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VOLUME II OF 1805 ED. CONT. - Mercy Otis Warren, History of the Rise, Progress, and Termination of the American Revolution vol. 2 
History of the Rise, Progress, and Termination of the American Revolution interspersed with Biographical, Political and Moral Observations, in Two Volumes, Foreword by Lester H. Cohen (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund 1994).
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C H A P T E R X V I I
Distressed Situation of the Army and the Country, from various Causes • General Gates sent to the Southward—Surprised and defeated at Camden by Lord Cornwallis—Superseded • General Greene appointed to the Command in the Carolinas • Major Ferguson’s Defeat • Sir Henry Clinton makes a Diversion in the Chesapeake, in favor of Lord Cornwallis • General Arnold sent there • His Defection and Character • Detection, Trial, and Death of Major Andre • Disposition of the Dutch Republic with regard to America • Governor Trumbull’s Character, and Correspondence with the Baron Van der Capellen • Mr. Laurens appointed to negociate with the Dutch Republic
chap. xvii The year one thousand seven hundred and eighty, was a year of incident, expectation, and event; a period pregnant with future consequences,1780 interesting in the highest degree to the political happiness of the nations, and perhaps ultimately to the civil institutions of a great part of mankind. We left England in the preceding chapter, in a very perturbed state, arising both from their own internal dissensions, and the dread of foreign combinations, relative to their own island and its former dependencies.
At the same time, neither the pen of the historian, or the imagination of the poet, can fully  describe the embarrassments suffered by congress, by the commander in chief, and by men of firmness and principle in the several legislative bodies, through this and the beginning of the next year. The scarcity of specie, the rapid depreciation of paper, which at once sunk the property and corrupted the morals of the people; which destroyed all confidence in public bodies, reduced the old army to the extremes of misery, and seemed to preclude all possibility of raising a new one, sufficient for all the departments; were evils, which neither the wisdom or vigilance of congress could remedy.
At such a crisis, more penetration and firmness, more judgment, impartiality, and moderation, were requisite in the commander in chief of the American armies, than usually fall within the compass of the genius or ability of man. In the neighbourhood of a potent army, general Washington had to guard with a very inadequate force, not only against the arms of his enemies, but the machinations of British emissaries, continually attempting to corrupt the fidelity both of his officers and his troops.
Perhaps no one but himself can describe the complicated sources of anxiety, that at this period pervaded the breast of the first military officer, whose honor, whose life, whose country, hung suspended, not on a single point only, but  on many events that quivered in the winds of fortune, chance, or the more uncertain determinations of men. Happy is it to reflect, that these are all under the destination of an unerring hand, that works in secret, ultimately to complete the beneficent designs of Providence.
Some extracts from his own pen, very naturally express the agitations of the mind of general Washington, in the preceding as well as the present year. In one of his letters to a friend* he observed,
Our conflict is not likely to cease so soon as every good man would wish. The measure of iniquity is not yet filled; and unless we can return a little more to first principles, and act a little more upon patriotic ground, I do not know when it will—or—what may be the issue of the contest. Speculation—peculation—engrossing—forestalling—with all their concomitants, afford too many melancholy proofs of the decay of public virtue; and too glaring instances of its being the interest and desire of too many, who would wish to be thought friends, to continue the war.
 Nothing, I am convinced, but the depreciation of our currency, proceeding in a great measure from the foregoing causes, aided by stock-jobbing and party dissensions, has fed the hopes of the enemy, and kept the arms of Britain in America until now. They do not scruple to declare this themselves; and add, that we shall be our own conquerors. Cannot our common country (America) possess virtue enough to disappoint them? With you, sir, I think, that the consideration of a little dirty pelf to individuals, is not to be placed in competition with the essential rights and liberties of the present generation, and of millions yet unborn.
Shall a few designing men, for their own aggrandizement, and to gratify their own avarice, overset the goodly fabric we have been rearing at the expense of so much time, blood, and treasure?—and shall we at last become the victims of our own abominable lust of gain?—Forbid it Heaven!—forbid it all, and every state in the union! by enacting and enforcing efficacious laws for checking the growth of these monstrous evils, and restoring matters in some degree, to the pristine state they were in at the commencement of the war.
Our cause is noble,—it is the cause of mankind; and the danger to it springs from ourselves.  Shall we slumber and sleep then, when we should be punishing those miscreants who have brought these troubles upon us, and who are aiming to continue us in them? while we should be striving to fill our battalions, and devising ways and means to appreciate the currency, on the credit of which every thing depends?—I hope not.
* * *
Let vigorous measures be adopted to punish speculators—forestallers—and extortioners;—and above all—to sink the money by heavy taxes—to promote public and private economy—encourage manufactures, &c.
Measures of this sort gone heartily into by the several states, will strike at once at the root of all our misfortunes, and give the coup de grace to British hope of subjugating this great continent, either by their arms or their arts. The first, as I have before observed, they acknowledge unequal to the task; the latter I am sure will be so, if we are not lost to every thing that is good and virtuous.
A little time now, must unfold in some degree, the enemy’s designs. Whether the state of affairs in Europe will permit them to augment their army, with more than recruits for the regiments now in America, and therewith attempt an active and vigorous campaign,—or whether with their Canadian  and Florida force, they will aid and abet the Indians in ravaging our western frontier, while their shipping with detachments harass, (and if they mean to prosecute the predatory war threatened by administration through their commissioners,) burn, and destroy our sea-coast,—or whether, contrary to expectation, they are more disposed to negociate than to either, is more than I can determine. The latter will depend very much on their apprehensions of Spain, and their own foreign alliances. At present, we seem to be in a chaos, but this cannot last long, as I presume the ultimate determinations of the British court will be developed at the meeting of parliament, after the holidays.
An extract of another letter from general Washington to the governor of Pennsylvania, dated August the twentieth, one thousand seven hundred and eighty, discovers the same anxiety for the fate of the contest, as the above. In this he said,
To me it will appear miraculous if our affairs can maintain themselves much longer, in their present train. If either the temper or the resources of the country will not admit of an alteration, we may soon expect to be reduced to the humiliating condition, of seeing the cause of America held up in America by foreign arms. The discontents of the troops have been gradually nurtured to a dangerous extremity. Something  satisfactory must be done, or the army must cease to exist at the end of the campaign; or it will exhibit an example of more virtue, fortitude, self-denial, and perseverance, than has perhaps ever been paralleled in the history of human enthusiasm.
While thus impressed with these apprehensions of the depreciation of public virtue, general Washington had to balance the parties, and to meliorate the distresses of the inhabitants, alternately ravaged by all descriptions of soldiers, in the vicinity of both armies. It was impossible for him to strike any capital blow, without money even for daily expenses, without a naval force sufficient to cover any exertions; his battalions incomplete, his army clamorous and discontented, and on the point of mutiny, from the deficiencies in their pay, and the immediate want of every necessary of life.
At the same time, the legislatures of the several states were in the utmost anxiety, to devise ways and means to supply the requisitions of congress, who had recently laid a tax of many millions on the states, in order to sink the enormous quantity of old paper money. The calls of an army, naked, hungry, and turbulent, even to the discovery of symptoms of revolt, were indeed alarming. The pressing necessities of the  army, and the critical exigencies of the times, crowded upon them in every department, and required the utmost wisdom, vigilance, and fortitude.
Nothing depictures the characters, the sentiments, and the feelings of men, more strongly than their private letters at the time. Perhaps this may be evinced, by giving the reader a paragraph of a letter from the speaker* of the house of representatives of Massachusetts, to a private friend, at this critical area of embarrassment and perplexity.
Our public affairs wear a most disagreeable aspect. Embarrassments increase from every quarter. My contemplations are engrossed by day and by night, for the salvation of my country. If we succeed, I shall have pleasure which a fortune cannot give; if we fail, I shall feel consolations that those who are intent only on making fortunes, must envy. In a country abounding with men and provisions, it would torture a Sully to raise and support an army in the field. Every thing is resolved into money: but the great question is, how to get it?—Taxes, though so great, and often repeated, do not bring it in fast enough; we cannot borrow, because no one will lend: while the army is in danger of  starving or disbanding. If we lay more taxes, the very people who have been used to tender the one half of their property, or even their all, for the service of their country, will now revolt at the idea of paying a two-hundredth part; and it might perhaps create uneasiness that might break the union. On the other hand, if we do not lay more taxes, for aught I see, there must be an end of the contest. All these difficulties are increased by the successes of the enemy, which clog our measures by dispiriting the army and the people. But I do not despair. One vigorous and grand campaign may yet put a glorious period to the war. All depends on proper exertions. We have to choose glory, honor, and happiness, or infamy, disgrace, and misery.
The complicated difficulties already depictured, clearly prove, that such a spirit of avarice and peculation had crept into the public departments, and taken deep hold of the majority of the people, as Americans a few years before, were thought incapable of. The careful observer of human conduct will readily perceive, that a variety of concurring causes led to this sudden change of character. The opulent, who had been used to ease, independence, and generosity, were reduced, dispirited, and deprived of the ability of rendering pecuniary service to their country, by the unavoidable failure of public faith. Great part of the fortunes of the  widow, the orphan, and the aged, were sunk in the public funds; so that the nominal income of a year, would scarcely supply the necessities of a day.
The depreciation of paper had been so rapid, that at this time, * one hundred and twenty dollars of the paper currency was not an equivalent to one in silver or gold: while at the same time, a sudden accumulation of property by privateering, by speculation, by accident, or fraud, placed many in the lap of affluence, who were without a principle, education, or family. These, from a thoughtless ignorance, and the novelty of splendor to which they had been total strangers, suddenly plunged into every kind of dissipation, and grafted the extravagancies and follies of foreigners, on their own passion for squandering what by them had been so easily acquired.
Thus, avarice without frugality, and profusion without taste, were indulged, and soon banished the simplicity and elegance that had formerly reigned: instead of which, there was spread in America among the rising generation, a thirst for the accumulation of wealth, unknown to their ancestors. A class who had not had the advantages of the best education, and who had paid little attention to the principles  of the revolution, took the lead in manners. Sanctioned by the breach of public faith, the private obligations of justice seemed to be little regarded, and the sacred idea of equity in private contracts was annihilated for a time, by the example of public deficiency.
The infantile state of government, the inexperience of its leaders, and the necessity of substituting a medium with only an imaginary value, brought an impeachment on congress, without voluntary deviations from probity, or willing breaches of faith. Perhaps nothing is more true, than an observation of a member of that body, that “the necessity of affairs had often obliged them to depart from the purity of their first principles.” The complaint that the foundation was corrupt, was artfully diffused: however that might be, the streams were undoubtedly tainted, and contamination, with few exceptions, seemed to run through the whole body of the people; and a declension of morals was equally rapid with the depreciation of their currency.
But a superintending Providence, that overrules the designs, and defeats the projects of men, remarkably upheld the spirit of the Americans; and caused events that had for a time a very unfavorable aspect, to operate in favor of independence and peace, and to make a new nation  of the recent emigrants from the old and proud empire of Britain.
But they had yet many difficulties to struggle with, which will be sufficiently evinced as we follow the route of the British army, and detail the transactions in the Carolinas. The embarrassments and distresses, the battles, skirmishes, and disappointments, the alternate successes and defeats, flight and pursuit, that took place between the contending parties there, must be more copiously related, previous to the manoeuvers through the state of Virginia, that led to the last capital stroke, which finished with glory and renown the grand contest between Great Britain and her colonies, and sealed the independence of America.
Indeed a considerable time had elapsed, before the distresses of the country; the situation of the army, naked, hungry, and clamorous; the pressing importunity of general Washington; the addresses and declarations of congress; and the remonstrances of the several legislative bodies, could arouse from the pursuit of private interest, those who thought themselves secure from immediate danger.
Though from many untoward circumstances, a cloud for a time had seemed to hover over the minds of many, the people again awaked, both from the dream of secure enjoyment in  some, and the dread apprehensions in others of falling under the British yoke. The patriotic exertions and unshaken firmness of the few in every state, again had their influence on the many, and all seemed ready to suffer any thing, but a subjugation to the crown of Britain.
Not the loss of Charleston, a captured army, the destruction of their marine, the sinking state of their medium, the internal ravages of their country, and their sea-coast blazing under the fire of their enemies, had the smallest tendency to bend the Americans to a dereliction of their claim to independence. A confidence in their own good fortune, or rather in that Providence, whose fiat points out the rise and marks the boundaries of empire, supported the more thoughtful; while a constitutional hardiness, warmed by enthusiasm, and whetted by innumerable and recent injuries, still buoyed up the hopes of the soldier, the statesman, the legislator, and the people at large, even in the darkest moments.
Immediately after the news reached congress, that general Lincoln had surrendered Charleston, and that himself and his army were prisoners to the British commander, the baron de Kalb, a brave and experienced Prussian officer, who had been some time in the American service, was ordered to Virginia, with sanguine  hopes of checking the further progress of the British arms. Though the baron de Kalb was an officer of great military merit, his command at the southward was only temporary.
General Gates, the successful conqueror in the northern, was vested with the chief command in the southern department. It was an appointment of great responsibility: this might be a reason, in addition to the great respect which this foreign nobleman had for general Gates, that led him to express in all his letters to his friends, the peculiar satisfaction he felt on his arrival to take the chief command. An officer of his name and experience, at once emboldened the friends of their country, and intimidated the wavering and disaffected. The renowned soldier who had captured one proud British general and his army, was at this time viewed with particular awe and respect by another.
Nor was it long before most of the British commanders were convinced of the delusory nature of those assurances they had received from the loyalists, that a general disgust to the authority of congress prevailed; that the defection, more particularly in North Carolina, was such, that the people were ready to renounce all American usurpations, as soon as the royal standard should be erected among them.  But experiment soon convinced them of the futility of such expectations.
The baron de Kalb had been sent on earlier from head-quarters: he had with him a detachment of fourteen hundred men. He stayed only a few weeks in Virginia, and moved from thence to Carolina, where he soon after met general Gates. After the junction of general Gates and the baron de Kalb, they, with unexampled patience and fatigue, marched an army of several thousand men through a barren country, that afforded no subsistence except green fruits, and other unwholesome aliments. They reached the borders of South Carolina, and encamped at Clermont the thirteenth of August.
On his arrival in the vicinity of the British headquarters, general Gates published a proclamation, inviting the patriotic inhabitants of South Carolina, “to join heartily in rescuing themselves and their country, from the oppression of a government imposed on them by the ruffian hand of power.” In this proclamation he promised forgiveness and perfect security, to such of the unfortunate citizens of the state, as had been induced by the terror of sanguinary punishments, and the arbitrary measures of military domination, apparently to acquiesce under the British government.
 He observed,
that they had been obliged 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: that they might rest satisfied, that the genuine motive which has given energy to the present exertions, is the hope of rescuing them from the iron rod of oppression, and restoring to them those blessings of freedom and independence, which it is the duty and interest of the citizens of these United States, jointly and reciprocally to support and confirm.
The situation of general Gates at Clermont was not very advantageous, but his design was not to continue long there, but by a sudden move to fall unexpectedly on lord Rawdon, who had fixed his headquarters at Camden. This place was about thirteen miles distant from Clermont, on the borders of the river Santee, from whence the communication was easy to the internal parts of the country.
Lord Cornwallis had gained early intelligence of the movements of the American army, and had arrived at Camden himself, with a similar design, by an unexpected blow, to surprise general Gates and defeat his arrangements. His lordship effected his purpose with a facility beyond his own expectations. The two armies  met in the night of the fifteenth of August, one thousand seven hundred and eighty. Mutually surprised by the sudden necessity of action, a loose skirmish was kept up until the morning, when a general engagement commenced.
The British troops were not equal in numbers to those of the Americans, including the militia, while the renowned character of general Gates heightened the ideas of their strength. But the onset on both sides began with equal spirit and bravery, and was continued with valor equally honorary to both parties, until the militia intimidated, particularly those from Virginia and North Carolina, gave ground, threw down their arms, and fled with great precipitation. The order of the army was immediately broken, and fortune no longer favorable, forsook the American veteran, at the moment his reputation courted, and depended on her smiles. His troops were totally routed, and the general himself fled, rather than retreated, in a manner that was thought for a time, in some measure to sully the laurels of Saratoga.
The baron de Kalb, an officer of great military talents and reputation, was mortally wounded in this action. He died rejoicing in the services he had rendered America in her noble struggles for liberty, and gloried with his  last breath, in the honor of dying in defence of the rights of man. Before his death he dictated a letter to a friend, expressive of the warmest affection for the Americans, containing the highest encomiums on the valor of the continental troops, of which he had been so recent a witness, and declaring the satisfaction which he then felt, in having been a partaker of their fortune, and having fallen in their cause. *
The proportion of slain among the Americans, was much greater than that of the British. Brigadier general Gregory was killed, with several other brave officers: Rutherford and others were wounded and captured. The total rout of the Americans was completed, by the pursuit and destruction of a corps at some distance from the scene of the late action, commanded by colonel Sumpter. He was advancing with a strong body to the aid of general Gates, but meeting the news of his defeat, he endeavoured to retreat, and being unfortunately overtaken by colonel Tarleton, his whole party was dispersed or cut off.
 Censure for a time fell very heavily on general Gates, for the precipitation and distance of his retreat. He scarcely halted until he reached Hillsborough, an hundred miles from the field of battle. Yet neither the courage nor the fidelity of the bold and long-tried veteran could be called in question: the strongest human fortitude has frequently suffered a momentary eclipse from that panic-struck influence, under which the mind of man sometimes unaccountably falls, when there is no real or obvious cause of despair. This has been exemplified in the greatest military characters; the duke of Parma* and others; and even the celebrated royal hero of Prussia has retreated before them as in a fright, but recovered himself, defied and conquered his enemies.
General Gates, though he had lost the day in the unfortunate action at Camden, lost no part of his courage, vigilance, or firmness. After he reached Hillsborough, he made several efforts to collect a force sufficient again to meet lord Cornwallis in the field: but the public opinion bore hard upon his reputation: he was immediately superseded, and a court-martial appointed to inquire into his conduct. He was indeed  fully justified by the result of this military investigation, and treated with the utmost respect by the army, and by the inhabitants on his return to Virginia. Yet the tide of fame ebbed fast before him: but the impression made by his valor and military glory could never be erased.
The most exalted minds may, however, be clouded by misfortunes. Chagrined by his defeat, and the consequences attending it, the climax of his affliction was completed by the death of an amiable wife, and the loss of his only son, a very hopeful youth, who died about the same time. This honest republican, whose determined spirit, uncorruptible integrity, and military merits, had been so eminently useful to America in many critical emergencies, retired to Traveller’s Rest, his seat in Virginia, where he continued until the temporary prejudice against him had subsided, when he again resumed his rank in the army.
After a little time had dissipated the sudden impression made by his ill success and retreat, it was allowed by almost every one, that general Gates was not treated by congress with all  the delicacy, or indeed gratitude, that was due to an officer of his acknowledged merit. He however received the orders for supersedure and suspension, and resigned the command to general Greene with becoming dignity.
With a generosity and candor characteristic of himself, general Greene, who succeeded in the southern command, on all occasions vindicated the reputation of general Gates, who was fully restored to the good opinion of his countrymen; and continued to act an honorable part till the conclusion of the war. General Greene invariably asserted, that if there was any mistake in the conduct of Gates, it was in hazarding an action at all against such superior forces, not in his retreating after the battle was irretrievably lost. There was a large class, who from various motives, after the misfortunes of general Gates, endeavoured to vilify his name, and detract from his character.
It may be observed in this, as in innumerable instances in the life of man, that virtue and talents do not always hold their rank in the public esteem. Malice, intrigue, envy, and other adventitious circumstances, frequently cast a shade over the most meritorious characters; and fortune, more than real worth, not seldom establishes the reputation of her favorites, in the opinion of the undiscerning multitude and hands them down to posterity with laurels on their brow, which perhaps they never earned,  while characters of more intrinsic excellence, are vilified or forgotten. General Gates however, had the consolation at all times to reflect on the just and universal plaudits he received, for the glorious termination of his northern campaign, and the many advantages which accrued to America, from the complete conquest of such a formidable body of her foes.
