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Journal and Correspondence of the Council of Maryland, April 1, 1778 through October 26, 1779
Volume 21, Preface 7   View pdf image (33K)
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                             PREFACE.

       

          The trying winter of 1777-8 passed without any attempt on the part

        of Howe to molest the army, weakened by sickness and desertion, in

        cantonments at Valley Forge. In March, Count Pulaski, a distinguished

        Polish officer who had offered his services to the patriotic cause and

        been appointed brigadier general, undertook the formation of an

        independent corps of horse and foot, known as Pulaski's Legion, or

        “the Maryland Legion” (p. 341). He established his headquarters in

        Baltimore, and the Legion was made part of the Maryland contingent

        in the Continental service.

          During this winter a treaty of alliance had been concluded between

        the United States and France, and in the spring a French fleet under

        Count d'Estaing arrived to cooperate with the Americans, bringing

        with them an ambassador, Alexander Gerard, accredited to the States.

          On June 27, Sir Henry Clinton, who had succeeded Howe, evacuated

        Philadelphia, and moving towards New York was met by the Americans

        at Monmouth Court House, New Jersey. In the engagement which

        followed, the misconduct of Major General Charles Lee threw the

        American forces into confusion, and a great disaster was averted only

        by the prompt action of Washington, who ordered Ramsay and his

        Marylanders to check the British advance until he could re-form his line.

        When order was restored, the enemy were driven from the field, but

        the victory cost the life of the gallant Ramsay.

          American affairs were still in a very critical state. Much apathy pre

        vailed among the people, who cherished the delusion that the war was

        nearly over; a feeling largely due to hand-bills which Howe had circu

        lated containing drafts of Acts of Parliament, making certain concessions

        which it was hoped would allay all discontents (p. 43). The public

        finances were in a frightful state owing to the repeated issues of paper

        with no provision for its redemption. As a natural consequence this

        currency almost lost its purchasing power. In April, 1779, we find the

        Council offering twenty pounds a hundred for flour. Discontent was

        rife in the army, and Congress was paralysed by factions. But the

        Governor and Council of Maryland were indefatigable in their exertions

        to fill up the quota of the State and provide for the wants of the

        soldiers, and the pages of this volume show their ceaseless activity.

       



 
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Journal and Correspondence of the Council of Maryland, April 1, 1778 through October 26, 1779
Volume 21, Preface 7   View pdf image (33K)
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