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Title: The Life of George Washington - in Words of One Syllable
Author: Pollard, Josephine
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Life of George Washington - in Words of One Syllable" ***

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[Illustration: EARLY LOVE OF TRUTH.--P. 6.]



THE LIFE OF GEORGE WASHINGTON.

_IN WORDS OF ONE SYLLABLE._

BY

JOSEPHINE POLLARD,

AUTHOR OF "OUR HERO, GENERAL GRANT," "OUR NAVAL HEROES," "THE HISTORY
OF THE UNITED STATES," "THE LIFE OF CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS," ETC., ETC.


NEW YORK:

McLOUGHLIN BROTHERS.



PREFACE.


The Life story of a public man cannot help being to some extent the
same thing as a history of the times in which he lived, and to the
case of none does this remark apply with more force than to that of
the "Father of his Country;" which very title shows the degree to
which the personality of its bearer became identified with the public
life of the nation. While a great deal of the space in this book,
consequently, has had to be devoted to American Revolutionary History,
it is hoped that excess in this direction has been avoided, and that
the main purpose of the work will be attained, i.e. to give its young
readers a distinct and vivid idea of the exalted character and
priceless services of Washington, so far as these can be brought
within the understanding of a child.



CONTENTS.


                                                       PAGE.

CHAPTER I. BOYHOOD                                        05

CHAPTER II. YOUTH                                         11

CHAPTER III. THE FIRST STEP TO FAME                       17

CHAPTER IV. TO THE FRONT                                  24

CHAPTER V. AS AIDE-DE-CAMP                                33

CHAPTER VI. COLONEL OF VIRGINIA TROOPS                    39

CHAPTER VII. THE HOME OF WASHINGTON                       45

CHAPTER VIII. THE BATTLE OF BUNKER HILL                   52

CHAPTER IX. COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF                            61

CHAPTER X. IN AND NEAR NEW YORK                           71

CHAPTER XI. A SAD YEAR                                    78

CHAPTER XII. FOES IN THE CAMP                             84

CHAPTER XIII. THE HARDSHIPS OF WAR                        93

CHAPTER XIV. THE CLOSE OF THE WAR                        103

CHAPTER XV. FIRST IN PEACE                               110



THE LIFE OF

GEORGE WASHINGTON.


CHAPTER I.

BOY-HOOD.


George Wash-ing-ton was born in the State of Vir-gin-i-a, at a place
known as Bridg-es Creek, on Feb-ru-a-ry 22, 1732. His great
grand-sire, John Wash-ing-ton, came from Eng-land in the year 1657,
and took up lands in that state and was a rich man. George was the son
of his grand-son Au-gus-tine. Au-gus-tine's first wife was Jane
But-ler who died and left him with two boys. His next wife was Ma-ry
Ball, and George was her first child.

The old home-stead in which George was born stood near the banks of
the Po-to-mac Riv-er, and was built with a steep roof that sloped down
to low eaves that hung out far from the main wall. There were four
rooms on the ground floor, and some near the roof, and at each end of
the house was a great fire-place built of brick, with broad
hearth-stones, such as were in style in those days.

A stone is all that marks the birth-place of George Wash-ing-ton. He
was not more than eight years of age when his fa-ther went to live on
a farm near the Rap-pa-han-nock Riv-er. The house was built much in
the same style as the one at Bridg-es Creek, but it stood on high
ground, and here all his boy-hood days were spent.

As there were no good schools in A-mer-i-ca at that time, those who
had the means sent their sons to Eng-land to be taught and trained.
Law-rence Wash-ing-ton was sent when he was 15 years of age, and as he
was the first-born it was thought that he would in time take his
fa-ther's place, as head of the house.

The school to which George was sent stood in a field on his fa-ther's
land, and was taught by a man named Hob-by. This gave it the name of
the "Hob-by School."

There were but three things taught there: How to read--How to
write--and How to do sums--and some folks thought that these were all
their boys and girls had need to learn. Books were scarce and dear,
and as most of the men raised fine crops, and kept up a brisk trade,
they were well pleased to have their boys learn how to buy and sell,
and to make out bills. George had been trained by his fa-ther, who was
a strict and yet a just man, to love the truth and to do right at all
times. He was made to feel that it was a sin to tell a lie, and much
worse to hide a fault than to own it.

George had a small axe of which he was quite proud, and boy-like, he
cut right and left with it, and thought not of the harm he might do.
On the lawn stood a small tree which his fa-ther hoped to see grow up
to a good height and to bear fine fruit. George made a great gash in
this tree with his sharp axe, and when his fa-ther saw it he was quite
sad. He called the boy to his side, and in a stern voice said:

"Who did this? Who cut this tree?"

George hung his head with shame. He knew he had done wrong; and he
stood in fear of his fa-ther, who he knew would use the rod where
there was need of it. It was a chance for the boy to show what kind of
stuff he was made of. George raised his face, still red with the blush
of shame, and said in his frank way, and with-out a sign of fear:

"I did it, fa-ther, I can-not tell a lie."

There was no need to use the rod on such a boy as that, and the
fa-ther must have felt a thrill of joy when he found that the great
truths he had taught his son had such a hold on his mind and had
struck their roots deep in-to his heart.

It is told that he clasped George to his breast, and said with tears
in his eyes; that it would grieve him less to lose scores and scores
of trees, than to have his boy tell one lie.

But you must not think that George Wash-ing-ton was such a good-good
boy that he could guide him-self, and did not need to be kept in
check. He was high strung, as quick as a flash, and felt that he was
born to rule, and these traits his mo-ther had to keep down and train
so that they would not wreck the young boy, for when George was not
yet twelve years of age his fa-ther died, and his mo-ther was left
with the care of five young folks. The task was one for which she was
well fit, as she had rare good sense, a fine mind, a strong will, and
a kind heart.

She used to read to her boys and girls each day out of some good book,
talk with them, and tell them how they could best serve God and man,
and George laid up each word in his heart, and sought to pay her back
as well as he could for all her kind love and care.

She said of George that he was "a good boy;" and it has been said in
her praise that "a no-ble mo-ther must have borne so brave a son."

When George was 13 and his half-bro-ther Law-rence 21, Eng-land and
Spain went to war, and Law-rence went with the troops that were sent
to the West In-dies. The sight of Law-rence in war-like trim, the
sound of drum and fife, and the march of troops through the streets,
fired the heart of the young lad, and from that time his plays and
games, in school and out, took on a war-like turn.

There was a boy at school, named Wil-li-am Bus-tle, who took up arms
and marched with as much zeal as George Wash-ing-ton. But George was
at all times com-mand-er-in-chief!

He was fond of all the sports that boys love, and could run, and jump,
and climb, and toss bars, and took part in all those feats that kept
him in health and strength.

He could pitch quoits with great skill, and the place is shown at
Fred-er-icks-burg where, when a boy, he flung a stone a-cross the
Rap-pa-han-nock. He was fond of a horse, and there was no steed so
wild that George could not mount on his back and tame him.

Mrs. Wash-ing-ton had a colt which she thought so much of that she let
it run loose in the field. He was so fierce that no one had dared to
get on his back.

One day George went out to view the colt with some of his boy friends,
and he told them that if they would help him put the bit in the
colt's mouth he would mount. The boys drove the colt in-to a small
lot, put the bit in his mouth, and Wash-ing-ton was soon on his back.
The beast rushed in-to the field, but was soon curbed by the strong
arms of the boy on his back. Then the colt reared and plunged and
tried in all sorts of ways to get rid of the lad, who clung to the
colt's bare back as if he had been glued there. Mad with rage the colt
tried once more to throw him, but strained too hard, and fell to the
ground and died in a short time.

The group of boys were well scared at this sad end of their fun, and
scarce knew what to do. When they went back to the house Mrs.
Wash-ing-ton asked the boys if they had seen her fine breed of colts.
"The one I am most proud of," said she, "I am told is as large as his
sire." Some of the lads hung their heads and knew not what to say; but
George spoke up in his frank way and said that the colt was dead.

"Dead!" cried she; "and from what cause?"

Then George told her just what had been done, and how hard the beast
had fought to get free, and how at the last, with one wild fierce
plunge, he fell down and died.

A flush rose to the mo-ther's cheek, and then she said to her boy: "It
is well; but while I grieve at the loss of my fine colt, I feel a
pride and joy in my son, who speaks the truth at all times."

George was fond of his books too, and was so wise a lad, and so full
of thought, and had so keen a sense of what was just, that his
school-mates came to him when they got in-to a war of words, or of
blows, that he might say which side was right and which was wrong, and
thus put an end to the fight. This use of his mind made George look at
things in a clear light, and gave him that look of true pride which
all men of high mind, the real kings of earth, are wont to wear.

In due time George out-grew the Hob-by School, and was sent to live
with his half-bro-ther Au-gus-tine, at Bridg-es Creek, where there was
a school of a high grade. But George had no taste for Lat-in or Greek,
and liked best to do sums, and to draw maps. He wrote with great care,
page after page of what he called "Forms of Wri-ting."

These were notes of hand, bills of sale, deeds, bonds, and the like,
such as one would think a boy of 13 would not care much a-bout.

In this same book (it is kept to this day) George wrote out one
hun-dred and ten "Rules," which were to guide him in act and speech at
home and a-broad. Some few of these I will give you, that you may see
at how young an age this boy set out to train him-self, and fit
him-self for the high place he was to fill. It al-most seems as if he
must have known the high rank he was to take; but this could not be.
His soul was fixed on high things; he had; no low tastes; and he was
led by the hand of God.

Here are some of the rules that George Wash-ing-ton took as the guide
of his youth.

     "In the pres-ence of o-thers sing not to your-self with a
     hum-ming noise, nor drum with your fin-gers or feet.

     "Sleep not when o-thers speak, sit not when o-thers stand,
     speak not when you should hold your peace, walk not when
     o-thers stop.

     "Turn not your back to o-thers when speak-ing; jog not the
     ta-ble or desk on which an-o-ther reads or writes; lean not
     on a-ny one.

     "Read no let-ters, books, or pa-pers in com-pa-ny; but when
     there is a need for do-ing it, you must ask leave. Come not
     near the books or wri-tings of a-ny one so as to read them,
     un-less asked to do so, nor give your o-pin-ion of them
     un-asked; al-so look not nigh when an-o-ther is wri-ting a
     let-ter.

     "In wri-ting or speak-ing give to each per-son his due
     ti-tle ac-cord-ing to his rank and the cus-tom of the place.

     "When a man does all he can, though it suc-ceeds not well,
     blame not him that did it.

     "Be slow to be-lieve e-vil re-ports of a-ny one.

     "Be mod-est in your dress and seek to suit na-ture rather
     than to win ad-mi-ra-tion. Keep to the fash-ion of your
     e-quals, such as are civ-il and or-der-ly with re-spect to
     times and pla-ces.

     "Play not the pea-cock, look-ing all a-bout you to see if
     you be well decked, if your shoes fit well, your stock-ings
     sit neat-ly, and your clothes hand-some-ly.

     "Make friends with those of good char-ac-ter, if you care
     for your own rep-u-ta-tion, for it is bet-ter to be a-lone
     than in bad com-pa-ny.

     "Speak not of dole-ful things in time of mirth, nor at the
     ta-ble; speak not of mourn-ful things, as death, and wounds,
     and if o-thers men-tion them, change, if you can, the
     dis-course.

     "Ut-ter not base and fool-ish things 'mongst grave and
     learn-ed men; nor hard ques-tions or sub-jects a-mong the
     ig-no-rant; nor things hard to be believed.

     "Be not for-ward, but friendly and court-e-ous; the first to
     sa-lute, hear, and an-swer; and be not pen-sive when it is
     time to con-verse.

     "Gaze not on the marks or blem-ish-es of o-thers, and ask
     not how they came.

     "Think be-fore you speak, pro-nounce not im-per-fect-ly, nor
     bring out your words too hast-i-ly, but or-der-ly and
     dis-tinct-ly.

     "Treat with men at fit times a-bout bus-i-ness; and whis-per
     not in the com-pa-ny of o-thers.

     "Be not cu-ri-ous to know the af-fairs of o-thers, nor go
     near to those that speak in pri-vate.

     "Un-der-take not to do what you can-not per-form, but be
     care-ful to keep your prom-ise.

     "Speak not e-vil of the ab-sent, for it is un-just.

     "Make no show of ta-king great delight in your food; feed
     not with greed-i-ness; cut your bread with a knife; lean not
     on the ta-ble; nei-ther find fault with what you eat.

     "When you speak of God, let it be grave-ly and in
     re-ver-ence. Hon-or and o-bey your pa-rents, al-though they
     be poor.

     "Let your a-muse-ments be man-ful, not sin-ful.

     "La-bor to keep a live in your breast that lit-tle spark of
     ce-les-ti-al fire, called con-sci-ence."

It is not known where George found these rules he took so much pains
to write out, but it is plain that he set great store by them, and
made use of them through out his whole life.



CHAPTER II.

YOUTH.


George was a great pet with his bro-ther, Law-rence Wash-ing-ton, who
thought it would be a nice thing for him to serve on board one of the
King's ships-of-war. While Law-rence was in the West In-dies he was on
good terms with Gen-er-al Went-worth and Ad-mi-ral Ver-non, and he had
no doubt they would do their best to get his bro-ther a good place. He
spoke to George a-bout it, and the boy was wild with joy. His
mo-ther's pride was roused, and at first she did not put a straw in
his way, but gave him all the help she could. But as the time drew
near, her heart, which had been so strong and brave and full of pride,
gave way and she felt that she could not part with her dear boy.

One of her friends wrote to Law-rence that Mrs. Wash-ing-ton had made
up her mind not to let George go to sea. She said that some of her
friends had told her it was a bad plan, and "I find," said he "that
one word a-gainst his go-ing has more weight than ten for it."

So they gave up the scheme, and George was sent back to school.

He would, on fine days, go out in the fields and tracts of land
a-round the school-house, and with line and rod take the size and
shape, the length and width, and mark it all down in one of his books,
and so much pains did he take that from the first to the last page not
a blot or blur is to be seen.

These neat ways, formed in his youth, were kept up through all his
life, and what seems strange is that day-books, and such books as you
will find in great use now-a-days were not known at that time. The
plan had been thought out by George Wash-ing-ton when a boy of 16, and
shows the cast of his mind.

Near this time George was sent to live with his bro-ther Law-rence, at
his fine place on the Po-to-mac, which he had called Mount Ver-non, to
show how much he thought of the ad-mi-ral of that name.

Here George had a chance to make friends with those of high rank, and
he spent much of his time with George Fair-fax who made his home at
_Bel-voir_, near Mount Ver-non. Lord Fair-fax, a man of wealth and
worth was much at Bel-voir at that time. He had bought large tracts of
land in Vir-gin-i-a, which had not been staked out, or set off in-to
lots. In fact he did not know their size or shape, but he had heard
that men had sought out some of the best spots, and had built homes
there, and laid out farms for which they paid no rent, and he thought
it quite time to put a stop to such things.

In March, 1748, George Wash-ing-ton, who had been picked out by Lord
Fair-fax for this task, went on his first trip with George Fair-fax to
stake off these wild lands. He wrote down what was done from day to
day, and by these notes we learn that he had quite a rough time of it,
and yet found much that was to his taste. He and the men with him rode
for miles and miles through lands rich in grain, hemp, and to-bac-co,
and through fine groves of trees on the bank of a broad stream.

[Illustration: WASHINGTON'S FIRST SPEECH TO THE INDIANS.--P. 19.]

One night, writes George, when they had been hard at work all day,
they came to the house where they were to be fed and lodged. The
wood-men went to bed with their clothes on, but George took his off,
and as he turned in he found his bed was of loose straw with not a
thing on it but the thread-bare blank-et he was to wrap him-self in.
The fleas and bugs soon forced George to get up and put on his clothes
and lie as the rest of the men did, and "had we not been so tired," he
says "I am sure we should not have slept much that night." He made a
vow then that he would sleep out of doors near a fire when on such
tramps, and run no more such risks.

On March 18, they reached a point on the Po-to-mac, which they were
told they could not ford. There had been a great rain-fall and the
stream had not been so high, by six feet, as it was at that time. They
made up their minds to stay there for a day or two; went to see the
Warm Springs, and at night camped out in the field. At the end of two
days, as the stream was still high, they swam their steeds to the
Mar-y-land side. The men crossed in birch-bark boats, and rode all the
next day in a rain storm to a place two-score miles from where they
had set out that morn. Wash-ing-ton writes that the road was "the
worst that had ever been trod by man or beast."

On March 23, they fell in with a score or two of red-men who had been
off to war and brought home but one scalp, and they had a chance to
see a war-dance. The red-men cleared a large space, and built a fire
in the midst of it, round which they all sat. One of the men then made
a grand speech in which he told them how they were to dance.

When he had done, the one who could dance the best sprang up as if he
had just been roused from sleep, and ran and jumped round the ring in
a queer kind of way. The rest soon joined him, and did just as he did.
By this time the band made it-self heard, and I shall have to tell you
what a fine band it was.

There was a pot half full of water with a piece of deer-skin stretched
tight on the top, and a gourd with some shot in it, and a piece of
horse's tail tied to it to make it look fine. One man shook the gourd,
and one drummed all the while the rest danced, and I doubt if you
would care to hear the noise that was made.

Late in the day of March 26, they came to a place where dwelt a man
named Hedge, who was in the pay of King George as justice of the
peace. Here they camped, and at the meal that was spread there was not
a knife nor a fork to eat with but such as the guests had brought with
them.

On the night of the first of A-pril the wind blew and the rain fell.
The straw on which they lay took fire, and George was saved by one of
the men, who woke him when it was in a blaze.

"I have not slept for four nights in a bed," wrote Wash-ing-ton at
this time to one of his young friends at home, "but when I have walked
a good deal in the day, I lie down on a heap of straw, or a bear-skin
by the fire, with man, wife, young ones, dogs, and cats; and he is in
luck who gets the place next the fire."

For three years he kept up this mode of life, but as it was a hard
life to lead he could be out but a few weeks at a time. His pay was a
doub-loon a day, and some-times six pis-toles.

A doub-loon is a gold coin of Spain, worth not quite 16 dol-lars. A
pis-tole is a small gold coin of Spain, worth not quite four dol-lars.

This rough kind of life, though he did not know it, was to fit him for
the toils and ills of war, of which he may have dreamt in those days,
as he still kept up his love for war-like things.

While at work on the land round the Blue Ridge, he now and then made
his way to _Green-way Court_ where Lord Fair-fax dwelt at this time.
Here he had a chance to read choice books, for Lord Fair-fax had a
fine mind though his tastes were queer. He lived on a knoll, in a
small house not more than twelve feet square. All round him were the
huts for his "help," black and white. Red-men, half breeds, and
wood-men thronged the place, where they were sure they would get a
good meal. He had steeds of fine breed, and hounds of keen scent, for
he was fond of the chase, and the woods and hills were full of game.

Here was a grand chance for George, who had a great taste for
field-sports, and his rides, and walks, and talks with Lord Fair-fax
were a rich treat to the home-bred youth. This wise friend lent George
good books which he took with him to the woods and read with great
care, and in this way stored his mind with rich thoughts.

In Vir-gin-i-a there were some few men who had served in the late war
'twixt Eng-land and Spain, and they put George through such a drill
with sword and with gun that he learned to use them both with great
skill.

A Dutch-man, named Van-Bra-am, was one of these men, and he claimed to
know a great deal of the art of war. He it was that took George in
hand to teach him the use of the sword, and how to fence.

When he was 19 years of age the red-men and the French had made such
in-roads on the front, that it was thought best to place men on guard
to keep back these foes, and to up-hold the laws of the state of
Vir-gin-i-a. There was need of some one to take charge of a
school-of-arms at one of the chief out-posts where the French sought
to get a foot-hold, and the choice fell on George Wash-ing-ton, who
set to work at once to fit him-self for the place.

His broth-er's ill health caused this scheme to be dropped for a time,
as Law-rence was forced to go to the West In-dies for change of air,
and begged George to go with him. George gave up all thought of self,
and the two set sail for Bar-ba-does, Sep-tem-ber 28, 1751. At sea he
kept a log-book, took notes of the course of the winds, and if the
days were fair or foul, and learned all he could of the ways of a ship
and how to sail one.

They reached Bar-ba-does on No-vem-ber 3, and were pleased with the
place, and all the strange sights that met their gaze. On all sides
were fields of corn and sweet cane, and groves of trees rich in leaves
and fruit, and all things held out a hope of cure for the sick man,
whose lungs were in a weak state.

They had been but two weeks in Bar-ba-does when George fell ill with
small-pox, and this for a time put an end to all their sports. But he
had the best of care, and at the end of three weeks was so well that
he could go out of doors.

Law-rence soon tired of this place, and longed for a change of scene.
They had to ride out by the first dawn of day, for by the time the sun
was half an hour high it was as hot as at mid-day. There was no change
in the sick man's health, and he made up his mind to go to Ber-mu-da
in the spring. He was lone-some with-out his wife, so it was planned
that George should go back home and bring her out to Ber-mu-da.

George set sail, De-cem-ber 22, and reached Vir-gin-i-a at the end of
five weeks. He must have been glad to step on shore once more, for the
cold winds and fierce storms to be met with at sea, at that time of
the year, made life on ship-board some-thing of a hard-ship.

Law-rence did not gain in health, and ere his wife could join him he
wrote her that he would start for home--"to his grave." He reached
Mount Ver-non in time to die 'neath his own roof, and with kind
friends at his bed-side. His death took place on the 26th of Ju-ly,
1752, when he was but 34 years of age.

He had been like a fa-ther to George, and their hearts were bound by
ties so strong and sweet that it was a great grief for them to part.

But George had no time to sit down and mourn his loss. There was work
for him to do. New cares were thrust on him by his bro-ther's death,
that took up all his time and thoughts for some months; and he had to
keep up his drills with the men at the school-of-arms, for which he
was paid by the State.



CHAPTER III.

THE FIRST STEP TO FAME.


The time had now come when Wash-ing-ton was to take a fresh start in
life, and win for him-self high rank.

