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CHAP; however, have been mere policy, as Congress was unwil
ling to offend the French by passing a vote of censure. 1778. The war degenerated into marauding expeditions
against defenceless villages. The first object of this barbarity was the island of Martha's Vineyard, whose inhabi. tants were stripped of every thing the robbers could carry
off. The towns of New Bedford and Fair Haven were sept. wantonly burned, and also seventy vessels in their ports.
Scenes of cruelty were enacted in New Jersey, where an Oct. American regiment of horse was cut to pieces, and a com
pany of infantry, when crying for quarter, was butchered with the bayonet without mercy.
When it was certainly known that a French fleet had sailed to the United States, the English ministry sent Admiral Byron in pursuit. He appeared off Boston harbor while the French were refitting, but did not dare attack them, and the French were unwilling to come out of their place of security. Lord Howe resigned his command into the hands of Admiral Byron. At length a storm
arose which scattered the English fleet ; then the French Nov. slipped out of the harbor, and sailed to the West Indies.
On the same day, five thousand British troops sailed from New York for the same destination. Three weeks after, another expedition of three thousand sailed for Georgia ; yet the British army remaining was far more numerous than the forces under Washington.
During the summer, one of the most atrocious outrages which disgraced the war, was committed upon the settlement of Wyoming, situated in a beautiful valley on the Susquehanna. There had been previously much contention among the inhabitants, some of whom were Tories.
These had been seized, and sent out of the settlement; July. they took their revenge with more than savage ferocity.
After the defeat of St. Leger at Fort Schuyler, Fort Niagara became the head-quarters of Tories and Indians;
DESTRUCTION OF WYOMING.
at that place was planned the murderous expedition. CHAP: The party was guided by Tories who had lived in the valley. The chief leader in this expedition was John Butler, 1778. a Tory notorious for his cruelty. His force, about eleven hundred, was composed of his Rangers, Johnson's Greens, and Mohawks. There were block-houses in the settlement; to these the people fled in times of danger. Nearly all the able-bodied men were absent in the army under Washington. There were left only the women and children, the aged and infirm. Suddenly the savage enemy appeared at various points in the valley, and commenced murdering the husbandmen in the fields, and burning the houses. It had been rumored that such an attack was meditated, and a small force had already been dispatched by Washington to defend the settlement. They had themselves, under Zebulon Butler, (no relation of John Butler), about three hundred and fifty men. Unfortunately, Butler did not wait the arrival of the reinforcement, but sallied forth to restrain the ravaging of the country. Intelligence of this intended attack was conveyed to the enemy, and they were fully prepared. The fight began, and the Tories were forced to give way, but the Indians passed round a swamp toward the rear. Butler, seeing this movement, ordered his men to fall back, lest they should be surrounded. This order was mistaken for one to retreat ; all was thrown into confusion, and a portion, panic-stricken, fled. They were pursued by the Tories and Indians with unrelenting fury. The whole valley was desolated. Those of the people who escaped, fled to the mountains, and there women and children perished by hundreds, while some, after incredible sufferings, reached the settlements.
A month later, similar scenes were witnessed at Cherry Valley, in New York. The Tories and Indians were equally as cruel as at the Wyoming massacre. The peo- Aug ple were either murdered or carried into captivity. All
of the savages.
CHAP: the region of the upper Susquehanna, the Delaware, and
the Mohawk, was at the mercy of the 1778.
In the latter part of November, Clinton sent Colonel Campbell, with two thousand men, to invade Georgia. He landed three miles below Savannah, the capital, on the twenty-ninth of December.
General Robert Howe, who was in command, could make but little resistance. He and his men behaved nobly, but a negro guiding the British by a path through a swamp, they gained the rear of the Americans, who were now thrown into confusion and defeated. The town of Savannah fell into the hands of the victors.
General Prevost, who commanded in East Florida, was ordered by Clinton to pass across to Savannah, and there join Campbell and assume the command. On his march, Prevost took Sunbury, a fort of some importance. Arriving at Savannah, he sent Campbell to take possession of Augusta. Thus was Georgia subdued, in the space of a few weeks. The British now transferred their active operations to the South, which became the principal theatre of the war till its close.
General Benjamin Lincoln, who had been appointed to take command of the Southern Department, arrived about this time. The delegates from South Carolina and Georgia had solicited his appointment.
WAR OF THE REVOLUTION-CONTINUED.
Diszensions in Congress.—Expedition against the Indians.—The War in the
South.- Augusta reoccupied.-Charleston threatened.-Marauding Expeditions sent to Virginia, and up the Hudson.— Tryon ravages Con. necticut.- Capture of Stony Point by Wayne.-Lee surprises the Garrison at Jersey City.-Combined assault upon Savannah.—Daniel Boone; Kentucky.-George Rogers Clarke; Kaskaskia.—Pioneers of Tennessee; Nashville.—John Paul Jones.
The American army was distributed, at the end of the year, in a series of cantonments, which extended from the XXXV east end of Long Island Sound to the Delaware ; thus
1779. effectually enclosing the British forces. The head-quarters were in a central position at Middlebrook, New Jersey. The British were so strong at New York and Newport, that to attack them with success was hopeless. The French fleet had been of no practical use to the Americans, and now Count D’Estaing took with him his land troops to the West Indies.
Four years had passed since the war commenced; the finances of the country were still in a wretched condition. The enemy held important places, and were watching for opportunities to pillage. In the South, the Tories were specially active. Yet thero were other elements at work, more injurious to the cause than even these.
Congress was filled with dissensions. The prospect
CHAP, of assistance from France caused many to relax their XXXV.
efforts, as though the war was virtually ended. Wash1779. ington wrote, at the beginning of the year: “Our affairs
are in a more distressed, ruinous, and deplorable condition than they have been since the commencement of the war.” A large majority of Congress was carried away with the scheme of joining with the French in an expedition against Canada. But when the matter was laid before the Commander-in-chief, at a glance he saw the difficulties of the undertaking, and, with the comprehensive views of the true statesman, pointed out the disadvantages of having, on this continent, a power different in nation, in religion, and in customs from the Americans. Moreover, he desired the people of the United States to be as little under obligations as possible to other nations.
For the ensuing campaign, it was evident the British intended to confine themselves to pillaging expeditions, and to cripple the Union in the South. Washington now recommended an expedition against the Indians, to punish them for their outrages at Wyoming and other places. It was to be conducted on their own plan-to invade and lay waste their territory.
In April a body of troops suddenly invaded and desolated the territory of the Onondagas. The principal espedition, under Sullivan, went against the Senecas, to revenge their attack on Wyoming. With five thousand men he penetrated their country, met them under Brant, with their worthy allies, the Tories, Johnson and Butler,
at Newtown, now Elmira, and completely routed them. Aug. Without giving them time to recover from their panic,
Sullivan pursued them into the valley of the Genesee, and in a few weeks destroyed more than forty of their villages, all their cornfields, gardens, and orchards. It was a terrible vengeance; but the only means to prevent their depredations on the settlements.