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NEW MONTHLY MAGAZINE.
No. CCCCI.-OCTOBER, 1883.- VOL. LXVII.
LAST DAYS OF WASHINGTON'S ARMY AT NEWBURGH,
"HE same reasons which induced Wash- enemy would be fatal, as New England
Newburgh during the latter part of the nies, and the two sections could be easily Revolutionary war made it an important beaten in detail. Once, Burgoyne had spot from the outset of the struggle. New almost reached Albany, and Clinton had England, through her open port and her forced the passage of the Highlands to coown resources, furnished the chief mate- operate with him. To prevent a similar rial for carrying on the war. The Brit- catastrophe Washington took up his posiish, occupying New York and patrolling tion at Newburgh. The main army was the Hudson up to the Highlands, cut off encamped some two or three miles back, the direct communication between it and behind morass, which Washington the army under Washington in New Jer- spanned by a single causeway. The house sey and Pennsylvania. The next nearest in which he took up his head-quarters route was by way of Fishkill and New- stands on a bluff that overlooks the Hudburgh. Henceloaded teams were constant- son for eight miles to West Point. From ly arriving at the former place, which, this outlook he could ascertain at once being ferried across the river, took their when the enemy's ships broke through the tedious way back of the Highlands south barriers constructed there and began to to the army.
ascend the river, and take such steps as he When the news of the battle of York- deemed necessary. The house, standing town and surrender of Cornwallis reach- to-day just as it did then, is a quaint builded England, the government seemed para- ing, with a great pointed roof much highlyzed. Lord Germain took it to Lord er than the body of the house. It is built North, the Prime Minister, and when ask- of stone, with walls two feet thick, and ed how the latter received it, replied, “As contains six rooms besides the kitchen on he would a bullet in his heart.” Fling- the first floor, and five above. The roof ing up his arms, he strode backward and is sustained by long timbers of red cedar, forward across his apartment, exclaiming, rough hewn, which to this day give out “Oh God, it is all over! oh God, it is all the delicate perfume of this wood. The over!-it is all over!" Parliament met two main room on the first floor is low, with days after, and the strength of the oppo- heavy rough-hewn timbers supporting the sition showed that in all probability it floor above, and is known, and has been was all over. The news of this state of for a century, as “the room with seven things did not reach this country till win- doors and one window." On one side is ter, and so, as soon as spring opened, a huge open fire-place big enough to roast Washington, leaving Rochambeau to pro- an ox, and on the hearth-stone of which tect New Jersey, joined the American one can look up through the tall chimarmy which had been ordered to march to ney and see the sky above. Newburgh. With the army of Cornwal- Some three miles south, back on the lis gone, Sir Henry Clinton, shut up in high ground, were the head-quarters of New York, was in a condition to effect Knox and Greene, a house apparently nothing except with his ships up the Hud- modelled in its exterior after that occuson. This river, therefore, must be pro- pied by Washington. Those of most of tected at all hazards, for, if hostilities the other generals were strung along on should be resumed, its possession by the a ridge opposite the slope on which lay
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1883, by Harper and Brothers, in the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.
VOL. LXVII.-No. 401.-41
his horse, and, attended by an orderly or his negro servant Bill, rode over to the head-quarters of some of his generals. His lunch was free to all of his officers, but the dinner at five was a very formal affair, and every guest was expected to appear in full dress. If the guests had not all arrived at the precise hour, he waited five minutes to allow for the variation in the watches, and then would sit down to the table. The chaplain, if present, would say grace; if not, then Washington would say it himself, he and all the guests standing. If Hamilton was present he did the honors of the table; if not, then one of the aides-de-camp.
The dinner usually consisted of three courses-meat and vegetables, followed by
some kind of pastry, and last hickory-nuts con
and apples, of which Washington was very fond. The meal lasted about two hours, when the table was cleared off, and the leaves taken out so as to allow it to be shut
up in a circle, when Mrs. Washington ENTRANCE TO WASHINGTON'S HEAD-QUARTERS.
presided, and from her own silver tea serv
ice served the guests with tea and coffee, encamped the army in huts. Wayne's which were handed round by black servwas to the north of Newburgh. Thus it ants. Supper was at nine, and the table will be seen that Washington's head-quar- remained spread till eleven. It consisted ters, situated on a bluff sloping down to of three or four light dishes, with fruit the river, was to the other head-quarters and walnuts. When the cloth was reand to the army like the pivot of the di- moved each guest in turn was called on verging rays of a fan. No arrangement for a toast, which was drank by all, folcould be better for the speedy dispatch of lowed by conversation, toasts, and generorders to every part of the army. The al conviviality. General Chastellux, a history of the army during the year and a member of the French Academy, who half it lay here may be divided into two came out with Rochambeau as his aide, parts—first the year of leisure, idleness, with the rank of major-general, travelled and comparative indifference, and the last over the country, and published an acsix months of excitement, filled with great count of his travels. In this he speaks of events until the army disbanded. Of his visits to Washington, and describes course as the prospects of peace brighten- these entertainments as delightful, and ed, the strict discipline of the army relax- says that “General Washington toasted ed, and the intercourse of the army with and conversed all the while," and adds, the people grew more intimate, and hence “The nuts are served half open, and the the domestic life of Washington and theof- company are never done eating and pickficers became better known. Consequent- ing them.” Washington entertained a ly, many incidents of a private, social great deal. Not only French officers, but character have been handed down by tra- the leading statesmen of the country visitdition. It is only a few years .since two ed him to consult on the state of affairs. men, one major in the artillery, and Baron Steuben's head-quarters were on the other a member of Washington's Life- the Fishkill side of the river, and he freGuard, both nearly a hundred years old, quently came over to drill the Life-Guard died a few miles back of Newburgh, one in military tactics, with a view of making of whom has grandchildren still living in officers of them, should the war continue. the old homestead. As to Washington, Their encampment was just back of headthe
of his life here furnished but quarters. little incident. His breakfast was a very On these occasions he was accustomed informal meal, after which he ordered up to dine with Washington. Once several
guests were present, and among them financier without finances? Then I do not Robert Morris, who had come up to con- think you as honest a man as my cook. sult with Washington about the state of He came to me one day at Valley Forge, the finances. During the dinner he spoke and said, 'Baron, I am your cook, and you very bitterly of the bankrupt condition of have nothing to cook but a piece of lean the Treasury, and his utter inability to beef, which is hung up by a string before replenish it, when Steuben said, “Why, the fire. Your wagoner can turn the are you not financier? Why do you not string, and do as well as I can. You have create funds ?”
promised me ten dollars a month; but as “I have done all I can,” replied Morris, you have nothing to cook, I wish to be dis“and it is impossible for me to do more." charged, and not longer be chargeable to
“What!" said the baron; "you remain you.' That is an honest fellow, Morris."