners, who were later tortured and killed.

Sullivan now marched to and destroyed the village of Gathsegwarohare, then marched north along the Genesee river, crossed to the west bank and destroyed Chenandoanes, the large Genesee castle – 128 houses and extensive fields of corn and all kinds of vegetables.  (Here they also found the bodies of Boyd and Parker, which they buried with full military honors.)  Sullivan now turned his army back to Tioga, destroying any settlements that it had missed on the march up.  On October 3rd, Fort Sullivan was demolished and the army marched to Wyoming (October 7th), to Eason (October 15th) and then hastened to rejoin General Washington’s army.

Colonel William Butler was sent with 500 men to destroy the settlements on the east side of Cayuga lake, and Henry Dearborn was sent with 200 men to destroy those on the west side.  Peter Gansevoort was sent with 100 men to proceed by way of the Mohawk river and destroy Tiononderoga, the lower Mohawk castle near Fort Hunter.  On September 29th Gansevoort and his men surprised the castle – only four houses were occupied as the other Mohawks instead had fled to the British, but he did not destroy the village, and instead gave the houses to settlers whose houses had been burned by the British tory and Indian raiders.

General Washington had also ordered Colonel Brodhead at Fort Pitt, to proceed up the Allegheny river to attack the Seneca villages.  Brodhead and 600 men (plus a few Delaware as scouts) left Fort Pitt on August 11th, following the Allegheny river past Forts Crawford and Armstrong until they reached the Mahoning creek, and then marched north along an Indian trail until they again reached and followed the Allegheny river.  Near Buckaloons, the advance scouts ran into a Seneca war party.  When Brodhead arrived with reinforcements, the Senecas fled, leaving their canoes and provisions and five dead behind.  Brodhead then marched on and found the deserted village of Conewago.  Returning to the Allegheny, they discovered seven other deserted Indian towns, which extended for eight miles along the river.  Brodhead’s troops remained there for three days, while destroying about 130 houses and over 500 acres of corn and vegetables.  On the return trip, they destroyed the Muncy town of Maghingue-chahocking.  They reached Fort Pitt on September 14th, without suffering the loss of a single man.

By the end of September, over 5000 Iroquois Indians, with their towns and crops devastated, had fled to Fort Niagara, to try to receive food and assistance from the British.  On November 9th, Major General John Sullivan wrote to Congress, “It is with the deepest regret I find myself compelled to request from Congress liberty to retire from the Army. My health is so much impaired by a violent bilious disorder, which seized me in the commencement and continued during the whole of the western expedition that I have not the smallest hope of a perfect recovery”.  On November 30th, Congress accepted his resignation and he returned home to New Hampshire.

9 – The Battle of Flamborough Head, August 23rd 1779

In France, Dr. Franklin was extremely busy.  He suffered from psoriasis and boils and was stricken with gout repeatedly.  He was often overwhelmed by callers and with his correspondence.  He continued his discussions with academicians and scientists, like Antoine-Laurent Lavoisier, and he also joined the freemasonic lodge of the Nine Sisters.  He received demands of every kind for money – for paying the interest on French loans, for furnishing and refitting ships(14), for helping half-starved and penniless exchanged former American prisoners, and for bills to support the commissioners to Vienna (William Lee) and Tuscany (Ralph Izard) who were now living in Paris, after they were not received by those governments.

In September 1778, Dr. Franklin was voted by Congress to be minister plenipotentiary to the court of France, replacing the prior arrangement and eliminating the commissions for John Adams and Arthur Lee.  But Dr. Franklin would not learn of his appointment until February 12th 1779, with the arrival in France of Lafayette with dispatches from Congress(15).  Lafayette sailed on the Alliance(16), a newly launched ship from Massachusetts and captained by Pierre Landais, who had left the French Navy to come to America.

Unable to visit Dr. Franklin(17), Lafayette sent an aide to Passy with the dispatches from Congress for Dr. Franklin and the commissioners, while he went to meet with Prime Minister Maurepas – Lafayette had been requested by Congress to submit to the French government a scheme for a joint invasion of Canada.  Lafayette began a series of visits to Versailles, going door to door of the ministers, in order to further the plan – that had also now been approved of by Dr. Franklin.  (Lafayette had left Boston on January 11th – too late to receive a letter from Congress that rescinded their proposal for an attack on Canada.)

On January 1st 1779, after sending a committee to confer with General Washington, Congress wrote to Lafayette that “although the emancipation of Canada is a very desirable object, yet considering the exhausted state of their resources, and the derangement of their finances, they conceive it very problematical whether they could make any solid impression … that movements meditated against that province are utterly impracticable from the nature of the country, the defect of supplies and the impossibility of transporting them hither”.  Congress agreed that “every favourable incident be embraced with alacrity to facilitate the freedom and independence of Canada and her union with these states”.

The minister of foreign affairs, the Comte de Vergennes, looked upon the conquest of Halifax and Quebec as of dubious advantage to France, while the minister of finances, Jacques Necker, according to Dr. Franklin, “is said to be not well disposed towards us, and is supposed to embarrass every Measure proposed to relieve us by Grants of Money”.

*Note* – When Necker could not stop Vergennes from bringing France into the war openly on America’s side, Necker reputedly tipped off his own banking house, enabling the firm to make a big speculative killing.  Beginning in the spring of 1780, Jacques Necker would pursue secret peace negotiations with Britain through Paul-Henri Mallet and Viscount Mountstuart.  Mallet, an historian from Geneva who was writing a history of Brunswick for George III, had been an intimate, since childhood, with Necker, a fellow Genevese.  Mountstuart, the son of Lord Bute, had spent some time in his youth in Geneva.  Mallet was his former tutor.  Necker was a citizen of Geneva, not of Switzerland.  Geneva was an oligarchicaly-controlled city-state, that became a member of the Swiss confederacy, as part of the settlement of the Congress of Vienna in 1815. Necker was proposing a truce, not a peace, during which the belligerent parties in America could hold the territory that they now possessed.  On December 1st 1780, Necker wrote a secret letter to Lord North proposing the truce, which George III refused on December 18th.  When Necker’s push for power was stopped and he was refused a seat on the Council by Louis XVI, Necker resigned on May 19th 1781.

Lafayette would later write to Congress (on June 12th) that the plan was considered impossible for the present.  While waiting for a decision, Lafayette now made the rounds of the ministers, with interviews and memoranda of a new plan, asking permission to take some 1500 or 2000 men into the Irish Sea on vessels.  Maurepas, the prime minister, gave Lafayette permission to discuss the idea with Dr. Franklin, who offered to put Captain John Paul Jones at his disposal.  On March 22nd Dr. Franklin wrote to Lafayette,

it is certain that the Coasts of England & Scotland are extremely open & defenceless. There are also many rich Towns near the Sea, which 4 or 5000 Men, landing unexpectedly, might easily surprize and destroy, or exact from them a heavy Contribution, taking a Part in ready Money and Hostages for the Rest  …  And if among the Troops there were a few Horsemen to make sudden Incursions at some little Distance from the Coast, it would spread Terror to much greater Distances and the whole would occasion Movements & Marches of Troops that must put the Enemy to a prodigious Expense, and harass them exceedingly”.

The minister of marine, Sartine, was quite receptive and wished to speak with John Paul Jones to command the sea forces.   In order to preserve the element of surprise, Lafayette allowed the press to think that he was planning an expedition to America.

By the middle of May, with the help of Leray de Chaumont (Dr. Franklin’s landlord), Jones’s fleet now included the Alliance(18) and 2 other frigates, the Duke of Duras and the Pallas, a brig Vengeance, and a cutter Cerf.  Landais, a Frenchman, was to be the captain of the Alliance and its American crew, while Jones, an American, was to be commander of the fleet and mostly French crew(19), and sailed in the Duras, that he renamed the Bonhomme Richard in honour of Dr. Franklin.  On June 19th Jones and his fleet finally left l’Orient, but only to escort some merchant vessels south.  During a storm, the Alliance collided with the Bonhomme Richard, damaging both ships, and after they successfully performed their mission, they returned to l’Orient for repairs before Jones was able to sail again.  At this time, the French government (Montbarey, the minister of war was probably responsible) decided that Lafayette was not to proceed on the expedition with Jones, but instead to proceed to his post as commander (mestre de camp) of a regiment of the King’s Dragoons.  The French were now planning an invasion of Britain.

Once Spain had declared war against Britain (on June 16th) a combined French and Spanish fleet under the Comte d’Orvilliers would establish dominance in the English Channel and a 30,000-man army under the Comte de Vaux would cross the channel and attack the island.  Lafayette was to be an aide-marechal-general des logis under Jaucourt, one of the three quartermaster-generals.

While waiting in Paris for his new orders, Lafayette met with Dr. Franklin and discussed preparing a ‘little book’ dealing with British cruelty during the war in America.  Lafayette also met with Edward Bancroft, who had recently returned from Ireland, and reported Bancroft’s opinions to Vergennes.   (Lafayette had earlier suggested sending Bancroft, an unofficial aide to Dr. Franklin, to stir up rebellion in Ireland, as a flanking operation against the British.)  After his meeting with Vergennes, Lafayette wrote his promised report on July 15th – a 15-page document proposing a 4300-man French expeditionary force to America (4000 troops, 200 dragoons and 100 hussars), beginning at Newport, Rhode Island, which appeared to him to be the best point of attack, and later possibly assisting General Washington in an attack on New York.  After assisting the Americans, the French could then ask for their assistance in seizing Halifax, “the storehouse and bulwark of the British navy in the new world”.

D’Orvilliers and his fleet of 66 vessels finally reached the Channel on August 6th, after having waited in a tropical sea for 6 weeks for the Spanish squadron, where insufficient food, water and medicine led to an outbreak of smallpox.  D’Orvilliers now proceeded to blockade the port of Plymouth, while the main army was to have been convoyed for an attack on Falmouth.  After three days, a storm blew his ships out of the Channel, and the expedition against Falmouth had to be abandoned.  Charles Hardy, with an inferior British fleet, moved into the Channel and while not allowing D’Orvilliers to come close enough to force a battle, finally eluded him and fled into Plymouth harbour.  D’Orvilliers would return to Brest in early September.

Note:  The Empire’s ministry of Lord North, and its disastrous handling of the war with America, was in crisis.  Counties were flooding the House of Commons with their demands for parliamentary reform, for universal suffrage and for diminishing the influence of the crown.  (The Whigs were to mouth support for reform, while actually being used to temper these reforms.)  But, efforts to form some kind of coalition government with the Whigs (with or without North, if necessary) failed. 

Back in 1778, the North ministry had proposed a Catholic relief act – to counteract an anticipated exodus of farm tenants in Ireland, that was feared might result from the thousands of handbills distributed at the instigation of Charles Carroll, that offered land grants and toleration to those who ventured to come to America.  This act was supported by the Whigs, who sought to keep their tenants on their vast land holdings in Ireland.  With starving Dublin crowds, muttering against trade restrictions and besieging the Irish parliament for relief, North proposed a trade relief bill for Ireland in December 1779.

After the threatened invasion of Britain by France and Spain, rumours were now spread of a conspiracy among the Popish powers to enslave Britain and to establish an inquisition in London.   Lord George Gordon, president of the Protestant Association of England, was used to stir the cauldron of discontent.  On June 2nd 1780, Gordon was to present a petition to the House of Commons, and called for the Protestant Association to accompany him.  60,000 persons assembled and marched into Westminster Hall, laid siege to Parliament and attacked anyone suspected of having had a hand in the passage of the Catholic Relief Act.  The ‘Gordon riots’ raged for eight days.  Gossip tried to place the blame on France or America.

Parliament was dissolved and new elections were held – resulting in a timely and fortunate majority government for North, and ending any talk of a coalition government.  And also ending any talk of reform.

Soon Lafayette would write an enthusiastic letter of congratulations to Captain Jones for his dramatic exploits in Scottish waters.  Jones was able to sail again on August 15th, and one day out, they recaptured a large Dutch ship, laden with French property.  On the 20th, a brig, from Limerick to London, was taken.  On the 23rd, the squadron was off Cape Clear, having doubled Scilly and passing up the west coast of Ireland, Jones placed his own barge in the water to keep the ship’s head off shore, and sent several of the Bonhomme Richard’s boats to seize a brig. The brig was captured, and towed toward the squadron.  Just at this moment, the men in the barge cut the tow-line and pulled for the shore.  A boat pursued them but upon landing they were arrested – making a total loss of fugitives and prisoners of 24 men. To add to the misfortune, the Cerf got separated in the fog, and did not rejoin the squadron, but went back to France.  Insubordination began to seriously show itself, at this time, and Jones had a serious quarrel with his second in command, M. Landais.

It was the intention of Jones to remain a week longer off Cape Clear, but Landais seemed so apprehensive of the approach of a superior force, that on the night of the 26th, the Alliance parted company and sailed northward. On the 31st, Jones, with the Bonhomme Richard, Pallas, and Vengeance, was off Cape Wrath, the northwestern extremity of the island of Great Britain, where he captured a heavy Letter-of-Marque, of twenty-two guns, laden with naval stores for the enemy’s vessels on the American lakes. While Jones was chasing this ship, the Alliance hove in sight, and joined in the chase, having already captured another Letter-of-Marque as a prize.  At Landais’s request, these two ships were manned from the Alliance, and he sent them into Norway, contrary to orders, where both were restored to the British by the Danish government.  On the night of the 8th, the Alliance again parted company, in a gale of wind.

Continuing around the northern coast of Scotland, on August 13th Jones and his squadron reached Leith, the port of Edinburgh.  His intention was to land and not only to lay the place under contribution, but to seize the shipping he might find in the Forth, and maybe even frighten the Scottish capital into a temporary submission.  However, his other two captains threw cold water on his views, and when the Pallas and the Vengeance gave chase to the southward, the Bonhomme Richard, being alone, had to quit the Forth, and a golden opportunity was lost, in consequence of the doubts and misgivings of his subordinates.  Still Jones determined to make the attempt.

On the 15th, the Bonhomme Richard, Pallas, and Vengeance entered the Forth, but by this time, the alarm had been given on shore, and guns were mounted at Leith, to receive the strangers.  A squall struck the ships and when it turned into a gale, Jones was driven out of the Forth.

He then abandoned his plan, as he conceived it was too late to hope for a surprise – his only rational ground for expecting success.  Jones had new designs on Newcastle or Hull but his captains refused to support him (his object was glory, theirs appears to have been profit).  Between August 17th and 21st, many collier and coasters were captured, and most of them were sunk. On the 21st, the ships were off Flamborough Head, and while the Bonhomme Richard and the Vengeance were pursuing vessels to the south, the Pallas chased to the northeast.  After capturing a brig, Jones noticed a considerable fleet in the Humber bay.  Failing to decoy them out, Jones returned north to look for the Pallas.  On the night of the 22nd, 2 ships were seen, and after chasing them, the next morning the ships were found to be the Pallas and the Alliance – Jones had not seen the Alliance since Cape Wrath – 2 weeks ago.

On August 23rd, a fleet of 41 sail (a convoy from the Baltic bound for London) were seen heading southwards.  Upon seeing Jones, the merchant ships sailed toward shore, while the Serapis and the Countess of Scarborough sailed out to sea to face Jones’s ships.  By early evening the 42-gun Bonhomme Richard and the 44-gun Serapis drew near to each other, and exchanged broadsides.  The Richard had six eighteens mounted in her gunroom.  Unfortunately, two of these old defective pieces burst at the first discharge, blowing up the main-deck above them, beside killing and wounding many men. The alarm was so great as to destroy all confidence in these guns and their crews abandoned them – leaving the Richard with no eighteens and only its 28 twelves against the 20 eighteens of the Serapis.  The Countess of Scarborough came up and fired a raking broadside at the Richard, but was afraid to engage, as the smoke and obscurity rendered it impossible to tell friend from enemy, and it edged away.  After the Countess exchanged 2 or 3 broadsides with the Alliance, the Alliance sailed away.  When the Countess headed toward the main battle to help the Serapis, it was then brought to action by the Pallas.

As the Richard and the Serapis tried to out-manoeuvre each other, the jig-boom of the Serapis caught in the mizzen rigging of the Richard.  Jones saw that he had no chance in a cannonade, and gladly seized the opportunity of grappling, as he and his crew fastened the two ships together.  The Serapis dropped anchor, hoping to break free from the Richard, but it was caught in the stern of the Richard, and the two ships became firmly attached, side-by-side, faced in opposite directions, with their guns touching each other’s hull planks. The eighteens of the Serapis were fired straight into the Richard’s hull and destroyed everything within their range, tearing huge holes in its side, and doing terrible damage to the gun-decks, and it wasn`t long before the twelves of the Richard were silenced.  But Jones`s men that had been driven from the cannons, now moved up to the forecastle, and kept up an incessant firing of musketry and hurling of grenades, along with firing the 2 nines on the quarterdeck at the main mast of the Serapis.  Landais, in the Alliance, not near any of the principal combatants and after observing for some time, now decided to set off after the Pallas.  On the way, it passed by the Serapis and the Richard locked together, and fired a broadside, that did as much damage to the Richard as it did to the Serapis.  As Captain Piercy of the Countess saw the well-armed and unharmed Alliance approach, and with 7 guns dismounted, 4 dead, 20 wounded and her rigging and sails badly damaged, he surrendered to Captain Cottineau of the Pallas.  Cottineau now begged Landais to go to the aid of the Richard.

By this time, the Richard’s gun decks were so badly damaged that most of the British shots were passing straight through without touching anything, the hold was filling with water as one of the pumps was destroyed, and there were fires everywhere.  The Alliance returned, sailing aroung the safe sides of the two locked ships, and then the eccentric, if not insane, Landais fired broadsides into the stern of the Richard – dismounting a gun, and killing or wounding 12 men!!!  As the Richard began sinking, the 100 British prisoners on board were released, and Jones convinced them to work the remaining pumps in order to save their own lives.  The British mustered a party of boarders to take possession of the Richard, but were driven back by the musketry of Jones`s men.  A grenade tossed from the Richard managed to reach the lower gun deck of the Serapis and set fire to some uncovered cartridges and a huge explosion extended from the main mast aft, silencing every gun in that part of the ship, killing 20 men and wounding 40 more, and setting the ship on fire.  Finally, after being lashed together and fighting for over 2 ½ hours, Captain Pearson of the Serapis hauled down his colours and surrendered.  The Serapis had many more than 49 dead and 68 wounded, and the Bonhomme Richard may have had 150 killed or wounded.

Jones ordered the lashings cut to separate the two ships, and the main mast of the Serapis came down.  After finally putting out the fires, he surveyed the Richard.  Its side was almost destroyed by the guns of the Serapis, and nothing prevented the quarter-deck, main-deck and poop from literally falling down upon the lower-deck, but a few top-timbers and upper futtocks that had fortunately escaped destruction.  Jones decided that any attempt to carry the ship was hopeless and it was determined to remove the wounded, transfer his crew to the Serapis, and to abandon ship.  Jones and his fleet, along with the 2 prizes, arrived at the island of Texel, in the Netherlands, on October 3rd.  The Royal Navy set up a blockade off Texel, the port of Amsterdam, and demanded that the Dutch government return the Serapis and the Countess of Scarborough to Britain, and that it expel the American squadron.

Sartine, the French minister of the navy, ordered Dr. Franklin to summon Landais(20) back to Paris for questioning, and to face 25 charges.  (Dr. Franklin would lead an inquiry into Landais’s conduct, but would suspend judgement in the matter, as disciplining a French officer on French soil was highly impolitic, and Landais would have to return to America and face a court martial there.)  After getting rid of Landais, Jones moved himself, the officers and crewmen from the Richard to the Alliance, and defiantly kept flying the stars and stripes, while the Pallas and the Vengeance switched to French colours.

After almost 3 months of wrangling and stalling so that he could make the necessary repairs to his ships, on December 27th Jones, in the Alliance, slipped away from Texel past the British blockade, and finally arrived back at l’Orient on February 10th 1780.  While Jones was busy in Paris, attempting to reclaim the money from the sale of the prizes, and discussing with the French ministers his plan for a new squadron to raid the British coasts, the Alliance was being readied to sail to America with supplies.

On March 23rd 1779, the Committee on Foreign Affairs of Congress brought in a report concerning complaints of the conduct of its commercial agent and its several commissioners, and of the ‘suspicions and animosities’ among the commissioners – Benjamin Franklin, Silas Deane, Arthur Lee, Ralf Izard and William Lee.  (In December 1778, Silas Deane, angry at his earlier recall from France, began a public attack in the press against Izard and the Lee brothers.  With a hatred of Deane and a jealousy of Dr. Franklin, Arthur Lee replied with attacks on both Deane and on Dr. Franklin.)

The report listed 10 charges against Deane; 7 charges against A. Lee; 5 charges against W. Lee; 1 charge against Izard – ‘that not being able to proceed to the court of Tuscany … has remained in Paris, and that the greater part of his time has been spent in altercations with Mr. Franklin, and writing letters to Congress replete with criminations of Mr. Franklin(21) and Mr. Deane’; and 1 charge against John Adams – that he ‘threatened Mr. Izard with the displeasure of Congress’.  Also in the report, were 3 charges against Dr. Franklin by A. Lee and Izard, ‘that Mr. Benj. Franklin withheld information from Mr. A. Lee; that Mr. Franklin, from a partiality to his nephew, Mr. Williams, and his friend, Mr. Chaumont, concurred with Mr. Deane in systems of profusion, disorder and dissipation in the conduct of public affairs; and that Mr. Franklin is not a proper person to be trusted with the management of the affairs of America, that he is haughty and self sufficient and not guided by principles of virtue or honor’.  As a result of the intense debates in Congress over this report, on June 8th Congress recalled both William Lee and Ralph Izard, and directed Arthur Lee to repair to America ‘in order the better to enquire into the truth of the several allegations and suggestions made by in his correspondence with Congress against Deane’.

On June 15th 1779, Congress had written a letter to his most Christian Majesty (i.e. France) requesting arms, ammunition, clothing and supplies needed to continue the war.  In September, Dr. Franklin had presented the 38-page inventory list to Vergennes, and after he had succeeded in procuring a 3 million livre loan from France, he began purchasing the desperately needed supplies, to be shipped in the Alliance, that would also return Arthur Lee and Ralph Izard to America.  On September 27th 1779, Congress had elected John Adams to be “a minister plenipotentiary for negotiating a treaty of peace and a treaty of commerce with Great Britain”, and also elected John Jay to be ‘a minister plenipotentiary to negotiate a treaty of alliance and of amity and commerce between the United States of America and his Catholic Majesty’ (i.e. Spain) – which put Arthur Lee out of a job!  Arriving in L’Orient to seek passage back to America, Landais met Arthur Lee, who was also there seeking passage home.  Lee convinced Landais that since he held a commission from Congress, Dr. Franklin didn’t have the authority to relieve him of command!!!  On June 12th 1780, Landais boarded the Alliance, convinced its crew to mutiny against the rest of the crew from the Bonhomme Richard, assumed command, and weighed anchor (while being only partly loaded with the American supplies).

On June 20th, Jones returned to L’Orient with orders from Sartine for Thevenard, the commanding officer of the port, to alert the warships and forts, and to barricade the entrance to the port, in order to detain the Alliance and to imprison Landais.  Landais, on the advice of Lee(22), refused to obey the order and instead ejected Jones’s officers from the ship and placed his crew from the Richard in irons.  Thevenard then signed the order to fire on the Alliance if it tried to put out to sea.  Not wanting to show the British any appearance of disagreement between the Americans and the French, and not wanting to dishonour the American flag (being flown by the Alliance), and not wanting to spill any American or French blood (simply in order to give himself a command) Jones begged Thevenard to retract his order and open the entrance to the port.  But Landais now refused to sail or to return to port without his prize monies.

On July 7th the Alliance finally sailed away to America.  But on the voyage, Landais quarrelled with his officers, abused his crew and made life miserable for his passengers, until he was forcibly relieved of command.  The Alliance arrived at Boston on August 19th.  In November, Landais was court-martialed, found guilty and removed from service.

 

Chapter 6 – 1780, the Road to Treason

1 – The battle on the frontier, Spring 1780

When word arrived that George Rogers Clark had captured the British post at Vincennes and Governor Hamilton, this success of American arms inspired immigration from Pennsylvania, Virginia and North Carolina, and the spring of 1779 saw settlers pouring into Kentucky County through Fort Boonesborough, at the end of the Boone Trace.  The old fort became too small and too crowded, and in October 1779, the Virginia Assembly established the town of Boonesborough.  Starting in October 1779, because of the great confusion as to land claims, the Virginia Land Commission held hearings in Kentucky, moving from one fort to another, to award land to settlers who appeared before them and offered sufficient evidence as to the validity of their claim.  The spring of 1780 brought a resumption of the flood of immigrants to Kentucky.  By the end of the summer, the population had grown to about 20,000.  Daniel Boone returned, with his family, from North Carolina, and established Boone’s Station.  In March 1780, Captain Abraham Lincoln (grandfather and namesake of the future president) sold his 250- acre farm near Linville Creek in the Shenandoah valley of Virginia, purchased an 800-acre tract near Green River Lick and a 400 acre tract at Log Run near Hughes Station, and moved his family to Kentucky.

In the spring, the British launched a four-pronged attack on the frontier forts and settlements, using their Indian allies – hoping to push back the Americans to the boundaries of 1763 – east of the Appalachians.

First, at Fort Michilimackinac, Patrick Sinclair, the British military governor, offered control of the fur trade in the northern parts of Spanish Louisiana to fur traders if they would recruit Indian tribes for an attack on St. Louis.  The two dozen traders, under Emanuel Hesse, and over 750 Indians, gathered at Prairie du Chien and left on May 2nd down the Mississippi river.  At St. Louis, the Spanish governor, Leyba, with 29 regulars, 168 militia, and a reinforcement of 150 men from nearby Ste. Genevieve, had built a 30-foot diameter, 30-foot tower with 5 cannons on top.

On May 26th, Hesse sent 300 Indians to attack Cahokia, while he and the rest of his force attacked St. Louis.  When Leyba opened fire from the tower, Hesse and the Indians withdrew, but on their way back north, they destroyed crops and buildings, took away livestock and killed or captured any inhabitants they found.  At Cahokia, the commander Colonel John Montgomery sent for help from George Rogers Clark at Fort Jefferson.

On April 19th, Clark and 175 men had arrived at the mouth of the Ohio river, near Mayfield creek, about one-half mile east of the Mississippi river, to build Fort Jefferson – named after Virginia governor Thomas Jefferson, who had given Clark permission to build the fort and a community which could supply the fort with food which Virginia was unable to send.  With the arrival of Clark and his men on May 24th at Cahokia, the attack was easily repulsed.  Clark ordered Montgomery with 350 Virginians and with the French and Spanish militia, to pursue the Indians.  They marched to the Indian village at Peoria and destroyed it, then marched to the Indian village at the mouth of the Rock river and burned the village and destroyed the crops.  A messenger arrived from the Falls – with word of a coming British attack on the Kentucky settlements(1).  On June 10th, Clark, and half of his men, left Fort Jefferson and hurried back to the fort at the Falls.

Second, at Fort Detroit, Major DePeyster ordered Captain Henry Bird with 150 British, tories (including Simon Girty) and militia and several hundred Indians (whose number increased along the way to almost 1000) to attack the fort at the Falls and the Kentucky settlements.  Upon reaching the Ohio river, the Indians were worried that Clark would soon reach the Falls, and wouldn’t attack Louisville.  Instead, Bird and the Indians travelled up the Licking river and on June 22nd, they attacked with cannon and forced the surrender of Ruddle’s Station and of Martin’s Station.  The British then retreated, bringing their plunder and 470 prisoners back to Detroit.

Clark arrived at Harrodsburg and organized a mobilization of the Kentucky militia, to meet at the mouth of the Licking river by July 31st.  Clark built a stockade to leave their boats and any excess baggage and on August 2nd, led his 970-man army north along the Little Miami river and on August 5th they reached the Shawnee village of Chillicothe, which had been abandoned with the fort and council house burned.

Clark ordered that everything else standing, as well as several hundred acres of corn and vegetables be reduced to ashes.  On August 8th Clark and his men arrived at the Pickaway settlement – 3 villages along the Mad river.  Waiting for them were 300 Indians – the Shawnee, with reinforcements from the Mingo, Wyandot, and Delaware, and James and George Girty.  Clark wanted to attempt to surprise and encircle the community – sending Logan and 300 men up the Mad river to the rear of the settlements to cut off any retreat, sending Harrod and his men around buy the west, while Clark himself pressed the attack at the centre.

Pushed from hill to hill, the Indians were forced to withdraw to their stockade and blockhouse, which Clark fired on with his six-pound cannon.  In desperation, the Indians charged at the cannon, but a volley from Clark’s infantry, assembled in a hollow square, routed the Indians, who fled through the cornfields.  Clark had 14 men killed and 13 wounded, and estimated the Indian loss to be three times that.  The next day, Clark’s men burned the vast planted fields of corn, vegetables and potatoes.  Due to the excessive heat and weak diet, Clark returned to their stockade at the Ohio river, abandoned it on August 14th, and the militia marched back to their homes.  Clark and his Illinois men returned to Louisville.

After Clark had departed from Fort Jefferson, the fort was attacked on July 17th for 2 ½ hours by 150 Indians, before they retreated, killing most of the stock.  Again, on August 27th, 150 Chickasaw Indians, led by Lieutenant William Whitehead of the British Southern Indian Department attacked the community.  After 4 days of fighting the Indians retreated, ‘after killing what few sheep and cows were left from their former violence and destroying almost all of a large crop of corn and other truck’.  Discouraged by the destruction of their crops and livestock, many of the settlers left during September and October.  Captain Robert George sent out retaliatory raids against the Chickasaw in September and January 1781.  Fort Jefferson would be evacuated in June 1781.

Third, at Fort St. Jean in Canada, Lieutenant Colonel John Johnson assembled a force of 528 men – 109 regulars, 211 provincials from the King’s Royal Regiment and over 200 Kanehsatake Mohawks.  They travelled to Crown Point by boat, and then marched to Johnstown, arriving on May 21st, where Johnson hoped to recover certain property and papers which he had buried and concealed there before his flight to Canada.  He sent part of his force to Tribes Hill, where they proceeded up the Mohawk river (killing, plundering and burning 120 barns, mills and houses along the way) to Caughnawaga, where they rejoined Johnson and fled back to Canada.  Colonel Van Schaik arrived with 800 men in pursuit but was too late to engage Johnson’s men.

Fourth, at Fort Niagara, Captain John McDonnell with 70 rangers and 110 Seneca and Mohawk Indians travelled to the Old Oneida castle on June 24th, to urge the Oneidas to move to Niagara and rejoin the rest of the Six Nation Iroquois.  But the Oneida demanded that, first, their delegates had to be released(2).  The Seneca chief promised to return with the delegates and a large combat force in three weeks.  Having successfully stalled for time, the Oneida now abandoned the castles of Old Oneida and Kanonwalohale, and relocated to Fort Schuyler, where the Oneida warriors continued to perform military duties in exchange for help from Colonel Van Dyck, commander at Fort Schuyler.  On July 11th, Joseph Brant led 300 warriors, with Lieutenant Clement and 12 rangers, from Fort Niagara to Kanonwalohale, with the 2 Oneida delegates.  Finding the village abandoned, Brant ordered all the 70 homes to be burned, and then went to Fort Schuyler, to attempt to persuade the Oneidas to join the British, where 132 Oneida (mostly women, children and elderly who were sent to Niagara for safety) agreed to go to Fort Niagara, and the rest fled into the fort.  (In August, the remaining 400 Oneida at Fort Schuyler would decide to relocate to safer locations at Schenectady and Saratoga.)  Brant now led his warriors eastward to raid the American settlements.  On August 2nd, they attacked the settlements at Fort Plain, on the south side of the Mohawk river, while the militia was away guarding 9 bateaux of supplies on their way to Fort Schuyler.  Brant burned 53 houses and as many barns, drove away 300 cattle and horses, killed 16 inhabitants and took 50-60 prisoners.

2 – The surrender at Charleston, May 11th 1780

In November 1778, D’Estaing had sailed for the West Indies.  After a major battle with the British fleet at Grenada in July 1779, (D’Estaing had 190 killed and 759 wounded, while Byron had 183 killed and 346 wounded) D’Estaing, who had orders to return to France, first sailed to Savannah in September 1779.  Lincoln left Charleston with 2000 men and arrived at Savannah to meet D’Estaing on September 12th and began siege preparations.

The British, under Prevost, with 2500 men, constructed a defensive entrenchment, with an abatis, around the city, with 13 redoubts and 15 batteries with 76 cannon.  On October 3rd, D’Estaing moved his ships to begin a naval bombardment of the city.  Not wanting to wait too long, in case the British navy arrived to break the French blockade, D’Estaing and Lincoln relaunched an assault on October 9th with a combined force of 4500 men.  After 5 hours of battle, the French and Americans, after failing to take and hold a redoubt, pulled back – having 244 killed, including General Pulaski, and nearly 600 wounded, including D’Estaing, and 120 taken prisoner, while the British had 40 killed, 63 wounded and 52 missing.  The French abandoned the siege and on October 18th they returned to their ships and sailed for France, before the arrival of Byron’s fleet.  Lincoln and his men retreated to Charleston.

General Washington was preparing to winter the army – one division under Heath at the Highlands, and the main division, including Hazen’s 2nd Canadian and Livingston’s 1st Canadian regiments, with him at Morristown.  Food was scarce, as well as clothing and blankets.  Even more scare was funds for the army.  Due to the depreciation of the currency, it required 40 continental dollars to buy 1 dollar’s worth of goods(3).  And since soldiers were still paid at its nominal value, it meant that a common labourer could earn four times the pay of an officer.

That winter would be extremely harsh – the great bay of New York froze over.  General Washington ordered Alexander Stirling and 2500 men, including Hazens’s 2nd Canadian regiment, to cross the ice to surprise and attack a British force of 1000 men on Staten island.  On the night of January 14th, Stirling and his men crossed the ice from DeHart’s Point on 500 sleighs, but his approach was discovered by the British who took refuge in the works, which was too strong to attack.  Stirling retreated to Elizabethtown with a 17 prisoners and a quantity of blankets and stores, including tents.

Knyphausen launched two retaliatory raids into New Jersey.  On January 25th, one British detachment crossed to Paulus Hook, surprised and captured a company at Newark, burned the academy and the returned to Staten island.  The other detachment crossed to Trembly’s Point and surprised the picket guard at Elizabethtown, killing 8, capturing 34 men (plus Judge Hedden, who lost both legs due to frostbite) and burned the courthouse and the church of Rev. Caldwell.

Fearing that Henry Clinton might be preparing for further attacks against Georgia and South Carolina, he sent the North Carolina brigade and the Virginia brigade to the Southern army.  Lincoln had only 3 South Carolina Continental regiments with 660 men.  (Colonels Parker and Heth had arrived with 400 Virginia Continentals in February, Brigadier-General James Hogun arrived with 750 North Carolina Continentals on March 3rd, and Brigadier-General William Woodford arrived with 700 Virginian Continentals on April 7th.)

Henry Clinton had evacuated Newport Rhode Island on October 25th to consolidate his forces at New York.  On December 26th, he sailed with 8500 men, leaving Knyphausen in charge at New York.  Battered and damaged by storms, during a voyage in which all their cavalry horses perished, Clinton finally arrived at Savannah and remained there for repairs until he could sail for Charleston, landing 30 miles south at the southern tip of John’s island on February 11th.

On February 14th, they began marching to Stono Ferry, but stopped when they saw the American cannon on the opposite shore.  That night the Americans abandoned their position at Stono Ferry and Clinton crossed over to James island and built fortifications there by February 24th.  On February 26th, the British troops captured Fort Johnson, which had been burned and abandoned by the Americans, and began building a redoubt, while being fired on by Continental Navy ships.  The British brought up their schooners and the American fleet had to withdraw.  The British gained control of James island, while still skirmishing with the Americans.  Clinton then began moving his forces north along the western shore of Ashley river, opposite Charleston, and on March 26th, under cover of fog, crossed the river north of the Ashley Ferry.  When the Americans realized that the British crossed the river, they abandoned their fortifications at Ashley Ferry.

Clinton began moving south toward Charleston, and in the evening on March 29th and skirmished with Colonel John Laurens and 200 men at an advanced redoubt and forced them to retreat back to the American lines.  Clinton began building redoubts and batteries for a siege, and also to cut off Lincoln and his army from any communication or escape by land.

On April 8th, Arbuthnot, who had lightened his ships to be able to sail past the sand bar, now moved his 11 warships, with a favourable wind and fog, past Sullivan island, while under heavy fire from the Americans at Fort Moultrie, and anchored off Fort Johnson, inside Charleston harbour.  Commodore Abraham Whipple retreated with his small fleet to the mouth of the Cooper river, behind a log boom between Shutes Folly and Charleston, made by sinking unusable ships and lashing spars, chains and cables between the masts, to keep open this last line of communication – taking people, livestock and goods over to the east bank of the Cooper river.  Lincoln, with 2500 North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia Continental troops and 1200 North Carolina and South Carolina militia, was still hoping for more reinforcements and decided to not retreat from Charleston.  On April 2nd, General Washington would order DeKlab with 1400 Continental soldiers from the Maryland and Delaware lines to reinforce Lincoln.  (DeKalb left Morristown on April 16th, and sailed from Head of Elk on May 8th, arriving at Petersburg Virginia on May 23rd.)

On April 17th, 2500 additional British troops arrived, giving Henry Clinton a total of over 12000 men.  Clinton sent a summons, on April 9th, demanding the surrender of Charleston, but Lincoln would refuse, and on April 13th, Clinton began the bombardment of the town with red-hot cannonballs

Clinton also sent 1400 men under Tarleton to attack the American post at Monck’s Corner that were defending Biggin Bridge, which secured their communication and supplies on the Cooper river with Charleston.  At 3 a.m. on April 14th, a surprise attack was launched by the British on the 400 dragoons and militiamen under General Isaac Huger, forcing them to flee on foot through the swamps to escape – 25 were killed and 100 were taken prisoner, and the British captured 50 wagons loaded with arms, clothing and ammunition and 400 cavalry horses.  The British then seized Biggin Bridge and the boats at Bonneau’s Ferry, and proceeded down the east side of the Cooper river to Lampriere’s Point, but retired after being fired upon. With Lampriere’s post now providing the only open route of escape from Charleston, by boat, Lincoln called a council of war.  Lieutenant-Governor Gadsden and the remaining city councillors argued against surrender, and it was decided to remain and defend the town.

The remnant of the American cavalry from Monck’s Corner had regrouped at Santee river under Colonel Anthony White, and on May 6th, White and his men captured 18 British dragoons who were foraging and they headed for Lenud’s ferry to team up with Colonel Buford and his Continental soldiers.  But Tarleton and his dragoons chased and surprised White before they could cross the ferry – 11 men were killed, 30 wounded and 67 were taken prisoner.

On April 27th, fearing an attack from 500 marines sent by Arbuthnot, the post at Lampriere’s Point was vacated.  As the men retreated across the Cooper river to Charleston, one boat with 80 men was captured by the British.  On May 2nd, a detachment of British troops at Lampriere’s Point stormed and captured the post at Haddrell’s Point.  On May 4th, 150 marines landed on Sullivan’s island and captured an abandoned redoubt near Fort Moultrie.  On May 6th, with 500 marines on Sullivan island ready to storm the fort while the ships would bombard it, Arbuthnot demanded the surrender of Fort Moultrie.  The next day, the 117 Continentals and 100 militia surrendered.  The British could now block Charleston harbour, had the town completely surrounded and were preparing to make an assault by land and sea.

