Washington the Soldier
General Henry B. Carrington, LL.D.
Battles of the American Revolution," " Battle Maps and Charts of the
Revolution," " Indian Operations on the Plains," " The Six
Nations," " Beacon Lights of Patriotism," etc.
WITH ILLUSTRATIONS, MAPS, CHRONOLOGICAL INDEX
' Th* applause of list'ning senates to command ;
The threats of pain- and ruin to despise ;
To scatter plenty o'er a smiling land,
And read his history in a Nation's eyes."
Lamson, Wolffe and Company
Boston New York London
LAMSON, WOLFFE AND COMPANY
Socktotll and Cfe
Sons anfc E>au0bteys of Xiberty jven>wbere
THAT ALL WHO ASPIRE AFTER INTELLIGENT FREEDOM SHALL FIND
THE WATCHWORD OF WASHINGTON THE SOLDIER
"FOR THE SAKE OF GOD AND COUNTRY"
THEIR LOFTIEST INCENTIVE.
text of this volume, completed in the spring of
JL 1898 and not since modified, requires a different
Preface from that first prepared. The events of another
war introduce applications of military principles which
have special interest. This is the more significant be-
cause modern appliances have been developed with start-
ling rapidity, while general legislation and the organization
of troops, both regular and volunteer, have been very
similar to those of the times of Washington, and of later
His letters, his orders, his trials, his experiences ; the
diversities of judgment between civilians and military
men ; between military men of natural aptitudes and
those of merely professional or accidental training, as
well as the diversities of personal and local interest, indi-
cate the value of Washington's example and the charac-
ter of his time. Hardly a single experience in his career
has not been realized by officers and men in these latter
A very decided impression, however, has obtained
among educated men, including those of the military pro-
fession, that Washington had neither the troops, resources,
and knowledge, nor the broad range of field service which
have characterized modern warfare, and therefore lacked
material elements which develop the typical soldier. But
more recent military operations upon an extensive scale,
especially those of the Franco-Prussian War, and the
American Civil War of 1861-1865, have supplied mate-
rial for better appreciation of the principles that were
WASHINGTON THE SOLDIER.
involved in the campaigns of the War for American In-
dependence, as compared with those of Napoleon, Wel-
lington, Marlborough, Frederick, Hannibal, and Csesar.
With full allowance for changes in army and battle
formation, tactical action and armament, as well as
o-reater facilities for the transportation of troops and
army supplies, it remains true that the relative effect of
all these changes upon success in war upon a grand scale,
has not been the modification of those principles of mili-
tary science which have shaped battle action and the gen-
eral conduct of war, from the earliest period of authentic
military history. The formal "Maxims of Napoleon"
were largely derived from his careful study of the cam-
paigns of Frederick, Hannibal, and Csesar ; and these,
with the principles involved, had specific and sometimes
literal illustration in the eventful operations of the armies
of the Hebrew Commonwealth. As a matter of fact,
those early Hebrew experiences were nearly as potential
in shaping the methods of modern generals, as their civil
code became the formative factor in all later civil codes,
preeminently those of the English Common Law. The
very best civil, police, and criminal regulations of modern
enactment hold closely to Hebrew antecedents. And in
military lines, the organization of regiments by compa-
nies, and the combinations of regiments as brigades,
divisions and corps, still rest largely upon the same deci-
mal basis ; and neither the Roman legion nor the Grecian
phalanx improved upon that basis. Even the Hebrew
militia, or reserves, had such well-established comprehen-
sion of the contingency of the entire nation being called
to the field, or subjected to draft, that as late as the
advent of Christ, when he ordered the multitudes to be
seated upon the grass for refreshment, "they seated
themselves in companies of hundreds and fifties." The
sanitary and police regulations of their camps have never
been surpassed, nor their provision for the cleanliness,
health, and comfort of the rank and file. From earliest
childhood they were instructed in their national history
and its glorious achievements, and the whole people
rejoiced in the gallant conduct of any.
Changes in arms, and especially in projectiles, only
induced modified tactical formation and corresponding
movements. The division of armies into a right, centre,
and left, with a well-armed and well-trained reserve, was
illustrated in their earliest battle record. The latest
modern formation, which makes of the regiment, by its
three battalion formation, a miniature brigade, is chiefly
designed to give greater individual value to the soldier,
and not subject compact masses to the destructive sweep
of modern missiles. It also makes the force more mobile,
as well as more comprehensive of territory within its
range of fire. All this, however, is matter of detail and
not of substance, in the scientific conduct of campaigns
during a protracted and widely extended series of opera-
tions in the field.
