General Washington, by Bradley T. Johnson, Chapter 13

Washington and Lee University

General Washington

By General Bradley T. Johnson

CHAPTER XIII.

ARNOLD AND ANDRÉ—THE FRENCH AGAIN.

DURING this period occurred an incident which tested Washington’s character as much as any incident of his illustrious career—the episode of the treason of Arnold and the execution of André. If in the summer of 1775, before Boston, during the ensuing winter before Quebec, or after the campaign of Saratoga, any officer of rank in the Continental army had been requested to name the soldier who would most distinguish himself for gallant achievement, and who would win the largest, most enduring reputation among all his comrades, he would beyond doubt have selected Benedict Arnold, of Connecticut. Of a superb figure, generous feelings, chivalric carriage, strikingly handsome features, he was “the bravest of the brave,” and at once attracted the attention of the commander in chief, and so deeply impressed him that he intrusted him with the important command of the expedition through the snows and rocks and forests and torrents of Maine to the capture of Quebec.

The intelligence, the fortitude, the perseverance with which Arnold prosecuted this expedition entirely justified the confidence and judgment of Washington. He would have taken Quebec had he not been wounded and Montgomery killed at the same moment of their assault of this fortress. Arnold was taken prisoner, and, after the loss of more than a year of his military career, exchanged, and returned to duty while the army was before New York. At the investment of and attack on and capitulation by Burgoyne, Arnold had acted the most brilliant part; and his leadership, his gallantry, his spirit, more than that of any one man, had held the American lines to their work and showed them the way to victory. He was wounded there again, and, instead of being thanked or promoted, was snubbed by the Congress and ignored by the Board of War. His juniors were jumped over his head, and his feelings mortified by constant slights.

Washington had a warm feeling for the brilliant, handsome soldier, and sympathized deeply with his mortification. To soothe his feelings and mark his appreciation of him, while his wound disqualified him from service in the field he ordered him to the command of Philadelphia. He ought to have known that Arnold was not the man for such duty. To be the military governor of a city in time of war, when it was necessary to enforce the civil law with military force and control the troops by martial law, requires a mixture of coolness, patience, tact, sagacity, and firmness that Arnold did not possess. And when the civil population to be governed is divided into fierce factions by race, religion, or politics, the difficulties are ten thousand times multiplied.

The selection of Arnold for such duty was probably the most injudicious possible. Arnold had been born and bred in a social sphere entirely different from that to which his rank as brigadier general introduced him. He had been a druggist and bookseller in Hartford, Conn. Social position and attentions are over-valued by those who have never possessed or enjoyed them, and when Arnold assumed command in Philadelphia, he was immediately inordinately influenced by the consideration of a rich, luxurious, highly refined society. Probably a soldier is controlled by no force as completely, as suddenly, and as temporarily as that of beautiful, cultivated, and rich women. To a man from Arnold’s sphere of life the habit of command, the assertion of authority, the consummate ability to direct and control men and affairs displayed by them, is a revelation. He had never seen such women in the sphere from which he came, and he had never imagined that such women could exist. His mother, sisters, cousins were good, industrious, faithful housewives; but women who could talk intelligently with the most intelligent men on the topics of which the latter were masters; whose information was as large as that of men; whose business it was to know; whose judgment of character and of motives was instinctive and unerring, were creatures of a world of which Benedict Arnold had no conception.

Forces which overwhelmed Arnold would have passed unfelt over Charles Lee, Laurens, or Hamilton. The highly organized, subtle, irresistible influence of the social machine known as “society” enveloped, permeated, absolutely controlled the plain Connecticut farmer’s son. As commanding officer of the principal city of America, which in wealth, luxury, fashion, and style far surpassed all others; which during the preceding year had been entertaining the gentlemen and nobility who were with the army under Sir William Howe and Sir Henry Clinton, Arnold occupied a conspicuous place. His rank drew to him social attention that required handsome quarters, uniforms, coaches, liveries, horses, balls, and dinners. He took the Penn palace, the handsomest residence in the city, on the pay of a brigadier general. Women always attack the commander of the invading force, and when the American brigadier assumed command of the Continental capital the court circle measured him at once, and captured him without a struggle on his part or theirs. He was handsome, he was vain, he was brave, he was generous; what easier prey would a beautiful woman want, and who could be quicker made captive?