Lord Cornwallis did not reap all the advantages he had expected from his victory at Camden. His severity did not aid his designs, though he sanctioned by proclamations the most summary executions of the unhappy sufferers, who had by compulsion borne arms in the British service, and were afterwards found enlisted under the banners of their country, in opposition to royal authority. Many of this description suffered immediate death, in consequence of the order of the commander in chief, while their houses were burned, and their families obliged to fly naked to the wilderness to seek some miserable shelter. Indeed little less severity could have been expected, from circumstances not favorable to the character of a British nobleman.
Whether stimulated by resentment, aroused by fear, or prompted by a wish to depopulate a country they despaired of conquering, is uncertain; it is true, however, that some of the British commanders when coming to action, observed in general orders, that they wanted no  prisoners: and it was said, that even lord Cornwallis had sometimes given the same cruel intimation, to troops too much disposed to barbarity, without the countenance of their superiors. The outrages of Tarleton and other British partisans, who cruelly and successfully ravaged the Carolinas, exemplified in too many instances, that the account of this disposition is not exaggerated. Their licentiousness was for several weeks indulged, without any check to their wanton barbarities. But the people daily more and more alienated from the royal cause, by a series of unthought of miseries, inflicted and suffered in consequence of its success; the inhabitants of the state of North Carolina, as well as of South Carolina and Georgia, and indeed the settlers on the more distant borders, were, in a few weeks after the battle of Camden, every where in motion, to stop the progress of British depredation and power. For a time these fierce people were without connected system, regular discipline or subordination, and had scarcely any knowledge of each other’s designs. Small parties collected under any officer who had the courage to lead them on, and many such they found, ready to sacrifice every thing to the liberty they had enjoyed, and that independence they wished to maintain.
From the desultory movements of the British after the battle of Camden, and the continual  resistance and unceasing activity of the Americans, attack and defeat, surprise and escape, plunder, burning, and devastation, pervaded the whole country, when the aged, the helpless, the women, and the children, alternately fell the prey of opposite partisans. But the defeat of major Ferguson, a brave and favorite officer, early in autumn, was a blow that discovered at once the spirit of the people, and opened to lord Cornwallis the general disaffection of that part of the country, where he had been led to place the most confidence.
Major Ferguson had for several weeks taken post in Tryon county, not far distant from the western mountains. He had there collected a body of royalists, who united with his regular detachments, spread terror and dismay through all the adjacent country. This aroused to action all who were capable of bearing arms, in opposition to his designs. A body of militia collected in and about the highlands of North Carolina: a party of Hunter’s riflemen, a number of the steady yeomanry of the country, in short, a numerous and resolute band, in defiance of danger and fatigue, determined to drive him from his strong position on a spot called King’s Mountain. Under various commanders who had little knowledge of each other, they seemed all to unite in the design of hunting down this useful prop of British authority, in that part of the country.
 These hardy partisans effected their purpose; and though the British commander exhibited the valor of a brave and magnanimous officer, and his troops acquitted themselves with vigor and spirit, the Americans, who in great numbers surrounded them, won the day. Major Ferguson, with an hundred and fifty of his men, fell in the action, and seven hundred were made prisoners, from whom were selected a few, who, from motives of public zeal or private revenge, were immediately executed. This summary infliction was imposed by order of some of those fierce and uncivilized chieftains, who had spent most of their lives in the mountains and forests, amidst the slaughter of wild animals, which was necessary to their daily subsistence.
Perhaps the local situation of the huntsman or savage, may lessen their horror at the sight of blood, where streams are continually pouring down before them, from the gasping victim slain by their own hands; and this may lead them, with fewer marks of compassion to immolate their own species, when either interest or resentment stimulates. In addition to this, all compassionate sensations might be totally deadened by the example of the British, who seemed to estimate the life of a man, on the same grade with that of the animal of the forest.
 The order for executing ten of the prisoners* immediately on their capture, was directed, as previously threatened, by a colonel Cleveland, who with Williams, Sevier, Shelby, and Campbell, were the principal officers who formed and conducted the enterprise against Ferguson.
After this victory, most of the adherents to the royal cause in the interior parts of the Carolinas, either changed sides or sunk into obscurity. Lord Cornwallis himself, in a letter to sir Henry Clinton about this time, complained, that
it was in the militia of the northern frontier alone, that he could place the smallest dependence; and that they were so totally dispirited by Ferguson’s defeat, that in the whole district he could not assemble an hundred men, and even in them he could not now place the smallest confidence.†
 There had been repeated assurances given by the loyalists in North Carolina, that their numbers and their zeal would facilitate the restoration of his majesty’s government in that province; but it appears by many circumstances, that these promises were considered as very futile, in the opinion of several of the principal officers of the British army, as well as to the chief commander.
Soon after the affair with Ferguson, lord Cornwallis’s health was so far impaired, that he directed lord Rawdon to make communications to sir Henry Clinton, and to give him a full statement of the perplexed and perilous situation of his majesty’s forces in the Carolinas. After stating many circumstances of the deception of the loyalists, the difficulty of obtaining subsistence in such a barren country, and other particulars of their situation, lord Rawdon observed in his letter to general Clinton, that they were greatly surprised that no information had been given them of the advance of general Gates’s army; and “no less grieved, that no information whatever of its movements, was conveyed to us by persons so deeply interested in the event, as the North Carolina loyalists.”
After the defeat of general Gates, and the dispersion of his army, the loyalists were informed, that the moment had arrived when they  ought immediately to stand forth, and
exert themselves to prevent the re-union of the scattered enemy. Instant support was in that case promised them. Not a single man however, attempted to improve the favorable opportunity, or obeyed that summons for which they had before been so impatient. It was hoped that our approach might get the better of their timidity: yet, during a long period, whilst we were waiting at Charlotteburgh for our stores and convalescents, they did not even furnish us with the least information respecting the force collecting against us. In short, sir, we may have a powerful body of friends in North Carolina, and indeed we have cause to be convinced, that many of the inhabitants wish well to his majesty’s arms; but they have not given evidence enough, either of their numbers or their activity, to justify the stake of this province, for the uncertain advantages that might attend immediate junction with them. There is reason to believe, that such must have been the risk.
Whilst this army lay at Charlotteburgh, Georgetown was taken from the militia by the rebels; and the whole country to the east of the Santee, gave such proofs of general defection, that even the militia of the High Hills could not be prevailed upon to join a party of troops, who were sent to protect the boats upon the river. The defeat of major Ferguson  had so far dispirited this part of the country, and indeed the loyal subjects were so wearied by the long continuance of the campaign, that lieutenant colonel Cruger (commanding at Ninety-Six) sent information to earl Cornwallis, that the whole district had determined to submit, as soon as the rebels should enter it.*
While lord Cornwallis lay ill of a fever, lord Rawdon wrote to major general Leslie, in terms of disappointment and despondence. He observed,
that events had unfortunately taken place very different from expectation: that the first rumor of an advancing army under general Gates, had unveiled a spirit of disaffection, of which they could have formed no idea; and even the dispersion of that force did not extinguish the ferment which the hope of its support had raised. This hour, the majority of the inhabitants of that tract between the Pedee and the Santee, are in arms against us; and when we last heard from Charleston, they were in possession of Georgetown, from which they had dislodged our militia.†
 While lord Cornwallis was thus embarrassed and disappointed by various unsuccessful attempts, and the defeat of many of his military operations in the Carolinas this year, sir Henry Clinton made a diversion in the Chesapeake, in favor of his lordship’s designs. A body of about three thousand men was sent on, under the command of general Leslie. He was under the orders of lord Cornwallis; but not hearing from his lordship for some time after his arrival, he was totally at a loss in what manner to proceed. But some time in the month of October, he received letters from lord Cornwallis, directing him to repair with all possible expedition to Charleston, to assist with all his forces in the complete subjugation of the Carolinas.
Sir Henry Clinton, from an idea that Cornwallis’s prime object was the reduction of the Carolinas, and sensible of the necessity, at the same time, of solid operations in Virginia, paid all proper attention to the expedition into the Chesapeake. After general Leslie, in obedience to the orders of lord Cornwallis, had marched to the southward, the command of the armament in Virginia was given to general Arnold, who now acted under the orders of sir Henry Clinton. In consequence of his defection, he had been advanced to the rank of a brigadier general in the British army.
 General Arnold had recently deserted the American cause, sold himself to the enemies of his country, and engaged in their service. He was a man without principle from the beginning; and before his defection was discovered, he had sunk a character raised by impetuous valor, and some occasional strokes of bravery, attended with success, without being the possessor of any intrinsic merit.
He had accumulated a fortune by great crimes, and squandered it without reputation, long before he formed the plan to betray his country, and sacrifice a cause disgraced by the appointment of a man like himself, to such important trusts. Proud of the trappings of office, and ambitious of an ostentatious display of wealth and greatness, (the certain mark of a narrow mind,) he had wasted the plunder acquired at Montreal, where his conduct had been remarkably reprehensible; and had dissipated the rich harvest of peculation he had reaped at Philadelphia, where his rapacity had no bounds.
Montreal he had plundered in haste; but in Philadelphia, he sat himself down deliberately to seize every thing he could lay hands on in the city, to which he could affix an idea that it had been the property of the disaffected party,  and converted it to his own use.* Not satisfied with the unjust accumulation of wealth, he had entered into contracts for speculating and privateering, and at the same time made exorbitant demands on congress, in compensation of public services. In the one he was disappointed by the common failure of such adventures; in the other he was rebuffed and mortified by the commissioners appointed to examine his accounts, who curtailed a great part of his demands as unjust, unfounded, and for which he deserved severe reprehension, instead of a liquidation of the accounts he had exhibited.
Involved by extravagance, and reproached by his creditors, his resentment wrought him up to a determination of revenge for public ignominy, at the expense of his country, and the sacrifice of the small remains of reputation left, after the perpetration of so many crimes.
The command of the very important post at West Point, was vested in general Arnold. No one suspected, notwithstanding the censures which had fallen upon him, that he had a heart base enough treacherously to betray his military trust. Who made the first advances to negociation  is uncertain; but it appeared on a scrutiny, that Arnold had made overtures to general Clinton, characteristic of his own turpitude, and not very honorary to the British commander, if viewed abstractedly from the usages of war, which too frequently sanctions the blackest crimes, and enters into stipulations to justify the treason, while generosity despises the traitor, and revolts at the villany of the patricide. Thus his treacherous proposals were listened to, and sir Henry Clinton authorised major Andre, his adjutant general, a young gentleman of great integrity and worth, to hold a personal and secret conference with the guilty Arnold.
A British sloop of war had been stationed for some time, at a convenient place to facilitate the design: it was also said, that Andre and Arnold had kept up a friendly correspondence on some trivial matters, previous to their personal interview, which took place on the twenty-first of September, one thousand seven hundred and eighty. Major Andre was landed in the night, on a beach without the military boundaries of either army. He there met Arnold, who communicated to him the state of the army and garrison at West Point, the number of men considered as necessary for its defence, a return of the ordnance, and the disposition of the artillery corps in case of an attack or alarm. The accounts he gave in writing, with drafts of all the works. These papers  were afterwards found in the boot of the unfortunate Andre.
The conference continued so long, that it did not finish timely for the safe retreat of major Andre. He was conducted, though without his knowledge or consent, within the American posts, where he was obliged to conceal himself in company with Arnold, until the ensuing morning. It was then found impracticable for Clinton’s agent to make his escape by the way he had advanced. The Vulture sloop of war, from whence he had been landed, had shifted her station while he was on shore, and lay so much exposed to the fire of the Americans, that the boatmen whom Arnold had bribed to bring his new friend to the conference, refused to venture a second time on board. This circumstance rendered it impossible for major Andre to return to New York by water; he was therefore impelled, by the advice of Arnold, to a circuitous route, as the only alternative to escape the danger into which he was indiscreetly betrayed.
Thus was this young officer, whose former character undoubtedly rendered him worthy of a better fate, reduced to the necessity of hurrying as a disguised criminal, through the posts of his enemies, in fallacious hopes of again recovering the camp of his friends. In this painful state of mind, he had nearly reached the  British, when he was suddenly arrested within the American lines, by three private soldiers. His reflections may be more easily imagined than described—taken in the night, detected in a disguised habit, under a fictitious name, with a plan of the works at West Point, the situation, the numbers, and the strength of the American army, with a pass under the hand of general Arnold in his pocket-book.
He urged for a few moments, the man who first seized his horse’s bridle, to let him pass on; told him that his name was John Anderson; that his business was important; and that he could not be detained: but two other soldiers coming up, and in a peremptory manner saluting him as their prisoner, after challenging him as a spy, he attempted no farther equivocation, but presented a purse of gold, an elegant watch, and offered other very tempting rewards, if he might be permitted to pass unmolested to New York. Generously rejecting all pecuniary rewards, the disinterested privates who seized the unfortunate Andre, had the fidelity to convey their prisoner as speedily as possible, to the head-quarters of the American army.
Such instances of fidelity, and such contempt for private interest, when united with duty and obligation to the public, are so rare among the common classes of mankind, that the names of  John Paulding, David Williams, and Isaac Vanvert,* ought never to be forgotten. General Washington immediately informed congress of the whole business, and appointed a court-martial, consisting of the principal officers of the army, to inquire into the circumstances and criminality of this interesting affair.
The day after major Andre was taken, he wrote to general Washington with a frankness becoming a gentleman, and a man of honor and principle. He observed, that what he had as yet said of himself, was in the justifiable attempt to extricate him from threatened danger; but that, too little accustomed to duplicity, he had not succeeded. He intimated, that the temper of his mind was equal; and that no apprehensions of personal safety had induced him to address the commander in chief; but that it was to secure himself from the imputation of having assumed a mean character, for treacherous purposes or self-interest, a conduct which he declared incompatible with the principles which had ever actuated him, as well as with his condition in former life.
In this letter he added:—“It is to vindicate my fame that I speak; not to solicit security. The person in your possession, is major John  Andre, adjutant general to the British army.” He then detailed the whole transaction, from his going up the Hudson in the Vulture sloop of war, until seized at Tarry-town, without his uniform, and, as himself expressed, “betrayed into the vile condition of an enemy within your posts.” He requested his excellency that he might be treated as a man of honor; and urged, that
in any rigor policy might dictate, I pray that a decency of conduct towards me may mark, that though unfortunate, I am branded with nothing dishonorable, as no motive could be mine, but the service of my king; and that I was involuntarily an impostor.
After a thorough investigation, the result of the trial of major Andre, was an unanimous opinion of the court-martial, that his accusation was just. They reported,
that major Andre, adjutant general to the British army, ought to be considered as a spy from the enemy: that he came on shore from the Vulture sloop of war, in the night of the twenty-first of September, on an interview with general Arnold, in a private and secret manner; that he changed his dress within our lines, and under a feigned name, and in a disguised habit, passed our works at Stoney and Verplank’s Points; that he was taken in a disguised habit on his way to New York; that he had in his possession several papers, which  contained intelligence for the enemy; and that agreeable to the laws and usages of nations, it is their opinion he ought to suffer death.*
Great interest was made in favor of this young gentleman, whose life had been unimpeached, and whose character promised a distinguished rank in society, both as a man of letters and a soldier. He was elegant in person, amiable in manners, polite, sensible, and brave: but from a misguided zeal for the service of his king, he descended to an assumed and disgraceful character; and by accident and mistake in himself, and the indiscretion and baseness of his untried friend, he found himself ranked with a class held infamous among all civilized nations.
The character of a spy has ever been held mean and disgraceful by all classes of men: yet the most celebrated commanders of all nations, have frequently employed some of their bravest and most confidential officers to wear a guise, in which if detected, they are at once subjected to infamy and to the halter. Doubtless, the generals Clinton and Washington were equally culpable, in selecting an Andre and a Hale to hazard all the hopes of youth and talents, on  the precarious die of executing with success, a business to which so much deception and baseness is attached.
But the fate of Andre was lamented by the enemies of his nation: his sufferings were soothed by the politeness and generosity of the commander in chief, and the officers of the American army. The gloom of imprisonment was cheered in part, and the terrors of death mitigated, by the friendly intercourse and converse of benevolent minds; and the tear of compassion was drawn from every pitying eye, that beheld this accomplished youth a victim to the usages of war. While the unfortunate Hale, detected in the effort of gaining intelligence of the designs of the enemies of his country, in the same clandestine manner, had been hanged in the city of New York, without a day lent to pause on the awful transition from time to eternity.*
This event took place soon after the action on Long Island. The dilemma to which he was reduced, and the situation of his army, rendered it expedient for general Washington to endeavour to gain some intelligence of the designs,  and subsequent operations of sir William Howe, and the army under his command. This being intimated by colonel Smallwood to captain Hale, a young gentleman of unimpeachable character and rising hopes, he generously offered to risk his life for the service of his country, in the perilous experiment. He ventured into the city, was detected, and with the same frankness and liberality of mind that marked the character of Andre, acknowledged that he was employed in a business that could not be forgiven by his enemies; and, without the smallest trait of compassion from any one, he was cruelly insulted, and executed with disgraceful rigor. Nor was he permitted to bid a melancholy adieu to his friends, by conveying letters to inform them of the fatal catastrophe, that prematurely robbed them of a beloved son.
The lives of two such valuable young officers, thus cut off in the morning of expectation, were similar in every thing but the treatment they received from the hands of their enemies. The reader will draw the parallel, or the contrast, between the conduct of the British and the Americans, on an occasion that demanded equal humanity and tenderness from every beholder, and make his own comment.
A personal interview, at the request of sir Henry Clinton, took place between the generals Robertson and Greene; and every thing in the  power of ingenuity, humanity, or affection, was proposed by general Robertson to prevent the fate of the unhappy Andre. It was urged that he went from the Vulture under the sanction of a flag; and that general Arnold had, as he had a right to do, admitted him within the American lines. But major Andre had too much sincerity to make use of any subterfuge not founded in truth: in the course of his examination, he with the utmost candor acknowledged, that “it was impossible for him to suppose he came on shore under the sanction of a flag.”
The propriety and dignity with which he had written to general Washington, on his first becoming a prisoner; acknowledgment of his rank and condition in life, the manner of his detection, the accident of his being betrayed within the American posts; and indeed such was his whole deportment, that the feelings of humanity forbade a wish for the operation of the rigorous maxims of war.
It was thought necessary, that he should be adjudged the victim of policy; but resentment towards him was never harbored in any bosom. He gratefully acknowledged the kindness and civilities he received from the American officers; but he wished some amelioration of some part of his sentence; his sensibility was wounded by the manner in which he was doomed to die.
 He wrote general Washington the day before his execution, that
Buoyed above the terror of death, by the consciousness of a life devoted to honorable pursuits, stained with no action that can give me remorse, I trust that the request I make to your excellency at this severe period, and which is to soften my last moments, will not be rejected.
Sympathy towards a soldier, will surely induce you to adapt the mode of my death to the feelings of a man of honor.
Let me hope, sir, that if aught in my character impresses you with esteem towards me; if aught in my misfortunes marks me the victim of policy, not of resentment; I shall experience the operation of those feelings in your breast, by being informed, I am not to die on a gibbet.
This his last and pathetic request, to die as a soldier and a man of honor, not as a criminal, the severity of military rules pronounced inadmissible, and this gallant and amiable young officer fell as a traitor, amidst the armies of America, but without a personal enemy: every tongue acceded to the justice of his sentence, yet every eye dropped a tear at the necessity of its execution. Many persons, from the impulse of humanity, thought that general Washington might, consistently with his character as  a soldier and a patriot, have meliorated the sentence of death so far, as to have saved, at his own earnest request, this amiable young man from the ignominy of a gallows, by permitting him to die in a mode more consonant to the ideas of the brave, the honorable, and the virtuous.
When general Arnold was first apprised of the detection of major Andre, and that he was conducted to head-quarters, he was struck with astonishment and terror, and in the agitation and agonies of a mad man, he called for a horse, mounted instantly, and rode down a craggy steep, never before explored on horseback. He took a barge, and under a flag he passed Verplank’s Point, and soon found himself safe beneath the guns of the Vulture sloop of war. Before he took leave of the bargemen, he made them very generous offers if they would act as dishonorably as he had done: he promised them higher and better wages, if they would desert their country and enlist in the service of Britain; but they spurned at the offer, and were permitted to return. Perhaps, had these American watermen been apprised of the full extent of Arnold’s criminality, they would have acted with as much resolution as the trio who seized major Andre, and have secured Arnold, when he might have suffered the punishment he deserved.