Military science itself is but the art of employing force
to vindicate, or execute, authority. To meet an emer-
gency adequately, wisely, and successfully, is the expres-
sive logic of personal, municipal, and military action.
The brain power is banded to various shaftings, and the
mental processes may differ by virtue of different appli-
cations ; but the prime activities are the same. In
military studies, as in all collegiate or social preparation,
the soldier, the lawyer, or the scientist, must be in the
man, and not the necessary product of a certificate or a
diploma. The simplest possible definition of a few terms
in military use will elucidate the narrative as its events
develop the War for American Independence, under the
direction of Washington as Comniander-in-Chief.
Six cardinal principles are thus stated :
x WASHINGTON THE SOLDIER.
I. STRATEGY. To secure those combinations which
will ensure the highest possible advantage in the employ-
ment of military force.
NOTE. The strategical principles which controlled the Revolu-
tionary campaigns, as denned in Chapter X. had their correspond-
ence in 1861-1865, when the Federal right zone, or belt of war, was
beyond the Mississippi River, and the left zone between the Alle-
ghany Mountains and the Atlantic Ocean. The Confederate forces,
with base at Richmond, commanded an interior line westward, so
that the same troops could be alternatively used against the Federal
right, left, and centre, while the latter must make a long detour to
support its advance southward from the Ohio River. Federal superi-
ority on sea and river largely contributed to success. American
sea-control in 1898, so suddenly and completely secured, was
practically omnipotent in the war with Spain. The navy, was a
substantially equipped force at the start. The army, had largely to
be created, when instantly needed, to meet the naval advance.
Legislation also favored the navy by giving to the commander-in-
chief the services of eminent retired veterans as an advisory board,
while excluding military men of recent active duty from similar
advisory and administrative service.
II. GRAND TACTICS. To handle that force in the
NOTE. See Chapter XVII., where the Battle of Brandywine,
through the disorder of Sullivan's Division, unaccustomed to act as
a Division, or as a part of a consolidated Grand Division or Corps,
exactly fulfilled the conditions which made the first Battle of Bull
Run disasterous to the American Federal Army in 1861. Subsequent
skeleton drills below Arlington Heights, were designed to quicken the
proficiency of fresh troops, in the alignments, wheelings, and turns,
so indispensable to concert in action upon an extensive scale. In
1898 the fresh troops were largely from militia organizations which
had been trained in regimental movements. School battalions and
the military exercises of many benevolent societies had also been
conducive to readiness for tactical instruction. The large Camps of
Instruction were also indispensably needed. Here again, time was
an exacting master of the situation.
III. LOGISTICS. The practical art of bringing armies,
fully equipped, to the battlefield.
NOTE. In America where the standing army has been of only
nominal strength, although well officered ; and where militia are the
main reliance in time of war ; and where varied State systems rival
those of Washington's painful experience, the principle of Logistics,
with its departments of transportation and infinite varieties of sup-
ply, is vital to wholesome and economic success. The war with
Spain which commenced April 21. 1898, illustrated this principle to
an extent never before realized in the world's history. Familiarity
with details, on so vast a scale of physical and financial activity, was
impossible, even if every officer of the regular army had been as-
signed to executive duty. The education and versatile capacity of
the American citizen had to be utilized. Their experience fur-
nished object-lessons for all future time.
IV. ENGINEERING. The application of mathematics
and mechanics to the maintenance or reduction of fortified
places ; the interposition or removal of artificial obstruc-
tions to the passage of an army ; and the erection of suit-
able works for the defence of territory or troops_.
NOTE. The invention and development of machinery and the
marvellous range of mechanical art, through chemical, electrical, and
other superhuman agencies, afforded the American Government an
immediate opportunity to supplement its Engineer Corps in 1898,
with skilled auxiliaries. In fact, the structure of American society
and the trend of American thought and enterprise, invariably demand
the best results. What is mechanically necessary, will be invented,
if not at hand. That is good engineering.
V. MINOR TACTICS. The instruction of the soldier,
individually and en masse, in the details of military drill,
the use of his weapon, and the perfection of discipline.
NOTE. Washington never lost sight of the set-up of the individ-
ual soldier, as the best dependence in the hour of battle. Self-reli-
ance, obedience to orders, and confidence in success, were enjoined
as the conditions of success. His system of competitive marksman-
ship, of rifle ranges, and burden tests, was initiated early in his career,
and was conspicuously enjoined before Brooklyn, and elsewhere,
during the war.
The American soldier of 1898 became invincible, man for man,
because of his intelligent response to individual discipline and drill.