On May 8th, Clinton again sent a summons demanding surrender of Charleston, and after he had rejected Lincoln’s revisions, began an intensive bombardment of the town.  On May 12th, with an exhausted garrison and almost no more provisions, Lincoln surrendered his army – 1977 rank and file Continental soldiers from the 1st, 2nd and 3rd South Carolina regiments, the 1st, 2nd and 3rd North Carolina regiments, the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Virginia regiments, the 1st and 2nd Virginia Detachments plus the Dragoons and artillery units, along with 1079 North and South Carolina militia and 758 Charleston militia.   The men would be loaded onto ‘prison ships’ in Charleston harbour, where one third of the men would die (of camp or typhoid fever or dysentery) before being exchanged in May 1781.

British captured 5916 muskets, 33000 rounds of ammunition, 8000 round shot, 376 barrels of powder and 391 artillery pieces.  The British also captured 3 Continental navy ships – the Providence, the Boston and the Ranger, and 2 French ships – the L’Avanture and the Polacre, plus 4 armed galleys.

3 – The Battle of Camden, August 16th 1780

Clinton sent three expeditions to subdue the back-country and establish outposts – one was to move up the Savannah river to Augusta, another was to proceed up the southwest side of the Santee river to the district of Ninety Six, and the third, under Cornwallis, was to march up the northeast bank of the Santee river.

Along the way, Cornwallis learned that Colonel Abraham Buford and 380 men of the 3rd Virginia Detachment had been at Lenud’s Ferry when Lincoln surrendered and had now turned around to retreat north to North Carolina.  Cornwallis sent Tarleton and 270 dragoons to chase after Buford, catching up to him on May 29th at Waxhaw.  Buford ordered his men into a single line, and Tarleton divided his dragoons into three and charged at the American line in the front and on the flanks.  Buford’s men (most of whom were raw recruits) were able to fire only one volley before Tarleton’s men cut the line to pieces with their sabres.  Buford sent a white flag to Tarleton to surrender, but the flag was refused, and the British continued the attack – stabbing those who had laid down their guns to surrender.  113 were killed and 147 wounded, who were parolled, and 53 taken prisoner in the massacre, while the British had 5 killed and 12 wounded.  Buford and about 100 men were able to escape.

The other two detachments met with nothing but submission, and Clinton persuaded himself that South Carolina was subdued and stationed garrisons in various parts to maintain its subjection.  On June 5th, he embarked for New York, leaving Cornwallis in command of the troops in the south.

On June 13th, Congress resolved “that Major General Gates immediately repair to and take command in the southern department”.  On July 25th, Gates would arrive at Deep River, North Carolina and take command of De Kalb’s two Maryland Continental regiments, the Delaware Continental regiment and three artillery companies, plus Armand’s 60 dragoons.

On July 27th, Gates marched with his 1000-man army to Camden, the 1000-man British garrison and supply depot in the South Carolina interior.  Along the way, Gates was joined by 100 Virginia state troops, 2100 North Carolina militia and 700 Virginia militia, before arriving at Rugeley’s Mill, 12 miles from Camden, on August 13th.  On August 15th, Gates ordered a night march to attack the British garrison at Camden.  Gates also ordered Thomas Sumter(4) and his partisans to the north of Camden, and ordered Thomas Marion(4) and his partisans to the south of Camden, to isolate the battlefield, burning all the boats on the Santee river.

After being alerted to Gates’s movements, Cornwallis had marched 100 miles from Charleston with 1000 reinforcements in 4 days and arrived at Camden on August 13th.  Cornwallis decided not to wait for Gates to attack, and instead ordered a night march from Camden to surprise Gates’s troops.  In the early morning of August 16th, Colonel Armand’s dragoons, who were leading the American van, suddenly ran into Lieutenant Colonel Tarleton’s dragoons, who were leading the British march!  Tarleton’s sabre charge forced back Armand’s men, but fire from the Virginia state troops forced Tarleton to withdraw.  After 15 minutes of fighting, both sides fell back to regroup.

Gates placed De Kalb with the 2nd Maryland and the 1st Delaware regiments on the right side of the road, and the North Carolina and Virginia militiamen on the left of the road, and the 1st Maryland regiment in reserve.  Carleton placed his loyalist regiments on his left flank and Lieutenant Webster and the British regiments on the right flank – opposite the American militia.  When Cornwallis ordered Webster and his British regulars to charge with bayonets, the militia, most of who were in battle for their first time, broke and ran.  (One regiment of North Carolina militia, that was stationed closest to the 1st Delaware regiment, did not flee but held its ground.)  Seeing the panic, Gates fled with the militia back to Charlotte.

De Kalb’s troops twice repulsed the attack from the British left flank, and then successfully counterattacked.  Instead of pursuing the fleeing militia, Webster then turned to the left, attacked the 1st Maryland regiment and forced them to retreat, so that they could not link up with De Kalb’s forces.  De Kalb’s 600 men now faced the 2000 British troops, but De Kalb would not consider retreating.  Carleton then ordered Banastre’s dragoons to attack from the rear, and De Kalb’s troops finally were forced to break and run.  Some of the Continentals were able to retreat through the woods in a compact fighting group.  After the battle, Tarleton resumed his pursuit of the fleeing militia for 20 miles, killing as he rode.  At Rugeley’s Mill, Tarleton attacked Armand’s dragoons and captured the American baggage.

During the final charge, De Kalb was mortally wounded, captured by the British and died three days later, from eleven (sword, bayonet and bullet) wounds.  The Americans suffered 240 killed – 162 Continentals, 63 North Carolina militia, and 15 South Carolina and Virginia militia, and 290 taken prisoner – 206 Continentals, 82 North Carolina militia and 2 Virginia militia.  The British had 68 killed and 245 wounded.

On August 18th, Tarleton was sent in pursuit of Thomas Sumter after his attacks on the British outposts at Rocky Mount (July 30th) and Hanging Rock (August 6th).  Tarleton surprised Sumter and 800 men while they were cooking, bathing and resting at their camp at Fishing creek – killing or wounding 150, taking 310 prisoners, capturing 800 horses, 1100 stands of arms and 46 loaded wagons, and releasing 150 loyalist prisoners. Sumter was somehow able to escape on a saddleless wagon horse, without coat, hat or boots.

After destroying boats at Murry’s Ferry and Nelson’s Ferry, Marion learned that a strong 38-man British escort were holding a large group of American prisoners at Thomas Sumter’s abandoned plantation.  Marion and his men rode through the night on August 24th, and before dawn surprised the British troops, who were asleep with their arms stacked in the front yard. Marion killed or captured 22 British soldiers and released 150 Maryland and Delaware Continentals.  On September 4th, Marion’s 50-man force attacked and routed the advance guard of Major Ganey, and then retreated, drawing Ganey and his 200 loyalist troops into an ambush near Blue Savannah.  Cornwallis sent Major Wemyss and the 63rd regiment, who had been confiscating houses and horses from pro-American families, to attack Marion.  During a night attack, Marion waylaid Wemyss`s stragglers, capturing 30 men, and then beat a hasty retreat.  Realizing that he was greatly outnumbered, Marion broke camp and retreated to North Carolina.  Wemyss would lay waste to 50 plantations, carrying off their slaves for use as slave labour for the British army.

Cornwallis began establishing a growing network of fortified towns and outposts to control conquered Georgia and South Carolina, and decided that the subjugation of North Carolina was essential to the eventual invasion and conquest of Virginia.  Major Patrick Ferguson was sent to the area of northern South Carolina and western North Carolina, to intimidate the rebels and to raise and train loyalist troops, and to cover Cornwallis’s flank on his march into North Carolina.

At Gilberttown, Ferguson and his 800 Carolina loyalists and 100 infantry defeated Charles McDowell and his local militia, driving them over the mountains into the Holston river settlements.  There, McDowell’s 160 men joined with Isaac Shelby and John Sevier(5) and their 480 militia.  Colonel William Campbell, who was made the overall commander, arrived with 400 riflemen from Virginia and Colonel Benjamin Cleveland arrived with 350 North Carolina militia.

On September 26th they had begun their march in pursuit of Ferguson, and on October 7th they had arrived at Kings Mountain, near the North and South Carolina border.  Along the way, they were joined by 120 North Carolina milita, 100 South Carolina militia and 30 Georgia militia – now numbering 1300 men.  Campbell with Shelby came up the two sides of the southwest ridge, while Cleveland with Sevier came up the northeast ridge to surround Ferguson.  Ferguson formed his men into a rough square, fired volleys and then charged with bayonets, while Campbell’s men retreated, reloaded and returned to the attack.  Being completely encircled, Ferguson lead a desperate sally to try to break the line, but every man in the charge was killed or mortally wounded.  The remaining British troops were driven in and threw down their arms to surrender.   The British had 119 killed, including Ferguson, 123 wounded and 664 captured, while the Americans had 28 killed and 62 wounded.  Cornwallis evacuated Charlotte, North Carolina and retreated back to Winnsboro, South Carolina.

On September 28th, after returning from North Carolina, Marion attacked and routed Colonel Ball and his 46 loyalist troops at midnight from three sides at Black Mingo Swamp, and forced them to flee through the woods.  Marion took 13 prisoners and captured a useful supply of horses, guns and ammunition.  On October 25th, Marion attacked Lieutenant Colonel Tynes and his raiders at their camp at Tearcoat Swamp at night, killing 3, wounding 14 and capturing 23 loyalists.

Cornwallis now sent Tarleton and his legion of dragoons and mounted infantry to hunt down Marion, who rode to meet him with his 400 partisans.  Marion learned that Tarleton was camped at Richardson`s plantation(6), was warned of their superior numbers, and then turned and galloped through swampy forests and shallow streams and into Ox Swamp.  Tarleton followed him but finally had to call off the chase, saying “as for that old fox, the devil himself could not catch him”, earning Marion the nickname of ‘Swamp Fox’.

With Tarleton in the low-country chasing Marion (who was asked by Gates to create a diversion in the lower part of the state), Sumter was asked by Gates to threaten Winnsboro and try to have Cornwallis’s mounted troops pursue him.  Gates hoped that these diversions would so weaken the British garrison that General Smallwood and his Continentals and militia could strike directly at Winnsboro.

On November 8th, Cornwallis ordered Wemyss with his dragoons and mounted infantry to attack Sumter.  Early the next morning, Wemyss and his troops caught up to Sumter at Fisd Dam Ford and charged the camp – with 5 dragoons assigned the task of finding Sumter’s tent and killing him as soon as the attack would begin.  Sumter was able to fight them off and again escaped – without coat, hat, boots or trousers.  Pickets firing on the British column, shot and wounded Wemyss, toppling him from his horse and taking him out of the action before the fighting began.  While the British charged, the partisans fired from both flanks and the charge fell into disorder.  The British then regrouped, dismounted and charged with bayonets, driving back the American left.  The American right opened up a heavy fire on the British and forced them to retreat.  The British had 7 killed and the Americans had 4 killed, while the Americans captured 14 British wounded troops who had been left behind, including Wemyss, and a parcel of horses.  Cornwallis now sent Tarleton, with reinforcements, in pursuit of Sumter and his forces, whose number now swelled to 1000 men.

Sumter decided not to retreat but to make a stand against Tarleton, and moved his forces to the nearby farm of Captain Blackstock, leaving a small detachment under Patrick Carr, at the ford of the Enoree river, to watch for and delay Tarleton if possible.   Carr was also holding the prisoners captured at Fish Dam Ford.  On November 20th, Tarleton stormed through the ford, smashing into Carr’s position, and Carr and his men retreated.  Tarleton’s dragoons cut down most of the loyalist and British prisoners before they could identify themselves.  Tarleton pressed on with his 170 dragoons and 80 mounted infantry, leaving the artillery and infantry to follow.

At Blackstock’s farm, Tarleton ordered Major John Money and the mounted infantry to dismount and attack Sumter’s advance troops, of Georgia militia under Colonel Twiggs, with bayonets, driving them back onto Sumter’s main position, before being fired on by the North Carolina militia from the log barns.

Meanwhile, Sumter ordered Colonel Lacey and his South Carolina militia to swing quietly through the woods and flank Tarleton’s unsuspecting dragoons, shooting 20 of them, before being attacked and driven back.

While watching Lacey’s attack, Sumter was wounded, as five buckshot hit his chest and one struck under his right shoulder, chipped his spine and lodged under his left shoulder.  Tarleton now ordered his dragoons to charge up the hill against Sumter’s main position to support the 63rd regiment, coming under intense fire before retreating, with Tarleton picking up and carrying on his horse the mortally wounded Money.  The British left 92 dead and 100 wounded on the field, while Sumter had 3 killed and 4 wounded.  Tarleton waited for reinforcements for another attack the next morning.  But, Colonel Twiggs, now in command, left decoy camp-fires burning, and during the night, quietly forded the Tyger river and dispersed the troops.  Tarleton returned to the British base at Brierley’s Ford.

Cornwallis held the key towns with a chain of fortified garrisons at Savannah, Charleston, Beaufort and Georgetown in the low-country and at Augusta, Ninety-Six, Winnsboro and Camden in the back-country, with his main army encamped at Winnsboro.  But the Americans held the hinterland of mountains, forests, swamps and savannahs.  Britain’s southern strategy would continue in its attempt to subdue the Carolinas, and then would proceed to the next decisive step – Virginia.  If Virginia were to fall, then the frontier settlements in the Kentucky and Illinois country would soon follow, and that fight for the Ohio (which Washington himself had helped to start 27 years ago) could be lost to the British.

On October 5th, Congress had resolved to direct General Washington to hold a court of enquiry(7) on the conduct of Gates, and to appoint an officer to command the southern army until such enquiry be made. Congress resolved on October 30th, to approve General Washington’s appointment of Major General Nathanael Greene as commander of the southern army.

4 – The capture of Andre & the escape of Arnold, September 23rd & 24th 1780

On May 10th 1780, Lafayette arrived at Washington’s headquarters at Morristown with secret information from the French king, Louis XVI(8).  Lafayette had returned from France, landing at Boston on April 28th, and was now informing General Washington that France was sending an ‘expedition particuliere’ to America – 6000 troops and 6 ships-of-the-line under Lieutenant-General Rochambeau.  After meeting with General Washington, Lafayette proceeded to Philadelphia, arriving on May 15th, and met with La Luzerne, the French ambassador, who then presented the plan to Congress.  In an effort to beguile the British, General Washington asked Lafayette to prepare a proclamation to the Canadians – a ruse to make the British think that the destination of the French fleet was Canada, and a few copies were allowed to pass into British hands.

On June 1st, a handbill published by the British authorities reached Washington’s camp, and made known the surrender at Charleston.  Knyphausen thought that, after this news of the capture of Charleston, a sudden show of military protection, would produce a general desertion among Washington’s troops and rally back the inhabitants of the Jerseys to allegiance to the crown.

On the evening of June 5th, 5000 troops crossed from Staten island to Elizabethtown Point.  The troops at Elizabethtown, under Colonel Dayton, were too weak in numbers and retreated, while skirmishing with the British, to the village of Connecticut Farms, where they joined with the troops under General Maxwell, but they were again forced to retreat.  Some of the British troops began to pillage and set fire to the houses.  During the sacking of the village, the church that Rev. Caldwell had moved to after his church in Elizabethtown had been burned, was now also burned, and his wife was killed.

Knyphausen now moved on towards Morristown, to try to draw out General Washington, and halted at the village at the foot of the Short Hills.  On the bank of the Rahway river, Maxwell drew up his brigade plus the local militia, while General Washington arrived with his main army, in good order, in the rear of the Short Hills.  Knyphausen, now convinced that he had been completely misinformed as to the disposition of the Jersey people and of the army, retreated during the night back to Elizabethtown, before recrossing his troops to Staten island.

Early in April, Arnold had met in Philadelphia with Philip Schuyler, who was now a New York delegate to Congress and had been elected chairman of a committee to meet with General Washington on the reorganization of the army.  Arnold asked Schuyler to speak to General Washington about a new command for Arnold as commander of West Point.  Late in May, after almost a year, Arnold again sent Stansbury to Andre to restate his terms for joining the British side – ₤10,000, plus command of a Loyalist battalion with the rank of brigadier general, and a ‘conference with an officer of confidence’.

Knyphausen, who was in charge in New York while Clinton and Andre were in South Carolina, answered with assurances that he would take up the matter with Henry Clinton, and that he had procured two rings which are exactly alike for the purpose of communication, and sent one to Arnold, and retained the other for the officer of confidence who would later meet secretly with him.  Upon receiving Knyphausen’s response on June 7th, Arnold replied from Philadelphia (through Stansbury) that he would stop at Washington’s camp at Morristown, while on his way to Connecticut to try to sell his house and collect his debts, and that he had heard of a secret joint French and American invasion of Canada, and he sent him a copy of Lafayette’s proclamation for the Canadians.  (General Washington had sent the draught of the proclamation to Arnold, who was to give it to the printer.)

Upon arriving at Morristown on June 12th, Arnold sent another message to Knyphausen with more details of the plan for the invasion of Canada – that a French fleet with 6000 men was to rendezvous with General Washington at Rhode Island.  Arnold later added that he expected to be offered the command of West Point.  On his way to Hartford, Arnold stopped off to inspect West Point, and on June 16th sent another message to Knyphausen – giving devastating details of what he had seen as he had ridden around the hilltop fortifications and riverfront batteries with the present commander at West Point, Robert Howe!!!

On June 17th, Henry Clinton and his fleet from the south arrived at Staten island.  Fearing for the safety of West Point, General Washington left Greene with Maxwell’s and Stark’s brigades, and set off on June 21st with the main army toward the Highlands.  Once Henry Clinton saw the American army move, on June 23rd Knyphausen was ordered to march with 5000 troops from Elizabethtown, hoping to destroy the public stores at Morristown.  At Springfield, the British met strong resistance from the Americans before forcing them to pull back to the Short Hills.  Not wanting to fight his way through the difficult passes between the hills, Knyphausen’s troops set fire to the town of Springfield and retreated back to Elizabethtown, while being harassed all the way by the militia.

Now back in Philadelphia from his trip north, on July 7th Arnold sent Stansbury with a reply to Knyphuasen, wanting an answer to his request for ₤10000, and further informed him of the misinformation that he had sent earlier – that New York was the real target of the joint French-American operation, that Canada was ‘a secondary object in case the other fails’!!!  Not waiting for an answer, on July 11th, Arnold sent Samuel Wallis to Henry Clinton, repeating his demand for an answer or he would break off negotiations.  The next day, Arnold added that “If I point out a plan of cooperation by which S.H. shall possess himself of West Point, the garrison, etc., ₤20000 I think will be a cheap purchase of so much importance”.  Arnold, hoping to become the new commander of West Point, was offering to deliver the strategic fort and its 3000 troops to the British for ₤20000, giving command of the Highlands and of the Hudson river to the British, blocking communication with New England splitting the American states in two, and stopping General Washington from maneuvering his army around New York.

On July 11th, the French fleet of 8 ships-of-the-line, 3 frigates, a cutter, a corvette, 2 smaller ships and 28 transports, arrived at Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island, and Rochambeau landed his 5000 troops at Newport, placing himself and his troops under the command of General Washington, who had sent Lafayette to meet with him to concert plans for a proposed attack upon New York.  On July 13th, a British fleet under Admiral Graves, which had been sent to try to stop the French fleet, arrived at New York to join Admiral Arbuthnot.  After Graves’s ships were refitted, the combined fleet under Arbuthnot sailed on July 19th and arrived off of Newport on the 23rd.  Henry Clinton determined to forestall the attack on New York by getting between Washington’s army and the French, and proceeded to move 6000 men to Throg’s Neck, where they were embarked on transports by July 27th in preparation for a move to attack the French army at Newport.

General Washington then crossed the Hudson river with his army to Peekskill and prepared to move towards King’s Bridge – to force Henry Clinton to abandon his attack on Newport, by threatening to strike New York during his absence.  Clinton received word from Arbuthnot at Newport that the French had been reinforced with American militia and guns and that their fortifications were too strong to be carried.  Clinton then called off the attack on Newport and hastened with his troops back to New York.  Arbuthnot retired for refitting at Gardiners bay, on the eastern end of Long island.  Arbuthnot would be reinforced by Admiral Rodney and his fleet from the West Indies in September, to maintain the blockade of the French at Newport.  General Washington set up a post with small works at Dobb’s Ferry on the east side of the Hudson river, and re-crossed the Hudson river at King’s Ferry and marched south to Tappan, on the west side of the Hudson river opposite of Dobbs Ferry, to be on hand for a future attempt on New York.

On July 31st, when Arnold arrived at King’s Ferry, General Washington informed him that he was to be his divisional commander, in charge of the left wing of the army.  But Arnold argued against this and insisted on the command at West Point.  On August 3rd, General Washington appointed Benedict Arnold to take command of West Point, including all the posts from Fishkill to King’s Ferry, which were garrisoned by the militia from New Hampshire and Massachusetts.

Colonel James Livingston and the 1st Canadian Regiment were to garrison the redoubts at Stony Point and Verplanck’s Point, which protected King’s Ferry.

Andre’s answer to Arnold, that “should we, through your means, possess ourselves of 3000 men and its artillery and stores, the sum even of ₤20000 should be paid you”, arrived on August 15th, at his home in Philadelphia and finally reached him on August 24th, as Peggy Arnold tried to find a courier to take the message to her husband at West Point.  Meanwhile, Arnold had written her letters that contained more intelligence on Washington’s plans and movements, that she then forwarded to Andre.  Arnold began slowly dissipating West Point’s(9) troop strength and depleting its provisions.

After five fruitless weeks of trying to find a way to smuggle letters in and out of New York, Arnold finally received a letter from Andre on September 8th(10), proposing a meeting between them at Dobbs Ferry, on the edge of the American lines, under a flag of truce, on September 11th.  Andre left New York on the sloop Vulture and sailed up the Hudson river to Dobbs Ferry and alighted on the east bank, where he expected to meet Arnold.  Arnold boarded a bateau at Squire Smith’s(11) wharf at his country house, Belmont, overlooking Haverstraw bay, near Stony Point, to cross the river.  As Arnold’s bateau approached Dobbs Ferry, a British gunboat opened fire on it, and Arnold and his crew escaped back to the western shore.  Andre had not thought to tell the officers of the British patrol boats that an American bateau was coming for a meeting.  The meeting attempt failed and Andre sailed back to New York, and Arnold returned to West Point.

On September 16th, Arnold received a letter from General Washington that he and his staff (Lafayette, Knox, Gouvion and 6 aides) would be crossing the Hudson river at Kings Ferry on the 18th, en route to a meeting with the French admiral and general at Hartford on September 21st.  Arnold wrote immediately to Clinton, that if the British moved quickly, they could capture General Washington as he crossed the river with only a few score troops – his escort of 22 dragoons!!!  But Arnold’s letter reached the British too late.

On September 18th, Arnold received a letter from Andre aboard the sloop Vulture.  Arnold answered the next day, proposing a meeting on the 20th.  He told the British that they would have a second chance to capture General Washington, as well as capture West Point, when he would lodge at West Point on his return trip on September 24th!!!  But the meeting again failed, when Smith could not obtain a boat from the quartermaster at Kings Ferry.  Arnold now arranged to have his bateau tow a boat down to Belmont from West Point.

On September 21st, Arnold received a new message from Andre.  Late that night, Smith and two tenant farmers rowed out to the Vulture, where Andre joined them, and they rowed back to the western shore.  Andre and Arnold met alone for two hours, where Arnold gave Andre some documents – a summary of the American army’s strength, a report of the troops at West Point and the other Hudson river defences and an estimate of the forces needed to garrison the defences properly, a return of the ordinance on hand, a plan of artillery deployment in event of an alarm, his detailed analysis of the defensive defects of West Point, and a copy of the minutes, that General Washington had sent to him, of the council of war of September 6th !!!  When the two farmers, pleading fatigue, refused to row Andre back down river to the Vulture, and fearing that with the approaching dawn it was becoming too light, Arnold and Andre rode to Smith’s house to continue their talk, until Andre could be returned the next night to the Vulture.

But, despite Arnold’s order not to fire on the Vulture, Colonel Livingston, commanding the 1st Canadian regiment at Fort Lafayette on Verplanck’s Point, was worried that the presence of this British war ship invited loyalists to row out to it and to plot mischief.  Livingston had a howitzer and a four-pounder dragged out onto Teller’s Point to harass the Vulture while a twelve-pounder was dragged close enough to fire and pound the ship.  The Vulture dropped down-river, being hulled six times, with her sail and rigging in ruins.  Arnold’s plan to return Andre to the Vulture was also now in ruins.

Fearing that the river would be crawling with American gunboats after the engagement with the Vulture, and that it would not be possible for Andre to escape down-river to overtake the Vulture, Smith accompanied Andre, on horseback, in his escape, using passes from Arnold to get by the American lines, and hoping to get past the ‘Cowboys’ – loyalist gangs that robbed and sold livestock to the British.  On the 23rd, near Pine’s Bridge on the Croton river, Smith left to return to home, and Andre continued alone towards the British line, but near Tarrytown, was stopped by a gang of ‘Skinners’ – patriot militiamen who banded together to waylay and rob loyalist travellers.  Demanding money, they strip-searched Andre, and discovered in his boots the hidden documents from Arnold.

Andre was brought to Colonel John Jameson at the American outpost at North Castle.  Jameson planned to send a letter, along with the documents and with Andre himself, to Arnold at West Point.  But, on the advice of Major Benjamin Tallmadge, a high-ranking officer in Washington’s secret service, Andre was taken instead to South Salem, 15 miles east of the river and away from any British ships, and the documents were to be taken instead to General Washington.

On September 24th, after having returned by bateau to West Point, Arnold was awaiting the arrival of General Washington and his staff on their return from Hartford, when he received Jameson’s message that they had captured Andre and had sent the documents to General Washington.  Arnold fled to his bateau and ordered the crew to take him to Stony Point.

After inspecting West Point (and not finding Arnold there), General Washington arrived at Arnold’s headquarters and received the letter and documents from Jameson.  General Washington ordered his aide, Alexander Hamilton, and Lafayette’s aide, James McHenry to chase after Arnold, but they failed to catch him before he boarded the Vulture.  General Washington ordered Greene to march immediately from Tappan with the left wing of the army and take command of West Point.

A court-martial, composed of 6 major-generals (including Lafayette) and 8 brigadiers, with Greene as president, was held for Andre on September 29th at Orangetown, New Jersey, where the board reported that Andre “ought to be considered as a spy from the enemy and that, agreeable to the law and usage of nations, it is their opinion he ought to suffer death”.  Andre was hanged on October 2nd.

Arnold was paid ₤6315 as compensation for his losses, and was made a brigadier general in the British army.  At West Point, every memento of his name was expunged from the garrison – Fort Arnold was changed to Fort Clinton.  Men swore that if they caught Arnold, they would cut off the leg wounded in the nation’s service at Quebec and Saratoga, bury it with full honours, and then hang the rest of him on a gibbet.

5 – The Burning of the Mohawk Valley, October 1780

On June 3rd, Haldimand received his instructions from Lord Germain,

Sir Henry Clinton’s operations in the Southern Provinces … will, I trust, effectually prevent them sending any Troops towards Detroit or Niagara this Year … Their Safety is at all times of the highest concern to this country and should any misfortune happen to them I am convinced that the fidelity of the Canadians and Indians would not long bind them to the British Interest.”

The British policy for Canada was to maintain the fur trade in order both to control the economy of Canada and to control the Indians, who were to be used to harass the frontier American settlements.

Haldimand replied on July 12th that 1000 reinforcements had recently arrived at Quebec, and also that if the French fleet should attack New York, he would assist Knyphausen by making a diversion upon lake Champlain.

On September 5th, Haldimand received Henry Clinton’s letter of July 6th, informing him of the sailing of a French fleet

with seven ships of the line & from 20 to 25 transports &c., having on board 5200 land Forces & that their destination is still supposed to be Canada.  By information I have received here the French Armament will assemble at Rhode Island a division of which will proceed under the command of the Marquis de Fayette by Connecticut river and No. 4 across the lakes to Saint Johns, the other by the river saint Lawrence”.  (Clinton was relaying the intelligence that he had recently received from Arnold.)

But 4 days later, on September 9th, Haldimand received Clinton’s letter of August 14th, telling him that the French fleet had arrived but,

there is little probability of their attempting Canada this year, their principle Efforts being directed against this place (i.e. New York)”.

Haldimand replied that

for the Purposes of destroying the crops upon the Mohawk river, favoring the escape of Loyalists to complete our Provincial corps, and reclaiming or cutting off the Oneidas, I have ordered a Detachment of 600 chosen troops and a large body of Indians, chiefly from Niagara, under the Command of Sir John Johnson” and that “I hope the Parties mentioned which shall hang as long as possible upon the Frontiers, will alarm the Country & weaken the Force that may collect against you”.

In an effort to disrupt the American spy network in Canada, Governor Haldimand had arrested Charles Hay and Francois Cazeau in April, and had arrested Dr. Boyer Pilon, Pierre Du Calvet, Pierre Charland, Louis Nadeau, Francois Breton and Francois Germain in September.  Haldimand now began to organize another attack on the inhabitants and granaries in the Mohawk valley, from both Fort Niagara and from Canada.

At Fort St. Jean, Major Christopher Carleton had assembled a force of 833 men and divided it in 2 – one wing of 484 British regulars, 34 Hessian Jaegers, and 150 loyalists from the King’s Loyal Americans and the King’s Rangers, and a second wing under Captain John Munro of 131 loyalists from the King’s Royal regiment of New York and 34 men from Captain William Fraser’s Independent Rangers.  On September 28th the force embarked in 8 ships and 26 bateaux, and travelled down lake Champlain, arriving at Crown Point, before dawn on October 7th.

Along the way, Munro’s wing was joined by Daniel Claus and 30 men (a small detachment of rangers and Mohawks), and Carleton’s wing was joined by 108 Kahnawake and Kanehsatake warriors.  At this point, Munro and his men left Carleton and marched up the west side of lake George, while Carleton and his men continued up lake Champlain, past Ticonderoga, and up the South river into South bay.

On October 10th, Carleton marched to an abandoned blockhouse and sawmill and burned them, then marched to Fort Anne and demanded its surrender – taking as prisoners Captain Adiel Sherwood and 74 militia-men, before destroying the fort and everything around it.  Carleton then marched south to the Hudson river, destroying the farms along the way, burning the Kingsbury and Queensbury districts.  During the night, two detachments were sent out on both banks of the Hudson river as far south as Fort Miller, destroying all the farms in their path, and then burning the mills and grain barracks east of Saratoga, before withdrawing after a brush with a body of militia, bringing back a supply of provisions and several prisoners.  (Six days later, Fort Edward was abandoned by Lieutenant Colonel Henry Livingston and his 60-man garrison.)

On October 11th, Carleton marched to Fort George and was attacked by a sortie of 48 men – 27 were killed, 8 captured and only 13 escaped, before Captain John Chipman and the remaining garrison of 42 men surrendered.  The fort was plundered by the Indians and then burned.  Using the fort’s bateaux, the wounded and several loyalist families were sent down lake George, along with the fort’s two 6-pounders.  After the expedition had destroyed 2 forts, 6 saw mills, 1 grist mill, 38 dwellings, 33 barns and 1500 tons of hay, the troops then marched north along the west bank of the lake, with the prisoners carrying the Indians’ plunder, and reached Ticonderoga on October 15th, embarked on their ships and bateaux and reached Crown Point on the October 16th, where they encamped to wait for Munro.  On the 18th, the Indians returned to Canada.

Munro and his 195 men had left Carleton on October 6th at Bulwagga bay, near Crown Point and marched along the Scroon river and the North Hudson river, arriving at the Sacandaga river on October 11th.  The next day, they marched south to the Kayaderosseras Kill and towards Ballstown.  At midnight, they began pillaging and burning the houses and barns and taking 30 prisoners, avoiding the church where the Schenectady militia was stationed.  Munro and his men retreated before dawn.

That morning, the Schenectady and Ballstown militia assembled and began a pursuit, but turned back after receiving reports that Munro’s tories numbered 500 men.  Later that afternoon, a group of volunteers set out to try to rescue the prisoners, and soon came upon 3 lame men and 1 very young boy that had been released because they could not keep up with the march.  They warned the rescuers not to continue because Munro had ordered that should a pursuit draw near, all of the prisoners were to be immediately dispatched!

Munro reached Carleton at Bullwagga bay on October 24th, and the next day, the recombined force embarked in the ships and boats to return to Canada.  En route, they met an express from Governor Haldimand with orders that they were to remain on the lakes as long as navigation remained open – “to draw the attention of the enemy”.

However, also on the express vessel was Justus Sherwood, a former Green Mountain Boy, and now a captain in the Queen’s Loyal Rangers, who set off carrying a flag of truce to the Republic of Vermont, under the guise of negotiating further prisoner exchanges, but whose real mission was to further talks regarding Vermont resuming an allegiance to the British crown.  Sherwood met with Ethan Allen to discuss the British proposal.  Allen agreed to meet Sherwood “if it was no Dam’d Arnold Plan to sell his Country & his own honour by Betraying the trust repos’d in him”.  Allen told him that no offer was of any interest to him personally, but only the will of the people of Vermont could sway him.  Allen was more interested in a neutrality pact, that would protect Vermont from British raids out of Canada, while the talks were going on.  Later, it was agreed that Ira Allen would travel to Canada to continue the talks.

*Note on Vermont* – The attempted courtship of Vermont by the British had begun when Lieutenant Colonel Beverly Robinson (head of the British Secret Service in New York and the person who had started the treasonous correspondence with Benedict Arnold) wrote a secret letter to Ethan Allan on March 30th 1780, offering a separate government for Vermont if they would join with the British.  “I have often been informed that you & most of Vermont, are opposed to ye wild & chimerical Skeme of ye Americans, in attempt’g to separate this Continent from Great Britain & to establish an Independ’t State of their own & that you would willingly assist in uniting America again to Great Britain … I think upon yr taking an active part and imboding ye Inhabitants of Vermont in favour of ye Crown of England, to act as the Com’d in Chief shall direct that you may obtain a separate Government under the King …”  Allen shared Robinson’s proposal with his brother Ira and with the governor of Vermont, Thomas Chittenden.  Vermont was also negotiating to join the United States as a separate state.  On June 2nd, after postponing a hearing “to hear and examine into and finally determine the disputes and differences relative to jurisdiction between the three states, New Hampshire, Massachusetts Bay and New York, and the people of the district commonly known by the name of the New Hampshire Grants”, on September 16th, Congress resolved “that it be earnestly recommended to the people who have assumed an Independent jurisdiction over the district aforesaid immediately to desist from the exercise thereof, and to remain until a final determination shall take place”.  After hearings on September 19th and 20th, where Ira Allen and Stephen Bradley from Vermont were present, on September 27th, Congress resolved that further consideration be postponed.

Among the Indians in Canada, about 300 Kahnawake and Kanehsatake warriors had been recruited to Haldimand’s raids.   After 108 of them had left on Carleton’s raid, the other 200 Indians were then sent with Lieutenant Richard Houghton on a raid into Vermont.  Leaving Fort St. Jean, they travelled up lake Champlain to the mouth of the Onion river, where they left their bateaux and followed the river inland and then down the first branch of the White river.

On October 16th, they attacked the towns of Tunbridge and Royalton – plundering the houses, taking prisoners and the burning the buildings.  Anyone who resisted capture or attempted to escape were killed and scalped.  After destroying 2 mills, 32 houses and 32 barns loaded with grain, and ran off the cattle, hogs and sheep, and after taking 26 prisoners and 30 horses, Houghton retreated towards Randolph and encamped for the night.  Houghton also released an aged prisoner, with letters to give to the militia, that if they were pursued, every prisoner would be killed.

About 300 militia-men, under Colonel John House, gathered at Randolph, and at midnight set off after the Indians and soon met the out-guard of the Indian encampment.  After an exchange of gun fire, the militia halted to reorganize, which allowed Houghton enough time to retreat, abandoning much of their plunder and horses.  In the morning, after finding the camp abandoned, the militia marched north up the second branch of the White river to Brookfield, but found no evidence of the Indians and the militia returned to their homes.  Houghton had gone west and up the third branch of the White river, and then back down the Onion river to their bateaux at lake Champlain, and arrived at Fort St. Jean on October 21st.

At the same time as Carleton’s raids, John Johnson left Montreal with 227 men of the King’s Royal Regiment of New York and 25 Jaegers and on September 20th arrived at Buck island (now called Carleton island) where he joined with Leake’s 60-man Independent company that had been stationed there at Fort Haldimand.  Leaving behind a 25-man garrison at the fort, the combined force travelled to Oswego the next day and waited there for John Butler and his rangers from Niagara.

Delayed by severe storms, Butler and 156 rangers, and 160 British regulars, along with 265 Senecas and Mohawks under Cornplanter and Joseph Brant, began arriving at Oswego on September 29th.  Johnson, with 900 men, left Oswego on October 2nd, with the provisions and artillery (1 coehorn and 1 three-pounder) sent in 18 bateaux to the end of Onondaga lake and then pulled on crude sleds, marched south to the destroyed town of Unadilla on the Susquehanna river, and then marched east to reach the Schoharie Kill on October 16th – a march of over 250 miles.

Before dawn on October 17th, Johnson and his army began marching north, down the east side of the Schoharie valley, and after bypassing the Upper Fort on the west side, with its 75-man garrison of militia under Captain Jacob Hager, Johnson ordered his men to destroy all the houses, barns, grain barracks and livestock as they advanced towards Middleburgh, while plundering the houses of any food and valuables.  Surrounding the Middle Fort and its 250-man garrison, Johnson fired on the fort with his two pieces and then demanded its surrender, which was refused by Colonel Vrooman of the 15th Albany County Militia regiment (which was reinforced by State Levies from New York and Massachusetts).

After ordering the destruction of the area’s buildings, Johnson then abandoned his attempt on the fort and continued moving northward towards Schoharie, and fired on the Lower Fort with its 150 militiamen under Lieutenant Colonel Volkert Veeder, before marching on, while again killing and destroying everything along their way, and finally camped at Fly creek – the end of their day’s 12-mile-long path of destruction.

Governor Clinton arrived at Albany on October 17th and sent the 2nd Albany brigade under Brigadier General Robert Van Rensselaer into the Mohawk valley after Johnson.  (Clinton had already sent Brigadier General Abraham Ten Broeck and the 1st Albany brigade up the Hudson river after Carleton.)  On the 18th, Rensselaer’s troops marched all day from Schenectady and arrived at midnight at Fort Hunter.

On October 18th, Johnson’s troops marched north towards the Mohawk valley.  Johnson sent Brant and his Mohawks and Captain Andrew Thompson and 150 rangers to destroy the settlement around Fort Hunter – plundering the houses of food and valuables and then burning them.  Upon reaching the Mohawk river, Johnson divided his force in two and proceeded westward, destroying everything in their path on both sides of the river, and after marching 24 miles that day, camped at Anthony’s Nose at midnight.

Colonel John Brown was stationed at Fort Paris in Stone Arabia with 150 Massachusetts Levies, a detachment of 60 New York State Levies and 22 Tryon County rangers.  On the evening of October 18th, 150 men of Brown’s regiment were sent from Fort Planck and Fort Plain (renamed Fort Rensselaer) to reinforce Brown at Fort Paris.  On the morning of the 19th, Brown and 380 men marched out, either to join up with Rensselaer’s army, or else to meet up with Johnson’s army – if he could delay Johnson long enough, then it might allow Rensselaer time to catch up.