The French, who thought they had just as good a right as the Eng-lish
to take up land in A-mer-i-ca, pressed their claims, and built forts
on the great Lakes and on the banks of the O-hi-o Riv-er. They made
friends of the red-men at or near these posts, and made it known that
they would fight the Eng-lish at all points.

The red-men on the north shore of Lake On-ta-ri-o were good friends
with the French; but those on the south shore were not. They had been
well dealt with by the Eng-lish, and their chief, Half-King did not
like the war-like move that was made by the French.

He went to the French post on Lake E-rie, and spoke thus to the
troops there: "You have no right to come here and build towns, and
take our land from us by fraud and force. We raised a flame in
Mon-tre-al some time a-go, where we asked you to stay and not to come
here on our land. I now ask you to go back to that place, for this
land is ours.

"Had you come in a peace-ful way, like the Eng-lish, we should have
let you trade with us as they do, but we will not let you come and
build on our land and take it by force.

"You and the Eng-lish are white. We live in a land be-tween you, to
which you and they have no right. The Great Be-ing gave it to us. We
have told the Eng-lish to move off, and they have heard us, and now we
tell it to you. We do not fear you, and we mean to keep you both at
arm's length."

The French-man said to Half-King: "You talk like a fool. This land is
mine, and I will have it, let who will stand up a-gainst me. I have no
fear of such as you. I tell you that down the O-hi-o I will go, and
build forts on it. If it were blocked up I have troops e-nough to
break through it and to tread down all who would try to stop me. My
force is as the sand of the sea!"

This proud speech made Half-King feel as if he had been stabbed to the
heart. It was the death-blow to his race. But he turned with hope and
trust to the Eng-lish, who thus far had not shown a wish to do what
was not just to his tribe.

On Oc-to-ber 30, 1753, Wash-ing-ton set out from Will-iams-burg in
Vir-gin-i-a with a small band of men. He was just of age, and ranked
as Ma-jor Wash-ing-ton. He was to go to the French out-post near Lake
E-rie, with a note from Gov-er-nor Din-wid-die to the head man there,
and to ask for a re-ply in the name of King George.

He was to find out where forts had been built, and how large a force
of troops had crossed the Lakes, and to learn all that he could of
those who had dared to set up the flag of France on soil which the
Eng-lish claimed as their own.

Wash-ing-ton's route lay through thick woods and swamps where the foot
of man had not trod; he had to climb steep and rough hills where wild
beasts had their lairs; and to cross streams on frail rafts, if they
could not swim or ford them. There were but eight men in the whole
band, and the post they were to reach lay 560 miles off, and the whole
of the way had to be made on horse-back or on foot.

They met some of the In-di-an chiefs at a place called Logs-town and
Wash-ing-ton made his first speech to the red-men. He told them what
he had come for, and asked that some of their braves might go with him
as guides and safe-guards for the rest of the way. He then gave them
what was called a "speech-belt," wrought with beads, as a sign that
they were friends and full of peace and good-will.

The chiefs were mild and full of peace. They said that Wash-ing-ton
might have some of their men as guides, but he would have to wait for
two or three days as the young braves had gone out in search of game.

This Wash-ing-ton could not do. There was no time to lose, and so he
set out with but four red-men as guides, and Half-King was one of
them.

Through rain and snow, through a long stretch of dark woods that
seemed to have no end, through deep streams and swamps where there was
no sure foot-hold for man or beast, the brave band kept on their way.
At the end of 35 days from the time they left Will-iams-burg they
reached a place called Ven-an-go, where they saw a house from the top
of which a French flag flew, and Wash-ing-ton called a halt. The head
man in charge asked him and his friends to sup with him. The wine was
passed with a free hand, but Wash-ing-ton did not drink like his
French host. He knew he would need to keep a cool head for his work.
When the French-man had his tongue loosed by the wine, he told a good
deal.

"We have got the land," he said, "and we mean to keep it. You Eng-lish
may have two men to our one, but you are slow. It takes you a long
time to move."

The man's tongue wagged on in a free way, and Wash-ing-ton, who had
kept his wits, wrote down all he said that could be of use to him.

The next day it rained hard and they could not go on. Then for the
first time the French-man found that there were red-men with the
Eng-lish. Wash-ing-ton had kept them back, for he feared to trust them
to the wiles of the French. But now the shrewd man made a great time,
and hailed them as dear friends. He was so glad to see them! How could
they be so near and not come to see him? He gave them gifts and plied
them with strong drink, till Half-King and his braves thought no more
of what they had pledged to the Eng-lish. They were soon in such a
state that they did not care to move. It took some time for
Wash-ing-ton to get them free from the wiles of the French, and it
took four days more of snow and rain, through mire and swamp, to reach
the fort for which they had set out.

Here Wash-ing-ton met the chief of the fort and made known the cause
that had brought him. He gave him the note from Gov-er-nor
Din-wid-die, in which it was asked why the French had come in-to a
State that was owned by Great Brit-ain, and they were bid to go in
peace. The French took two days in which to think of the course they
should take, and in this time Wash-ing-ton set down in his note book
the size and strength of the fort and all that he could find out. He
told his men to use their eyes, and to count the boats in the stream,
and the guns in the fort.

The first chance he had, Wash-ing-ton drew a plan of this fort, and it
was sent to Eng-land for King George to see.

Wash-ing-ton saw that the Half-King and the braves with him had much
to say to the French, and he did not trust them. He heard that the
Eng-lish who sought to trade on the O-hi-o were seized by the French,
and that some red-men had passed the fort with two or three white
scalps.

All this made him wish to get off safe with his small band, and when
the French chief gave him a sealed note, he had a shrewd guess as to
what was in it. At last, when the start was to be made, the French
chief had large stores of food and wine put on their boats, and made a
great show of good will, but at the same time he tried to keep the
red-men with him, and told them he would give them guns for gifts the
next day. Wash-ing-ton was pressed by the red-men to wait that long
for them, and the next morn the French had to give the guns. Then they
tried to get the red-men to drink once more, but Wash-ing-ton plead
with them, and at last got them to start.

It was hard to steer the boats, as the stream was full of ice, and at
times they had to leap out and stand in the wet for half an hour at a
time, to drag the boats by main force off the shoals. On the part of
the trip that had to be made by land, they had a hard time too. It was
cold, the roads were deep in mire, and the steeds were so worn out,
that it was feared they would fall by the way. Wash-ing-ton gave up
his horse to help bear the food and things for use, and he asked his
friends to do so too. They all went on foot, and the cold grew worse.
There was deep snow that froze as it fell. For three days they toiled
on in a slow way.

At last Wash-ing-ton made up his mind to leave the men and steeds in
charge of one of his band, and to strike off with his pack on his
back and his gun in his hand by a way which, it seemed to him, would
take him home by a short cut. He had the sealed note that he wished to
give up as soon as he could. He took but one man with him. At night
they lit a fire, and camped by it in the woods. At two in the morn,
they were once more on foot.

They fell in with a red-man who claimed to know Mr. Gist, the man who
was with Wash-ing-ton, and called him by his name in his own tongue
and seemed glad to see him. They asked the red-man if he would go with
them and show them a short-cut to the Forks of the Al-le-gha-ny
Riv-er. The red-man seemed glad to serve them, and took Wash-ing-ton's
pack on his own back. Then the three set out, and walked at a brisk
pace for eight or ten miles.

By this time Wash-ing-ton's feet were so sore that he could not take a
step with-out pain, and he was well tired out. He thought it best to
camp where they were, and the red-man begged Wash-ing-ton to let him
bear his gun. But the Ma-jor would not let it go out of his own hands.
This made the red-man cross, and he urged them to keep on and said
there were red-skins in the woods who would scalp them if they lay out
all night. He would take them to his own hut where they would be safe.

The white men lost faith in their guide, and were soon quite ill at
ease. When the red-man found that he could not make them go his way,
or do as he said, he ceased to wear the face of a friend. At heart he
was the foe of all white men. All at once he made a stop, and then
turned and fired on them.

Wash-ing-ton found that he was not hit, so he turned to Mr. Gist, and
said, "Are you shot?"

"No," said Gist. Then the red-man ran to a big white oak tree to load
his gun. Gist would have killed him, but Wash-ing-ton would not let
him.

Gist says, "We let him charge his gun. We found he put in a ball; then
we took care of him. The Ma-jor or I stood by the guns. We made him
make a fire for us by a small run as if we meant to sleep there. I
said to the Ma-jor; 'As you will not have him killed, we must get rid
of him in some way, and then we must march on all night;' on which I
said to the red-man, 'I suppose you were lost and fired your gun.'

"He said he knew the way to his log-hut and it was not far off.
'Well,' said I, 'do you go home; and as we are tired we will fol-low
your track in the morn-ing, and here is a cake of bread for you, and
you must give us meat in the morn-ing.' He was glad to get off,"
Wash-ing-ton says, "We walked all the rest of the night, and made no
stop, that we might get the start so far as to be out of their reach
the next day, since we were quite sure they would get on our track as
soon as it was light."

But no more was seen or heard of them, and the next night, at dusk,
the two white men came to the Al-le-gha-ny, which they thought to
cross on the ice.

This they could not do, so they had to go to work with but one small
axe, and a poor one at that, and make a raft. It was a whole day's
work. They next got it launched, and went on board of it; then set
off.

But when they were in mid-stream the raft was jammed in the ice in
such a way that death seemed to stare them in the face.

Wash-ing-ton put out his pole to stay the raft so that the ice might
pass by; but the tide was so swift that it drove the ice with great
force. It bore down on the pole so hard that Wash-ing-ton was thrown
in-to the stream where it was at least ten feet deep. He would have
been swept out of sight if he had not caught hold of one of the raft
logs. As they found they could not cross the stream, or get back to
the shore they had left, they quit the raft, and got on a small isle
near which they were borne by the tide.

But this was not the end of their ill luck. It was so cold that Mr.
Gist's hands and feet froze, and both he and Wash-ing-ton were in
great pain through-out the long dark night. A gleam of hope came with
the dawn of day, for they found the ice 'twixt them and the east bank
of the stream was so hard as to bear their weight, and they made their
way on it, and the same day came to a place where they could rest.
Here they spent two or three days.

They set out on the first of Jan-u-a-ry, and the next day came to
Mon-on-ga-he-la, where Wash-ing-ton bought a horse. On the 11th he got
to Bel-voir, where he stopped one day to take the rest he was in need
of, and then set out and reached Will-iams-burg on the 16th of
Jan-u-a-ry. He gave to Gov-er-nor Din-wid-die the note he had brought
from the French chief, showed him the plans of the fort, and told him
all that he had seen and done.

The fame of his deeds, of the ills he had borne, and the nerve and
pluck he had shown, was soon noised a-broad, and George Wash-ing-ton,
though a mere youth, was looked up to by young and old.



CHAPTER IV.

TO THE FRONT!


The French chief in his note to Gov-er-nor Din-wid-die had said, in
words that were smooth but clear, that he would not leave the banks of
the O-hi-o; so the Eng-lish felt as if it were time for them to make
a move, though they did not wish to bring on a war.

Land was set off on the O-hi-o where a fort was built, and the rest
of it left for the use of the troops.

Wash-ing-ton was asked to lead the troops, but he shrank from it as a
charge too great for one so young. So Josh-u-a Fry was made Col-o-nel,
and Wash-ing-ton Lieu-ten-ant Col-o-nel of a force of 300 men.

It was hard work to get men to join the ranks. The pay was small, and
those who had good farms and good homes did not care to leave them.
Those who had a mind to go were for the most part men who did not like
to work, and had no house or home they could call their own.

Some were bare-foot, some had no shirts to their backs, and not a few
were with-out coat or waist-coat, as the vest was called in those
days.

If it was hard work to get this kind of men, it was still more of a
task to find those who would serve as chiefs, and Wash-ing-ton found
him-self left in charge of a lot of raw troops who knew no will but
their own.

But Van-Bra-am, who had taught Wash-ing-ton how to use the sword, was
with him, and gave him just the aid he had need of at this time.

On A-pril 2, 1754, Wash-ing-ton, at the head of 150 men, set off for
the new fort at the Fork of the O-hi-o. The roads were rough, and the
march was slow, and it was not till A-pril 20 that they reached Will's
Creek. Here they were met by a small force, in charge of Cap-tain
Ad-am Ste-phen. The rest of the force, with the field-guns, were to
come by way of the Po-to-mac. These last were in charge of Col-o-nel
Fry.

When Wash-ing-ton reached Will's Creek word was brought him that a
large force of French troops had borne down on the new fort. Cap-tain
Trent, who was in charge of the few troops in the fort, was a-way at
the time, and the young En-sign Ward did not know what to do. He
sought the aid of Half-King, who told him to plead with the French,
and to beg them to wait till the Cap-tain came back, and the two went
at once to the French camp. But the French would not wait, or make
terms of peace. They had come as foes, and told En-sign Ward that if
he did not leave the fort at once, with all his men, they would put
him out by force. All the French would grant was that our men might
take their tools with them; so the next morn they filed out of the
fort, gave up their arms, and took the path to the woods. The French
took the fort and built it up, and called it Fort Du-quesne (_kane_),
which was the name of the Gov-er-nor of Can-a-da.

When the sad news was brought to Wash-ing-ton he was at a loss to know
what to do, or which way to turn. Here he was with a small band of raw
troops right in the midst of foes, red and white, who would soon hem
them in and use them ill if they found out where they were. Yet it
would not do to turn back, or show signs of fear. Col-o-nel Fry had
not yet come up and the weight of care was thrown on Wash-ing-ton.

He let the Gov-er-nors of Penn-syl-va-ni-a and Ma-ry-land know of his
plight, and urged them to send on troops. But none came to his aid.

He had a talk with his chief men, and they all thought it would be
best to push on through the wild lands, make the road as they went on,
and try to reach the mouth of Red-stone Creek, where they would build
a fort. By this means the men would be kept at work, their fears would
be quelled, and a way made for the smooth and swift march of the
troops in the rear.

There was so much to be done that the men, work as hard as they might,
could not clear the way with much speed. There were great trees to be
cut down, rocks to be moved, swamps to be filled up, and streams to be
bridged. While in the midst of these toils, the bread gave out, and
the lack of food made the men too weak to work. In spite of all these
ills they made out to move at the rate of four miles a day, up steep
hills, and through dense woods that have since borne the name of "The
Shades of Death."

While at a large stream where they had to stop to build a bridge,
Wash-ing-ton was told that it was not worth while for him to try to go
by land to Red-stone Creek, when he could go by boat in much less
time.

This would be a good plan, if it would work; and to make sure,
Wash-ing-ton took five men with him in a bark boat down the stream.
One of these men was a red-skin guide. When they had gone ten miles,
the guide said that that was as far as he would go. Wash-ing-ton said,
"Why do you want to leave us now? We need you, and you know that we
can not get on with-out you. Tell us why you wish to leave."

The red-man said, "Me want gifts. The red-men will not work with-out
them. The French know this, and are wise. If you want the red-men to
be your guides, you must buy them. They do not love you so well that
they will serve you with-out pay."

Wash-ing-ton told the guide that when they got back he would give him
a fine white shirt with a frill on it, and a good great-coat, and this
put an end to the "strike" for that time. They kept on in the small
boat for a score of miles, till they came to a place where there was a
falls in the stream at least 40 feet. This put a stop to their course,
and Wash-ing-ton went back to camp with his mind made up to go on by
land.

He was on his way to join his troops when word was brought him from
Half-King to be on his guard, as the French were close at hand. They
had been on the march for two days, and meant to strike the first foe
they should see.

Half-King said that he and the rest of his chiefs would be with
Wash-ing-ton in five days to have a talk.

Wash-ing-ton set to work at once to get his troops in shape to meet
the foe. Scouts were sent out. There was a scare in the night. The
troops sprang to arms, and kept on the march till day-break. In the
mean-time, at nine o'clock at night, word came from Half-King, who was
then six miles from the camp, that he had seen the tracks of two
French-men, and the whole force was near that place.

Wash-ing-ton put him-self at the head of two score men, left the rest
to guard the camp, and set off to join Half-King. The men had to grope
their way by foot-paths through the woods. The night was dark and
there had been quite a fall of rain, so that they slipped and fell,
and lost their way, and had to climb the great rocks, and the trees
that had been blown down and blocked their way.

It was near sun-rise when they came to the camp of Half-King, who at
once set out with a few of his braves to show Wash-ing-ton the tracks
he had seen. Then Half-King called up two of his braves, showed them
the tracks, and told them what to do. They took the scent, and went
off like hounds, and brought back word that they had traced the
foot-prints to a place shut in by rocks and trees where the French
were in camp.

It was planned to take them off their guard. Wash-ing-ton was to move
on the right, Half-King and his men on the left. They made not a
sound. Wash-ing-ton was the first on the ground, and as he came out
from the rocks and trees at the head of his men, the French caught
sight of him and ran to their arms.

A sharp fire was kept up on both sides. De Ju-mon-ville, who led the
French troops, was killed, with ten of his men. One of Wash-ing-ton's
men was killed, and two or three met with wounds. None of the red-men
were hurt, as the French did not aim their guns at them at all. In
less than half an hour the French gave way, and ran, but
Wash-ing-ton's men soon came up with them, took them, and they were
sent, in charge of a strong guard, to Gov-er-nor Din-wid-die.

This was the first act of war, in which blood had been shed, and
Wash-ing-ton had to bear a great deal of blame from both France and
Eng-land till the truth was made known. He was thought to have been
too rash, and too bold, and in more haste to make war than to seek for
peace. These sins were charged to his youth, for it was not known then
how much more calm, and wise, and shrewd he was than most men who were
twice his age.

The French claimed that this band had been sent out to ask
Wash-ing-ton, in a kind way, to leave the lands that were held by the
crown of France. But Wash-ing-ton was sure they were spies; and
Half-King said they had bad hearts, and if our men were such fools as
to let them go, he would give them no more aid.

Half-King was full of fight, and Wash-ing-ton was flushed with pride,
and in haste to move on and brave the worst. He wrote home: "The
Min-goes have struck the French, and I hope will give a good blow
be-fore they have done."

Then he told of the fight he had been in, and how he had won it, and
was not hurt though he stood in the midst of the fierce fire. The
balls whizzed by him, "and," said Wash-ing-ton "I was charmed with the
sound."

This boast came to the ears of George II. who said, in a dry sort of a
way, "He would not say so if he had heard ma-ny."

When long years had passed, some one asked Wash-ing-ton if he had made
such a speech. "If I did," said he, "it was when I was young." And he
was but 22 years of age.

He knew that as soon as the French heard of the fight and their bad
luck, they would send a strong force out to meet him, so he set all
his men to work to add to the size of the earth-work, and to fence it
in so that it might be more of a strong-hold. Then he gave to it the
name of _Fort Ne-ces-si-ty_, for it had been thrown up in great haste
in time of great need, when food was so scant it was feared the troops
would starve to death. At one time, for six days they had no flour,
and, of course, no bread.

News came of the death of Col-o-nel Fry, at Will's creek, and
Wash-ing-ton was forced to take charge of the whole force. Fry's
troops--300 in all--came up from Will's Creek, and Half-King brought
40 red-men with their wives and young ones and these all had to be fed
and cared for.

Young as he was Wash-ing-ton was like a fa-ther to this strange group
of men. On Sundays, when in camp, he read to them from the word of
God, and by all his acts made them feel that he was a good and true
man, and fit to be their chief.

The red-men did quite well as spies and scouts, but were not of much
use in the field, and they, and some men from South Car-o-li-na, did
much to vex young Wash-ing-ton.

Half-King did not like the way that white men fought, so he took
him-self and his band off to a safe place. The white men from South
Car-o-li-na, who had come out to serve their king, were too proud to
soil their hands or to do hard work, nor would they be led by a man of
the rank of Col-o-nel.

In the midst of all these straits Wash-ing-ton stood calm and firm.

The South Car-o-li-na troops were left to guard the fort, while the
rest of the men set out to clear the road to Red-stone Creek. Their
march was slow, and full of toil, and at the end of two weeks they had
gone but 13 miles. Here at Gist's home, where they stopped to rest,
word came to Wash-ing-ton that a large force of the French were to be
sent out to fight him. Word was sent to the fort to have the men that
were there join them with all speed.

They reached Gist's at dusk, and by dawn of the next day all our
troops were in that place, where it was at first thought they would
wait for the foe.

But this plan they gave up, for it was deemed best to make haste back
to the fort, where they might at least screen them-selves from the
fire of the foe.

The roads were rough; the heat was great; the food was scant, and the
men weak and worn out. There were but few steeds, and these had to
bear such great loads that they could not move with speed.

Wash-ing-ton gave up his own horse and went on foot, and the rest of
the head men did the same.

The troops from Vir-gin-i-a worked with a will and would take turns
and haul the big field guns, while the King's troops, from South
Car-o-li-na, walked at their ease, and would not lend a hand, or do a
stroke of work.

On the morn of Ju-ly 3, scouts brought word to the fort that the
French were but four miles off, and in great force. Wash-ing-ton at
once drew up his men on the ground out-side of the fort, to wait for
the foe.

Ere noon the French were quite near the fort and the sound of their
guns was heard.

Wash-ing-ton thought this was a trick to draw his men out in-to the
woods, so he told them to hold their fire till the foe came in sight.
But as the French did not show them-selves, though they still kept up
their fire, he drew his troops back to the fort and bade them fire at
will, and do their best to hit their mark.

The rain fell all day long, so that the men in the fort were half
drowned, and some of the guns scarce fit for use.

The fire was kept up till eight o'clock at night, when the French
sent word they would like to make terms with our men.

Wash-ing-ton thought it was a trick to find out the state of things in
the fort, and for a time gave no heed to the call. The French sent two
or three times, and at last brought the terms for Wash-ing-ton to
read. They were in French. There was no-thing at hand to write with,
so Van Bra-am, who could speak French, was called on to give the key.

It was a queer scene. A light was brought, and held close to his face
so that he could see to read. The rain fell in such sheets that it was
hard work to keep up the flame. Van Bra-am mixed up Dutch, French, and
Eng-lish in a sad way, while Wash-ing-ton and his chief aids stood
near with heads bent, and tried their best to guess what was meant.

