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Washington had withdrawn his entire force, and, reaching the
college town by a roundabout course, was driving the British troops
before him. The chagrined and angered Cornwallis hurried to Princeton
in order to avert the threatened disaster.


BATTLE OF PRINCETON.

But Washington had already won a victory, scattering the British forces
right and left. Although he lost a number of brave officers and men, he
killed sixty of the enemy and captured 250 prisoners. When Cornwallis
arrived the Americans were gone, and the British troops hurried to
Brunswick (now New Brunswick) to protect the stores there. Washington
withdrew to Morristown, where he went into winter quarters and remained
until May, much of the time being devoted to making forays upon the
enemy, who now and then retaliated in kind.

[Illustration: "GIVE THEM WATTS, BOYS!"

The spirit shown by our sturdy patriots is well illustrated by the story
of the minister, who, when in one battle there was a lack of wadding,
brought out an armful of hymn books and exclaimed: "Give them Watts,
boys!"]

Washington left Morristown on the 28th of May, aware that Howe intended
to make a campaign against Philadelphia. There was considerable
manoeuvring by the two armies, Howe trying to flank Washington, who
was too alert to be entrapped, and no material advantage was gained by
either side.

About this time a number of foreign officers joined the American army.
The most distinguished was the Marquis de Lafayette, who served without
pay and won the gratitude of the whole country because of his devotion
to the cause of American independence and his intimate friendship with
Washington.

Meanwhile, being driven out of New Jersey, the British pushed their
campaign against Philadelphia by way of the Chesapeake. In August, 1777,
Sir William Howe sailed from New York with 16,000 troops, and, on the
24th, reached the head of Elk River in Maryland. At Brandywine, on the
11th of September, the American army was defeated with severe loss,
Lafayette being among the wounded. Washington entered Philadelphia the
next day, and, crossing the Schuylkill, posted his troops on the eastern
bank of the river, with detachments at the ferries where it was thought
the enemy were likely to attempt to cross. General Wayne concealed
himself and 1,500 men in the woods, intending to attack the British in
the rear, but a Tory betrayed his presence to the enemy, who in a
furious assault slew 300 of his men. This disaster is known in history
as the Paoli Massacre.


BRITISH OCCUPATION OF PHILADELPHIA.

Howe, having gained control of the Schuylkill, crossed with his army,
and, advancing to Germantown, took possession of Philadelphia on the
27th of September. The main body remained in Germantown, while the
American army, now reinforced to 11,000, were on the eastern side of the
Schuylkill, eighteen miles distant. Howe was engaged in reducing the
forts on the Delaware to open a passage for his fleet, when Washington
advanced against the force at Germantown, hoping to surprise it. He
would have succeeded, but for several obstacles wholly unexpected. The
stone building known as the "Chew House" offered a stubborn resistance
and defied the cannon fired against it. The delay caused by the attempt
to reduce it gave the enemy time to rally. Besides, the dense fog
disorganized the attack, and more than once bodies of Americans fired
into one another. On the verge of victory, a retreat was ordered and the
Americans fell back, after having suffered a loss of 1,200 men. Congress
on the approach of the enemy fled to the little town of York,
Pennsylvania.


WASHINGTON AT VALLEY FORGE.

While the British were holding high revel in Philadelphia, the
Continentals shivered and starved at Valley Forge, twenty miles away.
Thousands of the men were without shoes and stockings. In each log hut
were twelve privates, who had scarcely any bedding, and who kept from
freezing at night by the mutual warmth of their bodies. The farmers of
the neighborhood were so unpatriotic that Washington was often compelled
to take straw and grain from them by force, giving in return an order
upon the government for the property thus used. It is said that Isaac
Potts, a Quaker at whose house Washington made his headquarters, was
passing through the woods one day, when he heard the voice of some one
in prayer. Peering among the trees he saw Washington on his knees,
beseeching the help of heaven in the struggle for liberty. When Potts
returned to his home and related the incident to his wife, he added that
he could no longer doubt the success of the Americans, since he had
heard Washington praying for it.

[Illustration: WASHINGTON AT VALLEY FORGE.]

It has been shown that one of the most important campaigns planned by
the British was that of invading New York from Canada. If successful,
New England would be cut off from the other States and forced to submit.
Formidable preparations were made for this movement. An army of more
than 7,000 British and Hessian troops, in addition to a corps of
artillery, was placed under the command of General Burgoyne, who was
accompanied by several members of Parliament, who had crossed the ocean
for the pleasure of witnessing the overthrow of the rebellious
Americans. The route was from Canada by way of Lake Champlain to Albany,
where the army was to be joined by a strong force to be sent up the
Hudson from New York. Clinton failed to carry out his part, because of
the delay in sending to him from London a detailed account of the
intended plan of campaign.


