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Saratoga, Valley Forge, and Monmouth

2nd half

Return to Chapter 19 part 1 

 But there were other kinds of mischief afoot in these times. It might often appear surprising that -the American army should have been the victim of so much suffering, knowing as we do that the country was not poor, but had enjoyed the comforts and many of the luxuries of life at the time the war broke out. How happened it, then, that our soldiers went shoeless and ill clad; that they lacked blankets, tents, and the commonest necessaries of a campaign? A soldier does not expect to fare as sumptuously, on the march as he does at home; but there is a wide margin between severe simplicity, and nakedness and starvation. The same men who in 1777 walked barefoot through ice and snow, slept on the bare earth, lacked even a pair of breeches, and sometimes had but one ragged suit of clothes between two of them-had, the year before, enjoyed whatever is requisite for reasonable ease and convenience. Why this sudden change?

The explanation is to be found in the widespread and monstrous corruption that prevailed. It was not, nor is it ever, the case that a majority, or even a large proportion, of the people were dishonest. But those who were willing to make money out of the needs and perils of the country were sufficiently numerous, and forced themselves into positions, to produce the effect of a prevailing moral rottenness. We of this age, unfortunately, do not need to be told of the thievishness of Government contractors, or of the selfish rapacity of individuals who have control of supplies. Yet it seems almost incredible that citizens of the States who were being defended by other citizens at the cost of comfort, property, and life, should find it in their hearts to cheat them out of things essential to their support in the field; should sell food which would keep them from starving to the British troops and mercenaries who were brought to the country to destroy them; and should actually, on some occasions, destroy supplies rather than sell them to the patriot army at a Government valuation. It seems improbable that officers of the commissary department should be so intent on filling their own pockets as to neglect to distribute supplies intended for the troops; so that while the latter were marching and fighting unshod and unclad, abundance of shoes and clothing should be rotting in cases and barrels by the roadside. We shrink from believing that, at this crisis of the national history, when the righting of the wrongs of a hundred years was on the point of being accomplished, soldiers and their officers should be found who would take money and bounties for services which they never meant to render, or use their positions not to fight for their country, but to defraud and dishonor it. We are slow to admit: that officers of the army could be selected and appointed, not for any knowledge or ability in war, or any personal merits or intelligence which might render them worthy at least of the respect which is due to personal character-but solely because by ill-smelling intrigue and bribery they had wormed their way into places which were meant for posts of honor, but which they coveted only in order to use them as the means of thievish gains. Desertions and treason occur in all armies and we could not expect the American army to be free from them; but neither should we expect the American army to be, as for a time it was, conspicuous above all others for these disgraceful crimes. All the abuses here enumerated, and many others, existed in appalling profusion; and it might safely be maintained that, had they not existed, the war of the Revolution would have lasted but a third or a fourth as long as it did. The enemy in the field was far less dangerous and deadly than the enemy in our own house. At the very time when patriotism was being displayed by some in its purest and noblest forms, all the vices and meannesses that are most opposite, to patriotism were being exhibited by others. Even among the ranks of the leaders of the nation men were found, whose virtue in the ordinary sense was beyond suspicion or cavil, who yet were so infected by envy, selfish ambition, prejudice and malice that they did not scruple to strike at the vitals of the State, if so they might injure or destroy the objects of their private animosity. There has never been a war more just in its object than that of our Revolution; and if, nevertheless, such evils could spring up in its footsteps, there seems reason in the common saying that war demoralizes a country.

But a truer discrimination perceives that though war forces to the surface the latent crime and corruption in a community, it does at the same time lay deep the foundations of virtues which endure after the noxious but transient growths of evil have passed away. We have long since forgotten the creatures who lied and stole and stabbed in the back and betrayed; but we shall never forget Washington, Jefferson, Greene, Stark, the two Adamses in their nobler aspects, Lafayette, Gadsden, Hamilton, and the rest of that conclave; nor shall we ever cease to benefit by what they thought and did for their country and ours. It was the war which transfigured them out of simple country gentlemen or humble yeomen into statesmen and heroes, and, through their statesmanship and heroism, brought the great Republic into being. The evil passed away like a miasma; but the good lasted, and can never pass away. It was faith that made America; it was lack of faith that hindered her making.

