The Young American's Library
THE YANKEE TEA-PARTY;
Or, Boston in 1773
HENRY C. WATSON,
Author of "The Camp-Fires of the American Revolution," "The Old Bell of Independence," etc. etc.
Philadelphia: Lindsay And Blakiston
* * * * *
Lindsay & Blakiston's Publications.
THE YOUNG AMERICAN'S LIBRARY;
A USEFUL AND ATTRACTIVE SERIES OF BOOKS FOR YOUNG PEOPLE: EMBRACING EVENTS CONNECTED WITH THE EARLY HISTORY OF OUR COUNTRY, AND LIVES OF ITS DISTINGUISHED MEN. Written with much care, and in an entertaining and instructive manner. WITH ILLUSTRATIONS OF IMPORTANT EVENTS, AND BEAUTIFULLY ILLUMINATED TITLE PAGES.
* * * * *
LIFE OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN.
Franklin as a Tallow Chandler. Franklin at the Printing Press. Franklin's first Arrival in Philadelphia. Franklin acting as his own Porter. The Philadelphia Library, founded by Franklin. Franklin attracting Lightning from the Clouds. Franklin Signing the Declaration of Independence. Franklin as a Statesman.
LIFE OF GENERAL WASHINGTON.
Washington at Eighteen. Washington Crossing the Allegheny. Surrender of Cornwallis. A View of Mount Vernon. Washington Crossing the Delaware. Washington at Valley Forge. The Washington Family. The Tomb of Washington.
LIFE OF LAFAYETTE.
Lafayette as Commander of the National Guard. Lafayette Offering his Services to Washington. Lafayette at the Battle of Brandywine. Battle of Monmouth. Lafayette's Final Interview with Washington. Lafayette's Arrival at New York. Triumphal Arch at Philadelphia. Lafayette's Tomb.
LIFE OF WILLIAM PENN.
Portrait of William Penn. Penn receiving Instruction from his Mother. Penn receiving a Visit from his Mother in Prison. Penn Landing at Chester. Visit to the Indian Country. Penn's Treaty with the Indians. Penn's Cottage. Laetitia Court. Penn's Residence at Philadelphia.
LIFE OF MARION.
Marion as a Trooper. The Last Shot. Marion and the Raw Recruits. Sergeant McDonald and the Tory. The Famous Potato Dinner. Colonel Campbell taken Prisoner. Macdonald's Message to Colonel Watson. Mrs. Motte and the Bow and Arrows.
LIFE OF DANIEL WEBSTER.
Young Daniel at the Saw Mill. Webster Fishing at Fryburg. Webster Declining the Clerkship. Webster Expounding the Constitution. The Bunker Hill Celebration. Webster at Faneuil Hall. Marshfield, the Residence of Webster. Webster on his Farm.
LIFE OF HENRY CLAY.
Henry Clay the Statesman. The Village School. The Birthplace of Clay. The Mill Boy of the Slashes. The Debating Society. Bolivar Reading Clay's Speech to the Army. The Residence of Mr. Clay. The Torchlight Procession.
LIFE OF ANDREW JACKSON.
A Portrait of Jackson. Jackson's Presence of Mind. Jackson's Narrow Escape. Jackson and the Acorns. Jackson as Judge. Jackson and the Indian Prisoners. The Battle of New Orleans. Jackson at the Hermitage.
LIFE OF NAPOLEON BONAPARTE.
Napoleon's Snow Fortress. The Battle of the Pyramids. Napoleon's Retreat from Russia. Napoleon's Return from Elba. The Bridge of Arcola. The Battle of Marengo. Napoleon before the Battle of Austerlitz. Napoleon Drawing a Plan of Attack.
THE YANKEE TEA-PARTY, AND OTHER STORIES OF THE REVOLUTION.
The Boston Tea-Party. Hezekiah Wyman. Mr. Bleeker and his Son. Tarleton Breaking the Horse. Lee's Legion. Seizure of the Bettys. Exhibit of Colonel McCain. General Morgan.