 After Arnold had got safe to New York, he wrote to general Washington in behalf of his wife; endeavoured to justify his own conduct, and his appointment and conference with Andre; claimed his right to send a flag to the enemy for any purposes he might think proper, while he held a respectable command in the American army; and urged the release of major Andre with art, insolence, and address. He did not stop here, but on the seventh of October, five days after the execution of Andre, he sent out an address to the people of America, fabricated under the auspices of his new masters, and couched in very insolent and overbearing language. He cast many indecent reflections on congress, on his countrymen, on the French nation, and on the alliance between America and France.
Soon after his arrival in New York, he received the price of his fidelity, ten thousand pounds sterling, in cash,—and of his honor, in a new commission under the crown of Great Britain.
The generals Clinton and Robertson did every thing to save the life of their favorite Andre, except delivering up the traitor Arnold. To this exchange, general Washington would readily have acceded; but a proposal of this nature could not be admitted; for, however beloved or esteemed the individual may be, personal  regards must yield to political exigencies. Thus while the accomplished Andre was permitted to die by the hand of the common executioner, the infamous Arnold was caressed, rewarded, and promoted to high rank in the British army.
The American government was not remiss in all proper encouragement to signal instances of faithful attachment to the interest and service of their country. Congress ordered, that the three private soldiers who had rejected the offers of Andre on his detection, should each of them be presented with a silver medal, two hundred dollars annually during life, and the thanks of congress, acknowledging the high sense they retained of the virtuous conduct of Paulding, Williams, and Vanvert.
Sir Henry Clinton had so high an opinion of general Arnold’s military abilities, and placed such entire confidence in this infamous traitor to his country, that he vested him with commands of high trust and importance; and for a time placed his sole dependence on him for the ravage of the borders of Virginia. He had now the sole command in the Chesapeake; and by his rapacity he was qualified to surprise and plunder: his talents for prosecuting hostilities by unexpected attack and massacre, were well known in both armies. But affairs in Virginia beginning to wear a more serious aspect, general  Clinton thought it not proper to leave general Arnold to his own discretion for any length of time, without the support and assistance of officers of more respectable character, who we shall see were appointed, and sent forward the beginning of the next year.
We leave the operations of the British commanders in their several departments, for the present, and again advert to some interesting circumstances, and new disappointments, that took place towards the close of the present year, and filled the mind of every true American with the utmost concern. There had yet been no treaty or public stipulations between the United States and any foreign nation, except France; but circumstances had been ripening to bring forward immediate negociations with the Dutch republic.
Holland was at this period in a more delicate situation than almost any other European power. Great Britain claimed her as an ally, and held up the obligations of patronage and protection in strong language: but the nature of the dispute between Great Britain and her transatlantic domains, as well as the commercial views of the Belgian provinces, interested the merchants, the burgomasters, and the pensioners of Holland, in favor of America; while the partiality of the stadtholder, his family, and the court connexions, were altogether British; or at  least, the motives of interest, affection, or fear, held them up in that light.
In the intermediate time, the clandestine assistance given by the Dutch merchants was very advantageous to America; and the private encouragement of some of the magistrates of the United Netherlands, that a treaty of alliance and the strictest amity might in time be accomplished between the two republics, heightened the expectations of the American congress. None of the principal characters among the Batavians, were more zealously interested in the success of the American struggle for independence, than Robert Jasper Van der Capellen, lord of Marsch.
This worthy Dutchman, as early as the seventh of December, one thousand seven hundred and seventy-eight, had solicited a correspondence with several of the most prominent characters in America. A more correct and judicious correspondent he could not have selected, than governor Trumbull of Connecticut, whose merits as a man, a patriot, and a christian, cannot be too highly appreciated. This gentleman was distinguished in each line of this triple character: as a man, his abilities were conspicuous, his comprehension clear, and his judgment correct. The sedateness of his mind qualified him  for the patriot, and the friend of a young and growing country, whose manufactures had been checked, her commerce cramped, and their liberties (for the enjoyment of which they had fled to a distant world) curtailed; and in no instance did he ever deviate from the principles of the revolution. His uniform conduct as a christian, was not less signal; his integrity and uprightness, his benevolence and piety, and the purity and simplicity of his manners, through a long life, approached as near the example of the primitive patterns of a sublime religion, as that of any one raised to eminence of office, who, by the flatteries of their fellow-men, are too often led to forget themselves, their country, and their God.
The baron Van der Capellen was a zealous supporter of the Americans in their claim to independence, and pre-disposed many of his countrymen to unite cordially with them, and enter into treaties of amity and commerce, previous to the arrival of a minister at the Hague, to negociate on that subject.
In one of his letters to governor Trumbull he had observed,
that among other causes of distrust, in relation to the credit of America, was the false intelligence which the English incessantly circulate, the effects of which the friends of the Americans cannot destroy, for the want of information: that it was of the last importance  to enable them by authentic relations, which should contain nothing but what was precisely true, and in which even the disadvantages inseparable from the chances of war, should not be concealed; in order to enable them from time to time, to give an idea of the actual state of things, and of what is really passing on the other side of the ocean.
If you choose, sir, to honor me with such a correspondence, be assured that I shall make a proper use of it. Communications apparently in confidence, have a much stronger influence than those which appear in public.
He observed, that
a description of the present state and advantages of United America; of the forms of government in its different republics; of the facility with which strangers there may establish themselves, and find a subsistence; of the price of lands, both cultivated and unimproved, of cattle, provisions, &c.; with a succinct history of the present war, and the cruelties committed by the English,—would excite astonishment in a country, where America is known but through the medium of the gazettes.
Governor Trumbull had not hesitated to comply with this request: he had detailed a succinct narrative of past and present circumstances,  and the future prospects of America; for a part of which the reader is referred to the Appendix.* The baron Capellen observes on the above letter of this gentleman, that “it was to be regretted that so handsome, so energetic a defence of the American cause, should be shut up in the port-folio of an individual: that he had communicated it with discretion in Amsterdam; and that it had made a very strong impression on all who had read it.”
These favorable dispositions among many persons of high consideration in the United Netherlands, whose ancestors had suffered so much to secure their own liberties, led congress to expect their aid and support, in a contest so interesting to republican opinion, and the general freedom of mankind. It forbade any farther delay in the councils of America. Congress were convinced no time was to be lost; but that a minister with proper credentials, should immediately appear in a public character at the Hague; or if that should be found inadmissible, that he should have instructions to regulate any private negociations, according to the dictates of judgment, discretion, or necessity.
Accordingly, early in the present year, the honorable Henry Laurens of South Carolina, late president of the continental congress, was  vested with this important commission. Perhaps a more judicious choice of a public minister could not have been made throughout the states. From his prudence, probity, politeness, and knowledge of the world, Mr. Laurens was competent to the trust, and well qualified for the execution thereof: but he was unfortunately captured on his way by admiral Edwards, carried to Newfoundland and from thence sent to England, where he experienced all the rigors of severity usually inflicted on state criminals.
Before Mr. Laurens left the foggy atmosphere of Newfoundland, an apparent instance of the deep-rooted jealousy harbored in the breasts of the British officers, against all Americans who fell into their hands, was discovered by the refusal of admiral Edwards to permit, at Mr. Laurens’s request, Mr. Winslow Warren to accompany him to Europe, in the frigate in which he sailed.
This youth was the son of a gentleman who had been vested with some of the first and most respectable offices of trust and importance in America; he was captured on his way to Europe, a few weeks before Mr. Laurens, to whom he had introductory letters from some of the first characters in America, to be delivered on his arrival at the Hague: their unfortunate meeting as prisoners on this dreary spot, gave him an early opportunity to present them. No cartel had yet been settled for the exchange of  prisoners; and sensibly touched with compassion for their sufferings, Mr. Warren voluntarily engaged to remain as an hostage till that arrangement might take place. The admiral consented to send a great number of Americans to Boston, on Mr. Warren’s word of honor, that an equal number of British prisoners would be returned.
Mr. Laurens wished to anticipate his release, from the generous feelings of his own mind, as well as from the delicacy of sentiment and the accomplished manners of Mr. Warren; and though they were both treated with the utmost politeness by admiral Edwards, he refused to gratify these gentlemen in their mutual wishes to be fellow-passengers, as they were fellow-prisoners: but the admiral permitted Mr. Warren, within three or four days after Mr. Laurens’s departure, to take passage in another frigate, bound directly to England.
Mr. Laurens took an affectionate leave of Mr. Warren, and requested him to write his friends, or to tell them if he reached America before him, that “though he was an old man, who had recently lost all his estates in Charleston by the capture of that city, and had now lost his liberty, that he was still the same; firm, cheerful, and unruffled by the shocks of fortune.”
 When Mr. Laurens arrived in England, he was committed to the tower, confined to very narrow apartments, and denied all intercourse with his friends. There Mr. Warren saw him when he arrived in England, near enough to exchange a salute, but they were not permitted to speak to each other.
It is observable that the defection of general Arnold, and the capture of Mr. Laurens, took place within a few days of each other. These two circumstances operated on the passions of men in a contrasted point of view. The treachery of Arnold was beheld with irritation and disdain, by his former military associates, and with the utmost disgust and abhorrence through all America. The fate of Mr. Laurens awakened the better feelings of the human heart. As an individual of the highest respectability, all who knew him were pained with apprehensions, lest he should be subjected to personal danger or sufferings. As a diplomatic officer, the first public character that had been sent to the Batavian provinces, it was feared, his captivity and detention might have an unfavorable effect on the foreign relations of America, and particularly on their connexion with Holland. Indeed a variety of circumstances that took place through the summer and autumn of this, did not augur the most propitious promises, relative to the operations of the next year.
C H A P T E R X V I I I
Revolt of the Pennsylvania Line—Discontents in other Parts of the Army • Paper Medium sunk • Some active Movements of Don Bernard de Galvez in America • War between Great Britain and Spain opened in Europe by the Siege of Gibraltar • Short View of Diplomatic Transactions between America and several European Powers • Empress of Russia refuses to treat with the American States
chap. xviii We have already seen the double disappointment experienced by the United States, occasioned by the capture of one army in South Carolina under general Lincoln,1780 and the defeat of another commanded by general Gates in North Carolina, who was sent forward with the highest expectations of retrieving affairs in that quarter. . . . We have seen the complicated embarrassments of the United States, relative to raising, paying, and supporting a permanent army. . . . We have seen the pernicious effects of a depreciating currency, and the beginning of a spirit of peculation and regard to private interest, that was not expected from the former habits and professions of Americans. . . . We have seen the disappointments and delay relative to foreign negociations. . . . We have seen both the patient sufferings of the American army under the greatest necessity, and the rising restlessness  that soon pervaded nearly the whole body of the soldiery; and we have also seen the desertion of a general officer, in whom confidence had been placed as a man of courage: we left Arnold stigmatized as a traitor, and in all the pride and insolence of a British general, newly vested with command in reward of villany, beginning under the British standard, his career of ravage and depredation in Virginia.
In addition to the alarming circumstances already recapitulated, at the close of the preceding year, the most dangerous symptoms were exhibited in the conduct of a part of the army, which broke out in revolt; and the secession of the whole Pennsylvania line spread a temporary dismay.
On the first of January, one thousand seven hundred and eighty-one, upwards of a thousand men belonging to that line, marched in a body from the camp; others, equally disaffected, soon followed them. They took an advantageous ground, chose for their leader a serjeant major, a British deserter, and saluted him as their major general. On the third day of their revolt, a message was sent from the officers of the American camp: this they refused to receive; but to a flag which followed, requesting to know their complaints and intentions; they  replied, that “they had served three years; that they had engaged to serve no longer; nor would they return, or disperse, until their grievances were redressed, and their arrearages paid.”
General Wayne, who commanded the line, had been greatly beloved and respected by the soldiery, nor did he at first himself doubt, but that his influence would soon bring them back to their duty. He did every thing in the power of a spirited and judicious officer, to dissipate their murmurs, and to quiet their clamors, in the beginning of the insurrection: but many of them pointed their bayonets at his breast; told him to be on his guard; that they were determined to march to congress to obtain a redress of grievances; and that, though they respected him as an officer, and loved his person, yet, if he attempted to fire on them, “he was a dead man.”
Sir Henry Clinton soon gained intelligence of the confusion and danger into which the Americans were plunged. He improved the advantageous moment, and made the revolters every tempting offer, to increase and fix their defection. He sent several persons to offer, in his name, a pardon for all past offences, an immediate payment of their full demands on congress, and protection from the British government. He desired them to send proper persons  to Amboy, to treat farther, and engaged that a body of British troops was ready for their escort. *
How far the conduct of sir Henry Clinton is to be justified by the laws of war, we leave to the decision of military characters; but to the impartial spectator, though so often practised by officers of consideration and name, it appears an underhand interference, beneath the character of a brave and generous commander, to stimulate by those secret methods, a discontented class of soldiers, to turn the points of their swords against their country and their former friends.
But the intrigues of the British officers, and the measures of their commander in chief, had not the smallest influence: the revolted line, though dissatisfied and disgusted, appeared to have no inclination to join the British army. They declared with one general voice, that was there an immediate necessity to call out the American forces, they would still fight under the orders of the congressional officers. Several British spies were detected, busily employed in endeavouring to increase the ferment, who were tried and executed with little ceremony.
 The prudent conduct of the commander in chief, and the disposition which appeared in government to do justice to their troops, subdued the spirit of mutiny. A respectable committee was sent from congress to hear their complaints, and as far as possible to relieve their sufferings. Those whose term of enlistment was expired, were paid off and discharged; the reasonable demands of others satisfied; and a general pardon granted to the offenders, who returned cheerfully to their duty.
The discontented and mutinous spirit of the troops was not, however, entirely eradicated: the sources of disquietude in an army situated like the present, were too many to suppress at once. They were without pay, without clothing sufficient for the calls of nature; and not satisfied with the assurances of future compensation, their murmurs were too general, and their complaints loud and pressing.
The contagion of the mutinous example of the Pennsylvania line, had spread in some degree its dangerous influence over other parts of the army: it operated more particularly on a part of the Jersey troops, soon after the pacification of the disorderly Pennsylvania soldiers, though not with equal success and impunity to themselves. They were unexpectedly surrounded by a detachment from the main body of the army, and ordered to parade without their  arms: on discovering some reluctance to obey, colonel Sprout, of the Massachusetts division, was directed to advance with a party, and demand their compliance within five minutes. As their numbers were not sufficient for resistance, they submitted without opposition. A few of the principal leaders of the revolt, were tried by a court-martial and adjudged guilty: as a second general pardon, without any penal inflictions, would have had a fatal effect on the army, two of them suffered death for their mutinous conduct.
This example of severity put a period to every symptom of open revolt, though not to the silent murmurs of the American army. They still felt heavily the immediate inconveniences of the deficiency of almost every article necessary to life: they had little subsistence, and seldom any covering, except what was forced from the adjacent inhabitants by military power. These circumstances were aggravated by the little prospect there still appeared of filling their battalions, and establishing a permanent army. Every evil had been enhanced, and every pleasing anticipation darkened, by the general stagnation of paper money, previous to the absolute death of such a ruinous medium of intercourse between man and man. It had created suspicion and apprehension in every mind, and led every one reluctantly to part with their  specie, before they knew the fate of a currency, agonizing in the last pangs of dissolution.
The successes at the northward had indeed given a spring to expectation and action; but the gloomy appearances of affairs at the southward, the ineffective movements in the central states, and the perseverance of the king and parliament of Britain, in their measures against the colonies, notwithstanding their recent connexion with a potent foreign power, wrapt in the clouds of uncertainty, the final termination of the present conflict.
These were discouragements that in theory might be thought insurmountable: but American Independence was an object of too great magnitude, to sink under the temporary evils, or the adventitious circumstances of war.
That great source of moral turpitude, the circulating paper, which had languished the last year until without sinew or nerve for any effective purpose, died of itself in the present, without any visible wound, except from the immense quantity counterfeited in New York, and elsewhere under British influence. In a confidential letter to lord George Germaine about this time, general Clinton observed, that
the experiments suggested by your lordship have been tried; no assistances that could be drawn from the power of gold, or the arts of  counterfeiting, have been left unattempted: but still the currency, like the widow’s cruise of oil, has not failed.
It is true, indeed, that the currency answered most of the purposes of congress, for some time after the date of the letter from which the above extract is taken. When the paper ceased to circulate, no one mourned or seemed to feel its loss; nor was it succeeded by any stagnation of business, or derangement of order. Every one rejoiced at the annihilation of such a deceptive medium, in full hope that confidence between neighbour and neighbour, which this had destroyed, would again be restored.
The immense heaps of paper trash, denominated money, which had been ushered into existence from necessity, were from equal necessity locked up in darkness, there to wait some renovating day to re-instamp some degree of value, on what had deceived many into an ideal opinion that they possessed property. It was not long after this paper intercourse ceased, before silver and gold appeared in circulation, sufficient for a medium of trade and other purposes of life. Much of it was brought from the hoarded bags of the miser, who had concealed it in vaults instead of lending it to his distressed countrymen; and much more of the precious metals were put into circulation, by  the sums sent from Europe to support a British army in captivity, and for the pay of the fleets and troops of France, which were sent forward to the assistance of the Americans.
Notwithstanding all the baneful evils of a currency of only a nominal value, that fluctuates from day to day, it would have been impossible for the colonies to have carried on a war, in opposition to the power of Great Britain, without this paper substitute for real specie. They were not opulent, though a competence had generally followed their industry. There were few among themselves wealthy enough to loan money for public purposes: foreigners were long shy; and appeared evidently reluctant at the idea of depositing their monies in the hands of a government, with whom they had but recently commenced an acquaintance.
France indeed, after the declaration of independence, generously lent of her treasures, to support the claims of liberty and of the United States, against the strong hand of Britain; but Spain kept her fingers on the strings of her purse, though as observed above, America had sent several agents to the court of Madrid, to solicit aid: nor was it until the year one thousand seven hundred and eighty-two, that even Holland opened her’s to any effective purpose, for the pecuniary calls that accumulated beneath  the waste of war, in which their sister republic was involved.
A few observations on the eventful transactions which took place among the nations of Europe this year, may here be properly introduced, before a farther continuance of the narrative of the war. This is necessary to give a clearer idea of the connexion brought forward between America and several foreign nations, besides France and Spain, before the pride of Great Britain could condescend to acknowledge the independence of the United States.
Previous to lord Cornwallis’s last campaign in America, most of the belligerent powers in Europe had stood aloof, in a posture of expectation, rather than immediate action, as waiting the events of time, to avail themselves of cooperation when convenient, with that side that might offer the greatest advantage, when weighed in the political scale by which the interest of all nations is generally balanced.
France had long since acknowledged the independence of America; and the whole house of Bourbon now supported the claim of the United States, though there had yet been no direct treaty between America and Spain. It had been the general expectation for some time  before it took place, that Spain would finally unite with France in support of the American cause. From this expectation, the Spaniards in South America had prepared themselves for a rupture, a considerable time before any formal declaration of war had taken place, between the courts of Madrid and St. James. They were in readiness to take the earliest advantage of such an event. They had accordingly seized Pensacola in West Florida, and several British posts on the Mississippi, before the troops stationed there had any intimation that hostilities were denounced in the usual style, between the crowns of England and Spain.
Don Bernard de Galvez, governor of Louisiana, had proclaimed the independence of America at New Orleans, at the head of all the forces he could collect, as early as the nineteenth of August, one thousand seven hundred and seventy-nine, and had proceeded immediately to surprise and conquer wherever he could, the unguarded settlements claimed by the crown of Britain. The British navy, generally masters of the ocean, had, early after hostilities commenced, beaten some of the Spanish ships, intercepted the convoys, and captured or destroyed several of the homeward bound fleets of merchantmen. But by the time we are upon, the arms of Spain had been successful in several enterprises by sea: at the Bay of Honduras and  in the West Indies, they also soon after gained several other advantages of some moment.
Don Bernard de Galvez had concerted a plan with the governor of the Havannah, to surprise Mobille. He encountered storms, dangers, disappointments, and difficulties, almost innumerable. This enterprising Spaniard recovered however, in some measure, his losses; and receiving a reinforcement from the Havannah, with a part of the regiment of Navarre, and some other auxiliaries, he repaired to, and landed near Mobille. He summoned the garrison to surrender, who, after a short defence, hung out a white flag, and a capitulation took place, by which the English garrison surrendered themselves prisoners of war.
