Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

British in Philadelphia.

Gen. Lacey to the council of Pennsylvania--dated A much valued friend placed in the hands of the Warwick, Bucks, Feb. 15, 1778. (Extracts.) “My

editor a large volume of papers, containing the force is reduced almost to a cypher. Only sixty correspondence of brig. gen. LACET, of Pennsyl. remain fit for duty in camp. With this number, vania, who commanded the militia stationed on you must of course suppose that we are in no wise the east side of the Schuylkill, to watch the mo. capable of guarding so extensive a country as this, tions of the enemy and prevent bis obtaining nor even safe in our camp." (Gen. Lacey's force supplies, during the period at which he occupied continually fluctuated-sometimes it amounted to Pbiladelphia

several hundred; at other times it was wholly in. This volume contains a great deal of curious mat. efficient, and hardly exceeded fifty in all. · At one

ter-though not much of it seems to come within moment he had several times more men than arms; the prospectus of this work. Such articles fol. at another, many times more arms than men. The low as may serve to shew the spirit and necessi. militia were called out for short tours, and his comties of the times.

mand was a most perplexing one. The officers and Gen. Washington to gen. Lacey--dated at Valley men hardly knew each other before they separated.] Forge, Jan. 23, 1778. [Extract.] “I am well in.

On the 21st of Feb. 1778, gen. Washington orders formed that many persons, under pretence of fur.

the destruction or removnl of certain quantities of hay, nishing the inhabitants of Germantown, and near

in places accessible to the enemy. the enemy's lines, afford immense supplies to the Philadelphia markets-a conduct highly prejudi.

Gen. Washington to gen. Lacey, dated at Valley cial to us and contrary to every order. It is there. Forge, March 2, 1778. (Extracts.] "I don't well fore become proper to make an example of some know what to do with the great numbers of guilty one, that the rest may expect a like fate, people taken going to Philadelphia. I have pu. should they persist. This I am determined to put nished several severely, fined others heavily, and in execution; and request you, when a suitable ob. some are sentenced to be imprisoned during the ject falls into your hands, that you will send him war.” He then expresses a wish that the state here with the witnesses; or let me know his name will take charge of them, punish them as criminals, -when you shall bave power to try, and if proved or hold them to exchange "for those inhabitants guilty, to execute. This you will be pleased to lately taken from their families.” But in a post. make known to the people, that they may again script adds, "If either or any of the persons now have warning."

in your custody are such that you think are pro. From the same, dated Feb. 8. 1778. [Extract.] "The per to make examples of, and you have sufficient communication between the city and country, in evidence to convict them, send them over to me, spite of every thing hitherto done, still continuing, with the witnesses, and I will have them immeand threatening the most pernicious consequences, diately tried by a court martial.” I am induced to beg you will exert every possible expedient to put a stop to it. In order to this, to Gen. Lacey to the council, dated camp, near White excite the zeal of the militia under your command, Marsh, March 11, 1778. [Extract.] "As soon as and make them more active in their duty, would I approach within eight or ten miles of the ene. have you let every thing taken from persons going my’s lines, the inhabitants, having their horses coninto and coming out of the city, redound to the cealed in bye places, mount them, and taking their benefit of the parties who take them. At the same way througb the fields and private paths, repair time, it will be necessary to use great precaution directly to the city, with the intelligence that the to prevent an abuse of this privilege; since it may

rebels are in the neighborhood. Not one word of otherwise be made a pretext for plundering the in intelligence can we procure from them, -not even nocent inbabitants. One method to prevent this the direction of the roads. will be, to let no forfeiture take place but under the eye and with the concurrence of some com.

