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APPENDIX No. II: Of Continental Paper Currency. - David Ramsay, The History of the American Revolution, vol. 2 
The History of the American Revolution, Foreword by Lester H. Cohen (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund 1990). Vol. 2.
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APPENDIX No. II
Of Continental Paper Currency.
In the modern mode of making war, money is not less essential, than valour in the field, or wisdom in the cabinet. The deepest purse decides the fate of contending nations, as often as the longest sword. It early occurred to the founders of the American empire, that the established revenues of Great Britain, must eventually overbalance the sudden and impetuous sallies of men contending for freedom, on the spur of the occasion, and without the permanent means of defence: but how to remedy the evil, puzzled their wisest politicians. Gold and silver, as far as was known, had not a physical existence in the country, in any quantity equal to the demands of war, nor could they be procured from abroad, as the channels of commerce had been previously shut, by the voluntary association of Congress to suspend foreign trade. America having never been much taxed in any direct way, and being without established governments, and especially as she was contending against what was lately lawful authority, could not immediately proceed to taxation. Besides as the contest was on the subject of taxation, the laying on of taxes adequate to the exigencies of war, even though it had been practicable, would have been impolitic. The only plausible expedient in their power to adopt, was the emission of bills of credit representing specie, under a public engagement to be ultimately sunk by equal taxes, or exchanged for gold or silver.1779 This practice had been familiar from the first settlement of the colonies, and under proper restrictions  had been found highly advantageous. Their resolution to raise an army in June 1775, was therefore followed by another to emit bills of credit, to the amount of two millions of dollars. To that sum on the 25th of the next month, it was resolved to add another million. For their redemption they pledged the confederated colonies, and directed each colony to find ways and means, to sink its proportion and quota, in four annual payments, the first to be made on or before the last of Nov. 1779. That time was fixed upon from an expectation, that previous to its arrival, the contest would be brought to a conclusion. On the 29th of November, 1775, an estimate having been made by Congress of the public expences already incurred, or likely to be incurred in carrying on their defence till the 10th of June, 1776, it was resolved to emit a farther sum of three millions of dollars, to be redeemed as the former by four annual payments, the first to be made on or before the last day of Novem. 1783. It was at the same time determined, that the quotas of bills to be redeemed by each colony, should be in a relative proportion to their respective numbers of inhabitants. This estimate was calculated to defray expences to the 10th of June, 1776, on the idea that an accommodation would take place before that time. Hitherto all arrangements, both for men and money were temporary, and founded on the supposed probability of a reconciliation. Early in 1776, Congress obtained information, that Great Britain had contracted for 16,000 foreign mercenaries, to be sent over for the purpose of subduing America. This enforced the necessity of extending their plan of defence, beyond the 10th of the next June. They therefore on the 17th of February 1776, ordered four millions of dollars to be emitted, and on the 9th of May and the 22d of July following, emitted ten millions more on the same security. Such was the animation of the times, that these several emissions amounting in the aggregate to 20 millions of dollars, circulated for several months without any depreciation, and commanded the resources of the country for public service, equally with the same sum of gold1779 or  silver. The United States derived for a considerable time, as much benefit from this paper creation of their own, though without any established funds for its support or redemption, as would have resulted from a free gift of as many Mexican dollars. While the ministry of England were puzzling themselves for new taxes, and funds on which to raise their supplies, Congress raised theirs by resolutions, directing paper of no intrinsic value to be struck off, in form of promissory notes. But there was a point both in time and quantity, beyond which this congressional alchymy ceased to operate. That time was about 18 months from the date of their first emission, and that quantity about 20 millions of dollars.
Independence being declared in the second year of the war, and the object for which arms were at first assumed being changed, it was obvious that more money must be procured, and equally so that if bills of credit were multiplied beyond a reasonable sum for circulation, they must necessarily depreciate. It was therefore on the 3d of October 1776 resolved to borrow five millions of dollars, and in the month following a lottery was set on foot for obtaining a farther sum on loan. The expences of the war were so great, that the money arising from both, though considerable, was far short of a sufficiency. The rulers of America thought it still premature to urge taxation. They therefore reiterated the expedient of farther emissions. The ease with which the means of procuring supplies were furnished by striking off bills of credit, and the readiness of the people to receive them, prompted Congress to multiply them beyond the limits of prudence. A diminution of their value was the unavoidable consequence. This at first was scarcely perceivable, but it daily increased. The zeal of the people nevertheless so far overbalanced the nice mercantile calculations of interest, that the campaigns of 1776 and 1777 were not affected by the depreciation of the paper currency. Congress foresaw that this could not long be the case.1779 It was therefore on the 22d of November 1777 recommended to the several States, to raise by taxes the  sum of five millions of dollars, for the service of the year 1778.
Previously to this it had been resolved to borrow larger sums, and for the encouragement of lenders, it was agreed to pay the interest which should accrue thereon by bills of exchange, payable in France, out of monies borrowed there for the use of the United States. This tax unfortunately failed in several of the States. From the impossibility of procuring a sufficiency of money either from loans or taxes, the old expedient of farther emissions was reiterated; but the value decreased as the quantity increased. Congress anxious to put a stop to the increase of their bills of credit, and to provide a fund for reducing what were issued, called upon the States on the 1st of January 1779, to pay into the continental treasury their respective quotas of fifteen millions of dollars for the service of that year, and of six millions annually from and after the year 1779, as a fund for reducing their early emissions and loans. Such had been the mistaken ideas, which originally prevailed of the duration of the contest, that though the war was raging, and the demands for money unabated, yet the period was arrived which had been originally fixed upon for the redemption of the first emissions of Congress.
In addition to these 15 millions called for on the 1st of January 1779, the States were on the 21st of May following called upon to furnish, for public service within the current year, their respective quotas of 45 millions of dollars. Congress wished to arrest the growing depreciation, and therefore called for taxes in large sums, proportioned to the demands of the public, and also to the diminished value of their bills. These requisitions, though nominally large, were by no means sufficient. From the fluctuating state of the money, it was impossible to make any certain calculations, for it was not two days of the same value. A sum which when demanded, would have purchased a sufficiency of the commodities wanted for the public service, was very inadequate, when the collection was made, and the money lodged in the treasury. The depreciation began at different periods in different  States; but in general about the middle of the year 1777, and progressively increased for three or four years. Towards the last of 1777, the depreciation was about two or three for one; in 1778 it advanced from two or three for one to five or six for one: in 1779, from five or six for one to 27 or 28 for one; in 1780 from 27 or 28 for one to 50 or 6o for one, in the first four or five months. Its circulation was afterwards partial, but where it passed it soon depreciated to 150 for one. In some few parts it continued in circulation for the first four or five months of 1781, but in this latter period many would not take it at any rate, and they who did, received it at a depreciation of several hundreds for one.
As there was a general clamor on account of the floods of money, which at successive periods had deluged the States, it was resolved in October 1779 that no farther sum should be issued on any account whatever than what, when added to the present sum in circulation, would in the whole be equal to 200 millions of dollars. It was at the same time resolved, that Congress should emit only such a part of the sum wanting to make up 200 millions, as should be absolutely necessary for the public exigencies, before adequate supplies could be otherwise obtained, relying for such supplies on the exertions of the several States.Sept. 13, 1779 This was forcibly represented in a circular letter from Congress to their constituents, and the States were earnestly intreated to prevent that deluge of evils which would flow from their neglecting to furnish adequate supplies for the wants of the confederacy. The same circular letter stated the practicability of redeeming all the bills of Congress at par with gold and silver, and rejected with indignation the supposition that the States would ever tarnish their credit by violating public faith. These strong declarations in favour of the paper currency deceived many to repose confidence in it to their ruin. Subsequent events compelled Congress to adopt the very measure in 1780, which in the preceding year they had sincerely reprobated.
From the non-compliance of the States, Congress was obliged in a short time after the date of their circular letter to issue such a farther quantity, as when added to  previous emissions made the sum of 200 millions of dollars. Besides this immense sum, the paper emissions of the different States amounted to many millions; which mixed with the continental money, and added to its depreciation. What was of little value before now became of less. The whole was soon expended, and yet from its increased depreciation the immediate wants of the army were not supplied. The source which for five years had enabled Congress to keep an army in the field being exhausted, Gen. Washington was reduced for some time to the alternative of disbanding his troops, or of supplying them by a military force. He preferred the latter, and the inhabitants of New-York and New-Jersey, though they felt the injury, saw the necessity, and patiently submitted.
The States were next called upon to furnish in lieu of money determinate quantities of beef, pork, flour and other articles, for the use of the army. This was called a requisition for specific supplies or a tax in kind, and was found on experiment to be so difficult of execution, so inconvenient, partial and expensive, that it was speedily abandoned. About this time, Congress resolved upon another expedient. This was to issue a new species of paper money, under the guarantee of the several States. The old money was to be called in by taxes, and as soon as brought in to be burnt, and in lieu thereof one dollar of the new was to be emitted for every twenty of the old, so that when the whole 200 millions were drawn in and cancelled, only ten millions of the new should be issued in their place, four tenths of which were to be subject to the order of Congress, and the remaining six tenths to the order of the several States. These new bills were to be redeemable in specie within six years, and to bear an interest at the rate of five per cent to be paid also in specie, at the redemption of the bills, or at the election of the owner annually in bills of exchange on the American commissioners in Europe, at four shillings and six pence for each dollar.
1779From the execution of these resolutions it was expected, that the old money would be cancelled—that the  currency would be reduced to a fixed standard—that the States would be supplied with the means of purchasing the specific supplies required of them, and that Congress would be furnished with efficient money, to provide for the exigencies of the war. That these good effects would have followed, even though the resolutions of Congress had been carried into execution, is very questionable, but from the partial compliances of the States the experiment was never fairly made, and the new paper answered very little purpose. It was hoped by varying the ground of credit, that Congress would gain a repetition of the advantages which resulted from their first paper expedient, but these hopes were of short duration. By this time much of the popular enthusiasm had spent itself, and confidence in public engagements was nearly expired. The event proved, that credit is of too delicate a nature to be sported with, and can only be maintained by honesty and punctuality. The several expedients proposed by Congress for raising supplies having failed, a crisis followed very interesting to the success of the revolution. The particulars of this shall be related among the public events of the year 1781, in which it took place. Some observations on that primary instrument of American Independence, the old continental bills of credit, shall for the present close this subject.
It would have been impossible to have carried on the war, without something in the form of money. There was spirit enough in America to bring to the field of battle as many of her sons, as would have outnumbered the armies of Britain, and to have risqued their fate on a general engagement; but this was the very thing they ought to avoid. Their principal hope lay in evacuating, retreating, and protracting to its utmost length a war of posts. The continued exertions, necessary for this species of defence, could not be expected from the impetuous sallies of militia. A regular permanent army became necessary. Though the enthusiasm of the times might have dispensed with present pay, yet without at least as much money, as would support them in the field, the most patriotic army must have dispersed.
1779 The impossibility of the Americans procuring gold and silver even for that purpose, doubtless weighed with the British as an encouragement, to bring the controversy to the decision of the sword. What they knew could not be done by ordinary means, was accomplished by those which were extraordinary. Paper of no intrinsic value was made to answer all the purposes of gold and silver, and to support the expences of five campaigns. This was in some degree owing to a previous confidence, which had been begotten by honesty and fidelity, in discharging the engagements of government. From New-York to Georgia there never had been in matters relating to money, an instance of a breach of public faith. In the scarcity of gold and silver, many emergencies had imposed a necessity of emitting bills of credit. These had been uniformly and honestly redeemed. The bills of Congress being thrown into circulation, on this favourable foundation of public confidence, were readily received. The enthusiasm of the people contributed to the same effect. That the endangered liberties of America ought to be defended, and that the credit of their paper was essentially necessary to a proper defence, were opinions engraven on the hearts of a great majority of the citizens. It was therefore a point of honor and considered as a part of duty, to take the bills freely at their full value. Private gain was then so little regarded, that the whig citizens were willing to run all the hazards incidental to bills of credit, rather than injure the cause of their country by under valuing its money. Every thing human has its limits. While the credit of the money was well supported by public confidence and patriotism, its value diminished from the increase of its quantity. Repeated emissions begat that natural depreciation, which results from an excess of quantity. This was helped on by various causes, which affected the credit of the money. The enemy very ingeniously counterfeited their bills, and industriously circulated their forgeries through the United States. Congress allowed to their public agents a commission on the amount of their purchases.1779 Instead of exerting themselves to purchase at a low price, they had therefore  an interest in giving a high price for every thing. So strong was the force of prejudice, that the British mode of supplying armies by contract, could not for a long time obtain the approbation of Congress. While these causes operated, confidence in the public was abating, and at the same time, that fervor of patriotism which disregarded interest was daily declining. To prevent or retard the depreciation of their paper money, Congress attempted to prop its credit by means which wrecked private property, and injured the morals of the people without answering the end proposed. They recommended to the States to pass laws for regulating the prices of labour, manufacture and all sorts of commodities, and for confiscating and selling the estates of tories, and for investing the money arising from the sales thereof in loan-office certificates. As many of those who were disaffected to the revolution absolutely refused to take the bills of Congress even in the first stage of the war, when the real and nominal value was the same, with the view of counteracting their machinations, Congress early recommended to the States to pass laws for making the paper money a legal tender, at their nominal value in the discharge of bonafide debts, though contracted to be paid in gold or silver. With the same views, they farther recommended that laws should be passed by each of the States, ordaining that
whosoever should ask or receive more, in their bills of credit for gold or silver or any species of money whatsoever, than the nominal sum thereof in Spanish dollars, or more in the said bills for any commodities whatsoever, than the same could be purchased from the same person in gold and silver, or offer to sell any commodities for gold or silver, and refuse to sell the same for the said bills, shall be deemed an enemy to the liberties of the United States, and forfeit the property so sold or offered for sale.
The laws which were passed by the States, for regulating the prices of labor and commodities, were found on experiment to be visionary and impracticable.1779 They only operated on the patriotic few, who were disposed to sacrifice every thing in the cause of their country, and who implicitly obeyed every mandate  of their rulers. Others disregarded them, and either refused to part with their commodities, or demanded and obtained their own prices.
These laws in the first instance, made an artificial scarcity, and had they not been repealed would soon have made a real one, for men never exert themselves unless they have the fruit of their exertions secured to them, and at their own disposal.
The confiscation and sale of the property of tories, for the most part brought but very little into the public treasury. The sales were generally made for credit, and by the progressive depreciation, what was dear at the time of the purchase, was very cheap at the time of payment. The most extensive mischief resulted in the progress, and towards the close of the war from the operation of the laws, which made the paper bills a tender, in the discharge of debts contracted payable in gold or silver. When this measure was first adopted little or no injustice resulted from it, for at that time the paper bills were equal, or nearly equal to gold or silver, of the same nominal sum. In the progress of the war, when depreciation took place, the case was materially altered. Laws which were originally innocent became eventually the occasion of much injustice.
The aged who had retired from the scenes of active business, to enjoy the fruits of their industry, found their substance melting away to a mere pittance, insufficient for their support. The widow who lived comfortably on the bequests of a deceased husband, experienced a frustration of all his well meant tenderness. The laws of the country interposed, and compelled her to receive a shilling, where a pound was her due. The blooming virgin who had grown up with an unquestionable title to a liberal patrimony, was legally stripped of every thing but her personal charms and virtues. The hapless orphan, instead of receiving from the hands of an executor, a competency to set out in business, was obliged to give a final discharge on the payment of 6d. in the pound. In many instances, the earnings of a long life of care and diligence were, in the space of a few years, reduced to a trifling sum.1779 A few persons escaped  these affecting calamities, by secretly transferring their bonds, or by flying from the presence or neighbourhood of their debtors. The evils which resulted from the legal tender of these paper bills, were foreign from the intentions of Congress, and of the State legislatures. It is but justice to add farther, that a great proportion of them flowed from ignorance. Till the year 1780, when the bills fell to forty for one, it was designed by most of the rulers of America, and believed by a great majority of the people, that the whole sum in circulation would be appreciated by a reduction of its quantity, so as finally to be equal to gold or silver. In every department of government the Americans erred from ignorance, but in none so much, as in that which related to money.
Such were the evils which resulted from paper money. On the other hand, it was the occasion of good to many. It was at all times the poor man’s friend. While it was current, all kinds of labor very readily found their reward. In the first years of the war, none were idle from want of employment, and none were employed, without having it in their power to obtain ready payment for their services. To that class of people, whose daily labor was their support, the depreciation was no disadvantage. Expending their money as fast as they received it, they always got its full value. The reverse was the case with the rich, or those who were disposed to hoarding. No agrarian law ever had a more extensive operation, than continental money. That for which the Gracchi lost their lives in Rome, was peaceably effected in the United States, by the legal tender of these depreciating bills. The poor became rich, and the rich became poor. Money lenders, and they whose circumstances enabled them to give credit, were essentially injured. All that the money lost in its value was so much taken from their capital, but the active and industrious indemnified themselves, by conforming the price of their services to the present state of the depreciation. The experience of this time inculcated on youth two salutary lessons, the impolicy of depending on paternal acquisitions, and the necessity of their own exertions.1779 They who  were in debt, and possessed property of any kind, could easily make the latter extinguish the former. Every thing that was useful when brought to market readily found a purchaser. A hog or two would pay for a slave; a few cattle for a comfortable house; and a good horse for an improved plantation. A small part of the productions of a farm would discharge the long outstanding accounts, due from its owner. The dreams of the golden age were realised to the poor man and the debtor, but unfortunately what these gained, was just so much taken from others.
The evils of depreciation did not terminate with the war. They extend to the present hour. That the helpless part of the community were legislatively deprived of their property, was among the lesser evils, which resulted from the legal tender of the depreciated bills of credit. The iniquity of the laws estranged the minds of many of the citizens from the habits and love of justice.
The nature of obligations was so far changed, that he was reckoned the honest man, who from principle delayed to pay his debts. The mounds which government had erected, to secure the observance of honesty in the commercial intercourse of man with man, were broken down. Truth, honor, and justice were swept away by the overflowing deluge of legal iniquity, nor have they yet assumed their ancient and accustomed seats. Time and industry have already, in a great degree, repaired the losses of property, which the citizens sustained during the war, but both have hitherto failed in effacing the taint which was then communicated to their principles, nor can its total ablution be expected till a new generation arises, unpractised in the iniquities of their fathers.
Of Indians, and Expeditions into the Indian Country.
1779When the English colonies were first planted in North America, the country was inhabited by numerous tribes of Indians, who principally supported  themselves by the spontaneous productions of nature. The arts and arms of Europeans soon gave them an ascendency over such untutored savages. Had the latter understood their interest, and been guided by a spirit of union, they would soon have expelled the invaders, and in that case they might now be flourishing in the possession of their ancient territories and independence. By degrees the old inhabitants were circumscribed within narrower limits, and by some strange fatality, their numbers have been constantly lessening. The names of several nations who in the last century boasted of several thousands, are now known only to those who are fond of curious researches. Many are totally extinct, and others can shew no more than a few straggling individuals, the remnants of their fallen greatness. That so many tribes should, in so short a time, lose both their country and their national existence, is an event scarcely to be paralleled in the history of the world. Spiritous liquors, the small pox, and an abridgment of territory, to a people whose mode of life needed an extensive range, evils which chiefly resulted from the neighbourhood of Europeans, were among the principal causes of their destruction. The reflections which may be excited by reviewing the havoc made among the native proprietors of this new world, is in some degree alleviated by its counterpart. While one set of inhabitants was insensibly dwindling away, another improving in the arts of civil and social life was growing in numbers, and gradually filling up their places. As the emigrants from Europe, and their dependents extended their possessions on the sea coast, the Aborigines retired from it. By this gradual advance of the one and retiring of the other, the former always presented an extensive frontier, to the incursions of the latter. The European emigrants from an avidity for land, the possession of which is the ultimate object of human avarice, were prone to encroach on the territories of the Indians, while the Indians from obvious principles of human nature, beheld with concern the descendants of the ancient proprietors circumscribed in their territory by the descendants of those strangers,1779 whom their fathers had permitted  to reside among them. From these causes and especially from the licentious conduct of disorderly individuals of both Indians and white people, there were frequent interruptions of the peace in their contiguous settlements. In the war between France and England which commenced in 1755, both parties paid assiduous attention to the Aborigines. The former succeeded in securing the greatest number of adherents, but the superior success of the latter in the progress, and at the termination of the war, turned the current of Indian affections and interest in their favor. When the dispute between Great Britain and her colonies began to grow serious, the friendship of the Indians became a matter of consequence to both parties. Stretching for fifteen hundred miles along the whole north-western frontier of the colonies, they were to them desirable friends and formidable enemies. As terror was one of the engines by which Great Britain intended to enforce the submission of the colonies, nothing could be more conducive to the excitement of this passion, than the co-operation of Indians. Policy, not cruelty, led to the adoption of this expedient: But it was of that over-refined species which counteracts itself. In the competition for the friendship of the Indians, the British had advantages far superior to any which were possessed by the colonists. The expulsion of the French from Canada, an event which had only taken place about 13 years before, was still fresh in the memory of many of the savages, and had inspired them with high ideas of the martial superiority of British troops. The first steps taken by the Congress to oppose Great Britain, put it out of their power to gratify the Indians. Such was the effect of the non-importation agreement of 1774. While Great Britain had access to the principal Indian tribes through Canada on the north, and the two Floridas on the south, and was abundantly able to supply their many wants, the colonists had debarred themselves from importing the articles which were necessary for the Indian trade.
1779It was unfortunate for the colonies, that since the peace of Paris 1763, the transactions with the Indians  had been mostly carried on by superintendants appointed and paid by the King of Great Britain. These being under obligations to the crown, and expectants of further favours from it, generally used their influence with the Indians in behalf of the Mother Country, and against the colonies. They insinuated into the minds of the uninformed savages, that the King was their natural protector against the encroaching colonists, and that if the latter succeeded in their opposition to Great Britain, they would probably next aim at the extirpation of their red neighbours. By such representations, seconded with a profusion of presents, the attachment of the Indians was pre-engaged in support of the British interest.
The Americans were not unmindful of the Savages on their frontier. They appointed commissioners to explain to them the grounds of the dispute, and to cultivate their friendship by treaties and presents. They endeavoured to persuade the Indians that the quarrel was by no means relative to them, and that therefore they should take part with neither side.
For the greater convenience of managing the intercourse between the colonies and the Indians, the latter were divided into three departments, the northern, southern and middle, and commissioners were appointed for each.Jan. 26, 1776 Congress also resolved to import and distribute among them a suitable assortment of goods, to the amount of £40,000 sterling, on account of the United States; but this was not executed. All the exertions of Congress were insufficient for the security of their western frontiers. In almost every period of the war, a great majority of the Indians took part with Great Britain against the Americans. South-Carolina was among the first of the States, which experienced the effects of British influence over the Indians. The Cherokees and Creeks inhabit lands, not far distant from the western settlements of Carolina and Georgia. The intercourse with these tribes had, for several years prior to the American war, been exclusively committed to John Stuart an officer of the crown, and devoted to the royal interest. His influence, which was great, was wholly exerted in favor  of Great Britain.1779 A plan was settled by him, in concert with the King’s governors, and other royal servants, to land a royal armed force in Florida, and to proceed with it to the western frontier of the Southern States, and there in conjunction with the tories and Indians, to fall on the friends of Congress, at the same time that a fleet and army should invade them on the sea coast. The whole scheme was providentially discovered by the capture of Moses Kirkland, one of the principal agents to be employed in its execution, while he was on his way to Gen. Gage with despatches, detailing the particulars, and soliciting for the requisite aid to accomplish it. The possession of Kirkland, and of his papers, enabled the Americans to take such steps as in a great degree frustrated the views of the royal servants, yet so much was carried into effect, that the Cherokees began their massacres, at the very time the British fleet attacked the fort on Sullivan’s Island. The undisturbed tranquillity, which took place in South-Carolina and the adjacent States, after the British had failed in their designs against them in the spring and summer of 1776, gave an opportunity for carrying war into the Indian country. This was done, not so much to punish what was past, as to prevent all future co-operation between the Indians and British in that quarter.
1776Virginia, North-Carolina, South-Carolina, and Georgia each sent about the same time a considerable force over the Alleghany mountains, which traversed the Indian settlements, burned their towns, and destroyed their fields of corn. Above 500 of the Cherokees were obliged, from the want of provisions, to take refuge in West-Florida and were there fed at the expence of the British government. These unfortunate misled people sued for peace in the most submissive terms, and soon after assented to a treaty, by which they ceded a considerable part of their land to South-Carolina. The decision with which this expedition was conducted intimidated the Cherokees, for some years, from farther hostilities. Very different was the case of those Indians who were in the vicinity of the British posts, and contiguous to the frontier of the northern and middle States.1779 The presents which they  continually received from England, the industry of the British agents, and the influence of a great number of American refugees who had taken shelter among them, operating on their native passion for rapine, excited them to frequent hostile excursions. Col. John Butler a Connecticut tory, and one Brandt a half Indian by blood, were the principal leaders of the Savages in these expeditions. The vast extent of frontier, and remote situation of the settlements, together with the exact knowledge which the refugees possessed of the country, made it practicable for even small marauding parties to do extensive mischief.
1778 July 1A storm of Indian and tory vengeance burst with particular violence on Wyoming, a new and flourishing settlement on the eastern branch of Susquehannah. Unfortunately for the security of the inhabitants, the soil was claimed both by Connecticut and Pennsylvania. From the collision of contradictory claims, founded on royal charters, the laws of neither were steadily enforced. In this remote settlement, where government was feeble, the tories were under less control and could easily assemble undiscovered. Nevertheless at one time 27 of them were taken, and sent to Hartford in Connecticut, but they were afterwards released. These and others of the same description, instigated by revenge against the Americans, from whom some of them had suffered banishment and loss of property, made a common cause with the Indians, and attacked the Wyoming settlement with their combined forces estimated at 1100 men, 900 of which were Indians. The whole was commanded by Col. John Butler, a Connecticut tory. One of the forts, which had been constructed for the security of the inhabitants, being very weak, surrendered to this party; but some of the garrison had previously retired to the principal fort at Kingston, called Forty-Fort.July 2 Col. John Butler next demanded the surrender of that. Col. Zebulon Butler a continental officer who commanded there, sent a message to him, proposing a conference at a bridge without the fort.July 3 1779 This being agreed to, Col. Zebulon Butler, Dennison, and some other officers repaired to the  place appointed, and they were followed by the whole garrison, a few invalids excepted. None of the enemy appeared. The Wyoming people advanced, and supposed that the enemy were retiring. They continued to march on, till they were about three miles from the fort. They then saw a few of the enemy, with whom they exchanged some shot, but they presently found themselves ambuscaded and attacked by the whole body of Indians and tories. They fought gallantly, till they found that their retreat to the fort was cut off. Universal confusion then ensued. Of 417 who had marched out of the fort, about 360 were instantly slain. No quarters were given. Col. John Butler again demanded the surrender of Forty-Fort. This was agreed to under articles of capitulation, by which the effects of the people therein were to be secured to them. The garrison consisted of 30 men and 200 women. These were permitted to cross the Susquehannah, and retreat through the woods to Northampton county. The most of the other scattered settlers had previously retired, some through the woods to Northampton county, others down the river to Northumberland county. In this retreat, some women were delivered of children in the woods, and many suffered from want of provisions. Several of the settlers at Wyoming had erected good houses and barns, and made very considerable improvements. These and all the other houses in the vicinity, except about half a dozen, were destroyed. Their horses, cattle, sheep, and hogs were for the most part killed or driven away by the enemy.
The distresses of this settlement were uncommonly great. A large proportion of the male inhabitants were, in one day, slaughtered. In a single engagement, near 200 women were made widows, and a much greater number of children were left fatherless.
Soon after the destruction of the Wyoming settlement, an expedition was carried on against the Indians by Col. Butler of the Pennsylvania troops.Oct. 1, He and his party, having gained the head of the Delaware, marched down the river for two days, and then struck across the country to the  Susquehannah.1779 They totally burnt or destroyed the Indian villages, both in that quarter and the other settlements, but the inhabitants escaped. The destruction was extended for several miles on both sides of the Susquehannah. The difficulties which Col. Butler’s men encountered in this expedition, could not be undergone but by men who possessed a large share of hardiness, both of body and mind. They were obliged to carry their provisions on their backs, and thus loaded, frequently to wade through creeks and rivers. After the toil of a hard march, they were obliged to endure chilly nights and heavy rains, without even the means of keeping their arms dry. They completed their business in sixteen days.Nov. 4 About four weeks after Col. Butler’s return, some hundreds of Indians, a large body of tories, and about 5o regulars entered Cherry-Valley within the State of New-York. They made an unsuccessful attempt on fort Alden, but they killed and scalped thirty two of the inhabitants, mostly women and children, and also Col. Alden and ten soldiers.
An expedition which was to have taken place under Henry Hamilton Lt. Gov. of Detroit, fortunately for the Virginian back settlers, against whom it was principally directed fell through, in consequence of the spirited conduct of Col. Clarke. The object of the expedition was extensive and many Indians were engaged in it. Hamilton took post at St. Vincents in the winter, to have allthings in readiness for invading the American settlements, as soon as the season of the year would permit. Clarke on hearing that Hamilton had weakened himself by sending away a considerable part of his Indians against the frontier settlers, formed the resolution of attacking him, as the best expedient for preventing the mischiefs which were designed against his country. After surmounting many difficulties he arrived with 130 men unexpectedly at St. Vincents.
The town immediately gave up to the Americans, and assisted them in taking the fort.Feb. 23 The next day Hamilton, with the garrison, agreed to surrender prisoners of war on articles of capitulation. Clarke on hearing that a convoy of British goods and provisions was on its way from Detroit,  detached a party of sixty men which met them, and made prize of the whole. By this well conducted and spirited attack on Hamilton, his intended expedition was nipped in the bud. Col. Clarke transmitted to the council of Virginia letters and papers, relating to Lt. Gov. Hamilton, Philip De Jean justice of peace for Detroit, and William Lamothe captain of volunteers, whom he had made prisoners. The board reported that Hamilton had incited the Indians to perpetrate their accustomed cruelties on the defenceless inhabitants of the United States—had at the time of his captivity sent considerable detachments of Indians against the frontiers—had appointed a great council of them, to meet him and concert the operations of the ensuing campaign—had given standing rewards for scalps, and had treated American prisoners with cruelty. They also reported, that it appeared that De Jean was the willing and cordial instrument of Hamilton, and that Lamothe was captain of the volunteer scalping parties of Indians and tories, who went out from time to time, under general orders to spare neither men, women, nor children. They therefore considering them as fit objects, on which to begin the work of retaliation—advised the Governor to put them in irons—confine them in the dungeon of the public jail—debar them the use of pen, ink and paper, and exclude them from all converse, except with their keeper.
Apr. 19Col. Goose Van Schaick, with 55 men, marched from fort Schuyler to the Onandago settlements, and burned the whole, consisting of about 50 houses, together with a large quantity of provisions. Horses, and stock of every kind, were killed. The arms and ammunition of the Indians were either destroyed or brought off, and their settlements were laid waste. Twelve Indians were killed, and 34 made prisoners. This expedition was performed in less than six days, and without the loss of a single man.