Failure in either, whether of officer or soldier, shaped character and
x ji WASHINGTON THE SOLDIER.
result. As with the ancient Hebrew, citizenship meant knowledge
of organic law and obedience to its behests. Every individual, there-
fore, when charged with the central electric force, became a relay
battery, to conserve, intensify, and distribute that force.
VI. STATESMANSHIP IN WAR. This is illustrated
by the suggestion of Christ, that "a king going to war
with another king would sit down first and count the
cost, whether he would be able with ten thousand to meet
him that cometh against him with twenty thousand."
NOTE. American statesmanship in 1898, exacted other appli-
ances than those of immediately available physical force. The costly
and insufferable relations of the Spanish West Indies to the United
States, had become pestilential. No self-respecting nation, else-
where, would have as long withheld the only remedy. Cuba was
dying to be free. Spain, unwilling, or unable, to grant an honorable
and complete autonomy to her despairing subjects, precipitated war
witli the United States. The momentum of a supreme moral force in
behalf of humanity at large, so energized the entire American people
that evert/ ordinary unpreparedness failed to lessen the effectiveness of
It was both statesmanship and strategy, to strike so suddenly that
neither climatic changes, indigenous diseases, nor tropical cyclones,
could gain opportunity to do their mischief. When these supposed
allies of Spain were brushed aside, as powerless to stay the advance
of American arms in behalf of starving thousands, and a fortunate
occasion was snatched, just in time for victory, it proved to be such
an achievement as Washington would have pronounced a direct
manifestation of Divine favor.
But the character of Washington as a soldier is not to
Ixj determined by the numerical strength of the armies
engaged in single battles, nor by the resources and geo-
graphical conditions of later times. The same general
principles have ever obtained, and ever will control
human judgment. Transportation and inter-communica-
tion are relative ; and the slow mails and travel of Kevo-
lutionary times, alike affected both armies, with no partial
benefit or injury to either. The British had better com-
munication by water, but not by land ; with the disadvan-
tage of campaigning through an unknown and intricate
country, peopled by their enemies, whenever not covered
by the guns of their fleet. The American expedition to
Cuba in 1898 had not only the support of invincible
fleets, but the native population were to be the auxiliaries,
as well as the beneficiaries of the mighty movement.
Baron Jomini, in his elaborate history of the cam-
paigns of Napoleon, analyzes that general's success over
his more experienced opponents, upon the basis of his
observance or neglect of the military principles already
outlined. The dash and vigor of his first Italian cam-
paign were indeed characteristic of a young soldier im-
patient of the habitually tardy deliberations of the old-
school movements. Napoleon discounted time by action.
He benumbed his adversary by the suddenness and feroc-
ity of his stroke. But never, even in that wonderful
campaign, did Napoleon strike more suddenly and effec-
tively, than did Washington on Christmas night, 1776,
at Trenton. And Napoleon's following-up blow was not
more emphatic, in its results, than was Washington's
attack upon Princeton, a week later, when the British
army already regarded his capture as a simple morn-
ing privilege. Such inspirations of military prescience
belong to every age ; and often they shorten wars by
their determining value.
As a sound basis for a right estimate of Washington's
military career, and to avoid tedious episodes respecting
the acts and methods of many generals who were asso-
ciated with him at the commencement of the Revolu-
tionary War, a brief synopsis of the career of each will
find early notice. The dramatis personce of the Revolu-
tionary drama are thus made the group of which he is to
be the centre ; and his current orders, correspondence,
and criticisms of their conduct, will furnish his valuation
of the character and services of each. The single fact,
x iv WASHINGTON THE SOLDIER.
that no general officer of the first appointments actively
shared in the immediate siege of Yorktown, adds in-
terest to this advance outline of their personal history.
For the same purpose, and as a logical predicate for
his early comprehension of the real issues involved in a
contest with Great Britain, an outline of events which
preceded hostilities is introduced, embracing, however,
only those Colonial antecedents which became emotional
factors in forming his character and energizing his life as
The maps, which illustrate only the immediate cam-
paigns of Washington, or related territory which required
his supervision, are reduced from those used in " Battle
Maps and Charts of the American Revolution." The
map entitled "Operations near New York," was the first
one drafted, at Tarrytown, New York. In 1847, it was
approved by Washington Irving, then completing his
Life of Washington, and his judgment determined the
plan of the future work. All of the maps, however,
before engravure, had the minute examination and ap-
proval of Benson J. Lossing. The present volume owes
its preparation to the personal request of the late Robert
C. Winthrop, of Massachusetts, made shortly before his
decease, and is completed, with ever-present appreciation
of his aid and his friendship.
HENRY B. CARRINGTON.