From a narrower point of view the hindrance also was due to imperfect conceptions of what a real republic is and demands. The people and their Congress could not enough free themselves from the nightmare memories of the past to build with steady hands and unbiased eyes the edifice of the future. All felt the need of a strong government; yet none would venture to take measures to give their Government strength. While the King of England was acknowledged as their King, the colonies bad, through his kingship, been implicitly one organism. Now that the King had, for them, ceased to be, their Congress was his only successor; but though, between the King and the Congress, there was the difference between one man ruling another and the same man ruling himself, yet the people were so far misled by names that they feared to trust their Congress with power. There had, indeed, been a marked distinction between the powers that the King arrogated to himself and those which the colonies had been willing to allow him; it was the existence of this distinction which had brought on the war. But now the aggregate of the States were afraid to concede to Congress-that is, to themselves-even so much authority as they had been prepared to concede to the King. They could not hear the words "a central government" -without misgiving. They wanted liberty, in general and in particular; they were the inheritors of a fight for individual and local liberties which had been going on ever since Magna Charta, and had not yet schooled themselves to reconcile the ideas of liberty of the parts and authority of the whole. They could not yet see themselves as a whole; they could see themselves as individuals or families, as villages, as townships, as counties, and as States; but at the State their vision stopped; a union of States transcended their compass; it was a form of words, but the concrete fact which it implied was beyond their present grasp. They were not made uneasy by the sovereignty of the State; but the sovereignty of the collective State over the constituent States they regarded with suspicion. It did not satisfy them that each constituent State was to retain the management of its own affairs; they wanted it also to be uncontrolled in its course as to collective affairs; though at the same time common sense forced them to admit that a union required. that there should be an authority to order and pass upon matters of common concern. Their instinct was centrifugal; their reason was contripetal. If their reason did not overcome their instinct, they would crumble to pieces; but unless their instinct stifled their reason they would be apt to tear themselves apart. The logical conclusion would be that the United States of America would be still-born, or commit suicide before they had fairly tried the experiment of life.

The successive Congresses of the war time studied the problem, and voted this way and that, without reaching any satisfactory solution; the goal could only be attained by the experience of mistakes. It is need less to enter into the details of Dickinson's scheme of, confederation, and why and how it failed. By reading between the lines of our Constitution as it stands we may discover why the trial constitutions collapsed. The latter embodied several principles which were indispensable to a republic; but the vital spark to make the organism live was wanting; it was a machine in which the forces were so carefully balanced that it could do no work. As soon as it was realized that central authority need not involve any danger of central despotism, the dynamic deadlock would be overthrown, and all would be well.

Howe had originally intended to approach Philadelphia by the Delaware, but had been forced by stress of weather into the Chesapeake. In order to secure his position in Philadelphia, it was now necessary to clear the Delaware of the forts and channel obstructions placed there by the Americans. There were three forts: Fort Mercer at Red Bank, on the New Jersey shore, below the mouth of the Schuylkill; and Fort Mifflin at Mud Island; the third was not a regular fort, but a group of fortifications at Billingsport. The latter was captured by a detachment from Chester on the 2d of October, and the retreat of the garrison, without striking a blow, produced a feeling of discouragement. By way of reviving the spirits of the patriots, Washington conceived the bold scheme of attacking Howe in his camp at Germantown. The main street of the village was crossed at right angles by his encampment, the right of which was protected by a wood, and the left, on the Schuylkill, by Hessian yaegers. Battalions of light infantry were placed in advance of the main line, and Chew's big stone house, at the village entrance, was surrounded by the regiment of Musgrave. Cornwallis was in Philadelphia with the rest of the British army, some miles distant. Howe was incredulous of any attack. But on October 3, Washington moved. designing to attack the British right with Greene and Stephen supported by Macdougall. The left was to be engaged by Sullivan and Wayne, with Conway on the flank, and Washington himself assisted by Stirling asreserve supporting them. A force of Maryland and New Jersey militia were meanwhile to get to the rear of the British right, and the Pennsylvanians were to amuse the yaegers on the left. The combined attach was to be made at five in the morning, following a rest. after the fourteen miles march from the American camp. The morning came on with a thick fog, which, though it shrouded the first movements of the Americans, proved the cause of their undoing later.