The belles of Sir William’s staff, the dames of the ridiculous mock tournament with which belles and beaux had complimented his departure, overwhelmed the new commander with attentions and flattery. “At Arnold’s balls were not only ‘common Tory women’ (notoriously loyal ladies), but the wives and daughters of Tories who were even then in arms against their country in the invader’s camp in New York,” wrote Joseph Reed, President of the Council of Pennsylvania. But, worse than that, Miss Margaret Shippen, one of the Tory beauties who had been one of the ladies “of the blended rose” at the Howe Mischianza, had captured Arnold on sight. She agreed to marry him for then, as before and since it has been deemed wise and prudent for people on debatable ground to have hostages to fortune on either side, and in the doubt between rebellion or victory, revolution or glory, it was good for the Shippens, a solid Tory family, to have a daughter, wife of one of the most distinguished rebel generals. The proposed alliance still further enraged the Philadelphia Whigs, and through Joseph Reed, and his council, they were not long in making their fangs felt, besides their hiss.

The Congress had made five major generals over Arnold’s head, on the excuse that Connecticut already had two. Not one of them compared in service, in talents, in ability, or in achievement with Arnold, and he naturally and properly resigned. Washington induced him to withhold his resignation for the present, and he then proceeded to organize a settlement of old soldiers in western New York in cooperation with George Clinton, his comrade of Stillwater and Saratoga, on lands granted him by the Legislature of New York. While thus engaged in preparing to withdraw from the military service, the President and Council of Pennsylvania preferred charges against him to the Congress, for peculation, extortion, and misbehavior in his office of Military Governor of Philadelphia, and directed copies of the charges to be forwarded to the Governor of each State.

Arnold promptly returned to Philadelphia and demanded an investigation, which was given him by a committee of Congress. The committee reported him not guilty, on all the specifications except the improper use of some army wagons to haul private property out of danger, and irregularity in granting a pass. This was a triumph for Arnold, but Reed and the council preferred new charges on the allegation of newly discovered evidence. The Congress referred the charges to the Council and Assembly of Pennsylvania, and they were eventually brought before a court-martial, April 3, 1779. Reed secured delay to gather evidence, and the charges and court hung over his head until December of that year. Miss Shippen, like a high-spirited and warm-hearted woman, promptly took place by her lover’s side and married him, in the face of the charges, the court, and the Congress, thus testifying her faith in him and her contempt for them. During all this harassing delay General Arnold was in Philadelphia, with nothing to do but wait on his mistress and wife.

The French alliance was genuinely distasteful to him, as it was to very many ardent patriots. Nothing but absolute, dire, pressing, extreme necessity, and the conduct of the English Administration at home and their Hessian allies here, reconciled the English in America to an alliance with their hereditary foes to fight against their own flesh and blood. The change of the issue of the war, from a resistance for reform to a war for disunion, also had alienated some and cooled many patriots. This was particularly so in Philadelphia. Arnold had no Whig associates. The members of Congress from the Southern States were all gentlemen, as were many of them from the Middle States and some from New England. Arnold was a vulgarian, a snob cutis et in cute. He believed that fine clothes, fine style, luxurious living made the highest type of men and women, and he imitated them. The gentlemen of the Congress—plain men like Madison, of Virginia; simple-minded, frank men like Carroll, of Maryland, or Laurens, of South Carolina—were not congenial to this swelling, roysterer, nor they to him. He was thrown more and more under the influence of the Tory society of his wife’s family. It is beyond a doubt that neither she nor they ever imagined, stimulated, or participated in the turpitude which was being conceived and transacted by Arnold under cover of their hospitality.