In Europe, the war had been opened on the side of Spain, by the siege of Gibraltar. This strong fortress had been closely invested by a powerful fleet and army, for some time. The piratical states of Barbary, who, to the disgrace of Europe, were permitted to war upon, or to make tributary all the nations, had been recently disgusted with Great Britain; and such a defection had taken place, that no relief could be expected from that quarter, or any supplies of provisions obtained from them for the garrison, which was reduced to such distress, that they were several weeks without bread, except a few worm-eaten biscuits, sold at an enormous  price: a guinea was refused for a calf’s head, a chicken sold for nine shillings sterling, and every thing else proportionately scarce and dear; until the hardy British veterans found they could subsist on the scanty allowance of a jill or two of rice per day.
But by the unexampled intrepidity of general Elliot, and the equal bravery of Boyd, the second in command; by the courage and perseverance of many gallant British officers, and the spirit and constitutional valor of their troops, the garrison was enabled to resist, and to hold out amidst the distresses of famine, and against the most tremendous attack and bombardment that perhaps ever took place. A prodigious number of cannon of the heaviest size, and a vast apparatus of mortars, at once spouted their torrents of fire and brimstone on that barren rock. With equal horror and sublimity, the blaze was poured back by the besieged, with little intermission.
The sheets of flame were spread over the adjacent seas and the shipping for three or four weeks; when the magnanimous officers in the garrison, who had been for four days together without provisions of any kind, except a few kernels of rice, and a small quantity of mouldy bread, were relieved by the arrival of admiral Rodney, on his way to the West Indies. He was accompanied by a British fleet under the  command of admiral Digby, who continued there with a number of ships sufficient for defence, and for the security of a large number of Spanish prizes taken by admiral Rodney. He had fallen in with a fleet of eleven heavy ships of the line, commanded by don Juan Langara, who, after being dangerously wounded, and his ship reduced to a wreck, yielded to the superiority of the British flag, as did the San Julien, commanded by the marquis Modena, and indeed nearly the whole of the Spanish fleet.
Notwithstanding the reduction of Gibraltar was suspended, we shall see the object was not relinquished. More formidable exertions were made the next year by the combined forces of France and Spain, for the completion of this favorite project.
It was indeed some time after the accession of Spain, before any other European power explicitly acknowledged the independence of the United States: but Mr. Izard, who was sent to Tuscany, and Mr. William Lee to the court of Vienna, in one thousand seven hundred and seventy-eight, inspired with that lively assurance which is sometimes the pledge of success, had met with no discouraging circumstances.
Holland had a still more difficult part to act, than France, Spain, or perhaps any other European power, who actually had adhered to, or appeared  inclined to favor, the cause of America. Her embarrassments arose in part from existing treaties with Great Britain, by which the latter claimed the Dutch republic as their ally, reproached her with ingratitude, and intimated that by former engagements, that republic was bound in all cases, to act offensively and defensively with the court of Great Britain. Thus the measures of the Batavian provinces were long impeded, by the intrigues of the British minister and the English faction at the Hague, before their high mightinesses acceded to the acknowledgement of American independence.
We have seen above, that the friendly disposition of the Batavians towards America was such, as to render it at once rational and expedient, for the American congress to send a public minister to reside at the Hague. Mr. Laurens, as already related, was appointed, sent forward, captured on his way, and detained for some time in Newfoundland. The unfortunate capture of the American envoy, prevented for a time all public negociations with Holland. He had been vested with discretionary powers, and had suitable instructions given him, to enter into private contracts and negociations, as exigencies might offer, for the interest of his country, until events were ripened for his full admission as ambassador from the United States of America.
 Mr. Laurens was captured at some leagues distance from Newfoundland. When he found his own fate was inevitable, he neglected no precaution to prevent the public papers in his possession, from falling into the hands of his enemies. The British commander knew not the rank of his prisoner, until the packages seasonably thrown overboard by Mr. Laurens, were recovered by a British sailor, who had the courage to plunge into the sea with so much celerity as to prevent them from sinking.
By these papers a full discovery was made, not only of the nature of Mr. Laurens’s commission, but of the dispositions of the Batavians to aid the exertions beyond the Atlantic, for the liberties of mankind. Their own freedom was a prize for which their ancestors had struggled for more than seventy years, against the strong hand of despotism, before they obtained the independence of their country.
In Mr. Laurens’s trunk, thus recovered, was found a plan of a treaty of alliance between the States of Holland and the United States of America; also, letters from the pensioner of Amsterdam, with many communications and letters from the principal gentlemen and merchants in that and many other cities in the Dutch provinces.
 Admiral Edwards considered the capture of Mr. Laurens as so important, that he immediately ordered a frigate to England for the conveyance of this gentleman, and the evidences of the commission on which he had been sent out. These important papers received in England, sir Joseph Yorke, the British minister resident at the Hague, was directed by the king his master, to lay the whole of these transactions before their high mightinesses the states-general of the United Provinces.
The British minister complained loudly, and in terms of high resentment, of the injuries and insults offered to Great Britain, by the ungrateful conduct of the republic of Holland. He urged, that secretly supplying the rebellious colonies with the accoutrements for war, was a step not to be forgiven: that what had been suspected before, now appeared clearly; and that he had the evidences in his hand, and the names of the principal conspirators: that the Belgic provinces were countenancing public negociations, and on the point of executing treaties of amity and commerce with the revolted Americans. He informed the states-general, that the king of England demanded prompt satisfaction for these offences: that as a proof of their disavowal of these measures, he required immediate and exemplary punishment to be inflicted on the pensioner Van Berkel, and his accomplices,  as disturbers of the public peace, and violaters of the law of nations.
Notwithstanding the resentment of the British envoy, the conduct of the Dutch court remained for some time so equivocal, that neither Great Britain or America was fully satisfied with their determinations. It is true, a treaty with the United States was for some time postponed; but the answer of their high mightinesses to the memorial and remonstrances of sir Joseph Yorke, not being sufficiently condescending and decided, his disgust daily increased. He informed his court in very disadvantageous terms, of the effect of his repeated memorials, of the conduct of their high mightinesses, and of that of the principal characters of the Batavian provinces at large.
Great Britain soon after, in the recess of parliament, amidst all her other difficulties, at war with France, Spain, and America, and left alone by all the other powers of Europe, to decide her own quarrels, announced hostilities against the Netherlands; and a long manifesto from the king was sent abroad in the latter part of December, one thousand seven hundred and eighty.
A declaration of war against the republic of Holland, by the king of Great Britain, was very  unpleasing to most of the northern powers. The baron Nolken, the Swedish ambassador resident at the court of London, remonstrated against it in a state paper, in which he observed,
that the flame of war, kindled in another hemisphere, had communicated to Europe; but the king of Sweden still flattered himself, that this conflagration would not extend beyond its first bounds; and particularly that a nation entirely commercial, which had made neutrality the invariable foundation of its conduct, would not have been enveloped in it: and yet, nevertheless, this has happened, almost in the very moment when that power had entered into the most inoffensive engagements, with the king and his two northern allies.
If the most exact impartiality that was ever observed, could not exempt the king from immediately feeling the inconveniences of war, by the considerable losses sustained by his commercial subjects, he had much greater reason to apprehend the consequences, when those troubles were going to be extended; when an open war between Great Britain and the republic of Holland multiplied them; and to conclude, when neutral commerce was about to endure new shackles, by the hostilities committed between those two powers.
The king could not but wish sincerely, that the measures taken by the empress  of Russia, for extinguishing this new war in its beginning, might be crowned with the most perfect success.
But, indifferent to the remonstrances and memorials of the potentates of Europe, Great Britain, hostile, wealthy, powerful, and proud, appeared regardless of their resentment, and ready to bid defiance, and spread the waste of war among all nations.
The capture of Mr. Laurens was however no small embarrassment to the British ministry. Their pride would not suffer them to recognise his public character; they dared not condemn him as a rebel; the independence of America was too far advanced, and there were too many captured noblemen and officers in the United States to think of such a step, lest immediate retaliation should be made; and his business was found too consequential to admit of his release. He was confined in the tower, forbidden the use of pen, ink, and paper, and all social intercourse with any one; and was even interdicted any converse with a young son, who had been several years in England for his education.
There he suffered a long imprisonment at his own expense, until many months had elapsed, and many unexpected events had taken place, that made it expedient to offer him his liberty without any equivalent. This he refused to accept,  from the feelings of honor, as congress at that time, had offered general Burgoyne in exchange for Mr. Laurens.
The integrity of Mr. Laurens could not be warped either by flatteries or menaces, though his health was much impaired by his severe and incommodious confinement. It was intimated to him at a certain period of his imprisonment, that it might operate in his favor, if he would advise his son, colonel John Laurens, to withdraw himself from the court of France, where he was then executing with success, a commission from congress to negociate a loan of money, and solicit farther aid both by sea and land, in behalf of the American States.
The firmness of Mr. Laurens was not shaken by the proposal. He replied with equal confidence, both in the affection of his son and the delicacy of his honor. He observed, that
such was the filial regard of his son, that he knew he would not hesitate to forfeit his life for his father; but that no consideration would induce colonel Laurens to relinquish his honor, even were it possible for any circumstance to prevail on his father to make the improper request.
Immediately after the news of Mr. Laurens’s capture, imprisonment, and detention in England, the American congress directed  John Adams, esquire, who had a second time been sent to Europe in a public character, to leave France and repair to Holland, there to transact affairs with the states-general, which had before been entrusted to the fidelity of Mr. Laurens. Mr. Adams’s commission was enlarged: from a confidence in his talents and integrity, he was vested with ample powers for negociation, for the forming treaties of alliance, commerce, or the loan of monies, for the United States of America. Not fettered by instructions, we shall see he exercised his discretionary powers with judgment and ability.
Thus in strict amity with France and Spain, on the point of a treaty of alliance with the Batavian republic, Sweden and Denmark balancing, and nearly determined on a connexion with America, her foreign relations in general wore a very favorable aspect.
The empress of Russia only, among the European nations where an intercourse was opened, refused peremptorily to receive any minister at her court, under the authority of the congress of the United States of America. Overtures were made to the haughty sovereign of the Russian empire, early enough to evince the high consideration in which her arms and her character were viewed in America, as well as in Europe; but without the least shadow of success. Determined to maintain her independent  dignity, and hold the neutral position she had chosen, she did not even deign to see the person sent on by congress, to act as agent at the court of Petersburgh: but she concluded the business with the policy of the statesman, the address of her sex, and the superiority of the empress Catharine.
It was indeed doubted by many at the time, whether Mr. Dana was qualified to act as envoy at the court of Russia, and to negociate with such a potent state. He was undoubtedly a man of understanding, with due share of professional knowledge, having been for several years an attorney of eminence. But it was thought that he had not either the address, the penetration, the knowledge of courts, or of the human character, necessary for a negociator at the court of a despotic female, at the head of a nation of machines, under the absolute control of herself and her favorites.
It requires equanimity of temper, as well as true greatness of soul, to command or retain the respect of great statesmen and politicians. Distinguished talents and a pleasing address, were peculiarly necessary for a negociator at the court of Russia, both from the character of the nation and the monarch. The Russians were sanguine and revengeful, and ready by their precipitate counsels to aid their arbitrary mistress, in her bold designs and despotic mandates;  while she, as the dictatress of Europe, determined the ruin of princes, and the annihilation of kingdoms.
On the earliest notice of an application from the congress of the United States, the empress, after several expressions of civility, containing a respectful regard to the interests of the American states, made all proper acknowledgments to them for the attention paid to herself. She had before granted them the free navigation of the Baltic, in spite of the remonstrances of the British minister resident at Petersburgh, against it.
She, however, ordered her minister to inform the American envoy, that
as mediatrix with the emperor of Germany and the king of Prussia, relative to the disputes subsisting between France, Spain, and Great Britain, she thought it improper for her to acknowledge the independence of America, until the result of the mediation was known; because the provisional articles depended on the definitive treaty.
“when the latter was completed, she should be ready to proceed in the business: but that it would be highly improper for her to treat with America as an independent state, by virtue of powers or credentials issued previous to the acknowledgment of American independence, by the king of Great Britain.
her delicacy was  a law to her, not to take before that time, a step which might not be considered as corresponding with those which have characterised her strict neutrality, during the course of the late war: notwithstanding which, the empress repeats, that you may enjoy, not only for your own honor, but also for your countrymen, who may come into her empire on commercial business, or otherwise, the most favorable reception, and the protection of the laws of nations.
This declaration placed the American agent in a very unpleasant predicament: totally at a loss what further steps to take, not able to obtain even an audience of the empress, he soon after returned to America.*
The failure of this negociation might not be entirely owing to a want of diplomatic skill or experience in the agent employed at the court of Russia. Though the choice of the congressional minister was perhaps, not so judicious as it might have been, many concurring circumstances prevented his success. The intrigues of  Britain, the arts of France, and the profound policy of the court of Petersburgh, probably all combined to defeat a measure, which, from the situation of some of the belligerent powers, and the known character of the empress, could not rationally have been expected, at that time, to meet the wishes of congress. It was also suggested, that the double-dealings of some Americans of consideration, had their weight in frustrating the negociation, and preventing a treaty between one of the most distinguished and influential powers in Europe, and the United States of America.
The above is a summary sketch of the views, the dispositions, and connexions, of the most important European powers, while the manoeuvres in Virginia and the other southern states, were ripening events which brought forward accommodations, that not long after terminated in a general pacification, among the nations at war. The narration of naval transactions, connected with or influential on American affairs, both in the West Indies and in the European seas, is postponed to a subsequent part of this work; while we proceed to some further detail of military operations by land.
C H A P T E R X I X
General Gates surrenders the Command of the Southern Army to General Greene, on his Arrival in South Carolina • Action between General Sumpter and Colonel Tarleton • General Morgan’s Expedition—Meets and defeats Colonel Tarleton • Lord Cornwallis pursues General Morgan • Party of Americans cut off at the Catawba • Lord Cornwallis arrives at Hillsborough—Calls, by Proclamation, on all the Inhabitants of the State to join him • Battle of Guilford—Americans defeated • Lord Cornwallis marches towards Wilmington—General Greene pursues him—General Greene returns towards Camden • Action at Camden • Lord Rawdon evacuates Camden, and returns to Charleston • Barbarous State of Society among the Mountaineers, and in the back Settlements of the Carolinas • Attack on Ninety-Six—Repulse—General Greene again obliged to retreat • Execution of Colonel Hayne • Lord Rawdon leaves the State of South Carolina, and embarks for England • Action at the Eutaw Springs • General Greene retires to the High-Hills of Santee • Governor Rutledge returns to South Carolina, and resumes the Reins of Government
chap. xix After the misfortune and suspension of general Gates, immediate steps were taken by congress and the commander in chief, to restore the reputation of the American arms,1781 to check the progress of the British, and defeat their sanguine hopes of speedily subduing the southern  colonies. Major general Greene was ordered on to take the command in that quarter. He arrived about the middle of autumn, one thousand seven hundred and eighty, at the headquarters of general Gates; soon after which, every thing seemed to wear a more favorable appearance, with regard to military arrangements and operations in the American army.
General Gates surrendered the command with a dignity and firmness becoming his own character, conscious that his disappointment and defeat did not originate in any want of courage or generalship, but from the unavoidable and complicated difficulties of existing circumstances. General Greene succeeded him, received the charge of the army, and took leave of general Gates, with a delicacy and propriety that evinced the high respect he felt for his predecessor.
All the prudence and magnanimity, valor and humanity, that adorned the character of general Greene, were necessary in the choice of difficulties that attended his new command. He had succeeded a brave, but unfortunate officer, whose troops were intimidated by recent defeat, dispirited by their naked and destitute situation, in a country unable to yield sufficient subsistence for one army, and which had for several months been ravaged by two.
 Lord Cornwallis’s army was much superior in number and discipline, his troops were well clothed and regularly paid, and when general Greene first arrived, they were flushed by recent successes, particularly the defeat of general Gates. It is true, the death of major Ferguson and the rout of his party, was a serious disappointment, but not of sufficient consequence to check the designs and expectations of a British army, commanded by officers of the first military experience.
The inhabitants of the country were indeed divided in opinion; bitter, rancorous, and cruel, and many of them without any fixed political principles. Fluctuating and unstable, sometimes they were the partisans of Britain, and huzzaed for royalty; at others, they were the militia of the state in continental service, and professed themselves zealots for American independence. But general Greene, with remarkable coolness and intrepidity, checked their licentious conduct, and punished desertion and treachery by necessary examples of severity; and thus in a short time, he established a more regular discipline.
Skirmishing parties pervaded all parts of the country. No one was more active and busy in these scenes, than the vigilant Tarleton. An affray took place in the month of November, between him and general Sumpter. After victory  had several times seemed to change sides, the continental troops won the field without much loss. General Sumpter was wounded, but not dangerously. The British lost in wounded and killed, near two hundred.
The British troops had yet met with no check, which had in any degree damped their ardor, except the defeat of major Ferguson. The most important movement which took place for some time after this affair, was an action between general Morgan on the one part, and colonel Tarleton on the other, in the month of January, one thousand seven hundred and eighty-one. General Morgan was an early volunteer in the American warfare: he had marched from Virginia to Cambridge, at the head of a body of riflemen, to the aid of general Washington, in one thousand seven hundred and seventy-five. He continued to stand ready to enter on the post of danger, in any part of the continent, where the defence of his country required the assistance of the most valorous leaders. General Greene, convinced that no man could more effectually execute any command with which he was entrusted, ordered general Morgan with a considerable force, to march to the western parts of South Carolina.
Lord Cornwallis having gained intelligence of this movement, dispatched colonel Tarleton in pursuit of general Morgan. In a few days,  they met near the river Pacolet. General Morgan had reason to expect, from the rapid advance of colonel Tarleton, that a meeting would have taken place sooner; but by various manoeuvers he kept his troops at a distance, until a moment of advantage might present, for acting with decided success. The Americans had rather kept up the appearance of retreat, until they reached a spot called the Cow-pens: fortunately for them, Tarleton came up, and a resolute engagement ensued; when, after a short conflict, to the great joy of the Americans, the British were routed, and totally defeated.
Colonel Tarleton, as one of the most resolute and active of the British partisans, was particularly selected by lord Cornwallis, and ordered to march with eleven hundred men, to watch the motions of Morgan, impede his designs, and keep in awe the district of Ninety-Six, toward which he found a detachment of the American army was moving. The unexpected defeat of Tarleton, for a time threw him into the back ground in the opinion of many of the British officers; nor was lord Cornwallis himself much better satisfied with his conduct. *
 The name of Tarleton and his successes, had so long been the terror of one side, and the triumph of the other, that neither had calculated on a derangement or defeat of his projects. But three hundred of his men killed in the action at Cow-pens, five hundred captured, and himself obliged to fly with precipitation, convinced the people that he was no longer invincible. The militia of the country were inspirited, and many of them flocked to the American standard, who had heretofore been too much intimidated to rally around it.
Colonel Tarleton was severely censured by the British officers, for suffering himself to be defeated, with his advantages of discipline, numbers, and every thing else that in all human probability might have insured him victory. They did not tax him with a want of personal bravery; but some of them would not allow, that he had talents for any thing superior to the requisites for “a captain of dragoons, who might skirmish and defeat in detail” However, he had certainly been considered by most of them in a higher point of view, before this misfortune: but his flight, and the loss of his light troops, left a tarnish on his military character,  that could not be easily wiped off, or forgiven. The loss of these light troops, so peculiarly necessary in the present service, was felt through all the succeeding campaign. But Tarleton soon recovered himself, and returned from his flight: he appeared within a day or two, not far from the ground from which he had been beaten, and resumed his usual boldness and barbarity.
Tarleton’s defeat was a blow entirely unexpected to lord Cornwallis, and induced him to march himself from Wynnesborough to the Yadkin, in pursuit of general Morgan, with the hope of overtaking him, and recovering the prisoners. The British troops endured this long and fatiguing march under every species of difficulty, over rivers, swamps, marshes, and creeks, with uncommon resolution and patience. What greatly enhanced their hardships and inconveniences, the path of their route was, as lord Cornwallis expressed it, “through one of the most rebellious tracts in America.”
