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unrelenting faet, now to be determined by battle, and on him had fallen the burden of sustaining the cause of his country. In this spirit he accepted his commission, and rode forth to review the troops. He was greeted with loud acclaim wherever he appeared. Mankind is impressed by externals, and those who gazed upon Washington in the streets of Philadelphia felt their courage rise and their hearts grow strong at the sight of his virile, muscular figure as he passed before them on horseback, stately, dignified, and self-contained. The people looked
him, and were confident that this was a man worthy and able to dare and do all things.
On June 21st he set forth accompanied by Lee and Schuyler, and with a brilliant escort. He had ridden but twenty miles when he was met by the news of Bunker Hill. “ Did the militia fight?” was the immediate and characteristic question; and being told that they did fight, he exclaimed, “ Then the liberties of the country are safe.” Given the fighting spirit, Washington felt he could do anything. Full of this important intelligence he pressed forward to Newark, where he was received by a committee of the provincial congress, sent to conduct the commander-in-chief to New York. There he tarried long enough to appoint Schuyler to the charge of the military affairs in that colony, having mastered on the journey its complicated social and political conditions. Pushing on through Connecticut he reached Watertown, where he was received by the provincial congress of Massachu
setts, on July 2d, with every expression of attachment and confidence. Lingering less than an hour for this ceremony, he rode on to the headquarters at Cambridge, and when he came within the lines the shouts of the soldiers and the booming of cannon announced his arrival to the English in Boston.
The next day he rode forth in the presence of a great multitude, and the troops having been drawn up before him, he drew his sword beneath the historical elm-tree, and took command of the first American army.
“ His excellency," wrote Dr. Thatcher in his journal, “ was on horseback in company with several military gentlemen. It was not difficult to distinguish him from all others. He is tall and well proportioned, and his personal appearance truly noble and majestic." "He is tall and of easy and agreeable address," the loyalist Curwen had remarked a few weeks before; while Mrs. John Adams, warm-hearted and clever, wrote to her husband after the general's arrival: “ Dignity, ease, and complacency, the gentleman and the soldier, look agreeably blended in him. Modesty marks every line and feature of his face. Those lines of Dryden instantly occurred to me,
• Mark his majestic fabric! He's a temple
Nor is the pile unworthy of the God.'” Lady, lawyer, and surgeon, patriot and tory, all speak alike, and as they wrote so New England felt. A slave-owner, an aristocrat, and a church
man, Washington came to Cambridge to pass over the heads of native generals to the command of a New England army, among a democratic people, hard-working and simple in their lives, and dissenters to the backbone, who regarded episcopacy as something little short of papistry and quite equivalent to toryism. Yet the shout that went up from soldiers and people on Cambridge common on that pleasant July morning came from the heart and had no jarring note. A few of the political chiefs growled a little in later days at Washington, but the soldiers and the people, high and low, rich and poor, gave him an unstinted loyalty. On the fields of battle and throughout eight years of political strife the men of New England stood by the great Virginian with a devotion and truth in which was no shadow of turning. Here again we see exhibited most conspicuously the powerful personality of the man who was able thus to command immediately the allegiance of this naturally cold and reserved people. What was it that they saw that inspired them at once with so much confidence? They looked upon a tall, handsome man, dressed in plain uniform, wearing across his breast a broad blue band of silk, which some may have noticed as the badge and symbol of a certain solemn league and covenant once very momentous in the English-speaking world. They saw his calm, high bearing, and in every
line of face and figure they beheld the signs of force and courage. Yet there must have been something more to call forth the confidence then
so quickly given, and which no one ever long with held. All felt dimly, but none the less surely, that here was a strong, able man, capable of rising to the emergency, whatever it might be, capable of continued growth and development, clear of head and warm of heart; and so the New England people gave to him instinctively their sympathy and their faith, and never took either back.
The shouts and cheers died away, and then Washington returned to his temporary quarters in the Wadsworth house, to master the task before him. The first great test of his courage and ability had come, and he faced it quietly as the excitement caused by his arrival passed by. He saw before him, to use his own words, “ a mixed multitude of people, under very little discipline, order, or govern. ment.” In the language of one of his aides:1 “The entire army,
if it deserved the name, was but an assemblage of brave, enthusiastic, undisciplined, country lads ; the officers in general quite as ignorant of military life as the troops, excepting a few elderly men, who had seen some irregular service among the provincials under Lord Amherst.” With this force, ill-posted and very insecurely fortified, Washington was to drive the British from Boston. His first step was to count his men, and it took eight days to get the necessary returns, which in an ordinary army would have been furnished in an hour. When he had them, he found that instead of twenty thousand, as had been represented, but fourteen
1 John Trumbull, Reminiscences, p. 18.
thousand soldiers were actually present for duty. In a short time, however, Mr. Emerson, the chaplain, noted in his diary that it was surprising how much had been done, and that the lines had been so extended, and the works so shrewdly built, that it was morally impossible for the enemy to get out except in one place purposely left open. A little later the same observer remarked : “ There is a great overturning in the camp as to order and regularity; new lords, new laws. The Generals Washington and Lee are upon the lines every day. The strictest government is taking place, and great distinction is made between officers and soldiers.” Bodies of troops scattered here and there by chance were replaced by well-distributed forces, posted wisely and effectively in strong intrenchments. It is little wonder that the worthy chaplain was impressed, and now, seeing it all from every side, we too can watch order come out of chaos and mark the growth of an army under the guidance of a mastermind and the steady pressure of an unbending will.
Then too there was no discipline, for the army was composed of raw militia, who elected their officers and carried on war as they pleased. In a passage suppressed by Mr. Sparks, Washington said : “ There is no such thing as getting officers of this stamp to carry orders into execution - to curry favor with the men (by whom they were chosen, and on whose smile they may possibly think that they may again rely) seems to be one of the principal objects of their attention. I have made a