On October 19th, Johnson recombined his forces on the north bank and marched west to Homestead creek where he then marched north towards Stone Arabia.  Brown’s advance guard ran into Johnson’s frontal screen – Brant and 50 men, and were driven back into the main body.  Brown’s forces had taken position in a woods behind a stone fence which bordered the roadway.  Johnson’s van advanced through a field to a stone fence on the far side of the road and a brief skirmish commenced, in which Colonel Brown was killed.  As   Brant’s men were working around Brown’s right flank and McDonell and the rangers were sent to turn the left, Johnson sent the British regulars over the fences and drove the Americans out of the woods in disorder as they fled back to the fort.  The Americans had 40 killed, including Brown, while the British had 4 killed.  Firing from the 4-pounder, dissuaded Johnson from attacking the fort.  Johnson now moved his troops forward and destroyed the settlement of Stone Arabia, and then moved westward, back to the Mohawk river, and resumed their destruction.

Rensselaer had continued his march all night along the south shore of the Mohawk river and in the morning arrived at Anthony’s Nose.  Along the way, Rensselaer’s 500 men had been joined by 50 Oneida warriors under Lieutenant Colonel Louis Atayataghronghta, who were sent to scout the Noses to determine if an ambush was in place.  When informed that Johnson had decamped and the way was clear, Rensselaer resumed his march and by about noon, the army was a mile below Fort Rensselaer, where the men were finally allowed time to prepare a meal.  After being joined by Colonel Lewis Dubois from Fort Rensselaer with about 400 New York State Levies and about 200 Tryon County militiamen, the army crossed the river and marched west in pursuit, and finally, near sunset, his advance corps came upon Johnson’s rear guard at Klock’s field, near Fort Nelles.

Johnson formed up his troops, with the rangers on his right in the woods along the river bank, with the regulars and the provincials in columns in the centre flats and with the Jaegers and Brant’s Mohawks in the orchard on higher ground on the left.  Rensselaer advanced against the centre with his Albany militia, with his advance corps of militia and Oneidas moving forward to engage Brant and the Jaegers, and he sent Dubois and the Levies through the wooded high ground to try to gain Johnson’s flank.  While Rensselaer had to greatly endeavour to rally the Albany militia which was in great confusion and disorder after confronting Johnson’s regulars, the advance troops had forced Brant and the Jaegers to pull back, and Johnson had to send in reinforcements, but Dubois had outflanked them and forced them to flee.  It was now close to being dark, and Rensselaer ordered the firing to cease, least the men should kill each other, and with the militia in disorder, and as Dubois advanced against the British, he found that the firing in his rear was from the Albany militia, he ordered a withdrawal from the field.  This gave Johnson time to march his troops to the ford and cross the river to the south side, with much of the cattle and plunder left behind.  The next morning, they made their escape and using the southern route to avoid Fort Herkimer, on October 26th finally they arrived at Oswego where Johnson dispersed his expedition and he sailed in a sloop for Montreal with his 64 prisoners.

Rensselaer pursued the British as far as Fort Herkimer, where he was joined by reinforcements with Governor Clinton, who now took command, and continued the pursuit until within 15 miles of Oneida lake, when their provisions were entirely exhausted and they were forced to halt and make their return march.

In Quebec, Haldimand would later write to both Germain and Clinton, with an account of the Mohawk valley raids, but first he would urgently write to Germain, on October 25th, and would enclose with his letter, three documents that he had lately received: (1) a plan of an attack upon Quebec, that had been taken from Henry Laurens, who was on his way to the Netherlands as a commissioner of Congress to negotiate a treaty of amity and commerce, when his ship was captured off the coast of Newfoundland – sent to him by Admiral Hughes from Halifax; (2) a proclamation to the Canadians by the Marquis de la Fayette – sent to him by Henry Clinton from New York (who obtained it from Arnold); and (3) a letter to the Indians of Canada from Rochambeau – intercepted from Indians returning to Canada from Rhode Island.

Haldimand was now convinced “that the Enemy have serious Thoughts of attacking this Province early in the Spring … Could I persuade myself that in Case of an Attack the Canadians would stand neuter, I think I could defend this Province with a less Force – but when I see the Common People influenced by their old Prejudice & all Ranks so totally blind to their true Interests, as not to wish a long Continuance of their present happy Government, I am led to believe that the Appearance of our Enemy would be followed by the Revolt of a great part of the Province”.

Chapter 7 – 1781, the Road to Yorktown

1 – The raid on Richmond, January 4th 1781

At the end of November 1780, Washington’s army went into winter quarters – the Pennsylvania line to Morristown, the Jersey line to Pompton, the New England line to West Point and the Highlands, and the New York line to Albany to guard against any invasion from Canada.  The 1st Canadian Regiment(1) was wintered at Fishkill, where the families of some of the Canadian soldiers were housed. The French army remained stationed at Newport, while their ships were still blockaded there by the British navy.

At New York, Henry Clinton ordered a raid on Virginia – to destroy the badly needed American supply bases there, and to try to force Greene to withdraw from the Carolinas.  On December 20th, Clinton sent Brigadier General Benedict Arnold with 1600 men (the 80th regiment and a detachment of Jaegers under Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Dundas, the Queen’s Rangers under Lieutenant Colonel John Simcoe, 100 of the New York Volunteers under Captain Althause and 200 of the Loyal American Corps) but due to a violent storm on the 26th the ships were scattered, and Arnold and 1200 men reached Hampton Roads on December 30th, and proceeded up the James river in some small boats which he had captured and with two armed ships.

On the evening of January 3rd 1781, Arnold was fired on by the militia with cannons at Hood’s Point, and he sent Simcoe and 130 men to attack the cannon, but the 50-man garrison abandoned the guns and retreated before Simcoe arrived and spiked the guns.  On January 4th, Arnold landed the troops at Westover, and marched 33 miles to arrive the next morning at Richmond, the seat of the Virginia state government.  The 200 militia who were guarding the town, were forced to flee at the approach of Arnold’s troops.  Governor Thomas Jefferson and the council fled the town that night, but had to leave behind the books and papers of the council and of the auditor, which Arnold was able to destroy.  Arnold stripped the warehouses of tobacco before burning them, as well as destroying several salt warehouses, the powder magazines, a sailcloth factory and a printing press.  Simcoe was sent upriver to Westham, where he destroyed the cannon foundry and 36 cannons, a boring mill, 4 workshops and several oat warehouses, and dumped 310 barrels of gunpowder into the river.  The warehouses, mills and clothing depot in the nearby town of Chesterfield were also burned.  Arnold then re-embarked his troops at Westover, and made his way back to Portsmouth.

The French fleet had been blockaded by the British navy at Newport, but on January 22nd a severe storm scattered Arbuthnot’s squadron, wrecking one ship and dismasting others, and enabled the French to detach De Tilly with a 60-gun ship and 2 frigates on February 9th to make a dash to Chesapeake bay.  But Arnold was warned of their coming, and withdrew his smaller ships upriver, where the water was too shallow for the French ships.  Seeing that Arnold was out of his reach and fearing that he may be blockaded should he linger, De Tilly put to sea and returned to Newport on February 25th, capturing a British frigate on the way.

But Arnold’s raid was too late to stop the decisive action, taken just days before, by Virginia to unite the new nation.  On January 2nd, the General Assembly of Virginia “being well satisfied that the happiness, strength and safety of the United States depend, under Providence, upon the ratification of the articles for a Federal Union between the United States, heretofore proposed by Congress for the consideration of the said States respectively, and preferring the good of their country to every object of smaller importance, do Resolve, That this Commonwealth will yield to the Congress of the United States, for the benefit of the United States, all right, title and claim, that the said Commonwealth hath to the lands northwest of the river Ohio … ”; that the territory should be formed into distinct states; that Virginia should be reimbursed for the expenses of Clark’s campaign; that Clark should be granted the land that was promised to the soldiers that marched with him (i.e. Louisville); and “that the French and Canadian inhabitants … shall be protected in the enjoyment of their rights and liberty”.

This resolution, by Virginia, “for the sake of the general good”, removed the objection of Maryland, the only state not to have signed the Articles of Confederation (agreed to by Congress November 15th 1777), and on January 30th, Maryland voted to empower its delegates to ratify the Articles.  On February 22nd, after being presented with Maryland’s ratification by its two delegates, Congress “ordered that Thursday next be assigned for compleating the Confederation”.  On March 1st 1781, the United States in Congress Assembled met at Philadelphia.

2 – The Battle of Cowpens, January 17th 1781

On November 23rd 1780, Greene set out from Philadelphia, stopping at the capitols of some of the states on the way, leaving General Gist as the agent for the southern army in Maryland and Delaware, and Baron Steuben in military charge in Virginia.

On December 2nd, Greene arrived at Camp Charlotte, North Carolina, and on December 4th, he assumed command of the southern army – 1000 continental troops (the remnants of the Maryland and Delaware regiments) and 1000 North Carolina and Virginia militia.  Greene would need to organize the cooperation of the South Carolina partisan generals – Marion and Sumter(2).  In North Carolina, Greene split his small army, and marched with the remainder to Cheraw on the Great Pee Dee river, while sending Lieutenant Colonel Henry Lee and his 300-man legion from Virginia to assist Marion, near Georgetown, and sending Brigadier General Daniel Morgan(3) with 600 men (80 Virginia dragoons under Lieutenant Colonel William Washington, 300 Maryland, Virginia and Delaware Continentals under Lieutenant Colonel John Howard and a detachment of 200 Virginia militia) towards the Ninety-Six district, around Cornwallis’s left flank.  Morgan would later be joined by Major John Cunningham and his Georgia militia, Colonel Andrew Pickens and his South Carolina militia and by Colonel Joseph McDowell and his North Carolina riflemen.

Cornwallis, at Winnsboro with 3500 troops and with Leslie and 1500 reinforcements marching up from Charleston, ordered Tarleton and his 550 dragoons and light infantry (reinforced with another 450 infantrymen) to find Morgan and drive him toward where Cornwallis would be waiting to entrap him.  On January 16th 1781, Tarleton crossed the Pacolet river and forced Morgan to fall back to Cowpens.  Expecting a frontal attack by Tarleton, Morgan placed Howard with 300 Continentals and 140 militia at the top of the ridge, placed Pickens with 300 militia farther down the slope and then placed 150 of Cunningham’s and McDowell’s riflemen at the bottom of the slope, concealed by brush and trees.

Early in the morning on January 17th, Tarleton sent 50 dragoons charging at Morgan’s riflemen, whose fire killed 15 riders and drove them back.  Fire from two British 3-pounders forced the riflemen to draw back to Pickens’s men.  Tarleton now marched his infantry forward to attack Pickens’s line of militia.  After firing two volleys, Pickens began an orderly retreat to the left across the front and to the rear of Howard’s line.  Tarleton’s infantry, thinking that the Americans were in full retreat, now continued up the slope but were halted by the fire from Howard’s line.  Morgan’s army began an orderly retreat down the first ridge and up the slope of the second ridge, and then suddenly faced about, fired point blank at the British chasing them, and then charged at them with their bayonets, forcing the British to flee.  Pickens’s militia, now reformed, marched around and hit the British on their left flank and rear, while Washington and his dragoons hit the British on their right flank and rear.  Tarleton had 100 men killed while 700 were taken prisoner (including 200 wounded), but he was able to collect 200 remaining men and ride back to Cornwallis’s camp.  Morgan reported 12 dead and 60 wounded among his Continental troops (there was about 80 dead or wounded among the militia), and captured 2 cannons, 800 muskets, 100 horses and 35 wagons.

On January 25th, Cornwallis assembled his army, with the arrival of Leslie’s reinforcements from Charleston and with the remains of Tarleton’s cavalry, and began a pursuit of Morgan (and his prisoners) into North Carolina.  At the Catawba river, Morgan was joined by Greene.  General William Davidson and 500 North Carolina militia arrived and were sent to guard Beatty’s and Cowan’s fords across the river and to slow down Cornwallis while Greene and Morgan continued their escape northward.  On February 1st, Cornwallis crossed the fords, fired on the militia and charged with bayonets, forcing the militia to flee.  Davidson was shot and killed while trying to rally his troops.  Cornwallis sent Tarleton after the fleeing militia, and at Tarrant’s Tavern, Tarleton and his cavalry attacked the militia in a mounted saber charge, killing 50 men and dispersing the rest.  Cornwallis now continued his pursuit of Morgan, but on February 4th at midnight he arrived at Trading Ford on the Yadkin river, too late to catch Morgan and Greene who had crossed the river earlier that evening, taking all available flatboats with them.

3 – The Battle of Guilford Court House, March 15th 1781

On February 9th, Greene reluctantly accepted the resignation of Morgan (suffering miserably from sciatica and acute hemorrhoids) who was taken home to his farm in the Shenandoah valley.  On February 15th, Cornwallis reached Boyd’s ferry on the Dan river in Virginia, but Greene had passed there the day before, in the ‘race to the Dan’, and again had taken all the flatboats with them.  Cornwallis, after pursuing Morgan and Greene for 3 weeks and covering almost 250 miles, now marched back south to Hillsboro.

After being strengthened by a reinforcement of 600 Virginia militia under Brigadier General Edward Stevens, and of Lieutenant Colonel Henry Lee and his legion, Greene followed Cornwallis’s army back into North Carolina, changing the position of his camp every night to avoid Cornwallis.

Greene was later joined by Brigadier General John Butler and 1000 North Carolina militia, and by Brigadier General Robert Lawson and another 600 Virginia militia and Colonel Charles Lynch and 200 Virginia riflemen.  On March 15th, after sending off his baggage, Cornwallis began a march with his 1900 men to Guilford Court House, where Greene was reported to have taken post with his 4500 men.

Greene modelled his battle plan on that of Morgan’s at Cowpens.  At the bottom of the slope were the North Carolina militia, with Washington’s cavalry, the Delaware Continentals and Lynch’s Virginia riflemen on their right flank, and with Lee’s cavalry and Campbell’s riflemen on their left flank.  Up the slope 300 yards were the Virginia militia.  And 400 yards to their rear were the 2 Virginia and 2 Maryland Continental regiments.  Two 6-pounders were placed slightly in advance of the 1st line, and two 6-pounders were placed in the rear of the Continentals in the 3rd line.  This comprised the entire American artillery.  As the British approached, the two 6-pounders opened fire, and the British responded with its field-pieces.  Cornwallis sent the 71st regiment, the German regiment and the 1st guards battalion to the right side, and sent the 23rd regiment, the 33rd regiment, the grenadiers, and the 2nd guards battalion to the left side, and pressed steadily up the slope, halted to deliver a smashing volley, and then charged with bayonets, which caused the North Carolina militia to flee, while the two flanks pulled back to the Virginia line.  The British continued the attack up the slope and drove the Virginia militia from the field.

The British attack on the left side then forced the 2nd Maryland to break and retreat, but Washington’s cavalry hit their right flank and the 1st Maryland charged with bayonets, but the British artillery forced them to fall back.  The 71st came up from the right, joined the British left line and advanced on the 1st Maryland, while the 33rd attacked the Virginia regiments, pushing them back and capturing the 4 American cannons.  The remaining British right side, fighting through the woods, met heavy resistance from Lee and Campbell.  Cornwallis then sent Tarleton and his cavalry to clear the area, and the battle was over, as Greene retired from the field to Troublesome Creek, 18 miles away, to rally his troops.  Cornwallis had 93 killed, 413 wounded and 26 missing, while Greene had 78 killed and 195 wounded.  The British, although outnumbered 2 to 1, had won the battle, but Greene, although defeated, had pulled back in good order and saved his army.

Cornwallis now marched to the coast, to the British-held garrison at Wilmington, to rest his army, as Greene followed closely as far as Ramsay’s Mill.  Arriving at Wilmington on April 7th, Cornwallis decided that instead of returning south to South Carolina, he would march north, up the coast to tidewater Virginia, where he would join his force with the force that was there, under Benedict Arnold, on May 20th.  Cornwallis had hoped that this move would draw Greene back to the north to defend Virginia, but Greene decided to move back to South Carolina, hoping to draw Cornwallis after him, and preventing his junction with Arnold.  Greene left the Virginia militia in North Carolina, sent Lee’s legion to assist Marion in attacking the British supply lines near Georgetown, and marched with his remaining 1200 men towards Camden.  The British held Camden with a garrison of 900 men under Francis Rawdon. On April 24th, Marion and Lee forced the surrender of Fort Watson, a British post on their line of communication between Camden and Georgetown.

On the morning of April 25th, Rawdon expected that Marion and Lee would arrive to join Greene, before his own reinforcements could arrive, and so he launched an attack on Greene, who was a short distance away from Camden at Hobkirk Hill.  The attack occurred while Greene’s men were still cooking their breakfast.  Greene quickly formed a line of the Maryland and Virginia Continental regiments, with the North Carolina militia and Washington’s cavalry in reserve.  As the line attacked the British, the 1st Maryland was broken and it retreated, and then the 2nd Maryland also had to fall back.  The British 63rd advanced and attacked the flank of the 5th Virginia, and the 4th Virginia suddenly panicked and fell back in disorder.  Ordering the 5th Virginia to cover the retreat, Greene retired from the field, while hiding his three 6-pounders, that Washington was able to retrieve later.  Greene lost 132 killed and 136 wounded, and Rawdon had over 250 killed or wounded.

Colonel Watson evaded Marion and Lee and arrived at Camden with reinforcements on May 7th.  Although Rawdon had won the battle and now had 1200 men, he decided to abandon Camden on May 10th, after burning the jail, the mills and the homes of the American supporters, and evacuated with 500 slaves and most of the tory population of the town, and marched to Moncks Corner, north of Charleston.

The neighbouring British posts soon fell – Orangeburg, with its garrison of 89 men, fell to Sumter on May 11th; Fort Motte, with its 175-man garrison, fell to Marion and Lee on May 12th; and Granby, with its garrison of 340 men, surrendered to Lee on May 15th.  Greene then sent Marion to march against Georgetown, and sent Lee with Andrew Pickens and the South Carolina militia against the British posts near Augusta, Georgia.

Galphin, with its garrison of 126 men, fell to Lee on May 19th.  Lee then joined Pickens, and with Elijah Clarke and his Georgia militia, attacked Fort Grierson on May 23rd – all of the garrison of 80 tory militia were captured and killed.  They next attacked and forced the surrender of Fort Cornwallis, with its garrison of 300 militia and 200 slaves, on June 5th.

Marion had arrived and began a siege at Georgetown on June 5th, and the next day, the British garrison evacuated and sailed to Charleston.  Meanwhile, Greene had marched and arrived at the strong British base at Ninety Six on May 22nd, garrisoned by 350 provincials and 200 tory militia, and surrounded by a dry ditch and an abatis, and in the eastern corner was an earthen fort – an 8-pointed star, surrounded by a fraise of pointed sticks, a dry ditch and an abatis, and with a platform for firing the three 3-pound cannon.  Greene camped in 4 areas around the town with almost 1000 men – 848 Continentals, 66 North Carolina militia, Kirkwood’s 60-man Delaware infantry and with his engineer, Thaddeus Kosciusko.

Greene, on the advice of Kosciusko, attacked the star fort and began siege operations – completing the 1st parallel about 220 yards from the fort on May 27th, the second parallel about 100 yards away on May 30th and beginning a 3rd parallel only 30 yards from the fort on June 3rd.  The British directed an intense fire on the sappers, who worked behind a rolling wooden shield.  To counter this fire, Greene built a tower 40 feet high, with riflemen manning the shooting platform to shoot anyone in the fort who showed his head above the parapet.  Unable to be used during the day, the British would dismount their pieces each morning, and remount them each night to fire on the American sappers.  A British raid destroyed the moveable wooden shield, but the American batteries dismounted all of the British 3-pounders.

On June 3rd, three fresh British regiments had arrived at Charleston from Ireland.  Taking the grenadiers and light infantry from these regiments, and together with his troops at Moncks Corner, Rawdon began a march, on June 7th, with a force of 2000 men to relieve Ninety Six.

On June 8th, Lee and Pickens arrived to aid Greene.  Greene sent Washington’s cavalry to join Sumter, to try to impede Rawdon’s march as much as possible.  On June 18th, after completing the third parallel, Greene launched an all-out cannonade on the fort, and, with the riflemen on the platform and batteries maintaining a steady fire, and with the Continentals firing volleys from the 3rd parallel, he sent forward two assault groups.  The British counter-attacked by sending two 30-man parties from the rear of the fort to strike the assault parties on their flanks, and using bayonets, killed or wounded 40 of the attackers.

With the force of the assault broken, and fearing the arrival of Rawdon’s superior force, Greene called off the siege on June 19th and the next day, marched away, having had 147 men killed or missing.  The British lost 27 killed and 58 wounded.  On June 21st, Rawdon arrived with 1800 men after a gruelling march in the hot weather.  On July 8th, after destroying what they could of the fort and the defences, the British evacuated Ninety Six, and marched with the tories and their families to Charleston.  Greene sent Sumter’s militia, supported by Lee’s legion and Marion’s brigade to harass the British at the posts near Moncks Corner, about 30 miles from Charleston.

After holding off an American attack at Quinby Bridge and at the Shubrick plantation on July 17th, the British force retired to Charleston.  Even though Greene had failed in his siege and had not won any battles, he had nonetheless kept his army intact and had forced the British to abandon all of its inland posts in the Carolinas and Georgia!!!

4 – The Gift of Six Million Livres and the Resignation of Dr. Franklin, March 12th 1781

While much has been written of his diplomatic mission in France, the most important responsibility of Dr. Franklin was to organize the money needed to finance the war for independence.  And with that money, to organize the purchase and shipping of the needed supplies for General Washington and the men in the Continental Army.  Dr. Franklin was America`s chief fundraiser.

* In 1778, three weeks after the treaty of amity between America and France was signed, on February 28th the first of four installments (₤750,000) of a 3 million livre loan from France was received.

* In 1779, Dr. Franklin, as the sole minister to France, organized an additional loan of 1 million livres from France, and on June 10th 1779, the first of four installments (₤250,000) was received.  Later, in September, Dr. Franklin presented the letter from Congress of June 15th 1779 (with the 38-page inventory list) to the French minister, Vergennes, along with their request for an additional loan.

* In 1780, on February 29th, the first installment (₤750,000) of another 3 million livre loan from France, organized by Dr. Franklin, was received, and Dr. Franklin began the purchase of the needed clothing and ammunition to be sent to America.  After the fiasco with Lee and Landais, the Alliance had returned to Boston with only a part of those needed supplies.  With Chaumont’s help, Dr. Franklin was able to obtain a second ship, the Ariel, to transport some of the remaining supplies to America.

* On November 27th, an additional 1 million livre loan from France, organized by Dr. Franklin, was received.  Dr. Franklin had been hoping that Congress would provide him with a secretary to assist him with all of his duties and paperwork.

On December 6th, Congress was to decide on “electing a secretary to the commission of our Minister Plenipotentiary at the Court of Versailles”.  But Arthur Lee, back in America, submitted to Congress his litany of complaints against Dr. Franklin – to instigate a debate over Dr. Franklin`s recall!!!  And instead of voting for a secretary for Dr. Franklin, on December 8th Congress “resolved that a minister be appointed to proceed to the Court of Versailles for the special purpose of soliciting the aids requested by Congress, and forwarding them to America without delay”.

John Laurens(4) was elected to be the minister.  On December 23rd Congress resolved on the instructions for Laurens, and on December 27th Congress resolved on the instructions to Dr. Franklin regarding Laurens`s mission.  On January 2nd 1781, the committee to whom was referred the letter of Arthur Lee, reported “that a day be appointed to take the sense of Congress whether Dr. Franklin, Minister Plenipotentiary at the Court of Versailles, shall be recalled”.  Scarce had Laurens been appointed to this mission when a painful occurrence proved the urgent necessity of the required aid.

On January 1st 1781, the Pennsylvania line – ‘poorly clothed, badly fed and worse paid’(5) – declared their intention to march to Philadelphia and demand redress from Congress.  The men stopped at Princeton, and a committee of Congress with Joseph Reed, the president of Pennsylvania, was sent off to meet them.  Two British emissaries sent by Clinton also arrived in camp with seductive proposals and tempting promises.

The mutineers spurned at the idea of ‘turning Arnolds’, seized them and turned them over to General Wayne.  (The two spies were tried by a court-martial, found guilty and hanged.)  The mutineers were offered the following proposals: to discharge all those who had enlisted indefinitely for three years or during the war(6); to give immediate certificates for the deficit in their pay caused by the depreciation in the currency; and to furnish them immediately with certain specified articles of clothing which were most wanted.  Most of the men obtained their discharges, forty-days furlough was given to the rest, and thus the whole insurgent force was dissolved.

On January 20th, a part of the Jersey line rose in arms, claiming the same terms just yielded to the Pennsylvanians.  Clinton sent troops to Staten island, to be ready to cross into the Jerseys, and an emissary was again dispatched to tempt the mutineers with seductive offers.  In this instance however, General Washington sent Howe with a detachment from the Massachusetts line, to compel them to unconditional submission and to grant them no terms while in a state of resistance.

After a tedious night march, Howe surprised the mutineers napping in their huts just at daybreak, and allowed them five minutes to parade without their arms and give up their ringleaders.  This was instantly complied with, and two of them were executed on the spot.  The mutiny was quelled, the officers restored and things were returned to normal.

On February 18th (after sailing from L’Orient on December 18th with part of the remaining supplies) John Paul Jones finally arrived at Philadelphia in the Ariel with the badly needed military stores – which included 437 barrels of gunpowder, 146 chests of arms, a large quantity of shot, sheet lead, and much medicine.  (The last of the supplies were to be sent later in the Lafayette, another ship obtained by Dr. Franklin, with Chaumont`s help.)

A week earlier, on February 11th, the Alliance had sailed from Boston and arrived at L’Orient on March 9th, with John Laurens (and also with Thomas Paine as his secretary) who had been sent by Congress to solicit 25 million livres in aid from France and ‘to use every effort in your power to enforce the necessity of maintaining a naval superiority in the American seas’.

On arriving at L’Orient, Laurens was informed of the French naval preparations at Brest – ‘that 25 sail-of-the-line are ready for sea, with ninety transports, on board of which are six thousand troops; that the ships of war are destined part for the West Indies and part with the troops for North America’.  (De Grasse and his fleet would leave Brest on March 22nd.)  Laurens then proceeded to Passy to meet with Dr. Franklin, arriving on March 14th.

Two days earlier, on March 12th, Dr. Franklin had written to Congress, informing them that he had presented their letter of November 22nd 1780, that had requested urgent aid from France, and that in his meeting with Vergennes on March 10th, France had agreed to a 4 million livre loan to America, and also a donation of 6 million livres (to be drawn on by General Washington).

So far, Dr. Franklin had organized loans totalling 12 million livres and a donation of 6 million livres for America`s war for independence!!!

In that same letter of March 12th, Dr. Franklin wrote “I have passed my 75th year(7) … and I am yet far from having recovered the bodily strength I before enjoyed … I find also that the business is too heavy for me and too confining … the constant attendance at home which is necessary for receiving and accepting your bills of exchange, to answer letters and perform other parts of my employment, prevents my taking the air and exercise which my annual journeys formerly used to afford me, and which contributed much to the preservation of my health … I have been engaged in public affairs and enjoyed public confidence in some shape or other during the long term of fifty years, an honour sufficient to satisfy any reasonable ambition, and I have no other left, but that of repose, which I hope the Congress will grant me, by sending some person to supply my place”.  He had resigned and had pre-empted any divisive debate in Congress over his recall.

When Laurens met with Vergennes in Paris, he presented Vergennes with his January 15th letter from General Washington – the result of Laurens`s conference with the General before he left America for France.  Laurens was at court almost every day for a month, to answer questions as to the state of America and the condition of its army.  The Alliance left L’Orient on March 29th, to escort the Lafayette to America with the remainder of the American supplies.  During a storm on April 25th, the Lafayette was separated from the Alliance and it was later captured (with the supplies) by British war ships that were escorting a large convoy from Jamaica.  On May 27th, the Alliance fought a battle with and captured 2 British ships, arriving with the 2 prizes at Boston on June 6th.

On April 9th, General Washington would write to Laurens that

if France delays, a timely, and powerful aid in the critical posture of our affairs it will avail us nothing should she attempt it hereafter … we cannot transport the provisions from the States in which they are Assessed to the Army, because we cannot pay the Teamsters, who will no longer work for Certificates.  It is equally certain, that our Troops are approaching fast to nakedness and that we have nothing to cloath them with.  That our Hospitals are without medicines, and our Sick without Nutriment, except such as well men eat.  That all our public works are at a stand, and the Artificers disbanding; but why need I run into the detail, when it may be declared in a word, that we are at the end of our tether, and that now or never our deliverance must come.

Also on April 9th, Laurens would write to Congress that he was able to reach an agreement with Vergennes, that America would receive an additional loan of 10 million livres(8), to be drawn in Holland, and underwritten by France, and if the loan should meet with difficulties, France would supply it out of its own finances.  It was also agreed that for the 6 million livre donation – 2,500,000 livres would be sent to Brest to be shipped to America; 1,500,000 livres would be sent to Amsterdam to be shipped; and 2,000,000 livres would be employed in the purchase of the supplies, that Laurens had been directed to purchase for the army.  On June 1st, John Laurens would set sail on the Resolve with 2.5 million livres in specie and with the 2 frigates containing the needed supplies, and would arrive at Boston on August 25th.

On April 28th, De Grasse arrived at the West Indies island of Martinique with 20 ships-of-the-line, and was joined by the 4 French ships at Fort Royal.  A British fleet of 11 ships-of-the-line, under Hood, was sent from the Dutch island St. Eustatius to Martinique where it was to be joined by their 7 ships there.  (After the British had declared war on the Netherlands on December 20th 1780, they had attacked and seized the Dutch West Indies islands of St. Eustatius, St. Martin and Saba on February 3rd 1781.)  The two fleets fought a naval battle near Martinique on April 29th, where the British lost 39 killed and 162 wounded, and the French lost 18 killed and 56 wounded, and 1 disabled ship.  Hood sailed back to Barbados, while De Grasse sailed to St. Lucia where an unsuccessful attempt was made to recapture the island, then sailed to Tobago and successfully captured the island, before he returned to Martinique.

On May 28th, Congress would receive Dr. Franklin`s resignation letter of March 12th.  But before Congress had read it, on May 23rd it received the letter of March 10th from the King of France that announced France`s gift of 6 million livres and its loan of 4 million livres to the United States.  On May 26th, Congress approved the plan for establishing a national bank in the United States.  Also on May 26th, Congress received a memorial from the minister of France regarding the offer of the Empress of Russia and the Emperor of Austria to act as mediators between the belligerent powers.  (Austria had refused to recognize America’s envoy, William Lee, in June 1778, and Russia would refuse to recognize America’s envoy, Francis Dana, when he arrived in August 1781, with 14- year-old John Quincy Adams as his French language interpreter and his secretary.)

On June 14th, Congress elected Benjamin Franklin, Henry Laurens and Thomas Jefferson to join with John Adams in negotiating a treaty of peace with Great Britain; and on June 15th, resolved on the instructions to its four ministers.  Also on June 14th, Congress had voted that Dr. Franklin ‘be authorized and empowered to offer Lieutenant General Burgoyne in exchange for the Hon. H. Laurens’ – which the British refused.

The British were insisting on no negotiations until the colonies returned to their allegiance.  A bribe was offered by the British to the Russian Empress – the island of Minorca, and also to the Austrian Emperor – to support the opening of the Scheldt, the river that passed through the United Provinces en route from Antwerp (in the Austrian Netherlands) to the sea.  The British also proposed to the Empress that peace be restored on the basis of the 1763 Treaty of Paris, as modified by the conquests of war – a proposal that meant a partition of the states; and that then a treaty of perpetual alliance could be concluded between Britain and Russia.  Russia would propose that each of the 13 states declare its intention, as some may prefer submission – “Try to divide them. Then their alliance will fall of itself.”  Austria would propose to divide America in three – Canada be returned to France, the southern states be returned to Britain and the remaining states be declared a free republic.

Henry Laurens portrait. Painted while he was imprisoned in the London Tower

Henry Laurens portrait. Painted while he was imprisoned in the London Tower

On November 1st 1779, Henry Laurens had been elected a ‘commissioner to negotiate a treaty of amity and commerce with the United Provinces of the low countries`.  On his trip to the United Provinces, his ship was captured by a British frigate, he was taken to London, examined before the Privy Council, and on October 6th 1780 he was imprisoned in the Tower of London on ‘suspicion of high treason’(9).

After the imprisonment of Henry Laurens, Adams had been given the commission by Congress as ‘Minister Plenipotentiary to negotiate a Treaty of Amity and Commerce with the United Provinces of the Low Countries’, on December 29th 1780.  Adams understood that he would not be received officially, that there would be no treaty between them, and that there would be no loans negotiated for America, until the government of the Netherlands recognized the independence of the United States.

While the Dutch people supported the cause of America, the Dutch government had long been allied with the British, and the Stadholder, Willem V, Prince of Orange, was related to the British royal family.  Adams had presented a ‘Memorial to their High Mightinesses, the States General of the United Provinces of the Low Countries’(10) – dating it April 19th 1781 – the anniversary of the battle of Concord and Lexington.  Appealing directly to the people, Adams bypassed the normal procedure and practice, and in his ‘militia diplomacy’, he published his proposal for an alliance with America as a pamphlet in English, French and Dutch, which was also republished in American and European newspapers.

On June 19th, Congress answered Dr. Franklin`s letter, that

a compliance with your request to retire from publick employment would be inconvenient at this particular conjunction, as it is the desire of Congress to avail themselves of your abilities and experience at the approaching negotiation”.

In July Adams was summoned back to Paris (in his capacity as peace commissioner) by Vergennes, who was unaware that Congress had added three other peace commissioners, and Adams was shown the text of the bases for mediation proposed by the two imperial courts of Vienna and St. Petersburg – but only the three articles that related to America.

In letters to Vergennes, Adams entered very great objections to the armistice and status quo of the third article – that for the United States to entertain the notion of a truce at all, the alliance must remain in full force during the truce until the final acknowledgment of independence by Great Britain, and that British evacuation of land and sea forces from every part of the United States be antecedent to such a truce.  Adams then proposed that the co-mediators acknowledge and lay down as a preliminary the sovereignty of the United States and admit their minister to their congress.  He cautioned Vergennes on the motive of the British in making propositions of reconciliation at this time – continuing pursuit of ‘their long practiced arts of seduction, deception and division’.  Adams also took exception to the designation ‘American colonies’ that implied a mother country, a superior political governor, ideas which the United States of America have long since renounced forever.  Adams served notice that the proposal of carrying on separate consultations with each of the thirteen states was entirely unacceptable.  The French reply to the co-mediators incorporated the arguments Adams had advanced in his July letters to Vergennes.

5 – The Battle of Petersburg, April 25th 1781

After General Washington had learned of Arnold’s raid on Richmond in early January, he wrote to Rochambeau on February 15th, that he hoped that the French would send their whole fleet from Newport, along with 1000 men, and that they would join with 1200 of his troops that he would send, and together they would capture Arnold.  Before Rochambeau received this letter, Destouches had already sent 3 ships to Virginia, but was unable to proceed against Arnold and returned to Newport on February 24th.

On February 20th, General Washington sent instructions to Lafayette to proceed to Virginia with a force of 800 men – 3 regiments of light infantry assembled from the troops from Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire and Rhode Island.  On February 26th, Lafayette’s men were joined by a detachment from the Jersey line, and marched to Trenton, where they embarked on March 1st and sailed to Wilmington, where they marched on to Head of Elk, to await word from General Washington.  On February 27th, General Washington learned of the return to Newport of the French ships, and that the French were preparing another attempt to sail to Virginia with their whole fleet.  He then rode to Newport and met with Rochambeau and Destouches on March 6th to plan a new joint operation with Lafayette.  On March 3rd Lafayette had arrived with his troops at Head of Elk, were joined by Steven’s 4 artillery companies, and were ferried by Commodore Nicholson to Annapolis on the 12th.  Lafayette went on ahead with a small convoy by boat to Yorktown, and then rode to Williamsburg to confer with Steuben on the 14th, and later he conferred with Muhlenburg and reconnoitred the enemy’s works at Portsmouth.

On March 8th, a French fleet of 7 ships-of-the-line, plus the captured British frigate, with 1120 troops sailed from Newport for Chesapeake bay.  On March 10th, Arbuthnot sailed from Gardiners bay with 8 ships-of-the-line in pursuit of the French ships.  On March 16th, at the capes of the Chesapeake – the entrance to the bay, the two fleets engaged in a battle.  The British had 3 ships damaged and had 30 killed and 73 wounded; while the French had 2 ships damaged and had 72 killed and 112 wounded.  But the British still lay between the bay and the French, and so Destouches gave up his attempt to reach Chesapeake bay and returned to Newport, arriving on March 26th.  Clinton then sent 2000 reinforcements, under Phillips, that arrived at Cape Henry on March 26th – to try to break Washington’s line of supplies and communication to Greene.

On March 25th, Lafayette learned of the outcome of the naval battle and of the British fleet entering the bay, and the next day, learned of the arrival of Philips’s reinforcements.  Lafayette rode to Annapolis and on April 3rd he rejoined his troops that were blockaded there by 2 British sloops.  Nicholson now challenged the British sloops and forced them to retreat, enabling Lafayette to embark his troops on 90 boats and sailed north to Head of Elk, where they arrived on April 8th and prepared to march north and rejoin the main army in New York.

But here he received a dispatch from General Washington, who did not want Greene’s army to be caught between the reinforced British forces in Virginia and Cornwallis’s army in North Carolina, and he was ordered to again march south – to either join Greene or to remain in Virginia to keep a watch on Phillips.  Greene was trying to prevent the junction of Arnold and Cornwallis, and had moved back to South Carolina, hoping to draw Cornwallis into following him.  Greene asked Lafayette to proceed against Arnold, and on April 10th, Lafayette ordered his men to face about and to march south to Baltimore(11).

On April 16th, Phillips left 1000 men in garrison at Portsmouth, embarked 2500 men in small vessels, proceeded up the James river, destroying armed vessels, public magazines and a state shipyard and landed at City Point.  Simcoe led an advance force to Burwell’s Landing, raided Williamsburg and forced the militia to retreat, then marched to Yorktown and captured a large store of military supplies, and finally burned the docks and shipyard on the Chickahominy river, before rejoining Phillips.  Phillips had been followed by General Muhlenburg and his 1000 militia, who had marched along the south side of the river and had joined Steuben at Petersburg.

On April 25th Phillips advanced against Petersburg and was met by Steuben and his troops, who disputed the ground inch by inch for two hours before retreating across the Appomattox river, breaking down the bridge behind them.  Steuben was able to safely remove all the military stores, but not the tobacco.  Phillips entered the town and set fire to all the tobacco.  On April 27th Phillips and his army repaired the bridge and marched north.  He sent Arnold and half the army to Osborne’s Landing to destroy all the vessels lying there, while he marched with the rest of the army to the Chesterfield Courthouse, destroying the barracks and public stores.  At Osborne’s, Arnold’s detachment fired on the ships, and a battle ensued.  Seeing they could not save their ships, the crews tried to scuttle or set fire to them before escaping to the north side of the river.  Arnold was able to capture most of the ships and their cargoes.  At Osborne’s, Phillips re-united his army and now marched toward Richmond, burning the foundry at Westham and many warehouses, and capturing much supplies.

Meanwhile, Lafayette had been marching south when at Fredericksburg he heard news of Phillips`s movements, and he decided to march his men as fast as possible to Richmond, arriving there on the evening of April 29th, to join the small militia force under Thomas Nelson. In the morning of April 30th, Phillips reached Manchester, across the river from Richmond.  But suspecting that Lafayette would soon be joined by Steuben, Phillips did not want to risk being caught between them, and after burning some buildings and 1200 hogsheads of tobacco at Manchester, ordered his army and boats back down the river to Portsmouth.

