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1775. LORD DUNMORl! IN VIRGINIA.
province, the slaves might reasonably doubt his power to give effect to his intentions. Accordingly Lord Dunmore received the accession of only a few hundred negroes, whom ho found an encumbrance far rather than a help. The colonists meanwhile detached a force against him, and his advanced guard under Captain Fordyce was defeated in a skirmish at Great Bridge on the 9th of December. LordDunmore re-embarked, leaving Norfolk in the hands of the Americans. On the plea that their riflemen upon the wharfs prevented him from obtaining supplies, but in truth with unjustifiable severity,he burned to the ground thatwhole town, one ofthemost thriving upon the Chesapeak, and containing no less than eight thousand inhabitants. He lingered for some time longer on the coast, but could achieve nothing beyond this cruel act of vengeance, and at last, sending his liberated slaves to the Westlndies, he quitted the shores of this once loyal and contented Colony for ever.
It was to the north, however, that the principal hopes of the Congress were at this time directed. Earlier in the year, as I have elsewhere shown, they had passed a Resolution renouncing in most explicit terms the idea of any expedition against or into Canada. This resolution, passed on the 1st of June, was by their orders translated into French and distributed along the shores of the St. Lawrence. Yet on the 27th of the same month the same Assembly passed other Resolutions instructing Philip Schuyler, one of their new-made Generals, to proceed without delay to Ticonderaga, and, if he found it practicable, "immediately to take possession of "St. John's and Montreal, and pursue any other measures in "Canada which might have a tendency to promote the peace "and security of these Colonies."* The autumn came on,
* Note to Sparks's Washington, vol. ill. p. 41. These last Resolutions being kept secret are not printed in the Journals. Hard task to vindicate on this occasion either the good faith or the consistency of the American rulers! Mr. Sparks attempts it, by pleading that in the interval between their two Resolutions they had received reports that General Carleton was preparing an invasion against themselves. But the apologist forgets that, even some days previous to their Resolution of the 1st of June, they had in the most solemn manner declared themselves in possession of "Indubitable however, before the preparations for this object were complete, and two. or three thousand men collected on Lake Champlain. Then the command devolved on General Montgomery , an officer of courage and skill, much beloved in private life for his generous and honourable qualities, Under him servedEthan Allen; whilst it was intended thatBenedict Arnold, pressing forward from another quarter, should join him upon the St. Lawrence with a body of New England volunteers.
General Carleton, to whom whenever it was found convenient designs of invasion were so readily ascribed, had not in truth a sufficient force for the defence of his own province. He had refused the proffered aid of seven hundred warriors from the Six Nations tribe of Indians; he could muster but few French levies; and only eight hundred British troops served under his command. With means so scanty he could offer no effectual check to the advance of the Americans. They began by passing Lake Champlain and besieging the forts of Chambly and St. John's, which after a prolonged resistance they reduced. During these sieges Ethan Allen, at the head of a detachment, made an imprudent attempt to surprise the city of Montreal, but meeting a small body of British he was defeated, taken prisoner, and sent to England in irons. General Montgomery was joined by several parties of Indians whom the rejection of Carleton had offended. But among the Canadians themselves, contrary to the expectations of Congress, he found no sympathy nor succour.
Meanwhile Colonel Arnold, having repaired to the camp in Massachusetts, obtained from Washington a detachment of one thousand men. Washington also supplied him with a Proclamation to the people of Canada, and with detailed instructions for his conduct. Among these instructions we may observe the following: "If Lord Chatham's son should be in "Canada, and in any way fall into your power, you are "enjoined to treat him with all possible deference and
"evidence" that such an invasion was designed. Look back to p. 61, of this volume.
"respect. You cannot err in paying too much honour to the "son of so illustrious a character and so true a friend to "America."* At the head of his thousand men Arnold proceeded to the execution of the daring and skilful scheme •which himself had formed. He ascended the river Kennebec in boats, working against a stream so strong that on an average the men waded more than half the way. "You would "have taken them for amphibious animals!" writes Arnold to his General. Thence, with incredible fatigue, he pierced through a dismal wilderness of swamps and woods, with sometimes a craggy height to climb, and the men carrying all the way their boats and their provisions on their shoulders. At length, amidst other perils from falls and rapids, he again embarked, descending the romantic and sequestered valley of the Chaudiere. So extreme were his distresses, that during the three or four last days of the march even dogs were killed for food and greedily devoured.** Thus towards the middle of November the people of Quebec beheld to their amazement the remains of this hardy band emerged from the wilderness and appearing on Point Levis opposite their city. Had not the river intervened, and some time been required to provide canoes, the capital of Canada must have fallen an easy prey to Arnold in the first moments of panic and surprise. As it was, nothing saved it but the promptitude and energy of a British officer, Colonel Maclean, in marching to its rescue. Repulsed in his attempt upon the city, and apprehensive of a sally from Maclean, Arnold now retreated some twenty miles up the St. Lawrence, fixing his station at Point aux Trembles, and thus interposing between Quebec and Montreal.