The Tories of the Revolution for these three
generations have been held up to universal execration
in America, but surely it is time now to see
something of their side of the quarrel. They embraced
the clergy of the Church of England almost
without exception, the great landholders of New
York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, and the devoted
Jacobite population of the Carolinas. The
education, the wealth, the culture of the Middle
States was largely on the side of the Crown. For
five years the revolutionary government of New
York dared not call a General Assembly, for fear
that it would make terms with Colonel William
Tryon, the Royal Governor; and members of Congress
from Pennsylvania were open in their expressions
of desire for peace.

Loyalty in its highest form—devotion to duty, absolutely regardless of consequences—exhibited itself; and to this day, in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, people may be found, descendants of American Tories, who look back with longing eyes to the lovely homes their ancestors gave up for their duty and their faith. With Arnold in the state of mind produced by the unjust, malignant Whig attack of General Reed and his associates, he irresistibly turned to the other side—the side where honor was cherished, valor rewarded, and great achievement recognized.

Between Philadelphia and New York there were a thousand underground channels of communication. During the war between the States the fashion papers were received as regularly in Richmond, though not as promptly, as in Washington; and in 1779 there was no difficulty, and little danger, in having letters delivered in either place from the other. Here Arnold began to write letters to Sir Henry Clinton, inquiring what terms could be made by an American officer of rank, who was disgusted at the Declaration of Independence and the French alliance. The intrigue was turned over by Clinton to Major John André, his adjutant general and general manager. André was the adroit man about headquarters. He knew everything, and was appealed to by everybody, on every subject. His mind turned instinctively to intrigue, and he was an adept in its arts, trained by natural tendency and personal experience.

At the siege of Charleston, Clinton sent him into the beleaguered city as a spy, and he remained there undetected until its surrender and the capitulation of Lincoln’s army. He represented himself as a Virginian officer of the Virginian line. He resided at the house of Edward Shrewsberry, a respectable citizen suspected of disloyalty to the patriot side, and after the capitulation was introduced by Shrewsberry to his friends as Major André. The proof of this is set forth in detail in William Johnson’s Life of Greene, and was derived by the author, a justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, and son of a patriot, from contemporary authority and personal testimony. Therefore when the anonymous letters, signed “Gustavus,” came to headquarters, Major André was the party qualified to answer them. As “John Anderson,” he conducted the correspondence during the summer of 1779, until he accompanied Clinton on his Southern expedition, when he made his little excursion into the domain of the secret service and lived in Charleston as a spy. Returning from Charleston, he resumed the correspondence between “Gustavus” and “John Anderson.” On January 26, 1780, the court-martial had found Arnold guilty of the same specifications as the former committee of Congress had determined against him, and sentenced him to be reprimanded in general orders. Washington’s reprimand was conveyed as mildly as it was possible for language to express it. Of course it only further inflamed Arnold.

All history showed that in a civil war parties to it, high and low, generals and privates, constantly changed sides. It was not desertion. It was only a change of opinion, necessarily required by a change of condition. Monk had done it, Marlborough had done it; why not Arnold? The event justified the act, if success crowned the move. This was the line of reflection forced on Arnold by circumstances. But, bold, blatant, and bankrupt as he was in fortune and in fame, a simple desertion was not enough. He aspired to the highest rewards, and he proposed to earn them by the most superlative infamy. He applied to Washington for the command of West Point, on the ground that it was due to soothe his wounded honor, lacerated by the courtmartial, its decision, and the reprimand; and he did this with the distinctly formed purpose in his mind of selling his post for money! No such idea was conceivable by the high-bred and high-minded Tories of the Shippen family or the Philadelphia society of which it was the leader. Such an idea could only have been conceived in the base mind of the Connecticut village apothecary and bookseller, admitted solely on account of his rank into the association of ladies and gentlemen.

