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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. This was the first treaty
made by the United States with a foreign country. France agreed to send
a fleet of sixteen war-vessels, under D'Estaing, and an army of 4,000
men to our assistance. Great Britain at once declared war against
France, and offered to give the United States freedom from taxation and
representation in Parliament if they would join in the hostilities
against her old enemy. The Americans were incapable of so perfidious a
course, and were now fully determined on securing their independence.
Spain joined France, in 1779, in the war against Great Britain (because
of the relations of the ruling families), and Holland for commercial
reasons united with them in 1780. Thus Great Britain soon found her
hands full.

Congress decided, while Washington was at Valley Forge, that the army
should consist of 40,000 foot, besides artillery and horse. Washington
had 12,000, while the total American force under arms was barely 15,000.
At the same time the British had 30,000 troops in New York and
Philadelphia, besides 3,700 in Rhode Island.


EVACUATION OF PHILADELPHIA.

The British army occupied Philadelphia from September, 1777, until June
the following year. Admiral Howe's fleet lay in the Delaware, and
General Howe, who was of a sluggish temperament, was superseded by Sir
Henry Clinton, between whom and Cornwallis the relations soon became
strained. With a view of concentrating the British forces, and, since
the French fleet was known to have sailed for America, it was decided
that the army in Philadelphia should be removed to New York. Wishing to
strike France, it was determined to make a descent upon the French West
Indies, for which 5,000 troops were to be detached from the army.

[Illustration: AN OLD COLONIAL HOUSE OF GERMANTOWN.]


BATTLE OF MONMOUTH.

Clinton found that he had not enough transports to take his troops to
New York, and a considerable number started overland. On the same day
that he marched out of Philadelphia, Washington's vanguard entered it.
On the 28th, Clinton was encamped near Monmouth Court-House, New Jersey
(now Freehold), with Washington close upon him. With five miles
separating the two armies at night, Lee, who had command of 5,000 men,
moved them nearer the enemy, Washington having ordered him to attack in
the morning as soon as Clinton began moving.

The days were the longest in the year and the heat frightful. At the
earliest dawn, Washington was notified that the enemy had started toward
New York. He ordered Lee to advance and open battle without delay,
unless he saw urgent reasons for not doing so. Washington at the same
time pushed forward with the main body to his support.

The attack was made about eight o'clock, but the reports of the
movements were so confusing that those of the Americans became
disjointed; but everything was going in their favor, when greater
confusion caused a falling back of the patriots, with the result that at
noon Lee's whole division was in retreat, and he had started to follow
them when he came face to face with Washington himself.

Those who saw the meeting never forgot it. It required immense
provocation to rouse Washington's anger, but he was in a savage mood,
and in a voice of thunder demanded of Lee the meaning of his retreat.
Lee was confused, but, breaking in upon him, the commander ordered him
to the rear, while he took command. The battle lasted until five o clock
in the afternoon, scores on each side succumbing from the heat. While
the advantage was with the Americans, the battle was indecisive, and
Washington anxiously waited for daylight to complete his victory; but
Clinton moved away in the night, and, reaching Sandy Hook, was taken
aboard of Howe's fleet and landed in New York on the 5th of July.
Washington marched to the Hudson, crossed at King's Ferry, and took
position near his former camp at White Plains. Lee was court-martialed
and dismissed for his conduct, and, as stated elsewhere, it has been
proven that he was a traitor to the American cause.

There are several interesting facts connected with the battle of
Monmouth, on whose grounds a fine monument was erected some years ago.
Among the British grenadiers slain was a sergeant who was seven feet
four inches in height. So many of these grenadiers were killed that
thirteen were buried in one grave. Lieutenant-Colonel Monckton, their
commander, was among the slain. On the pews and floor of the old Tennent
church, still standing on the scene of the battle, may be seen the dark
stains from the wounds of several soldiers who were carried within the
quaint structure.


THE STORY OF MOLLY PITCHER.