There are large sums of counterfeit mon ey cir. missioned officer.

culating in the lower part of Bucks and Philadel. Any horses captured in this manner, fit for the

phia counties, which are brought out of the city public service, either as light or draught horses,

by the market people.” must be sent to camp to the quarter master gene. A letter from gen. Wayne to gen. Lacey, by order ral, who will be directed to pay the value of them of gen. Washington, notifies gen. L. that he is dito the captors.”

rected to collect and drive in all the cattle, borses

and waggons, in the counties of Bucks and Phila (Gen. Lacey, in reply, says he had ordered out bis delphia, likely to fall into the hands of the enemy, horse to stop the quakers, with orders, “if they re--especially the property of tories.

fused to stop when hailed, to fire into them, and

leave their bodies lying in the road.”) Gen. Lacey's orders to his scouting parties, March 9, 1778. [Extract.] "If your parties should meet

[So great was the intercourse with Philadelphia, with any people going to market, or any persons

and so numerous the sufferings of the whigs in conwhatever going to the city, and they endeavor to sequence of intelligence carried to the enemy, that make their escape, you will order your men to fire an idea was entertained of removing all the people upon the villains. You will leave such on the roads within fifteen miles of that city; but Washington --their bodies and their marketing lying together. said “the measure was rather desirable than practi. This I wish you to execute on the first offenders cable," and preferred a rigid conduct towards “noyou meet, that they may be a warning to others." |torious characters," who, he again directed, should

be tried by courts martial. But in a letter of the Gen. Washington to gen. Lacey, dated at Valley 11th April, in consequence of a resolve of congress, Forge, 20th March, 1778—"Sunday next being the he says "it will be needless to apprehend any more. time on which the quakers hold one of their ge. If found going to Philadelphia with provisions, you neral meetings, a number of that society will may take that and their horses from them." probably be attempting to go into Philadelphia.

Gen. Green lo gen. Lacey, dated Valley Forge, This is an intercourse that we should by all means

April 21, 1778. The wife of maj. 'T. complains endeavor to interrupt, as the plans settled at these

that some of your people have taken from her busmeetings are of the most pernicious tendency*. 1

band, one of their horses, which they are in want would therefore have you dispose of your parties of to enable them to move up to Reading. I wish in such a manner as will most probably fall in with

you to inquire into the matter, and if there is no these people, and if they should, and any of them

capital offence, to order the beast to be delivered to should be mounted upon horses fit for draft or the

the owner again. The war is a sufficient calamity service of light dragoons, I desire they may be

under every possible restraint, but where people are taken from them, and sent over to the quarter-mas

influenced by avarice and private prejudice, they ter general. Any such are not to be considered increase the distresses of the inhabitants beyond as the property of the parties who may seize them,

conception. Those evils can only be restrained by as in other cases. Communicate the above orders the generals, whose duty it is to protect the disto any of the officers who may command scouting iressed inhabitants, as well as govern and regulate parties on your side of the Schuylkill.

the affairs of the army. I hope you will pay par

ticular attention to this affair, as the age and dis. *I was in much doubt whether I ought to pub. cress of the complainants appear to claim it." lish or suppress this letter-but, OR reflection, have thought it best to insert it. It must be admitted, that a great majority of the quakers in Penn

[In reply, gen. Lacey states that he finds the sylvania, were “well inclined” to the British, and borse was taken by a person who "calls himself a some of them went great lengths out of the rules volunteer, and bas made a practice of riding with of their profession to aid and comfort the enemy of their country; others, by adhering to those rules my parties.” He was called upon to arswer for his and refusing to take any part in the contest, even conduct, and fresh instructions given not to molest by the payment of taxes, were improperly suspect the inhabitants "unless found favoring the enemy.") ed of disaffection, when in fact they were only neu. tral, refusing to have any thing to do with the war; a few, however, laid aside their testimony against

Gen. Lacey surprised. In a letter to gen. Wasbfightirg, and contended gallantly for freedom. ington, dated camp near Neshaminy bridge, York Persons of this religious persuasion in some other road, May 2, 1778, gen. Lacey gives an account of states, were sincerely attached to the cause of inde. pendence, and did all that consistently they could bis being surprised by a superior force of the enedo to assist the whigs. A stoppage of the inter- my, near the Crooked Billet, at day break on the course with Philadelphia, at the time, was indubi. preceding day, by the neglect of a lieut. wbose tably necessary and proper; but gen. Washington was misinformed, I apprehend, when he spoke of duty it was to keep a look-out, which he neglected the "plans” settled at the meetings of the quakers to do and was casbiered for it. Though the at-whatever they might have done as individuals, tack was wholly unexpected and very vigorous, Ls. their "meetings must have passed without t'i adoption of any plans of a political nature-for such cey made out to get his people embodied, and re. things are not suffered to be mentioned in them. treated fighting for upwards of two miles, when be

EDITOR.

