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General Poor to take possession of American army lost 30 men and the the hill leading to his rear and then, Indian loss correspondingly turning to the left, to strike the light, but the effect upon the Indians breastwork upon the rear. Colone) was considerable, for they were so inHand with the artillery was to attack timidated that all resistance the breastwork in front. These abandoned. The Americans peneorders were promptly and effectively trated into the very heart of the executed. While the artillery was country laying waste in every direcbattering the front of the breastwork, tion; houses, corn-fields, gardens,
Poor began a sharp attack upon the orchards, etc., were completely deIndians stationed on the mountain. stroyed.
stroyed. Early in October, having Though the defense was sustained for executed his orders, Sullivan resome time with much intrepidity, turned to Easton, Pa., and shortly Poor finally pushed the Indians back afterward was rewarded by Congress and gained the summit of the hill. with a vote of thanks.* Now perceiving that their flank was exposed to attack and that they were
* See Cooke, Sullivan's Indian Expedition ; Con
over (ed.), Journals of the Military Expedition of in precarious situation, the Indians
Major-General John Sullivan against the Six abandoned their breastwork and pre
Nations of Indians in 1979 (1887); the account
by Rev, D. Craft, in Weller, Centennial Celebracipitately fled. In the attack the
tion of General Sullivan's Campaign (1880); 144
OTHER EXPEDITIONS AGAINST THE INDIANS.
During the same year various other the Alleghany. He advanced about expeditions were sent against the In- 200 miles up the river and destroyed dians. In April Colonel Van Schaick,
a number of villages and large with 55 men, marched from Fort quantities of grain on the head Schuyler into the Onondaga territory branches of that river. As in New burning their settlements and de- York, the Indians were unable to
withstand the attack of the American stroying large quantities of pro
troops, and after a slight and unsucvisions. In addition, 12 Indians were
cessful resistance, abandoned their killed and 34 prisoners taken without
villages to the mercy of the Amerithe loss of a single man to the Ameri
cans. These expeditions had a woncans. While Sullivan was engaged in
derful effect upon the savage mind, laying waste the territory of the Six
for while no great numbers of InNations, Colonel Brodhead was en- dians were killed, still the savages gaged in a similar task, his expedition were intimidated and their incursions starting from Pittsburg and going up became less frequent.
GENERAL LANGUOR : DEPRESSED CONDITION OF FINANCES.
Party dissensions in Congress — Washington's letter to Harrison expressing apprehension — Effect of French
alliance — Washington's intercourse with Congress — Relaxation in vigorous preparations for war Inefficiency of American army - Efforts of Washington and others to remedy condition of affairs — Lust for riches among contractors — Depression of the currency – Revolt of the Jersey Brigade — Washington's address to the latter — Issues of paper money — Trouble among foreign representatives — Money borrowed in foreign countries — Quarrel between Lee, Franklin and Deane transferred to Congress — Paine's connection with the dispute — The accounts of Beaumarchais — Lee and Izard recalled — Deane discharged - His subsequent career Further issues of money — Treasury board reorganized — Prices of commodities rise — Riot in Philadelphia — Convention at Hartford - States slow in remitting quotas — States called upon for specific supplies — The new currency — Committee appointed to investigate condition of army — Their report.
The jealousies and party dissen- part of the prominent men who had sions prevailing in Congress at this been connected with that body had time were a source of great anxiety long since resigned; of the number to Washington. By far the greater left only a few continued to perform
their duties; and those who attended Gordon, American Revolution, vol. iii., pp. 307,
the sessions were of comparatively 491 (ed. 1788); Ford's ed. of Washington's Writ
small weight and influence.* As a ings, vol. vii., pp. 307, 460-463, vol. viii., pp. 9–17; Lossing, Field-Book of the Revolution, vol. i., pp. * Irving, Life of Washington, vol, iii., pp. 514271–278; Stone, Life of Brant, vol. ii.
general thing, not more than 30 mem- by our own folly and negligence, or by the desire
perhaps of living in ease and tranquillity dur. bers were present at any one time and
ing the expected accomplishment of so great a frequently some of the States were revolution, in the effecting of which, the greatest entirely unrepresented. Further
abilities, and the most honest men, our American
world affords, ought to be employed. more, party feuds greatly interfered
“It is much to be feared, my dear sir, that the with the work of Congress and had a states, in their separate capacities, have very in.
adequate ideas of the present danger. Many per• tendency to completely disorganize
sons removed far distant from the scene of action, every department connected with the
and seeing and hearing such publications only, as
flatter their wishes, conceive that the contest is at government. Washington was deeply
an end, and that to regulate the government and concerned at this condition of affairs, the police of their own state is all that remains and in a letter to Benjamin Harrison to be done; but it is devoutedly to be wished
that a sad reverse of this may not fall upon them of Virginia, dated December 18, 1778,
like a thunderclap, that is little expected. I do he gives expression to his apprehen- not mean to designate particular states. I wish sions as follows:
to cast no reflection upon any one. The public
believe (and, if they do believe it, the fact might “It appears as clear to me as ever the sun
almost as well be so) that the states at this did in its meridian brightness that America never
time are badly represented, and that the great stood in more eminent need of the wise, patriotic,
and important concerns of the nation are horribly and spirited exertions of her sons than at this
conducted, for want either of abilities or applicaperiod; and, if it is not a sufficient cause for
tion in the members, or through the discord and general lamentation, my misconception of the
party views of some individuals. That they should matter impresses it too strongly upon me, that
be so, is to be lamented more at this time than the states, separately, are too much engaged in
formerly, as we are far advanced in the dispute, their local concerns, and have too many of their
and, in the opinion of many, drawing to a happy ablest men withdrawn from the general council,
period; we have the eyes of Europe upon us, and for the good of the common weal. In a word, I as I am persuaded many political spies to watch, think our political system may be compared to the
who discover our situation, and give information mechanism of a clock, and that we should derive
of our weaknesses and wants." * a lesson from it; for it answers no good purpose to keep the smaller wheels in order, if the greater While the French alliance had one, which is the support and prime mover of the whole, is neglected.