On May 10th, Lafayette sent to Petersburg a battalion of troops with two artillery pieces to begin a bombardment of the town.  This was a diversion, so that Steuben could safely move 200,000 rounds of ammunition past the British and across the bridge west of town.  On May 13th, Phillips, who had been suffering with a fever, died.  On May 20th, Cornwallis and his 1500-man army arrived at Petersburg and joined forces with Phillips’s army, now under the command of Arnold.  On May 24th, Cornwallis marched his army east and continued the destructive raids, destroying the bridge at City Point and then crossing the James river at Westover.  Here he was joined on May 26th by Leslie, who arrived with 2000 reinforcements sent by Clinton from New York.  Leslie was then sent by Cornwallis to take command of the garrison at Portsmouth, and Arnold returned to New York.

On May 10th, Count de Barras arrived at Newport to replace Destouches and to take over command of the French fleet.  He also brought word of De Grasse’s sailing to the West Indies and of his plan to arrive in North America in July or August.  Rochambeau then arranged a meeting with General Washington at Weathersfield, Connecticut on May 22nd to plan the next campaign.  Although they were ignorant of Cornwallis’s arrival in Virginia, they discussed a joint expedition to relieve the Carolinas, but as the French fleet was still blockaded at Newport, a long and difficult land march in the heat of summer was rejected in favour of an effective blow at New York, where the garrison had been reduced by the detachments sent to Cornwallis in the south.

On June 10th, Rochambeau left 700 men for Barras to man his ships, left another 400 men as part of the garrison at Newport, and began a march with 3000 men (and 8 twelve-pound field pieces and 6 mortars) to join General Washington for a planned attack on the British works at the north end of York island – either to wrest them from the British or to oblige them to recall a part of their force from the south for their defence.

 6 – The Battle of Green Spring, July 6th 1781

Cornwallis, hoping by the reduction of Virginia to promote the subjugation of the south, now set out to try to draw Lafayette into action to strike a blow against him, and he marched toward him at Richmond.  Lafayette was waiting for Wayne’s reinforcements – “on their arrival we shall be in a position to be beaten more decently, but at present we can only run away”, destroying the bridges and hiding the boats.  On May 27th when he learned that Cornwallis had crossed the James river, Lafayette decamped from Richmond and withdrew northwest to the South Anna river.  Cornwallis crossed the Chickahominy river, marched north to Newcastle on the Pamunkey river and then marched northwest to Hanover Courthouse on May 30th.  Lafayette meanwhile had continued his retreat to Anderson’s Bridge on the North Anna river.  Cornwallis followed and reached Cook’s Ford on the North Anna river on June 1st, while Lafayette reached Corbin’s Bridge on the Mattaponi river.

Cornwallis found that he could not overtake Lafayette, and he turned his attention to Charlottesville, to where the state legislature had removed.  Tarleton, with 180 cavalry and 70 mounted infantry, was sent to Charlottesville on the Rivanna river to surprise the assembly, but on June 4th he was only able to capture seven of the legislators, as the others escaped to Staunton.  A party was sent to capture Governor Jefferson at Monticello, but he was warned in time to also escape.  Tarleton was able to capture a convoy of arms and clothing that was destined for Greene in South Carolina, and then set fire to all the public stores in the town.

Cornwallis also sent Simcoe with a detachment of 300 cavalry and infantry to Point of Fork in order to destroy a great quantity of military stores that was collected there and guarded by Steuben with about 500 Virginia state troops.  Steuben had succeeded in transporting the greater part of the stores, his troops and all the boats across the river, but the unexpected appearance of Simcoe’s infantry, designedly spread out on the opposite heights, deceived him into the idea that it was the van of Cornwallis’s army.  Steuben made a night retreat, leaving the greater part of the stores along the river bank, which were destroyed the next morning by Simcoe’s troops.  Cornwallis took the rest of the army to Goochland Courthouse and destroyed supplies that were stored there and continued on to Elk Hill, where he re-united with Simcoe and Tarleton on June 7th.

Meanwhile Lafayette had crossed the Rapidan river at Ely’s Ford, marched west to Culpeper and at Raccoon Ford had re-crossed the Rapidan river and marched south to Brock’s Bridge on the North Anna river.  On June 10th, Lafayette was joined by Wayne and about 800 troops – a small artillery unit and three Continental regiments from Pennsylvania, and together they marched to Boswell’s Bridge on the South Anna river.  By a rapid night march through an abandoned back road, Lafayette’s army reached Mechunk Creek, where they were now joined by William Campbell and his 600 mountain militia, and prepared to move against Cornwallis if he raided the military depot located nearby at Old Albemarle Courthouse.

Deciding that it was not advisable to proceed to Albemarle against the recently enlarged army of Lafayette, on June 14th Cornwallis began to withdraw eastward back to Richmond, crossed the Chickahominy river at Bottom’s Bridge and arrived at Williamsburg on June 25th.  He was closely followed by Lafayette, who was joined along the way by Steuben and about 500 Virginia continentals on June 19th.

While Cornwallis had almost 8000 men, Lafayette now commanded about 4000 men – 2000 Continentals and 2000 militia, and he sent out detachments to counter British forage and raiding expeditions.

On June 26th, Simcoe and his rangers were returning from a foraging raid with some cattle and had stopped at Spencer’s Ordinary (tavern), when they were attacked by Colonel Richard Butler and his men, who had been sent by Lafayette to intercept Simcoe.  After a brief battle (the British had 11 killed and 25 wounded, and the Americans had 9 killed, 14 wounded and 32 captured), both forces withdrew – Simcoe thought that Lafayette was approaching with reinforcements and Butler thought that a larger British force was soon arriving.

On June 25th, when he had arrived at Williamsburg, Cornwallis received a letter from Clinton with instructions to send half his force to New York to assist in its defence against a joint attack by Rochambeau and General WashingtonA letter from General Washington to Congress that contained a full report of his conference of May 22nd with Rochambeau and their planned attack on New York was captured by a British patrol and this important information fell into Clinton’s hands.  On July 4th, Cornwallis left Williamsburg to march to Jamestown, where he planned to cross the James river and march to Portsmouth.  Lafayette followed him, intending that when the main body of Cornwallis’s army should have crossed the ford to the island of Jamestown, to fall upon the rear guard.  Cornwallis suspected an attack to hinder their crossing and prepared to take advantage of it.  The carriages and baggage were passed over to the island under the escort of Simcoe’s Queen’s Rangers – making a great display as if the main body had crossed.  Cornwallis’s main force however remained on the mainland, concealed by a skirt of woods, covered by ponds and morasses.  He also sent two spies, pretending to be deserters with the false information that the main army had crossed over, leaving only a rear guard.

On July 6th Lafayette moved his army to the Green Spring plantation, and sent an advance force of 800 men under Anthony Wayne – 2 companies of Virginia riflemen, 1 company of light infantry and most of the Pennsylvania continentals.  After advancing along a narrow causeway through a swamp, Wayne, with the riflemen, easily routed a patrol of cavalry and drove in the pickets, and pushed forward with the continentals and his 3 field pieces to attack the outpost of the rear guard.  At the first cannon fire, 2000 British troops emerged from their concealment and attacked them.  Thinking that a retreat was more dangerous than to go on, Wayne ordered a charge upon the British line that was outflanking him on the right and left.  Wayne’s charge succeeded in halting the British advance long enough for Lafayette to move forward with more troops to cover Wayne’s retreat back to Green Spring.  Lafayette lost 28 killed, 99 wounded and 12 missing and left behind the 3 cannon, while Cornwallis lost 75 killed or wounded.  Cornwallis did not pursue, thinking that Lafayette’s army was stronger and that the retreat was a feint to draw him into an ambuscade, but crossed over after dark to Jamestown, and proceeded on to Portsmouth.  Lafayette sent Wayne and the Pennsylvanians across the James river to watch Cornwallis and to protect the stores at Amelia, while he proceeded with the rest of his army to Malvern Hill, half way between Williamsburg and Richmond.  On July 20th. Lafayette wrote to General Washington that Cornwallis was at Portsmouth and an embarkation was taking place, and asked if the British troops go to New York, that he could rejoin Washington’s army.

Also on July 20th, Cornwallis received another letter from Clinton.  Cornwallis had been preparing to send the troops requested by Clinton to New York, and to abandon Virginia and take his remaining troops with him to Charleston.  Clinton however wished to keep a foothold on Chesapeake bay and his new letter cancelled the recall of troops to New York, and ordered Cornwallis to set up an outpost at Old Point Comfort, near Hampton, or at Yorktown.  Cornwallis’s engineers found Old Point Comfort to be unsuitable, and he determined to move his men to Yorktown.  On July 31st, Cornwallis and his troops sailed from Portsmouth.

Thinking that Cornwallis may be heading up the bay to Baltimore, Lafayette moved his men northward to Richmond, where he then learned that Cornwallis had begun to land his troops at Gloucester and Yorktown.  Lafayette now moved his men back – first, to Newcastle on the Pamunkey river, and then slowly they made their way to Montock Hill, near West Point, at the fork of the Pamunkey and the Mattapony rivers.

7 – The Decision of General Washington, August 14th 1781

With Rochambeau and the French troops now having arrived in Connecticut, General Washington planned a joint French and American operation – to surprise the British works at the north end of York island, and also to attack Delancey’s rangers that scoured the fertile valleys in Westchester county and swept off forage and cattle for the British army at New York.

On July 2nd Lincoln left Peekskill with 800 men and moved down the Tappan Sea and crossed over to Fort Lee, to reconnoitre Fort Washington from the cliffs on the opposite side of the Hudson river.  Lincoln discovered a British force encamped at the north end of the island with a ship-of-war anchored there in the river.  Lincoln now abandoned any attempt at surprising the British works.

On July 3rd Lincoln landed his troops above Spyt den Duivel creek and took possession of the high ground north of the Harlem river, where Fort Independence once stood.  Here he was discovered by a strong 1500-man British foraging party and a skirmish ensued.  The firing was heard by De Lauzun, who had just arrived at East Chester with his French troops, and finding the country now alarmed and all hope of surprising Delancey’s corps at an end, Lauzun hastened to Lincoln’s aid.  Meanwhile General Washington, who had marched with his main army from West Point to Valentine’s Hill (4 miles above King’s Bridge), now advanced with his troops.  Perceiving their danger, the British retreated to their boats and crossed over to York island.

On July 6th, General Washington marched his army back to Dobbs Ferry, where he was joined by Rochambeau and the French troops, and where they remained encamped for the next four weeks, while conducting a grand reconnaissance of the British posts on York island.  During this time, the British garrison at New York was augmented by the arrival of three thousand more Hessian troops from Europe.

While General Washington waited at Dobbs Ferry, his army was being tardily and scantily recruited.  On August 2nd he wrote a letter to the governments of New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut and New Jersey, that he was “unable to advance with prudence beyond my present position … Our allies, with whom a junction has been formed upwards of three weeks, and who were made to expect, from the engagements which I entered into with them at Weathersfield in May last, a very considerable augmentation of our force by this time, instead of seeing a prospect of advancing, must conjecture, upon good grounds, that the Campaign will waste fruitlessly away”.  General Washington then received letters from Lafayette, who on July 30th had written that “there are in Hampton-road thirty transport ships full of troops, most of them red coats … there are eight or ten brigs which have cavalry on board”, that he thought were destined for New York; and who on the 31st had added that “should a French fleet now come in Hampton Road, the British army would, I think, be ours”.

As he struggled with his thoughts about the future of the war, on August 14th General Washington received a letter from Barras at Newport, who said that he had received dispatches from De Grasse, who would sail from the West Indies to Chesapeake bay but would only be able to stay there until October 15th!  On July 5th, De Grasse had left Martinique and had sailed to Cap Francois in Haiti, where on July 26th he had received letters from Rochambeau and from General Washington, informing him of the situation and requesting him to sail with his fleet for Chesapeake bay or for New York.  On August 5th, De Grasse sailed north with 28 ships – taking every ship or convoy that he could find, and with 3300 French troops (leaving only a small detachment in Haiti)!!!

On August 14th, General Washington, after conferring with Rochambeau, made a fateful decision.  All attempt on New York was postponed.  The whole of the French army, and as large a part of the American army as could be spared, were to move to Virginia.  General Washington would lead 2500 of the American army – Olney’s Rhode Island regiment, Van Schaick’s 1st and Van Cortlandt’s 2nd New York regiments, Ogden’s 1st/2nd New Jersey regiment, Moses Hazen’s Canadian regiment, Scammel’s Light Infantry regiment and Lamb’s artillery regiment.  The rest were to remain with Heath, who was to hold command of West Point and the other posts along the Hudson.  Perfect secrecy was maintained as to this change of plan.  Preparations were still carried on, as if for an attack upon New York. The troops themselves were kept ignorant of their destination.  Dispatches that contained misleading information were sent via the most dangerous routes – so that the British would intercept them.

On August 20th General Washington arrived at King’s Ferry and crossed the Hudson, and on the 22nd Rochambeau crossed with his 4240 French troops to Stony Point.  General Washington sent General du Portail to inform Lafayette of his new plans, and on August 21st General Washington wrote to Lafayette that his troops were now in motion, and also sent a letter to be delivered to De Grasse.

8 – The Battle of the Capes, September 5th 1781

On July 2nd, Arbuthnot sailed to London, leaving Thomas Graves in command of the British navy at New York.   On the same day, Graves wrote to Rodney, who was in command of the British fleet in the West Indies, that intercepted dispatches showed that De Grasse was to leave the West Indies and sail to America and cooperate with the French fleet at Newport.  On August 1st, Rodney returned to London, leaving Hood in command.  On August 5th, De Grasse left Haiti with 28 ships-of-the-line to sail to Chesapeake bay, and on August 10th, Hood sailed from Antigua with 14 ships-of-the-line to the Capes in pursuit of De Grasse.

On July 21st, Graves left New York and with 8 ships-of-the-line sailed towards Boston to intercept Laurens and his convoy bringing supplies from France.  Because of intense fog, Graves returned to Sandy Hook at New York on August 18th.  On August 25th, Barras would set sail from Newport to join De Grasse.  And on the same day, August 25th, Laurens arrived at Boston with the needed supplies and needed cash!!!

But Hood arrived at the Chesapeake on August 26th before De Grasse, and not finding the French fleet at the Capes, Hood sailed on to New York, where he arrived on August 28th.

Clinton had by now learned that Barras had left Newport to join De Grasse, and that General Washington was marching south.   In the hope of distracting the attention of General Washington, Clinton now sent Arnold on a raid along the coast of Connecticut.  The raid was also in retaliation for the Americans who had seized and brought into New London the British merchant ship Hannah and its cargo of West Indies goods and gunpowder.

Arnold appeared at New London on the Thames river, September 6th, with a fleet of ships and transports carrying a force of 2000 infantry and 300 cavalry.  Colonel Ledyard decided to concentrate his American militia at Fort Griswold on the east shore at Groton, and abandoned Fort Trumbull on the west shore near New London.  Arnold landed with half his troops on the west, encountered little resistance, and took possession of the town.  Arnold split his force into two groups, to burn the town from both ends and meet at the centre.  More than 140 homes, shops and warehouses were destroyed.  The Hannah was set on fire and when the gunpowder in its hold exploded, the fire spread and burned any remaining ships at the wharves – some of the privateers had been able to sail up the river and escape.  Colonel Eyre led 800 troops in the attack on Ledyard and his 157 militia at Fort Griswold.  Ledyard refused to surrender and his men fought furiously and repeatedly repulsed the British assaults.  When the British finally effected a lodgement of the fraise and made their way with bayonets through the embrasures, Ledyard, with 6 men killed and 20 wounded, surrendered and ordered his men to lay down their arms.  After yielding up his sword, Ledyard was run through with his own sword, and the British continued the slaughter – another 70 Americans were killed and 35 were desperately wounded, and any of the rest that could walk were taken prisoner to New York.  Arnold lost 51 killed and 142 wounded, and then returned to New York.

De Grasse arrived at Lynnhaven bay within the entrance of Chesapeake bay on August 30th, and positioned 3 ships and 2 frigates to block the mouth of the York river and sent 2 ships with some corvettes to the James river to prevent Cornwallis from escaping to the Carolinas.  On September 2nd, the 3300 French troops, under Saint Simon, were landed at Jamestown and they immediately marched to join Lafayette.

On August 31st, Hood and 14 ships joined Graves with 5 ships and a 50-gun warship, and they sailed from Sandy Hook for Chesapeake bay, arriving on the morning of September 5th.  When the tide had risen, the French fleet sailed out of the bay in a line parallel with the British line, and firing started and continued until sunset.  The British lost 90 killed and 246 wounded and 6 damaged ships, while the French had about 200 killed or wounded.  Graves decided that with so many ships disabled, it was too hazardous to renew the action.  As the two fleets kept a few leagues apart, the wind continued carrying them south.

On the evening of the 9th, De Grasse lost sight of the British fleet, and fearing that a change of wind might enable the British to return to Chesapeake bay first, he sailed back to continue operations at that point, and anchored inside Cape Henry on September 11th.  Here he was joined by Barras and his squadron, that had arrived the day before with heavy siege artillery, and the French fleet, now numbering 36 ships-of-the-line, blockaded the entrance to Chesapeake bay.  Graves and his fleet arrived back at the Capes on September 12th.  After a council war, it was decided that the British fleet ‘should proceed with all dispatch to New York and there use every possible means for putting the squadron into the best state for service’.  Graves sailed from Virginia on September 14th and arrived at Sandy Hook on the 19th.  On September 24th, Digby arrived at New York from Britain with 3 ships, and Parker arrived from the West Indies with 2 more ships.  It was decided by both the land and sea commanders that Graves must attempt the relief of Cornwallis.

9 – The Surrender of Yorktown, October 19th 1781

On September 6th, General Washington arrived at Head of Elk, where he wrote to Robert Morris that he needed one month’s salary in specie in order to induce the army to march to Virginia.  Morris asked Rochambeau for a loan, on his own credit, but he had less than 150,000 livres left in his treasury, which he lent to Morris.  After the men had been paid, General Washington and Rochambeau rode to Mount Vernon – he had not been home in 6 years.  They continued their journey and on September 14th they arrived at Williamsburg, where they met Lafayette.  On September 18th, they met with De Grasse aboard his ship, and De Grasse agreed to prolong his stay until the end of October.

On September 11th, at Head of Elk, about 1800 American troops and about 1200 French troops boarded small boats and set out for Chesapeake bay, and arrived at Annapolis the next day, where they heard that De Grasse had sailed from Lynnhaven to meet the British fleet.  News of De Grasse’s return reached them on the 14th, and the next day they resumed their trip and began arriving on September 20th near Williamsburg.  The rest of the French army and the remaining 800 men of the American army had marched to Baltimore, where on September 16th the American troops then boarded small ships and sailed to Williamsburg.  The French troops started to march to Virginia, but turned around and marched to Annapolis, where on September 21st they embarked, along with the artillery, on 15 transports sent by De Grasse and arrived at Williamsburg the next day.

By September 26th all the artillery and baggage had been unloaded at Williamsburg, and on the 28th, General Washington’s 2500 Continentals and Lafayette’s 4000 troops, along with Rochambeau’s 4200 and Saint Simon’s 3300 French troops, marched to within 2 miles of Yorktown, formed a semicircle around the town, with each end resting on the York river – the French forces on the left and the American forces on the right, and began the siege.  General Washington divided his army into two lines, with the Continentals in front and the 3000 Virginia militia in the rear.  The Continentals were divided into 3 divisions.  On the left, under Lincoln, were placed James Clinton with the 1st and the 2nd New York regiments; and Elias Dayton with the New Jersey and Rhode Island regiments.  In the centre, under Steuben, were placed Anthony Wayne with the 1st, the 2nd and the (just arrived) 3rd Pennsylvania regiments and the Virginia regiment; and Mordecai Gist with the 3rd and the 4th Maryland regiments.  On the right, under Lafayette, were placed Peter Muhlenburg and the 1st, the 2nd and the 3rd light infantry battalions (that had marched with Lafayette from New York to Virginia), under Gimat, Vose and Barber; and Brevet Brigadier General Moses Hazen(12) with the 1st, the 2nd and the 3rd Light Corps battalions, under Lt. Colonel Ebenezer Huntingdon, Lt. Colonel Alexander Hamilton, and Lt. Colonel John Laurens(13), and the Canadian Regiment under Lt. Colonel Edward Antill.

Cornwallis had 7000 troops at Yorktown, defended by a line of 10 redoubts and 14 batteries, where he would hold the town – until the expected help from Graves, sent by Clinton at New York, could arrive.   He sent 1000 men (that included Simcoe’s Rangers and Tarleton’s cavalry) across the river to garrison Gloucester Point, which he planned to use as an escape route if it became necessary.  Rochambeau sent De Choisy with 800 marines from de Grasse’s fleet along with De Lauzon’s 600-man legion of cavalry and infantry, to Gloucester to join with General Weedon and his 1500 Virginia militia in order to watch and contain the British forces there.

On October 3rd, a British foraging party on its return to Gloucester with wagons of corn was followed by a detachment of mounted Virginia militia and French cavalry.  Tarleton led an attack by dragoons and cavalry to cover the retreat of the wagons, and was met and was checked by the French and American cavalry, and Tarleton retreated back to the Gloucester.  Throughout the nights of October 4th, 5th and 6th, the British maintained a steady cannonade to impede the opening of a siege parallel, but on the evening of the 6th, the sappers began the first parallel at the bank of the York river, about 600 yards from the advanced redoubt on the British left, to just east of the head of the Yorktown creek.  The French sappers dug a narrow trench just west of the mouth of the creek and set up a redoubt to meet and neutralize the British star redoubt across the creek.

On October 7th Lafayette’s troops marched into the completed entrenchment and began work on redoubts and batteries to defend the parallel.  On the afternoon of October 9th, the three batteries of the Americans and the three batteries of their French allies began an incessant bombardment of the British lines, for three days.  On the night of the 11th, the two British frigates on the river, hoisted anchor and began to maneuver, but the French redoubt fired on the ships – one got safely behind a point of land, but the other, as well as several other smaller vessels, were hit with red-hot shot, caught fire and burned.

With most of their artillery in place, it was determined to begin a second and closer parallel.  But the two strong outlying redoubts on the British left would have to be taken, by direct assault, if the second parallel was to be successfully completed.  Throughout the night of October 11th, the sappers drove a trench from the first parallel on an angle toward the two redoubts, and on the 12th soldiers moved forward to throw up an epaulement at the end of the trench, about 300 yards from the redoubts.  Redoubt 10 was near the river and held by 70 British troops, while Redoubt 9 was ¼ mile inland and held by 120 British and Hessian soldiers, and both redoubts were surrounded by abatis and ditches.

On October 14th, General Washington ordered an assault on the redoubts – the French would attack Redoubt 9, and the Americans would attack Redoubt 10.  That evening, Deux Ponts led 400 French chasseurs and grenadiers in the attack and while clearing the abatis, were fired on by the 120-man garrison.  The French fired back, charged the redoubt, and after a brief resistance, forced the British and Hessians to flee or to surrender.  The British lost 18 killed and 50 taken prisoner, while the French lost 15 killed and 77 wounded.

Hamilton led about 300 men from his own battalion and from Gimat’s battalion, while Laurens, with orders to get behind the redoubt and prevent the escape by any of the defenders, led about 80 men on the left.  Hazen’s and Muhlenburg’s brigades were drawn up in supporting columns.  Led by a forlorn hope of 20 men, Hamilton’s troops crashed through the abatis, without waiting for the sappers to cut it away, crossed the ditch, swarmed the parapets, and, within minutes, they had overwhelmed and captured the 70-man British garrison – without firing a shot!  The Americans lost 9 killed and 25 wounded.

Digging night and day, the second parallel incorporated the two captured redoubts and was completed to the river, only 300 yards from the British position – within rifle range.  Two howitzers were placed in each of the captured works to maintain a close-range shelling, along with the constant sniper fire.  Early morning on the 16th, Cornwallis now tried a desperate sally at the junction of the French and American lines, surprising a sleeping French regiment – killing or wounding several men, and spiking six artillery pieces.  Driving toward the trench that led to the first parallel, they were challenged by an American artillery battery, and then driven back by a French covering patrol that charged with bayonets.

Cornwallis now tried to evacuate the town and try to get across the river to Gloucester, join Tarleton’s garrison, attack the French and American besiegers by surprise and fight their way to escape.  Sixteen large boats were prepared for the attempt that evening.  The light infantry, most of the guards and part of the 23rd regiment had landed at Gloucester undetected, when a violent wind and rainstorm suddenly came up and drove several of the loaded boats downriver, and stopped any further crossings.

In the morning, with a total evacuation impossible, those units that had already crossed were ordered back and the storm-driven boats straggled back upstream.  Later that morning, October 17th, the French and American batteries – more than 100 field pieces, howitzers and mortars, opened a steady bombardment.  With the British artillery ammunition almost exhausted, Cornwallis sent a messenger to General Washington asking that all hostilities cease for 24 hours, while terms of surrender could be discussed.  (All navy personnel would become French prisoners and all army personnel would become American prisoners.)  On October 19th 1781, exactly four years to the day since Burgoyne surrendered at Saratoga, Cornwallis surrendered 7247 soldiers and 840 sailors (with almost 2000 sick and wounded in hospitals).

On October 19th, Clinton had sent Graves and the British fleet to try to rescue Cornwallis, but arriving at Chesapeake bay on the 24th, Graves learned of the surrender of Cornwallis, and seeing that he was still outnumbered by the French fleet, he returned to New York.  The British soldiers were to be marched off to prison-camps at Winchester, Virginia and the Hessian soldiers to prison-camps at Frederick, Maryland.  On November 1st, while accompanying the prisoners, Hazen and the Canadian regiment, with the New York, New Jersey and Rhode Island regiments, began their march back north to winter quarters.  Lafayette’s light infantry also marched north, while the Pennsylvania, Virginia and Maryland regiments (and the Delaware recruits) left to join Greene in the Carolinas.  Besides New York and Halifax (in the north), the British still held naval bases in the south at Wilmington, North Carolina, at Charleston, South Carolina and at Savannah, Georgia.

After hearing of the defeat at Yorktown, General Leslie, the British commander at Charleston, ordered the evacuation of the troops from Wilmington, by sea, to St. John’s island, near Charleston.  Greene attempted a surprise night raid on these troops at St. John’s island, hoping that with their capture, Leslie would have to remove the troops from Savannah to then reinforce Charleston, but on December 21st, the difficult attempt had to be called off.  Without sufficient arms, ammunition or winter clothing for his troops(14), Greene nonetheless protected the country from excursions by the British to procure supplies of provisions for their troops(15).

General Washington wished to follow up the reduction of Yorktown, by a combined French-American operation against Charleston, but Count De Grasse had orders of his court that rendered it impossible to remain the necessary time for the operation.  General Washington wrote in a letter to Lafayette “No land force can act decisively unless it is accompanied by a maritime superiority; nor can more than negative advantages be expected without it … A doubt did not exist, nor does it at this moment, in any man’s mind, of the total extirpation of the British force in the Carolinas and Georgia, if the Count de Grasse could have extended his co-operation two months longer.”  On November 4th, after Saint Simon’s troops had re-embarked, De Grasse ordered his fleet to weigh anchor and sail out of Chesapeake bay for Martinique in the West Indies.  Rochambeau’s army remained for the winter in Virginia, at Williamsburg, Yorktown and Jamestown.

On November 5th, General Washington left Yorktown, travelling first to Eltham, where his step-son, John Custis, had died(16), and to Mount Vernon, before he arrived on November 27th in Philadelphia where he spent the winter, meeting with Congress and their committees to plan the campaign for the coming year.  At Eltham, General Washington wrote to Greene of his biggest concern, “I shall remain but a few days here, and shall proceed to Philadelphia, when I shall attempt to stimulate Congress to the best improvement of our late success, by taking the most vigorous and effectual measures to be ready for an early and decisive campaign the next year.  My greatest fear is, that Congress, viewing this stroke in too important a point of light, may think our work too nearly closed, and will fall into a state of languor and relaxation.”

On November 8th, Lafayette arrived in Philadelphia, and on November 23rd Congress resolved to grant him a leave of absence and permission to return to France, and also resolved that the ministers plenipotentiary of the United States “confer with the Marquis de la Fayette and avail themselves of his informations relative to the situation of public affairs in the United States”.  Lafayette met with General Washington, and with the superintendent of finance and the secretary of foreign affairs regarding asking France for a loan of 10 million for the United States.  On November 29th, Congress agreed on a congratulatory letter to Louis XVI, and their thanks for the actions of De Grasse, Rochambeau and Lafayette.

10 – The War on the Frontier in 1781

At the end of 1780, George Clark had returned to Virginia to seek the approval of Governor Thomas Jefferson for an expedition against Fort Detroit.  Jefferson wrote to Clarke on December 25th, “A powerful army forming by our enemies in the south renders it necessary for us to reserve as much of our militia as possible free to act in that quarter.  At the same time, we have reason to believe that a very extensive combination of British and Indian savages is preparing to invest our western frontier.  To prevent the cruel murders and devastations which attend the latter species of war and at the same time to prevent its producing a powerful diversion of our force from the southern quarter in which they mean to make their principal effort and where alone success can be decisive of their ultimate object, it becomes necessary that we aim the first stroke in the western country and throw the enemy under the embarrassments of a defensive war rather than labour under them ourselves.  We have therefore determined that an expedition shall be undertaken under your command in a very early season of the approaching year into the hostile country beyond the Ohio, the principal object of which is to be the reduction of the British post at Detroit”.  Jefferson proceeded to outline his plan for the attack.  Jefferson also wrote to General Washington concerning this proposal and asked for his assistance in supplying the expedition with some artillery and stores at Fort Pitt.

General Washington replied on December 28th 1780, “I have ever been of the opinion that the reduction of the post of Detroit would be the only certain means of giving peace and security to the whole of the Western frontier, and I have constantly kept my Eye upon that object; but such has been the reduced state of our Continental Force, and such the low ebb of our Funds, more especially of late, that I have never had it in my power to make the attempt.  I shall think it a most happy circumstance, should your State, with the aid of Continental Stores which you require, be able to accomplish it.  I am so well convinced of the general public utility with which the expedition, if successful, will be attended, that I do not hesitate a moment in giving directions to the Commandant at Fort Pitt, to deliver to Col. Clarke the Articles which you request, or so many of them as he may be able to furnish.  I have also directed him to form such a detachment of Continental troops, as he can safely spare, and put them under the command of Col. Clarke.”

On January 22nd, Governor Jefferson appointed Clarke a “brigadier-general of all the forces to be embodied in an expedition westward of the Ohio”.  Clarke had been engaged under Steuben, in carrying on a defensive movement against the raid on Richmond by Benedict Arnold.  Clarke now left to return to the Ohio and to prepare to assemble the 2000-man force that was needed, hoping to be ready to leave by June.

In February, a council of the Delaware Indians at Coshocton decided, in violation of the alliance that they had made with the Americans, to go over to the side of the British, and war parties were organized to attack the frontier settlements.  Colonel Brodhead, commander at Fort Pitt, decided to strike first and attack the Delaware town of Coshocton on the Tuscarawas river.  Leaving Fort Pitt on April 7th with about 150 Continental troops, Brodhead proceeded to Fort Henry and was joined by 4 militia companies of 134 men.  But the Delawares were warned of his advance and when Brodhead and his troops entered the town, they only found 15 warriors, who were killed in the attack.  After taking great quantities of peltry and other stores, the troops set fire to the town, destroyed 40 head of cattle, and then returned to Fort Henry by May 1st.

On May 7th, Brodhead had to leave Fort Pitt and travel to Philadelphia – a subordinate had charged him with misfeasance and mishandling of supplies and money(17).

On May 21st, Colonel Crocket and 100 Virginia State troops arrived at Fort Pitt to join Clark.  Clarke had expected to have Colonel Gibson’s regiment of 200 Continentals, but with concerns of retaliatory raids by the Delaware and Wyandot Indians, Brodhead felt that Fort Pitt could not be defended if Gibson’s infantry were sent, but Clarke would have Captain Isaac Craig’s artillery company – that General Washington had agreed to send.  Clarke had also been expecting over 700 militia-men from the Virginia counties of Hampshire, Berkeley and Frederick, but only a small number of volunteers would join him.

Because these counties were exposed to the daily inroads of the Indians and because of the immense distance the men would have to travel from there to the Falls of the Ohio, and since men were already being sent for the Southern Army and the number of men that Clarke was requesting made up half of the total county militia that were fit for duty, the counties were prevented from drafting any men for the expedition.  Clarke now tried to organize volunteers from the Pennsylvania counties of Washington and Westmoreland to join the expedition, against the opposition of those who wished to keep the militia at home for defence from the British and Indian raids.  With the approval of Joseph Reed, the President of the Supreme Executive Council of Pennsylvania, Colonel Archibald Lochry was able to recruit 100 volunteers from Westmoreland county and they marched to join Clark’s army at Fort Henry (Wheeling).  After further delays in receiving the needed supplies and ammunition, Clarke had finally left down the Ohio river from Fort Pitt with 400 men and arrived at Fort Henry by August 4th, and not wanting to delay any longer, left there on August 7th.  But Lochry arrived at Fort Henry on August 8th, a day after Clarke had left, and after building seven boats to transport the troops, on August 13th Lochry’s troops now travelled down the Ohio river, to try to catch up with Clark and to join them at Fort Nelson (Louisville).

In April, Joseph Brant with some Indian warriors had been sent from Niagara to Detroit, where they attended a grand council of the Ohio and Lake Indians held by DePeyster on April 26th.  DePeyster promised to send supplies and ammunition to the Indians if they would rendezvous their warriors at the upper Sandusky villages and set out for the Ohio river to attack and defeat Clark’s army.  While Alexander McKee was assembling the Indian army, Joseph Brant and George Girty with about 100 warriors, left Wapatomika to travel down the Miami river and were camped near its junction with the Ohio river, when Clark and his men passed by on August 18th, but Brant didn’t attack because of Clark’s superior force.  On August 24th, when Lochry and his men were passing down the river and came ashore to feed their horses, they were ambushed by Brant and the Indians.  While 37 of Lochry’s men were killed, scalped and then thrown into the river – to send a message downriver to Clark’s army, the other 64 men were taken prisoner.  While being held as a prisoner, Colonel Lochry was killed.  A few days later, Brant was joined by McKee, Simon Girty and 400 Shawnee and Wyandot warriors and 100 Rangers.  The combined force then set off in pursuit of Clark’s army, but Clark and his men arrived safely at Fort Nelson.  Brant and McKee then returned to Detroit with their plunder and prisoners

On September 5th Clark addressed a meeting of the Kentucky county commissioners, “Gentlemen – For a series of years past I have made it my study to support and protect the back Settlements of our States, not from any particular Attachment I had to them, but knowing the very great advantage they were of to the Whole Continent as a Barrier against the Indians more valuable than is Generally Considered by the Continent at Large … and have proved of great importance by engaging the attention of the Enemy that otherwise would have spread Slaughter and Devastation through out the more Interior Frontier, deprived them of giving any assistance to our Eastern Armies, and more than probable, the Allegany would have been our boundary at this time.”  But with the news of Lochry’s defeat and of the abandonment of Fort Jefferson, and due to the shortage of men and the lateness of the season, it was the opinion of the Board that ‘under our present circumstances, it is impracticable to carry on the expedition’.

DePeyster had also sent Matthew Elliott and 250 Wyandots to the Delaware settlements along the Tuscarawas river to expel the Moravian missionaries who were suspected of passing intelligence on the Indians’ activities to the Americans at Fort Pitt.  On September 3rd, the missionaries were seized and, along with 400 Christian Delaware Indians, were forced to relocate to ‘Captive’s Town’, a cluster of huts near the Wyandot villages on the upper Sandusky river.

Although the expedition against Detroit was not going to occur, the Americans still held a tenuous grip on the Illinois and Ohio countries.  The British, however, aimed to keep their control over the Indian tribes on the frontier and send out destructive raids against the American settlements, and were able to maintain their outer posts with 1400 total troops – 100 regulars and 200 Royal Yorkers at Fort Haldimand on Carleton island, 250 regulars and 350 rangers (along with 150 Indian Department agents) at Fort Niagara and Fort Erie, 400 regulars at Fort Lernoult on the Detroit river, and 100 regulars at Fort Mackinac.  (Fearing that Fort Michilimackinac was open to attack from the Americans, in November 1780 Commander Sinclair had moved with his troops to a new fort that was built on nearby Mackinac island.)  And the 350-man navy department manned the small but growing number of ships on the great lakes between Carleton island and Mackinac island.  In Canada, Governor Haldimand still had over 8000 troops, but because of British worries of a French-American invasion, his 3300 British regulars and 2600 Hessians remained in Canada, while his 2000 Provincial (Tory) troops would continue to be sent out on constant Indian raids against the American frontier settlements – along the Ohio river near Fort Pitt, along the Wyoming valley in Pennsylvania and along the Mohawk valley in New York.  By June 1st, Guy Johnson would report from Niagara that in the first half of the year, 36 war-parties were dispatched; 44 Americans were killed and 66 taken prisoner; 2 forts, 32 houses and 6 mills were destroyed; 16 cattle were killed and 18 horses taken.

By early May, heavy rains had eroded away most of the sod-covered works at Fort Schuyler – the western-most fort on the Mohawk river, and on May 13th, a major fire broke out at the fort, burning the barracks.  Without enough men to effect repairs, General Washington agreed to abandon the fort and remove the garrison and stores to German Flatts.  Colonel Marinus Willett had only 250 New York State Levies to guard the 60-mile stretch of the Mohawk valley from Fort Herkimer to Fort Hunter from the British raids.  Willett stationed himself and his troops at Fort Herkimer and rotated the troops to guard the forts – sending out detachments to the different forts and relieving them every few days to return to Fort Herkimer(18).

On June 1st a convoy arrived at Fort Schuyler with orders to begin evacuation.  On June 5th, six companies of the 1st New York Regiment and Hazen’s Canadian Regiment were sent from West Point to Albany to defend the Mohawk valley forts during the evacuation.  On June 10th, the last bateaux brigade left Fort Schuyler with the remaining stores and the last of the troops marched for Fort Herkimer.  On July 4th, Hazen received orders to march to Schenectady and to return to West Point, along with the 1st New York regiment, to rejoin General Washington’s main army for an expected attack against the British at New York.  The 2nd New York regiment would remain at Albany until August 20th, after 300 Massachusetts Levies had arrived as reinforcements, of which 4 companies were sent to Willett at Fort Rensselaer and the remaining companies sent to join Stark’s troops at Saratoga.  (General John Stark had arrived at Albany to take command of the Northern Department on August 9th.)

On July 9th, a war party of 150 Rangers and Indians from Niagara attacked Currytown, a previously unharmed hamlet, plundering and burning 20 houses and 20 barns, killing or driving off 60 horses and 50 cattle, and capturing 30 women and children.  At Fort Rensselaer, Colonel Willett assembled a 140-man force of Levies and volunteer militia, and travelling through the night, arrived at the raiders’ camp by morning.  Willett arranged his men in two parallel lines, facing each other and hiding behind trees, stumps and brush, and, using an Indian tactic, sent 10 men to the enemy camp to lure them back into the ambush.  Although 2 of the men were overtaken and killed, the trap worked.  While Willett’s men were engaged in heavy fire with the Rangers, the Indians sent a flank attack around their right side to strike their rear, but their attack was returned by a 50-man platoon, led by Captain McKeen, who was mortally wounded in the fight, and soon the British force was in retreat – killing some of their captives while losing all of the captured cattle.

By mid-July, Haldimand had decided on a plan to abduct prominent Americans in the Albany neighbourhood – in order to have a devastating effect on morale and to provide ideal prisoner-exchange material.  8 men were targeted, including Samuel Stringer and John Bleecker, members of the Albany Commission for Detecting and Defeating Conspiracies, and General Philip Schuyler.  All of the abductions failed in their attempts.

