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Washington and his Comrades in Arms A Chronicle of the War of Independence by George Wrong

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regard to supplies had been relieved and we may hope that Valley
Forge really feasted in honor of the great event. The same news
brought gloom to the British in Philadelphia, for it had the
stern meaning that the effort and loss involved in the capture of
that city were in vain. Washington held most of the surrounding
country so that supplies must come chiefly by sea. With a French
fleet and a French army on the way to America, the British
realized that they must concentrate their defenses. Thus the
cheers at Valley Forge were really the sign that the British must

Sir William Howe, having taken Philadelphia, was determined not
to be the one who should give it up. Feeling was bitter in
England over the ghastly failure of Burgoyne, and he had gone
home on parole to defend himself from his seat in the House of
Commons. There Howe had a seat and he, too, had need to be on
hand. Lord George Germain had censured him for his course and, to
shield himself; was clearly resolved to make scapegoats of
others. So, on May 18, 1778, at Philadelphia there was a farewell
to Howe, which took the form of a Mischianza, something
approaching the medieval tournament. Knights broke lances in
honor of fair ladies, there were arches and flowers and fancy
costumes, and high-flown Latin and French, all in praise of the
departing Howe. Obviously the garrison of Philadelphia had much
time on its hands and could count upon, at least, some cheers
from a friendly population. It is remembered still, with
moralizings on the turns in human fortune, that Major Andre and
Miss Margaret Shippen were the leaders in that gay scene, the
one, in the days to come, to be hanged by Washington as a spy,
because entrapped in the treason of Benedict Arnold, who became
the husband of the other.

On May 24, 1778, Sir Henry Clinton took over from Howe the
command of the British army in America and confronted a difficult
problem. If d'Estaing, the French admiral, should sail straight
for the Delaware he might destroy the fleet of little more than
half his strength which lay there, and might quickly starve
Philadelphia into surrender. The British must unite their forces
to meet the peril from France, and New York, as an island, was
the best point for a defense, chiefly naval. A move to New York
was therefore urgent. It was by sea that the British had come to
Philadelphia, but it was not easy to go away by sea. There was
not room in the transports for the army and its encumbrances.
Moreover, to embark the whole force, a march of forty miles to
New Castle, on the lower Delaware, would be necessary and the
retreating army was sure to be harassed on its way by Washington.
It would besides hardly be safe to take the army by sea for the
French fleet might be strong enough to capture the flotilla.

There was nothing for it but, at whatever risk, to abandon
Philadelphia and march the army across New Jersey. It would be
possible to take by sea the stores and the three thousand
Loyalists from Philadelphia, some of whom would probably be
hanged if they should be taken. Lord Howe, the naval commander,
did his part in a masterly manner. On the 18th of June the
British army marched out of Philadelphia and before the day was
over it was across the Delaware on the New Jersey side. That same
day Washington's army, free from its long exile at Valley Forge,
occupied the capital. Clinton set out on his long march by land
and Howe worked his laden ships down the difficult river to its
mouth and, after delay by winds, put to sea on the 28th of June.
By a stroke of good fortune he sailed the two hundred miles to
New York in two days and missed the great fleet of d'Estaing,
carrying an army of four thousand men. On the 8th of July
d'Estaing anchored at the mouth of the Delaware. Had not his
passage been unusually delayed and Howe's unusually quick, as
Washington noted, the British fleet and the transports in the
Delaware would probably have been taken and Clinton and his army
would have shared the fate of Burgoyne.

As it was, though Howe's fleet was clear away, Clinton's army had
a bad time in the march across New Jersey. Its baggage train was
no less than twelve miles long and, winding along roads leading
sometimes through forests, was peculiarly vulnerable to flank
attack. In this type of warfare Washington excelled. He had
fought over this country and he knew it well. The tragedy of
Valley Forge was past. His army was now well trained and well
supplied. He had about the same number of men as the
British--perhaps sixteen thousand--and he was not encumbered by a
long baggage train. Thus it happened that Washington was across
the Delaware almost as soon as the British. He marched parallel
with them on a line some five miles to the north and was able to
forge towards the head of their column. He could attack their
flank almost when he liked. Clinton marched with great
difficulty. He found bridges down. Not only was Washington behind
him and on his flank but General Gates was in front marching from
the north to attack him when he should try to cross the Raritan
River. The long British column turned southeastward toward Sandy
Hook, so as to lessen the menace from Gates. Between the half of
the army in the van and the other half in the rear was the
baggage train.

The crisis came on Sunday the 28th of June, a day of sweltering
heat. By this time General Charles Lee, Washington's second in
command, was in a good position to attack the British rear guard
from the north, while Washington, marching three miles behind
Lee, was to come up in the hope of overwhelming it from the rear.
Clinton's position was difficult but he was saved by Lee's
ineptitude. He had positive instructions to attack with his five
thousand men and hold the British engaged until Washington should
come up in overwhelming force. The young La Fayette was with Lee.
He knew what Washington had ordered, but Lee said to him: "You
don't know the British soldiers; we cannot stand against them."
Lee's conduct looks like deliberate treachery. Instead of
attacking the British he allowed them to attack him. La Fayette
managed to send a message to Washington in the rear; Washington
dashed to the front and, as he came up, met soldiers flying from
before the British. He rode straight to Lee, called him in
flaming anger a "damned poltroon," and himself at once took
command. There was a sharp fight near Monmouth Court House. The
British were driven back and only the coming of night ended the
struggle. Washington was preparing to renew it in the morning,
but Clinton had marched away in the darkness. He reached the
coast on the 30th of June, having lost on the way fifty-nine men
from sunstroke, over three hundred in battle, and a great many
more by desertion. The deserters were chiefly Germans, enticed by
skillful offers of land. Washington called for a reckoning from
Lee. He was placed under arrest, tried by court-martial, found
guilty, and suspended from rank for twelve months. Ultimately he
was dismissed from the American army, less it appears for his
conduct at Monmouth than for his impudent demeanor toward
Congress afterwards.

These events on land were quickly followed by stirring events on
the sea. The delays of the British Admiralty of this time seem
almost incredible. Two hundred ships waited at Spithead for three
months for convoy to the West Indies, while all the time the
people of the West Indies, cut off from their usual sources of
supply in America, were in distress for food. Seven weeks passed
after d'Estaing had sailed for America, before the Admiralty knew
that he was really gone and sent Admiral Byron, with fourteen
ships, to the aid of Lord Howe. When d'Estaing was already before
New York Byron was still battling with storms in mid-Atlantic,
storms so severe that his fleet was entirely dispersed and his
flagship was alone when it reached Long Island on the 18th of

Meanwhile the French had a great chance. On the 11th of July
their fleet, much stronger than the British, arrived from the
Delaware, and anchored off Sandy Hook. Admiral Howe knew his
danger. He asked for volunteers from the merchant ships and the
sailors offered themselves almost to a man. If d'Estaing could
beat Howe's inferior fleet, the transports at New York would be
at his mercy and the British army, with no other source of
supply, must surrender. Washington was near, to give help on
land. The end of the war seemed not far away. But it did not
come. The French admirals were often taken from an army command,
and d'Estaing was not a sailor but a soldier. He feared the skill
of Howe, a really great sailor, whose seven available ships were
drawn up in line at Sandy Hook so that their guns bore on ships
coming in across the bar. D'Estaing hovered outside. Pilots from
New York told him that at high tide there were only twenty-two
feet of water on the bar and this was not enough for his great
ships, one of which carried ninety-one guns. On the 22d of July
there was the highest of tides with, in reality, thirty feet of
water on the bar, and a wind from the northeast which would have
brought d'Estaing's ships easily through the channel into the
harbor. The British expected the hottest naval fight in their
history. At three in the afternoon d'Estaing moved but it was to
sail away out of sight.

Opportunity, though once spurned, seemed yet to knock again. The
one other point held by the British was Newport, Rhode Island.
Here General Pigot had five thousand men and only perilous
communications by sea with New York. Washington, keenly desirous
to capture this army, sent General Greene to aid General Sullivan
in command at Providence, and d'Estaing arrived off Newport to
give aid. Greene had fifteen hundred fine soldiers, Sullivan had
nine thousand New England militia, and d'Estaing four thousand
French regulars. A force of fourteen thousand five hundred men
threatened five thousand British. But on the 9th of August Howe
suddenly appeared near Newport with his smaller fleet. D'Estaing
put to sea to fight him, and a great naval battle was imminent,
when a terrific storm blew up and separated and almost shattered
both fleets. D'Estaing then, in spite of American protests,
insisted on taking the French ships to Boston to refit and with
them the French soldiers. Sullivan publicly denounced the French
admiral as having basely deserted him and his own disgusted
yeomanry left in hundreds for their farms to gather in the
harvest. In September, with d'Estaing safely away, Clinton sailed
into Newport with five thousand men. Washington's campaign
against Rhode Island had failed completely.

The summer of 1778 thus turned out badly for Washington. Help
from France which had aroused such joyous hopes in America had
achieved little and the allies were hurling reproaches at each
other. French and American soldiers had riotous fights in Boston
and a French officer was killed. The British, meanwhile, were
landing at small ports on the coast, which had been the haunts of
privateers, and were not only burning shipping and stores but
were devastating the country with Loyalist regiments recruited in
America. The French told the Americans that they were expecting
too much from the alliance, and the cautious Washington expressed
fear that help from outside would relax effort at home. Both were
right. By the autumn the British had been reinforced and the
French fleet had gone to the West Indies. Truly the mountain in
labor of the French alliance seemed to have brought forth only a
ridiculous mouse. None the less was it to prove, in the end, the
decisive factor in the struggle.

The alliance with France altered the whole character of the war,
which ceased now to be merely a war in North America. France soon
gained an ally in Europe. Bourbon Spain had no thought of helping
the colonies in rebellion against their king, and she viewed
their ambitions to extend westward with jealous concern, since
she desired for herself both sides of the Mississippi. Spain,
however, had a grievance against Britain, for Britain would not
yield Gibraltar, that rocky fragment of Spain commanding the
entrance to the Mediterranean which Britain had wrested from her
as she had wrested also Minorca and Florida. So, in April, 1779,
Spain joined France in war on Great Britain. France agreed not
only to furnish an army for the invasion of England but never to
make peace until Britain had handed back Gibraltar. The allies
planned to seize and hold the Isle of Wight. England has often
been threatened and yet has been so long free from the tramp of
hostile armies that we are tempted to dismiss lightly such
dangers. But in the summer of 1779 the danger was real. Of
warships carrying fifty guns or more France and Spain together
had one hundred and twenty-one, while Britain had seventy. The
British Channel fleet for the defense of home coasts numbered
forty ships of the line while France and Spain together had
sixty-six. Nor had Britain resources in any other quarter upon
which she could readily draw. In the West Indies she had
twenty-one ships of the line while France had twenty-five. The
British could not find comfort in any supposed superiority in the
structure of their ships. Then and later, as Nelson admitted when
he was fighting Spain, the Spanish ships were better built than
the British.

