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On this webpage you can read a chapter of
Stories of Heroism

William Mace

published by
Rand McNally & Company
New York, 1909.

It's all right to copy it or use it any way you want.

I checked this page carefully for mistakes,
and didn't find any:
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 p159  The Men who Fought for American Independence with Gun and Sword

George Washington, the First General and First President of the United States

94. George Washington as a Boy. When Washington was born, February 22, 1732, in the old colony of Virginia, men were still living who had fought with Bacon against Berkeley. His father's house stood upon a gentle hill slope which ran down to the lazily-flowing Potomac. Across the river one could see the wooded Maryland shore, broken only here and there with great farms or plantations.

 p160  Washington's father owned more than one plantation, and had many negro slaves. He was also a partner in some iron mines, and once had been captain of a ship carrying iron ore to ll. It was in London that he had fallen in love with Mary Ball, called, on account of her beauty, the "Rose of Epping Forest." She, too, was a Virginian, and she married Augustine Washington, and became the greatly revered mother of George.

When George was but three years old, his parents moved to the plantation on the Rappahannock. Across the river in the old town of Fredericksburg, George went to a school taught by the church sexton. Both teachers and schools were scarce in Virginia then because the people lived miles apart on their great plantations.

In Washington's day the plantations were usually located on rivers or bays. The rivers were the best roadways in those old times. Besides, the planter liked to have the yearly ship from London stop at his own door.

The coming of the ship brought happy days to the young people, for it often brought furniture for the house and fine clothes for the family. Sometimes, too, it brought back some long-absent son or daughter, or letters from relatives in the old English home. Then there were the stories such as only sailors can tell.

When all the stores of tobacco and grain had been loaded,  p161 once more the great ship spread her wings and sailed away. Then many a Virginia boy longed to go on board and sail away, too.

George's father died and left him, at the age of eleven, to the care of his mother. Mary Washington was a wise, firm mother, and always held the love and admiration of her children.

According to the custom of those old Virginia days, Lawrence Washington, the eldest son, received the beautiful plantation on the Potomac, which he named Mount Vernon in honor of Admiral Vernon, an English naval commander under whom he had fought in the West Indies.

To George fell a smaller plantation on the Rappahannock. He could hardly hope to go to England to study, but went to a school near his birthplace. Here he studied hard, mastering mathematics, and business papers of all sorts. The book into which he copied business letters, deeds, wills, and bills of sale and exchange shows how careful he was and how he mastered everything he undertook.

At school, George was a spirited leader in all outdoor sports. He outran, outjumped, as well as outwrestled all his comrades. He could throw farther than any of them. The story is told that he once threw a stone across the Rappahannock, and that at another time he threw a stone from the valley below to the top of the Natural Bridge, a distance of more than two hundred feet.

 p162  Washington was captain when the boys played at war. Every boy among them expected to be a soldier some day. George listened to the stories told by his brother Lawrence, who had been a captain in the West Indies.

As a boy George Washington also learned many useful things outside of school. He became a skillful horseback rider, for every Virginia plantation had fine riding horses. People lived so far apart that they had to ride horseback when they visited each other and when they went to church or to town. Whether George rode a wild colt to "break" it, or whether he rode with his neighbors through woods and fields, jumping fences or swimming streams, or in a wild chase after the fox, he always kept his seat.

Even while a boy Washington was learning the ways of a woodsman. With only a gun and a dog for companions, he made long trips into the deep, dark Virginia forests, where no road or path showed the way. He could cross rivers without bridge or boat, could build a shelter at night, could trap, and shoot, and cook over the fire by the side of which he slept. All this knowledge was soon put to use.

When George was fourteen it was decided that he might "go to sea." No doubt he dreamed of the time when he should be seaman, or perhaps an officer on one of the king's great war ships. But when all was ready, he gave up his plans to please his mother and went back to school. He now studied everything, and was soon able to mark off the boundaries of farms and lay out roads.

 p163  George was now more and more at Mount Vernon, where he met many fine people. Among these visitors he admired most an old English nobleman, Lord Fairfax, who had come to spend the rest of his days beyond the Blue Ridge in the beautiful valley of the Shenandoah.

95. Washington as Surveyor. Lord Fairfax was pleased with Washington, who was then tall, strong, active, and manly looking, although but sixteen years old. Accordingly, one spring Washington, with a number of companions, started over the mountains to survey the wild lands of Lord Fairfax.

The trip was full of danger. There were no roads, bridges, or houses after the party reached the mountains; but deep ravines, wild animals, and savage Indians were plentiful. Some nights they slept in rude huts, other nights in tents, but more often under the stars and around the camp fire. One night they saw a party of Indians dance their wild war dance to the music of a rude drum, made by stretching a hide over a pot, and to the noise of a rattle, made by putting shot in a gourd.

Within a month Washington was back with maps and figures showing just what lands belonged to Lord  p164 Fairfax. Few men could have done better, and a warm friendship grew up between this white-haired English nobleman and the young Virginian. Lord Fairfax immediately built a great hunting lodge in the Shenandoah, near where Winchester is, and named it Greenway Court. It became a favorite visiting place for many Virginians.

Washington had done his work so well that Lord Fairfax had him made a public surveyor, and invited him to make Greenway Court his headquarters.

For three years Washington was hard at work in that western wilderness marking out the lands of settlers. It was a rough but health-giving life and made his bones and muscles strong. He had to take many risks and face many dangers.

Once he wrote to a friend: "Since you received my letter in October I have not slept above three or four nights in a bed; but, after walking a great deal all the day, I have lain down upon a little hay, straw, fodder, or a bear skin, whichever was to be had, with man, wife, and children, like dogs and cats, and happy is he who gets the berth nearest the fire."

But the young surveyor was often at Greenway Court taking part in its pastimes, or spending his time in sober conversation with Lord Fairfax, or in reading the books on history which were found in his friend's library.

96. Washington as a Soldier against the French. Suddenly Washington's whole life was changed. His brother Lawrence died and left to George the care of his only daughter, and the beautiful  p165 Mount Vernon home. At the age of twenty Washington found himself at the head of two large plantations. But he had hardly begun his new duties before he was called to serve his governor and the king.

The French in Canada, as we have seen, were pushing down from Lake Erie into Pennsylvania to the headwaters of the Ohio River so that they might have a shorter route to their trading posts on the Mississippi. Governor Dinwiddie of Virginia had sent orders for them to get out of the country, but his messenger did not get within a hundred miles of the French soldiers.

It was probably Lord Fairfax who said to the governor: "Here is the very man for you; young and daring, but sober minded and responsible, who only lacks opportunity to show the stuff that is in him."

In October, 1753, Washington, but then twenty-two, set out with servants, horses, and two companions for the French posts. One companion was the old Dutch soldier who had taught Washington to use the sword, and the other was the famous backwoodsman, Christopher Gist. They pushed on through deep forests, over the mountains, across swift rivers, to the Indian village near where Pittsburg stands. From there Washington hurried on to the fort on French Creek.

 p166  The French commander received him with great politeness, and tried to keep him many days. But Washington saw that the French were really preparing to fight to hold this "gateway to the West."