The advanced light infantry of the British, surprised by Wayne and Sullivan, fell back, in spite of the remonstrances of Howe, jumping out of bed under the impression that there was but a scouting party to deal with. But the grape shot led him to revise his opinion; and it also set Cornwallis moving from Philadelphia. A part of Musgrave's regiment supported the light infantry; he occupied Chew's house with the remainder. The American fieldpieces were too light to breach its walls.

At this juncture, Greene was due with his attack on the enemy's right; but he was nearly an hour late, and his line was disordered by difficult ground in its advance. By the time it began to fight, the British were ready for it: and it was driven back. The other brigades became confused in the fog, and mistook one another for the enemy. When Sullivan had expended his ammunition, the reenforcements from Philadelphia under Cornwallis came up on the double-quick; and Washington, who had been in the midst of the fire from the beginning, ordered a retreat, which was conducted in good order, at half-past eight. Howe had not been dislodged, but the depression caused by the loss at Billingsport was in a measure counteracted.

The forts Mercer and Mifflin were garrisoned by troops under the command of Colonel Greene and Lieutenant Colonel Smith; before moving against them, Howe transferred his army from Germantown to Philadelphia, and sent to Clinton, on the Hudson, for six thousand men. The news of the surrender of Burgoyne caused Howe to give hurried orders to the German Dunop to capture Fort Mercer by assault. Thick woods rendered it accessible on three sides to within four hundred yards. Dunop, after a grandiloquent summons to the garrison to surrender, attacked under cover of a cannonade. They entered the outer works with little opposition, but were then exposed to a heavy fire of muskets and grape in front and, flank, in spite of which they pressed on. At the fort ramparts, however, they were met hand to hand; Dunop, his staff, and more than half the other officers were killed, and the survivors gave up the enterprise. Some British ships which had meant to take part ran aground, and were blown up or burned. The Hessians had lost more than four hundred men, with two colonels; Howe asked leave to resign, and reported that at least another campaign, with heavy reenforcements, would be needed to finish the war.

But the defense of the Delaware could be but temporarily successful. Fort Mifflin with three hundred men, under command, of Major Simeon Thayer of Rhode Island (Lieutenant Colonel Smith having abandoned his trust), was attacked by a fleet of ships and five batteries, and bombarded all day, until nearly every gun in the works was silenced. Howe postponed the assault till next morning, and during the night Thayer evacuated, after a defense faithful to the last. This was on the 16th of November. The opening of the Delaware was completed by Cornwallis with five battalions, vainly opposed by Greene a few days later. Washington's army was too weak for offensive operations, Gates and Putnam having refused to send the reenforcements demanded, though there was nothing for the men to do in northern New York. A plot to depose Washington from his position as Commander in Chief was already on foot, and was soon to be developed. By the time the northern troops reached him, the British force in Philadelphia was nearly twenty thousand, strongly intrenched. In a council of war, Washington, with a majority of officers, decided not to commit the suicide of an attack; and Washington, fortifying himself in Whitemarsh, waited for Howe to attack him. The latter attempted to do this by surprise on the 5th of December; but word had been conveyed to the Americans by Lydia Darrah, in whose house in Philadelphia the British Adjutant General had been quartered, and who had overheard his plans. Fourteen thousand of the enemy marched to the attack, but found the Americans so strongly entrenched that they dared not risk an engagement. Except a skirmish between Morgan's riflemen and British troops under Grey in which the latter were defeated with a loss of about a hundred, nothing was done, and Howe retired to Philadelphia on December 8th. Washington had belt seven thousand effective men, but behind breastworks they were sufficient. No further operations were attempted by Howe during the winter, and Washington had to maintain his troops as best he could. The winter at Valley Forge has gone down to history as a type of whatever hardship an army can endure in camp.