Lurking in the background to haunt British thought was the
growing American navy. John Paul was a Scots sailor, who had been
a slave trader and subsequently master of a West India
merchantman, and on going to America had assumed the name of
Jones. He was a man of boundless ambition, vanity, and vigor, and
when he commanded American privateers he became a terror to the
maritime people from whom he sprang. In the summer of 1779 when
Jones, with a squadron of four ships, was haunting the British
coasts, every harbor was nervous. At Plymouth a boom blocked the
entrance, but other places had not even this defense. Sir Walter
Scott has described how, on September 17, 1779, a squadron, under
John Paul Jones, came within gunshot of Leith, the port of
Edinburgh. The whole surrounding country was alarmed, since for
two days the squadron had been in sight beating up the Firth of
Forth. A sudden squall, which drove Jones back, probably saved
Edinburgh from being plundered. A few days later Jones was
burning ships in the Humber and, on the 23d of September, he met
off Flamborough Head and, after a desperate fight, captured two
British armed ships: the Serapis, a 40-gun vessel newly
commissioned, and the Countess of Scarborough, carrying 20 guns,
both of which were convoying a fleet. The fame of his exploit
rang through Europe. Jones was a regularly commissioned officer
in the navy of the United States, but neutral powers, such as
Holland, had not yet recognized the republic and to them there
was no American navy. The British regarded him as a traitor and
pirate and might possibly have hanged him had he fallen into
their hands.

Terrible days indeed were these for distracted England. In India,
France, baulked twenty years earlier, was working for her entire
overthrow, and in North Africa, Spain was using the Moors to the
same end. As time passed the storm grew more violent. Before the
year 1780 ended Holland had joined England's enemies. Moreover,
the northern states of Europe, angry at British interference on
the sea with their trade, and especially at her seizure of ships
trying to enter blockaded ports, took strong measures. On March
8, 1780, Russia issued a proclamation declaring that neutral
ships must be allowed to come and go on the sea as they liked.
They might be searched by a nation at war for arms and ammunition
but for nothing else. It would moreover be illegal to declare a
blockade of a port and punish neutrals for violating it, unless
their ships were actually caught in an attempt to enter the port.
Denmark and Sweden joined Russia in what was known as the Armed
Neutrality and promised that they would retaliate upon any nation
which did not respect the conditions laid down.

In domestic affairs Great Britain was divided. The Whigs and
Tories were carrying on a warfare shameless beyond even the
bitter partisan strife of later days. In Parliament the Whigs
cheered at military defeats which might serve to discredit the
Tory Government. The navy was torn by faction. When, in 1778, the
Whig Admiral Keppel fought an indecisive naval battle off Ushant
and was afterwards accused by one of his officers, Sir Hugh
Palliser, of not pressing the enemy hard enough, party passion
was invoked. The Whigs were for Keppel, the Tories for Palliser,
and the London mob was Whig. When Keppel was acquitted there were
riotous demonstrations; the house of Palliser was wrecked, and he
himself barely escaped with his life. Whig naval officers
declared that they had no chance of fair treatment at the hands
of a Tory Admiralty, and Lord Howe, among others, now refused to
serve. For a time British supremacy on the sea disappeared and it
was only regained in April, 1782, when the Tory Admiral Rodney
won a great victory in the West Indies against the French.

A spirit of violence was abroad in England. The disabilities of
the Roman Catholics were a gross scandal. They might not vote or
hold public office. Yet when, in 1780, Parliament passed a bill
removing some of their burdens dreadful riots broke out in
London. A fanatic, Lord George Gordon, led a mob to Westminster
and, as Dr. Johnson expressed it, "insulted" both Houses of
Parliament. The cowed ministry did nothing to check the
disturbance. The mob burned Newgate jail, released the prisoners
from this and other prisons, and made a deliberate attempt to
destroy London by fire. Order was restored under the personal
direction of the King, who, with all his faults, was no coward.
At the same time the Irish Parliament, under Protestant lead, was
making a Declaration of Independence which, in 1782, England was
obliged to admit by formal act of Parliament. For the time being,
though the two monarchies had the same king, Ireland, in name at
least, was free of England.

Washington's enemy thus had embarrassments enough. Yet these very
years, 1779 and 1780, were the years in which he came nearest to
despair. The strain of a great movement is not in the early days
of enthusiasm, but in the slow years when idealism is tempered by
the strife of opinion and self-interest which brings delay and
disillusion. As the war went on recruiting became steadily more
difficult. The alliance with France actually worked to discourage
it since it was felt that the cause was safe in the hands of this
powerful ally. Whatever Great Britain's difficulties about
finance they were light compared with Washington's. In time the
"continental dollar" was worth only two cents. Yet soldiers long
had to take this money at its face value for their pay, with the
result that the pay for three months would scarcely buy a pair of
boots. There is little wonder that more than once Washington had
to face formidable mutiny among his troops. The only ones on whom
he could rely were the regulars enlisted by Congress and
carefully trained. The worth of the militia, he said, "depends
entirely on the prospects of the day; if favorable, they throng
to you; if not, they will not move." They played a chief part in
the prosperous campaign of 1777, when Burgoyne was beaten. In the
next year, before Newport, they wholly failed General Sullivan
and deserted shamelessly to their homes.

By 1779 the fighting had shifted to the South. Washington
personally remained in the North to guard the Hudson and to watch
the British in New York. He sent La Fayette to France in January,
1779, there to urge not merely naval but military aid on a great
scale. La Fayette came back after an absence of a little over a
year and in the end France promised eight thousand men who should
be under Washington's control as completely as if they were
American soldiers. The older nation accepted the principle that
the officers in the younger nation which she was helping should
rank in their grade before her own. It was a magnanimity
reciprocated nearly a century and a half later when a great
American army in Europe was placed under the supreme command of a
Marshal of France.


After 1778 there was no more decisive fighting in the North. The
British plan was to hold New York and keep there a threatening
force, but to make the South henceforth the central arena of the
war. Accordingly, in 1779, they evacuated Rhode Island and left
the magnificent harbor of Newport to be the chief base for the
French fleet and army in America. They also drew in their posts
on the Hudson and left Washington free to strengthen West Point
and other defenses by which he was blocking the river. Meanwhile
they were striking staggering blows in the South. On December 29,
1778, a British force landed two miles below Savannah, in
Georgia, lying near the mouth of the important Savannah River,
and by nightfall, after some sharp fighting, took the place with
its stores and shipping. Augusta, the capital of Georgia, lay
about a hundred and twenty-five miles up the river. By the end of
February, 1779, the British not only held Augusta but had
established so strong a line of posts in the interior that
Georgia seemed to be entirely under their control.

Then followed a singular chain of events. Ever since hostilities
had begun, in 1775, the revolutionary party had been dominant in
the South. Yet now again in 1779 the British flag floated over
the capital of Georgia. Some rejoiced and some mourned. Men do
not change lightly their political allegiance. Probably Boston
was the most completely revolutionary of American towns. Yet even
in Boston there had been a sad procession of exiles who would not
turn against the King. The South had been more evenly divided.
Now the Loyalists took heart and began to assert themselves.

When the British seemed secure in Georgia bands of Loyalists
marched into the British camp in furious joy that now their day
was come, and gave no gentle advice as to the crushing of
rebellion. Many a patriot farmhouse was now destroyed and the
hapless owner either killed or driven to the mountains to live as
best he could by hunting. Sometimes even the children were shot
down. It so happened that a company of militia captured a large
band of Loyalists marching to Augusta to support the British
cause. Here was the occasion for the republican patriots to
assert their principles. To them these Loyalists were guilty of
treason. Accordingly seventy of the prisoners were tried before a
civil court and five of them were hanged. For this hanging of
prisoners the Loyalists, of course, retaliated in kind. Both the
British and American regular officers tried to restrain these
fierce passions but the spirit of the war in the South was
ruthless. To this day many a tale of horror is repeated and,
since Loyalist opinion was finally destroyed, no one survived to
apportion blame to their enemies. It is probable that each side
matched the other in barbarity.

The British hoped to sweep rapidly through the South, to master
it up to the borders of Virginia, and then to conquer that
breeding ground of revolution. In the spring of 1779 General
Prevost marched from Georgia into South Carolina. On the 12th of
May he was before Charleston demanding surrender. We are
astonished now to read that, in response to Prevost's demand, a
proposal was made that South Carolina should be allowed to remain
neutral and that at the end of the war it should join the
victorious side. This certainly indicates a large body of opinion
which was not irreconcilable with Great Britain and seems to
justify the hope of the British that the beginnings of military
success might rally the mass of the people to their side. For the
moment, however, Charleston did not surrender. The resistance was
so stiff that Prevost had to raise the siege and go back to

Suddenly, early in September, 1779, the French fleet under
d'Estaing appeared before Savannah. It had come from the West
Indies, partly to avoid the dreaded hurricane season of the
autumn in those waters. The British, practically without any
naval defense, were confronted at once by twenty-two French ships
of the line, eleven frigates, and many transports carrying an
army. The great flotilla easily got rid of the few British ships
lying at Savannah. An American army, under General Lincoln,
marched to join d'Estaing. The French landed some three thousand
men, and the combined army numbered about six thousand. A siege
began which, it seemed, could end in only one way. Prevost,
however, with three thousand seven hundred men, nearly half of
them sick, was defiant, and on the 9th of October the combined
French and American armies made a great assault. They met with
disaster. D'Estaing was severely wounded. With losses of some
nine hundred killed and wounded in the bitter fighting the
assailants drew off and soon raised the siege. The British losses
were only fifty-four. In the previous year French and Americans
fighting together had utterly failed. Now they had failed again
and there was bitter recrimination between the defeated allies.
D'Estaing sailed away and soon lost some of his ships in a
violent storm. Ill-fortune pursued him to the end. He served no
more in the war and in the Reign of Terror in Paris, in 1794, he
perished on the scaffold.

