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cipal effect on the result. The morning was very
misty, and the fog, soon thickened by the smoke,
caused confusion, random firing, and, worst of all,
that uncertainty of feeling and action which some-
thing or nothing converted into a panic. Never-
theless, the Americans rallied quickly this time,
and a good retreat was made, under the lead of
Greene, until safety was reached. The action,
while it lasted, had been very sharp, and the losses


on both sides were severe, the Americans suffering

Washing-ton, as usual when matters went ill, ex-
posed himself recklessly, to the great alarm of his
generals, but all in vain. He was deeply disap-
pointed, and expressed himself so at first, for Iiq
saw that the men had unaccountably given way
when they were on the edge of victory. The under-
lying cause was of course, as at Long Island and
Brandywine, the unsteadiness of raw troops, and
Washington felt rightly, after the first sting had
passed, that he had really achieved a great deal.
Congress applauded the attempt, and when the
smoke of the battle had cleared away, men gener-
ally perceived that its having been fought at all
was in reality the important fact. It made also
a profound impression upon the French cabinet.
Eagerly watching the course of events, they saw
the significance of the fact that an army raised
within a year could fight a battle in the open field,
endure a severe defeat, and then take the offensive
and make a bold and well-planned attack, which
narrowly missed being overwhelmingly successful.
To the observant and trained eyes of Europe, the
defeat at Germantown made it evident that there
was fighting material among these untrained colo-
nists, capable of becoming formidable ; and that
there was besides a powerful will and directing
mind, capable on its part of bringing this same
material into the required shape and condition. To
dispassionate onlookers, England's grasp on her


colonies appeared to be slipping away very rapidly.
Washington himself saw the meaning of it all
plainly enough, for it was but the development
of his theory of carrying on the war.

There is no indication, however, that England
detected, in all that had gone on since her army
landed at the Head of Elk, anything more than a
couple of natural defeats for the rebels. General
Plowe was sufficiently impressed to draw in his
troops, and keep very closely shut up in Phila-
delj^hia, but his country was not moved at all.
The fact that it had taken forty-seven days to get
their army from the Elk River to Philadelphia,
and that in that time they had fought two success-
ful battles and yet had left the American army
still active and menacing, had no effect upon the
British mind. The English were thoroughly satis-
fied that the colonists were cowards and were sure
to be defeated, no matter what the actual facts
might be. They regarded Washington as an up-
start militia colonel, and they utterly failed to com-
prehend that they had to do with a great soldier,
who was able to organize and lead an army, over-
come incredible difficulties, beat and outgeneral
them, bear defeat, and then fight again. They
were unable to realize that the mere fact that
such a man could be produced and such an army
maintained meant the inevitable loss of colonies
three thousand miles away. Men there were in
England, undoubtedly, like Burke and Fox, who
felt and understood the significance of these things,


but the mass of the people, as well as the aristocracy,
the king, and the cabinet, would have none of
them. Rude contempt for other people is a warm-
ing and satisfying feeling, no doubt, and the Eng-
lish have had unquestionabh' great satisfaction
from its free indulgence. Xo one should grudge
it to them, least of all Americans. It is a comfort
for which they have paid, so far as this country is
concerned, by the loss of their Xorth American
colonies, and by a few other settlements vnXh the
United States at other and later times.

But althouo'h Washino'ton and his armv failed
to impress England, events had happened in the
north, during this same summer, which were so
sharp-pointed that they not only impressed the
English people keenly and unpleasantly, but they
actually penetrated the dull comprehension of
George III. and his cabinet. ** Why," asked an
English lady of an American naval officer, in the
year of grace 1887 — *' why is your ship named
the Saratoga?'" ''Because,'' was the reply, "at
Saratoga an English general and an English army
of more than five thousand men surrendered to an
American army and laid down their arms." Al-
though apparently neglected now in the general
scheme of British education, Saratoga was a mem-
orable event in the summer of 1777, and the part
taken by AVashington in bringing about the great
result has never, it woidd seem, been properly set
forth. There is no need to trace here the history
of that campaign, but it is necessary to show how


much was done by the commander-in-chief, five
hundred miles away, to win the final victory.