In this manner, the savage part of the war was carried on in America. Waste and sometimes cruelty were inflicted and retorted, with infinite variety of scenes of horror and disgust. The selfish passions of human nature unrestrained by social ties, broke over all bounds of  decency or humanity.1779 The American refugees, who had fled to the western wilderness, indulged their passion for rapine by assuming the colour and dress of Indians. At other times they acted as guides, and conducted these merciless ravagers into such settlements, as afforded the most valuable booty, and the fairest prospect of escape. The savages encouraged by British presents and agents, and led on by American refugees well acquainted with the country, and who cloaked the most consummate villainy under the specious name of loyalty, extended their depredations and murders far and near.
A particular detail of the devastation of property—of the distress of great numbers who escaped, only by fleeing to the woods, where they subsisted without covering on the spontaneous productions of the earth—and of the barbarous murders which were committed on persons of every age and sex, would be sufficient to freeze every breast with horror.
In sundry expeditions which had been carried on against the Indians, ample vengeance had been taken on some of them, but these partial successes produced no lasting benefit. The few who escaped, had it in their power to make thousands miserable. For the permanent security of the frontier inhabitants, it was resolved in the year 1779 to carry a decisive expedition into the Indian country. A considerable body of continental troops was selected for this purpose, and put under the command of Gen. Sullivan. The Indians who form the confederacy of the six nations, commonly called the Mohawks, were the objects of this expedition. They inhabit that immense and fertile tract of country, which lies between New-England, the middle States and the province of Canada. They had been advised by Congress, and they had promised, to observe a neutrality in the war, but they soon departed from this line of conduct. The Oneidas and a few others were friends to the Americans, but a great majority took part decidedly against them.1779 Overcome by the presents and promises of Sir John Johnson and other British agents, and their own native appetite for depredation, they invaded the frontiers  carrying slaughter and devastation wherever they went. From the vicinity of their settlements, to the inhabited parts of the United States, they facilitated the inroads of the more remote Indians. Much was therefore expected from their expulsion. When Gen. Sullivan was on his way to the Indian country he was joined by the American Gen. Clinton with upwards of 1000 men. The latter made his way down the Susquehannah by a singular contrivance. The stream of water in that river was too low to float his batteaux. To remedy this inconvenience, he raised with great industry a dam across the mouth of the Lake Otsego, which is one of the sources of the river Susquehannah. The lake being constantly supplied by springs soon rose to the height of the dam. General Clinton having got his batteaux ready, opened a passage through the dam for the water to flow. This raised the river so high that he was enabled to embark all his troops and to float them down to Tioga. By this exertion they soon joined Sullivan. The Indians on hearing of the expedition projected against them, acted with firmness. They collected their strength, took possession of proper ground, and fortified it with judgment. Gen. Sullivan attacked them in their works. They stood a cannonade for more than two hours but then gave way.Aug. 29 This engagement proved decisive: After the trenches were forced, the Indians fled without making any attempt to rally. They were pursued for some miles but without effect. The consternation occasioned among them by this defeat was so great, that they gave up all ideas of farther resistance. As the Americans advanced into their settlements, the Indians retreated before them, without throwing any obstructions in their way. Gen. Sullivan penetrated into the heart of the country inhabited by the Mohawks, and spread desolation every where. Many settlements in the form of towns were destroyed, besides detached habitations. All their fields of corn, and whatever was in a state of cultivation, underwent the same fate. Scarce any thing in the form of a house was left standing, nor was an Indian to be seen.1779 To the surprise of the Americans, they found the lands about the Indian  towns well cultivated, and their houses both large and commodious. The quantity of corn destroyed was immense. Orchards in which were several hundred fruit trees were cut down, and of them many appeared to have been planted for a long series of years. Their gardens, which were enriched with great quantities of useful vegetables of different kinds, were laid waste. The Americans were so full of resentment against the Indians, for the many outrages they had suffered from them, and so bent on making the expedition decisive, that the officers and soldiers cheerfully agreed to remain till they had fully completed the destruction of the settlement. The supplies obtained in the country, lessened the inconvenience of short rations. The ears of corn were so remarkably large, that many of them measured twenty two inches in length. Necessity suggested a novel expedient for pulverising the grains thereof. The soldiers perforated a few of their camp kettles with bayonets. The protrusions occasioned thereby formed a rough surface, and by rubbing the ears of corn thereon, a coarse meal was produced, which was easily converted into agreeable nourishment.
In about three months from his setting out, Sullivan reached Easton in Pennsylvania, and soon after rejoined the army.
The Indians, by this decisive expedition, being made to feel in the most sensible manner, those calamities they were wont to inflict on others, became cautious and timid. The sufferings they had undergone, and the dread of a repetition of them, in case of their provoking the resentment of the Americans, damped the ardor of their warriors from making incursions into the American settlements. The frontiers, though not restored to perfect tranquility, experienced an exemption from a great proportion of the calamities, in which they had been lately involved.
Though these good consequences resulted from this expedition, yet about the time of its commencement, and before its termination, several detached parties of Indians distressed different settlements in the United States. 1779 A party of 60 Indians, and 27 white men, under Brandt attacked the Minisink settlement, and burnt 10 houses 12 barns, a fort and two mills, and carried off much plunder, together with several prisoners.July 23 The militia from Goshen and the vicinity, to the amount of 149, collected and pursued them, but with so little caution that they were surprised and defeated.Aug. 22 About this time, Gen. Williamson and Col. Pickens, both of South-Carolina, entered the Indian country adjacent to the frontier of their State, burned and destroyed the corn of eight towns, and insisted upon the Indians removing immediately from their late habitations into more remote settlements.
In the same month, Col. Broadhead engaged in a successful expedition against the Mingo, Munsey, and Seneka Indians. He left Pittsburg with 605 men, and was gone about five weeks, in which time he penetrated about 200 miles from the fort, destroyed a number of Indian huts and about 500 acres of corn.Aug. 11
The State of New-York continued to suffer in its frontier, from Indians and their tory associates. These burnt 50 houses, and 47 barns, the principal part of Canijohary, a fine settlement about 56 miles from Albany. They also destroyed 27 houses at Schoharie, and 20 at Normans creek.Aug. 1780 In about two months after, they made a second irruption, and attacked Stone Arabia, Canasioraga and Schoharie.Octo. 1780 At the same time, they laid waste a great extent of country about the Mohawk river, killed a number of the settlers, and made many prisoners.
The Cherokee Indians, having forgot the consequences of provoking the Americans to invade their settlements in the year 1776, made an incursion into Ninety-Six district in South-Carolina, massacred some families, and burned several houses.1781 Gen. Pickens collected a party of the militia, and penetrated into their country. This he accomplished in fourteen days, at the head of 394 horsemen. In that short space, he burned thirteen towns and villages, killed upwards of 40 Indians, and took a number of prisoners. Not one of his party was killed, and only two were wounded.1779 None of the expeditions  against the Cherokees had been so rapid and decisive as this one. The Americans did not expend three rounds of ammunition, and yet only three Indians escaped after having been once seen. On this occasion, a new and successful mode of fighting them was introduced. The American militia rushed forwards on horse-back, and charged the Indians with drawn swords. The vanquished Cherokees again sued for peace, in the most submissive terms and obtained it, but not till they had promised, that instead of listening to the advice of the royalists, instigating them to war, they would deliver to the authority of the State of South-Carolina, all who should visit them on that errand.
Towards the end of the war, there was a barbarous and unprovoked massacre of some civilised Indians, who had been settled near the Muskingum. These under the influence of some pious missionaries of the Moravian persuasion,1782 had been formed into some degree of civil and religious order. They abhorred war, and would take no part therein, giving for reason that “The Great Being did not make men to destroy men, but to love and assist each other.” From a love of peace they advised those of their own colour, who were bent on war, to desist from it. They were also led from humanity, to inform the white people of their danger, when they knew that their settlements were about to be invaded. This provoked the hostile Indians to such a degree, that they carried these pacific people quite away from Muskingum to a bank of Sandusky creek. They finding corn dear and scarce in their new habitations, obtained liberty to come back in the fall of the same year to Muskingum, that they might collect the crops they had planted before their removal.
When the white people, at and near Monongahala, heard that a number of Indians were at the Moravian towns on the Muskingum, they gave out that their intentions were hostile. Without any further enquiry, 160 of them crossed the Ohio, and put to death these harmless, inoffensive people, though they made no resistance. In conformity to their religious principles, these Moravians patiently submitted to their hard fate, without attempting  to destroy their murderers.1779 Upwards of ninety of this pacific set were killed by men, who while they called themselves Christians, were infinitely more deserving of the name of Savages than those whom they inhumanly murdered.
Soon after this unprovoked massacre, a party of the Americans set out for Sandusky, to destroy the Indian towns in that part; but the Delawares, Wyandots, and other Indians opposed them. An engagement ensued, in which some of the white people were killed, and several were taken prisoners. Among the latter was Col. Crawford and his son in law. The Colonel was sacrificed to the manes of those Indians, who were massacred at the Moravian towns. The other prisoners were put to death with the tomahawk.
Throughout the American war, the desolation brought by the Indians on the frontier settlements of the United States, and on the Indians by the Americans, were sufficient to excite compassion in the most obdurate hearts.
Not only the men and warriors, but the women and children, and whole settlements were involved in the promiscuous desolations. Each was made a scourge to the other, and the unavoidable calamities of war were rendered doubly distressing, by the dispersion of families, the breaking up of settlements, and an addition of savage cruelties to the most extensive devastation of those things, which conduce to the comfort of human life.
Campaign of 1780 in the Southern States.
1780The successful defence of savannah, together with the subsequent departure of Count D’Estaing from the coast of the United States, soon dissipated all apprehensions, previously entertained for the safety of New-York. These circumstances pointed out to Sir Henry Clinton, the propriety of renewing offensive operations. Having effected nothing of importance for the two preceding campaigns, he turned his attention southwardly, and regaled himself with flattering prospects of easy conquest, among the weaker States. The suitableness of the climate for winter operations, the richness of the country, and its distance from support, designated South-Carolina as a proper object of enterprize. No sooner therefore was the departure of the French fleet known and confirmed, than Sir Henry Clinton committed the command of the royal army in New-York to Lieut. Gen. Kniphausen, and embarked for the southward, with four flank battalions, 12 regiments, and a corps British, Hessian and provincial, a powerful detachment of artillery, 250 cavalry, together with an ample supply of military stores and provisions. Vice Admiral Arbuthnot, with a suitable naval force, undertook to convey the troops to the place of their destination.1779 The whole sailed from New-York.Dec. 26 After a tedious and dangerous passage, in which part of their ordnance, most of their artillery, and all their cavalry horses were lost, the fleet arrived at Tybee in Georgia.Jan. 31 In a few days, the transports with the army on board, sailed from Savannah for North-Edisto, and after a short passage, the troops made good their landing about 30 miles from Charleston, and took possession of John’s Island and Stono ferry, and soon after of James Island, and Wappoo-cut.Feb. 11 A bridge was thrown over the canal, and part of the royal army took post on the banks of Ashley river opposite to Charleston.
The assembly of the State was sitting when the British landed, but broke up after “delegating to Gov. Rutledge, and such of his council as he could conveniently consult, a power to do every thing necessary for the public good,1780  except the taking away the life of a citizen without a legal trial.” The Governor immediately ordered the militia to rendezvous. Though the necessity was great, few obeyed the pressing call. A proclamation was issued by the Governor, under his extraordinary powers, requiring such of the militia as were regularly draughted, and all the inhabitants and owners of property in the town, to repair to the American standard and join the garrison immediately, under pain of confiscation. This severe though necessary measure produced very little effect. The country was much despirited by the late repulse at Savannah.
The tedious passage from New-York to Tybee, gave the Americans time to fortify Charleston. This together with the losses which the royal army had sustained in the late tempestuous weather, induced Sir Henry Clinton, to dispatch an order to New-York for reinforcements of men and stores. He also directed Major General Prevost, to send on to him twelve hundred men from the garrison of Savannah. Brigadier General Patterson, at the head of this detachment, made his way good over the river Savannah, and through the intermediate country, and soon after joined Sir Henry Clinton near the banks of Ashley river. The royal forces without delay proceeded to the siege.Mar. 29 At Wappoo on James Island, they formed a depot, and erected fortifications both on that island and on the main, opposite to the southern and western extremities of Charleston. An advanced party crossed Ashley river, and soon after broke ground at the distance of 1100 yards from the American works. At successive periods, they erected five batteries on Charleston neck. The garrison was equally assiduous in preparing for its defence. The works which had been previously thrown up, were strengthened and extended. Lines and redoubts were continued across from Cooper to Ashley river. In front of the whole was a strong abbatis, and a wet ditch made by passing a canal from the heads of swamps, which run in opposite directions. Between the abbatis and the lines, deep holes were dug at short intervals. The lines were made particularly strong on the right and left, and so constructed as to rake the wet ditch in almost  its whole extent.1780 To secure the center, a hornwork had been erected, which being closed during the siege formed a kind of citadel. Works were also thrown up on all sides of the town, where a landing was practicable. Though the lines were no more than field works, yet Sir Henry Clinton treated them with the respectful homage of three parallels. From the 3d to the 10th of April, the first parallel was completed, and immediately after the town was summoned to surrender. On the 12th, the batteries were opened, and from that day an almost incessant fire was kept up. About the time the batteries were opened a work was thrown up near Wando river, nine miles from town, and another at Lempriere’s point, to preserve the communication with the country by water. A post was also ordered at a ferry over the Santee, to favour the coming in of reinforcements, or the retreat of the garrison when necessary.Mar. 21 The British marine force consisting of one ship of fifty guns, two of forty four guns, four of thirty two, and the Sandwich armed ship, crossed the bar in front of Rebellion road and anchored in Five fathom hole. The American force opposed to this was the Bricole, which though pierced for forty four guns, did not mount half of that number, two of 32 guns, one of 28, two of 26, two of 20, and the brig Notre Dame of 16 guns. The first object of its commander Commodore Whipple, was to prevent Admiral Arbuthnot from crossing the bar, but on farther examination this was found to be impracticable. He therefore fell back to Fort Moultrie, and afterwards to Charleston. The crew and guns of all his vessels, except one, were put on shore to reinforce the batteries.
April 9Admiral Arbuthnot weighed anchor at Five fathom hole, and with the advantage of a strong southerly wind, and flowing tide, passed Fort Moultrie without stopping to engage it, and anchored near the remains of Fort Johnson. Colonel Pinckney who commanded on Sullivan’s Island, kept up a brisk and well directed fire on the ships in their passage, which did as great execution as could be expected.1780 To prevent the royal armed vessels  from running into Cooper river, eleven vessels were sunk in the channel opposite to the exchange. The batteries of the besiegers soon obtained a superiority over those of the town. The former had 21 mortars and royals, the latter only two. The regular force in the garrison was much inferior to that of the besiegers, and but few of the militia could be persuaded to leave their plantations, and reinforce their brethren in the capital. A camp was formed at Monk’s corner, to keep up the communication between the town and country, and the militia without the lines, were requested to rendezvous there: But this was surprised and routed by Lieutenant Colonel Tarleton. The British having now less to fear, extended themselves to the eastward of Cooper river.Apr. 16 Two hundred and fifty horse, and 600 infantry were detached on this service, but nevertheless in the opinion of a council of war, the weak state of the garrison, made it improper to detach a number sufficient to attack that small force.18 About this time Sir Henry Clinton received a reinforcement of 3000 men from New-York.20 A second council of war held four days after the first, agreed that “a retreat would be attended with many distressing inconveniences,21 if not altogether impracticable,” and advised, “that offers of capitulation before their affairs became more critical should be made to General Clinton, which might admit of the army’s withdrawing, and afford security to the persons and property of the inhabitants.” These terms being proposed, were instantly rejected, but the garrison adhered to them in hopes that succours would arrive from the neighbouring States. The bare offer of capitulating, dispirited the garrison, but they continued to resist in expectation of favorable events. The British speedily completed the investiture of the town, both by land and water.May 6 After Admiral Arbuthnot had passed Sullivan’s Island, Colonel Pinckney, with 150 of the men under his command, were withdrawn from that post to Charleston. Soon after the fort on the island was surrendered without opposition to Captain Hudson of the royal navy.1780 On the same day, the remains of the American cavalry which escaped from the  surprise at Monk’s corner, on the 14th of April, were again surprised by Lieutenant Colonel Tarleton at Laneau’s ferry on Santee, and the whole either killed, captured or dispersed. While every thing prospered with the British, Sir Henry Clinton began a correspondence with General Lincoln, and renewed his former offers to the garrison in case of their surrender. Lincoln was disposed to close with them, as far they respected his army, but some demur was made with a view of gaining better terms for the citizens, which it was hoped might be obtained on a conference. This was asked: But Clinton instead of granting it, answered “that hostilities should recommence at 8 o’clock.” Nevertheless, neither party fired till nine. The garrison then recommenced hostilities. The besiegers immediately followed, and each cannonaded the other with unusual briskness. The British batteries of the third parallel opened on this occasion. Shells and carcases were thrown into almost all parts of the town, and several houses were burned. The cannon and mortars played on the garrison at a less distance than a hundred yards. The Hessian chasseurs were so near the American lines, that with their rifles they could easily strike any object that was visible on them. The British having crossed the wet ditch by sap, advanced within 25 yards of the American works, and were ready for making a general assault by land and water. All expectation of succour was at an end. The only hope left was that 9000 men, the flower of the British army, seconded by a naval force, might fail in storming extensive lines defended by less than 3000 men.May 11 Under these circumstances, the siege was protracted till the 11th. On that day a great number of the citizens addressed General Lincoln in a petition, expressing their acquiescence in the terms which Sir Henry Clinton had offered, and requesting his acceptance of them. On the reception of this petition, General Lincoln wrote to Sir Henry, and offered to accept the terms before proposed. The royal commanders wishing to avoid the extremity of a storm, and unwilling to press to unconditional submission an enemy, whose friendship they wished to conciliate,  returned a favourable answer.1780 A capitulation was signed, and Major Gen. Leslie took possession of the town on the next day.May 12 The loss on both sides during the siege was nearly equal. Of the King’s troops, 76 were killed, and 189 wounded. Of the Americans 89 were killed and 140 wounded. Upwards of 400 pieces of artillery were surrendered. By the articles of capitulation, the garrison was to march out of town, and to deposit their arms in front of the works, but the drums were not to beat a British march, nor the colors to be uncased. The continental troops and seamen were to keep their baggage, and remain prisoners of war till exchanged. The militia were to be permitted to return to their respective homes as prisoners on parole, and while they adhered to their parole, were not to be molested by the British troops in person or property. The inhabitants of all conditions to be considered as prisoners on parole, and to hold their property on the same terms with the militia. The officers of the army and navy to retain their servants swords, pistols and baggage unsearched. They were permitted to sell their horses, but not to remove them. A vessel was allowed to proceed to Philadelphia with Gen. Lincoln’s dispatches unopened.
The numbers which surrendered prisoners of war, inclusive of the militia and every adult male inhabitant, was above 5000, but the proper garrison at the time of the surrender did not exceed 2500. The precise number of privates in the continental army was 1977, of which number 500 were in the hospitals. The captive officers were much more in proportion than the privates, and consisted of one Major General, 6 Brigadiers, 9 Colonels, 14 Lieut. Colonels, 15 Majors, 84 Captains, 84 Lieutenants, 32 second Lieutenants and Ensigns. The gentlemen of the country, who were mostly militia officers, from a sense of honor repaired to the defence of Charleston, though they could not bring with them privates equal to their respective commands. The regular regiments were fully officered, though greatly deficient in privates.
This was the first instance, in which the Americans had attempted to defend a town. The unsuccessful event  with its consequences, demonstrated the policy of sacrificing the towns of the Union, in preference to endangering the whole, by risquing too much for their defence.
Much censure was undeservedly cast on Gen. Lincoln, for attempting the defence of Charleston. Though the contrary plan was in general the best, he had particular reasons to justify his deviation from the example of the commander in chief of the American army. Charleston was the only considerable town in the southern extreme of the confederacy, and for its preservation, South-Carolina and the adjacent States seemed willing to make great exertions. The reinforcements, promised for its defence, were fully sufficient for that purpose. The Congress, and the States of North and South-Carolina gave Gen. Lincoln ground to expect an army of 9900 men to second his operations, but from a variety of causes this army, including the militia, was little more than one third of that number. As long as an evacuation was practicable, he had such assurances of support, that he could not attempt it with propriety. Before he could be ascertained of the futility of these assurances, the British had taken such a position, that in the opinion of good judges a retreat could not be successfully made.
Shortly after the surrender, the commander in chief adopted sundry measures to induce the inhabitants to return to their allegiance. It was stated to them in an hand bill, which though without a name seemed to flow from authority: “That the helping hand of every man was wanting to re-establish peace and good government—That the commander in chief wished not to draw them into danger, while any doubt could remain of his success, but as that was now certain, he trusted that one and all would heartily join, and give effect to necessary measures for that purpose.” Those who had families were informed “That they would be permitted to remain at home, and form a militia for the maintenance of peace and good order, but from those who had no families it was expected that they would chearfully assist in driving their oppressors, and all the miseries of war, from their borders.”1780 To such it was promised “That when on service, they  would be allowed pay, ammunition and provisions, in the same manner as the King’s troops.”May 22 About the same time, Sir Henry Clinton in a proclamation declared
That if any person should thenceforward appear in arms in order to prevent the establishment of his Majesty’s government in that country, or should under any pretence or authority whatever, attempt to compel any other person or persons so to do, or who should hinder the King’s faithful subjects from joining his forces, or from performing those duties their allegiance required, such persons should be treated with the utmost severity,June 1 and their estates be immediately seized for confiscation.
In a few days after, Sir Henry Clinton and Admiral Arbuthnot, in the character of commissioners for restoring peace, offered to the inhabitants, with some exceptions, “Pardon for their past treasonable offences, and a re-instatement in the possession of all those rights and immunities which they heretofore had enjoyed under a free British government exempt from taxation, except by their own legislatures.”
The capital having surrendered, the next object with the British was to secure the general submission of the whole body of the people.
To this end, they posted garrisons in different parts of the country to awe the inhabitants. They also marched with upwards of 2000 men towards North-Carolina. This caused an immediate retreat of some parties of Americans, who had advanced into the northern extremity of South-Carolina, with the expectation of relieving Charleston. One of these, consisting of about 300 continentals commanded by Col. Buford, was overtaken at Wachaws by Lt. Col. Tarleton and completely defeated. Five out of six of the whole were either killed or so badly wounded, as to be incapable of being moved from the field of battle; and this took place though they made such ineffectual opposition as only to kill 12 and wound five of the British. This great disproportion of the killed on the two sides, arose from the circumstance that Tarleton’s party refused quarter to the Americans, after they had ceased to resist and laid down their arms.
1780 Sir Henry Clinton having left about 4000 men for the southern service, embarked early in June with the main army for New-York. On his departure the command devolved on Lieut. Gen. Cornwallis. The season of the year, the condition of the army, and the unsettled state of South-Carolina, impeded the immediate invasion of North-Carolina. Earl Cornwallis dispatched instructions to the principal loyalists in that state to attend to the harvest, prepare provisions, and remain quiet till the latter end of August or beginning of September. His Lordship committed the care of the frontier to Lord Rawdon, and repairing to Charleston, devoted his principal attention to the commercial and civil regulations of South-Carolina. In the mean time, the impossibility of fleeing with their families and effects, and the want of an army to which the militia of the States might repair, induced the people in the country, to abandon all schemes of farther resistance. At Beaufort, Camden, and Ninety-Six, they generally laid down their arms, and submitted either as prisoners or as subjects. Excepting the extremities of the state bordering on North-Carolina, the inhabitants who did not flee out of the country preferred submission to resistance. This was followed by an unusual calm, and the British believed that the state was thoroughly conquered. An opportunity was now given to make an experiment from which much was expected, and for the omission of which, Sir Henry Clinton’s predecessor Sir William Howe, had been severely censured. It had been confidently asserted, that a majority of the Americans were well affected to the British government, and that under proper regulations, substantial service might be expected from them, in restoring the country to peace. At this crisis every biass in favor of Congress was removed. Their armies in the southern States were either captured or defeated. There was no regular force to the southward of Pennsylvania, which was sufficient to awe the friends of royal government. Every encouragement was held forth, to those of the inhabitants who would with arms support the old constitution.1780 Confiscation and death were threatened as the consequence  of opposing its re-establishment. While there was no regular army within 400 miles to aid the friends of independence, the British were in force posted over all the country. The people were thus left to themselves, or rather strongly impelled to abandon an apparently sinking cause, and arrange themselves on the side of the conquerors. Under these favorable circumstances, the experiment was made, for supporting the British interest by the exertion of loyal inhabitants, unawed by American armies or republican demagogues. It soon appeared that the disguise which fear had imposed, subsisted no longer than the present danger, and that the minds of the people though overawed were actuated by an hostile spirit. In prosecuting the scheme for obtaining a military aid from the inhabitants, that tranquillity which previous successes had procured was disturbed, and that ascendency which arms had gained was interrupted. The inducement to submission with many, was a hope of obtaining a respite from the calamities of war, under the shelter of British protection. Such were not less astonished than confounded, on finding themselves virtually called upon to take arms in support of royal government. This was done in the following manner: After the inhabitants by the specious promises of protection and security, had generally submitted as subjects, or taken their parole as prisoners of war, a proclamation was issued by Sir Henry Clinton which set forth “That it was proper for allpersons to take an active part in settling and securing his Majesty’s government”—and in which it was declared “That all the inhabitants of the province who were then prisoners on parole (those who were taken in Fort Moultrie and Charleston, and such as were in actual confinement excepted) should, from and after the 20th of June, be freed from their paroles, and restored to all the rights and duties belonging to citizens and inhabitants.” And it was in the same proclamation farther declared “that all persons under the description abovementioned, who should afterwards neglect to return to their allegiance, and to his Majesty’s government, should be considered as enemies and rebels to the same, and treated accordingly.”1780 It was designed by this arbitrary change of the political condition of the inhabitants from prisoners to citizens, to bring them into a dilemma, which would force them to take an active part in settling and securing the royal government. It involved a majority in the necessity of either fleeing out of the country, or of becoming a British militia. With this proclamation the declension of British authority commenced, for though the inhabitants from motives of fear or convenience, had generally submitted, the greatest part of them retained an affection for their American brethren, and shuddered at the thought of taking arms against them. Among such it was said “if we must fight, let it be on the side of America, our friends and countrymen.” A great number considering this proclamation as a discharge for their paroles, armed themselves in self defence, being induced thereto by the royal menaces, that they who did not return to their allegiance as British subjects, must expect to be treated as rebels. A greater number from being in the power of the British, exchanged their paroles as prisoners for the protection of subjects, but this was done in many cases, with a secret reservation of breaking the compulsory engagement, when a proper opportunity should present itself.
A party always attached to royal government, though they had conformed to the laws of the state, rejoiced in the ascendency of the royal arms, but their number was inconsiderable, in comparison with the multitude who were obliged by necessity, or induced by convenience, to accept of British protection.
The precautions taken to prevent the rising of the royalists in North-Carolina, did not answer the end. Several of the inhabitants of Tryon county, under the direction of Col. Moore took up arms, and were in a few days defeated by the whig militia, commanded by Gen. Rutherford. Col. Bryan another loyalist, though equally injudicious as to time, was successful. He reached the 71st regiment stationed in the Cheraws with about 800 men, assembled from the neighbourhood of the river Yadkin.
1780 While the conquerors were endeavoring to strengthen the party for royal government, the Americans were not inattentive to their interests. Governor Rutledge who during the siege of Charleston had been requested by Gen. Lincoln to go out of town, was industriously and successfully negotiating with North-Carolina, Virginia and Congress, to obtain a force for checking the progress of the British arms. Representations to the same effect, had also been made in due time by Gen. Lincoln. Congress ordered a considerable detachment from their main army, to be marched to the Southward. North-Carolina also ordered a large body of militia to take the field. As the British advanced to the upper country of South-Carolina, a considerable number of determined whigs retreated before them, and took refuge in North-Carolina. In this class was Col. Sumter a distinguished partizan, who was well qualified for conducting military operations. A party of exiles from South-Carolina, made choice of him for their leader. At the head of this little band of freemen, he returned to his own state, and took the field against the victorious British, after the inhabitants had generally abandoned all ideas of farther resistance. This unexpected impediment to the extension of British conquests roused all the passions which disappointed ambition can inspire. Previous successes had flattered the royal commanders with hopes of distinguished rank among the conquerors of America, but the renewal of hostilities obscured the pleasing prospect. Flushed with the victories they had gained in the first of the campaign, and believing every thing told them favorable to their wishes to be true, they conceived that they had little to fear on the south side of Virginia. When experience refuted these hopes, they were transported with indignation against the inhabitants, and confined several of them on suspicion of their being accessary to the recommencement of hostilities.
July 12The first effort of renewed warfare was two months after the fall of Charleston, when 133 of Col. Sumter’s corps attacked and routed a detachment of the royal forces and militia, which were posted in a lane at Williamson’s  plantation.1780 This was the first advantage gained over the British, since their landing in the beginning of the year. The steady persevering friends of America, who were very numerous in the North-western frontier of South-Carolina, turned out with great alacrity to join Col. Sumter, though opposition to the British government, had entirely ceased in every other part of the State. His troops in a few days amounted to 600 men. With this increase of strength, he made a spirited attack on a party of the British at Rocky Mount, but as he had no artillery, and they were secured under cover of earth filled in between logs, he could make no impression upon them, and was obliged to retreat. Sensible that the minds of men are influenced by enterprise and that to keep militia together it is necessary to employ them, this active partizan attacked another of the royal detachments, consisting of the Prince of Wales’ regiment, and a large body of tories posted at the Hanging rock. The Prince of Wales’ regiment was almost totally destroyed. From 273 it was reduced to 9. The loyalists, who were of that party which had advanced from North Carolina under Col. Bryan, were dispersed. The panic occasioned by the fall of Charleston daily abated. The whig militia on the extremities of the state formed themselves into parties, under leaders of their own choice, and sometimes attacked detachments of the British army, but more frequently those of their own countrymen, who as a royal militia were co-operating with the King’s forces. While Sumter kept up the spirits of the people by a succession of gallant enterprizes, a respectable continental force was advancing through the middle States, for the relief of their southern brethren.Mar. 26 With the hopes of relieving Charleston, orders were given for the Maryland and Delaware troops to march from Gen. Washington’s head quarters to South-Carolina, but the Quarter-master-general was unable to put this detachment in motion as soon as was intended.