At Charleston the American General Lincoln was in command with
about six thousand men. The place, named after King Charles II,
had been a center of British influence before the war. That
critical traveler, Lord Adam Gordon, thought its people clever in
business, courteous, and hospitable. Most of them, he says, made
a visit to England at some time during life and it was the
fashion to send there the children to be educated. Obviously
Charleston was fitted to be a British rallying center in the
South; yet it had remained in American hands since the opening of
the war. In 1776 Sir Henry Clinton, the British Commander, had
woefully failed in his assault on Charleston. Now in December,
1779, he sailed from New York to make a renewed effort. With him
were three of his best officer--Cornwallis, Simcoe, and Tarleton,
the last two skillful leaders of irregulars, recruited in America
and used chiefly for raids. The wintry voyage was rough; one of
the vessels laden with cannon foundered and sank, and all the
horses died. But Clinton reached Charleston and was able to
surround it on the landward side with an army at least ten
thousand strong. Tarleton's irregulars rode through the country.
It is on record that he marched sixty-four miles in twenty-three
hours and a hundred and five miles in fifty-four hours. Such
mobility was irresistible. On the 12th of April, after a ride of
thirty miles, Tarleton surprised, in the night, three regiments
of American cavalry regulars at a place called Biggin's Bridge,
routed them completely and, according to his own account, with
the loss of three men wounded, carried off a hundred prisoners,
four hundred horses, and also stores and ammunition. There is no
doubt that Tarleton's dragoons behaved with great brutality and
it would perhaps have taught a needed lesson if, as was indeed
threatened by a British officer, Major Ferguson, a few of them
had been shot on the spot for these outrages. Tarleton's dashing
attacks isolated Charleston and there was nothing for Lincoln to
do but to surrender. This he did on the 12th of May. Burgoyne
seemed to have been avenged. The most important city in the South
had fallen. "We look on America as at our feet," wrote Horace
Walpole. The British advanced boldly into the interior. On the
29th of May Tarleton attacked an American force under Colonel
Buford, killed over a hundred men, carried off two hundred
prisoners, and had only twenty-one casualties. It is such scenes
that reveal the true character of the war in the South. Above all
it was a war of hard riding, often in the night, of sudden
attack, and terrible bloodshed.

After the fall of Charleston only a few American irregulars were
to be found in South Carolina. It and Georgia seemed safe in
British control. With British successes came the problem of
governing the South. On the royalist theory, the recovered land
had been in a state of rebellion and was now restored to its true
allegiance. Every one who had taken up arms against the King was
guilty of treason with death as the penalty. Clinton had no
intention of applying this hard theory, but he was returning to
New York and he had to establish a government on some legal
basis. During the first years of the war, Loyalists who would not
accept the new order had been punished with great severity. Their
day had now come. Clinton said that "every good man" must be
ready to join in arms the King's troops in order "to reestablish
peace and good government." "Wicked and desperate men" who still
opposed the King should be punished with rigor and have their
property confiscated. He offered pardon for past offenses, except
to those who had taken part in killing Loyalists "under the mock
forms of justice." No one was henceforth to be exempted from the
active duty of supporting the King's authority.

Clinton's proclamation was very disturbing to the large element
in South Carolina which did not desire to fight on either side.
Every one must now be for or against the King, and many were in
their secret hearts resolved to be against him. There followed an
orgy of bloodshed which discredits human nature. The patriots
fled to the mountains rather than yield and, in their turn,
waylaid and murdered straggling Loyalists. Under pressure some
republicans would give outward compliance to royal government,
but they could not be coerced into a real loyalty. It required
only a reverse to the King's forces to make them again actively
hostile. To meet the difficult situation Congress now made a
disastrous blunder. On June 13, 1780, General Gates, the belauded
victor at Saratoga, was given the command in the South.

Camden, on the Wateree River, lies inland from Charleston about a
hundred and twenty-five miles as the crow flies. The British had
occupied it soon after the fall of Charleston, and it was now
held by a small force under Lord Rawdon, one of the ablest of the
British commanders. Gates had superior numbers and could probably
have taken Camden by a rapid movement; but the man had no real
stomach for fighting. He delayed until, on the 14th of August,
Cornwallis arrived at Camden with reinforcements and with the
fixed resolve to attack Gates before Gates attacked him. On the
early morning of the 16th of August, Cornwallis with two thousand
men marching northward between swamps on both flanks, met Gates
with three thousand marching southward, each of them intending to
surprise the other. A fierce struggle followed. Gates was
completely routed with a thousand casualties, a thousand
prisoners, and the loss of nearly the whole of his guns and
transport. The fleeing army was pursued for twenty miles by the
relentless Tarleton. General Kalb, who had done much to organize
the American army, was killed. The enemies of Gates jeered at his
riding away with the fugitives and hardly drawing rein until
after four days he was at Hillsborough, two hundred miles away.
His defense was that he "proceeded with all possible despatch,"
which he certainly did, to the nearest point where he could
reorganize his forces. His career was, however, ended. He was
deprived of his command, and Washington appointed to succeed him
General Nathanael Greene.

In spite of the headlong flight of Gates the disaster at Camden
had only a transient effect. The war developed a number of
irregular leaders on the American side who were never beaten
beyond recovery, no matter what might be the reverses of the day.
The two most famous are Francis Marion and Thomas Sumter. Marion,
descended from a family of Huguenot exiles, was slight in frame
and courteous in manner; Sumter, tall, powerful, and rough, was
the vigorous frontiersman in type. Threatened men live long:
Sumter died in 1832, at the age of ninety-six, the last surviving
general of the Revolution. Both men had had prolonged experience
in frontier fighting against the Indians. Tarleton called Marion
the "old swamp fox" because he often escaped through using
by-paths across the great swamps of the country. British
communications were always in danger. A small British force might
find itself in the midst of a host which had suddenly come
together as an army, only to dissolve next day into its elements
of hardy farmers, woodsmen, and mountaineers.

After the victory at Camden Cornwallis advanced into North
Carolina, and sent Major Ferguson, one of his most trusted
officers, with a force of about a thousand men, into the
mountainous country lying westward, chiefly to secure Loyalist
recruits. If attacked in force Ferguson was to retreat and rejoin
his leader. The Battle of King's Mountain is hardly famous in the
annals of the world, and yet, in some ways, it was a decisive
event. Suddenly Ferguson found himself beset by hostile bands,
coming from the north, the south, the east, and the west. When,
in obedience to his orders, he tried to retreat he found the way
blocked, and his messages were intercepted, so that Cornwallis
was not aware of the peril. Ferguson, harassed, outnumbered, at
last took refuge on King's Mountain, a stony ridge on the western
border between the two Carolinas. The north side of the mountain
was a sheer impassable cliff and, since the ridge was only half a
mile long, Ferguson thought that his force could hold it
securely. He was, however, fighting an enemy deadly with the
rifle and accustomed to fire from cover. The sides and top of
King's Mountain were wooded and strewn with boulders. The motley
assailants crept up to the crest while pouring a deadly fire on
any of the defenders who exposed themselves. Ferguson was killed
and in the end his force surrendered, on October 7, 1780, with
four hundred casualties and the loss of more than seven hundred
prisoners. The American casualties were eighty-eight. In reprisal
for earlier acts on the other side, the victors insulted the dead
body of Ferguson and hanged nine of their prisoners on the limb
of a great tulip tree. Then the improvised army scattered.*

* See Chapter IX, "Pioneers of the Old Southwest", by Constance
Lindsay Skinner in "The Chronicles of America."

While the conflict for supremacy in the South was still
uncertain, in the Northwest the Americans made a stroke destined
to have astounding results. Virginia had long coveted lands in
the valleys of the Ohio and the Mississippi. It was in this
region that Washington had first seen active service, helping to
wrest that land from France. The country was wild. There was
almost no settlement; but over a few forts on the upper
Mississippi and in the regions lying eastward to the Detroit
River there was that flicker of a red flag which meant that the
Northwest was under British rule. George Rogers Clark, like
Washington a Virginian land surveyor, was a strong, reckless,
brave frontiersman. Early in 1778 Virginia gave him a small sum
of money, made him a lieutenant colonel, and authorized him to
raise troops for a western adventure. He had less than two
hundred men when he appeared a little later at Kaskaskia near the
Mississippi in what is now Illinois and captured the small
British garrison, with the friendly consent of the French
settlers about the fort. He did the same thing at Cahokia,
farther up the river. The French scattered through the western
country naturally sided with the Americans, fighting now in
alliance with France. The British sent out a force from Detroit
to try to check the efforts of Clark, but in February, 1779, the
indomitable frontiersman surprised and captured this force at
Vincennes on the Wabash. Thus did Clark's two hundred famished
and ragged men take possession of the Northwest, and, when peace
was made, this vast domain, an empire in extent, fell to the
United States. Clark's exploit is one of the pregnant romances of

* See Chapters III and IV in "The Old Northwest" by Frederic
Austin Ogg in "The Chronicles of America".

Perhaps the most sorrowful phase of the Revolution was the
internal conflict waged between its friends and its enemies in
America, where neighbor fought against neighbor. During this
pitiless struggle the strength of the Loyalists tended steadily
to decline; and they came at last to be regarded everywhere by
triumphant revolution as a vile people who should bear the
penalties of outcasts. In this attitude towards them Boston had
given a lead which the rest of the country eagerly followed. To
coerce Loyalists local committees sprang up everywhere. It must
be said that the Loyalists gave abundant provocation. They
sneered at rebel officers of humble origin as convicts and
shoeblacks. There should be some fine hanging, they promised, on
the return of the King's men to Boston. Early in the Revolution
British colonial governors, like Lord Dunmore of Virginia,
adopted the policy of reducing the rebels by harrying their
coasts. Sailors would land at night from ships and commit their
ravages in the light of burning houses. Soldiers would dart out
beyond the British lines, burn a village, carry off some Whig
farmers, and escape before opposing forces could rally. Governor
Tryon of New York was specially active in these enterprises and
to this day a special odium attaches to his name.

For these ravages, and often with justice, the Loyalists were
held responsible. The result was a bitterness which fired even
the calm spirit of Benjamin Franklin and led him when the day
came for peace to declare that the plundering and murdering
adherents of King George were the ones who should pay for damage
and not the States which had confiscated Loyalist property. Lists
of Loyalist names were sometimes posted and then the persons
concerned were likely to be the victims of any one disposed to
mischief. Sometimes a suspected Loyalist would find an effigy
hung on a tree before his own door with a hint that next time the
figure might be himself. A musket ball might come whizzing
through his window. Many a Loyalist was stripped, plunged in a
barrel of tar, and then rolled in feathers, taken sometimes from
his own bed.

Punishment for loyalism was not, however, left merely to chance.
Even before the Declaration of Independence, Congress, sitting
itself in a city where loyalism was strong, urged the States to
act sternly in repressing Loyalist opinion. They did not obey
every urging of Congress as eagerly as they responded to this
one. In practically every State Test Acts were passed and no one
was safe who did not carry a certificate that he was free of any
suspicion of loyalty to King George. Magistrates were paid a fee
for these certificates and thus had a golden reason for insisting
that Loyalists should possess them. To secure a certificate the
holder must forswear allegiance to the King and promise support
to the State at war with him. An unguarded word even about the
value in gold of the continental dollar might lead to the adding
of the speaker's name to the list of the proscribed. Legislatures
passed bills denouncing Loyalists. The names in Massachusetts
read like a list of the leading families of New England. The
"Black List" of Pennsylvania contained four hundred and ninety
names of Loyalists charged with treason, and Philadelphia had the
grim experience of seeing two Loyalists led to the scaffold with
ropes around their necks and hanged. Most of the persecuted
Loyalists lost all their property and remained exiles from their
former homes. The self-appointed committees took in hand the task
of disciplining those who did not fly, and the rabble often
pushed matters to brutal extremes. When we remember that
Washington himself regarded Tories as the vilest of mankind and
unfit to live, we can imagine the spirit of mobs, which had
sometimes the further incentive of greed for Loyalist property.
Loyalists had the experience of what we now call boycotting when
they could not buy or sell in the shops and were forced to see
their own shops plundered. Mills would not grind their corn.
Their cattle were maimed and poisoned. They could not secure
payment of debts due to them or, if payment was made, they
received it in the debased continental currency at its face
value. They might not sue in a court of law, nor sell their
property, nor make a will. It was a felony for them to keep arms.
No Loyalist might hold office, or practice law or medicine, or
keep a school.

