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would be arrested.” A milder measure was preferred. He was sent temporarily to Connecticut until the public feeling should be quieted. Some time after he was attacked with paralysis. Nevertheless he retained his commission, and near the end of the war received a soothing letter from head-quarters. During the period of Hamilton's absence, Howe was continuing his efforts to reduce the works on the Delaware. On the sixteenth of November, after a most gallant defence, Fort Mifflin was found to be no longer tenable. “The fire the last day of the siege,” General Knox wrote to Colonel Lamb, “exceeded by far any thing seen in America. The enemy had five batteries on Province Island of eighteens, twenty-fours, and thirty-two pounders, at five hundred yards distance. Besides these, they brought up the new channel the large floating battery which was cut down in New York, mounting twenty-two twenty-four pounders, within forty yards of an angle of the battery on Mud Island. Four sixty-four gun ships within about nine hundred yards, and two forty gun ships. The incessant fire of these, joined with the fire of our floating batteries and gondolas, formed a scene truly picturesque, of the horrors and grandeur of war. The fire began at ten in the morning and lasted till late in the night. The brave little garrison, then commanded by Major Thayer of the Rhode Island troops, had but two cannon not dismounted. These soon shared the fate of the others. Every body who appeared on the platform were killed or wounded by the musketry from the tops of the ships, whose yards almost hung over the battery. Long before night there was not a single palisade left. All the embrasures ruined and the whole parapet levelled. All the block houses had been battered down some days before. The brave garrison, finding no kind of shelter, were ordered to evacuate the place, which they did about two o'clock in the morning, having first burnt the barracks and brought off the stores. We exceedingly wish the enemy to come out and give us battle; but I believe that though this is an event they threaten, and we wish, it will not happen.”
* “For your comfort, I can tell you that old Putnam is ordered on to the main army, and a trial is inevitable. God speed it.”—Major Platt to Colonel Lamb, Nov. 29, 1777.
Washington to Jay, April 14, 1779, as to command of expedition to Indians: “Putnam I need not mention.”—Jay's Life, ii. 42.
Whether Fort Mercer could be sustained was now the question. As soon as Washington learned the loss of Fort Mifflin, St. Clair, Knox and De Kalb were directed to inspect Fort Mercer. On their report, a reinforcement under General Greene was ordered to cross to its vicinity.” Cornwallis having also crossed the Delaware, Greene was urged to advance and meet him, and to use every means to hasten the junction of Glover's brigade. The march of the enemy was so rapid, the Americans could not form a junction in time to succor the garrison. It was obliged to withdraw.”
Duplessis again exhibited to the latest moment the high courage of his blood. In a letter written by Hamilton, for Washington, asking his promotion, it is stated: “After the evacuation was determined upon, he undertook as a volunteer, the hazardous operation of blowing up the magazine without the apparatus usual on such occasions I must further add, that he possesses a degree of modesty not always found in men who perform brilliant actions. It is with pleasure that I recommend to Congress to give him a brevet of lieutenant-colonel. I hope there will be no difficulty in antedating the brevet, that the recompense may more immediately follow the service he has done.” The river thus opened to the fleet, Howe was enabled to hold Philadelphia, “though just before the reduction of the forts he balanced upon the point of quitting that city.” Fort Mercer was abandoned on the twentieth of November, two days after the most advanced of the brigades from Albany reached head-quarters. Washington immediately convened a council of war to decide as to an attack upon Howe. It was disapproved, the force and cover of the enemy” not justifying the attempt. Cornwallis having rejoined him, Howe, strengthened also by reinforcements from New York, resolved to move upon the Americans. On the fourth of December his army advanced to Chesnut Hill. Skirmishes ensued, and various manoeuvres followed to draw the Americans from their post. Washington, nevertheless, held his position on several commanding heights. Anticipating and desiringt an attack where he was, he rode through every brigade of his army, delivering in person his orders; exhorting his troops to rely chiefly on the bayonet, and encouraging them to their duty. Howe seeing the firm countenance
* Washington's Writings, v. 167. + The Huguenot chief, Mornay du Plessis, of whose praise the French historians are full, was his ancestor. Voltaire took pleasure in devoting to him the choicest effort of his genius, and he is thus beautifully eulogized by Grotius: “Nobilitas, animo claro quam sanguine major Res hominum solers noscere, usque Dei
Consilium prudens, dives facundia linguae
This young friend of Hamilton was massacred at St. Domingo.
* “The enemy have fortified themselves with fourteen strong redoubts, friezed and palisaded with strong abatis, running from one redoubt to the other.”—Knox to Lamb.
+ “I sincerely wish they had made an attack."—Washington's Writings, v. 182. # Marshall, i. 184, who “states it on his own observation." of his adversary, abandoned his purpose, and suddenly retreated within his lines. Winter was now upon them,” and the campaign ended. “Had the reinforcement from the northward,” Washington wrote to his brother, “arrived but ten days sooner, it would, I think, have put it in my power to save Fort Mifflin, which defended the chevaux de frise, and consequently have rendered Philadelphia a very ineligible situation for them this winter.” Such were the quiet terms in which he adverted to the great wrong inflicted upon his country and upon himself by Gates and Putnam.
THE capture of General Lee had removed him from the stage. Faction now beheld in Gates a ready instrument of its designs. He was of humble origin, the offspring “of a second chambermaid” of a Walpole. His putative father was “a journeyman tailor,” and the young Horatio, “godson of Horace Walpole,” “ was ushered into life under the auspices of nobility. He received the commission of ensign in the British army, became an aide of General Monckton, and was selected as bearer of the despatches announcing the capture of Martinique. His next appearance was as captain of an independent company of New York troops under Braddock, when he received a wound. At the close of this disastrous campaign, he repaired to his native England, and after a short absence returned to America and took up his abode in the interior of Virginia. At the opening of the revolution and at the instance of Washington, glad to avail himself of his military experience, he is seen to have been appointed adjutant-general with the rank of brigadier, and early in seventy-six was promoted to the grade of major-general. This promotion gave offence. John Adams excused
* Walpole's Letters, iv. 220, thus italicised in the letter.