The next morning, Weatherly was ordered to report to Major Binkus for training in scout duty, and the morning after that he was taken out through the lines, mounted, with Colonel Irons and carefully lost in the pine bush. He was seen no more in the American camp. The spy delivered his report to the British and the little remnant of an army at Morristown was safe for the winter. Cornwallis and Howe put such confidence in this report that when Luce, another spy, came into their camp with a count of Washington’s forces, which was substantially correct, they doubted the good faith of the man and threw him into prison.
So the great Virginian had turned a British spy into one of his most effective helpers.
Meanwhile good news had encouraged enlistment for long terms. Four regiments of horse were put in training, ten frigates were built and sent to sea and more were under construction. The whole fighting force of America was being reorganized. Moreover, in this first year the Yankee privateers had so wounded a leg of the British lion that he was roaring with rage. Three hundred and fifty of his ships, well laden from the West Indies, had been seized. Their cargoes were valued at a million pounds. The fighting spirit of America was encouraged also by events in France, where Franklin and Silas Deane were now at work. France had become an ally. A loan of six hundred thousand dollars had been secured in the French capital and expert officers from that country had begun to arrive to join the army of Washington.
HOW SOLOMON SHIFTED THE SKEER
In the spring news came of a great force of British which was being organized in Canada for a descent upon New York through Lake Champlain. Frontier settlers in Tryon County were being massacred by Indians.
Generals Herkimer and Schuyler had written to Washington, asking for the services of the famous scout, Solomon Binkus, in that region.
“He knows the Indian as no other man knows him and can speak his language and he also knows the bush,” Schuyler had written. “If there is any place on earth where his help is needed just now, it is here.”
“Got to leave ye, my son,” Solomon said to Jack one evening soon after that.
“How so?” the young man asked.
“Goin’ hum to fight Injuns. The Great Father has ordered it. I’ll like it better. Gittin’ lazy here. Summer’s comin’ an’ I’m a born bush man. I’m kind o’ oneasy—like a deer in a dooryard. I ain’t had to run fer my life since we got here. My hoofs are complainin’. I ain’t shot a gun in a month.”
A look of sorrow spread over the face of Solomon.
“I’m tired of this place,” said Jack. “The British are scared of us and we’re scared of the British. There’s nothing going on. I’d love to go back to the big bush with you.”