But Washington, in addition to suffering with and for his soldiers, had to encounter the efforts of a cabal of his own subordinates to discredit and unseat him. He wrote to the historian Gordon, at the time, that he had accepted the appointment only after much entreaty, and that while "no officer would return to the sweets of domestic life with more heartfelt joy than I should," yet "I mean not to shrink in the cause." The conspiracy originated with a French officer by the name of Conway; Gates and Mifflin were its other mainstays, but Sullivan and Wayne, and several members of Congress, were stained by complicity in it. Gates was to be made Commander in Chief, and Conway was to have a high and independent command. For a time, the affair seemed likely to succeed; but the army and the people were with Washington, and a majority of Congress. The cabal tried to win over Lafayette, but unsuccessfully; he was sent on a wildgoose chase to make a winter attack on Canada, but it collapsed before it had well begun, and Conway, who had gone with it, had his resignation accepted. He was soon afterward wounded in a duel with Cadwalader, who had challenged him on account of his slanders on Washington; and thinking himself about to die, he wrote Washington an apology and retractation. Gates flatly lied himself out of the scrape, and the others sought cover. Washington emerged from the trial stronger than ever.

Valley Forge was a depression between ridges of hills, thickly wooded; it was twenty-one miles from Philadelphia. Provisions, blankets, clothing, and tents were lacking; the latter were supplied in a; measure by Washington's order to make log huts out of the trees in the forest; the former were demanded of Congress, but all it did was to tell Washington to live on the country. He replied that this plan spread disaffection among the people, and inclined the soldiers to plunder. Congress then gave directions for the dispatch )f a committee, among whom were Gates and Mifflin, to make investigations. But later, the membership of the committee was changed, the two generals being left out: they confirmed the groundlessness of the charges that had been brought against Washington, and reported that there was danger of the men perishing for lack of food and other necessaries. More paper money was issued, but it depreciated to such a degree as to lose all value. Congress then thought that the army should serve on from disinterested patriotism; but Washington told them that human nature would not permit of a body composed of a great variety of persons serving for a succession of years without regard to equitable interests and just claims. At length, officers who should serve to the end of the war were promised half pay for seven years, and privates a sum of eighty dollars. Nothing, however, could induce Congress to amend the short-term enlistment absurdity; had the people not voluntarily maintained their militia supplies, the army would have evaporated. Washington approved a law permitting the enlistment of slaves, with the reward of freedom on passing muster. Negroes had fought in the army from the beginning. In spite of the needy condition of the army, General Greene, on being made head of the quartermaster's department, did not hesitate to enrich himself by appropriating huge commissions. Baron Steuben, a Prussian volunteer, showed more patriotism by the regulation and discipline he introduced at Valley Forge, on being appointed Major General. But Congress, which nn longer contained the men who had made the Independence Congress great, continued to be jealous of the Commander in Chief, and refused to be enlightened by his arguments.

