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examine into the state of the artillery in camp, and take an account of the cannon, mortars, shells, lead, and ammunition that were wanting. He was then to hasten to New York, procure and forward all that could be had there, and thence proceed to the head-quarters of General Schuyler, who was requested by letter to aid him in obtaining what further supplies of the kind were wanting from the forts at Ticonderoga, Crown Point, St. Johns, and even Quebec, should it be in the hands of the Americans, Knox set off on his errand with promptness and alacrity, and shortly afterwards the commission of colonel of the regiment of artillery which Washington had advised, was forwarded to him by Congress.
The re-enlistment of troops actually in service was now attempted, and proved a fruitful source of perplexity. In a letter to the President of Congress, Washington observes that half of the officers of the rank of captain were inclined to retire; and it was probable their example would influence their men. Of those who were disposed to remain, the officers of one colony were unwilling to mix in the Same regiment with those of another. Many sent in their names, to serve in expectation of promotion; others stood aloof, to see what advantages they could make for themselves; while those who had declined sent in their names again to serve.1 The difficulties were greater, if possible, with the soldiers than with the officers. They would not enlist unless they knew their colonel, lieutenant-colonel, and captain; Connecticut men being unwilling to serve under officers from Massachusetts, and Massachusetts men under officers from Ehode Island; so that it was necessary to appoint the officers first.
Twenty days later he again writes to the President of Congress: "I am sorry to be necessitated to mention to you the egregious want of public spirit which prevails here. Instead of pressing to be engaged in the cause of their country, which I vainly flattered myself would be the case, I find we are likely to be deserted in a most critical time. * * * Our situation is truly alarming, and of this General Howe is well apprised. No doubt when he is - reinforced he will avail himself of the information."
1 Washington to the President of Congress, Nov. 8.
In a letter to Eeed he disburdened his heart more completely. "Such dearth of public spirit, and such want of virtue; such stock-jobbing, and fertility in all the low arts to obtain advantage of one kind or another in this great change of military arrangement, I never saw before, and I pray God's mercy that 1 may never be witness to again. VV'hat will be the end of these manoeuvres is beyond my scan. I tremble at the prospect. We have been till this time (Nov. 28) enlisting about three thousand five hundred men. To engage these, I have been obliged to allow furloughs as far as fifty men to a regiment, and the officers, I am persuaded, indulge many more. The Connecticut troops will not be prevailed upon to stay longer than their term, saving those who have enlisted for the next campaign, and are mostly on furlough; and such a mercenary spirit pervades the whole, that I should not be surprised at any disaster that may happen. * * * Could I have foreseen what I have experienced, and am likely to experience, no consideration upon earth should have induced me to accept this command."
No one drew closer to Washington in this time of his troubles and perplexities than General Greene. He had a i real veneration for his character, and thought himself "happy in an opportunity to serve under so good a general." He grieved at Washington's annoyances, but attributed them in part to his being somewhat of a stranger in New England. "He has not had time," writes he, " to make himself acquainted with the genius of this people: they are naturally as brave and spirited as the peasantry of any other country; but you cannot expect veterans of a raw militia from only a few months' service. The common people are exceedingly avaricious; the genius of the people is commercial, from their long intercourse with trade. The sentiment of honour, the true characteristic of a soldier, has not yet got the better of interest. His Excellency has been taught to believe the people here a superior race of mortals; and finding them of the same temper and dispositions, passions and prejudices, virtues and vices of the common people of other governments, they sank in his esteem."1
1 Greene to Dep. Gov. Ward. Am. Arch., Fourth Series, iii. 1145.
1775.1 MACLEAN AND HIS HIGHLANDERS. 411
Affairs in Canada—Capture of Fort Chamblee—Siege of St. JohnsMaclean and his Highlanders—Montgomery on the treatment of Ethan Allen—Kepulse of Carleton—Capitulation of the Garrison of St. Johns—Generous Conduct of Montgomery—Maclean re-embarks for Quebec—Weary struggle of Arnold through the Wilderness— Defection of Colonel Enos—Arnold in the Valley of the Chaudiere— His arrival opposite Quebec—Surrender of Montreal—Escape of Carleton—Home Sickness of the American Troops.
Despatches from Schuyler, dated October 26th, gave Washington another chapter of the Canada expedition. Chamblee, an inferior fort, within five miles of St. Johns, had been taken by Majors Brown and Livingston at the head of fifty Americans and three hundred Canadians. A large quantity of gunpowder, and other military stores found there, was a seasonable supply to the army before St. Johns, and consoled General Montgomery for his disappointment in regard to the aid promised by Colonel Ethan Allen. He now pressed the siege of St. Johns with vigour. The garrison, cut off from supplies, were suffering from want of provisions; but the brave commander, Major Preston, still held out manfully, hoping speedy relief from General Carleton, who was assembling troops for that purpose at Montreal.