Some Loyalists were deported to the wilderness in the back
country. Many took refuge within the British lines, especially at
New York. Many Loyalists created homes elsewhere. Some went to
England only to find melancholy disillusion of hope that a
grateful motherland would understand and reward their sacrifices.
Large numbers found their way to Nova Scotia and to Canada, north
of the Great Lakes, and there played a part in laying the
foundation of the Dominion of today. The city of Toronto with a
population of half a million is rooted in the Loyalist traditions
of its Tory founders. Simcoe, the first Governor of Upper Canada,
who made Toronto his capital, was one of the most enterprising of
the officers who served with Cornwallis in the South and
surrendered with him at Yorktown.

The State of New York acquired from the forfeited lands of
Loyalists a sum approaching four million dollars, a great amount
in those days. Other States profited in a similar way. Every
Loyalist whose property was seized had a direct and personal
grievance. He could join the British army and fight against his
oppressors, and this he did: New York furnished about fifteen
thousand men to fight on the British side. Plundered himself, he
could plunder his enemies, and this too he did both by land and
sea. In the autumn of 1778 ships manned chiefly by Loyalist
refugees were terrorizing the coast from Massachusetts to New
Jersey. They plundered Martha's Vineyard, burned some lesser
towns, such as New Bedford, and showed no quarter to small
parties of American troops whom they managed to intercept.

What happened on the coast happened also in the interior. At
Wyoming in the northeastern part of Pennsylvania, in July, 1778,
during a raid of Loyalists, aided by Indians, there was a brutal
massacre, the horrors of which long served to inspire hate for
the British. A little later in the same year similar events took
place at Cherry Valley, in central New York. Burning houses, the
dead bodies not only of men but of women and children scalped by
the savage allies of the Loyalists, desolation and ruin in scenes
once peaceful and happy such horrors American patriotism learned
to associate with the Loyalists. These in their turn remembered
the slow martyrdom of their lives as social outcasts, the threats
and plunder which in the end forced them to fly, the hardships,
starvation, and death to their loved ones which were wont to
follow. The conflict is perhaps the most tragic and
irreconcilable in the whole story of the Revolution.


During 1778 and 1779 French effort had failed. Now France
resolved to do something decisive. She never sent across the sea
the eight thousand men promised to La Fayette but by the spring
of 1780 about this number were gathered at Brest to find that
transport was inadequate. The leader was a French noble, the
Comte de Rochambeau, an old campaigner, now in his fifty-fifth
year, who had fought against England before in the Seven Years'
War and had then been opposed by Clinton, Cornwallis, and Lord
George Germain. He was a sound and prudent soldier who shares
with La Fayette the chief glory of the French service in America.
Rochambeau had fought at the second battle of Minden, where the
father of La Fayette had fallen, and he had for the ardent young
Frenchman the amiable regard of a father and sometimes rebuked
his impulsiveness in that spirit. He studied the problem in
America with the insight of a trained leader. Before he left
France he made the pregnant comment on the outlook: "Nothing
without naval supremacy." About the same time Washington was
writing to La Fayette that a decisive naval supremacy was a
fundamental need.

A gallant company it was which gathered at Brest. Probably no
other land than France could have sent forth on a crusade for
democratic liberty a band of aristocrats who had little thought
of applying to their own land the principles for which they were
ready to fight in America. Over some of them hung the shadow of
the guillotine; others were to ride the storm of the French
Revolution and to attain fame which should surpass their sanguine
dreams. Rochambeau himself, though he narrowly escaped during the
Reign of Terror, lived to extreme old age and died a Marshal of
France. Berthier, one of his officers, became one of Napoleon's
marshals and died just when Napoleon, whom he had deserted,
returned from Elba. Dumas became another of Napoleon's generals.
He nearly perished in the retreat from Moscow but lived, like
Rochambeau, to extreme old age. One of the gayest of the company
was the Duc de Lauzun, a noted libertine in France but, as far as
the record goes, a man of blameless propriety in America. He died
on the scaffold during the French Revolution. So, too, did his
companion, the Prince de Broglie, in spite of the protest of his
last words that he was faithful to the principles of the
Revolution, some of which he had learned in America. Another
companion was the Swedish Count Fersen, later the devoted friend
of the unfortunate Queen Marie Antoinette, the driver of the
carriage in which the royal family made the famous flight to
Varennes in 1791, and himself destined to be trampled to death by
a Swedish mob in 1810. Other old and famous names there were:
Laval-Montmorency, Mirabeau, Talleyrand, Saint-Simon. It has been
said that the names of the French officers in America read like a
list of medieval heroes in the Chronicles of Froissart.

Only half of the expected ships were ready at Brest and only five
thousand five hundred men could embark. The vessels were, of
course, very crowded. Rochambeau cut down the space allowed for
personal effects. He took no horse for himself and would allow
none to go, but he permitted a few dogs. Forty-five ships set
sail, "a truly imposing sight," said one of those on board. We
have reports of their ennui on the long voyage of seventy days,
of their amusements and their devotions, for twice daily were
prayers read on deck. They sailed into Newport on the 11th of
July and the inhabitants of that still primitive spot illuminated
their houses as best they could. Then the army settled down at
Newport and there it remained for many weary months.
Reinforcements never came, partly through mismanagement in
France, partly through the vigilance of the British fleet, which
was on guard before Brest. The French had been for generations
the deadly enemies of the English Colonies and some of the French
officers noted the reserve with which they were received. The ice
was, however, soon broken. They brought with them gold, and the
New England merchants liked this relief from the debased
continental currency. Some of the New England ladies were
beautiful, and the experienced Lauzun expresses glowing
admiration for a prim Quakeress whose simple dress he thought
more attractive than the elaborate modes of Paris.

The French dazzled the ragged American army by their display of
waving plumes and of uniforms in striking colors. They wondered
at the quantities of tea drunk by their friends and so do we when
we remember the political hatred for tea. They made the blunder
common in Europe of thinking that there were no social
distinctions in America. Washington could have told him a
different story. Intercourse was at first difficult, for few of
the Americans spoke French and fewer still of the French spoke
English. Sometimes the talk was in Latin, pronounced by an
American scholar as not too bad. A French officer writing in
Latin to an American friend announces his intention to learn
English: "Inglicam linguam noscere conabor." He made the effort
and he and his fellow officers learned a quaint English speech.
When Rochambeau and Washington first met they conversed through
La Fayette, as interpreter, but in time the older man did very
well in the language of his American comrade in arms.

For a long time the French army effected nothing. Washington
longed to attack New York and urged the effort, but the wise and
experienced Rochambeau applied his principle, "nothing without
naval supremacy," and insisted that in such an attack a powerful
fleet should act with a powerful army, and, for the moment, the
French had no powerful fleet available. The British were
blockading in Narragansett Bay the French fleet which lay there.
Had the French army moved away from Newport their fleet would
almost certainly have become a prey to the British. For the
moment there was nothing to do but to wait. The French preserved
an admirable discipline. Against their army there are no records
of outrage and plunder such as we have against the German allies
of the British. We must remember, however, that the French were
serving in the country of their friends, with every restraint of
good feeling which this involved. Rochambeau told his men that
they must not be the theft of a bit of wood, or of any
vegetables, or of even a sheaf of straw. He threatened the vice
which he called "sonorous drunkenness," and even lack of
cleanliness, with sharp punishment. The result was that a month
after landing he could say that not a cabbage had been stolen.
Our credulity is strained when we are told that apple trees with
their fruit overhung the tents of his soldiers and remained
untouched. Thousands flocked to see the French camp. The bands
played and Puritan maidens of all grades of society danced with
the young French officers and we are told, whether we believe it
or not, that there was the simple innocence of the Garden of
Eden. The zeal of the French officers and the friendly
disposition of the men never failed. There had been bitter
quarrels in 1778 and 1779 and now the French were careful to be
on their good behavior in America. Rochambeau had been instructed
to place himself under the command of Washington, to whom were
given the honors of a Marshal of France. The French admiral, had,
however, been given no such instructions and Washington had no
authority over the fleet.

Meanwhile events were happening which might have brought a
British triumph. On September 14, 1780, there arrived and
anchored at Sandy Hook, New York, fourteen British ships of the
line under Rodney, the doughtiest of the British admirals afloat.
Washington, with his army headquarters at West Point, on guard to
keep the British from advancing up the Hudson, was looking for
the arrival, not of a British fleet, but of a French fleet, from
the West Indies. For him these were very dark days. The recent
defeat at Camden was a crushing blow. Congress was inept and had
in it men, as the patient General Greene said, "without
principles, honor or modesty." The coming of the British fleet
was a new and overwhelming discouragement, and, on the 18th of
September, Washington left West Point for a long ride to Hartford
in Connecticut, half way between the two headquarters, there to
take counsel with the French general. Rochambeau, it was said,
had been purposely created to understand Washington, but as yet
the two leaders had not met. It is the simple truth that
Washington had to go to the French as a beggar. Rochambeau said
later that Washington was afraid to reveal the extent of his
distress. He had to ask for men and for ships, but he had also to
ask for what a proud man dislikes to ask, for money from the
stranger who had come to help him.

The Hudson had long been the chief object of Washington's anxiety
and now it looked as if the British intended some new movement up
the river, as indeed they did. Clinton had not expected Rodney's
squadron, but it arrived opportunely and, when it sailed up to
New York from Sandy Hook, on the 16th of September, he began at
once to embark his army, taking pains at the same time to send
out reports that he was going to the Chesapeake. Washington
concluded that the opposite was true and that he was likely to be
going northward. At West Point, where the Hudson flows through a
mountainous gap, Washington had strong defenses on both shores of
the river. His batteries commanded its whole width, but shore
batteries were ineffective against moving ships. The embarking of
Clinton's army meant that he planned operations on land. He might
be going to Rhode Island or to Boston but he might also dash up
the Hudson. It was an anxious leader who, with La Fayette and
Alexander Hamilton, rode away from headquarters to Hartford.