They made out at last that the main terms were that the troops might
march out of the fort, and fear no harm from French or red-skins as
they made their way back to their homes. The drums might beat and the
flags fly, and they could take with them all the goods and stores, and
all that was in the fort--but the large guns. These the French would
break up. And our men should pledge them-selves not to build on the
lands which were claimed by the King of France for the space of one
year.

The weak had to yield to the strong, and Wash-ing-ton and his men laid
down their arms and marched out of the fort.

A note of thanks was sent to Wash-ing-ton, and all his head men but
Van Bra-am, who was thought to have read the terms in such a way as to
harm our side and serve the French.

But there were those who felt that Van Bra-am was as true as he was
brave, and that it was the fault of his head and not his heart, for it
was a hard task for a Dutch-man to turn French in-to Eng-lish, and
make sense of it.



CHAPTER V.

AS AIDE-DE-CAMP.


In spite of the way in which the fight at Great Mead-ows came to an
end Gov-er-nor Din-wid-die made up his mind that the troops, led by
Wash-ing-ton, should cross the hills and drive the French from Fort
Du-quesne.

Wash-ing-ton thought it a wild scheme; for the snow lay deep on the
hills, his men were worn out, and had no arms, nor tents, nor clothes,
nor food, such as would fit them to take the field. It would need gold
to buy these things, as well as to pay for fresh troops.

Gold was placed in the Gov-er-nor's hands to use as he pleased. Our
force was spread out in-to ten bands, of 100 men each. The King's
troops were put in high rank, and Col-o-nel Wash-ing-ton was made
Cap-tain. This, of course, was more than he could bear, so he left
the ar-my at once, and with a sad heart.

In a short time Gov-er-nor Sharpe of Ma-ry-land was placed by King
George at the head of all the force that was to fight the French. He
knew that he would need the aid of Wash-ing-ton, and he begged him to
come back and serve with him in the field. But Wash-ing-ton did not
like the terms, and paid no heed to the call.

The next Spring, Gen-er-al Brad-dock came from Eng-land with two large
bands of well-trained troops, which it was thought would drive the
French back in-to Can-a-da. Our men were full of joy, and thought the
war would soon be at an end. Brad-dock urged Wash-ing-ton to join him
in the field. Wash-ing-ton felt that he could be of great use, as he
knew the land and the ways of red-men, so he took up the sword once
more, as Brad-dock's aide-de-camp.

Ben-ja-min Frank-lin, who had charge of the mails, lent his aid to the
cause, and did all that he could to serve Brad-dock and his men.
Brad-dock, with his staff and a guard of horse-men, set out for Will's
Creek, by the way of Win-ches-ter, in A-pril, 1755. He rode in a fine
turn-out that he had bought of Gov-er-nor Sharpe, which he soon found
out was not meant for use on rough roads. But he had fought with
dukes, and men of high rank, and was fond of show, and liked to put on
a great deal of style.

He thought that this would make the troops look up to him, and would
add much to his fame.

In May the troops went in-to camp, and Wash-ing-ton had a chance to
learn much of the art of war that was new and strange to him, and to
see some things that made him smile.

All the rules and forms of camp-life were kept up. One of the head
men who died while in camp, was borne to the grave in this style: A
guard marched in front of the corpse, the cap-tain of it in the rear.
Each man held his gun up-side down, as a sign that the dead would war
no more, and the drums beat the dead march. When near the grave the
guard formed two lines that stood face to face, let their guns rest on
the ground, and leaned their heads on the butts. The corpse was borne
twixt these two rows of men with the sword and sash on the top of the
box in which he lay, and in the rear of it the men of rank marched two
and two. When the corpse was put in the ground, the guard fired their
guns three times, and then all the troops marched back to camp.

The red-men--the Del-a-wares and Shaw-nees came to aid Gen-er-al
Brad-dock. With them were White Thun-der, who had charge of the
"speech-belts," and Sil-ver Heels, who was swift of foot. Half-King
was dead, and White Thun-der reigned in his stead.

The red-men had a camp to them-selves, where they would sing, and
dance, and howl and yell for half the night. It was fun for the King's
troops to watch them at their sports and games, and they soon found a
great charm in this wild sort of life.

In the day time the red-men and their squaws, rigged up in their
plumes and war paint, hung round Brad-dock's camp, and gazed
spell-bound at the troops as they went through their drills.

But this state of things did not last long, and strife rose twixt the
red and white men, and some of the red-skins left the camp. They told
Brad-dock they would meet him on his march, but they did not keep
their word.

Wash-ing-ton was sent to Will-iams-burg to bring the gold of which
there was need, and when he came back he found that Brad-dock had
left a small guard at Fort Cum-ber-land, on Will's Creek, and was then
on his way to Fort Du-quesne. He would give no heed to those who knew
more of the back-woods than he did, nor call on the red-men to serve
as scouts and guides. He was not used to that kind of war-fare, and
scorned to be taught by such a youth as George Wash-ing-ton.

The march was a hard one for man and beast. Up steep hills and through
rough roads they had to drag the guns, and Brad-dock soon found out
that these new fields were not like the old ones on which he had been
wont to fight.

Hard as it was for his pride to seek the aid of so young a man, he was
at last forced to ask Wash-ing-ton to help him out of these straits.

They had then made a halt at Lit-tle Mead-ows. Wash-ing-ton said there
was no time to lose. They must push on at once.

While at this place Cap-tain Jack, and his brave band of hunts-men
came in-to camp. They were fond of the chase, and were well-armed with
knives and guns, and looked quite like a tribe of red-skins as they
came out of the wood.

Brad-dock met them in a stiff sort of way. Cap-tain Jack stepped in
front of his band and said that he and his men were used to rough
work, and knew how to deal with the red-men, and would be glad to join
the force.

Brad-dock looked on him with a gaze of scorn, and spoke to him in a
way that roused the ire of Cap-tain Jack. He told his men what had
been said, and the whole band turned their backs on the camp, and went
through the woods to their old haunts where they were known and prized
at their true worth.

In the mean-time Wash-ing-ton, who had had a head-ache for some days,
grew so ill that he could not ride on his horse, and had to be borne
part of the time in a cart.

Brad-dock--who well knew what a loss his death would be--said that he
should not go on. Wash-ing-ton plead with him, but Brad-dock was firm,
and made him halt on the road. Here he was left with a guard, and in
care of Doc-tor Craik, and here he had to stay for two long weeks. By
that time he could move, but not with-out much pain, for he was still
quite weak. It was his wish to join the troops in time for the great
blow, and while yet too weak to mount his horse, he set off with his
guards in a close cart, and reached Brad-dock's camp on the eighth of
Ju-ly.

He was just in time, for the troops were to move on Fort Du-quesne the
next day. The fort was on the same side of the Mon-on-ga-he-la as the
camp, but twixt them lay a pass two miles in length, with the stream
on the left and a high range of hills on the right. The plan was to
ford the stream near the camp, march on the west bank of the stream
for five miles or so, and then cross to the east side and push on to
the fort.

By sun-rise the next day the troops turned out in fine style, and
marched off to the noise of drum and fife. To Wash-ing-ton this was a
grand sight. Though still weak and ill, he rode his horse, and took
his place on the staff as aide-de-camp.

At one o'clock the whole force had crossed the ford north of the fort,
and were on their way up the bank, when they were met by a fierce and
sharp fire from foes they could not see. Wild war-whoops and fierce
yells rent the air. What Wash-ing-ton feared, had come to pass.
Brad-dock did his best to keep the troops in line; but as fast as they
moved up, they were cut down by foes screened by rocks and trees.

Now and then one of the red-men would dart out of the woods with a
wild yell to scalp a red-coat who had been shot down. Wild fear seized
Brad-dock's men, who fired and took no aim. Those in the front rank
were killed by those in the rear. Some of the Vir-gin-i-a troops took
post back of trees, and fought as the red-men did. Wash-ing-ton
thought it would be a good plan for Brad-dock's men to do the same.
But he thought there was but one way for troops to fight, and that
brave men ought not to skulk in that way. When some of them took to
the trees, Brad-dock stormed at them, and called them hard names, and
struck them with the flat of his sword.

All day long Wash-ing-ton rode here and there in the midst of the
fight. He was in all parts of the field, a fine mark for the guns of
the foe, and yet not a shot struck him to do him harm. Four small
shots went through his coat. Two of his steeds were shot down; and
though those who stood near him fell dead at his side, Wash-ing-ton
had not one wound.

The fight raged on. Death swept through the ranks of the red-coats.
The men at the guns were seized with fright. Wash-ing-ton sprang from
his horse, wheeled a brass field-piece with his own hand, and sent a
good shot through the woods. But this act did not bring the men back
to their guns.

Brad-dock was on the field the whole day, and did his best to turn the
tide. But most of his head-men had been slain in his sight; five times
had he been forced to mount a fresh horse, as one by one was struck
down by the foe-man's shot, and still he kept his ground and tried to
check the flight of his men.

At last a shot struck him in the right arm and went in-to his lungs.
He fell from his horse, and was borne from the field. The troops took
fright at once, and most of them fled. The yells of the red-men still
rang in their ears.

"All is lost!" they cried.

"Brad-dock is killed!"

Wash-ing-ton had been sent to a camp 40 miles off, and was on his way
back when he heard the sad news.

But Brad-dock did not die at once. He was brought back to camp, and
for two days lay in a calm state but full of pain. Now and then his
lips would move and he was heard to say, "Who would have thought it!
We shall know how to deal with them the next time!"

He died at Fort Ne-ces-si-ty on the night of Ju-ly 13. Had he done as
Wash-ing-ton told him he might have saved his own life, and won the
day. But he was a proud man, and when he made up his mind to do a
thing he would do it at all risks. Through this fault he missed the
fame he hoped to win, lost his life, and found a grave in a strange
land.

His loss was a great gain to Wash-ing-ton, for all felt that he, so
calm, so grave, so free from fear, was the right sort of man to lead
troops to war. Those who had seen him in the field thought that he
bore a charmed life, for though he stood where the shot fell thick and
fast he was not hurt, and showed no signs of fear. But Wash-ing-ton
was weak, and in need of rest, and as the death of Brad-dock left him
with no place in the force, he went back to Mount Ver-non where he
thought to spend the rest of his days.

The fight which he took part in as aide-de-camp, and which had so sad
an end, goes by the name of _Brad-dock's de-feat_.



CHAPTER VI.

COL-O-NEL OF VIR-GIN-I-A TROOPS.


The troops in Vir-gin-i-a were left with-out a head. There was no one
to lead them out to war, and if this fact came to the ears of the
French, they would be more bold.

Wash-ing-ton's friends urged him to ask for the place. But this he
would not do. His brother wrote him thus: "Our hopes rest on you, dear
George. You are the man for the place: all are loud in your praise."

But Wash-ing-ton was firm. He wrote back and told in plain words all
that he had borne, and how he had been served for the past two years.

"I love my land," he said, "and shall be glad to serve it, but not on
the same terms that I have done so."

His mo-ther begged him not to risk his life in these wars. He wrote
her that he should do all that he could to keep out of harm's way, but
if he should have a call to drive the foes from the land of his birth,
he would have to go! And this he was sure would give her much more
pride than if he were to stay at home.

On the same day, Au-gust 13, that this note was sent, word came to
Wash-ing-ton that he had been made chief of all the troops in
Vir-gin-i-a, and the next month he went to Win-ches-ter to stay.

Here he found much to do. There was need of more troops, and it was
hard work to get them. Forts had to be built, and he drew up a plan of
his own and set men to work it out, and went out from time to time to
see how they got on with it. He rode off thus at the risk of his life,
for red-men lay in wait for scalps, and were fierce to do deeds of
blood.

The stir of war put new life in-to the veins of old Lord Fair-fax. He
got up a troop of horse, and put them through a drill on the lawn at
Green-way Court. He was fond of the chase, and knew how to run the sly
fox to the ground. The red-man was a sort of fox, and Fair-fax was
keen for the chase, and now and then would mount his steed and call on
George Wash-ing-ton, who was glad to have his kind friend so near.

In a short time he had need of his aid, for word came from the fort at
Will's Creek that a band of red-men were on the war-path with
fire-brands, and knives, and were then on their way to Win-ches-ter.

A man on a fleet horse was sent post-haste to Wash-ing-ton, who had
been called to Will-iams-burg, the chief town.

In the mean-time Lord Fair-fax sent word to all the troops near his
home to arm and haste to the aid of Win-ches-ter.

Those on farms flocked to the towns, where they thought they would be
safe; and the towns-folks fled to the west side of the Blue Ridge. In
the height of this stir Wash-ing-ton rode in-to town, and the sight of
him did much to quell their fears.

He thought that there were but a few red-skins who had caused this
great scare, and it was his wish to take the field at once and go out
and put them to flight. But he could get but a few men to go with him.
The rest of the town troops would not stir.

All the old fire-arms that were in the place were brought out, and
smiths set to work to scour off the rust and make them fit to use.

Caps, such as are now used on guns, were not known in those days.
Flint stones took their place. One of these was put in the lock, so
that when it struck a piece of steel it would flash fire, and the
spark would set off the gun. These were called flint-lock guns.

Such a thing as a match had not been thought of, and flint stones were
made use of to light all fires.

Carts were sent off for balls, and flints, and for food with which to
feed all those who had flocked to Win-ches-ter.

The tribes of red-men that had once served with Wash-ing-ton, were now
on good terms with the French. One of their chiefs, named Ja-cob,
laughed at forts that were built of wood, and made his boast that no
fort was safe from him if it would catch fire.

The town where these red-men dwelt was two score miles from Fort
Du-quesne, and a band of brave white men, with John Arm-strong and
Hugh Mer-cer at their head, set out from Win-ches-ter to put them to
rout.

At the end of a long march they came at night on the red-men's
strong-hold, and took them off their guard. The red-men, led by the
fierce chief Ja-cob, who chose to die ere he would yield, made a
strong fight, but in the end most of them were killed, their huts were
set on fire, and the brave strong-hold was a strong-hold no more.

In the mean-time Wash-ing-ton had left Win-ches-ter and gone to Fort
Cum-ber-land, on Will's Creek. Here he kept his men at work on new
roads and old ones. Some were sent out as scouts. Brig-a-dier
Gen-er-al Forbes, who was in charge of the whole force, was on his way
from Phil-a-del-phi-a, but his march was a slow one as he was not in
good health. The plan was when he came to move on the French fort. The
work that was to have been done north of the fort, by Lord Lou-doun,
hung fire. It was felt that he was not the right man for the place,
and so his lord-ship was sent back to Eng-land.

Ma-jor Gen-er-al Ab-er-crom-bie then took charge of the King's troops
at the north. These were to charge on Crown Point. Ma-jor Gen-er-al
Am-herst with a large force of men was with the fleet of Ad-mi-ral
Bos-caw-en, that set sail from Hal-i-fax the last of May. These were
to lay siege to Lou-is-berg and the isle of Cape Bre-ton, which is at
the mouth of the Gulf of St. Law-rence. Forbes was to move on Fort
Du-quesne, and was much too slow to suit Wash-ing-ton who was in haste
to start. His men had worn out their old clothes and were in great
need of new ones, which they could not get for some time. He liked the
dress the red-men wore. It was light and cool, and, what had to be
thought of most, it was cheap. Wash-ing-ton had some of his men put
on this dress, and it took well, and has since been worn by those who
roam the woods and plains of our great land.

I will not tell you of all that took place near the great Lakes at
this time, as I wish to keep your mind on George Wash-ing-ton.

The schemes laid out by Gen-er-al Forbes did not please Wash-ing-ton,
who urged a prompt march on the fort, while the roads were good. He
wrote to Ma-jor Hal-ket, who had been with Brad-dock, and was now on
Forbes' staff: "I find him fixed to lead you a new way to the O-hi-o,
through a road each inch of which must be cut when we have scarce time
left to tread the old track, which is known by all to be the best path
through the hills." He made it plain that if they went that new way
all would be lost, and they would be way-laid by the red-skins and
meet with all sorts of ills.

But no heed was paid to his words, and the warm days came to an end.
Six weeks were spent in hard work on the new road with a gain of less
than three-score miles, when the whole force might have been in front
of the French fort had they marched by the old road as Wash-ing-ton
had urged.

At a place known as Loy-al Han-nan, the troops were brought to a halt,
as Forbes thought this was a good place to build a fort. Some men in
charge of Ma-jor Grant went forth as scouts. At dusk they drew near a
fort, and set fire to a log house near its walls. This was a rash
thing to do, as it let the French know just where they were.

But not a gun was fired from the fort. This the King's troops took for
a sign of fear, and were bold and proud, and quite sure that they
would win the day. So Brad-dock had thought, and we know his fate.

At length--when Forbes and his men were off their guard--the French
made a dash from the fort, and poured their fire on the King's
troops. On their right and left flanks fell a storm of shot from the
red-skins who had hid back of trees, rocks, and shrubs.

The King's troops were then brought up in line, and for a while stood
firm and fought for their lives. But they were no match for the
red-skins, whose fierce yells made the blood run chill. Ma-jor Lew-is
fought hand to hand with a "brave" whom he laid dead at his feet.
Red-skins came up at once to take the white-man's scalp, and there was
but one way in which he could save his life. This was to give him-self
up to the French, which both he and Ma-jor Grant were forced to do, as
their troops had been put to rout with great loss.

Wash-ing-ton won much praise for the way in which the Vir-gin-i-a
troops had fought, and he was at once put in charge of a large force,
who were to lead the van, serve as scouts, and do their best to drive
back the red-skins--work that called for the best skill and nerve.

It was late in the fall of the year when the King's troops all met at
Loy-al Han-nan, and so much had to be done to clear the roads, that
snow would be on the ground ere they could reach the fort. But from
those of the French that they had seized in the late fight, they found
out that there were but few troops in the fort, that food was scarce,
and the red-skins false to their trust.

This lent hope to the King's troops, who made up their minds to push
on. They took up their march at once, with no tents or stores, and but
few large guns.

Wash-ing-ton rode at the head. It was a sad march, for the ground was
strewn with the bones of those who had fought with Grant and with
Brad-dock, and been slain by the foe, or died of their wounds.

At length the troops drew near the fort, and made their way up to it
with great care, for they thought the French would be in wait for
them, and that there would be a fierce fight.

But the French had had such bad luck in Can-a-da, that they had lost
heart, and those in the fort were left to take care of them-selves. So
when the Eng-lish were one day's march from the fort, the French stole
out at night, got in-to boats, set the fort on fire, and went down the
O-hi-o by the light of the flames.

So the fort which had been the cause of so much blood-shed, fell at
last with-out a blow, and on No-vem-ber 25, 1758, Wash-ing-ton, with
his van-guard, marched in and placed the Brit-ish flag on the wreck of
the once proud strong-hold, the name of which was changed to Fort
Pitt.

The French gave up all claim to the O-hi-o from that time. The
red-skins were quick to make friends with those who held sway, and
there was peace with all the tribes twixt the O-hi-o and the Lakes.

Wash-ing-ton had made up his mind to leave the field when this war
came to an end, and in De-cem-ber of the same year he bade his troops
good-bye.

He had been with them for five years in a hard school, and the strain
on his mind had been so great that he lost his health, and felt that
he could war no more.



CHAPTER VII.

THE HOME OF WASH-ING-TON.


In the year 1758, while Wash-ing-ton was with his troops at
Win-ches-ter, he met and fell in love with Mrs. Mar-tha Cus-tis. Her
home was known as the White House, and here she dwelt in fine style,
for she had great wealth. She had a boy six years of age, and a girl
of four.

Such were her charms that men of wealth and rank sought for her hand,
but Wash-ing-ton, so calm and grave, and with his way yet to make in
the world, won her heart, and they were to be wed at the close of the
war.

She had heard of the brave deeds he had done, and was proud to be the
wife of such a man, so on Jan-u-a-ry 6, 1759, the two were made one.

In the course of a few months Wash-ing-ton went to live at _Mount
Ver-non_, where he spent much of his time in the care of his own
lands, and those of his wife.

He had a seat with those who made laws for the State, and no man was
thought more of than George Wash-ing-ton.

Wash-ing-ton loved to be at _Mount Ver-non_, where he had spent a
great part of his boy-hood, with his bro-ther, Law-rence, of whom he
was so fond. The house stood on a knoll, and near it were wild woods
and deep dells, haunts of the fox and the deer, and bright streams
where fish could be found at all times.

His chief sport was the chase, and, at the right time of the year, he
would go out two or three times a week, with dogs and horns and
trained steeds, in search of the sly fox who would lead him and his
friends a fine run.

Some times he would go out with his gun and shoot wild-ducks, great
flocks of which might be found on the streams close at hand. Or he
would scour the woods for the game with which they were filled, and
which none but those who owned the place had a right to kill.

A man who had a bad name and paid no heed to the laws that were made,
was wont to make his way to the grounds near Mount Ver-non and shoot
just what game he chose. More than once he had been told to leave and
not come back, but he paid no more heed than if he had been deaf, and
was sure to take his pick from the best kind of ducks.

One day when Wash-ing-ton was out on horse-back he heard the sound of
a gun down near the edge of the stream. He put spurs to his horse,
dashed through bush and brake, and soon came up to the rogue who had
just time to jump in his boat and push from shore. Then the bad man
raised his gun, cocked it, and took aim at Wash-ing-ton, whom he would
no doubt have shot down in cold-blood.

But Wash-ing-ton rode at once in-to the stream, and seized the prow of
the boat, and drew it to shore. Then he sprang from his horse,
wrenched the gun from the thief's hand, and laid on the lash in such a
way that the rogue took to his heels when let loose, and came no more
near Mount Ver-non.

As I have told you, men of great wealth dwelt on the shores of the
Po-to-mac, and kept house in fine style. They had a large force of
slaves, and made great feasts for their friends. One of them used to
come out in a rich barge to meet Wash-ing-ton. This barge was rowed by
six black men in check shirts and black vel-vet caps.

Wash-ing-ton had a coach and four, with black foot-men, for Mrs.
Wash-ing-ton to use when she drove out; but he chose to go on
horse-back. Some-times he and his wife went to An-na-po-lis, to a ball
or feast of some sort, where Wash-ing-ton took part in the dance, and
all the belles of the day were proud to dance with him, for he had a
grand style that made him seem like no one else in the room.