HYDE PARK, MASS., Sept. 1, 1898.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
EARLY APTITUDES FOR SUCCESS
THE FERMENT OF AMERICAN LIBERTY .
On page 13 Axhe, for Ash.
On page 107 Haslet, for Haslett.
On page 111 Glover, for Grover. 31
On page 118 Rutledge, for Eldridge.
On page 257 Febiger, for Febinger.
W ASHINGTON IN \JOMMANXJ : :
BRITISH CANADA ENTERS THE FIELD OF ACTION . 50
HOWE SUCCEEDS GATES. CLOSING SCENES OF 1775 . 58
AMERICA AGAINST BRITAIN. BOSTON TAKEN 68
SYSTEMATIC WAR WITH BRITAIN BEGUN ... 82
xvi TABLE OF CONTENTS.
CHAPTER X. PAOE
BRITAIN AGAINST AMERICA. - HOWE INVADES NEW
YORK . - ..- 'J3
BATTLE OF LONG ISLAND . . . . .101
WASHINGTON IN NEW YORK . . . . . 114
WASHINGTON TENDERS, AND HOWE DECLINES, BATTLE.
HARLEM HEIGHTS AND WHITE PLAINS . . .125
THE FIRST NEW JERSEY CAMPAIGN. TRENTON . . 134
THE FIRST NEW JERSEY CAMPAIGN DEVELOPED.
PRINCETON . ' . . . . . . . 150
THE AMERICAN BASE OF OPERATIONS ESTABLISHED
THE SECOND NEW JERSEY CAMPAIGN . . .160
' CHAPTER XVII.
BRITISH INVASION FROM CANADA. OPERATIONS ALONG
THE HUDSON 171
PENNSYLVANIA INVADED. BATTLE OF BRANDYWINE . 181
WASHINGTON RESUMES THE OFFENSIVE. BATTLE OF
GERMANTOWN .... 192
JEALOUSY AND GREED DEFEATED. VALLEY FORGE 198
TABLE OF CONTENTS. xvii
CHAPTER XXI. PAGE
PHILADELPHIA AND VALLEY FORGE IN WINTER, 1778 . 210
FROM VALLEY FORGE TO WHITE PLAINS AGAIN.
BATTLE OF MONMOUTH . . . . . .221
THE ALLIANCE WITH FRANCE TAKES EFFECT. SIEGE
OF NEWPORT 238
MINOR EVENTS AND GRAVE CONDITIONS, 1779 . . 246
MINOR OPERATIONS OF 1779 CONTINUED. STONY
POINT TAKEN. NEW ENGLAND RELIEVED . . 255
SHIFTING SCENES. TEMPER OF THE PEOPLE. SAVAN-
THE EVENTFUL YEAR 1780. NEW JERSEY ONCE MORE
BATTLE OF SPRINGFIELD. ROCHAMBEAU. ARNOLD.
A BIRD'S-EYE VIEW OF THE THEATRE OF WAR . . 294
THE SOLDIER TRIED. AMERICAN MUTINY. FOREIGN
JUDGMENT. ARNOLD'S DEPREDATIONS . . . 304
THE SOUTHERN CAMPAIGN, 1781, OUTLINED. COWPENS.
GUILFORD COURT-HOUSE. EUTAW SPRINGS 312
TABLE OF CONTENTS.
LAFAYETTE IN PURSUIT OF ARNOLD. THE END IN
SIGHT. ARNOLD IN THE BRITISH ARMY . 323
NEW YORK AND YORKTOWN THREATENED. CORNWALLIS
INCLOSED BY LAFAYETTE . . . . . 333
BRITISH CAPTAINS OUTGENERALED. WASHINGTON JOINS
LAFAYETTE ... .... 344
THE ALLIANCE WITH FRANCE VINDICATED. WASHING-
TON'S MAGNANIMITY. His BENEDICTION . . 352
WASHINGTON'S PREDICTION REALIZED. THE ATTITUDE
OF AMERICA PRONOUNCED . 366
APPENDIX A. American Army, by States . . . . 377
APPENDIX B. American Navy and its Career . . 378
APPENDIX C. Comparisons with Later Wars . . 380
APPENDIX D. British Army, at Various Dates . . 383
APPENDIX E. Organization of Burgoyne's Army . 387
APPENDIX F. Organization of Cornwallis's Army . 388
APPENDIX G. Notes of Lee's Court-martial 389
GLOSSARY OF MILITARY TERMS . . . . 393
CHRONOLOGICAL AND BIOGRAPHICAL INDEX . . 397
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS AND MAPS.
WASHINGTON ....... Frontispiece.
[Hall's engraving from the St. Memin crayon.]
