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Proceeding with caution, for the panic created by the de feat of Gates had now worn off, and the people were alert to harass and obstruct his march, Cornwallis arrived at Charlotte about the last of September, where he prepared to establish a post. Colonels Tarleton and Fergusson, two eminent partizan officers, were sent out to scour the country on each side. Fergusson, the first in point of time, marked his path with traces of such cruelty and devastation, as to kindle a furious resentment, which brought on his ruin. Having penetrated towards Georgia, to co-operate with some royalist troops there, the militia collected to intercept his return, and árining themselves with such weapons as they could find, attacked him in the post which he had taken on King's
| Mountain. The fight was bloody and obstinate. Oct. 7th.
": | Fergusson was slain, and three hundred of his men killed or wounded. His second in command surrendered the survivors prisoners. Eight hundred prisoners were taken, and amongst the spoil were fifteen hundred stand of arms. "The American loss was about twenty. Cornwallis, who was leisurely marching towards Salisbury, on hearing of Fergusson's fate, commenced a retreat, and, late in October, established himself at Winnsborough. Tarleton undertook to cut off Sumpter's troop, which was encamped at Blackstock Hill, but was repulsed in his attack. Sumpter was, however, obliged to retreat, not being strong enough to encounter the reinforcements expected by Tarleton.
These successful actions roused the hopes of the Ameritans. The army had been materially strengthened at Hillsborough by the arrival of saccors from Virginia, by Morgan's celebrated rifle corps, and the cavalry under Colonels Washington and White. On the 8th of September they advanced to Salisbury, where intelligence was received of the removal of General Gates, and the substitution of General Greene in the command of the Southern army. Gates, with admirable Dec. 2d. i I philosophy, redoubled his efforts to improve the
| discipline and condition of the army, and on the arrival of Greene, in December, received him with cordiality and friendship.' 'iil'. . . iite other * The American army established itself for the remainder of the year at Charlotte Greene, unable to cope with the superior force of Cornwallis in the field, determined upon Tecruiting his army, and, avoiding general action, to harass
and reduce nis enemy by partizan warfare, with the assistance of the volunteer bands which abounded in the States.
Soon after Cornwallis had posted himself at Winnsborough he received a reinforcement from New York, under the command of General Leslie, amounting to fifteen hundred men. Leslie had been sent with a larger force to ravage the Virginia coasts, and had accordingly landed there for that purpose. On the defeatof Fergusson he was summoned to join Cornwallis, and immediately proceeded to Charleston. Leave ing a portion of his force there, he marched the bulk of his detachment to Winnsborough.
No further military actions took place in the South until the beginning of the year 1781, that require notice. At that time in Virginia, a British force committed wide and wanton ravages, under the command of Benedict Arnold ; the same who, at the commencement of the year, was a General in the American army, and of whom such frequent mention has been made as one of the earliest to take up arms for liberty, and one of the ablest and most gallant soldiers in her cause. The motives of this extraordinary change, and the circumstances of perfidy and ingratitude under which it was made, belong to the history of the military events in the North, contemporaneous with the Southern campaigns we have been describing
The leading object of Washington, in all his plans of action, was the possession of New York. In the absence of Sir Henry Clinton, with so large a part of the British army, it was his intention that the expected French fleet should blockade the harbor, while the land forces should attack Knyphausen, in the city. The force which Clinton brought with him from South Carolina, augmented the garrison to at least eleven thousand fine troops, and rendered that part of the plan, in the condition of the American army, almost hopeless. Admiral Arbuthnot had returned with Sir Henry, and, not long after, Admiral Graves arrived from England, with six sail of the line. These gave the English a decided superiority by sea, so that the plans of Washington were frustrated in both respects. The British undertook to avail themselves of this superiority, and projected an attack by land and sea on the French fleet and army at Newport. The fleet, under Admiral Graves, sailed for Rhode Island, and six thousand of the best troops, under Clinton in person, were landed at Huntington Bayo The French were found to be strongly entrenched, and by
sea they were unassailable. The militia" turned out with alacrity, and in great numbers, to defend them; and dissen sions broke out between the two hostile commanders, Clinton and Graves. The enterprise was accordingly abandoned, and Sir Henry hastened back to New York, alarmed at the intelligence that Washington had seized the opportunity of his absence, crossed the river, and marched down towards King's Bridge, making demonstrations against the city. Washington retired when Clinton returned, and recrossing into New Jersey, took up a position at Orangetown and fortified Dobbs' Ferry. Just at this juncture, the commissary department failed altogether to furnish supplies, and the commander was compelled to open his magazines at West Point, and order out parties to forage on the suffering inhabitants. This, when the army was on the eve of moving actively against the enemy and looking for the cooperation of the second French armament, was peculiarly trying to the Commander-in-chief. Tidings soon after arrived that the additional French succors designed for America were blockaded in the harbor of Brest by a British squadron, and would not arrive until the next season. In the midst of these successive disappointments and disasters, the discovery was made that treason was busy in the camp, and that one of the bravest and oldest officers in the armies of Liberty had sold himself and his country for gold to the enemy. Washington was at Hartford, Connecticut, arranging a system of
w combined action with the French commanders,
So when Arnold was detected in a correspondence with the British, in which he had contracted to make his treason profitable by delivering West Point into the hands of Sir Henry Clinton, receiving in return a British commission and ten thousand pounds in money. West Point was the most important post in the possession of the Ameri, cans. As a military position, it commands the naviga. tion of the Hudson river, and is the key to the communication between the Southern and Eastern States. It had accordingly been fortified with great care and expense, and was the repository of the most valuable stores of the army; and, at the time of Arnold's defection, it was the resting point upon which the fate of the American army turned. Had it fallen into the hands of the enemy, no sagacity nor courage could have saved the whole of the army in the
Middle States from being cut to pieces or captured in detail. "The possession of the States of New York and New Jersey, the command of the great channels of intercourse between the States, a complete division of the remnants of the republican forces, and an efficient concentration of those of Great Britain must have been the fruits of this treason had it been successful. What might have been the effects upon the progress of the war it is difficult to imagine. The blow would undoubtedly have been most severe and disastrous. The value of the prize to the British induced them to enter eagerly into negotiation with the traitor, and offer a munificent price for the treachery.
