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partment had ever been considered as a separate com. mand, and more particularly under the direction of Congress. But the opinion of the Commander in Chief had been consulted in many of its transactions, and most of its details had passed through his hands. Through him that army had been supplied with the greater part of its artillery, ammunition, and drovisions.
Upon the loss of Ticonderoga, and the disastrous events which followed it, he exerted himself to stop the career of General Burgoyne, although by this exertion, he weakened himself in his conflict with Sir William Howe. Without waiting for the order of Congress, in his own name he called out the militia of New-England, and directed General Lincoln to command them. Strong detachments were sent to the northward from his own army. General Arnold, who had already greatly distinguished himself in the field, was sent at the head of these reinforcements, in the expectation that his influence would do much to reanimate the northern forces and inspirit them to noble exertions. Soon after Colonel Morgan with his regi. ment, the best partisan corps in the American army, was also detached to that service. General WastINGTON encouraged General Schuyler to look forward to brighter fortune. “The evacuation of Ticonderoga and Mount Independence,” said he, in a letter to that General, “is an event of chagrin and surprise, not apprehended, nor within the compass of my reasoning. This stroke is severe indeed, and has distressed us much. But notwitlıstanding things at present wear a dark and gloomy aspect, I hope a spirited opposition will check the progress of General Burgoyne's arms, and that the confidence derived from success will hurry him into measures, that will in their consequences be favourable to us. We should never despair. Our situation has before bcen unpromising, but has changed for the better, so I trust it
will again. If new difficulties arişe, we must only put forth new exertions, and proportion our efforts to the exigency of the times.” When informed by General Schuyler, that Burgoyne had divided his force to act in different quarters, General Washington foresaw the consequences, and advised to the measures that proved fatal to that commander. Although our affairs,” replied he to General Schuyler, “ have some days past worn a dark and gloomy, aspect, I yet look forward to a fortunate and happy issue. I trust General Burgoyne's army will sooner or later, experience an effectual check; and, as I suggested before, that the success he had will precipitate his ruin. From your account he appears to be pursuing that line of conduct, which of a!l others is most favourable to us; I mean acting by detachments. This conduct will certainly give room for enterprise on our part, and expose his parties to great hazard. Could we be so happy as to cut one of them off, though it should not exceed four, five, or six hundred men, it would inspirit the people, and do away much of their present anxiety. In such an event, they would lose sight of past misfortunes; and, urged at the same time by a regard to their own security, they would fly to arms and afford overy aid in their power.”
The community was not intimately acquainted with the state of things in the northern department. In consequence, strong prejudices were excited against General Schuyler. On account of this popular prejudice, Congress conceived it prudent to change the General of this army, and the Commander in Chief was requested to nominate a successor to General Schuyler. Through delicacy he declined this nomination ; but never did the semblance of envy at the good fortune of General Gates, whom Congress appointed, appear in any part of General WASHINGTon's conduct. His patriotism induced him to aid this subordinate General by every means in his power, and Vol. ).
the successes of the northern army filled his heart with undissembled joy
This magnanimity was not in every instance repaid. The brilliant issue of the northern campaign in 1777, cast a glory around General Gates, and exalted his military reputation. During his separate command, some parts of his conduct did not correspond with the ingenu. ousness and delicacy with which he had been treated by the Commander in Chief. After the action of the 19th of September, when it was ascertained that General Gates's force was superiour to that of the British General, and was increasing, General WASHINGTON apprehended that General Gates might return him Colonel Morgan's corps, whose services he greatly neede, while the enemy was marching through Pennsylvania. But unwilling absolutely to order the return of Morgan, he stated that General Howe was pressing him with a superiour force, and left General Gates to act in the concern according to his discretion. General Gates retained the corps, and mentioned as his reason, " Since tlie action of the 19th the enemy have kept the ground they occupied on the morning of that day and fortified their camp. The advance sentries of my piquets are posted within shot, and opposite those of the eneiny. Neither side has given ground an inch. In this situation your Excel. lency would not wish mne to part, with the corps, the army of General Burgoyne is most afraid of.” He neglected to inform the Commander in Chief of his sul sequent successes over the enemy.
When the intelligence of the surrender of the British army reached head quarters, the Coinmander in Chief despatched Colonel Hamilton, one of his aids, la Geneeral Gates, to state his own critical situation, and make known his earnest wishes, that reinforcements should be forwarded to him with the utmost expedition. Colonel Hamilton found that General Gates had retained four Brigades at Albany with a design to attack Ticon
deroga in the course of the next winter. With difficulty and delay he obtained an order to move three Brigades.
Colonel Hamilton was also charged with a similar message to General Putnam in the High Lands, and directed to accelerate the movement of reinforcements from that post.
But General Putnam in view of an attempt upon New-York discovered a disposition to retain under his command that portion of the northern army which had been sent to the High Lands. Colonel Hamilton was obliged to borrow money of General Clinton, Governour of the state of New York, to fit the troops of General Putnam to begin their march. These obstructions and delays in the execution of General Washington's orders, prevented his being reinforced in season to attack Lord Cornwallis, while in New-Jersey, and probably occasioned the loss of Fort Mifflin and Red Bank.
The different termination of the campaigns of 1777 at the North, and in the Middle states, furnished the ignorant and factious part of the community with an opportunity to clamour against the Commander in Chief. Their murmurs emboldened several members of Congress, and individual gentlemen in different parts of the United States, to adopt measures to supplant General WASHINGTON, and to raise General Gates to the supreme command of the American armies.
In the prosecution of this scheme, pieces artfully written, were published in Newspapers in different places, tending to lessen the military character of General WASHINGTON, and to prepare the publick for the contemplated change in the head of the military department. Generals Gates and Mifflin, and Brigadier Conway, entered into the intrigue. Conway was an Irishman, who had been in the service of France, and, on the recoinmendation of Mr. Silas Deane was commissioned by Congress. The influence of the party in Congress opposed to General WASHINGTON, appears
by a number of the publick transactions of that body A board of war was instituted and General Gates placed at its head, Conway was raised over every other Brigadier, and appointed inspector of the army.
These machinations to tarnish the character of the Commander in Chief were known to him, but he silently noticed their operation. The good of his country was with him paramount to all other considerations, and he stifled his just indignation and left his reputation to rest on his own merits, lest the open dis sension of the civil and military ministers of the revo lution should endanger the publick interest.
At length, the presumption of his enemies, forced him into an expression of his feelings on the subject. The following correspondences give a general view of the progress of their measures Mr. Lawrens, President of Congress, in a private letter communicated to the General information of an anonymous complaint laid before him, in his official capacity, containing high charges against General WASHINGTON, to which he replied :
“ I cannot sufficiently express the obligation I feel towards you, for your friendship and politeness upon an occasion in which I am so deeply interested. I was not unapprized that å malignant factior. had been for some time forming, to my prejudice, which, conscious as I am of having ever done all in my power to answer the important purposes of the trust repos d in me, could not but give me some pain on a personal account; but my chief concern arises from an apprehension of the dangerous consequences, which intestine dissensions may produce to the common cause.
“ As I have no other view than to promote the publick good, and am unambitious of honours not founded on the approbation of my country, I would not desire in the least degree to suppress a free spirit of inquiry into any part of my conduct, that even faction itself may deem reprehensible. The anonymous paper