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expiration of May, the party returned to New York.
Early in the season, Colonel Clark, of Virginia, who was stationed at Kaskaskia, on the Missisippi, achieved an enterprise conspicuous for boldness of design, and evincing uncommon hardihoood in its execution. With only one hundred and thirty men, he penetrated through the wilderness, to St. Vincents, a British post on the Wabash, in the heart of the Indian country. His route lay across deep swamps and morasses. For four or five miles the party waded through water, often as high as the breast. After a march of sixteen days, they reached the town, which, having no intimation of their approach, surrendered without resistance. A short time after, the fort capitulated. This fortunate achievement arrested an expedition which the enemy had projected against the frontiers of Virginia, and detached several tribes of Indians from the British interest.
The atrocities committed at Wyoming, and at several settlements in New York, cried aloud for vengeance. Congress assembling an army of 4000 men, gave the command of it to General Sullivan, and directed him to conduct it into the country inhabited by the savages, and retort upon them their own system of warfare. Of this army, one division marched from the Mohawk, the other from Wyoming, and both forming a junction on the Susquehannah, proceeded, on the 22d of August, towards the Seneca lake.
On an advantageous position, the Indians, in conjunction with 200 tories, had erected fortifica
tions to oppose their progress. These were assaulted; the enemy after a slight resistance gave way and disappeared in the woods. As the army advanced into the western part of the state of New York, that region now so fertile and populous, the Indians deserted their towns, the appearance of which denoted a higher state of civilization than had ever before been witnessed in the North American wilderness. The houses were commodious; the apple and peach-trees numerous, and the crops of corn then growing abundant. All were destroyed; not a vestige of human industry was permitted to exist.
Having acomplished this work of vengeance, severe but deserved, and essential to the future safety of the whites, Generl Sullivan returned to Easton, in Pennsylvania, where he arrived about the middle of October. His whole loss, by sickness and the enemy, amounted to but forty men.
On the first of July, General Tryon sailed from New York with a large body of troops, and landing on the coast of Connecticut, plundered New Haven, and laid Fairfield and Norfolk in ashes. Before his return, General Wayne, with a detachment from the American army, made a daring assault upon Stony Point, a strongly fortified post on the Hudson.
About twelve at night, the troops, with unloaded muskets, arrived before the lines. They were received with a tremendous discharge of grape-shot and musketry. Rushing forward, they mounted the walls, and using the bayonet only, were soon in complete possession of the fort.
A more gallant exploit has seldom been performed; and the humanity of the victors was equal to their valour. Notwithstanding the devastations in Connecticut, and the butchery of Baylor's troop, the scene of which was near, not an individual suffered after resistance had ceased. Of the enemy, sixty were killed, and upwards of five hundred made prisoners. The loss of the Americans was comparatively small. medal, presented by congress, rewarded the heroism of the victor.
At the close of the season, the northern army retired into winter-quarters, one division near Morristown, in New Jersey, and the other in the vicinity of Westpoint, an important post in the highlands. Here they endured severe and constant suffering from cold, and nakedness, and hunger. Sometimes half the usual allowance, often less, was distributed to the troops; and more than once the provisions were wholly exhausted.
Application for relief was made to the magistrates of the neighbourhood, and intimations were given that provisions, so pressing were the wants of the army, would be seized by force, if not furnished voluntarily. The magistrates promptly attended to the call. They levied contributions arbitrarily from the people, who submitted to these exactions with a degree of patriotism equalled only by that displayed by the soldiers in the patient endurance of distress.
Derangement in the finances produced these sufferings. Large sums had been annually raised and expended; and the ability of the people to pay
taxes had progressively decreased. To supply deficiencies, paper money, to the amount of about one hundred and fifty millions of dollars, had been issued. This gradually depreciated, and at the close of 1779, thirty dollars in paper were of no more value than one in specie. To purchase provisions with this money was at first difficult, and then impossible ; and congress now found their funds and their credit exhausted.
A change of system was necessary. For the supply of the army, each state was directed to furnish a certain quantity of provisions and forage. Loans were solicited from the people, and nearly a million of dollars was raised by bills drawn upon the American agents in Europe, in anticipation of loans which they had been authorized to procure. These expedients afforded but temporary and partial relief.
No class of persons suffered more from the depreciation of paper money than the army, and especially the officers. The pay, even those of the highest grade, was rendered insufficient to provide them with necessary clothing. Discontent began to pervade the whole army. It required all the enthusiastic patriotism which distinguishes the soldier of principle; all that ardent attachment to freedom which brought them into the field; all the influence of the commander-in-chief, whom they almost adored, to retain in the service men who felt themselves cruelly neglected by the country whose battles they fought.
CAMPAIGN OF 1780.
The first military operations of the enemy, in the year 1780, were directed against Charleston, the capital of South Carolina. In the beginning of February, Sir Henry Clinton appeared before that place, at the head of a part
part of his army. The assembly, which was then sitting, delegated to Governor Rutledge, a patriot of splendid talents, and to his council, “the power to do every thing necessary for the public good, except taking away the life of a citizen,” and adjourned. Armed with this extraordinary power, he made great exertions to call into action the strength of the state, and to place its capital in a posture of defence.
The people of the country disregarded his repeated calls. Not more than two hundred repaired to Charleston. The garrison, commanded by General Lincoln, consisted of a body of militia from the country, of the citizens, of one thousand North Carolina militia, and of two thousand regulars. The number of the enemy, when all their reinforcements had arrived, amounted to nine thousand.
On the first of April, the siege was begun in form by the erection of works at the distance of eleven hundred yards from the city. On the 9th, the fleet, propelled by a strong wind, passed the forts on Sullivan's Island, without stopping to