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73 you of the wants and sufferings of the army, and the discontents reigning among the officers, is a just representation of evils equally melancholy and important; and unless effectual remedies be applied without loss of time, the most alarming and ruinous consequences are to be apprehended.”—The committee were fully impressed with the correctness of the observations made by the commander-in-chief, and grounded their report upon them. A general concurrence of sentiment ensued. Congress passed resolutions, but with sundry limitations, in favour of half-pay to their officers for seven years after the war; and gave their sanction to the other measures suggested by Washington, and recommended by their committee. But, from the delays incidental to large bodies, either deliberating upon, or executing public business, much time necessarily elapsed before the army received the benefits of the proposed reforms, and in the mean time their distresses arose to so great a height, as threatened their immediate dissolution.-Respect for their commander, attached both officers and soldiers so strongly to his person, as enabled him to keep them together, under privations almost too much for human nature to bear. Their effective force, thronghout the winter, was little more than five thousand men, though their numbers on paper exceeded seventeen thousand. It was fortunate for them, that the British made no attempt to disturb them, while in this destitute condition. In that case, the Americans could not have kept their camp for want of provisions, nor could they have retreated from it, without the certain loss of some thousands, who were barefooted and almost naked. Neither could they have risked an action with any possible hope of success, or without hazarding the most serious consequences,
The historians of the American revolution will detail the particulars of a treaty, entered into about this time between France and the United States; and also that immediately afterwards the government of Great Britain offered terms to the Americans, equal to all that they had asked anterior to their declaration of independence. The first certain intelligence of these offers was received by General Washington, in a letter from major general Tryon, the British governor of New York, enclosing the conciliatory proposals, and recommending that they should be circulated by General Washington among the officers and privates of his army."..
Instead of complying with this extraordinary request, he forwarded the whole to congress. The offers of Great Britain, which, if made in due time, would have prevented the dismemberment of the empire, were promptly rejected. The day after their rejection, a resolution, formerly recommended by Washington, was adopted by congress, in which they urged upon the different states, “to pardon, under certain limitations, such of their misguided citizens as had levied war against the United States."--Copies of this were printed in English and Germany, and General Washington was directed to take measures for circulating them amongst the American levies in the British army. He immediately enclosed them in a letter, to Tryon, in which he acknowledged the receipt of his late letter, covering the British conciliatory bills, and requesting their circulation in the American army, and in the way of retort, requested the instrumentality of Tryon, in making the resolutions of congress known to the Americans in the British army, on whom they were intended to operate.
About this time, sir William Howe resigned the command of the British army, and returned to Great Britain. His successor, sir Henry Clinton, had scarcely entered on the duties of his office, when he received orders to evacuate Philadel. phia. This was deemed expedient, from an apprehension that it would be a dangerous position, in case a French fleet, as was expected, should arrive in the Delaware, to co-operate with the Americans.
The design of evacuating Philadelphia, was soon disco. vered by Washington ; but the object or course of the enemy could not be precisely ascertained. Their preparations equally denoted an expedition to the south; an embarkation of their whole army for New York; or a march to that city through New Jersey. In the first two cases, Washington had not the means of annoyance, but as the probability of the last daily increased, he directed his chief attention to that point. General Maxwell, with the New Jersey brigade, was ordered over the Delaware, to take post about Mount Holly, and to co-operate with general Dickenson at the head of the New Jersey militia, in obstructing the progress of the royal army, till time should be gained for Washington to overtake them. The British crossed the Delaware to Gloucester Point, on the 18th of June, 1778; the Americans, in fou:
days afterwards, at Corryel's Ferry. The general officers of the latter, on being asked what line of conduct they deemed most advisable, had previously, and with one consent, agreed to attempt nothing, till the evacuation of Philadelphia was completed; but after the Delaware was crossed, there was a diversity of sentiment respecting the measures proper to be pursued.--General Lee, who, having been exchanged, had joined the army, was of opinion, that the United States, in consequence of their late foreign connexions, were secure of their independence, unless their army was defeated: and that; under such circumstances, it would be criminal to hazard an action, unless they had some decided advantage. Though the numbers in both armies were nearly equal, and about tên thousand effective men in each, he attributed so much to the superiority of British discipline, as made him apprehensive of the issue of an engagement on equal ground.-These sentiments were sanctioned by the voice of a great majority of the general officers. Washington was nevertheJess strongly inclined to risk an action. Though cautious, he was enterprising, and could not readily believe that the chances of war were so much against him, as to threaten consequences of the alarming magnitude which had been announced. There was a general concurrence in a proposal for strengthening the corps on the left flank of the enemy with fisteen hundred men, to improve any partial advantages that might offer, and also that the main body should preserve a relative position for acting as circumstances might require.