The Frenchmen very politely said that they intended to hold that region at all hazard. Washington and his party at once started back with the answer.

Washington's party traveled through rain and snow, hurrying through dense forests where savages lurked ready to scalp them. An Indian shot at Washington, but missed him. Their horses gave out, and Washington and Gist plunged into the forest alone, on foot, anxious to lose no time. At last they reached Williamsburg.

War now seemed certain, and the governor hurried Washington forward with about one hundred fifty men to cut a road through the forests and over the mountains. But the French had already reached and built Fort Duquesne, where the Ohio is formed, and were then hurrying forward a party to look for the English. Just after Washington's men crossed the mountains they surprised the French scouts, killed their commander, and took the rest prisoners. Young Washington wrote home that he had heard the whistle of bullets and liked the music.

Although Washington's company soon grew to three hundred fifty men, he built Fort Necessity, for a French force numbering four times his own was now close upon him. A battle followed. Standing knee deep in mud and water, the English fired all day at  p167 the hidden foe. Their ammunition was about gone, and their men were falling. Washington surrendered the fort, and the little army, with sad hearts, started home along their newly-made road.

97. Washington and Braddock. But these were stirring times in Virginia, for an English general, Braddock, had come up the Potomac; and soldiers, cannon, and supplies were passing right by the doors of Mount Vernon. Every day Washington looked upon the king's soldiers, and saw the flash of sword and bayonet. How could he keep out of it? General Braddock liked the young Virginian, and made him an officer on his staff.

Braddock was a brave man, but he had never made war in the woods, nor against Indians. One day Washington suggested that a long train of heavily loaded wagons would make the march very, very slow. He was think of Indians. Braddock only smiled, as if to say that a young backwoodsman could not teach him how to fight.

Benjamin Franklin, a very wise man from Philadelphia, was also troubled when he thought of how the Indians and French would cut to pieces that long line of troops as they marched through the deep, dark forests. Braddock smiled again, and said: "These savages may be dangerous to the raw American militia, but it is impossible that they should make any impression on the king's troops."

The army, over two thousand strong, slowly crossed the mountains, and by July had almost reached Fort Duquesne. One day nearly one thousand French and Indians swarmed on both sides  p168 of the road, and from behind the safe cover of trees poured a deadly fire upon Braddock's men. "God save the king!" cried the British soldiers, as they formed in line of battle.

Washington urged Braddock to permit the English to take to the trees and fight Indian fashion, as the Virginians were doing, but Braddock forced his men to stand and be shot down by the unseen foe. Braddock himself was mortally wounded. Washington had two horses shot under him and his clothes pierced by four bullets. The British regulars soon ran madly back upon the soldiers in the rear. They threw away guns and left their cannon and wagons, while the Virginians under Washington kept the Indians back. The British army retreated to Philadelphia, but Washington returned to Virginia, where he received the thanks of the Burgesses. He at once collected troops, and hastened into the Shenandoah Valley to protect the settlers from the French and Indians.

The next year (1756) Washington journeyed on horseback to Boston. He wore his colonel's uniform of buff and blue, with a white and scarlet cloak over his shoulders. At his side hung a fine sword. With him rode two aids in uniform, besides two servants. Many an admiring eye was turned toward this stately  p169 young Cavalier. After this journey he returned to the frontier, near Greenway Court, and remained there a year or two more.

98. Washington Meets his Future Wife. One day while on his way to Williamsburg with war dispatches, Washington halted at a plantation to take dinner with a friend. There he was introduced to Mrs. Martha Custis, a charming young widow of his own age.

After dinner the conversation with her was too interesting for the young officer to see the horses being led back and forth near the window. The horses were stabled again. After supper Washington was not yet ready to mount. Not until late in the afternoon next day did he mount and ride away with all speed for the capital. On his return, he visited Mrs. Custis at her own beautiful plantation, and did not leave until he had her promise of marriage.

Great armies were already gathering. William Pitt, who sent Wolfe to capture Quebec, also ordered General Forbes to march against Fort Duquesne. But it was November before the army reached the Ohio. The French and Indians had nearly all gone to fight on the St. Lawrence, and the place was easily captured. It is said that Washington himself ran up the English flag. The fort's name was changed to Fort Pitt.

99. Old Days in Virginia. Washington now hastened home of the claim his bride. To the wedding came the new royal governor in scarlet and gold, and the king's officers in bright uniforms. There, too, came the great planters with their wives dressed in the best that the yearly ship could bring from London. The bride  p170 rode home in a coach drawn by six beautiful horses, while Washington, well mounted, rode by the side of the coach, attended by many friends on horseback.

The hardy settlers of the frontier, grateful to their brave defender, had already elected him to represent them in the House of Burgesses. He was proud to take his young wife to the meeting of the Burgesses when the old capital town was at its gayest, and when the planters came pouring in to attend the governor's reception.

Washington had already taken his seat among the Burgesses when the speaker arose and, in a very eloquent speech, praised him and presented him the thanks of the House for his gallant deeds as a soldier. Washington was so confused to hear himself so highly  p171 praised, that, when he arose to reply, he could not say a word. "Sit down, Mr. Washington," said the speaker, "your modesty is equal to your valor, and that surpasses any language that I possess."

Washington took his young bride to Mount Vernon, and there began the life that he enjoyed far more than the life of a soldier. He felt a deep interest in everything on the plantation. Early every morning he visited his stables and his kennel, for he liked horses and dogs very much. He then mounted a spirited horse and rode over his plantation to look at the growing fields of tobacco or wheat, or at the work of his slaves.

When the king's inspectors in the West Indies and in London saw barrels of flour marked "George Washington, Mount Vernon," they let them pass, for they were always good. He looked after his own and his wife's plantations so well that in a few years he was one of the richest men in America.

But besides such duties, there were many simple pleasures to be enjoyed at Mount Vernon. Here his soldier friends always found a warm welcome. Lord Fairfax and other Virginia gentlemen went often to Mount Vernon to enjoy a fox chase. Sometimes Mrs. Washington and the ladies rode with dash and courage after the hounds. Now and then boating parties on the  p172 wide Potomac were the order of the day. Many times the halls and grounds of Mount Vernon rang with the shouts and laughter of younger people, guests, who had come from miles around, for George and Martha Washington were young in spirit.

100. The Mutterings of War. One day in June, 1765, Washington came back from Williamsburg and told his family and neighbors about the bold resolutions and fiery speech of a rustic-looking member named Patrick Henry. He said that many older members opposed Henry. Washington took Henry's side, but his friends, the Fairfaxes, took the king's side in favor of the Stamp Act.

When the king put a tax on tea, Washington and many of his neighbors signed an agreement not to buy any more tea of England until the tax was taken off. When he heard that Samuel Adams and the "Mohawks" had thrown the tea into Boston Harbor, he knew that exciting times would soon be at hand.

