Abbildungen der Seite

R s says in a letter, " that one half of the soldiers that dieil-lust, year, perished by the present medical establishment, A shocking black picture indeed doctor Rush painted--but by all accounts it is a just one. It is a very melancholy reflection, that buildings. erected for the relief and comfort of the sick and wounded, should become tombs to them. A bad system and a bad administration bave produced great mischiefs in the hospital. Peculation and enbezzlernent of stores, prevail as much in this department as in others. I do not alledge these things without authority or proof, They are facts too well authenticated. Another, in his cors zespondence, expressed himself thus upon matters.-- The wealth af worlds could not support the expence of the medical depart, ment alone, above two or three years. There is but ??e right #ystem for a military hospital, and that is the one made use of by the British army. That would save half a million a year to the continent, and, what is more, would produce perfect satisfaction and happiness.". On the 30th Dr. Rush requested leave to resign, which was accepteda Congress, on the 6th of February, came to various resolutions upon the report of the first commit tee, for the better regulating the hospitals, of the United States On the 25th Dr. Rush sent a letter from Princeton, to general Washington, containing a well attested certificate frou Bethle bem, setting forth, that the wine allowed the hospital was so adul. terated as to have none of the qualities of Madeița-that none of the patients under the care of the signers, eat of venison, poul. try and wild fowl(unless purchased by themselves) and that large quantities were purchased by the director-general--that the di. rector.entered the bospital bat,once during six weeks residence in Bethlehem, though the utmost distress and inortality prevailed that the sick were too much crowded, and wanted blankets,shirts, straw and other necessaries--that there died in the place two hundred soldiers (eight tenths of them by a putrid fever caught in the hospital) within three months. Dr. Rush mentioned that Dr. Shippen, in the height of the mortality, wrote to congress-"No gatal disease prevails in the hospitals, very few die, and the hose ·pitals are in very good order." He said.Our director-general was employed in selling large quantities of Madeira wine, broya and loaf sugar, &c. (which had been transported through the country in hospital-waggons, and secured as hospital stores) under the name of private property.”. This and another letter from the doctor, were read. in congress the third of April, when a .com mittee was appointed and directed to enquircinto the charges contained in the letters, against Dr. Shippen, and into his conduct cas director-general, and to report specially to congress. The diminution of the army by sickness, has been very great; and you will easily conceive whence it was that no more of the sick rd


covered. The sickness of the soldiers, before going to the hoša pitals, was brought upon them not altogether through the wanti of clothes or provision, but of cleanliness in their huts and in the camp. Notwithstanding repeated positive orders enjoining cleanliness, in some places of the camp the stench was intolerable, through the neglect or the want of necessaries.

It has been resolved that count Pulaski shall raise and havei. the command of an independent corps, to consist of 68 horse and 200 foot; the horse to be armed with lances, and the foota equipped in the manner of light-infantry. * : s i cut

No mention has been yet made of one captain Lec, of the light-dragoons, a bold, enterprising young officer, who, if.sparedy: is like to niake a considerable figure; but a resolve of congress leads us to notice him. By the 22d of November, he and his little troop had taken a hundred and two of the enemy prisoners. The whole tenor of his conduct during that campaign. proved him to be brave and prudent. He rendered essential serei vice to his country, and acquired to himself and the corps he commanded, distinguished honor. The congress, to reward his merit, have resolved, “That capt. H. Lee be promoted to the rank of major commandant; that he be empowered to auga ment his present corps, by enlistments, to two troops of horses to act as a separate corps. These enlistments are not to be made from among the prisoners. The commander in chief opposes every thing of that kind, and has written-" We have always complained against Howe, and still do, for obliging or permitting the prisoners in his hands to enlist, as an unwarrantable pro cedure. The practice on our part, would justify it in him. I beJieye no prisoners have ever been enlisted by us. I anı sure none have through compulsion.” But in the Massachusetts, a number of the convention troops, upon offering themselves, were enliste ed; which occasioned the general's writing, “ Burgoyne could hardly suggest a more effectual plan for plundering us of so much inoney, reinforcing Mr. Howe with so mnany men, and prevente ing us from recruiting a certain number of regiments.”. All the British deserters sent on from this state as recruits for one regio ment, went off to the enemy by the end of March ; and of a detachment of sixty of them, which marched to join col. Henley, only twelve or thirteen reached the camp. Part of the others made their escape, and the rest formed a plan for the same purs pose, mutinied, and were thrown into prison. The conduct of enlisting the convention troops, was sufficiently mortifying; but it was far more provoking to observe the backwardness of the states in furnishing the recruits that were wanted. Instead of tire army's being reinforced with eight or ten thousand troops, it was scarcely joined by so many hundreds by the twelfth of April...


Lut as change the subject, and confine ourselves, for a time, more particularly to the proceedings of congress.';.. mosaii

On the 19th of January, they resolved to grant a brevet of: lieut. col. to the chevalier de Maduit du Plussis, as a reward for his services. Gen. Washington recommended liim in a letter adding, “ that the gallant conduct of this young gentleman at ..., Brandywine, Germantown, and at Port Mercer, (on the Delaware) entitles him to the particular notice of congress :" that hë made several judicious alteration in the works at Red-bank, and showed great good conduct during the action in which the Hessions were repulsed ;” and that after the evacution was determined on he became the means of saving some valuable : artillery and stores, and cheerfully undertook as volunteer the. hazardous operation of blowing up the magazine, &c. without: apparatus usually provided upon such occasions ;” and concludipg with=" he possesses a degree of modesty not always found in men who have performed brilliant actions..