When sir Henry Clinton had advanced to Allentown, he determined, instead of keeping the direct course towards Staten Island, to incline towards the sea-coast, and to hasten towards Sandy Hook. Washington, on receiving intelligence that sir Henry was proceeding in that direction towards Monmouth Court House, detached one thousand men under general Wayne, and sent to the marquis de la Fayette to take command of the whole, with orders to seize the first fair opportunity of attacking the enemy's rear.-- The command of this advanced corps was offered to general Lee, but he declined it. The whole army followed at a proper distance for supporting the advanced corps, and reached Cranberry the next morning. Sir Henry Clinton, sensible of the approach of the Americans, placed his grenadiers, light infant
and chasseurs in his rear, and his baggage in his front
Washington increased his advance corps with two brigades, and sent general Lee, who now wished for the command, to take charge of the whole, and followed with the main army to give it support.—On the next morning, orders were sent to general Lee, to move on and attack, unless there should be powerful reasons to the contrary. When Washington had marched about five miles, to support the advanced corps, he found the whole of it retreating by general Lee's orders, and without having made any opposition of importance. Washington rode up to Lee, and proposed certain questions : Lee answered with warmth, and unsuitable language. The commander-in-chief ordered colonel Stewart's and lieutenant-colonel Ramsay's battalions to form on a piece of ground, which he judged suitable for giving a check to the advancing enemy. Lee was then asked if he would command on that ground, to which he consented, and was ordered to take proper measures for checking the enemy, to which he replied, “ your orders shall be obeyed, and I will not be the first to leave the field.”- Washington then rode to the main army, which was formed with thè, utmost expedition. A warm cannonade immediately commenced, between the British and American artillery; and a heavy firing, between the advanced troops of the British army, and the two battalions which Washington had halted. These stood their ground till they were intermixed with a part of the British army.
General Lee continued till the last on the field of battle, and brought off the rear of the retreating troops.
The check received by the British gave time to make a disposition to the left wing, and second line of the American army, in the wood and on the eminence, to which Lee was retreating. On this, some cannon were placed by lord Stirling, who commanded the left wing; which, with the cooperation of some parties of infantry, effectually stopped the advance of the British in that quarter. General Greene took a very advantageous position on the right of lord Stirling. The British attempted to turn the left flank of the Americans, but were repulsed. They also made a movement to the right, with as little success; for Greene, with artillery, disappointed their design.— Wayne advanced with a body of troops, and kept up so severe and well directed a fire, that the British were soon compelled to give way. They retired and took the position which Lee had before occupied.
Washington resolved to attack them, and ordered general Poor to move round upon their right, and general Woodford upon their left; but they could not get within reach before it was dark. They remained on the ground which they had been directed to occupy, during the night, with an intention of attacking early next morning; and the main body lay on their arms in the field, to be ready for supporting them.General Washington, after a day of great activity and much personal danger, reposed amongst his troops on his cloak, under a tree, in hopes of renewing the action the next day. But these liopes were frustrated. The British marched away in the night, in such silence, that general Poor, though he lay very near them, knew nothing of their departure. 'They left behind them four officers and about forty privates, all so badly wounded, that they could not be removed. Their other wounded were carried off. The British pursued their march without further interruption, and soon reached the neighbourhood of Sandy Hook, without the loss either of their covering party, or baggage. The American general declined all further pursuit of the royal army, and soon afterwards drew off his troops to the borders of the North River. The loss of the Americans, in killed and wounded, was about two hundred and fifty. The loss of the royal army, including prisoners, was about three hundred and fifty,
On the ninth day after this action, congress unanimously resolved, " that their thanks be given to General Washington, for the activity with which he marched from the camp at Valley Forge in pursuit of the enemy ; for his distinguished exertions in forming the line of battle ; and for his great good conduct in leading on the attack, and gaining the important victory of Monmouth, over the British grand army, under the command of general sir Henry Clinton, in their march from Philadelphia to New York."
It is probable that Washington intended to take no further notice of Lee's conduct on the day of action ; but the latter could not brook the expressions used by the former at their first meeting, and wrote him two passionate letters. This occasioned his being arrested and brought to trial. The charges exhibited against him were:
1st. For disobedience of orders, in not attacking the ene my on the 28th of June, agreeably to repeated instructions. 2dly. For misbehaviour before the enemy, on the same