Wlliam Gilmore Simms
South-Carolina in the Revolutionary War >> South-Carolina in the Revolution >> Page 36

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Page 36

Reviews/Essays | Walker & James, Publishers | 1853
How grateful should this contrast be, to one, at least, of
the parties ! What a picturesque delineation does the author
give us of Putnam setting off for the field of war, without
changing his breeches ! and Stark, in his shirt—Stark-naked
we may say—starting off from his mill, on a milling expedi-
tion, to Boston, gives us a high idea of the patriotism of every
body in this wondrous region. It is to be regretted that our
author had not asked how long this patriotic fury continued.
At the first flush of an affair, an excitable people may find it
rather pleasant than otherwise ; but as the latent properties of
the subject begin to unfold themselves, the enthusiasm usually
subsides. How was it with these half-clad heroes, and their
fifteen thousand patriots ? Let us see. We quote from
Sparks, as before :
" The enlistments in the new army, (the leaguer of Boston
in progress) went on slowly. The dissatisfaction a?rd cabals
of the officers, the exacting temper and undisciplined habits of
the men, occasioned endless perplexities. General Washington
felt intense anxiety. His patience and fortitude were tried in
the severest manner. A month's experiment had obtained
only five thousand recruits. At one time he was flattered with
promises, at another almost every gleam of hope was extin-
guished, till, at length, when the term of service of the Con-
necticut troops was about to expire, it was ascertained that
they would go of in a body, and leave a fearful blank in an
army already deficient in numbers, and weakened by internal
disorders. He appealed to every motive which could stimu-
late their patriotism, pride, or sense of honor, but all in
vain ! !"
How these hot impatient patriots had cooled off, and in
what a marvellous short space of time ! They could not be
persuaded to defend their own homes, though the general-in-
chief was brought seven hundred miles from his Southern
home, to assist and lead them ; and there were, in this very
army around Boston, recruits in considerable numbers, from