The officer in command at West Point was Benedict Arnold. No
general on the American side had a more brilliant record or could
show more scars of battle. We have seen him leading an army
through the wilderness to Quebec, and incurring hardships almost
incredible. Later he is found on Lake Champlain, fighting on both
land and water. When in the next year the Americans succeeded at
Saratoga it was Arnold who bore the brunt of the fighting. At
Quebec and again at Saratoga he was severely wounded. In the
summer of 1778 he was given the command at Philadelphia, after
the British evacuation. It was a troubled time. Arnold was
concerned with confiscations of property for treason and with
disputes about ownership. Impulsive, ambitious, and with a
certain element of coarseness in his nature, he made enemies. He
was involved in bitter strife with both Congress and the State
government of Pennsylvania. After a period of tension and
privation in war, one of slackness and luxury is almost certain
to follow. Philadelphia, which had recently suffered for want of
bare necessities, now relapsed into gay indulgence. Arnold lived
extravagantly. He played a conspicuous part in society and, a
widower of thirty-five, was successful in paying court to Miss
Shippen, a young lady of twenty, with whom, as Washington said,
all the American officers were in love.

Malignancy was rampant and Arnold was pursued with great
bitterness. Joseph Reed, the President of the Executive Council
of Pennsylvania, not only brought charge against him of abusing
his position for his own advantage, but also laid the charges
before each State government. In the end Arnold was tried by
court-martial and after long and inexcusable delay, on January
26, 1780, he was acquitted of everything but the imprudence of
using, in an emergency, public wagons to remove private property,
and of granting irregularly a pass to a ship to enter the port of
Philadelphia. Yet the court ordered that for these trifles Arnold
should receive a public reprimand from the Commander-in-Chief.
Washington gave the reprimand in terms as gentle as possible, and
when, in July, 1780, Arnold asked for the important command at
West Point, Washington readily complied probably with relief that
so important a position should be in such good hands.

The treason of Arnold now came rapidly to a head. The man was
embittered. He had rendered great services and yet had been
persecuted with spiteful persistence. The truth seems to be, too,
that Arnold thought America ripe for reconciliation with Great
Britain. He dreamed that he might be the saviour of his country.
Monk had reconciled the English republic to the restored Stuart
King Charles II; Arnold might reconcile the American republic to
George III for the good of both. That reconciliation he believed
was widely desired in America. He tried to persuade himself that
to change sides in this civil strife was no more culpable then to
turn from one party to another in political life. He forgot,
however, that it is never honorable to betray a trust.

It is almost certain that Arnold received a large sum in money
for his treachery. However this may be, there was treason in his
heart when he asked for and received the command at West Point,
and he intended to use his authority to surrender that vital post
to the British. And now on the 18th of September Washington was
riding northeastward into Connecticut, British troops were on
board ships in New York and all was ready. On the 20th of
September the Vulture, sloop of war, sailed up the Hudson from
New York and anchored at Stony Point, a few miles below West
Point. On board the Vulture was the British officer who was
treating with Arnold and who now came to arrange terms with him,
Major John Andre, Clinton's young adjutant general, a man of
attractive personality. Under cover of night Arnold sent off a
boat to bring Andre ashore to a remote thicket of fir trees,
outside the American lines. There the final plans were made. The
British fleet, carrying an army, was to sail up the river. A
heavy chain had been placed across the river at West Point to bar
the way of hostile ships. Under pretense of repairs a link was to
be taken out and replaced by a rope which would break easily. The
defenses of West Point were to be so arranged that they could not
meet a sudden attack and Arnold was to surrender with his force
of three thousand men. Such a blow following the disasters at
Charleston and Camden might end the strife. Britain was prepared
to yield everything but separation; and America, Arnold said,
could now make an honorable peace.

A chapter of accidents prevented the testing. Had Andre been
rowed ashore by British tars they could have taken him back to
the ship at his command before daylight. As it was the American
boatmen, suspicious perhaps of the meaning of this talk at
midnight between an American officer and a British officer, both
of them in uniform, refused to row Andre back to the ship because
their own return would be dangerous in daylight. Contrary to his
instructions and wishes Andre accompanied Arnold to a house
within the American lines to wait until he could be taken off
under cover of night. Meanwhile, however, an American battery on
shore, angry at the Vulture, lying defiantly within range, opened
fire upon her and she dropped down stream some miles. This was
alarming. Arnold, however, arranged with a man to row Andre down
the river and about midday went back to West Point.

It was uncertain how far the Vulture had gone. The vigilance of
those guarding the river was aroused and Andre's guide insisted
that he should go to the British lines by land. He was carrying
compromising papers and wearing civilian dress when seized by an
American party and held under close arrest. Arnold meanwhile,
ignorant of this delay, was waiting for the expected advance up
the river of the British fleet. He learned of the arrest of Andre
while at breakfast on the morning of the twenty-fifth, waiting to
be joined by Washington, who had just ridden in from Hartford.
Arnold received the startling news with extraordinary composure,
finished the subject under discussion, and then left the table
under pretext of a summons from across the river. Within a few
minutes his barge was moving swiftly to the Vulture eighteen
miles away. Thus Arnold escaped. The unhappy Andre was hanged as
a spy on the 2d of October. He met his fate bravely. Washington,
it is said, shed tears at its stern necessity under military law.
Forty years later the bones of Andre were reburied in Westminster
Abbey, a tribute of pity for a fine officer.

The treason of Arnold is not in itself important, yet Washington
wrote with deep conviction that Providence had directly
intervened to save the American cause. Arnold might be only one
of many. Washington said, indeed, that it was a wonder there were
not more. In a civil war every one of importance is likely to
have ties with both sides, regrets for the friends he has lost,
misgivings in respect to the course he has adopted. In April,
1779, Arnold had begun his treason by expressing discontent at
the alliance with France then working so disastrously. His future
lay before him; he was still under forty; he had just married
into a family of position; he expected that both he and his
descendants would spend their lives in America and he must have
known that contempt would follow them for the conduct which he
planned if it was regarded by public opinion as base. Voices in
Congress, too, had denounced the alliance with France as alliance
with tyranny, political and religious. Members praised the
liberties of England and had declared that the Declaration of
Independence must be revoked and that now it could be done with
honor since the Americans had proved their metal. There was room
for the fear that the morale of the Americans was giving way.

The defection of Arnold might also have military results. He had
bargained to be made a general in the British army and he had
intimate knowledge of the weak points in Washington's position.
He advised the British that if they would do two things, offer
generous terms to soldiers serving in the American army, and
concentrate their effort, they could win the war. With a cynical
knowledge of the weaker side of human nature, he declared that it
was too expensive a business to bring men from England to serve
in America. They could be secured more cheaply in America; it
would be necessary only to pay them better than Washington could
pay his army. As matters stood the Continental troops were to
have half pay for seven years after the close of the war and
grants of land ranging from one hundred acres for a private to
eleven hundred acres for a general. Make better offers than this,
urged Arnold; "Money will go farther than arms in America." If
the British would concentrate on the Hudson where the defenses
were weak they could drive a wedge between North and South. If on
the other hand they preferred to concentrate in the South,
leaving only a garrison in New York, they could overrun Virginia
and Maryland and then the States farther south would give up a
fight in which they were already beaten. Energy and enterprise,
said Arnold, will quickly win the war.

In the autumn of 1780 the British cause did, indeed, seem near
triumph. An election in England in October gave the ministry an
increased majority and with this renewed determination. When
Holland, long a secret enemy, became an open one in December,
1780, Admiral Rodney descended on the Dutch island of St.
Eustatius, in the West Indies, where the Americans were in the
habit of buying great quantities of stores and on the 3d of
February, 1781, captured the place with two hundred merchant
ships, half a dozen men-of-war, and stores to the value of three
million pounds. The capture cut off one chief source of supply to
the United States. By January, 1781, a crisis in respect to money
came to a head. Fierce mutinies broke out because there was no
money to provide food, clothing, or pay for the army and the men
were in a destitute condition. "These people are at the end of
their resources," wrote Rochambeau in March. Arnold's treason,
the halting voices in Congress, the disasters in the South, the
British success in cutting off supplies of stores from St.
Eustatius, the sordid problem of money--all these were well
fitted to depress the worn leader so anxiously watching on the
Hudson. It was the dark hour before the dawn.


The critical stroke of the war was near. In the South, after
General Greene superseded Gates in the command, the tide of war
began to turn. Cornwallis now had to fight a better general than
Gates. Greene arrived at Charlotte, North Carolina, in December.
He found an army badly equipped, wretchedly clothed, and
confronted by a greatly superior force. He had, however, some
excellent officers, and he did not scorn, as Gates, with the
stiff military traditions of a regular soldier, had scorned, the
aid of guerrilla leaders like Marion and Sumter. Serving with
Greene was General Daniel Morgan, the enterprising and
resourceful Virginia rifleman, who had fought valorously at
Quebec, at Saratoga, and later in Virginia. Steuben was busy in
Virginia holding the British in check and keeping open the line
of communication with the North. The mobility and diversity of
the American forces puzzled Cornwallis. When he marched from
Camden into North Carolina he hoped to draw Greene into a battle
and to crush him as he had crushed Gates. He sent Tarleton with a
smaller force to strike a deadly blow at Morgan who was
threatening the British garrisons at the points in the interior
farther south. There was no more capable leader than Tarleton; he
had won many victories; but now came his day of defeat. On
January 17, 1781, he met Morgan at the Cowpens, about thirty
miles west from King's Mountain. Morgan, not quite sure of the
discipline of his men, stood with his back to a broad river so
that retreat was impossible. Tarleton had marched nearly all
night over bad roads; but, confident in the superiority of his
weary and hungry veterans, he advanced to the attack at daybreak.
The result was a complete disaster. Tarleton himself barely got
away with two hundred and seventy men and left behind nearly nine
hundred casualties and prisoners.

Cornwallis had lost one-third of his effective army. There was
nothing for him to do but to take his loss and still to press on
northward in the hope that the more southerly inland posts could
take care of themselves. In the early spring of 1781, when heavy
rains were making the roads difficult and the rivers almost
impassable, Greene was luring Cornwallis northward and Cornwallis
was chasing Greene. At Hillsborough, in the northwest corner of
North Carolina, Cornwallis issued a proclamation saying that the
colony was once more under the authority of the King and inviting
the Loyalists, bullied and oppressed during nearly six years, to
come out openly on the royal side. On the 15th of March Greene
took a stand and offered battle at Guilford Court House. In the
early afternoon, after a march of twelve miles without food,
Cornwallis, with less than two thousand men, attacked Greene's
force of about four thousand. By evening the British held the
field and had captured Greene's guns. But they had lost heavily
and they were two hundred miles from their base. Their friends
were timid, and in fact few, and their numerous enemies were
filled with passionate resolution.

