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expect Howe was preparing to give us a general action. 1777 On Friday morning his troops appeared on Chefnuthill; at night they changed their ground. On Sunday from every appearance, there was reafon to apprehend an action. About fun fet, after various marches and counter-marches, they halted, and I ftill fuppofed they would attack us in the night, or early the next morning, but in this I was miftaken. On Monday afternoon they filed off, and marched toward Philadelphia. Their lofs in fkirmishing was not inconfiderable. I fincerely with they had made an attack, the iffue would in all probability have been happy for us. Policy forbad our quitting our pofts to attack them."

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The American army marched from White Marsh to 11. Sweed's Ford. The want of clothing was fo extreme, that gen. Washington was under the abfolute neceffity of granting warrants to different officers to imprefs what the holders would not willingly part with, agreeable to the powers with which congrefs had invefted him, He removed with the troops, on the 19th, to Valley-forge, where they hutted, about fixteen miles from Philadelphia. When the mode of hutting was first propofed, fome treated the idea as ridiculous, few thought it practicable, and all were furprised at the facility with which it was executed. It was certainly a confiderable exertion for the remnant of an army, exhaufted and worn down, by the feverity of a long and rather unfuccessful campaign, to fit down in a wood, and in the latter end of December to begin to build themfelves huts. Through the want of fhoes and ftockings, and the hard frozen ground, you might have tracked the army from White

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1777. Marsh to Valley-forge by the blood of their feet*.

The taking of this pofition was highly requifite. Had the army retired to the towns in the interior parts of the state, a large tract of fertile country would have been expofed to ravage and ruin; and they must have diftreffed in a peculiar manner the virtuous citizens from Philadelphia, who had fled thither for refuge.

Thefe

Sir W. Howe has plainly the advantage of the American general, but nothing to boast of; for all the fruits derived from his various manoeuvrings and engagements, 'from the beginning to the clofe of the campaign, amount to little befide good winter quarters for his army in Philadelphia, while the troops poffefs no more of the adjacent country than what their arms immediately command. Certain perfons indeed are permitted to carry provifions into the city; that fo upon their return they may fupply the Americans with intelligence. muft fubmit to fpare a little for fuch purposes, though in the utmost want themselves. At one time the army remained quiet four days together, without bread; on the fifth two regiments refufed to do duty upon the account; but the prudence and perfuafion of the commander in chief reftored order. To a fimilar event, there was probably an allufion, in the following extract 23. from his letter of the 23d-" This brought forth the only commiffary in the purchafing line in this camp, and with him this melancholy alarming truth, that he had not a fingle hoof of any kind to flaughter, and not more than twenty-five barrels of flour, and could not tell when to expect any. The prefent commiffaries are

Dec.

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* General Washington mentioned it to me, when at his table, June 3, 1784.

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by no means equal to the execution of the office, or the difaffection of the people is past all belief. The change in that department took place contrary to my judgment, and the confequences thereof were predicted.-No man ever had his measures more impeded than I have, by every department of the army. Since the month of July we have had no affiftance from the quarter master general, and to want of affiftance from this department the commiffary general charges great part of his deficiency. We have by a field return this day, no less than 2898 men in camp unfit for duty, because they are barefoot and otherwife naked.-Our whole ftrength in continental troops, (including the eastern brigades, which have joined us fince, the furrender of Burgoyne) exclufive of the Maryland troops fent to Wilmington, is no more than 8200 in camp fit for duty.-Since the fourth our number fit, through hardships, particularly on account of blankets (numbers have been, and ftili are obliged to fit up all night by fires, inftead of taking comfortable rest in a common way) have decreased near two thousand men.-Upon the ground of safety and policy, I am obliged to conceal the true state of the army from public view, and thereby expofe myself to detraction and calumny.-There is as much to be done in preparing for a campaign, as in the active part of it." Gen. Mifflin in a letter of October the eighth, had represented to congrefs, that his health was fo much impaired, and the probability of a recovery fo diftant, that he thought it his duty to return to them their commiffions to him of major general and quarter mafter general. While the army was fuffering as above related for want of fhoes, &c. hogfheads of fhoes, ftockings and

1777 clothing, were at different places, upon the road and in the woods, lying and perifhing, for want' of teams, and proper management, and money to pay the teamfters.

Nothing great has happened in the neighbourhood of New York, fince the return of the troops under gen. Vaughan from their expedition up the North river: but it may not difpleafe you to read the following particulars. On the 18th of November, gen. Tryon fent about Too men under capt. Emmerick to burn fome houfes, on Phillips's manor, within about four miles of gen. Parfons's guards. They effected it with circumftances of barbarity, ftripping the clothing off the women and children, and turning them almoft naked into the streets in a moft severely cold night. The men were made prifoners, and led with halters about their necks, with no other clothes than their fhirts and breeches, in triumph to the British lines. A few days after Parfons wrote to Tryon upon the occafion, expoftulating with him upon the business, and told him, That he could' destroy the houses and buildings of col. Phillips and thofe belonging to the Delancey family, each as near their lines as the buildings deftroyed were to his guards; that notwithstanding all their vigilance, the deftruction could not be prevented; and that it was not fear or want of opportunity, but a sense of the injustice and favageness of fuch a line of conduct, that had hitherto faved the buildings. Tryon answered from Kingsbridge on the 23d, and faid among other things, "Sir, could I-poffibly conceive.myself accountable to any revolted fubjects of the king of Great Britain, I might answer your letter of yesterday refpecting the conduct of capt. Emmerick's party upon the taking of Peter and Cornelius

Vantaffel. As much as I abhor every principle of inhumanity or ungenerous conduct, I fhould, were I in' more authority, burn every committee man's houfe within my reach, as I deem them the wicked inftruments of the continued calamities of this country; and in order the fooner to purge this colony of them, I am willing to give twenty filver dollars for every acting committee man who shall be delivered up to the king's troops. The ftinging repartee made to this letter was contained in an expedition undertaken immediately after to Greenwich, about three miles from New York, where a small party arrived in the evening, advanced to Mr. Oliver Delancey's houfe, fecured the fentry, difmiffed a few ladies in peace, though rather haftily, made a few men prifoners, burnt the house, occafioned the firing of the alarm guns in New York, then croffed the river and got fafe off.

1777

New York reminds me of the American prifoners confined in that city, and in Philadelphia. In the courfe of letters that paffed between gens. Howe and Washington, the former alluded to the cafes of royal prifoners of war being injuriously and unjuftifiably loaded with irons. The latter, in one of November the 14th, fays-“ If there is a fingle inftance of a prifoner of war being in irons, I am ignorant of it, nor can I find on the most minute inquiry, that there is the leaft foundation for the' charge. I wish you to particularize the cafes you allúde to, that relief may be had, if the complaints are well-founded. Now we are upon the subject of grievances, I am conftrained to obferve, that I have a variety of accounts, not only from prifoners who have made their efcape, but from perfons who have left Philadel

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