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pretty good slam amongst such kind of officers as the Massachusetts government abounds in, since I came into this camp, having broke one colonel and two captains for cowardly behavior in the action on Bunker Hill, two captains for drawing more pay and provisions than they had men in their company, and one for being absent from his post when the enemy appeared there and burnt a house just by it. Besides these I have at this time one colonel, one major, one captain, and two subalterns under arrest for trial. In short, I spare none, and yet fear it will not all do, as these people seem to be too attentive to everything but their own interests." This may be plain and homely in phrase, but it is not stilted, and the quick energy of the words shows how the New England farmers and fisher
were being rapidly brought to discipline. Bringing the army into order, however, was but a small part of his duties. It is necessary to run over all his difficulties, great and small, at this time, and count them up, in order to gain a just idea of the force and capacity of the man who overcame them.
Washington, moreover, was obliged to deal not only with his army, but with the general congress and the congress of the province. He had to teach them, utterly ignorant as they were of the needs and details of war, how to organize and supply their armies. There was no commissary department, there were no uniforms, no arrangements for ammunition, no small arms, no cannon, no resources
to draw upon for all these necessaries of war. Little by little he taught Congress to provide after a fashion for these things, little by little he developed what he needed, and by his own ingenuity, and by seizing alertly every suggestion from others, he supplied for better or worse one deficiency after another. He had to deal with various governors and various colonies, each with its prejudices, jealousies, and shortcomings. He had to arrange for new levies from a people unused to war, and to settle with infinite anxiety and much wear and tear of mind and body, the conflict as to rank among officers to whom he could apply no test but his own insight. He had to organize and stimulate the arming of privateers, which, by preying on British commerce, were destined to exercise such a powerful influence on the fate of the war. neither showy nor attractive, such work as this, but it was very vital, and it was done.
By the end of July the army was in a better posture of defence, and then at the beginning of the next month, as the prospect was brightening, it was suddenly discovered that there was no gunpowder. An undrilled army, imperfectly organized, was facing a disciplined force and had only some nine rounds in the cartridge-boxes. Yet there is no quivering in the letters from headquarters. Anxiety and strain of nerve are apparent; but a resolute determination rises over all, supported by a ready fertility of resource. Couriers flew over the country asking for powder in every town and in every
village. A vessel was even dispatched to the Bermudas to seize there a supply of powder, of which the general, always listening, had heard. Thus the immediate and grinding pressure was presently relieved, but the staple of war still remained pitifully and perilously meagre all through the winter.
Meantime, while thus overwhelmed with the cares immediately about him, Washington was watching the rest of the country. He had a keen eye upon Johnson and his Indians in the valley of the Mohawk; he followed sharply every movement of Tryon and the Tories in New York; he refused with stern good sense to detach troops to Connecticut and Long Island, knowing well when to give and when to say No, a difficult monosyllable for the new general of freshly revolted colonies. But if he would not detach in one place, he was ready enough to do so in another. He sent one expedition by Lake Champlain, under Montgomery, to Montreal, and gave Arnold picked troops to march through the wilds of Maine and strike Quebec. The scheme was bold and brilliant, both in conception and in execution, and came very near severing Canada forever from the British crown. A chapter of little accidents, each one of which proved as fatal as it was unavoidable, a moment's delay on the Plains of Abraham, and the whole campaign failed; but there was a grasp of conditions, a clearness of perception, and a comprehensiveness about the plan, which stamp it as the work of a great soldier, who saw besides the
military importance, the enormous political value held out by the chance of such a victory.
The daring, far-reaching quality of this Canadian expedition was much more congenial to Washington's temper and character than the wearing work of the siege. All that man could do before Boston was done, and still Congress expected the impossible, and grumbled because without ships he did not secure the harbor. He himself, while he inwardly resented such criticism, chafed under the monotonous drudgery of the intrenchments. He was longing, according to his nature, to fight, and was, it must be confessed, quite ready to at. tempt the impossible in his own way. Early in September he proposed to attack the town in boats and by the neck of land at Roxbury, but the council of officers unanimously voted against him. A little more than a month later he planned another attack, and was again voted down by his officers. Councils of war never fight, it is said, and perhaps in this case it was well that such was their habit, for the schemes look rather desperate now. To us they serve to show the temper of the man, and also his self-control, for Washington was ready enough to override councils when wholly free from doubt himself.
Thus the planning of campaigns, both distant and near, went on, and at the same time the current of details, difficult, vital, absolute in demanding prompt and vigorous solution, went on too. The existence of war made it necessary to settle
our relations with our enemies, and that these relations should be rightly settled was of vast moment to our cause, struggling for recognition. The first question was the matter of prisoners, and on August 11th Washington wrote to Gage :
“I understand that the officers engaged in the cause of liberty and their country, who by the fortune of war have fallen into your hands, have been thrown indiscriminately into a common gaol appropriated for felons; that no consideration has been had for those of the most respectable rank, when languishing with wounds and sickness ; and that some have been even amputated in this unworthy situation.
"Let your opinion, sir, of the principle which actuates them be what it may, they suppose that they act from the noblest of all principles, a love of freedom and their country. But political principles, I conceive, are foreign to this point. The obligations arising from the rights of humanity and claims of rank are universally binding and extensive, except in case of retaliation. These, I should have hoped, would have dictated a more tender treatment of those individuals whom chance or war had put in your power. Nor can I forbear suggesting its fatal tendency to widen that unhappy breach which you, and those ministers under whom you act, have repeatedly declared your wish is to see forever closed.
My duty now makes it necessary to apprise you, that for the future I shall regulate all my