Treached a wood and extricated himself. He lost

[ocr errors]

H W.esq.

shirly killed, and seventeen wounded. A number cure yourself by your exertions, you have little to of the enemy were killed. . We notice this affair expect from their lenity or gratitude. I should to give the following extract from gen. Lacey's not have said this much if I did not feel myself letter.

much hurt and the public service injured, by giv. “Some (of his men} were butchered in the most ing way to a little clamor, after the most odious savage and cruel manner--even when living, some

and difficult part of the business was done. were thrown into buck-wheat straw, and the straw

I am, sir, your obedient, bumble servant,

JOS. REED. set on fire. The clothes were burnt on otb ers; and scarcely one left without a dozen wounds, with

Philadelphia, Aug. 11, 1780.

Bucks bayonets and cutlasses."

county.

Gen. Lacy and his corps was discharged by [These things are repeated, with additional par. an order of the executive of Pennsylvania, on the ticulars, in a letter to gen. Armstrong.)

12th October, 1781, with the thanks of the council. Gen. Lacey was relieved by gen. Potter about the

middle of May, 1778, but resumed his old sta. Letters from gen., Washington. tion in the autumn of 1780, to collect troops, (Collected from among the papers of Cesar Rodger, waggons, horses, &c. by order of the council of

of Delaware, a member of the "stamp-act con. Pennsylvania. The following letter from presi.

gress” and of the revolutionary congress, whose dent Reed may serve to shew the state of things,

name is signed to the declaration of indepen. as to the subjects to which it relates--

dence. He was repeatedly chosen governor of To H W—, esq. Bucks county.—SIR-Having the state, and performed several tours of duty expressed myself so fully to you and Mr. T. upon as a brigadier general, during the revolution.] the necessity of procuring a number of horses, I CAMP, FOON MILES FROM POTTS' GROVE, am not a little surprised that you should have dis

September 24th, 1777. charged those that had been taken under the di.

DEAR SIR-I last night read your favor of the ! rection of gen. Lacey; and I cannot help consider.

21st, and am much obliged to you for the book. ing it as adding to my embarrassments at a time this, and the one taken in the action at Chads. when you gave me reason to expect assistance.

Ford, complete general Howe's orders from April It is much to be wished that gentlemen in pub.

to the 10th inst. I am sorry for the captivity of lic office, who, from motives of compassion, or a

Mr. Berry, whom you mention to be a young man fear of offending, cannot take part in these neces.

of merit, but no proposition for his exchange can

be made at this time, nor can he be exchanged sary measures, would on such occasions avoid

any interference; and leave persons of more decision

but in due course, which is the only rule by which to proceed. The legislature having vested the equal justice can take place. The conduct of the

militia is much to be regretted. In many instances, power of declaring martial law in us, I apprehend you had not authority to counteract the orders they are not to be roused, and in others they come given; which were to send such horses as were

into the field with all possible indifference, and, taken immediately down to this place, for the ac

to all appearance, entirely unimpressed with the commodation of the militia, about to march, agreea. Hence preceeds a total inattention to order and

importance of the cause in which we are engaged. bly to gen. Washington's order. It will be a grea: disappointment if they do not come down, and will

to discipline, and too often a disgraceful departure throw us all in confusion. As Mr. T. and yourself,

from the army at the instant their aid is most

wanted. I am inclined to think, the complaints by my accounts, discharged all the horses, after taken, I must esteem you accountable for them. It

and objections offered to the militia laws are but too is no season for such lax and indecisive measures;

well founded. The interest of the community bas and you will probably ere long, if the enemy are

not been well consulted in their formation, and, not driven from the country, experience that tho generally speaking, those I have seen are unequal. temporizing measures appear at first view easy and I wish I could inform you that our affairs were in desirable, they are ruinous in the end. You have a happier train than they now are. After various already done enougb, and have properly enough, manquvres and extending his army bigh up the to make you an object of the vengeance of the ene- Schuylkill, as if he meant to turn our right flank, my and their tory adherents; and if you do not se..gen. Howe made a sudden countermarch oa Mon