In the winter of 1776-77 reports came that a
general and an army were to be sent to Canada to
invade the colonies from the north by way of Lake
Champlain. The news does not seem to have made
a very deep impression generally, nor to have been
regarded as anything beyond the ordinary course
of military events. But there was one man, fortu-
nately, who in an instant perceived the full signifi-
cance of this movement. Washington saw that the
English had at last found an idea, or, at least, a
general possessed of one. So long as the British
confined themselves to fighting one or two battles,
and then, taking possession of a single town, were
content to sit down and pass their winter in good
quarters, leaving the colonists in undisturbed con-
trol of all the rest of the country, there was nothing
to be feared. The result of such campaigning as
this could not be doubtful for a moment to any
clear-sighted man. But when a plan was on foot,
which, if successful, meant the control of the lakes
and the Hudson, and of a line of communication
from the north to the great colonial seaport, the
case was very different. Such a campaign as this
would cause the complete severance of New Eng-
land, the chief source for men and supplies, from
the rest of the colonies. It promised the mastery,
not of a town, but of half a dozen States, and this
to the American cause probably would be ruin.

So strongly and clearly did Washington feel


all this that his counter-plan was at once ready,
and before people had fairly grasped the idea that
there was to be a northern invasion, he was send-
ing, early in March, urgent letters to New England
to rouse up the militia and have them in readiness
to march at a moment's notice. To Schuyler, in
command of the northern department, he began
now to write constantly, and to unfold the methods
which must be pursued in order to compass the de-
feat of the invaders. His object was to delay the
army of Burgoyne by every possible device, while
steadily avoiding a pitched battle. Then the militia
and hardy farmers of New England and New York
were to be rallied, and were to fall upon the flank
and rear of the British, harass them constantly, cut
off their outlying parties, and finally hem them in
and destroy them. If the army and people of the
North could only be left undisturbed, it is evident
from his letters that Washington felt no doubt as
to the result in that quarter.

But the North included only half the conditions
essential to success. The grave danger feared by
Washington was that Howe would understand the
situation, and seeing his opportunity, would throw
everything else aside, and marching northward
with twenty thousand men, would make himself
master of the Hudson, effect a junction with Bur-
goyne at Albany, and so cut the colonies in twain.
From all he could learn, and from his knowledge of
his opponent's character, Washington felt satisfied
that Howe intended to capture Philadelphia, ad-


vancing, probably, through the Jerseys. Yet, de-
spite his well-reasoned judgment on this point, it
seemed so incredible that any soldier could fail to
see that decisive victory lay in the north, and in
a junction with Burgoyne, that Washington could
not really and fully believe in such fatuity until he
knew that Howe was actually landing at the Head
of Elk. This is the reason for the anxiety dis-
played in the correspondence of that summer, for
the changing and shifting movements, and for
the obvious hesitation of opinion, so unusual with
Washington at any time. Be it remembered,
moreover, that it was an awful doubt which went
to bed and got up and walked with him through
all those long nights and days. If Howe, the dull
and lethargic, should awake from his dream of
conquering America by taking now and again an
isolated town, and should break for the north
with twenty thousand men, the fortunes of the
young republic would come to their severest test.
In that event, Washington knew well enough
what he meant to do. He would march his main
army to the Hudson, unite with the strong body of
troops which he kept there constantly, contest every
inch of the country and the river with Howe, and
keep him at all hazards from getting to Albany.
But he also knew well that if this were done the
odds would be fearfully against him, for Howe
would then not only outnumber him very greatly,
but there would be ample time for the British to
act, and but a short distance to be covered. We


can imagine, therefore, his profound sense of relief
when he found that Howe and his army were really
south of Philadelphia, after a waste of many pre-
cious weeks. He could now devote himself single-
hearted to the defence of the city, for distance and
time were at last on his side, and all that remained
was to fight Howe so hard and steadily that neither
in victory nor defeat would he remember Burgoyne.
Pitt said that he would conquer Canada on the
plains of Germany, and Burgoyne was compelled
to surrender in large measure by the campaign of
Washington in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