General Greene, on hearing that his lordship was in pursuit of Morgan, left his post near the Pedee under the command of general Huger, and with great celerity marched with a small party of friends and domestics, one hundred and fifty miles, and joined general Morgan before lord Cornwallis arrived at the Catawba. In  this pursuit, lord Cornwallis cut off some of the small detachments, not in sufficient force for effectual opposition. It is true, general Davidson made an unsuccessful stand on the banks of the Catawba, with three or four hundred men; but the British fording the river unexpectedly, he was himself killed, and his troops dispersed; and the crossing the river by the British army, was no farther impeded.
General Greene had ordered the colonels Huger and Williams, whom he had left some days before at the Pedee, to join him with their troops: however it was but a very short time after this junction, before general Greene had the highest reason to conclude, that the safety of his troops lay only in retreat; nor was this accomplished but with the utmost difficulty, as the way he was obliged to traverse, was frequently interrupted by steep ascents and unfordable rivers. But he remarkably escaped a pursuing and powerful army, whose progress was, fortunately for the Americans, checked by the same impediments, and at much less favorable moments of arrival. Though we do not assert, a miracle was wrought on the occasion, it is certain from good authority,* that the freshets  swelled, and retarded the passage of the British, while they seemed at times, to suspend their rapidity in favor to the Americans: and the piety of general Greene in several of his letters, attributed his remarkable escapes, and the protection of his little army, to the intervention of a superintending Providence.
Thus after a flight and a chace of fifteen or twenty days, supported by the most determined spirit and perseverance on both sides, general Greene reached Guilford about the middle of February, where he ordered all the troops he had left near the Pedee, under officers on whom he could depend, to repair immediately to him.
Lord Cornwallis at or near the same time, took post at Hillsborough, and there erected the royal standard. General Leslie had according to orders left Virginia, and marched further south. He had arrived at Charleston about the middle of December. He without delay marched with fifteen hundred men, and soon overtook and joined lord Cornwallis, in the extreme part of the state. He had found the British commander immersed in cares, perplexity, and fatigue, endeavouring with all his ability, to restore by force the authority of his master, among a people, the majority of whom, he soon found to his mortification, were totally averse to the government and authority of Great Britain. General Leslie continued with  him until some time after the battle of Guilford, and by his bravery and activity was essentially serviceable to the royal cause.
At Hillsborough, lord Cornwallis, by proclamation, called upon all the faithful votaries to the crown of Britain, to repair immediately to his camp with ten days provisions, to assist in the full restoration of constitutional government. Numbers from all parts of the country, listened anew to the invitations and threatenings of the British commander, and moved with all possible dispatch towards his camp. But many of them fell on their way, by the fatal mistake of misapprehending the characters and connexions of the partisans about them. It must be extremely difficult in a country rent in sunder by civil feuds, and in arms under different leaders of parties opposed to each other, to know at once, in the hurry and confusions of crossing and re-crossing to join their friends, whether they were not encircled by their enemies.
Tarleton himself had sometimes mistaken his own partisans for the friends of congress: thus many of the royalists, as they were hastening to take protection under the banners of their king, were cut down by the same hand that spread slaughter and desolation among the opposers of the monarch. Many unfortunate victims of the sword, drew destruction upon themselves by  similar mistakes. An instance of this, among others shocking to the feelings of humanity, was the massacre of three or four hundred of this description of persons, headed by a colonel Pyles. They accidentally fell in the way of a continental detachment, commanded by general Pickens. The royalists mistaking the republicans for Tarleton and his party, whom Pickens was pursuing, they acknowledged themselves the subjects of the crown, made a merit of their advance, and called on colonel Tarleton as their leader: nor were they undeceived but by the blow that deprived them of life. It is indeed to be much lamented, that they were treated with as little mercy, and all cut down with equal cruelty, to any that had been experienced by the Americans from the most remorseless of their foes.
While in this state of confusion and depredation through the whole country, general Greene and lord Cornwallis lay at no great distance from each other: but Greene kept his position as much as possible concealed, as he was not yet in a situation to venture a decisive action: and though he was obliged to move earlier towards the British encampment, no engagement took place until about the middle of March. In the mean time, by his ability and address, he eluded the vigilance of his enemies, and kept himself secure by a continual change of posts, until strengthened by fresh reinforcements of the  North Carolina and Virginia militia. The few continental troops he had with him, joined by these, and a number of volunteers from the interior mountainous tracts of the western wilderness, induced him to think he might risk a general action.
On the fifteenth of March, the two armies met at Guilford, and seemed at first to engage with equal ardor; but as usual, the raw militia were intimidated by the valor and discipline of British veterans. Almost the whole corps of Carolinians threw down their arms and fled, many of them without even once discharging their firelocks. This of course deranged the American army; yet they supported the action with great spirit and bravery for an hour and a half, when they were entirely broken, and obliged to retreat with the utmost precipitation. Both armies suffered much by the loss of many gallant officers, and a considerable number of men.
Lord Cornwallis kept the field, and claimed a complete victory; but the subsequent transactions discovered, that the balance of real advantage lay on the other side. His lordship, immediately after the action at Guilford, proclaimed pardon and protection to all the inhabitants of the country on proper submission: yet at the same time, he found it necessary to quit his present ground. He had previously taken  the determination, to try the success of the British arms in North Carolina and Virginia. He formed this resolution early; and would have prosecuted it immediately after Ferguson’s defeat, in October, one thousand seven hundred and eighty, had he not been detained by sickness. After his recovery he pursued the design; and for this purpose had ordered general Leslie to leave Virginia, who (as has been observed) joined him with a large detachment of troops, about mid-winter. His lordship however, thought proper still to postpone his original design, with the hope of bringing general Greene to a decided action, and thereby more firmly uniting the inhabitants of the country to the royal cause.
After the action at Guilford, and the dispersion of the American troops, lord Cornwallis found it difficult to procure forage and provisions sufficient for the subsistence of his army. He left the late field of action, and moved onwards a few miles, and halted at Bell’s Mills, where he staid two days, and gave the troops a small supply of provisions. From thence he moved slowly on account of his sick and wounded, to Cross-Creek.
 It appears by his own letter to lord George Germaine, that he had intended to continue thereabouts for some short time; but a variety of disappointments that occurred, induced him to alter his resolution. In this letter he observes:
From all my information, I intended to have halted at Cross-Creek, as a proper place to refresh and refit the troops: and I was much disappointed on my arrival there, to find it totally impossible. Provisions were scarce; not four days forage within twenty miles; and to us the navigation of the Cape Fear river to Wilmington, impracticable, for the distance by water is upwards of one hundred miles. Under these circumstances, I was obligated to continue my march to this place.*
Lord Cornwallis having decamped from the neighbourhood of his late military operations, marched with all possible expedition toward the more eastern parts of North Carolina. He found many difficulties on his way, but pursued his route with great perseverance, as did his army; they cheerfully sustained the severest fatigue; but as they had frequently done before, they marked their way with the slaughter of the active, and the blood of the innocent inhabitants, through a territory of many hundred miles in extent from Charleston to York-Town. It was afterwards computed, that fourteen hundred  widows were made during this year’s campaign, only in the single district of Ninety-Six.†
After the defeat at Guilford, general Greene availed himself of his religious opinions to obtain relief and assistance from the neighbouring country. He had been educated in the Quaker denomination of Christians, but not too scrupulously attached to their tenets to take arms in defence of American liberty. The inhabitants in the vicinity of both armies, generally belonged to that sect: in the distress of the retreating army, he called them out to the exercise of that benevolence and charity, of which they make the highest professions. He wrote and reminded them, that though they could not conscientiously, consistently with the principles they professed, gird on the sword for the usual operations of war, yet nothing could execute them from the exercise of compassion and assistance to the sick and wounded; to this they were exhorted by their principles; and an ample field was now displayed to evince their sincerity by every charitable act.
His letters were more influential on this mild and unoffending body of people, than the proclamations of lord Cornwallis. They united to take care of the sick, to dress the wounded, and make collections of provisions for the relief of  the flying army. This was a very essential advantage to general Greene, whose confidence in the simplicity and kindness of this body of people, relieved him from any anxiety and embarrassment, relative to the sick and wounded he was obliged to leave behind.
Their example probably had an influence on others of different denominations, and indeed on most of the people in the circumjacent villages, whom we shall soon see quitting the royal standard, and following the fortune of the routed commander and his army, notwithstanding the high hopes which had been entertained for a short time by the British, that this defeat would put an end to any other effective operations of the rebel general Greene, as they styled him in their letters.
In consequence of the action at Guilford, general Greene had to lament the loss of several valuable officers, among whom were the generals Stephens and Huger, dangerously wounded. But those who were faithful to the service, on principles of supporting the general liberties of their country, lost no part of their vigor or fortitude under the sharpest disappointments and misfortunes; but rallied anew, and set their hardy faces against the most adverse circumstances  that might arise in the dangerous and uncertain conflict.
This, general Greene attested in all his letters: yet the ignorance of the people in general, the little knowledge they had of the principles of the contest, the want of stable principles of any kind among the generality of the inhabitants, rendered dependence on their fidelity very uncertain, on both sides the question, and put it beyond the calculation on events, as neither the British or American commanders could make an accurate statement of numbers from day to day, that belonged to their own army. Self-preservation often led both parties to deception; and the danger of the moment, sometimes, more than the turpitude of the heart, prompted them to act under disguise.
The letters and accounts of all the general officers, on both sides of the question, portray these difficulties in a style and manner more descriptive, than can be done by any one, who did not feel the complicated miseries which involved both armies, and the inhabitants of the Carolinas, at this period. To them the reader is referred, while we yet follow the American commander through perplexity, embarrassment, and fatigue, too complex for description.
After the defeat at Guilford, general Greene was far from being discouraged or intimidated  by the victorious triumph of his enemies. He retreated with a steady step, and retired only ten or fifteen miles from the scene of the late action. He had every reason to expect a second rencounter with the British army, who boasted that their victory was complete, though it was acknowledged by lord Cornwallis, that the action at Guilford was the bloodiest that had taken place during the war.* Yet when lord Cornwallis withdrew from the late scene of action, it did not appear so much the result of a systematic design of an able general, as it did that of the retreat of a conquered army.
This, with other circumstances, induced general Greene, after he had collected most of his scattered troops, to follow his lordship rather than to fly further. The inhabitants of the country (singular as it may appear) from this time more generally flocked to the camp of the defeated, than to that of the conquering general. A more thorough disaffection to British government hourly appeared, and a more impressive alarm from the apprehensions of subjugation, seemed to discover itself from the day of the retreat at Guilford. Numbers from all quarters came forward; and general Greene soon found himself in a situation to pursue in his turn.
 He accordingly followed the British army through cross roads and difficult paths, for about ten days; when finding his lordship declined meeting him again, and that by the rapidity of his movements their distance widened, general Greene thought it best to halt, and not further attempt to impede the route of the British commander toward Wilmington; and prepared himself to prosecute his previous design of relieving the state of South Carolina, without farther delay.
Within a few days he began his march toward Camden, the headquarters of lord Rawdon, on whom the command had devolved, and who was there encamped with only nine hundred men. General Greene’s approach was rather unexpected to Rawdon; but by a sudden and judicious advance, he fell on the Americans before they were in readiness for his reception. Notwithstanding this sudden attack, which took place on the twenty-fifth of April, general Greene, always cool and collected, sustained a severe conflict with his usual intrepidity; but was again obliged to retreat, though his numbers were superior. Yet he observed about this time, that he was not so amply supported as he might have expected, by aids from Virginia, Maryland, or elsewhere; and that in North Carolina, such was the fluctuation of opinion, the operation of fear, and a too general want of principle, that he could not place  the strongest confidence in many who accompanied him.
Lord Rawdon attempted soon after to bring general Greene to a second engagement; but he too well understood the advantages he might gain by declining it. The consequences justified his conduct; as lord Rawdon, in a few days after the action at Camden, burnt many of the mills, adjacent private houses, and other buildings, and evacuated the post and moved toward Charleston, where he judged his presence was more immediately necessary. This sudden evacuation of Camden inspirited the Continentals, and inspired them with a dangerous enthusiasm, that for a time could not be resisted. The banks of the rivers and the country were scoured by various partisans, in pursuit of forage and provisions, which were generally secured by the Americans, after skirmishing and fighting their way through small parties of the enemy, too weak for successful opposition.
Sumpter, Marion, and other leaders, general Greene observed, “have people who adhere to them, and appear closely attached; yet, perhaps more from a desire, and the opportunity of plundering, than from an inclination to promote the independence of the United States.” General Greene was attended and supported by many brave, humane and valiant officers, in his peregrinations through the Carolinas,  but their followers were generally licentious beyond description. This sometimes impelled him to severities that wounded the feelings of the man, though necessary in the discipline of an army.
A detail of all the smaller rencounters that took place in this hostile period in both the Carolinas, might fatigue, more than it would gratify, the humane or inquisitive mind. It is enough to observe, that the Americans, under various leaders and some capital commanders, were continually attacking, with alternate success and defeat, the chain of British posts planted from Camden to Ninety-Six: and as general Greene himself expressed his sentiments in their embarrassed situation,—“We fight, get beaten; rise, and fight again: the whole country is one continued scene of slaughter and blood. This country may struggle a little longer; but unless they have more effectual support, they must fall.” *
It is to be lamented, that very many in this day of general distress, suffered themselves to be governed either by vindictive passions, or their feelings of resentment for personal injuries. Many took advantage of the public confusion, to gratify, if not to justify, their own private revenge, a stronger stimulus with some, than  any public or political principle. Besides these, there were numbers who seemed to enlist under the banners of liberty, with no views but those of rapine, assassination, and robbery; and after they had for a time rioted in the indulgence of those infernal passions, they frequently deserted, and repaired to the British camp, and renewed each scene of villany against the party they had just left. They were indeed well calculated to become instruments in the hands of the British officers, to perpetrate the cruelties they were too much disposed to inflict on the steady adherents to the American cause. Thus, whether they pretended to be the partisans of the one side or the other, rapacity and violence raged among a fierce people, little accustomed to the restraints of law and subordination.
The manners of the mountaineers and borderers of the Carolinas, exemplified too strongly the native ferocity of man. Though descended from civilized ancestors, it cannot be denied, that when for a length of time, a people have been used to the modes of savage life common to the rude stages of society, not feeling themselves restrained by penal laws, nor under the influence of reason or religion, nor yet impressed by apprehensions of disgrace, they sink into the habits of savages, and appear scarce a grade above the brutal race. Thus it required a very severe military discipline, to reduce to order the rude peasantry that poured down from the  mountains, and collected from the most rough, uncultivated parts of the country.
Dissension, mutiny, robbery, and murder, spread to an alarming degree. There were too many instances of villany and barbarity, to render it necessary to adduce more than a single fact, that may convey an idea of the hazard of life without the risk of battle. We mention therefore only the death of a colonel Grierson, a distinguished loyalist, because this circumstance is particularly noticed by the commanders of both armies. This gentleman was shot by an unknown hand, after he had surrendered his arms to the Americans. Great exertion was made to discover the perpetrator of this cruel deed: general Greene offered a reward of one hundred guineas for the detection of the murderer, but without effect: private assassination had become too familiar a crime in that hostile country, for the perpetrators to betray each other.
Perhaps few officers could have extricated themselves, and recovered from the unforeseen embarrassments that attended him through the southern campaign, with the facility, judgment, and perseverance, that marked the conduct of the American commander in the Carolinas. His mind was replete with resources in the greatest difficulties, and his resolution equal to the severest enterprise. While the humanity of  his disposition led him to soften as much as possible the horrors of war, the placidity of his manners engaged the affections of his friends, and the esteem and respect of his enemies. Yet he was obliged to make some severe examples of atrocious characters, and to punish by death, several who were detected under the description of deserters and assassins.
After the action at Camden, Marion, Pickens, and Lee, with their partisans, attacked and carried a number of small forts in the district of Ninety-Six, with little or no effectual opposition, until they crossed the Santee, and attacked fort Cornwallis, commanded by colonel Brown, who defended it with great spirit and gallantry. As the Americans approached, the British garrison, for their own better security, nearly covered themselves under ground. They obstinately refused to surrender, until every man who attempted to fire upon the besiegers, was instantly shot down; but after a siege of twelve or fourteen days, the fort, with about three hundred men, was surrendered by capitulation.
Brown had been so barbarous and ferocious a partisan, that he was hourly apprehensive of meeting with summary vengeance from the hands of some of those who had suffered, either in their persons or their friends. Many he had  murdered in cold blood; others he had cruelly delivered into the hands of the savages, to suffer longer torture. But the victor, feeling compassion for individual suffering, sent him under an escort for his better security, to Savannah. Without this indulgence, he must have fallen an immediate sacrifice, as he had to pass through a long tract of country, where he had been active in perpetrating the severest cruelties, accompanied by a number of loyalists, between whom and the adherents to the American cause, there raged such an infernal spirit of bitterness, that extermination seemed to be equally the wish of both parties.
The leaders of the American partisans were frequently checked by the humane advice of general Greene. He exhorted them, that it was more their duty by their lenity to induce those in opposition, to unite with them in supporting the cause of freedom, than it was to aim at their extermination. In a letter to Pickens he observed, that “the principles of humanity as well as policy required, that proper measures should be immediately taken, to restrain abuses, heal differences, and unite the people as much as possible.”
While these desultory excursions were kept up, general Greene was endeavouring to concentrate his forces for the prosecution of more important objects. Many occurrences had redounded  much to his honor, though some of them were unfortunate. But his misfortunes did not impair his military reputation; nor was his courage or ability called in question on his assault on Ninety-Six, though it did not terminate agreeably to his hopes. The garrison was defended with the greatest spirit and ability by lieutenant colonel Cruger. They sustained a siege with almost unexampled bravery, from the twenty-fourth of May to the eighteenth of June.
Notwithstanding the valor of the British troops, and the fortitude of their commander, they were reduced to the point of surrender, when by the address of an American lady, prompted by a laudable affection for her husband, a British officer within the garrison, she found means to convey a letter to colonel Cruger, with the pleasing intelligence, that if they could hold out a short time longer, their deliverance might be certain: that reinforcements were at hand; that lord Rawdon was marching to their relief with two thousand fresh troops, who had arrived within seven days from Ireland.
It was happy for general Greene, that he obtained early information that this strong body was on their way, and was hourly expected by his antagonists; but it was very affecting to the feelings of honor, patriotism, or pride, to find  himself obliged to raise the siege, almost in the moment of victory, and to retreat with precipitation from a spot, where but a day before, he had reason to flatter himself he should reap the laurels of conquest. This unexpected turn of affairs was truly distressing to the American commander. It was painful and humiliating to be compelled again to fly before a pursuing enemy, to the extreme parts of a country he had recently trodden over with so much fatigue and peril.
Some of his associates were so much disheartened by the untoward circumstances of the campaign, that they advised him to fly from Carolina, and to endeavour to save himself and the remainder of his troops, by retreating to Virginia. To this advice, general Greene replied, in the laconic style of the Spartan, with the spirit of a Roman, and the enthusiasm of an American,—“I will recover this country, or perish in the attempt.” His subsequent conduct and success justified his noble resolution. He soon collected the militia from the distant parts of the state, called in his detachments, and inspirited his troops so far, as to recover his usual confidence in them. This encouraged him to offer battle to lord Rawdon on the twelfth of July.
His lordship, strongly posted at Orangeburgh, and strengthened by additional troops from several  quarters, declined the challenge. This was not because he did not think himself in sufficient force to accept it: he had previously determined to return to Charleston, as soon as circumstances would permit. His presence was there necessary, not only on account of military arrangements, but from the confusion and disorder of civil affairs, the animosities of the citizens of different descriptions, the insolence of the loyalists, and the complaints of those who had been compelled to a temporary submission.
When lord Rawdon withdrew from Orangeburgh, he left a sufficient number of troops for its defence; and making due arrangements for the security of other posts, he hastened to Charleston. On this, general Greene detached a part of his own army to march towards the capital, and returned himself with the remainder, and took post on the heights near the Santee. From thence he continually harassed the British by small parties, who alternately returned these aggressions. Skirmish and defeat, plunder, slaughter, and devastation, were every where displayed, from the extremity of the country to the environs of the city. Several weeks elapsed before the operations of either army were more concentrated.
While the military operations against the Americans were vigorously pursued without, the devoted city of Charleston suffered misery  beyond description within. Severity, cruelty, and despair, raged for a time without check or control. A single instance of inhumanity, in the sacrifice of one of the victims of their resentment, will be sufficient to evince the rigor and impolicy of British measures. The execution of colonel Hayne will leave a stain on the character of lord Rawdon, without exhibiting any other proofs of barbarous severity.