Washington ought to have known better. He was a good judge of men, as his appreciation of Greene and Lafayette, of Gates and Conway showed. But he was imposed upon by the showy qualities of the conqueror of Ticonderoga and the leader of the forlorn hope against Quebec. At the bottom of it all lay the feeling of sympathy for the wronged, the ardent desire to heal a soldier’s wounded honor. He assigned Arnold to the command of West Point, with the distinct understanding with him that it was the key of the Revolution. This key Arnold promptly arranged to sell to Sir Henry Clinton.

“John Anderson” (André) and “Gustavus” (Arnold) met at Haverstraw below West Point to agree upon the details of what was to be sold and what was to be paid. An American battery on the right bank of the Hudson soon drove down stream the sloop of war which had brought André up from New York for the conference. Thus left in the American lines by his escort, in disguise, he was supplied with a suit of citizens’ clothes and rode for the British lines all night. About daylight his guide left him, and shortly after he fell into the hands of a patrol from Arnold’s command, who carried him to their superior officer. The papers found on Andre fully disclosed the proposed betrayal. They were sent by express to Washington that morning returning from an interview with De Rochambeau at Newport, and, by curious but honest stupidity, the American officer forwarded to Arnold a letter from André.

The express to Washington missed him on the road. The letter to Arnold found him and the staff of Washington at breakfast at the Beverley House. The latter had stopped to examine the fortifications on the other side of the river. Arnold rose from the table, passed out, mounted a horse standing saddled and bridled by chance at the door, and rode for his life to the British vessel below. He succeeded in reaching it just about the time Washington reached West Point. Arnold in a word had disclosed his project and his danger to his wife. The captured dispatches sent to Washington followed him and were delivered to Hamilton before Washington’s arrival. He met his chief coming from the river to the house and informed him of the treachery and escape of Arnold. Washington dispatched Hamilton to intercept Arnold at Verplanck’s Point, but he was too late. Prompt orders were sent out to collect the troops and put the post on the qui vive.

Arnold’s treachery was the severest blow that Washington received during the whole war. His relation toward Charles Lee was not one of trust and confidence. It was controlled by his supreme sense of justice, for Lee was next in rank to himself, and it was proper that he should be treated with the greatest consideration. But he did trust Arnold. He admired and loved him. He was a brilliant, dashing soldier and an able general, and he sympathized deeply with him at the injustice inflicted on him by the Congress. The jealousies and bickerings of Reed and the Pennsylvania Whigs, and their attacks on Arnold, jarred on his feelings. They had sympathized too much with the Board of War and the Conway intrigue, in impatience at the strategy of “our modern Fabius,” for him to appreciate their distrust of the “bravest of the brave.” It was now clear to him that the instincts of the Congress and the Pennsylvanians about Arnold’s character were wise, just, and correct, and that he had been utterly mistaken.

His confidence in his own judgment was shaken to the core. Whom could he trust? Who was true? By what intrigues was he surrounded? Gates was an Englishman, and had been an enlisted soldier; Steuben, De Kalb—all held important commands, and may have been shaken by the failing fortunes of the Colonial Confederacy. Members of Congress were, he knew, dissatisfied with him. How far had that feeling extended, and how many were in British pay? All these questions rose darkly for answer, but his indomitable soul never quailed.

Major John André was Sir Henry Clinton’s chief of staff. He had been caught as a spy, and was ordered before a court-martial composed of the ranking officers of the American army, Lafayette being one. A spy is not entitled to a trial. He may, by the law of war, be shot or hung in flagrante delicto. He can not surrender. He may not make himself a prisoner of war. Now, the service of a spy may be patriotic; it may be valuable; it requires courage; but it is never the honorable service of a soldier. No commanding officer can order his subordinate, commissioned or enlisted, to doff his uniform and penetrate the enemies’ lines, pretending to be a friend and betray them. The dangers from spies are so great that everywhere, in all wars, in all ages, the penalty of detection has been death. One single spy may destroy a movement, neutralize a combination of one hundred thousand men, paralyze an army, and defeat a campaign. He may cost tens of thousands of lives and many millions of money. Therefore the doom of the spy discovered is death—swift, sure, sudden death. Major André was found guilty and condemned to death. He had played a great game and had lost it, paying the penalty; and no just man, British or American, can ever blame the American commander in chief for directing the execution of the judgment of the court-martial. André was a bright, handsome, accomplished young gentleman. He had been a toast with the loyal belles of Philadelphia during the occupation. Every effort, appeal, threat was made by the British general to save his staff officer. But the South Carolina members of Congress knew of André’s spy exploits in Charleston, and they alone would have prevented pardon or commutation of his sentence, even if his crime had not been such as to preclude all possibility of mercy.