Two days after, congress, on the report from the board of war, respecting the treatnient of the American prisoners in New York: and Philadelphia, resolved among other things, “That the allowa. ance of two dollars a week to officers, who are prisoners of war tóthese United States do cease, unless to those officers who may ben. entitled thereto by any contract made on or before their captiva ity or surrender. That in return for permission given to purchase provisions of the American commissaries for the use of the enemy's prisoners, gen. Washington be directed to demand of gen Howe liberty to purchase clothing in such places as may be under his power for the use of the American prisoners : Thatá the commissary-general of prisoners and his respective «deputies, be fourthwith directed to call in all the officers and privates belonging to the enemy, and to confine them in such places, and order them to be subsisted and treated in such manner as shall* render their situation similar, in all respects, to that of the oíficers and privates who are prisoners with the enemy; and that they continue this mode of treatment, till such time as a change of con. duct on the part of the enemy shall induce congress, or the comniander in chief of the armies of these states, to give directions for a different line of conduct on their part.”. This threat of retaliation will have little effect upon the British commander; and if no other consideration should prevent, the general humanio ty of the people would be a bar to its execution. That some difa ferent measures ought to be adopted as to the British officers, than what are at present given into, must be admitted upon anos ther account; for they have done much mischief to the Ameris can cause. During their captivity, they have formed conneow

tions ,

tions in the country ; have confirmed the disaffected; converted piany ignorant .people ; and frightened the lukewarm and tis mid by their stories of the power of Great-Britain. Plinii

On the 27th of Feb. congress resolved, “ That whatever inhabitant of these states shall kill, or seize, or take any loyal cia lizen or citizens thereof, and convey him, her or them, to awy place within the power of the enemy, or shalt enter into any. combination for such purpose, or attempt to carry the same in to execution, or hath assisted or shall assist therein ; or shall by giving intelligence, acting as a guide, or in any other mannes whatever, aid the enemy in the perpetration thereof, he shall suf fer death by the judgment of a court-martial, as a traitor, assagin sin and spy, if the offence be committed within seventy miles of the head-quarters of the grand or other armies of these states, where a general officer commands." This resolution has been introduced to show you what a stretch of power congress have been guilty of. They have hereby suspended in particular cases the judicial authority of the Massachusetts state, which is not the seat of war; and subjected certain criminals to a trial by a court-niartial, instead of leaving them to the laws of the state. At Providence a general officer commands a small army, at the distance of only forty-five iniles from Boston. All bodies of fallia ble men possessed of or claiming power, ought to be narrowly watched; or from good or bad intentions, they will transgress the limits of their constitution, without a real necessity. ... in - Major geni Greene was appointed on the second of Marchi quarter-inaster-generat; but allowed to retain his rank in the army. The next day, congress upon the report of a committee; resolved," that lieut. gen. Burgoynė, on account of his ill state of health, have leave to embark for England by Rhode Island; or any other expeditious route; with the officers of his family and servants." He is engaged by parole, in case the embarkaa tion of the convention troops is prolonged beyond the time aps prehended, to return to America upon demand and due notico given, and to re-deliver himself into the power of congress uni less regularly exchanged. ':

Congress have not lost sight of the importance of having the North-River and the passes in the Highlands well secured, so as to render any sudden attempt upon-Albany by the same impracticable. Had Sir W. Howe, instead of going by sea to Philadelphia, bent his whole force for the mastering of these, as gen. Washing ton strongly suspected he would do, the independency of the United States must have tottered to the very foundation, if the have been completely subverted. Whetlier the plan of making the grand diversion sourthward, originated with the ministry


bimself, or a Pennsylvania refugee--by his leaving the troops under Burgoyne to shift for themselves, in case the reinforcement from Europe did not arrive in time, the subjugation of the country may be entirely prevented. Gen. Gates was directed, en the 15th of April, to repair forthwith tu Fish-kill, and to take the command of all the troops on the North-River and in the whole northern department. He was also to take effectual meas sures, to secure the communication between the eastern and southern states, by maintaining the possession of the river; and for that purpose was empowered to provide gallies, gun-boats, fire-rafts, chains, cassoons and chevaux-de-Frise, and to-erect all necessary fortifications. West-Point has for some time been pitched upon as a proper spot; and the troops have begun, and are going on to fortify it. When the works are completed, ic will be a much stronger post than Fort Montgomery, and is higher up the river, and projects into it. The soldiers, whether militia or continentals, will according to custoin, be employed upon them till finished without putting the states to any particular charge for labor in erecting them.

Congress were expecting that something would turn up in Eu. rope favorable to America; and were contivmed in their expect. ation, upon the receipt of draught of a bill for declaring the intention of the British parliament as to the exercise of their riglit of imposing taxes on the Americans as also the draught of a bill to enable the king to appoint commissioners with powers te treat, consult and agree upon the means of quieting certain disorders with the colonies. These draughts were sent from Philadela

phiatogen. Washington who forwarded theinto:York-Town. [A· pril22. congress took themintoconsideration, and, observing that

they had been industriously circulated in a partial and secret manBer; ordered that they should be forthwith printed førthe publicin formation ; but at the same time took care to counteract their influence by the remarks they published respecting them. They declared their belief, that the parliament would confer on then the usual solemnities of their laws and then observed, that upon a supposition the matters contained in them should really go in. to the British statute book, they would serve to show, in a clear point of view, the weakness and wickedness of the oneniyo olt these they expatiated. This done they said It appears evident that the said bills are intended to operate upon the hopes and fears of the good people of these states, so as to create divisions. among then, and a defection from the common cause; and that they are the sequelofthat insidious plan, which from the days of the stamp-act down to the prescat time, hath involved this country in contention and bloodshed.” Congress went on to pronounce, that

« ZurückWeiter »