On July 28th, the attempt against Stringer failed, when the British Secret Service agent Bettys, lusting after a girl, spirited her away instead, and the mission was abandoned when his men panicked and headed back to Canada.  On August 6th, Bleecker was easily kidnapped by Lt. Howard and his 20-man party, but when they were hotly pursued, they released the captive and later quietly surrendered.  On August 7th, Captain Meyers and his 20-man party assaulted the house of Philip Schuyler, but were met by Schuyler’s guards and black servants, who defended gallantly, allowing Schuyler to escape and alarm the town, that caused the attackers to flee.

The British attempts for reunion with Vermont continued.  On February 2nd 1781, Beverly Robinson had written a second letter to Ethan Allen “and assure, that you may obtain the terms mentioned … provided you and the people of Vermont take a decisive and active part with us.”  While the British had hoped to use Vermont to create a crisis in Congress, and also a safe haven for fleeing Tories, on the other hand however, Allen had hoped to use the British in order to obtain statehood for Vermont from Congress.  On March 9th, Allen sent copies of Robinson’s two letters to Congress.

On May 8th (as Ethan Allen and Sherwood had agreed at their meeting in October) Ira Allen, with his party of 15, arrived in Canada at Isle aux Noix and met with Sherwood to continue the discussions of prisoner exchanges, and also the private discussions between Allen and Sherwood about the British proposal.  Sherwood outlined Haldimand’s proposal – that Vermont would be recognized as a separate British province, and that 3000 British troops would be sent up lake Champlain to protect Vermont’s territory.

But Haldimand would later write to Germain “I am apprehensive the Flag was sent merely to cause a jealousy on the part of Congress and to intimidate that Assembly into a Compliance with a Union upon the Independent Terms they contend for, from a belief Vermont is in Treaty with us.  This opinion is strengthened from a persuasion that whatever they profess, they are in their Hearts inveterate Rebels, and if once united with Congress, would be very formidable Enemies”.

On July 9th, Joseph Fay arrived at Dutchman’s Point to continue prisoner-exchange talks with Sherwood and to give Sherwood a letter from the Allen’s.  The prisoner exchanges would take place between the British and Vermont on August 7th where Joseph Fay met again with Sherwood aboard the British ship, Royal George.  Fay also reached an agreement with Commander Chambers, that hostilities between Vermont and the British were to cease and that Vermont would not remove any abandoned guns from Ticonderoga.

After much debate that summer, on August 7th Congress appointed a committee to confer with representatives from Vermont “respecting their claim to be an independent state, and on what terms it may be proper to admit them into the federal union of these states, in case the United States in Congress assembled shall determine to recognize their independence”.  On August 17th Congress resolved that the committee should meet with Jonas Fay, Ira Allen and Beza Woodward, as representatives of Vermont, and present to Congress “a number of questions in writing and requested written answers thereto from the said agents”.  On August 21st Congress resolved that as an indispensable preliminary Vermont should give up claims to towns along the east side of the Connecticut river in New Hampshire (known as the Eastern Union), and to towns along the east side of the northern Hudson river in New York (known as the Western Union).

A second prisoner exchange took place on August 22nd at Skenesborough, where Joseph Fay and Ira Allen again met with Sherwood, and they proposed that Haldimand should issue a proclamation outlining the British offer for Vermont’s reunion with the King.

With the arrival at Quebec of the provision ships from Britain, Haldimand now began to plan another raid from Canada into the Mohawk valley, like the previous year’s October raid, while he secretly prepared to deliver his proclamation to try to sway Vermont back into the British fold.  A party of Indians would also be sent from Niagara to raid Shamokin, at the junction of the two branches of the Susquehanna river.

On October 3rd, Major Ross arrived at Oswego from Fort Haldimand with 75 British regulars (the 34th) and 200 provincials, plus 32 Royal Highlanders (the 84th) sent from Oswegatchie, and was later joined by 30 British regulars (the 8th) with 165 Rangers and over 100 Indians that arrived from Fort Niagara.  On October 11th Ross and his 600-man army travelled down Oswego river to lake Oneida and marched east.  On October 24th they arrived at Currytown and marched toward the Mohawk river, destroying any farms that were missed during the previous raid.  They marched through the night, forded Schoharie Kill and the next morning attacked Warrensborough – burning 22 houses, 18 barns, 3 mills and a large granary and killing the cattle and livestock, before crossing to the north side of the Mohawk river to begin their retreat.  Upon receiving news of the raid, Willett began assembling his troops at Fort Rensselaer, and sent Major Rowley and his Massachusetts Levies to block Ross’s line of retreat along the north side of the Mohawk river, while he and the New York Levies, plus the local militia, marched along the south side of the river to chase after Ross.  When he heard that Ross had gone north, Willett crossed the river at the Caughnawaga ford and marched toward Johnstown where he joined with Rowley.  Willett then divided his force, sending Rowley and about 200 men on a wide left hook around a swamp and through woods to try and cut off Ross, while he and about 200 men pursued Ross directly.

On October 25th, while Ross halted to rest and prepare a quick meal, Willett’s advance came upon Ross’s rear troops near Johnson Hall.  Willett advanced against Ross’s Rangers at the rear, forcing them to retreat back into Ross’s main line, who then advanced against Willett’s outnumbered troops and forced them to flee.  Rowley suddenly attacked from the rear, while Ross tried to reassemble his troops.  This allowed Willett time to re-enter the fray with militia reinforcements, as the fighting continued until nightfall.  Willett had 12 killed, 24 wounded and 5 missing; while Ross had 8 soldiers and 3 Indians killed, 10 soldiers and 4 Indians wounded, and 32 soldiers missing.

The next day, Willett marched to German Flatts to get between Ross and his boats at lake Oneida, but Ross had marched north instead.  Willett then lead 400 men and 60 Oneidas from Fort Herkimer after Ross.  Ross followed the Carleton island track north, and on October 30th as his rear troops had just crossed the West Canada creek, Willett’s vanguard arrived.  During the skirmish Captain Walter Butler, son of Colonel John Butler, was killed.  Ross and his men then continued their flight north, following the Kahuago (Black) river, and they arrived back at Fort Haldimand on November 6th.  Since Willett’s men had marched without blankets or provisions to more speedily pursue Ross, Willett was afraid to continue, called off the pursuit and returned to Johnstown, where they were met with the peeling of the Court House’s bells – celebrating the news of Cornwallis’s surrender in Virginia.

In Canada, after receiving Haldimand’s carefully crafted proclamation, St. Leger left Fort St. John’s and sailed to Pointe au Fer to assemble his 900-man army of 300 Provincials, 100 British regulars from each of the 29th and 34th regiments and 3 Light companies from the 29th, 31st and 44th regiments, and 120 Jagers.  Leaving Pointe au Fer on October 17th, his troops sailed up Lake Champlain in gunboats and batteaux, along with his small navy under Commodore Chambers – the Royal George, the schooners Carleton and Maria, the galley Trumbull and the sloop Lee, and arrived at Ticonderoga on the 20th.

Boats were hauled overland from the lake Champlain landing to the lake George landing, and (the same day that Ross was raiding Currytown) on October 24th, St. Leger sent 200 Provincials, 60 British Lights and 40 Jagers (with 14 days’ rations) under Major Jessup to sail up lake George to collect sympathizers and burn rebel homes ‘by extensive fires and slow movements’.  This was a ruse – meant to keep the Americans in suspense of his intentions as long as possible, and to prevent them from sending westward any reinforcements to aid Willett against Ross’s Mohawk raid – while he would send Haldimand’s proclamation to Vermont.

Sherwood advised St. Leger to send a small detachment across the lake to capture a Vermont patrol and bring them back to Ticonderoga, where they would be given Haldimand’s proclamation and released to return to Vermont.  But in the attempt to capture the 6-man Vermont patrol, their sergeant was killed.  The patrol was later released without the proclamation, but with a letter of apology for the killing, to Chittenden.  When news of the surrender at Yorktown reached Vermont, Ira Allen and Jonas Fay wrote to Sherwood, who was at Ticonderoga with St. Leger’s forces, and urged a delay in the broadcasting of Haldimand’s proclamation.  Sherwood then decided to try to travel, under a Flag of Truce, to Castleton and attempt to reopen the negotiations, but the Vermont council voted to maintain the truce with the British, but not to support any further talks.

Major-General Heath, now the Commander in Chief of the American army in the north, had sent Major-General Lord Stirling to Albany with 2 New Hampshire regiments to take command of the Northern Department.  When news of the British force at Ticonderoga reached Lord Stirling, he sent the two New Hampshire brigades along with two Albany County militia brigades north, from Albany to Saratoga.

On November 1st, Jessup and his men returned to Ticonderoga and on November 4th St. Leger began to vacate his army and navy, and sail back to Canada, arriving at Fort St. John’s on the 16th.  On November 3rd, Stirling had his garrison at Saratoga salute the Yorktown victory with 14 guns – the last to compliment ‘our friends in Vermont’.  With reports that the British were leaving and with the lakes soon to be choked by ice, the Albany county militia was released to return home and Stirling returned to West Point, but the 2 New Hampshire brigades stayed in the north, under Stark’s command.

On December 21st, Stark wrote to General Washington to congratulate him on his success at Yorktown and to report on Ross’s and St. Leger’s raids – and on the killing of the Vermont patrol sergeant.  Stark told him that he had written to Chittenden to ask for an explanation of why the enemy would apologize for a military action, and that he had replied that the letter had been forwarded to General Washington, but that Stark suspected that a doctored letter had been sent to him instead.  He wrote that “I believe, sir, that I may venture to predict that unless something decisive is done in the course of this winter, with respect to these people, we may have every thing to fear from them that they are capable of, in case we are under the disagreeable necessity of making another campaign.”

On January 1st 1782, General Washington would write, in a personal letter to Thomas Chittenden, that “It is not my business, neither do I think it necessary, now to discuss the origin of the right of a number of Inhabitants, to that tract of Country formerly distinguished by the name of the New Hampshire Grants, and now known by that of Vermont.  I will take it for granted that their right was good, because Congress by their resolve of the 7th August imply it, and by that of the 21st are willing fully to confirm it: provided the new state is confined to certain described boundaries.  It appears therefore to me, that the dispute of boundary is the only one that exists and that that being removed, all further difficulties would be removed also, and the matter terminated to the satisfaction of all parties … You must consider, sir, that the point now in dispute, is of the utmost political importance to the future Union and peace of this great Country.  The state of Vermont, if acknowledged, will be the first new one admitted into the Confederacy, and if suffered to encroach upon the Ancient established Boundaries of the adjacent ones, will serve as a precedent for others, which it may hereafter be expedient to set off, to make the same unjustifiable demands …  I will only add a few Words, upon the subject of the negociations which have been carried on between you and the Enemy in Canada and in New York.  I will take it for granted, as you assert it, that they were so far innocent that there never was any serious intention of joining Great Britain in their attempts to subjugate your Country; but it has had this certain bad tendency, it has served to give some ground to that delusive opinion of the Enemy, and upon which they in great measure found their hopes of success, that they have numerous Friends among us, who only want a proper opportunity to shew themselves openly, and that internal disputes and Feuds will soon break us in pieces; at the same time the seeds of distrust and Jealousy are scattered among ourselves by a conduct of this kind.  If you are sincere in your professions, these will be additional motives for accepting the terms which have been offered (and which appear to me equitable) and thereby convincing the common Enemy, that all their expectations of disunion are vain, and that they have been worsted at their Weapon, deception.”

On February 22nd 1782, in a move led by Isaac Tichenor, the Vermont Assembly approved the August 21st 1781 resolve of Congress, regarding its acceptable boundaries.

Chapter 8 – 1782, the Road to Independence

1 – The War on the Frontier 1782

From Canada, the Indian raids into New York and Pennsylvania continued.  Worried about rumours of a possible French-American invasion of Canada, Haldimand wrote to Ross on February 18th that “If the Enemy do intend an attempt upon this Province, the Possession of Oswego is certainly an Object of great Importance to them and the first they will turn their thoughts to in the Spring.  We must therefore endeavour to prevent it by a more Early Exertion” and he ordered Ross to begin preparations to establish a new fort at the mouth of the Oswego river (the old fort had been destroyed by the Americans in 1778) – Oswego was also a much shorter distance than from Niagara for conducting raids into the Mohawk valley.

On April 14th, navigation of lake Ontario opened, and Ross departed Carleton island with over 300 men in bateaux and arrived at Oswego the next day.  They were joined by 200 men sent from Niagara, and a month later Joseph Brant, who had returned from Detroit, left Niagara with 300 Indians for Oswego.

On June 5th, John Deserontyon left Oswegatchie, with 170 Indians along with Captain Daniel Robertson and 80 Royal Highlanders, for Oswego, was joined by Captain William Crawford and 25 Royal Yorkers along with 100 Indians from Carleton island, and together they raided the Mohawk valley and Ellice’s Mill – the only operational mill left on the upper river.

*Note* – Alexander Ellice and his 4 brothers emigrated from Scotland to Schenectady to start the fur-trading company of Phyn, Ellice and Co.  They were opposed to the Quebec Act because it levied duties on rum and spirits entering Quebec, which they needed to trade with the Indians!  To circumvent the colonies’ trade embargo with Britain, most of the company’s assets were liquidated, the remaining assets (including the mill at Little Falls) were left with brother James, who stayed at Schenectady, and Alexander moved to Montreal with brother Robert to set up their trading business in Canada.  Robert remained in Montreal while Alexander moved to London.  During the war, while James supplied the American army, brother Robert, in Canada, supplied the British army!!!

On June 14th, Deserontyon and his troops raided German Flatts, killing any unsuspecting settlers, burning houses and barns, and driving off 300 cattle and some horses.  On June 16th, Deserontyon split his forces, sending one part (made up entirely of Indians) to create a major distraction, raiding and driving off more cattle, eastward along the Mohawk river from German Flatts to Canajoharie and as far as Fort Plain, while the second part (made up of the troops plus the remaining warriors) attacked Ellice’s mill.    Willett and 250 men from the 2nd New Hampshire Regiment pursued the Indian raiding party, catching up with them at daylight while they were cooking breakfast and forcing them to flee.  Willett sent 100 troops along with 100 Oneidas to continue the chase, while he and the rest of his troops returned to Fort Rensselaer.  Following the raiders, they recovered some of the stolen horses and cattle, but fearing an ambush, they stopped and returned to Fort Rensselaer.  On June 21st, the attack was made on Ellice’s mill, capturing its 7-man garrison, destroying the mill and burning the outlying houses and barns.  By June 29th, Captain Crawford and his Royal Yorkers had arrived back at Oswego and Captain Robertson and his Royal Highlanders had returned to Oswegatchie.

On July 5th, Joseph Brant and 460 warriors along with Captain George Singleton and the Light Company of the Royal Yorkers left Oswego for another raid on the Mohawk valley.  On July 15th they attacked Fort Herkimer and Fort Dayton but were repelled by cannon fire.  Brant then raided German Flatts, burned houses and barns, and captured 150 cattle and 50 horses and drove them back to Niagara.

In the midst of these two Mohawk valley raids, on June 26th General Washington arrived at Albany to examine the situation on the Frontiers and met with Colonel Willett, in charge of the 600 New York State Levies, and also met with Lieutenant Colonel Reid, in charge of the 500 New Hampshire Continentals.  General Washington toured the Saratoga battlefields and the new fortifications with Schuyler, and then they travelled to Schenectady and met with their Oneida allies, before he returned to headquarters at Newburgh.

On June 12th, Old Smoke with 100 Seneca warriors and 60 Rangers, had departed Niagara with a plan to attack Fort Pitt, and advanced to Chautauqua lake and waited while scouts were sent to spy on Fort Pitt.  But on learning that General William Irvine had arrived and had strengthened the fort, the attack was abandoned.  Instead, Old Smoke and his men descended the Allegheny river and on July 13th attacked Hannastown – the seat of Westmoreland county, Pennsylvania, and the only court west of the Alleghenies.  The raiders attacked the palisaded fort, where the settlers had taken refuge to fight off the attack.  They then ransacked and burned the 30 houses in the town, drove off the horses and slaughtered the livestock.  Old Smoke then attacked nearby Miller’s Station, killing 15 and capturing 10, killed the livestock, and plundered and burned the settlement before retreating back to Niagara with their loot.  Several militia companies set off in pursuit but were unable to catch up to the retreating raiders.

On June 23rd, Haldimand received instructions sent on April 22nd from the new Secretary of State for the Colonies, the Earl of Shelburne, “Undoubted Intelligence is received that an Armament is now preparing at Brest for America.  It is said to be destined for Quebec and is to consist of Six thousand Troops conveyed by a considerable naval Force; it appears to me very doubtful whether their real object be New York, Halifax, or Quebec … I have the Honor to enclose to you the Address of the House of Commons to the King together with his Answer and two Resolutions.  You will see by these that the King’s Servants are bound as much as they are not only to avoid all Measures of offensive War but in truth every Act that Carries the Appearance of attempting to reduce the Revolted Colonies to Obedience by Force”.

On July 13th, Ross at Oswego and Butler at Niagara would receive Haldimand’s orders to cease offensive operations – but this was after Old Smoke, Deserontyon and Brant had been sent on their raids.

Indian raids also continued from Detroit and the upper Sandusky villages against the American frontier settlements along the Ohio river south of Fort Pitt.  In response to these raids, Colonel David Williamson led 100 mounted militia from Fort Henry on March 4th, to pursue the Indian war parties, which led them toward the abandoned Moravian Indian villages(1), where they found the tortured bodies of a woman and her baby, who had been captured in the raids a few days before.

At the Delaware villages, Williamson and his men discovered animals, clothing and other articles that had been taken from the attacked frontier settlers.  After herding all the Indians together, they realized that both hostile warriors who had attacked the settlements, as well as unarmed Indians who were only there trying to find food, were living together, and a council was convened to decide their fate.  The majority decided that all the Indians must be executed, and on March 8th, all 96 men, women and children were killed, and the villages, along with the corpses, were burned, so that the villages would never again be used ‘as their jumping-off point for attacks on the pioneers’.

At Fort Pitt, General William Irvine arrived to take command on March 25th, with the country people there ‘in a fit of frenzy’ because of the British-Indian raids.  Irvine then proceeded to re-organize the area’s defences in cooperation with the county militias of Pennsylvania and Virginia, and to re-establish civil authority.  To meet the grave concerns of the frontier settlers to stop the Indian raids, Irvine approved an expedition against those Indian towns along the Sandusky river, and volunteers began to assemble at Mingo Bottom on the Ohio river.

On May 25th, Colonel William Crawford and 480 militia-men began the march through 175 miles of wilderness to Sandusky.  The British however became aware of the expedition and De Peyster sent Captain William Caldwell and a company of 100 rangers from Detroit along with 200 Indians to repel the Americans.  On June 4th a few miles from Sandusky, Crawford’s scouting party encountered 200 Delaware Indians under Captain Pipe, and a battle soon began, as the Delawares were joined by a force of 300 Wyandots, and it continued until nightfall.  The next day the Indians were joined by the company of 100 Rangers and by 200 Shawnee.

Being now almost surrounded by an overwhelming force, Crawford ordered a retreat that evening, through a weakly defended spot in the surrounding circle of Indians, that was discovered by one of the scouts.  While under fire from some of the Indians, the retreat was made, and Crawford waited until all the troops had left, but in the confusion of the night attack, was unable to find the main body of troops and was captured by Delawares.  The other prisoners were killed, but Crawford was tortured, killed and his body was burned.  The American army of 300 was reassembled under Williamson and after an attack by the pursuing Indians was beaten back, the retreat was continued, finally arriving back at Mingo Bottom on June 13th.

Back at Sandusky, Captain Caldwell had regrouped his forces, and on July 15th, with 69 rangers and 300 Indians, marched east to attack the Wheeling settlements near Fort Henry.  But upon hearing news that Clark was advancing toward the Shawnee towns on the Scioto, they changed their direction and diverted west to Piqua, where they then learned that the reports of Clark’s invasion were false.

On August 9th, Caldwell and his army moved down the Miami river and on reaching the Ohio river, held a council with the Indians, and decided to leave Turney, Clinch and 36 Rangers there to watch for any movement from Clark’s forces at the Falls of the Ohio, while Caldwell, 30 Rangers and 300 Indians would travel down the Licking river to attack the Kentucky settlements.  On August 15th, at Bryant’s Station, they tried to lure the settlers out of the fort and into an ambush, but the 44 men inside defended the fort and would not surrender.  The Indians then surrounded and attacked the fort, while the Rangers destroyed the fields of corn, killed the livestock (300 hog and 157 cattle), and burned the outlying cabins, leaving nothing of value standing outside the fort walls, before retreating north to the Licking river, where they waited in ambush against any pursuers.

A force of 180 Kentucky militia under Colonel Todd from Lexington, along with Colonel Trigg from Harrodsburg and Colonel Boone from Boonesborough, pursued the raiders, reaching them on August 19th at Blue Licks, but were ambushed and overwhelmed and forced to retreat, as 146 militia-men were killed or taken in the battle – the Indians killed and scalped and looted any wounded who were lying on the field or any who surrendered, including Todd and Trigg.  Colonel Boone was able to rally what men he could and to lead them in retreat by means of a fighting withdrawl.  Caldwell, with his Rangers and the Indians, remained there for another day, hoping to ambush any other militia that might pursue them, before they travelled north with their plunder, reaching Wapatomika on August 26th, where they rejoined Turney and the other Rangers, and where they were also to meet Captain Andrew Bradt.  Bradt and a company of Rangers had been sent in early July from Niagara to assist Captain Caldwell, and on their arrival at Sandusky, had marched south to Wapatomika.

At Wapatomika, Caldwell and Elliott received a message from DePeyster ‘ordering them not to make any incursions into the Enemy’s country, but to act on the defensive only’.  But a few days earlier, Bradt had arrived and received reports that the Americans were assembling at Wheeling for an attack against the Indians.  He immediately left, with his 50 Rangers and with James Girty and 250 Indians, to march east to the Ohio river, and they arrived at Fort Henry on September 11th.  The settlers, led by Ebenezer and Silas Zane, refused to surrender, and Bradt’s Indians surrounded and attacked the fort for 2 days, while the Rangers killed all of the cattle, hogs and sheep, and set fire to the outlying cabins.  After a failed attempt to set fire to the walls of the fort, the frustrated Indians gave up the siege and broke off into smaller parties to raid smaller stations and isolated cabins near Beaver creek.  Bradt and his Rangers left before militia reinforcements arrived from Catfish Camp in western Pennsylvania, and arrived back at Wapatomika on September 21st.  Bradt’s Rangers met with Caldwell’s Rangers, who had taken ill there, and made their way back to Detroit.

The settlers on the western frontier were now to organize one more attempt to save their settlements.  With no money available from Virginia, with soldiers on the frontier not paid in over 2 years, Clark would write that ‘but can assure you with truth, I am entirely reduced myself by advancing everything I could raise, and except what the state owes me, am not worth a Spanish dollar’.  Nonetheless, Clark exchanged 3500 acres of land for the flour necessary for an expedition.  Plans were made for a cooperative campaign – Irvine to advance with 1200 men against Wyandot at Sandusky, and Clark to attack the Shawnee at Chillicothe.

On November 3rd, Clark and 1500 men marched north for 6 days along the Miami river to Chillicothe.  Although the inhabitants had fled before their arrival, Clark’s men burned it and 5 other towns, including the re-built village of Piqua, and destroyed 10,000 bushels of corn and large quantities of their winter supplies.  Lorimer’s, the British trading post at the head of the Miami river, was captured, and any supplies that could not be carried away were burned.  After vainly attempting for 4 days to bring on a general engagement with the Shawnee, Clark and his men departed for Kentucky.

As Irvine was about to depart from Fort McIntosh for the attack on Sandusky, he received orders from the Congressional Secretary of War to halt the expedition because assurances had been received from the British that all hostilities were suspended (including the Indian raids).

Along the frontiers, by the end of 1782, the British navy controlled the ports of Halifax and Quebec; the British and Hessian army maintained the forts along the Richelieu river from Sorel to Isle aux Noix and along the St. Lawrence river from Quebec to Montreal; and the British Regulars and Provincials (Tories) still held their outposts at Carleton island, Oswego, Niagara, Detroit and Mackinac.

But the Americans (thanks to General Irvine and General Clark) still held that tenuous grip on the western frontier settlements in the Ohio country, the Illinois country, and the Kentucky counties of Virginia, and they still held the key to the west – Fort Pitt.

2 – The Plan of Campaign, May 1st 1782

            After spending the winter in Philadelphia with Congress, at the end of March 1782 General Washington left Philadelphia to return north and rejoin the Army.  On April 12th, he wrote to Benjamin Lincoln “the Nature of our Operations … must depend greatly on the Views of the Enemy and the particular Mode of War which they shall in future adopt.  Whether an Evacuation of Charlestown will take place or not, or whether the Enemy will cease their Efforts in whole or in part in the southern Quarter, I am unable to decide … From the above observations you will perceive the State of Uncertainty in which I am placed.”

But also on April 12th, during the Battle of the Saintes, De Grasse and his French fleet of 35 ships fought a sea battle with a British fleet of 36 ships under Rodney, during which De Grasse’s ship was forced to surrender and De Grasse was taken prisoner.  When the news reached Canada on June 10th, the houses of the British were lit and their sailors threw stones and broke the windows of any Canadien house that was not.

At Newburgh, General Washington wrote up his ‘Plan for the Campaign’ (dated May 1st 1782) in the order of his estimate of their importance: first, the reduction of New York, second, the reduction of Charleston and Savannah, and third, the annexation of Canada and Nova Scotia – all of which would depend upon the determinations of the Court of France and on the possession of a superior naval force.

Concerning Canada, he wrote, “The Annexation of so Capitol a Province as this (Canada) to the Federal Union, the consequent subduction of all the Northern and Western Indians, and the restoration of Peace and quietness to such an extensive Frontier as we have from the River St. John’s, in the Bay of Fundy, to the Holstein in No. Carolina, are matters of great moment, and worthy of the most serious attention … Beside these, an expedition into Canada would at once develop the mysterious conduct of the people of Vermont; bring them to an explanation in a manner of all others the most advantageous to us … I shall say nothing of the benefits which America would derive, and the injury Great Britain must sustain, by the Fur and other trade of Canada shifting hands.  Nor of the immense importance it must be to the future peace and quiet of these states, especially the western parts of them, to annihilate the British Interest in that country; thereby putting a stop to their intriguing after Peace shall be established.”

General Washington’s prescience of Britain’s use of Canada for their post-war policy toward the United States will be seen in the decades to come, as Britain refused to surrender her outer posts at Oswegatchie, Carleton Island, Niagara, Detroit and Mackinac – posts that would become part of the territory of the United States with the signing of the Definitive Peace Treaty in 1783 – and used these posts to continue British control of the fur trade and manipulation of the western Indian tribes, in an attempt to stop the settlement of the Ohio country by the Americans.  Britain would not relinquish these posts until after the signing of Jay’s Treaty in 1796, and the further continuation of this policy would, in part, lead into the War of 1812.

On May 6th, Guy Carleton arrived at New York, as the new British commander-in-chief of the land forces, along with Admiral Robert Digby, as the new British commander-in-chief of the naval forces, with his instructions of April 4th from the new British government under Rockingham, for ‘withdrawing of the garrison, artillery, provisions, stores of all kinds and every species of public property from New York and its dependencies to Halifax’, and also the garrisons at Charleston, Savannah, and St. Augustine – as he saw fit.

The next day Carleton wrote to General Washington and enclosed copies of the proceedings of the House of Commons of March 4th respecting an address to the King in favour of peace, and of a draft bill enabling his Majesty to conclude a peace or truce with the colonies.  Carleton also requested a passport for Maurice Morgann, the private secretary of Shelburne, to travel to Philadelphia, but Congress refused – since the advances of Carleton bore so strong a similarity to those of the commissioners in 1778, which proved delusive and fruitless, that Congress deemed it advisable not to open any door for an intercourse through this channel, more especially as the business of negotiating a peace was entrusted to its commissioners in Europe.

On May 8th, General Washington wrote to Meshech Weare, President of New Hampshire, that “upon the most mature deliberation I can bestow, I am obliged to declare it as my candid opinion, that the measures of the enemy in all their views, so far as they respect America, are merely delusory … they are meant to amuse this country with a false idea of peace, to draw us off from our connexion with France, and to lull us into a state of security and inactivity, which having taken place, the ministry will be left to prosecute the war in other parts of the world with greater vigor and effect”.

On July 1st 1782, Rochambeau’s French army began to leave their camps in Virginia to start their march north, reaching Maryland on July 19th and resting at Baltimore for a month.  On July 15th, General Washington returned to Philadelphia so that he could meet there with Rochambeau and discuss strategy.

Rochambeau’s army was to conduct a slow, deliberate march north – designed to force the British into consolidating their forces in New York, instead of raiding any other American ports.  They reached Delaware on August 29th, Pennsylvania on August 30th, New Jersey on September 2nd, New York on September 13th, where they crossed the Hudson river at King’s Ferry to Verplanck’s Point, joined with the American army and rested at Yorktown Heights for a month; reached Connecticut on October 23rd, Rhode Island on November 9th, and rested at Providence for 3 weeks; and finally reached Massachusetts on December 1st to embark on transport ships with Vaudreuil’s fleet in Boston harbour.  On December 23rd Rochambeau and his French troops left Boston to travel on a mission to the West Indies.

On July 11th 1782, Carleton evacuated the garrison at Savannah to Charleston, and about 2000 tories with about 5000 slaves (and also including a small group of free blacks) left Savannah.  When Carleton cancelled the evacuation of St. Augustine, East Florida became the first choice for the southern tory refugees, and the majority of tories travelled on a convoy to St. Augustine and another convoy sailed to Jamaica.  (Many of the tory refugees would end up moving again and again.)

On July 31st, after receiving the June 5th ‘secret instructions’ from Shelburne, Carleton again wrote to General Washington on August 2nd, that “We are acquainted, Sir, by authority, that negotiations for a general peace have already commenced at Paris, and that Mr. Grenville is invested with full powers to treat with all parties at war, and is now at Paris in the execution of his commission … that his Majesty, in order to remove all obstacles to that peace, which he so ardently wishes to restore, has commanded his ministers to direct Mr. Grenville, that the independency of the thirteen Provinces should be proposed by him in the first instance, instead of making it a condition of a general treaty”.  On August 14th, Carleton offered Shelburne his resignation – but it wasn’t accepted until January 1st 1783, and he didn’t leave until the final evacuation.

On August 6th General Washington wrote to Greene, that “from the former infatuation, duplicity and perverse system of British policy, I confess I am induced to doubt everything, to suspect everything … whatever the real intention of the enemy may be, I think the strictest attention and exertion, which have ever been practised on our part, instead of being diminished, out to be increased thereby.”  He also wrote that “Indeed, I hardly know what to think or believe of the disposition of the court of Britain” – in part because he had also seen a New York paper “in which is a speech of General Conway, and some other articles, which appear to be designed to propose independence to America on certain conditions not admissible, namely, that the legislature of America should be totally independent of the Parliament of Great Britain, but that the King of England should have the same kind of supremacy here as in Ireland”.

*Note* – The Irish parliament had agreed to send 4000 Irish troops for military service in America, but refused to allow Hessian mercenaries to be sent to replace them.  In 1778, Catholics in Ireland were allowed to join the army but were not allowed to vote or hold office.  In 1779, ‘Volunteer’ militias were formed by the Irish people for their own self-defence.  As the economy of Ireland was deteriorating in order to feed the British army and to fight the war, non-importation agreements began to be organized in the Irish towns to encourage buying Irish made goods. 

In December 1780, the Earl of Carlisle was appointed the new Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, with Mr. Eden as secretary – the same Carlisle and Eden who had been sent to America in June 1778 as peace commissioners, whose proposals were rejected by Congress because they refused to acknowledge America’s independence. 

On February 15th 1782, at a convention of 243 delegates from 143 Volunteer corps of Ulster province, 13 resolutions were passed – one of which was that Poyning’s Law was unconstitutional and should be repealed.  (Since 1494, by Poyning’s Law, the Irish parliament was not allowed to initiate legislation – only the British parliament had that right.) The resolutions were adopted by all the Volunteer corps of Ireland.  

On April 16th, Henry Grattan introduced an amendment of demands of the Irish people – the Volunteer resolutions – which was passed by the Irish parliament. On May 17th, a resolution introduced in the British House of Lords by Shelburne and in the British House of Commons by Charles Fox, was passed whereby the British parliament gave up its authority over the Irish parliament, but whose laws were still subject to approval by the King’s Privy Council!!!  This was the false independence that was rejected by Congress, but was now to be given to Ireland and later to be given to Canada.

In October 1782, the evacuation from Charleston began of over 4000 tories with almost 6000 slaves, and of 1500 free blacks, again with most going to St. Augustine, and others going to Jamaica and Britain, while 500 went to Halifax in Nova Scotia.  On December 12th the garrison at Charleston sailed to New York.

3 – The Arrival of John Jay at Paris, June 23rd 1782

On Christmas day, Lafayette left Boston on the Alliance and arrived at L’Orient on January 17th 1782.  He soon met with Dr. Franklin, who would write that “our good Friend the Marquis whom I have just now seen, has been at my Request with all the Ministers, spent an hour with each of them, pressing with all the Arguments possible a farther Supply of Money for the ensuing Campaign; and being better acquainted with Facts he was able to speak with greater Weight than I could possibly do.”  Lafayette presented to Vergennes a lengthy memoir about America’s need for 12 million livres and for a powerful demonstration against the British at New York or Charleston.

Dr. Franklin was facing a financial crisis – trying to pay for the supplies that were purchased to replace those lost when the Lafayette was captured by the British, and were now sitting at Brest, and trying to pay for the supplies that were purchased by Laurens and were still sitting in Amsterdam, plus trying to arrange transports for these supplies to America; but especially, trying to help the thousand Americans who were held prisoner in Britain, by giving 1 shilling a week to each for comfort during the winter; and trying to pay for John Jay’s bills in Spain.  On March 1st, France provided the United States with a 6 million livre loan, with the first instalment of 1.5 million livres to be received on April 10th.

Also on March 1st, Dr. Franklin received the news from London of the vote in Parliament against the war.  The Sheriffs of London presented a petition, along with an earlier petition from Bristol (both were commercial centres that were harmed by the war), and a debate was led by General Henry Conway, who moved the following resolution, “that to carry on any longer an offensive war in America, for the impracticable object of reducing the Colonies to obedience by force, would only tend to weaken our efforts against our European enemies; and by encreasing the enmity between Great Britain and the Colonies, frustrate the hopes and desires of his Majesty, so graciously expressed from the throne, of restoring to his people the inestimable blessing of public tranquility.”  The resolution passed.

On March 5th, Parliament empowered the King to negotiate peace with the United States, and the Prime Minister (since 1770), Lord Frederick North, the Earl of Guilford, resigned on March 20th, and was replaced by Charles Watson-Wentworth, Marquis of Rockingham (with William Petty, the Earl of Shelburne, as Secretary of State for the Home, Colonial and Irish Affairs; Charles Fox as Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Henry Conway as Commander-in-chief of the Forces and Edmund Burke as Paymaster of the Forces).

Shelburne, insisting that negotiations with the Americans fell to his department so long as their independence wasn’t recognized, sent Richard Oswald to France as his peace emissary.  Richard Oswald had been a partner in the company that owned Bunce Island, a slave-trading station on the Sierra Leone river, and had been a business partner with Henry Laurens(2), who had been a partner in the largest slave-trading house in America.  On December 31st 1781, Oswald would put up the ₤50,000 bail, to release Laurens from imprisonment in the Tower of London.

After his release, Laurens “had frequent conversations with Rockingham and members of both Houses of Parliament, at his lordship’s house; they were all heartily disposed to peace with the United States, but the alliance with France was a ‘choak-pear’ … I uniformly and firmly maintained there could be no peace without a formal and tacit acknowledge of independence, and that France and the United States must treat and lay down their arms at the same time.”  “In all conversation with Lord Shelburne, his lordship regretted the independence of the United States; for the sake, he said, of the inhabitants; he was sure they would not be so happy without, as with the connexion of Great Britain”

On April 4th, Shelburne met with Laurens, telling him that “Here is a letter, from Mr. Diggs … Diggs is just arrived from the Hague, where he had a conversation with Mr. Adams, who assured him the American Ministers can treat for peace with Great Britain, independent of France.”  Shelburne allowed Laurens to travel to the United Provinces to meet with John Adams, in order to prove Mr. Diggs wrong.  (Thomas Diggs had been sent as an emissary by Lord North, in the last days of his government.)  The next day, Laurens met with Oswald, who was being sent to France to meet with Dr. Franklin, and Oswald asked Laurens to give him a letter of introduction to Dr. Franklin.  They travelled together to Ostend, where Oswald proceeded on to Paris, and Laurens proceeded to Leyden to meet Adams, who gave the lie to everything Diggs had written.  (Adams had been living in the United Provinces since July 1780.)

After receiving the news of the victory at Yorktown and while still recovering from a deathly illness (possibly typhus or malaria), Adams had renewed his demand for an answer to his memorial from the States-General, and the question of American independence became a matter of political debate throughout the country.  Adams called for citizen petitions to the government for recognition of the United States, and he personally went to the individual residences at The Hague for the delegations of 18 cities in the province of Holland.  (Holland was the most populous province).

On February 26 1782, the province of Friesland had voted to instruct its delegates in the States-General to move formally to receive John Adams as minister from the United States.  On March 28th the Province of Holland had recognized the independence of America.  On April 19th (one year to the day that Adams presented his memorial) the States-General resolved that ‘Mr. Adams shall be admitted and acknowledged in the quality of ambassador of the United States to Their High Mightinesses’.

On April 17th, Dr. Franklin was visited by Caleb Whitefoord, his old London friend and next-door neighbour, who introduced Shelburne’s emissary, Richard Oswald.  Oswald would later meet together with Vergennes and Dr. Franklin.  Oswald asked for proposals that he could bring back to London, but was told it was up to Britain to make overtures.  The next day, Dr. Franklin met again with Oswald to discuss the prospects for peace, and to also discuss his thoughts about Canada, which he had written down, and which he allowed Oswald to take back with him to show to Shelburne.

Although Dr. Franklin had always kept Vergennes informed about any negotiation details, he did not tell him about the memorandum that he had given to Oswald, or about his proposal regarding Canada.

The memorandum read: “Britain possesses Canada.  Her chief Advantage from that Possession consists in the Trade for Peltry.  Her Expences in Governing and Defending that Settlement must be considerable.  It might be humiliating to her to give it up on the Demand of America.  Perhaps America will not demand it: Some of her politic Rulers may consider the fear of Such a Neighbour as a Means of keeping the 13 States more united among themselves, and more attentive to Military Discipline.  But on the Minds of the People in general, would it not have an excellent Effect, if Britain Should voluntarily offer to give up this Province; tho’ on these Conditions, that she shall in all times coming have & enjoy the Right of Free Trade thither, unincumbred with any Duties whatsoever; and that so much of the vacant Lands there shall be sold, as will raise a Sum sufficient to pay for the Houses burnt by the British Troops and their Indians; and also to indemnify the Royalists for the Confiscation of their Estates.”

After Oswald’s departure, Dr. Franklin was dissatisfied with himself for “hinting at a reparation to the Tories” and “a little ashamed of my weakness in permitting the paper to go out of my hands”, and he quickly acted to offset his error.  Dr. Franklin printed ‘Supplement to the Boston Independent Chronicle’ – a hoax that appeared to be an actual supplement to the actual Independent Chronicle at Boston.  The feature purported to be a letter from a captain of the New England militia, who had intercepted 8 large packages of American scalps – scalps of 43 soldiers, 297 farmers, 88 women, and 526 children (including 29 infants) – sent by the Seneca Indians as a present to the governor of Canada, to be sent over the water to the great king, that he may regard them and be refreshed.