If we study carefully Washington's correspond-
ence during that eventful summer, grouping to-
gether that relating to the northern campaign, and
comparing it with that which dealt with the affairs
of his own army, all that has just been said comes
out with entire clearness, and it is astonishing to
see how exactly events justified his foresight. If
he could only hold Howe in the south, he was quite
willing to trust Burgoyne to the rising of the peo-
ple and to the northern wilderness. Every effort
he made was in this direction, beginning, as has
been said, by his appeals to the New England
governors in March. Schuyler, on his part, was
thoroughly imbued with Washington's other lead-
ing idea, that the one way to victory was by retard-
ing the enemy. At the outset everything went
utterly and disastrously wrong. Washington
counted on an obstinate struggle, and a long delay
at Ticonderoga, for he had not been on the ground,


and could not imagine that our officers would for-
tify everything but the one commanding point.

The loss of the forts appalled the country and
disappointed Washington, but did not shake his
nerve for an instant. He wrote to Schuyler : " This
stroke is severe indeed, and has distressed us much.
But notwithstanding things at present have a dark
and gloomy aspect, I hope a spirited opposition
will check the progress of General Burgoyne's
army, and that the confidence derived from his
success will hurry him into measures that will, in
their consequences, be favorable to us. We should
never despair ; our situation has before been un-
promising, and has changed for the better ; so I
trust it will again. If new difficulties arise we
must only put forth new exertions, and proportion
our efforts to the exigency of the times." Even
after this seemingly crushing defeat he still felt
sure of Burgoyne, so long as he was unsupported.
Suiting the action to the word, he again bent every
nerve to rouse New England and get out her militia.
When he was satisfied that Howe was landing be-
low Philadelphia, the first thing he did was to send
forth the same cry in the same quarter, to bring
out more men against Burgoyne. He showed, too,
the utmost generosity toward the northern army,
sending thither all the troops he could possibly
spare, and even parting with his favorite corps of
Morgan's riflemen. Despite his liberality, the
commanders in the north were unreasonable in their
demands, and when they asked too much. Washing-


ton flatly declined to send more men, for he would
not weaken himself unduly, and he knew what they
did not see, that the fate of the northern invasion
turned largely on his own ability to cope with

The blame for the loss of the forts fell of course
upon Schuyler, who was none too popular in Con-
gress, and who with St. Clair was accordingly
made a scape-goat. Congress voted that Wash-
ington should appoint a new commander, and the
New England delegates visited him to urge the
selection of Gates. This task Washington refused
to perform, alleging as a reason that the northern
department had always been considered a separate
command, and that he had never done more than
advise. These reasons do not look very weighty
or very strong, and it is not quite clear what the
underlying motive was. Washington never shrank
from responsibility, and he knew very well that he
could pick out the best man more unerringly than
Congress. But he also saw that Congress favored
Gates, whom he would not have chosen, and he
therefore probably felt that it was more important
to have some one whom New England believed in
and approved than a better soldier who would have
been unwelcome to her representatives. It is certain
that he would not have acted thus, had he thought
that generalship was an important element in the
problem ; but he relied on a popular uprising, and
not on the commander, to defeat Burgoyne. He
may have thought, too, that it was a mistake to


