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[310] from utter ruin. Of these, on their return to
chap. XIII.} 1758.
the camp, the coolness and courage were publicly extolled by Forbes; and in the opinion of the whole army, regulars as well as provincials, their superiority of discipline reflected honor on Washington.

Not till the fifth of November did Forbes himself reach Loyal Hanna; and there a council of war determined for that season to advance no further But on the twelfth, Washington gained from three prisoners exact information of the weakness of the French garrison on the Ohio, and it was resolved to proceed. Two thousand five hundred men were picked for the service. For the sake of speed, they left behind every convenience except a blanket and a knapsack, and of the artillery took only a light train.

Washington, who, pleading a ‘long intimacy with these woods’ and familiarity ‘with all the passes and difficulties,’ had solicited the responsibility of leading the party, was appointed to command the advance. brigade, the pioneers of America in its course to the West. His party was of provincials, and they toiled cheerfully at his side. Forbes, now sinking into the grave, had consumed fifty days in marching as many miles from Bedford to Loyal Hanna. Fifty miles of the wilderness still remained to be opened in the late season, through a soil of deep clay, or over rocky hills white with snow, by troops poorly fed and poorly clad. But Washington infused his own spirit into the men whom he commanded, and who thought light of hardships and dangers while ‘under the particular directions’ of ‘the man they knew and loved.’ Every encampment was so planned as to hasten the issue. On the thirteenth the veteran Armstrong, who had proved his superior skill in leading troops rapidly and secretly

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