1

day night, and in the course of it and yesterday! While I am on the subject of clothing, I would morning, crossed the river, which is fordable in also beg leave to add, that the condition of the almost every part, several miles below us; he will officers in this respect, appears to me to require possess himself of Philadelphia in all probability- the attention of their states. It is really in many but I think, he will not be able to hold it. No exer- instances painfully distressing. The want of peces tions shall be wanting on my part to dispossess saries and the means of procuring them, at the bim.

present exorbitant prices, have compelled a great I am, in baste, dear sir, your most obedient ser, many officers of good reputation and merit to vant,

resign their commissions; -—and, if they are not GEO. WASHINGTON.

relieved, it must be the case with many others, as Brig. gen. Rodney.

they will have no alternative. (CIRCULAR.)

I have the honor to be, with the greatest respect West POINT, August 26, 1779. Sir-In a letter which I had the honor of ad- and esteem, your excellency's most obedient ser

vant,

GEO. WASHINGTON. dressing your excellency on the 22d May, I took the liberty of mentioning the inconveniences which

His excellency Cesar Rodney, esq. had prevailed for want of system in the clothing department, and the necessity there was for an

(CIRCULAR.) early appointment of state or sub-clothiers, agreea

HEAD QUARTERS, WEST POIST, bly to the ordinance established by congress, by

August 26, 1779. their act of the 233 March, with which I presumed SIR-I have the honor to enclose your excellence your excellency had been made acquainted. I am a list of sundry officers belonging to your state who now under the necessity of troubling you with a have been in captivity and are reported by the further address on the subject of clothing itself. commissary of prisoners, as violators of parole. A From the best information I have been able to ob. conduct of this kind, so ignominious to the indivitain, both from returns and particular enquiries, duals themselves, so dishonorable to their cousI fear that there is but too much reason to appre. try, and to the service in which they have been hend, that unless the respective states interfere engaged, and so injurious to those gentlemen with their exertions, our supplies of this essential who were associated with them in misfortune, article will be very deficient, and that the troops but preserved their honor-demands that every may again experience on this account a part of measure should be taken to deprive them of the those distresses which were so severely and in benefit of their delinquency and to compel their jurously felt in past stages of the war, and which return. We bave pledged ourselves to the enemy a regard to the interests of the states, as well as to do every thing in our power for this purpose, to the duties of humanity, should prevent if it be and in consequence I directed Mr. Beatty, compracticable. I do not know exactly how mat. missary of prisoners, to issue the summons which ters will turn out with woolen clothing. I should you will probably have seen in the public papers. bope tolerably well; but if the attention of the But as it is likely to have a very partial operation, state should ever go to this, there will be little I find it necessary in aid of it to request the interprobability of our having an over-supply. But the position of the executive powers of the different articles to which I would take the liberty to solicit states to enforce a compliance. Most of these your excellency's more particular attention, are-persons never having been and none of them now blankets-shirts-shoes and bats—more especially being in continental service, military authority the two first, as our prospects of them are by no will hardly be sufficient to oblige them to leave means pleasing, and such indeed as decides that their places of residence and return to captivity, the supply from the continental clothiers and against their inclination: Neither will it be difagents will fall far short, or at least stand upon ficult for them to elude a military search and too critical and precarious a footing. The im- keep themselves in concealment. I must therefore portance and advantages of good supplies of cloth. entreat that your excellency will be pleased to ing are evident-and they have been most remark. take such measures as shall appear to you proper ably and bappily demonstrated in the health of and effectual to produce their immediate return. the troops, since they bave been pretty comforta. This will be rendering an essential service to our bly provided for in this instance-a circumstance officers in general, in captivity, will tend much to of all others the most interesting.

