A B C D E F
G H I J K L M 

Total read books on site:
more than 10 000

You can read its for free!


Text on one page: Few Medium Many
None, unless the Canadians made common cause with
them. Following the steep path up which Wolfe and his brave men had
climbed seventeen years before, the gaunt Americans struggled after
their intrepid leader.

The next act in the grim comedy was to send forward a flag of truce with
a demand for the surrender of Quebec. General Carleton must have smiled
at the grotesqueness of the proceeding, when he sent back a refusal. A
few shots followed, when Arnold, finding he had not half a dozen rounds
of ammunition apiece for his men, and was in danger of being attacked
himself, retreated to a point twenty miles below Quebec, where
Montgomery joined him on the 1st of December and assumed command.

The Americans now numbered 3,000, and had six field-pieces and five
light mortars. They set out for Quebec, in front of which they encamped
four days later.

Of all the series of disastrous invasions of Canada, none was more
dismal and pathetic than that of Montgomery and Arnold. The winter was
unusually severe for a region which is noted for its intensely cold
weather. The ground froze to the hardness of a rock, and, unable to make
any impression in it with shovel and pick, the besiegers threw up walls
of ice, which the cannon of the defenders sent flying into thousands of
fragments. The men grew mutinous, and, realizing the desperate
situation, Montgomery ordered an assault to be made on the last day of
the year.

The plan was for the first division under Montgomery to move down the
river and attack the lower town near the citadel, while the second
division under Arnold was to pass around the city to the north, assault
by way of the St. Charles, and unite with Montgomery in his attack upon
the Prescott gate. The other two divisions were to remain in the rear of
the upper town and divert the garrison by feint attacks.

A blinding snowstorm was raging and the men could hardly distinguish one
another. Success depended upon surprise, but the defenders had learned
of the intended attack, and Montgomery had hardly started when the
battery delivered a fire which instantly killed him and both his aides.
Their deaths threw his men into a panic, and they fled in such haste
that they escaped the fate of their leaders.

Meanwhile, Arnold had moved, as agreed upon, with his division along the
St. Charles, the men bending their heads to the icy blast and protecting
their muskets under their coats. As soon as the garrison caught sight of
the dim figures they opened fire, but the Americans pressed on and
carried the first barricade. Arnold, however, received a severe wound in
the leg, and, suffering great pain, was carried to the rear. Daniel
Morgan, one of the bravest officers of the Revolution, succeeded to the
command, and, with his riflemen at his heels, was the first to climb the
ladders placed against the barricade. Two musket-balls grazed the
leader's face, which was scorched by the flash, and he was knocked down;
but he instantly sprang to his feet and called upon his men to follow
him. They did so with such dash that the enemy took refuge in the houses
on both sides of the street.

But for the disaster that had overtaken Montgomery, Quebec probably
would have been captured, but Morgan's command was in darkness, the
driving snow interfered with firing, and they knew nothing of the town.
Only a few of the troops found the next barricade, and, when they
climbed the ladders, were confronted by leveled muskets whose fire was
very destructive. Not only that, but the British, who had taken refuge
in the houses in the streets, kept up their firing.

[Illustration: ST. PAUL'S CHURCH, NEW YORK, WHERE MONTGOMERY WAS
BURIED.]

The Americans fought for a long time with the greatest heroism, but
after the loss of sixty, the remainder, with the exception of a few
that had fled, were obliged to surrender. The fragments of the helpless
army fell again under the command of the wounded Arnold, who, despite
the hopelessness of the attempt, still pressed the siege of Quebec. He
had sent an urgent message to Schuyler for reinforcements. They
straggled through the wintry forests to his aid, some 3,000 arriving in
the course of the winter. Carleton, who was too wise to venture out on
the plain as Montcalm had done, felt secure behind the walls, and gave
little heed to the ragged swarm huddled together in front of the town.

General Wooster brought fresh troops in March and assumed command. He
lacked military skill, and two months later was succeeded by General
Thomas. The latter saw that he had no more than a thousand effective
troops under his control, and decided to withdraw the ill-starred
expedition. Carleton, who had received large reinforcements, attacked
him on his retreat and captured a hundred prisoners and nearly all the
stores. The sufferings of the Americans were now aggravated by smallpox,
which broke out among them and caused many deaths, General Thomas being
one of the victims. General Sullivan succeeded him in command. He lost a
number of prisoners and retreated to Ticonderoga and Crown Point, thus
bringing the disastrous expedition to a close in the month of June,
1776.

It is proper that tribute should be given to the humanity of Carleton,
the British commander. He caused search to be made in the snow for the
body of Montgomery, and, when it was found, it was brought into the city
and buried with the honors of war. Other parties scoured the woods for
the suffering Americans, who were placed in the hospital and received
tender care. Those who voluntarily came in were allowed to go as soon as
they were strong enough to travel, and to the needy ones Carleton
furnished money. A half-century later the remains of Montgomery were
brought to New York and deposited beneath the monument in St. Paul's
churchyard.

[Illustration]




CHAPTER V.

THE REVOLUTION (CONTINUED).--THE WAR IN THE MIDDLE STATES AND ON THE
SEA.