relieve Scliuyler, who was working in the directions
which he had pointed out, and who, if not a great
soldier, was a brave, high-minded, and sensible man,
devoted to his chief and to the country. It was
Schuyler indeed who, by his persistent labor in
breaking down bridges, tearing up roads, and fell-
ing trees, while he gathered men industriously in
all directions, did more than any one else at that
moment to prepare the way for an ultimate victory.
Whatever his feelings may have been in regard
to the command of the northern department,
Washington made no change in his own course
after Gates had been appointed. He knew that
Gates was at least harmless, and not likely to block
the natural course of events. He therefore felt
free to press his own policy without cessation, and
without apprehension. He took care that Lincoln
and Arnold should be there to look after the New
England militia, and he wrote to Governor Clinton,
in whose energy and courage he had great confi-
dence, to rouse up the men of New York. He sug-
gested the points of attack, and at every moment
advised and counselled and watched, holding all the
while a firm grip on Howe. Slowly and surely the
net, thus painfully set, tightened round Burgoyne.
The New Englanders whipped one division at Ben-
nington, and the New Yorkers shattered another at
Oriskany and Fort Schuyler. The country people
turned out in defence of their invaded homes and
poured into the American camp. Burgoyne strug-
gled and advanced, fought and retreated. Gates,


stupid, lethargic, and good-natured, did nothing, but
there was no need of generalship ; and Arnold was
there, turbulent and quarrelsome, but full of dar-
ing ; and Morgan, too, equally ready ; and they and
others did all the necessary fighting.

Poor Burgoyne, a brave gentleman, if not a great
general, had the misfortune to be a clever man in
the service of a stupid administration, and he met
the fate usually meted out under such circumstances
to men of ideas. Howe went off to the conquest of
Philadelphia, Clinton made a brief burning and
plundering raid up the river, and the northern in-
vasion, which really had meaning, was left to its
fate. It was a hard fate, but there was no escape.
Outnumbered, beaten, and caught, Burgoyne sur-
rendered. If there had been a fighting-man at
the head of the American army, the British would
have surrendered as prisoners of war, and not on
conditions. Schuyler, we may be sure, whatever
his failings, would never have let them off so easily.
But it was sufficient as it was. The wilderness,
and the militia of New York and New England
swarming to the defence of their homes, had done
the work. It all fell out just as Washington had
foreseen and planned, and England, despising her
enemy and their commander, saw one of her armies
surrender, and might have known, if she had had
the wit, that the colonies were now lost forever.
The Revolution had been sav^ed at Trenton ; it
was established at Saratoga. In the one case it
was the direct, in the other the indirect, work of


Poor Gates, with his dull brain turning under
the impression that this crowning mercy had been
his" own doing, lost his head, forgot that there was
a commander-in-chief, and sending his news to Con-
gress, left Washington to find out from chance
rumors, and a tardy letter from Putnam, that Bur-
goyne had actually surrendered. This gross slight,
however, had deeper roots than the mere exultation
of victory acting on a heavy and common mind. It
represented a hostile feeling which had been slowly
increasing for some time, which had been carefully
nurtured by those interested in its growth, and
which blossomed rapidly in the heated air of mil-
itary triumph. From the outset it had been Wash-
ington's business to fight the enemy, manage the
army, deal with Congress, and consider in all its
bearings the political situation at home and abroad ;
but he was now called upon to meet a trouble out-
side the line of duty, and to face attacks from
within, which, ideally speaking, ought never to have
existed, but which, in view of our very fallible
humanity, w^ere certain to come sooner or later.
Much domestic malice Washington was destined
to encounter in the later years of political strife,
but this was the only instance in his military
career where enmity came to overt action and open
speech. The first and the last of its kind, this
assault upon him has much interest, for a strong
light is thrown upon his character by studying him,
thus beset, and by seeing just how he passed
through this most trying and disagreeable of or-


