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treasury were all in a state of exhaustion. Large bounties had been offered for recruits, but the army received no increase, and Washington was compelled to look quietly on, while parties of the enemy were scouring and desolating the country around him. In this situation it was a thunderstroke to Congress, to be told, that the prospect of peace depended upon their consenting to give up something of their demands, while at the same time they could not avoid perceiving, that his most christian majesty was growing tired of his share in the protraction of the contest. They thought they discovered a mystery in the suggestions of the French Minister concerning a tacit acknowledgement on the part of Great Britain, of the independence of the United States, and they desired him to explain his meaning, which he did by referring them to the cases of the Swiss Cantons, and the United Provinces of Holland, in neither of which had their sovereignty been explicitly acknowledged by their former masters, though treaties had been made with both as independent states. These were precedents, he thought, which Great Britain would be inclined to following with regard to America.
Whatever they may have thought of M. Gerard's explanation, Congress now began to see the necessity of directing all their energies to the vigorous prosecution of the war. Retaliation again became the order of the day: inefficient as this threat had proved, in putting a stop to the savage mode in which the enemy had chosen to carry on the war, still it gave some relief to the feelings of horrour excited by their cruelties, and served as a stimulus to general exertion. The ignominious treatment which had been inflicted by the enemy on a Captain Cunningham, who had
been captured in a private armed vessel, in the West Indies, brought to New York, and thence ordered to be sent to Great Britain, produced a resolution on the part of Congress to retaliate his treatment upon one or more prisoners within their power, unless a satisfactory explanation should be given to them within two weeks. On the 19th of August, having received accounts of the destruction committed at Fairfield and other places, they resolved, "That the marine committee be instructed to take the most effectual means to carry into execution the manifesto of October 30th, 1778, by burning and destroying the towns belonging to the enemy, in Great Britain and the West Indies."
On the 26th of July, they passed a vote of thanks to General Washington "for the vigilance, wisdom and magnanimity with which he had conducted the military operations of the States," and to General Wayne for his gallant attack and capture of Stony Point. To the latter a gold medal emblematick of the action was also voted. Proper notice was taken of the two brave officers who led the van, Lieutenant Colonel Fleury and Major Stewart, to each of whom a silver medal, of the same device as that ordered for General Wayne, was voted. The two Lieutenants Gibbons and Knox, who had heroically devoted themselves to the dangerous conduct of the avant-guards, received the brevet commissions of captain. Nor was Congress unmindful of the troops in their distribution of favours; they directed an accurate estimation to be made of the military stores taken, and the value in money to be divided among the soldiers. Thus did they endeavour to cherish and reward the military spirit of their officers and soldiers.
A few days after his last conference with Congress, M. Gerard obtained permission to return to France, on account of his bad health, and was succeeded by the Chevalier de la Luzerne. Having thus brought down the proceedings of Congress to the period of the latest military operations related, we shall now revert to the situation of the two armies in the South.
Events of 1779 continued- The Count D'Estaing arrives on the coast of Georgia with the French fleet.-Lands his army, and is joined by General Lincoln before Savannah.-The Siege of Savannah The Confederate Generals attempt to storm the works and are repulsed.-Count Pulaski is mortally woundedThe Siege is raised and the allied armies retreat.-Count D'Estaing sails for the West Indies-Extraordinary enterprise of Colonel WhiteExpedition of Colonel Clarke against Lieutenant Governour Hamilton-Of Colonel Goose Van SchaickGeneral Sullivan sent against the Six Nations.-Attacks the Indians and Tories at Newtown, and suffers them to escapeLays waste the Indian Country, and returns to Head Quarters.-Resigns his commission.—Brandt destroys the Minisink Settlements-Captain MDonald captures Freland's FortExpedition of General Williams against the Creeks.-Spain declares War against England-Expedition of the Spanish Governour of Louisiana, and his recognition of American Independence.
We have shown that the British General Prevost, after having marched almost without opposition from Savannah to the metropolis of South Carolina, and refusing the most advantageous treaty of neutrality offered by its inhabitants, withdrew his forces without venturing an assault and retired to his possessions in Georgia. The intense heat of the season which immediately succeeded, put a stop to all active operations in both armies, and for several months, General Lincoln had full leisure to prepare for the renewal of the campaign. Knowing from the situation of Washington, that it was not in his power to spare any considerable reinforcements from his army, and being convinced from the feeble condition of the enemy,
that a small auxiliary force would enable him to compel General Prevost to relinquish his conquest in the South, General Lincoln, in concert with Governour Rutledge and the French Consul at Charleston, wrote to the Count D'Estaing, who still remained with his fleet in the West Indies, urging him to join in the proposed enterprise. The Count, always ready to obey the calls of duty or of honour, instantly prepared to set sail for the American coast, where he arrived on the 1st of September with forty-one sail, haying on board ten regiments, amounting to about 6000 Two ships of the line and three frigates, having on board Major General Fontanges, were sent in advance to Charleston, to announce his approach, and to afford an opportunity for the Governour and General Lincoln to concert a plan of operations with the French General.
The unexpected appearance of the French fleet produced no little alarm to the British naval force on the Georgia station. Three of their ships, ignorant of the Count's approach until too late to escape, fell into his hands; and the rest sought their safety by running up the Savannah river. Governour Rutledge took the most prompt and active measures to collect and embody the militia, which joined the American General, by regiments, as they came in; while at the same time he afforded all the facilities in his power to the French Admiral, for landing his troops by sending off to his fleet, the shallops and small vessels that could be collected. The Count D'Estaing landed three thousand of his men at Beaulieu on the 13th of September, which were joined on the 15th by Pulaski's Legion.