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then in Pennsylvania." Perhaps they got there in time for the battle of Germantown.
At any rate, they spent the winter of 1777-8 at Valley Forge, with General Conway's brigade. And by a curious mischance, just as in Canada Colonel Burr had been conspicuously associated with Benedict Arnold, whose name was to become a symbol of treason, so at Valley Forge he was in public contact with this Irish adventurer, one of whose chief concerns was intrigue. And the object of these secret machinations was, of course, the removal of the Commander in Chief. In his entire military career, it had been General Washington's fate to take part only in defeats, and both in the field and in Congress there was disgusted condemnation of this general who never won victories, and a determination to have him superseded by General Gates, who could point to Saratoga and the surrender of Burgoyne as the one triumphant achievement of American arms in three seasons of warfare.
While in Congress John Adams was muttering about the idolatrous worship of George Washington, with the army it was Generals Conway, Gates and Lee who were the most active in criticism, the most vicious in secret disparagement. "Heaven has determined to save your country," General Conway wrote to General Gates, "or a weak general and bad counsellors would have ruined it"; and already in 1776, General Lee had spoken to him of his commander as being "most damnably deficient." With his well-known dislike of General Washington, there is
no reason to suppose that Colonel Burr was altogether silent in the presence of these disputes; it was not a question of personal advancement with him-in his estimation, Mr. Washington was not a good general, and New York and Philadelphia had proved it.
In other respects, the winter at Valley Forge was not pleasant—the snowbound, barefooted, hungerhaunted, prayer-sustained scene is only too well established in the national imagination-but to a veteran of the miseries of Quebec it was perhaps not so terrible. And while existence was not to be as agreeable as it had been in the winter quarters of the previous year at Morristown-where Colonel Hamilton went horseback riding with Lady Washington, and Mrs. Bland, and the Misses Livingston, and where Mrs. John Morton and the Boudinots gave parties for the officers-still, there was a semblance of social activity, centred around Lady Washington's knitting bees; Lady Stirling, and Mrs. Clement Biddle, and Mrs. General Knox of dancing fame were there; the officers and men lived "chiefly in Hutts which they say is tolerable comfortable."
And Colonel Burr found plenty to do even though General Washington would not permit him to undertake a raid on Staten Island-for, at General McDougal's earnest suggestion, the Commander in Chief sent him some ten miles out to take in hand a parcel of unruly militiamen charged with the protection of the approaches to the camp at the "Gulf," and whose habit it was to arouse headquarters almost nightly for the purpose of repelling imaginary attacks. The Colonel made short work of these clowns; he established a rigid discipline; he inspected outposts in
person at the most inconveniently unexpected nocturnal hours-they should have realized that Colonel Burr never slept-and very soon there was a plot to murder him. But it leaked out; Colonel Burr had the cartridges removed from the men's muskets, and then paraded his band of malcontents at midnight. He was promptly fired at quite ineffectually by an unfortunate whose right arm he took off with one stroke of his sword, and from then on there was no further talk of mutiny.
There was something about this little man which compelled obedience, and inspired loyalty..
COWBOYS AND SKINNERS
THE winter passed, and in June, 1778, the Conway brigade was at the battle of Monmouth, during the course of which a ridiculous order halted its regiments as they were about to cross a bridge under heavy artillery fire. As at Bunker's Hill, in New York, Colonel Burr proposed to ignore the orders, but in this case he was not successful, and in the midst of a considerable slaughter of his precious Malcolms he had a horse shot under him.
It had been a bad day, owing to the deliberate insubordination of General Lee. This violent-tempered, contemptuous officer had participated in the British conquest of Canada; he had served as a Major General in the Polish army; in 1776, after disobeying General Washington, he had been captured in his nightshirt at a New Jersey tavern by the British; during the campaign for Philadelphia, he had been a guest of General Howe's whom he kept assuring that Maryland and Pennsylvania were only too anxious to return to their former allegiance; in the spring of 1778 he had been exchanged and given a high commandjust for what reason is perhaps not so clear, except
that Mr. Washington was not blessed with any great quantity of experienced generals. At Monmouth, it had been General Lee's duty to attack the British rear guard and hold it against General Washington's arrival. But General Lee did no such thing. "You don't know the British soldiers," he told Lafayette who was with him, "we cannot stand against them," and he allowed himself to be attacked instead. And when General Washington, summoned by Lafayette, came on the scene, he called Lee a "damned poltroon," and placed him under arrest.
In the court martial which followed, General Lee was suspended for a year-he was eventually to be dismissed from the army-and it was not unnatural that Colonel Burr should have sided with the accused. One could condemn Lee for disobedience and cowardice, even for treachery; or one could see in his actions a prudent setting aside of dangerous orders issued by an incompetent commander. Colonel Burr who thought less and less of General Washington, and who never hesitated himself to ignore instructions which appeared to him ill conceived, gave his support to the deposed general.
"Dear Sir," Lee wrote to him in October, "as you are so kind as to interest yourself so warmly in my favour, I cannot resist the temptation of writing you a few lines. Till these two days, I was convinced the Congress would unanimously have rescinded the absurd, shameful sentence of the court martial; but, within these two days, I am taught to think that equity is to be put out of the question, and the decision of the affair to be put entirely on the strength of party; and for my own part, I do not see how it is