WASHINGTON AT FOUR PERIODS OF HIS MILITARY CAREER, 40
[From etching, after Hall's Sons' group.]
WASHINGTON AT BOSTON ,80
[From Stuart's painting, in Faneuil Hall, Boston.]
WASHINGTON BEFORE TRENTON . . . . .143
[From Dael's painting.]
WASHINGTON IN HIS ROOM AT VALLEY FORGE . . 207
[From the painting by Scheuster.]
I. OUTLINE OF THE ATLANTIC COAST . . 1
II. BOSTON AND VICINITY ..... 69
III. BATTLE OF LONG ISLAND .... 105
IV. OPERATIONS NEAR NEW YORK . . .125
V. CAPTURE OF FORT WASHINGTON . . .132
VI. TRENTON AND VICINITY ..... 144
VII. BATTLE OF TRENTON: BATTLE OF PRINCETON . 151
VIII. OPERATIONS IN NEW JERSEY . . . .161
IX. ATTACK OF FORTS CLINTON AND MONTGOMERY . 179
X. BATTLE OF BRANDYWIXE . . . 186
XL BATTLE OF GERMANTOWN .... 196
XX ILLUSTRATIONS AND MAPS.
XII. OPERATIONS ON THE DELAWARE . . .202
XIII. OPERATIONS NEAR PHILADELPHIA . . . 204
XIV. ENCAMPMENT AT VALLEY FORGE . . . 211
XV. BATTLE OF MONMOUTH .... 224
XVI. OUTLINE MAP OF HUDSON RIVER . . . 255
XVII. BATTLE OF SPRINGFIELD : OPERATIONS FROM
STATEN ISLAND . . . . 283
XVIII. LAFAYETTE IN VIRGINIA .... 339
XIX. OPERATIONS IN CHESAPEAKE BAY . . . 355
XX. SIEGE OF YORKTOWN . . . . 357
C/iarforfm rytrfse/t/s /f 'out
WASHINGTON THE SOLDIER.
CHAPTER I. .
EARLY APTITUDES FOR SUCCESS.
ri THE boyhood and youth of George Washington were
JL singularly in harmony with those aptitudes and
tastes that shaped his entire life. He was not quite
eight years of age when his elder brother, Lawrence,
fourteen years his senior, returned from England where
he had been carefully educated, and where he had devel-
oped military tastes that were hereditary in the family.
Lawrence secured a captain's commission in a freshly
organized regiment, and engaged in service in the West
Indies, with distinguished credit. His letters, counsels,
and example inspired the younger brother with similar
zeal. Irving says that "all his amusements took a mili-
tary turn. He made soldiers of his school-mates. They
had their mimic parades, reviews, and sham-fights. A
boy named William Bustle, was sometimes his competitor,
but George was commander-in-chief of the school."
His business aptitudes were equally exact, methodical,
and promising. Besides fanciful caligraphy, which ap-
peared in manuscript school-books, wherein he executed
profiles of his school-mates, with a flourish of the pen, as
well as nondescript birds, Irving states that " before he
2 WASHINGTON THE SOLDIER.
was thirteen years of age, he had copied into a volume,
forms of all kinds of mercantile and legal papers : bills of
exchange, notes of hand, deeds, bonds, and the like."
"This self-tuition gave him throughout life a lawyer's
skill in drafting documents, and a merchant's exactness
in keeping accounts, so that all the concerns of his various
estates, his dealings with his domestic stewards and
foreign agents, his accounts with government, and all his
financial transactions, are, to this day, monuments of his
method and unwearied accuracy."
Even as a boy, his frame had been large and powerful,
and he is described by Captain Mercer " as straight as an
Indian, measuring six feet and two inches in his stockings,
and weighing one hundred and seventy-five pounds, when
he took his seat in the Virginia House of Burgesses in
1759. His head is well shaped though not large, but
is gracefully poised on a superb neck, with a large
and straight rather than a prominent nose ; blue-gray
penetrating eyes, which were widely separated and over-
hung by heavy brows. A pleasing, benevolent, though
a commanding countenance, dark-brown hair, features
regular and placid, with all the muscles under perfect
control, with a mouth large, and generally firmly closed,"
complete the picture. The bust by Houdon at the
Capitol of Virginia, and the famous St. Memin crayon,
fully accord with this description of Washington.
His training and surroundings alike ministered to his
natural conceptions of a useful and busy life. In the
midst of abundant game, he became proficient in its pur-
suit. Living where special pride was taken in the cul-
tivation of good stock, and where nearly all travel and
neighborly visitation was upon horseback, he learned the
value of a good horse, and was always well mounted.