The very next year the king ordered more soldiers to go to Boston and put in force the Boston Port Bill and other unjust laws. The colonies saw the danger, and sent their best men to hold the first Continental Congress in Philadelphia.

Virginia, as we have seen, sent George Washington, Patrick Henry, Richard Henry Lee, and other great men. Washington  p173 however, was not an orator, and made no speech in the Congress, as others did. He was a man of deeds. His time had not yet come.

Many persons were surprised to find him so young, for twenty years before they had heard of his deeds against the French, and how he had saved the broken pieces of Braddock's army. A member of Congress declared that "if you speak of solid information, and of sound judgment, Colonel Washington is unquestionably the greatest man on the floor."

The Congress, among other things, resolved to stand by Boston, if General Gage should make war on that town. Washington knew what that meant. He was not at home many months before he was busy drilling his brave Virginians, many of whom had been with him in the French and Indian War.

101. Washington Made Commander of the American Armies. In the last days of April, 1775, the news of the fight at Lexington and Concord was spreading rapidly southward. Washington, dressed in the buff and blue uniform of a Virginia colonel, hurried to Philadelphia to the meeting of the second Continental Congress. His day had come. It was now a time for deeds. The American army that surrounded Gage in Boston must have a head. John Adams arose in Congress and said that for the place of commander  p174 he had "but one gentleman in mind — a gentleman from Virginia — whose skill and experience as an officer, whose independent fortune, great talents, and excellent universal character would command the approbation of all America, and unite the colonies better than any other person in the Union."

Before all these words were spoken, Washington, much moved, had left the room. Congress elected him unanimously to be commander-in‑chief of its armies. When he accepted the honor, he said: "I beg it may be remembered by every gentleman in this room, that I this day declare with the utmost sincerity, I do not think myself equal to the command I am honored with."

Washington wrote immediately to his wife: "You may believe me, my dear Patsey, that so far from seeking this appointment, I have used every endeavor in my power to avoid it, not only from my own unwillingness to part from you and the family, but from the consciousness of its being a trust too great for my capacity." Great men are often the most modest.

Washington was soon on the way to Boston by the very route he had gone nearly twenty years before. But how different the journey! Then he was a Virginia colonel. Now the honored commander of all the American armies. Then only a few friends were with him. Now congressmen, citizens of Philadelphia, and great  p175 crowds cheered him on the way. Only twenty miles out from Philadelphia, they met the news from Bunker Hill. When Washington heard how the Americans faced the British bayonets, and forced them to retreat twice, he exclaimed: "The liberties of the country are safe!"

Through New Jersey he was hailed by the people with delight. A military procession escorted him through New York City, where he appointed that noble general, Philip Schuyler, to take command in New York. The students at Yale gave him a real college welcome — a parade with a band and student songs.

On Cambridge Common, under the famous Harvard Elm, on July 3, 1775, Washington drew his sword and took command of the Continental army. There was a great task before him. He had to drill the troops, collect cannon from Ticonderoga, which Americans had captured, and get ready to drive the British out of Boston.

It took all winter to do these things. One night in March, 1776, Washington secretly sent some of his best troops to build a fort  p176 on Dorchester Heights. The next morning Howe, the new British general, saw Washington's cannon pointing down on his army and ships. He immediately put his army on board and sailed away. This was a victory without a fight.

Washington took his army to New York, and built a fort on Long Island to protect the city. He was none too quick, for Howe came with thirty thousand men and many war ships.

In the battle on Long Island, a part of Washington's army was defeated. General Howe planned to capture the defeated troops next day, but Washington was too shrewd. In the night he collected all the boats in that region and rowed his army over to New York before the British knew what he was doing.

The great British army and fleet took the city, but by the help of a patriotic lady, Mrs. Murray, who entertained General Howe and his officers too long for their own good, all of Washington's regiments got away safely up the Hudson. During the fall of 1776, General Howe tried to get above Washington and capture him. But he did neither, for Washington's troops defeated the British at both Harlem Heights and White Plains.

While at Harlem Heights Washington felt that he must learn some secrets about the enemy. Nathan Hale, a young officer, volunteered to bring General Washington the information he wanted;  p177 but Hale was caught by the British and hanged. "I only regret," he said, "that I have but one life to lose for my country."

Howe then turned back as if to march against Philadelphia and capture Congress. Washington quickly threw a part of his army across the Hudson into New Jersey but he had to retreat. The British followed in a hot chase across New Jersey. Washington crossed the Delaware, and took with him all the boats for many miles up and down the river. The British decided to wait till they could cross the ice. Some of their generals thought the war was about over, and hastened back to New York to spend the Christmas holidays.

102. The People Did Not Know Washington. Those were, indeed, dark days for the Americans. Hundreds of Washington's soldiers had gone home discouraged, and many other faint-hearted Americans thought the cause lost, and were again promising obedience to George III. But the people did not yet know Washington.

On Christmas night, with two thousand five hundred picked men, Washington took to his boats, and crossed the Delaware in spite of the floating ice. Nine miles away, in Trenton, lay the Hessians, those soldiers  p178 from Hesse-Cassel, in Europe, whom George III had hired to fight his American subjects, because Englishmen refused to fight Americans.

On went the little army in spite of the biting cold and blinding snow. Two men froze to death and others were numb with cold.

"Our guns are wet," said an officer. "Then use the bayonet!" replied Washington. There was a sudden rush of tramping feet and the roar of cannon in the streets. The Hessian general was killed, and one thousand of his men surrendered.

These were a strange lot of prisoners. Not one could speak a word of English nor cared a thing for George III. No doubt they wished themselves at home on that morning. But the Hessians were not more surprised than the British generals in New York.

 p179  Cornwallis, the British commander, hurried forward with troops to capture Washington, but rested his army at Trenton. That night Washington's army stole away, and Cornwallis awoke in the morning to hear the booming of Washington's cannon at Princeton, where Washington was defeating another part of the British army. Cornwallis hastened to Princeton. It was too late. Washington was safe among the heights of Morristown, where Cornwallis did not dare account him.

These two victories turned the tide and aroused the Americans. Reënforcements and supplies made Washington's army stronger and more comfortable.

The next spring (1777) General Howe decided to capture Philadelphia. But Washington boldly moved his army across Howe's line of march. Howe did not want to fight, so he put his army on board his ships, sailed around into the Chesapeake, landed, and marched for the "rebel capital," as the British called Philadelphia.

At Brandywine Creek, south of Philadelphia, Washington faced him. A severe battle was fought. Each side lost about one thousand men. The Americans slowly retreated. In this battle Lafayette, a young French nobleman who had come to fight for America, was wounded.

103. The Winter at Valley Forge. The British slowly made their way to Philadelphia. Washington took post for the winter at Valley Forge, on the Schuylkill River, twenty miles northwest of  p180 Philadelphia. There, in the deep woods, among the hills, and in log huts built by their own hands, the American forces passed a winter so full of suffering that it makes one shudder to read the story.