This gentleman had been a distinguished and very active officer in the American service, previous to the subjugation of Charleston. When this event took place, he found himself called to a separation from his family, a dereliction of his property, a submission to the conqueror. In this situation he thought it his duty to become a voluntary prisoner, and take his parole. On surrendering himself, he offered to engage and stand bound on the principles of honor, to do nothing prejudicial to the British interest until he was exchanged; but his abilities and his services were of such consideration to his country, that he was refused a parole, and told he must become a British subject, or submit to close confinement.
His family was then in a distant part of the country, and in great distress by sickness, and from the ravages of the loyalists in their neighbourhood. Thus he seemed impelled to acknowledge himself the subject of a government  he had relinquished from the purest principles, or renounce his tenderest connexions, and leave them without a possibility of his assistance, and at a moment when he hourly expected to hear of the death of an affectionate wife, ill of the small-pox.
In this state of anxiety, he subscribed a declaration of his allegiance to the king of Great Britain, with this express exception, that he should never be required to take arms against his country. Notwithstanding this, he was soon and repeatedly called upon to arm in support of a government he detested, or to submit to the severest punishment. Brigadier general Patterson, commandant of the garrison, and the intendant of the British police, a Mr. Simpson, had both assured colonel Hayne, that no such thing would be required; and added “that when the royal army could not defend a country without the aid of its inhabitants, it would be time to quit it.”*
Colonel Hayne considered a requisition to act in British service, after assurances that this would never be required, as a breach of contract, and a release in the eye of conscience, from any obligation on his part. Accordingly he took the first opportunity of resuming his  arms as an American, assumed the command of his own regiment; and all fond of their former commander, colonel Hayne marched with a defensible body to the relief of his countrymen, then endeavouring to drive the British partisans, and keep them within the environs of Charleston. He very unfortunately in a short time fell into the hands of a strong British party, sent out for the recovery of a favorite officer, * who had left the American cause, and become a devotee to British government.
As soon as colonel Hayne was captured, he was closely imprisoned. This was on the twenty-sixth of July. He was notified the same day, that a court of officers would assemble the next day, to determine in what point of view he ought to be considered. On the twenty-ninth he was informed, that in consequence of a court of inquiry held the day before, lord Rawdon and lieutenant colonel Balfour had resolved upon his execution within two days.
His astonishment at these summary and illegal proceedings can scarcely be conceived. He wrote lord Rawdon, that he had no intimation of any thing more than a court of inquiry, to determine whether he should be considered as  an American or a British subject: if the first, he ought to be set at liberty on parole; if the last, he claimed a legal trial. He assured his lordship, that on a trial he had many things to urge in his defence; reasons that would be weighty in a court of equity; and concluded his letter with observing,—
If, sir, I am refused this favor, which I cannot conceive from your justice or humanity, I earnestly entreat that my execution may be deferred; that I may at least take a last farewell of my children, and prepare for the solemn change.†
But his death predetermined, his enemies were deaf to the voice of compassion. The execution of his sentence was hastened, though the reputation and merits of this gentleman were such, that the whole city was zealous for his preservation. Not only the inhabitants in opposition to British government, but even lieutenant governor Bull at the head of the royalists, interceded for his life. The principal ladies of Charleston endeavoured, by their compassionate interference, to arrest or influence the relentless hand of power. They drew up and presented to lord Rawdon, a delicate and pathetic petition in his behalf. His near relations,  and his children, who had just performed the funeral rites over the grave of a tender mother, appeared on their bended knees, to implore the life of their father. But in spite of the supplications of children and friends, strangers and foes, the flinty heart of lord Rawdon remained untouched, amidst these scenes of sensibility and distress. No amelioration of the sentence could be obtained; and this affectionate father took a final leave of his children in a manner that pierced the souls of the beholders. To the eldest of them, a youth of but thirteen years of age, he delivered a transcript of his case, directed him to convey it to congress, and ordered him to see that his father’s remains were deposited in a tomb of his ancestors.
Pinioned like a criminal, this worthy citizen walked with composure through crowds of admiring spectators, with the dignity of the philosopher, and the intrepidity of the christian. He suffered as a hero, and was hanged as a felon, amidst the tears of the multitude, and the curses of thousands, who execrated the perpetrators of this cruel deed.
Soon after this transaction, lord Rawdon, on account of the broken state of his health, obtained leave to repair to England. Captured on his passage by the count de Grasse, he was detained a short time; but soon after his arrival  on the shores of Great Britain, his singular treatment of colonel Hayne was the topic of every conversation; and was proved to have been so pointedly severe, as to be thought worthy of parliamentary discussion. The strictures of the duke of Richmond thereon were pointed with severity. He thought the dignity and humanity of the nation, called loudly for a court of inquiry on high-handed executions, without trial, or any opportunity given for legal defence.
This motion however, was productive of no consequences, except the ebullitions of lord Rawdon’s resentment; who, it was observed, conducted more with the violence of a soldier of untutored manners, than with the urbanity or the politeness of the gentleman. He wrote to the noble duke in high and offensive language, little if any thing short of a direct challenge; but his grace did not deign to think himself accountable to an individual, for defending the principles of equity, and the cause of the injured, in the freedom of parliamentary debate and investigation.
After lord Rawdon had taken leave of America, and embarked for England, the command of the British army in Charleston devolved on colonel Balfour. This officer, though a brave man, was not distinguished for his humanity; nor did he seem more disposed, on a new acquisition  of power, to soften the rigors of war, than his predecessors in command.
It had, previous to the present period, appeared by the letters of colonel Balfour, that his apprehensions relative to the southern campaign, and the termination of the war, had been clouded to a considerable degree. He had written to sir Henry Clinton on the sixth of May, that
their situation was exceedingly distressing and dreadful, notwithstanding lord Rawdon’s brilliant successes; that the enemy’s parties were every where; that the communication with Savannah by land was every where cut off; that the colonels Brown, Cruger, and others, at different important posts, were in the most critical situation.
He added in the same letter:
Indeed I should betray the duty I owe your excellency, did I not represent the defection of this province so universal, that I know of no mode, short of depopulation, to retain it. The spirit of revolt is kept up by the many officers, prisoners of war: I should therefore think it advisable to remove them, as well as to make some striking examples of such as had taken protections, yet snatch every occasion to rise in arms against us.
Whether colonel Balfour wished to be the executioner of this cruel policy or not, he justified it in his answer to general Greene, who  demanded the reason of Hayne’s execution. Balfour replied, that it took place by the joint orders of lord Rawdon and himself, in consequence of lord Cornwallis’s directions, to put every man to death who might be found in arms, if he had been received as a subject of Great Britain, after the capitulation of Charleston in one thousand seven hundred and eighty.
General Greene threatened retaliation; but his humanity led him to the suspension of such severities, though he felt wounded at the treatment of a person of such real merit as colonel Hayne, and the premature stroke that robbed his country and his family of this brave, unfortunate man. He pointedly criminated the authors of his death, as acting an unjust, inhuman, and an illegal part. In a letter to colonel Balfour he observed, that he was happy for the honor of colonel Hayne, that nothing could be found against him to warrant his execution, but
the order of lord Cornwallis, given in the hour of victory, when he considered the lives, liberties, and property of the people, prostrate at his feet. But I confess I cannot repress my astonishment, that you and lord Rawdon should give such an extraordinary example of severity, upon the authority of that order, under such a change of circumstances, so long after it had been remonstrated against by myself, in a letter to lord Cornwallis. I informed his lordship, that his orders were cruel and  unprecedented; and that he might expect retaliation from the friends of the unfortunate.*
Indeed it was the universal voice, that the conduct of Rawdon and Balfour in this affair, could be justified by no law, civil or military, and was totally repugnant to the spirit of humanity, or to divine injunctions. General Greene declared in the most solemn manner, that he had never authorised or countenanced executions on such principles; that he had done all in his power to soften resentment, to conciliate the inhabitants of different descriptions, and to prevent as much as possible all private assassinations, which had too frequently taken place, in spite of discipline or humanity; and that he sanctioned no public executions, but for the crimes of desertion and murder; crimes which by no construction could be charged on colonel Hayne.
But the death of this worthy man, the victim of resentment, was not avenged by retaliation, as threatened. It was postponed from the humanity and generosity of the American commander, as well as from the uncertainty of all human events, and the impossibility of calculating from  the chances of war, which party might be the greatest sufferers, by a determined spirit of retaliation and execution on both sides.
Fierce rencounters were still kept up between the British detachments posted on advantageous heights, and on the banks of deep and unfordable rivers which intersected each other, and the hardy chieftains who led the Carolinian bands, over mountains, declivities, swamps, and rivers, to the vicinity of the city. Thence they were often obliged to retreat back from the borders of civilization and softer habitations, again to seek safety in the dreary wilderness, to which they were pursued by their enemies, who were sometimes repelled, at others successful in cutting off the little parties of Americans; until the British, wearied by the mutual interchange of hostilities without decision, drew in their cantonments, and took post about the beginning of September, at the Eutaw Springs, which were situated at the distance of only fifty miles from Charleston.
General Greene had, when near the waters of the Congaree, while they were separated at the distance of only fifteen miles, attempted to bring them to a closer engagement; but there appeared at that time no inclination in the British to meet him. He found they were about to take a new position. This induced him to follow them by a circuitous march of  seventy or eighty miles. Desultory skirmishes continued during the month of August; but on the eighth of September, general Greene again renewed his challenge, fought and obtained an advantage, that was an over-balance for the many successless rencounters, that had long kept the public mind in suspense and apprehension, and Greene’s army in such a continual fluctuation, that there was no calculating its numbers or its strength, from day to day.
General Greene advanced to the Springs, where the main body of the British troops were collected. He had with him only about two thousand men; but these were commanded by some of the best of his officers. They attacked and routed the British encampment. The action was severe. Great numbers of the British officers and soldiers were either slain or captured. Yet the Americans suffered so much, that colonel Stuart, the British commander, claimed the advantage. Indeed, general Greene suffered the loss of many brave soldiers, and some very valuable officers. A colonel Campbell of Virginia, fell toward the termination of the action, and had time after the mortal wound only to observe, that “as the British fled, he died contented.”
Colonel Stuart wrote sir Henry Clinton a detail of the affair, in the pompous style of victory: but notwithstanding he arrogated so  much on the occasion, the action at the Eutaw Springs put a period to all farther offensive operations in that quarter; and the British troops after this, seldom ventured far beyond the boundaries of Charleston. Besides the numbers slain in this action, four or five hundred of the British troops were made prisoners of war. The Americans suffered equally, and perhaps in greater proportion to their numbers, than the British: not less than five hundred men, and upwards of sixty officers, were killed or captured, besides the wounded. After this action, general Greene retired again for a time, to the heights bordering on the river Santee.
A new face to affairs now soon appeared in the city. The royal army had been so much reduced by the vigilance and activity of general Greene, that what has been denominated by some writers, a re-action of events, began to operate. The British adherents to monarchy in Charleston, and the power and influence of royal government, were in a short time brought very low. Consequently, the sufferings of those who had triumphed in the depression and subjugation of their own countrymen, were felt with almost equal rigor and severity, to that which had been inflicted on the opposers of British authority, when their commanders in all the insolence  of conquest, contemplated the certainty of the subjugation of the southern states.
Governor Rutledge had left the state of South Carolina and repaired to Philadelphia, after the surrender of Charleston. He now returned, and re-assumed the reins of government. Soon after his arrival in his native state, the governor published a proclamation offering pardon, on certain conditions, to all who had been aiding in British service, except such as had signed addresses, and voluntarily taken commissions to support the arms and authority of Great Britain.
The injunctions contained in this proclamation, dated the twenty-seventh of September, were rigorously executed. All those who were implicated as opposed either in principle or practice, to the interests or to the arms of their own country, felt heavily the reverse of a change of masters. The governor, feeling not only the miseries in which his native state had been so long involved, but the highest indignation at the treatment received by individuals, and the inflictions imposed on many by the severity of Rawdon and Balfour, suffered his resentment to fall indiscriminately on all the partisans of royalty.
Many who had reaped the sweets of changing with the times, by availing themselves of  the property of those who had fled, were now compelled by the governor to fly from their agreeable plantations. This description of people had seized the villas of those who had taken their standard under congressional protection, rather than relinquish their independence, by becoming subjects of the king of England.
They had occupied without the city, the best accommodated situations which had before belonged to the captured or exiled inhabitants, who had opposed the British invasion. This class of persons were now reduced to the necessity of removing into a town still occupied by foreign troops. Driven into the city, and shut up with their families in inconvenient huts, the reverse of the easy accommodations to which they had lately been used, and the affluence which some of them had formerly possessed, many of them fell a prey to sickness, and the concomitant miseries of war.
Nor less aggravated were the distresses of those inhabitants within the city, whose fidelity to their country could not be shaken, and whose connexions were in arms without. They suffered every kind of distress, yet with the most heroic firmness; and even the ladies, in many instances, gave a glorious example of female fortitude. They submitted patiently to inconveniences never before felt, to hardships they had never expected; and wept in secret  the miseries of their country, and their separation from their tenderest connexions, with whom they were forbidden all intercourse, and were not permitted the soft alleviation of the exchange of letters. With becoming dignity, they had secluded themselves from the gaieties of the city; and refused on all occasions, to partake of any amusements in company with British officers; while with a charitable hand, they visited and soothed, whenever possible, the miserable victims crowded on board prison ships, and thrust into jails.
Their conduct was resented by the officers of the army, who themselves affronted them, and exposed them to insults of every kind, instead of defending the tender and helpless sex, as is justly expected, and required by the laws of civilization and humanity. But the busy hand of time was ripening events, that put a period to their afflictions; at least, for such of them as lived through the perils and hardships of the siege, the capture of their city, the waste of their property, the exile from their families, and sufferings too many to recount, which are usually inflicted on the vanquished, by the conqueror.
Among those who lived to return from their banishment to St. Augustine, was the venerable Gadsden, who, through all the shocks of fortune, and the rotation of events which he experienced,  was never shaken in his principles. He had always deserved and retained the confidence of his country. A firm, uniform republican, he was chosen a member of the general congress which met at New York in one thousand seven hundred and sixty-five. He was a worthy delegate in the respected assembly which assumed and declared the independence of the United States, in one thousand seven hundred and seventy-six. He had no predilection in favor of kings, and was ever averse to monarchic institutions and usages. This was probably a reason why he suffered such particular severities from the British commander. Notwithstanding his long confinement in the castle of St. Augustine, and his own personal sufferings, he lived to exemplify his humanity and generosity, toward persons who had been accessary, if not principals, in instigating the British officers to cruelties toward him, which they would not otherwise have practised.
The general assembly of the state was called upon to meet at Jacksonborough, the beginning of the ensuing year. Their constitution required a rotation of office, which rendered Mr. Rutledge ineligible to serve longer as their first magistrate. In consequence of this, Mr. Gadsden was chosen governor; but his advanced age and declining health, induced him to refuse the laborious task. This was a period of peculiar difficulty, in the administration of the civil  affairs of the state. In the sessions at Jacksonborough, there was little lenity exercised toward that description of persons who had taken British protections, or had in any manner abetted their measures, either in the city or the field. Their property was confiscated, many of their persons condemned to banishment, and the most rigorous prosecutions commenced against all suspected persons.
Though Mr. Gadsden had declined acting as governor of the state, he did not sit down an inactive spectator of the infringements of humanity or justice in society, into which persons might be hurried by an over-heated zeal, or the want of a proper restraint on the prejudices and passions of men. He vigorously opposed the proceedings of the assembly, which cut off the loyalists from returning to their allegiance, even if they wished it, and sitting down quietly in the bosom of their country.
It is now time to leave for the present, the deranged state of their civil police, and the hostile confusion which still pervaded the two most southern colonies, South Carolina and Georgia, and pursue the narrative of the march of the British army through North Carolina. The slaughter that accompanied this route, through every stage of its progress, is an unpleasant tale. There appeared few interludes of humane and generous deportment toward the miserable,  from the borders of South Carolina, until lord Cornwallis reached the important stand in Virginia, which finished his career of military fame and success, and again humbled the proud glory of the British arms, beneath the standard of the Americans.
But before we follow the conqueror of Charleston, his pursuit of new victories in the more central part of the union, we will just observe, that no one of the thirteen United States felt more severely the fatal consequences of revolutionary convulsions, than that of South Carolina. Many of the best of its citizens perished in the conflict; others, from independence and opulence were reduced to the lowest grade of hopeless penury, while they beheld with astonishment, the sudden accumulation of fortune by those whom they had viewed as a subordinate class, now grown up to incalculable wealth, amidst confusion and depredation. The convenient situations for commerce which they had formerly occupied, were soon after possessed by British agents, sent on at the close of the war to reap the gleanings of property, by the demands of a speedy liquidation of old British debts.
Those debts could not be discharged by men whose plantations were ruined, their slaves enticed or stolen away, and every other species of property wasted in the general pillage. Their  capital had been held for a considerable time as a conquered city, by the invaders of life, liberty, and property, sanctioned by the authority of the king of England. It is obvious, that his patronage and protection should forever have nurtured the peace, prosperity, and growth of the American colonies. Both interest and policy dictated the wisdom of this line of conduct, which would have prevented the irretrievable blow, which rent in sunder the empire of Britain.
But as a wounded limb, pruned or bent downwards, yet not destroyed by the hand of the rude invader, sometimes revives and flourishes with new vigor, while the parent stock is weakened, and its decay accelerated, by the exuberance of its former luxury and strength, so may some future period behold the United Colonies, notwithstanding their depression, and their energetic struggles for freedom, revivified, and raised to a degree of political consideration, that may convince the parent state of the importance of their loss. They may perhaps be taught to dread any future rupture with a people grown strong by oppression, and become respectable among all nations, for their manly resistance to the tyrannous hand stretched out to enslave them.
C H A P T E R X X
Lord Cornwallis marches to Wilmington • Marquis de la Fayette sent to Virginia • Death of General Phillips • Lord Cornwallis moves from Petersburgh to Williamsburgh—Dissonant Opinions between him and Sir Henry Clinton—Crosses James River—Takes Post at Portsmouth • Indecision of Sir Henry Clinton—Meditates an Attack on Philadelphia—The Project relinquished
chap. xx In the first moments of victory, the mind is generally elate with the expectation of applause, and the prospect of additional fame.1781 This was exemplified in the conduct of lord Cornwallis, when the retreating Americans had turned their faces from the field at Guilford, and left him to publish proclamations, invitations, and pardon to the inhabitants of the south. The sceptre of mercy was held out to them, on condition that they were sufficiently humbled to become the obedient subjects of those, who had destroyed their liberty, their property, and the lives of their friends, to obtain inglorious conquest, and arbitrary dominion.
He was a man of understanding and sagacity, though not so thoroughly acquainted with the  natural feelings of mankind, as to escape a disappointment from the conduct of the Carolinians. They revolted at the idea of seeing one American state after another, subdued and laid low at the feet of foreign conquerors. Many, whose minds had been held in a neutral state, previous to this period, now repaired with great precipitation to the congressional officers, and enlisted under their banners, for the defence of their native country.
Lord Cornwallis, after the action at Guilford and the retreat of general Greene, lost no time in expediting his previous plans of military arrangements; and, consistently with his own character, he soon moved to endeavour to prosecute them with success. He had reason to calculate, that when he had finished a long and fatiguing march which lay before him, that he should meet general Phillips in Virginia, with a large body of troops, and by their junction impede all resistance, and re-establish the authority of their master in that rebellious state. Instead of a completion of these expectations, he had when he arrived there, only to witness a fresh instance of the uncertainty of human hope, followed by a train of new disappointments.
The British commander immediately hastened by the most convenient route to Wilmington, and from thence to Petersburgh. Innumerable difficulties had attended lord Cornwallis  and his army, in his march from Guilford to Wilmington; but in his judgment, the march was absolutely necessary. Such was the situation and distress of the troops, and so great were the sufferings of the sick and wounded, that he had no option left after they had decamped from the field of battle, and moved to Cross-Creek. The army was obliged to pass a long way through a perfect desert, where there were neither provisions for their subsistence, nor water sufficient to carry the mills, even could they have procured a supply of corn. At the same time, he had reason to expect, that the whole country east of the Santee and Pedee would be in arms against them, notwithstanding his previous proclamation and promise of pardon, on his leaving Guilford.
