« PreviousContinue »
Fallen Timbers, near where Toledo now stands, rushed their camp as he had done Stony Point years before, and so utterly defeated them that they gave no serious trouble for years afterwards. As some of the tribes continued in arms, he laid waste their country and built forts to hold them in awe. A year later the chiefs of the tribes came humbly in and signed a treaty of peace, by which they ceded to the government an immense tract of land, lying in Indiana and Michigan.
The gallant Wayne was now near the end of his career. During his return to the East, after completing his work among the Indians, he was taken sick, and died in a hut on Presque Isle, Lake Erie, on the 15th of December, 1796. He was buried on the lake shore, but some years later his remains were interred at Radnor, Pa., and a handsome monument was erected over them in 1809 by the Society of the Cincinnati.
BENJAMIN LINCOLN, THE RECEIVER OF
THE SWORD OF CORNWALLIS
BENJAMIN LINCOLN, one of the leading generals of the Revolution, spent his first forty years of life on a Massachusetts farm, being born at Hingham, in that colony, January 23, 1733. He did not quite confine himself to the tilling of the earth, for he was several times elected to the legislature, was a member of the provisional congress of Massachusetts, and was a colonel of militia when the Revolution began. As such he was active in organizing the State troops and aiding in the siege of Boston. Massachusetts in 1776 gave him the rank of brigadier-general, and in February, 1777, at the suggestion of General Washington, he was appointed by Congress a major-general in the regular army. This rapid promotion was a just reward for his military merit, which Washington was quick to recognize.
His first notable service was in June, 1776, when he commanded the expedition which cleared the harbor of Boston of British vessels. Thence he marched in October with a body of militia to New York, reinforcing Washington after his defeat on Long Island. For several months he commanded at intervals a division or a detachment of Washington's army, occupying positions in which courage, vigilance and caution were strongly demanded.
On one occasion, when in command of about five hundred men in an outpost position near Bound Brook, N. J., his patrols neglected their duty and permitted
a large body of the enemy to approach without discovery within two hundred yards of his quarters. Peril of capture was imminent. He had barely time to leave the house and spring upon his horse before the British swarmed around it. He succeeded in leading off his troops in the face of the enemy, though sixty of them were killed and wounded on the field. One of his aides was captured and his baggage and papers fell into the hands of the enemy, as also three small pieces of artillery,
In July, 1777, Washington sent Lincoln north to the army under General Schuyler, then engaged in the task of opposing General Burgoyne in his southward march from Canada to the Hudson River. Taking his station at Manchester, Vermont, he organized the New England militia as they arrived and engaged in a series of operations in the rear of the British army.
A detachment of five hundred men, under Colonel Brown, on the 13th of September, surprised the enemy at the Lake George landing, seized two hundred boats, and liberated a hundred American prisoners. Nearly three hundred of the enemy were taken prisoners, while Brown lost eight men killed and wounded. This successful enterprise in Burgoyne's rear was of great importance and contributed greatly to the glorious American victory.
Detaching other parties to work on the British line of communications, Lincoln now joined the main army, then under General Gates, to whom he became the second in command. He took an active part in the operations leading to the defeat and capture of the British army, but in the sanguinary conflict at Bemis's Heights, on October 7, met with a disastrous mishap.
At one o'clock in the morning General Lincoln marched with his division to relieve the troops that had been engaged and to occupy the battle ground, the enemy having retreated. In this duty he had occasion to ride forward to reconnoitre, when an unexpected movement of the enemy brought him suddenly within musket shot of their lines. Before he could withdraw a volley was poured upon him and his staff, he receiving a dangerous wound by which the bones of his leg were badly fractured.
He was carried from the field and for some time it was feared he would lose his leg. For several months he lay in the hospital at Albany and it became necessary to remove a considerable portion of the main bone. His firmness and composure under this painful operation, in those days before anästhetics were known, were phenomenal. Colonel Rice, one of his aides, says:
“I have known him, during the most painful operations by the surgeons, while bystanders were frequently obliged to leave the room, to entertain us with some pleasant anecdote or story, and draw forth a smile from his friends."
For several years the wound continued in an ulcerated state, and its final result was a shortening of the limb, which left him permanently lame.
Lincoln's wound kept him out of service for the greater part of a year, it being August, 1778, before he was in condition to rejoin the army. His coming was a pleasure and in some sense a relief to General Washington, who esteemed him as a man and had a high opinion of his talent as a soldier. He was in need of some one to command in the South, which was just then threatened by the British, and in Lincoln he saw the man for the place. Congress agreed with him in opinion and the newly recovered general was sent to command in chief the Southern department.
It was a difficult task. Opposed to him there were veteran troops and officers of experience, but on his arrival at Charleston, in December, 1778, he found himself without an army and without supplies. The one had to be made and the other collected, and the whole department put in a state of defence. Only a man of unusual energy and ability could have succeeded, in view of the formidable obstacles which the new commander had before him.
The British forces were already in motion. About the 28th of December General Prevost, with a fleet and some three thousand troops, arrived off Savannah, of which he took possession after routing a small body of Americans under General Howe. General Lincoln made all haste to face the enemy with what troops he had collected, taking post on the river about twenty miles from the city, but it was late in February before he was strong enough to begin offensive operations.
In April he marched to Augusta for the protection of upper Georgia, but learning that Prevost had taken advantage of his absence to march on Charleston, he hastened in that direction. On reaching its vicinity he found that the enemy had withdrawn from before it the previous night, but had left a body of troops intrenched at Stone Ferry. These Lincoln attacked, and a hot contest ensued, in which each party lost about one hundred and sixty men. But the works proved too strong and his artillery too light, and learning that a British reinforcement was at hand, Lincoln withdrew.
The momentous event of General Lincoln's command in the South was the unsuccessful and sanguin