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

By George Bancroft | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XXIV.
THE BRITISH RECOVER CANADA. NORTH CAROLINA DECLARES
FOR INDEPENDENCE.
JANUARY–JULY 1776.

THE year 1775, as it opened, found the British in the undisputed possession of all the thirteen American colonies. Before the campaign for 1776 could begin, they had been driven from New England, and every governor had abandoned his post excepting in New Jersey, where he was under arrest, and in Maryland, where he was an officer of the proprietary and was left free on parole.

The British plan of campaign for the coming season was the earliest possible relief of Quebec and the recovery of Canada by an army which was to advance by way of Montreal, Lake George and Ticonderoga to Albany, and thus insulate New England, of which the reduction was reserved to the last. At the same time Howe was to occupy the city of New York and quickly reduce the middle states. The harbor of Newport, Rhode Island, was so alluring that, with Howe’s approval, it was to be occupied by a garrison. The winter months, before the campaign in the North could be undertaken, were to be employed in restoring the king’s authority in the South.

There remained near Quebec about four hundred Americans and as many wavering Canadians. Carleton, in the well-provisioned and strongly fortified town, had twice as many as both.

The chief command of the Americans devolved on Wooster, a frugal New England Calvinist, bred in the hatred of popery, inexperienced in war, and aged. The Green Mountain boys he summoned to come down by fifties or even by tens, as

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