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Adams, in a letter of the next day, [Jan. 6.] showed that the plan was practicable, expedient, and lay properly within his excellency's authority, without further directions from congress. He took notice that a body of people on Long-Island were intrenching themselves professedly to oppose the Ameri'can system; that there was a body of tories in the city of NewYork waiting only for a force to protect them; and that the Jersey troops had been already ordered to that city. The measures to be taken being settled, the dispatches were got ready, and Capt. Sears set off with them, for Connecticut. [Jan. 8.] Gov. Trumbull was much pleased, got the committee of safety together, hastened the business, and col. Waterbury and col. Ward's regiments were raised and ready to march, by the time gen. Lee got to Stamford, within fifty miles of New-York, and near upon two hundred and fifty miles from Cambridge. Lee set off on the 11th; and when at New-Haven, one hundred and sixty miles distant, wrote on the 16th to Washington. "I shall send immediately an express to congress informing them of my situation and at the same time conjuring them not to suf fer the accursed provincial congress of New-York to defeat measures so absolutely necessary to our salvation." Many of the NewYork provincial congress (if not the majority) were adjudged real tories, some so deemed might be only timed whigs. By the 22d. gen. Lee had collected at Stamford 1200 Connecticut troops. The New-York committee of safety were very averse to his marching them into the city, and wrote to him upon the occasion. He answered with much prudence, judgment and resolution; and sent to the continental congress for advice. They directed him to repair to the city, and appoint three of their members to meet. him there, and advise with him on the measures proper to be pursued. He was detained at Stamford with the gout. The members from congress and col. Watery being at New-York, gen. Lee directed capt. Sears to take Waterbury's regiment, and march it immediately for the city. At King's-bridge he was met by a number of citizens, who intreated him to halt, for that the enemy had declared that if any troops came in, they would burn the city. Sears pleaded his orders, and marched on. When nearer the city he was applied to afresh, and strongly urged to remain at a distance from it; he observed, that neither the members of congress nor col. Waterbury, had sent him any orders; he therefore continued his march into the city. The citizens were in the utmost confusion, expecting the enemy would execute their threats, but they refrained. [Feb. 4.] Gen. Lee came on when able; and arrived at New-York in less than two hours after gen. Clinton arrived at the Hook, in the Mercury, toge
ther with a transport brig. Their arrival threw the city into such a convulsion as it never knew before. Though it was the Sabbath the inhabitants were engaged in moving away their effects the whole day, and continued it all night. Gen. Clinton sailed from Boston on the 19th, with a number of grenadiers and light infantry, as supposed for Virginia. He touched at the Hook, probably to consult gov. Tryon, and see whether any thing effec tual could be done to strengthen the British interest in New-York. After a short tarriance, he proceeded to the southward. Gen. Lee, upon his arrival gave out, If the men of war set one house on fire in consequence of my coming, I will chain a hundred of their friends together by the neck, and make the house their funeral pile." He would in all likelihood, have retaliated in some formidable manner. While Clinton remained at the Hook, various works were erected for the defence of the city. Nine days before his arrival, on the 26th of January, and a week after his sailing, care was taken to send over to Long-Island seven hundred of the Jersey militia, and three hundred of the Jersey regulars, to disarm those persons in Queen's county who opposed American liberty, and to secure their leaders, which was accomplished.
The congress, receiving information of the disaffection of the inhabitants of Tryon county, resolved upon disarming them, and providing for the future tranquility of those parts. They com mitted the business to gen. Scuyler. The general having no troops at Albany to carry into execution their resolutions, was under the necessity of communicating his business to the sub-committee of the county, after having administered an oath of secrecy. They contrived to call upon 700 militia; but so great was the zeal of the people, that they followed in such numbers (although the weather was cold in the extreme) that by the time he reached Caghnawaga, he had near 3000 men, including 900 of the Tryon county militia. [Jan. 16.]. On Tuesday the 16th, the general marched to Schenectady; and in the evening, a deputation from the Mohawk Indians delivered him a speech in a haughty tone, evidently calculated to prevent his proceeding to Sir John Johnson's, who was thought, or known to be making military preparations. Scuyler, in his answer told them, that he had full proof, that many people in Johnstown, and the neighbourhood thereof, had for a considerable time past made preparations to carry into execution the wicked design of the king's evil counsellors, and added, "We have no objection, nay, we wish that you and your warriors should be present to hear what we shall propose to Sir John, and the people in and about Johns
town, who are our enemies. But we beg of you to tell your warriors, that although we have no quarrel with them, yet if we should be under the disagreeable necessity of fighting with our enemies, and your warriors should join them and fight against us, that we will repel force by force." They replied and said," Brother Scuyler, the great man, attend. Every thing that has been said to us, brother, has been perfectly agreeable to us, &c." A letter was sent to Sir John Johnson, requesting a meeting with him the next day, and assuring him, that he and such persons whom he might choose to attend him, should pass safe and unmolested to the place where he might meet him, and from thence back to the place of his abode. Sir John accordingly met gen. Scuyler about sixteen miles beyond Schenectady accompanied by some of the leading Scotchmen, and two or three others, when proposals were made to him he begged time to answer until the next evening, to which Scuyler consented. [Jan. 18.] On Thursday the general approached within four miles of Johnstown. Sir John sent out answers to the proposals of the preceding day, which not being satisfactory, the general determined to march his troops to Johnson-hall, without delay: but gave Sir John till twelve at night to reconsider the matter, after which he would receive no proposals. At twelve an answer came from Sir John, in behalf of himself, the inhabitants of Kingsborough, and the neighbouring adjacent. It was agreed to deliver up all cannon, arms, and military stores whatsoever, that to his knowledge were in the country, a few favourite family arms excepted: that Şir * John, having given his parole of honour not to take up arms against America, shall confine himself to certain limits that the Scotch inhabitants shall surrender their arms, and the general may take any six prisoners from among them as he chooses, without resistance, to be treated however with humanity, and with all due deference to rank that the inhabitants shall give up their arms, and enter into like engagements with the Scotch inhabitants :and that all the men referred to in the above articles shall be paraded at Johnstown on Saturday at twelve o'clock, and ground their arms in the presence of such troops as the general nay appoint. These terms were agreed to, and on the next day general Scuyler marched to Johnstown. [Jan, 20.] On Saturday he drew up his men in the street; and the highlanders, between two and three hundied marched to the front where they grounded their arms. These secured the general dismissed them with an exhortation, pointing out the only conduct which could insure them protection. In the evening he returned to Cagnuage, leaving col. Herkimer and the committee of Tryon county to receive the arms of the remainder, and to fix on six of the principal leadC
ers to send to him. He expected that the whole disarmed, or to be disarmed, would amount to above six hundred. Gen. Scuyler's conduct was highly approved by congress: and those who accompanied him in the expedition were praised for their patriotic services.