The manufacturers employed in providing for the army would neither go on with their business, nor deliver the articles they had completed, declaring they had suffered so much from the depreciation of the money,1780 that they  would not part with their property without immediate payment. Under these embarrassing circumstances, the Southern States required an aid from the northern army, to be marched through the intermediate space of 800 miles.Apr. 16 The Maryland and Delaware troops were with great exertions at length enabled to move. After marching through Jersey and Pennsylvania, they embarked at the Head of Elk and landed soon after at Petersburg, and thence proceeded through the country towards South-Carolina. This force was at first put under the command of Major Gen. Baron de Kalb, and afterwards of Gen. Gates. The success of the latter in the northern campaigns of 1776 and 1777, induced many to believe that his presence as commander of the southern army, would re-animate the friends of Independence. While Baron de Kalb commanded, a council of war had advised him to file off from the direct road to Camden, towards the well cultivated settlements in the vicinity of the Waxhaws: But Gen. Gates on taking the command did not conceive this movement to be necessary, supporting it to be most for the interest of the States that he should proceed immediately with his army, on the shortest road to the vicinity of the British encampments. This led through a barren country, in passing over which, the Americans severely felt the scarcity of provisions. Their murmurs became audible, and there were strong appearances of mutiny, but the officers who shared every calamity in common with the privates interposed, and conciliated them to a patient sufferance of their hard lot. They principally subsisted on lean cattle, picked up in the woods. The whole army was under the necessity of using green corn, and peaches in the place of bread. They were subsisted for several days on the latter alone. Dysenteries became common in consequence of this diet. The heat of the season, the unhealthiness of the climate, together with insufficient and unwholsome food, threatened destruction to the army. The common soliders, instead of desponding, began after some time to be merry with their misfortunes. They used “starvation” as a cant word, and vied with each other in burlesquing their  situation.1780 The wit and humour displayed on the occasion contributed not a little to reconcile them to their sufferings.Aug. 13 The American army, having made its way through a country of pine-barrens, sand-hills and swamps, reached Clermont, 13 miles from Camden.14 The next day, Gen. Stephens arrived with a large body of Virginia militia.
As the American army approached South-Carolina, lord Rawdon concentered his force at Camden. The retreat of the British from their out-posts, the advances of the American army, and the impolitic conduct of the conquerors towards their new subjects, concurred at this juncture to produce a general revolt in favor of Congress. The people were daily more dissatisfied with their situation. Tired of war, they had submitted to British government with the expectation of bettering their condition, but they soon found their mistake. The greatest address should have been practiced towards the inhabitants, in order to second the views of the Parent State in re-uniting the revolted colonies to her government. That the people might be induced to return to the condition of subjects, their minds and affections, as well as their armies, ought to have been conquered. This delicate task was rarely attempted. The officers, privates, and followers of the royal army, were generally more intent on amassing fortunes by plunder and rapine, than on promoting a re-union of the dissevered members of the empire. Instead of increasing the number of real friends to royal government, they disgusted those that they found. The high spirited citizens of Carolina, impatient of their rapine and insolence, rejoiced in the prospect of freeing their country from its oppressors. Motives of this kind, together with a prevailing attachment to the cause of Independence, induced many to break through all ties to join Gen. Gates, and more to wish him the completest success.
The similarity of language and appearance between the British and American armies, gave opportunities for imposing on the inhabitants. Lieutenant Colonel Tarleton with a party, by assuming the name and dress of Americans, passed themselves near Black river, for  the advance of General Gates’ army.1780 Some of the neighbouring militia were eagerly collected by Mr. Bradley, to co-operate with their supposed friends, but after some time the veil being thrown aside, Bradley and his volunteers were carried to Camden, and confined there as prisoners.
General Gates on reaching the frontier of South-Carolina, issued a proclamation inviting the patriotic citizens “to join heartily in rescuing themselves and their country, from the oppression of a government imposed on them by the ruffian hand of conquest.” He also gave
assurances of forgiveness and perfect security, to such of the unfortunate citizens as had been induced by the terror of sanguinary puishment, the menace of confiscation, and the arbitrary measures of military domination, apparently to acquiesce under the British government, and to make a forced declaration of allegiance and support to a tyranny, which the indignant souls of citizens resolved on freedom, inwardly revolted at with horror and detestation,
excepting only from this amnesty, “those who in the hour of devastation, had exercised acts of barbarity and depredation on the persons and property of their fellow citizens.” The army with which Gates advanced, was by the arrival of Stephens’ militia, increased nearly to 4000 men, but of this large number, the whole regular force was only 900 infantry and 70 cavalry. On the approach of Gates, Earl Cornwallis hastened from Charleston to Camden, and arrived there on the 14th. The force which his Lordship found collected on his arrival, was 1700 infantry and 300 cavalry. This inferior number would have justified a retreat, but he chose rather to stake his fortune on the decision of a battle. On the night of the 15th, he marched from Camden with his whole force, intending, to attack the Americans in their camp at Clermont. In the same night Gates, after ordering his baggage to the Waxhaws, put his army in motion, with an intention of advancing to an eligible position, about 8 miles from Camden. The American army was ordered to march at 10 o’clock p.m. in the following order.
1780Colonel Armand’s advance  cavalry. Colonel Porterfield’s light infantry, on the right flank of Colonel Armand’s in Indian-file, 200 yards from the road. Major Armstrong’s light infantry in the same order as Colonel Porterfield’s on the left flank of the legion advanced guard of foot, composed of the advanced piquets, first brigade of Maryland, second brigade of Maryland—division of North-Carolina, Virginia rear guard, volunteer cavalry, upon flanks of the baggage equally divided.
The light infantry upon each flank were ordered to march up and support the calvary, if it should be attacked by the British cavalry, and Colonel Armand was directed in that case to stand the attack at all events.
The advance of both armies met in the night and engaged. Some of the cavalry of Armand’s legion, being wounded in the first fire fell back on others, who recoiled so suddenly, that the first Maryland regiment was broken, and the whole line of the army was thrown into confusion. This first impression struck deep, and dispirited the militia. The American army soon recovered its order, and both they and their adversaries kept their ground, and occasionally skirmished through the night. Colonel Porterfield, a most excellent officer, on whose abilities General Gates particularly depended, was wounded in the early part of this night attack. In the morning a severe and general engagement took place. At the first onset, the great body of the Virginia militia, who formed the left wing of the army, on being charged with fixed bayonets by the British infantry, threw down their arms, and with the utmost precipitation fled from the field. A considerable part of the North-Carolina militia followed the unworthy example, but the continentals who formed the right wing of the army, inferior as they were in numbers to the British, stood their ground and maintained the conflict with great resolution. Never did men acquit themselves better: for some time they had clearly the advantage of their opponents, and were in possession of a considerable body of prisoners: overpowered at last by numbers, and nearly surrounded by the enemy, they were compelled reluctantly to leave the ground. In justice  to the North-Carolina militia, it should be remarked that part of the brigade commanded by Gen. Gregory acquitted themselves well. They were formed immediately on the left of the continentals, and kept the field while they had a cartridge to fire. Gen. Gregory himself was twice wounded by a bayonet in bringing off his men, and several of his brigade, who were made prisoners, had no wounds except from bayonets.* Two hundred and ninety American wounded prisoners were carried into Camden, after this action, of this number 206 were continentals, 82, were North-Carolina militia, and 2 were Virginia militia. The resistance made by each corps, may in some degree be estimated from the number of wounded. The Americans lost the whole of their artillery, eight field pieces, upwards of 200 waggons, and the greatest part of their baggage, almost all their officers were separated from their respective commands. Every corps was broken in action and dispersed. The fugitives who fled by the common road, were pursued above 20 miles by the horse of Tarleton’s legion, and the way was covered with arms, baggage and waggons. Baron de Kalb, the second in command, a brave and experienced officer, was taken prisoner and died on the next day of his wounds. The baron who was a German by birth, had long been in the French service. He had travelled through the British provinces, about the time of the stamp act, and is said to have reported to his superiors on his return, “that the colonists were so firmly and universally attached to Great Britain, that nothing could shake their loyalty.” The Congress resolved that a monument should be erected to his memory in Annapolis, with a very honorable inscription. General Rutherford of North-Carolina, was wounded and taken prisoner.
The royal army fought with great bravery, but the completeness of their victory was in a great degree owing to their superiority in cavalry, and the precipitate flight of the American militia.1780 Their whole loss is supposed to have amounted to several hundreds. To add to the  distresses of the Americans, the defeat of Gates was immediately followed by the surprise and dispersion of Sumter’s corps. While the former was advancing near to the British army, the latter who had previously taken post between Camden and Charleston, took a number of prisoners and captured sundry British stores, together with their convoy. On hearing of the defeat of his superior officer, he began to retreat with his prisoners and stores. Tarleton with his legion, and a detachment of infantry, pursued with such celerity and address as to overtake and surprize this party at Fishing Creek. The British rode into their camp before they were prepared for defence. The retreating Americans, having been four days with little or no sleep, were more obedient to the calls of nature, than attentive to her first law self-preservation. Sumter had taken every prudent precaution to prevent a surprise, but his videttes were so overcome with fatigue, that they neglected their duty. With great difficulty he got a few to stand their ground for a short time, but the greater part of his corps fled to the river or the woods. He lost all his artillery, and his whole detachment was either killed, captured or dispersed. The prisoners he had lately taken were all retaken. On the 17th and 18th of Aug. about 150 of Gates’ army rendezvoused at Charlotte. These had reason to apprehend that they would be immediately pursued and cut to pieces. There was no magazine of provisions in the town, and it was without any kind of defence. It was therefore concluded to retreat to Salisbury. A circumstantial detail of this, would be the picture of complicated wretchedness. There were more wounded men than could be conveniently carried off. The inhabitants hourly expecting the British to advance into their settlement, and generally intending to flee, could not attend to the accommodation of the suffering soldiers. Objects of distress occurred in every quarter. There were many who stood in need of kind assistance, but there were few who could give it to them. Several men were to be seen with but one arm, and some without any. Anxiety, pain and dejection, poverty, hurry and confusion, promiscuously marked the  gloomy scene.1780 Under these circumstances the remains of that numerous army, which had lately caused such terror to the friends of Great-Britain, retreated to Salisbury and soon after to Hillsborough. General Gates had previously retired to this last place, and was there in concert with the government of North-Carolina, devising plans of defense, and for renewing military operations.
Though there was no army to oppose Lord Cornwallis, yet the season and bad health of his army, restrained him from pursuing his conquests. By the complete dispersion of the continental forces, the country was in his power. The present moment of triumph seemed therefore the most favorable conjuncture, for breaking the spirits of those who were attached to independence. To prevent their future co-operation with the armies of Congress, a severer policy was henceforward adopted.
Unfortunately for the inhabitants, this was taken up on grounds which involved thousands in distress, and not a few in the loss of life. The British conceived themselves in possession of the rights of sovereignty over a conquered country, and that therefore the efforts of the citizens, to assert their independence exposed them to the penal consequences of treason and rebellion. Influenced by these opinions, and transported with indignation against the inhabitants, they violated the rights which are held sacred between independent hostile nations. Orders were given by Lord Cornwallis “that all the inhabitants of the province, who had submitted, and who had taken part in this revolt, should be punished with the greatest rigor—that they should be imprisoned, and their whole property taken from them or destroyed.” He also ordered in the most positive manner “that every militia man, who had born arms with the British, and afterwards joined the Americans, should be put to death.” At Augusta, at Camden and elsewhere, several of the inhabitants were hanged in consequence of these orders. The men who suffered had been compelled by the necessities of their families, and the prospect of saving their property, to make an involuntary submission to the royal conquerors. Experience soon taught them the inefficacy of these submissions.1780 This in  their opinion absolved them from the obligations of their engagements to support the royal cause, and left them at liberty to follow their inclinations. To treat men thus circumstanced, with the severity of punishment usually inflicted on deserters and traitors, might have a political tendency to discourage farther revolts, but the impartial world must regret that the unavoidable horrors of war, should be aggravated by such deliberate effusions of human blood.
Notwithstanding the decisive superiority of the British armies in South-Carolina, several of the most respectable citizens, though in the power of their conquerors, resisted every temptation to resume the character of subjects. To enforce a general submission, orders were given by lord Cornwallis immediately after his victory, to send out of South-Carolina a number of its principal citizens.Aug. 27 Lieut. Gov. Gadsden, most of the civil and militia officers and some others, who had declined exchanging their paroles for the protection of British subjects, were taken up, put on board a vessel in the harbour, and sent to St. Augustine. General Moultrie remonstrated against the confinement and removal of these gentlemen, as contrary to their rights derived from the capitulation of Charleston. They at the same time challenged their adversaries to prove any conduct of theirs, which merited expulsion from their country and families. They received no farther satisfaction, than that the measure had been “adopted from motives of policy.” To convince the inhabitants, that the conquerors were seriously resolved to remove from the country, all who refused to become subjects, an additional number of about thirty citizens of South-Carolina, who remained prisoners on parole, were sent off to the same place in less than three months. Gen. Rutherford and Col. Isaacs both of North-Carolina, who had been lately taken near Camden, were associated with them.
Sept. 16To compel the re-establishment of British government, lord Cornwallis, in about four weeks after his victory, issued a proclamation for the sequestration of all estates belonging to the active friends of Independence. By  this he constituted
1780John Cruden commissioner, with full power and authority, on the receipt of an order or warrant, to take into his possession the estates both real and personal (not included in the capitulation of Charleston) of those in the service or acting under the authority of the rebel Congress, and also the estates, both real and personal, of those persons who by an open avowal of rebellious principles, or by other notorious acts, manifested a wicked and desperate perseverance in opposing the re-establishment of his Majesty’s just and lawful authority;
and it was farther declared
That any person or persons obstructing or impeding the said commissioner in the execution of his duty, by the concealment or removal of property or otherwise, should on conviction be punished as aiding and abetting rebellion.
An adherent to Independence was now considered as one who courted exile, poverty and ruin. Many yielded to the temptation, and became British subjects. The mischievous effects of slavery, in facilitating the conquest of the country, now became apparent. As the slaves had no interest at stake, the subjugation of the State was a matter of no consequence to them. Instead of aiding in its defence, they by a variety of means threw the weight of their little influence into the opposite scale.
Though numbers broke through all the ties which bound them to support the cause of America, illustrious sacrifices were made at the shrine of liberty. Several of the richest men in the state suffered their fortunes to remain in the power and possession of their conquerors, rather than stain their honor, by joining the enemies of their country. The patriotism of the ladies contributed much to this firmness. They crowded on board prison ships, and other places of confinement, to solace their suffering countrymen. While the conquerors were regaling themselves at concerts and assemblies, they could obtain very few of the fair sex to associate with them; but no sooner was an American officer introduced as a prisoner, than his company was sought for, and his person treated with every possible mark of attention and respect.1780 On other occasions the ladies in a great measure  retired from the public eye, wept over the distresses of their country, and gave every proof of the warmest attachment to its suffering cause. Among the numbers who were banished from their families, and whose property was seized by the conquerors, many examples could be produced of ladies cheerfully parting with their sons, husbands and brothers, exhorting them to fortitude and perseverance; and repeatedly entreating them never to suffer family-attachments to interfere with the duty they owed to their country. When, in the progress of the war, they were also comprehended under a general sentence of banishment, with equal resolution they parted with their native country, and the many endearments of home—followed their husbands into prison-ships and distant lands, where they were reduced to the necessity of receiving charity.
Animated by such examples, as well as by a high sense of honor and the love of their country, a great proportion of the gentlemen of South-Carolina deliberately adhered to their first resolution, of risquing life and fortune in support of their liberties. Hitherto the royal forces in South-Carolina had been attended with almost uninterrupted success. Their standards overspread the country, penetrated into every quarter, and triumphed over all opposition.
The British ministry by this flattering posture of affairs, were once more intoxicated with the hope of subjugating America. New plans were formed, and great expectations indulged, of speedily re-uniting the dissevered members of the empire. It was now asserted with a confidence bordering on presumption, that such troops as fought at Camden, put under such a commander as Lord Cornwallis, would soon extirpate rebellion, so effectually as to leave no vestige of it in America. The British ministry and army by an impious confidence in their own wisdom and prowess, were duly prepared to give, in their approaching downfal, an useful lesson to the world.
1780The disaster of the army under General Gates, overspread at first the face of American affairs, with a dismal  gloom, but the day of prosperity to the United States, began as will appear in the sequel, from that moment to dawn. Their prospects brightened up, while those of their enemies were obscured by disgrace, broken by defeat, and at last covered with ruin. Elated with their victories, the conquerors grew more insolent and rapacious, while the real friends of independence became resolute and determined.
We have seen Sumter penetrating into South-Carolina, and recommencing a military opposition to British government. Soon after that event, he was promoted by Governor Rutledge, to the rank of Brigadier General. About the same time Marion was promoted to the same rank, and in the northeastern extremities of the State, successfully prosecuted a similar plan. This valuable officer after the surrender of Charleston, retreated to North-Carolina. On the advance of General Gates, he obtained a command of sixteen men. With these he penetrated through the country, and took a position near the Santee. On the defeat of General Gates, he was compelled to abandon the State, but returned after an absence of a few days. For several weeks he had under his command only 70 men. At one time hardships and dangers reduced that number to 25, yet with this inconsiderable number he secured himself in the midst of surrounding foes. Various schemes were tried to detach the inhabitants from co-operating with him. Major Wemys burned scores of houses on Pedee, Lynch’s creek and Black river, belonging to such as were supposed to do duty with Marion, or to be subservient to his views. This had an effect different from what was intended. Revenge and despair co-operated with patriotism, to make these ruined men keep the field. Having no houses to shelter them, the camps of their countrymen became their homes. For several months, Marion and his party were obliged to sleep in the open air, and to shelter themselves in the recesses of deep swamps. From these retreats they sallied out, whenever an opportunity of harrassing the enemy, or of serving their country presented itself.
1780 Opposition to British government was not wholly confined to the parties commanded by Sumter and Marion. It was at no time altogether extinct in the extremities of the State. The disposition to revolt, which had been excited on the approach of General Gates, was not extinguished by his defeat. The spirit of the people was overawed, but not subdued. The severity with which revolters who fell into the hands of the British were treated, induced those who escaped to persevere and seek safety in swamps.
From the time of the general submission of the inhabitants in 1780, pains had been taken to encrease the royal force by the co-operation of the yeomanry of the country. The British persuaded the people to form a royal militia, by representing that every prospect of succeeding in their scheme of independence was annihilated, and that a farther opposition would only be a prolongation of their distresses, if not their utter ruin. Major Ferguson of the 71st regiment, was particularly active in this business. He visited the settlements of the disaffected to the American cause, and collected a corps of militia of that description, from which much active service was expected. He advanced to the northwestern settlements, to hold communication with the loyalists of both Carolinas. From his presence, together with assurances of an early movement of the royal army into North-Carolina, it was hoped that the friends of royal government would be roused to activity in the service of their King. In the mean time every preparation was made for urging offensive operations, as soon as the season and the state of the stores would permit.
That spirit of enterprize, which has already been mentioned as beginning to revive among the American militia about this time, prompted Col. Clarke to make an attempt on the British post at Augusta in Georgia; but in this he failed and was obliged to retreat. Major Ferguson with the hope of intercepting his party, kept near the mountains and at a considerable distance from support.1780 These circumstances, together with the depredations of the loyalists, induced those hardy republicans, who reside on the west side of the Alleghany mountains,  to form an enterprize for reducing that distinguished partizan. This was done of their own motion, without any direction from the governments of America, or from the officers of the continental army.
There was, without any apparent design, a powerful combination of several detached commanders of several adjacent States, with their respective commands of militia. Col. Campbell of Virginia, Colonels Cleveland, Shelby, Sevier, and M’Dowel of North Carolina, together with Colonels Lacey, Hawthorn and Hill, of South-Carolina, all rendezvoused together, with a number of men amounting to 1600, though they were under no general command, and though they were not called upon to embody by any common authority, or indeed by any authority at all, but that of a general impulse on their own minds. They had so little of the mechanism of a regular army, that the Colonels of some of the States by common consent, commanded each day alternately. The hardships these volunteers underwent were very great. Some of them subsisted for weeks together, without tasting bread or salt, or spiritous liquors, and slept in the woods without blankets. The running stream quenched their thirst. At night the earth afforded them a bed, and the heavens, or at most the limbs of trees were their only covering. Ears of corn or pompions thrown into the fire, with occasional supplies of beef or venison, killed and roasted in the woods, were the chief articles of their provisions. They had neither commissaries, quarter-masters, nor stores of any kind. They selected about a thousand of their best men, and mounted them on their fleetest horses. These attacked Major Ferguson on the top of King’s mountain, near the confines of North and South-Carolina.Oct. 7 The Americans formed three parties. Col. Lacey of South-Carolina led one, which attacked on the west end. The two others were commanded by Cols. Campbell and Cleveland, one of which attacked on the east end and the other in the centre. Ferguson with great boldness attacked the assailants with fixed bayonets, and compelled them successively to retire, but they only fell back a little way, and getting behind trees and rocks, renewed  their fire in almost every direction.1780 The British being uncovered, were aimed at by the American marksmen, and many of them were slain. An unusual number of the killed were found to have been shot in the head. Riflemen took off riflemen with such exactness, that they killed each other when taking sight, so effectually that their eyes remained after they were dead, one shut and the other open, in the usual manner of marksmen when levelling at their object. Major Ferguson displayed as much bravery as was possible in his situation: But his encampment on the top of the mountain was not well chosen, as it gave the Americans an opportunity of covering themselves in their approaches. Had he pursued his march on charging and driving the first party of the militia which gave way, he might have got off with the most of his men, but his unconquerable spirit disdained either to flee or to surrender. After a severe conflict he received a mortal wound. No chance of escape being left, and all prospect of successful resistance being at an end, the contest was ended by the submission of the survivors. Upwards of 800 became prisoners, and 225 had been previously killed or wounded. Very few of the assailants fell, but in their number was Col. Williams a distinguished militia officer in Ninety-Six district, who had been very active in opposing the re-establishment of British government. Ten of the royal militia who had surrendered were hanged by their conquerors. They were provoked to this measure by the severity of the British, who had lately hanged several of the captured Americans, in South-Carolina and Georgia. They also alleged that the men who suffered were guilty of previous felonies, for which their lives were forfeited by the laws of the land. The fall of Ferguson was in itself a great loss to the royal cause. He possessed superior abilities as a partizan, and his spirit of enterprise was uncommon. To a distinguished capacity for planning great designs, he also added the practical abilities necessary to carry them into execution. The unexpected advantage which the Americans gained over him and his party, in a great degree frustrated a well concerted scheme for strengthening  the British army by the co-operation of the tory inhabitants,1780 whom he had undertaken to discipline and prepare for active service. The total rout of the party, which had joined Major Ferguson, operated as a check on the future exertions of the loyalists. The same timid caution, which made them averse to joining their countrymen in opposing the claims of Great Britain, restrained them from risquing any more in support of the royal cause. Henceforward they waited to see how the scales were likely to incline, and reserved themselves till the British army, by its own unassisted efforts, should gain a decided superiority.
In a few weeks after the general action near Camden, Lord Cornwallis left a small force in that village, and marched with the main army towards Salisbury, intending to push forwards in that direction. While on his way thither, the North Carolina militia was very industrious and successful in annoying his detachments. Riflemen frequently penetrated near his camp, and from behind trees made sure of their objects. The late conquerors found their situation very uneasy, being exposed to unseen dangers if they attempted to make an excursion of only a few hundred yards from their main body. The defeat of Major Ferguson, added to these circumstances, gave a serious alarm to lord Cornwallis, and he soon after retreated to Winnsborough. As he retired, the militia took several of his waggons, and single men often rode up within gunshot of his army, discharged their pieces, and made their escape. The panic occasioned by the defeat of Gen. Gates had in a great measure worn off. The defeat of Major Ferguson and the consequent retreat of lord Cornwallis, encouraged the American militia to take the field, and the necessity of the times induced them to submit to stricter discipline. Sumter soon after the dispersion of his corps on the 18th of August, collected a band of volunteers, partly from new adventurers, and partly from those who had escaped on that day. With these, though for three months there was no continental army in the State, he constantly kept the field in support of American independence. He varied his position from  time to time about Evoree, Broad and Tyger rivers, and had frequent skirmishes with his adversaries. Having mounted his followers he infested the British parties with frequent incursions—beat up their quarters—intercepted their convoys, and so harrassed them with successive alarms, that their movements could not be made but with caution and difficulty. His spirit of enterprize was so particularly injurious to the British, that they laid sundry plans for destroying his force, but they all failed in the execution.Nov. 1 He was attacked at Broad river by Major Wemys, commanding a corps of infantry and dragoons. In this action the British were defeated, and their commanding officer taken prisoner.Nov. 2 Eight days after he was attacked at Black-Stocks, near Tyger river, by Lieut. Col. Tarleton. The attack was begun with 170 dragoons and 8o men of the 63d regiment. A considerable part of Sumter’s force had been thrown into a large log barn, from the apertures of which they fired with security. Many of the 63d regiment were killed. Tarleton charged with his cavalry, but being unable to dislodge the Americans retreated, and Sumter was left in quiet possession of the field. The loss of the British in this action was considerable. Among their killed were three officers, Major Money, Lieut. Gibson and Cope. The Americans lost very few, but Gen. Sumter received a wound, which for several months interrupted his gallant enterprizes in behalf of his country. His zeal and activity in animating the militia, when they were discouraged by repeated defeats, and the bravery and good conduct he displayed in sundry attacks on the British detachments, procured him the applause of his countrymen, and the thanks of Congress.
For the three months which followed the defeat of the American army near Camden, Gen. Gates was industriously preparing to take the field.Nov. Having collected a force at Hillsbury he advanced to Salisbury, and very soon after to Charlotte. He had done every thing in his power to repair the injuries of his defeat, and was again in a condition to face the enemy; but from that  influence which popular opinion has over public affairs in a commonwealth,1780 Congress resolved to supersede him, and to order a court of enquiry to be held on his conduct. This was founded on a former resolve, that whoever lost a post should be subject to a court of inquiry. The cases were no ways parallel, he had lost a battle but not a post. The only charge that could be exhibited against Gen. Gates was that he had been defeated. His enemies could accuse him of no military crime, unless that to be unsuccessful might be reckoned so. The public, sore with their losses, were desirous of a change, and Congress found it necessary to gratify them, though at the expence of the feelings of one of their best, and till August 1780, one of their most successful officers. Virginia did not so soon forget Saratoga. When Gen. Gates was at Richmond on his way home from Carolina, the house of Burgesses of that State unanimously resolved
Dec. 28that a committee of four be appointed to wait on Gen. Gates, and assure him of their high regard and esteem, and that the remembrance of his former glorious services could not be obliterated by any reverse of fortune; but that ever mindful of his great merit, they would omit no opportunity of testifying to the world the gratitude which the country owed to him in his military character.
These events together with a few unimportant skirmishes not worthy of being particularly mentioned, closed the campaign of 1780 in the southern States. They afforded ample evidence of the folly of prosecuting the American war. Though British conquests had rapidly succeeded each other, yet no advantages accrued to the victors. The minds of the people were unsubdued, or rather more alienated from every idea of returning to their former allegiance. Such was their temper, that the expence of retaining them in subjection, would have exceeded all the profits of the conquest. British garrisons kept down open resistance in the vicinity of the places where they were established, but as soon as they were withdrawn, and the people left to themselves, a spirit of revolt hostile to Great-Britain always displayed itself,  and the standard of independence whensoever it was prudently raised, never wanted followers from the active and spirited part of the community.
Campaign of 1780, in the Northern States.
While the war raged in South-Carolina, the campaign of 1780, in the northern States was barren of important events. At the close of the preceding campaign, the American northern army took post at Morristown and built themselves huts, agreeably to the practice which had been first introduced at Valley-Forge. This position was well calculated to cover the country from the excursions of the British, being only 20 miles from New-York.
January, 1780Lord Sterling made an ineffectual attempt to surprise a party of the enemy on Staten-Island. While he was on the island, a number of persons from the Jersey side passed over and plundered the inhabitants, who had submitted to the British government. In these times of confusion, licentious persons fixed themselves near the lines, which divided the British from the Americans. Whensoever an opportunity offered, they were in the habit of going within the settlements of the opposite party, and under the pretence of distressing their enemies, committed the most shameful depredations. In the first months of the year 1780, while the royal army was weakened by the expedition against Charleston, the British were apprehensive for their safety in New-York. The rare circumstance which then existed of a connexion between the main and York island, by means of ice seemed to invite to the enterprise, but the force and equipments of the American army were unequal to it. Lieutenant General Kniphausen, who then commanded in New-York, apprehending such a design, embodied the inhabitants of the city as a militia for its defence. They very chearfully formed themselves into companies, and discovered great zeal in the service.
1780 An incursion was made into Jersey from New-York with 5000 men, commanded by Lieutenant General Kniphausen.June 16 They landed at Elizabeth-town, and proceeded to Connecticut farms. In this neighbourhood lived the Reverend Mr. James Caldwell, a Presbyterian clergyman of great activity, ability and influence, whose successful exertions in animating the Jersey militia to defend their rights, had rendered him particularly obnoxious to the British. When the royal forces were on their way into the country, a soldier came to his house in his absence and shot his wife Mrs. Caldwell instantly dead, by leveling his piece directly at her through the window of the room in which she was sitting with her children. Her body at the request of an officer of the new levies, was moved to some distance, and then the house and every thing in it was reduced to ashes. The British burnt about 12 other houses, and also the Presbyterian church, and then proceeded to Springfield. As they advanced they were annoyed by Colonel Dayton with a few militia. On their approach to the bridge near the town, they were farther opposed by General Maxwell, who with a few continental troops was prepared to dispute its passage. They made a halt and soon after returned to Elizabeth town. Before they had retreated, the whole American army at Morristown marched to oppose them. While this royal detachment was in Jersey, Sir Henry Clinton returned with his victorious troops from Charleston to New-York. He ordered a reinforcement to Kniphausen, and the whole advanced a second time towards Springfield. They were now opposed by General Greene, with a considerable body of continental troops. Colonel Angel with his regiment and a piece of artillery was posted to secure the bridge in front of the town. A severe action took place which lasted forty minutes. Superior numbers forced the Americans to retire. General Greene took post with his troops on a range of hills, in hopes of being attacked. Instead of this the British began to burn the town. Near fifty dwelling houses were reduced to ashes. The British then retreated, but were pursued by the enraged militia, till they entered Elizabethtown. 1780 The next day they set out on their return to New-York. The loss of the Americans in the action was about 8o, and that of the British was supposed to be considerably more. It is difficult to tell what was the precise object of this expedition. Perhaps the royal commanders hoped to get possession of Morristown, and to destroy the American stores. Perhaps they flattered themselves that the inhabitants were so dispirited by the recent loss of Charlestown, that they would submit without resistance; and that the soldiers of the continental army would desert to them: But if these were their views, they were disappointed in both. The firm opposition which was made by the Jersey farmers, contrasted with the conduct of the same people in the year 1776, made it evident that not only their aversion to Great-Britain, continued in full force; but that the practical habits of service and danger had improved the country militia, so as to bring them near to an equality with regular troops.
By such desultory operations, were hostilities carried on at this time in the northern States. Individuals were killed, houses were burnt, and much mischief done; but nothing was effected which tended either to reconcilement or subjugation.
The loyal Americans who had fled within the British lines, commonly called refugees, reduced a predatory war into system. On their petition to Sir Henry Clinton, they had been in the year 1779, permitted to set up a distinct government in New-York, under a jurisdiction called the honorable board of associated loyalists. They had something like a fleet of small privateers and cruisers, by the aid of which, they committed various depredations. A party of them who had formerly belonged to Massachusetts, went to Nantucket, broke open the warehouses, and carried off every thing that fell in their way. They also carried off two loaded brigs and two or three schooners. In a proclamation they left behind them, they observed “that they had been deprived of their property, and compelled to abandon their dwellings, friends and connections. And that they conceived themselves warranted by the laws of God and man, to wage  war against their persecutors,1780 and to endeavour by every means in their power, to obtain compensation for their sufferings.” These associated loyalists eagerly embraced every adventure, which gratified either their avarice or their revenge. Their enterprises were highly lucrative to themselves, and extremely distressing to the Americans. Their knowledge of the country and superior means of transportation, enabled them to make hasty descents and successful enterprises. A war of plunder in which the feelings of humanity were often suspended, and which tended to no valuable public purpose, was carried on in this shameful manner, from the double excitements of profit and revenge. The adjoining coasts of the continent, and especially the maritime parts of New-Jersey, became scenes of waste and havoc.
The distress which the Americans suffered from the diminished value of their currency, though felt in the year 1778 and still more so in the year 1779, did not arrive to its highest pitch till the year 1780. Under the pressure of sufferings from this cause, the officers of the Jersey line addressed a memorial to their state legislature, setting forth “that four months pay of a private, would not procure for his family a single bushel of wheat, that the pay of a Colonel would not purchase oats for his horse; that a common laborer or express rider received four times as much as an American officer.” They urged “that unless a speedy and ample remedy was provided, the total dissolution of their line was inevitable,” and concluded with saying “that their pay should either be made up in Mexican dollars or in something equivalent.” In addition to the insufficiency of their pay and support, other causes of discontent prevailed. The original idea of a continental army, to be raised, paid, subsisted and regulated upon an equal and uniform principle, had been in a great measure exchanged for State establishments. This mischievous measure partly originated from necessity, for State credit was not quite so much depreciated as continental. Congress not possessing the means of supporting their army, devolved the business on the component parts of the confederacy.1780 Some States, from their  internal ability and local advantages, furnished their troops not only with cloathing, but with many conveniencies. Others supplied them with some necessaries, but on a more contracted scale. A few from their particular situation could do little or nothing at all. The officers and men in the routine of duty, mixed daily and compared circumstances. Those who fared worse than others, were dissatisfied with a service which made such injurious distinctions. From causes of this kind, super-added to a complication of wants and sufferings, a disposition to mutiny began to shew itself in the American army. This broke forth into full action among the soldiers, which were stationed at fort Schuyler. Thirty-one of the men of that garrison went off in a body. Being pursued sixteen of them were overtaken, and thirteen of the sixteen, were instantly killed. About the same time, two regiments of Connecticut troops mutinied and got under arms. They determined to return home, or to gain subsistence at the point of the bayonet. Their officers reasoned with them, and urged every argument, that could either interest their pride or their passions. They were reminded of their good conduct, of the important objects for which they were contending, but their answer was “our sufferings are too great and we want present relief.” After much expostulation they were at length prevailed upon to go to their hutts. It is remarkable, that this mutinous disposition of the Connecticut troops, was in a great measure quelled by the Pennsylvania line, which in a few months, as shall hereafter be related, planned and executed a much more serious revolt, than that which they now suppressed. While the army was in this feverish state of discontent from their accumulated distresses, a printed paper addressed to the soldiers of the continental army, was circulated in the American camp. This was in the following words.
The time is at length arrived, when all the artifices and falsehoods of the Congress and of your commanders, can no longer conceal from you the miseries of your situation. You are neither fed, cloathed nor paid. Your numbers are wasting away by sickness, famine and nakedness, and  rapidly so by the period of your stipulated services1780 being expired. This is now the period to fly from slavery and fraud.
I am happy in acquainting the old countrymen that the affairs of Ireland are fully settled, and that Great Britain and Ireland are united as well from interest as from affection. I need not tell you who are born in America, that you have been cheated and abused. You are both sensible that in order to procure your liberty you must quit your leaders, and join your real friends, who scorn to impose upon you, and who will receive you with open arms, kindly forgiving all your errors. You are told you are surrounded by a numerous militia. This is also false. Associate then together, make use of your firelocks, and join the British army, where you will be permitted to dispose of yourselves as you please.
About the same time or rather a little before, the news arrived of the reduction of Charleston, and the capture of the whole American southern army. Such was the firmness of the common soldiery, and so strong their attachment to the cause of their country, that though danger impelled, want urged, and British favor invited them to a change of sides, yet on the arrival of but a scanty supply of meat for their immediate subsistence, military duty was cheerfully performed, and no uncommon desertion took place.
So great were the necessities of the American army, that Gen. Washington was obliged to call on the magistrates of the adjacent counties for specified quantities of provisions, to be supplied in a given number of days. At other times he was compelled to send out detachments of his troops, to take provisions at the point of the bayonet from the citizens. This expedient at length failed, for the country in the vicinity of the army afforded no further supplies. These impressments were not only injurious to the morals and discipline of the army, but tended to alienate the affections of the people. Much of the support, which the American general had previously experienced from the inhabitants, proceeded from the difference of treatment they received from their own army,  compared with what they suffered from the British. The General, whom the inhabitants hitherto regarded as their protector, had now no alternative but to disband his troops, or to support them by force. The situation of Gen. Washington was eminently embarrassing. The army looked to him for provisions, the inhabitants for protection of their property. To supply the one, and not offend the other, seemed little less than an impossibility. To preserve order and subordination in an army of free republicans, even when well fed, paid and clothed, would have been a work of difficulty, but to retain them in service and restrain them with discipline, when destitute, not only of the comforts, but often of the necessaries of life, required address and abilities of such magnitude as are rarely found in human nature. In this choice of difficulties Gen. Washington not only kept his army together, but conducted with so much discretion, as to command the approbation both of the army and of the citizens.
So great a scarcity, in a country usually abounding with provisions, appears extraordinary, but various remote causes had concurred about this time to produce an unprecedented deficiency. The seasons both in 1779 and 1780 were unfavorable to the crops. The labors of the husbandmen, who were attached to the cause of independence, had been frequently interrupted by the calls for militia duty. Those who cared for neither side, or who from principles of religion held the unlawfulness of war, or who were secretly attached to the royal interest, had been very deficient in industry. Such sometimes reasoned that all labor on their farms, beyond a bare supply of their own necessities, was unavailing; but the principal cause of the sufferings of the army was the daily diminishing value of the continental bills of credit. The farmers found, that the longer they delayed the payment of taxes, the less quantity of country produce would discharge the stipulated sum. They also observed, that the longer they kept their grain on hand, the more of the paper currency was obtained in exchange for it. This either discouraged them from selling, or made them very tardy in coming to market.1780 Many secreted their provisions  and denied their having any, while others who were contiguous to the British, secretly sold to them for gold or silver. The patriotism which at the commencement of the war had led so many to sacrifice property for the good of their country, had in a great degree subsided. Though they still retained their good wishes for the cause, yet these did not carry them so far as to induce a willingness to exchange the hard earned produce of their farms, for a paper currency of a daily diminishing value. For provisions carried to New-York, the farmers received real money, but for what was carried to the Americans, they only received paper. The value of the first was known, of the other daily varying, but in an unceasing progression from bad to worse. Laws were made against this intercourse, but they were executed in the manner laws uniformly have been in the evasion of which multitudes find an immediate interest.
In addition to these disasters from short crops, and depreciating money, disorder and confusion pervaded the departments for supplying the army. Systems for these purposes had been hastily adopted, and were very inadequate to the end proposed. To provide for an army under the best establishments, and with a full military chest, is a work of difficulty, and though guarded by the precautions which time and experience have suggested, opens a door to many frauds; but it was the hard case of the Americans to be called on to discharge this duty without sufficient knowledge of the business, and under ill digested systems, and with a paper currency that was not two days of the same value. Abuses crept in; frauds were practiced, and oeconomy was exiled.
To obviate these evils, Congress adopted the expedient of sending a committee of their own body to the camp of their main army. Mr. Schuyler of New-York, Mr. Peabody of New-Hampshire, and Mr. Mathews of South-Carolina, were appointed. They were furnished with ample powers and instructions to reform abuses—to alter preceding systems, and to establish new ones in their room. This committee proceeded to camp in May 1780, and thence wrote sundry letters to Congress  and the States,1780 in which they confirmed the representations previously made of the distresses and disorders every where prevalent. In particular they stated
that the army was unpaid for five months—that it seldom had more than six days provision in advance, and was on several occasions for sundry successive days without meat—that the army was destitute of forage—that the medical department had neither sugar, coffee, tea, chocolate, wine nor spiritous liquors of any kind—that every department of the army was without money, and had not even the shadow of credit left—that the patience of the soldiers, born down by the pressure of complicated sufferings, was on the point of being exhausted.
A tide of misfortunes from all quarters was at this time pouring in upon the United-States. There appeared not however, in their public bodies, the smallest disposition to purchase safety by concessions of any sort. They seemed to rise in the midst of their distresses, and to gain strength from the pressure of calamities. When Congress could neither command money nor credit for the subsistence of their army, the citizens of Philadelphia formed an association to procure a supply of necessary articles for their suffering soldiers. The sum of 300,000 dollars was subscribed in a few days, and converted into a bank, the principal design of which was to purchase provisions for the troops, in the most prompt and efficacious manner. The advantages of this institution were great, and particularly enhanced by the critical time in which it was instituted. The loss of Charleston, and the subsequent British victories in Carolina, produced effects directly the reverse of what were expected. It being the deliberate resolution of the Americans never to return to the government of Great-Britain, such unfavorable events as threatened the subversion of independence, operated as incentives to their exertions. The patriotic flame which had blazed forth in the beginning of the war was re-kindled. A willingness to do, and to suffer, in the cause of American liberty, was revived in the breasts of many.1780 These dispositions were invigorated  by private assurances, that his most Christian Majesty would, in the course of the campaign, send a powerful armament to their aid. To excite the States to be in readiness for this event, Congress circulated among them an address of which the following is a part.
The crisis calls for exertion. Much is to be done in a little time, and every motive that can stimulate the mind of man presents itself to view. No period has occurred in this long and glorious struggle, in which indecision would be so destructive on the one hand, and on the other, no conjuncture has been more favorable to great and deciding efforts.
The powers of the committee of Congress in the American camp, were enlarged so far as to authorize them to frame and execute such plans as, in their opinion, would most effectually draw forth the resources of the country, in co-operating with the armament expected from France. In this character they wrote sundry letters to the States, stimulating them to vigorous exertions. It was agreed to make arrangements for bringing into the field 35,000 effective men, and to call on the States for specific supplies of every thing necessary for their support. To obtain the men it was proposed to complete the regular regiments by draughts from the militia, and to make up what they fell short of 35,000 effectives, by calling forth more of the militia. Every motive concurred to rouse the activity of the inhabitants. The States nearly exhausted with the war, ardently wished for its determination. An opportunity now offered for striking a decisive blow, that might at once, as they supposed, rid the country of its distresses. The only thing required on the part of the United States, was to bring into the field 35,000 men, and to make effectual arrangements for their support. The tardiness of deliberation in Congress was in a great measure done away, by the full powers given to their committee in camp. Accurate estimates were made of every article of supply, necessary for the ensuing campaign. These, and also the numbers of men wanted, were quotaed on the ten northern States in proportion to their abilities and numbers.1780 In conformity to these requisitions,  vigorous resolutions were adopted for carrying them into effect. Where voluntary enlistments fell short of the proposed number, the deficiencies were, by the laws of several States, to be made up by draughts or lots from the militia. The towns in New-England and the counties in the middle States, were respectively called on for a specified number of men. Such was the zeal of the people in New-England, that neighbours would often club together, to engage one of their number to go into the army. Being without money, in conformity to the practice usual in the early stages of society, they paid for military duty with cattle. Twenty head were frequently given as a reward for eighteen months service. Maryland directed her Lieutenants of counties to class all the property in their respective counties, into as many equal classes as there were men wanted, and each class was by law obliged within ten days thereafter, to furnish an able bodied recruit to serve during the war, and in case of their neglecting or refusing so to do, the county Lieutenants were authorised to procure men at their expence, at any rate not exceeding 15 pounds in every hundred pounds worth of property, classed agreeably to the law. Virginia also classed her citizens, and called upon the respective classes for every fifteenth man for public service. Pennsylvania concentered the requisite power in her President Joseph Reed, and authorized him to draw forth the resources of the State, under certain limitations, and if necessary to declare martial law over the State. The legislative part of these complicated arrangements was speedily passed, but the execution though uncommonly vigorous lagged far behind. Few occasions could occur in which it might so fairly be tried, to what extent in conducting a war, a variety of wills might be brought to act in unison. The result of the experiment was, that however favorable republics may be to the liberty and happiness of the people in the time of peace, they will be greatly deficient in that vigor and dispatch, which military operations require, unless they imitate the policy of monarchies, by committing the executive departments of government to the direction of a single will.
1780 While these preparations were making in America, the armament which had been promised by his most Christian Majesty was on its way. As soon as it was known in France, that a resolution was adopted, to send out troops to the United States, the young French nobility discovered the greatest zeal to be employed on that service. Court favor was scarcely ever solicited with more earnestness, than was the honor of serving under General Washington. The number of applicants was much greater than the service required. The disposition to support the American revolution, was not only prevalent in the court of France, but it animated the whole body of the nation. The winds and waves did not second the ardent wishes of the French troops. Though they sailed from France on the first of May 1780, they did not reach a port in the United States till the 10th of July following. On that day to the great joy of the Americans, M. de Ternay arrived at Rhode-Island, with a squadron of seven sail of the line, five frigates, and five smaller armed vessels. He likewise convoyed a fleet of transports with four old French regiments, besides the legion de Lauzun, and a battalion of artillery, amounting in the whole to 6000 men, all under the command of Lieutenant General Count de Rochambeau. To the French as soon as they landed possession was given of the forts and batteries on the island, and by their exertions, they were soon put in a high state of defence. In a few days after their arrival, an address of congratulation from the General Assembly of the State of Rhode-Island, was presented to Count de Rochambeau, in which they expressed “their most grateful sense of the magnanimous aid afforded to the United States, by their illustrious friend and ally the Monarch of France, and also gave assurances of every exertion in their power for the supply of the French forces, with all manner of refreshments and necessaries for rendering the service happy and agreeable.” Rochambeau declared in his answer, “that he only brought over the vanguard of a much greater force which was destined for their aid; that he was ordered by the King his master to assure them, that his whole power should be  exerted for their support:”1780 “The French troops” he said “were under the strictest discipline, and acting under the orders of General Washington, would live with the Americans as brethren. He returned their compliments by an assurance, that as brethren, not only his own life, but the lives of all those under his command were devoted to their service.”
Gen. Washington recommended in public orders to the American officers, as a symbol of friendship and affection for their allies, to wear black and white cockades, the ground to be of the first colour, and the relief of the second.
The French troops, united both in interest and affection with the Americans, ardently longed for an opportunity to co-operate with them against the common enemy. The continental army wished for the same with equal ardor. One circumstance alone seemed unfavourable to this spirit of enterprise. This was the deficient clothing of the Americans. Some whole lines, officers as well as men, were shabby, and a great proportion of the privates were without shirts. Such troops, brought along side even of allies fully clad in the elegance of uniformity, must have been more or less than men to feel no degradation on the contrast.
Admiral Arbuthnot had only four sail of the line at New-York, when M. de Ternay arrived at Rhode-Island. This inferiority was in three days reversed, by the arrival of Admiral Greaves with six sail of the line. The British Admiral, having now a superiority, proceeded to Rhode-Island. He soon discovered that the French were perfectly secure from any attack by sea. Sir Henry Clinton, who had returned in the preceding month with his victorious troops from Charleston, embarked about 8000 of his best men, and proceeded as far as Huntingdon-bay on Long-Island, with the apparent design of concurring with the British fleet, in attacking the French force at Rhode-Island. When this movement took place, Gen. Washington set his army in motion, and proceeded to Peeks-kill.1780 Had Sir Henry Clinton prosecuted what appeared to be his design, Gen. Washington intended to  have attacked New-York in his absence. Preparations were made for this purpose, but Sir Henry Clinton instantly turned about from Huntingdon-bay towards New-York.
In the mean time, the French fleet and army being blocked up at Rhode-Island, were incapacitated from cooperating with the Americans. Hopes were nevertheless indulged, that by the arrival of another fleet of his most Christian Majesty then in the West-Indies, under the command of Count de Guichen, the superiority would be so much in favor of the allies, as to enable them to prosecute their original intention, of attacking New-York. When the expectations of the Americans were raised to the highest pitch, and when they were in great forwardness of preparation to act in concert with their allies, intelligence arrived that Count de Guichen had sailed for France. This disappointment was extremely mortifying. The Americans had made uncommon exertions, on the idea of receiving such an aid from their allies, as would enable them to lay effectual siege to New-York, or to strike some decisive blow. Their towering expectations were in a moment levelled with the dust. Another campaign was anticipated, and new shades were added to the deep cloud, which for some time past had overshadowed American affairs.
The campaign of 1780, passed away in the northern States as has been related, in successive disappointments, and reiterated distresses. The country was exhausted, the continental currency expiring. The army for want of subsistence, kept inactive, and brooding over its calamities. While these disasters were openly menacing the ruin of the American cause, treachery was silently undermining it. A distinguished officer engaged for a stipulated sum of money, to betray into the hands of the British an important post committed to his care. General Arnold who committed this foul crime was a native of Connecticut. That State, remarkable for the purity of its morals, for its republican principles and patriotism, was the birth place of a man to whom none of the other States have produced an equal.1780 He had been among  the first to take up arms against Great-Britain, and to widen the breach between the Parent State and the colonies. His distinguished military talents had procured him every honor a greatful country could bestow. Poets and Painters had marked him as a suitable subject for the display of their respective abilities. He possessed an elevated seat in the hearts of his countrymen, and was in the full enjoyment of a substantial fame, for the purchase of which, the wealth of worlds would have been insufficient. His country had not only loaded him with honors, but forgiven him his crimes. Though in his accounts against the States there was much room to suspect fraud and imposition, yet the recollection of his gallantry and good conduct, in a great measure served as a cloak to cover the whole. He who had been prodigal of life in his country’s cause was indulged in extraordinary demands for his services. The generosity of the States did not keep pace with the extravagance of their favorite officer. A sumptuous table and expensive equipage, unsupported by the resources of private fortune, unguarded by the virtues of oeconomy and good management, soon increased his debts beyond a possibility of his discharging them. His love of pleasure produced the love of money, and that extinguished all sensibility to the obligations of honor and duty. The calls of luxury were various and pressing, and demanded gratification though at the expence of fame and country. Contracts were made, speculations entered into, and partnerships instituted, which could not bear investigation. Oppression, extortion, misapplication of public money and property, furnished him with the farther means of gratifying his favorite passions. In these circumstances, a change of sides afforded the only hope of evading a scrutiny, and at the same time, held out a prospect of replenishing his exhausted coffers. The disposition of the American forces in the year 1780, afforded an opportunity of accomplishing this so much to the advantage of the British, that they could well afford a liberal reward for the beneficial treachery. The American army was stationed in the strong holds of the highlands  on both sides of the North-river. In this arrangement, Arnold solicited for the command of West-point. This has been called the Gibraltar of America. It was built after the loss of fort Montgomery, for the defence of the North river, and was deemed the most proper for commanding its navigation. Rocky ridges rising one behind another, rendered it incapable of being invested, by less than twenty thousand men. Though some even then entertained doubts of Arnold’s fidelity, yet Gen. Washington in the unsuspecting spirit of a soldier, believing it to be impossible that honor should be wanting in a breast which he knew was the seat of valor, cheerfully granted his request, and intrusted him with the important post. Gen. Arnold thus invested with command, carried on a negociation with Sir Henry Clinton, by which it was agreed that the former should make a disposition of his forces, which would enable the latter to surprise West-point under such circumstances, that he would have the garrison so completely in his power, that the troops must either lay down their arms or be cut to pieces. The object of this negociation was the strongest post of the Americans, the thoroughfare of communication, between the eastern and southern State, and was the repository of their most valuable stores. The loss of it would have been severely felt.
The agent employed in this negociation on the part of Sir Henry Clinton, was Major André, adjutant general of the British army, a young officer of great hopes, and of uncommon merit. Nature had bestowed on him an elegant taste for literature and the fine arts, which by industrious cultivation he had greatly improved. He possessed many amiable qualities, and very great accomplishments. His fidelity together with his place and character, eminently fitted him for this business; but his high ideas of candor, and his abhorrence of duplicity, made him inexpert in practicing those arts of deception which it required. To favor the necessary communications, the Vulture sloop of war had been previously stationed in the North river, as near to Arnold’s posts as was practicable, without exciting suspicion.1780 Before this a written correspondence  between Arnold and André, had been for some time carried on, under the fictitious names of Gustavus and Anderson.Sep. 21 A boat was sent at night from the shore to fetch Major André. On its return, Arnold met him at the beach, without the posts of either army. Their business was not finished till it was too near the dawn of day for André to return to the Vulture. Arnold told him he must be concealed till the next night. For that purpose, he was conducted within one of the American posts, against his previous stipulation and knowledge, and continued with Arnold the following day. The boatmen refused to carry him back the next night, as the Vulture, from being exposed to the fire of some cannon brought up to annoy her, had changed her position. André’s return to New-York by land, was then the only practicable mode of escape. To favor this he quitted his uniform which he had hitherto worn under a surtout, for a common coat, and was furnished with a horse, and under the name of John Anderson, with a passport “to go to the lines of White Plains or lower if he thought proper, he being on public business.” He advanced alone and undisturbed a great part of the way. When he thought himself almost out of danger, he was stopt by three of the New-York militia, who were with others scouting between the out posts of the two armies. Major André instead of producing his pass, asked the man who stopt him “where he belonged to” who answered “to below” meaning New-York. He replied “so do I” and declared himself a British officer, and pressed that he might not be detained. He soon discovered his mistake. His captors proceeded to search him: Sundry papers were found in his possession. These were secreted in his boots, and were in Arnold’s hand writing. They contained exact returns of the state of the forces, ordnance and defences at West-Point, with the artillery orders, critical remarks on the works, &c.
André offered his captors a purse of gold and a new valuable watch, if they would let him pass, and permanent provision and future promotion, if they would convey and accompany him to New-York.1780 They nobly disdained  the proffered bribe, and delivered him a prisoner to Lieut. Col. Jameson, who commanded the scouting parties. In testimony of the high sense entertained of the virtuous and patriotic conduct of John Paulding, David Williams, and Isaac Van Vert, the captors of André, Congress resolved
That each of them receive annually two hundred dollars in specie during life, and that the board of war be directed to procure for each of them a silver medal, on one side of which should be a shield with this inscription, Fidelity; and on the other, the following motto, Vincit AmorPatriae: and that the commander in chief be requested to present the same, with the thanks of Congress, for their fidelity and the eminent service they had rendered their country.
André when delivered to Jameson continued to call himself by the name of Anderson, and asked leave to send a letter to Arnold, to acquaint him with Anderson’s detention. This was inconsiderately granted. Arnold on the receipt of this letter abandoned everything, and went on board the Vulture sloop of war. Lieut. Col. Jameson forwarded to Gen. Washington all the papers found on André, together with a letter giving an account of the whole affair, but the express, by taking a different route from the General, who was returning from a conference at Hartford with Count de Rochambeau, missed him. This caused such a delay as gave Arnold time to effect his escape. The same packet which detailed the particulars of Andrés capture, brought a letter from him, in which he avowed his name and character, and endeavoured to shew that he did not come under the description of a spy. The letter was expressed in terms of dignity without insolence, and of apology without meanness. He stated therein, that he held a correspondence with a person under the orders of his General. That his intention went no farther than meeting that person on neutral ground, for the purpose of intelligence, and that, against his stipulation, his intention, and without his knowledge beforehand, he was brought within the American posts, and had to concert his escape from them. Being taken on his return he was betrayed into the vile condition of an enemy in disguise. 1780 His principal request was that “whatever his fate might be, a decency of treatment might be observed, which would mark, that though unfortunate he was branded with nothing that was dishonourable, and that he was involuntarily an imposter.”
General Washington referred the whole case of Major André to the examination and decision of a board, consisting of fourteen general officers. On his examination, he voluntarily confessed every thing that related to himself, and particularly that he did not come ashore under the protection of a flag. The board did not examine a single witness, but founded their report on his own confession. In this they stated the following facts:
That Major André came on shore on the night of the 21st of September in a private and secret manner, and that he changed his dress within the American lines, and under a feigned name and disguised habit passed their works, and was taken in a disguised habit when on his way to New-York, and when taken, several papers were found in his possession, which contained intelligence for the enemy.
From these facts they farther reported it as their opinion “That Major André ought to be considered as a spy, and that agreeably to the laws and usages of nations he ought to suffer death.”
Sir Henry Clinton, Lieutenant General Robertson, and the late American General Arnold, wrote pressing letters to General Washington, to prevent the decision of the board of general officers from being carried into effect. General Arnold in particular urged, that every thing done by Major André was done by his particular request, and at a time when he was the acknowledged commanding officer in the department. He contended “that he had a right to transact all these matters for which though wrong, Major André ought not to suffer.” An interview also took place between General Robertson on the part of the British, and General Greene, on the part of the Americans.1780 Everything was urged by the former, that ingenuity or humanity could suggest for averting the proposed execution, Greene made a proposition for delivering up André for Arnold; but finding  this could not be acceded to by the British, without offending against every principle of policy, Robertson urged “that André went on shore under the sanction of a flag, and that being then in Arnold’s power, he was not accountable for his subsequent actions, which were said to be compulsory.” To this it was replied that “he was employed in the execution of measures very foreign from the objects of flags of truce, and such as they were never meant to authorise or countenance, and that Major André in the course of his examination had candidly confessed, that it was impossible for him to suppose that he came on shore under the sanction of a flag.” As Greene and Robertson differed so widely both in their statement of facts, and the inferences they drew from them, the latter proposed to the former, that the opinions of disinterested gentlemen might be taken on the subject, and proposed Kniphausen and Rochambeau. Robertson also urged that André possessed a great share of Sir Henry Clinton’s esteem; and that he would be infinitely obliged if he should be spared. He offered that in case André was permitted to return with him to New-York, any person whatever, that might be named, should be set at liberty. All these arguments and entreaties having failed, Robertson presented a long letter from Arnold, in which he endeavoured to exculpate André, by acknowledging himself the author of every part of his conduct, “and particularly insisted on his coming from the Vulture, under a flag which he had sent for that purpose.” He declared that if André, suffered he should think himself bound in honour to retaliate. He also observed “that forty of the principal inhabitants of South-Carolina had justly forfeited their lives, which had hitherto been spared only through the clemency of Sir Henry Clinton, but who could no longer extend his mercy if Major André suffered: an event which would probably open a scene of bloodshed, at which humanity must revolt.” He intreated Washington by his own honour, and for that of humanity not to suffer an unjust sentence to touch the life of André, but if that warning should be disregarded and André suffer,1781 he called  Heaven and earth to witness, that he alone would be justly answerable for the torrents of blood that might be spilt in consequence.”
Every exertion was made by the royal commanders to save André, but without effect. It was the general opinion of the American army that his life was forfeited, and that national dignity and sound policy required that the forfeiture should be exacted.
André though superior to the terrors of death, wished to die like a soldier. To obtain this favour, he wrote a letter to Gen. Washington, fraught with sentiments of military dignity. From an adherence to the usages of war, it was not thought proper to grant this request; but his delicacy was saved from the pain of receiving a negative answer. The guard which attended him in his confinement, marched with him to the place of execution. The way, over which he passed, was crouded on each side by anxious spectators. Their sensibility was strongly impressed by beholding a well dressed youth, in the bloom of life, of a peculiarly engaging person, mien and aspect, devoted to immediate execution. Major André walked with firmness, composure and dignity, between two officers of his guard, his arm being locked in theirs. Upon seeing the preparations at the fatal spot, he asked with some degree of concern “Must I die in this manner?”—He was told it was unavoidable—He replied, “I am reconciled to my fate, but not to the mode;” but soon subjoined, “It will be but a momentary pang.” He ascended the cart with a pleading countenance, and with a degree of composure, which excited the admiration and melted the hearts of all the spectators. He was asked when the fatal moment was at hand, if he had anything to say; he answered nothing but to request “That you will witness to the world that I die like a brave man.’ The succeeding moments closed the affecting scene.
This execution was the subject of severe censures. Barbarity, cruelty and murder, were plentifully charged on the Americans, but the impartial of all nations allowed, that it was warranted by the usages of war.1781 It cannot be condemned, without condemning the maxims of  self-preservation, which have uniformly guided the practice of hostile nations. The finer feelings of humanity would have been gratified, by dispensing with the rigid maxims of war in favour of so distinguished an officer, but these feelings must be controlled by a regard for the public safety. Such was the distressed state of the American army, and so abundant were their causes of complaint, that there was much to fear from the contagious nature of treachery. Could it have been reduced to a certainty that there were no more Arnolds in America, perhaps André’s life might have been spared; but the necessity of discouraging farther plots, fixed his fate, and stamped it with the seal of political necessity. If conjectures in the boundless field of possible contingencies were to be indulged, it might be said that it was more consonant to extended humanity to take one life, than by ill timed lenity to lay a foundation, which probably would occasion not only the loss of many, but endanger the independence of a great country.
Though a regard to the public safety imposed a necessity for inflicting the rigors of martial law, yet the rare worth of this unfortunate officer made his unhappy case the subject of universal regret. Not only among the partisans of royal government, but among the firmest American republicans, the friendly tear of sympathy freely flowed, for the early fall of this amiable young man. Some condemned, others justified, but all regretted the fatal sentence which put a period to his valuable life.
This grand project terminated with no other alteration in respect of the British, than that of their exchanging one of their best officers for the worst man in the American army. Arnold was immediately made a Brigadier General, in the service of the King of Great Britain. The failure of the scheme respecting West-Point, made it necessary for him to dispel the cloud, which overshadowed his character, by the performance of some signal service for his new masters. The condition of the American army, afforded him a prospect of doing something of consequence. He flattered himself that by the  allurements of pay and promotion, he should be able to raise a numerous force, from among the distressed American soldiery. He therefore took methods for accomplishing this purpose, by obviating their scruples, and working on their passions.Oct. 7, 1781 His first public measure was issuing an address, directed to the inhabitants of America, dated from New-York, five days after André’s execution. In this he endeavoured to justify himself for deserting their cause. He said “that when he first engaged in it, he conceived the rights of his country to be in danger, and that duty and honor called him to her defence. A redress of grievances was his only aim and object. He however acquiesced in the declaration of independence, although he thought it precipitate. But the reasons that then were offered to justify that measure, no longer could exist, when Great Britain with the open arms of a parent, offered to embrace them as children and to grant the wished for redress. From the refusal of these proposals, and the ratification of the French alliance, all his ideas of the justice and policy of the war were totally changed, and from that time, he had become a professed loyalist.[”] He acknowledged that “in these principles he had only retained his arms and command, for an opportunity to surrender them to Great Britain.” This address was soon followed by another, inscribed to the officers and soldiers of the continental army. This was intended to induce them to follow his example, and engage in the royal service. He informed them, that he was authorised to raise a corps of cavalry and infantry, who were to be on the same footing with the other troops in the British service. To allure the private men, three guineas were offered to each, besides payment for their horses, arms and accoutrements. Rank in the British army was also held out to the American officers, who would recruit and bring in a certain number of men, proportioned to the different grades in military service. These offers were proposed to unpaid soldiers, who were suffering from the want of both food and cloathing, and to officers who were in a great degree obliged to support themselves from their own resources, while they were  spending the prime1781 of their days, and risquing their lives in the unproductive service of Congress. Though they were urged at a time when the paper currency was at its lowest ebb of depreciation, and the wants and distresses of the American army were at their highest pitch, yet they did not produce the intended effect on a single sentinel or officer. Whether the circumstances of Arnold’s case, added new shades to the crime of desertion, or whether their providential escape from the deep laid scheme against West-point, gave a higher tone to the firmness of the American soldiery, cannot be unfolded: But either from these or some other causes, desertion wholly ceased at this remarkable period of the war.
