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Clinton in Command
division and the two brigades which had recently left Peekskill and to recross the Hudson to that post as speedily as possible, intending to forward the rest of the army with all the expedition in his power. He wrote, also, to General George Clinton, to reinforce Putnam with as many of the New York militia as could be collected. Clinton, be it observed, had just been installed governor of the State of New York—the first person elevated to that office under the constitution. He still continued in actual command of the militia of the State, and it was with great satisfaction that Washington subsequently learnt he had determined to resume the command of Fort Montgomery in the Highlands : “There cannot be a more proper man,” writes he,“ on every account."
Washington, moreover, requested Putnam to send an express to Governor Trumbull, urging assistance from the militia of his State without a moment's loss of time. “ Connecticut cannot be in more danger through any channel than this, and every motive of its own interest and the general good demands its utmost endeavors to give you effectual assistance. Governor Trumbull will, I trust, be sensible of this."
And here we take occasion to observe, that there could be no surer reliance for aid in time of danger than the patriotism of Governor Trumbull ; nor were there men more ready to
; obey a sudden appeal to arms than the yeomanry of Connecticut; however much their hearts might subsequently yearn toward the farms and firesides they had so promptly abandoned. No portion of the Union was more severely tasked, throughout the Revolution, for military services; and Washington avowed, when the great struggle was over, that, “if all the States had done their duty as well as the little State of Connecticut, the war would have been ended long ago.'
* Communicated by Professor B. Silliman.
Gates on the Alert for a Command-Schuyler Under
mined in Congress—Put on his Guard-Courts a Scrutiny, but not before an Expected Engagement, Summoned with St. Clair to Headquarters-Gates Appointed to the Northern Department-Washington's Speculations on the Successes of Burgoyne111-Judged Meddlings of Congress with the Commissariat-Colonel Trumbull Resigns in Consequence.
E have cited in a preceding page a
letter from Washington to Gates at Philadelphia, requiring his vigi
lant attention to the movements of the enemy's fleet; that ambitious officer, however, was engrossed at the time by matters more important to his individual interests. The command of the Northern department seemed again within his reach. The evacuation of Ticonderoga had been imputed by many either to cowardice or treachery on the part of General St. Clair, and the enemies of Schuyler had, for
some time past, been endeavoring to involve him in the disgrace of the transaction. It is true he was absent from the fortress at the time, zealously engaged, as we have shown, in procuring and forwarding reinforcements and supplies; but it was alleged that the fort had been evacuated by his order, and that, while there, he had made such dispositions as plainly indicated an intention to deliver it to the enemy. In the eagerness to excite popular feeling against him, old slanders were revived, and the failure of the invasion of Canada, and all the subsequent disasters in that quarter, were again laid to his charge as commanding general of the Northern department. “In short," writes Schuyler in one of his letters, "every art is made use of to destroy that confidence which it is so essential the army should have in its general officers, and this too by people pretending to be friends to the country.”*
These charges, which for some time existed merely in popular clamor, had recently been taken up in Congress, and a strong demonstration had been made against him by some of the New England delegates. “ Your enemies in this quarter," writes his friend, the Hon. William Duer (July 29th), “are leaving no means unessayed to blast your character, and
Schuyler to Governor Trumbull. Letter Book.
Schuyler Undermined in Congress
to impute to your appointment in that department a loss which, rightly investigated, can be imputed to very different causes.
“Be not surprised if you should be desired to attend Congress, to give an account of the loss of Ticonderoga. With respect to the result of the inquiry I am under no apprehensions. Like gold tried in the fire, I trust that you, my dear friend, will be found more pure and bright than ever.
From the nature of your department, and other unavoidable causes, you have not had an opportunity, during the course of this war, of evincing that spirit which I and your more intimate friends know you to possess : of this circumstance prejudice takes a cruel advantage, and malice lends an easy ear to her dictates. A hint on this subject is sufficient. You will not, I am sure, see this place till your conduct gives the lie to this insinuation, as it has done before to every other which your enemies have so industriously circulated.” *
Schuyler, in reply, expressed the most ardent wish that Congress would order him to attend and give an account of his conduct. He wished his friends to push for the closest scrutiny, confident that it would redound to his honor. "I would not, however, wish the
* Schuyler's Papers.