The germ of the diflSculties was to be found
where we should expect it, in the differences be-
tween the men of speech and the man of action,
between the lawmakers and the soldier. Wash-
ington had been obliged to tell Congress a great
many plain and unpleasant truths. It was part of
his duty, and he did it accordingly. He was al-
ways dignified, calm, and courteous, but he had an
alarmingly direct way with him, especially when he
was annoyed. He was simple almost to bluntness,
but now and then would use a grave irony which
must have made listening ears tingle. Congress
was patriotic and well-intentioned, and on the
whole stood bravely by its general, but it was un-
versed in war, very impatient, and at times wildly
impracticable. Here is a letter which depicts the
situation, and the relation between the general and
his rulers, with great clearness. March 14, 1777,
Washington wrote to the President : " Could I ac-
complish the important objects so eagerly wished
by Congress, — ' confining the enemy within their
present quarters, preventing their getting supplies
from the country, and totally subduing them be-
fore they are reinforced,' — I should be happy in-
deed. But what prospect or hope can there be of
my effecting so desirable a work at this time ? "

We can imagine how exasperating such requests
and suggestions must have been. It was very much
as if Congress had said : " Gaod General, bring in
the Atlantic tides and drown the enemy ; or pluck
the moon from the sky and give it to us, as a mark


of your loyalty." Such requests are not soothing to
any man struggling his best with great anxieties, and
with a host of petty cares. Washington, neverthe-
less, kept his temper, and replied only by setting
down a few hard facts which answered the demands
of Congress in a final manner, and with all the
sting of truth. Thus a little irritation had been
generated in Congress against the general, and
there were some members who developed a good
deal of pronounced hostility. Sam Adams, a born
agitator and a trained politician, unequalled almost
in our history as an organizer and manager of
men, able, narrow, coldly fierce, the man of the
town meeting and the caucus, had no possibility
of intellectual sympathy with the silent, patient,
hard-gripping soldier, hemmed with difficulties, but
ever moving straight forward to his object, with
occasional wild gusts of reckless fighting passion.
John Adams, too, brilliant of speech and pen, ar-
dent, patriotic, and high-minded, was, in his way,
out of touch with Washington. Although he moved
Washington's appointment, he began almost im-
mediately to find fault with him, an exercise to
which he was extremely prone. Inasmuch as he
could see how things ought to be done, he could
not understand why they were not done in that way
at once, for he had a fine forgetfulness of other
people's difficulties, as is the case with most of us.
The New England representatives generally took
their cue from these two, especially James Lovell,
who carried his ideas into action, and obtained a


little niche in the temple of fame by making him-
self disagreeably conspicuous in the intrigue against
the commander-in-chief, when it finally developed.

There were others, too, outside New England
who were discontented, and among them Richard
Henry Lee, from the General's own State. He
was evidently critical and somewhat unfriendly at
this time, although the reasons for his being so are
not now very distinct. Then there was Mr. Clark
of New Jersey, an excellent man, who thought the
General was invading popular rights ; and to him
others might be added who vaguely felt that things
ought to be better than they were. This party, ad-
verse to Washington, obtained the appointment of
Gates to the northern department, under whom the
army won a great victory, and they were corre-
spondingly happy. John Adams wrote his wife
that one cause of thanksgiving was that the tide
had not been turned by the commander-in-chief
and southern troops, for the adulation would have
been intolerable ; and that a man may be wise and
virtuous and not a deity.

Here, so far as the leading and influential men
were concerned, the matter would have dropped,
probably ; but there were lesser men like Lovell
who were much encouraged by the surrender of
Burgoyne, and who thought that they now might
supplant Washington with Gates. Before long,
too, they found in the army itself some active and
not over-scrupulous allies. The most conspicuous
figure among the military malcontents was Gates


himself, who, although sluggish in all things, still
had a keen eye for his own advancement. He
showed plainly how much his head had been turned
by the victory at Saratoga when he failed to in-
form Washington of the fact, and when he after-
ward delayed sending back troops until he was
driven to it by the determined energy of Hamilton,
who was sent to bring him to reason. Next in im-
portance to Gates was Thomas Mifflin, an ardent
patriot, but a rather light-headed person, who es-
poused the opposition to Washington for causes
now somewhat misty, but among which personal
vanity played no inconsiderable part. About these
two leaders gathered a certain number of inferior
officers of no great moment then or since.

The active and moving spirit in the party, how-
ever, was one Conway, an Irish adventurer, who

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