The motives which operated upon Arnold are easily traced. Cupidity and revenge were the passions that in. fluenced him, and they easily overcame all compunctious feelings in a mind so ill-regulated as his, and debased by long self-indulgence in habits of dissipation and extravagance. Daring in the field, a hardy and venturous soldier, and a tried and skilful officer, he was immoral in his private habits, haughty in his deportment, and lavish in his expenditures, beyond any means within his reach. The wounds he had received at Quebec and Saratoga induced him to retire from active service, and he became commandant of Philadelphia when the British evacuated that place in 1778. There he made himself unpopular by his manners and luxurious style of living, and involved himself hopelessly in debt. To retrieve his fortunes he entered largely into various speculations which failed, and openly trafficked in frauds on the military departments till complaints were formally lodged against him, and Congress brought him to court" martial for the offences. His accounts' were' proved to be fraudulent, and he was sentenced, with uncommon lenity, to be only reprimanded by the Commander-in-chief. Debt, disappointment, and shame rankled in his breast, and to gratify his
passions and relieve himself from his pecuniary 'embarrass• ments, he entered into a negotiation with General Clinton.
Artfully disguising his purpose, he applied for active employment, and when the command of the left wing was offered him, on the march towards New York, he declined it, and asked for the command of West Point, which was · accordingly bestowed upon him. The correspondence åls
ready opened with the British through Major Andre, Adjutant-general of the British army, under the fictitious names
of Gustavus and Anderson, now approached the consummation of the treason. The British sloop of war Vulture was brought as near the American works as practicable, in order to facilitate the communication. A personal interview being dont ons deemed necessary, on the night of the 21st of Sep
***** | tember, André was handed from the Vulture, and had an interview with Arnold on the beach, to arrange finally the plan of operations. The disposition of the American troops, by which they were to fall into the power of Clinton, was settled, and full drawings and details furnished of the works, defences, and every thing appertaining to the post. Day dawned before the conference was ended, and Andre's return was prevented. During the day the Vulture was compelled by the fire of some artillery to drop down the river, and he could not be put on board again. No other resource was left him than to return to New York by land. Changing his uniform for a common dress, he was provided with a horse and a passport, under the name of John Anderson. He succeeded in passing safely the American outposts, and had nearly reached the British lines when he was stopped by three American militiamen. Seizing his bridle they demanded his business. Surprised out of his caution, thinking himself safe so near the British posts, instead of showing his pass he asked, hastily, “Where do you belong?" "Below," vas the reply, meaning New York. “So do I," was the ish and fatal rejoinder of Andrè, and he avowed himself a British officer, on urgent business. They instantly arrested him, notwithstanding his pressing intreaties and large bribes, on discovering his mistake. They rejected his purse and his watch, as well as the most liberal promises of reward, if they would accompany him to the city. Inflexible in their fidelity to their country, they proceeded to search him, and found the treasonable papers, in the hand writing of Arnold, concealed in his boot. They carried him to Lieutenant-colonel Jameson, who commanded the outposts at West Point, where Andrè was permitted to address a note to Arnold, informing. 1 him of the arrest of Anderson. The traitor took the alarm and escaped on board of the Vulture, leaving the penalty of his guilt to be paid by the unfortunate André. Washington had been informed by express of the discovery, and arrived at West Point too late to secure Arnold. A board of general. officers was detailed, of which General Greene was Prestasi dent, to determine the character in which the prisoner was