While these defects and disagreements were shadowing the cause at home, Franklin was reaping the fruits of his wise industry abroad. The surrender of Burgoyne brought the question of the French alliance to its acute stage. France, its King excepted, was desirous to give substantial help to America, if it could be done with no risk to herself. She made inquiries in the various courts of the Continent of Europe to determine whether any of them would oppose her action or take advantage of it to injure her. But the indications were that no nation would do less than adhere to a policy of more or less benevolent neutrality. The English Government had no active friends, not even the English people themselves. Russia, under Catherine, remained avowedly our friend. Our liberty could do her no harm, and in so far as it might lessen the power of England, it favored her ambition, which was to supplant the Mohammedan with the Christian rule in the East. Frederick II was not less amiably disposed, though he would consent to, no overt alliance; he freely expressed hopes for our success, and promised not to permit the marching of troops intended to fight against us through his dominions. Goethe and Schiller pronounced eulogies on our cause; the Netherlands were friendly, but were constrained to be neutral; Austria would take no measures hostile to us. Spain, strongly appealed to by France, adhered to her medieval policy of hostility to every form of human freedom, and declined to join France in her crusade. Switzerland gave us her good word; and in England, Lord Chatham's voice was the true voice of the country, and there was a strong desire to place him in the position of power. But George III declared with passion that sooner than yield to "him and his crew" he would abdicate the throne; he cared not, he said, what the country might suffer through the war; not to continue it until America was helpless would make him "miserable all the rest of his life." It made no difference how miserable Lord North was; he must continue to exercise the functions of the dispenser of the King's will. Lord North composed his "Conciliation Bills" offering to go back to the days of 1763; but it was too late for that; America would listen to no terms of peace that did not recognize her absolute independence; nor would France have assisted her on any less guarantee. Franklin's position in France was second only to that of .Voltaire; the two men met, and the Frenchman blessed the nephew of the American in the name of "God and Liberty"; and afterward when they stood together before the French Academy, gathered in solemn conclave, the two old gentlemen complied with the very Gallic request that they kiss each other, as a testimony of the freedom of mind. One can imagine the demure amusement which Franklin must have derived from this incident; but he performed the act with his invariable grave decorum; if one must kiss a man once in one's life, perhaps it was as well to make the essay upon Voltaire as-upon any other. That venerable and extraordinary personage, the incarnation of skeptical intellect oddly permeated with sentiment, was at that period within a few weeks of his decease; he had certainly done as much as any other man in Europe to prepare the human mind for the Nineteenth Century.

Though North's Conciliatory Bills were, as a foregone conclusion, rejected by America, they served to continue the ministry in power, and to make the prosecution of the war less obviously rational. On the other hand, the purpose of France to take sides with America was communicated to the Commissioners in December, 1777, and was formally announced in February, 1778, The pretty Marie Antoinette, who had as much understanding of human liberty as a pet fawn, had the whim to be one of the most outspoken advocates of the alliance, and her desire may have had some weight with the King. "American independence will repay the cost of the war to France," was Frederick's opinion; and lie denounced the act of the English ambassador Elliott, in stealing Arthur Lee's papers, as flat burglary, and refused to admit him to an audience. On March 13 France sent a rescriept to England which was in effect a declaration of war, anal the ambassadors on both sides were recalled. A French fleet sailed from Toulon on the 10th of April, with Gerard as first minister to the Congress of the United States. To France, then, belongs the honor of having been the first to "recognize" us; and after making all deductions on the score of intelligent selfishness, the honor is not a barren one. Were the French nation not as fickle as it is sensitive to new ideas, it would unite with America in controlling the world to-day. But it is in England, and not in France, that the principles of human liberty are really rooted; and she, and not France, must be our final companion in the leadership of mankind.

But in 1778 the time was out of joint; so that the strange spectacle was presented of England governed by men the name of not one of whom appears among those whom posterity has honored. It was a period of great men in England, in all branches of art, science, philosophy and politics; and yet only base creatures of the King and of their own pockets or degraded ambition were counted among her rulers. The truth was that men were in a quandary how to reconcile the authority of Parliament, which had rescued England from James II, with the ideas of the liberty of the individual which were gaining ground, and which were now illustrated an the American Revolution. Parliament was still an aristocratic institution, and the nobles were not prepared to believe that the cause of liberty could be in any measure intrusted to the common people. The arguments of Chatham, Fox, and Burke appeared to involve a contradiction; for they advocated the freedom of America, while still claiming the abstract right of Parliament to make laws binding upon all the empire. Had Parliament been truly representative, the riddle would have been solved; but it was to our advantage that it had not been so solved at this juncture. Until the solution should be reached, there was no substitute for Parliamentary government, and there seemed to be no alternative for England but either to be openly inconsistent, or to prolong the war. Many honest men, therefore, were constrained to suspend their judgment; and consequently the ministry, which alone was willing to shoulder the odium of continuing the campaign, held its place. The deed must be given time to overtake the flighty purpose, but, if the purpose be right, it will overtake it in time.