given a great impetus to the cause of “How far the latter is the case, it does not be. the colonies, still it had considerable come me to pronounce; but, as there can be no ill effect upon the community. People harm in a pious wish for the good of one's country, I shall offer it as mine, that each state
considered that, as the French king would not only choose, but absolutely compel their had determined to lend his aid in seablest men to attend Congress; and that they
curing to America independence from would instruct them to go into a thorough investigation of the causes, that have produced so Great Britain, it was unnecessary many disagreeable effects in the army and that the Americans continue their excountry; in a word, that public abuses should be corrected. Without this, it does not, in my judg.
ertions. To many it seemed as though ment, require the spirit of divination to foretell. it were only necessary to allow the the consequences of the present administration;
French to fight the battles for the nor to how little purpose the states individually are framing constitutions, providing laws, and Americans, and when the war had filling offices with the abilities of their ablest
finally been won, without any hardmen. These, if the great whole is mismanaged, must sink in the general wreck, which will carry with it the remorse of thinking that we are lost * Sparks, Life of Washington, pp. 286–287.
GENERAL LANGUOR AND FINANCIAL DEPRESSION.
ship or sacrifice upon their own part, shoes cost $700 in paper money, while to accept the independence thus the pay of the officers and privates gained as a matter of course and of was hardly sufficient to provide them right. Consequently, general languor even the barest existence. Speaking and indifference prevailed. Thinking of these speculators, Washington that the final result of the war was said, " I would to God that some one now a foregone conclusion and being of the more atrocious in each state very nearly exhausted by the long was hung in gibbets upon a gallows protracted struggle, the Americans five times as high as the one prepared began to grow weary of the fight and for Haman. No punishment in my to shrink from every sacrifice. Pub- opinion is too severe for the man who lic and private enterprises lagged; ac- can build his greatness upon his cessions to the army came in but country's ruin.* slowly, and even for those who came During 1778 but little had been in it was difficult to provide supplies. accomplished by the army and both The necessity of emitting still fur- the Americans and French had been ther and greater sums of paper
unsuccessful in their attempts to money had led to a number of deplor- drive the British from the continent. able circumstances; attempts to sus- On the other hand, however, the Brittain the currency at par were abor- ish had been unable to make any active, and hard currency afterward be- cession to the territory under their came so valuable that it was worth sway. Therefore, in order to concert ten, fifteen and twenty times the face plans for the coming year, Washingvalue of the colonial bills. The Tories ton visited Philadelphia to hold perbegan to emit forged Continental cur- sonal intercourse with the members rency, which helped to depreciate the of Congress. In this service about value of paper money. Prices soared five weeks was spent, during which it far beyond the ability of people to was finally concluded, considering the pay, and a wide field of speculation condition of the army and the general opened itself to contractors and spec- state of affairs, to act chiefly on the ulators, who seized the opportunity to defensive, with the exception of punacquire sudden riches amidst the dis- ishing inroads upon the borders. tresses of their compatriots. As a Washington exerted the whole weight result of this depression, probably of his influence to offset the general none suffered more than the army impression that the mere fact of the itself, for supplies were so high that French alliance would result in the Congress could not issue enough ultimate success of the American conpaper money to buy sufficient quanti- flict and that it in itself would relieve ties and could obtain but little coin money. In South Carolina a pair of
* Lodge, George Washington, vol. i., p. 253.
INACTIVITY OF THE ARMY.
the generally depressed economic with the outside world. They thereconditions. He corresponded with fore no longer enjoyed the security members of Congress and the gov- which their insular position hitherto ernors of the various States and other offered. Having used every available influential citizens, pointing out the piece of material for fuel and having fallacy of the belief that peace was entirely consumed the supplies alnear and showing that a force suffi- ready in the city, the garrison were cient for active operations should be compelled to make frequent expediimmediately raised, equipped and tions into the country, which occawell supported. He said also that sioned many skirmishes, though withwhatever arrangements were made out any great damage to either side. for the army should be made early so The army under Washington, howthat the recruits could all be assem- ever, was too weak to attack the Britbled at headquarters by January 1. ish army even in its present preDespite his urgent requests, it was carious situation. Had he been propnot until January 23, 1779, that Con- erly supported, Washington would gress passed resolutions to reënlist have seized a number of opportunithe army, and not until March 9 were ties to effectively assault the garrison, the States requested to furnish their for the reënforcements sent to the quotas. The military establishment South had greatly reduced it and there for 1780 did not receive considera
was no possible chance of success. tion until some time later, and was But Washington was now numerically not agreed upon until February 9; weaker than his enemy and could not even then the men were not required consider any enterprise of a hazto reach headquarters until April 1. ardous or risky nature. FurtherThus when the American army should more, he was destitute of necessary have been in the field coöperating with supplies, particularly clothing, and the French, nothing had been done could not undertake active operations with the exception of granting author- during the winter. ity to reënlist and recruit the army. In addition to the inactivity of the This delay was most inopportune and army, affairs in general were in a vexatious.
depressed state. While at first the The winter of 1778–1779 had been news of the French alliance had filled particularly severe. In New York the people with unbounded enthuand Staten Island the British suffered siasm, the protraction of the struggle from lack of fuel and other supplies had been quite beyond expectations from the country, for Washington and their enthusiasm speedily began had established his troops in that to die out and their ardor to cool. vicinity so as to cut off completely the After the surrender of Burgoyne and British garrison from communication the arrival of the French troops in