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Prejudice Against Schuyler
of his patriotism and unwearied services in the cause of his country.”
Wilkinson, at that time a devoted follower of Gates, and likely to know the influences that operated against his rival, traces this prejudice up to times prior to the Revolution, when Schuyler acted as commissioner on the part of New York in settling the partition line between that colony and Massachusetts Bay. This gave rise to the feuds and controversies concerning the Hampshire Grants, in which, according to Wilkinson, the parties were distinguished by the designations of Yankee and Yorker. The zealous exertions of Schuyler on behalf of New York, gained him the ill will of the Hampshire grantees, and of eastern men of the first rank with whom he came in collision. This feeling survived the controversy, and existed among the militia from those parts. On the other hand, Wilkinson observes, “It was General Gates's policy to favor the views of the inhabitants of the Hampshire Grants, which made him popular with these people.”
Somewhat of the prejudice against Schuyler Wilkinson ascribes to social habits and manners, “those of New England at the time being democratic and puritanical, whilst in New York they were courtly and aristocratical.” Schuyler was a man of the world, and of society, cultivated, and well bred; he was an élève too of Major-General Bradstreet in the seven years' war; and had imbibed notions of military carriage and decorum in an aristocratic school; all this rendered him impatient at times of the deficiencies in these respects among the raw militia officers, and made the latter consider him haughty and reserved.
Washington's Perplexities about the British Fleet
Putnam and Governor Clinton Put on the Alert in the Highlands. Morgan and his Riflemen Sent to the North-Washington at Philadelphia-His First Interview with Lafayette-Intelligence about the Fleet-Explanations of its Movements-Review of the Army-Lafayette Mistakes the Nature of his Commission-His Alliance with Washington – March of the Army through Philadelphia-Encampment at Wilmington.
OR several days Washington remained
at Germantown in painful uncertainty about the British fleet ; whether gone
to the south or to the east. The intense heat of the weather made him unwilling again to move his army, already excessively harassed by marchings and counter-marchings. Concluding, at length, that the fleet had actually gone to the east, he was once more on the way to recross the Delaware, when an express overtook him on the roth of August, with tidPutnam on the Alert
ings that three days before it had been seen off Sinepuxent Inlet, about sixteen leagues south of the Capes of Delaware.
Again he came to a halt, and waited for further intelligence. Danger suggested itself from a different quarter. Might it not be Howe's plan, by thus appearing with his ships at different places, to lure the army after him, and thereby leave the country open for Sir Henry Clinton with the troops at New York to form a junction with Burgoyne? With this idea Washington wrote forthwith to the veteran Putnam to be on the alert; collect all the force he could to strengthen his post at Peekskill, and send down spies to ascertain whether Sir Henry Clinton was actually at New York, and what troops he had there. “If he has the number of men with him that is reported,” observes Washington, “it is probably with the intention to attack you from below, while Burgoyne comes down upon you from above."
The old general, whose boast it was that he never slept but with one eye, was already on the alert. A circumstance had given him proof positive that Sir Henry was in New York, and had roused his military ire. A spy, sent by that commander, had been detected furtively collecting information of the force and condition of the post at Peekskill, and had under
gone a military trial. A vessel of war came up the Hudson in all haste, and landed a flag of truce at Verplanck's Point, by which a message was transmitted to Putnam from Sir Henry Clinton, claiming Edmund Palmer as a lieutenant in the British service.
The reply of the old general was brief but emphatic.
“HEADQUARTERS, 7th Aug., 1777. “Edmund Palmer, an officer in the enemy's service, was taken as a spy lurking within our lines ; he has been tried as a spy, condemned as a spy, and shall be executed as a spy : and the flag is ordered to depart immediately.
“ISRAEL PUTNAM. “P. S.-He has, accordingly, been executed.”
Governor Clinton, the other guardian of the Highlands, and actually at his post at Fort Montgomery, was equally on the alert. He had faithfully followed Washington's directions, in ordering out militia from different counties to reinforce his own garrison and the army under Schuyler. “I never knew the militia come out with greater alacrity," writes he : “but, as many of them have yet a great part of their harvests in the field, I fear it will be difficult to detain them long, unless the
Morgan and his Riflemen
enemy will make some movements that indi. cate a design of coming this way suddenly, and so obvious as to be believed by the militia.”
At the same time, the worthy governor expressed his surprise that the Northern army had not been reinforced from the eastward. “The want of confidence in the general officers to the northward," adds he, “is the specious reason. To me it appears a very weak one. Common gratitude to a sister State, as well as duty to the continent at large, conspire in calling on our eastern neighbors to step forth on this occasion.”
One measure more was taken by Washington, during this interval, in aid of the northern department. The Indians who accompanied Burgoyne were objects of great dread to the American troops, especially the militia. As a counterpoise to them, he now sent up Colonel Morgan with five hundred riflemen to fight them in their own way.
They are all chosen men," said he
selected from the army at large, and well acquainted with the use of rifles and with that mode of fighting. I expect the most eminent services from them, and I shall be mistaken if their presence does not go far towards producing a general desertion among the savages.” It was, indeed, an arm