When storms kept him in the house, he would read, or spend the time at
his desk with pen in hand.

He was kind to his slaves, and took the best of care of them when they
were sick, but was quick to see that they did not shirk their work. He
knew, too, just the kind of work each one was fit for, and which he
could do the best.

Four of his slaves set out to hew and shape a large log. Wash-ing-ton
kept his eye on them and thought they loafed too much. So he sat down,
took out his watch, and timed them: how long it took them to get their
cross-cut saw and the rest of their tools; how long to cut off the
limbs from the tree they had laid low; how long to hew and saw it;
what time they spent in talk; and how much work they did while he sat
there and took notes. In this way he found out just how much work four
men could do in the course of a day--and take their ease.

Wash-ing-ton was quick to lend a hand in time of need, and once when
word was brought him that the dam had broke loose, and the mill would
soon be swept off, he ran at the head of all his slaves and work-men,
and toiled as hard as they in a fierce rain-storm, to check the force
of the flood.

The cares of home and state made such calls on his time and thoughts,
that he could not be said to live quite at his ease, and he left his
mark--a high one--on all that he did.

His crops were of the best, and he sought to cheat no one. The flour
he sold from year to year was put up with so much care, and was of
such a good kind and so true in weight that all that bore the brand of
_George Wash-ing-ton_, _Mount Ver-non_, was held at a high rate in the
West In-di-a ports.

Quite a trade was kept up with Eu-rope, where all the goods had to be
bought that were used in the house or on the farm.

Twice a year Wash-ing-ton sent on a long list of such things as he had
need of: ploughs, hoes, scythes, horse-goods, and clothes for all the
house-hold. For these last he had to give size and height, name, and
age, of those who were to wear them.

In one of these lists Wash-ing-ton, who had need of a new suit of
clothes, said he was six feet in height, quite thin, and had long
limbs. He was then 31 years old.

You will see by what I have told you just how Wash-ing-ton spent much
of his time for at least five years. They were five sweet years to
him; full of peace, and rest, and joy. He was fond of his home, and
felt as much pride in Nel-lie and John Parke Cus-tis as if they had
been his own boy and girl. Nel-lie was a frail child, and did not gain
in strength, though she had the best of care. Her death took place
June 19, 1773, when she was but 17 years of age.

This was a sad blow to Wash-ing-ton, as well as to his wife, and then
all their hopes were placed on the son, who bade fair to be a fine
strong man. But he died in the year 1781, at the age of 28.

While Wash-ing-ton dwelt in peace at Mount Ver-non, war was rife in
the land, but as he had with-drawn from those who bore arms he took
no part in it It was called Pon-ti-ac's war, as it was led by a chief
of that name, but the O-hi-o tribes were with him, and the plot was
deep laid.

Large tracts of wood-land were laid waste; homes were burnt, and those
who dwelt in them robbed and slain; and so sly and shrewd were the
red-skins that it was some time ere the white men could put a stop to
their deeds of blood.

It was in 1760 that King George the Third made up his mind to tax the
folks in A-mer-i-ca for all the goods they bought in Eng-land. The
trade was large, and in this way the king could add much to his
wealth. But the scheme did not work well. It was first tried in
Bos-ton, and set all the folks there by the ears. They claimed that
they had rights as well as the king. They had come to this land to be
free, and free they would be. They would do with-out tea and such
things, and dress as well as they could in clothes made out of
home-made goods.

The king next said that goods bought from Eng-land must bear the
king's stamp, for which a sum was to be paid more than the cost of the
goods. This was known as the Stamp Act. The folks in A-mer-i-ca were
poor. They had not the means to pay this tax. The thought of it filled
them with rage; and for five years there was much talk of the wrong
the king had done to those who dwelt in A-mer-i-ca.

On the first day of No-vem-ber, 1765, the Stamp Act was to go in-to
force, and all New Eng-land was in arms. At Bos-ton bells were tolled;
flags were hung at half-mast; shops were shut, and bon-fires built.

In New York, the Act--in clear print--was borne through the streets on
a pole, on top of which was a death's head.

A man named Col-den whose place it was to serve out the stamps had to
flee to the fort, round which was placed a strong guard from a
ship-of-war. The mob broke in-to his coach-house, drew out his coach,
put in it a form--stuffed and dressed to look some-what like
Col-den--and marched up to the Park where they hung it on a tree.

At night they took the form down, put it in a coach, and bore it back
to Bow-ling Green, where the whole thing--coach and all--was burnt
right in range of the guns of the fort where the King's troops were.

In March 1766, the king drew back the Stamp Act, which gave great joy
to those who had the good of A-mer-i-ca at heart, and to none more
than to George Wash-ing-ton. But he made it known that he felt it to
be his right as their king to tax them as he chose, and this hurt the
pride of those who wished to make their own laws, and be in bonds to
no one.

Wash-ing-ton--as did most of those who had Eng-lish blood in their
veins--looked up-on that land as his home, and was loath to break the
chain that bound him to it. But he did not think well of the Stamp
Act, and saw what was sure to come to pass if the king pressed too
hard on the A-mer-i-cans.

On Sep-tem-ber 5, 1774, a band of true men from all the States met for
the first time in Phil-a-del-phi-a, and Wash-ing-ton set out from
Mount Ver-non on horse-back to take his seat with them. With him were
Pat-rick Hen-ry and Ed-mund Pen-dle-ton; and as they rode side by side
they talked of the land they loved, and of the hopes they had that all
would be well.

The band met with closed doors. Each man wore a grave face. Pat-rick
Hen-ry made a strong speech at the close of which he said, "All
A-mer-i-ca is thrown in-to one mass. Where are your land-marks? * * *
They are all thrown down."

He said he did not call him-self by the name of the _State_ in which
he was born, but by the name of the _land_ which gave him birth--then
known as "the land of the free."

Wash-ing-ton was not a man of words, but of deeds. But what he said
was of great weight as it came from a wise brain and a true heart.

Pat-rick Hen-ry said there was no man in the whole band so great as
George Wash-ing-ton. The band broke up in No-vem-ber, and Wash-ing-ton
went back to Mount Ver-non. But not to the gay times and good cheer he
once had known. George Fair-fax--who had been his friend from
boy-hood--had gone to Eng-land to live, and Bel-voir took fire one
night and was burnt to the ground.

The stir in Bos-ton, and in the West where the red-skins were on the
war-path, made the whole land ill at ease. Troops were kept on drill,
and the roll of the drum was heard in all the small towns. Men came to
talk with Wash-ing-ton and to find out what he thought was the best
thing to do, and the best way to drill or to arm troops.

It was of no use to plead with the king. He had made up his mind and
would not yield an inch. A large force of the best men in Vir-gin-i-a
met at Rich-mond, March 20, 1775, and Wash-ing-ton was called on for
some plan as to what their course should be.

He told them that he thought there was but one thing to do. Pat-rick
Hen-ry put it in-to words that rang through the land: "We must fight!
I repeat it, Sir, we must fight! An ap-peal to arms, and the God of
hosts, is all that is left us!"

All hearts were full of zeal; and Wash-ing-ton wrote to his bro-ther,
Au-gus-tine, that if there was need of it he would lead troops to war,
and risk his life and all his wealth in the cause, which seemed to him
a most just one.



CHAPTER VIII.

THE BATTLE OF BUNKER HILL.


In the year 1775 war was rife in New Eng-land. The King's laws were
felt to be more for slaves than for free-men, and all made up their
minds to throw off the yoke. They could not bear the sight of the
red-coats; and the King's troops were just as fierce in their hate of
our men.

Ships-of-war brought a large force of troops to New Eng-land, led by
men of rank and fame. They filled the streets of Bos-ton, and it was
thought they might bring the A-mer-i-cans to terms, and not a drop of
blood be shed. But this was not to be.

A large force of our men were in camp on the hills and fields near
Bos-ton, the sight of whom might well cause the well-clad Brit-ish to
smile. They had left their farms in great haste at the cry of "To
arms!" had seized their guns, and come in the home-spun clothes it
was their pride to wear. Those from Mas-sa-chu-setts were led by
Gen-er-al Ar-te-mas Ward; those from New Hamp-shire by Col-o-nel John
Stark; those from Rhode Isl-and by Gen-er-al Na-than-i-el Greene; and
those from Con-nect-i-cut by Gen-er-al Is-ra-el Put-nam; all brave and
true men, and full of fight.

But the troops had need to be well armed; and all the guns and such
things as there was need of in war times were in Bos-ton, where the
red-coats were on guard. But though sharp eyes were on the watch, sly
deeds were done by those who knew the ways in and out of each
store-house. Carts went out of town heaped high with dirt in which
guns and balls were hid; and all sorts of tricks were used to get
such things past the red-coats.

At length it came to the ears of Gen-er-al Gage, that some field guns
were at Sa-lem, and he sent troops there to seize them. But when they
reached Sa-lem they found no guns there.

Then word came to Gen-er-al Gage that there was a large stock of arms
and war-stores at Con-cord, which was less than a score of miles from
Bos-ton.

In the night of A-pril 18, the red-coats set out for Con-cord.
Gen-er-al Gage had said that no one but the troops should leave the
town, but the news was borne to Lex-ing-ton--a town on the road to
Con-cord--by those who were as swift as the hare, and as sly as the
fox.

The folks there met in groups, with hearts on fire. Bells were rung
and guns were fired. Men who heard these sounds ran as fast as they
could to Lex-ing-ton, to hold the bridge, and keep back the foe.

At five o'clock, on the morn of A-pril 19, the red-coats came in
sight, and at once three-score and ten men stood out on the green near
the wall to meet them.

Ma-jor Pit-cairn who was at the head of the King's troops called out
to these brave men to lay down their arms and leave the place. But
they paid no heed to his words. Then he sprang from the ranks, shot
off a small gun, swung his sword in air, and told his men to fire. The
troops ran up, with loud cheers, and poured a storm of shot on our
men, some of whom were killed. Then they pushed on to Con-cord, and
did all the harm they could at that place: spiked guns, threw pounds
and pounds of shot down the wells, and spoiled a large lot of flour
and food that had been stored there for use in time of need.

When the King's troops turned back to Lex-ing-ton, they were quite
worn out with what they had done, and would have been cut down by our
men if Gage had not sent a force to their aid.

For the blue-coats had flown to arms, and poured in-to Lex-ing-ton by
all the roads that led led there-to. The red-coats might laugh at
their clothes, and the way in which they tried to keep step, but they
found out that they knew how to use guns, and that each man was a
dead-shot.

The fresh troops Gage sent up from Bos-ton had to form a square, so
that the worn out men who had had a long march and hard work might
have a chance to rest. Then they all set out to march back to Bos-ton,
with two field guns in the rear to keep off the "flock of Yan-kees,"
who dogged their steps, and kept up a fire in front and rear, and from
each stone-wall and hedge that lined the road.

There was loss on both sides, but what hurt the King's troops the most
was to be put to flight by such a lot of scare crows, as they thought
our troops were.

A close watch was kept on Bos-ton by our men, who were soon in such
force that it would not have been safe for the red-coats to try to
leave the town. The Kings troops did not like to be shut in, in this
way, and lost no chance to mock at and taunt those who kept them at
bay.

On the north side of Bos-ton lay a long strip of land, from the
heights of which one could see the town and all the ships at or near
the wharves. Put-nam thought it would be a good plan to seize these
heights and place troops there; but Ward and War-ner thought it was
not safe to risk it. It might bring on a fierce fight and cause much
blood to be shed.

Put-nam had no fear of his own men. He knew how brave they were, and
how well they could fight back of a screen. "They have no fear of
their heads," he said, "their chief thought is their legs. Shield
them, and they'll fight on till doom's-day."

Two or three of those who had led troops in the French war, were of
the same mind as Put-nam, and their words had weight. The chief man
was Col-o-nel Pres-cott, who was just the style of man, in port and in
dress, that a lot of raw troops would look up to. He wore a fine hat,
a top-wig, and a blue coat faced and lapped up at the skirts.

He it was whom Gen-er-al Ward chose to lead the troops which were to
seize the heights, build the earth-works there, and guard them from
the foe. There were 1200 in all, and they set out on the night of June
16, 1775. Not a light was shown. Not a sound was heard, but the
tramp--tramp--tramp of these men on their way to face death.

A small neck of land joined Charles-town to the main-land, and as they
drew near this the troops hushed their steps, and moved with great
care. For on this the red-coats kept a close watch. Five of their
ships-of-war stood so that their guns would sweep this neck of land,
and earth-works were on Copp's Hill, which faced Charles-town.

On the blue-coats went, past the guards, past the guns, past the Neck,
and up to the heights of Bunk-er's Hill. Here they were to make their
stand, but it was found that Breed's Hill, which was half a mile off,
was not quite so steep, and would give them more of a chance at the
red-coats, while Bunk-er's Hill would shield them in the rear.

Put-nam thought Breed's Hill was the right place and was in haste for
the work to go on. There was no time to lose. So pick and spade were
brought out, and the earth dug out so as to serve as a wall to screen
them from the fire of the foe.

The night was warm and still. Now and then Pres-cott would steal down
to the edge of the stream, to see and hear if the red-coats had made a
stir. There was not a sound save the cry of "All's well! All's well!"
from the watch-man on guard in the town, and on the ships-of-war.

All night the work on the heights went on. At dawn of day the men
there were seen by the sea-men on the ships-of-war, and at once their
guns were brought up and turned on the hill. Their shot did not harm
the works, but one man who went out-side was killed, and this threw
the rest in-to a great fright. They were not used to scenes of war,
and the sight of a man shot down in their midst was more than their
nerves could stand.

Some took to their heels at once, and did not come back, and had
Pres-cott not been a brave man him-self he could not have held his
troops as he did. He stood up on top of the earth-works in full view
of the red-coats, and talked with his men, and his words of cheer put
new strength in their hearts, so that they were in less dread of the
balls that whizzed near them.

The noise of the guns roused the red-coats in Bos-ton, and Gen-er-al
Gage gazed at Breed's Hill like one in a dream. A fort full of men had
sprung up in the night! How had it been done? What kind of men were
these he had to meet? As he stood on Copp's Hill and looked through
his field glass, he spied the tall form of Pres-cott, in his blue
coat, on the wall of the fort.

"Will he fight?" asked Gage, "Yes, _sir_," said one who stood near,
and who knew Pres-cott. "He will fight to the last drop of blood; but
I can't say as much for his men."

"We must seize the works!" cried Gage, and at once called up his
chiefs for a talk, and to plan the best way to do this deed.

The noise in the streets of Bos-ton, the roll of the drum, the sound
of the trump that calls to war, the sharp click of hoofs, and the deep
roll of wheels that bore the field guns, were heard on the heights,
and let the troops there know that war was at hand.

The men were worn out with their hard task, and their loss of sleep.
They had not brought much food with them, and their thirst was great.
The heat made them feel weak and dull. There was need of more men, and
a lot of raw New Hamp-shire troops, led by Col-o-nel Stark came to
their aid. In the mean time those on the height had to bear the fire
of the guns from the ships and from Copp's Hill, which broke on them
at ten o'clock.

At noon the blue-coats saw more than a score of boats full of troops
cross from Bos-ton in straight lines. The sun shone on their
red-coats, and flashed from the tips of the guns they bore, and from
the brass field guns that stood on the deck. It was a gay scene. They
made their way to a point north of Breed's Hill, where Gen-er-al Howe,
who led them, could see the full strength of the blue-coats. They had
more troops than he thought, and he caught sight of fresh ones on
their way to Breed's Hill.

Howe at once sent to Gage for more troops, and more balls for the
field guns, and as it would take some time for them to be sent round,
the red-coats in the mean-time were served with food and drink. The
"grog" was passed round in pails, and the men sat round on the grass,
and ate and drank their fill, while the poor men on the heights looked
down and longed to share their feast.

But while the red-coats took their ease, the blue-coats had a chance
to add to the strength of their fort, and to push out the breast-works
to a point known as the Slough.

Near this was a pass where the foe might turn the left-flank of the
troops or seize Bunk-er's Hill.

Put-nam chose one of his men, a Cap-tain Knowl-ton, to hold this pass
with his Con-nect-i-cut troops. He at once set to work to build a sort
of fort, back of which his men could fight with more ease than if they
stood out in the field. Not a long way off was a post-and-rail fence
set in a low foot-wall of stone, and this fence ran down to the
Mys-tic Riv-er. The posts and rails of a fence, near this, were torn
up in haste, and set a few feet at the rear of it, and the space
'twixt the two was filled with new-mown hay brought from the fields
near at hand.

While Knowl-ton and his men were at work on this fence, Put-nam and
his troops threw up the work on Bunk-er's Hill.

In the mean time Stark had set out from Med-ford on a six mile march.
He was a cool, calm man, and had been through the French war, of which
I have told you. He led his men at a slow pace, so that they would be
fresh and strong to take part in the fight. As they came up to the
Neck, which they had to cross, and which was lined with guns on both
sides, one of the aides urged him to let the men take a quick step.

The old man shook his head, and said, "One fresh man in a fight is
worth ten tired ones," and kept on at the same pace; and did good
work that day back of the post-and-rail screen.

War-ren, who had been made a Ma-jor Gen-er-al, came to serve in the
ranks. Put-nam said he might lead the troops at the fence. He said he
did not care to lead; he was there to fight. "Where will the fire be
the hot-test?" he asked. He was told that the fort on Breed's Hill was
the point the foe sought to gain. "If we can hold that," said Put-nam,
"the day is ours."

War-ren at once made his way there, and the troops gave a round of
cheers when he stepped in-to the fort. Pres-cott, who was not so high
in rank, sought to have War-ren take charge of the troops. But he
would not. "I have come to serve in the ranks," he said, "and shall be
glad to learn from one so well-skilled as your-self."

The red-coats thought to take the works with ease, and win the day.
Gen-er-al Pig-ot, with the left wing, was to mount the hill and seize
the earth-works, while Gen-er-al Howe came up with the right wing to
turn the left-flank of our men and stop all flight at the rear.

Pig-ot and his men came up the height, and not a gun was fired by our
troops till the red-coats were in range. Then, as they were all good
marks-men each shot told, and some of the best men fell at the first
fire. The foe fell back in haste, but were brought up once more by
those who stood at their head with drawn swords.

They were met by a fire more fierce than the first, and vexed by the
guns that bore on their flank from the band of men in Charles-town. So
much blood had been shed, and the men were in such a state of fright,
that Pig-ot was forced to give the word to fall back.

We will now see what sort of luck Gen-er-al Howe had. He led his
troops up the bank of the stream, and thought to take the slight
breast-work with ease, and so get in the rear of the fort. But he did
not know the ground, and could not bring his large guns through the
swamp he met with. In the pause some of his men were hurt and some
killed by the guns that were set by the post-and-rail fence.

Howe's men kept up a fire as they came on, but as they did not take
good aim the balls flew o'er the heads of our troops, who had been
told to hold their fire till the red-coats were quite near.

Some few did not do as they were told, and Put-nam rode up and swore
he would cut down the next man that fired ere he had the word to do
so. When the red-coats were in the right range, such a storm of lead
poured on them from guns in the hands of men who did not miss a mark
that the place was like a field of blood.

Such a host were slain that the red-coats lost heart, and fell back in
great haste. Some of them ran back as far as the boats, and got on
board of them that they might be safe from the fire of the marks-men.

Once more the red-coats charged the fort, which it was their aim to
get in-to their own hands. In the mean time the shells from Copp's
Hill and the ships-of-war had set Charles-town on fire. The town was
built of wood, and was soon a mass of flames. The dense smoke put out
the light of the sun On all sides was heard the din of war. The big
guns kept up their great roar. Bomb-shells burst in the air. The sharp
hiss of the small balls, and the shouts and yells of the men made a
scene to strike the heart with awe.

Our men stood firm, and with eyes fixed on the foe, who, as soon as
they were close at hand, were shot down by the guns whose aim was so
sure.

The red-coats stood the first shock, and then kept on, but were met by
such a stream of fire that they were soon brought to a halt. In vain
did the men who led them urge them on with drawn swords. Whole ranks
were mowed down. Some of Gen-er-al Howe's staff were slain, and the
troops, wild with fear, broke ranks and fled down the hill.

For a third time Gen-er-al Howe brought up his men, some of whom threw
off their knap-sacks and some their coats that they might not be
weighed down by them.

The red-coats made a feint as if they would take the fort at the
fence, and did much harm there to our men. While some of his troops
were at work at that point, Howe brought the rest of his force to the
front and rear of the main fort, which was then stormed on three sides
at once.

Pres-cott told some of his men to stand at the back part of the fort
and fire at the red-coats that showed them-selves on the wall. Soon
one leaped up and cried out "The day is ours!" and was shot down at
once, as were all those who had joined him.

[Illustration: WASHINGTON CHOSEN FOR COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF--P. 62.]

But our men had fired their last round, and there was nought for them
to do but to meet the foe in a hand-to-hand fight. With stones and the
butt-ends of their guns they sought to drive back the red-coats, but
the tide was too strong for them, and they had to give way.

War-ren, who had done brave work that day, was the last to leave the
fort. He scarce had done so ere he was struck by a ball and fell dead
on the spot.

As our troops fled by way of Bunk-er Hill, Put-nam ran to the rear and
cried, "Halt! make a stand here! We can check them yet! In God's name
form, and give them one shot more!"

But the troops could not be brought to a stand, and the red-coats won
the day, but with the loss of more than half of their men. And it hurt
their pride to think that it had cost them so dear to take these
earth-works that had been thrown up in one night by a mere hand-ful of
raw troops.

Their loss was 1,054.

Our loss was 450.



CHAPTER IX.

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF.


The deeds done ere this by the King's troops had made a great stir
through-out the land. The chief men of each State met in
Phil-a-del-phi-a, and sought out ways and means to help those who were
in arms, as foes of King George, and a large force of men, from
Ma-ry-land, Penn-syl-va-ni-a, and Vir-gin-i-a, were soon on hand to
march and join the troops near Bos-ton.

But who was to lead them? The choice at once fell on George
Wash-ing-ton, but he held back. He thought that Mas-sa-chu-setts'
troops might not care to be led by a man from the south; and, too,
Gen-er-al Ward, who was then at their head had the first right, for
Wash-ing-ton's rank was not so high as his.