It is matter of reproach to the United States, that they brought into public view a man of Arnold’s character, but it is to the honor of human nature, that a great revolution and an eight years war produced but one. In civil contests, for officers to change sides has not been unusual, but in the various events of the American war, and among the many regular officers it called to the field, nothing occurred that bore any resemblance to the conduct of Arnold. His singular case enforces the policy of conferring high trusts exclusively on men of clean hands, and of withholding all public confidence from those who are subjected to the dominion of pleasure.
Nov. 28A gallant enterprize of Major Talmadgc about this time shall close this chapter. He crossed the sound to Long-Island with 80 men, made a circuitous march of 20 miles to Fort-George, and reduced it without any other loss than that of one private man wounded. He killed and wounded eight of the enemy, captured a Lt. Colonel, a Captain and 55 privates.
Foreign Affairs, connected with the American Revolution 1780, 1781.
 That spark which was first kindled at Boston, gradually expanded itself till sundry of the nations of Europe were involved in its wide spreading flame. France, Spain and Holland were in the years 1778, 1779 and 1780 successively drawn in for a share of the general calamity.
These events had so direct an influence on the American war, that a short recapitulation of them becomes necessary.
Soon after his most Catholic Majesty declared war against Great-Britain, expeditions were carried on by Don Galvez the Spanish governor of Louisiana, against the British settlements in West-Florida. These were easily reduced.May 5, 1781 The conquest of the whole province was completed in a few months by the reduction of Pensacola. The Spaniards were not so successful in their attempts against Gibraltar2 and Jamaica. They had blockaded the former of these places on the landside ever since July 1779, and soon after invested it as closely by sea, as the nature of the gut, and variety of wind and weather, would permit. Towards the close of the year the garrison was reduced to great straits. Vegetables were with difficulty to be got at any price, but bread, the great essential both of life and health, was most deficient.Feb. 8 1780 Governor Elliott who commanded in the garrison, made an experiment to ascertain what quantity of rice would suffice a single person, and lived for eight successive days, on thirty two ounces of that nutritious grain.
The critical situation of Gibraltar called for relief. A strong squadron was prepared for that purpose, and the command of it given to Sir George Rodney. He when on his way thither fell in with 15 sail of merchant men, under a slight convoy bound from St. Sebastian to Cadiz, and captured the whole. Several of the vessels were laden with provisions which being sent into Gibraltar  proved a seasonable supply.July 18 In eight days after, he engaged near Cape St. Vincent with a Spanish squadron of eleven sail of the line, commanded by Don Juan de Langara. Early in the action the Spanish ship San Domingo mounting 70 guns, and carrying 600 men blew up, and all on board perished. The action continued with great vigor on both sides for ten hours. The Spanish Admiral’s ship the Phoenix of 80 guns, with three of 70, were carried into a British port. The San Julian of 70 guns was taken. A Lieutenant with 70 British seamen was put on board, but as she ran on shore, the victors became prisoners. Another ship of the same force was also taken, but afterwards totally lost. Four escaped, but two of them were greatly damaged. The Spanish Admiral did not strike till his ship was reduced to a mere wreck. Captain Macbride of the Bienfaiscent, to whom he struck, disdaining to convey infection even to an enemy, informed him that a malignant small pox prevailed on board the Bienfaiscent and offered to permit the Spanish prisoners to stay on board the Phoenix, rather than by a removal to expose them to the small pox, trusting to the Admiral’s honor, that no advantage would be taken of the circumstance. The proposal was chearfully embraced, and the conditions honorably observed. The consequence of this important victory was the immediate and complete relief of Gibraltar. This being done, Rodney proceeded to the West-Indies. The Spaniards nevertheless persevered with steadiness, in their original design of reducing Gibraltar. They seemed to be entirely absorbed in that object.Apr. 12, 1781 The garrison, after some time, began again to suffer the inconveniences which flow from deficient and unwholsome food: But in April 1781, complete relief was obtained through the intervention of a British fleet, commanded by Admiral Darby.
The Court of Spain, mortified at this repeated disappointment, determined to make greater exertions. Their works were carried on with more vigor than ever. Having on an experiment of 20 months found the inefficacy of a blockade, they resolved to try the effects of a bombardment. Their batteries were mounted with guns of the  heaviest metal, and with mortars of the largest dimensions. These disgorged torrents of fire on a narrow spot. It seemed as if not only the works, but the rock itself must have been overwhelmed. All distinction of parts was lost in flame and smoke. This dreadful cannonade continued day and night, almost incessantly for three weeks, in every 24 hours of which 100,000 lbs. of gunpowder were consumed, and between 4 and 5000 shot and shells went through the town. It then slackened, but was not intermitted for one whole day for upwards of a twelve month. The fatigues of the garrison were extreme, but the loss of men was less than might have been expected. For the first ten weeks of this unexampled bombardment, the whole number of killed and wounded was only about 300. The damage done to the works was trifling. The houses in town about 500 in number were mostly destroyed. Such of the inhabitants as were not buried in the ruins of their houses, or torn to pieces by the shells, fled to the remote parts of the rocks, but destruction followed them to places which had always been deemed secure. No scene could be more deplorable. Mothers and children clasped in each others arms, were so completely torn to pieces, that it seemed more like an annihilation, than a dispersion of their shattered fragments. Ladies of the greatest sensibility and most delicate constitutions deemed themselves happy to be admitted to a few hours of repose in the casemates, amidst the noise of a crouded soldiery, and the groans of the wounded.
At the first onset Gen. Elliot retorted on the besiegers a shower of fire, but foreseeing the difficulty of procuring supplies he soon retrenched, and received with comparative unconcern, the fury and violence of his adversaries. By the latter end of November, the besiegers had brought their works to that state of perfection which they intended. The care and ingenuity employed upon them were extraordinary. The best engineers of France and Spain had united their abilities, and both kingdoms were filled with sanguine expectations of speedy success. In this conjuncture, when all Europe was in suspence concerning  the fate of the garrison, and when from the prodigious efforts made for its reduction, many believed that it could not hold out much longer, a sally was projected and executed which in about two hours destroyed those works which had required so much time, skill and labor to accomplish.
1781. Nov. 27A body of 2000 chosen men, under the command of Brig. Gen. Ross, marched out about 2 o’clock in the morning, and at the same instant made a general attack on the whole exterior front of the lines of the besiegers. The Spaniards gave way on every side, and abandoned their works. The pioneers and artillery men spread their fire with such rapidity, that in a little time every thing combustible was in flames. The mortars and cannon were spiked, and their beds platforms and carriages destroyed. The magazines blew up, one after another. The loss of the detachment, which accomplished all this destruction, was inconsiderable.
This unexpected event disconcerted the besiegers, but they soon recovered from their alarm, and with a perseverance almost peculiar to their nation, determined to go on with the siege. Their subsequent exertions, and re-iterated defeats, shall be related in the order of time in which they took place.
While the Spaniards were urging the siege of Gibraltar, a scheme which had been previously concerted with the French was in a train of execution. This consisted of two parts: The object of the first, concerted between the French and Spaniards, was no less than the conquest of Jamaica. The object of the second, in which the French and the Americans were parties, was the reduction of New-York. In conformity to this plan, the monarchs of France and Spain early in the year 1780, assembled a force in the West-Indies, superior to that of the British. Their combined fleets amounted to thirty six sail of the line, and their land forces were in a correspondent proportion. By acting in concert, they hoped to make rapid conquests in the West Indies.
Fortunately for the British interest, this great hostile force carried within itself the cause of its own overthrow.  The Spanish troops from being too much crouded on board their transports, were seized with a mortal and contagious distemper. This spread through the French fleet and land forces, as well as their own. With the hopes of arresting its progress, the Spaniards were landed in the French islands. By these disastrous events, the spirit of enterprise was damped. The combined fleets, having neither effected nor attempted any thing of consequence, desisted from the prosecution of the objects of the campaign. The failure of the first part of the plan, occasioned the failure of the second. Count de Guichen the commander of the French fleet, who was to have followed M. de Ternay, and to have co-operated with Gen. Washington, instead of coming to the American continent, sailed with a large convoy collected from the French islands, directly to France.
The abortive plans of the French and Spaniards, operated directly against the interest of the United States, but this was in a short time counterbalanced, by the increased embarrassments occasioned to Great Britain, by the armed neutrality of the northern powers, and by a rupture with Holland.
The naval superiority of Great Britain, had long been the subject of regret and of envy. As it was the interest, so it seemed to be the wish of European sovereigns, to avail themselves of the present favourable moment, to effect an humilitation of her maritime grandeur. That the flag of all nations must strike to British ships of war, could not be otherwise than mortifying to independent sovereigns. This haughty demand was not their only cause of complaint. The activity and number of British privateers had rendered them objects of terror, not only to the commercial shipping of their enemies, but to the many vessels belonging to other powers, that were employed in trading with them. Various litigations had taken place between the commanders of British, armed vessels, and those who were in the service of neutral powers, respecting the extent of that commerce, which was consistent with a strict and fair neutrality. The British insisted on the lawfulness of seizing supplies, which  were about to be carried to their enemies. Having been in the habit of commanding on the sea, they considered power and right to be synonimous terms. As other nations from a dread of provoking their vengeance, had submitted to their claim of dominion on the ocean, they fancied themselves invested with authority to controul the commerce of independent nations, when it interfered with their views. This haughtiness worked its own overthrow. The Empress of Russia took the lead in establishing a system of maritime laws, which subverted the claims of Great Britain. Her trading vessels had long been harrassed by British searches and seizures, on pretence of their carrying on a commerce inconsistent with neutrality. The present crisis favoured the re-establishment of the laws of nature, in place of the usurpations of Great Britain.
Feb. 26, 1780A declaration was published by the empress of Russia, addressed to the courts of London, Versailles and Madrid. In this it was observed
that her Imperial Majesty had given such convincing proofs of the strict regard she had for the rights of neutrality, and the liberty of commerce in general, that it might have been hoped her impartial conduct, would have entitled her subjects to the enjoyment of the advantages belonging to neutral nations. Experience had however proved the contrary; her subjects had been molested in their navigation, by the ships and privateers of the belligerent powers.
Her Majesty therefore declared
that she found it necessary to remove these vexations which had been offered to the commerce of Russia, but before she came to any serious measures, she thought it just and equitable, to expose to the world and particularly to the belligerent powers, the principles she had adopted for her conduct, which were as follows.
That neutral ships should enjoy a free navigation, even from port to port, and on the coasts of the belligerent powers. That all effects belonging to the belligerent powers, should be looked on as free on board such neutral ships, with an exception of places actually blocked up or besieged, and with a proviso that they do not carry to the enemy contraband articles.
These were  limited by an explanation, so as to “comprehend only warlike stores and ammunition,” her imperial Majesty declared that “she was firmly resolved to maintain these principles, and that with the view of protecting the commerce and navigation of her subjects, she had given orders to fit out a considerable part of her naval force.” This declaration was communicated to the States General, and the empress of Russia invited them to make a common cause with her, so far as such an union might serve to protect commerce and navigation. Similar communications and invitations were also made to the courts of Copenhagen, Stockholm and Lisbon. A civil answer was received from the court of Great-Britain, and a very cordial one from the court of France. On this occasion, it was said by his most Christian Majesty “that what her Imperial Majesty claimed from the belligerent powers, was nothing more than the rules prescribed to the French navy.” The Kings of Sweden and Denmark, also formally acceded to the principles and measures proposed by the empress of Russia. The States General did the same. The queen of Portugal was the only sovereign who refused to concur. The powers engaged in this association resolved to support each other against any of the belligerent nations, who should violate the principles which had been laid down, in the declaration of the empress of Russia.
This combination assumed the name of the armed neutrality. By it a respectable guarantee was procured to a commerce, from which France and Spain procured a plentiful supply of articles, essentially conducive to a vigorous prosecution of the war. The usurped authority of Great Britain on the highway of nature received a fatal blow. Her embarrassments from this source were aggravated by the consideration, that they came from a power in whose friendship she had confided.
About the same time the enemies of Great Britain were increased by the addition of the States General. Though these two powers were bound to each other, by the obligations of treaties, the conduct of the latter had long been considered, rather as hostile than friendly.  Few Europeans had a greater prospect of advantage from American independence than the Hollanders. The conquest of the United States, would have regained to Great Britain a monopoly of their trade; but the establishment of their independence promised to other nations, an equal chance of participating therein. As commerce is the soul of the United Netherlands, to have neglected the present opportunity of extending it, would have been a deviation from their established maxims of policy. Former treaties framed in distant periods, when other views were predominant, opposed but a feeble barrier to the claims of present interest. The past generation found it to their advantage, to seek the friendship and protection of Great Britain. But they who were now on the stage of life, had similar inducements to seek for new channels of trade. Though this could not be done without thwarting the views of the court of London, their recollection of former favours was not sufficient to curb their immediate favorite passion. From the year 1777, Sir Joseph Yorke, the British minister at the Hague, had made sundry representations to their High Mightinesses of the clandestine commerce, carried on between their subjects and the Americans. He particularly stated that Mr. Van Graaf, the Governor of St. Eustatius, had permitted an illicit commerce with the Americans; and had at one time returned the salute of a vessel carrying their flag. Sir Joseph, therefore demanded a formal disavowal of this salute, and the dismission and immediate recall of Governor Van Graaf. This insolent demand was answered with a pusillanimous temporising reply. On the 12th of September 1778, a memorial was presented to the States General, from the merchants and others of Amsterdam, in which they complained that their lawful commerce was obstructed by the ships of his Britannic Majesty. On the 22d of July, 1779, Sir Joseph Yorke demanded of the States General, the succours which were stipulated in the treaty of 1678: But this was not complied with. Friendly declarations and unfriendly actions followed each other in alternate succession. At length a declaration was published by the King  of Great Britain, by which it was announced “that the subjects of the United Provinces, were henceforth to be considered upon the same footing with other martial powers, not privileged by treaty.” Throughout the whole of this period, the Dutch by means of neutral ports, continued to supply the Americans and the English, to insult and intercept their navigation, but open hostilities were avoided by both. The former aimed principally at the gains of a lucrative commerce, the latter to remove all obstacles which stood in the way of their favourite scheme of conquering the Americans. The event which occasioned a formal declaration of war, was the capture of Henry Laurens. In the deranged state of the American finances, that gentleman had been deputed by Congress, to solicit a loan for their service in the United Netherlands; and also to negociate a treaty between them and the United States.Sep. 3, 1780 On his way thither, he was taken by the Vestal frigate commanded by Captain Kepple. He had thrown his papers overboard; but great part of them were nevertheless recovered without having received much damage.Oct. 6 His papers being delivered to the ministry, were carefully examined. Among them was found one purporting to be a plan of a treaty of amity and commerce, between the States of Holland and the United States of America. This had been originally drawn up in consequence of some conversation between William Lee, whom Congress had appointed commissioner to the courts of Vienna and Berlin; and John de Neufville, merchant of Amsterdam, as a plan of a treaty destined to be concluded hereafter: But it had never been proposed either by Congress or the States of Holland, though it had received the approbation of the Pensionary Van Berkel, and of the city of Amsterdam. As this was not an official paper, and had never been read in Congress the original was given to Mr. Laurens as a paper that might be useful to him in his projected negociations. This unauthentic paper, which was in Mr. Laurens’ possession by accident, and which was so nearly sunk in the ocean, proved the occasion of a national war.Nov. 5 The court of Great Britain, was highly offended at it. Nov. 10, 1780 The paper itself and some others, relating to the same subject were delivered to the Prince of Orange, who laid them before the States of Holland and West-Friesland.
Sir Joseph Yorke presented a memorial to the States General, in which he asserted
That the papers of Mr. Laurens, who stiled himself President of the pretended Congress, had furnished the discovery of a plot unexampled in all the annals of the republic. That it appeared by these papers, that the gentlemen of Amsterdam had been engaged in a clandestine correspondence with the American rebels, from the month of August 1778, and that instructions and full powers had been given by them for the conclusion of a treaty of indisputable amity with those rebels, who were the subjects of a sovereign, to whom the republic was united by the closest engagements.
He therefore, in the name of his master, demanded “A formal disavowal of this irregular conduct, and a prompt satisfaction proportioned to the offence, and an exemplary punishment of the Pensionary Van Berkel, and his accomplices, as disturbers of the public peace and violaters of the laws of nations. [”] The States General disavowed the intended treaty of the city of Amsterdam, and engaged to prosecute the Pensionary according to the laws of the country; but this was not deemed satisfactory.Dec. 20 Sir Joseph Yorke was ordered to withdraw from the Hague, and soon after a manifesto against the Dutch was published in London. This was followed by an order of council “That general reprisals be granted against the ships, goods and subjects, of the States General.” Whatever may be thought of the policy of this measure, its boldness must be admired. Great Britain, already at war with the United States of America, the monarchies of France and Spain, deliberately resolves on a war with Holland, and at a time when she might have avoided open hostilities. Her spirit was still farther evinced by the consideration that she was deserted by her friends, and without a single ally. Great must have been her resources to support so extensive a war against so many hostile sovereigns, but this very ability, by proving that her overgrown power was dangerous to  the peace of Europe, furnished an apology for their combination against her.
A war with Holland being resolved upon, the storm of British vengeance first burst on the Dutch Island of St. Eustatius. This though intrinsically of little value, had long been the seat of an extensive commerce. It was the grand freeport of the West-Indies and as such was a general market and magazine to all nations. In consequence of its neutrality and situation, together with its unbounded freedom of trade, it reaped the richest harvests of commerce during the seasons of warfare among its neighbours. It was in a particular manner, a convenient channel of supply to the Americans.
The Island is a natural fortification, and very capable of being made strong; but as its inhabitants were a motley mixture of transient persons, wholly intent on the gains of commerce, they were more solicitous to acquire property, than attentive to improve those means of security which the Island afforded.
1781Sir George Rodney and General Vaughan, with a large fleet and army, surrounded this Island, and demanded a surrender thereof and of its dependencies within an hour.Feb. 3 Mr. de Graaf returned for answer “That being utterly incapable of making any defence against the force which invested the Island, he must of necessity surrender it, only recommending the town and its inhabitants to the known and usual clemency of British commanders.”
The wealth accumulated in this barren spot was prodigious. The whole Island seemed to be one vast magazine. The store-houses were filled, and the beach covered with valuable commodities. These on a moderate calculation were estimated to be worth above three millions sterling. All this property, together with what was found on the Island, was indiscriminately seized and declared to be confiscated. This valuable booty was farther increased by new arrivals. The conquerors for some time kept up Dutch colors, which decoyed a number of French, Dutch and American vessels into their hands. Above 150 merchant vessels, most of which were richly laden, were captured. A Dutch frigate of 38 guns, and five  small armed vessels, shared the same fate. The neighbouring Islands of St. Martin and Saba were in like manner reduced. Just before the arrival of the British, 30 large ships, laden with West-India commodities, had sailed from Eustatius for Holland, under the convoy of a ship of sixty guns. Admiral Rodney despatched the Monarch and Panther, with the Sybil frigate in pursuit of this fleet. The whole of it was overtaken and captured.
The Dutch West-India company, many of the citizens of Amsterdam, and several Americans were great sufferers by the capture of this Island, and the confiscation of all property found therein, which immediately followed, but the British merchants were much more so. These confiding in the acknowledged neutrality of the island, and in acts of Parliament, had accumulated therein great quantities of West-India produce, as well as of European goods. They stated their hard case to Admiral Rodney and Gen. Vaughan, and contended that their connexion with the captured island was under the sanction of acts of Parliament, and that their commerce had been conducted according to the rules and maxims of trading nations. To applications of this kind it was answered, “That the island was Dutch, every thing in it was Dutch, was under the protection of the Dutch flag, and as Dutch it should be treated.”
The severity with which the victors proceeded, drew on them pointed censures not only from the immediate sufferers, but from all Europe. It must be supposed that they were filled with resentment for the supplies which the Americans received through this channel, but there is also reason to suspect, that the love of gain was cloaked under the specious veil of national policy.
The horrors of an universal havoc of property were realised. The merchants and traders were ordered to give up their books of correspondence, their letters and also inventories of all their effects, inclusive of an exact account of all money and plate in their possession. The Jews were designated as objects of particular resentment. They were ordered to give up the keys of their stores, to leave their wealth and merchandize behind them, and to  depart the island without knowing the place of their destination. From a natural wish to be furnished with the means of supplying their wants, in the place of their future residence, they secreted in their wearing apparel, gold, silver and other articles of great value and small bulk. The policy of these unfortunate Hebrews did not avail them. The avarice of the conquerors, effectually counteracted their ingenuity. They were stripped, searched and despoiled of their money and jewels. In this state of wretchedness, many of the inhabitants were transported as outlaws and landed on St. Christopher’s. The assembly of that island with great humanity, provided for them such articles as their situation required. The Jews were soon followed by the Americans, some of these though they had been banished from the United States, on account of their having taken part with Great Britain, were banished a second time by the conquering troops of the sovereign, in whose service they had prevously suffered. The French merchants and traders were next ordered off the island, and lastly the native Dutch were obliged to submit to the same sentence. Many opulent persons in consequence of these proceedings, were instantly reduced to extreme indigence.
In the mean time public sales were advertised, and persons of all nations invited to become purchasers. The island of St. Eustatius became a scene of constant auctions. There never was a better market for buyers. The immense quantities exposed for sale, reduced the price of many articles far below their original cost. Many of the commodities sold on this occasion, became in the hands of their new purchasers, as effectual supplies to the enemies of Great Britain, as they could have been in case the island had not been captured. The spirit of gain, which led the traders of St. Eustatius to sacrifice the interests of Great Britain, influenced the conquerors to do the same. The friends of humanity, who wish that war was exterminated from the world, or entered into only for the attainment of national justice, must be gratified when they are told, that this unexampled rapacity was one link in the great chain of causes which, as hereafter shall be explained , brought on the great event in the Chesapeak, which gave peace to contending nations. While Admiral Rodney and his officers were bewildered, in the sales of confiscated property at St. Eustatius, and especially while his fleet was weakened, by a large detachment sent off to convoy their booty to Great Britain, the French were silently executing a well digested scheme, which assured them a naval superiority on the American coast, to the total ruin of the British interest in the United States.
The revolt of the Pennsylvania line; of part of the Jersey troops; distresses of the American army; Arnold’s invasion of Virginia.
Though General Arnold’s address to his countrymen produced no effect, in detaching the soldiery of America from the unproductive service of Congress, their steadiness could not be accounted for, from any melioration of their circumstances. They still remained without pay, and without such cloathing as the season required. They could not be induced to enter the British service, but their complicated distresses at length broke out into deliberate mutiny. This event which had been long expected, made its first threatening appearance in the Pennsylvania line. The common soldiers enlisted in that State, were for the most part natives of Ireland, but though not bound to America by the accidental tie of birth, they were inferior to none in discipline, courage, or attachment to the cause of independence. They had been but a few months before, the most active instruments in quelling a mutiny of the Connecticut troops, and had on all occasions done their duty to admiration. An ambiguity in the terms of their inlistment, furnished a pretext for their conduct. A great part of them were enlisted for three years or during the war, the three years were expired, and the men insisted that the choice of staying or going remained with them, while the officers contended that the choice was in the State.
 The mutiny was excited by the non-commissioned officers and privates, in the night of the 1st of January 1781, and soon became so universal in the line of that State as to defy all opposition. The whole, except three regiments, upon a signal for the purpose, turned out under arms without their officers, and declared for a redress of grievances. The officers in vain endeavoured to quell them. Several were wounded, and a captain was killed in attempting it. Gen. Wayne presented his pistols, as if about to fire on them; they held their bayonets to his breast and said “We love and respect you, but if you fire you are a dead man.” “We are not going to the enemy, on the contrary, if they were now to come out, you should see us fight under your orders with as much alacrity as ever; but we will be no longer amused, we are determined on obtaining what is our just due.” Deaf to arguments and entreaties, they to the number of 1300 moved off in a body from Morristown, and proceeded in good order with their arms and six field pieces to Princeton. They elected temporary officers from their own body, and appointed a Serjeant Major, who had formerly deserted from the British army, to be their commander. Gen. Wayne forwarded provisions after them, to prevent their plundering the country for their subsistence. They invaded no man’s property, farther than their immediate necessities made unavoidable. This was readily submitted to by the inhabitants, who had long been used to exactions of the same kind, levied for similar purposes by their lawful rulers. They professed that they had no object in view, but to obtain what was justly due to them, nor were their actions inconsistent with that profession.
Congress sent a committee of their body, consisting of General Sullivan, Mr. Mathews, Mr. Atlee and Dr. Witherspoon, to procure an accommodation. The revolters were resolute in refusing any terms, of which a redress of their grievances was not the foundation. Every thing asked of their country, they might at any time after the 6th of January, have obtained from the British, by passing over into New-York. This they  refused. Their sufferings had exhausted their patience but not their patriotism. Sir Henry Clinton, by confidential messengers, offered to take them under the protection of the British government—to pardon all their past offences—to have the pay due them from Congress faithfully made up, without any expectation of military service in return, although it would be received if voluntarily offered. It was recommended to them to move behind the South river, and it was promised, that a detachment of British troops should be in readiness for their protection as soon as desired. In the mean time, the troops passed over from New-York to Staten-Island, and the necessary arrangements were made for moving them into New-Jersey, whensoever they might be wanted. The royal commander was not less disappointed than surprised to find that the faithful, though revolting soldiers, disdained his offers. The messengers of Sir Henry Clinton were seized and delivered to Gen. Wayne. President Reed and General Potter were appointed, by the council of Pennsylvania, to accommodate matters with the revolters. They met them at Princeton, and agreed to dismiss all whose terms of enlistment were completed, and admitted the oath of each solider to be evidence in his own case. A board of officers tried and condemned the British spies, and they were instantly executed. President Reed offered a purse of 100 guineas to the mutineers, as a reward of their fidelity, in delivering up the spies: but they refused to accept it, saying “That what they had done was only a duty they owed their country, and that they neither desired nor would receive any reward but the approbation of that country, for which they had so often fought and bled.”
Jan. 17By these healing measures the revolt was completely quelled; but the complaints of the soldiers being founded in justice, were first redressed. Those whose time of service was expired obtained their discharges, and others had their arrears of pay in a great measure made up to them. A general amnesty closed the business. On this occasion, the commander in chief stated in a circular letter to the four eastern states, the well founded complaints  of his army; and the impossibility of keeping them together, under the pressure of such a variety of sufferings. General Knox was requested to be the bearer of these dispatches; and to urge the States to an immediate exertion for the relief of the soldiers. He visited Massachusetts, New-Hampshire, Connecticut and Rhode-Island; and with great earnestness and equal success described the wants of the army. Massachusetts gave 24 silver dollars to each man of her line; and also furnished them with some cloathing. Other States about the same time made similar advances.
January 1781The spirit of mutiny proved contagious. About 160 of the Jersey troops followed the example of the Pennsylvania line; but they did not conduct with equal spirit, nor with equal prudence. They committed sundry acts of outrage against particular officers, while they affected to be submissive to others. Major General Howe, with a considerable force, was ordered to take methods for reducing them to obedience. Convinced that there was no medium between dignity and servility, but coercion, and that no other remedy could be applied without the deepest wound to the service, he determined to proceed against them with decision. General Howe marched from Kingwood about midnight; and by the dawning of the next day, had his men in four different positions, to prevent the revolters from making their escape. Every avenue being secured, Colonel Barber of the Jersey line was sent to them, with orders immediately to parade without arms; and to march to a particular spot of ground. Some hesitation appearing among them, Colonel Sproat was directed to advance, and only five minutes were given to the mutineers to comply with the orders which had been sent them. This had its effect, and they to a man marched without arms to the appointed ground. The Jersey officers gave a list of the leaders of the revolt, upon which General Howe desired them to select three of the greatest offenders. A field court martial was presently held upon these three, and they were unanimously sentenced to death. Two of them were executed on the spot, and the executioners were selected from  among the most active in the mutiny. The men were divided into platoons, and made public concessions to their officers, and promised by future good conduct, to atone for past offences.
These mutinies alarmed the States, but did not produce permanent relief to the army. Their wants with respect to provisions were only partially supplied, and by expedients from one short time to another. The most usual was ordering an officer to seize on provisions wherever found. This differed from robbing only in its being done by authority for the public service, and in the officer being always directed to give the proprietor a certificate, of the quantity and quality of what was taken from him. At first some reliance was placed on these certificates as vouchers to support a future demand on the United States; but they soon became so common as to be of little value. Recourse was so frequently had to coercion, both legislative and military, that the people not only lost confidence in public credit but became impatient under all exertions of authority, for forcing their property from them. That an army should be kept together under such circumstances, so far exceeds credibility as to make it necessary to produce some evidence of the fact. The American General Clinton in a letter to General Washington dated at Albany, April 16th 1781, wrote as follows.
There is not now (independent of fort Schuyler) three days provision in the whole department for the troops in case of an alarm, nor any prospect of procuring any. The recruits of the new levies, I cannot receive, because I have nothing to give them. The Canadian families, l have been obliged to deprive of their scanty pittance, contrary to every principle of humanity. The quartermaster’s department is totally useless, the public armory has been shut up for near three weeks, and a total suspension of every military operation has ensued.
Soon after this General Washington was obliged to apply 9000 dollars, sent by the State of Massachusetts for the payment of her troops to the use of the quartermaster’s department, to enable him to transport provisions from the adjacent States. Before he consented  to adopt this expedient, he had consumed every ounce of provision, which had been kept as a reserve in the garrison of West-Point; and had strained impress by military force, to so great an extent, that there was reason to apprehend the inhabitants, irritated by such frequent calls, would proceed to dangerous insurrections. Fort Schuyler, West-Point, and the posts up the North river, were on the point of being abandoned by their starving garrisons. At this period of the war, there was little or no circulating medium, either in the form of paper or specie, and in the neighbourhood of the American army there was a real want of necessary provisions. The deficiency of the former occasioned many inconveniences, and an unequal distribution of the burdens of the war; but the insufficiency of the latter, had well nigh dissolved the army, and laid the country in every direction open to British excursions.