André had gone into his enemy’s lines under the sacred protection of a flag of truce. He had used his inviolability to arrange a perfidy which might have wrecked the cause of a whole people. It would have cost confiscations, prosecutions, hangings innumerable if it had succeeded, as he and his colleague in crime hoped and intended. It failed, and he died for it. As Washington said, he was captured as a spy, he was tried as a spy, he was convicted as a spy, and he was executed as a spy. He might, under the law, have been hanged five minutes after he was delivered by the patrol to their officer on post. But he was fairly tried and justly convicted and executed. Washington never afterward, in conversation, mentioned Arnold’s name. In a letter to Greene he expressed the opinion that Benedict Arnold was of so low and base a nature that he did not think he suffered from his dishonor.

After the failure at Newport other feelings had to be appeased as well as the French, for New Englanders had susceptibilities as sensitive as those of the Gaul. Sullivan—ardent, high-spirited, generous, chivalric—felt he refusal of D’Estaing at Newport like misbehavior in the presence of the enemy, and he said so in private and in public, in conversation and in orders to the troops. And on the drop of a glove he would have justified his language and his opinions with his own sword against D’Estaing or any French officer of proper rank on any turf about Newport or around Boston. For gentlemen—Puritan and Cavalier, French and English—in that generation believed it the duty of every one to back his opinion with his arm, and to defend his honor with his life.

Lafayette was the kinsman of D’Estaing, and he would have challenged Sullivan, but Lafayette belonged to the family of Washington, and Sullivan had saved Washington’s life at Germantown. Kinsmen fought for kinsmen, friends for friends, staff officers for their chiefs. General John Cadwalader challenged and fought General Thomas Conway because the latter had written disrespectfully of the commander in chief. Colonel John Laurens challenged and fought Charles Lee for a similar offense against his chief. But the influence of Washington composed the quarrel, held Lafayette in check, and made him an active peacemaker between the discordant elements. He prevented hostilities, if he could not restore cordial feelings. Besides these jars between subordinates, there was a chill in the highest quarters. It had been much discussed in Paris as one of the conditions of the alliance and the auxiliary force, that the whole should be under French command. It was not conceivable, much less permissible, that a marshal of France, a lieutenant general in the army of his most Christian Majesty, should be subordinate to a militiaman, a rough backwoods hunter, scout, and bushwhacker. But Franklin, with intuitive sagacity, insisted that if the French went, they should go as assistants and not as leaders. He did not possess the feelings or the experience of Washington on this subject.

Washington’s whole life, as also that of his father and grandfather, had been spent in a struggle against the French for the Ohio, and he never divested himself of the fear or the suspicion that if the French power was too prominent or too predominant in securing independence from Great Britain, the Canadians would gladly rush to their old allegiance, to which they were bound by ties of blood and religion, and who had been separated from their mother country only fifteen years before by the Treaty of Paris. The sagacity of Franklin and the firmness of Washington saved the continent from the re-establishment of French influence here, and many woes. It so happened that the French never accomplished anything substantial, by land or by water, from their appearance in the summer of 1778 until the campaign of Yorktown, in October, 1781, where French assistance was decisive. The large force of five thousand men was landed, and co-operated with the Continental army, but the fleets were cruising up and down in quest of “glory,” and undertaking enterprises independent of the strategy of the commander in chief. D’Estaing made an attack on Savannah and failed, the second French attempt thus proving disastrous, and then he sailed away for the West Indies.

