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. major, and gave him an independent partisan Chap. VI. corps, to consist of two troops of horse;' and, 1778. by a subsequent resolution, another troop was added to this corps. - s .
While the defect in the public resources, arising from the alarming depreciation of the bills of credit, which were issued in great quan. tities, without being supported by taxes, manifested itself in all the military departments, a Congress plan was matured in congress, and in the board upon a second of war, without consulting the commander in against. chief, for a second irruption into Canada. It was proposed to place the marquis de La Fayette at the head of this expedition, and to employ generals Conway and Starke as the second and third in command.
This young nobleman possessing an excel. lent heart, and all the military enthusiasm of his country, had left France early in 1777, ostensibly in opposition to the will of his sovereign, to engage in the service of the United States. His high rank and supposed influence at the court of Versailles, soon, secured him the unlimited respect of his countrymen in America; and, added to his frankness of manners and zeal in their cause, recommended him very strongly to congress. While the claims of others of the same country were so exorbitant that they could not be gratified on the subject of rank, he demanded no station in
CHAP. VI. the army, would consent to receive no compen. 1778. sation, and offered to serve as a volunteer.
He had stipulated with mr. Deane for the rank of major general without emolument; but on the current of ill fortune which set. in late in 1776, he was advised not to embark. The honorary rank of major general was conferred on him directly after his arrival in America, but without any immediate command. In that capacity; he sought for danger, and was wounded at the battle of Brandywine. He attached himself with the ardour of youth to the commander in chief, who felt for him in turn a warm and sincere friendship, and paved the way to bestowing on him a command in the army equal to his rank.
Without any previous information that such an expedition was contemplated, general Washington received a letter from the president of the board of war, of the 24th of January, en. closing one of the same date to the marquis, requiring his immediate attendance on congress to receive his instructions. No other communication was made to the commander in chief, than to request that he would furnish colonel Hazen's regiment, chiefy composed of Cana. dians, for the expedition; and in the same letter his advice and opinion were asked respecting it. The north was relied on for furnishing the force with which the plan was to be executed. Without noticing the manner in which this
business was conducted, and the unusual want CHAP. VI. of confidence it betrayed, orders were given to 1778. Hazen's regiment to march towards Albany, and the marquis immediately proceeded to the residence of congress. · At his request, major general the baron De Kalb was added to the expedition, after which he repaired in person to Albany, in order to take charge of the troops who were to be there assembled, and from whence he was to cross the lakes on the ice, and to attack Montreal, - On his arrival at Albany, he found no preparations made for the expedition. Nothing which had been promised was in readiness. He therefore abandoned the enterprise as totally Before its impracticable, Some time afterwards, congress it is also determined on its relinquishment;; and general Washington was authorized to recal, both the marquis de La Fayette and the baron De Kalb..
While the army lay at Valley forge, the February 27. baron Steuben arrived in camp. This gentle.. man was a Prussian officer very strongly recommended, who was said to have served many years in the armies of the great Frederick; to have been one of the aids-du-camp of that consummate commander, and to have held the rank of lieutenant general. He was unquestionably well versed in the system of manquvres which the king of Prussia had introduced, and was well qualified to teach them to raw troops.
CHAP. VI. He claimed no rank, and only requested to 1778. render as a volunteer, those services which
might be in his power, and might be most useful to the American army. He held a conference with congress, and from thence proceeded to Valley forge.
The office of Inspector general had been previously bestowed on Conway ; but he had never entered on its duties, and his promotion to the rank of major general had given much umbrage to the brigadiers who had been his seniors. That circumstance, in addition to the knowledge of his being in a faction hostile to the commander in chief, rendered his situation in the army so 'uncomfortable, that he withdrew to York in Pennsylvania, which was the residence of congress. That body had designed to employ him on the proposed expedition to Canada, but that being abandoned, he was not
directed with Fayette and De Kalb, to rejoin General Con- the army. Entertaining no hope of being Duel between called on to exercise the functions of his new generaleler office, he resigned his commission about the
last of April, and some time afterwards, re. turned to France. *
way resigns. Duel between him and
* After his resignation, general Conway indulged himself frequently in expressions manifesting the hostility of his temper towards the commander in chief. These indiscretions were very ill received by the gentlemen of the army. He engaged in an altercation with general Cadwalader, which produced a duel, in which Conway · It was at once supposed that the baron Steu. CHAP. VI. ben must be peculiarly well fitted for this office, 1778. and he consented to engage in its duties as a, volunteer. He performed them so much to the satisfaction of the commander in chief of the army, and of congress, that after the resignation of Conway, he was strongly recommended by general Washington to congress, and by them appointed to the office with the rank of major general, without exciting the slightest mur. mur.
This gentleman was of real service to the American forces. He established one uniform system of manæuvres; and by his skill and persevering industry, effected during the con. tinuance of the troops at Valley forge, a most
received a wound, for some time believed to be mortal. While his recovery was despaired of, he addressed the following letter to general Washington:
Philadelphia, July 23, 1778.
I am, with the greatest respect, sir,