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CAMPAIGN OF 1781.
The Pennsylvania line mutinies.-The Jersey lines follow their example, but are quelled.-Distresses of the American army.-General Washington commences a military journal. The British carry on extensive operations in the southern states.-Washington is pressed to repair to the defence of Virginia, but declines.— Reprimands his manager for furnishing supplies to the British army.-Extinguishes a threatened civil war respecting the independence of Vermont.-Projects a plan of combined operations.-Deputes Colonel John Laurens to obtain the concurrence of France.-Siege of New York proposed, but exchanged for Yorktown. -Lord Cornwallis, invested by the French and Americans, is forced to capitulate.-Washington makes preparations for the campaign of 1782.
THE year 1780 ended in the northern states with disappointment; and the year 1781 commenced with mutiny. In the night of 1781. the 1st of January, about 1300 of the Pennsylvania line paraded under arms in their encampment near Morristown, avowing a determination to march to the seat of congress, and obtain a redress of their grievances, without which they would serve no longer. The exertions of general Wayne and the other officers, to quell the mutiny, were in vain. The whole body marched off with six field
pieces towards Princeton. They stated their demands in writing, which were, a discharge to all who had served three years-an immediate payment of all that was due to them-and that future pay should be made in real money to all who remained in the service. Their officers, a committee of congress, and a deputation from the executive council of Pennsylvania, endeavoured to effect an accommodation; but the mutineers resolutely refused all terms of which a redress of their grievances was not the foundation. To their demands, as founded in justice, the civil authority of Pennsylvania substantially yielded. Intelligence of this mutiny was communicated to general Washington at New Windsor, before any accommodation had taken place. Though he had been long accustomed to decide in hazardous and difficult situations, yet it was no easy matter, in this delicate crisis, to determine on the most proper course to be pursued. His personal influence had several times extinguished rising mutinies. The first scheme that presented itself was to repair to the camp of the mutineers, and try to recal them to a sense of their duty; but on mature reflection this was declined. He well knew that their claims were founded in justice, but he could not reconcile himself to wound the
discipline of his army by yielding to their demands while they were in open revolt with arms in their hands. He reviewed the subject in all its relations, and was well apprized that the principal grounds of discontent were not peculiar to the Pennsylvania line, but common to all his troops. If force was requisite, he had none to spare without hazarding West Point. If concessions were unavoidable, they had better be made by any person than the commander in chief. After that mature deliberation which he always gave to -matters of importance, he determined against a personal interference, and left the whole to. the civil authorities, which had already taken
it up; but at the same time prepared for those measures which would become necessary accommodation took place. This resolution was communicated to general Wayne, with a caution to regard the situation of the other lines of the army, in any concessions which might be made, and with a recommendation to draw the mutineers over the Delaware, to increase the difficulty of communicating with the enemy in New York,
The dangerous policy of yielding even to the just demands of soldiers with arms in their hands soon became apparent. The success of the Pennsylvania line induced a
part of that of New Jersey to hope for similar advantages from similar conduct. In about three weeks a part of the Jersey brigade rose in arms, and, making the same claims which had been yielded to the Pennsylvanians, marched to Chatham. Washington, who was far from pleased with the issue of the mutiny in the Pennsylvania line, determined, by strong measures, to stop the progress of a spirit which was hostile to all his hopes! General Howe, with a detachment of the eastern troops, was immediately ordered to march against the mutineers, and instructed to make no terms with them while they were in a state of resistance, and on their surrender, to seize a few of the most active leaders, and to execute them immediately in the presence of their associates. These orders were obeyed. Two of the ringleaders were shot, and the survivors returned to their duty. Though Washington adopted these decisive measures, yet no man was more sensible of the wants and sufferings of his army, and none more active and zealous in procuring them justice. He improved the late events by writing circular letters to the states, urging them to prevent all future causes of discontent, by doing justice to their respective lines. Some good effects were produced, but only temporary,
and far short of the well-founded claims of the troops. Their wants with respect to provisions were only partially supplied, and by expedients from one short time to another. The most usual was, ordering an officer to seize on provisions wherever found. This differed from robbery only in its being done by authority for the public service, and in the officer being always directed to give the proprietor a certificate of the quantity and quality of what was taken from him. At first, some reliance was placed on these certificates, as vouchers to support a future demand on the United States; but they soon became so common as to be of little value. Recourse was so frequently had to coercion, both legislative and military, that the people not only lost confidence in public credit, but became impatient under all exertions of authority for forcing their property from them. About this time Washington was obliged to apply 9,000 dollars, sent by the state of Massachusetts for the payment of her troops, to the use of the quartermaster's department, to enable him to transport provisions from the adjacent states. Before he consented to adopt this expedient, he had consumed every ounce of provisions which had been kept as a reserve in the garrison of West Point, and had strained im