Imagens das páginas

mourned throughout the Colonies, and also in that enemy country which he had once served with such distinction. In the snow, from which, according to the inevitable legend, his body was rescued for burial by Captain Burr; whereas he was actually interred with courtesy and respect by the British who found him at daylight that morning, near the Saint Louis Gate, whence his body was finally removed, for burial in New York in July, 1818. What had really happened, Samuel Spring told Senator Plumer long afterwards, was "that as soon as the General fell, the American army fled in great consternation—that Burr returned back alone and attempted, amidst a shower of musquetry, to bring off on his shoulders the body of Montgomery-but the General being a large man, and Burr small and the snow deep, prevented him.”

The attack on Quebec had failed.


The little army stayed all winter before Quebec, hoping perhaps that the walls would fall of themselves. In the meantime, there was the cold, and bitter want, and eventually the smallpox. There was seldom any money and the Canadians must have money for their supplies. Up at Montreal, finally, in the spring, a commission from Congress, consisting of Benjamin Franklin and two Roman Catholics, Charles and John Carroll of Carrollton, did their best to enlist a more fruitful native support; but on May 6, 1776, there was a British squadron with ten thousand men at Quebec, and the besiegers decamped, abandoning their stores, arms and belongings. It

was the forerunner of that subsequent disastrous American retreat in June, from Montreal and all Canada.

But Captain Burr was not there to see it. After serving as Brigade Major—" dirty, ragged, moneyless and friendless" as he wrote Sally in February-he had been sent from Quebec to Montreal in April, and from thence to Camp Sorrel and again, in May, to Fort Chambly. At home, they had been desperately anxious about him; "the news of the unfortunate attack upon Quebec arrived among us the thirteenth of this month," Tapping Reeve told him in January. “I concealed it from your sister till the eighteenth when she found it out, but in less than half an hour I received letters from Albany acquainting me that you were in safety and had gained honour by your intrepid conduct. It was happy for us that we did not know you was an Aid de Camp untill we heard of your welfare, for we heard that Montgomery and his Aid de Camps was killed without knowing who his Aid de Camps was."

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

And Aaron himself was no doubt anxious to be home, now that the Canadian venture was all disorganized-anxious for further more purposeful service—and in May he left the army and returned to the Colonies. In fact, he practically deserted, and abandoned his post in flat disobedience to Arnold's orders-according to the hitherto accepted interpretation of his movements at this time. That he did no such thing-and that he travelled on official business which did not even permit an immediate visit to Litchfield-is clearly shown in an unpublished letter which he sent to Sally on May 26 from Fort

Chambly, on the eve of his proposed departure from Canada.

"My Dear Sister," he wrote, "I have this Moment arrived from the Camp at Sorrel all well. I rec'd a Letter from you while at that Place heard of another taken Prisoner in Quebec and several more strolling about the Country for the entertainment of the Army -I wrote a Letter about the middle of April just before I left Quebec-another the Beginning of this month from Montreal and one of the 20th Inst. from Sorrel-neither of which I suppose you have seen or ever will see. Write me no more till you hear from me again which I hope will be from Albany -I shall if nothing extraordinary intervenes start for the Southward the Beginning of next Week. As I go on Public Business I shall not probably have time to see you as I go down-I intend after that to make a week or two and enjoy it at Litchfield with the best of Sisters.

"The Men of War remain below Dechambar-our Army are on their Way from that Place. Genl. Thomas very ill at this Place with the small Pox. . . I shall never for the future write anything but what I am resigned should lie in the streets a Fortnight. Your affecte. Brother."

He accomplished his business, but even then he did not go immediately to Litchfield, as one learns from another unpublished letter in which he informed Sally that "on the Wings of Joy I had flown thus far on my Way to Litchfield intending to spend the evening with my Dear Sister, when Mr. Sedgwick arrived very unexpectedly from Canada. He has absolutely laid an Embargo upon me for this night, can you per

mit it my dear Sister? He said you must charge it to his acct. Tomorrow I dine with you and by one o'clock at fartherest will be the happiest Wretch Till then adieu."

that lives.




CAPTAIN BURR's fame had preceded him to New York, and upon his return from Canada the Commander in Chief invited him to become a member of his staff. General Washington then had his headquarters in the Mortier house at Richmond Hill, beyond Lispenard's Meadows in Greenwich Villageand there, for a short while, in the mansion which he was one day to purchase and make famous, Aaron Burr worked at his orderly books and reports.

But "little Burr"-he was so diminutive, and so youthful in appearance that he was once, two years later, to be taken for his own son by an incredulous visitor-little Burr was not by nature well fitted successfully to withstand the strain of any prolonged contact with his somewhat touchy commander. Alexander Hamilton, who admired General Washington's qualities and whose respect for him increased with the years, himself, later on, found the close association of the staff irksome, so that he eventually turned again with relief to service in the field. Burr, who did not admire the General, and to whom the

« AnteriorContinuar »