At these tidings, nearly coinciding in time with the surrender of the fort at St. John's, General Carleton perceived the necessity of hastening to the succour of the capital. Leaving Montreal to its fate he assumed a fisherman's garb, embarked in a whale-boat, and made use of muffled oars.
* Instructions for Colonel Benedict Arnold, Sept. 14. 1775. Life of Arnold by Sparks, p. 41.
Mahon, History. VI. 6
Thus he passed by night, and as it chanced without discovery, through the enemy's craft on the St. Lawrence. Thus he arrived at Quebec and thenceforth, as his scanty force required, confined himself solely to its protection and defence. On the other hand, General Montgomery, having occupied Montreal, proceeded down the river and effected his junction with Arnold at the Point aux Trembles. The whole body, under Montgomery's chief command, then advanced against the capital, and climbed the heights of Abraham, so famous for the exploit of Wolfe.
Unlike Wolfe, Montgomery did not at this period feel happy in his comrades and his cause. It is observed by one of the best American historians that "though he had "embraced the American cause with enthusiasm he had "become wearied of its service." * Even before he marched from Montreal he had declared his purpose of resigning his commission at the end of this campaign. So accomplished an officer could not view without disgust the insubordination and ill-conduct of his troops. The common tie of loyalty to the Crown being once removed, the soldiers from one Colony paid no respect to the officers from another, and but little to their own. Each man deemed himself the most fitting arbiter of the degree of obedience which he was bound to give. Still more did each man think himself entitled to judge of the propriety of the measures proposed to be pursued. Although by the terms of their enlistment they were to be discharged in a few weeks, there was a general desire to anticipate that period. There were complaints, not indeed unfounded, of the toilsome service and the wintry season. Even in Arnold's little band, far superior in spirit to the rest, and notwithstanding Arnold's own prowess and personal ascendency, his rear-guard, commanded by Colonel Enos, had lost courage and gone home. There was delay in every movement, however needful; there was repining against every
* Marshall's Life of Washington, vol. ii. p. 800. The faults of the American troops in Canada, officers as well as soldiers, are fully portrayed by another of their countrymen, Dr. Ramsay. (History of the Revolution, vol. i. p. 233.)
punishment, however just; above all there was difficulty in enforcing that order which the parting words of Washington had so wisely enjoined — to forbear most scrupulously from plundering or injuring even those who were known as enemies to their cause.
Bearing up against these and many other disadvantages with undaunted gallantry, Montgomery, before sunrise on the last day of the year and amidst a heavy fall of snow, led forward his now far diminished troops to the attack. He had ranged them in two divisions on separate sides; the one was commanded by himself; the other committed to Arnold. But, as in the case of Wolfe, they were encountered with equal bravery. A tremendous fire of grape-shot was opened upon them, and among the first who fell was Montgomery himself. Arnold also was severely wounded and carried from the field. The loss of such leaders was speedily felt by the assailants; on every side they were repulsed, and a sally being made by the garrison, nearly four hundred men belonging to Arnold's division were surrounded and made prisoners.
The Congress on learning the events before Quebec passed a vote, with the strongest expressions of concern, that a monument should be erected to betoken "their "veneration for their late General Richard Montgomery." They raised Arnold to the rank of Brigadier General, and invested him for the time with the chief command in Canada. Under such trying circumstances it was far from an enviable distinction. Thus writes Arnold himself: "Many of the "troops are dejected and anxious to get home, and some "have actually set off; but I shall endeavour to continue the "blockade while there are any hopes of success." The blockade was accordingly continued, in name at least, through the rest of the winter; the garrison having however little real difficulty in obtaining the supplies, as of wood, which they required; and neither party choosing as yet to renew the attack upon the other.
Another blockade — that of Boston —. was in like man