He wrote sir Henry Clinton after his arrival at Wilmington, that he had reason to suppose, many who had taken part in the rebellion had been convinced of their error, and were desirous to return to their duty and allegiance:—That he had promised them pardon, with few exceptions, on the surrendering of themselves, their arms, and ammunition: and that they should be permitted to return home, on giving a military parole:—That their persons and properties should be protected from violence: and as soon as possible, that they should be restored to all the privileges of legal and constitutional government.
 These specious promises had little effect on the alienated inhabitants: no allurements could induce them to join heartily, in assisting the British commander to subjugate their native land. Their defection daily increased; and a more thorough aversion to the designs and the authority of the British government, almost universally appeared. This, his lordship himself attested. He observed afterwards in a letter to sir Henry Clinton, that “after the complete victory at Guilford, his numbers did not increase, though he had staid two days near the field of action.” His lordship acknowledged, that though he had marched through the part of the country where he had reason to suppose he had the most friends, he found himself equally disappointed and mortified. He observed, that—
Many of the inhabitants rode into camp, shook me by the hand, said they were glad to see me, and to hear that we had beaten Greene, and then rode home again; for I could not get an hundred men in all the Regulators’ country to stay with me, even as militia.*
This must have been a very unpleasant prelude to his lordship’s march through a forlorn wilderness, interspersed with deep rivers, which must greatly impede an army encumbered with sick  and wounded, who were many of them obliged to travel in waggons, while all were scantily provided with clothes, shoes, or provisions. But notwithstanding all impediments, they reached Wilmington the seventh of April.
There, the commander found new sources of anxiety: he felt his apprehensions increased on account of the situation of lord Rawdon, on whom the command had devolved, when lord Cornwallis left Guilford. He had left with him only nine hundred men: but whatever dangers his little army might be exposed to from the pursuit of general Greene, which was now ascertained, it was impossible for lord Cornwallis to tread back his steps to their assistance. These considerations determined his lordship to take the advantage of general Greene’s having left the back part of Virginia open, to march immediately into that state.
As he had received express injunctions from sir Henry Clinton, to leave the Carolinas as soon as possible, and repair to Virginia to the aid of general Phillips, it was his opinion, that his own movements were not optional. This officer had been sent forward to the Chesapeake with a reinforcement, in order to support the measures sir Henry Clinton had, early in the preceding winter, adopted, and for a time had entrusted general Arnold to prosecute.
 Previous to lord Cornwallis’s removal from Wilmington, he wrote general Phillips, that he was in great distress at the reflection, that general Greene had taken the advantage of his absence, and had marched towards South Carolina: that he had endeavoured to warn lord Rawdon of this danger; but that he had reason to think, his dispatches had been intercepted. He observed, that
the mountaineers and militia had poured into the back parts of that province; and he much feared, that lord Rawdon’s posts would be so distant from each other, and his troops so scattered, as to put him into the greatest danger of being beat in detail: and that the worst of consequences might happen to most of the troops out of Charleston. By a direct move towards Camden, I cannot get there time enough to relieve lord Rawdon; and should he have fallen, my army would be exposed to the utmost dangers, from the great rivers I should have to pass, the exhausted state of the country, the numerous militia, the almost universal spirit of revolt which prevails in South Carolina, and the strength of Greene’s army, whose continentals alone are almost as numerous as I am.
His lordship seemed however determined to make a feint in favor of lord Rawdon, by moving towards Hillsborough; yet he did not seem to expect much advantage could result there from. His situation was such, that he appeared  embarrassed in his decisions; nor could he easily determine, under the difficulty of existing circumstances, what line of conduct would best promote the general cause in which he was engaged. In lord Cornwallis’s letter to general Phillips, from which an extract is given above, dated Wilmington, April 24th, 1781, he informed him, that an attempt to march from thence to Virginia was exceedingly hazardous; and that many unforeseen difficulties might render it totally impracticable; that he should however endeavour to surmount them, and as soon as possible attempt to march to the Roanoke. In the mean time, he cautioned general Phillips to take no steps that might expose the army with him to ruin, if in any event their junction should be retarded. He urged him to transmit the earliest intelligence from time to time, until circumstances should admit of his meeting him at Petersburgh.
General Washington, soon after Arnold’s embarkation from New York, had ordered a detachment of continental troops, under the command of the marquis de la Fayette, to follow, to watch the motions, and if possible to defeat the sanguinary purposes of this newly converted agent, to execute the designs of their enemies, and waste the blood of his countrymen.
A French squadron had lately arrived at Rhode Island, a part of which it was expected  would soon repair to the Chesapeake, under an able and experienced naval commander, the count de Barras. High expectations were formed by every class of Americans, that the assistance of France this year, would be sufficient to enable the armies of the United States to counteract, if not to defeat, the designs of the British commanders in their several departments.
Sir Henry Clinton, apprised of these circumstances, and very apprehensive for the safety of his friends in Virginia, judged it necessary, there should be no further delay in sending a more respectable force to that quarter, to strengthen the hands of general Arnold. Arnold had, on his first arrival in Virginia, landed at Westover, and marched to Richmond, destroying all before him, with little or no opposition. He was assisted in his marauding exploits by colonel Simcoe, who marched from Richmond to Westham, and there destroyed one of the finest founderies for cannon in all America. They burnt, plundered, and destroyed every thing before them as they moved. Yet sir Henry Clinton was convinced, that their numbers were not sufficient to facilitate his wishes and subdue the state, without a more strong and respectable force. In consequence of this determination, he had ordered major general Phillips, with four thousand men, to repair immediately to Virginia to succor Arnold.  He likewise had directed lord Cornwallis to form a junction with general Phillips, as soon as the affairs of Carolina would admit of his transferring his command there, and leaving that state. By some expressions in the order, it seemed to be left discretionary with his lordship, to move when and where he thought proper: yet in consequence of this call, and the reasons annexed thereto, he thought himself obligated to hasten his march to meet general Phillips, according to the directions of sir Henry Clinton.
Lord Cornwallis, notwithstanding all the discouraging circumstances which he had encountered, and which at times still seemed to increase before him, did not lose sight of the objects of conquest, victory, and glory, to be acquired in Virginia. So prone is man to anticipate the completion of his own wishes, that he continues to cherish them, even after probabilities cease to exist. Thus the confidence his lordship had in the military abilities of lord Rawdon, the repeated defeat of general Greene, and the broken state of his army, from the frequent instances of flight and desertion, still flattered him with ideas, that the Carolinas might yet be subdued.
These considerations induced him to hasten his march toward the state of Virginia. His  troops were indeed in a miserable condition for a march of three hundred miles, in a hostile country, where they could not avail themselves of its produce, however necessary for their subsistence, without being impeded by skirmishing parties. Both the cavalry and infantry were in a very destitute situation, with regard to forage, provisions, and clothing; but these were not impediments sufficient to stop the progress of veteran troops, with an able commander at their head. They began their march on the twenty-fifth of April, and arrived at Petersburgh on the twentieth of May.
The route from Guilford to Wilmington, and from Wilmington to Petersburgh, was attended with unusual fatigue and difficulty; yet lord Cornwallis moved with cheerfulness and alacrity, supported by the sanguine expectation and pleasing idea of triumph in the reduction of Virginia, in addition to the conquest of the Carolinas. Groundless as were these expectations, his lordship at that time flattered himself, that the work of subduing the Carolinas was nearly finished, and that they should soon only have to take measures, for retaining in obedience those turbulent and refractory states. But when he had completed his march, and arrived at the destined spot, that opened to his imagination new scenes of glory and victory, he found on every side, embarrassments that he had not contemplated, and disappointments that  wounded both his personal feelings as a friend, and his military pride as an officer.
He met at Petersburgh the melancholy tidings of the death of general Phillips, from whose acknowledged military talents and experience, he had reason to expect advice and assistance in every exigence. This brave and judicious officer, who had so often staked his life in the field of battle, fell a victim to sickness. Lord Cornwallis had no opinion of Arnold; he despised him as a man, or an officer, and hated him as a traitor. He wrote sir Henry Clinton, that experience had made him less sanguine; and that more arrangements were necessary for so important an expedition as the present, than had ever occurred to general Arnold. To this his lordship added many other expressions of contempt and disgust, for this new favorite of the British commander in chief.
It is not strange, that many officers among the gallant troops of Great Britain, men of name and distinction, should be much chagrined at the rank given to, and the confidence placed in, this unprincipled minion.
Before his death it had appeared, that major general Phillips, who had formerly suffered by the bravery of Arnold and his associates, was manifestly piqued at the attention paid to his advice, and the anxiety shewn by sir Henry  Clinton for his safety. Phillips had but recently obtained his liberty, after the convention of Saratoga: exchanged for general Lincoln, this expedition to Virginia was his first command, of any magnitude, after his release. He found in the orders received from general Clinton, some mortifying expressions, and a letter that accompanied them contained still more. Clinton had indiscreetly intimated therein to general Phillips, that “the security of Arnold and his troops, at Elizabeth River, was the principal object of Phillips’s expedition to Virginia.” For this expression, general Clinton found himself afterwards obliged to apologize. It was deemed grossly affrontive to an high-spirited officer, of the rank, merits, and military abilities, possessed by general Phillips.
From the circumstances already related, it appears clearly, that lord Cornwallis’s route from Charleston to Virginia, was long, hazardous, and fatiguing. He had not traversed less than eleven or twelve hundred miles, when he reached Cobham on James River, including the necessary circuitous marches he was obliged to make, to avoid rivers, rapids, mountains, and other impediments to ease or expedition in travelling.
From this place he wrote some of his most desponding and discontented letters to general Clinton. He found the British troops scattered  in small detachments, and posted at a distance from each other in various parts of the country. He observed to sir Henry Clinton:
One maxim appears to me to be absolutely necessary, for the safe and honorable conduct of this war—which is, that we should have as few posts as possible; and that wherever the king’s troops are, they should be in respectable force. By the vigorous exertions of the present governors of America, large bodies of men are soon collected: and I have too often observed, that when a storm threatens, our friends disappear.
Before lord Cornwallis left Cobham, he observed in a letter to general Clinton, that
he wished to call his attention to the inutility of a stand at an offensive post, that could have no influence on the war that still existed in Carolina, and that only gave them a few acres of unhealthy swamp in Virginia, liable at any time to become a prey to the enemy, without any superiority of force. *
From his first arrival in Virginia, he had declined acting with general Arnold; but he was not long mortified with the fight or the society of a man he so much detested. He did not reach Petersburgh till the twentieth of May,  and in the beginning of June, he was relieved from an associate so disagreeable to the feelings of a man of honor, by Arnold’s return to New York.
Sir Henry Clinton had various reasons for the recal of this officer: these he did not announce: but he doubtless thought, that from his constitutional boldness, and the desperate situation in which he would be found if defeated by the Americans, that Arnold would be a useful agent if New York should be seriously attacked. But the principal design appeared soon after, to be that of employing him in a business for which he was peculiarly calculated; the surprise, the plundering, and burning the plantations and defenceless towns, on the sea-coast of the state of Connecticut, and other places.
The unexpected and much lamented death of general Phillips, and the recal of general Arnold, a man held odious by Cornwallis in every point of view, left his lordship the sole responsibility for events in Virginia: and perhaps the movements and termination of the campaign there, were conducted with as much judgment, ability, and military skill, as could have been exhibited by any officer, involved in similar difficulties and embarrassments.
It was not many weeks after lord Cornwallis arrived in Virginia, before the intelligence he  received from the southward, filled him with the most serious and alarming apprehensions for the safety of lord Rawdon. He found by the most authenticated accounts, that general Greene had taken the advantage of his absence, and had moved with all possible expedition toward the environs of Charleston; that success had attended his manoeuvres in various instances; and that lord Rawdon had as frequently been disappointed in his systems. To return, and follow him, was impracticable; though in his opinion, the Carolinas were in the utmost danger of being lost to Great Britain. Yet the work assigned him in Virginia, required the talents and the vigilance of the ablest commander.
On his arrival in that state, he found the Americans in high spirits, and their troops strongly posted on the most convenient grounds. He found that general Arnold had done little to facilitate the conquest of Virginia. He had indeed burnt several houses, destroyed some stores, and murdered many of the inhabitants: but no consistent plan of conquest appeared to have been either arranged or executed. His lordship also felt heavily the death of general Phillips, from whom he expected much information and advice, in the critical emergencies that opened upon him the farther he advanced.
 The orders of general Clinton were peremptory, and to Cornwallis appeared inscrutable: and in addition to the list of perplexities and disappointments that daily thickened upon him, he received orders from sir Henry Clinton, to send on a part of his troops for the defence of New York, which he still apprehended would soon be attacked by the combined armies of France and America.
Thus, embarrassed on every side, his own systems deranged, his judgment slighted, and his opinions disregarded by the commander in chief, his lordship was evidently chagrined; yet he lost not the vigilance or activity of an officer of distinguished valor; and soon made an effort to concentrate his troops, and to place the main body of his army in the posts he judged best calculated for defence. In this he differed widely in opinion from sir Henry Clinton; but finally took his stand at York-Town, in obedience to the orders of the commander in chief.
The marquis de la Fayette had not been idle before the arrival of lord Cornwallis; and afterwards aided by the judgment and experience of the baron de Steuben, who arrived in the month of June, he kept the British troops in play for some time. But the number of his troops was inconsiderable, and most of them militia-men: they were easily routed in detached  bodies, by the more experienced partisans who opposed them. Besides many officers of superior name and character, in the train of lord Cornwallis, he was attended with very many who had no higher description of talent, than what was necessary for sudden and bold invasion of the weak and defenceless, without any relentings, or compassionate feelings toward the victims who fell into their hands. In a war like the present, they had many opportunities of indulging their propensities, and exhibiting those talents.
The violent and cruel vigilance of colonel Tarleton is already too well known to require any comment. Among other British partisans of notoriety, was a colonel Hamilton, who had distinguished himself for his activity and his severity, from Georgia to Virginia. Not less active than either of the above, was a colonel Simcoe; more remarkable for intrigue, stratagem, and surprise, than for the cool operations of the commander of magnanimity. The courage which is accompanied by humanity, is a virtue; but bravery that pushes through all dangers to destroy, is barbarous, is savage, is brutal.
These were the principal officers at this time, that headed the detachments in most of the  marauding parties that infested the state of Virginia. Simcoe had distinguished himself in this way through the Jersies, until taken prisoner by the Americans. When he recovered his liberty, he pursued the game; and became so perfect in the art of coup de main, that in one of his excursions in Virginia, he eluded even the vigilance of the baron Steuben, so far as to oblige him to remove with precipitation from an advantageous post, not without considerable loss.
Lord Cornwallis himself detailed some of the heroic feats of this trio, in a letter to sir Henry Clinton, dated Williamsburgh, June 30th. The principal design of his lordship was by their movements to prevent the junction of general Wayne, who was marching through Maryland to the assistance of the marquis de la Fayette. He pushed his light troops over a river in haste, in order to effect this if possible. Finding it impracticable, and that in spite of all his efforts general Wayne had made good his march, and reached his intended post, he took the advantage of the marquis’s passing the Rappahannock, and detached lieutenant colonels Simcoe and Tarleton, to disturb the assembly of the state, then sitting at Charlotteville. The result of this excursion was the capture of several of the members of the assembly, and the waste of the continental stores in that quarter. They destroyed at Charlotteville, and on their return,  one thousand stand of arms, five hundred barrels of powder, and a large quantity of other military accoutrements and provisions.
The baron Steuben had his station at this time, at the point of Fork: he was surprised and obliged to retreat, after a short rencounter. Simcoe followed, and used every exertion to attack his rear guard: not effecting this, he destroyed as usual all the continental stores which lay in their way. There, and in the places adjacent, the Americans lost three or four thousand stand of arms, and a large quantity of powder and other stores. The baron had with him in this affray about eight hundred men, mostly militia.
After this, lord Cornwallis moved himself to Williamsburgh. There he gave fully and freely to sir Henry Clinton, his opinion of the only mode of effecting the security of South, and the reduction of North Carolina, which he found was expected from him both in England and America. He observed, that, in his judgment,
until Virginia was subdued, they could not reduce North Carolina, or have any certain hold of the back country of South Carolina; the want of navigation rendering it impossible to maintain a sufficient army in either of those provinces, at a considerable distance from the coast; and the men and riches of Virginia furnishing ample supplies  to the rebel southern army. I will not say much in praise of the militia of the southern colonies; but the list of British officers and soldiers killed and wounded by them since last June, proves but too fatally, that they are not wholly contemptible. *
It appears from all the correspondence and conferences between sir Henry Clinton, general Phillips, and other officers, that the British commander in chief had seriously contemplated an excursion to Philadelphia. He intimated in one of his letters to general Phillips, not long before his death, that they probably had more friends who would co-operate with them in the state of Pennsylvania, than either in Maryland or Virginia. He seems to have been led to this opinion, by the representations of a colonel Rankin. He urged this as an experiment that would redound much to the advantage of lord Cornwallis’s operations in Virginia. General Clinton clearly discovered that he had a predilection, himself, in favor of the project. He asked the advice of the generals Phillips and Arnold on the subject, after he had appeared to be predetermined to make the experiment.
When it was disclosed to lord Cornwallis, by general Phillips’s letters falling into his hands,  he did not hesitate to remonstrate against drawing off four thousand men from Virginia, for service in the Delaware, in this critical exigence of affairs in all the more southern colonies. He observed in the same letter from which an extract is given above, that sir Henry Clinton being charged with the weight of the whole American war, his opinions of course were less partial, and were directed to all its parts; and that to those opinions it was his duty implicitly to submit.
He then adds, that—
Being in the place of general Phillips, I thought myself called upon by you, to give my opinion on the attempt upon Philadelphia. Having experienced much disappointment on that head, I own I would cautiously engage in measures, depending materially for their success on the active assistance from the country: and I thought the attempt on Philadelphia would do more harm than good to the cause of Britain; because, supposing it practicable to get possession of the town, (which, besides other obstacles, if the redoubts are kept up, would not be easy) we could not hope to arrive without their having had sufficient warning of our approach, to enable them to secure specie, and the greatest part of their valuable public stores, by means of their boats and shipping.
 The difficulty of discriminating friends from foes in Philadelphia, the improbability that they could continue long there if they succeeded, the stronger necessity for all the troops that could be spared from New York to act in Virginia, and the hazard that would attend an attack on Philadelphia, were circumstances, that induced lord Cornwallis very judiciously to portray them in his letters to sir Henry Clinton, as an object where the balance of the risk far outweighed any promise of advantage.
It may easily be supposed, that those free opinions and advice which he considered as obtruded, could not be very acceptable to the commander in chief at New York; more especially, as it was evident there had long existed heart-burnings and jealousies between sir Henry Clinton and lord Cornwallis. These were heightened by the warm altercations between them, with regard to the most convenient and advantageous posts for defence, as well as the arrangements for offensive operations.
The encampment of the marquis de la Fayette was at this time about eighteen or twenty miles from Williamsburgh. He had with him about two thousand men. This was a number far too short for any offensive movements against such a strong and forcible British army, as was then posted in Virginia. He was in impatient  expectation of reinforcements, which he had now reason to conclude as certain, from the junction of the American and French troops commanded by the count de Rochambeau. But the marquis was obliged to act again, before there was time for his relief by the arrival of his friends.
Lord Cornwallis endeavoured before the middle of July, to cross James River and pass his army to Portsmouth. The marquis de la Fayette sent forward the Pennsylvania line, with some other detachments, to impede their passage. This brought on a smart engagement, which terminated with considerable loss on both sides. The approach of evening, with other disadvantageous circumstances, obliged the Americans to retreat, leaving the few cannon they had with them behind: the darkness of the night prevented a pursuit. The next day the British passed the river; but not without some difficulty from its width, which was about three miles.
The marquis la Fayette, through the difficulties which he had to encounter in Virginia, had on all occasions conducted with more valor, caution, prudence, and judgment, than could have been expected from so young an officer. When the baron de Steuben joined him in the month of June, he had few men under his command, except the militia, whose numbers were indeterminate,  and the time of their continuance in service always uncertain. Yet much generalship and military address had been shewn on various occasions, both by the young hero and the aged veteran. They through all the summer, opposed the vigilance and superior force of lord Cornwallis, with great courage and dexterity.