THE OLD BELL OF INDEPENDENCE, OR PHILADELPHIA IN 1776.
The Old State House Bell. Washington's Prayer for the Dying Soldier. Defeat of the Skinners at Deadman's Lake. The Story of the Half-Breed. The Outlaws of the Pines. The Battle of the Kegs. Capture of General Prescott. Riley going to the Place of Execution.
LIFE OF GENERAL TAYLOR.
Portrait of General Taylor. Defence of Fort Harrison. Battle of Okee Chobee. Capture of General La Vega. The Streets of Monterey. Capitulation of Monterey. General Taylor Never Surrenders. Charge of the Kentuckians at Buena Vista.
Each of these volumes is well written, in a high, moral tone by responsible authors, and contains numerous anecdotes, illustrative of the early and latter history of our country. The compact style in which these works are written, as well as their low price, make them well adapted for Family, School, or District Libraries.
Price per Volume, 56-1/4 Cents, Cloth gilt. In Setts, neatly done up in Boxes, $6 75.
* * * * *
THE YANKEE TEA-PARTY;
Or, Boston in 1773
HENRY C. WATSON
In explanation of the plan of this work, it may be stated, that such an occasion as that upon which the outline events happened seemed to us most proper for the object in view. A Fourth of July festival in the old rendezvous of the Boston Tea-party is surely well calculated to excite patriotic feeling; and when to those who participated in the festival are added a number of the veterans of the War of Independence, filled with glorious recollections, the effect is to turn the mind to the admiration and veneration of the men and deeds of the "trying time."
No event excites more interest among Americans than the destruction of the tea in Boston harbour. Then and there, the unconquerable resolution of freemen was first made apparent to the obstinate oppressors of our infant country. Yet, until of late years, the history of the affair was very imperfectly known, and the names of the men who participated in it scarcely mentioned. In these pages will be found a faithful account of this glorious exploit, and, in connection with the other narratives, it is hoped it will kindle in the breasts of young readers an enthusiasm for liberty and a love of heroic excellence.
THE LEBANON CLUB
THE SKIRMISH AT LEXINGTON
THE FIGHT AT CONCORD
THE FIFER'S STORY
EXPEDITION AGAINST TICONDEROGA
THE BATTLE OF BENNINGTON
CAPTURE OF GENERAL SULLIVAN
PATRIOTISM OF MRS. BORDEN
ESCAPE OF CAPTAIN PLUNKETT
TREASON OF RUGSDALE
CRUELTY OF TARLTON
ATTACK ON GENERAL WAYNE
THE MUTINY AT MORRISTOWN
THE TREASON OF BETTYS
THE BATTLE OF BUNKER'S HILL
EXPLOITS OF PETER FRANCISCO
EXPLOIT OF COLONEL ALLAN M'LEAN
THE ADVENTURE OF MAJOR LEE
GENERAL DANIEL MORGAN
BATTLE OF ORISKANY
Those who have been associated in the performance of any deed of valor or patriotism ever feel attracted to each other by an influence stronger and nobler than that of friendship. The daring patriots who joined in resistance to the tyrannizing might of Britain, were men pledged to die rather than betray each other, and to maintain their rights while they could lift the sword or aim the musket; and that pledge made them look upon each other in after years, when the storm of war was hushed and security dwelt at the fireside, as brothers whom no petty cause could sunder nor ill report make foes. These remarks apply, especially, to those who first threw themselves into the breach, and resolved that, if the British ministry would adopt such measures as the stamp act, their execution should be resisted and become difficult, and if such measures were passed as the act taxing tea, coffee, and the comforts of life, that the tea should never be landed, and thus prove a loss to its owners. The men who threw the tea into Boston harbor were patriots united by a sense that union was necessary for the salvation of liberty; and they were attracted to each other by the same influence during the bloody struggle which succeeded. What wonder, then, that they loved to meet in after years, to wish each other health and happiness, and chat over the stirring events in which they had participated, and to which their first bold deed was as the spark to dry hay, kindling to a fierce blaze the ready seeds of war.
