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An inquiry into the conduct of general Schuyler at his
request, which terminates to his honour....Burgoyne
roga and Mount Independence evacuated by the enemy. 1777. WHILE with forces constantly inferior to
those of the enemy, general Washington kept up in the middle states, without essential loss, a stubborn though unequal conflict; events of great variety, and of the deepest interest, were passing in the north.
Having abandoned for the present his designs CHAP. V. on Ticonderoga, and retreated from Crown 1777. Point, sir Guy Carleton withdrew into Canada, at the close of the preceding campaign, and distributed his army for winter quarters, in the several villages from the isle Aux Noix and Montreal to Quebec. General Burgoyne, who had served under Carleton, made a winter voyage to England in order to state fully to administration, the condition of their affairs in the northern department; and to assist in making arrangements for the next campaign.
On the part of the Americans, their army, having been formed only for one year, dissolved of itself at the expiration of the terms for which the troops had been engaged. Far from being able to attempt any thing against the detached parts of the enemy, which were perhaps too far from each other to furnish mutual aid, if vigorously attacked; they found infinite difficulty in keeping up even the appearance of garrisons in their forts, and entertained serious apprehensions of an attempt on Ticonderoga, while the firmness of the ice afforded an easy passage for troops over the lakes.
· The regiments to be raised in Massachussetts, New Hampshire, and the northwestern parts of New York, were assigned for the defence of this frontier; but the recruiting service progressed so slowly, and such difficulties were experienced in clothing and arming those VOL. III.
CHAP. V. who were inlisted, that it became indispensable 1777. to the safety of the important posts on the lakes,
. to call in the aid of the northern militia.
General Schuyler, who had always discharged the various duties of superintending Indian affairs; preparing the defences for the lakes, and the forts; providing for the wants of the northern army; making the proper distribution of the troops; and commanding them after their retreat from Canada; was indefatigable during the winter in making arrangements for the defence of lake George, and preparing generally for the ensuing campaign. General Gates, when the enemy had retired into winter quarters, joined the army under general Washington, and the command of the few troops remaining in garrison devolved on colonel, afterwards general Wayne.
To guard as much as possible against the dangers to which the weakness of the garrisons exposed the forts, the regiments destined for the northern service were ordered during the winter to march by detachments, leaving behind them a' sufficient number of officers for the business of recruiting; yet the spring was far advanced and but a small force collected. The perpetual waste of arms, which was the unavoidable consequence of the continual change of the hands into which they were placed, added to the distressing scarcity of clothing, rendered it so extremely difficult to
equip the troops for service, that, notwith- CHAP. V. standing the exertions of Schuyler, aided by 1777. those of the commander in chief, Ticonderoga was generally through the winter exposed to the dangers of a coup-de-main.
In forming his plans for the ensuing cam. paign, general Schuyler required a force of about fifteen thousand men, and wished them to be composed in part of southern troops. The motive assigned for this wish was, that the principles of discipline and subordination were established with more ease among them than among the regiments drawn entirely from the north; and he counted on considerable effect from the salutary influence of their example. It is, however, probable that the want of subordination which Schuyler observed and complained of, was more attributable to the defects in the establishment of the army, espe. cially to their short inlistments, than to any characteristic difference between the troops drawn from the different parts of the continent. This wish was resisted by the commander in chief. To the objections furnished by the geographical situation of the country from which the troops were to be raised, and in which they were to act, were added other considerations which opposed their being unnecessarily mingled. Although the cause was the most interesting in which a people could be engaged, and although that cause was common
CHAP. V. to all, it was found extremely difficult to pre1777. vent those irritations, animosities, and discon
tents, from showing themselves between the troops of different states, which have so often broken coalitions, and impaired the exertions of armies of different nations acting together. It was found very difficult to forget the subdivisions which separated them from each other, and to recollect that they were all Americans. Finding it impracticable to subdue this temper, general Washington thought it more advisable to endeavour, by forming the two armies entirely of the troops drawn from different parts of the continent, to excite a spirit of emulation and thus turn it to account.
The uncertainty in which the commander in chief remained of the plan formed by the enemy for the ensuing campaign; the facility with which they were enabled by the command of the ocean to draw their forces together at any given point; left it entirely doubtful whether the army of Canada would endeavour to effect its junction with general Howe by the way of Albany, or, having secured that colony from invasion by obtaining possession of the lakes, would embark on the St. Lawrence, and proceed by water to New York. Weighing the advantages and hazards attending either plan of operations, general Washington thought it. by no means improbable that the latter would be adopted; and therefore deemed it unsafe to