A CLEVER STRATAGEM.

At Crown Point, Burgoyne was joined by a number of Indian allies, a
proceeding which greatly incensed the patriots. It was arranged that
another body of British troops under Colonel St. Leger, including
Indians and Tories, were to ascend the St. Lawrence to Lake Ontario, and
advance across the State by way of the Mohawk to Albany. Carrying out
this programme, St. Leger invested Fort Schuyler at the head of the
Mohawk, with a force of 1,800 men. While General Herkimer was hurrying
with some militia to the relief of the garrison, he was ambuscaded by a
detachment of British and Indians and killed, but an advance from the
fort drove off his assailants. St. Leger persisted in his siege of the
fort, and Benedict Arnold marched with a brigade to attack him. His
force, however, was so weak that he saw the folly of assault, and had
recourse to an ingenious and successful stratagem. He sent an
underwitted boy, who had been arrested as a Tory, into the British camp
with the story that the reinforcements just arrived for the Americans
numbered several thousand, the fable being confirmed shortly after by an
Indian scout. St. Leger was so frightened that he fled to Canada,
leaving his tents and most of his military stores.

The Americans abandoned Fort Ticonderoga before the advance of Burgoyne,
who reached Fort Edward, while General Schuyler crossed the Hudson and
assumed position at Saratoga. Burgoyne crossed the river on the 13th and
14th of September, and General Gates, lately appointed to the command of
the northern department, advanced toward the enemy and encamped a few
miles north of Stillwater. On the night of the 17th, the two armies were
within four miles of each other, and, two days later, Burgoyne attacked
Gates. The loss on each side was severe, but the result was indecisive.

A danger of another character threatened the invading army. Provisions
and supplies were running out, and it was impossible to obtain more. No
help arrived from Clinton, the desertions were numerous, and, realizing
his desperate situation, Burgoyne determined to drive the Americans from
their position on the left and then retreat to Canada. He made a
determined attempt, but was defeated with the loss of several hundred
men, including a number of his best officers, nine pieces of artillery,
and the encampment and equipage of a Hessian brigade.


SURRENDER OF BURGOYNE.

General Gates now disposed his forces so as almost completely to
surround Burgoyne, who called a council of war, at which it was agreed
that nothing was left for them but to capitulate. Accordingly, October
17, 1777, he surrendered his army to General Gates. This consisted of
5,763 officers and men, including the disappointed members of
Parliament. All the Indians having fled, none was left of them to
surrender. The spoils of war included a fine train of artillery of
forty-two pieces, 5,000 muskets, and a vast quantity of ammunition and
stores. The prisoners were treated with great kindness, their captors
sharing their food with them.

The news of the loss of one of her most important armies caused dismay
in England and unbounded rejoicing in America. It was the climax of the
triumph at Trenton, and renewed hope thrilled the country from New
England to Georgia.


THE CONWAY CABAL.

Congress awarded a gold medal to Gates for his capture of Burgoyne, and
he was placed at the head of the new board of war. He was puffed up over
his victory, for which most of the credit was due to Schuyler and
Arnold. Finding congenial spirits in General Mifflin and an Irishman
named Conway, both members of the board, including also General Charles
Lee, who had been exchanged, a plot was formed for displacing Washington
and putting Gates in supreme command of military affairs. The "Conway
Cabal" utterly failed, for there were precious few in the country who
did not appreciate the lofty character of Washington, and none except
the plotters felt sympathy with any attempt to dim the lustre of the
name that will always be among the brightest in history.


AID FROM FRANCE.

One of the immeasurable advantages that followed the capture of Burgoyne
was our alliance with France. That country sympathized with us from the
first, though her traditional hatred of England had much to do with the
sentiment, but hitherto her assistance had been secret. She wished a
good pretext for coming out openly, and this was furnished by the
capture of Burgoyne. Franklin was in France as our representative, and
his quaint wit and homely wisdom made him very popular at the gay court.
He urged the claims of the United States so forcibly that the king
yielded, and concluded a treaty, February 6, 1778, by which the
independence of the United States was acknowledged and relations of
reciprocal friendship formed with our country.



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