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LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.
......... 1008 PHILIP SCHUYLER .............
1040 HORATIO GATES
1072 BATTLE OF GERMANTOWN....
1104 TREASON OF ARNOLD ...... ROBERT MORRIS
... 1200 LEE's CAVALRY SKIRMISHING AT THE BATTLE OF GUILFORD.... 1248 GENERAL FRANCIS MARION.........
1296 MAJOR-GENERAL NATHANAEL GREENE. ....... ALEXANDER HAMILTON .....
1392 ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON......
7 HEN Washington, by his late masterly retreat
through the Jerseys, had completely baffled his
powerful enemy and saved his army from destruction he had still a most discouraging prospect before him. It was indeed one of the gloomiest periods of his whole life. The campaign, notwithstanding its brilliant displays of courageous daring and unflinching fortitude in the Commander-in-Chief, as well as many of the officers and men, had been an almost uninterrupted series of disasters and retreats. The enemy, since the evacuation of Boston, had already not only gained possession of Staten Island, Long Island, the city of New York, a portion of the State of Rhode Island, and nearly the whole of the Jerseys, but they were menacing Philadelphia with a force perfectly adequate for seizing it, if they had been sensible of their own power and the weakness of the American army.
That army, in fact, was on the verge of dissolution, and was only saved by the boldness, decision, and unceasing activity of Washington. The pernicious system of short enlistments, sickness, bad pay, and continual discouragements, had reduced it to the mere shadow of an army. The country too was discouraged and desponding. The proclamation of the Howes, offering pardon and protection to
all who would accept them, had already drawn many men of influence and wealth in the Jerseys to the standard of the King, while others took the oath of allegiance and remained at their homes. The sixty days allowed for accepting the offer of the Howes had nearly expired and a still greater defection was imminent. It was a dark and trying hour for the true patriot.
But “Washington stood firm.” He must have known that all depended on him. His calmness and full reliance on the justice of the cause and the goodness of his Maker never deserted him. He felt that his duty required him to put forth all his resources of intellect and strength of will to direct the ship through this perilous storm. For the present emergency Congress, at a distance from the center of action, was powerless to save. The time was come when he must save the country by his own wonderful decision of character. This is apparent from the following letter to Congress, dated December 20, 1776:
“I have waited with much impatience to know the determination of Congress on the propositions, made some time in October last, for augmenting our corps of artillery, and establishing a corps of engineers. The time is now come when the first cannot be delayed without the greatest injury to the safety of these States; and, therefore, under the resolution of Congress bearing date the 12th inst. (December, 1776), at the repeated instances of Colonel Knox, and by the pressing advice of all the general officers now here, I have ventured to order three battalions of artillery to be immediately recruited. These are two less than Colonel Knox recommends, as you will see by his plan inclosed, but then this scheme comprehends all the United States, whereas some of the States have corps already established, and these three battalions are indispensably
necessary for the operations in this quarter, including the northern department.
“The pay of our artillerists bearing no proportion to tliat in the English or French service, the murmuring and dissatisfaction thereby occasioned, the absolute impossibility, as I am told, of getting them upon the old terms, and the unavoidable necessity of obtaining them at all events, have induced me, also by advice, to promise officers and men that their pay shall be augmented 25 per cent., or their engagements shall become null and void. This may appear to Congress premature and unwarrantable. But, sir, if they view our situation in the light it strikes their officers, they will be convinced of the utility of the measure, and that the execution could not be delayed till after their meeting at Baltimore. In short, the present exigency of our affairs will not admit of delay, either in council or the field, for well convinced I am, that, if the enemy go into quarters at all it will be for a short season. But I rather think the design of General Howe is to possess himself of Philadelphia this winter, if possible, and in truth I do not see what is to prevent him, as ten days more will put an end to the existence of our army. That one great point is to keep us as much harassed as possible, with a view to injure the recruiting service, and hinder a collection of stores and other necessaries for the next campaign, I am as clear in, as I am of my own existence. If, therefore, in the short interval in which we have to provide for and make these great and arduous preparations, every matter, that in its nature is self-evident, is to be referred to Congress, at the distance of a hundred and thirty or forty miles, so much time must necessarily elapse as to defeat the end in view.
“ It may be said that this is an application for powers