Sir Henry Clinton withdrew his detachment from Rhode Island and concentrated everything at New York. The British strategy of the war abandoned New England, and with it further effort to seize the line of the Hudson and thus cut off the head of the rebellion. It was believed that something might be done in the South, where population was sparse, where slavery partly paralyzed military resistance, and where loyalty, not more extensive than in the Middle States of New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, was more belligerent and aggressive; where the friends of the old order backed their opinion with their blood, their lives, and their fortunes. There was not as large a percentage of Tories in the Carolinas as in Pennsylvania or New York, but the former believed in standing up for their principles, regardless of cost; the latter were opposed to disorder, disturbance, or trouble of any kind for any cause. Therefore, Lord George Germaine and the ministry at home determined to try the plan of cutting off around the edges, that of dividing through the center and across vital parts having utterly failed.

Washington, during the winter of 1778–’79, had become persuaded that the war in the North was over. After four years campaigning the British occupied their camp on Staten Island, less than when Gage had evacuated Boston. The year 1779 was one without hope, without energy, without fortune to the Americans. The French auxiliaries had paralyzed the State governments. The people at home supposed that the coming of the army and navy of the grand monarch settled the business; for, with true provincial training and ideas, they exaggerated the high qualities of the great people on the other side of the ocean, whose generals were marquises and earls, counts and barons.

The French alliance was of real detriment for a time, and exertion by the States, and by the people who constituted the States, almost ceased and died out. The finances flickered out as public credit burned lower and lower, until the currency issued by Congress, being paper promises to pay bearer, stipulated amounts in money, became absolutely worthless. The idea of declaring that a piece of paper was money, and of fixing its value by act of Congress, had not then been born. The pay of the troops amounted to nothing, but even that was not given to them. In the winter of 1778–’79 the New Jersey regiments refused to march until they received their pay—five months in arrears. They got it.

In the spring the Connecticut line mutinied for their pay, followed by the Pennsylvania line. Washington reduced these troops to discipline by prompt firmness; but when a newly enlisted Pennsylvania regiment had the audacity to follow the example of its elders, on tap of drum he put it down, and hung two of the mutineers. He sympathized with the old soldiers, whose patience had been worn out by starvation, nakedness, disease, and marches; they were brought to their senses by reason and vigorous force firmly applied. But for a set of green recruits, who had never smelled powder, or marched barefoot, or lain out in the snow and mud, or been without meat for three days, or without meat or bread for two—for such fellows to complain was pure impudence. He hung some to satisfy the others. It did satisfy them! The whole year was taken up with appeals to the States to strengthen the Congress, and to the Congress to brace up the army.

Washington saw how the Congress was deteriorating year by year. He entreated Henry to re-enforce Richard Henry Lee, who was bearing on his shoulders the support of Washington and the army in Congress. It has been suggested that for some unknown reason Lee became estranged from him, and it has been intimated that he sympathized with, if he did not actually participate in, the conspiracy of “the cabal.” This is an error that in justice to a great soul should be corrected. Richard Henry Lee and Washington had been comrades from boyhood. Their mothers were friends before them, and to the day that death separated them their mutual respect, affection, and devotion knew no check nor chill.

During the summer Sir Henry Clinton occupied Stony Point, on the left bank of the Hudson below West Point, and Paulus Hook, where Jersey city now is, to give him control of a reach of the river and secure his communications with his friends in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and the South.