These events were not unforeseen by the rulers of America. From the progressive depreciation of their bills of credit, it had for some time past occurred, that the period could not be far distant, when they would cease to circulate. This crisis which had been ardently wished for by the enemies, and dreaded by the friends of American independence, took place in 1781; but without realising the hopes of the one, or the fears of the other. New resources were providentially opened, and the war was carried on with the same vigor as before. A great deal of gold and silver was about this time introduced into the United States, by a beneficial trade with the French and Spanish West-India islands, and by means of the French army in Rhode-Island. Pathetic representations were made to the ministers of his most Christian Majesty by General Washington, Dr. Franklin, and particularly by Lieutenant Colonel John Laurens, who was sent to the court of Versailles as a special minister on this occasion. The King of France gave the United States a subsidy of six millions of livres, and became their security for ten millions more, borrowed for their use in the United Netherlands. A regular system of finance was also about this time adopted. All matters relative to  the treasury the supplies of the army and the accounts, were put under the direction of Robert Morris, who arranged the whole with judgment and oeconomy. The issuing of paper money by the authority of government was discontinued, and the public engagements were made payable in coin. The introduction of so much gold and silver, together with these judicious domestic regulations, aided by the bank, which had been erected the preceding year in Philadelphia, extricated Congress from much of their embarrassment, and put it in their power to feed, cloath and move their army.
About the same time the old continental money, by common consent, ceased to have currency. Like an aged man expiring by the decays of nature, without a sigh or a groan, it fell asleep in the hands of its last possessors. By the scale of depreciation the war was carried on five years, for little more than a million of pounds sterling, and 200 millions of paper dollars were made redeemable by five millions of silver ones. In other countries, such measures would probably have produced popular insurrections, but in the United States they were submitted to without any tumults. Public faith was violated but in the opinion of most men public good was promoted. The evils consequent on depreciation had taken place, and the redemption of the bills of credit at their nominal value as originally promised, instead of remedying the distresses of the sufferers would in many cases have increased them, by subjecting their small remains of property to exorbitant taxation. The money had in a great measure got out of the hands of the original proprietors, and was in the possession of others, who had obtained it at a rate of value not exceeding what was fixed upon it by the scale of depreciation.
Nothing could afford a stronger proof that the resistence of America to Great Britain was grounded in the hearts of the people, than these events. To receive paper bills of credit issued without any funds, and to give property in exchange for them, as equal to gold or silver, demonstrated the zeal and enthusiasm with which the war was begun; but to consent to the extinction of  the same after a currency of five years, without any adequate provision made for their future redemption, was more than would have been born by any people, who conceived that their rulers had separate interests or views from themselves. The demise of one king and the coronation of a lawful successor have often excited greater commotions in royal governments, than took place in the United States on the sudden extinction of their whole current money. The people saw the necessity which compelled their rulers to act in the manner they had done, and being well convinced that the good of the country was their object, quietly submitted to measures, which under other circumstances, would scarcely have been expiated by the lives and fortunes of their authors.
While the Americans were suffering the complicated calamities which introduced the year 1781, their adversaries were carrying on the most extensive plan of operation, which had ever been attempted since the war. It had often been objected to the British commanders, that they had not conducted the war in the manner most likely to effect the subjugation of the revolted provinces. Military critics in particular, found fault with them for keeping a large army idle at New-York, which they said if properly applied, would have been sufficient to make successful impressions, at one and the same time, on several of the States. The British seem to have calculated the campaign of 1781, with a view to make an experiment of the comparative merit of this mode of conducting military operations. The war raged in that year, not only in the vicinity of British head quarters at New-York, but in Georgia, South-Carolina, North-Carolina, and in Virginia. The latter State from its peculiar situation, and from the modes of building, planting and living, which had been adopted by the inhabitants, is particularly exposed, and lies at the mercy of whatever army is master of the Chesapeak. These circumstances, together with the pre-eminent rank which Virginia held in the confederacy, pointed out the propriety of making that State the object of particular attention. To favour  lord Cornwallis’ designs in the southern States, Major Gen. Leslie, with about 2000 men, had been detached from New-York to the Chesapeak, in the latter end of 1780; but subsequent events induced his lordship to order him from Virginia to Charleston, with the view of his more effectually cooperating with the army under his own immediate command. Soon after the departure of General Leslie, Virginia was again invaded by another party from New-York. This was commanded by Gen. Arnold, now a Brigadier in the royal army. His force consisted of about 1600 men, and was supported by such a number of armed vessels as enabled him to commit extensive ravages, on the unprotected coasts of that well watered country.Jan. 5, 1781 The invaders landed about 15 miles below Richmond, and in two days marched into the town, where they destroyed large quantities of tobacco, salt, rum, sail-cloth and other merchandize. Successive excursions were made to several other places, in which the royal army committed similar devastations.
Jan. 20In about a fortnight, they marched into Portsmouth and began to fortify it. The loss they sustained from the feeble opposition of the dispersed inhabitants was inconsiderable. The havoc made by General Arnold, and the apprehension of a design to fix a permanent post in Virginia, induced General Washington to detach the Marquis de la Fayette, with 1200 of the American infantry, to that State, and also to urge the French in Rhode-Island to co-operate with him in attempting to capture Arnold and his party. The French commanders eagerly closed with the proposal. Since they had landed in the United States, no proper opportunity of gratifying their passion for military fame, had yet presented itself. They rejoiced at that which now offered, and indulged a cheerful hope of rendering essential service to their allies, by cutting off the retreat of Arnold’s party.March 8 With this view, their fleet with 1500 additional men on board, sailed from Rhode-Island for Virginia.Feb. 9 D’Estouches, who since the death of de Ternay on the preceding December had commanded the French fleet, previous to the sailing of his whole naval force, dispatched the Eveillé, a sixty  four gun ship, and two frigates, with orders to destroy the British ships and frigates in the Chesapeak.March 25 These took or destroyed ten vessels, and captured the Romulus of 44 guns.10 Arbuthnot with a British fleet sailed from Gardiner’s-bay in pursuit of D’Estouches.16The former overtook and engaged the latter off the capes of Virginia. The British had the advantage of more guns than the French, but the latter were much more strongly manned than the former. The contest between the fleets thus nearly balanced, ended without the loss of a ship on either side; but the British obtained the fruits of victory so far as to frustrate the whole scheme of their adversaries. The fleet of his most Christian Majesty returned to Rhode-Island, without effecting the object of the expedition. Thus was Arnold saved from imminent danger of falling into the hands of his exasperated countrymen.March 25 The day before the French fleet returned to Newport, a convoy arrived in the Chesapeak from New-York, with Major Gen. Philips and about 2000 men. This distinguished officer who having been taken at Saratoga had been lately exchanged, was appointed to be commander of the royal forces in Virginia. Philips and Arnold soon made a junction, and carried every thing before them. They successively defeated those bodies of militia which came in their way. The whole country was open to their excursions. On their embarkation from Portsmouth, a detachment visited York-town but the main body proceeded to Williamsburgh.April 22 On the 22d of April they reached Chickapowing. A party proceeded up that river 10 or 12 miles, and destroyed much property.24 On the 24th they landed at City-point, and soon after they marched for Petersburgh. About one mile from the town they were opposed by a small force commanded by Baron Steuben; but this after making a gallant resistance was compelled to retreat.
April 27At Petersburgh they destroyed 4000 hogsheads of tobacco, a ship and a number of small vessels. Within three days one party marched to Chesterfield courthouse, and burned a range of barracks, and 300 barrels of flour. On the same day, another party under the command  of Gen. Arnold marched to Osborne’s. About four miles above that place, a small marine force was drawn up to oppose him. Gen. Arnold sent a flag to treat with the commander of this fleet, but he declared that he would defend it to the last extremity. Upon this refusal, Arnold advanced with some artillery, and fired upon him with decisive effect from the banks of the river. Two ships and ten small vessels loaded with tobacco, cordage, flour, &c. were captured. Four ships, five brigantines and a number of small vessels were burnt or sunk.30 The quantity of tobacco taken or destroyed in this fleet, exceeded 2000 hogsheads, and the whole was effected without the loss of a single man, on the side of the British. The royal forces then marched up the fork till they arrived at Manchester. There they destroyed 1200 hogsheads of tobacco; returning thence they made great havoc at Warmic. They destroyed the ships on the stocks, and in the river, and a large range of rope walks. A magazine of 500 barrels of flour, within a number of warehouses, and of tan houses, all filled with their respective commodities, were also consumed in one general conflagration. On the 9th of May they returned to Petersburgh, having in the course of the preceding three weeks, destroyed property to an immense amount. With this expedition, Major Gen. Philips terminated a life, which in all his previous operations had been full of glory. At early periods of his military career, on different occasions of a preceding war, he had gained the full approbation of Prince Ferdinand, under whom he had served in Germany. As an officer he was universally admired. Though much of the devastations committed by the troops under his command, may be vindicated on the principles of those who hold that the rights and laws of war, are of equal obligation with the rights and laws of humanity; yet the friends of his fame, have reason to regret that he did not die three weeks sooner.
Campaign of 1781. Operations in the two Carolinas and Georgia.
1781The successes which, with a few checks, followed the British arms since they had reduced Savannah and Charleston encouraged them to pursue their object by advancing from south to north. A vigorous invasion of North-Carolina was therefore projected, for the business of the winter which followed Gen. Gates’ defeat. The Americans were sensible of the necessity of reinforcing, and supporting their southern army, but were destitute of the means of doing it. Their northern army would not admit of being farther weakened, nor was there time to march over the intervening distance of seven hundred miles, but if men could have been procured and time allowed for marching them to South-Carolina, money for defraying the unavoidable expences of their transportation, could not be commanded, either in the latter end of 1780, or the first months of 1781. Though Congress was unable to forward either men or money, for the relief of the Southern States, they did what was equivalent. They sent them a general, whose head was a council, and whose military talents were equal to a reinforcement. The nomination of an officer for this important trust, was left to Gen. Washington. He mentioned General Greene, adding for reason “that he was an officer in whose abilities and integrity, from a long and intimate experience, he had the most entire confidence.”
The army after its defeat and dispersion on the 16th of August 1780, rendezvoused at Hillsborough. In the latter end of the year they advanced to Charlotte-Town. At this place Gen. Gates transferred the command to Gen. Greene. The manly resignation of the one, was equalled by the delicate disinterestedness of the other. Expressions of civility, and acts of friendship and attention were reciprocally exchanged. Greene upon all occasions, was the vindicator of Gates’ reputation.1781 In his letters and conversation, he uniformly maintained that his predecessor, had failed in no part of his military duty, and  that he had deserved success, though he could not command it. Within a few hours after Greene took charge of the army a report was made of a gallant enterprize of Lieut. Col. Washington. Being out on a foraging excursion, he had penetrated within 13 miles of Camden, to Clermont the seat of Lieut. Col. Rigely of the British militia. This was fortified by a block house, and encompassed by an abbatis, and was defended by upwards of one hundred of the inhabitants, who had submitted to the British government. Lieut. Col. Washington advanced with his cavalry, and planted the trunk of a pine tree, so as to resemble a field piece. The lucky moment was seized and a peremptory demand of an immediate surrender was made, when the garrison was impressed with the expectation of an immediate cannonade in case of their refusal. The whole surrendered at discretion, without a shot on either side. This fortunate incident, through the superstition to which most men are more or less subject, was viewed by the army as a presage of success under their new commander.
When Gen. Greene took the command, he found the troops had made a practice of going home without permission, staying several days or weeks, and then returning to camp. Determined to enforce strict discipline, he gave out that he would make an example of the first deserter of the kind he caught. One such being soon taken, was accordingly shot, at the head of the army, drawn up to be spectators of the punishment. This had the desired effect, and put a stop to the dangerous practice.
The whole southern army at this time consisted of about 2000 men, more than half of which were militia. The regulars had been for a long time without pay, and were very deficient in cloathing. All sources of supply from Charleston were in possession of the British, and no imported article could be obtained from a distance less than 200 miles. The procuring of provisions for this small force was a matter of difficulty. The paper currency was depreciated so far, as to be wholly unequal to the purchase of even such supplies as the country afforded.1781 Hard money had not a physical existence in any  hands accessible to the Americans. The only resource left for supplying the army was by the arbitrary mode of impress. To seize on the property of the inhabitants, and at the same time to preserve their kind affections, was a difficult business and of delicate execution, but of the utmost moment, as it furnished the army with provisions without impairing the disposition of the inhabitants to co-operate with it in recovering the country. This grand object called for the united efforts of both. Such was the situation of the country, that it was almost equally dangerous for the American army to go forward or stand still. In the first case every thing was hazarded; in the last the confidence of the people would be lost, and with it all prospect of being supported by them. The impatience of the suffering exiles and others, led them to urge the adoption of rash measures. The mode of opposition they preferred was the least likely to effect their ultimate wishes. The nature of the country thinly inhabited, abounding with swamps, and covered with woods—the inconsiderable force of the American army, the number of the disaffected, and the want of magazines, weighed with Gen. Greene to prefer a partizan war. By close application to his new profession, he had acquired a scientific knowledge of the principles and maxims for conducting wars in Europe but considered them as often inapplicable to America. When they were adapted to his circumstances he used them, but oftener deviated from them, and followed his own practical judgement, founded on a comprehensive view of his real situation.
With an inconsiderable army, miserably provided, Gen. Greene took the field against a superior British regular force, which had marched in triumph 200 miles from the sea coast, and was flushed with successive victories through a whole campaign. Soon after he took the command, he divided his force and sent Gen. Morgan with a respectable detachment to the western extremity of South-Carolina, and about the same time marched with the main body to Hick’s-creek, on the north side of the Pedee, opposite to Cheraw-Hill.
1781 After the general submission of the militia in the year 1780, a revolution took place highly favourable to the interest of America. The residence of the British army, instead of increasing the real friends to royal government, diminished their number, and added new vigor to the opposite party. The British had a post in Ninety six for thirteen months, during which time the country was filled with rapine, violence and murder. Applications were daily made for redress, yet in that whole period, there was not a single instance wherein punishment was inflicted, either on the soldiery or on the tories. The people soon found that there was no security for their lives, liberties or property, under the military government of British officers, careless of their civil rights. The peaceable citizens were reduced to that uncommon distress, in which they had more to fear from oppression, than resistance. They therefore most ardently wished for an American force. Under these favourable circumstances General Greene detached General Morgan, to take a position in that district. The appearance of this force, a sincere attachment to the cause of independence, and the impolitic conduct of the British, induced several persons to resume their arms, and to act in concert with the continental troops.
When this irruption was made into the district of Ninety six, lord Cornwallis was far advanced in his preparations for the invasion of North-Carolina. To leave General Morgan in his rear, was contrary to military policy. In order therefore to drive him from this station, and to deter the inhabitants from joining him, Lieutenant Colonel Tarleton was ordered to proceed with about 1100 men and “push him to the utmost.” He had two field pieces, and a superiority of infantry in the proportion of five to four, and of cavalry in the proportion of three to one. Besides this inequality of force, two thirds of the troops under General Morgan were militia.Jan. 17, 1781 With these fair prospects of success, Tarleton engaged Morgan at the Cowpens, with the expectation of driving him out of South-Carolina. The latter drew up his men in two lines. The whole of the southern militia, with 190 from  North-Carolina, were put under the command of Colonel Pickens. These formed the first line, and were advanced a few hundred yards before the second, with orders to form on the right of the second, when forced to retire. The second line consisted of the light infantry, and a corps of Virginia militia riflemen. Lieutenant Colonel Washington, with his cavalry and about 45 militia men, mounted and equipped with swords, were drawn up at some distance in the rear of the whole. The open wood in which they were formed, was neither secured in front, flank or rear. On the side of the British, the light legion infantry and fusileers, though worn down with extreme fatigue, were ordered to form in line. Before this order was executed, the line, though far from being complete, was led to the attack by Tarleton himself. They advanced with a shout and poured in an incessant fire of musquetry. Colonel Pickens directed the men under his command to restrain their fire, till the British were within forty or fifty yards. This order though executed with great firmness was not sufficient to repel their advancing foes. The militia fell back. The British advanced and engaged the second line, which after an obstinate conflict was compelled to retreat to the cavalry. In this crisis Lieutenant Colonel Washington made a successful charge on Captain Ogilvie, who with about forty dragoons, was cutting down the militia, and forced them to retreat in confusion. Lieutenant Colonel Howard almost at the same moment rallied the continental troops and charged with fixed bayonets. The example was instantly followed by the militia. Nothing could exceed the astonishment and confusion of the British occasioned by these unexpected charges. Their advance fell back on their rear, and communicated a panic to the whole. Two hundred and fifty horse which had not been engaged fled with precipitation. The pieces of artillery were seized by the Americans, and the greatest confusion took place among the infantry. While they were in this state of disorder, Lieutenant Colonel Howard called to them, to “lay down their arms,” and promised them good quarter. Some hundreds accepted the offer  and surrendered. The first battalion of the 71st, and two British light infantry companies, laid down their arms to the American militia. A party which had been left some distance in the rear to guard the baggage, was the only body of infantry that escaped. The officer of that detachment on hearing of Tarleton’s defeat, destroyed a great part of the baggage, and retreated to lord Cornwallis. Upwards of 300 of the British were killed or wounded, and above 500 prisoners were taken. Eight hundred muskets, two field pieces, 35 baggage waggons, and 100 dragoon horses fell into the hands of the conquerors. The Americans had only 12 men killed and 60 wounded.
General Morgan’s good conduct on this memorable day, was honoured by Congress with a gold medal. They also presented medals of silver to Lieutenant Colonels Washington and Howard, a sword to colonel Pickens, a brevet majority to Edward Giles the General’s aid de camp, and a Captaincy to Baron Glassbeck. Lieutenant Colonel Tarleton hitherto triumphant in a variety of skirmishes, on this occasion lost his laurels, though he was supported by the 7th regiment, one battalion of the 71st, and two companies of light infantry; and his repulse did more essential injury to the British interest, than was equivalent to allthe preceding advantages he had gained. It was the first link in a chain of causes which finally drew down ruin, both in North and South Carolina on the royal interest. That impetuosity of Tarleton which had acquired him great reputation, when on former occasions he had surprised an incautious enemy, or attacked a panic struck militia, was at this time the occasion of his ruin. Impatient of delay he engaged with fatigued troops, and led them on to action, before they were properly formed, and before the reserve had taken its ground. He was also guilty of a great oversight in not bringing up a column of cavalry to support and improve the advantages he had gained when the Americans retreated.
Lord Cornwallis though preparing to extend his conquests northwardly was not inattentive to the security of South-Carolina.1781 Besides the force at Charleston, he left  a considerable body of troops under the command of lord Rawdon. These were principally stationed at Camden, from which central situation they might easily be drawn forth to defend the frontiers or to suppress insurrections. To facilitate the intended operations against North-Carolina, Major Craig, with a detachment of about 300 men from Charleston, and a small marine force took possession of Wilmington. While these arrangements were making, the year 1781 commenced with the fairest prospects to the friends of British government. The arrival of General Leslie in Charleston, with his late command in Virginia gave Earl Cornwallis a decided superiority, and enabled him to attempt the reduction of North-Carolina, with a force sufficient to bear down all probable opposition. Arnold was before him in Virginia, while South-Carolina in his rear, was considered as completely subdued. His lordship had much to hope and little to fear. His admirers flattered him with the expectation, that his victory at Camden would prove but the dawn of his glory; and that the events of the approaching campaign would immortalize his name as the conqueror, at least of the southern States. Whilst lord Cornwallis was indulging these pleasing prospects, he received intelligence, no less unwelcome than unexpected, that Tarleton his favourite officer, in whom he placed the greatest confidence, instead of driving Morgan out of the country, was completely defeated by him. This surprised and mortified, but did not discourage his lordship. He hoped by vigorous exertions soon to obtain reparation for the late disastrous event, and even to recover what he had lost. With the expectation of retaking the prisoners captured at the Cowpens, and to obliterate the impression made by the issue of the late action at that place, his lordship instantly determined on the pursuit of General Morgan, who had moved off towards Virginia with his prisoners. The movements of the royal army in consequence of this determination induced General Greene immediately to retreat from Hick’s creek, lest the British by crossing the upper sources of the Pedee, should get between him and the detachment,  which was incumbered with the prisoners.1781 In this critical situation General Greene left the main army, under the command of General Huger, and rode 150 miles through the country, to join the detachment under General Morgan, that he might be in front of lord Cornwallis, and direct the motions of both divisions of his army, so as to form a speedy junction between them. Immediately after the action, on the 17th of January, Morgan sent on his prisoners under a proper guard, and having made every arrangement in his power for their security retreated with expedition. Nevertheless the British gained ground upon him. Morgan intended to cross the mountains with his detachment and prisoners, that he might more effectually secure the latter: But Greene on his arrival ordered the prisoners to Charlotteville, and directed the troops to Guildford court-house, to which place he had also ordered General Huger to proceed with the main army.
In this retreat the Americans underwent hardships almost incredible. Many of them performed this march without shoes over frozen ground, which so gashed their naked feet, that their blood marked every step of their progress. They were sometimes without meat, often without flour, and always without spiritous liquors. Their march led them through a barren country, which scarcely afforded necessaries for a few straggling inhabitants. In this severe season, also with very little cloathing, they were daily reduced to the necessity of fording deep creeks, and of remaining wet without any change of cloaths, till the heat of their bodies and occasional fires in the woods dried their tattered rags. To all these difficulties they submitted without the loss of a single centinal by desertion. Lord Cornwallis reduced the quantity of his own baggage, and the example was followed by the officers under his command. Every thing which was not necessary in action, or to the existence of the troops, was destroyed. No waggons were reserved except those loaded with hospital stores, salt and ammunition, and four empty ones for the use of the sick.1781 The royal army, encouraged by the example of his lordship,  submitted to every hardship with cheerfulness. They beheld, without murmuring, their most valuable baggage destroyed[,] their spiritous liquors staved, when they were entering on hard service, and under circumstances which precluded every prospect of supply.
The British had urged the pursuit with so much rapidity, that they reached the Catawba on the evening of the same day on which their fleeing adversaries had crossed it. Before the next morning a heavy fall of rain made that river impassable. The Americans, confident of the justice of their cause, considered this event as an interposition of providence in their favour. It is certain that if the rising of the river had taken place a few hours earlier, Gen. Morgan with his whole detachment and 500 prisoners would have scarcely had any chance of escape. When the fresh had subsided so far as to leave the river fordable, a large proportion of the King’s troops received orders to be in readiness to march at one o’clock in the morning.Feb. 1 Feints had been made of passing at several different fords, but the real attempt was made at a ford near M’Cowans, the north banks of which were defended by a small guard of militia commanded by Gen. Davidson. The British marched through the river upwards of 500 yards wide and about three feet deep, sustaining a constant fire from the militia on the opposite bank without returning it till they had made good their passage. The light infantry and grenadier companies as soon as they reached the land dispersed the Americans. Gen. Davidson the brave leader of the latter was killed at the first onset. The militia throughout the neighbouring settlements were dispirited, and but few of them could be persuaded to take or keep the field. A small party which collected about ten miles from the ford was attacked and dispersed by Lt. Col. Tarleton. All the fords were abandoned, and the whole royal army crossed over without any farther opposition. The passage of the Catawba being effected, the Americans continued to flee and the British to pursue. The former by expeditious movements crossed the Yadkin, partly in flats, and partly by fording on the second and third days of February, and secured their boats on  the north side.1781 Though the British were close in their rear, yet the want of boats and the rapid rising of the river from preceding rains made their crossing impossible. This second hair breadth escape was considered by the Americans as a farther evidence that their cause was favoured by Heaven. That they in two successive instances should effect their passage, while their pursuers only a few miles in their rear could not follow, impressed the religious people of that settlement with such sentiments of devotion as added fresh vigor to their exertions in behalf of American independence.
The British having failed in their first scheme of passing the Yadkin, were obliged to cross at the upper fords; but before this was completed, the two divisions of the American army made a junction at Guildford court-house.Feb. 7 Though this had taken place, their combined numbers were so much inferior to the British, that Gen. Greene could not with any propriety risque an action. He therefore called a council of officers, who unanimously concurred in opinion that he ought to retire over the Dan, and to avoid an engagement till he was reinforced. Lord Cornwallis knowing the inferiority of the American force conceived hopes, by getting between General Greene and Virginia, to cut off his retreat, intercept his supplies and reinforcements, and oblige him to fight under many disadvantages. With this view, his lordship kept the upper country where only the rivers are fordable—supposing that his adversaries, from the want of a sufficient number of flats, could not make good their passage in the deep water below, or in case of their attempting it, he expected to overtake and force them to action before they could cross. In this expectation he was deceived. Gen. Greene by good management eluded his lordship. The British urged their pursuit with so much rapidity, that the American light troops were on the 14th compelled to retire upwards of 40 miles.Feb By the most indefatigable exertions Gen. Greene had that day transported his army, artillery and baggage, over the river Dan into Virginia.1781 So rapid was the pursuit, and so narrow the escape, that the van of the pursuing British  just arrived as the rear of the Americans had crossed. The hardships and difficulties, which the royal army had undergone in this march, were exceeded by the mortification that all their toils and exertions were to no purpose. They conceived it next to impossible that General Greene could escape, without receiving a decisive blow. They therefore cheerfully submitted to difficulties, of which they who reside in cultivated countries can form no adequate ideas. After surmounting incredible hardships, when they fancied themselves within grasp of their object, they discovered that all their hopes were blasted.
The continental army being driven out of North-Carolina, Earl Cornwallis thought the opportunity favourable for assembling the loyalists. With this view he left the Dan, and proceeded to Hillsborough. On his arrival there, he erected the King’s standard, and published a proclamation, inviting all loyal subjects to repair to it with their arms and ten days provision, and assuring them of his readiness to concur with them in effectual measures for suppressing the remains of rebellion, and for the reestablishment of good order and constitutional government. Soon after the King’s standard was erected at Hillsborough, some hundreds of the inhabitants rode in to the British camp. They seemed to be very desirous of peace, but averse to any co-operation for procuring it. They acknowledged the continentals were chased out of the province, but expressed their apprehensions that they would soon return, and on the whole declined to take any decided part in a cause which yet appeared dangerous. Notwithstanding the indifference or timidity of the loyalists near Hillsborough, lord Cornwallis hoped for substantial aid from the inhabitants between Haw and Deep river. He therefore detached Lieut. Col. Tarleton with 450 men, to give countenance to the friends of royal government in that district. Greene being informed that many of the inhabitants had joined his lordship, and that they were repairing in great numbers to make their submission, was apprehensive that unless some spirited measure was immediately taken, the whole country would be lost to the Americans. He therefore concluded,  at every hazard, to recross the Dan.1781Feb. 21This was done by the light troops, and these on the next day were followed by the main body accompanied with a brigade of Virginia militia. Immediately after the return of the Americans to North-Carolina, some of their light troops, commanded by Gen. Pickens and Lieut. Colonel Lee, were detached in pursuit of Tarleton, who had been sent to encourage the insurrection of the loyalists. Three hundred and fifty of these tories commanded by Col. Pyles, when on their way to join the British, fell in with this light American party, and mistook them for the royal detachment sent for their support. The Americans attacked them, laboring under this mistake, to great advantage, and cut them down as they were crying out “God save the King” and making protestations of their loyalty. Natives of the British colonies, who were of this character, more rarely found mercy than European soldiers. They were considered by the whig Americans as being cowards, who not only wanted spirit to defend their constitutional rights, but who unnaturally co-operated with strangers in fixing the chains of foreign domination on themselves and countrymen. Many of them on this occasion suffered the extremity of military vengeance. Tarleton was refreshing his legion, about a mile from this scene of slaughter. Upon hearing the alarm, he re-crossed the Haw and returned to Hillsborough. On his retreat he cut down several of the royalists, as they were advancing to join the British army, mistaking them for the rebel militia of the country. These events, together with the return of the American army, overset all the schemes of lord Cornwallis. The tide of public sentiment was no longer in his favour. The recruiting service in behalf of the royal army was entirely stopped. The absence of the American army, for one fortnight longer, might have turned the scale. The advocates for royal government being discouraged by these adverse accidents, and being also generally deficient in that ardent zeal which characterised the patriots, could not be induced to act with confidence.1781 They were so dispersed over a large extent of a thinly  settled country, that it was difficult to bring them to unite in any common plan. They had no superintending Congress to give system or concert to their schemes. While each little district pursued separate measures, all were obliged to submit to the American governments. Numbers of them, who were on their way to join lord Cornwallis, struck with terror at the unexpected return of the American army, and with the unhappy fate of their brethren, went home to wait events. Their policy was of that timid kind, which disposed them to be more attentive to personal safety, than to the success of either army.
Though Gen. Greene had recrossed, his plan was not to venture upon an immediate action, but to keep alive the courage of his party—to depress that of the loyalists, and to harass the foragers and detachments of the British, till reinforcements should arrive. While Greene was unequal even to defensive operations, he lay seven days within ten miles of Cornwallis’ camp, but took a new position every night, and kept it a profound secret where the next was to be. By such frequent movements lord Cornwallis, could not gain intelligence of his situation in time to profit by it. He maneuvered in this manner, to avoid an action for three weeks, during which time he was often obliged to ask bread from the common soldiers, having none of his own. By the end of that period, two brigades of militia from North-Carolina, and one from Virginia, together with 400 regulars raised for 18 months, joined his army, and gave him a superiority of numbers. He therefore determined no longer to avoid an engagement. Lord Cornwallis having long sought for this, no longer delay took place on either side.March 15, 1781 The American army consisted of about 4400 men, of which more than one half were militia. The British of about 2400, chiefly troops grown veteran in victories. The former was drawn up in three lines. The front composed of North-Carolina militia, the second of Virginia militia, the third and last of continental troops commanded by Gen. Huger and Col. Williams. After a brisk cannonade in front, the British advanced in three columns.1781 The Hessians on the right, the guards in the  center, and Lieut. Col. Webster’s brigade on the left, and attacked the front line. This gave way when their adversaries were at the distance of 140 yards, and was occasioned by the misconduct of a colonel, who on the advance of the enemy, called out to an officer at some distance “that he would be surrounded.” The alarm was sufficient: Without enquiring into the probability of what had been injudiciously suggested, the militia precipitately quitted the field: As one good officer may sometimes mend the face of affairs, so the misconduct of a bad one may injure a whole army. Untrained men when on the field are similar to each other. The difference of their conduct depends much on incidental circumstances, and on none more than the manner of their being led on, and the quality of the officers by whom they are commanded.