Congress ratified the French treaty on the 4th of May. "Long live the King of France!" and "Huzza for the American States!" shouted Washington's army at Valley Forge, two days later. I'Morituri to saturant!'' Louis and Marie Antoinette might have replied, suggests Bancroft. Meanwhile Howe, who had been spending the winter in Philadelphia, according to his custom, in unbridled license and profligacy, in sharp contrast with the hardships of the needy Americans, bethought himself that he should close his American career in a blaze of military glory. He sent a surprise party of five thousand men under Grant to capture a force of twenty-five hundred under Lafayette on Barren Hill, on the hither side of the Schuylkill. Not doubting of the success of the expedition, he stood ready to send the young French adventurer home with his comb cut. But greatly to his mortification, Grant returned with his mission unachieved; for Lafayette had escaped over a ford unknown to the Englishman. and left the latter with his mouth open, and nothing in it. Howe now gave, up his command to Clinton and sailed for England, having missed almost every opportunity for success afforded him by being a little too late. Had his zeal to overthrow Liberty been equal to his energy in supporting his mistresses, the war might have bad another termination.

Clinton received orders to evacuate Philadelphia and occupy New York. He crossed the Delaware on the 17th of June, Lord Howe having sailed with the miserable tories in his fleet. Clinton, with whom was Cornwallis, had seventeen thousand men. Should the American army attack them on their retreat across New Jersey? Washington, Greene, Wayne, Cadwalader, and Lafayette, said yes; the other generals in council said no; and of these the traitor, Charles Lee, was the most vociferous. "Rather build bridges for them," said be; "we cannot stand against them." Washington crossed the Delaware above Trenton, in very different weather from that of the famous Christmas night two years before; it was now midsummer, and the heat was such that men dropped dead in the ranks from sunstroke. Heat and cold were alike with out effect upon the American General. His plan was to strike the enemy at right angles in force. Lee, as the oldest Major General, was offered the command of the advance, but refused it, saying the plan was madness. Lafayette accepted it with alacrity; but now Lee declared that his honor demanded that it be given to him. On the 27th of June, Washington ordered an attack the neat morning, the enemy being then near Monmouth; Clinton had taken that route to avoid the risk of crossing the Raritan. But when, after Washington was gone, the other generals came to Lee for his plan, he refused to announce any, or in any way to prepare for the movement. An order from Washington to send a force of eight hundred skirmishers to observe the enemy and delay them, should they move, was carried out too late to be of use. The British began their march at five in the morning of the 28th; Washington ordered Lee to attack their rear, promising his support. Lee finally set his force in motion, but without having attempted to concert anything with the other generals. Lafayette, chafing at this conduct. urged him to take energetic measures; but "You don't know these British regulars," returned Lee, sagely shaking his head. Lafayette sent word to Washington that he was needed at the front; meanwhile Lee did his best to confound the confusion by contradictory orders, and by preventing Wayne from delivering his attack on the British left. An hour was wasted; and Lee replied to the remonstrances of an officer by the pointblank lie that he was acting in conformity with orders front Congress and from Washington himself. Clinton bad all the time he needed to prepare for the attack, should it be made; he sent forward his baggage under the guard of Knyphausen, and came against Lee with his grenadiers, guards, and Highlanders, and two regiments of cavalry. And backward go the best soldiers in the American army before him, "in obedience to the commands of a leader who meditated their disgrace." Now or never the moment for a real leader was come.

Washington was good at need. As the Americans retreat sullenly through the narrow gorge, with a morass on each side, there comes galloping to meet them a tall man on a sweating horse. The soldiers recognize him at once, and hope and courage come back to them; here is the man who can tell them what to do, and show them the way to do it. He is recognized, too, by the dastard who has betrayed them, and he blencbes and cringes at the sight. Well he may; for nothing is more terrible than the man who has been patient long, when at last his patience has been tried too far. The very aspect of Washington's countenance, aflame with indignation, appals like the thunderbolt. The terrible fire of his blue eyes smites the liar on the face, and the tones of his voice, resonant and stern as judgment, strike fear to his soul. The calm, taciturn, longsuffering Washington is gone, and there rides down upon Lee a vision of the majesty of wrath incarnate. The words are few and simple like the man, but they carry a meaning and a force which Lee will never forget, till that miserable day, years afterward, when he tosses, burning with fever, on his foul bed at the low inn, despised and friendless, with death before him and shame behind.

"What is the meaning of this?" thunders the Commander, reining up his horse; and as the other stammers and stutters, all his impudent assurance gone, the question comes again" What is the meaning of this?"

It can have only one meaning; but Lee, in his degradation, tries to grasp at some escape on the plea of conscientious conviction. "You know," he whines out, "that-that the attack was contrary to my advice and opinion."

Washington has already recovered his self-command. He has fathomed this scoundrel once and for all, and will not stoop to tell him what he is; but his calmness is more terrible, if possible, than his anger. "You should not have undertaken the command unless you meant to carry it through." But here comes Clinton and Cornwallis's battle, eager in pursuit, and the bullets are screaming through the deadly heat of that glowing day. Onward pour seven thousand redcoats, amid smoke and dust, crowding down the narrow way, firing and shouting, their bayonets and the swords of their officers glittering in the blazing sunlight. Their advance must be checked at once. Washington turns from Lee to his faithful men. A few quick and clear commands, and two of Wayne's regiments have been formed across the road under the British fire, which is less formidable than it seems, since their column presents but a narrow front, and those behind must shoot high. Let the Americans hold the pass but for a few minutes, and the troops that Washington was bringin up will have arrived. Then, as Stewart and Ramsay walk up and down the line, encouraging the men, he gallops back to array the reserves upon the higher ground in the rear. There is victory in his look and presence; those who hoped for no more than an orderly retreat now think of nothing but fierce resistance; those who meant but to die without disgrace, now foresee conquest with honor. The artillery is posted in the center; Stirling stands on the left, Greene on the right. The soldiers wipe the sweat from their eyes with their ragged sleeves, and shoot straight; the British cavalry is hurled back, and is seen no more. Now for the infantry. But as they move forward to turn Stirling's position, out belches the artillery on their flank and down they go, and back. Greene's own battery. repels the attempt on the other wing, and Wayne meets the grenadiers and guards face to face, and they fly, rally, and fly again. In that last charge of theirs the Lieutenant Colonel, Monckton, fell. And many whom no bullet struck dropped lifeless from the invisible missiles of the sun. So, from the midst of defeat, was snatched victory. And there sits Lee, idle and hangdog on his horse, when the terrible man in blue and buff rides up to him again. He points with his drawn sword: "Your place is at the rear, sir: go'." Clinton fell back to a safe position in the rear; the Americans slept upon the battlefield of Monmouth; the next morning the enemy, leaving his dead unburied, and his wounded to their fate, continued his precipitate retreat to Middleburg. Thence he gained New York by way of Sandy Hook, and Washington marched to the banks of the Hudson. After that long and grim endurance at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania and New Jersey were free. Washington's total loss was but little more than two hundred; the British twice as much, and in addition eight hundred by desertion. It was easier to desert than to run in the ardors of that June weather; and the heart of the British soldier was not in the war.

Lee, court-martialed and suspended for a year, was next year censured for accepting bribes from the enemy, and dishonorably dismissed the service. The halter would have been his fitting end; but the new republic was lenient, and left him to find death in his own way, after seeing the triumph of the cause he had tried by treachery to destroy.

But already the tide had turned, and America had left behind her forever the darker days of her struggle. The future contained, on the whole, more success than failure for her, more good than evil. She had taken the measure of her enemy, and knew that she must overcome in the end. The nations of Europe, willingly or unwillingly, realized the same truth. But George of England must complete his destiny, and not only establish the American Commonwealth, but open the way for a wider freedom in England by striving, for the last time in her history, to erect again the discredited and obsolete tyranny of the period that ended in the Revolution of 1688.