History of the United States of America, from the Discovery of the Continent - Vol. 4

By George Bancroft | Go to book overview

CHAPTEE XVI.
AMEBICA AWAITS THE KING’S DECISION.
JULY–OCTOBER 1775.

IN the absence of a continental government, and with a most imperfect one in Massachusetts, it fell on Washington to take thought for his army from its general direction to its smallest want. As commander-in-chief, he scrupulously obeyed the continental congress, which, from its inchoate character, was tardy, feeble, and uncertain. In his intercourse with the neighboring colonial governments, whose good-will was his main resource, he showed deference to their laws and courtesy to their magistrates.

By the fourth of August the army was formed into three divisions, stationed at Roxbury, Cambridge, and Winter Hill, under Ward, Lee, and Putnam. Each division consisted of two brigades, each brigade of about six regiments; but the powder on hand was only enough to furnish each man with nine rounds of cartridge.

Between the twenty-fifth of July and the seventh of August fourteen hundred riflemen arrived in the camp. A company from Virginia had for its captain Daniel Morgan, who, in 1774, had gained experience in war, having taken part in the expedition of Dunmore. In person he was more than six feet high and well proportioned, of an imposing presence, moving with strength and grace, of a hardy constitution that defied fatigue, hunger, and cold. His open countenance was the mirror of an ingenuous nature. He could glow with anger, but was never mastered by it; his disposition was sweet and peaceful, and his hospitable house was the home of cheerful-

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