When the army marched into Valley Forge, "their route could be traced on the snow by the blood that oozed from their bare, frost-bitten feet." Washington wrote to Congress that nearly three thousand of his men were "barefoot or otherwise naked."

A part of the army had no bread for three days, and for two days no meat. Hundreds had no beds, and were glad to sleep on piles of straw. Others had no blankets, and sat up nights before the fire to keep from freezing. Many sickened and died. But in Philadelphia, the well-fed British soldiers had a gay season, with balls and banquets.

Washington grieved over the suffering of his men, but never lost heart. All the winter through, by the aid of General Steuben, a noble German officer, he drilled his men. In the spring when the British started back to New York, he gave them such a bayonet charge at Monmouth, New Jersey (1778), that they were glad to escape that night, instead of stopping to rest and bury their dead.

 p181  104. The Crowning Victory at Yorktown. For the next three years the British army remained in New York, not daring to come out and attack Washington.

Finally, in the summer of 1781, General Lafayette, whom Washington had sent to Virginia to watch the British army there, sent him word that Cornwallis had come up from the Carolinas, and had taken post at Yorktown. Washington also got word that a large French war fleet was coming to the coast of Virginia to aid the Americans.

Washington now saw his chance. He ordered Lafayette to watch Cornwallis while he himself took two thousand ragged Continentals and four thousand French troops in bright uniforms, and slipped away from New York. He was almost in Philadelphia before the British or his own soldiers could guess where he was going.

At Yorktown, Washington and his army found both Lafayette and the French fleet keeping watch. Day and night the siege went on amid the roar of cannon. When all was ready, then came the wild charge of the Americans and the French in the face of British cannon and over British breastworks. The outer works were won, and Cornwallis saw that he must surrender. Seven thousand of the king's troops marched out and gave up their arms.

The victory at Yorktown made all Americans happy, and they rang bells, fired cannon, built bonfires, and praised Washington and Lafayette. But England was now tired of war, and many of her great men declared in favor of peace, which was soon made, in 1783.

 p182  105. Washington Bids Farewell to his Officers and to Congress. Washington bade farewell to his brave soldiers, with whom he had fought so long. The parting with his officers in Fraunces's Tavern, New York, was a touching scene. With tears in his eyes, and with a voice full of tenderness, he embraced each one as he bade him good-by. It was like the parting of a father from his sons.

Washington journeyed to Annapolis, Maryland, where Congress was then held, to give back the authority of commander-in‑chief which Congress had bestowed on him eight years before. How unselfish had been the conduct of Washington in refusing pay for his services! How noble was the act of giving up his power over an army which idolized him, and which he might have used to make  p183 himself king! But he did not think of these things as he hastened to his beautiful Mount Vernon to enjoy Christmas time once more with his loved ones.

But what a change had come over Virginia! Eight years before George III was king over all the Thirteen Colonies, and Virginia was ruled by one of his governors. Now the people were ruling themselves, and had elected one of Washington's neighbors, Benjamin Harrison, to be their governor. He missed some old friends. Some had died on the field of battle; others, like Lord Fairfax, had gone back to England, where they could be ruled by George III. Soon visitors began to come — old soldiers, beloved generals, and great statesmen from America, as well as distinguished people from Europe. They all wanted the honor of visiting the man who had led the American armies to victory, but who, again, was only a Virginia planter.

106. Washington Elected First President. The American people, however, would not let him long enjoy Mount Vernon, for when they met to make a new Constitution, or plan of government, he was chairman of the meeting and when  p184 that government was to go into operation they would have no other man for their first President than George Washington.

In 1789 he once more bade Mount Vernon and his aged mother good-by, and began the journey to New York, which was at that time the capital of the new nation. What a journey! It was almost one continual procession and celebration! At every town and roadside the people came to show their love for Washington, whom they rightly called the "Father of his Country." School children scattered flowers in his way and beautiful young women sang patriotic songs as he passed under decorated arches. When he reached New York Harbor the bay was white with the sails of many nations. Crowds thronged the streets, cannon boomed, and flags were thrown to the breeze to welcome him.

 p185  On April 30, 1789, standing on the balcony of Federal Hall in Wall Street, Washington took the oath of office, and pledged himself to govern the people according to the Constitution they had just made. He reverently bent and kissed the Bible, and became the first President of the United States. From the street, from doors and windows, and from the housetops, the people cried out: "Long live George Washington, President of the United States!"

The people would have him President a second time. But he refused to accept the office for a third time, and went back to Mount Vernon, there to spend his few remaining years among the scenes he loved so well. There he died, in 1799, loved by the people of America, admired by the people of Europe, and mourned alike by the dwellers in rustic cabins and in stately mansions.

Suggestions Intended to Help the Pupil

The Leading Facts. 1. Washington was born on the Potomac, spent his early days on the Rappahannock, and went to school at Fredericksburg. 2. He learned many things outside of school, such as horseback riding, fox hunting, and how to find his way in the deep forests. 3. He became a surveyor in the Shenandoah for Lord Fairfax. 4. Governor Dinwiddie sent Washington to order the French to leave the Ohio. 5. Washington joined Braddock's campaign against the French, and in the battle tried to save the army. 6. Washington married young Mrs. Martha Custis, and was elected to the House of Burgesses. 7. Heard Patrick Henry's fiery speech, went to first Continental Congress, and the second Congress made him Commander over the Continental Army. 8. Washington drove the British out of Boston, outwitted them around New York, retreated across the Jerseys,  p186 and then beat them at Trenton and Princeton. 9. He fought at Brandywine, suffered at Valley Forge, penned the British up in New York, and finally captured Cornwallis at Yorktown. 10. Washington gave up his command, retired to Mount Vernon, but was called to be the first President of the New Republic.

Study Questions. 1. Who was Washington's father and where did he meet Washington's mother? 2. What was a plantation and why so large? 3. What things did Washington love to do besides study? 4. Why did George make a good captain? 5. Picture the yearly ship from London at Mount Vernon. 6. Who was Lord Fairfax and what did he engage Washington to do? 7. What did Washington do at Greenway Court? 8. Why was Washington chosen for the mission to the French and what was the result? 9. What were the preliminary events before the great war? 10. Picture Braddock's defeat. 11. How old was Washington when he first visited Boston? 12. Picture Washington and his bride at the governor's reception. 13. How did he become so rich? 14. What news did Washington bring back to Mount Vernon in 1765? 15. Who went to Congress with George Washington and how did a member speak of him? 16. What did he learn at Congress? 17. Picture the scene in the second Congress. 18. Describe the trip to Boston. 19. What task did he set before himself and how did he accomplish it? 20. How did Washington outwit Howe? 21. Who was Nathan Hale? 22. What discouraged the Americans? 23. Picture the surprise and capture of the Hessians. 24. How did Washington outwit Cornwallis? 25. What effect did these victories have? 26. What sort of a time did the soldiers spend at Valley Forge? 27. Who was Steuben and what did he do? 28. Picture the surrounding and capture of Cornwallis. 29. How did the people feel about the victory? 30. Picture Washington's "farewell" to his soldiers. 31. What changes had the war made in Virginia? 32. Picture Washington's journey to New York. 33. Review the life of Washington and show what obstacles he overcame.

