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1781.]

MUTINY OF PENNSYLVANIANS.

275

At this period of the war, the sufferings of the army had approached the utmost limits of human endurance. Always ill provided with clothing, the soldiers were sometimes also without food; and at this time, twelve months' pay was due to them. In these particulars, all the army had a common cause of complaint. But the Pennsylvania line urged that they had enlisted for three years, or the war, and that they were entitled to their discharge after the expiration of that term; while their officers insisted that they should serve till the end of the war. The result was, that the troops broke out into open mutiny on the first of January, 1781; and in the efforts to put it down, a captain was killed, and several officers dangerously wounded. Wayne, a favorite with the army, and a Pennsylvanian by birth, interposed without effect. At length the whole body marched towards Princeton. On a further interposition of Wayne, they stated their demands, which were referred to the civil authority. Washington had not with him then a sufficient force to reduce the mutineers to submission, and did not deem it safe to quit West Point. Meanwhile Sir Henry Clinton was disposed to profit by the mutiny. He despatched emissaries to negotiate with the revolters; but they indignantly replying that they were not "Arnolds," seized the emissaries, and communicated their proposals to Wayne, with expressions of detestation of those proposals, but forbore either to give up those agents, or to leave Princeton.

The Executive of Pennsylvania, President Read, with a committee, then effected a compromise with the troops, by which those who had enlisted for three years, or during the war, were to be discharged: to receive certificates for the depreciation of their pay, and to be furnished immediately with specified articles of clothing. The

276

MUTINY SUPPRESSED.

[CHAP. III. emissaries having been given up, were tried, condemned and hanged as spies. In the haste with which the first article was executed, by which most of the claimants were discharged with no other evidence than their own oaths, it was found, on investigation, that most of those yet in service had a right to their discharge by the terms of enlistment; while the greater part of the discharged had been enlisted for the war: and thus was virtually dissolved the whole Pennsylvania line.

The success of this example of mutiny had its effect on most of the Jersey line. General Washington now determined to put down a spirit that would be ruinous to the efficiency of the army. General Howe was detached on this duty, with orders to make no terms with the revolters while they had arms in their hands; and as soon as they surrendered, to seize a few of their leaders, and execute them on the spot. This order was carried into prompt execution; and the vigorous procedure caused the line to return to their duty.

Sir Henry Clinton made another attempt to profit by this mutiny, but it was extinguished before his propositions could be made. Washington, having thus quelled the spirit of insubordination, prevailed on the States to attend to the just claims of the soldiers.

The pressure of the government on the citizens generally was so great at this time, as to cause loud complaints. All articles were now taken by impressment, as the army was without specie, paper-money was not current, and Congress had no means of revenue except by requisitions on the States, which were little heeded. Every one perceived the increasing difficulties of continuing the war. A foreign loan was the only expedient left to Congress. Accordingly an agent was sent to France to negotiate a loan. The difficulties experienced

1781.]

ATTEMPT TO CAPTURE ARNOLD.

277

by the United States were not unknown to the British, and they were thence led to form the most sanguine hopes. These same difficulties, moreover, induced Congress, in their foreign negotiations, to listen to terms hitherto deemed inadmissible. They were disposed to accede to the propositions of Spain to relinquish the navigation of the Mississippi below the thirty-first degree; and this concession would have been made, if Mr. Jay, who was the American minister at Madrid, had not insisted as a preliminary, that the treaty he was negotiating with Spain should first be concluded.

The articles of Confederation were now adopted by all the States; and the business of an administrative character, which had been hitherto done by committees of Congress, was thenceforth confided to ministers of dif ferent departments.

As some of the British ships which had blockaded the French ships in the harbor of Newport had been destroyed in a storm, they no longer had a superiority over Admiral Destouche. He then was able to send some of his fleet to Virginia; and, at the urgent instance of Washington, to transport a part of their land troops also, though they had at first been refused. It had indeed required a personal conference between General Washington and the Count de Rochambeau at Newport, before the latter would consent to a second expedition with a part of his troops. But while the French fleet was on its voyage to Virginia, it had an indecisive engagement with the British fleet under Arbuthnot, after which the French admiral returned to Newport. The leading object of this expedition was to capture Arnold, then at Portsmouth; and Washington had detached La Fayette to Virginia, to co-operate with the French in effecting this object. Governor Jefferson had, at the same time,

278

EXPEDITION OF PHILLIPS AND ARNOLD. [CHAP. III.

offered a reward of five thousand guineas for his capture.

Virginia was, at this time, peculiarly exposed to the ravages of war. war. Her best troops were then in the South and the West. Her militia in the field, though generally good soldiers, were ill armed, and scarcely exceeded two thousand men. Her Governor was quite unversed in military affairs. Her treasury was empty, as papermoney had ceased to circulate, and specie was but slowly taking its place. The most valuable product of her soil was tobacco, which was deposited by the planters in large public warehouses for inspection, and there remained until it was withdrawn for export. These circumstances decided the British to invade the State with a yet larger force, bent as they now were on aiding the sword of the soldier with the torch of the incendiary.

General Phillips, who had been captured with Burgoyne, and had been recently exchanged for General Lincoln, was one of those by whom this inglorious duty was readily accepted. His professional zeal was quickened by resentment for what he had regarded as an unjust detention in captivity. About the last of March he arrived at Portsmouth from New York, with two thousand men. His arrival was cordially welcomed by the British forces under Arnold, whom he superseded in command, and who had experienced from his new associates the odium which treason never fails to incur. After fortifying Portsmouth, Phillips ascended the river with twenty-five hundred men; landed opposite to Williamsburg; destroyed the public stores in the neighborhood; re-embarked for City Point; and thence marched by land to Petersburg, to his possession of which Baron Steuben, with one thousand militia, offered a spirited, but ineffectual resistance. From this point Phillips and Arnold, either separately

1781.]

LA FAYETTE-CORNWALLIS.

279

or united, carried on their marauding expeditions, and destroyed not only the barracks and public stores, but also the tobacco of private persons in Petersburg and Manchester. From this town they would have crossed James River to Richmond, if they had not been prevented by the opportune arrival of La Fayette from Baltimore. He had been ordered by Washington to proceed, with twelve hundred men, to the relief of Virginia; but they would have been incapable of marching, if the young Marquis had not, by pledging his own private credit, provided them with shoes, linen, and other necessaries. His generosity was aided by the patriotism of the ladies of Baltimore,' who made up the summer clothes of the detachment.

La Fayette, anticipating that a junction at Petersburg was intended between Phillips and Lord Cornwallis, who was expected from North Carolina, hastened to prevent it by taking post in that town; but fortunately for him, perhaps, Phillips was before him. Four days after his arrival Phillips died, and the chief command again devolved upon Arnold, which, in a week, he was compelled to surrender to Lord Cornwallis; and in no long time he obtained leave to go to New York on important private business.

Lord Cornwallis left Petersburg about the twenty-third of May; and having received a reinforcement from Sir Henry Clinton, he retained one regiment, and sent the residue to Portsmouth with General Leslie. Knowing of La Fayette's youth and bravery, he counted also upon his rashness and inexperience; and he exultingly wrote to a friend in England, that "the boy" could not escape him. To verify his boast, he lost no time in endeavoring

'The same patriotic spirit was exhibited by the American women, throughout the Revolution, in almost every part of the Union.

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