It was the fourth of July in Boston. Throughout the city which cradled the Revolution, the anniversary of the birth of the free and happy United States of America was celebrated with rejoicings unknown to the shackled people of monarchical countries. Meetings were held in various parts of the city, patriotic and democratic speeches made, bells rung, cannons fired, pistols, crackers, and fireworks of all descriptions discharged, toasts drank, and festivities of all kinds indulged. The soldiers paraded the streets with fine bands discoursing most excellent music, and followed by the usual crowd. Bunker Hill was the scene of a large patriotic meeting, and the events of the 'trying time' were again and again recounted with much enthusiasm.
But a more unusual and far more interesting meeting occurred in Boston, about a quarter of a mile from the wharf known ever since the commencement of the Revolution as Griffin's Wharf. In the upper room of an old and somewhat dilapidated tavern were assembled a party of old and young men—the representatives of two generations. Three of the old men were the remaining members of the famous Lebanon Club; the first liberty club formed in the colonies, and the one which designed and executed the project of destroying the tea at Boston. They had come from various parts of the country, upon agreement, to meet once more in the house where the disguised members of the club had met on the evening of the sixteenth of December, 1773. The names of the old patriots were David Kinnison, Adam Colson, and Lendall Pitts. Five other veterans had joined the party by invitation, together with half-a-dozen young men who had arranged the meeting and paid all expenses, with a view of passing the Fourth of July in a novel and interesting manner.
A well-laden table extended the whole length of the room, and flags, banners, and appropriate emblems and devices, were hung on the walls. There was no formal organization, as at public festivals, no president elected, and no list of toasts prepared. It was intended to be a sociable gathering. No band of well-arranged and harmonized instruments appeared, but old Jacob Brown and old Samuel Hanson, a fifer and a drummer of the continental army, occasionally stirred the hearts and fired the eyes of the company with the music which had nerved the patriots of Bunker's Hill and Bennington. Each of the veterans sat in an arm-chair at the table, the young men being distributed among them so as to wait upon them occasionally, and show them every attention.
Mr. Kinnison, though not the oldest man of the company, looked as if he had seen the hardest service, and received the hardest buffets of Time. His features bespoke a strong and energetic mind, and his eye was full of fire and activity. His hair was grey and bushy, partly covering a large scar on his high forehead. He had evidently been a man of powerful frame, but was now bent with the weight of years, and service. The other veterans appeared to be generally of the same age, and to have seen hard toil and service. The fifer was the most remarkable of the party. In spite of his age and white hair, his puffed cheeks and the sly twinkle of his eyes gave him a kind of jolly, frolicsome appearance, which would indicate that age could not chill the humor of his heart.
THE LEBANON CLUB.
When the company were fairly seated at the table, Mr. Kinnison opened the conversation by asking the young men if they had ever heard any account of the Lebanon Liberty Club. They replied they had heard of the club, but never any definite account.
"Well," said Mr. Kinnison, "I can tell you something about it. Mr. Pitts, Mr. Colson, and myself, were members of a club consisting of seventeen men, living at Lebanon, up here in Maine. Most of us were farmers. We knew what them folks over the river were aiming at, and we knew that there was no use of dallying about matters. Our rights were to be untouched, or there must be a fight. So, you see, we Lebanon men resolved to form a club, to consider what was to be done, and to do accordingly. We hired a room in the tavern of Colonel Gooding, and held regular meetings at night. The colonel was an American of the right color, but we kept our object secret, not even letting him into it."
"If it isn't too much trouble, Mr. Kinnison, we should like you to tell us all about what the club had to do with the tea-party, and how that affair was conducted," said one of the young men, named Hand, filling the veteran's plate.
