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much inconvenience. By the regulation of Congress for the new enlistment, the soldiers, who chose not to serve another campaign, were not permitted to carry home their arms; but they were to receive payment for them by appraisement. Every soldier who enlisted was to find a gun, or pay a dollar to the Govern. ment for the use of one during the campaign. Every soldier, who found himself a blanket was to receive two dollars. As it was impracticable to clothe the army in uniforms, clothes of different colours wero provided, the price of which was to be deducted from the wages of the men.
As soon as the plan of the new army was settled, General WASHINGTON adopted measures to carry it into execution. In general orders he directen, that all officers, who intended to decline the service of their country at the expiration of their present engagements, should in writing make known their intention to their respective Colonels ; which was to be communicated to the General Officers commanding Brigades. “ Those brave men, and true patriots, who resolved to continue to serve and defend their bre. thren, privileges, and property,” were called upon in the same manner to make known their intentions, and to consider themselves as engaged to the last of December, 1776, unless sooner discharged by Congress.
The period of patriotick enthusiasm had, in some measure, passed away; numbers of officers consented conditionally to remain in the army, and many made 10 communication on the subject. Immediate deci. sion was necessary; and, in new orders, the Com.
mander in Chief solemnly called upon them Oct. 30. for a direct and unconditional answer to his
inquiry. “ The times,” he observed," and the importance of the great cause we are ergaged in, allo « no room for hesitation and delay. When life, liberty, and property are at stake; when our country is in danger of being a melancholy scene of bloodshed
and desolation ; when our towns are laid in ashes; innocent women and children driven from their peaceful habitations, exposed to the rigours of an inclement season, to depend, perhaps, on the hand of charity for support; when calamities like these are staring us in the face, and a brutal enemy are threatening us, and every thing we hold dear, with destruction from foreign troops ; it little becomes the character of a sol. dier to shrink frorn danger, and condition for new terms. It is the General's intention to indulge both officers and soldiers, who compose the new army, with furloughs for a reasonable time ; but this must be done in such a manner as not to injure the service, or weaken the army too much at once.”
The troops were assured that clothes, on reasonable terms, were provided “for those brave soldiers, who intended to continue in th4 army another year.” With great difficulty the arrangement of officers was com
pleted, and recruiting orders were imme. Nov. 12. diately issued. Recruiting officers were di
rected to “ be careful not to enlist any person suspected of being unfriendly to the liberties of America, or any abandoned vagabond, to whom all causes and countries are equal, and alike indiferent. The rights of mankind and the freedom of America would have numbers sufficient to support them, without resorting to such wretched ossistance. Let those, who wish to put shackles upon freemen, fill their ranks with, and place their confidence in, such miscreants." To aid the cause, popular songs were composed and circulated through the camp, calculated to inspire the soldiery with the love of country, and to induce them to engage anew in the publick service. But unfortunately, the army at this time was badly supplied with clothing, provisions, and fuel, and the consequert sufferings of the soldiers, operating upon their strony desire to visit their homes, prevented their en. Listment in the expected numbers. On the last day of
December, when the first term of service expired, only nine thousand six hundred and fifty men had enlisted for the new army, and many of these were of necessity permitted to be absent on furlough. It was found impossible to retain the old troops a single day after their times expired. General Washington called upon the Governments of the neighbouring Provinces for de tachments of militia to man his lines, and he was high ly gratified by the prompt compliance with his demand In a letter to Congress he writes, “ The militia that are come in, both from this Province and New Hampshire, are very fine looking men, and go through their duty with great alacrity. The despatch made, both by the people in marching, and by the Legislative powers in complying with my requisition, has given me infinite satisfaction.”
In the space of time, between that of disbanding the old army, and of an effective force from the new recruits, the lines were often in a defenceless state ; the enemy must have known the fact; and nu adequato reason can be assigned, why an attack was not made.
“ It is not,” says General Washington, in Jan. 4, his communications to Congress,
" in the 1776.
pages of history to furnish a case like ours. To maintain a post, within musket shot of the enemy, for six months together, without ammunition, and, at the same time, to disband one army and recruit another, within that distance of twenty odd British regiments, is more, probably, than ever was attempted. But if we succeed as well in the last, as we have heretofore in the first, I shall think it the most fortunate event of my whole life.”
To defend the American lines with an incompetent number of troops, with defective arms, and without an adequate supply of amn.unition; to disband one army and recruit another in the face of eight thousand Bri. tish so:diers, will be viewed as a hazardous measure, and will be supposed, with the organization and disci.
pline of the men, to have employed every active power of the General; yet this did not satisfy his mind. He knew, that Congress, with anxious solicitude contemplated more decisive measures, and that the country looked for events of greater magnitude. The publick was ignorant of his actual situation, and conceived his means for offensive operations to be much greater, than in reality they were; and from him expected the capture or expulsion of the British army in Boston. He felt the importance of securing the confidence of his countrymen by some brilliant action, and was fully sensible that his own reputation was liable to suffer, if he confined himself solely to measures of defence. To publish to his anxious country, in his vindication, the state of his army, would be to acquaint the enemy with his weakness, and to involve his destruction.
The firmness and patriotism of General WashingTon, were displayed in making the good of his country an object of higher consideration, than the applause of those, who were incapable of forming a correct opinion of the propriety of his measures. On this, and on many other occasions during the war, he withstood the voice of the populace, rejected the entreaties of the sanguine, and refused to adopt the plans of the rash, that he might ultimately secure the great object of contention.
While he resulutely rejected every measure, that in his calm and deliberate judgment, he did not approve, he daily pondered upon the practicability of a success. sul attack upon Boston. As a preparatory step, he took possession of Plowed Hill, Cobble Hill, i nd Lechmere's Prirt, and upon them erected fortifications. These posts brought him within half a mile of the enemy's works on Bunker's Hill; and, by his artillery, he drove the British floating batteries fr'm their stations in Charles's River. Heerected floating batteries, to watch the movements of his enemy, and to aid in any offensive operations, that circumstances might
warrant. Me tuok the opinion of his General Officers A second time respecting the meditated attack; they again iinanimously gave their opinion in opposition to the measure, and this opinion was immediately communicated to Congress. Congress appeared still to favour the attempt, and, that an apprehension of dangei to the town of Boston, might not have an vndue influence upon the operations of the army, resolved.
" That if General Washington and his Dec. 1775. Council of war should be of opinion, that
a successful attack might be made on the troops in Boston, he should make it in any manner he might think expedient, notwithstanding the town, and property therein, might thereby be destroyed.”
General Howe had, in October, succeeded General Gage in the command of the British army, and through the winter confined himself to measures of defence.
The inability of the American General to accomplish the great object of the campaign, repeatedly pointed out by Congress, was a source of extreme mortification; but he indulged the hope of success in some military operations during the winter, that would correspond with the high expectations of his country, and procure him honour in luis exalted station of Com mander in Chief of the American armies. In his re
ply to the President of Congress, on the re Jan. 6,
ception of the resolution, authorizing an at1776.
tack on the fortified posts in Boston, hc observed, “ The resolution relative to the troops in Bos. ton, I beg the favour of you, Sir, to assure Congress, shall be attempted to be put in execution the first moment I see a probability of success, and in such a way as a Council of officers shall think lost likely to produce it; but if this should not happen as soon as you may expect, or my wishes prompt to, I request that Congress will be pleased to revert to my situation, and do me the justice to believe that circumstances, and ont want of inclination, are the cause of delay."