There was much talk on this score, and in the midst of it a
Mas-sa-chu-setts man, John Ad-ams, rose and said that the man he
thought fit to lead our troops was in that room, and he came from
Vir-gin-i-a.

All knew whom he meant, and as Wash-ing-ton heard his own name he rose
from his seat and left the room.

Then votes were cast, and all were for Wash-ing-ton, and he felt that
he could not say No to such a call. He spoke his thanks in a few
words, and said that he would do the best that he could, and serve
with-out pay. He set out from Phil-a-del-phi-a June 21, 1775. With him
were Gen-er-al Lee and Gen-er-al Schuy-ler, and a troop of
light-horse, which went all the way to New York.

As soon as it was known that Wash-ing-ton was on the road, crowds ran
out to meet him, and to show their pride in him.

When he reached New York he heard of the fight at Bunk-er Hill, and
made haste to join the troops in their camp at Cam-bridge. He reached
there Ju-ly 2. The next day all the troops were drawn out in line, and
Wash-ing-ton rode out at the head of his staff till he came to a large
elm tree. Here he wheeled his horse, and drew his sword and took
charge of all our troops as their Com-mand-er-in-chief.

He found much to do, and much to bear from his own men as well as from
the red-coats. It came to his ears that our men who fell in-to the
hands of the red-coats at Bunk-er's Hill, were not well used, and he
wrote at once to Gage and asked him to be less harsh. Gage, who had
fought by his side in 1753, when both were young men, wrote back that
he thought he should have praise and not blame, since he had saved the
lives of those who were doomed to be hung.

Wash-ing-ton at first thought he would do as he was done by, but his
heart failed him, and those of the red-coats that were in the hands
of our troops were set free, if they gave their word they would not
fight for King George.

By such acts Wash-ing-ton sought to show that "A-mer-i-cans are as
mer-ci-ful as they are brave."

The camps in which Wash-ing-ton found his troops were as odd as the
men them-selves. Some of the tents were made of boards, some of
sail-cloth, or bits of both, while here and there were those made of
stone and turf, brick and brush-wood. Some were thrown up in haste and
bore no marks of care, while a few were wrought with wreaths and
twigs, and spoke well for the taste of those who made them.

The best camp of all was that of the Rhode Is-land men in charge of
Gen-er-al Na-than-i-el Greene. Here were found as good tents as the
red-coats had, and the men were well-drilled and well-dressed. Greene
was brought up on a farm. His fa-ther was a black-smith, and at times
his son worked with the plough, or took his place at the forge.

At the first note of war, Greene left the farm and in the month of
May, 1775, was in charge of all the troops of his own small state. He
went to Bos-ton, and took notes while there of all that the red-coats
did, and in this way learned much that he could put to good use. His
troops had fought at Bunk-er Hill, and there were none in the whole
force that bore them-selves so well, or made so fine a show.

Greene was six feet tall, and not quite two score years of age. He was
strong and well built, and his frank way won the heart of
Wash-ing-ton, and the two were warm friends from that time.

Wash-ing-ton now set to work to add strength to the weak parts of his
line, and to throw up fresh works round the main forts. All the live
stock had to be kept off the coast so that they would not fall in-to
the hands of the foe.

He sought to draw the red-coats out of Bos-ton, but they would not
stir. When Wash-ing-ton took charge of the troops, he thought that he
could go back to his home when the cold days came on, and spend some
time there with his wife.

But there was no chance for him to leave, so he wrote to Mrs.
Wash-ing-ton to join him in the camp. She came and staid with him till
the next spring; and this was her course all through the war.

She came in her own coach and four, with her son and his wife. The
black foot-men were drest in red and white, and the whole turn-out was
in the style in use in Vir-gin-i-a at that day.

Wash-ing-ton had his rooms in the Crai-gie House, in Cam-bridge, and
here Mrs. Wash-ing-ton took charge and gave the place more of a
home-like air.

At that time the camp of Cam-bridge was filled with all sorts of
troops. Some had spent the most of their lives in boats, some were
brought up on farms, some came from the woods, and each group wore the
dress that pleased them best, and laughed at those who were not drest
the same.

This made sport for some time and jokes flew thick and fast.

One day some men came in-to camp drest in an odd garb, such as was
worn to hunt in. The suit was made of deer-skin, and the long shirt
had a deep fringe all round. This dress was the cause of much mirth to
men who came from the sea-shore, and were used to short coats, and
rough plain clothes.

There was snow on the ground, and when the jokes gave out, snow-balls
took their place, for a war of words is quite sure to end in blows.
Men came up to the aid of both sides. Fists were used, and all took
part in the hand-to-hand fight, and there was a great stir in the
camp.

While the fight was at its height Wash-ing-ton rode up. None of his
aides were with him. He threw the reins of his own horse in-to the
hands of the black-man who rode near, sprang from his seat, and rushed
in-to the thick of the fray. Then he seized two of the tall stout
hunts-men by the throat, and talked to them and shook them while he
held them at arm's length.

This put an end to the brawl at once, and the rest of the crowd slunk
off in haste, and left but three men on the ground: Wash-ing-ton, and
the two he held in his grasp.

As the cold days and nights came on the men grew home-sick, and longed
to be by their own fire-sides. It was right that some of them should
go, for they had served out their time, and this made the rest
lone-some and sad. Songs would not cheer them, and they paid no heed
to the words of those who sought to rouse them from these depths of
woe.

Wash-ing-ton was full of fears, which were shared by all those who
were near him in rank, yet he did not lose hope. Gen-er-al Greene
wrote, "They seem to be so sick of this way of life, and so home-sick,
that I fear a large part of our best troops will soon go home." Still
his heart did not lose hope. All would come right in time; and his
words of cheer were a great help to Wash-ing-ton at this time.

The year 1775 had been a dark one for our land, and there was no ray
of hope to light the dawn of 1776. There were but 10,000 troops to
take the field. There was a lack of arms, a lack of clothes, and a
lack of food, and these things made camp-life hard to bear, and were a
great grief to the heart of the chief. He could not sleep. Had the foe
known of their plight, they would have borne down on them and swept
them out of sight. But God took care of them.

In the first month of the year there was a stir on the Bos-ton
wharves. A large fleet of boats lay in the stream, on board of which
the red-coats swarmed, and there were two sloops-of-war filled with
guns and war-like stores.

All were in charge of Gen-er-al Howe, and Wash-ing-ton guessed what
his plans were! and felt that the time had come for him to strive to
wrest Bos-ton from the King's troops.

The out-look was bright. More troops had come to his aid, and he made
up his mind to place part of his force on Dor-ches-ter Heights, and,
if he could, draw out the foe to fight at that place. At a sign, the
troops on the Heights and at Nook's Hill were to fire at the same
time, and rake the town with balls and bomb-shells. At the same time
boats full of troops were to start from the mouth of Charles Riv-er,
and act in the rear of the red-coats. It was thought that these moves
on the part of our troops would bring on such a fight as they had had
on Breed's Hill.

On the night of March 4, our men made their way to the Heights, and
at dawn of the next day strong forts loomed up, and seemed as if they
must have been brought there at the touch of a wand.

Howe gazed on them and said, "The reb-els have done more work in one
night than my whole ar-my would have done in a month."

He must drive them from the Heights, or leave Bos-ton. While pride
urged him on, fear held him back, for he knew that his loss would be
great. But he must make a move of some sort, so he made up his mind to
send boats out that night with a force of troops in charge of Lord
Per-cy. But a storm came up from the east; the surf beat high on the
shore where the boats would have to land; and the scheme was put off
till the next day. But it stormed just as hard the next day; the rain
came down in sheets; and the boats staid where they were.

In the mean time our men kept at work on the hills on the north side
and south side, and when the storm ceased Gen-er-al Howe saw that the
forts were now so strong there would be no chance to take them.

Nor was it safe for him to stay in Bos-ton. Yet the Ad-mi-ral said
that if Howe's troops did not seize the Heights, the ships-of-war
should not stay near Bos-ton; so his lord-ship would have to leave
with what grace he could, much as it might wound his pride.

When the word went forth that the troops were to leave, strange sights
were seen in Bos-ton town and bay. For some days the red-coats went
this way and that in great haste. More than three-score-and-ten boats
were cast loose for sea, with at least 12,000 men on board of them.
While this stir took place not a shot was sent from the Heights, and
it was well that this was so, as the red-coats had laid plans to set
the town in a blaze if our troops fired one gun.

The red-coats left Bos-ton March 17, and our troops, in charge of "Old
Put"--as the brave Put-nam was called--marched in-to town in fine
style.

For some days the fleet lay off the coast of Rhode Isl-and, and it was
feared for a-while that they meant to strike a blow and win back what
they had lost. But no such thing took place, and ere long the fleet
sailed out of sight.

"Where they are bound," wrote Wash-ing-ton, "and where they next will
pitch their tents, I know not."

He thought they were on their way to New York, but such was not the
case. They had steered for Hal-i-fax, to wait there for more troops,
and for the large fleet that was to come from Eng-land.

A vote of thanks and a large gold coin with his face on one side of
it, were sent to Wash-ing-ton by the chief men of the land, as part of
his due for what he had so far done to save A-mer-i-ca from King
George's rule.

Wash-ing-ton, who thought the next move of the red-coats would be on
New York, set out for that place, and reached there A-pril 13. He went
to work at once to build forts, and to send out troops, and to make
the place as strong as it ought to be. He did not know the plans of
the foe, nor from what point they would hurl the bolts of war.

All was guess-work, but still in the midst of doubt it would not do to
be slack.

The town was put in charge of the troops, and the rules were quite
strict. Those who went in or out had to give the pass-word. "We all
live here, shut up like nuns," wrote one who was fond of a gay life,
"There's no one in town that we can go to see, and none to come and
see us."

Good times in New York were at an end. Our troops had been forced to
leave Can-a-da, and it was known that the red-coats would push their
way to New York. Forts were built on high banks up the Hud-son, and
on the isles at its mouth, and all done that could be done to check
them in their march.

In the mean time it had been thought a good plan to set a day in which
it might be shown through-out the land that A-mer-i-ca was, and, of a
right, ought to be, a free land. So in Ju-ly an Act was drawn up and
signed by the wise men who met in Phil-a-del-phi-a to frame the laws
for the new States, and there was great joy, for it was a great day.

Bells were rung. Shouts and cheers rent the air. Fires blazed, and
hearts burned, and men knelt to pray, and give thanks to God.

John Ad-ams said the Fourth of Ju-ly ought to be kept up with great
pomp through-out A-mer-i-ca,--"with shows, games, sports, guns, bells,
and bon-fires"--till the end of time.

The news did not reach New York till Ju-ly 9, and at six o'clock that
night Wash-ing-ton read the Act to his troops.

New York was wild with joy, and felt that more must be done than just
to ring bells and light fires.

In Bow-ling Green, in front of the fort, there stood a cast of George
Third, made of lead. This a mob of men pulled down and broke up, that
the lead might be run in-to small shot and be used in the cause for
which they fought.

This did not please Wash-ing-ton, and he told his troops that they
must not take part in such deeds.

The joy did not last long, for on Ju-ly 12, the ships-of-war in the
bay sent out a broad-side, and it was thought they would at once fire
the town. Crowds were on the streets. The troops flocked to their
posts. Fear was in each heart, and New York was in a great stir. But
two ships--the _Phoe-nix_ and the _Rose_--left the fleet and shaped
their course up the Hud-son.

Then the guns were still, and fear died out for a-while. That night
there was a fresh scare. Guns boomed and clouds of smoke were seen
near the ships-of-war down the bay.

Men on the look-out told that a ship-of-the-line had come in from sea,
and each man-of-war gave her a round of guns as she passed by. At her
fore-top mast-head she bore the flag of St. George. No need to tell
more. "Lord Howe is come! Lord Howe is come!" was the cry that went
from mouth to mouth, and the word soon flew through the town, and all
felt that the hour of doom was close at hand.

Lord Howe sought peace, and not blood-shed, and hoped, by the terms he
would make, to bring not a few hearts back to their King. But he came
too late.

The Kings troops did not think much of the rank that was borne by our
men, who, they felt, had no right to put on the airs they did, and
call them-selves grand names.

In a few days Lord Howe sent one of his men on shore with a flag of
truce, to seek speech with Wash-ing-ton. The man's name was Brown. His
boat was met half-way by a barge which had on board one of our troops,
named Reed, to whom Brown said he had a note for _Mis-ter_
Wash-ing-ton.

Reed said that he knew no man of that name.

Brown held out to him the note he had in his hand, which bore on its
face: _George Wash-ing-ton, Esq._

Reed said that he could not take the note. He knew what was due to his
chief. So there was naught for Brown to do but to take to his oars. He
had not gone far when he came back to ask "What style should be used
to please Gen--(here he caught him-self and said) _Mis-ter_
Wash-ing-ton." Reed told him that Wash-ing-ton's rank was well known,
and Lord Howe could be at no loss as to the right style.

In a day or two an aide-de-camp came with a flag from Lord Howe, and
asked if Col-o-nel Pat-ter-son might have speech with _Gen-er-al_
Wash-ing-ton. Reed, who met the aide was prompt to grant this and
pledged him-self that no harm should come to him who came in the
King's name.

So the next day Pat-ter-son came, and when he stood face to face with
Wash-ing-ton, bowed and said "_Your Ex-cel-len-cy_." Wash-ing-ton met
him with much form and state. He was not a vain man, but was proud of
the rank he held, and thought that no man--were he a king--had a right
to look down on A-mer-i-ca, or show the least slight to her
Com-mand-er-in-chief.

When he came to hear the terms on which Lord Howe sought to make
peace, he found they were not such as he could take, so the war went
on.



CHAPTER X.

IN AND NEAR NEW YORK.


The red-coats had a camp on Stat-en Isl-and, and for the next month or
so ships-of-war came that far up the bay, and brought with them a
large force of troops. North-east of them was the long stretch of land
known as Long Isl-and, where they could land their troops with ease,
and make their way to New York.

Wash-ing-ton knew that he could not keep them back, but he meant to
vex them all he could. Gen-er-al Greene was placed with a large force
on Brook-lyn Heights, to guard the shore, and troops were sent a mile
back to throw up earth-works to check the march of the foe if they
should try to come up on the land side.

At mid-night of Au-gust 21, a spy brought word that the King's troops
were on the move, and would soon show their strength, and "put all to
the sword."

The next day the sound of great guns was heard, and a cloud of smoke
was seen to rise from the groves on the south side of Long Isl-and.
Word soon came to New York that the King's troops were at Graves-end,
and that our troops had fled and set fire to the stacks of wheat to
keep them out of the hands of the foe.

Wash-ing-ton at once sent off a large force to check the foe at
Brook-lyn, and to lend aid to those in the fort on the Heights. He
told them to be cool, but firm; not to fire when the foe were a long
way off, but to wait till they were so near that each shot would tell.
And if one of them should skulk, or lie down, or leave his place in
the ranks, he was to be shot down at once.

Sir Hen-ry Clin-ton led the King's troops, and Lord Corn-wal-lis had
charge of the field-guns. Corn-wal-lis made haste to seize a pass that
ran through the hills, but found Col-o-nel Hand there with a fine lot
of marks-men, and so made a halt at Flat-bush.

This was so near New York that great fright spread through the town.
Those who had the means left the place. There was good cause for fear,
as it had been told that if our troops had to leave New York it would
at once be set on fire. This was false, but they did not know it.
Their hearts were full of dread.

Gen-er-al Put-nam was sent to take the place of Gen-er-al Greene who
was sick in bed. The brave man was glad when he had leave to go, for
he did not want to be kept in New York when there was a chance to
fight for the land he loved.

It was nine o'clock on the night of Oc-to-ber 26, that Sir Hen-ry
Clin-ton set out with his van-guard, on his march from Flat-bush.
Lord Corn-wal-lis brought up the rear-guard with all the large guns,
and the large force of troops led by Gen-er-al Howe.

Not a drum was heard, nor the sound of a trump as they took their
course through by-roads and on cause-ways till they came near the pass
through the Bed-ford Hills where they made a halt.

No guard had been put on the road or the pass by Gen-er-al Greene, who
must have thought it too far out of the way to need such care.

Clin-ton was quick to see this, and at the first break of day his
troops were on the Heights, and with-in three miles of Bed-ford.

In the mean-time scouts had brought word to our lines that the foe
were in force on the right, and Put-nam at once sent out troops to
hold them in check.

At day-light small fights took place here and there. A brisk fire was
kept up at Flat-bush. Now was heard the big boom of a large
field-piece. Then a ship-of-war would send forth a broad-side on the
fort at Red Hook. Wash-ing-ton was still in doubt if this was part of
the main fight in which New York was to share. Five ships of the line
tried to beat up the bay, but were kept back by a strong head wind. As
the day wore on, and there were no signs that the red-coats meant to
strike New York, Wash-ing-ton went to Brook-lyn in his barge, and rode
with all speed to the Heights. He was just in time to see the fight in
the woods, which he could do naught to stay.

He stood on a hill, and through his large spy-glass had a view of the
whole field. He saw his men cut their way through a host of foes. He
saw them caught in traps, and hemmed in so that they were 'twixt two
fires.

The whole pass was a scene of blood, and through it rang the clash of
arms, the tramp of steeds, the storm of shot, and the cries of men
who fought for their lives. On this side and that, our troops were
swept down or put to rout by a force they had not strength to meet.
Wash-ing-ton wrung his hands at the sight. "Good God!" he cried, "what
brave men I must this day lose!"

The red-coats went in-to camp that night in front of our lines, but
out of reach of the guns of the fort.

Our loss was 3,000.

Theirs less than 400.

The next day New York Bay and the small isles were wrapped in a dense
fog, from which New York was quite free. Here was a chance for the
troops to leave the works on the Heights, and make their way to New
York.

Fresh troops were sent down from Fort Wash-ing-ton and King's Bridge,
and Wash-ing-ton felt that no time should be lost. His fear was that
the King's ships would come up the bay at the turn of the tide, sail
up the East Riv-er and catch in a trap all our troops that were on
Long Isl-and.

It was late at night when the troops stole out from the breast works.
In the dead of night a big gun went off with a great roar, that gave a
shock to the nerves of those who were in dread that the least sound
might warn the foe of their flight to the New York side.

But no harm came of it, the fog shut out the view, and by day-break
our troops had all left the fort and were safe on the New York side.
Wash-ing-ton, who had not slept for two days and nights, and had spent
the most of the time on horse-back, would not step in-to the boat till
he saw that all his troops were on board.

The fog rose as the rear boats were in mid-stream, and when the
red-coats climbed the crest of the earth-works they found not a sign
of life there, and not a thing they could use. Our men had made a
clean sweep, and were proud of the way in which they stole a march on
the red-coats.

Still, New York was not safe; and Wash-ing-ton sought in all ways to
find out the plans of the foe. Ships-of-war went up the Sound, and up
the Hud-son, and guns were fired on the forts that lay on each side of
the town. But he knew that if the red-coats took New York they would
soon be made to give it up, and so he made up his mind that his best
course was to with-draw his troops, to Har-lem Heights. This was done,
with the loss of a few men who had a fight with some red-coats on the
way, and there he staid a few days, and spent much time on horse-back.

He took note of the land, and chose sites for forts, and breast works,
and on Oc-to-ber 23, took his stand at White Plains, where a strong
fort was built.

Soon the din of war was heard. The guns from Fort Wash-ing-ton and
Fort Lee poured their fire on the men-of-war, but could not keep them
back, and the red-coats still gave chase to our troops. Fort
Wash-ing-ton fell in-to the hands of the foe in spite of a strong
fight made to hold it.

One day Wash-ing-ton went out with some of his staff to look at a
height at the north where it was thought he might make a stand, and
leave the camp where he then was.

One of them said, "There is the ground where we ought to be."

"Let us go then and view it," said Wash-ing-ton.

They were on their way to the place, when a horse-man rode up in haste
and cried out, "The red-coats are in camp, Sir!"

"Then," said Wash-ing-ton, "we have some-thing else to do than this,"
and at once put spurs to his horse and set off for the camp at full
speed.

When he reached there he found all his troops drawn up to meet the foe
that was close at hand. In his calm way he turned to those who had
been out with him on the hills, and said "Go back to your posts, and
do the best you can."

A short, sharp fight took place, in which our troops made a brave
stand, but the red-coats were too strong for them, and drove them back
to the camp, and seized the hill on which they had stood.

That night the troops of Wash-ing-ton and Howe lay not far a-part.
Wash-ing-ton kept his men at work, and forts were built, and
earth-works thrown up. These works were made of the stalks of corn, or
maize, which the men took from a field near at hand. The roots of the
stalks, with the earth on them, were placed on the face of the works,
in the same way that sods of grass, and logs of wood were used. The
tops were turned in, and loose earth thrown on them so that they were
held in place, and made a good shield from the fire of small-arms.

The next day, when Howe saw how much had been done by our troops to
add to their strength, he made a change in his plans. His own men
were in a sad plight, and not fit to cope with the well-fed troops
that kept them at bay. The nights were cold, the Fall rains set in,
and not a few of the red-coats were ill. Their chiefs knew how to
fight in straight lines, but were not so shrewd and so quick to make
use of what lay at hand as our chiefs were. So he broke up his camp,
and in a few days the whole force of red-coats fell back from White
Plains.

But the strife was kept up at the North, and the foes were at work on
sea and on land from New York to Al-ba-ny. Our troops met with
ill-luck, and Wash-ing-ton was filled with grief.

Fort Wash-ing-ton was in the hands of the foe; Fort Lee was of no use;
and the next move of the red-coats was to cross the Hud-son, north of
Fort Lee, and make their way through New Jer-sey. By that means they
could shut in all our troops 'twixt the Hud-son and the Hack-en-sack.

Wash-ing-ton at once sent off his men to save the bridge at
Hack-en-sack. No time was to be lost. They left the camp with all
haste, but ere they could reach the Hack-en-sack the van-guard of the
foe was close at their heels. It was thought that a fight would take
place, but Corn-wal-lis turned back and some of his troops slept that
night in the tents that our men had left.

These were dark days. Wash-ing-ton led his troops through New Jer-sey,
hard pressed by Corn-wal-lis, whose van-guard came in-to New-ark just
as Wash-ing-ton's rear-guard had left it. His whole camp were in
flight. He staid a few days at New Bruns-wick, in hopes that fresh
troops would be sent to his aid, but none came, though his needs were
so great. The men who, as he thought, would seize their guns and join
his ranks, fled from their homes and sought a safe place as soon as
they heard that the red-coats were near.

[Illustration: CROSSING THE DELAWARE.--P. 78.]

On De-cem-ber 2, Wash-ing-ton was at Tren-ton, where he made but a
brief halt. Then he crossed the Del-a-ware, and left New Jer-sey in
the hands of the foe. If he and his men once got to Phil-a-del-phi-a,
they would find troops there with whose aid they might hope to turn
back the red-coats so close on their track.

Gen-er-al Lee, who was at the heels of the foe, was at Mor-ris-town,
De-cem-ber 11, where his troops had been forced to halt for two days
for want of shoes. He was a man who loved his ease, and to lie late in
bed.

One day as he sat at a desk with pen in hand, one of his aides named
Wil-kin-son, who was with him, looked down the lane that led from the
house to the main road and saw a band of red-coats on horse-back.

He cried out to Lee "Here are the red-coats!"

"Where?" said Lee.

"Round the house!"

"Where is the guard?" said Lee with an oath. "Where is the guard? Why
don't they fire?"

The guards had not thought it worth while to keep watch, when their
chief was so much at his ease, so they had stacked their arms and sat
down on the south side of a house to sun them-selves. As the horse-men
came up they gave chase to the guards who fled for their lives, and
left Lee and his aide to do the best that they could.

The red-coats drew near the house where Lee was, and swore that they
would set fire to it if the Gen-er-al showed fight. So he was forced
to yield, and was brought out in great haste--for they wished to make
sure of their prize--and placed on Wil-kin-son's horse which stood at
the door. He was but half-drest, had no hat on his head, and wore low
shoes, and a loose rough coat. In this style he had to ride to New
Bruns-wick, where the King's troops at sight of him set off their big
guns, for their joy was great.

The loss of Lee was thought at the time to be a great blow to our
cause, as it was hoped that he would do much to bring the war to an
end, and to lead the troops out of their sore straits.

In the mean-time Wash-ing-ton was on his way to cross the Del-a-ware.
There was snow on the ground, and the march of the troops could be
traced by the blood-spots from the feet of those whose shoes were worn
out.

The red-coats were in force at Tren-ton, in charge of a man, named
Rahl, who had done brave work for King George at White Plains and
Fort Wash-ing-ton.

Wash-ing-ton's plan was to add to his force, and, as soon as he could,
cross the Del-a-ware and strive to wrest Tren-ton from the hands of
the foe. He and his force were to cross the stream nine miles north of
the town; Gen-er-al Ew-ing was to cross with his troops a mile south
of the town; and Gen-er-al Put-nam to leave at a point south of
Bur-ling-ton.

It was a bold scheme, full of risk to all who took part in it, yet
there was naught to be done but to push on, and hope for the best.



CHAPTER XI.

A SAD YEAR.


Christ-mas night was the time set to cross the Del-a-ware, and at
sun-set the troops were on the move. It was a dark, cold night. The
wind was high, the tide strong, and the stream full of cakes of ice
which drove the boats out of their course. It seemed at times as if
the boats would be crushed to bits, Men who were used to boats, and
had been brought up on the sea, and had fought with fierce storms and
wild gales, found it hard work, with all their skill, to make their
way from shore to shore.

Wash-ing-ton, who crossed with the troops, stood on the east bank till
all the field-guns were brought to land, and it was four o'clock ere
the men took up their line of march. Tren-ton was nine miles off, and
they could not reach there till day-light, too late to take the King's
troops off their guard.

Most of the troops at Tren-ton were Hes-sians, from Hesse, a small
Ger-man state whose prince had lent his troops to King George for
hire. As I have told you they were in charge of Rahl. Rahl thought
more of his brass band than he did of his men, was full of good cheer
and liked to have a good time. He would sit up till a late hour in the
night, and then lie in bed till nine o'clock the next day.

The one who leads troops to war should be like a watch-dog, quick to
see and to hear all that goes on, and to be on guard at all times.

Each day he had the guns drawn out and dragged through the town, just
to make a stir and have the band out. But when the Ma-jor told him
that he should have earth-works thrown up on which to place the guns
he said, "Pooh! pooh! Let the foe come on! We'll charge on them with
the bay-o-net!"

"But Herr Col-o-nel," said the old Ma-jor, "it costs not much, and if
it does not help it will not harm."

But Rahl laughed as if he thought it a good joke, turned on his heel
and went off, and the works were not thrown up.

On this night, too, there was a great stir in the camp at Tren-ton,
for the men did their best to keep Christ-mas, and their thoughts were
of home and the dear ones there. They made what cheer they could, and
did not dream that the foe was so near.

A storm of hail and snow set in as soon as our troops took up their
march. They could scarce see their way through the sleet they had to
face. The night was so cold that two of the men froze to death. At
dawn of day some of the men came to a halt at a cross-road, where they
did their best to dry their guns. But some were past use, and word was
sent to Wash-ing-ton of the state of their arms. They were in doubt
what to do.

Wash-ing-ton in a burst of rage bade the man go back to his chief at
once, and tell him to push on and charge if he could not fire.

At eight o'clock Wash-ing-ton drew near the town at the head of his
troops. He went up to a man who had come out to chop wood by the
road-side and asked him where the guard was who stood at the out-post
of Rahl's camp.

The man said in a harsh voice, "I don't know."

"You may tell him," said one of our men who stood near, "for that is
Gen-er-al Wash-ing-ton."

At once a great change came o'er the man to whom Wash-ing-ton spoke.
He raised his hands, and cried, "God bless you! God bless you!" and
then showed where the guards could be found.

Soon was heard the cry from Rahl's men, "The foe! the foe! turn out!
turn out!" Drums beat to arms. The whole place was in a stir.
Wash-ing-ton came in on the north, Sul-li-van on the west, and Stark
at the south end of the town.

Rahl scarce knew how to act. He rode to the front of his troops and
got them out of the town. Then he seemed to feel that it was a shame
to fly in that way, for he was a brave man, so he led his men back in
a wild dash out of the woods and in-to the town to meet the foe.

In the midst of the fight, a shot struck him and he fell from his
horse. The troops would heed no voice but that of their chief, and
fled up the banks of a creek on the way to Prince-ton.

Wash-ing-ton saw the stir and thought they had wheeled to form a new
line. He was told that they had laid down their arms, and his joy was
great. The day was ours!

But for the wild flight of Rahl's men, it would have gone hard with
our troops. Wash-ing-ton did not know it at the time, but he found out
that Ew-ing and Put-nam had tried to cross the stream but were kept
back by the ice, and he with his raw troops would, he was sure, have
been put to rout had Rahl and his men been on their guard.

The poor Ma-jor, who had in vain urged Rahl to throw up breast-works,
had a bad wound of which he died in Tren-ton; and Rahl him-self, to
whom the red-coats owed their ill-luck, was laid to rest in a
grave-yard in that town.

And where was Gen-er-al Howe all this time? In New York, where he
thought to take his ease till the Del-a-ware froze so that his troops
could cross. He was much shocked at the news that the Hes-sians who
had been brought up to war should have laid down their arms for a
troop of raw men in rags. He sent Lord Corn-wal-lis back to take
Jer-sey, and, as he said, "to bag the fox."

By the third of Jan-u-a-ry red-coats, with Corn-wal-lis at their head,
were near at hand. Wash-ing-ton was in a tight place, with a small
creek 'twixt his few raw troops and the large force of the foe. Back
of him lay the Del-a-ware which it was now not safe to cross.

In this dark hour a gleam of hope came to his mind. He saw a way out
of the trap, and that was by a quick night-march to get at the rear of
the King's troops, dash on the camp at Prince-ton, seize the stores
that were left there, and push on to New Bruns-wick.

A thaw had set in which made the roads deep with mire, but in the
course of the night the wind veered to the north, and in two hours
the roads were once more hard and frost-bound.

That the foe might not guess his plan, Wash-ing-ton bade some of his
men keep at work with their spades on the pits near the bridge, go the
rounds, change guards at each bridge and ford, and keep up the
camp-fires till day-break, when they were to join those on the way to
Prince-ton.

In the dead of the night Wash-ing-ton drew his troops out of camp and
the march took place. The road which they had to take was cut through
woods, and the stumps of the trees made the march a slow one, so that
it was near sun-rise when Wash-ing-ton came to the bridge at the brook
three miles from Prince-ton.

As our troops left the woods they came face to face with a force of
red-coats, and a sharp fight took place, which did not last long.

Wash-ing-ton was in the midst of it. In the heat of the fight, his
aide-de-camp lost sight of him in the dusk and smoke. The young man
dropped the reins on the neck of his horse, drew down his cap to hide
the tears in his eyes, and gave him up for lost. When he saw
Wash-ing-ton come out from the cloud with his hat raised and the foe
in flight, he spurred up to his side.

"Thank God you are safe!" cried he.

"A-way, and bring up the troops," said Wash-ing-ton, "the day is our
own!"

At day-break, when Gen-er-al Howe thought to bag his fox, he found the
prize had slipped from his grasp, and soon learned that the King's
troops had lost their hold on New Jer-sey.

The fame of Wash-ing-ton, and of the brave deeds of those who fought
to be free, went a-cross the sea, and made friends for him and the
cause. Not a few came to their aid. One of these brave souls was a
Pole, whose name was Kos-ci-us-ko.

The com-mand-er-in-chief said to him "What do you seek here?"

"To fight for the cause you have at heart."

"What can you do?"

"Try me."

This style of speech, and the air of the man, pleased Wash-ing-ton so
well that he at once made him an aide-de-camp. This was in 1777. He
served the cause well, and went back to his own land in 1786 with the
rank of Brig-a-dier Gen-er-al.

In 1777 La-fay-ette came from France to join the troops led by
Wash-ing-ton. He had wealth and high rank in his own land, and had
lived but a score of years. He left his young wife, and the gay court
of France, and made his way to A-mer-i-ca to do what he could to aid
the foes of King George.

He came, he said, to learn and not to teach, and would serve with-out
pay, and as one who came of his own free-will.

He soon won his way to the heart of Wash-ing-ton, and a strong bond of
love grew up 'twixt the two which naught but death could break.

In the mean-time the whole of our land south of the Great Lakes was a
scene of strife and blood-shed, and it was hard work for our troops to
keep the red-skins and red-coats at bay.

I have not space to tell you of all the fights that took place, nor
the ways in which Wash-ing-ton sought to vex the King's troops.

On the third of Oc-to-ber of this year--1777--we find him at
Ger-man-town, where the main force of the red-coats were in camp. His
plan was to drive them out, but though his troops fought with much
skill and in the midst of a dense fog, they were forced back, and the
day was lost.

The ships-of-war in the Del-a-ware led Wash-ing-ton to think that Lord
Howe meant to turn his guns on Phil-a-del-phi-a, and his mind was
filled with doubts and fears.

In the same month word came to him that Bur-goyne--who was at the
head of the King's troops in the north--had been forced to yield to
Gen-er-al Gates at Fish-kill. This was such a blow to the King's
cause that the troops at West Point and else where on the Hud-son,
who were to have gone to the aid of Bur-goyne, left the forts and made
their way to New York.



CHAPTER XII.

FOES IN THE CAMP.


It is much worse to have one foe in the camp than to have a host of
foes out-side, for who can tell what harm he may do who comes in the
guise of a friend?

In the year 1774 a young man, named John An-dré, came with the King's
troops, and fought in their ranks at St. John's and Crown Point.

He had a brave heart, and a fine mind, and did much to keep up the
hearts of the men when in the camp. He was fond of the fair sex and
had praised in rhyme the charms of a Miss Ship-pen who wed Ben-e-dict
Ar-nold in the year 1780.

Ar-nold had fought well on our side at the north, and won much
praise. He had been a sea-man in his youth, and was both strong and
brave. But he grew proud and vain, and sought to rank as high as the
Com-mand-er-in-chief, with whom he found much fault.

Wash-ing-ton had great faith in him, and did not dream he was false at
heart.

For some ill-deeds while at Phil-a-del-phi-a Ar-nold had been brought
to court and tried and his guilt proved, and this had made him wroth
with Wash-ing-ton, and the cause he had sworn to aid.

He sought for a way to pay back the slight and raise him-self to
fame. With this end in view he wrote to Sir Hen-ry Clin-ton--but did
not use his own name--that he would like to join the cause of King
George on the terms that he set forth. He was in need of funds for he
was deep in debt, but Clin-ton did not see fit to make use of him.

Two or three more of his schemes failed, and at last he asked that he
might have charge of the post at West Point. This Wash-ing-ton gave
him, and in Au-gust Ar-nold fixed him-self in a fine house that stood
on the east side of the stream, half a mile or so south of West Point.

From this place he sent notes to An-dré, the aide-de-camp of Clin-ton,
who wrote back and signed his name _John An-der-son_.

Ar-nold's plan was to throw West Point and the High-lands in-to the
hands of Sir Hen-ry Clin-ton at the time that Wash-ing-ton was at
King's Bridge, and the Eng-lish troops in New York.

A fleet, with a large land force on board, was to come up to the
High-lands, and Ar-nold would at once yield up the post in-to their
hands. This act he thought would bring the war to an end, with the
flag of King George at high mast, and then great would be the name and
fame of Ben-e-dict Ar-nold.

That the scheme might not fail, Ar-nold wrote to An-dré to meet him at
Dobb's Fer-ry, Sep-tem-ber 11, at noon.

But Ar-nold had spent the night of the 10th at Hav-er-straw, on the
west shore, and on his way back in his barge, as he had no flag, he
was fired on by the guard boats of the King's troops. So he had to put
off his plans for a day or two.

In the mean-time the sloop-of-war _Vul-ture_--a good name for such a
bird of prey--was brought up the Hud-son so as to be near at hand to
aid in the vile scheme.

On Sep-tem-ber 18, Wash-ing-ton with his suite crossed the Hud-son at
Ver-planck's Point, in Ar-nold's barge, on his way to Hart-ford.
Ar-nold went with him as far as Peeks-kill, and talked with him in a
frank way, and as if he were most true to the cause.

An-dré went up the Hud-son on the 20th and went on board the Vul-ture
where he thought to meet Ar-nold. But Ar-nold knew it would not be
safe for him to be there; so he kept in the back-ground.

The next night a boat crept up to the side of the _Vul-ture_ in which
were two men. Their oars scarce made a sound.

An-dré, who wore a blue great coat, went on board this boat and was
rowed to the west side of the stream. Six miles south of Sto-ny Point
they came to shore at the foot of a high mount known as the Long
Clove. It was mid-night. Dark was the hour, and dark the place, and
dark the deed.

Ar-nold was there hid in the shade of the woods. A man was near who
came to wait on him and take care of his horse. He and An-dré had a
long talk. One, two, three hours passed, and still there was more to
say. One of the men who had brought An-dré, and whose name was Smith,
warned them that it was near day-break, and the boat would be seen by
our guards if they did not go back soon.

Ar-nold feared that the sight of a boat on its way to the _Vul-ture_
might bring harm to him and his scheme, so he urged An-dré to stay on
shore till the next night. The boat was sent to a creek up the
Hud-son, and An-dré on the horse that Ar-nold's man had rode, set off
with Ar-nold for Smith's house.

The road took them through the small town of Hav-er-straw. As they
rode on in the dark the voice of one of the guards at an out-post made
An-dré start, for he knew he must be with-in our lines. But it was too
late to turn back, and at day-break they reached Smith's house.

Scarce was the door closed on them when the boom of great guns was
heard from down the stream. An-dré felt ill at ease, and had good
cause for fear.

The fact was that as soon as Liv-ing-ston, who had charge of our
troops at Ver-planck's Point, heard that the _Vul-ture_ was with-in
shot of Tel-ler's Point, which juts out 'twixt Hav-er-straw Bay and
Tap-pan Sea, he sent some men and some big guns to that point in the
night to fire on the sloop-of-war.

An-dré kept a close watch on the scene from a top room in Smith's
house. At one time he thought the _Vul-ture_ was on fire; but his
heart gave a throb of joy when he saw the sloop-of-war drop down the
stream out of reach of gun shot.

Ar-nold gave An-dré the plans of the works at West Point, and told him
what and how he was to do. As the _Vul-ture_ had changed her place, he
told An-dré it would be far more safe for him to go back to New York
by land. And he would reach there in less time.

But An-dré said that he must be put on board the sloop-of-war the next
night; and in case he should change his mind Ar-nold gave him a pass
that he might go by sea or by land. At ten o'clock that morn Ar-nold
left him to his fate.

Time moved at a slow pace with poor An-dré. Once on board the
_Vul-ture_ he would be safe; his task would be done, and West Point
would soon be in the hands of the red-coats. As night set in he grew
still more ill at ease, and asked Smith how he had planned to get him
on board the _Vul-ture_.

It gave him a shock to learn that Smith had not done the least thing.
The boat-men had gone home, and he would not take him on board the
_Vul-ture_. But he said he would cross the Hud-son with him and start
him on the road to New York by land, and go some of the way with him
on horse-back.

They set off at sun-set, and went for eight miles on the road to White
Plains when they were brought to a halt by a band of our troops who
were out as watch-men.

An-dré showed his pass signed with Ar-nold's name, and so they took
him for a friend and not a foe. He wore a coat of Smith's that made
him look like a plain man.

The two were warned that it was not safe for them to be on the road at
night, as they might meet the Cow-Boys from the King's troops, who but
a short time since had swept through that part of the land.

Smith was full of fears, and An-dré had to yield to his wish to take a
bed in a farm-house near at hand. This they did, but An-dré could not
sleep. He knew that he was not safe. At day-break he woke Smith, and
made him haste to leave the place.

Two and a half miles from Pine's Bridge, on the Cro-ton Riv-er, An-dré
and Smith took a scant meal at a farm-house which had been stripped by
the Cow-Boys.

Here Smith took leave of An-dré, who was to go the rest of the way to
New York a-lone. He felt no fear now, as he had passed our lines, and
was clear of those who kept watch on the out-posts.

Six miles from Pine's Bridge he came to a fork in the road. The left
branch led to White Plains. The right branch led to the Hud-son. He
had thought at first that he would take the left hand road, as the
right one was said to be filled with Cow-Boys. But he had naught to
fear from them, as he was on their side; and as it was a more straight
road to New York, he turned down it and took his course on the banks
of the Hud-son.

He had not gone far when he came to a place where a small stream
crossed the road and ran down a dell that was thick with trees. A man
stepped out with a gun and brought An-dré to a stand. Two more armed
men came up to aid the first one, whose name was Paul-ding.
Paul-ding's coat was in rags, and was of the kind that was worn by the
King's troops. When An-dré caught sight of it his heart leapt for joy,
for he was sure he was safe. So sure that he did not guard his tongue.
He asked the men if they were on his side, and they said they were. He
then told who he was, and that he had been sent to a post up the
Hud-son and was in haste to get back. As he spoke he drew out a gold
watch, such as few owned in those days, and none but men of wealth.

Think what a shock it must have been to An-dré when Paul-ding said
they were not his friends but his foes, and he was in their hands.

Then An-dré tried to make out that what he first told was a lie, but
that he would now tell the truth; and he drew forth his pass to prove
that he was all right. Had he done this in the first place he might
have gone on his way. "A still tongue shows a wise head."

The men seized his horse by the rein and told An-dré to get off. He
warned them that he had been sent out by Gen-er-al Ar-nold and that
they would be ill dealt with if they held him back.

"We care not for that," they said, as they led him through the shrubs
on the edge of the brook. They then went to work to search him, and
took note of the way in which he was drest. They were poor men, and
had not had a chance to see such fine clothes.

An-dré wore a round hat, a blue great-coat, 'neath which was a red
coat decked off with gold-lace, a nan-keen vest, small-clothes and
boots.

They made him take off his coat and vest, and found naught to prove
that he had sought to harm their cause, and they had a mind to let him
go.

Paul-ding, who had been twice in the hands of the red-coats and
ill-used by them, was still not quite free from doubt. A thought came
to his mind.

"Boys," said he, "his boots must come off."

At this An-dré's face flushed, and he said that his boots were hard to
get off, and he begged that he might not lose time in this way.

But the men were firm. They made him sit down, his boots were drawn
off, and the plans that Ar-nold gave him were brought to light.

Paul-ding looked at them and cried out,

"He is a spy!"

He then asked An-dré where he had got these plans. "From a man at Pine
Bridge" he said; "a man whom I did not know."

As he put on his clothes An-dré begged the men to let him go. He would
pay them a large sum, and stay with two of the men while one went to
New York to get it.

Here Paul-ding broke in, "Keep your gold! We want none of it. Were it
ten times as much, you should not stir one step!"

An-dré had to yield to his fate, and was led by the men to our post
which was ten or twelve miles off. An-dré rode on horse-back with one
man in front, and one at each side.

At noon they came to a farm-house, and those who dwelt there sat at
the mid-day meal. The house-wife, whose heart was touched by a sight
of An-dré's youth and look of grief, asked him to draw near and take
some of the food. Then as she caught sight of his gold-laced coat, the
good dame said that she knew it was poor fare for such as he, but it
was the best she had.

Poor An-dré shook his head, and said, "Oh, it is all good, but in-deed
I can-not eat!"

When the four reached the out-post and Jame-son, who was in charge,
saw the plans that had been found on An-dré, he at once saw that they
had been drawn up by the hand of Ben-e-dict Ar-nold.

He at once did the thing he ought not to have done, which was to write
to Ar-nold, and tell him that a man who said his name was _John
An-derson_ had been caught, and held, though he bore a pass signed by
him. The plans found on him had been sent to the Com-mand-er-in-chief,
and An-dré, with a strong guard was sent with the note to Ar-nold.

In a short time, Ma-jor Tall-madge, who was next in rank to Jame-son,
came back from a trip to White Plains. He had a clear head, and as
soon as he heard the case he at once urged Jame-son to send a man in
haste to bring An-dré back. This was done, but Jame-son had not
thought to have the note to Ar-nold brought back, so it sped on to let
the knave know that his plot had failed.

As soon as Ar-nold read the note he sprang on the horse of the man who
brought it, and rode with all speed to the dock where his six-oared
barge lay moored. He threw him-self in-to it and bade his men pull out
in mid-stream and row as fast as they could to Tel-ler's Point, as he
must be back in time to meet Wash-ing-ton, who was then on his way to
West Point.

The guards knew his barge, so they did not fire on it, and a bit of
white cloth waved in the air served as a flag of truce. He soon was on
board the _Vul-ture_, where he gave him-self up, and the cox-swain and
six barge-men with him. This was a mean act, and showed just what kind
of a man Ar-nold was, but as soon as the men made it known that they
had been led to think that all was right, and that a flag of truce
gave them a safe pass, they were at once set free.

Ar-nold gave the red-coats much aid, and they were glad to make use of
him. But they did not care to make friends with so base a man. At the
close of the war, he went to Eng-land, and made his home there. He was
shunned by all, and died in the year 1801, at the age of three-score.

As Wash-ing-ton drew near the fort at West Point, he thought it
strange that no guns were fired. "Is not Gen-er-al Ar-nold here?" he
asked of the man who came down to the shore to meet him.

"No, sir. He has not been here for two days past; nor have I heard
from him in that time."

This was strange; but soon the note from Jame-son was placed in his
hands, and when he had read of the deep-laid scheme, he said with a
deep sigh, "Whom can we trust now?"

Word was at once sent out to the guards to check Ar-nold's flight, but
it was too late. He had slipped from their grasp.

Let us now see how An-dré bore his hard fate. He had the best of care,
and made hosts of friends, who grieved that one so young, so
well-bred, and of such high rank, should have done a crime for which
he must be hung.

It was a great grief to Wash-ing-ton, who would have felt no pang had
Ar-nold been in An-dré's place. But death to the spy! was one of the
rules of war, and Oc-to-ber 2 was the day set for An-dré to be hung.
He had asked that since it was his lot to die he might choose the mode
of death; and begged that he might be shot. This Wash-ing-ton could
not grant, though in his heart he longed to do so; but thought it best
that An-dré should not know.

On the morn of the 2d, An-dré drest him-self with great care, in the
full suit worn by those who bore his rank in the King's troops. He was
calm, while all those near him were in tears.

He walked with a firm step to the place where he was to end his life,
arm in arm with two of our troops. When he caught sight of the rope he
gave a start, and asked if he was not to be shot. When told that no
change could be made, he said "How hard is my fate!--But it will be
but a brief pang!"

[Illustration: WINTER AT VALLEY FORGE--P. 94.]

Then he stepped in-to the cart, took off his hat and stock, loosed his
shirt at the throat, put the noose round his neck and bound his own
eyes.

When told that there was a chance for him to speak if he chose, he
said "I pray you to note that I meet my fate like a brave man."

Then the cart was moved off and he was left in mid-air, and death took
place in a short time. An-dré was laid in a grave near the place where
he was hung, but in 1821 was borne to the land of his birth, and
placed near the tombs of Kings and Queens.

He that breaks laws must pay the price. If you want to make friends,
and to have them love and trust you--_be true_. Let no one coax you to
sin. The eye of God is on you, and he sees all your deeds. You may
hide your crime for a while, but you may "be sure your sin will find
you out." Be not an Ar-nold nor an An-dré.



CHAPTER XIII.

THE HARDSHIPS OF WAR.


We will now go back to the place we left, and see where Wash-ing-ton
was at the close of the year 1777. He had been forced to leave New
Jer-sey in the hands of the King's troops. His own troops were worn
down by long and hard toil, and had need of rest. They were in want of
clothes too, and could not keep warm in the tents, so he sought out a
place where they could build huts and screen them-selves from the cold
winds and storms.

He chose Val-ley Forge, which was on the west bank of the Schuyl
(_school_)-kill Riv-er, and a score of miles from Phil-a-del-phi-a.
Sad was the march of the troops to Val-ley Forge. Food was scant,
their clothes were worn out, and a track of blood marked the way they
trod. They had fought hard, but not to win, and this made their hearts
low.

On De-cem-ber 17, they reached Val-ley Forge, and had to freeze in
their tents till they could cut down the trees and build the huts they
were to live in.

The walls were six feet and a half high, and were made of logs filled
in with clay. The roofs were made of logs split in half.

No pen can paint the hard lot of those poor men shut in at Val-ley
Forge. For some days they had no meat. For three days they had no
bread. Some of the men had to sit up all night by the fires, as there
were no clothes for their beds, and they could not sleep for the cold.
Some of the men were so scant of clothes that they could not leave
their huts.

Wash-ing-ton was kept short of funds and of troops, though he plead
hard for both, and was sore pressed on all sides. He scarce knew what
to do. There was but one thing he could do, and that was to wait.

While his troops were in this sad plight--some of them sick un-to
death--the red-coats, who held Phil-a-del-phi-a in siege, led a gay
sort of life, and were much at their ease.

Near the first of March a Ger-man came to Wash-ing-ton's camp to lend
him his aid.

His name was Bar-on Steu-ben. He had fought for long years in the wars
that had been waged in Eu-rope, had been aide-de-camp to Fred-er-ick
the Great, and had won much fame by his brave deeds. The French, who
were friends to our cause, knew that we had need of such a man as
Bar-on Steu-ben, and urged him to come to A-mer-i-ca, and he was at
once sent to join the troops at Val-ley Forge.

Our troops had had no chance to drill, there was no one to teach them,
and they had fought with a rush and a dash, and in a pell-mell sort of
way. Steu-ben went to work to drill these men, the best of whom had
much to learn, and he found it a hard task at first as he could not
speak our tongue. At last a man was found who spoke French, and him
Steu-ben made his aide-de-camp and kept him close at hand.

The men were slow to learn, for the drills were new to them, and
Steu-ben would get wroth with them and call them "block-heads," and
all sorts of hard names. But though he had a sharp tongue, and was
quick to get in a rage, he had a kind, true heart, and soon won the
love of the men.

For eight months the red-coats had held Phil-a-del-phi-a. In the
spring Gen-er-al Howe went home, and left his troops in charge of Sir
Hen-ry Clin-ton, who made up his mind to lead the troops back to New
York. But he did not wish his plans to be known.

In the mean-time, Wash-ing-ton knew that a scheme of some sort was on
foot--so he sent troops out to check the King's troops should they
move by land. The red-coats left Phil-a-del-phi-a on June 18, and as
there was but one road for them to take, their train stretched out for
twelve miles. They made a halt at Al-len-town, and Clin-ton had not
quite made up his mind which way to go from that place. He at first
thought he would go as far as the Rar-i-tan Riv-er, and then ship his
troops to New York; but when he found that our troops were not far
off, he turned to the right and took the road to Mon-mouth.

His march was a slow one; the heat was great; the rains made the roads
bad, and they had to stop to bridge the streams, and to build
cause-ways so that they could cross the swamps.

Wash-ing-ton in the mean-time had gone on to Kings-ton; but as soon as
he learned Clin-ton's course, he moved his troops so as to get in the
rear of the red-coats.

On the night of June 27, the foe went in camp on the high ground near
Mon-mouth Court House. The van-guard of our troops was five miles off,
and in charge of Gen-er-al Lee.

At day-break the van-guard of the red-coats set forth down the hill,
while Clin-ton with his choice troops staid in camp on the heights of
Free-hold, to give the long train of carts and pack mules a chance to
get well on the way. At eight o'clock all were in line of march to
Mid-dle-town.

As soon as Lee heard that the foe were on the move, he set out to meet
them, and was joined by the troops in charge of La-fay-ette. As Lee
stood on one of the hills he caught sight of a band of red-coats hid
some-what by the woods, which he thought was a part of the main force.
So he sent some of his troops to draw their fire and check them in the
rear, while he with the rest of his force would take a short cut,
through the woods, get in front of the corps, and cut it off from the
main force.

Wash-ing-ton was on his way with his main force, when the boom of big
guns rang out on the air. The sound caused him to change his pace to a
quick step, and when he drew near Free-hold church, where the road
forked, he sent Greene with part of his force to the right, while he
with the rest of the troops took the left hand road.

Wash-ing-ton stood on the ground with his arm thrown up on the neck of
his horse, when a man rode up and said the blue-coats were in flight.
Wash-ing-ton was vexed, for he was quite sure it was not true. Then up
came one with fife in hand, quite out of breath, and in great fright.
He was seized at once so that he would not scare the troops then on
their way, and told that he would be flogged if he dared to spread the
tale he had brought.

Wash-ing-ton sprang on his horse, and sent men out to learn the
truth, while he spurred past the Free-hold church. The news seemed too
strange to be true. He had heard but a few guns, and did not think
there had been much of a fight. Was Lee to blame for this wrong move?
He feared so. As he reached the high ground he saw Lee and his men in
full flight, and by this time he was in a fine rage.

"What do you mean by this?" he asked in a fierce stern tone as Lee
rode up to him.

At sight of Wash-ing-ton's face Lee was struck dumb for a-while, but
when he could speak he tried to tell why he had thought it best to
fall back. There was not much time for a talk, as the foe were not far
off. The sight of their Com-mand-er-in-chief put a stop to the flight,
and plans were at once made to turn the luck. The place where they
were was good for a stand, as it was on high ground which the foe
could not reach but by a cause-way.

Lee knew that Wash-ing-ton had lost faith in him, so he held back,
and would give no aid to his chief. Wash-ing-ton rode back to Lee in a
calm mood, and said to him; "Will you keep the com-mand on this
height, or not? If you will, I will go back to the main force and have
it formed on the next height."

Lee said it was all the same to him where he was placed, that he would
do just as Wash-ing-ton said, and "not be the first to leave the
ground."

Soon guns were heard on both sides. Lee and his men, who were in the
fore-ground made a brave stand, but were at length forced to fall
back. Lee brought off his troops in good style by the cause-way that
crossed the swamps, in front of our troops in charge of Lord
Stir-ling, and was the last to leave the ground. When he had formed
his men in line back of the swamp, he rode up to Wash-ing-ton, and
said, "Here, sir, are my troops, what do you wish me to do with them?"

Wash-ing-ton saw that the men were worn out with long tramps, hard
fights, and the great heat, so he told Lee to take them to the rear,
and call in all those he might meet with who had fled from his ranks.

The foe sought to turn both our flanks, but were checked by a sharp
fire, and at length they gave way and fell back to the ground where
Lee had been that morn. Here the woods and swamps were on their
flanks, and their front could not be reached but by the cause-way.
Great as was the risk, Wash-ing-ton made up his mind to charge on the
foe, and this was his plan: Gen-er-al Poor was to move round on their
right, Gen-er-al Wood-ford on the left, while the big field guns
should gall them in front. But night set in ere they could act on this
plan. Some of the troops had sunk on the ground, and all were in need
of rest. Wash-ing-ton told them to lie on their arms just where they
chanced to be when it grew dark, as he meant to go on with the fight
at dawn of the next day. He lay on his cloak at the foot of a tree,
and La-fay-ette lay near him.

At day-break the beat of drums roused them from their sleep, but the
foe had fled, and had been so long on the way that Wash-ing-ton could
not hope to check them.

Our loss in the fight at Mon-mouth was 69, while 250 of the King's
troops were left dead on the field. Some of the troops on both sides
had died in the swamp, and some were found on the edge of a stream
that ran through it, where, worn out with their toils, and weak from
heat and thirst they had crawled to drink and die.

Lee's pride had been so hurt that he wrote to Wash-ing-ton in a way
that he should not have done to his Com-mand-er-in-chief, and he was
brought to court by the Board of War and tried for his wrong deeds.
His guilt was proved, and he was told that he could not serve for the
next twelve months. He went to his home in Vir-gin-i-a where he led a
queer kind of a life. His house was a mere shell, and had but one
room, but lines were chalked on the floor and each space was used as
if it was a room by it-self. Here was his bed, there were his books;
in this space he kept all his horse gear, and in that one he cooked
and ate his meals.

With pen and with tongue he strove to harm Wash-ing-ton, whom his
shafts failed to hurt, and who spoke not an ill word of Lee. He liked
him as a friend but did not think he was fit to lead troops to war.
Lee died in the course of four years, and on his death-bed he thought
he was on the field of war, and his last words were a call to his men
to stand by him.

For a year or two more the strife was kept up on the coast from Maine
to Flor-i-da, and both red-coats and red-skins took part in scenes
that chill the blood to read of. Houses were burnt and land laid
waste, forts were stormed and seized from our troops whose force was
too small to hold them. Now and then there was a gain for our side,
but in spite of his ill luck Wash-ing-ton held on with a brave heart,
and would die at his post but would not yield.

In the first part of the year 1780 we find Wash-ing-ton in camp at
Mor-ris-town, with a lot of half-fed and half-clad troops.

No such cold had been known in this zone. The Bay of New York froze so
hard that the ships-of-war that lay in it were ice-bound. Food was
scant, and there was a lack of fire-wood.

Wash-ing-ton saw what a chance there was for a bold stroke, but he had
no funds with which to fit out his troops, or to move them to the
coast. The cost of war was great, and gold was scarce. He could not
strike a big blow for New York to wrest it from the hands of the foe,
as he might have done at this time had his troops been well-fed and
well-clad but he would do what he could in a small way.

A bridge of ice had formed 'twixt New Jer-sey and Stat-en Isl-and, so
Wash-ing-ton sent Lord Stir-ling with 2,500 men to start up and seize
a force of 1,200 red-coats. His lord-ship crossed in the night, but
was seen and had to fall back to E-liz-a-beth-town. Some of his men
fell in-to the hands of the King's troops, and some in-to the hands of
Jack Frost.

This raid gave a start to the foe and they set out to tease and vex
our out-posts, which they thought could be done at small risk, as
there was snow on the ground, and the troops could be borne on
sleighs.

Not far from White Plains--and a score of miles from the out-posts of
the red-coats--300 of our men had a post in a stone house known as
Young's house, as that was the name of the man who owned it. It faced
a road which ran north and south down through a rich plain, and so on
to New York. Our men kept a close watch on this road, to stop the
red-coats who might seek to pass with food or live-stock. The
red-coats made up their mind to break up this nest of blue-birds, and
the night of Feb-ru-a-ry 2, was set for the task.

The King's troops set out from King's Bridge, some in sleighs and some
on horse-back. The snow was deep, and it was hard for the sleighs to
break their way through. The troops at length left them, and marched
on foot. They could not bring their field guns with them. Now and then
they would come to a place where the snow was more than two feet deep,
and they had to take by-ways and cross roads so as not to get near our
out-guards.

The sun rose while they were yet six miles or more from Young's house.
This spoiled their plan, but still they kept on. Ere they could reach
the house, the news flew like wild-fire that the red-coats were near,
and men left their farms and homes to aid those in Young's house. But
though they fought well, they had not strength to hold the fort. Not a
few were killed. The house was sacked and set on fire, and the
red-coats made haste to get back to their lines with those of our men
whom they had seized, and who were sent to New York and put in the
vile jails there.

In the year 1780, France sent ships-of-war and troops to aid our
cause, and to drive the red-coats from New York. The French troops
were in charge of Count de Ro-cham-beau, who was told to do just as
Wash-ing-ton said; for he was Com-mand-er-in-chief.

Wash-ing-ton's heart gave a throb of joy at this proof of good-will,
and his grief was that he had not more troops of his own to join with
these that he might push for New York at once. He must wait till the
rest of the French troops, then on their way, came to port.

In the mean-time his thoughts were turned to the South, where the
red-coats, led by Corn-wal-lis, waged a fierce war. Our troops there
were in charge of Gen-er-al Greene, who was full of cheer, and did his
best to keep the foe at bay, but with poor luck as his force was
small.

But Wash-ing-ton had faith in him; yet such a large force of the
King's troops had been sent by sea to aid Corn-wal-lis that
Wash-ing-ton feared that Greene would not be safe. So he wrote to
La-fay-ette, who was on his way to meet the French fleet that had been
sent to Ches-a-peake Bay, to push on and join the troops at the South.

At this time Wash-ing-ton was at a place near West Point, and his
whole force on the Hud-son, in May 1781, was not more than 7,000; half
of whom were not fit to take the field.

Here word came to him of feuds at the North, and that the foe were in
force on the north side of Cro-ton Riv-er.

Col-o-nel De-lan-cey, who led this raid, held the place that An-dré
had filled, and bore the same rank, and De-lan-cey's horse-men were
the dread of all those who dwelt in that part of the land. Our troops
had an out-post not far from Pine's Bridge, in charge of Col-o-nel
Greene of Rhode Isl-and, who had served all through the war.

De-lan-cey set out at night at the head of 100 men on horse-back and
200 on foot. They crossed the Cro-ton at day-break, just as the
night-guard had been called off, and bore down on the out-post.

They first went to the farm-house where Col-o-nel Greene and Ma-jor
Flagg slept, and put a strong guard round it. Ma-jor Flagg sprang from
his bed, threw up the sash, and fired at the foe, but was shot through
the head and then hacked with sword cuts and thrusts.

They then burst through the door of Greene's room. He was a man of
great strength, and for some time kept the foes at bay with his sword,
but at last he fell, for what could one man do in such a fight?

By the time the troops sent out by Wash-ing-ton reached the post,
De-lan-cey's men had flown. They tried to take Greene with them, but
he died on the way, and they left him at the edge of the woods.

Wash-ing-ton felt sad at heart when he heard of the death of his brave
and true friend, Col-o-nel Greene, and the next day he had his corpse
brought to the west bank of the Hud-son. Guns were fired to tell that
one who had fought well had gone to his rest, and strong men shed
tears as he was laid in his grave, for his loss was a source of great
grief to all.



CHAPTER XIV.

THE CLOSE OF THE WAR.


In the month of May, Corn-wal-lis had planned to bring his troops to
Pe-ters-burg and strike a blow at La-fay-ette, who was near Rich-mond.
La-fay-ette fled as soon as he heard that Corn-wal-lis had crossed the
James Riv-er, for he had but few troops and did not care to bring on a
big fight till the men came up who were then on the way to aid him.

Corn-wal-lis thought he could soon catch "the boy"--as he called
him--but his youth made him spry, and the red-coats did not get up to
him.

On June 10, Gen-er-al Wayne came up with 900 men, to add to
La-fay-ette's strength, and this made him change his whole plan. With
4,000 men and Ba-ron Steu-ben he might hope to win in a fight with the
red-coats, and he turned his face to the foe. Corn-wal-lis was at
that time 'twixt La-fay-ette and Al-be-marle Court House, where
stores were kept. The Mar-quis, by a night march through a road that
had long been out of use, got in front of the King's troops, and held
them in check.

Corn-wal-lis turned back, and marched first to Rich-mond, and then to
Will-iams-burg, while La-fay-ette kept close in his rear. Here they
had a fierce fight, in which the loss was great on both sides, and the
gain but small.

At this time word came to Corn-wal-lis that Wash-ing-ton had borne
down on New York and that he must send some of his troops to that
town. This would leave him too weak to stay where he was, so on Ju-ly
4 he set out for Ports-mouth.

La-fay-ette gave chase the next day and took post nine miles from his
camp. His plan was to fall on the rear-guard, when the main force
should have crossed the ford at James-town. But Corn-wal-lis guessed
what he meant to do and laid a trap for him. A sharp fight took place,
in-to which Wayne threw him-self like a mad-man, but the foe were as
ten to one and our troops were forced back to Green Springs.

In Ju-ly La-fay-ette wrote to Wash-ing-ton that Corn-wal-lis had left
Ports-mouth by sea, and he thought he was on his way to New York. It
was true the troops had gone on board the boats, but though wind and
tide were fair they did not sail.

With the French fleet to help him, Wash-ing-ton saw a chance to fight
the foe by land and sea, so he turned from New York and marched to
Vir-gin-i-a to aid La-fay-ette, who longed to have his chief at the
head of his troops but did not know he was so near.

As our war-worn troops went through Phil-a-del-phi-a they were hailed
with shouts and cheers from the throngs that filled the streets. They
kept step to the sound of the drum and fife, and raised a great cloud
of dust, for there had been quite a drought.

The French troops passed through the next day, but not in the same
style. They made a halt a mile from the town, where they brushed off
the dust from their guns, and their gay white and green clothes, and
then marched with a light step to the sound of a fine band. Crowds
were on the streets, and bright smiles and loud shouts met these who
had come from France to lay down their lives if need be for the cause
we had at heart.

When Wash-ing-ton turned his back on New York, Sir Hen-ry Clin-ton
sent word to Corn-wal-lis that he would not need the troops he had
asked for; so Corn-wal-lis went from Ports-mouth to York-town, where
he took his stand.

York-town was a small place on the south side of York Riv-er. The
stream at this point was not more than a mile wide, but it was so deep
that ships of large size and weight could go through. Here he threw up
works on both sides of the stream, which gave him a fine strong-hold,
as the banks were high and set out from the main-land. He thought
there was no foe near but La-fay-ette, and he had no great fear of one
so young.

He felt so safe that he wrote to Clin-ton that he could let him have a
large force of men to add strength to New York, where it was thought
our troops would strike the next blow.

In the mean-time La-fay-ette threw out troops to the rear, to work
with the French fleets that would soon be in Ches-a-peake Bay, and so
a net was drawn round Corn-wal-lis at a time when he thought he was
most safe.

Wash-ing-ton was at Phil-a-del-phi-a on Sep-tem-ber 5, and at
Bal-ti-more three days from that time. He left Bal-ti-more on the
ninth, at day-break, with but one of his suite, as he was in haste to
reach Mount Ver-non. The rest of his suite rode at their ease, and
joined him the next day at noon. It was six years since Wash-ing-ton
had seen his old home, and how full of toil and care those years had
been! In three days he had to leave the dear old place, and with his
guests push on to join La-fay-ette, who was at Will-iams-burg. By
Sep-tem-ber 25, the French and our troops were in camp near that town,
and at once set to work to get things in train for the next fight.

Corn-wal-lis had built forts on the north and south banks of the
stream, and had done all he could to add strength to York-town.
Ships-of-war were in front, and boats had been sunk at the mouth of
the stream. Field-works were at the rear with big guns on top, and
there were long rows of trees that had been cut down and left so that
their limbs stuck out and made a fence it would not be safe to climb.
At the right and left of York-town were deep dells and creeks, and it
was not strange that Corn-wal-lis felt that he was in a sure
strong-hold.

Our troops were twelve miles off when they took up their march on
Sep-tem-ber 28, and that night they went in camp two miles from
York-town. Wash-ing-ton and his staff slept on the ground, his head on
the root of a tree. The next morn our troops drew out on each side of
Bea-ver Dam Creek, the A-mer-i-cans on the east side and the French on
the west. The Count de Grasse, with the main fleet, staid in Lynn
Haven Bay so as to keep off the ships that might come from sea to aid
the red-coats.

On the night of the first of Oc-to-ber our troops threw up two
earth-works, on which the red-coats turned their guns at day-light and
killed three of the men. While Wash-ing-ton stood near the works a
shot struck the ground close by him and threw up a great cloud of
dust. One of his staff who stood near was in a great fright, but
Wash-ing-ton was calm and showed no signs of fear.

On Oc-to-ber 6, our troops set out to dig the trench that the first
line would use in the siege of York-town. So dark was the night, and
so still were the men, that the foe did not know of it till day-light.
Then they fired on them from the forts, but the men were screened and
kept at their work. By the ninth the trench was dug and the guns fixed
to fire at the town.

Wash-ing-ton put the match to the first gun, and a storm of balls and
bomb-shells dared Corn-wal-lis to come out and fight. For three or
four days the fire was kept up on both sides, and bomb-shells crossed
in mid-air, and at night flashed forth like great stars with tails a
blaze of light. Our shells did much harm in the town, and to the
earth-works of the foe.

The red-hot shot from the French forts north-west of the town reached
the King's ships-of-war. The Char-on a 44 gun ship, and three large
boats for troops, were set on fire by them. The flames ran up to the
tops of the masts, and as the night was dark the scene was a grand one
to the eye, but a sad one to the heart.

On the night of the 11th, a new ditch was dug by the troops led by
Bar-on Steu-ben, and for two or three days the foe kept up a fire on
the men at work.

At eight o'clock on the night of Oc-to-ber 14, they set out to storm
both York-town and the Point on the north bank at the same time.

The van-guard of our troops was led by Al-ex-an-der Ham-il-ton. When
at school he wrote to one of his boy friends, "I wish there was a
war;" and in 1776 when he was but 19 years of age, he was placed at
the head of the men who fired the guns and bomb-shells. The next year
he was aide-de-camp to Wash-ing-ton, in whom he found a true and wise
friend. With great joy and pride Ham-il-ton led the van in a head-long
dash past the trees, which they pushed or pulled down with their own
hands, where they could not climb them, and was the first to mount the
wall. One of his men knelt so that Ham-il-ton could use him for steps,
and the rest of the men got up the best way they could. Not a gun was
fired, and the fort fell in-to the hands of our troops with a small
loss on both sides.

The French stormed the fort at the Point in as brave a way, but with
less speed, and lost more men.

Wash-ing-ton stood on the ground in the grand fort where he could see
all that took place. An aide-de-camp near him spoke up and said that
he ran a great risk from a chance shot through one of the port-holes.
"If you think so," said Wash-ing-ton, "you can step back."

Soon a ball struck the gun in the port-hole, rolled on, and fell at
his feet. Gen-er-al Knox seized him by the arm. "My dear Gen-er-al,"
said he, "we can't spare you yet."

"It is a spent ball," said Wash-ing-ton in a calm voice; "no harm is
done."

When each charge was made and both forts were in our hands, he drew a
long breath, turned to Knox and said, "The work is done _and well
done_!" Then he said to his black man, "Bring me my horse," and rode
off to see where next his lines should move, and how the trap could be
closed on Corn-wal-lis.

Corn-wal-lis found that he could not hold his forts; no troops had
come to his aid, and he would soon have to yield to the foe.

This was too much for his pride, so he made up his mind to leave those
who were sick or had wounds, and fly from York-town. His scheme was to
cross the stream at night, fall on the French camp ere day-break, push
on with all speed, and force his way to the north and join Sir Hen-ry
Clin-ton in New York.

A large part of his troops had crossed the stream on the night of
Oc-to-ber 16, and the rest were on their way when a fierce storm of
wind and rain drove the boats down the stream. They could not be
brought back till day-light and it was then too late for them to move
on or to turn back.

The hopes of Lord Corn-wal-lis were at an end, and on the 17th he sent
a flag of truce and a note to Wash-ing-ton and asked that his guns
might cease their fire for one day so that terms of peace could be
drawn up.

Wash-ing-ton feared that in the mean-time troops from New York would
reach Corn-wal-lis, so he sent word back that his guns should cease
their fire for but two hours. Wash-ing-ton did not like the terms
drawn up by Corn-wal-lis, so he made a rough draft of such terms as he
would grant. These were sent to Corn-wal-lis on the 19th, and he was
forced to sign them, and in two hours his troops were to march out of
the forts.

[Illustration: THE SURRENDER AT YORKTOWN.--P. 109.]

At noon our troops were drawn up in two lines more than a mile in
length; the A-mer-i-cans on the right side of the road, the French on
the left. At two o'clock the red-coats passed out with slow steps, and
were led to a field where they were to ground their arms. Some of
them, in their rage, threw down their guns with such force as to well
nigh break them.

On the day that Corn-wal-lis had been forced to lay down his arms at
York-town, the large force that was to aid him set sail from New York.
They did not reach Ches-a-peake Bay till Oc-to-ber 29, and when they
found they were too late they turned their prows and went back to New
York.

The down-fall of Corn-wal-lis was felt to be a death-blow to the war,
and great joy was felt through-out the land. Votes of thanks were sent
to Wash-ing-ton, to De Ro-cham-beau and De Grasse, and Wash-ing-ton
gave high praise to all the troops for the way in which they had
fought at the siege of York-town.

From that time the red-coats lost heart, and on No-vem-ber 25, 1783,
they marched out of New York, and Wash-ing-ton marched in at the head
of his brave men, who had fought and bled and borne all the ills that
flesh could bear that the land they loved might be free.

In a few days Wash-ing-ton was called to An-na-po-lis to meet with
those who made the laws, and his chief men who had been with him
through all the sad scenes of the war, came to bid him good-bye.

With a heart full of love he said to them, "I can-not come to each of
you to take my leave, but shall be glad if each of you will come and
take me by the hand." This they did. No one spoke a word. Tears were
in all their eyes.

Wash-ing-ton left the room, and went on foot to the boat which lay at
the end of what was then and is now White-hall Street. His friends
kept close in the rear. When Wash-ing-ton was in his barge he turned,
took off his hat, and waved good-bye, and those on shore did the same,
and watched the barge till it passed out of their sight.



CHAPTER XV.

FIRST IN PEACE.


At the close of the war, and of the year 1783, Wash-ing-ton went back
to Mount Ver-non. He reached his home to his great joy on the eve of
Christ-mas day, and he was in a good state of mind to keep the feast.

"The scene is at last closed," he wrote, "and I am eased of a load of
care. I hope to spend the rest of my days in peace."

Mount Ver-non was locked in ice and snow for some time. Wash-ing-ton
wrote that he was so used to camp life that he could not help feel
when he woke each day that he must hear the drums beat, and must go
out to plan or to lead his troops. He was now at his ease, and longed
for the spring so that his friends could come to him. "My way of life
is plain," he said; "I do not mean to be put out of it. But a glass of
wine and a bit of meat can be had at all times."

He would not give notes of his life to those who wished to write it up
at this time lest it should look vain. "I will leave it to those who
are to come to think and say what they please of me," he wrote. "I
will not by an act of mine seem to boast of what I have done."

As spring came on, friends flocked to Mount Ver-non, and Wash-ing-ton
met them in a frank way. His wife, too, was full of good sense and
good cheer. She loved to knit, and had been used all through the war
to knit socks for the poor men who were in the ranks.

But as Wash-ing-ton took his rides through his place, he felt the
changes there since he had left. Old friends were gone, and the scenes
of his youth were no more. La-fay-ette spent a few days with him, and
the love he felt for the brave young man was as strong as at first.

He wrote a sad note to him when he was gone which showed what a warm
place the young French-man had in his heart. He said, "As you left me,
I asked if this were the last sight I should have of you. And though I
wished to say 'No,' my fears said 'Yes.' I called to mind the days of
my youth and found they had long since fled to come back no more. I
must now go down the hill I have climbed all these years. I am blessed
with strength, but I some of a short-lived race, and may soon go to
the tomb. All these thoughts gave a gloom to the hour in which I
parted with you."

Wash-ing-ton made a trip through some of the states of the West, and
saw there was a chance for great trade there, and he wrote much of
what he had seen. But his chief joy was in his home and land, where he
planted trees and loved to watch them grow. He writes down each month
of what he sets out; now it is a choice slip of grape vine from
France; or it may be a tree that stays green all the year round. Some
of the bushes he set out still stand strong in their growth on the
place.

He notes the trees best for shade and which will not hurt the grass.
He writes of rides to the Mill Swamp in quest of young elms, ash
trees, and white thorn, and of the walks he lays out and the trees and
shrubs he plants by them.

A plan of the way in which he laid out his grounds is still kept at
Mount Ver-non, and the pla-ces are marked on it for the trees and
shrubs. He owned five farms, and he kept maps of each. He read much of
soils, the way to raise good crops, and the best style of ploughs and
farm tools to use. He rode the first half of the day to see that all
went well. When he had dined, he would write till dark if he had no
guests. If friends came he did all he could to make them feel at ease
and at home. He was kind, and loved by all. He would not talk much of
the war nor of what he had done in it. He took great care not to talk
of his own acts, so that if there had been a guest who did not know
the facts, he would not have found out by a word from Wash-ing-ton
that he was one who had won a great name in the eyes of the world.

Though grave in his looks and ways, he loved to see youth glad and
gay. He was fond of the dance, and it was long the boast of more than
one fair dame that she had danced with the chief. There had been
balls in camp in the dark days of the war.

Wash-ing-ton, as we have seen, had been fond of the hunt in his youth,
and La-fay-ette sent him some hounds from France, so he took up his
old sport. But the French hounds did not do well, and he found they
could not be trusted.

Ere the war had been long past, it was found that there was need of
new laws by which the States should be ruled. The chief men of the
land were called to Phil-a-del-phi-a to form them, and Wash-ing-ton
went from Mount Ver-non to take part in the work. It was then that the
code of laws was drawn up which bears the name of "Con-sti-tu-tion of
the U-ni-ted States."

These laws said that the States should be ruled by a Pres-i-dent. The
choice for this post fell on Wash-ing-ton, and in the spring of 1788
he bade good-bye to Mount Ver-non and made his way to New York, where
he was to take the oath that he would serve the land and be true to
her in peace and in war.

As he passed through the towns, crowds came out to cheer him, flags
were raised, guns roared, and at night there was a great show of
fire-works.

When he came to Tren-ton, the place where in the past he had crossed
the stream in the storm, through clouds of snow and drifts of ice, he
found a scene of peace and love. Crowds were on the bank, the stream
gleamed in the sun, the sky was blue, and all hailed him with joy.

On the bridge that crossed the Del-a-ware an arch was raised and
twined with wreaths of green and gay blooms. As Wash-ing-ton passed
'neath it a band of young girls, drest in white and with wreaths on
their heads, threw bright blooms at his feet, and sang an ode that
spoke the love and praise that were in all hearts.

At E-liz-a-beth-town Point he was met by men who had been sent from
New York, and led to a barge which had been made for his use. It was
filled with sea-men of high rank, who made a fine show in their white
suits.

Boats of all sorts, gay with flags, and some with bands on board, fell
in the wake of Wash-ing-ton's barge, and as they swept up the bay of
New York the sight was a grand one. The ships at the wharves or in
mid-stream, dipped their flags, and fired their guns, bells were rung,
and on all the piers were great crowds that made the air ring with
their shouts.

On the last day of A-pril, 1789, Wash-ing-ton took the oath in front
of the hall where the wise men of the land had been wont to meet in
New York. He stood in full view of a great crowd to whom this was a
new and strange sight. The States were to be as one, and this man,
whose name and fame were dear to them, was to pledge him-self to keep
them so.

On a ledge that bulged out from the main part of the house, was a
stand spread with a rich red cloth on which lay the Word of God, the
Book of Books. Wash-ing-ton was clad in a full suit of dark-brown
home-made cloth, white silk hose, and dress sword with steel hilt, and
his hair was drest in the style of the day.

As he came in sight he was hailed with the shouts of the crowds in the
streets and on the roofs. He came to the front of the ledge close to
the rail, so that he could be seen by all, laid his hand on his heart,
bowed three or four times, and then went back and took his seat in an
arm-chair near the stand.

In a short time he rose and went once more to the front with John
Ad-ams, who was to be next him in rank, and the friends who were to
stand by him in this new field. While the oath was read Wash-ing-ton
stood with his hand on the Word of God, and at the close he said, "I
swear--so help me God!" One of the men would have raised the book to
Wash-ing-ton's lips, but he bent his head and kissed it.

Then there was a cry of "Long live George Wash-ing-ton!" and all the
bells in the town rang out a peal of joy, and the crowd rent the air
with their shouts and cheers.

Wash-ing-ton bowed and made a speech that was full of good sense. Then
all went on foot to St. Paul's Church to pray that God would bless the
land.

Wash-ing-ton felt most of all as he wrote to his friends, a fear lest
he should come short of what the land hoped to find in him. The eyes
of the world were on him. He had won fame in the field, but how would
he rule the State? There was still much to be done. Great Brit-ain
held some of the posts at the West, on the plea that debts due to some
of her men had not been paid; the red-men were still a source of fear
to the homes in the Wild West; and there was no hard cash with which
the States could pay their debts.

He found that his time was no more his own. From dawn till dark men
came to him, and he saw that he must be saved from this or he could do
no work. Mrs. Wash-ing-ton joined him and soon days were fixed for the
calls of friends. The house was kept well, but there was no waste. One
who dined there wrote that there was no show. The Pres-i-dent said a
short grace as he sat down. One glass of wine was passed to each, and
no toasts were drank. He was kind to his guests and strove to put them
at their ease. He was strict in the way he kept the Lord's day. He
went to church and would have no calls on that day.

As to Mrs. Wash-ing-ton, those who knew her at the time speak of her
as free from all art. She met her guests in a well-bred way as one who
had ruled in a great house. She, too, was more fond of their home at
Mount Ver-non than of the new rank and place. To stay at home was the
first and most dear wish of her heart.

Wash-ing-ton was touched to the quick when he heard that I some one
had said that there was more pomp at his house than at St. James,
where King George held his court, and that his bows were much too
stiff and cold.

Wash-ing-ton wrote, "I grieve that my bows were not to his taste, for
they were the best I can make. I can say with truth that I feel no
pride of place, and would be more glad to be at Mount Ver-non with a
few friends at my side, than here with men from all the courts of the
world." He then goes on to tell how they treat their guests. "At two
or three o'clock each Tues-day they come and go. They go in and out of
the rooms and chat as they please. When they first come in they speak
to me, and I talk with all I can. What pomp there is in all this I do
not see!"

The red-men, who could not be kept in peace, roused the land once more
to arms. Wash-ing-ton did not wish for war, but he had to call out
troops. They went forth and laid waste In-di-an towns. Wash-ing-ton
thought it would be a good plan to meet the In-di-an chiefs and talk
with them. Three chiefs came to him, and said they would go to the
rest and try to make peace. Wash-ing-ton made a set speech and told
them it would be a good work to do, or else those tribes, "if they
thieved and killed as they had done, would be swept from the face of
the earth."

He had thought much of the state of the red-men in the land. He had
but small faith in schools for the youth, save as far as to teach them
to read and write. The true means to do them good, he thought, was to
teach them to till the ground and raise crops in the same way as the
white folks, and he said if the tribes were pleased to learn such
arts, he would find a way to have them taught.

In the end, Gen-er-al St. Clair had to be sent out with troops to put
the red-men down. Wash-ing-ton's last words to him were to be on the
watch, for the red-skins were sly and would wait for a chance to find
him off his guard.

But St. Clair did not pay heed to these wise words, and the red-skins
got in-to his camp, some of his best men were slain, and the whole
force was put to rout.

When the news was brought to Wash-ing-ton he said in a quick way, "I
knew it would be so! Here on this spot I took leave of him and told
him to be on his guard! I said to him 'you know how the red-skins
fight us!' I warned him--and yet he could let them steal in-to his
camp and hack and slay that ar-my!" He threw up his hands, and his
frame shook, as he cried out "O what a crime! what a crime!"

Then he grew calm, and said that St. Clair should have a chance to
speak, and he would be just to him. St. Clair was tried, and was found
free from guilt.

Wash-ing-ton's mo-ther died at Fred-er-icks-burg, Vir-gin-i-a, Au-gust
25, 1789, aged 82. When her son first went to war, she would shake her
head and say, "Ah, George should stay at home and take care of his
farm." As he rose step by step, and the news of his fame was brought
to her, she would say "George was a good boy," and she had no fear but
that he would be a good man, and do what was right.

In the year 1789, a great war broke out in France, in which Lou-is XVI
lost his crown and his head, and deeds were done that you could scarce
read of with-out tears. Men seemed like fiends in their mad rage, and
like wild beasts in their thirst for blood.

In 1793 France made war on Eng-land; and in 1797 sought to break up
the peace of the U-ni-ted States, but of this I will tell you by and
by.

In the mean-time the four years--which was the full term Wash-ing-ton
was to rule--came to an end. He had no wish to serve for two terms,
but the choice fell on him, and he once more took the oath, on March
4, 1792. In 1796, as France was still at war, it was thought best that
Wash-ing-ton should hold his place for a third term.

But this he would not do. He had made up his mind to leave these
scenes and to give up that sort of life, and those who plead with him
could not move him. He took leave of his friends in a way that moved
them to tears; and his fare-well speech, though in plain style,
touched all hearts and made them feel what a loss it was to part with
so great and good a man.

On March 4, 1797, John Ad-ams took the oath, and bound him-self to
serve as Pres-i-dent for a term of four years. Wash-ing-ton was
there, and as he rose to leave the house there was a great rush to the
door, as all wished to catch the last look of one who had had for so
long a time the first place in their hearts. So great was the crush
that it was feared there would be loss of limbs if not of life.

As Wash-ing-ton stood in the street he waved his hat as cheer on cheer
rose from the crowd, and his gray hairs streamed forth in the wind.
When he came to his own door he turned to the throng with a grave face
and tried to say a word or two. But tears rose to his eyes, his heart
was full, and he could not speak but by signs.

He soon set off for Mount Ver-non, the dear home of his heart. He had
been there but a few months when the French, by their acts, seemed to
want to bring on a war with the U-ni-ted States. They took our ships
at sea, and there was no way left but to stand up for our rights.

Pres-i-dent Ad-ams wrote to Wash-ing-ton, "We must have your name, if
you will let us have it. There will be more in it than in a host of
men! If the French come here we shall have to march with a quick
step."

Wash-ing-ton wrote to Pres-i-dent Ad-ams, "I had no thought that in so
short a time I should be called from the shade of Mount Ver-non. But
if a foe should come in our land, I would not plead my age or wish to
stay at home."

He saw the dark clouds that showed a storm, and he feared his days of
peace would be few. It was with a sad heart that he felt his rest was
at an end, but he had so strong a sense of what was right that he did
not hold back. He said he would do all he could for the troops, but he
would not take the field till the foe was at hand.

For months Wash-ing-ton led a life full of hard work. He had much to
do for the troops, and at the same time work at home. He would write
for hours, and took long rides each day. To his great joy, there was,
in the end, no war with France.

He seemed in first-rate health up to De-cem-ber 12, 1799. On that day
a storm set in, first of snow, then of hail, and then of rain, and
Wash-ing-ton was out in it for at least two hours. When he reached the
house his clerk, Mr. Lear, saw that the snow hung from his hair, and
asked him if he was not wet through. "No," said Wash-ing-ton, "my
great coat kept me dry." But the next day his throat was sore and he
was quite hoarse; and though much worse at night he made light of it
and thought it would soon pass off.

When he went to bed Mr. Lear asked him if he did not think it best to
take some-thing. "Oh, no," said Wash-ing-ton. "Let it go as it came."
But he grew worse in the night, and it was hard for him to breathe,
and though his wife wished to call up one of the maids he would not
let her rise lest she should take cold.

At day-break, when the maid came in to light the fire, she was sent to
call Mr. Lear. All was done that could be done to ease him of his
pain, but he felt him-self that he had but a short time to live. Mr.
Lear was like a son to him, and was with him night and day.

When Mr. Lear would try to raise and turn him so that he could breathe
with more ease, Wash-ing-ton would say, "I fear I tire you too much."
When Lear told him that he did not, he said, "Well, it is a debt we
must all pay, and when you want aid of this kind I hope you'll find
it."

His black man had been in the room the whole day and most of the time
on his feet, and when Wash-ing-ton took note of it he told him in a
kind voice to sit down.

I tell you these things that you may see what a kind heart he had, and
how at his last hour he thought not of him-self.

His old friend, Dr. Craik, who stood by his side when he first went
forth to war, in the year 1754, was with him in these last hours, when
Death was the foe that Wash-ing-ton had to meet. He said to Dr. Craik,
"I die hard, but I am not a-fraid to go, my breath can-not last long."
He felt his own pulse, and breathed his last on the night of
De-cem-ber 14, 1799.

His wife, who sat at the foot of the bed, asked with a firm voice, "Is
he gone?" Lear, who could not speak, made a sign that he was no more.
"'Tis well," said she in the same voice. "All is now at an end, and I
shall soon join him."

Thus lived and died this great and good man, "first in war, first in
peace, and first in the hearts of" those who love "the land of the
free."

Praise did not spoil him or make him vain; but from first to last he
was the same wise, calm, true friend, full of love to God and of
good-will to man.

Great and good men have been born in-to the world, but none whose name
and fame rank as high as that of GEORGE WASH-ING-TON.





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