The following detached articles of intelligence must not be omitted. In the first week in January, gov. Franklin's dispatches for the ministry were seized by lord Sterling's troops and sent to congress. About the middle of the month, the Jersey men descried a transport at sea. They procured several boats, and sailed in quest of her with four days provision. Lord Sterling commanded. Upon their coming up and along side of her, she was taken without any resistance, for the sailors swore they would not fight for common wages. The Americans are making saltpetre all over the continent, from New-Hampshire to Virginia, inclusively.
Let us return to the neigbourhood of Boston..
[Feb. 8.] Major Knowlton was dispatched with a hundred men to make an incursion into Charlestown, and burn a number of houses, that they might be no longer of service to the enemy.. He crossed the mill-dam upon the ice, between Cobble Hill and Bunker's Hill; and immediately proceeded down the street. on the westerly side of the last hill, and destroyed about ten hou ses, and brought off a few muskets. He performed the whole in less than an hour, without the loss of a single man killed or wounded, though the British garrison kept up a considerable fire of musketry from Bunker's Hill. This expedition. confounded the amusement carrying on in Boston, at the same instant.
The British soldiers were much afflicted with sickness and the scurvy, occasioned by the want of vegetables and fresh provisions, notwithstanding the powerful exertions made at home to throw in supplies. Many of the vessels, which were loaded in England. with live stock, vegetables and porter, had been either taken on the coast of America, or blown off to the West-Indies, by the severe north-west winds, which usually prevail during the winter months. Out of 40 sail of transports only eight had arrived. None of these things however hindred the officers from amusing themselves, all they could, in the present situation. They had their balls and theatre, that so they might forget themselves, while seemingly forgotten by their native country. It so happened that they had finished attending the Busy Body; and the scnes were changed, that the farce of the Blockade of Boston, said to be written by gen. Burgoyne, might be performed. The figure design÷ed for gen. Washington had just made his appearance (as we are tuld) upon the stage, with a large wig and long rusty sword, to
gether with his orderly serjeant, who had on his sholders a rusty gun seven feet long; now it was, that one of the regular serjeants came running on the stage, threw down his bayonet and called out lustily, the Yankees are attacking Bunker's Hill." They who were unacquainted with the farce, thought that this was a part of it, but when gen. Howe cried out, officers to your alarm posts, instead of mirth and laughing, there was shrieking, crying, fainting, &c.
The inhabitants of the town have been supplied with fresh provisions once in a while from Nova-Scotia. Within two days of the above affair, a sloop arrived with beef, poultry and hay, the hay sold for a guinea a hundred weight, the beef for one and six-pence the pound, geese nine shilling a piece, and other arti cles proportionably, in sterling money.
There was such a continued backwardness in the Americans to serve in the army, that gen. Washington was more and more convinced that it could never be raised to the new establishment by voluntary inlistments. [Jan 18.] Such was its present ine-quality to capital operations, that it was unanimously agreed in a council of war, to request thirteen regiments of militia to be at Cambridge by the first of February, and to remain if wanted to the last of March, that so a vigorous attempt might be made on the army at Boston, if practicable. The news of the unsuccess→ -ful attempt upon Quebec, and gen. Montgomery's death. [ Jan 24.] was publicly known not only in the American quarters but at Boston. Let me give you an account of the siege down to the latest intelligence from thence.
The garrison of Quebec, when gen. Montgomery appeared before it, consisted of col. Maclean's men, a hundred and seventy; a company of the seventh regiment, sixty; marines, forty; militia, about eight hundred; and seamen belonging to the king's frigates and to the merchant ships which wintered in the harbor, four hundred and fifty; in all, fifteen hundred and twenty. The general was at the head of upwards of eight hundred men† only so small was the force he brought with him, after leaving a corps at Montreal; and so much was Arnold's detachment reduced, by the return of col. Enoe's division and other unfavorable circumstances. Thus you see the besiegers were little more than half the garrison. Upon his appearing before the city he sent forward a flag of truce which was fired upon by order of Sir Guy Carleton; [Dec. 6, 1775.] at this gen. Montgomery was so provoked, that the next day he wrote to Sir Guy a letter, in which he departed from the common mode of conveying his sentiments,
General Montgomery's letter of December 18: