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on the flank of Burgoyne, should he advance. It would make the latter, he said, very circumspect in his advances, if it did not entirely prevent them. It would keep him in continual anxiety for his rear, and oblige him to leave the posts behind him much stronger than he would otherwise do. He advised that General Lincoln should have the command of the corps thus posted, as no person could be more

proper for it.”

He recommended, moreover, that in case the enemy should make any formidable movement in the neighborhood of Fort Schuyler (Stanwix), on the Mohawk River, General Arnold, or some other sensible, spirited officer, should be sent to take charge of that post, keep up the spirits of the inhabitants, and cultivate and improve the favorable disposition of the Indians.

The reader will find in the sequel what a propitious effect all these measures had upon the fortunes of the Northern campaign, and with what admirable foresight Washington calculated all its chances. Due credit must also be given to the sagacious counsels and executive energy of Schuyler ; who suggested some of the best moves in the campaign, and carried them vigorously into action. Never was Washington more ably and loyally seconded by any of his generals.

Aysterious Erpedition


But now the attention of the commander-inchief is called to the seaboard. On the 23d of July, the fleet, so long the object of watchful solicitude, actually put to sea.

The force embarked, according to subsequent accounts, consisted of thirty-six British and Hessian battalions, including the light infantry and grenadiers, with a powerful artillery ; a New York corps of provincials, or royalists, called the Queen's Rangers, and a regiment of light horse ; between fifteen and eighteen thousand men in all. The force left with General Sir Henry Clinton for the protection of New York, consisted of seventeen battalions, a regiment of light horse, and the remainder of the provincial

corps. *

The destination of the fleet was still a matter of conjecture. Just after it had sailed, a young man presented himself at one of General Putnam's outposts. He had been a prisoner in New York, he said, but had received his liberty and a large reward on undertaking to be the bearer of a letter from General Howe to Burgoyne. This letter his feelings of patriotism prompted him to deliver up to General Putnam. The letter was immediately transmitted by the general to Washington. It was in the handwriting of Howe, and bore his signature.


* Civil War in America, vol. i., p. 250.


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In it he informed Burgoyne, that instead of any designs up the Hudson, he was bound to the east against Boston. “If,” said he,

' "according to my expectations, we may succeed in getting possession of it, I shall, without loss of time, proceed to co-operate with you in the defeat of the rebel army opposed to you. Clinton is sufficiently strong to amuse Washington and Putnam. I am now making demonstrations to the southward, which I think will have the full effect in carrying our plan into execu


Washington at once pronounced the letter a feint. “No stronger proof could be given,” said he, “that Howe is not going to the eastward. The letter was evidently intended to fall into our hands. If there were not too great a risk of the dispersion of their fleet, I should think their putting to sea a mere maneuvre to deceive, and the North River still their object. I am persuaded, more than ever, that Philadelphia is the place of destination."

He now set out with his army for the Delaware, ordering Sullivan and Stirling with their divisions to cross the Hudson from Peekskill, and proceed towards Philadelphia. Every movement and order showed his doubt and perplexity, and the circumspection with which he had to proceed. On the 30th, he writes from

wasbington's Doubt and perplegity



Coryell's Ferry, about thirty miles from Philadelphia, to General Gates, who was in that city : As we are yet uncertain as to the real destination of the enemy, though the Delaware seems the most probable, I have thought it prudent to halt the army at this place, Howell's Ferry, and Trenton, at least till the fleet actually enters the bay and puts the matter beyond a doubt. From hence we can be on the proper ground to oppose them before they can possibly make their arrangements and dispositions for an attack.

That the post in the Highlands mạny not be left too much exposed, I have ordered General Sullivan's division to halt at Morristown, whence it will march southward if there should be occasion, or northward upon the first advice that the enemy should be throwing any force up the North River. General Howe's in a manner abandoning General Burgoyne, is so unaccountable a matter, that, till I am fully assured it is so, I cannot help casting my eyes continually behind me. As I shall pay no regard to any flying reports of the appearance of the fleet, I shall expect an account of it from you, the moment you have ascertained it to your satisfaction.”

On the 31st, he was informed that the enemy's fleet of two hundred and twenty-eight sail had arrived the day previous at the Capes of Dela


" This

ware. He instantly wrote to Putnam to hurry on two brigades, which had crossed the river, and to let Schuyler and the commanders in the Eastern States know that they had nothing to fear from Howe, and might bend all their forces, continental and militia, against Burgoyne. In the meantime he moved his camp to Germantown, about six miles from Philadelphia, to be at hand for the defense of that city.

The very next day came word, byexpress, that the fleet had again sailed out of the Capes, and apparently shaped its course eastward. surprising event gives me the greatest anxiety," writes he to Putnam (August 1), “and unless every possible exertion is made, may be productive of the happiest consequences to the enemy and the most injurious to us. The importance of preventing Mr. Howe's getting possession of the Highlands by a coup de main, is infinite to America ; and, in the present situation of things, every effort that can be thought of must be used. The probability of his going to the eastward is exceedingly small, and the ill effects that might attend such a step inconsiderable in comparison with those that would inevitably attend a successful stroke on the Highlands.”'

Under this impression Washington sent orders to Sullivan to hasten back with his

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