Washington was dissatisfied with the operation of the French alliance. It accomplished nothing, and rather weakened the Continentals than aided them. He sent Lafayette—whom he appreciated as a gentleman, a soldier, a man of ability, and a true friend—to France to secure more troops and closer co-operation. He made Lafayette understand that the war was over in the North, and must be decided in the South. Unless that section was redeemed, the probabilities were that with acknowledgment of the independence of the Northern States would come the re-establishment of the Spaniards in possession of Florida and all the great territory from the mouth of the Cape Fear to the Mississippi. She already possessed the continent from the Mississippi to the Pacific, and such an end of the struggle would put her astride, from the Atlantic to the Pacific, of the continent from which France had been expelled only fifteen years before. If France wished to avert such a result, she must join Washington in saving the South by a campaign in which he must have the earnest, loyal co-operation of a French fleet on the sea and a French army on the land.

Washington sent General Lincoln to South Carolina to take command, with distinct and emphatic instructions that at every cost he was to save his army; under no circumstances was he to lose it. The possession of posts, positions, or lines he was too great a soldier to value. The army was the vital force; it was the right arm, the sword, to be wielded by intelligent courage; and the absolute ultimate, final necessity to the cause was to keep an army in the field at all times. In June, 1780, Lincoln lost Charleston and surrendered his army, directly contrary to the mature views and distinct orders of the commander in chief. The conquest of the South seemed secure. Georgia was already reconstructed, and South Carolina must soon be. General “Mad” Anthony Wayne surprised and captured Stony Point, as Lee did Paulus Hook, and Sir Henry was again pushed back to Manhattan Island.

In July, 1780, a French fleet arrived, with an army of six thousand men under command of General Count De Rochambeau, who was to report, and did report, to the headquarters of the American army, as distinctly subordinate to it and within its command. This was of enormous service, as it removed at once all the paralyzing influence of disputes and jealousy about rank and command. The French contingent were no longer allies. They were part of the American army and navy, and, like it, subject solely to the control of the American commander in chief.

The Southern campaign had become the turning point of the war. Washington dared not leave New York nor the Congress. If Sir Henry escaped from his control he might do serious damage along the Hudson and up the Mohawk Valley; but if the Congress once got away from him, it was certain to bring on disaster, so he could not go South. The best man he had was Greene, the Rhode Island blacksmith, who during the four years of experience, observation, and meditation had matured into a great soldier. Greene, disgusted with Congress, had, in July, 1780, resigned his place as quartermaster general, and had gone home. Washington recalled him into the service. He was thoroughly imbued with Washington’s ideas of the strategy of the war—that he must never hold on to a place so as to risk his army; he must avoid pitched battles, but wear his enemy out by marching, by alarms, and by disease. He was to entice Cornwallis, who was in Charleston, to leave his base, and draw him into the interior. The Briton breathed the sea air; he lived on the salt breeze; the fresh blasts from the mountains would wither his energy and paralyze his vigor.

Cornwallis was to be drawn far enough into the interior to cut his communications, then to be surrounded by a blazing circle of militia, and, thus isolated, destroyed. Or, if that failed, and he stuck to tide water, he was to be fastened there until the French fleet could blockade him from his base and the open sea, and the allied armies could be concentrated on him to force a capitulation and end the war. This strategy was thought out and discussed thoroughly with Greene. Cornwallis must be drawn North, so as to enable the concentration of the Northern army from New York with the Southern army from Carolina. General Greene went South, took charge of the débris of Gates, reorganized and reconstructed an army-the basis of it being the veterans of the Maryland line-and assumed command at Charlotte.

Morgan, affronted at the slights of the Board of War—who constantly promoted his juniors over his head—had also resigned and gone home to the valley of Virginia, but Camden brought him to life at once. “It was no time to think of rank,” he said; “the country was in danger, and every man must help to save it.” The Virginians rallied around him. The remnant of the Maryland line, consolidated into three regiments of about one hundred each, was as bright and as highly tempered as a Toledo blade, in charge of Colonel John Eager Howard. The militia of the two Carolinas formed a body of mounted gunmen well adapted for rapid movement and bush fighting, entirely unequal to closed ranks and leveled bayonets in the open field. With these commanders—Greene, Morgan, Howard, Lee—and such troops, Washington commenced the first moves in the last stage of his great game.

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