Suggested Readings. Washington: Cooke, Stories of the Old Dominion, 94‑139; Blaisdell and Ball, Hero Stories from American History, 62‑76, 123‑155; Hart, Camps and Firesides of the Revolution, 239‑255, 261‑266, 307‑309; Glascock, Stories of Columbia, 101‑113; Baldwin, Four Great Americans, 9‑68; Hart, How our Grandfathers Lived, 45‑47; Mabie, Heroes Every Child Should Know, 274‑288; Hawthorne, Grandfather's Chair, 186‑191; Magill, Stories from Virginia History, 56‑78, 79‑94; Wister, The Seven Ages of Washington.

 p187  The Three Men who Prepared the Way for the Capture of Burgoyne's Army

107. Philip Schuyler Who Knew the Ways of the Indian and of the Backwoodsman. General Schuyler's great-grandfather came to New Netherland while Peter Stuyvesant was yet governor, and built a mansion on the west bank of the Hudson, just above Albany. He and his sons made good friends of the Indians, and no one at "The Flats," as Schuyler's place was called, was ever in danger from them. Schuyler's grandfather and father both fought in the wars against the French and the Canadian Indians, but were always good friends of the Iroquois.

Philip Schuyler was born in 1733. His parents were rich, and had a mansion in Albany as well as the old home at "The Flats." Philip gained much from outdoor life. He early learned to use the gun, to ride horses, to paddle a canoe, and to manage large sailboats on the river.

Young Schuyler was better educated than most boys of his time. He learned to speak French at a famous school at New Rochelle, where many Huguenots, driven from France for religion's sake, had settled and built their homes. But mathematics was his favorite study. At eighteen he left school to take charge of the business of the Schuyler family. He had to find farmers for the great estate, then located on both sides of the Hudson. Sawmills and grain mills had to be built, and the stores of lumber and flour prepared and sent to market.

 p188  Young Schuyler, like Washington, made trips far into the wilderness. Sometimes he paddled up the Mohawk River, passed the fort-like mansion of Sir William Johnson, on and on over the carrying place to Oneida Lake, and down the river to Fort Oswego. These journeys were full of danger, but they made Schuyler well acquainted with the country and the ways of the backwoodsmen as well as of the Indians.

Although he enjoyed the wild life of the frontier, he was only too glad to get back to the happy circle gathered around the great Dutch fireplace at home. Sometimes he visited New York, but more often his sleigh in winter, and his sailboat in summer, stopped at Claverack, where lived beautiful Catherine Van Rensselaer.

In 1754 Schuyler became of age. He was the eldest son, and therefore inherited all his father's lands. Although the law, as in England and in some of the colonies, gave him this vast property, Philip Schuyler shared it equally with his brothers and sisters. He was kinder than the law.

The long, hard war with the French and Indians now came with all its dangers and sufferings. Schuyler, then twenty-two, raised a company of men and joined an expedition against Crown Point. The New York and New England soldiers gathered at "The Flats," and marched northward. They met the French and Indians, and a desperate battle in the thick woods followed. After many hours the French general, Dieskau, was wounded and captured.  p189 The Iroquois threatened to scalp him, but Captain Schuyler guarded Dieskau all the way to Albany, where he was well cared for by the Schuyler family.

Schuyler was a lover, as well as a warrior, and could not help thinking of the fair face at Claverack. A few days after this battle he married Catherine Van Rensselaer.

The next year Schuyler joined an expedition which carried supplies to Fort Oswego. The French attacked the expedition, but were defeated. They left a wounded comrade on an island, but Schuyler heard his call, went to his aid, and carried him ashore. Years afterward this man joined the American army, and went to Schuyler's tent to thank him for saving his life.

In 1758, the largest army yet seen in America gathered at Albany. There were gay times at "The Flats," where Schuyler met many of the American and English officers who in after years were to be fighting against each other.

But soon joy was turned to sorrow, for brave Montcalm, who burned Oswego and defeated the great army, might now come down with his Indians upon Albany.

What should be done? The English resolved to capture Fort Frontenac, now Kingston, Canada. Schuyler hastened with ship  p190 carpenters to Oswego and built a vessel to carry the cannon across the lake. Fort Frontenac fell, and the victory made easier Wolfe's greater victory over Montcalm at Quebec the next year.

When the war was over Schuyler sailed for London on business. The captain of the ship died, and Schuyler was the only one on board who knew enough to take his place.

Mrs. Schuyler built a mansion on the banks of the Hudson, at Albany, while he was in England. The house still stands, and within its walls have been entertained some of the great men of America and Europe. During the next ten years, while looking after his business, Schuyler kept his eye on the rising quarrel between England and her colonies. He attended the dinner given by the New York Sons of Liberty to celebrate the repeal of the Stamp Act, in 1766.

In the New York Assembly, he made speeches and offered resolutions in opposition to England, although many of his friends were Tories and stood by the king to the end.

When the news from Lexington came, Schuyler wrote to a friend: "My heart bleeds as I view the horrors of civil war, but we have left us only the choice between such evils and slavery."

108. A Man Whom Washington Trusted. With other patriotic men, New York sent Schuyler to the second Continental Congress (1775). There he met Colonel George Washington, and rode with  p191 him to New York on his way to take command of the army near Boston. We have seen how thousands welcomed Washington to New York City, and how he made Philip Schuyler commander over the men raised by New York.

Let us take a look at the two men: One was forty-three, and the other forty-two years old. One was a Cavalier from the banks of the Potomac; the other a Dutch man from the banks of the Hudson. One was a rich land owner in Virginia; the other, in New York. Both had tramped and camped on the frontier. Both knew the Indian ways of living and fighting. One had been at the Great Meadows, and on Braddock's fatal field; the other had fought the French on Lake George and at Oswego. Each had great admiration for the other. The friendship of Washington and Schuyler was never broken.

General Schuyler was soon busy getting New York ready to fight. He saw that the English might easily, as the French had done, send their armies down from kind by way of Lake Champlain and the Hudson, or send their great fleets of war ships into New York Bay.

First of all, he had to collect boats, food, clothing, guns, and ammunition for the expedition against Quebec, and to keep the Iroquois from taking sides with the English. The Iroquois had great respect for General Schuyler, and promised not to help the  p192 British. But they also had great respect for Sir John Johnson, a staunch Tory who had taken his father's place at Johnson Hall, a fortified place on the Mohawk.

In 1776, General Schuyler gathered an army, marched to Johnstown on the Mohawk, forced Johnson to give up his cannon, captured one hundred Tories, and compelled Sir John to promise good behavior. Congress and Washington thanked Schuyler for this work.

109. Schuyler Prepares for the Capture of Burgoyne. A greater task faced General Schuyler in 1777. News came that the British general, Burgoyne, with a large army, was hastening from Canada by way of Lake Champlain to Albany, and that Sir John Johnson and St. Leger, with Indians and Canadians, were going up the St.  p193 Lawrence to cross over, capture Fort Stanwix, and pass down the Mohawk and join Burgoyne at Albany. From Albany Burgoyne intended to make his way to New York.