remove the difficulties whịch now lie in the way

[ocr errors][merged small]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

war.

of exchanges, and to discourage the practice of which have been judged essential to be adopted violating paroles in future.

for co-operating with the armament expected from

France and of their requisitions to the states in con. I have the honor to be, with the greatest re

sequence. What the result of these has been I can. spect and esteem, your excellency's most obedient,

not determine, to my great anxiety, as no answers bamble servant, GEO. WASHINGTON.

on the subjects of them bave been yet received. His excellency

The period is come when we have every reason to Governor Rodney.

expect the feet will arrive-and yet, for want of {Only one person of Delaware was charged in the this point of primary consequence, it is impossi. schedule with baving violated his parole.}

ble for me to form or fix on a system of co-oper&

tion. I have no basis to act upon-and, of course, (CIRCULAR.]

were this generous succour of our ally now to HEAD QUARTERS, MORRISTOWY,

arrive, I should find myself in the most awkward, 16th December, 1779. embarrassing and painful situation. The general SIR-The situation of the army with respect to and the admiral, from the relation in which I supplies, is beyond description alarming. It has stand, as soon as they approach our coast, will rebeen five or six weeks past on half allowance, and quire of me a plan of the measures to be pursued; we have not more than three days bread, at a and these ought of right to be and prepared, but third allowance, on hand, nor any where within circumstanced as I am, I cannot give them conreach. When this is exhausted, we must depend|jectures. From these considerations, I have sugon the precarious gleanings of the neighboring gested to the committee, by a letter I had the honor country. Our magazines are absolutely empty every of addressing them yesterday, the indispensable where, and our commissaries entirely destitute of necessity of their writing again to the states, money or credit to replenish them. We have never urging them to give immediate and precise ja. experienced a like extremity at any period of the formation of the measures they have taken and of

We have often felt temporary want from an the result. Tbe interest of the states, the honor and accidental delay in forwarding supplies, but we reputation of our councils, the justice and gratitude always had something in our magazines and the due our allies, a regard to myself—all require that means of procuring more. Neither one nor the I should, without delay, be enabled to ascertain and other is at present the case.

inform them what we can or cannot undertake. =

There is a point which ought now to be determin. This representation is the result of a minute ed, on which the success of all are future operations examination of our resources. Unless some ex. may depend, which, for want of knowing our prostraordinary and immediate exertions be made pects, I am altogether at a loss what to do in. For by the states from which we draw our supplies, fear of involving the feet and army of our allies

there is every appearance that the army will in circumstances which, if not seconded by us, einfallibly disband in a fortnight. I think it my would expose them to material inconvenience and

duty to lay this candid view of our situation be- hazard, I shall be compelled to suspend it, and the s fore your excellency, and to entreat the vigorous delay may be fatal to our hopes. interposition of the state to rescue us from the

Besides the embarrassments I have mentioned danger of an event, which, if it did not prove the

above, and upon former occasions, there is another total ruin of our affairs, would at least give them a shock they would not easily recover, and plunge have no shirts, from the best enquiry I can make,

of a very painful and humiliating nature. We us into a train of new and still more perplexing

to distribute to the troops when the whole are in embarrassments than any we have hitherto felt.

great want; and when a great part of them are I have the honor to be, with great respect, your absolutely destitute of any at all. Their situa. excellency's most obedient servant,

tion too with respect to summer overalls, I fear

G. WASHINGTON. His excellency

is not likely to be much better. There are a great Governor Rodney.

many on hand, it is said, at Springfield, but so in

different in their quality as to be scarcely worth Extract of a letter from gen. Washington, to congress, the expense of transportation and delivery. For

dated head quarters, Springfield, 20th June, 1780. the troops to be without clothing at any time, is

"The honorable the committee will have inform- highly injurious to the service and distressing to ed congress, from time to time, of the measures lour feelings: but the want will be more peculiarly

43,

« AnteriorContinuar »