Cornwallis now wrote to urge Clinton to come to his aid. Abandon
New York, he said; bring the whole British force into Virginia
and end the war by one smashing stroke; that would be better than
sticking to salt pork in New York and sending only enough men to
Virginia to steal tobacco. Cornwallis could not remain where he
was, far from the sea. Go back to Camden he would not after a
victory, and thus seem to admit a defeat. So he decided to risk
all and go forward. By hard marching he led his army down the
Cape Fear River to Wilmington on the sea, and there he arrived on
the 9th of April. Greene, however, simply would not do what
Cornwallis wished--stay in the north to be beaten by a second
smashing blow. He did what Cornwallis would not do; he marched
back into the South and disturbed the British dream that now the
country was held securely. It mattered little that, after this,
the British won minor victories. Lord Rawdon, still holding
Camden, defeated Greene on the 25th of April at Hobkirk's Hill.
None the less did Rawdon find his position untenable and he, too,
was forced to march to the sea, which he reached at a point near
Charleston. Augusta, the capital of Georgia, fell to the
Americans on the 5th of June and the operations of the summer
went decisively in their favor. The last battle in the field of
the farther South was fought on the 8th of September at Eutaw
Springs, about fifty miles northwest of Charleston. The British
held their position and thus could claim a victory. But it was
fruitless. They had been forced steadily to withdraw. All the
boasted fabric of royal government in the South had come down
with a crash and the Tories who had supported it were having evil

While these events were happening farther south, Cornwallis
himself, without waiting for word from Clinton in New York, had
adopted his own policy and marched from Wilmington northward into
Virginia. Benedict Arnold was now in Virginia doing what mischief
he could to his former friends. In January he burned the little
town of Richmond, destined in the years to come to be a great
center in another civil war. Some twenty miles south from
Richmond lay in a strong position Petersburg, later also to be
drenched with blood shed in civil strife. Arnold was already at
Petersburg when Cornwallis arrived on the 20th of May. He was now
in high spirits. He did not yet realize the extent of the failure
farther south. Virginia he believed to be half loyalist at heart.
The negroes would, he thought, turn against their masters when
they knew that the British were strong enough to defend them.
Above all he had a finely disciplined army of five thousand men.
Cornwallis was the more confident when he knew by whom he was
opposed. In April Washington had placed La Fayette in charge of
the defense of Virginia, and not only was La Fayette young and
untried in such a command but he had at first only three thousand
badly-trained men to confront the formidable British general.
Cornwallis said cheerily that "the boy" was certainly now his
prey and began the task of catching him.

An exciting chase followed. La Fayette did some good work. It was
impossible, with his inferior force, to fight Cornwallis, but he
could tire him out by drawing him into long marches. When
Cornwallis advanced to attack La Fayette at Richmond, La Fayette
was not there but had slipped away and was able to use rivers and
mountains for his defense. Cornwallis had more than one string to
his bow. The legislature of Virginia was sitting at
Charlottesville, lying in the interior nearly a hundred miles
northwest from Richmond, and Cornwallis conceived the daring plan
of raiding Charlottesville, capturing the Governor of Virginia,
Thomas Jefferson, and, at one stroke, shattering the civil
administration. Tarleton was the man for such an enterprise of
hard riding and bold fighting and he nearly succeeded. Jefferson
indeed escaped by rapid flight but Tarleton took the town, burned
the public records, and captured ammunition and arms. But he
really effected little. La Fayette was still unconquered. His
army was growing and the British were finding that Virginia, like
New England, was definitely against them.

At New York, meanwhile, Clinton was in a dilemma. He was dismayed
at the news of the march of Cornwallis to Virginia. Cornwallis
had been so long practically independent in the South that he
assumed not only the right to shape his own policy but adopted a
certain tartness in his despatches to Clinton, his superior. When
now, in this tone, he urged Clinton to abandon New York and join
him Clinton's answer on the 26th of June was a definite order to
occupy some port in Virginia easily reached from the sea, to make
it secure, and to send to New York reinforcements. The French
army at Newport was beginning to move towards New York and
Clinton had intercepted letters from Washington to La Fayette
revealing a serious design to make an attack with the aid of the
French fleet. Such was the game which fortune was playing with
the British generals. Each desired the other to abandon his own
plans and to come to his aid. They were agreed, however, that
some strong point must be held in Virginia as a naval base, and
on the 2d of August Cornwallis established this base at Yorktown,
at the mouth of the York River, a mile wide where it flows into
Chesapeake Bay. His cannon could command the whole width of the
river and keep in safety ships anchored above the town. Yorktown
lay about half way between New York and Charleston and from here
a fleet could readily carry a military force to any needed point
on the sea. La Fayette with a growing army closed in on Yorktown,
and Cornwallis, almost before he knew it, was besieged with no
hope of rescue except by a fleet.

Then it was that from the sea, the restless and mysterious sea,
came the final decision. Man seems so much the sport of
circumstance that apparent trifles, remote from his
consciousness, appear at times to determine his fate; it is a
commonplace of romance that a pretty face or a stray bullet has
altered the destiny not merely of families but of nations. And
now, in the American Revolution, it was not forts on the Hudson,
nor maneuvers in the South, that were to decide the issue, but
the presence of a few more French warships than the British could
muster at a given spot and time. Washington had urged in January
that France should plan to have at least temporary naval
superiority in American waters, in accordance with Rochambeau's
principle, "Nothing without naval supremacy." Washington wished
to concentrate against New York, but the French were of a
different mind, believing that the great effort should be made in
Chesapeake Bay. There the British could have no defenses like
those at New York, and the French fleet, which was stationed in
the West Indies, could reach more readily than New York a point
in the South.

Early in May Rochambeau knew that a French fleet was coming to
his aid but not yet did he know where the stroke should be made.
It was clear, however, that there was nothing for the French to
do at Newport, and, by the beginning of June, Rochambeau prepared
to set his army in motion. The first step was to join Washington
on the Hudson and at any rate alarm Clinton as to an imminent
attack on New York and hold him to that spot. After nearly a year
of idleness the French soldiers were delighted that now at last
there was to be an active movement. The long march from Newport
to New York began. In glowing June, amid the beauties of nature,
now overcome by intense heat and obliged to march at two o'clock
in the morning, now drenched by heavy rains, the French plodded
on, and joined their American comrades along the Hudson early in

By the 14th of August Washington knew two things--that a great
French fleet under the Comte de Grasse had sailed for the
Chesapeake and that the British army had reached Yorktown. Soon
the two allied armies, both lying on the east side of the Hudson,
moved southward. On the 20th of August the Americans began to
cross the river at King's Ferry, eight miles below Peekskill.
Washington had to leave the greater part of his army before New
York, and his meager force of some two thousand was soon over the
river in spite of torrential rains. By the 24th of August the
French, too, had crossed with some four thousand men and with
their heavy equipment. The British made no move. Clinton was,
however, watching these operations nervously. The united armies
marched down the right bank of the Hudson so rapidly that they
had to leave useful effects behind and some grumbled at the
privation. Clinton thought his enemy might still attack New York
from the New Jersey shore. He knew that near Staten Island
the Americans were building great bakeries as if to feed an army
besieging New York. Suddenly on the 29th of August the armies
turned away from New York southwestward across New Jersey, and
still only the two leaders knew whither they were bound.

American patriotism has liked to dwell on this last great march
of Washington. To him this was familiar country; it was here that
he had harassed Clinton on the march from Philadelphia to New
York three long years before. The French marched on the right at
the rate of about fifteen miles a day. The country was beautiful
and the roads were good. Autumn had come and the air was bracing.
The peaches hung ripe on the trees. The Dutch farmers who, four
years earlier, had been plaintive about the pillage by the
Hessians, now seemed prosperous enough and brought abundance of
provisions to the army. They had just gathered their harvest. The
armies passed through Princeton, with its fine college, numbering
as many as fifty students; then on to Trenton, and across the
Delaware to Philadelphia, which the vanguard reached on the 3d of

There were gala scenes in Philadelphia. Twenty thousand people
witnessed a review of the French army. To one of the French
officers the city seemed "immense" with its seventy-two streets
all "in a straight line." The shops appeared to be equal to those
of Paris and there were pretty women well dressed in the French
fashion. The Quaker city forgot its old suspicion of the French
and their Catholic religion. Luzerne, the French Minister, gave a
great banquet on the evening of the 5th of September. Eighty
guests took their places at table and as they sat down good news
arrived. As yet few knew the destination of the army but now
Luzerne read momentous tidings and the secret was out:
twenty-eight French ships of the line had arrived in Chesapeake
Bay; an army of three thousand men had already disembarked and
was in touch with the army of La Fayette; Washington and
Rochambeau were bound for Yorktown to attack Cornwallis. Great
was the joy; in the streets the soldiers and the people shouted
and sang and humorists, mounted on chairs, delivered in advance
mock funeral orations on Cornwallis.

It was planned that the army should march the fifty miles to
Elkton, at the head of Chesapeake Bay, and there take boat to
Yorktown, two hundred miles to the south at the other end of the
Bay. But there were not ships enough. Washington had asked the
people of influence in the neighborhood to help him to gather
transports but few of them responded. A deadly apathy in regard
to the war seems to have fallen upon many parts of the country.
The Bay now in control of the French fleet was quite safe for
unarmed ships. Half the Americans and some of the French embarked
and the rest continued on foot. There was need of haste, and the
troops marched on to Baltimore and beyond at the rate of twenty
miles a day, over roads often bad and across rivers sometimes
unbridged. At Baltimore some further regiments were taken on
board transports and most of them made the final stages of the
journey by water. Some there were, however, and among them the
Vicomte de Noailles, brother-in-law of La Fayette, who tramped on
foot the whole seven hundred and fifty-six miles from Newport to
Yorktown. Washington himself left the army at Elkton and rode on
with Rochambeau, making about sixty miles a day. Mount Vernon lay
on the way and here Washington paused for two or three days. It
was the first time he had seen it since he set out on May 4,
1775, to attend the Continental Congress at Philadelphia, little
dreaming then of himself as chief leader in a long war. Now he
pressed on to join La Fayette. By the end of the month an army of
sixteen thousand men, of whom about one-half were French, was
besieging Cornwallis with seven thousand men in Yorktown.

Heart-stirring events had happened while the armies were marching
to the South. The Comte de Grasse, with his great fleet, arrived
at the entrance to the Chesapeake on the 30th of August while the
British fleet under Admiral Graves still lay at New York. Grasse,
now the pivot upon which everything turned, was the French
admiral in the West Indies. Taking advantage of a lull in
operations he had slipped away with his whole fleet, to make his
stroke and be back again before his absence had caused great
loss. It was a risky enterprise, but a wise leader takes risks.
He intended to be back in the West Indies before the end of

It was not easy for the British to realize that they could be
outmatched on the sea. Rodney had sent word from the West Indies
that ten ships were the limit of Grasse's numbers and that even
fourteen British ships would be adequate to meet him. A British
fleet, numbering nineteen ships of the line, commanded by Admiral
Graves, left New York on the 31st of August and five days later
stood off the entrance to Chesapeake Bay. On the mainland across
the Bay lay Yorktown, the one point now held by the British on
that great stretch of coast. When Graves arrived he had an
unpleasant surprise. The strength of the French had been well
concealed. There to confront him lay twenty-four enemy ships. The
situation was even worse, for the French fleet from Newport was
on its way to join Grasse.