Laurens and Oswald had arranged to meet back at Sittingburne and they returned to London together, where later they both reported back to Shelburne of their missions.  From Oswald, Shelburne received Dr. Franklin`s notes on Canada.  After receiving Laurens report that Digges had lied, Shelburne replied, “Then, Mr. Laurens, independence, must be a preliminary.”  On April 23rd, the British cabinet authorized Fox to propose a person who would begin direct negotiations with Vergennes, and decided to send Oswald back to France, and to name Paris as the place for holding peace negotiations.  On May 4th, Oswald again visited Dr. Franklin in Paris, returning his paper on Canada and suggesting that its discussion await the end of the negotiations.  (Shelburne had told Oswald that he would refuse to consider paying reparations to Americans out of Canadian lands, and that he had no intention of acknowledging American independence without the loyalists being taken care of, with a more friendly method than of ceding Canada.)  Oswald also gave Dr. Franklin the news that Charles Fox was sending his own emissary, Thomas Grenville, a son of George Grenville – the man who had conceived of the Stamp Act, a ‘proper person’, to confer with Vergennes.  On May 9th, Grenville met with Dr. Franklin and with Vergennes, representing to him that ‘the principal points in contemplation are the allowance of independence to America, upon Great Britain being restored to the situation she was placed in by the Treaty of 1763’.  Vergennes replied that the Treaty of 1763 badly needed revision.  While Grenville would later tell Dr. Franklin that he brought along full powers to treat for peace with France and her allies, Vergennes would tell Dr. Franklin that Grenville’s powers related to France only.  “They want to treat with us for you, but this the king will not agree to.  You will treat for yourselves, and every one of the powers at war with Britain will make its own treaty.  All that is necessary for our common security is that the two treaties go hand in hand, and are signed all the same day’.  Vergennes told Grenville that the issue of independence should be treated by Britain in direct negotiations with the United States rather than with France, which had no authority over the question.

On April 22nd, Dr. Franklin had written to John Jay asking him to come and join him in Paris.  John Jay had arrived at Cadiz, Spain in January 1780, but the Spanish government refused to recognize him or to recognize the independence of the United States.  Congress had sent Jay to negotiate an alliance with Spain, insisting upon ‘the navigation of the Mississippi into and from the sea’, while Spain refused to negotiate, because they sought the total control of the river and of the gulf.  Spain’s Foreign Minister, Conde de Floridablanca, was conducting secret negotiations with the British, where Spain was willing to sign a treaty with Britain – in exchange for Gibraltar, while reassuring them that Spain would never acknowledge the independence of the revolted colonies until it was conceded by Britain.  Congress had drawn upon Laurens and Jay for ₤100,000 sterling apiece, but Jay was to find no financial assistance from Spain.  Dr. Franklin had to come to Jay’s rescue with modest advances, until in December 1780, Spain promised a loan of $150,000 – but not available for 6 months!  Congress continued to draw upon Jay and Dr. Franklin continued to pay Jay’s bills.

On February 15th 1781, Congress changed Jay’s instructions, permitting him to recede from the demands for the free navigation of the Mississippi river in order to remove every obstacle to an alliance with Spain.  Jay was finally able to obtain a conference with Floridablanca on September 22nd, where he proposed an alliance, with the relinquishment of navigation of the Mississippi river south of 31 degrees.  (Jay wisely stated that should Spain put off its acceptance until a general peace, then the United States would cease to consider themselves bound by the offer.)   But even after the news of Yorktown, Floridablanca continued to oppose an alliance with America, because of his hopes that Spain could become the mediator of a general peace between Britain, France and America.

On April 22nd 1782, Dr. Franklin wrote to Jay, that “I have undertaken to pay all the Bills of your Acceptance that have come to my knowledge, and I hope in God no more will be drawn upon us, but when Funds are first provided.  In that Case your constant Residence at Madrid is no longer so necessary. You may make a Journey either for Health or Pleasure without retarding the Progress of a Negociation not yet begun. …  Spain has taken four Years to consider whether she should treat with us or not.  Give her Forty.  And let us in the mean time mind our own Business.”  Jay left Madrid and arrived in Paris on June 23rd, as Dr. Franklin was recovering from a bout of influenza – a pandemic that was sweeping Europe.  Jay himself would be laid low with an attack of influenza, during the first part of July.

4 – The Arrival of John Adams at Paris, October 26th 1782

On July 1st, the British Prime Minister Rockingham died of influenza.  The king chose Shelburne to become the new Prime Minister, but several members of the cabinet refused to serve under him.  (Both Charles Fox and Edmund Burke resigned and would later ally with Lord North.)  Fox was replaced with Thomas Robinson, Baron Grantham; and Thomas Granville, Fox’s emissary to France, would be replaced by Alleyne Fitzherbert.  But Shelburne would also make use of his own protégé and confidant, Benjamin Vaughan(3), to maintain another line of communication with the American commissioners.

Dr. Franklin, in a letter to Robert Livingston on June 29th had warned that

the Ministry still flatter the King with the Hope of recovering his Sovereignty over us, on the same Terms as are now making with Ireland(4) … this Project of Reunion … is said have much Reliance on the Operation of private Agents sent into America, to dispose Minds there in favour of it, and to bring about a separate Treaty there with General Carleton.”

And on July 11th, Dr. Franklin wrote to Vaughan that,

It is now intimated to me from several Quarters that Lord Shelburne’s Plan is to retain Sovereignty for the King, giving us otherwise an independent Parliament, & a Government similar to that of late intended for Ireland(4).  If this be really his project, our negociation for peace will not go very far; the thing is impracticable and impossible.”

On July 10th, Dr. Franklin met with Oswald, and (without an advance notice to Vergennes) he read to Oswald ‘a few hints’ from a memorandum – which divided his proposals into ‘necessary’ and ‘advisable’ articles.  The ‘necessary’ articles included ‘full and compleat independence to the Thirteen States’ with all British troops withdrawn; ‘a settlement of the boundaries of their colonies and the loyal colonies’; confirming the boundaries of Canada to what they were before the Quebec Act ‘ if not to a still more contracted state on an ancient footing’; and freedom of fishing on the Banks of Newfoundland.  The ‘advisable’ articles included reparation to Americans for damage done them by the British; acknowledgment by Parliament of its error ‘in distressing these countries so much’; each country giving the same privileges as its own to the ships of the other; and the cession of Canada.

The cession of Canada was now considered by Dr. Franklin as an advisable, not as a necessary proposal for peace – and was also in keeping to the instructions from Congress of August 14th 1779.

In response to a memorial of February 9th 1779 from the Minister plenipotentiary of France, and after much deliberation, Congress had resolved on March 19th 1779 “That the thirteen United States are bounded, north, by a line to be drawn from the north-west angle of Nova Scotia, along the high lands which divide those rivers which empty themselves into the river St. Lawrence from those which fall into the Atlantic ocean to the north-westernmost head of the Connecticut river; thence down along the middle of that river to the forty-fifth degree of north latitude; thence due west in the latitude forty-five degrees north from the equator, to the north-westernmost side of the river St. Lawrence, or Cadaraqui; thence strait to the south end of lake Nepissing; and thence strait to the source of the river Mississippi : west, by a line to be drawn along the middle of the river Mississippi from its source to where the said line shall intersect the latitude of thirty-one degrees north : south, by a line to be drawn due east from the termination of the line last mentioned in the latitude thirty-one degrees north from the equator to the middle of the river Apalachicola, or Catahouchie; thence along the river thereof to its junction with the Flint river; thence straight to the head of St. Mary’s river; thence down along the middle of St. Mary’s river to the Atlantic ocean : and east, by a line to be drawn along the middle of St. John’s from its source to its mouth in the bay of Fundy  …  ”

On August 14th 1779, as Congress was deliberating on the instructions to their peace commissioner, they resolved on the exact same boundaries as of their March 19th resolution, and they further resolved,

Although it is of the utmost importance to the peace and commerce of the United States that Canada and Nova Scotia should be ceded, and more particularly that their equal common right to the Fisheries should be guarantied to them, yet a desire of terminating the war hath induced us not to make the acquisitions of these objects an ultimatum of the present occasion.”

 

After recovering from influenza, Jay met with the Spanish ambassador to France, Conde de Aranda, who had been authorized by Floridablanca to negotiate with the Americans on the western boundaries, and was assisted by Rayneval, the undersecretary of Vergennes, who acted as their interpreter.  Jay would receive from Aranda a map (a copy of John Mitchell’s map of North America, originally published in 1755(5)) marked with a red line – “from a lake near the confines of Georgia, but east of the Flint river, to the confluence of the Kanawha river with the Ohio, thence round the western shores of lake Erie and Huron, and thence round lake Michigan to lake Superior.”  Spain sought to coop up the Americans in a relatively narrow strip of coastal territory almost 500 miles to the east of the Mississippi river – that bore a striking resemblance to the restraining line that the British had drawn up in the Proclamation of 1763!!!  (It was the age-old oligarchic plan to stop America’s dream of opening up the west – as if the French and Indian War and the War for Independence had never been fought!!!)  Spain’s role, in influencing France, was now open for all to see.

On August 10th, Jay and Dr. Franklin met with Vergennes to discuss their problems in negotiating with Aranda, and while Vergennes was cautious and reserved, they were confronted by Rayneval who stated that “we claimed more than we had a right to.”  (Unbeknownst to the Americans, Vergennes and Aranda had been discussing this over the previous fortnight, and Rayneval had drafted this compromise line!  Vergennes considered the Americans to be extravagant in their boundary claims, not only because of their insistence on the Mississippi river as their western boundary, but also for venturing to assert title to the Northwest territory, that France hoped Britain would retain as part of Canada.)  Jay and Dr. Franklin rode back to Passy, to discuss this disturbing meeting and their uncertain future course.

The next week, Dr. Franklin was stricken with an acute attack of bladder stones, intensified by his chronic gout.  Jay met with Vaughan and Oswald, and also with Aranda, who proposed another compromise line – from the western end of lake Erie, running down the Wabash river to the Ohio river, and south along the Kanawha river.  But Jay refused to compromise with the Mississippi river as the western boundary.  Again Aranda, with Rayneval, proposed yet another compromise line – from Fort Toulouse on the Alabama, to the Tennessee until the confluence with the Sequatchie, up to its source, thence to the source of the Cumberland, and down to the Ohio river, and everything north of the Ohio was generously awarded to the British!!!  Reyneval then wrote to Jay and enclosed a memorandum on the historical points he used to justify this compromise – that by the Proclamation of 1763, neither Spain nor America had any rights north of the 31st parallel.  Yet, somehow, the Indians dwelling to the west of that line would be placed under Spanish protection!!!  This was denying any American claim to the Northwest!!!  On September 9th, Jay broke off all further discussions with Aranda.

On September 7th, Rayneval left Paris, for a secret visit to London, where he addressed a letter to Shelburne asking permission to call upon him at his country home and to give him a letter from Vergennes.  Discussions began on September 13th and continued for almost a week.  (Vergennes told Aranda about the mission, but did not tell the Americans!  Aranda told Floridablanca that the British would be consulted about America’s territorial claims.)  In the talks, Shelburne conceded that he had “always been opposed to independence, that it was the hardest pill to digest, but that he recognized the necessity of swallowing it, and that this object would be decided unconditionally.”  Rayneval gave Shelburne to understand that, once independence was granted, the French “were disposed to assist us as to the Boundaryes.”  Shelburne remarked that he hoped the king would not yield to any of the American’s claims on the fisheries, and Raynaval declared that “we do not want the Americans to share in the fisheries.”  Shelburne also dangled the prospect that after the peace, an Anglo-French entente act as arbiter of the public peace.

Learning of Rayneval’s trip, in a letter to Robert Livingston, Jay conjectured that the purpose was

1st, to let Lord Shelburne know that the demands of America to be treated as independent previous to a treaty were not approved or countenanced by this court, and that the offer of Britain to make that an acknowledgement in an article of the proposed treaty was in the court’s opinion sufficient; 2dly, To sound Lord Shelburne on the subject of the fishery, and to discover whether Britain would agree to divide it with France to the exclusion of all others; 3dly, To impress Lord Shelburne with the determination of Spain to possess the exclusive navigation of the Gulf of Mexico, and of their desire to keep us from the Mississippi; and also to hint the propriety of such a line as on the one hand would satisfy Spain and on the other leave to Britain all the country north of the Ohio; 4thly, … to judge … whether it was probable that a general peace, on terms agreeable to France, could be effected in order that, if that was not the case, an immediate stop might be put to the negotiation.”

Without the knowledge of Dr. Franklin or of Vergennes, Jay dispatched Vaughan on a secret mission to tell Shelburne that without unconditional acknowledgement of independence “neither confidence nor peace could reasonably expected” and underscored “the obvious interest of Britain immediately to cut the cords which tied us to France”.

Jay instructed Vaughan on the fisheries, that we could not make peace at the expense of Britain’s dividing the fisheries with France and excluding America, and on the boundaries and navigation of the Mississippi river, that to contest the American claims to either would be “impolitic”.  Not “the possession of vast tracts of wilderness” but “the profits of an extensive and lucrative commerce” was the true objective of “a commercial European nation”.  Britain should abandon any idea of retaining a part of the back-country or of insisting on extending the bounds of Canada “so as to comprehend the lands in question”.

A week before Jay had decided to send Vaughan over to see Shelburne, he informed Oswald that, if Dr. Franklin would consent, he was prepared to accept a “constructive denomination of character to be introduced in the preamble of the treaty” which would merely describe their constituents as “the Thirteen United States of America”, and agreed in that case to go on with the treaty, and without any other declaration of independence than as standing as an article in that treaty.  Jay and Dr. Franklin spent that night and the next morning drafting a letter “to satisfy His Majesty’s Ministers of the propriety of their conduct”.  But Dr. Franklin hesitated to sign the letter, in case of a rejection, and also, because of an uneasiness about whether such a move might be considered a violation of the commissioners’ instructions which fettered them to the French court.  Jay turned over to Oswald an unsigned copy of the draft.  Oswald would warn Shelburne that if the government rejected Jay’s compromise formula, “there will be an end to all further confidence and communication with the Americans”.

Without commanding support in Parliament, Shelburne had to make his moves while Parliament was still prorogued until November.  On August 30th Shelburne’s cabinet had agreed to concede all four of Dr. Franklin’s necessary articles.  Now, on the night of September 18th, the final day of Shelburne’s talks with Rayneval, after debating Jay’s and Dr. Franklin’s draft letter, the cabinet met and voted to change the commission and to empower Oswald “to treat, consult, and conclude with any Commissioner or person vested with power by and on the part of the Thirteen United States of America”, named in geographical order from north to south.

With Dr. Franklin still in but an indifferent state of health, Jay wrote to Adams on September 28th, announcing Oswald’s receipt of the commission, and hoping and praying that he would see him soon.  Adams replied that he would come as soon as he cleared up business in the United Provinces, and so Jay carried on the conversation with Oswald alone.  In his talks with Dr. Franklin, Jay insisted that no communication be made to Vergennes until the draft of the preliminaries was completed and conditionally signed, and Dr. Franklin agreed.  Working round the clock, Jay drew up a provisional treaty draft, which he submitted to Oswald on October 5th, on behalf of Dr. Franklin and himself.  It acknowledged American independence and stipulated for the evacuation of troops and the liberation of prisoners.  It reserved for Americans “the right to take fish of every kind on the banks of Newfoundland and other places”.  It included the free navigation of the Mississippi river for both parties, as well as providing access to “all rivers, harbours, lakes, ports and places” belonging to either side “in any part of the world” – saving only to the British chartered companies, the Hudson’s Bay Company and the East India Company.  As per Congress’s instructions to their commissioners of January 22nd 1782(6), it set the Mississippi river as the western boundary, the 31st parallel as the southern(7), the 45th parallel and the lake Nepissing line to the Mississippi source as the northern, and the St. John’s river as the eastern boundary.

The cabinet meeting was called as soon as Oswald’s packet arrived, with the draft treaty, and six days later, on October 17th, it overruled its decision of August 29th.  Oswald was given a new set of instructions – to get a better north-eastern boundary, to reassert Britain’s claims to the Northwest and to urge it as a means of providing for the Tory refugees.  Oswald was instructed that he could only recede from this stand on the boundaries, upon condition that the United States make “a just provision for the refugees”.  Oswald was also to deny the right of drying fish on the coasts of Newfoundland; to urge the Americans as strongly as possible, to discharge their prewar debts; and while agreeing to free navigation of the Mississippi river, to state that reciprocal free trading privileges would not be adopted.  The cabinet also dispatched to Paris a “proper and confidential person”, Henry Strachey, an undersecretary of state.  Strachey had met John Adams and Dr. Franklin before, when he acted as the secretary of Lord Howe’s peace commission at Staten Island in 1776.  On October 24th, Oswald broke the news to Jay that the draft was not acceptable – that the British wanted the boundaries of Canada as fixed by the Quebec Act, which meant securing the whole of the Northwest.

 

5 – The Arrival of Henry Laurens at Paris, November 29th 1782

On October 26th, after a 10-day trip, Adams reached Paris, after he had successfully negotiated a treaty of commerce with the United Provinces.  The 76-year old Dr. Franklin would now have the help of the young 37-year old John Jay, and the help of John Adams, who would become 47-years old in a few days.

On October 28th, Adams, now in Paris, visited Jay and they discussed the coming negotiations until well into the night, and on the 29th, Adams visited Dr. Franklin and told him of his approval of Jay’s conduct, and of their resolve to not communicate anything to Vergennes.  But Dr. Franklin was still worried over their instructions from Congress.

On June 7th 1781, Congress had resolved that their commissioner(s)

are to make the most candid and confidential communications, upon all subjects, to the ministers of our generous ally the king of France; to undertake nothing in the negotiation for peace without their knowledge and concurrence; and to make them sensible how much we rely upon his Majesty’s influence for effectual support, in every thing that may be necessary to the present security or future prosperity of the United States.”

Since their August 10th meeting with Vergennes and Rayneval, Jay had insisted to Dr. Franklin that while France had contributed money, arms, armies and navies for America’s assistance, that support was for reasons of power politics – no different from other wars which in the past were settled by compromise lines and deals under the table.  And that Spain was delaying recognition of the United States until the general peace, where Spain hoped to recover Gibraltar, and the control of the Mississippi and the Gulf of Mexico.

Jay was prepared to break the instructions of Congress, if necessary.  Dr. Franklin would now have to make a fateful decision.  Before the start of the negotiations, Dr. Franklin told his two colleagues, “I will go with you, and proceed in the conferences without communicating anything to this court; and the rather, because they communicated nothing to us.”

Strachey arrived in Paris on October 28th, accompanied by Whitefoord, his secretary, and by Roberts, a clerk from the Board of Trade with a trunkful of maps and documents to buttress Britain’s boundary claims.  Talks began the next day, and Strachey proposed that a longitudinal line, east of the Mississippi, be drawn to limit America’s western extension.  (Here was that worn out Rayneval-Aranda proposition all over again!!!)  Jay replied, “If that line is insisted upon, it is needless to talk of peace.  We will never yield that point”.

The American commissioners now proposed an alternative northern boundary – a line that would follow the forty-fifth parallel west to the St. Lawrence river, and then, instead of the ‘Nepissing line’, follow a line through the middle of the St. Lawrence river and the middle of the Great Lakes to the Lake of the Woods and then west to the Mississippi river.  This proposal would cede all of the territory that was south of the ‘Nepissing line’ to the Great Lakes (an area that would later become the province of Upper Canada) to the British, as a way to meet their demand for land to compensate the Tory refugees.  It also would make the Great Lakes accessible to the Canadians and would provide them with a more advantageous fur-trade route.

Although Adams came to the conference table with pockets bulging with documents to support the claims of Massachusetts to an expansive Maine frontier, his colleagues thought that it was too hazardous to contend for a river which was not named in the charter of Massachusetts (the St. John’s river), against a river that was named in it (the St. Croix river).  This was compounded by the fact that British troops were still quartered in Maine at Penobscot bay, where they were obtaining wood for their ships, and that the British were demanding a boundary as far south as the Penobscot.  The Americans then proposed a north-east boundary at the St. Croix river, from its mouth at Passamaquoddy bay to its source, then due north to the Highlands, and following the Highlands to the source of the Connecticut river, and down the middle of that river to the 45th parallel.

These proposals for the boundaries with Canada and Nova Scotia were not spontaneous concessions to the British, but a determined move by the American commissioners to fight for the possession of the Ohio country, and also in following the policy and instructions of Congress as resolved on August 14th 1779 –

Although it is of the utmost importance to the peace and commerce of the United States that Canada and Nova Scotia should be ceded, and more particularly that their equal common right to the Fisheries should be guarantied to them, yet a desire of terminating the war hath induced us not to make the acquisitions of these objects an ultimatum of the present occasion.”

The American policy had never been to conquer Canada or Nova Scotia, but to stop any use of these provinces in attacking the United States.  They had also to bear in mind the British policy of uti possidetis – ‘as you possess’, meaning that territory remains with its possessor at the end of a conflict.  The simple reality was that the British army and navy still occupied Canada and Nova Scotia.  But, in keeping with this same principle, that small company of brave Kentucky militia-men, under Colonel George Rogers Clark, still held the Ohio and the Illinois country, which had been given to Congress by Virginia.

join or dieFor those sceptics, stoics and cynics, who need to be reminded of the reason for America’s fight for independence, and of that common thread that courses through the history of these past thirty years (since 1753 and Governor Dinwiddie first sending Major George Washington to demand that the French leave their posts in the Ohio valley; and Dr. Franklin’s famous 1754 cartoon of a snake divided into 8 pieces, with the caption beneath “Join, or Die”), it must be seen, that while the commissioners made substantial concessions of territory on the northern and eastern boundaries, and in a secret article, were willing to make concessions on the southern boundary, they would not budge one inch on the western boundary!!!  The Mississippi river remained the western boundary, and secured the Ohio river, and all of its tributaries, for America.

The American commissioners agreed to cover debts contracted by British subjects prior to 1775 (those debts of a later date were irrecoverable), but not to cover debts owing to the Tories.   They hinted that if a request for Tory restitution were kept on the agenda, they would be prepared to counterclaim for damages to Patriot properties that were inflicted by Tories or British troops.

The Americans wanted the right of fishing in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and the Newfoundland Banks and ‘all other places where the inhabitants of both countries used at any time heretofore to fish’, but compromised by omitting Newfoundland from the area where drying the fish was to be permitted.

The talks continued through day and night sessions until November 4th, and Jay incorporated these changes into a new (second) draft of preliminary articles, which was sent to Shelburne.  Strachey also returned to London for new instructions.

Shelburne and the cabinet met on November 11th to discuss the draft.  After much discussion, they accepted the new boundaries, but insisted upon an explicit declaration that the prewar debts would be recovered at full value in sterling, and a ‘full and complete amnesty and oblivion’ for acts done during the war.  They instructed Strachey to obtain as much satisfaction as possible for the Tories, and they opposed permitting the Americans to dry fish on the shores of Nova Scotia, but proposed instead the unsettled parts of the Magdalen Islands.

The Cabinet met again on November 14th and 15th, and settled on a (third) draft of the preliminaries to be submitted to the Americans, that Strachey was to take back to Paris.  The Cabinet also authorized Oswald to sign a treaty, whenever he, Fitzherbert and Strachey should think it consistent with the spirit of their new instructions, that Strachey would also bring back to Paris.

Strachey was also given private instructions that stated the different classes of Loyalists (Tories) and which of them were to be finally insisted upon and which only contended for.  The personal security of the Tories and provision for payment of the debts were ‘absolutely indispensable’, and that an appeal to France may be hazarded if the Americans would not make concessions.

On November 20th, Rayneval again was in London to resume his discussion of the French and Spanish terms for peace.  Rayneval met with Shelburne on the 23rd and as he had been instructed, tried to defer the issue of the boundaries and of the Tories, to the definitive treaty.  That same day, November 23rd, Vergennes wrote to Congress, by way of Luzerne, that France did not feel herself obliged to prolong the war ‘to sustain the pretentious ambitions’ of the United States as regards both the fisheries and the boundaries.  He urged Congress that the Tories be accorded amnesty and restitution of their property.

Shelburne had the choice of holding up the peace until France obtained further concessions for Britain from the Americans, or to present Parliament with a fait accompli.  Since exposing the negotiations to the charges of his foes in Parliament not only would jeopardize the prospects of a peace, but most certainly bring down his ministry, Shelburne persuaded his Cabinet to have Parliament prorogued from November 26th, when it was scheduled to convene, until December 5th – giving him an additional 9 days!

The next round of talks began on November 25th to consider the provisional articles proposed by the British.  They insisted on the restitution of Tory property, and proposed to allow the Americans fishing on the Banks, but to deny them the ‘inshore fishing’ (keeping them outside the 3 league zone from the coast and away from the bays, harbours and mouths of the rivers), and to offer them the liberty of drying fish on the unsettled parts of the Magdalen islands and on Sable island, but it was contingent upon the 3 league limit.

On November 29th, Henry Laurens arrived in Paris.  Adams had written to him on November 6th, urging him to join them as soon as possible, and had enclosed a copy of the resolution of Congress of September 17th, enjoining upon all the commissioners’ attendance on the negotiations for peace.  Adams also had the sad task of informing Laurens of the death of his son, John, that August in action in South Carolina.

During that day, a compromise was worked on the fisheries issue.  The four American commissioners settled on a ‘right’ to fish on the Banks and Gulf of St. Lawrence, and a ‘liberty’ to fish on the coasts, bays and creeks of Newfoundland and other British Dominions in America; and on a ‘liberty’ to dry and cure fish on the ‘unsettled’ parts of Nova Scotia, Magdalen Islands and Labrador (as long as they remained unsettled).

Dr. Franklin now asked, that since Britain demanded payment of debt and restitution or compensation to the refugees, can it justly refuse making compensation for British seizures?  He then itemized American claims for reparations – the carrying off of goods from Boston, from Philadelphia (including the rifling of his own house and library) and from Virginia, the Carolinas and Georgia, and the burning and destroying of towns, villages and farms.  Dr. Franklin reminded the British negotiators, that even if the British had conquered, it would have been hard to force the Americans to compensate the Tories, “and you will please recollect, that you have not conquered us”.  In a compromise, the Americans accepted an obligation that Congress shall earnestly recommend to the legislatures of the respective states to provide for the restitution of all estates, rights and properties which have been confiscated belonging to ‘real British subjects’ and of ‘persons resident in districts in the possession of his Majesty’s arms and who have not borne arms against the United States’.  All other persons could move freely within the United States for twelve months unmolested, to try to obtain any restitution of properties that were confiscated.  They further agreed that no prosecution would be taken against any person for reason of the part they may have taken in the war.  And the Americans agreed to the payment of all debts due to British merchants, rather than only those debts contracted before 1775.  No provision for reparations for Patriots was secured, but none had really been expected.

On November 30th, Richard Oswald, on behalf of King George, and John Adams, Dr. Benjamin Franklin, John Jay and Henry Laurens, the four commissioners on behalf of the United States of America, signed the preliminary treaty.

6 – The Arrival of Peace, September 3rd 1783

Although the American commissioners were to conclude a preliminary treaty with Britain without the advice or consent of the French court on November 30th, the evening before the signing Dr. Franklin dashed off a note to Vergennes, apprising him of the event to take place, and promising to forward a copy of the articles of peace, which he would do (without the secret separate article).  At a meeting on December 5th, Vergennes had told Dr. Franklin and Laurens that the abrupt signing of the articles had little in it that could be agreeable to the French King.  He urged them not to send the provisional treaty to Congress until France and Britain had come to a preliminary peace.  Vergennes wrote to Luzerne of his indictment of the commissioners, with a request that they be censured by Congress.  On December 5th, Dr. Franklin wrote a letter to Robert Livingston, concerning Livingston’s complaint of his not writing, that ‘the greater Distance, the War, and the extream Irregularity of Conveyances, may be the Causes, and not a Desire of acting without the Knowledge or Orders of their Constituents’.  He gave details of the events leading to the signing, and that he would soon send him a copy of the preliminary articles.  He informed him of his progress in trying to obtain another loan from France.

On December 14th, the commissioners wrote to Livingston, the Secretary for Foreign Affairs, and explained in remarks on the articles, “that they will appear to Congress as they do to all of us to be consistent with the honour and Interest of the United States and we are persuaded Congress would be more fully of that Opinion if they were apprised of all the Circumstances and Reasons which have influenced the Negotiation”.

On December 15th, after learning that Dr. Franklin had received a British passport for protection of an American vessel, the Washington, to send dispatches to America, including the preliminary articles, Vergennes wrote to Dr. Franklin that

I am at a loss to explain your conduct and that of your colleagues … You have concluded your preliminary articles without us being a part, although the instructions of Congress prescribed you to do nothing without the participation of the King.  You are about to hold out a certain hope of peace to America without even informing yourself on the state of the negotiation on our part.”

On December 17th, Dr. Franklin (with the approval of his colleagues) answered Vergennes, that

Nothing has been agreed in the Preliminaries contrary to the Interests of France; and no Peace is to take Place between us and England till you have concluded yours. Your Observation is however apparently just, that in not consulting you before they were signed, we have been guilty of neglecting a Point of Bienséance. But as this was not from Want of Respect for the King whom we all love and honour, we hope it may be excused; and that the great Work which has hitherto been so happily conducted, is so nearly brought to Perfection, and is so glorious to his Reign, will not be ruined by a single Indiscretion of ours.  And certainly the whole Edifice falls to the ground immediately, if you refuse on this Account to give us any farther Assistance … The English, I just now learn, flatter themselves they have already divided us.  I hope this little Misunderstanding will therefore be kept a perfect Secret, and that they will find themselves totally mistaken.”

On December 19th, Dr. Franklin met with Vergennes and assured him of the commissioners’ fidelity to France and that they would be inconsolable if their conduct should have displeased the King, and cooled his affection for the United States.  Vergennes agreed to countermand his prior letter to Luzerne – a censure would be unnecessary.  Dr. Franklin also arranged for the shipment of 600,000 livres – the first instalment of a new 6 million livre loan, that would accompany the dispatch to Congress with the preliminary articles!!!

On December 5th, the British parliament was opened with a speech from the throne by King George, who spoke of the ending of the war in North America, and of an “offer to declare them free and independent States, by an article to be inserted in the treaty of peace”.  Debate on the preliminary treaty with the United States began on December 13th, and during that time, preliminary treaties and an armistice were reached by Britain with France and Spain, and were signed on January 20th 1783.  Dr. Franklin and Adams were invited to the signings, where they also exchanged, with Fitzherbert, a Declaration for Suspension of Arms and Cessation of Hostilities between Britain and the United States.  On January 27th the preliminary treaties were presented to the British Parliament.

In the preliminary treaty between Britain and France, France returned the islands of Dominica, Grenada, St. Vincent, St. Kitts, Nevis and Montserrat to Britain, and Britain returned St. Lucia to France.   Britain ceded to France the islands of St. Pierre and Miquelon (near Newfoundland) and of Tobago.  Britain guaranteed the possession of the Senegal river and the slave trading post of Goree island to France, and France guaranteed the possession of the Gambia river and the slave trading post of Fort James to Britain.  Britain restored to France its former possessions in India (Pondicherry, Karical and Mahe).

In the preliminary treaty between Britain and Spain, Britain surrendered Minorca, and East and West Florida to Spain, and Spain returned Providence and the Bahamas islands to Britain.  Spain’s obstinate and obsessive demands for Gibraltar failed.  But Spain still opposed the terms of the preliminary treaty between Britain and the United States regarding the boundaries.  Lafayette, on a diplomatic mission in Spain, was able to convince Spain to abide by the limits of the preliminary treaty.

As the debate over the preliminary treaties intensified, Lord North and Charles Fox joined forces in opposing them, and on February 21st they proposed to the Commons a series of resolutions that accepted the peace as necessary, approved the grant of independence to the United States as being in conformity with the wishes of parliament, while condemning the concessions to the enemy as being greater than the comparative strength and actual situation of the belligerents warranted.  When this vote of censure was carried, Shelburne resigned.  Peace negotiations were now virtually suspended, until a new ministry could be put together, with William Bentinck, the Duke of Portland, as Prime Minister, and with Charles Fox as Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, and Lord North as Secretary of State for Home Affairs.  Fox would dominate the business of peacemaking, replacing Oswald with David Hartley, and replacing Fitzherbert with the Duke of Manchester, to conclude a preliminary peace with the Dutch and to make definitive treaties with Spain, France and America.

On March 13th, Congress received the dispatches from their commissioners in Paris, and learned of the preliminary articles for peace, and a great debate over the articles began.  According to James Madison’s ‘Notes of Debates’, while

The terms granted to America appeared to Congress on the whole extremely liberal … The separate and secret manner in which our ministers had proceeded with respect to France and the confidential manner with respect to the British ministers affected different members of Congress very differently.  Many … thought they had all been in some measure ensnared by the dexterity of the British minister and particularly disapproved of Mr. Jay in submitting to the enemy his jealousy of the French … and of the unguarded manner in which Mr. A and Dr. F. had given in writing sentiments unfriendly to our ally, and serving as weapons for the insidious policy of the enemy.  The separate article was most offensive, being considered as obtained by G.B. not for the sake of the territory ceded to her but as a means of disuniting the U.S. & France as inconsistent with the spirit of the alliance and a dishonorable departure from the candor, rectitude and plain dealing professed by Congress.  The dilemma in which Congress was placed was sorely felt.”

And Luzerne had also shown Congress the letter from Vergennes that remonstrated on the conduct of the commissioners (but not the second one from Vergennes that had countermanded his instructions and professed that Dr. Franklin’s explanations had been found acceptable).  After much debate, on March 24th,

intelligence arrived which was this day laid before Congress.  That the preliminaries for a general peace had been signed on the 20th of January.  This intelligence was brought by a French cutter … and engaged by the seal of the Marquis de la Fayette to convey it to Congress.  This confirmation of peace produced the greater joy, as the preceding delay, the cautions of Mr. Lauren’s letter of the 24th of December, and the general suspicions of Lord Shelburne’s sincerity had rendered an immediate and general peace extremely problematical in the minds of many.”

On April 15th, again after much debate, Congress unanimously resolved to ratify the preliminary articles.  But ratification was still needed by Britain.  Shelburne had maintained that his treaties proved that ‘we prefer trade to dominion’, and that a peace was good in the exact proportion that it recognized the principle of free trade.  Shelburne had proposed to cover the matter of trade with a treaty of commerce.  He had drafted a bill that would permit American produce to enter British ports on the same footing as though British-owned, while treating American ships carrying such produce as those of foreign states.  With Shelburne no longer in office, the bill was soon altered beyond recognition, vesting power in the King-in-Council to regulate all such matters.

On May 14th, one such order-in-council would permit un-manufactured American goods to be imported into Britain in British or American ships (but saying nothing about American manufactures).  On July 2nd, another order-in-council barred American ships from the West Indian trade.  No treaty of commerce would be negotiated, and no new proposals would be agreed to.  Meanwhile, on April 3rd, a treaty of amity and commerce between United States and Sweden was signed.   And, in a letter to Livingston on July 22nd, Dr. Franklin wrote that he had sent a proposal of a plan for a treaty with the United States to the ambassador of Portugal and the ambassador to Denmark, that was based on the treaty with Sweden; and that he was in discussions with the minister of Prussia as well.

On August 8th, the plenipotentiaries of the belligerent powers, excepting the United States, whose envoys expressed no desire to be present, assembled to learn the proposed final terms of peace.  On August 16th, Dr. Franklin wrote to Vergennes, that the British had finally

sent over a plan for the definitive treaty, which consists merely of the preliminaries formerly signed, along with a short introductory paragraph and another at the conclusion, confirming and establishing the said preliminary articles. My Colleagues seem enclin’d to sign this with Mr. Hartley, and so to finish the Affair”.

On August 24th, William Carmichael was, at last, presented to the King of Spain in his capacity of charge d’affaires of the United States.  On September 2nd, the British signed a preliminary treaty with the United Provinces.  On the morning of September 3rd 1783, Adams, Jay and Dr. Franklin, the three American commissioners (Laurens was in Britain trying to recover his health) travelled to see Hartley at the British commissioner’s lodging at the Hotel d’York, to sign the Definitive Treaty of Peace.  That afternoon, the Duke of Manchester signed the definitive treaties with Spain and France at Versailles.

7 – The Departure of the British from New York, November 25th 1783

On March 25th 1783, the American newspapers published the preliminary articles of peace among the belligerent powers.  And now the tories in East Florida (because the Floridas were to be given to Spain) had to prepare to be evacuated again.  (During 1784 and 1785, over 3000 tories and over 6000 slaves would leave East Florida and would sail to the Bahamas, Jamaica and Britain, while 725 tories would sail to Nova Scotia.)

On April 11th, Congress issued a proclamation “Declaring the cessation of arms, as well by sea as by land” and on April 19th – the anniversary of the initial battle of Lexington and Concord, 8 years previous – General Washington had the proclamation read at the head of every regiment of the Continental Army.  On April 15th Congress resolved that

the Commander in Chief be, and he is hereby instructed to make the proper arrangements with the Commander in Chief of the British forces, for receiving possession of the posts in the United States occupied by the troops of his Britannic Majesty; and for obtaining the delivery of all Negroes and other property of the inhabitants of the United States in the possession of the British forces, or any subjects of, or adherents to his said Britannic Majesty; and that the Secretary of War, in conjunction with the Commander in Chief, take proper arrangements for setting at liberty all land prisoners”.

On April 23rd, Congress resolved

That the time of the men engaged to serve during the war, does not expire until the ratification of the definitive treaty of peace: That such of the non-commissioned officers and private soldiers of the above description, as continues in service to that period, shall be allowed their fire arms and accoutrements, as an extra reward for their long and faithful services: That Congress, nevertheless, leave it to the discretion of the Commander in Chief, if circumstances shall require it, to grant furloughs or discharges to those men, as he may judge most expedient”.

On May 6th, Carleton sailed up the Hudson river to the Tappan Zee to hold a conference with General Washington at Orangetown.  Carleton had already been making preparations for the evacuation of New York.  In order to prevent the removal of Negro property that belonged to Americans, Carleton set up a committee that met every Wednesday, from 10 until 2, at Fraunces’s Tavern on Pearl Street, to assess the cases of blacks claiming freedom(8) and to hear disputes over former slaves.  Those cleared by the committee received a certificate of freedom signed by the British Commandant of New York, General Samuel Birch.   At the docks, inspectors entered the names of all departing blacks into a sprawling register – the ‘Book of Negroes’.

On July 17th, accompanied by Governor Clinton, General Washington set out by water from Newburg, ascended the Hudson river to Albany, visited Saratoga and the scene of Burgoyne’s surrender, embarked on lake George in light boats, and proceeded to Ticonderoga and Crown Point before returning to Schenectady, whence they proceeded up the valley of the Mohawk river.  Reaching Fort Schuyler(9), they crossed over to Wood creek, traversed the country to the head of the eastern branch of the Susquehanna river, and viewed lake Otsego and the portage between that lake and the Mohawk river.  General Washington returned to headquarters at Newburg on August 5th, after a tour of at least 750 miles.

On October 18th, Congress proclaimed that “such part of the federal armies as stands engaged to serve during the war and … were furloughed, shall from and after the 3rd day of November next, be absolutely discharged … and … that the further services in the field, of the officers who were deranged and on furlough … can now be dispensed with, and they have our full permission to retire from service.”  A small force was kept in service until the final British evacuation.

