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and reminded him that many of the inhabitants of South Carolina had rendered themselves liable to military execution. It was impudent in Arnold to write, and imprudent in Sir Henry Clinton to transmit his letter; for it was the sure way to provoke André's fate; even although there had been an inclination to spare him. Arnold endeavoured to vindicate his conduct, by pleading hostility to the alliance with France; and he attempted to induce others to imitate his example, if it be admitted that he had a right to abandon the American standard; no plea can justify the attempt to employ the power committed to him for the ruin of those who had trusted him; some of whom, perhaps, had been encouraged by his example and incitement to take up arms against the British authority. The name of Arnold must go down to posterity, loaded with all the infamy of a traitor: and it were for the honour of human nature, and the common advantage of nations, if all governments would unite in manifesting their detestation of such villanies.
After the melancholy event now related, no military transactions of much importance were carried on in the north during the remainder of the campaign. On the 21st of November, indeed, Major Talmadge performed a brilliant exploit of desultory warfare. Being informed that the British had a large magazine of forage, at Coram on Long Island, protected by a small garrison at Fort St. George on South Haven, in its vicinity, he crossed the Sound where it was upwards of twenty miles broad; and, with nearly one hundred men, surprised the fort; made the garrison, upwards of fifty in number, prisoners; burnt the magazines at Coram; and, escaping the British cruisers, recrossed the Sound without losing a man. On the other hand, Major Carleton, at the head of one thousand men, Europeans, Indians, and loyalists, made a sudden irruption into the northern parts of the state of New York, took forts Anne and George, and made the garrisons prisoners. At the same time, Sir John Johnson, at the head of a body of a similar description, appeared on the Mohawk.
On the approach of winter, both armies went into winter quarters. General Washington stationed the Pennsylvania line near Morristown; the Jersey line, about Pompton, on the confines of New York and New Jersey; the troops of New England, in West Point and its vicinity, on both sides of the North River; while the troops of New York remained at Albany, whither they had been sent to oppose the invasion of Carleton and Johnson."
* Western World.
Towards the close of the year, an agreement for the exchange of prisoners was entered into between Generals Lincoln and Philips. Philips had been an American prisoner since the convention of Saratoga, and the former in the power of the British since the surrender of Charleston. Hitherto Congress had shown no forwardness to enter into arrangements for a general exchange of prisoners. That body was aware of the great expense of recruiting the British army from Europe, and the slender accession of strength which, owing to short enlistments, their own military force would derive from a release of prisoners. They considered a general exchange unfavourable to their cause; but many of the regular troops had fallen into the hands of the British, by the capitulation of Charleston, and the defeat of Gates at Camden. The complaints of the prisoners and of their friends were loud; and for that reason Congress found it expedient to agree to a general exchange; but the convention troops of Saratoga were detained prisoners till the end of the war.
We must now fulfil our promise to take a rapid view of those movements in the south which led to Lord Cornwallis's invasion of Virginia. That officer, it will be recollected, was left in command of the British army in the south, when General Clinton returned to New York (June 5th.) His force was four thousand men; his position the borders of North and South Carolina; his object the complete subjection of the southern states, which he considered a natural consequence of the fall of Savannah and Charleston.
Active hostilities were recommenced on July 12th, two months after the fall of Charleston; when one hundred and thirty-three of Colonel Sumpter's corps routed a detachment of royal forces and militia at Williamson's plantation. In consequence of this first advantage over the British since their landing, the inhabitants of South Carolina flocked to the American standard in such numbers, as in a few days to swell Sumpter's force to six hundred men. With these, he attacked a party of British at Rocky Mount; but being destitute of artillery, and the enemy well defended by their works, he was obliged to retreat. Sensible of the influence which action and excitement have upon militia, he fell upon another party, consisting of the Prince of Wales's regiment and some Tories. The British force was reduced from two hundred and seventy-three to nine, and the royalists dispersed.
UT while the southern people were gratified by these desultory victories, and by the news that a respectable continental force was marching to their assistance, difficulties arose from another source. The necessary supplies for the army were so long delayed that fears began to be entertained of their complete failure. This arose from the refusal of the manufacturers to deliver their articles without immediate payment. At length, after great exertions the Maryland and Delaware troops were enabled to move. Under the command of the Baron de Kalb, they marched through Pennsylvania and Jersey, embarked at the head of Elk, April 16th, landed at Petersburg, and thence proceeded toward South Carolina. Before commencing this last part of the route, the command was transferred to Major-general Gates, who, in consequence of his brilliant success in the north, had been selected by Congress to conduct the southern war. On assuming the command, this officer altered the baron's plan of a circuitous route, and decided upon taking the shortest road to Camden. This led through an open pine barren; and in their march the army were obliged to suffer under a burning sun, want of water and provisions, and the ravages of a wasting disease. Although there was, at first, some murmuring, and even indications of mutiny, yet, in general, the soldiers bore their sufferings patiently. On the 13th of August, they reached Clermont, thirteen miles from Camden, and were next day joined by a body of Virginia militia under General Stephens.