The Virginia militia stood their ground, and kept up their fire till they were ordered to retreat. Gen. Stevens their commander, had posted 40 riflemen at equal distances, twenty paces in the rear of his brigade, with orders to shoot every man who should leave his post. That brave officer though wounded through the thigh did not quit the field. The continental troops were last engaged, and maintained the conflict with great spirit for an hour and a half. At length the discipline of veteran troops gained the day. They broke the second Maryland brigade, turned the American left flank, and got in rear of the Virginia brigade. They appeared to be gaining Greene’s right, which would have encircled the whole of the continental troops, a retreat was therefore ordered. This was made in good order, and no farther than over the reedy fork, a distance of about three miles. Greene halted there and drew up till he had collected most of the stragglers, and then retired to Speedwell’s iron works, ten miles distant from Guildford. The Americans lost 4 pieces of artillery and two ammunition waggons. The victory cost the British dear. Their killed and wounded amounted to several hundreds. The guards lost Colonel Stuart and three Captains, besides subalterns. Colonel Webster, an officer of distinguished  merit died of his wounds to the great regret of the whole royal army. Generals O’Hara and Howard, and Lieutenant Colonel Tarleton, were wounded. About 300 of the continentals, and one hundred of the Virginia militia were killed or wounded. Among the former was Major Anderson of the Maryland line a most valuable officer, of the latter were Generals Huger and Stevens. The early retreat of the North-Carolinians saved them from much loss. The American army sustained a great diminution, by the numerous fugitives who instead of rejoining the camp went to their homes. Lord Cornwallis suffered so much that he was in no condition to improve the advantage he had gained. The British had only the name, the Americans, all the good consequences of a victory. General Greene retreated, and lord Cornwallis kept the field, but notwithstanding the British interest in North-Carolina was from that day ruined.Mar. 18 Soon after this action, lord Cornwallis issued a proclamation setting forth his complete victory, and calling on all loyal subjects to stand forth, and take an active part in restoring order and good government, and offering a pardon and protection to all rebels, murderers excepted, who would surrender themselves on or before the 20th of April. On the next day after this proclamation was issued, his lordship left his hospital and 75 wounded men, with the numerous loyalists in the vicinity, and began a march towards Wilmington, which had the appearance of a retreat. Major Craig who for the purposes of cooperating with his lordship, had been stationed at Wilmington, was not able to open a water communication with the British army while they were in the upper country. The distance, the narrowness of Cape Fear river, the commanding elevation of its banks, and the hostile sentiments of the inhabitants on each side of it forbad the attempt. The destitute condition of the British army, made it necessary to go to these supplies, which for these reasons could not be brought to them.
1781General Greene no sooner received information of this movement of lord Cornwallis, than he put his army in motion to follow him. As he had no means of  providing for the wounded, of his own, and the British forces, he wrote a letter to the neighbouring inhabitants of the Quaker persuasion, in which he mentioned his being brought up a Quaker, and urged them to take care of the wounded on both sides. His recommendations prevailed, and the Quakers supplied the hospitals with every comfort in their power.
March 28The Americans continued the pursuit of Cornwallis till they had arrived at Ramsay’s mill on Deep river, but for good reasons desisted from following him any farther.
Lord Cornwallis halted and refreshed his army for about three weeks at Wilmington, and then marched across the country to Petersburg in Virginia. Before it was known that his lordship had determined on this movement, the bold resolution of returning to South-Carolina, was formed by Gen. Greene. This animated the friends of Congress in that quarter. Had the American army followed his lordship, the southern States would have conceived themselves conquered; for their hopes and fears prevailed just as the armies marched north or south. Though lord Cornwallis marched through North-Carolina to Virginia, yet as the American army returned to South-Carolina, the people considered that movement of his lordship in the light of a retreat.
While the two armies were in North-Carolina, the whig inhabitants of South-Carolina were animated by the gallant exertions of Sumter and Marion. These distinguished partisans, while surrounded with enemies, kept the field. Though the continental army was driven into Virginia, they did not despair of the commonwealth. Having mounted their followers, their motions were rapid, and their attacks unexpected. With their light troops they intercepted the British convoys of provisions, infested their out posts, beat up their quarters, and harassed their detachments with such frequent alarms, that they were obliged to be always on their guard.1781 In the western extremitv of the State, Sumter was powerfully supported by Cols. Niel, Lacey, Hill, Winn,  Bratton, Brandon and others, each of whom held militia commissions, and had many friends. In the north eastern extremity, Marion received in like manner great assistance from the active exertions of Cols. Peter Horry, and Hugh Horry, Lt. Col. John Baxter, Col. James Postell, Major John Postell, and Major John James.
The inhabitants, either as affection or vicinity induced them, arranged themselves under some of the militia officers and performed many gallant enterprises. These singly were of too little consequence to merit a particular relation, but in general they displayed the determined spirit of the people and embarrassed the British. One in which Major John Postell commanded may serve as an illustration of the spirit of the times, and particularly of the indifference for property which then prevailed. Capt. James de Peyster of the royal army, with 25 grenadiers, having taken post in the house of the Major’s father, the Major posted his small command of 21 militia men, in such positions as commanded its doors, and demanded their surrender. This being refused, he set fire to an outhouse, and was proceeding to burn that in which they were posted, and nothing but the immediate submission of the whole party restrained him from sacrificing his father’s valuable property, to gain an advantage to his country.
While lord Cornwallis was preparing to invade Virginia, Gen. Greene determined to re-commence offensive military operations in the southern extreme of the confederacy, in preference to pursuing his lordship into Virginia. Gen. Sumter, who had warmly urged this measure, was about this time authorised to raise a State brigade, to be in service for eighteen months. He had also prepared the militia to co-operate with the returning continentals. With these forces an offensive war was recommenced in South-Carolina, and prosecuted with spirit and success.
Before Greene set out on his march for Carolina, he sent orders to General Pickens, to prevent supplies from going to the British garrisons at Ninety-Six and Augusta, and also detached Lieutenant Colonel Lee to advance  before the continental troops.1781 The latter in eight days penetrated through the intermediate country to General Marion’s quarters upon the Santee. The main army, in a few more days, completed their march from Deep river to Camden. The British had erected a chain of posts from the capital to the extreme districts of the State, which had regular communications with each other. Lord Cornwallis being gone to Virginia, these became objects of enterprize to the Americans. While Gen. Greene was marching with his main force against Camden, fort Watson, which lay between Camden and Charleston, was invested by Gen. Marion and Lieut. Col. Lee. The besiegers speedily erected a work which overlooked the fort, though that was built on an Indian mount upwards of 30 feet high, from which they fired into it with such execution that the besieged durst not shew themselves.April 23 Under these circumstances the garrison, consisting of 114 men, surrendered by capitulation.
Camden, before which the main American army was encamped, is a village situated on a plain, covered on the south and east sides by the Wateree and a creek, the western and northern by six redoubts. It was defended by lord Rawdon with about 900 men. The American army, consisting only of about an equal number of continentals, and between two and three hundred militia, was unequal to the task of carrying this post by storm, or of completely investing it. Gen. Greene therefore took a good position about a mile distant, in expectation of alluring the garrison out of their lines. Lord Rawdon armed his whole force, and with great spirit sallied on the 25th.April 25 An engagement ensued. Victory for some time evidently inclined to the Americans, but in the progress of the action, the premature retreat of two companies eventually occasioned the defeat of the whole American army. Greene with his usual firmness, instantly took measures to prevent lord Rawdon from improving the success he had obtained. He retreated with such order that most of his wounded and all his artillery, together with a number of prisoners, were carried off. The British retired to Camden, and the Americans encamped  about five miles from their former position.1781 Their loss was between two and three hundred. Soon after this action Gen. Greene, knowing that the British garrison could not subsist long in Camden without fresh supplies from Charleston or the country, took such positions as were most likely to prevent their getting any.May 7
Lord Rawdon received a reinforcement of 4 or 500 men by the arrival of Col. Watson from Pedee. With this increase of strength, he attempted on the next day to compel Gen. Greene to another action, but found it to be impracticable. Failing in this design, he returned to Camden and burned the jail, mills, many private houses and a great deal of his own baggage. He then evacuated the post, and retired to the southward of Santee. His lordship discovered as much prudence in evacuating Camden, as he had shewn bravery in its defence. The fall of fort Watson broke the chain of communication with Charleston, and the position of the American army, in a great measure intercepted supplies from the adjacent country. The British in South-Carolina, now cut off from all communication with lord Cornwallis, would have hazarded the capital, by keeping large detachments in their distant out-posts. They therefore resolved to contract their limits by retiring within the Santee. This measure animated the friends of Congress in the extremities of the State, and disposed them to co-operate with the American army. While Greene lay in the neighbourhood of Camden, he hung in one day eight soldiers, who had deserted from his army. This had such effect afterwards that there was no desertion for three months.May 11 On the day after the evacuation of Camden the post at Orangeburg, consisting of 70 British militia and 12 regulars, surrendered to Gen. Sumter.May 12 On the next day fort Motte capitulated. This was situated above the fork on the south side of the Congaree. The British had built their works round Mrs. Motte’s dwelling house. She with great cheerfulness furnished the Americans with materials for firing her own house. These being thrown by them on its roof soon kindled into flame.1781 The firing of the house,  which was in the center of the British works, compelled the garrison, consisting of 165 men, to surrender at discretion.
May 14In two days more the British evacuated their post at Nelson’s ferry, and destroyed a great part of their stores.May 15 On the day following, fort Granby, garrisoned by 352 men mostly royal militia, surrendered to Lieut. Col. Lee: Very advantageous terms were given them, from an apprehension that lord Rawdon was marching to their relief.
Their baggage was secured, in which was included an immense quantity of plunder. The American militia were much disgusted at the terms allowed the garrison, and discovered a disposition to break the capitulation and kill the prisoners; but Greene restrained them, by declaring in the most peremptory manner that he would instantly put to death any one, who should offer violence to those who by surrendering were under his protection.
General Marion with a party of militia, marched about this time to Georgetown, and began regular approaches against the British post in that place. On the first night after his men had broken ground, their adversaries evacuated their works, and retreated to Charleston; shortly after one Manson, an inhabitant of South-Carolina, who had joined the British, appeared in an armed vessel, and demanded permission to land his men in the town. This being refused, he sent a few of them ashore and set fire to it. Upwards of forty houses were speedily reduced to ashes.
In the rapid manner just related, the British lost six posts, and abandoned all the northeastern extremities of South-Carolina. They still retained possession of Augusta and Ninety-six, in addition to their posts near the sea coast. Immediately after the surrender of fort Granby, Lieutenant Colonel Lee began his march for Augusta, and in four days completed it.
May 21The British post at Silver-Bluff, with a field piece and considerable stores, surrendered to a detachment of Lee’s legion commanded by Captain Rudolph. Lee on his arrival at Augusta joined Pickens, who with a body of militia had for some time past taken post in the vicinity. 1781 They jointly carried on their approaches against fort Cornwallis at Augusta, in which Colonel Brown commanded. Two batteries were erected within 30 yards of the parapet, which overlooked the fort. From these eminences the American riflemen shot into the inside of the works with success: The garrison buried themselves in a great measure under ground, and obstinately refused to capitulate, till the necessity was so pressing that every man who attempted to fire on the besiegers, was immediately shot down.June 5 At length when farther resistance would have been madness, the fort with about 300 men surrendered, on honorable terms of capitulation. The Americans during the siege had about forty men killed and wounded. After the surrender, Lieutenant Colonel Grierson of the British militia, was shot by the Americans. A reward of 100 guineas was offered, but in vain, for the perpetrator of the perfidious deed. Lieutenant Colonel Brown, would probably have shared the same fate, had not his conquerors furnished him with an escort to the royal garrison in Savannah. Individuals whose passions were inflamed by injuries, and exasperated, with personal animosity, were eager to gratify revenge in violation of the laws of war. Murders had produced murders. Plundering, assassinations, and house burnings, had become common. Zeal for the King or the Congress were the ostensible motives of action; but in several of both sides, the love of plunder, private pique, and a savageness of disposition, led to actions which were disgraceful to human nature. Such was the state of parties in the vicinity of Savannah river, and such the exasperation of whigs against tories, and of tories against whigs; and so much had they suffered from and inflicted on each other, that the laws of war, and the precepts of humanity afforded but a feeble security for the observance of capitulations on either side. The American officers exerted themselves to procure to their prisoners that safety which many of the inhabitants, influenced by a remembrance of the sufferings of themselves, and of their friends, were unwilling to allow them.
1781 While operations were carrying on against the small posts, Greene proceeded with his main army and laid siege to Ninety-six, in which Lieutenant Colonel Cruger, with upwards of 500 men was advantageously posted. On the left of the besiegers was a work, erected in the form of a star. On the right was a strong blockade fort, with two block houses in it. The town was also picquetted in with strong picquets, and surrounded with a ditch, and a bank, near the height of a common parapet. The besiegers were more numerous than the besieged, but the disparity was not great.
May 25The siege was prosecuted with indefatigable industry. The garrison defended themselves with spirit and address. On the morning after the siege began, a party sallied from the garrison, and drove the advance of the besiegers from their works. The next night, two strong block batteries were erected at the distance of 350 yards. Another battery 20 feet high, was erected within 220 yards, and soon after a fourth one was erected within 100 yards of the main fort, and lastly, a rifle battery was erected 30 feet high, within 30 yards of the ditch; from all of which the besiegers fired into the British works. The abbatis was turned, and a mine and two trenches were so far extended, as to be within six feet of the ditch. At that interesting moment, intelligence was conveyed into the garrison, that lord Rawdon was near at hand, with about 2000 men for their relief. These had arrived in Charleston from Ireland after the siege began, and were marched for Ninety-six, on the seventh day after they landed.June 18 In these circumstances, Gen. Greene had no alternative but to raise the siege, or attempt the reduction of the place by assault. The latter was attempted. Though the assailants displayed great resolution, they failed of success. On this General Greene raised the siege, and retreated over Saluda. His loss in the assault and previous conflicts was about 150 men. Lieutenant Colonel Cruger deservedly gained great reputation by this successful defence. He was particularly indebted to Major Greene, who had bravely and judiciously defended that redoubt, for the reduction of which, the  greatest exertions had been made.1781 Truly distressing was the situation of the American army. When they were nearly masters of the whole country, they were compelled to seek safety by retreating to its remotest extremity. In this gloomy situation Greene was advised to retire with his remaining force to Virginia. To suggestions of this kind he nobly replied. “I will recover South-Carolina or die in the attempt.” This distinguished officer whose genius was most vigorous in those perilous extremities, when feeble minds abandon themselves to despair, adopted the only expedient now left him, that of avoiding an engagement till the British force should be divided. Lord Rawdon who by rapid marches was near Ninety-six, at the time of the assault, pursued the Americans as far as the Enoree river; but without overtaking them. Desisting from this fruitless pursuit he drew off a part of his force from Ninety-six, and fixed a detachment at the Congaree. General Greene on hearing that the British force was divided, faced about to give them battle. Lord Rawdon no less surprised than alarmed at this unexpected movement of his lately retreating foe, abandoned the Congaree in two days after he had reached it, and marched to Orangeburgh. General Greene in his turn pursued and offered him battle.July 12 His lordship would not venture out and his adversary was too weak to attack him in his encampment, with any prospect of success.
Reasons similar to those which induced the British to evacuate Camden, weighed with them about this time, to withdraw their troops from Ninety-six. While the American army lay near Orangeburgh, Lieutenant Colonel Cruger, having evacuated the post he had gallantly defended, was marching with the troops of that garrison, through the forks of Edisto, to join lord Rawdon at Orangeburgh. General Greene being unable to prevent their junction, and still less so to stand before their combined force, retired to the high hills of Santee. The evacuation of Camden having been effected by striking at the posts below it, the same manoeuvre was now attempted to induce the British to leave Orangeburgh. With this view Generals Sumter and Marion, with their brigades, and the  legion cavalry, were detached to Monk’s corner and Dorchester. They moved down different roads, and commenced separate and successful attacks, on convoys and detachments in the vicinity of Charleston. In this manner was the war carried on. While the British kept their forces compact, they could not cover the country, and the American General had the prudence to avoid fighting. When they divided their army, their detachments were attacked and defeated. While they were in the upper country, light parties of Americans annoyed their small posts in the lower settlements. The people soon found that the late conquerors were not able to afford them their promised protection. The spirit of revolt became general, and the royal interest daily declined.
The British having evacuated alltheir posts to the northward of Santee and Congaree, and to the westward of Edisto, conceived themselves able to hold all that fertile country, which is in a great measure enclosed by these rivers. They therefore once more resumed their station, near the junction of the Wateree and Congaree. This induced Gen. Greene to concert farther measures for forcing them down towards Charleston. He therefore crossed the Wateree and Congaree, and collected his whole force on the south side of the latter, intending to act offensively. On his approach the British retired about 40 miles nearer Charleston, and took post at the Eutaw springs. Gen. Greene advanced with 2000 men, to attack them in their encampment at this place. His force was drawn up in two lines: The first was composed of militia, and the second of continental troops. As the Americans advanced they fell in with two parties of the British, three or four miles a head of their main army. These being briskly attacked soon retired. The militia continued to pursue and fire, till the action became general, and till they were obliged to give way. They were well supported by the continental troops. In the hottest of the action Col. O. Williams, and Lieut. Col. Campbel with the Maryland and Virginia continentals charged with trailed arms. Nothing could surpass the intrepidity of both officers and men on this occasion.1781 They rushed on  in good order through a heavy cannonade, and a shower of musketry, with such unshaken resolution, that they bore down all before them. Lieut. Col. Campbel, while bravely leading his men on to that successful charge, received a mortal wound. After he had fallen he enquired who gave way, and being informed that the British were fleeing in all quarters, replied “I die contented,” and immediately expired. The British were vigorously pursued, and upwards of 500 of them were taken prisoners. On their retreat they took post in a strong brick house, and in a picquetted garden: From these advantageous positions they renewed the action. Four six pounders were ordered up before the house, from under cover of which the British were firing. The Americans were compelled to leave these pieces and retire, but they left a strong picquet on the field of battle, and only retreated to the nearest water in their rear. In the evening of the next day, Lieut. Col. Stuart who commanded the British on this occasion, left seventy of his wounded men and a thousand stand of arms, and moved from the Eutaws towards Charleston. The loss of the British inclusive of prisoners, was upwards of 1100 men; that of the Americans above 500, in which number were sixty officers.
Congress honored Gen. Greene for his good conduct in this action with a British standard and a golden medal. They also voted their thanks to the different corps and their commanders.
Soon after this engagement, the Americans retired to their former position on the high hills of Santee, and the British took post in the vicinity of Monks-Corner. In the close of the year Gen. Greene moved down into the lower country, and about the same time the British abandoned their outposts, and retired with their whole force to the quarter house on Charleston-neck. The defence of the country was given up, and the conquerors, who had lately carried their arms to the extremities of the State, seldom aimed at any thing more than to secure themselves in the vicinity of the capital.1781 The crops, which had been planted in the spring of the year under  British auspices, and with the expectation of affording them supplies, fell into the hands of the Americans and administered to them a seasonable relief. The battle of Eutaw may be considered as closing the national war in South-Carolina. A few excursions were afterwards made by the British, and sundry small enterprizes were executed, but nothing of more general consequence than the loss of property, and of individual lives. Thus ended the campaign of 1781, in South-Carolina. At its commencement the British were in force over all the State: at its close they durst not, but with great precaution, venture 20 miles from Charleston. History affords but few instances of commanders, who have achieved so much with equal means, as was done by Gen. Greene in the short space of a twelve month. He opened the campaign with gloomy prospects, but closed it with glory. His unpaid and half naked army had to contend with veteran soldiers, supplied with every thing that the wealth of Britain or the plunder of Carolina could procure. Under all these disadvantages, he compelled superior numbers to retire from the extremity of the State, and confine themselves in the capital and its vicinity. Had not his mind been of the firmest texture he would have been discouraged, but his enemies found him as formidable on the evening of a defeat, as on the morning after a victory.
Campaign of 1781. Operations in Virginia: Cornwallis captured: New-London destroyed.
It has already been mentioned that lord Cornwallis, soon after the battle of Guildford, marched to Wilmington in North-Carolina. When he had completed that march, various plans of operation were presented to his view.1781 It was said in favour of his proceeding southwardly, that the country between Wilmington and Camden was barren and of difficult passage—that an embarkation for Charleston would be both tedious and disgraceful —that a junction with the royal forces in Virginia, and the prosecution of solid operations in that quarter, would be the most effectual plan for effecting and securing the submission of the more southern States. Other arguments of apparently equal force urged his return to South-Carolina. Previous to his departure for Virginia, he had received information that Gen. Greene had begun his march for Camden, and he had reason from past experience to fear that if he did not follow him, the inhabitants by a second revolt, would give the American army a superiority over the small force left under lord Rawdon. Though his lordship was very apprehensive of danger from that quarter, he hoped either that lord Rawdon would be able to stand his ground, or that Gen. Greene would follow the royal army to Virginia, or in the most unfavourable event he flattered himself, that by the conquest of Virginia, the recovery of South-Carolina would be at any time practicable.Apr. 25 His lordship having too much pride to turn back, and prefering the extensive scale of operations which Virginia presented, to the narrow one of preserving past conquests, determined to leave Carolina to its fate. Before the end of April, he therefore proceeded on his march, from Wilmington towards Virginia. To favour the passage of the many rivers, with which the country is intersected, two boats were mounted on carriages and taken along with his army. The King’s troops proceeded several days without opposition, and almost without intelligence. The Americans made an attempt at Swift-creek and afterwards at Fishing-creek to stop their progress, but without any effect. The British took the shortest road to Halifax, and on their arrival there defeated several parties of the Americans and took some stores, with very little loss on their side.May 20 The Roanoke, the Meherrin, and the Nottaway rivers were successively crossed by the royal army, and with little or no opposition from the dispersed inhabitants. In less than a month the march from Wilmington to Petersburg was completed.1781 The latter had been fixed upon as the place of rendezvous, in a private correspondence with Gen. Philips. By this  combination of the royal force previously employed in Virginia, with the troops which had marched from Wilmington, lord Cornwallis was at the head of a very powerful army. This junction was scarcely completed, when lord Cornwallis received lord Rawdon’s report of the advantage he had gained over Gen. Greene, on the 25th of the preceding month. About the same time he received information that three British regiments had sailed from Cork for Charleston.
These two events eased his mind of all anxiety for South-Carolina, and inspired him with brilliant hopes of a glorious campaign. He considered himself as having already subdued both the Carolinas, and as being in a fair way to increase his military fame, by the addition of Virginia to the list of his conquests. By the late combination of the royal forces under Philips and Cornwallis, and by the recent arrival of a reinforcement of 1500 men directly from New-York, Virginia became the principal theatre of operations for the remainder of the campaign. The formidable force, thus collected in one body, called for the vigorous exertions of the friends of independence. The defensive operations, in opposition to it, were principally entrusted to the Marquis de la Fayette. Early in the year he had been detached from the main American army on an expedition, the object of which was a co-operation with the French fleet in capturing Gen. Arnold. On the failure of this, the Marquis marched back as far as the head of Elk. There he received an order to return to Virginia to oppose the British forces, which had become more formidable by the arrival of a considerable reinforcement, under Gen. Phillips. He proceeded without delay to Richmond, and arrived there the day before the British reached Manchester, on the opposite side of James river. Thus was the capital of Virginia, at that time filled with almost all the military stores of the State, saved from imminent danger. So great was the superiority of numbers on the side of the British, that the Marquis had before him a labor of the greatest difficulty, and was pressed with many embarrassments.1781 In the first moments of the rising  tempest, and till he could provide against its utmost rage, he began to retire with his little army, which consisted only of about 1000 regulars, 2000 militia, and 60 dragoons.
Lord Cornwallis advanced from Petersburg to James river which he crossed at Westown, and thence marching through Hanover county crossed the South Anna or Pamunkey river. The Marquis followed his motions, but at a guarded distance. The superiority of the British army, especially of their cavalry, which they easily supplied with good horses from the stables and pastures of private gentlemen in Virginia, enabled them to traverse the country in all directions. Two distant expeditions were therefore undertaken. The one was to Charlotteville, with the view of capturing the Governor and Assembly of the State. The other to Point of Fork to destroy stores. Lt. Col. Tarleton to whom the first was committed, succeeded so far as to disperse the Assembly, capture seven of its members, and to destroy a great quantity of stores at and near Charlotteville. The other expedition which was committed to Lt. Col. Simcoe, was only in part successful, for the Americans had previously removed the most of their stores from Point of Fork. In the course of these marches and counter marches, immense quantities of property were destroyed and sundry unimportant skirmishes took place. The British made many partial conquests, but these were seldom of longer duration than their encampments. The young Marquis, with a degree of prudence that would have done honor to an older soldier, acted so cautiously on the defensive and made so judicious a choice of posts, and shewed so much vigor and design in his movements, as to prevent any advantage being taken of his weakness. In his circumstances, not to be destroyed, was triumph. He effected a junction at Racoonford with Gen. Wayne, who was at the head of 800 Pennsylvanians. While this junction was forming the British got between the American army and its stores, which had been removed from Richmond, to Albemarle old court house.1781 The possession of these was an object  with both armies. The Marquis by forced marches got within a few miles of the British army, when they were two days march from Albemarle old court house. The British general considered himself as sure of his adversary for he knew that the stores were his object; and he conceived it impracticable for the Marquis to get between him and the shore; but by a road in passing which he might be attacked to advantage. The Marquis had the address to extricate himself from this difficulty, by opening in the night a nearer road to Albemarle old court house which had been long disused and was much embarrassed.June 18 To the surprize of lord Cornwallis, the Marquis fixed himself the next day between the British army and the American stores. Lord Cornwallis, finding his schemes frustrated fell back to Richmond. About this time the Marquis’ army was reinforced by Steuben’s troops, and by militia from the parts adjacent. He followed lord Cornwallis, and had the address to impress him with an idea that the American army was much greater than it really was.June 26 His lordship therefore retreated to Williamsburg. The day after the main body of the British army arrived there, their rear was attacked by an American light corps under Col. Butler and sustained a considerable loss.
About the time lord Cornwallis reached Williamsburg he received intelligence from New-York, setting forth the danger to which the royal army in that city was exposed from a combined attack, that was said to be threatened by the French and Americans. Sir Henry Clinton therefore required a detachment from Earl Cornwallis, if he was not engaged in any important enterprise, and recommended to him a healthy station, with an ample defensive force, till the danger of New-York was dispersed. Lord Cornwallis thinking it expedient to comply with this requisition, and judging that his command afterwards would not be adequate to maintain his present position at Williamsburg, determined to retire to Portsmouth. For the execution of this project, it was necessary to cross James river. The Marquis de la Fayette, conceiving this to be a favourable opportunity for acting  offensively, advanced on the British.1781 Gen. Wayne relying on the information of a countryman, that the main body of the British had crossed James river, pushed forwards with about 800 light troops to harass their rear. Contrary to his expectations, he found the whole British army drawn up ready to oppose him. He instantly conceived that the best mode of extricating himself from his perilous situation would be, to assume a bold countenance, and engage his adversaries before he attempted to retreat.July 6 He therefore pressed on for some time, and urged an attack with spirit before he fell back. Lord Cornwallis, perhaps suspecting an ambuscade, did not pursue. By this bold manoeuvre Wayne got off but with little loss.
In the course of these various movements, the British were joined by few of the inhabitants, and scarcely by any of the natives. The Virginians for the most part either joined the Americans, or what was much more common, kept out of the way of the British. To purchase safety by submission was the policy of very few, and these were for the most part natives of Britain. After Earl Cornwallis had crossed James river, he marched for Portsmouth. He had previously taken the necessary steps for complying with the requisition of Sir Henry Clinton, to send a part of his command to New-York. But before they sailed, an express arrived from Sir Henry Clinton with a letter, expressing his preference of Williamsburgh to Portsmouth for the residence of the army, and his desire that Old-Point-Comfort or Hampton road should be secured as a station for line of battle ships. The commander in chief, at the same time, allowed his lordship to detain any part or the whole of the forces under his command, for completing this service. On examination, Hampton road was not approved of as a station for the navy. It being a principal object of the campaign to fix on a strong permanent post or place of arms in the Chesapeak for the security of both the army and navy, and Portsmouth and Hampton road having both been pronounced unfit for that purpose, York-Town and Gloucester Points were considered as most likely to accord with the views of the royal commanders. Portsmouth was therefore evacuated, and its garrison  transferred to York-Town.1781 Lord Cornwallis availed himself of Sir Henry Clinton’s permission to retain the whole force under his command, and impressed with the necessity of establishing a strong place of arms in the Chesapeak, applied himself with industry to fortify his new posts, so as to render them tenable by his present army, amounting to 7000 men, against any force that he supposed likely to be brought against them.
At this period the officers of the British navy expected that their fleet in the West-Indies would join them, and that solid operations in Virginia would in a short time re-commence with increased vigor.
Aug. 30While they were indulging these hopes Count de Grasse with a French fleet of 28 sail of the line from the West-Indies entered the Chesapeak, and about the same time intelligence arrived, that the French and American armies which had been lately stationed in the more northern States, were advancing towards Virginia. Count de Grasse, without loss of time, blocked up York river with three large ships and some frigates, and moored the principal part of his fleet in Lynhaven-bay. Three thousand two hundred French troops, brought in this fleet from the West-Indies, commanded by the Marquis de St. Simon, were disembarked and soon after formed a junction with the continental troops under the Marquis de la Fayette, and the whole took post at Williamsburg. An attack on this force was intended, but before all the arrangements subservient to its execution were fixed upon, letters of an early date in September were received by lord Cornwallis from Sir Henry Clinton, announcing that he would do his utmost to reinforce the royal army in Chesapeak, or make every diversion in his power, and that Admiral Digby was hourly expected on the coast. On the receipt of this intelligence Earl Cornwallis, not thinking himself justified in hazarding an engagement, abandoned the resolution of attacking the combined force of Fayette and St. Simon. It is the province of history to relate what has happened, and not to indulge conjectures in the boundless field of contingencies; otherwise it might be added that Earl Cornwallis, by this change  of opinion,1781 lost a favourable opportunity of extricating himself from a combination of hostile force, which by farther concentration soon became irresistible. On the other hand if an attack had been made, and that had proved unsuccessful, he would have been charged with rashness in not waiting for the promised cooperation. On the same uncertain ground of conjecturing what ought to have been done, it might be said that the knowledge Earl Cornwallis had of public affairs would have justified him in abandoning York-Town, in order to return to South-Carolina. It seems as though this would have been his wisest plan; but either from an opinion that his instructions to stand his ground were positive, or that effectual relief was probable, his lordship thought proper to risque every thing on the issue of a siege. An attempt was made to burn or dislodge the French ships in the river, but none to evacuate his posts at this early period, when that measure was practicable.
Admiral Greaves with 20 sail of the line, made an effort for the relief of lord Cornwallis, but without effecting his purpose. When he appeared off the capes of Virginia, M. de Grasse went out to meet him, and an indecisive engagement took place.Sep. 7 The British were willing to renew the action; but de Grasse for good reasons declined it. His chief object in coming out of the capes was to cover a French fleet of eight line of battle ships, which was expected from Rhode-Island. In conformity to a preconcerted plan, Count de Barras commander of this fleet, had sailed for the Chesapeak, about the time de Grasse sailed from the West-Indies for the same place. To avoid the British fleet, he had taken a circuit by Bermuda. For fear that the British fleet might intercept him on his approach to the capes of Virginia; de Grasse came out to be at hand for his protection. While Greaves and de Grasse were manoeuvering near the mouth of the Chesapeak, Count de Barras passed the former in the night, and got within the capes of Virginia. This gave the fleet of his most Christian Majesty a decided superiority. Admiral Greaves soon took his departure, and M. de Grasse re-entered the Chesapeak.1781 All this time  conformably to the well digested plan of the campaign, the French and the American forces were marching through the middle states on their way to York-town. To understand their proper connexion, the great events shortly to be described, it is necessary to go back and trace the remote causes which brought on this grand combination of fleets and armies which put a period to the war.
The fall of Charleston in May 1780, and the complete rout of the American southern army in August following, together with the increasing inability of the Americans to carry on the war, gave a serious alarm to the friends of independence. In this low ebb of their affairs, a pathetic statement of their distresses was made to their illustrious ally the King of France. To give greater efficacy to their solicitations, Congress appointed Lieutenant Colonel John Laurens their special minister, and directed him after repairing to the court of Versailles, to urge the necessity of speedy and effectual succour, and in particular to solicit for a loan of money, and the cooperation of a French fleet, in attempting some important enterprise against the common enemy. His great abilities as an officer, had been often displayed; but on this occasion, the superior talents of the statesman and negotiator were called forth into action. Animated as he was with the ardor of the warmest patriotism, and feeling most sensibly for the distresses of his country, his whole soul was exerted to interest the court of France in giving a vigorous aid to their allies. His engaging manners and insinuating address, procured a favourable reception to his representations. He won the hearts of those who were at the helm of public affairs, and inflamed them with zeal to assist a country whose cause was so ably pleaded, and whose sufferings were so pathetically represented. At this crisis his most Christian Majesty gave his American allies, a subsidy of six millions of livres, and became their security for ten millions more borrowed for their use in the United Netherlands. A naval co-operation was promised and a conjunct expedition against their common foes was projected.
 The American war was now so far involved in the consequences of naval operations, that a superior French fleet, seemed to be the only hinge on which it was likely soon to take a favorable turn. The British army being parcelled in the different sea ports of the United States, any division of it blocked up by a French fleet, could not long resist the superior combined force, which might be brought to operate against it. The Marquis de Castries who directed the marine of France, with great precision calculated the naval force, which the British could concentre on the coast of the United States, and disposed his own in such a manner as ensured him a superiority. In conformity to these principles, and in subserviency to the design of the campaign, M. de Grasse sailed in March 1781, from Brest with 25 sail of the line, several thousand land forces, and a large convoy amounting to more than 200 ships. A small part of this force was destined for the East-Indies, but M. de Grasse with the greater part sailed for Martinique. The British fleet then in the West-Indies, had been previously weakened by the departure of a squadron for the protection of the ships, which were employed in carrying to England the booty which had been taken at St. Eustatius. The British Admirals Hood and Drake, were detached to intercept the outward bound French fleet commanded by M. de Grasse, but a junction between his force and eight ships of the line and one of 50 guns, which were previously at Martinique and St. Domingo, was nevertheless effected. By this combination of fresh ships from Europe, with the French fleet previously in the West-Indies, they had a decided superiority. M. de Grasse having finished his business in the West-Indies, sailed in the beginning of August with a prodigious convoy. After seeing this out of danger he directed his course for the Chesapeak, and arrived there as has been related on the thirtieth of the same month. Five days before his arrival in the Chesapeak, the French fleet in Rhode-Island sailed for the same place. These fleets notwithstanding their original distance from the scene of action and from each other, coincided in their operations in an extraordinary manner,  far beyond the reach of military calculation.1781 They all tended to one object and at one and the same time, and that object was neither known nor suspected by the British, till the proper season for counteraction was elapsed. This co-incidence of favourable circumstances extended to the marches of the French and American land forces. The plan of operations had been so well digested, and was so faithfully executed by the different commanders, that Gen. Washington and Count Rochambeau, had passed the British head quarters in New-York, and were considerably advanced in their way to York-town, before Count de Grasse had reached the American coast.May 6 This was effected in the following manner, Monsr. de Barras appointed to the command of the French squadron at Newport, arrived at Boston with dispatches for Count de Rochambeau. An interview soon after took place at Weathersfield, between Gen. Washington, Knox and du Portail on the part of the Americans, and Count de Rochambeau and the Chavalier Chastelleux, on the part of the French. At this interview, an eventual plan of the whole campaign was fixed. This was to lay siege to New-York in concert with a French fleet, which was to arrive on the coast in the month of August. It was agreed that the French troops should march towards the North-river. Letters were addressed by Gen. Washington to the executive officers of New-Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut and New-Jersey, requiring them to fill up their battalions, and to have their quotas 6200 militia in readiness, within a week of the time they might be called for. Conformably to these outlines of the campaign, the French troops marched from Rhode-Island in June, and early in the following month joined the American army. About the time this junction took place, Gen. Washington marched his army from their winter encampment near Peeks-kill, to the vicinity of Kingsbridge. General Lincoln fell down the North-river with a detachment in boats, and took possession of the ground where fort Independence formerly stood. An attack was made upon him but was soon discontinued. The British about this time, retired with almost the whole of their force to  York-Island.1781 Gen. Washington hoped to be able to commence operations against New-York, about the middle, or at farthest the latter end of July. Flat bottomed boats sufficient to transport 5000 men were built near Albany, and brought down Hudson’s river to the neighbourhood of the American army before New-York. Ovens were erected opposite to Staten-Island, for the use of the French troops. Every movement was made which was introductory to the commencement of the siege. It was not a little mortifying to Gen. Washington, to find himself on the 2d of August to be only a few hundreds stronger, than he was on the day his army first moved from their winter quarters. To have fixed on a plan of operations, with a foreign officer at the head of a respectable force: To have brought that force from a considerable distance, in confident expectation of reinforcements sufficiently large to commence effective operations against the common enemy, and at the same time to have engagements in behalf of the state violated in direct opposition to their own interest, and in a manner derogatory to his personal honour, was enough to have excited storms and tempests, in any mind less calm than that of Gen. Washington. He bore this hard trial with his usual magnanimity, and contented himself with repeating his requisitions to the states, and at the same time urged them by every tie, to enable him to fulfil engagements entered into on their account, with the commander of the French troops.
That tardiness of the states, which at other times had brought them near the brink of ruin, was now the accidental cause of real service. Had they sent forward their recruits for the regular army, and their quotas of militia as was expected, the siege of New-York would have commenced, in the latter end of July, or early in August. While the season was wasting away in expectation of these reinforcements, lord Cornwallis as has been mentioned, fixed himself near the capes of Virginia.Aug. 15 His situation there, the arrival of a reinforcement of 3000 Germans from Europe to New-York, the superior strength of that garrison, the failure of the states in filling up their  battalions and embodying their milita,1781 and especially recent intelligence from Count de Grasse, that his destination was fixed to the Chesapeak, concurred about the middle of August, to make a total change of the plan of the campaign.
24The appearance of an intention to attack New-York was nevertheless kept up. While this deception was played off, the allied army crossed the North-river, and passed on by the way of Philadelphia, through the intermediate country, to York-town. An attempt to reduce the British force in Virginia promised success with more expedition, and to secure an object of nearly equal importance as the reduction of New-York. No one can undertake to say what would have been the consequence, if the allied forces had persevered in their original plan; but it is evident from the event, that no success could have been greater, or more conducive to the establishment of their schemes, than what resulted from their operations in Virginia.
While the attack of New-York was in serious contemplation, a letter from General Washington detailing the particulars of the intended operations of the campaign, being intercepted, fell into the hands of Sir Henry Clinton. After the plan was changed, the royal commander was so much under the impression of the intelligence contained in the intercepted letter, that he believed every movement towards Virginia to be a feint, calculated to draw off his attention from the defence of New-York. Under the influence of this opinion he bent his whole force to strengthen that post, and suffered the French and American armies to pass him without any molestation. When the best opportunity of striking at them was elapsed, then for the first time he was brought to believe that the allies had fixed on Virginia, for the theatre of their combined operations. As truth may be made to answer the purposes of deception, so no feint of attacking New-York, could have been more successful than the real intention.
Aug. 24 1781In the latter end of August the American army began their march to Virginia, from the neighbourhood of  New-York. Gen. Washington had advanced as far as Chester, before he received the news of the arrival of the fleet, commanded by Monsr. de Grasse. The French troops marched at the same time, and for the same place. In the course of this summer they passed through all the extensive settlements which lie between Newport and York-Town. It seldom, if ever happened before, that an army led through a foreign country, at so great a distance from their own, among a people of different principles, customs, language, and religion, behaved with so much regularity. In their march to York-Town they had to pass through 500 miles of a country abounding in fruit, and at a time when the most delicious productions of nature, growing on and near the public highways, presented both opportunity and temptation to gratify their appetites. Yet so complete was their discipline, that in this long march, scarce an instance could be produced of a peach or an apple being taken, without the consent of the inhabitants.Sep. 14 Gen. Washington and Count Rochambeau reached Williamsburg on the 14th of September. They with Generals Chastelleux, Du Portail, and Knox proceeded to visit Count de Grasse on board his ship the Ville de Paris, and agreed on a plan of operations.
The Count afterwards wrote to Washington, that in case a British fleet appeared, “he conceived that he ought to go out and meet them at sea, instead of risquing an engagement in a confined situation.” This alarmed the General. He sent the Marquis de la Fayette, with a letter to dissuade him from the dangerous measure. This letter and the persuasions of the Marquis had the desired effect.
The combined forces proceeded on their way to York-town, partly by land, and partly down the Chesapeak. The whole, together with a body of Virginia militia, under the command of General Nelson, amounting in the aggregate to 12,000 men, rendezvoused at Williamsburg on the 25th of September, and in five days after, moved down to the investiture of York-town.1781 The French fleet at the same time moved to the mouth of York-river,  and took a position which was calculated to prevent lord Cornwallis, either from retreating, or receiving succour by water. Previously to the march from Williamsburg to York-town, Washington gave out in general orders as follows. “If the enemy should be tempted to meet the army on its march, the General particularly enjoins the troops to place their principal reliance on the bayonet, that they may prove the vanity of the boast, which the British make of their peculiar prowess, in deciding battles with that weapon.”
The combined army halted in the evening, about two miles from York-town, and lay on their arms all night. On the next day Colonel Scammell, an officer of uncommon merit, and of the most amiable manners, in approaching the outer works of the British, was mortally wounded and taken prisoner. About this time Earl Cornwallis received a letter from Sir Henry Clinton, announcing the arrival of Admiral Digby with three ships of the line from Europe, and the determination of the General and flag officers in New-York to embark 5000 men in a fleet, which would probably sail on the 5th of October—that this fleet consisted of 23 sail of the line, and that joint exertions of the navy and army would be made for his relief. On the night after the receipt of this intelligence, Earl Cornwallis quitted his outward position, and retired to one more inward.
The works erected for the security of York-town on the right, were redoubts and batteries, with a line of stockade in the rear. A marshy ravine lay in front of the right, over which was placed a large redoubt. The morass extended along the center, which was defended by a line of stockade, and by batteries: On the left of the center was a hornwork with a ditch, a row of fraize and an abbatis. Two redoubts were advanced before the left. The combined forces advanced and took possession of the ground from which the British had retired. About this time the legion cavalry and mounted infantry, passed over the river to Gloucester, General de Choisy invested the British post on that side so fully, as to cut off all communication between it and the country.1781 In the mean time the royal  army was straining every nerve to strengthen their works and their artillery was constantly employed in impeding the operations of the combined army. On the 9th and 10th of October, the French and Americans opened their batteries. They kept up a brisk and well directed fire from heavy cannon, from mortars and howitzers. The shells of the besiegers reached the ships in the harbour, the Charon of 44 guns and a transport ship were burned. On the 10th a messenger arrived with a dispatch from Sir Henry Clinton to Earl Cornwallis, dated on the 30th of September, which stated various circumstances tending to lessen the probability of relief being obtained, by a direct movement from New-York. Earl Cornwallis was at this juncture advised to evacuate York-town, and after passing over to Gloucester, to force his way into the country. Whether this movement would have been successful, no one can with certainty pronounce, but it could not have produced any consequences more injurious to the royal interest, than those which resulted from declining the attempt. On the other hand had this movement been made, and the royal army been defeated or captured in the interior country, and in the mean time had Sir Henry Clinton with the promised relief, reached York-town, the precipitancy of the noble Earl, would have been perhaps more the subject of censure, than his resolution of standing his ground and resisting to the last extremity.Oct. 11 From this uncertain ground of conjectures, I proceed to relate real events. The besiegers commenced their second parallel 200 yards from the works of the besieged. Two redoubts which were advanced on the left of the British, greatly impeded the progress of the combined armies. It was therefore proposed to carry them by storm. To excite a spirit of emulation, the reduction of the one was committed to the French, of the other to the Americans. The assailants marched to the assault with unloaded arms; having passed the abbatis and palisades, they attacked on all sides, and carried the redoubt in a few minutes with the loss of 8 killed and 28 wounded, Lieutenant Colonel Laurens personally took the commanding officer prisoner.1781 His humanity and  that of his associates, so overcame their resentments that they spared the British, though they were charged when they went to the assault, to remember New-London (the recent massacres at which place shall be hereafter related) and to retaliate by putting the men in the redoubt to the sword. Being asked why they had disobeyed orders by bringing them off as prisoners, they answered, “We could not put them to death, when they begged for their lives.” About five of the British were killed and the rest were captured. Colonel Hamilton who conducted the enterprise, in his report to the Marquis de la Fayette mentioned to the honour of his detachment, “that incapable of imitating examples of barbarity, and forgetting recent provocations, they spared every man who ceased to resist.”
The French were equally successful on their part. They carried the redoubt assigned to them with rapidity, but lost a considerable number of men. These two redoubts were included in the second parallel, and facilitated the subsequent operations of the besiegers. The British could not with propriety risque repeated sallies.Oct. 16 One was projected at this time consisting of 400 men, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Abercrombie. He proceeded so far as to force two redoubts, and to spike eleven pieces of cannon. Though the officers and soldiers displayed great bravery in this enterprise, yet their success produced no essential advantage. The cannon were soon unspiked and rendered fit for service.
By this time the batteries of the besiegers were covered with nearly a hundred pieces of heavy ordnance, and the works of the besieged were so damaged, that they could scarcely shew a single gun. Lord Cornwallis had now no hope left but from offering terms of capitulation or attempting an escape. He determined on the latter. This though less practicable than when first proposed, was not altogether hopeless. Boats were prepared to receive the troops in the night, and to transport them to Gloucester-Point. After one whole embarkation had crossed, a violent storm of wind and rain dispersed the boats employed on this business, and frustrated the whole scheme. The royal army, thus weakened by division, was exposed to increased danger.
 Orders were sent to those who had passed, to re-cross the river to York-Town. With the failure of this scheme the last hope of the British army expired. Longer resistance could answer no good purpose, and might occasion the loss of many valuable lives. Lord Cornwallis therefore wrote a letter to Gen. Washington, requesting a cessation of arms for 24 hours, and that commissioners might be appointed to digest terms of capitulation. It is remarkable while Lieut. Col. Laurens, the officer employed by Gen. Washington on this occasion, was drawing up these articles, that his father was closely confined in the tower of London, of which Earl Cornwallis was Constable. By this singular combination of circumstances, his lordship became a prisoner, to the son of his own prisoner.
Oct. 19The posts of York and Gloucester were surrendered by a capitulation, the principal articles of which were as follows: The troops to be prisoners of war to Congress, and the naval force to France. The officers to retain their side arms and private property of every kind; but all property, obviously belonging to the inhabitants of the United States, to be subject to be reclaimed. The soldiers to be kept in Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania, and to be supplied with the same rations, as are allowed to soldiers in the service of Congress. A proportion of the officers to march into the country with the prisoners; the rest to be allowed to proceed on parole to Europe, to New-York, or to any other American maritime post in possession of the British. The honor of marching out with colors flying, which had been refused to Gen. Lincoln on his giving up Charleston, was now refused to Earl Cornwallis; and General Lincoln was appointed to receive the submission of the royal army at York-Town, precisely in the same way his own had been conducted, about 18 months before. Lord Cornwallis endeavoured to obtain permission for the British and German troops to return to their respective countries, under no other restrictions than an engagement not to serve against France or America.1781 He also tried to obtain an indemnity for those of the inhabitants who had joined them; but he was obliged to recede from the former,  and also to consent that the loyalists in his camp should be given up, to the unconditional mercy of their countrymen. His lordship nevertheless obtained permission for the Bonetta sloop of war to pass unexamined to New-York. This gave an opportunity of screening such of them, as were most obnoxious to the Americans.
The regular troops of France and America, employed in this siege, consisted of about 7000 of the former, and 5500 of the latter; and they were assisted by about 4000 militia. On the part of the combined army about 300 were killed or wounded. On the part of the British about 500; and 70 were taken in the redoubts, which were carried by assault on the 14th of October. The troops of every kind that surrendered prisoners of war exceeded 7000 men, but so great was the number of sick and wounded, that there were only 3800 capable of bearing arms. The French and American engineers and artillery, merited and received the highest applause. Brigadiers General Du Portail and Knox were both promoted to the rank of Major Generals, on account of their meritorious services. Lieut. Col. Gorion and Captain Rochefontaine of the corps of engineers, respectively received brevets, the former to the rank of a Colonel, and the latter to the rank of a Major.
Congress honored Gen. Washington, Count de Rochambeau, Count de Grasse and the officers of the different corps, and the men under them, with thanks for their services in the reduction of lord Cornwallis. The whole project was conceived with profound wisdom, and the incidents of it had been combined with singular propriety. It is not therefore wonderful, that from the remarkable coincidence in all its parts, it was crowned with unvaried success.
A British fleet and an army of 7000 men, destined for the relief of lord Cornwallis, arrived off the Chesapeak on the 24th of October; but on receiving advice of his lordship’s surrender, they returned to Sandy-hook and New-York. Such was the fate of that General, from whose gallantry and previous successes the speedy  conquests of the southern States had been so confidently expected.1781 No event during the war bid fairer for oversetting the independence of at least a part of the confederacy, than his complete victory at Camden; but by the consequences of that action, his lordship became the occasion of rendering that a revolution, which from his previous success was in danger of terminating in a rebellion. The loss of his army may be considered as the closing scene of the continental war in North America.
The troops under the command of lord Cornwallis had spread waste and ruin over the face of all the country for four hundred miles on the sea coast, and for two hundred miles to the west-ward. Their marches from Charleston to Camden, from Camden to the river Dan, from the Dan through North-Carolina to Wilmington, from Wilmington to Petersburg, and from Petersburg through many parts of Virginia, till they finally settled in York-Town, made a route of more than eleven hundred miles. Every place through which they passed in these various marches, experienced the effects of their rapacity. Their numbers enabled them to go whithersoever they pleased, their rage for plunder disposed them to take whatever they had the means of removing, and their animosity to the Americans led them often to the wanton destruction of what they could neither use nor carry off. By their means thousands had been involved in distress. The reduction of such an army occasioned unusual transports of joy, in the breasts of the whole body of the people. Well authenticated testimony asserts that the nerves of some were so agitated, as to produce convulsions, and that at least one man expired under the tide of pleasure which flowed in upon him, when informed of his lordship’s surrender* . The people throughout the United States displayed a social triumph and exultation, which no private prosperity is ever able fully to inspire.1781 General Washington, on the day after the surrender, ordered “that those who were  under arrest should be pardoned and set at liberty.” His orders closed as follows, “divine service shall be performed to morrow in the different brigades and divisions. The commander in chief recommends, that all the troops that are not upon duty do assist at it with a serious deportment, and that sensibility of heart, which the recollection of the surprising and particular interposition of providence in our favour claims.”Sept. 6 Congress on receiving the official account of the great events, which had taken place at York-town, resolved to go in procession to church and return public thanks to Almighty God for the advantages they had gained. They also issued a proclamation for “religiously observing through the United States the 13th of December as a day of thanksgiving and prayer.” The singularly interesting event of captivating a second royal army, produced strong emotions, which broke out in all the variety of ways with which the most rapturous joy usually displays itself.
While the combined armies were advancing to the siege of York-town, an excursion was made from New-York, which was attended with no small loss to the Americans. Gen. Arnold who had lately returned from Virginia, was appointed to conduct an expedition, the object of which, was the town of New-London in his native country.Sept. 6 The troops employed therein, were landed in two detachments on each side of the harbour. The one was commanded by Lieut. Col. Eyre and the other by General Arnold. The latter met with little opposition, fort Trumbull and a redoubt which was intended to cover the harbour, not being tenable were evacuated, and the men crossed the river to fort Griswold on Groton hill. This was furiously attacked by Lieut. Col. Eyre: The garrison defended themselves with great resolution, but after a severe conflict of forty minutes, the fort was carried by the assailants. The Americans had not more than six or seven men killed, when the British carried their lines, but a severe execution took place afterwards, though resistance had ceased. An officer of the conquering troops enquired on his entering the fort who commanded. Col. Ledyard answered.  “I did, but you do now.” And presented him his sword.1781 The Col. was immediately run through the body and killed. Between 30 and 40 were wounded, and about 40 were carried off prisoners. On the side of the British 48 were killed and 145 wounded: Among the latter was Major Montgomery, and among the former was Colonel Eyre. About 15 vessels loaded with the effects of the inhabitants, retreated up the river, and four others remained in the harbour unhurt, but allexcepting these were burned by the communication of fire from the burning stores. Sixty dwelling houses and 84 stores were reduced to ashes[;] the loss which the Americans sustained by the destruction of naval stores, of provisions and merchandise, was immense. Gen. Arnold having completed the object of the expedition, returned in eight days to New-York. The Americans lost many valuable men, and much of their possessions by this incursion, but the cause for which they contended was uninjured. Expeditions which seemed to have no higher object than the destruction of property, alienated their affections still farther from British government. They were not so extensive as to answer the ends of conquest, and the momentary impression resulting from them, produced no lasting intimidation. On the other hand, they excited a spirit of revenge against the authors of such accumulated distresses.
The year 1781 terminated, in all parts of the United States, in favour of the Americans. It began with weakness in Carolina, mutiny in New-Jersey, and devastation in Virginia; nevertheless in its close, the British were confined to their strong holds in or near New-York, Charleston and Savannah, and their whole army in Virginia was captured. They in the course of the year had acquired much plunder by which individuals were enriched, but their nation was in no respect benefited. The whole campaign passed away on their part without one valuable conquest, or the acquisition of any post or place, from which higher purposes were answered, than destroying public stores or distressing individuals, and enriching the officers and privates of their army and navy.1781 The important services rendered by France to the Americans,  cemented the union of the two nations with additional ties. The orderly inoffensive behaviour of the French troops in the United States, contrasted with the havoc of property made by the British in their marches and excursions, was silently turning the current of popular esteem in favour of the former, and working a revolution in the minds of the inhabitants, greatly conducive to the establishment of that which had taken place in the government. The property of the inhabitants of Rhode-Island, received no damage of any account from the French troops, during their eleven months residence among them. The soldiers were rather a guard than a nuisance: The citizens met with no interruption when prosecuting their lawful business, either by night or day, and were treated with every mark of attention and respect. While the progress of the British army, in a circuitous march of 1100 miles from Charleston to Yorktown, was marked with rapine and desolation; the march of the French troops from Rhode-Island to the same place, a distance nearly equal in a right line, was productive of no inconvenience to the intermediate inhabitants. They were welcome guests wherever they came, for they took nothing by fraud or force, but punctually paid for all they wanted with hard money. In a contest where the good will of the people had so powerful an influence on its final issue, such opposite modes of conduct could not fail of producing their natural effects. The moderation and justice of the French, met with its reward in the general good will of the people, but the violence and rapine of the British, contributed among other things, to work the final overthrow of all their schemes in America.
1781On the last day of this year Henry Laurens was released from his long confinement in the tower of London.Dec. 31 He had been committed there, as already related, on the 6th of October 1780, “On suspicion of high treason,” after being examined in the presence of lord Stormont, lord George Germaine, lord Hillsborough, Mr. Chamberlain, Mr. Justice Addington, and others. The commitment was accompanied with a warrant to the Lieutenant  of the tower to receive and confine him. Their lordships orders were “To confine him a close prisoner: to be locked up every night; to be in the custody of two warders; not to suffer him to be out of their sight one moment, day nor night: to allow him no liberty of speaking to any person, nor to permit any person to speak to him; to deprive him of the use of pen and ink; to suffer no letter to be brought to him, nor any to go from him.” Mr. Laurens was then fifty five years old, and severely afflicted with the gout and other infirmities. In this situation he was conducted to apartments in the tower, and was shut up in two small rooms which together made about twenty feet square, with a warder for his constant companion, and a fixed bayonet under his window, without any friend to converse with and without any prospect or even the means of correspondence. Being debarred the use of pen and ink, he procured pencils, which proved an useful substitute. After a month’s confinement, he was permitted to walk out on limited ground, but a warder with a sword in his hand followed close behind. This indulgence was occasionally taken for about three weeks, when lord George Gordon, who was also a prisoner in the tower, unluckily met and asked Mr. Laurens to walk with him. Mr. Laurens declined the offer and instantly returned to his apartment. Governor Gore caught at this transgression of orders, and locked him up for 37 days, though the attending warder exculpated him from all blame. At the end of that time the Governor relented so far, as to permit his prisoner to walk on the parade before the door, but this honor, as coming from him, was refused. General Vernon, on hearing of what had passed, gave orders that Mr. Laurens should be permitted to walk out, and this exercise was in consequence thereof resumed, after an intermission of two months and a half.
1781Feb. 26About this time an old friend and mercantile correspondent, having solicited the Secretaries of State for Mr. Laurens’ enlargement on parole, and having offered his whole fortune as security for his good conduct, sent him the following message: “Their lordships say, if you will  point out any thing for the benefit of Great Britain, in the present dispute with the Colonies, you shall be enlarged.” This proposition filled him with indignation, and provoked a sharp reply, part of which was in the following words: “I perceive from the message you sent me, that if I were a rascal I might presently get out of the tower, but I am not. You have pledged your word and fortune for my integrity. I will never dishonour you nor myself. I can foresee what will come to pass, happen to me what may. I fear no possible consequences.”
Mar. 7The same friend soon after visited Mr. Laurens, and being left alone with him, addressed him as follows, “I converse with you this morning, not particularly as your friend, but as the friend of Great Britain. I have certain propositions to make, for obtaining your liberty, which I advise you should take time to consider.” Mr. Laurens desired to know what they were, and added “That an honest man required no time to give an answer, in a case where his honor was concerned;” [“]If,” said he, “the Secretaries of State will enlarge me upon parole, I will strictly conform to my engagement to do nothing directly or indirectly to the hurt of this kingdom. I will return to America, or remain in any part of England which may be assigned, and surrender myself when demanded.” It was answered “No, Sir, you must stay in London among your friends: The ministers will often have occasion to send for and consult you: You can write two or three lines to the ministers, and barely say you are sorry for what is past: A pardon will be granted: Every man has been wrong, at some time or other of his life, and should not be ashamed to acknowledge it.” Mr. Laurens replied “I will never subscribe to my own infamy, and to the dishonour of my children.” He was then told of long and painful confinement, and hints were thrown out of the possible consequences of his refusal: To which he replied “I am afraid of no consequences but such as would flow from dishonourable acts.”
Mar. 14 1781In about a week after this interview, Major General James Grant who had long been acquainted with Mr.  Laurens, and had served with him near twenty years before, on an expedition against the Cherokee Indians, visited him in the tower, and talked much of the inconveniences of his situation, and then addressed him thus, “Colonel Laurens, I have brought paper and pencil to take down any propositions you have to make to administration, and I will deliver them myself.” Mr. Laurens replied, “I have pencil and paper, but not one proposition, beyond repeating a request to be enlarged on parole. I had well weighed what consequences might follow before I entered into the present dispute. I took the path of justice and honour, and no personal evils can cause me to shrink.”
About this time Lieutenant Colonel John Laurens, the eldest son of Henry Laurens arrived in France, as the special minister of Congress. The father was requested to write to the son to withdraw himself from the court of France, and assurances were given that it would operate in his favour. To these requests he replied, “my son is of age, and has a will of his own; if I should write to him in the terms you request, it would have no effect: He would only conclude, that confinement and persuasion had softened me. I know him to be a man of honour: He loves me dearly, and would lay down his life to save mine; but I am sure he would not sacrifice his honour to save my life, and I applaud him.”
June 29Mr. Laurens penciled an address to the secretaries of State for the use of pen and ink, to draw a bill of exchange on a merchant in London who was in his debt, for money to answer his immediate exigencies, and to request that his youngest son might be permitted to visit him, for the purpose of concerting a plan for his farther education and conduct in life. This was delivered to their lordships; but they, though they had made no provision for the support of their prisoner, returned no answer. Mr. Laurens was thus left to languish in confinement under many infirmities, and without the means of applying his own resources on the spot, for his immediate support.
 As soon as Mr. Laurens had completed a year in the tower, he was called upon to pay £9 7∫ 10 sterling to the two warders for attending on him. To which he replied, “I was sent to the tower by the secretaries of State without money (for aught they knew)—their lordships have never supplied me with any thing—It is now upwards of three months since I informed their lordships that the fund I had hitherto subsisted upon was nearly exhausted, and prayed for leave to draw a bill on Mr. John Nutt, who was in my debt, which they have been pleased to refuse by the most grating of all denials a total silence, and now a demand is made for £9 7∫ 10. If their lordships will permit me to draw for money where it is due to me, I will continue to pay my own expences, but I will not pay the warders whom I never employed, and whose attendance I shall be glad to dispense with.”
Three weeks after, the secretaries of State consented that Mr. Laurens should have the use of pen and ink, for the purpose of drawing a bill of exchange, but they were taken away the moment that business was done.
About this time Henry Laurens jun. wrote an humble request to lord Hillsborough for permission to see his father, which his lordship refused to grant. He had at first been permitted to visit his father, and converse with him for a short time; but these interviews were no longer permitted. They nevertheless occasionally met on the lines and saluted each other, but durst not exchange a single word, lest it might occasion a second confinement, similar to that to which lord George Gordon had been accessary.
As the year 1781 drew near a close, Mr. Laurens’ sufferings in the tower became generally known, and excited compassion in his favour, and odium against the authors of his confinement. It had been also found by the inefficacy of many attempts, that no concessions could be obtained from him. It was therefore resolved to release him, but difficulties arose about the mode. Mr. Laurens would not consent to any act, which implied that he was a British subject, and he had been committed as such, on charge of high treason.1781 Ministers to extricate themselves  from this difficulty, at length proposed to take bail for his appearance at the court of King’s-Bench. When the words of the recognizance, “Our Sovereign Lord the King,” were read to Mr. Laurens, he replied in open court “Not my Sovereign,” and with this declaration he, with Mr. Oswald and Mr. Anderson as his securities, entered into an obligation for his appearance at the court of King’s-Bench the next Easter term, and for not departing thence without leave of the court. Thus ended a long and a painful farce. Mr. Laurens was immediately released. When the time of his appearance at court drew near, he was not only discharged from all obligations to attend, but was requested by lord Shelburne to go to the continent, in subserviency to a scheme for making peace with America. Mr. Laurens, startled at the idea of being released without any equivalent, as he had uniformly held himself to be a prisoner of war, replied that “He durst not accept himself as a gift, and that as Congress had once offered Lieut. Gen. Burgoyne for him, he had no doubt of their now giving Lieut. Gen. Earl Cornwallis for the same purpose.”
[*]This detail was furnished by Mr. Williamson, surgeon-general of the North-Carolina militia, who after the battle went into Camden with a flag.
[*]The door keeper of Congress an aged man died suddenly, immediately after hearing of the capture of lord Cornwallis’ army. This death was universally ascribed to a violent emotion of political joy.