It would never do to omit the story of Molly Pitcher from the account
of the battle of Monmouth, for the incident is true, and is
commemorated on one of the bronze reliefs of the monument. Her husband
was a cannoneer, who with his companions suffered so much from thirst
that Molly was kept busy carrying water for them from a neighboring
spring. While thus engaged, her husband was killed before her eyes, and
there being no one available to handle the piece, an officer ordered its
removal. Molly asked the privilege of taking her husband's place.
Permission was given, and she handled the cannon with skill throughout
the entire action.

The incident was told to Washington, who after the battle asked that she
be presented to him. He complimented her warmly, and conferred upon her
the rank of lieutenant, while Congress gave her half-pay during life.
The State of Pennsylvania, where she afterward made her home at
Carlisle, added to this, so that she lived in comfort for the rest of
her days. Her right name was Mary McAuley, and she died in Carlisle in
1833, a fine slab of marble marking her last resting-place.


DISAPPOINTMENT OVER THE AID FROM FRANCE.

Despite the great expectations roused by the friendship of France and
the arrival of her fleet, it gave little aid to the Americans until the
Yorktown campaign. D'Estaing had a fine opportunity of forcing his way
into New York, destroying the British fleet and blockading Clinton, but
he lacked the courage to do so. Then he sailed for Newport, Rhode
Island, to attack the British forces there, but matters were so delayed
that Howe arrived with a fleet of equal strength. While they were
manoeuvring for position, a violent storm arose, and, at the close,
D'Estaing sailed to Boston for repairs, taking all his troops with him,
while Howe returned to New York.

The Americans were indignant over the desertion of their allies. The
French officers were insulted on the streets of Boston, and one of them
was killed in a brawl. Sullivan and Greene were so outspoken that it
required all the shrewdness of Washington and Congress to prevent an
open rupture.


THE WYOMING MASSACRE.

In the month of July, 1778, a band of Tories and Indians entered the
lovely valley of Wyoming, under the leadership of Colonel John Butler,
whose cousin, Colonel Zebulon Butler, was commander of the old men and
boys left in the town by the departure of nearly all of the able-bodied
men to fight in the Continental armies. The patriots made a brave
defense, but they were overcome and put to flight. Women and children
ran to the woods, in which they were overtaken and tomahawked; others
died from exposure, while a few succeeded in reaching the towns on the
upper Delaware. This sad massacre has made the name of Wyoming known
throughout the world, and gives a sad pathos to the monument which was
erected in 1824 over the bones of the victims.


PUNISHMENT OF THE IROQUOIS.

Some months later, Cherry Valley in New York suffered a similar
visitation from the Indians, who now learned for the first time that a
power had grown up in this country which could not only punish, but
could do so with unprecedented vigor. The red men were so troublesome
that Congress saw it would not do to defer giving them a much-needed
lesson. The guilty Indians were the Iroquois in central New York. In
1779, General Sullivan led an expedition against them. He showed no
mercy to those that had denied mercy to the helpless. Hundreds were
killed, their houses burned, their fields laid waste, and the whole
country made such a desert that many perished from starvation.


THE CONTINENTAL CURRENCY.

One of the "sinews of war" is money. It is impossible for any nation to
carry on a war long without funds. The Americans were poor, but they
issued paper promises to pay, which were known as Continental money. As
the war progressed, and more money was needed, it was issued. In 1778,
it took eight paper dollars to equal one of gold or silver. More was
necessary and more was issued. Besides this, the paper and printing were
of such poor quality that the British in New York made a great many
counterfeits that were exchanged with the farmers in the vicinity. The
value of the currency decreased until the time came when it was
absolutely worthless.

[Illustration: (Continental Currency)]

When Clinton occupied New York and Washington was encamped on the Hudson
above, there were many forays against each other. The design of the
British commander was to force his way to the Highlands, seize the
passes and gain full command of the Hudson. He had already secured Stony
Point, and Washington formed a plan for retaking it, which was intrusted
to the brilliant Anthony Wayne.

In the middle of July, Wayne took command of four regiments of
infantry, which marched twelve miles through the insufferably hot
night, when they reached a point about a mile from the fort. Wayne went
forward while his men were resting and made a careful reconnaissance.
Rejoining his troops, he divided them into two columns, and, to prevent
any mistake as to their identity, a piece of white paper was pinned to
each hat.



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