On November 25th, Carleton finally evacuated the British forces from New York, a city that had been under British martial law since September 1776, and General Washington, accompanied by Governor Clinton, and with General Knox and a detachment from West Point, entered the city.

On December 4th at Fraunces’s Tavern, General Washington took leave of his officers and left for Philadelphia, where he adjusted with the Comptroller of the Treasury his accounts – from the commencement of the war down to the 13th of December.  (It should be remembered that during the war, General Washington accepted no pay!)  On December 23rd, at Annapolis, General Washington now offered his resignation to Congress,

… Having now finished the work assigned me, I retire from the great theatre of action; and, bidding an affectionate farewell to this august body, under whose orders I have long acted, I here offer my commission, and take my leave of all the employments of public life”.

General Washington left Annapolis and arrived at his home at Mount Vernon on Christmas Eve.

On January 15th 1784, with nine states present, Congress was finally able to unanimously resolve to ratify the definitive treaty of peace.

In Canada, the British would have to deal with two problems that came with the ending of the war – what to do with the tory veterans and the refugees from New York; and how to deal with the Indians.

On April 27th 1783, a convoy had left New York with almost 6000 tories to sail to Nova Scotia – 1400 tories would settle at the mouth of the St. John river (later named St. John), 1000 would settle at the end of St. Mary bay (later named Digby) and 1700 tories along with over 400 servants (slaves) as well as over 900 freed blacks would settle at Port Roseway (later named Shelburne).  The tory refugees were to receive free passage, provisions and supplies and land grants from the British government.  Other convoys of tories, slaves, free blacks and provincial troops, left New York for Nova Scotia from June through October 1783.  In total, almost 30,000 refugees left New York for Nova Scotia, including over 1200 slaves and over 3000 free blacks – more than tripling the earlier population of 12000 New Englanders and 2000 French Acadians. With this massive increase of tory population (most settling at St. John), in June 1784 the British government split Nova Scotia into two provinces – Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.

Tories who fled from the American colonies to Canada (Quebec) were recruited into the Provincial corps and rangers.  Many were later joined by their families at the British posts at Sorel(10), Chambly and St. Johns.  Women and children, and those who did not join the Provincial troops, were settled at Machiche, on Lac Saint Pierre, under the supervision of Conrad Gugy(11).  On August 6th 1783, 9 transports carrying over 700 tories arrived at Canada from New York, and in October another 182 tories arrived, and were sent to Sorel.  Also in August, the foreign Hessian troops of the British army in Canada embarked on 25 transport ships and sailed away to Britain.  From 1774 until 1783, a total of almost 6000 tory refugees, including 130 slaves, would arrive in Canada.  By 1784, 757 parcels of land at Sorel, Chambly and St. Johns were distributed to the disbanded troops and tories; and 400 tories resettled on lands at Chaleur bay.  Most of the remaining refugees at Sorel and Machiche relocated to the new western settlements along the St. Lawrence river.

In October 1783, Captain Crawford, on behalf of the British government, met with the local Mississauga Indians and purchased a large tract of land from the Missisaugas for some clothing, ammunition and coloured cloth!!!  They had purchased a 200-mile tract of land from the Trent river to Pointe au Baudet, 9 miles west of the boundary of the last seigneury – leaving a buffer zone between the French Canadiens and the Tories.  Haldimand had the area surveyed and Loyalist_Township_map_Quinte Seigneuriesdivided into 8 seigneuries along the St. Lawrence river (called the Royal Townships) and 5 seigneuries along Quinte bay (called the Cataraqui Townships) of almost 100 square miles each.  At the 8 St. Lawrence river seigneuries, the 1st, 2nd and 3rd townships were settled by veterans of the Loyal Rangers, and the 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th townships settled by veterans of the 1st battalion of the Royal Yorkers.  At the 5 Quinte bay seigneuries, the 1st township was settled by New York refugees, the 2nd by veterans of the Loyal Rangers, the 3rd by veterans of the King’s Rangers and the 2nd battalion of the Royal Yorkers, the 4th by New York refugees and veterans of the 2nd battalion of the Royal Yorkers, and the 5th by Hessian veterans who wished to remain in Canada.  By 1784, these 13 townships would be settled by a total of 3776 people.

The seigneury

The lots were not distributed as free land but under a modified form of the feudal seigneurial system – upon the expiration of ten years from the time a tenant took up his land, a quit rent of a halfpenny per acre would be exacted from him!  As a reward for supporting the British during the war, its veteran supporters – who had lost all of their property and holdings, now lost their freedom too. (O irony of ironies!!!  At least the British Empire was consistent – treating both enemies and loyal subjects alike!)

In May 1781, the Missisauga Indians had ceded to the British a 4-mile tract of land on the west bank of the Niagara river, from lake Erie to lake Ontario, for the settlement of discharged soldiers of Butler’s Rangers, ‘in consideration of a handsome present’ – 300 suits of clothing!!!  By 1784, 250 rangers and their families (620 people in total) had settled at Niagara.  Caldwell’s company of Butler’s Rangers decided to settle at Detroit, alongside the 2000 French Canadiens who were settled there at the parish of Assumption.

1791 map of canadaIn 1791, the British would split Canada into two provinces – the French Canadien settlements of Lower Canada, and the Tory veteran and refugee settlements of Upper Canada.  In Upper Canada, the seigneurial system would be ended in 1791.  But not in Lower Canada, where the seigneurial system would not be abolished until it was voted out in 1854!!!

While Upper Canada would see additional emigration from the United States, by the arrival of friends and relatives of tories, there would also begin a slow emigration from Great Britain.  In 1786, one of the earliest groups of immigrants to the Royal Townships would come from Inverness-shire in Scotland, where after the timber was felled and the land was cleared, it was leased out for sheep farming, and many of the poor inhabitants were forced to attempt to leave because of increased rents and of subsequent evictions.   A group of 540 people from Knoydart, Scotland, along with their parish priest, Father Alexander (Scotus) Macdonell, left Greenock and arrived at Quebec on September 7th 1786, and later made their way up the St. Lawrence river to settle in the new townships.

Their fight to be able to leave Scotland and journey “to the wilds of Canada, in search of that fantastic thing – Liberty” was made the subject of the poem ‘Address to Beelzebub’ by Robert Burns.

On May 22nd 1784, Lt. Colonel John Butler, on behalf of the British government, purchased another huge tract of land from the Missisauga Indians for a mere £1180, a tract that ran from Missisauga Point on lake Ontario(12), west along the lake to Waghquata creek (entrance to present-day Burlington bay), then along a northwest line until it strikes La Tranche river (present-day Thames river) and down that river until a point to where a due south line strikes the mouth of Catfish creek (present-day Port Bruce), then east along lake Erie, back to lake Ontario.  On October 25th, from out of this purchase, Haldimand granted a tract of land, 6 miles deep on each side of the Grand (or Ouse) river from its mouth at lake Erie to the head of the river, to the Mohawks.  The rest of the land purchase was for the use of ‘the King’s people’ – Butler’s rangers would be settled on lots near Fort Niagara.  By 1785, Joseph Brant and 1800 Indians would be settled on the Grand river land grant.  John Deserontyon refused to settle at Grand river with Brant, and instead he and 200 Mohawks, who had been relocated to Lachine in 1779, resettled onto a 150 square mile tract, north of the Cataraqui Townships.

This was a grant to the Mohawks, not a treaty – since nothing was signed by either side.  The British didn’t sign peace treaties with the Indians, only purchase receipts.

8 – The Treaty of Fort Stanwix, October 22nd 1784

On May 1st 1783, Congress resolved ‘that the Secretary of War take the most effectual measures to inform the several Indian nations, on the frontiers of the United States, that preliminary articles of peace have been agreed upon, and hostilities have ceased with Great Britain, and to communicate to them that the forts within the United States, and in possession of the British troops, will speedily be evacuated; intimating also that the United States are disposed to enter into friendly treaty with the different tribes; and to inform the hostile Indian nations, that unless they immediately cease all hostilities against the citizens of these states, and accept of these friendly proffers of peace, Congress will take the most decided measures to compel them thereto’.  General Lincoln, the Secretary of war, sent Major Ephraim Douglass on a trip to Indian country, to meet with them, tell them of the peace, and to convey to them the good intentions of Congress.

Douglass, along with Captain George McCully, left Fort Pitt on June 7th and arrived at Detroit on July 4th and met the British commander, De Peyster.  At an Indian council on July 6th, De Peyster read Douglass’s instructions from Congress to the Indians – but Douglass was not allowed to speak to them.  Sailing from Detroit, Douglass arrived at Fort Niagara on July 11th, and met Maclean, the new British commander, and with John Butler and Joseph Brant, but he wasn’t allowed to talk with any of the Indians or visit any of their villages.  Douglass continued on to Oswego before returning to Princeton to submit his report to Congress.

On July 12th, General Washington sent Baron von Steuben to Canada to confer with Haldimand  ‘for receiving possession of the posts now under his command within the territory ceded to the United States … and from which his Majesty’s troops are to be withdrawn’.  On August 6th Steuben arrived at Sorel and met with Haldimand who refused to surrender the posts without instructions from the British ministry – fearing that if the British vacated the posts, there would be reprisals from the Indians who would feel abandoned, and Haldimand ordered the posts to be defended at all costs.

1774 Quebec Act boundaries

1774 Quebec Act boundaries

In August 1783, Governor Haldimand sent an address to an Indian Council at Sandusky, assuring them that the ‘right of Soil belongs to and is in yourselves as Sole Proprietor as far as the boundary line agreed upon … in 1768 at Fort Stanwix’.  In other words, the British were recognizing the boundaries of the Quebec Act of 1774 (!!!) – one of the causes of the war, as if 8 years of war had not changed a thing (!!!).

On November 27th, Haldimand wrote to Lord North, Secretary for the Colonies, that

“In case things should proceed to extremities the event, no doubt, will be the destruction of the Indians, but during the contest not only the Americans, but perhaps many of His Majesty’s subjects will be exposed to Great Distresses.  To prevent such a disastrous event as an Indian war, is a consideration worthy of both nations and cannot be prevented so effectually as by allowing the Posts in the Upper Country to remain as they are for some time’.

On April 4th 1784, Sydney, the new Secretary for the Colonies, replied to Haldimand, that

With regard to your refusing a compliance with the desire of Major General Baron de Steuben for delivering up to him the Posts within the Limits of the United States, you are certainly justified in every part of your proceedings, even if you had been in possession of the Definitive Treaty of Peace. The 7th Article stipulates that they shall be evacuated with all convenient speed, but no certain time is fixed, and as America has not, on her part, complied with even one Article of the Treaty, I think we may reconcile it in the present instance to delay the Evacuation of those Posts, at least until We are enabled to secure the Traders in the Interior Country and withdraw their Property.  The Management of the Indians requires great attention at this Critical Juncture, and I am persuaded that our retaining Possession of the Posts will not be detrimental to America, and may be the means of preventing mischiefs which are likely to happen should the posts be delivered up whilst the resentment of the Indians continues at so high a pitch’.

Having written this letter mere days before the British parliament ratified the Definitive treaty of peace on April 9th, shows that the British had already decided to hold the Posts before they ratified the treaty.

On June 3rd the Committee of States of Congress sent Colonel William Hull to Canada, to deliver a letter from Henry Knox, the Secretary of War, to Governor Haldimand.  On July 12th, Haldimand received the letter, dated June 13th, ‘in order to ascertain the precise time when all of the forts within the United States, now occupied by the troops of his Britannic Majesty shall be delivered agreeable to the definitive treaty of peace’.  On July 13th, Haldimand replied that

Tho I am now informed by his Majesty’s Ministers of the ratification of the definitive treaty of peace, I remain in other respects, in the same I then was, not having received orders to evacuate the Posts which are within the limits assigned the treaty of peace to this province.  It is impossible therefore to ascertain the time when the evacuation of these Posts shall commence’.

On July 29th, Philip Schuyler wrote to Congress ‘Thoughts respecting peace in the Indian Country’.  He favoured a reconciliation with the Indians, rather than

to continue a war with a people, whom, altho we may expel from their country will, if they please, return immediately after the force which has ousted them has retired, nor can even such a temporary expulsion be effected without an expense, in my estimation, infinitely beyond the value of the object … But admitting that we could expel them at a moderate expense and oblige them to inhabit beyond the limits of the United States, what advantages would result from it?  None appear to me, for their residing within those limits, if at peace with us, will not prevent the settlement of that extensive uncultivated country which lays between what we now occupy, and what they might be permitted to retain … for as our settlements approach their country, they must, from the scarcity of game which that approach will induce to, retire farther back, and dispose of their lands.”

On September 7th, General Washington wrote to Congress concerning his views on how the government should treat with the Indian nations, that

to suffer a wide extended country to be over run with Land Jobbers, Speculators, and Monopolisers or even scattered settlers, is, in my opinion, inconsistent with that wisdom and policy which our true interest dictates … That the Indians should be informed, that after a contest of eight years for the Sovereignty of this country, Great Britain has ceded all the lands of the United States within the limits described by the Provisional Treaty.  That as they maugre all the advice and admonition which could be given them at the commencement; and during the prosecution of the war could not be restrained from acts of hostility, but were determined to join their arms to those of Great Britain and to share their fortune; so, consequently with a less generous people than Americans they would be made to share the same fate; and be compelled to retire along with them beyond the lakes.”

“But as we prefer peace to a state of warfare, as we consider them as a deluded people; as we persuade ourselves that they are convinced, from experience, of their error in taking up the hatchet against us, and that their true interest and safety must now depend upon our friendship.  As the country is large enough to contain us all; and as we are disposed to be kind to them and to partake of their trade, we will from these considerations and from motives of compassion, draw a veil over what is past and establish a boundary line between them and us beyond which we will endeavour to restrain our people from hunting or settling, and within which they shall not come, but for the purposes of trading, treating, or other business unexceptionable in its nature.”

On October 15th, the committee responsible for Indian affairs made their report to Congress and resolved

that a convention be held with the Indians residing in the northern and western districts, who have taken up arms against the United States, for the purpose of receiving them into the favor and protection of the United States, and of establishing boundary lines of property for separating and dividing the settlements of the citizens from the Indian villages and hunting grounds, and thereby extinguishing as far as possible all occasion for future animosities, disquiet and contention’.

In December, a delegation of Iroquois from Niagara arrived at Schenectady and met with Schuyler and delivered a request for a general council to settle peace between them.

On April 12th 1784, Governor Clinton invited the Six Nations of Iroquois to attend a council with the New York state Indian commissioners at the abandoned ruins of Fort Schuyler (since the British army would not surrender their fort at Oswego).  The council opened on September 5th and lasted until the 10th.

[Meanwhile, on September 1st 1784, George Washington left on a tour of the country west of the Appalachian mountains, to visit his lands on the Ohio river, accompanied by Dr. Craik, his companion on a similar tour in 1770.  Travelling along the old Braddock Road, they arrived at the Monongahela river and heard accounts of irritation among the Indian tribes, and ventured no further, but turned south through the wild unsettled areas until they came to the Shenandoah valley, and after 680 miles, arrived back at Mount Vernon on October 4th.]

On October 2nd 1784, Oliver Wolcott, Richard Butler and Arthur Lee, the commissioners from Congress, arrived at Fort Schuyler, accompanied by James Madison and also the Marquis de Lafayette(13).  On October 3rd, Lafayette spoke to the Indians

that the American cause is just, I formerly told you, that it is the cause of humanity, that it is your cause in particular, that you ought at least to remain neutral, and that the brave Americans would defend, both their liberty, and yours … what have you ever gained my children?  What have you not lost in European quarrels?  Be more wise than the white men – keep peace among yourselves, and since the great Council of the United States, is in their goodness disposed to treat with you, profit of those good dispositions … in selling your lands, do not consult the keg of rum, and give them away to the first adventurer, but let the American chiefs, and yours, united around the fire, settle on reasonable terms.”

On October 12th, the council officially began and the commissioners ordered all the alcohol belonging to the suttlers confiscated and stored until the end of the council.  On October 22nd a treaty was signed, stating that,

The United States give peace to the Senecas, Mohawks, Onondagas, and Cayugas, and receive them into their protection … The Oneida and Tuscarora nations’ – who had allied with the Americans – ‘shall be secured in the possession of the land on which they are settled’.

The Indians agreed to release all their prisoners, and they agreed on the western boundary of the Six Nations – a line drawn from Oyonwayea creek on lake Ontario (4 miles east of Niagara) south to the mouth of Buffalo creek on lake Erie, and to continue south to the Pennsylvania border – the eastern boundary was already settled by the Treaty of Fort Stanwix in 1768, ‘so that the Six Nations shall and do yield to the United States all claims to the country west of the said boundary, and then they shall be secured in the peaceful possession of the lands they inhabit east and north of the same’.  The United States sought to re-establish peace among the Six Nations (those who fought with the British and those who fought with the Americans), and didn’t expel them but forgave them, restoring to them the lands that they held before the war – except for a 4-mile strip along Niagara river at Fort Niagara, and a 6 mile square round the fort of Oswego.

On October 23rd, at a council with the Pennsylvania commissioners, the Indians also ceded a large tract of land composing most of the north-western corner of that state, in exchange for $5000.

On January 21st 1785, Congress sent commissioners Richard Butler, Arthur Lee and George Clark to Fort McIntosh, near Fort Pitt, to meet with representatives of the Wyandots, Delawares, Chippewas and Ottawas and to sign a peace treaty, whereby the Indians would release all their prisoners, and would establish the boundaries of the Wyandot and Delaware nations.

This would be an area roughly bounded by the Cayahoga and Tuscarawas rivers on the east, down to the abandoned Fort Laurens; and then by a line drawn westward to the destroyed post of Pickawillany; and then northward, bounded by the St. Marys and Maumee rivers on the west; and that the lands to the east, south and west of this area belong to the United States.  The Indian nations ‘do acknowledge themselves and all their tribes to be under the protection of the United States and of no other sovereign whatsoever’.  And for the protection of the Indian nations,

If any citizen of the United States, or other person not being an Indian, shall attempt to settle on any of the lands allotted to the Wiandot and Delaware nations in this treaty, except on the lands reserved to the United States in the preceding article, such person shall forfeit the protection of the United States, and the Indians may punish him as they please’.

[This treaty ceded to the United States, the area south of the line from Fort Laurens to Pickawillany, and north of the Ohio river.  It included the former Delaware towns along the Tuscarawas river that were destroyed by the expedition of Colonel Brodhead in April 1781, and the same towns from where the British forced the Delaware to relocate to Sandusky.  It also included the towns along the Miami river that were destroyed by General Clark in August 1780 and again in November 1782.  It did not include the Indian towns along the Sandusky river or the Maumee river, that were still protected by the British from the fort at Detroit.  This treaty, therefore, simply recognized the same British policy of uti possidetis – ‘as you possess’, meaning that territory remains with its possessor at the end of a conflict – that the British used in Paris to negotiate the treaty of peace.]

On January 31st 1786, the commissioners of Congress, General George Clark and Richard Butler, signed a peace treaty at Fort Finney with the chiefs of the Shawanoe, who agreed to release all their prisoners and ‘acknowlege the United States to be the sole and absolute sovereigns of all the territory ceded to them by the treaty of peace, made between them and the king of Great Britain’.

The Shawnee nation was allotted lands west of the lands allotted to the Wyandots and Delaware nation, and north of a line drawn from the Miami river to the Wabash river, ‘beyond which lines none of the citizens of the United States shall settle or disturb the Shawanoes in their settlement and possessions … if any citizen or citizens of the United States shall presume to settle upon the lands allotted to the Shawanoes by this treaty, he or they shall be put out of the protection of the United States’.

The United States Congress had now negotiated peace with the Indian nations in the Ohio country.

9 – The Land Bounties for the Canadian and Nova Scotia Refugees, May 11th 1784

The families of the Canadians that retreated from Canada with the Continental army in 1776 either followed the men that enlisted in the Canadian Regiment (their fathers, husbands or brothers), or else lived in the refugee camps at Albany and Fishkill and were placed under the care of General Schuyler.

When Lafayette brought a memorial to General Washington from the Canadian families at Albany in November 1780 that they had not been receiving any provisions, General Washington ordered General James Clinton to issue a ration per person per day until further orders.  He sent the memorial on to Congress with his comment that “both justice and humanity make it infinitely to be desired, it were in our power to make some better provision for persons who have left their country, and involved themselves in every kind of distress in compliance with our invitation”.  Congress approved his orders to Clinton.

When the regiment was furloughed in June 1783, most of the soldiers joined families or friends in the refugee camps at Albany and Fishkill.  They had received certificates for 3 months pay – that was good for cash only if they waited several years until Congress could redeem, or as most of them did, sold them at large discounts to eager speculators.  They had dependents to support but no employment, their pay was in arrears, they had received no compensation yet for their outlays in raising their companies and also, no compensation for their losses in Canada.

During the spring and summer of 1783, a steady stream of petitions from General Hazen and his officers were sent to Congress.  On August 9th 1783, the committee of Congress acknowledged that they were

only withheld by the present exhausted state of the public finances, from recommending such a provision to be made to these unfortunate people as would afford them immediate relief, and would lay a foundation for the comfortable establishment of their families in the future”.

Congress then resolved

that it be, and is hereby recommended to the State of New York, to receive the officers and men … agreeably to the prayer of their petition, as citizens of the said state”.  (It would be several years before citizenship was granted.)  They also resolved that the officers and each of the men, women and children “shall respectively receive a ration a day for their subsistence, and they resolved that the commissioner, who was appointed to handle the public accounts of the state, “to settle the claims for advances represented to have been made by the said officers, for the use of the United States”.

Congress had resolved to make provision for granting lands to the officers and soldiers who engaged to serve in the Continental Army to the close of the war, and for the states to take care of their own veterans.  But, this did not apply to the Canadian Regiment, which did not belong to any state but was under Congress.  And while the peace treaty had provided for restitution of property of the loyalist refugees, it contained no provision for restitution of property and possessions that were lost by Canadian and Nova Scotia refugees.

On May 11th 1784 the legislature of New York enacted a law that provided land bounties for its veterans – including the refugees.

Article XIV stated

That it shall and may be lawful for the said commissioners to direct the surveyor-general to lay out such a number of townships of unappropriated and unoccupied lands for the Canadian and Nova-Scotia refugees, upon a return signed by brigadier-general Moses Hazen and colonel James Livingston, or either of them, on the part of the Canadian refugees, and colonel Jeremiah Throop on the part of the Nova-Scotia refugees, at such place in the northern part of the state as they shall think proper, not exceeding one thousand acres to each of the commissioned officers, and five hundred acres to each other person, or persons, refugees as aforesaid … provided that such refugees had respectively actually left Canada or Nova-Scotia before the first day of November in the year 1782, and have respectively resided within this state for the term of two years preceding the said day last mentioned.”

Throop was able to prove that 3 officers and 5 privates (from Nova Scotia) met all the New York requirements.

In January 1785, the Land Office commissioners defined the tract: starting on the western shore of lake Champlain – immediately south of the Canada border, at Rouses Point and proceeding west and south, veering around other existing patents.  Balloting for the lots would take place on August 28th 1786.

On July 11th 1785, Congress would resolve to discontinue the rations to those above the rank of captain (only 7 officers) and to continue the rations to all others until June 1st 1786.  But on June 30th Congress extended the rations for another 15 months, and also voted to subsidize the removal of the refugees to lake Champlain.

On September 22nd 1785, Congress would resolve that damages done by the British troops in Canada during the war to subjects of that province, charged with an attachment to the American cause, “cannot be compensated by the United States”.

10 – The Arrival of Dr. Franklin at Philadelphia, September 14th 1785

While Laurens(14) and Jay(15) would return to the United States in 1784, Dr. Franklin and Adams(16) would remain in Paris, and would later be joined by Thomas Jefferson(17).

After the signing of the definitive treaty in September 1783 and before the arrival of Jefferson at Paris in August 1784 with Congress’s new instructions, Dr. Franklin would at last have some time for leisure.

montgolfier-postOn August 27th 1783 (a week before the definitive treaty was signed) Dr. Franklin, along with another 50,000 onlookers at the Champ-de-Mars, watched as Jacques-Alexandre Charles and the Robert brothers (Anne-Jean and Nicholas-Louis) launched the first hydrogen balloon (made by pouring oil of vitriol onto iron fillings) that flew for about 45 minutes and landed 21 kilometres away.

On September 19th, the Montgolfier brothers (Joseph-Michel and Jacques-Etienne), flew their hot air balloon (inflated with heated air from burning straw) that now carried the first living beings in a basket attached to the balloon – a sheep, a duck and a rooster, before a crowd at the royal palace in Versailles, including the King and Queen.  (Dr. Franklin was too ill to attend.)  The flight lasted approximately eight minutes, covered 3 kilometres, and obtained an altitude of about 460 metres, before safely landing.  (The Montgolfier brothers had launched their first balloon, earlier on June 4th, near Lyons.)

On November 21st, at the Chateau de LaMuette in Passy (200 paces from his back door) Dr. Franklin watched the first manned flight, as Jean-Francois Pilatre and the Marquis d’Arlandes, burning straw in a grate hung underneath the Montgolfier brothers’ balloon, rose 900 metres in the air and flew 9 kilometres, landing in Paris, 17 minutes later.  That evening Arlandes and Montgolfier visited Dr. Franklin.

On December 1st, Dr. Franklin, along with 200,000 people at the Tuileries, watched as Charles and Nicholas Robert rose 550 metres in a hydrogen balloon and travelled 36 kilometre, and lasted 2 hours.

On January 26th 1784, Dr. Franklin wrote to his daughter Sarah, concerning some newspapers she had sent him that were full of the Society of Cincinnati.  He wrote of his displeasure to ‘form an order of hereditary knights’, ‘of establishing ranks of nobility’ and that membership was to be hereditary.  Here he wrote his famous comparison of the eagle and the turkey.

Others object to the Bald Eagle, as looking too much like a Dindon, or Turkey.  For my own part I wish the Bald Eagle had not been chosen as the Representative of our Country.  He is a Bird of bad moral Character.  He does not get his Living honestly.  You may have seen him perch’d on some dead Tree near the River, where, too lazy to fish for himself, he watches the Labour of the Fishing Hawk; and when that diligent Bird has at length taken a Fish, and is bearing it to his Nest for the Support of his Mate and young Ones, the Bald Eagle pursues him and takes it from him.  With all this Injustice, he is never in good Case but like those among Men who live by Sharping and Robbing he is generally poor and often very lousy.  Besides he is a rank Coward: The little King Bird not bigger than a Sparrow attacks him boldly and drives him out of the District.  He is therefore by no means a proper Emblem for the brave and honest Cincinnati of America who have driven all the King birds from our Country, tho’ exactly fit for that Order of Knights which the French call Chevaliers d’Industrie.  I am on this account not displeas’d that the Figure is not known as a Bald Eagle, but looks more like a Turkey.  For in Truth the Turkey is in Comparison a much more respectable Bird, and withal a true original Native of America.  Eagles have been found in all Countries, but the Turkey was peculiar to ours, the first of the Species seen in Europe being brought to France by the Jesuits from Canada, and serv’d up at the Wedding Table of Charles the ninth.  He is besides, tho’ a little vain and silly, a Bird of Courage, and would not hesitate to attack a Grenadier of the British Guards who should presume to invade his Farm Yard with a red Coat on.”

Dr. Franklin later drew this letter out into an essay, but the Abbe Morellet, who had translated it, advised that it might offend in France and in America, and so it was never published.  Parts of Dr. Franklin’s argument were later incorporated by Mirabeau in his “Considerations sur l’Ordre de Cincinnatus”.

Early in 1784, Dr. Franklin wrote in his ‘Remarks concerning the Savages of North America’ that

Savages we call them, because their Manners differ from ours, which we think the Perfection of Civility.  They think the same of theirs.  Perhaps if we could examine the Manners of different Nations with Impartiality, we should find no People so rude as to be without Rules of Politeness, nor any so polite as not to have some Remains of Rudeness … ”

He also wrote ‘Information to Those Who Would Remove to America’, for the reason that

Many Persons in Europe having directly or by Letters, express’d to the Writer of this, who is well acquainted with North-America, their desire of transporting and establishing themselves in that Country; but who appear to him to have formed thro’ Ignorance, mistaken Ideas & Expectations of what is to be obtained there; he thinks it may be useful, and prevent inconvenient, expensive & fruitless Removals and Voyages of improper Persons, if he gives some clearer & truer Notions of that Part of the World than appear to have hitherto prevailed  …  ”

In March, Dr. Franklin had printed both his ‘Remarks’ and his ‘Information’ in French and English at his printing press at Passy.  On July 19th 1783, Dr. Franklin’s soon-to-be 14-year-old grandson, Benjamin ‘Benny’ Franklin Bache, had returned from 4 ½ years schooling in Geneva to Passy, and Dr. Franklin arranged for a printing apprenticeship for Benny at the press he had established at Passy – replacing his former apprentice, Matthew Carey.  In April 1785, Francois Didot, the best printer in France was persuaded to take Benny as an apprentice.

Later, in New York, Carey met Lafayette, who provided him with four 100-dollar bank notes to buy a printing press.  (Lafayette had met Carey in Passy when he was an apprentice to Dr. Franklin and had sought Carey’s assessment of the political situation in Ireland.)

Matthew Carey

Matthew Carey

Note on Matthew Carey:  In 1781, Matthew Carey wrote a pamphlet entitled “The urgent necessity of an immediate repeal of the whole Penal Code against the Roman Catholics”.  A sizable reward was offered for the disclosure of the author’s identity and lawyers were hired for his prosecution.  Carey was forced into hiding, slipped out of Dublin, and sailed to Paris with a letter of introduction to a priest, who would introduce him to Dr. Benjamin Franklin.  The 21-year old Carey worked as Dr. Franklin’s apprentice at his small press in Passy.   Afterwards, Carey became an apprentice in the Paris printing firm of Francois Didot.  By 1783, the threat of prosecution had blown over and Carey returned to Ireland and became editor of the Freeman’s Journal, the mouthpiece of the Volunteer movement.  In October 1783, Carey’s father provided Mathew and his younger brother, Thomas, with the funds to start a newspaper, the Volunteer’s Journal, with Mathew as the editor.  In the Journal, Carey railed against British political and economic policies oppressing the Irish and promoted a protective tariff for fabric imported from England.  In April 1784, Carey published two controversial depictions of John Foster, slated to become the Irish Chancellor of the Exchequer and also published an article predicting the French would invade Ireland with the help of the Volunteers.  The government offered a bounty for Carey’s arrest.  The Dublin police arrested him and incarcerated him in Newgate Prison, but when Parliament adjourned it no longer had the power to detain Carey and the Lord Mayor of Dublin, a civil authority, released him.  Carey then decided to emigrate to America, choosing Philadelphia because the Pennsylvania Packet ran a story about his arrest in Ireland, and he arrived in America on November 1st 1784.


On April 26th, the Journal de Paris published Dr. Franklin’s “An Economical Project”, a satire on the discovery that the sun gives light as soon as it rises!  And if the people of Paris would wake when the sun rose instead of at noon, they could save money by not having to burn so many candles at night.

On March 12th, the king appointed a commission to investigate the latest fad, Friedrich Mesmer’s theory of animal magnetism.  The commission was composed of 4 doctors from the Faculty of Paris, and of 4 members of the Academy of Science, including Dr. Franklin, Le Roy, De Bory, Bailly and Lavoisier.  Regarding the delusion of animal magnetism, Dr. Franklin wrote that,

That Delusion may however in some cases be of use while it lasts.  There are in every great rich City, a Number of Persons who are never in health, because they are fond of Medicines and always taking them, whereby, they derange the natural Functions, and hurt their Constitutions.  If these People can be persuaded to forbear their Drugs in Expectation of being cured by only the Physician’s Finger or an Iron Rod pointing at them, they may possibly find good Effects tho’ they mistake the Cause.”

Several of the tests were carried out at Dr. Franklin’s house in late April and early May.   But, Dr. Franklin, his grandsons and his secretary felt nothing.  The commission’s Rapport was made to the king on August 11th with the unanimous opinion that no such thing as animal magnetism had been shown to exist, and all the observed effects of the public séances were due to familiar causes – excitement and imagination, and the belief, among the patients and the healers, that there had to be convulsive states before there could be a cure.

On August 18th, Dr. Franklin wrote to Lord Howe to thank him for the receipt a copy of Captain Cook’s ‘Voyage to the Pacific Ocean’, “in consideration of my Good-will in issuing Orders towards the protection of that illustrious Discoverer from any Interruption in his Return home by American Cruisers … which was no more than a Duty to Mankind”.

On August 6th, Thomas Jefferson arrived in Paris to join Adams and Dr. Franklin, a reunion of the three men who had drawn up the Declaration of Independence, and, with instructions from Congress, for the purpose of negotiating treaties of commerce with Russia, the Court of Vienna, Prussia, Denmark, Saxony, Hamburg, Great Britain, Spain, Portugal, Genoa, Tuscany, Rome, Naples, Venice and the Ottoman Porte.  In response to letters from Henry Laurens (of November 3rd and 16th 1784), Congress resolved, on March 10th 1785, to appoint Jefferson as the minister plenipotentiary to France and “complied with the request of Dr. Franklin for leave to return to this country”.  On May 2nd, Dr. Franklin received the good news.

But Dr. Franklin’s health had greatly deteriorated and he was at the mercy of the stone in his bladder – increasingly he was prone to painful and urgent voiding of the bladder; he could feel the weight of the stone as he turned in bed; he was listless; he was comfortable only when prone; he could neither walk nor ride, unless in a litter.  He was not sure that he could bear the motion of a ship(18).  But Dr. Franklin’s desire to return home was so strong, that he was willing to travel to Havre to find out.  If he could not, then he would have to be put ashore and stay in Europe for the rest of his life, never again to see America.  Before he left, he received a parting gift – a portrait of Louis XVI encircled with 408 diamonds.  Because of a severe spring drought, travel by water down the Seine was impossible.  The Duke of Coigny lent him a mule-drawn royal litter, in which he could sit or recline on a mound of pillows.  His 2 tons of baggage – 23 cases of books, 4 of scientific instruments, his dismantled printing press with printer’s type, and supplies of Passy water – 128 boxes in all, was transported by horse-drawn barge to the coast.

On the afternoon of July 12th, Dr. Franklin left Passy in his royal litter, with Temple and Benny following in a carriage, reached Havre on the afternoon of July 18th, and waited 4 days for a packet to carry them to Britain.  On the morning of the 22nd until the morning of the 24th, they crossed the English Channel, landing at Southampton.  On the 24th, Dr. Franklin had a chilly reunion with his son, William, who sold his vast New Jersey properties to Temple for 48,000 livres, that Dr. Franklin paid for.  On the 27th, the London Packet arrived, and that evening, Dr. Franklin and his two grandsons set sail for America.  As interested in the Gulf Stream as ever, he made daily records of the temperature of the air and water.  And in a long letter to Le Roy, he wrote his Maritime Observations.

On September 14th, they arrived at Philadelphia and a cheering crowd carried him to his home.  The three of them had left Philadelphia in October 1776, shortly after Dr. Franklin had met with Howe and rejected the ‘so-called’ British peace offer, after which the shooting war in America really began, and were now returning home at the end of the war, having been away almost 9 years – Temple was now 26, Benny was 16, and Dr. Franklin was soon going to be 80 – perhaps feeling a little bit like Rip Van Winkle.  But there would be no retirement for the good doctor.

On October 11th, Dr. Franklin was elected to the Supreme Executive Council, and on the 17th, the council voted him to be President.  When the General Assembly met on October 29th, he was elected President of Pennsylvania.  He would be re-elected as President in November 1786 and in October 1787.  He also resumed the chair at the American Philosophical Society (that had elected him as president year after year during his absence in Europe).  In February 1787, he founded and became president of the Society for Political Enquiries that sought to study political science as the Philosophical Society studied the natural sciences.  In 1787 he became president of the Pennsylvania Society for Promoting the Abolition of Slavery.  (One of the last things he was to write was ‘On the Slave Trade’.)

In March 1787, he was one of the delegates chosen to attend the Constitutional Convention, and he was able to be present every day from May 25th until it finished on September 17th.  He was elected to the grand committee (one delegate from each state) to devise a compromise to the division over proportional representation by population or equal representation by state.  On his motion, the committee arrived at a solution.  His speech at the end of the convention, urging the constitution’s signing, was much published and much used in the debate over ratification.

I confess that there are several parts of this Constitution which I do not at present approve, but I am not sure I shall never approve them; for, having lived long, I have experienced many instances of being obliged by better information or fuller consideration to change opinions, even on important subjects, which I once thought right but found to be otherwise … In these sentiments, Sir, I agree to this Constitution with all its faults, if they are such; because I think a general government necessary for us, and there is no form of government but what may be a blessing to the people if well administered … I doubt too whether any other convention we can obtain may be able to make a better Constitution.  For when you assemble a number of men to have the advantage of their joint wisdom, you inevitably assemble with those men all their prejudices, their passions, their errors of opinion, their local interests, and their selfish views.  From such an assembly can a perfect production be expected?  It therefore astonishes me, Sir, to find this system approaching so near to perfection as it does … Thus, I consent, Sir, to this Constitution because I expect no better, and because I am not sure that it is not the best.”

Ben Franklin at the signing of the US Constitution. Alexander Hamilton is to his right

Ben Franklin at the signing of the US Constitution. Alexander Hamilton is to his right

After finishing his third term as President of Pennsylvania in October 1788, he retired from public affairs.  During the last year of his life, he was confined to his bed and was prescribed laudanum by his doctor to alleviate his pain, which had increased from an empyema in his left lung that made breathing difficult.  When the empyema burst, he passed into a coma.  At about 11 p.m. on the evening of April 17th 1790, with his grandsons Temple and Benny watching, Dr. Franklin passed away quietly.

It was said of Dr. Franklin, that

he has an incessant vein of humour, accomplished with an uncommon vivacity, which seems as natural and involuntary as his breathing”.

And as he himself said

all among us may be happy who have happy dispositions, such being necessary to happiness even in paradise”.

– – – – – – – – – –

 

On July 3rd 1781, Brevet General Moses Hazen issued these orders to the Canadian Continental Regiment,

who had been sent to Caughnawaga, New York to assist with the evacuation of Fort Schuyler:

Tomorrow will be celebrated the anniversary of the great and glorious Independency of the Rising Empire of America, when she will enter into the sixth year of that Establishment that will be the envy of Europe, the scourge of Britain, and the Surprise of future Nations; the patience, sufferings, and firmness of the Soldiery in pursuit of this End, will adorn the page of History and generations yet to come will mention them with Gratitude, Respect and Love  …”

– – – – – – – – – –

A List of the 227 Canadian and Nova-Scotia Refugees entitled to lands in the State of New York

 

 

A Reviewer’s Review

 

The question is often asked, why didn’t Canada join the American Revolution and become part of the United States?  This was not something that one simply decided whether to join in, or not, like voting to be part of a club.  One must remember that the revolution was a war, a war for independence, and if you weren’t willing to risk your life, your fortune and your sacred honour, then you didn’t get the privilege of being able to join.  So, the first question to be asked is, why didn’t Canada fight in the war for independence?  Well …  the Continental Army contained two Canadian Regiments.  So, the answer to the first question is yes, Canada did fight.  And that great myth of Canadians wanting to remain neutral should end.  (Blah, blah, blah)  Which now begs the second question, if Canadians did fight, why didn’t Canada become part of the United States?