"He can tell you much better than any one else," remarked Mr. Pitts. "I can vouch for the bold part he took in it, and he has a better memory than the rest of us."
"No flattery, Pitts," returned Mr. Kinnison. "My memory 's bad enough, and as for taking such a bold part in that tea-party, it's all nonsense. If there was a leader, you was the man. But I'll tell these young men all I know of the affair, and what the Lebanon Club had to do with it."
"Take some of this beef, Mr. Brown?" interrupted Hand.
"Much obliged, sir, but beef is rather too tough for my gums," replied the old fifer. "I'll try something else." Mr. Kinnison went on with his narrative.
"Well, the seventeen men of our club determined, whether we were aided or not, to destroy the tea which the East India Company had sent to Boston. The plan was soon formed, as it always is when men are determined to do a thing. We wanted no captain—each man could command for himself. We resolved to disguise ourselves in Mohawk dresses, and carry such arms as would enable us to sell our lives pretty dearly; we also pledged ourselves never to reveal the names of any of the party while there was danger in it. We expected to have a fight anyhow, and the first man who faltered was to be thrown overboard with the tea. We came to Boston and found the people ripe for the deed. A great meeting was to be held at the old South Meeting-house, and we concluded to wait and see what would be done there. We lodged at this tavern, and held our councils up in this room. Well, there was a tremendous meeting at the Old South, and most of us were there to help to keep up the excitement, and to push our plan if a chance appeared. Young Quincy made a speech that stirred the people, and made them ready for anything which would show their spirit. The people voted with one voice that the tea should not be landed. We saw how things were going, came back to the tavern, put on our Mohawk dresses, and returned to the meeting. Pitts succeeded in getting into the church just about dusk and raising the war-whoop. We answered outside. Then Pitts cried out, 'Boston harbor a tea-pot to-night!'
"Ay," exclaimed Pitts, brandishing his knife above his head, "and 'hurra for Griffin's Wharf!'"
"The crowd echoed Griffin's Wharf," continued Kinnison, "and hurried towards that place. Our men joined together, returned to the tavern, got our muskets and tomahawks, and collected about seventy men together, armed with axes and hatchets. Then we pushed for the wharf where the East Indiamen, loaded with the tea, were lying. Let me see!—The ships were called the Dartmouth, the—"
"The Eleanor, and the Beaver," prompted Colson.
"Ay, the Dartmouth, the Eleanor, and the Beaver," continued Kinnison. "You see, my memory 's weak. Well, when we reached the wharf, there was a crowd of people near it. It was a clear, moonlight night, and the British squadron was not more than a quarter of a mile distant—so, you see, there was a little risk. We didn't halt long. Pitts led the way on board the Dartmouth, and we followed, musket and tomahawk in hand. Nobody offered any show of fighting for the tea. We cut open the hatches, and some of the men went down and passed up the chests, while others cut 'em open and emptied the green stuff into the water. The crew of the vessel were afeard to stir in stopping us, for we told 'em we'd shoot the first man who interfered. I tell you, there was quick work there. When we had cleared that ship of the tea, we hurried off to the others, Pitts still leading the way, and did the same kind of work for them. The people began to crowd on the wharf, and some of 'em came to help us. I guess there was about a hundred and fifty of us on the third ship, all hard at work passing up the chests, cutting 'em open and spilling the tea. Within two hours, about three hundred and fifty chests of the tea were thus destroyed. The crowd cheered us once in a while, and we knew we'd have friends enough if the red-coats attempted to attack us. When we had emptied the last chest that could be found, we gave three of the loudest cheers and gained the wharf. A drummer and fifer were ready, as Mr. Brown and Mr. Hanson can inform you, and we formed a procession and marched up to this tavern. Here the crowd gave our band of Mohawks cheer after cheer ond then dispersed. But we didn't intend to end the night's work so quietly. We had a supper prepared just where we are now eating, and Josiah Quincy and some other big men came to join us. We made a night of it, I tell you. Pitts, I think, got very drunk, so many wanted to drink with such a bold patriot."