Declaration of Independence--The American Flag--Battle of Long
Island--Washington's Retreat Through the Jerseys--Trenton and
Princeton--In Winter Quarters--Lafayette--Brandywine and Germantown--At
Valley Forge--Burgoyne's Campaign--Fort Schuyler and Bennington--Bemis
Heights and Stillwater--The Conway Cabal--Aid from France--Battle of
Monmouth--Molly Pitcher--Failure of French Aid--Massacre at
Wyoming--Continental Money--Stony Point--Treason of Arnold--Paul Jones'
Great Victory.


DIFFERENT THEATRES OF WAR.

The Revolution, beginning in New England, gradually moved southward.
After the first few conflicts it passed into the Middle States, which
for nearly three years became the theatre of the war. Then it shifted to
the South, which witnessed its triumphant close.

It has been shown that, despite this change of scene, the colonies were
ardently united from the beginning in the struggle for independence. It
should be remembered, however, that, for a considerable time after the
beginning of actual fighting, the Americans were not struggling so much
to gain their liberty as to compel England to do them justice. But for
the stubbornness of George III., who at times was insane, the reasonable
prayers of the patriots would have been granted, and our ancestors would
have been retained as subjects of the crown.

But the most far-seeing of Americans comprehended the inevitable end,
which must be subjection to tyranny or independence. The trend of events
so clearly indicated this that steps were taken looking toward the
utter and final separation of the colonies from the mother country.

Congress was still in session in Philadelphia, and early in June the
question of declaring American independence was brought forward by
Richard Henry Lee, of Virginia, who introduced a resolution, seconded by
John Adams, of Massachusetts, declaring the colonies free and
independent States. The matter was of so momentous importance that it
was debated long and earnestly by the able members, but since there was
no doubt that definite action would soon take place, a committee was
appointed to draw up the Declaration of Independence. The members were
Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman, and R.R.
Livingston. The immortal document was the work of Thomas Jefferson, the
assistance of the other members being so slight that it is not worth
mention.

[Illustration: INDEPENDENCE HALL, PHILADELPHIA. (Washington's statue in
front.)]

The debate over the Declaration, after it was read to Congress, was
earnest, and considerable difference of opinion developed, but on the
4th of July it was adopted and signed by every member present, excepting
one, while the absent delegates afterward attached their signatures.
Thornton, the member from New Hampshire, signed it precisely four
months after its adoption. John Hancock, being President of the
Congress, placed his name first in his large, bold hand, and it
appropriately stands by itself.

As soon as the Declaration was adopted, it was ordered that copies of it
should be sent to the various assemblies, conventions, and committees or
councils of safety, to the commanding officers of the Continental
troops, and that it should be proclaimed in each of the United States
and at the head of the army.

It was received everywhere with delight. Bells were rung, bonfires
kindled, and eloquent addresses made. The old Liberty Bell, still
carefully preserved in Independence Hall, sent out its note over the
city and across the Delaware. How appropriate is the inscription on the
bell, cast many years before anyone dreamed of the American Revolution:
"Proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants
thereof."

[Illustration: THE LIBERTY BELL, AS EXHIBITED AT THE NEW ORLEANS
EXPOSITION.]


THE AMERICAN FLAG.

Now that the nation was born, it required a flag under which to fight
for its independence. Various patterns had been used. The one first
raised over the American troops at Boston contained thirteen stripes, as
at present, but, in place of white stars in a blue field, it displayed a
union of the crosses of St. Andrew and St. George. Numerous designs were
submitted to Congress, but the first recognized Continental standard was
that raised by Washington, January 2, 1776.



Pages: | Prev | | 1 | | 2 | | 3 | | 4 | | 5 | | 6 | | 7 | | 8 | | 9 | | 10 | | 11 | | 12 | | 13 | | 14 | | 15 | | 16 | | 17 | | 18 | | 19 | | 20 | | 21 | | 22 | | 23 | | 24 | | 25 | | 26 | | 27 | | 28 | | 29 | | 30 | | 31 | | 32 | | 33 | | 34 | | 35 | | 36 | | 37 | | 38 | | 39 | | 40 | | 41 | | 42 | | 43 | | 44 | | 45 | | 46 | | 47 | | 48 | | 49 | | 50 | | 51 | | 52 | | 53 | | 54 | | 55 | | 56 | | 57 | | 58 | | 59 | | 60 | | 61 | | 62 | | 63 | | 64 | | 65 | | 66 | | 67 | | 68 | | 69 | | 70 | | 71 | | 72 | | 73 | | 74 | | 75 | | 76 | | 77 | | 78 | | 79 | | 80 | | 81 | | 82 | | 83 | | 84 | | 85 | | 86 | | 87 | | 88 | | 89 | | 90 | | 91 | | 92 | | 93 | | 94 | | 95 | | 96 | | 97 | | 98 | | 99 | | 100 | | 101 | | 102 | | 103 | | 104 | | 105 | | 106 | | 107 | | 108 | | 109 | | 110 | | 111 | | 112 | | 113 | | 114 | | 115 | | 116 | | 117 | | 118 | | 119 | | 120 | | 121 | | 122 | | 123 | | 124 | | 125 | | 126 | | 127 | | 128 | | 129 | | 130 | | 131 | | 132 | | 133 | | 134 | | 135 | | 136 | | 137 | | 138 | | 139 | | 140 | | 141 | | 142 | | Next |

N O P Q R S T
U V W X Y Z 

Your last read book:

You dont read books at this site.