Carleton, it is true, had but about one hundred regulars, several hundred Canadians, and a number of Indians with him; but he calculated greatly on the co-operation of Colonel Maclean, a veteran Scot, brave and bitterly loyal, who had enlisted three hundred of his countrymen at Quebec, and formed them into a regiment called "The Royal Highland Emigrants." This doughty Highlander was to land at the mouth of the Sorel, where it empties into the St. Lawrence, and proceed along the former river to St. Johns, to join Carleton, who would repair thither by the way of Longueil.
In the meantime, Montgomery received accounts from various quarters that Colonel Ethan Allen and his men, captured in the ill-advised attack upon Montreal, were treated with cruel and unnecessary severity, being loaded with irons; and that even the colonel himself was subjected to this "shocking indignity." Montgomery addressed a letter to Carleton on the subject, strong and decided in its purport, but written in the spirit of a courteous and high-minded gentleman, and ending with an expression of that sad feeling which gallant officers must often have experienced in this revolutionary conflict, on being brought into collision with former brothers in arms.
"Your character, sir," writes he, " induces me to hope I am ill informed. Nevertheless, the duty I owe the troops committed to my charge, lays me under the necessity of acquainting your Excellency, that, if you allow this conduct and persist in it, I shall, though with the most painful regret, execute with rigour the just and necessary law of retaliation upon the garrison of Chamblee, now in my possession, and upon all others who may hereafter fall into my hands. * * * * I shall expect your Excellency's answer in six days. Should the bearer not return in that time, I must interpret your silence into a declaration of a barbarous war. I cannot pass this opportunity without lamenting the melancholy and fatal necessity, which obliges the firmest friends of the constitution to oppose one of the most respectable officers of the crown."
While waiting for a reply, Montgomery pressed the siege of St. Johns, though thwarted continually by the want of subordination and discipline among his troops; hasty levies from various colonies, who, said he,-" carry the spirit of freedom into the field, and think for themselves." Accustomed as he had been, in his former military experience, to the implicit obedience of European troops, the insubordination of these yeoman soldiery was intolerable to him. "Were I not afraid," writes he, "the example would be too generally followed, and that the public service might suffer, I would not stay an hour at the head of troops whose operations I cannot direct. I must say I have no hopes of success, unless from the garrison's wanting provisions."
He had advanced his lines and played from his batteries on two sides of the fort for some hours, when tidings brought by four prisoners, caused him to cease his fire.
General Carleton, on the 31st of September, had embarked his motley force at Montreal in thirty-four boats, to
cross the St. Lawrence, land at Longueil, and push on for St. Johns, where, as concerted, he was to be joined by Maclean and his Highlanders. As the boats approached the right bank of the river at Longueil, a terrible fire of artillery and musketry was unexpectedly opened upon them, and threw them into confusion. It was from Colonel Seth Warner's detachment of Green Mountain Boys and New Yorkers. Some of the boats were disabled, some were driven on shore on an island; Carleton retreated with the rest to Montreal, with some loss in killed and wounded. The Americans captured two Canadians and two Indians; and it was these prisoners who brought tidings to the camp of Carleton's signal repulse.
Aware that the garrison held out merely in expectation of the relief thus intercepted, Montgomery ceased his fire, and sent a flag by one of the Canadian prisoners, with a letter informing Major Preston of the event, and inviting a surrender to spare the effusion of blood.
Preston in reply, expressed a doubt of the truth of the report brought by the prisoners, but offered to surrender if not relieved in four days. The condition was refused, and the gallant major was obliged to capitulate. His garrison consisted of five hundred regulars and one hundred Canadians; among the latter were several of the provincial noblesse.
Montgomery treated Preston and his garrison with the courtesy inspired by their gallant resistance. He had been a British officer himself, and his old associations with the service, made him sympathise with the brave men whom the fortune of war had thrown into his hands. Perhaps, their high-bred and aristocratic tone contrasted favourably in his eyes, with the rough demeanour of the crude swordsmen with whom he had recently associated, and brought back the feelings of early days, when war with him was a gay profession, not a melancholy duty. According to capitulation, the baggage of both officers and men were secured to them, and each of the latter received a new suit of clothing from the captured stores. This caused a murmur among the American soldiery, many of whom were nearly naked, and the best but scantily provided. Even some of the officers were indignant that all the articles of