On the afternoon of the 5th of September, the day of the great
rejoicing in Philadelphia, there was a spectacle of surpassing
interest off Cape Henry, at the mouth of the Bay. The two great
fleets joined battle, under sail, and poured their fire into each
other. When night came the British had about three hundred and
fifty casualties and the French about two hundred. There was no
brilliant leadership on either side. One of Graves's largest
ships, the Terrible, was so crippled that he burnt her, and
several others were badly damaged. Admiral Hood, one of Graves's
officers, says that if his leader had turned suddenly and
anchored his ships across the mouth of the Bay, the French
Admiral with his fleet outside would probably have sailed away
and left the British fleet in possession. As it was the two
fleets lay at sea in sight of each other for four days. On the
morning of the tenth the squadron from Newport under Barras
arrived and increased Grasse's ships to thirty-six. Against such
odds Graves could do nothing. He lingered near the mouth of the
Chesapeake for a few days still and then sailed away to New York
to refit. At the most critical hour of the whole war a British
fleet, crippled and spiritless, was hurrying to a protecting port
and the fleurs-de-lis waved unchallenged on the American coast.
The action of Graves spelled the doom of Cornwallis. The most
potent fleet ever gathered in those waters cut him off from
rescue by sea.

Yorktown fronted on the York River with a deep ravine and swamps
at the back of the town. From the land it could on the west side
be approached by a road leading over marshes and easily defended,
and on the east side by solid ground about half a mile wide now
protected by redoubts and entrenchments with an outer and an
inner parallel. Could Cornwallis hold out? At New York, no longer
in any danger, there was still a keen desire to rescue him. By
the end of September he received word from Clinton that
reinforcements had arrived from England and that, with a fleet of
twenty-six ships of the line carrying five thousand troops, he
hoped to sail on the 5th of October to the rescue of Yorktown.
There was delay. Later Clinton wrote that on the basis of
assurances from Admiral Graves he hoped to get away on the
twelfth. A British officer in New York describes the hopes with
which the populace watched these preparations. The fleet,
however, did not sail until the 19th of October. A speaker in
Congress at the time said that the British Admiral should
certainly hang for this delay.

On the 5th of October, for some reason unexplained, Cornwallis
abandoned the outer parallel and withdrew behind the inner one.
This left him in Yorktown a space so narrow that nearly every
part of it could be swept by enemy artillery. By the 11th of
October shells were dropping incessantly from a distance of only
three hundred yards, and before this powerful fire the earthworks
crumbled. On the fourteenth the French and Americans carried by
storm two redoubts on the second parallel. The redoubtable
Tarleton was in Yorktown, and he says that day and night there
was acute danger to any one showing himself and that every gun
was dismounted as soon as seen. He was for evacuating the place
and marching away, whither he hardly knew. Cornwallis still held
Gloucester, on the opposite side of the York River, and he now
planned to cross to that place with his best troops, leaving
behind his sick and wounded. He would try to reach Philadelphia
by the route over which Washington had just ridden. The feat was
not impossible. Washington would have had a stern chase in
following Cornwallis, who might have been able to live off the
country. Clinton could help by attacking Philadelphia, which was
almost defenseless.

As it was, a storm prevented the crossing to Gloucester. The
defenses of Yorktown were weakening and in face of this new
discouragement the British leader made up his mind that the end
was near. Tarleton and other officers condemned Cornwallis
sharply for not persisting in the effort to get away. Cornwallis
was a considerate man. "I thought it would have been wanton and
inhuman," he reported later, "to sacrifice the lives of this
small body of gallant soldiers." He had already written to
Clinton to say that there would be great risk in trying to send a
fleet and army to rescue him. On the 19th of October came the
climax. Cornwallis surrendered with some hundreds of sailors and
about seven thousand soldiers, of whom two thousand were in
hospital. The terms were similar to those which the British had
granted at Charleston to General Lincoln, who was now charged
with carrying out the surrender. Such is the play of human
fortune. At two o'clock in the afternoon the British marched out
between two lines, the French on the one side, the Americans on
the other, the French in full dress uniform, the Americans in
some cases half naked and barefoot. No civilian sightseers were
admitted, and there was a respectful silence in the presence of
this great humiliation to a proud army. The town itself was a
dreadful spectacle with, as a French observer noted, "big holes
made by bombs, cannon balls, splinters, barely covered graves,
arms and legs of blacks and whites scattered here and there, most
of the houses riddled with shot and devoid of window-panes."

On the very day of surrender Clinton sailed from New York with a
rescuing army. Nine days later forty-four British ships were
counted off the entrance to Chesapeake Bay. The next day there
were none. The great fleet had heard of the surrender and had
turned back to New York. Washington urged Grasse to attack New
York or Charleston but the French Admiral was anxious to take his
fleet back to meet the British menace farther south and he sailed
away with all his great array. The waters of the Chesapeake, the
scene of one of the decisive events in human history, were
deserted by ships of war. Grasse had sailed, however, to meet a
stern fate. He was a fine fighting sailor. His men said of him
that he was on ordinary days six feet in height but on battle
days six feet and six inches. None the less did a few months
bring the British a quick revenge on the sea. On April 12, 1782,
Rodney met Grasse in a terrible naval battle in the West Indies.
Some five thousand in both fleets perished. When night came
Grasse was Rodney's prisoner and Britain had recovered her
supremacy on the sea. On returning to France Grasse was tried by
court-martial and, though acquitted, he remained in disgrace
until he died in 1788, "weary," as he said, "of the burden of
life." The defeated Cornwallis was not blamed in England. His
character commanded wide respect and he lived to play a great
part in public life. He became Governor General of India, and was
Viceroy of Ireland when its restless union with England was
brought about in 1800.

Yorktown settled the issue of the war but did not end it. For
more than a year still hostilities continued and, in parts of the
South, embittered faction led to more bloodshed. In England the
news of Yorktown caused a commotion. When Lord George Germain
received the first despatch he drove with one or two colleagues
to the Prime Minister's house in Downing Street. A friend asked
Lord George how Lord North had taken the news. "As he would have
taken a ball in the breast," he replied; "for he opened his arms,
exclaiming wildly, as he paced up and down the apartment during a
few minutes, 'Oh God! it is all over,' words which he repeated
many times, under emotions of the deepest agitation and
distress." Lord North might well be agitated for the news meant
the collapse of a system. The King was at Kew and word was sent
to him. That Sunday evening Lord George Germain had a small
dinner party and the King's letter in reply was brought to the
table. The guests were curious to know how the King took the
news. "The King writes just as he always does," said Lord George,
"except that I observe he has omitted to mark the hour and the
minute of his writing with his usual precision." It needed a
heavy shock to disturb the routine of George III. The King hoped
no one would think that the bad news "makes the smallest
alteration in those principles of my conduct which have directed
me in past time." Lesser men might change in the face of evils;
George III was resolved to be changeless and never, never, to
yield to the coercion of facts.

Yield, however, he did. The months which followed were months of
political commotion in England. For a time the ministry held its
majority against the fierce attacks of Burke and Fox. The House
of Commons voted that the war must go on. But the heart had gone
out of British effort. Everywhere the people were growing
restless. Even the ministry acknowledged that the war in America
must henceforth be defensive only. In February, 1782, a motion in
the House of Commons for peace was lost by only one vote; and in
March, in spite of the frantic expostulations of the King, Lord
North resigned. The King insisted that at any rate some members
of the new ministry must be named by himself and not, as is the
British constitutional custom, by the Prime Minister. On this,
too, he had to yield; and a Whig ministry, under the Marquis of
Rockingham, took office in March, 1782. Rockingham died on the
1st of July, and it was Lord Shelburne, later the Marquis of
Lansdowne, under whom the war came to an end. The King meanwhile
declared that he would return to Hanover rather than yield the
independence of the colonies. Over and over again he had said
that no one should hold office in his government who would not
pledge himself to keep the Empire entire. But even his obstinacy
was broken. On December 5, 1782, he opened Parliament with a
speech in which the right of the colonies to independence was
acknowledged. "Did I lower my voice when I came to that part of
my speech?" George asked afterwards. He might well speak in a
subdued tone for he had brought the British Empire to the lowest
level in its history.

In America, meanwhile, the glow of victory had given way to
weariness and lassitude. Rochambeau with his army remained in
Virginia. Washington took his forces back to the lines before New
York, sparing what men he could to help Greene in the South.
Again came a long period of watching and waiting. Washington,
knowing the obstinate determination of the British character,
urged Congress to keep up the numbers of the army so as to be
prepared for any emergency. Sir Guy Carleton now commanded the
British at New York and Washington feared that this capable
Irishman might soothe the Americans into a false security. He had
to speak sharply, for the people seemed indifferent to further
effort and Congress was slack and impotent. The outlook for
Washington's allies in the war darkened, when in April, 1782,
Rodney won his crushing victory and carried De Grasse a prisoner
to England. France's ally Spain had been besieging Gibraltar for
three years, but in September, 1782, when the great battering-
ships specially built for the purpose began a furious
bombardment, which was expected to end the siege, the British
defenders destroyed every ship, and after that Gibraltar was
safe. These events naturally stiffened the backs of the British
in negotiating peace. Spain declared that she would never make
peace without the surrender of Gibraltar, and she was ready to
leave the question of American independence undecided or decided
against the colonies if she could only get for herself the terms
which she desired. There was a period when France seemed ready to
make peace on the basis of dividing the Thirteen States, leaving
some of them independent while others should remain under the
British King.

Congress was not willing to leave its affairs at Paris in the
capable hands of Franklin alone. In 1780 it sent John Adams to
Paris, and John Jay and Henry Laurens were also members of the
American Commission. The austere Adams disliked and was jealous
of Franklin, gay in spite of his years, seemingly indolent and
easygoing, always bland and reluctant to say No to any request
from his friends, but ever astute in the interests of his
country. Adams told Vergennes, the French foreign minister, that
the Americans owed nothing to France, that France had entered the
war in her own interests, and that her alliance with America had
greatly strengthened her position in Europe. France, he added,
was really hostile to the colonies, since she was jealously
trying to keep them from becoming rich and powerful. Adams
dropped hints that America might be compelled to make a separate
peace with Britain. When it was proposed that the depreciated
continental paper money, largely held in France for purchases
there, should be redeemed at the rate of one good dollar for
every forty in paper money, Adams declared to the horrified
French creditors of the United States that the proposal was fair
and just. At the same time Congress was drawing on Franklin in
Paris for money to meet its requirements and Franklin was
expected to persuade the French treasury to furnish him with what
he needed and to an amazing degree succeeded in doing so. The
self interest which Washington believed to be the dominant motive
in politics was, it is clear, actively at work. In the end the
American Commissioners negotiated directly with Great Britain,
without asking for the consent of their French allies. On
November 30, 1782, articles of peace between Great Britain and
the United States were signed. They were, however, not to go into
effect until Great Britain and France had agreed upon terms of
peace; and it was not until September 3, 1783, that the definite
treaty was signed. So far as the United States was concerned
Spain was left quite properly to shift for herself.