At first Burgoyne swept everything before him, capturing the strong fortress of Ticonderoga, and chasing the retreating Americans to Schuyler's army at Fort Edward on the Hudson.

Schuyler had only one-half as many men as Burgoyne, but he sent one thousand of them with axes and crowbars to fell trees every few yards across the roads, and to destroy all the bridges spanning the many streams between Fort Edward and Stillwater. It took Burgoyne twenty days to march twenty miles. This delay gave the minutemen time to gather.

Another cause brought in reënforcements. Burgoyne's Indians were scalping men, women, and children. One day an Indian chief came into the British camp swinging a scalp of long hair. A Tory woman declared that it was the hair of her friend, the beautiful Jane McCrea, the daughter of a Tory clergyman. She had been scalped while trying to reach the camp to visit her lover, a British officer.

 p194  The story of this cruel deed, as it spread over the country, aroused every man able to carry a gun, and sent him hurrying to join Schuyler's army.

Burgoyne's army was now moving very slowly, and was eating up provisions very fast. Washington sent Generals Arnold and Morgan to aid General Schuyler. The American generals decided to cross the Hudson and take post at Stillwater.

Burgoyne heard that he could get more men and provisions at Bennington, Vermont, so he sent five hundred of his best men there, and five hundred more to reënforce them.

110. John Stark, the Hero of Bennington. The New England minutemen, under John Stark and Seth Warner, were rising to strike a blow at Burgoyne. Stark was a hero of the French and Indian War. He had been at Bunker Hill, and with Washington at Trenton and Princeton. He now gathered his men at Bennington, but on hearing that the British were coming, he marched to the Wallomsac River, where he found them on rising ground.

Stark sent part of his army to attack the rear and the sides of the British, while he himself, with five hundred rifle­men, prepared to storm their front. When all was ready Stark said: "My men, yonder are the Hessians. To-night the American flag floats from yonder hill, or Molly Stark sleeps a widow!"

How easy it must have seemed to British veterans to defeat the  p195 ragged-looking men under Stark! But every minuteman was a sharpshooter, and in two hours the very troops that had won famous victories in Europe were throwing down their guns, throwing up their hands, and begging for mercy from these American farmers.

Just at this moment the five hundred fresh British soldiers came up and hotly renewed the battle, but before dark these soldiers, too, were killed, wounded, captured, or were running away.

A thousand of Burgoyne's best and bravest troops were lost in a day. The gallant Stark was made a general, and more and more reënforcements joined Schuyler's army at Stillwater. After this splendid victory New England minutemen continued to pour in faster and faster to join the forces under Schuyler.

111. Nicholas Herkimer, the Hero of Oriskany. In the meantime, St. Leger and Sir John Johnson, with Indians, Canadians, and Tories, had reached Fort Stanwix, an American fort in the  p196 Mohawk Valley, where the city of Rome now stands. This news spread alarm throughout the valley, for many of the Tories, as well as Sir John Johnson, belonged to this valley. The patriots, eight hundred strong, sprang to arms.

Their leader was the brave General Nicholas Herkimer, a German, and a veteran of the French and Indian War. He led them to Oriskany and there waited for news from the fort. But some did not wish to wait, and called Herkimer a coward and a Tory. This was more than his German pride could bear, and he gave the command to march.

Two miles west of Oriskany Herkimer's army was passing through a ravine with heavy woods on each side. All at once, from both sides, came the crack of rifles and the yells of savages. Herkimer's men were falling, but the enemy could not be seen: it was an Indian and Tory ambush.

Herkimer was soon wounded, and was placed at the foot of a great tree. He saw Indians rush out and cut his men down with the tomahawk before they could reload. "Two men to a tree; one load, and the other watch!" shouted the old general. Neighbor fought against neighbor, sometimes hand to hand. Although nearly half of Herkimer's men were killed or wounded, he would not surrender. The British heard the guns of the fort and quickly retreated, but it was too late, for the soldiers in the fort had rushed out, captured the Tory camp, and had carried seven wagonloads of supplies into the fort.

 p197  General Herkimer and his little army marched away. In a few days the brave old German died. His name is kept fresh by the city and county which bear his name, and by two monuments, one near Oriskany and one in Herkimer.

112. Schuyler Sends Arnold to Fort Stanwix. Two men crept out of Fort Stanwix in the dead of night, stole by the British guards, and hastened to tell General Schuyler.

"Who will lead reënforcements to Fort Stanwix?" said Schuyler to his generals. "Send me!" said the brave but excitable Arnold. The next morning he was on his way up the Mohawk with eight hundred men.

He captured two Tories, Yan Yost and his brother, but promised not to hang them if Yan would go to Fort Stanwix and  p198 frighten away the British by stories of the coming of a great American army. Yan's coat was shot full of holes and he started for Fort Stanwix with some friendly Iroquois to watch him. His brother was kept a prisoner.

One day Yan ran breathless into the British camp and showed his coat full of holes. When asked how many Americans were coming, he pointed to the leaves on the trees. Just then the Indians came running, saying that Burgoyne was defeated and Arnold was coming with three thousand men.

This was too much for the Indians and Tories. They fled toward Oswego, and St. Leger had to follow. The Mohawk Valley was safe, and Arnold marched back to Stillwater.

Everything pointed to Schuyler's defeat of Burgoyne. Lincoln was coming with two thousand Green Mountain boys, Stark was there with the victors of Bennington, and Arnold and Morgan were already there with their men.

Just at this point, Congress sent General Gates to take Schuyler's place. This was a great wrong done to a noble man. General Schuyler gave Gates all the information he could about the two armies, and offered to help him in any way. But Gates was not polite enough to invite Schuyler to his first war council.

General Schuyler was soon elected to the Continental Congress again, and was busy advising and helping Washington till peace came. After Washington became president, Schuyler was twice elected to the United States Senate, where he supported the measures of Washington. His son-in‑law, Alexander Hamilton, was Washington's Secretary of the Treasury.

General Philip Schuyler died in 1804, and was buried in Albany.

 p199  Suggestions Intended to Help the Pupil

The Leading Facts. 1. Schuyler loved study and the wild life in the deep forests. 2. He led armies to victory in the French War. 3. Washington made him a general, and he prepared for Burgoyne's capture. 4. Schuyler was kind to the unfortunate. He was twice sent to the Senate. 5. Stark had been a hero in the French and Indian War, and had fought at Trenton and Princeton. 6. He won the battle of Bennington with the New England minutemen. 7. Nicholas Herkimer, a veteran of the French and Indian War, rallied the Mohawk men when St. Leger and Johnson came. 8. He fought the battle of Oriskany, and helped Schuyler prepare for Burgoyne's surrender.