Lord Cornwallis had made several judicious attempts to surprise the marquis with his little armament, consisting, as his lordship occasionally observed, “mostly of unarmed peasantry.” But wary and brave, his ability and judgment had supplied the deficiencies, and balanced the weakness of his detachment; and before the arrival of the generals Washington and Rochambeau, the marquis de la Fayette had rendered very essential service to the American cause, by his valor and firmness in the state of Virginia.
Lord Cornwallis had been but a few days at Portsmouth, before he received a letter from sir Henry Clinton, censuring him in direct terms for attempting to pass James River, and taking his stand at Portsmouth, though he had before recommended this to general Phillips, as a convenient post. He observed, that he had flattered himself, until he had the honor to receive his lordship’s letter of the 8th of July,
that upon re-considering the general purport of our correspondence, and general Phillips’s papers in your possession, you would at least have  waited for a line from me, in answer to your letter of the 30th ultimo, before you finally determined upon so serious and mortifying a move, as the repassing James River, and retiring with your army to Portsmouth. And I was the more induced to hope that this would have been the case, as we both seemed to agree in our opinion of the propriety of taking a healthy station on the neck between York and James Rivers, for the purpose of covering a proper harbor for our line of battle ships.
Through all his correspondencies, orders, commands, countermands, and indecision, during the present summer, no man ever appeared more embarrassed, or more totally at a loss how to arrange his military manoeuvres, than did general Clinton. He appeared at times to consider the reduction of Virginia as a primary object, and that it was of the highest importance that lord Cornwallis should be there strengthened and supported, both by sea and land: at other periods, he treated the operations there in so light a manner, that his ideas could not be comprehended, even by so intelligent an officer as lord Cornwallis.
It was not more than three or four weeks previous to the date of the above letter, that  sir Henry Clinton had pressed his lordship, as if in a sudden fright, to send him two thousand troops to aid in the defence of New York: and, as if under some panic-struck influence, he said,
The sooner they are sent the better; unless your lordship may have adopted my plan to move to Baltimore, or the Delaware Neck, and put yourself in a way to co-operate with us; but even in that case, you can spare us something I suppose. From all the letters I have seen, I am of opinion, if circumstances of provisions, stores, &c., turn out as they wish, that the enemy will certainly attack this post. As for men for such an object, in this (circumstanced as they suppose it to be) it cannot be doubted that they can raise a sufficient number.
Sir Henry Clinton had found by an intercepted letter, that there were eight thousand men collected at West Point, and that others were coming in very fast. He informed Cornwallis, that he had certain intelligence that admiral Barras had sailed from Rhode Island; that many circumstances had put it beyond a doubt, that the design was to form a junction between him and general Washington, and that they meditated an attempt on the post at New York.
It is needless to detail much more of the correspondencies of the British officers acting at  this time in America: their characters are sufficiently elucidated, not only by their own letters but by subsequent transactions. It is enough to observe, that by the correspondence of the general officers, afterwards published in England, it clearly appears, that they did not harmonize in opinion: their councils at this time were confused, and their plans indecisive.
Yet it is worthy of notice, that distrust, dissension, and vilification, were kept up equally between some of the British naval commanders and sir Henry Clinton. In one of his confidential letters he complained, that “all opportunities of advantage were impeded or lost, by the slowness and obstinacy of the admiral.” He observed, that “his strange conduct had, if possible, been more inscrutable than ever: at one time, he declared he was immediately going home; at another, he had sworn that he knew nothing of his recal.”
In a secret and confidential letter to general Phillips, sir Henry Clinton assured him, that “if he was not better satisfied by the next post, relative to the recal of admiral Graves, he should probably leave the management of him solely to lord Cornwallis.” * In this letter he censured his lordship in direct terms, for leaving the Carolinas but half subdued, to pursue the chimerical  project of doubtful conquests in Virginia. He asserted, that his invitation, not his commands to his lordship, to come to the Chesapeake, was on the supposition that every thing was settled in the Carolinas, agreeably to the wishes of administration, and the designs of the government of England.
Sure of the confidence of general Phillips, sir Henry Clinton expressed the utmost astonishment, that
with nine British battalions, a legion of infantry, a detachment of yaughers, five Hessian and several provincial battalions, some American light-horse, and large detachments of artillery and dragoons, that lord Cornwallis should yet pretend that he wanted forces sufficient for the most solid operations in Virginia.†
He sneered at his lordship’s idea, that it was impossible to act with his army in Carolina, without the assistance of friends. This reflection alluded to a letter received by him, in which lord Cornwallis observed, that the royal cause had few friends in that country, and that when a storm threatened, even those few disappeared. An historian has observed, that “Chosroes relinquished the Colchian war in  the just persuasion, that it is impossible to hold a distant country, against the wishes and efforts of its inhabitants.”‡ His lordship might probably be of the same opinion. This opinion was justified by his own experience, in too many mortifying instances for the tranquillity of a man of his sensibility.
It has been above observed, that by the sudden death of general Phillips, all these letters fell into the hands of Lord Cornwallis, with several others of the same style and tenor. This circumstance greatly aggravated the dissension and disgust, between the commanding officers in New York and Virginia. Yet notwithstanding the implied censure or reproach which they contained, in most of sir Henry Clinton’s letters afterwards to lord Cornwallis, he had written with great complaisance, and had expressed the highest confidence in his lordship’s abilities and judgment. But the breach became irreconcileable.
Through the whole business, lord Cornwallis constantly affirmed, that his force was insufficient even for defensive operations. He took the liberty to intimate to sir Henry Clinton, that notwithstanding there had been a call for a part of his troops for the defence of New York, that he had never been under any apprehensions  for the safety of that city. With the same freedom, he remonstrated against a plan that had been meditated by the commander in chief at New York, for an attack on the city of Philadelphia.
His lordship asserted with some degree of warmth, that it appeared to him highly imprudent, that any part of his army should be detached for that or any other purpose. But he observed further, that in his subordinate situation, unacquainted with the instructions of administration, ignorant of the forces under the command of his excellency general Clinton, and without the power of making arrangements, he could only offer his opinion: that plans of execution must come from himself, who had the materials for forming, as well as the power of executing.
These remonstrances had little weight with the British commander in chief. It appears through all their correspondence that these gentlemen differed very widely in opinion, with regard to the modes of action, the numbers necessary for effective execution, the best posts for defence, and indeed in the general plan of all their operations. However, sir Henry Clinton still kept up the idea of supporting the war in Virginia, and of aiding lord Cornwallis to the utmost, notwithstanding he had sent an order to draw off a part of his troops.
 After he was thoroughly alarmed at the hazardous situation of the commander in Virginia, he relinquished his chimerical project of attacking Philadelphia; he countermanded the orders for drawing off a considerable part of the troops; and endeavoured to hasten on a small squadron of British ships then lying at Sandy-Hook. He flattered himself that a few ships under the flag of Britain, might intercept the fleet, and interrupt the designs of admiral Barras, who had sailed from Rhode Island; or retard a still more important object, the arrival of the count de Grasse in the Chesapeake, where he was hourly expected. He made some other ineffectual efforts for the relief of the British army, which was soon after cooped up by a large French fleet that arrived within the Capes.
The dissension, discord, and division of opinion, among the British officers, was not all that occasioned the fatal delay of strengthening lord Cornwallis in Virginia; it may be ascribed more to that atmosphere of doubt in which sir Henry Clinton was involved. Irresolute measures are ever the result of a confusion of ideas. The vast object of reducing such a wide extended country, and setting the wheels of operation in motion, so as to work with equal facility, from Georgia to Virginia, from Virginia to the north, and from Canada to the eastern extreme,  was of too wide an extent for the compass of his ability.
His mind seemed for a time to be plunged in a chaos, uncertain where to begin, in the complicated difficulties of his official duties, or where to set the strongest materials of his machinery to work in all its parts, in a manner that would produce a complete system of conquest through the United States. There was no deficiency of courage, ardor, or fidelity to their master, among the officers of the crown, however dissentient in opinion with regard to the modes of execution. But these dissensions prevented that ready co-operation in action, which is necessary both to defeat the designs of their enemies, and to complete their own systems by judicious and prompt decision, and the immediate execution of well digested plans.
The movements of the continental and French army, had alarmed sir Henry Clinton to such a degree, that he long persisted in his determination of recalling a part of the troops from Virginia, for the immediate defence of New York. He informed lord Cornwallis, that general Washington had with him eight or ten thousand men, besides the French battalions; and observed, that every one acquainted with the disposition of the inhabitants east of the Hudson, must be sensible in what manner their  appearance would affect the numerous and warlike militia of the New England states.
Sir Henry Clinton, doubtful of the farther success of load Cornwallis, apprehensive of an immediate assault on New York, and reasonably calculating the numbers in array against him, as very far superior to his own, lost sight for a time, of the dangerous situation of lord Cornwallis and the army in Virginia. To complete the agitation of his mind, he was now trembling for his sinking reputation, which had been severely attacked in England. From these circumstances, his despondency was nearly equal to his irresolution. Yet, apparent necessity awakened his energy for the defence of the city of New York; and every possible step was taken, to meet the combined troops in a manner becoming a British veteran commander.
Lord Cornwallis, with very different ideas, was parrying the attacks of the Americans then in Virginia, and preparing, as far as possible, for the resistance of stronger bodies of enemies. He was persuaded, that general Washington and the count de Rochambeau, aided by a powerful French fleet, had deeper laid systems, and were on the point of disclosing designs of higher magnitude, and more important consequences, than had ever been apprehended by sir Henry Clinton.
 The variety of smaller skirmishes, retreats, reprisals, and unexpected rencounters, that took place on the different rivers and posts in Virginia, may at present be left, to advert more particularly to the difficulties lord Cornwallis had to contend with, and the dangers he had to combat, previous to the decision of his fortune in that quarter. He had for a time taken his stand at Portsmouth, but he left that station as soon as possible; and, according to orders from the commander in chief, concentrated his forces at York-Town and Gloucester, towards the close of summer, much against his own judgment.
We have seen, that by the indecision of general Clinton, the delay of reinforcements both by land and sea, and the general defection and disgust of the Virginians to any appearance of the authority of the crown of Britain, there were causes sufficient to discourage an officer who was ambitious to act with vigor and promptitude. But these were far from comprising the whole of the gloomy prospect which lay before lord Cornwallis. He had the highest reason to expect the approach of general Washington, accompanied by the experienced and renowned Rochambeau. At the same time, he had well-grounded expectations of a French fleet in the Chesapeake, to counteract any naval operations on the part of Britain. This combination of dangers, added to the inconvenient and indefensible  post his lordship was impelled to take, reduced him to the most perplexed and embarrassed state of mind. Yet he supported himself with firmness and magnanimity, until new and inextricable difficulties led him to despair of the success of the campaign. This was apparent by the tenor of his letters, as well as by his general deportment, for some time previous to the catastrophe of the fatal day, which reduced a nobleman of the first rank, an officer of the highest military fame and pride, to the condition of a prisoner.
END OF VOL. II.
[*]This original letter was to James Warren, esquire, speaker of the assembly of Massachusetts, March the thirty-first, one thousand seven hundred and seventy-nine. [George Washington to James Warren, March 31, 1779, in John C. Fitzpatrick, ed., The Writings of George Washington (39 Vols.; Washington, 1931–1944), 14: 311–314. Also reprinted in WAL, II: 97–100.]
[*]The honorable James Warren, esquire, to [Source not identified].
[*]See scale of depreciation. [The rapid and nearly catastrophic depreciation of state and continental currencies was widely discussed between 1777 and 1781. In September 1779 Congress issued a Circular Letter to the states in which it rejected any suggestion that paper money should be officially discounted. By March 1780 it resolved upon exactly such a scheme. See JCC, XV: 1051–1064 (September 13, 1779); XVI: 205–207 (February 26, 1780), 216–217 (February 28, 1780), 262–267 (March 18, 1780). The best contemporary historical discussion of financial chaos is David Ramsay, The History of theRevolution of South-Carolina (2 vols.; Trenton, 1785), II: 68–100, 416–431.]
[*]When lord Cornwallis was informed of the rank and merits of the baron de Kalb, he directed that his remains should be respectfully interred. He was buried near the village of Camden; but no memorial of the deposite of this distinguished hero has been preserved, though congress some time afterwards directed a monument should be erected to his memory. Nothing was however done, except planting an ornamental tree at the head of his grave.
[*]The masterly retreat of the duke of Parma before the king of France, was indeed a hasty flight; but he soon recovered himself, and asked the king by a trumpet, “what he thought of his retreat?” The king was so much out of humor, that he could not help saying, “he had no skill in retreating; and that in his opinion, the best retreat in the world was little better than a flight.” The duke however gained, rather than lost reputation thereby. He resumed his high rank, as a commander of the first abilities, and lived and died crowned with military fame and applause.SIEGE OF ROUEN . . . Mod. Univ. History.[Modern Universal History, XXIV: 249.]
[*]This step was justly complained of in a letter to general Smallwood from lord Cornwallis. He particularly regretted the death of a colonel Mills, a gentleman of a fair and uniform character; also a captain Oates, and others, who were charged with no crime but that of royalism.
[†]Sir Henry Clinton observed on this occasion, that “the fatal catastrophe of Ferguson’s defeat, had lost lord Cornwallis the whole militia of Ninety-Six, amounting to four thousand men; and even threw South Carolina into a state of confusion and rebellion.” [Stevens, Campaign, I: 186–189.]
[*]Lord Rawdon’s letter to general Clinton, October the twenty-ninth, one thousand seven hundred and eighty. [Rawdon to Clinton in Stevens, Campaign, I: 277–280.]
[†]See printed correspondence of the generals Clinton, Cornwallis, Rawdon, &c., published in London, one thousand seven hundred and eighty-three. [Rawdon to Leslie, October 24, 1780 in Stevens, Campaign, I: 271–276.]
[*]See resolutions of the governor and council at Philadelphia, February the third, one thousand seven hundred and seventy-nine, relative to Arnold’s conduct in that city. [Pennsylvania’s charges against Arnold were published in a broadside which is reprinted in LDC, 12: 27. See Samuel Hazard, ed., Pennsylvania Archives, VII: 337-338 (Joseph Reed to George Washington, April 24, 1779); 347-350 (Joseph Reed to President of Congress, April 27, 1779); 351-355 (Washington to Reed, April 27, 1779); 377-383 (Reed to Washington, May 8, 1779). Reed’s attitude toward Arnold was surprisingly lenient. Reed was also deeply concerned that the military court martial, based in part on a complaint against Arnold made by a state (Pennsylvania), was both a usurpation of state jurisdiction and a denial of due process to the defendant Arnold.]
[*]These were the names of the three soldiers who detected and secured major Andre.
[*]The court consisted of fourteen very respectable officers, of whom general Greene was president. See trial of major Andre. [Proceedings of a Board of General Officers, Held by Order of His Excellency Gen. Washington . . . Respecting Major Andre, Adjutant General of theBritish Army. September 29, 1780 (Philadelphia, 1780).]
[*]See an account of captain Hale’s execution, in the British Remembrancer, and other historical records. [Hale’s execution was not reported in the Remembrancer, 1776 or 1777. For an exhaustive account of Hale, see George Dudley Seymour, Documentary Life of Nathan Hale (New Haven, 1941).]
[*]See Appendix, Note No. IX.
[*]See sir Henry Clinton’s letter to lord George Germaine, January, one thousand seven hundred and eighty-one. [See Lord George Germaine to Sir Henry Clinton, March 7, 1781, in Stevens, Campaign, I: 334.]
[*]It was a singular circumstance at the court of the empress Catharine, for any foreign minister or agent to be refused an interview with her majesty. She had always, from pride, curiosity, or policy, condescended to converse herself, with strangers who visited her court on public business.
[*]Sir Henry Clinton observed afterwards, “that the unfortunate action at the Cow-pens, diminished lord Cornwallis’s army nearly one fourth. “If this was true, it must have been by desertion, or by a sudden defection of the inhabitants of the state, who had previously aided him.
[*]See general Greene’s own letters, and the letters of other officers. [See Greene to Washington, February 9, 1781 and February 15, 1781, in Sparks, Correspondence, III: 225-228, 233-236.]
[*]See earl Cornwallis’s letter to lord George Germaine, dated Wilmington, April eighteenth, one thousand seven hundred and eighty-one. [Stevens, Campaign, I: 414-416.]
[†]General Greene’s letters authenticate this fact. [Greene wrote numerous letters from Ninety-Six during his tenure as commander of the southern army. No surviving letter provides the estimate of “fourteen hundred widows,” yet David Ramsay also used the same estimate years later. “The single district of Ninety-Six has been computed by well informed persons residing therein, to contain within its limits fourteen hundred widows and orphans; made so by the war.” The History of South Carolina (2 vols.; Charleston, 1809; rpt. Spartanburg, S.C. 1858), I:258. Greene did, however, write to his wife, Catharine, on June 23, 1781: “My dear you can have no idea of the horrors of the Southern war. Murders are as frequent here as petty disputes to the Northward. … The Gentlemen in this quarter think themselves extreme happy if they can get their wives and families into some place of safety.” (Original, Princeton University; copy, Nathanael Greene Papers, Rhode Island Historical Society.)]
[*]See lord Cornwallis’s letter to sir Henry Clinton, in Clinton’s Narrative, page 9. [Cornwallis to Clinton, April 10, 1781, in Stevens, Campaign, I: 395-399; “Narrative,” p. 9. Also see two letters of Cornwallis to Germaine, March 17, 1781, Ibid. , pp. 354-362 and 363-370.]
[*]Genera1 Greene’s letter to the chevalier de la Luzerne. [Greene to the Chevalier de la Luzerne, April 28, 1781 (Original, Clements Library, University of Michigan; copy, Henry E. Huntington Library). Greene began a letter to George Washington, May 1, 1781, in almost the same language. Sparks, Correspondence, III: 298-300.]
[*]See a representation of colonel Hayne’s case, laid before congress after his death. [Hayne’s execution became a cause celebre both in America and in England, where Parliamentary opponents of the war used it as an example of the brutalization of a losing effort. See Cobbett, XXII: 963-984 (January 31, 1782); JCC, XXI: 917-918, 927-929; Annual Register (1782), “History of Europe,” pp. 155-157. Isaac Hayne was a colonel in the South Carolina militia who was captured at Charleston, May 12, 1780. After being placed on parole to his farm he was ordered to join the British army. He took this to be a violation of his parole and rejoined active service with the militia. He was subsequently captured again and, without trial, hanged for treason and espionage on August 4, 1781.]
[*]This was a general Williamson, captured within seven miles of the city, by a small reconnoitering party sent out by colonel Hayne.
[†]See a more full account of the treatment of colonel Hayne in his own papers, afterwards presented to congress.
[*]General Greene’s letters to lord Cornwallis and colonel Balfour, in his dispatches to congress at the time. [Greene to Cornwallis, August 26, 1781 (British Public Record Office); Greene to Balfour, August 26, 1781 (Clements Library, University of Michigan); Balfour to Greene, September 3, 1781 (Colonial Williamsburg); Greene to Balfour, September 19, 1781 (Clements Library, University of Michigan). Greene was still seething over Hayne’s execution in November. Greene to Washington, November 21, 1781, Sparks, Correspondence, III: 447-449.]
[*]See lord Cornwallis’s letter to sir Henry Clinton, April 10, 1780. [Cornwallis to Clinton, April 10, 1781, in Stevens, Campaign, I: 395-399.]
[*]Lord Cornwallis’s letter from Cobham, James River. [Cornwallis to Clinton, July 8, 1781, Stevens, Campaign, II: 56–59.]
[*]See lord Cornwallis’s letter to general Clinton, dated Williamsburgh, June 30, 1781. [Cornwallis to Clinton, June 30, 1781, Stevens, Campaign, II: 31-39.]
[*]See general Clinton’s vindicatory letters. [Most of Clinton’s letters from late April forward are readily construed as “vindicatory.” Similar to the quotation in the text is Clinton to Philips, April 30, 1781, in Stevens, Campaign, I: 450-455.]
[†]General Clinton’s letter to major general Phillips, April, 1781, printed in England with his other letters. [Clinton to Philips, April 30, 1781, in Stevens, Campaign, I: 450-455. Also see Clinton to Philips, April 26/30, 1781, Ibid.: 437-441.]
[‡]Gibbon on the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. [Edward Gibbon, The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, (6 vols.; London, 1776-1788), Vol. IV, Ch. XLII.]