Pitts was rather disposed to deny the assertion that he was actually drunk; but Kinnison and Colson said it was a fact, and he, at length, admitted that he was considerably excited, perhaps beyond the command of his reason. The company laughed at this 'getting around the stump,' and one of the young men proposed that Pitts' health should be drank in a glass of ale. The beverage was ordered and the health of the patriot drank with a hearty relish. The work of demolishing the eatables then went bravely on.
"Mr. Kinnison," said Mr. Colson, "there's one incident concerning that tea-party that has slipped your memory. As our procession moved from the wharf and passed the house of the tory Coffin, Admiral Montague raised the window, and said, 'Ah! boys, you have had a fine evening for your Indian caper; but mind, you've got to pay the fiddler yet!' Pitts here shouted, 'Oh! never mind, never mind, squire! Just come out, if you please, and we'll settle that bill in two minutes!' The people shouted, and the admiral thought he had better put his head in in a hurry."
"That's true," remarked Kinnison. "Well, you see, my memory is poor. Pitts would have mentioned it but for his modesty."
"I recollect it well," said Pitts. "If that tory Coffin had shown his face that night, I wouldn't have given three cents for his life."
"I think I would have had a slash at him," observed Kinnison. "I felt as savage as a Mohawk on a war-path."
"I don't want to interrupt your eating, Brown and Hanson," said Colson, "but couldn't you stir us up a little with the drum and fife?"
"Ay," added young Hand, who seemed to be the general mouth-piece of the younger portion of the company, "give us the air you played when you marched up from Griffin's Wharf."
"No objection," replied Hanson. "Come, Brown, get out your whistle. There's a little music left in it yet, I know."
The old fife was soon produced, and the drum also; and moving their chairs a short distance from the table, the veteran musicians struck up the stirring air of the old Massachusetts Song of Liberty, once so popular throughout the colonies, and supposed to have been written by Mrs. Warren.
"Hurra!" exclaimed Hand, when the musicians had concluded. "Three cheers for the music and the musicians!" and three cheers were given quite lustily by the young men, and some of the old ones.
"I have a copy of that Song of Liberty," said Hand. "Here it is, with the music. I'll sing it and you must all join in the chorus."
"Good!" said Kinnison, and the others echoed him. Hand then sang the following words, the young men joining in the chorus, and, occasionally, some of the veterans attempting to do likewise.
Come swallow your bumpers, ye tories, and roar, That the Sons of fair Freedom are hamper'd once more; But know that no cut-throats our spirits can tame, Nor a host of oppressors shall smother the flame. In freedom we're born, and, like sons of the brave, Will never surrender, But swear to defend her, And scorn to survive, if unable to save.
Our grandsires, bless'd heroes, we'll give them a tear, Nor sully their honors by stooping to fear; Through deaths and through dangers their trophies they won, We dare be their rivals, nor will be outdone. In freedom we're born, &c.
Let tyrants and minions presume to despise, Encroach on our rights, and make freedom their prize; The fruits of their rapine they never shall keep, Though vengeance may nod, yet how short is her sleep! In freedom we're born, &c.
The tree which proud Haman for Mordecai rear'd Stands recorded, that virtue endanger'd is spared; That rogues, whom no bounds and no laws can restrain. Must be stripp'd of their honors and humbled again. In freedom we're born, &c.
Our wives and our babes, still protected, shall know, Those who dare to be free shall forever be so; On these arms and these hearts they may safely rely, For in freedom we'll live, or like heroes we'll die. In freedom we're born, &c.
Ye insolent tyrants! who wish to enthrall; Ye minions, ye placemen, pimps, pensioners, all; How short is your triumph, how feeble your trust! Your honor must wither and nod to the dust. In freedom we're born, &c.