Thus it was that the war ended. Great Britain had urged
especially the case of the Loyalists, the return to them of their
property and compensation for their losses. She could not achieve
anything. Franklin indeed asked that Americans who had been
ruined by the destruction of their property should be compensated
by Britain, that Canada should be added to the United States, and
that Britain should acknowledge her fault in distressing the
colonies. In the end the American Commissioners agreed to ask the
individual States to meet the desires of the British negotiators,
but both sides understood that the States would do nothing, that
the confiscated property would never be returned, that most of
the exiled Loyalists would remain exiles, and that Britain
herself must compensate them for their losses. This in time she
did on a scale inadequate indeed but expressive of a generous
intention. The United States retained the great Northwest and the
Mississippi became the western frontier, with destiny already
whispering that weak and grasping Spain must soon let go of the
farther West stretching to the Pacific Ocean. When Great Britain
signed peace with France and Spain in January, 1783, Gibraltar
was not returned; Spain had to be content with the return of
Minorca, and Florida which she had been forced to yield to
Britain in 1763. Each side restored its conquests in the West
Indies. France, the chief mainstay of the war during its later
years, gained from it really nothing beyond the weakening of her
ancient enemy. The magnanimity of France, especially towards her
exacting American ally, is one of the fine things in the great
combat. The huge sum of nearly eight hundred million dollars
spent by France in the war was one of the chief factors in the
financial crisis which, six years after the signing of the peace,
brought on the French Revolution and with it the overthrow of the
Bourbon monarchy. Politics bring strange bedfellows and they have
rarely brought stranger ones than the democracy of young America
and the political despotism, linked with idealism, of the ancient
monarchy of France.

The British did not evacuate New York until Carleton had gathered
there the Loyalists who claimed his protection. These unhappy
people made their way to the seaports, often after long and
distressing journeys overland. Charleston was the chief rallying
place in the South and from there many sad-hearted people sailed
away, never to see again their former homes. The British had
captured New York in September, 1776, and it was more than seven
years later, on November 25, 1783, that the last of the British
fleet put to sea. Britain and America had broken forever their
political tie and for many years to come embittered memories kept
up the alienation.

It was fitting that Washington should bid farewell to his army at
New York, the center of his hopes and anxieties during the
greater part of the long struggle. On December 4, 1783, his
officers met at a tavern to bid him farewell. The tears ran down
his cheeks as he parted with these brave and tried men. He shook
their hands in silence and, in a fashion still preserved in
France, kissed each of them. Then they watched him as he was
rowed away in his barge to the New Jersey shore. Congress was now
sitting at Annapolis in Maryland and there on December 23, 1783,
Washington appeared and gave up finally his command. We are told
that the members sat covered to show the sovereignty of the
Union, a quaint touch of the thought of the time. The little town
made a brave show and "the gallery was filled with a beautiful
group of elegant ladies." With solemn sincerity Washington
commended the country to the protection of Almighty God and the
army to the special care of Congress. Passion had already
subsided for the President of Congress in his reply praised the
"magnanimous king and nation" of Great Britain. By the end of the
year Washington was at Mount Vernon, hoping now to be able, as he
said simply, to make and sell a little flour annually and to
repair houses fast going to ruin. He did not foresee the troubled
years and the vexing problems which still lay before him. Nor
could he, in his modest estimate of himself, know that for a
distant posterity his character and his words would have
compelling authority. What Washington's countryman, Motley, said
of William of Orange is true of Washington himself: "As long as
he lived he was the guiding star of a brave nation and when he
died the little children cried in the streets." But this is not
all. To this day in the domestic and foreign affairs of the
United States the words of Washington, the policies which he
favored, have a living and almost binding force. This attitude of
mind is not without its dangers, for nations require to make new
adjustments of policy, and the past is only in part the master of
the present; but it is the tribute of a grateful nation to the
noble character of its chief founder.


In Winsor, "Narrative and Critical History of America", vol. VI
(1889), and in Larned (editor), "Literature of American History",
pp. 111-152 (1902), the authorities are critically estimated.
There are excellent classified lists in Van Tyne, "The American
Revolution" (1905), vol. V of Hart (editor), "The American
Nation", and in Avery, "History of the United States", vol. V,
pp. 422-432, and vol. VI, pp. 445-471 (1908-09). The notes in
Channing, "A History of the United States", vol. III (1913), are
useful. Detailed information in regard to places will be found in
Lossing, "The Pictorial Field Book of the Revolution", 2 vols.

In recent years American writers on the period have chiefly
occupied themselves with special studies, and the general
histories have been few. Tyler's "The Literary History of the
American Revolution, 2 vols. (1897), is a penetrating study of
opinion. Fiske's "The American Revolution", 2 vols. (1891), and
Sydney George Fisher's "The Struggle for American Independence",
2 vols. (1908), are popular works. The short volume of Van Tyne
is based upon extensive research. The attention of English
writers has been drawn in an increasing degree to the Revolution.
Lecky, "A History of England in the Eighteenth Century", chaps.
XIII, XIV, and XV (1903), is impartial. The most elaborate and
readable history is Trevelyan, "The American Revolution", and his
"George the Third" and "Charles Fox" (six volumes in all,
completed in 1914). If Trevelyan leans too much to the American
side the opposite is true of Fortescue, "A History of the British
Army", vol. III (1902), a scientific account of military events
with many maps and plans. Captain Mahan, U. S. N., wrote the
British naval history of the period in Clowes (editor), "The
Royal Navy, a History", vol. III, pp. 353-564 (1898). Of great
value also is Mahan's "Influence of Sea Power on History" (1890)
and "Major Operations of the Navies in the War of Independence"
(1913). He may be supplemented by C. O. Paullin's "Navy of the
American Revolution" (1906) and G. W. Allen's "A Naval History of
the American Revolution", 2 vols. (1913).


Washington's own writings are necessary to an understanding of
his character. Sparks, "The Life and Writings of George
Washington", 2 vols. (completed 1855), has been superseded by
Ford, "The Writings of George Washington", 14 vols. (completed
1898). The general reader will probably put aside the older
biographies of Washington by Marshall, Irving, and Sparks for
more recent "Lives" such as those by Woodrow Wilson, Henry Cabot
Lodge, and Paul Leicester Ford. Haworth, "George Washington,
Farmer" (1915) deals with a special side of Washington's
character. The problems of the army are described in Bolton, "The
Private Soldier under Washington" (1902), and in Hatch, "The
Administration of the American Revolutionary Army" (1904). For
military operations Frothingham, "The Siege of Boston"; Justin H.
Smith, "Our Struggle for the Fourteenth Colony", 2 vols. (1907);
Codman, "Arnold's Expedition to Quebec" (1901); and Lucas,
"History of Canada", 1763-1812 (1909).


For the state of opinion in England, the contemporary "Annual
Register", and the writings and speeches of men of the time like
Burke, Fox, Horace Walpole, and Dr. Samuel Johnson. The King's
attitude is found in Donne, "Correspondence of George III with
Lord North", 1768-83, 2 vols. (1867). Stirling, "Coke of Norfolk
and his Friends", 2 vols. (1908), gives the outlook of a Whig
magnate; Fitzmaurice, "Life of William, Earl of Shelburne", 2
vols. (1912), the Whig policy. Curwen's "Journals and Letters",
1775-84 (1842), show us a Loyalist exile in England. Hazelton's
"The Declaration of Independence, its History" (1906), is an
elaborate study.


The three campaigns--New York, Philadelphia, and the Hudson--are
covered by C. F. Adams, "Studies Military and Diplomatic" (1911),
which makes severe strictures on Washington's strategy; H. P.
Johnston's "Campaign of 1776 around New York and Brooklyn," in
the Long Island Historical Society's "Memoirs", and "Battle of
Harlem Heights" (1897); Carrington, "Battles of the American
Revolution" (1904); Stryker, "The Battles of Trenton and
Princeton" (1898); Lucas, "History of Canada" (1909).
Fonblanque's "John Burgoyne" (1876) is a defense of that leader;
while Riedesel's "Letters and Journals Relating to the War of the
American Revolution" (trans. W. L. Stone, 1867) and Anburey's
"Travels through the Interior Parts of America" (1789) are
accounts by eye-witnesses. Mereness' (editor) "Travels in the
American Colonies", 1690-1783 (1916) gives the impressions of
Lord Adam Gordon and others.


On Washington at Valley Forge, Oliver, "Life of Alexander
Hamilton" (1906); Charlemagne Tower, "The Marquis de La Fayette
in the American Revolution", 2 vols. (1895); Greene, "Life of
Nathanael Greene" (1893); Brooks, "Henry Knox" (1900); Graham,
"Life of General Daniel Morgan" (1856); Kapp, "Life of Steuben"
(1859); Arnold, "Life of Benedict Arnold" (1880). On the army
Bolton and Hatch as cited; Mahan gives a lucid account of naval
effort. Barrow, "Richard, Earl Howe" (1838) is a dull account of
a remarkable man. On the French alliance, Perkins, "France in the
American Revolution" (1911), Corwin, "French Policy and the
American Alliance of 1778" (1916), and Van Tyne on "Influences
which Determined the French Government to Make the Treaty with
America, 1778," in "The American Historical Review", April, 1916.


Fortescue, as cited, gives excellent plans. Other useful books
are McCrady, "History of South Carolina in the Revolution"
(1901); Draper, "King's Mountain and its Heroes" (1881); Simms,
"Life of Marion" (1844). Ross (editor), "The Cornwallis
Correspondence", 3 vols. (1859), and Tarleton, "History of the
Campaigns of 1780 and 1781 in the Southern Provinces of North
America" (1787), give the point of view of British leaders. On
the West, Thwaites, "How George Rogers Clark won the Northwest"
(1903); and on the Loyalists Van Tyne, "The Loyalists in the
American Revolution" (1902), Flick, "Loyalism in New York"
(1901), and Stark, "The Loyalists of Massachusetts" (1910).


For the exploits of John Paul Jones and of the American navy,
Mrs. De Koven's "The Life and Letters of John Paul Jones", 2
vols. (1913), Don C. Seitz's "Paul Jones", and G. W. Allen's "A
Naval History of the American Revolution", 2 vols. (1913), should
be consulted. Jusserand's "With Americans of Past and Present
Days" (1917) contains a chapter on 'Rochambeau and the French in
America'; Johnston's "The Yorktown Campaign" (1881) is a full
account; Wraxall, "Historical Memoirs of my own Time" (1815,
reprinted 1904), tells of the reception of the news of Yorktown
in England.

The "Encyclopaedia Britannica" has useful references to
authorities for persons prominent in the Revolution and "The
Dictionary of National Biography" for leaders on the British side.

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