The first operation of General Gates was to publish a proclamation, inviting all citizens of the south to join the standard of their country, and promising forgiveness to those who, under the pressure of adverse circumstances, had united their arms with the British. This proclamation had considerable effect. The people had been insulted and ground down by a ruthless conqueror; and although prior to the arrival of the American army they had been to a great degree dormant, yet it was merely for want of an opportunity to display their real disposition. That opportunity they now improved.
On the approach of Gates, Lord Cornwallis hastened from Charleston to Camden, which he reached on the 14th. He found there a force of seventeen hundred infantry and three hundred cavalry. That of his adversary, including militia, was nearly four thousand men; but the regular force numbered only nine hundred infantry and seventy cavalry. Notwithstanding this disparity in numbers,
Cornwallis determined to give battle, and on the night of the 15th marched from Camden with his whole, force. The same night, Gates also left his camp, for the purpose of occupying a favourable position about eight miles from Camden. On the route, the advanced cavalry of Colonel Arnaud, flanked by light infantry, encountered the advance guard of the British, and a skirmish ensued in the early part of which the Maryland regiment was broken, and the whole line thrown into confusion. The Americans, however, rallied, and both armies continued to skirmish through the night. In this affair, Colonel Potterfield, commander of the light infantry and a very able officer, was wounded.
The general engagement was reserved for the next morning. At the first onset the American left wing, composed of Virginia militia, throwing down their arms, fled, and were followed by a part of those from North Carolina. The whole battle was now directed against the continental troops, who, notwithstanding the unworthy example of their comrades, coolly maintained their ground, and at one time had actually secured a number of prisoners.
On that disastrous day, the Americans lost the finest army ever concentrated in the Southern States. The enemy captured two hundred and ninety prisoners, only eighty-six of whom were militia, all the artillery, consisting of eight field-pieces, more than two hundred wagons, and the greater part of the baggage. Every American corps was broken and dispersed, and every officer separated from his command. The Baron de Kalb, while bravely fighting at the head of his command, was wounded and taken prisoner into Camden, where he next day died.
The loss of the royal army was also severe; and they owed the completeness of their victory solely to the cowardice of the militia, and to their own superiority in cavalry.
The defeat of Gates was followed by that of Sumpter, whose troops, being attacked by Colonel Tarleton, lost all their artillery, and a number of recently captured prisoners, and were themselves either killed, captured, or dispersed.
Toward the end of August, the wretched remains of the American army commenced their retreat towards Salisbury. That retreat was one of complicated sufferings. The wounded were too numerous to be carried. Even those who had escaped the sword were drooping with sickness; pain, anxiety, hurry, and confusion, brooded over their gloomy journey. Soon after their arrival at Salisbury, General Gates went to Hillsborough to devise plans, in
concert with the North Carolina authorities, for the renewal of operations.
Though the victory at Camden had given Lord Cornwallis complete ascendency over the south, yet, from the heat of the season and the sickness of his troops, he was restrained from improving it by active hostilities. Determined, however, to punish the temerity and rebellion of those who had resisted the royal forces, he issued orders that all the inhabitants of the province who had submitted, and who had taken part in this revolt, should be punished with the greatest rigour; that they should be imprisoned, and their whole property taken from them or destroyed,” and that "every militia-man who had borne arms with the British, and afterwards joined the Americans, should be put to death." These were the results of the favourite theory of his lordship, that his contest was not with an independent nation, but with outlaws and rebels.
Notwithstanding the execution of several, under these orders, together with a large confiscation of property, many most respectable citizens resisted every temptation to resume the character of British subjects. They were consequently deprived of their homes and property, and shipped to St. Augustine. General Moultrie remonstrated against their removal, as contrary to the terms of the capitulation of Charleston; but his remonstrance was disregarded.
Thus, the cause of southern freedom had become one of poverty, exile, and ruin. But though numbers forfeited their patriotism, there were some illustrious characters, whom losses could not dishearten, threats intimidate, nor suffering change. To make their country happy, they sacrificed their own happiness; to redeem her from poverty, they themselves became poor; and cheerfully embraced chains and exile, that their example might assist in the emancipation of America.
Even the ladies became martyrs. They visited the prison-ships in order to solace the suffering captives. At the evening assemblies, the gay conqueror was passed by unheeded; but the American officer, though a prisoner, was loaded with marks of attention and respect; and when, in the progress of the war, they, as well as their husbands and brothers, were commanded from their native country, they cheerfully followed them even to distant regions.
The success of Lord Cornwallis once more inspired the British ministry with the hope of subjugating America. That body confidently asserted that such troops as fought at Camden, conducted by the same general, would soon extirpate rebellion so effectually as to leave no vestige of it in America. But a second Saratoga