When oppress'd and approach'd, our king we implore, Still firmly persuaded our rights he'll restore; When our hearts beat to arms to defend a just right, Our monarch rules there, and forbids us to fight. In freedom we're born, &c.
Not the glitter of arms, nor the dread of a fray Could make us submit to their claims for a day; Withheld by affection, on Britons we call, Prevent the fierce conflict which threatens your fall. In freedom we're born, &c.
All ages shall speak with amaze and applause Of the prudence we show in support of our cause; Assured of our safety, a Brunswick still reigns, Whose free loyal subjects are strangers to chains. In freedom we're born, &c.
Then join hand in hand, brave Americans all, To be free is to live, to be slaves is to fall; Has the land such a dastard as scorns not a lord, Who dreads not a fetter much more than a sword? In freedom we're born, &c.
The song was much applauded for its spirit, and some of the young men wanted to give three more cheers, but Hand said they were already making too much noise, and their enthusiasm cooled.
THE SKIRMISH AT LEXINGTON.
"Now," observed Hand, "I should like to hear some account of how things went on during the war. We are all in the right mood for it."
"I could talk enough to fill whole books about the war," replied Kinnison; "but I want to hear Mr. Pitts and Mr. Colson, and the rest of the old men, spend a little breath for our amusement."
"Mr. Kinnison was in the fight at Lexington, and all the principal battles in the Northern States during the war. I think he could interest you more than I," said Colson.
"I'll make an agreement with you," remarked Kinnison. "If I tell you all I know of that skrimmage at Lexington, one of you must follow me." The agreement was settled, and Kinnison commenced his narrative of how the first blow of the Revolution was given.
"You see, after that tea scape, and the quarrels with the red-coat troops in Boston, the people of Massachusetts, and, in fact, of nearly all New England, began to see that there was no way of upholding their rights but by war, and they accordingly began to arm and practise military tactics. The fife and drum were to be heard every day all around the country. In our village we collected a company of about thirty men. My father, and two brothers, Samuel and James, and myself, joined the company, and we used to parade and drill every day. A bold and knowing fellow, named Jonathan Williams, was our captain. Well, early in the fall of 1774, we heard the news that Gage had fortified Charlestown Neck, and sent some troops to seize the gunpowder at Cambridge. This roused our mettle, and we set into drilling and learning manoeuvres with more zeal. At one time a rumor reached us that the British fleet had bombarded Boston, and, I tell you, the men did turn out. Some of them wanted to march right down to Boston. Everywhere the people were crying 'to arms! to arms!' and we thought the war had commenced, sure enough; but it didn't just then. However, there was about thirty thousand men on the march to Boston, and they wouldn't turn back until they found the report was a hoax. Soon after, the Provincial Congress met, and they ordered that a large body of minute-men should be enrolled, so as to be prepared for any attack. The people of our province took the matter into their own hands, and organized a body of minute-men without orders. Our company was included. We were all ready for fight, but were determined that the red-coats should strike the first blow; so we waited through the winter. In March, Gage saw that great quantities of powder and balls were taken out of Boston into the country, in spite of his guard on the Neck. Every market wagon, and every kind of baggage, was stowed with ammunition. He then sent a party of troops to Salem to seize some cannon and stores our men had placed there; but Colonel Pickering, with a few men, made such a show, that the red-coats marched back again, without accomplishing their object. Our chief deposit of stores was at Concord, up here about twenty miles from Boston; and when our militia-general found that Gage was sending out parties to sketch the roads, with the aim of getting our stores into his hands, he sent word to our company to be on hand, and, if we could, to come up near Concord. John Hancock, Samuel Adams, and all of our other big men, left Boston and went to Lexington, to keep the people moving and ready for an attack."
"Dr. Warren stayed in Boston," interrupted Pitts, "to keep the others informed of the movements of the red-coats."
