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stil nuiserable. This is, in some instances, the case with the whole lines of states. It would be well for their own sakes, and for the publick good, if they could be furnished. They will not be able, when our friends come to co-operate with us, to go on a common routin 3 of duty; and if they should, they must, from their appearance, be held in low estimation.”
Ir. the near prospect of the arrival of the French armaments, the embarrassments of General WASHINGTon increased. His army was not yet in a situation to co-operate with the allies, and he became extreme. ly anxious to know the force on which he might ab, solutely depend. He wished to attack New-York if the means were in his power. But to concert an at: Lack upon this post with the French commanders, and in the event be unable to execute his part of the engagement, he knew would dishonour the American arms, and expose the French marine force employed in the service, to destruction. Should prudence forbid an attempt upon New-York, his force might be competent to assail some other British post, and it was highly expedient that the plan should be ripened, and all measures prepared for immediate action, the rar, ment the French detachments should reach the continent. The anxiety of the Commander ii. Chief on this subject was disclosed in the following letter to Congress,
“ The season is come when we have every reason to expect the arrival of the fleet, and yet for want of this point of primary consequence, it is impos. sible for me to form a system of co-operation. I have no basis to act upon; and of course, were this generous succour of our ally now to arrive, I should find myself in the most awkward, embarrassing, and painful situation. The General, and the Admiral, from the relation in which I stand, as soon as they approach our coast, will require of me a plan of the measures to be pursued, and there ought of right to be one prepared ; but cirrumstanced as I am, I can.
not even give them conjectures. From these considerations, I have suggested to the Committee, by a letter I had the honour of addressing them yesterday, the indispensable necessity of their writing again to the states, urging them to give immediate and precise information of the measure they have taken, and of the result. The interest of the states, the honour and reputation of our councils, the justice and gratitude due to our allies, all require that I should without delay be enabled to ascertain, and inform them what we can or cannot undertake. There is a point which ought now to be determined, on the success of which all our future operations inay depend, on which for want of knowing our prospects, I can make no decision, for fear of involving the fleet and army of our allies in circumstances which would expose them, if not seconded by us, to material inconvenience and hazard. 1 shall be compelled to suspend it, and the delay may be fatal to our hopes.”
Congress had assured the French Minister that they would bring this campaign twenty-five thousand men into the field ; that to these such detachments of militia should be added as to make a force competent, when supported by a naval armament, to attack any of the British posts. They had also engaged to lay up magazines of provisions adequate to the demands of the armies of the Unived States, and of any divi. sion of French troops, acting in concert with them. On this account the deficiencies of the army lay with the more galling weight upon the mind of General WASHINGTON.
While he was revolving this important subject, Sir Henry Clinton and Admiral Arbuthnot returned from South-Carolina to New-York, whose garrison now corsisted of eleven thousand regular troops. The prospect of successful operations against this post was by the event greatly diminished. In the absence of the British armament it had been proposed by the VOL. I.
American Comn.ander, that the French fleet shouli, as soon as it reached the American coast, block up thc harbour of New York, and co-operate with the army in the attack upon that place. But in this change of circumstances, he conceived it adviseable that the French squadron should enter the harbour of Newport, land their troops, and there wait until a plan of joint operation should be formed.
At length the first division of French JULY 10. troops reached the American shore, consist
ing of between five and six thousand men, with a large train of battering and field artillery. These forces were commanded by Count de Rochambeau, whose government had placed him under the command of General WASHINGTON. The Count brought information, that a second division would follow him as soon as transports could be fitted to bring them.
The principal French and American officers assiduously cultivated a mutual affection between the two armies; and the Commander in Chief recommcnded to the officers of the United States to ingraft on the American cockade, a white relief, as an emblem of tho alliance of the two powers.
At the arzival of the French, the Americans were unprepared to act with them, nor did the American General know what force would ultiinately be brought into the field. But it became necessary for him to make arrangements with the French commanders for offensive operations against the enemy, on the arrival of the reinforcements. In this weighty transaction, he consulted the honour and interest of the Unitod States, rather than the existing condition of his army. Confiding in the successful efforts that his country. men would, on this occasion make, he communicated to Count de Rochambeau, his intention to comply with the engagements into which Congress had enter ed with the Court of Versailles.
The solicitude of the General on this subject, ap
pears in the following communication, which at the time he made to the President of Congress “ Pressed on all sides by a choice of difficulties, in a moment which required deciuion, I have adopted that line of conduct which comported with the dignity and faith of Congress; the reputation of these States, and the honour of our arms. I have sent on definitive proporals of co-operation to the French General and Ad. miral. Neither the period of the season, nor a regard to decency would permit delay. The die is cast: and it remains with the States, either to fu fil their engagements, preserve their credit, and support their independence, or to involve us in disgrace and defeat. Notwithstanding the failure pointed out by the Committee, I shall proceed, on the supposition that they will, ultimately consult their own interest and honour, and not to suffer us to fail for the want of means which it is evidently in their power to afford. What has been done, and is doing by some of the States, confirms the opinion I have entertained of suf ficient resources in the country. of the disposition of the people to submit to any arrangements for bring. ing them forth, I see no reasonable ground to doubt. If we fail for the want of proper exertions in any of the governments, I trust the responsibility will fall where it ought ; and that I shall stand justified to Congress, my country, and the world.”
The plan of joint operation was fornied upon the presumption, that the French would maintain a naval superiority in the American sea. But soon after the arrival of the French, the British on this station, wero reinforced by a squadron superiour to that which convoyed the troops of His Most Christian Majesty. Sir Henry Clinton and Admiral Greaves contemplated an attack
upon the French in their new station, and after great delay, six thousand troups of the fower of their army were embarked, and supported by the fleet, sail." ed to Huntingdon Bay. But the commanders here
learning the improved state of the fortifications at Newport, laid aside the expedition. During these movements, General WASHINGTON collected his force and crossed the North River, with the intention to attack New-York, should the British General proceed in his attempt against the French. He confidently expected in this case to establish himself in some cominanding position, which would not only compel General Clinton to abandon his enterprise, but also-facilitate the success of his operations against the city. The return of Sir Henry induced the American General to recross into New Jersey, and to post his army at Orangetown. To expedite the meditated operation against New-York, he also took possession of ground about Dobb's ferry, ten miles above King's bridge, and erected works to command the river.
The offensive measures to be pursued by the allies were suspended upon the event of the French naval force in America being reinforced. General WASHIngton exerted himself to be in the best state of preparation, to embrace any opportunity that might present to annoy the enemy.
At this critical moment, Congress, against the re inonstrance of the Commander in Chief, and all his General Officers, introduced those essential changes in the Quarter Master General's department, which induced General Green to resign the office of Quarter Master. Colonel Pickering was appointed his successor, who, in the full exercise of a mind, judicious, active, and indefatigable, found it impossible to execute the business of the departinent on the plan of Congress.
The stores of the Commissary failing, General WASHINGTON was obliged to open and exhaust the magazines of West Point, and to forage upon the al. ready distressed inhabitants of the country, in the neighbourhood of his camp. These deficiencies at the moment that brilliant achievements were generally expected, gave a presage of disappointment.