A General of the Revolution: John Sullivan of New Hampshire

By Charles P. Whittemore | Go to book overview

IV: NEW JERSEY TO BRANDYWINE
JANUARY-SEPTEMBER, 1777

Sullivan entered the year 1777 with high hopes, particularly after the dazzling success at Trenton and Princeton. The nightmare of Canada and the debacle at Long Island were tucked away in the past; John Sullivan looked forward to new action. But now the rigors of winter were upon both armies, and Washington settled into safe quarters in the hills of Morristown, while the British occupied Brunswick and Amboy. Howe himself chose to remain in more comfortable surroundings in New York. The year 1776 had drawn to a close, but the campaign of 1777 was far in the offing.

The first part of 1777 was irksome to the New Hampshire general. Pained by illness, disturbed by lack of action, approached by the enemy, and engaged in controversy, John Sullivan found that the year's auspicious start was beginning to dull. He suffered from a digestive disorder during the winter, a chronic illness that bothered him on other occasions throughout his military career. 1 He received leave to return to his home for a while, but the trip was spoiled by news that Arthur St. Clair had been put in command at Ticonderoga, an assignment which Sullivan had coveted for himself. 2 The general, feeling slighted, wrote Washington a whining letter because he had gained no separate command. Telling his commander-in-chief that he should have been sent to Ticonderoga, he asked him to enumerate his failings "That I may Rid the Continent of an officer who is unworthy to Trust with command." 3 Washington rebuked the irate Sullivan, referring to "imaginary Slights." "No other

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