Study Questions. 1. When was Philip Schuyler born? 2. What other great American boy, born of rich parents about the same time, could do many of the things Philip Schuyler could do? 3. What took Schuyler from school? When did Washington lose his father? 4. How was Schuyler trained in the ways of a frontiersman? 5. Prove that Schuyler was a generous man. 6. Look on the map for places named in the French and Indian War. 7. What other officer was engaged in this war? 8. Why was Schuyler sent with ship carpenters to Oswego? 9. What did he do when many of his friends became Tories? 10. Was Washington wise in his choice of Schuyler to command his forces of New York? 11. Compare Washington and Schuyler. 12. What did Schuyler have to do as commander? 13. What was Burgoyne's plan of invasion? 14. Who was John Stark? 15. Why did the victory seem so easy to the minutemen? 16. Where was the victory won? 17. Find Fort Stanwix on the map? Who attacked it? 18. Who was General Herkimer and how was he drawn into an ambush? 19. Picture the battle of Oriskany. 20. Tell the story of Arnold and how he frightened the British. 21. What was Schuyler's disappointment and how did he act? 22. How did Gates act? 23. What noble acts did Schuyler perform both before and after the close of the war?

Suggested Readings. Philip Schuyler: Williams, Stories from Early New York History, 182‑187; Tuckerman, Life of General Philip Schuyler, 32‑209.

John Stark: Williams, Stories from Early New York History, 193‑195; Frost, Heroes of the Revolution, 90‑105; Jenkins, Lives of Patriots and Heroes, 261‑278.

Nicholas Herkimer: Williams, Stories from Early New York History, 199‑208; Todd, In Olde New York, 123‑128; Cowen, The Herkimers and Schuylers, 17‑67; Benton, Herkimer County and the Upper Mohawk Valley, 151‑170.

 p200  Generals Greene, Morgan, and Marion, the Men who Helped Win the South from the British

113. The War in the South. Early in the Revolutionary War British vessels made an attack on Charleston, South Carolina (1776). But Colonel Moultrie, from his rude fort of palmetto logs, gave them such a welcome that they were glad to get away, and for two years the British gave the southern colonies little trouble.

But in 1778, another British army captured Savannah, Georgia. In 1780, the City of Charleston, South Carolina, with General Lincoln's entire army, surrendered to Cornwallis. Congress hastened General Gates to the South to check the British, but Cornwallis surprised Gates and cut his army to pieces near Camden.

114. Nathanael Greene, the Quaker General. Washington chose Nathanael Greene, the "Quaker general," to go south, take command of the American army, and to watch Cornwallis, who had just defeated Gates. Greene was born in Roger Williams's old colony, and was ten years younger than Washington. His father was a farmer, a miner, and a blacksmith on week days, and a Quaker preacher on Sundays.

 p201  As a boy Nathanael had plenty of hard work to do, and at thirteen could "only read, write, and cipher." But he was hungry for more knowledge, and began to study Latin, mathematics, philosophy, and history. Besides he made iron toys, and sold them to buy books. His family got into a lawsuit, and Nathanael took up the study of law. He was called the "learned blacksmith."

When Greene saw that King George was likely to force the Americans to fight, he joined the militia and bought a musket, a very unusual thing for a man in Quaker dress to do. He hid the gun in his wagon. There he watched General Gage drilling British soldiers. He persuaded one of them to go with him to drill his company of minutemen.

When the stirring news from Lexington reached him, Greene was among the first to start for Boston, and there Washington found him when he arrived to take command of the army.

Greene was made one of Washington's generals, and followed his great commander till Washington sent him to the South to win back that part of the country from Cornwallis.

Although General Greene found but a small army in North Carolina, he knew that the southern men would fight if they had a chance, for the backwoodsmen had just killed or captured one thousand British soldiers at the battle of Kings Mountain.

Besides, he had some of the bravest and ablest leaders in  p202 America to help him. Among them were Daniel Morgan, Francis Marion, William Washington (a cousin of General Washington), Henry Lee (called "Light Horse Harry"), and Thomas Sumter.

Greene divided his army into two parts. He took one thousand men and marched into northeastern South Carolina, where Marion and Lee, with small bands of cavalry, stole upon the British outposts. In broad daylight they charged pellmell into Georgetown, captured the officer in command there, and got safely away before the British were over their fright.

Greene sent General Morgan and Colonel William Washington with nine hundred men into northwestern South Carolina to threaten some British posts, and to encourage the patriots in the mountains. Very shortly after this, Washington and his cavalry swooped down on a party of British soldiers and captured two hundred fifty of them.

Cornwallis was now thoroughly roused, and resolved to put an end to such events. He therefore ordered his favorite cavalry officer, Colonel Tarleton, to take eleven hundred choice soldiers and capture Morgan and his men.

 p203  115. General Morgan. But Morgan was not the kind of man to be caught napping. When a young man, he had fought the French and Indians on the Virginia frontier.

He was at Braddock's defeat. He had once knocked a British officer down for striking him. In an Indian fight he had been shot through the neck and thought himself dying, but, to escape being scalped, locked his arms tightly around his horse's neck, while the horse ran wildly through the woods.

At the head of a company of ninety-six Virginia backwoodsmen, Morgan had marched six hundred miles in twenty-one days, and joined Washington at Boston.

Later, Washington sent him to join in the capture of Burgoyne, at Saratoga. His men did such splendid fighting that Burgoyne said to Morgan: "Sir, you command the finest regiment in the world!" Fighting in the woods of America such a man was likely to be a match for any British officer.

When Morgan heard of Tarleton's approach he retreated to a good place for fighting, called the Cowpens. On the top of a long, rising slope, he placed the Continental troops — men trained to fight. In the rear he hid Colonel Washington and his cavalry­men.

Some distance in front of the Continentals he placed the  p204 militia with orders not to retreat till they had fired twice. In front of the militia Morgan hid a company of deadly sharpshooters in the woods on the right and another company in the woods on the left.

As soon as Tarleton's men came in sight they charged pellmell, thinking victory an easy matter. The militia and sharpshooters poured in their fire not only twice, but several times, and retreated behind the Continentals, who now poured deadly volleys into the ranks of the on-coming British, and then made at them with their bayonets.

Just at this moment, Colonel Washington's cavalry dashed out and struck the right flank of the redcoats. In another moment the militia, which had re-formed and reloaded, rushed out and struck their left flank. Most of Tarleton's men threw down their guns and surrendered on the spot. Only two hundred seventy redcoats got away. Tarleton barely escaped after being wounded in a hand-to‑hand sword fight with Colonel Washington.

Tarleton was not permitted to forget his defeat. In conversation one day he remarked that he had never seen Colonel Washington. A patriotic lady present replied: "If you had only looked behind you at the battle of Cowpens, you would have had that pleasure."

On another occasion it is told that Tarleton said to a lady, in a sneering way, that he understood Colonel Washington was so ignorant he could not even write his own name. This lady  p205 looked at Tarleton's wounded hand, and said: "You certainly carry proof that he can at least 'make his mark'."

The defeat of Tarleton at Cowpens roused Cornwallis. He destroyed all his heavy baggage, and started in hot haste after Morgan. But Morgan knew a thing or two, and marched for the fords of the Catawba River as soon as the battle was over.

