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LETTER OF ARNOLD'S MOTHER.
with god as itt is of all conserns of ye greatest importence. Keep a stedy watch over your thoughts, words and actions. be dutifull to superiors obliging to equalls and affibel to inferiors. . . . .
from your affectionate
P. S. I have sent you fifty shillings youse itt prudently as you are scountabell to God and your father. Your father and aunt joyns with me in love and servis to Mr. Cogswell and ladey and yourself Your sister is from home.
benedict arnold your father put twenty more
OERENE TAKES COMMAND AT WEST POINT.-INSIDIOUS ATTEMPTS TO MAKI
THE CONFIDENCE OF WASHINGTON IN HIS OFFICERS.-PLAN TO ENTRAP ARNOLD.-CHARACTER OF SERGEANT CHAMPE.—COURT OF INQUIRY INTO THE CONDUCT OF GATES.-GREENE APPOINTED TO THE SOUTHERN DEPARTMENT. -WASHINGTON'S INSTRUCTIONS TO HIM.-INCURSIONS FROM CANADA, -MOHAWK VALLEY RAVAGED.-STATE OF THE ARMY.–REFORMS ADOPTED. -ENLISTMENT FOR THE WAR.-HALF PAY.
07S the enemy would now possess the means,
through Arnold, of informing themselves thorEmme oughly about West Point, Washington hastened to have the works completed and strongly garrisoned. Major-general Greene was ordered to march with the Jersey, New York, New Hampshire, and Stark's brigades, and take temporary command (ultimately to be transferred to General Heath), and the Pennsylvania troops, which had been thrown into the fortress at the time of Arnold's desertion, were relieved. Washington himself took post with his main army, at Prakeness, near Passaic Falls in New Jersey.
Insidious attempts had been made by anonymous papers, and other means, as we have already hinted, to shake the confidence of the commander-in-chief in his
SCHEME TO ENTRAP ARNOLD.
officers, and especially to implicate General St. Clair in the late conspiracy. Washington was exceedingly disturbed in mind for a time, and engaged Major Henry Lee, who was stationed with his dragoons on the lines, to probe the matter through secret agents in New York. The result proved the utter falsehood of these insinuations.
At the time of making this inquiry, a plan was formed at Washington's suggestion to get possession of the person of Arnold. The agent pitched upon by Lee for the purpose, was the sergeant-major of cavalry in his legion, John Champe by name, a young Virginian about twentyfour years of age, whom he describes as being rather above the middle size-full of bone and muscle ; with a saturnine countenance, grave, thoughtful, and taciturn, of tried loyalty and inflexible courage. By many promises and much persuasion, Lee brought him to engage in the attempt. “I have incited his thirst for fame,” writes he, “ by impressing on his mind the virtue and glory of the act.”
Champe was to make a pretended desertion to the enemy at New York. There he was to enlist in a corps which Arnold was raising, insinuate himself into some menial or military situation about his person, and watching for a favorable moment, was, with the aid of a confederate from Newark, to seize him in the night, gag him, and bring him across the Hudson into Bergen woods, in the Jerseys.
Washington, in approving the plan, enjoined and stip. ulated that Arnold should be brought to him alive. “No circumstance whatever,” said he, “ shall obtain my con. sent to his being put to death. The idea which would accompany such an event, would be, that ruffians had been hired to assassinate him. My aim is to make a public example of him, and this should be strongly impressed upon those who are employed to bring him off.”
The pretended desertion of the sergeant took place op the night of October 20th, and was attended with difficul. ties. He had to evade patrols of horse and foot, besides stationary guards and irregular scouting parties. Major Lee could render him no assistance other than to delay pursuit, should his departure be discovered. About eleven o'clock the sergeant took his cloak, valise, and orderly book, drew his horse from the picket, and mounting, set out on his hazardous course, while the major retired to rest.
He had not been in bed half an hour, when Captain Carnes, officer of the day, hurrying into his quarters, gave word that one of the patrols had fallen in with a dragoon, who, on being challenged, put spurs to his horse, and escaped. Lee pretended to be annoyed by the intrusion, and to believe that the pretended dragoon was some countryman of the neighborhood. The captain was piqued; made a muster of the dragoons, and returned with word that the sergeant-major was missing, who had gone off with horse, baggage, arms, and orderly book.
Lee was now compelled to order out a party in pursuit ander Cornet Middleton, but in so doing, he contrived so many delays, that, by the time they were in the saddle, Champe had an hour's start. His pursuers, too, were obliged, in the course of the night, to halt occasionally, dismount and examine the road, to guide themselves by the horse's tracks. At daybreak they pressed forward more rapidly, and from the summit of a hill descried Champe, not more than half a mile in front. The sergeant at the same moment caught sight of his pursuers, and now the chase became desperate. Champe had originally intended to make for Paulus Hook, but changed his course, threw his pursuers at fault, and succeeded in getting abreast of two British galleys at anchor near the shore beyond Bergen. He had no time to lose. Cornet Middleton was but two or three hundred yards behind him. Throwing himself off his horse, and running through a marsh, he plunged into the river, and called to the galleys for help. A boat was sent to his assistance, and he was conveyed on board of one of the vessels.
For a time the whole plan promised to be successful. Champe enlisted in Arnold's corps; was employed about his person; and every arrangement was made to surprise him at night in a garden in the rear of his quarters, convey him to a boat, and ferry him across the Hudson. On the appointed night, Lee, with three dragoons and three led horses, was in the woods of Hoboken, on the Jersey shore, waiting to receive the captive. Hour after hour