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part of Tarleton's detachment, being unable fur. ther to support the fatigue of his rapid march, had stopped at Fishing-creek.

The succeeding day, the intelligence of this disaster reached Charlotte. Generals Smallwood and Gist had then arrived at that place, and about one hundred and fifty straggling, dispirited, half. famished officers and soldiers had also dropped in. There was no obstruction between them and the enemy, and Charlotte was no more defensible than a plain. No place of rendezvous had been appointed; the militia of North Carolina had

generally returned to their homes; and those of Vir. ginia had dispersed themselves towards Hillsbo. rough, along the road by which they had marched to effect their junction with Gates. There was consequently no probability of re-assembling them; and it was not expected that those of the neighbouring counties could be raised by General Caswell in less than three days. All these considerations combined to render it advisable to retreat immediately to Salisbury.

Colonel Williams and one of the brigade-majors took the route towards Camden, in order to obtain further intelligence respecting the movements of the enemy, and to direct those coming on that road to file off to Salisbury. An express was dispatched with the necessary information to Major Anderson, of the third Maryland regiment, who

had

1

had rallied a small number of troops not far from the field of action, which was increased by those who fell in with him on the retreat. He had learned that Tarleton, after surprising and defeating Sumpter, had retired down the Wateree; and he therefore proceeded slowly on his march to Charlotte, that he might give the fugitives an opportunity of joining him. From Charlotte he was ordered to Salisbury by General Smallwood ; and soon after his arrival at that place, the troops which had been collected there were directed by General Gates to march to Hillsborough. He was endeavouring to assemble at that place another army, which might enable him yet to contend for the possession of the southern states.

CHAP.

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CHAPTER VI.

Distress in the American camp-Expedition against

Staten Island Financial regulations-Committee of Congress deputed to camp-General Knyphausen enters JerseySir Henry Clinton returns to New York---Skirmish at Spring field-La Fayette brings intelligence of aid from France-Exertions of Congress and of the commander in chief to strengthen the army--Tardy proceedings of the States-Arrival of a French armament in Rhode Island - Plans of eventual operations-Sir Henry Clinton embarks for Neroport-Washington marches against New York-Return of ClintonEnterprise against Neru York relinquished— Naval superiority of the BritishPlans for the campaign abandoned.

WHILE disasters thus crowded on each other

in the southern states, the commander in chief found himself surrounded with difficulties, which not only checked every enterprise he might meditate, but required exertions by no means inconsiderable, to obviate calamities not Jess distressing than those which befel the union in the south. Not only were his pressing requisitions for men to supply the places of those who were leaving the service uncomplied with, but

those

those who remained were with difficulty preserved from either perishing with cold and hunger, or being driven to the necessity of relieving their urgent wants by dispersing and living on plun. der.

General Greene and Colonel Wadsworth, who had for the preceding year been at the head of the quarter-master and commissary department, possessed distinguished merit, and had employed assistants of unquestionable ability and integrity. Yet for a great part of the campaign the rations issued to the soldiers were frequently reduced, and the army was scarcely ever furnished with a supply of provisions for more than a few days. Soon after coming into winter-quarters, the ma. gazines were absolutely exhausted, and there was neither meat nor Alour to be delivered to the

men.

This state of things had long been foreseen, and all the means in the power of the commander in chief had been used to prevent it. Repeated representations of the actual famine with which the army was threatened were made to Congress, and to the several state governments; but such was the wretched condition of the American finances, that no adequate relief was, or perhaps could be, afforded.

The rapid depreciation of the continental cur. rency had long been viewed with apprehensive

anxiety

VOL. IV.

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anxiety by the enlightened friends of the revolu. tion, and various unsuccessful expedients had been essayed for the purpose of checking its progress. All perceived that the great quantity in circulation was a principal cause of the diminution of its value; and Congress had come to a resolution not to exceed in their emissions two hundred millions of dollars. In the mean time, the utmost endeavours were used to defer as long as possible an evil so justly dreaded ; and among the expedients resorted to was that of withholding from the public agents the money which was necessary for public purposes. This unwise experiment, while it defeated its own object, threatened the American army with dissolution.

The difference between the value of the article at the times of contract and of payment was soon perceived, and of course influenced the price agreed on. But this was the least mischievous consequence of a policy so ill judged. The public'agents contracted enormous debts which they were unable to discharge. Repeated disappointments destroyed their credit; and, towards the close of the year 1779, they found it impracticable to obtain those supplies which were essential to the subsistence of the army. These circumstances, as they occurred, were communicated to Congress and to the states. Reports of a projected law for the limitation of prices had also

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