First, a look at the British view.  The British empire’s policy for Canada, since 1763, was to continue the previously French-oligarchy-run policy of manipulating the Indian tribes using the methods of the Jesuits, for an incessant series of raids and attacks on the American frontier settlements, in order to limit American colonization to the area east of the Appalachian mountains and thereby stop the settlement of the Ohio valley.  Even though French-Canadian settlements were allowed in the Illinois country, and even possible future settlements down the Mississippi river to Louisiana, no American settlements were to be allowed.  However, the British did not use the Jesuit methods.  Instead they used the abominable fur trade, to increasingly supply (and thus to control) the Indians with guns, knives, pots and kettles, clothes, and alcohol.  As the skills and interest to produce their own products were lost, the Indian economy became totally dependent on the fur trade for their basic necessities, as trading patterns shifted, and as power lines also shifted to those warriors who could access these goods.

After the peace treaty was signed in 1783, the British kept their frontier posts at Mackinac, Detroit and Niagara, knowing that these posts were now inside United States territory, in order to maintain their Canadian-Indian policy of preventing the Americans from settling the Ohio country, and to do this even after this territory had been ceded to the United States !!!  This was the reason why the British would not cede Canada to America as part of the peace treaty.  Although the war may have been ended, the long-term plan of the British Empire was not over, and would inevitably lead into the next war in 1812.

Second, the American view.  The American attack against the British forces in Canada in 1775-1776 was approved by Congress because of their perception of a British preparation to invade the United States from Canada via lake Champlain and the Hudson river, with the British aim being to split the colonies in two.  Congress instructed Schuyler to take possession of Canada – if it would not be disagreeable to the Canadians.  While Washington made plans for the invasion of Canada, he opposed an invasion of Nova Scotia because since no attack against the American colonies from Nova Scotia was perceived, an attack on Nova Scotia would be for conquest rather than defence.  (At the time of this decision, the Americans were only engaged against the British in the occupation of Boston – in other words, before any major fighting or any major demands for defence.)  After the surrender of Burgoyne in October 1778, when Congress planned another attack on Detroit, Niagara and Canada, Washington instead ordered the northern army to be sent immediately as reinforcements to his main army at Valley Forge, where he was preoccupied in battling the British army that had occupied Philadelphia.  When Congress sent Lafayette north to lead an irruption into Canada, Washington sent Hazen and the Canadian regiment north to assist him.  The reality was that an expedition against Canada could only be successful with support of French troops and the assistance of the French navy.

Washington’s letter in November 1778 against an invasion of Canada voiced his concern of the great temptation it would be for France to keep Canada in her possession, and how that could have the potential to break up their present alliance.  At that same time, Britain changed strategy and now planned to shift its attack to the southern states as a plan to split the states in two.  Washington’s concern would now be to defend the southern states and especially Virginia, because without Virginia there could be no defence of the Ohio country – an infinitely more important objective for America than to secure Canada.  Washington’s 1782 ‘Plan of Campaign’ laid out the requirements for the annexation of Canada and Nova Scotia, but was not as important in his mind to the reduction of British forces at New York, and in the south.

In 1779, Congress would resolve on its borders and, in the desire of ending the war, would not make the acquisition of Canada and Nova Scotia an ultimatum.  In 1782, during the preliminary talks, Dr. Franklin would list the cession of Canada as a desirable but not a necessary proposal for peace.  When Britain agreed to all of the necessary proposals, but none of the desirables, the fate of Canada as part of the British Empire was sealed – at least for the foreseeable future.

Lastly, the Canadian view.  While the American colonies had enjoyed elected assemblies since the first sitting of the Virginia House of Burgesses in 1619 and the Massachusetts General Court in 1634 (followed by Maryland in 1635, Connecticut in 1639, Rhode Island in 1647, New Jersey in 1668, New Hampshire in 1680, Pennsylvania with Delaware in 1682, New York in 1683, the Carolinas in 1692, and finally Georgia in 1755 – and even Nova Scotia in 1758), the Canadians had never had an elected anything, as the Estates General in France had not sat since 1614.  The Canadians had lived under French feudalism, and now were under a British military dictatorship that made feudalism seem good.  With the British occupation of Canada in 1763 and the implementation of the Quebec Act of 1774, Governor Carleton’s 17 member appointed council (to represent the 100,000 French Canadiens and the 200 English Canadians) consisted of 9 British Canadians along with 7 French Canadian seigneurs and 1 Protestant French Canadian merchant; and his 27 appointed Justices of the Peace consisted of 22 British Canadians and 5 Protestant French Canadians.

In 1775, when the Americans seized the cannons at Ticonderoga and an invasion of Canada was feared, Carleton ordered out the militia, but the habitants refused to follow the church or the hated seigneurs, and Carleton had to declare martial law.  When Montgomery and Arnold entered Canada, they were welcomed, supplies and services were sold to them, and some took up arms with them.  Most everyone in the province hoped the Americans would win.  Volunteers joined the Canadian regiment of the Continental army.  After their brief taste of freedom and the retreat of the American northern army with the Canadian regiment, the British military dictatorship returned with forced billeting of over 4000 British regulars and over 2000 Hessians, with the threat of arrest if suspected of aiding the Americans, with charges and fines for refusing the forced corvees and the mandatory militia.  An inquisition against the supporters of the Americans took place by Carleton’s appointed commissioners and also by the (British approved) bishop whose mandement stated “ … The list of sins against God of which you have been guilty is a long one!  First, the sin of disobedience to the lawful Sovereign; the sinner guilty of such resistance is damned … they are all liable to excommunication”.  But the British were only able to recruit 300 volunteers for the militia, and could only send 50 Canadian militia-men on Burgoyne’s campaign – because that is all that could be trusted not to desert or to join the other side!!!  Only 50 Canadians fought on the British side during the war!!!

Canadians however volunteered to join the two Canadian regiments in the Continental Army – leaving behind their families, their possessions and property, facing excommunication from the church and with a price being put on their head – they were not summer soldiers or sunshine patriots.  The Canadian regiments fought under Gates at Saratoga and the surrender of Burgoyne; the Canadian regiment under Livingston was a decisive part of the sabotage of Arnold’s treasonous plan for the British to capture Washington at West Point; and the Canadian regiment fought under Lafayette at Yorktown and the surrender of Cornwallis.  If a joint American-French attempt would have later been made to liberate Canada, the Canadiens would have done all they could to aid and join the allies.  That great British-concocted myth that Canadians wished to remain neutral, should be buried in a dung heap with all the other unadulterated crap that is found in most history propaganda books.

But, with that brief taste of freedom, the genie could never be put back into the bottle.  In my view, a big problem in Canada was education, which is not written about much, ironically.  While the literacy rate in the United States at that time was over 90%, in Canada except for the nobility/seigneurs and the religious communities, very few habitants could read or write French, let alone English.  And if they could, there was nothing to read.  The only newspaper, the Quebec Gazette, was under British military sponsorship and censorship.

Fleury Mesplet had been sent to Montreal by Congress in 1775, along with Benjamin Franklin and the commissioners, to establish a newspaper there.  With the retreat of the American army in 1776, Mesplet was imprisoned by the British for three weeks, but he steadfastly remained in Montreal and soon re-started his printing business.  On June 1778, he published the first issue of Canada’s first fully French language newspaper, La Gazette du Commerce et Litteraire, which lasted for one year, until June 1779, when he and Valentin Jautard, the editor, were again arrested.  Mesplet remained in custody for the duration of the American Revolution until he was released in Sept 1782 – after the ending of offensive actions by the British.

And, the battle of ‘forlorn hope’ for the independence of Canada from the British Empire continues.

 

Chapter 1 – 1775, the Road to Canada

(1) The people of Canada had never had an elected assembly, as the Estates-General in France had not sat since 1614.  The province of Nova Scotia first elected its legislative assembly in 1758, and even Saint John’s Island (P.E.I.) first elected its legislative assembly in 1773.  The British did not feel the Canadiens were ready for the ‘calamity’ of elected legislature.

(2) The ‘colonists’ were Britons and Americans who had immigrated to Canada after 1763.

(3) On December 6th 1764, after a dispute involving the billeting of troops in Montreal which resulted in the jailing of a British captain, 20 men of the 28th regiment, with blackened faces, burst into the home of one of the leading justices of the peace in the case, Thomas Walker, a former Bostonian now in business in Montreal, severely beat him and cut off one of his ears.  In 1767, a draft petition for an elected assembly was submitted by Walker to the military governor of the province of Quebec, Carleton.

(4) In November 1773, a committee of merchants sent Thomas Walker and Zachary Macaulay to London to petition Lord Dartmouth for an elected assembly.  While there, they also enlisted the help of Francis Maseres, the former attorney-general of Quebec 1766-1769.

(5) The French Canadiens tended to remain neutral, perhaps remembering back to the capture of Quebec in 1759 when the British troops carried off or destroyed all the livestock and produce of those Canadiens still serving the French, while at the same time the French troops captured and brutally beat any habitant providing provisions to the British.

(6) The colonists estimated, at that time, the French population of Quebec at 75,000 and the English population of Quebec at 3,000.

(7) In what may be argued as the one positive outcome of British occupation of Canada, Governor Murray introduced the potato to Quebec farmers.

(8) Moses Hazen was born in Massachusetts of Jewish parents, had served as a first lieutenant in Robert Rogers’s Rangers in the attack on Louisbourg in 1758 and had been a captain in the Rangers at the capture of Quebec in 1759.  He purchased a lieutenant’s commission in the British army in 1761, retired in 1763 at Montreal, and purchased two seigneuties near St. Jean with Lt. Colonel Christie in 1764, when its owner decided to return to France.  In 1765, Hazen was appointed by Murray as one of the 27 new justices of the peace in Canada (22 were British protestants and 5 were French protestants).

(9) Prior to the British occupation of Canada, each parish was organized under a captain of the militia, who would provide men for needs of the army, for billeting troops, to distribute weapons, supervise repairs to roads and bridges, to apprehend offenders, to help with the census of surplus grain, and to settle local disputes.  Governor Murray disbanded the militia in the fall of 1765.

(10) In July 1776, Guy Johnson, appointed Indian Superintendant after the untimely death of his uncle Sir William Johnson in 1774, had fled the Mohawk valley in upstate New York, with an escort of 220 Indians and Tories, including Daniel Claus and John Butler, to Montreal, and held a conference at Lachine with over 1600 of the Seven Nations Indians of Canada, to urge them to enter the war on the British side.  In November, Guy Johnson along with Daniel Claus and Joseph Brant, would leave to go to London.  John Butler would become the deputy Indian agent at Fort Niagara, trying to lure them into renouncing their neutrality.

(11) At the meeting with the Iroquois, Schuyler agreed to ask Congress to investigate disputed land claims, to reopen trade with the Indians and to recommend that Congress pay for two blacksmiths to work in Iroquoia.  A delegation of four Oneida Indians travelled north to Kahnawake to urge their brother Oneidas in Canada to remain neutral.

(12) During one skirmish, in a British attempt to reopen the road from St. Jean to Montreal, Moses Hazen, who had been taken prisoner by Brown, and then abandoned by Brown when the British approached, was then made a prisoner by the British!

(13) Colonel Allan Maclean had been trying to raise a battalion from among former Scottish highland soldiers who had fought during the Seven Years’ War and had settled in Canada, Nova Scotia and upstate New York.

(14) On October 18th, in retaliation for the colonists having captured several British supply ships there earlier in May, four British ships under Captain Mowat bombarded and burnt the town of Falmouth, Massachusetts (now Portland, Maine).

(15) On September 27th at Fort Western, a courier from Washington arrived with his proclamation, that Arnold was to distribute among the Canadiens.
(16) Upon Enos’ return to camp, Washington ordered him arrested and brought before a court-martial. Since none of Arnold’s officers could travel to Canada to testify, Enos was acquitted, but, eight days later he resigned his commission.

(17) Montgomery was buried with dignity inside the town of Quebec, until his bones were reinterred in New York City in 1818.

(18) While prisoners, they petitioned to be inoculated against smallpox. About one hundred Americans who were of British birth, instead of death, were offered mercy if they swore an oath of allegiance and seved the king until June, with full pay – even for the time they campaigned with the Americans, and a free voyage to Britain in the spring. Although all accepted, after too many escaped back to the American ranks, Carleton had the rest disarmed, disuniformed and locked up in the barracks. Using small hatchets and hunting knives that were smuggled in by the prisoners when they were captured, and with gunpowder that was bought from the guards with money that was smuggled in to them by the nuns when they came to visit the sick prisoners, an attempt not only to escape but to capture the fort from within was planned!!!, but it was betrayed by a deserter (one who had previously deserted the British to join the Americans) on April 1st. The officers, who were imprisoned separate from their men, also attempted an escape, but on April 26th, were reported to the British by a priest when he spied one of them cutting a door as part of the attempt to escape, and by a guard who was part of their plan, but under threat of prison, confessed to the British, and the plan was aborted.

(19) On January 10th, the Continental Congress made Benedict Arnold a Brigadier-General.

(20) General Howe had arrived in Boston in May 1775 with 4000 troops, to reinforce General Gage and his 5000 troops who were besieged in Boston. Howe replaced Gage as commander-in-chief when Gage was recalled to London in October 1775.

(21) Colonel Reed would only make it as far as Crown Point, where he contracted smallpox and lost his vision.

(22) Carleton had appointed a commission, naming as members Francois Baby, Gabriel Taschereau and Jenkin Williams, that between May 22nd and July 16th visited the various parishes north and south of the St. Lawrence river, betweenTrois Rivieres and Kamaouraska, cancelling American militia commissions, appointing new and loyal officers, and obtaining the names of those who gave assistance to the Americans.

(23) It was estimated that not less than 500 men died of smallpox during that winter.

(24) The 50-gun ship Isis left Portland on March 11th, and the ship Surprize and sloop Martin sailed from Plymouth on March 20th.

(25) Eight years later, the Papal Nuncio in Paris told Dr. Franklin that on his recommendation, John Carroll would be appointed as provisional Superior of the Missions in the United States. In 1789, Carroll was elected Bishop of Baltimore by the Catholic clergy. Carroll promoted the use of English in the liturgy. He would also organize the founding of Georgetown University in 1791.

(26) Colonel Maxwell and some of his New Jersey troops had been left as an outpost at Jacques Cartier, but without any cannon, were unable to hold it and had to retreat to join Thomas at Deschambault on May 12th.

(27) Forster had received intelligence from the Chevalier de Lorimier, who had slipped out of Montreal on one of the passes for trading with the Indians, and had been in touch with the priest at the Cedars, Pierre Denaut (who later became bishop of Quebec) to arrange for provisions for Forster’s force.

(28) For his part in the fiasco at the Cedars, at a court-martial, on Arnold’s evidence, Bedel was convicted, cashiered and dismissed. Later at a Board of War hearing, the decision was reversed, giving him an honourable acquittal, and restoring his rank.

(29) John Sullivan, of New Hampshire, had been the president of the Enos court-martial, where he had been acquitted.

(30) Dayton was sent by General Schuyler to stop the unrest instigated by Sir John Johnson, who before he could be arrested, fled to Montreal with 170 other Tories.

(31) General Wooster would later demand an inquiry into his conduct in Canada, and the committee appointed by Congress for that purpose reported that nothing censurable or blameworthy appeared against him. He resigned his commission from Congress, and was appointed Major General of the Connecticut militia.

(32) George III first approached Empress Catherine of Russia for twenty thousand troops, but was refused. He was denounced by Frederick the Great. He next approached the Duke of Brunswick, the Landgrave of Hesse-Kasel and the Count of Hesse-Hanau. From Brunswick, he purchased 1 regiment of dragoons, 2 regiments of infantry, 1 battalion of grenadiers – totalling 2500 men; and from Hesse-Hanau, 1 regiment of 600 men, to send to Canada.

(33) Later, at Ticonderoga, Hazen was arrested on charges from Arnold. At his court-martial, Hazen was found not guilty and was unanimously acquitted with honour.

(34) Sullivan resigned his commission, but Congress refused to accept it because of his creditable conduct in the retreat. He withdrew his resignation and rejoined Washington’s army. On August 9th 1776, Sullivan was made a Major-General.

(35) When Colonel St. Clair was promoted to Brigadier-General by Congress on August 25th, Joseph Wood was promoted to Colonel to replace him.

(36) Colonel Burrell earlier had been sent home in a very precarious state of health.

(37) Colonel Maxwell was appointed a Brigadier-general by Congress on October 23rd.

(38) Colonel Bond had been sent to the hospital at Fort George and died there on August 31st.

(39) Colonel Greaton had been sent to Fort George seriously ill, but he recovered.

(40) Colonel Reed, who was made a Brigadier-general by Congress on August 25th, had been sent to Fort George but did not regain his health during the campaign and ultimately lost his sight.

Chapter 2 – 1776, the Road to Nova Scotia

(1) Massachusetts’ three eastern counties of York, Cumberland and Lincoln would become the district of Maine in 1778.

(2) In 1770, Eddy had been elected as the representative from the town of Cumberland, and Rogers had been elected from the town of Sackville, but both would be removed from the assembly for non-attendance (!?!)

(3) The Royal Highland Emigrants were initially recruited by John Small among highlander veterans of the Seven Years war and other loyalists, but also when Scottish emigrants arrived in America, the ships were stopped and the men were pressed into service. The Royal Fencible Americans were recruited by Joseph Goreham, who had led Goreham’s Rangers during the Seven Years war, and the recruits were sent to Halifax from Boston in October 1775.

(4) In March, after the opposition to the militia bill, Francklin had organized the militia in Kings county – Windsor, Newport, Falmouth, Horton and Cornwallis, but with the men under the command of such officers as are agreeable to themselves, and that they not be called away from their families.

(5) In June when the Micmacs were travelling to meet Goreham at Fort Cumberland, some of the chiefs stopped at Allan’s farm on their way home and they discussed their meeting with Goreham. Allan promised he would soon travel to Cocagne to discuss the situation with all the Micmac chiefs.

(6) At the time the Micmac chiefs were meeting with Goreham, they also had sent two delegates to Boston to find out what the Americans had to offer them.

(7) Three 9-pounder cannon and three 6-pound cannon had been unloaded from the provision ship before the raid by Roe.

(8) The Baie Verte Road led out from the fort, through Camphill, to the village of Bloody Ridge (and the farm of John Allan), to the village of Jolicure and ten miles further to Baie Verte on the Northumberland strait.

(9) Not all of Eddy’s men were at Camphill. Some of the local men went home every night, and some of the men were stationed at different posts, for the safety of the inhabitants.

(10) Except for Jonathan Eddy, Samuel Rogers, William How, Zebulon Roe, and John Allan.

(11) Massachusetts made Eddy a colonel on December 28th 1776.

Chapter 3 – 1777, the Road to Saratoga

(1) Stirling was exchanged by the British for Montford Browne, the British governor of the Bahamas, who had been captured by the Americans in an attack on Nassau, on March 3rd, 1776. Browne would then form the Loyalist Prince of Wales Regiment.

(2) It was here that Colonel Joseph Reed, Washington’s adjutant-general, wrote to Lee of what would hint at favouring to replace Washington with Lee as commander-in-chief.

(3) The French government of the 22-year-old king Louis XVI, assigned Beaumarchais, as secret agent, to set up a company – ‘Roderigue Hortalez et Compagnie’ – to receive a one million livre loan from France in June 1776 and another one million livre loan from Spain in August 1776, and to purchase supplies for the Americans from French arsenals. Beaumarchais met with Deane on July 19th 1776.

(4) On December 7th, General Henry Clinton had seized Newport, to counteract the heavy damage being inflicted on British shipping by New England privateers and to try to blockade New England shipping.

(5) In 1706 Rev. Cotton Mather, who had earlier lost 3 of his children to smallpox, wrote of a conversation he had with his servant Onesimus, who told him about inoculation that he’d undergone as a child in Africa. Mather set about researching the practise of inoculation around the world. When the next major smallpox outbreak hit Boston in 1721, Dr. Zabdiel Boylston, with the encouragement of Mather, attempted the first inoculation on 3 subjects – Jack, an adult male slave, Jackey, a 2-year old slave boy, and Dr. Boylston’s own 6-year old son.

(6) Arnold was attacked in a pamphlet by Colonel John Brown, and travelled to meet General Washington at Morristown, and then to Congress to clear his name. On May 23rd, the Board of War reported to Congress, that Arnold had given ‘entire satisfaction … concerning the general’s character and conduct, so cruelly and groundlessly aspersed in Brown’s publication’. And while in Philadelphia, Congress requested Arnold to take command of the militia to defend the city against a possible British attack.

(7) One of the company commanders, a Connecticut tory who had escaped to Canada from a Hartford jail, Samuel McKay, at the end of March, along with a party of Indians from Canada, attacked thirty unarmed American recruits at Sabbath Day Point who were on their way along the supply line from Ticonderoga to Fort George, killing four and taking twenty-one prisoner.

(8) Schuyler’s February 4th letter was brought before Congress on March 15th and resolved as “highly derogatory to the honour of Congress”. On March 25th Congress resolved “that General Gates be directed immediately to repair to Ticonderoga and take command of the army there”. Congress also resolved that Gates take with him, Brigadier-General Roche de Fermoy, from France, and Major-General St. Clair, to assist him. (Congress made St. Clair a Major-General on February 19th 1777.) After Schuyler laid this matter before the Convention of the State of New York at Kingston, he was appointed a delegate from New York to Congress, and on March 30th Schuyler set out for Philadelphia. On April 12th, Gates arrived at Albany to take command of the Northern army. On April 14th, Schuyler, in Philadelphia, was appointed commander-in-chief of the military in the state of Pennsylvania. On April 18th, Congress appointed a committee “to inquire into the conduct of Major-General Schuyler”. On May 22nd, Congress expunged the offensive resolution of March 15th, and directed Schuyler to take “absolute command over every part of the Northern Department”. Schuyler closed his career in Pennsylvania, and proceeded back to Albany, arriving there on June 3rd. On June 9th, Schuyler granted Gates his request to quit the department, and Gates left, arriving in Philadelphia on June 18th, where he spoke before Congress. Schuyler sent St. Clair, assisted by Fermoy, to take command of the army at Ticonderoga.

(9) In January 1777, delegates from 28 towns voted to declare independence from New Hampshire and New York, and to be called the Republic of New Connecticut, which was later changed, in June, to Vermont (after les Verts Monts – the Green Mountains). They also voted to abolish slavery (the first state to do so.)

(10) When his name was not on the list of new Brigadier generals appointed by Congress in February 1777, Stark resigned from the Continental army. He was now a brigadier general, but answerable to New Hampshire, not to Congress.

(11) When Schuyler asked for a brigadier to lead the mission, no one stepped forward, and Major-general Arnold volunteered.

(12) On July 20th, Livingston and the 1st Canadian regiment had been ordered from Fort Johnstown to join Learned`s brigade.

(13) Sullivan would face a court martial and on October 12th 1777, “the court are unanimously of the opinion that he ought to stand honorably acquitted of any unsoldierlike conduct in the expedition to Staten Island”.

(14) A rift developed between Arnold and Gates, as Arnold had invited kinsmen and former aides of Schuyler into his camp. Gates, still jealous of Schuyler, irritated Arnold by making John Brown, who was slandering Arnold to Congress, a lieutenant colonel and inviting him to his staff meetings.

(15) In 1771, Montresor had designed and began building the fort on Mud Island (now called Fort Mifflin).

(16) Arnold would refuse to have the leg amputated and remained three months in an Albany hospital, and he wouldn`t be able to rejoin the Continental army before May 1778. On November 29th, Congress restored Arnold’s seniority.

(17) Robert Livingston was the first Chancellor of New York and had been a member of the Committee of Five, that drafted the Declaration of Independence. He would later help negotiate the Louisiana purchase in 1803, and in 1807, would operate the Steamboat from New York to Albany with his partner Robert Fulton.

(18) Before October 14th, Burgoyne had given permission for the loyalist provincials to escape in small groups back to Canada. Many did. The 212 loyalist provincials who were captured at Saratoga, along with 303 other loyalist provincials captured earlier on the campaign, signed paroles to take no further part in the hostilities, and along with women and children and refugees that had sought Burgoyne`s protection, were sent to Powell at Ticonderogs, and on back to Canada.

(19) General Washington had opposed Conway’s promotion to major-general, writing “his importance in this army exist more in his own imagination than in reality.” In late October 1777, Conway wrote a letter to Gates attacking General Washington’s leadership. The scheme by General Washington’s enemies (called the Conway Cabal) to replace Washington with Gates, as commander in chief, was exposed when on January 4th 1778, General Washington replied to Gates’s letter (with a copy sent to Congress) in which he wrote: “I am to inform you, then, that Colonel Wilkinson, on his way to Congress in the month of October last, fell in with Lord Sterling at Reading and, not in confidence that I ever understood, informed his aide-de-camp, Major McWilliams, that General Conway had written this to you: ‘Heaven has determined to save your country, or a weak general and bad counsellors would have ruined it.’ Lord Stirling, from motives of friendship, transmitted the account …”

Chapter 4 – 1778, the Road to Kentucky

(1) The fort at Corn island had been abandoned on Clark’s orders, and a new fort was built on the south shore, that was called, simply, the Fort-on-Shore. The small community growing around it was called Louisville by the settlers – in honour of King Louis XVI.

Chapter 5 – 1779, the Road to France

(1) Dr. Franklin’s portrait, painted by Benjamin Wilson in 1759, was taken by Major General Charles Grey, later Earl Grey, and was passed down through Grey family, until 1906 when his great grandson, Earl Arthur Grey, the Governor General of Canada, had the painting returned to the United States, on the 200th anniversary of Dr. Franklin’s birth. It now hangs in the White House.

(2) The first was “An Act to enable His Majesty to appoint Commissioners with sufficient Powers to treat, consult, and agree upon the Means of quieting the Disorders now subsisting in certain of the Colonies, Plantations and Provinces of North America”, where on April 12th, Britain had appointed three commissioners to travel to America and negotiate with the Continental Congress.
The second was “An Act for repealing An Act for the better regulating the Government of the Province of the Massachusets Bay in New England”, which repealed the act of 1773 that had ripped up the Colonial charter.
The third was “An Act for removing all Doubts and Apprehensions concerning Taxation by the Parliament of Great Britain, in any of the Colonies, Provinces, and Plantations in North America and the West Indies”, which repealed the 1773 Tea Act and declared that Britain would not impose any taxes except to regulate commerce.

(3) Major General Charles Lee had been under comfortable house arrest in New York since his capture in December 1776 until he was exchanged for British Major General Prescott on April 21st 1778 and rejoined the army at Valley Forge on May 20th.

(4) Scott reported that “Washington swore at Lee until the leaves shook on the trees”. Lee would later write two highly insubordinate letters to Washington demanding an apology and a court martial to clear his name.

(5) The Mohicans had been driven from their home along the Hudson river by the Mohawks, who wanted to be the middlemen in the fur trade, and by the 1740’s had resettled at Stockbridge, Massachusetts, and were subsequently called the Stockbridge Indians.
(6) In July 1778, Abraham Nimham asked that all the Mohicans that had joined the American army and were in several local regiments, along with other Indians in other regiments – including the Oneida and Tuscarora warriors that had not returned home, could be allowed to serve together in one unit.

(7) Between 1778 and 1781, some 487 Pennsylvanians and their families were charged with treason and attainted, of the 23 that were tried, 3 were convicted and only 2 were hanged.

(8) The eight charges were: 1. Arnold had granted illegal passes to persons of disaffected character to enable the ‘Charming Nancy’ to get away from British-occupied Philadelphia to any American-held port;
2. Arnold had closed the shops of Philadelphia so that he could make sizable purchases of foreign goods;
3. Arnold had imposed degrading services on militia men (sending them to fetch his barber to fix his wig);
4. Arnold had interfered in a prize case (the sloop ‘Active’) by illegal purchase at an inadequate price;
5. Arnold had used public wagons to transport private property (Arnold was offered a half-share of any goods on the ‘Charming Nancy’ that could be rescued);
6. Arnold had tried illegally to help an improper person (Hannah Levy) through the lines into New York;
7. Arnold had made an indecent and disrespectful refusal when he had been requested by the council to explain about the wagons;
8. Arnold’s discouragement and neglect of patriotic persons and his different conduct toward those of another character.

(9) Earlier in the year, Arnold had also received a letter from Beverly Robinson, asking him to take over the leadership of the loyalists to end the war.

(10) In 1769 Lady Elizabeth Germain died without any heirs, and left her estate to George Sackville, who changed his name from Lord Sackville to Lord Germain.

(11) Gates declined the command in a letter to General Washington on March 16th.

(12) In January, 8 Onondaga chiefs declared that they were going to leave to join the Oneida and Tuscarora and their American allies. A body of them later went to live with the Oneida and were able to escape the destruction of their castle.

(13) This event is described by James Fenimore Cooper in his book, ‘The Pioneers’.

(17) Lafayette was under orders to see no one but relatives – he had gone to America, against the king’s wish, and now must bear a penalty – a week of confinement at the home of his wife’s grandfather, the Duc de Noailles, before he could visit Dr. Franklin.

(18) Adams was supposed to have sailed earlier on the Alliance but Sartine instead assigned the ship to Jones’s squadron. No longer a commissioner, Adams returned home and sailed from France on June 17th along with America’s new French ambassador.

(19) Many of the just exchanged American seamen agreed to join Jones on the Bonhomme Richard.

(20) Landais had ignored all of Jones’s signals, and had, at one time, even threatened to kill Jones. Before leaving Texel, Landais fought a duel with Cottineau, who had called him a coward.

(21) Dr. Franklin wrote a satire in which he reduced Izard to the letter Z, “a little, hissing, crooked, serpentine, venomous” entity, obsessed with his placement in the alphabet, which he considers consistent neither with his station nor with his ability, and, intent on redress, Z petitions for nothing less than a wholesale reform of the alphabet.

(22) Suspecting Mr. Lee was at the bottom of this affair, on June 20th, Jonathan Williams (Dr. Franklin’s grand-nephew) fought a duel with Lee. Lee missed his shot, and Williams fired out the window. Dr. Franklin predicted of Lee that “if some of the many enemies he provokes, do not kill him sooner, he will die in a madhouse”.

Chapter 6 – 1780, the Road to Treason

(1) Major Chapline, who had been taken prisoner by the Indians when Simon Girty and a party of Indians attacked David Rogers and his crew who were bringing supplies from New Orleans to Fort Pitt, learned of the planned attack on Kentucky, escaped from his Indians captors and was able to reach Harrodsburg to warn the inhabitants.

(2) At the end of January, Schuyler had sent 2 neutral Mohawks and 2 prominent Oneidas to Fort Niagara, with a reply to Guy Johnson’s letter about prisoner exchanges, and with a peace proposal for the Iroquois. When the delegates arrived on February 12th, their proposal was rejected, and Lieutenant Colonel Bolton, commander at Fort Niagara, would not let them return, but instead put them in the dungeon – called the ‘black hole’. When the delegates did not return, the Oneidas feared that a British-Indian force would soon attack. In mid-June, the Indians at the Tuscarora/Onondaga village of Kanaghsaraga, abandoned their homes and sought shelter at Niagara, and a small group of Oniedas went with them.

(3) The British had also printed large quantities of counterfeit bills.

(4) After the fall of Charleston, Thomas Sumter rallied men of the backcountry to continue fighting. Lacking material backing or support, he rewarded his partisans with provisions taken from loyalist farmers or plunder captured from the British. South Carolina Governor John Rutledge, in exile in North Carolina, dispatched Francis Marion to organize resistance in the Santee-Pee Dee area.

(5) Selby would become the first governor of Kentucky, and Sevier would become the first governor of Tennessee.

(6) After the surrender of Charleston, General Richardson was paroled, due to failing health, and returned home where he died in September 1780. After leaving Ox Swamp, Tarleton would return to Richardson’s plantation, had Mrs. Richardson flogged in front of her children, had General Richardson’s body exhumed, and then burned the house and the barn with the animals in it!!!

(7) Greene would write to Congress “that the situation of the southern army rendered such a Court of Enquiry during the campaign impracticable”, and “that General Gates was unfortunate, but not blamable, and that he was confident from all the enquiries he has since made, General Gates will acquit himself with honor”. No inquiry into Gates’s conduct was ever held. On August 14th 1782, Congress revoked its resolution for an enquiry so that Gates could rejoin the army, which he did in October 1782 at Newburgh.

(8) A Special Note regarding Louis XVI: On August 10th 1779, the king had freed all the serfs upon the royal domains, hoping that the French landowners would follow his example.

(9) The erection of four major forts, a blockhouse, a ring of hilltop redoubts and a string of river-level gun emplacements at West Point had been supervised by the chief engineer in the Hudson Highlands, Tadeusz Kosciuszko.

(10) Arnold used Colonel Elisha Sheldon’s double agent, Elijah Hunter, who was trusted by the British but loyal to the Americans. Sheldon was unaware of Arnold’s treason, thinking instead that Arnold was communicating with an American spy in New York.

(11) Squire Joshua Smith, the brother of the loyalist chief justice of New York, had supervised the spy network under Robert Howe, Arnold’s predecessor. Smith was trusted by neither side. Smith thought that Arnold was meeting with an American spy.

Chapter 7 – 1781, the Road to Yorktown

(1) In October, as part of the army reorganization, the two Canadian regiments were consolidated into the 1st Canadian regiment under Colonel Moses Hazen. Colonel James Livingston returned to Albany and retired from the Continental Army.

(2) Governor Rutledge had made Sumter a Brigadier General of the South Carolina militia, on October 6th and would make Marion a Brigadier General on December 30th.

(3) Morgan had resigned from the army after being refused a promotion, but after the defeat at Camden, he rejoined the army and joined Gates at Hillsborough on October 2nd. On October 13th, Congress resolved that Morgan be promoted to Brigadier General.

(4) The 26-year old Lieutenant Colonel John Laurens was a former aide-de-camp of General Washington, and had commanded an infantry regiment when he was taken prisoner during the battle of Charleston and was exchanged in November 1780.

(5) Lafayette wrote in his memoires that “we live in a frugality, poverty and nakedness, which I hope, will be put to our credit in the next world as a sort of purgatory.”

(6) Many men had enlisted to serve for ‘three years or during the war’, that is to say, for less than three years should the war cease in less time. However, when having served for three years they sought their discharge, the officers, loth to lose such experienced soldiers, interpreted the terms of enlistment to mean three years, or to the end of the war should it continue for a longer time.

(7) In 1780, he wrote “Being arrived at 70 and considering that travelling further in the same road I should probably be led to the grave, I stopped short, turned around and walked back again; which having done these four years, you may now call me 66.”

(8) The 10 million livre loan would not come through until 1782.

(9) During the summer of 1781, Laurens read Gibbons’s ‘Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire’ and he wrote letters that drew parallels with Great Britain, including first-hand accounts of horrendous conduct of the British troops in America.

(10) A modest John Adams wrote to Robert Livingston, the Foreign Secretary of the United States, in defending his memorial – “ ‘What dust we raise’, said the fly upon the chariot wheel. It is impossible not to prove that this whole letter is not a similar delusion to that of the fly”.

(11) Lafayette impressed all the horses and wagons that he could find, and advanced by forced marches – half the men on foot and the other half in the wagons, changing at regular intervals. Regarding impressments, Lafayette wrote to Jefferson, that “when we are not able to do what we wish, we must do what we can.”

(12) On June 29th, Hazen was promoted to Brevet (honorary) Brigadier General.

(13) After Laurens returned from France, he travelled to Virginia to join Washington’s army, and on October 8th he replaced Scammel, who had been captured and mortally wounded while reconnoitering the British lines.

(14) Greene wrote, “I would order to the secretary of war the returns you require, but we really have not paper enough to make them out”.

(15) While repelling one of these raids, John Laurens was killed on August 27th 1782.

(16) General and Mrs. Washington adopted the two youngest of his 4 children.

(17) Brodhead would face a court-martial in February 1782, and was acquitted on all 8 charges. He later returned to the Continental Army, where he was made a brevet Brigadier General.

(18) General Washington approved of Willett’s strategy, writing to him that “I have ever been of opinion that small stationary Garrisons are of no real utility. By having your parties constantly in motion and ready to unite upon occasion, the small parties of the Enemy will be checked and their Main Body may be suddenly attacked, if they commit themselves too far into the settlements.”

Chapter 8 – 1782, the Road to Independence

(1) The Moravian Delaware Indians and missionaries had been forced by the British to relocate from the Tuskarawas river to the upper Sandusky in September 1781, but due to the threat of starvation, in late February 1782 some of the Delawares had been allowed to return to their abandoned villages to try to gather up any crops that were left standing when they were forced to move.

(2) After the war, Henry Laurens manumitted all his 260 slaves.

(3) Vaughan was a friend and disciple of Adam Smith, and had brought out an edition of Dr. Franklin’s writings in 1779.

(4) This would be the same offer presented to Canada in 1867, and would later become the basis of the British Commonwealth.

(5) The Mitchell map can be seen on the cover of this review.

(6) On January 22nd 1782, Congress had re-confirmed, in their instructions to their peace commissioners that they contend for the boundaries as described in their instructions of August 14th 1779.

(7) Jay allowed his own perturbation over Spanish objections to navigation of the Mississippi and to America’s western boundary, to colour his judgement. Jay asked Oswald, “What are you doing with 20,000 men? Why don’t you ship the troops from Charleston and New York and seize West Florida?” Oswald reported that “Americans will never forgive our neglect of this object” because they are determined that the territory should not remain with the Spaniards, even “if they should be put to recover it themselves”. A secret article would be attached to the preliminary treaty that awarded the British, should they secure Florida at the end of the war, a northern boundary at the 34th parallel, three degrees northward than the Americans were prepared to yield to the Spaniards!

(8) In November 1775, Lord Dunsmore had issued a proclamation that declared all indented Servants, Negroes, or Others free, that are able and willing to bear Arms, they joining His Majesty’s Troops.

(9) Fort Schuyler was still their western-most post. In February 1783, Willett led an unsuccessful attempt against Oswego.

(10) In 1781, Haldimand purchased the seigneury of Sorel, for the British government, to strengthen the post and garrison there.

(11) The seigneury of Machiche and several others were owned by Conrad Gugy, Haldimand’s former secretary, justice of the peace and member of the legislative council. The buildings to house the refugees were built by corvees from the 5 nearby parishes.

(12) Missisaga Point was 4 miles from Fort Niagara, at the western end of that 4-mile strip of land along the west side of the Niagara river, that had been previously purchased from the Missisauga Indians by the British.

(13) Lafayette returned from France and arrived at New York on August 4th 1784, visited General Washington at Mount Vernon, and travelled north through the major towns to Boston – including Albany, where he attended the peace council. He then sailed to Virginia and again met General Washington (the final time that they would ever meet) while visiting the battle sites, and then travelled to Trenton to present himself to Congress and resign his commission. He left New York on December 25th for France.

(14) After trying to recover his health by treatments at Bath, Laurens left Britain on June 6th 1784 and arrived at New York on August 3rd.

(15) After spending time at Bath to recover his health, Jay returned to Paris, leaving on May 16th 1784 and arriving at New York on July 24th.

(16) After recovering from a violent fever, Adams travelled to London to try to recover his health, then returned to the United Provinces to try to negotiate a new loan and while there he negotiated a draft treaty with Prussia, and then returned to Paris where he was joined by his wife and daughter, who had travelled from America.

(17) On May 7th 1784, Congress would elect Jay to be Secretary of Foreign Affairs, and would elect Thomas Jefferson as minister plenipotentiary, to replace Jay.

(18) Dr. Franklin had earlier wondered whether the balloon might become a common carriage and relieve him from the painful jolting of the pavements. On January 7th 1785, John Jeffries, a Boston-born Loyalist and surgeon-major in the British army, along with Jean-Pierre Blanchard, made the first balloon flight across the English Channel, in under 3 hours. Jeffries, a friend of William Franklin, carried with him a letter from William to his son, Temple Franklin, the first airmail letter. Pilatre now proposed a Calais to Boston balloon flight – a crossing of the Atlantic he boasted he could make in 48 hours.