There Greene joined him, and away the armies went for the Yadkin River. Greene had brought along boats on light wheels, and had no trouble in crossing, but Cornwallis had to march up the river until his army could wade across. Greene was already on his way to the Dan, which he crossed into southern Virginia.

General Morgan, now broken in health by long years of hard fighting, retired to his home, "Soldiers' Rest," in the Shenandoah  p206 Valley. After the war was over his neighbors elected him to Congress, where he gave hearty support to President Washington.

When Daniel Morgan died he was followed to the grave by the largest procession that the valley had yet seen. The people who had come from near and far, witnessed a touching sight. They saw seven gray-haired veterans, with old rifles in their hands, stand beside the grave of the hero, and fire a military salute. They were the last of that hardy band of ninety-six, which had marched with Morgan to Boston to join Washington, nearly thirty years before. This was their last military farewell.

116. The Battle of Guilford Court House. General Greene won a great victory by retreating. He and his army were still among friends, and his army was growing. Cornwallis was hundreds of miles from his supplies and from reënforcements. After a few weeks, Greene crossed back into North Carolina and fiercely attacked Cornwallis at Guilford Court House, and killed or wounded one-fourth of his army.

Cornwallis claimed the victory, but instead of attacking Greene he marched his army rapidly to Wilmington, on the seacoast, and from there marched into Virginia, where Washington and Lafayette caught him in a trap at Yorktown.

 p207  Greene turned back to South Carolina, where the British still held Charleston and a few other towns. The British lost so many men at Hobkirks Hill, and at Eutaw Springs, their last important battles in the South, that they were compelled to retreat to Charleston, where they were when the news from Yorktown put an end to serious fighting.

General Greene's work as a soldier was done. Beside the medal presented to him by Congress for the battle of Eutaw Springs, South Carolina, as a token of affection, gave him a large sum of money, and the state of Georgia a beautiful plantation on the Savannah River, where he died in 1786. Greene's fame as a soldier of the Revolution stands next to that of Washington.

117. Francis Marion. Of all the brave men who helped Greene win back the South, none was braver than General Francis Marion, whom the British named the "Swamp Fox." Marion was born in the same year as Washington. He was of French parentage. He was so very small in size that people wondered how he could be so great a soldier.

Marion's "Brigade," as his company was called, was made up of only a handful of men, usually less than one hundred. But they owned and rode the swiftest horses, carried their own guns, and wore their own swords, hammered out of old saws by country blacksmiths.

Marion and his men seldom were two successive nights in the same place. The night was their time for work. At sundown  p208 they swung into their saddles, and were soon riding for the enemy's camp. When near, they quietly surrounded the camp, took aim by the light of the fires, fired, and then rushed upon the frightened British or Tories, and cut them down with their terrible broadswords.

Before daybreak, Marion and his men were hiding safely in some distant swamp or other safe place. If the British chased him too closely his men scattered in different directions, but always made their way to the common hiding place. In a few days they were ready to strike again.

Just after Cornwallis defeated Gates, near Camden, Marion pounced upon a guard of British soldiers that was taking one hundred fifty prisoners to Charleston, captured them all, and set the prisoners free.

At last Cornwallis ordered Colonel Tarleton to get "Mr. Marion," as he called him. But before Tarleton could act Marion had fallen on a large party of Tories going to join Cornwallis, and killed, captured, or scattered the entire party. Tarleton chased Marion for twenty-five miles, only to find a large swamp through which he could see neither road nor path. He gave up the chase in disgust, declaring he would pursue the "Swamp Fox" no farther.

When Greene returned to the last campaign in South Carolina, he found no better, bolder, or more vigilant helpers than Marion and his "brigade." Greene gave Marion high praise, and Congress gave him a vote of thanks.

 p209  Marion was the true soldier of liberty. He cared nothing for display, only for the success of the patriot cause. Marion thought of his men before himself, was watchful, patient, and silent. He always struck his foes where and when they did not look for him. If they were too strong he vanished like a smoke in the breeze.

Marion was as true and gentle as he was bold and brave. He was never cruel to prisoners, and was greatly opposed to punishing the Tories after the war was over. Marion's neighbors often elected him to high office and in many other ways showed that they admired him, even if some did not agree with him.

During the war a British officer was invited to take dinner with Marion. What was his surprise to see only sweet potatoes, baked in the ashes, set before him. After this feast the officer resigned, saying it was useless trying to defeat such soldiers.

 p210  Suggestions Intended to Help the Pupil

The Leading Facts. 1. Greene was self-taught. He went to Boston, saw the British army, returned home, and prepared his minutemen. 2. Washington noticed Greene's general­ship and sent him to the Carolinas after the defeat of Gates. 3. After the battle of Cowpens, General Greene led the American army in the retreat to Virginia. 4. Greene turned and fought the battles of Guilford Court House, Hobkirk's Hill, and Eutaw Springs. 5. Daniel Morgan with ninety-six men marched from the Shenandoah Valley to Boston to join Washington. 6. Morgan won the battle of Cowpens against Colonel Tarleton. 7. Francis Marion was born of French parents. His "Brigade" was made up of a small number, mounted on their own horses, and armed with their own guns and swords. 8. He was called the "Swamp-Fox," because his men, attacking after night, usually escaped to a swamp before daylight.

Study Questions. 1. Find on the map the places named in the text. 2. Where was Greene born and why was he called "the learned blacksmith"? 3. How did he get his company of minutemen drilled? 4. What had he been doing since Lexington? 5. What leaders did Greene have to help him? 6. Who were the British generals? 7. Who was General Morgan? 8. What had he already done in the war for Independence? 9. What did Burgoyne say to Morgan? 10. Explain how Morgan prepared for the battle of the Cowpens. 11. Picture the battle. 12. What anecdotes are told on Tarleton? 13. Picture the scene at General Morgan's burial. 14. How did Greene win a victory by retreating? 15. What became of Cornwallis after the battle of Guilford Court House? 16. What other battles did Greene fight? 18. What is the rank of Greene as general? 19. How many were in Marion's "Brigade," how were they armed, and how did they fight? 20. Why did Tarleton call Marion the "Swamp-Fox"? 21. Who praised General Marion? 22. Read "The Song of Marion's Men," by William Cullen Bryant.

Suggested Readings. Nathanael Greene: Fiske, Irving's Washington, 430‑456; Francis V. Greene, General Greene, 1‑22, 94‑105, 160‑262; Frost, Heroes of the Revolution, 27‑75; Jenkins, Patriots and Heroes of the Revolution, 115‑172.

Daniel Morgan: Blaisdell and Ball, Hero Stories from American History, 105‑122; Brooks, Century Book of the American Revolution, 168‑173; Frost, Heroes of the Revolution, 76‑89.

Francis Marion: McCrady, South Carolina in the Revolution, 568‑572, 577‑652, 660‑672, 748‑752, 816‑881.

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Page updated: 28 Oct 17