"Yes," continued Kinnison; "the royals, as Deacon Slocum used to call 'em, didn't hate Warren as much as they did John Hancock and the Adamses. Well, when Captain Williams heard of what General Gage was after, he told us we had better be prepared to march at a minute's warning. Gage sent eight hundred troops, under Colonel Smith and Major Pitcorn, on his rascally errand. They started from Boston about nine o'clock on the night of the eighteenth of April, never thinking that our men knew anything about it—but we were awake."
"Wait a bit," said John Warner, one of the veterans who had not yet spoken. "I'll tell you something. I was in Boston when the red-coats started, and knew that the country militia were ready to protect the stores. I was standing on the Common, talking to a few of my friends of my own politics, when I said rather loud, 'the British troops will miss their aim.' 'What aim?' inquired a person behind me. 'The cannon at Concord,' replied I as I turned to see who asked the question. The man was dressed in British uniform, and he walked away as I turned to look at him. One of my friends whispered to me that it was Lord Percy. Soon after, guards were set at every avenue, and nobody was allowed to leave the city."
"I suppose Lord Percy went to Gage and told him what he had heard," remarked Kinnison. "It must have galled him a little to find they were so closely watched. Well, Captain Williams was first, aroused by the sound of the bells ringing and cannons firing on the Lexington road, and he ordered us out to march and join our friends near that place. It was a moonlight night, and we marched rapidly. When we got about half-way to Lexington, we met a man who told us that the minute-men of Lexington were out, but he didn't think there would be much of a fight. Captain Williams then thought it would be better for the company to march to Concord and help defend the stores, but said that a few of us might go to Lexington, and see now things went on. Accordingly, my brother Sam—a ripe fellow Sam was—and three others, and myself, were allowed to go to Lexington. We arrived there about half-past three in the morning, and found the bells ringing, cannons firing, and about a hundred minute-men drawn up in front of the meeting-house, waiting the approach of the enemy. We joined them, and placed ourselves under the orders of Captain Parker. Between four and five o'clock, we caught sight of the red-coats coming along the road, with Pitcorn at their head. I saw at once that we couldn't make much show against so many regulars, and I believe all our men thought the same; but we stood firm, with our loaded muskets in our hands. The red-coated troops were drawn up near the meeting-house, just opposite to us, and loaded their muskets. For a little while, it seemed as if neither party wanted to begin, and that we both knew a long war hung on the first fire. At last, Major Pitcorn and his officers rode forward, waving their swords and shouting, 'disperse, you villains—you rebels! why don't you disperse?' As we didn't stir, Pitcorn turned and ordered his troops to press forward and surround us.—Just then, a few scattering shots were fired at us, and we Lebanon men returned 'em at once. Then Pitcorn fired his pistol and gave the word 'fire,' and they did fire. Four of our men fell dead, and our Sam was wounded in the leg. We had to retreat, although I felt savage enough to fight 'em all myself; and so I fired my musket, and took hold of Sam, and helped him to get away with us. The red-coats continued to fire at us as we retreated, and some of our men paid 'em in the same coin. Two or three of the men were killed as they were getting over a stone fence, and Captain Parker, who wouldn't run, was killed with the bayonet. I hurried Sam into a house near by, saw him safe in the cellar, where the owner of the house said he would attend to him, and then joined the other Lebanon men, who were running towards Concord."
FIGHT AT CONCORD.
"You must tell us what took place at Concord, also," said young Hand.
"Certainly," replied Kinnison. "Now, that I've got into the thing, I wouldn't mind telling you the whole war—but Concord will do for the present. Well, after a hard run, we reached Concord, and found the minute-men collecting from all quarters, and under the command of Colonel James Barrett. The women and children were hard at work removing the stores to a wood a considerable distance off. We joined Captain Williams, and told him there had been a skrimmage at Lexington, and that Sam was wounded. Colonel Barrett collected all the minute-men about the place, and drew 'em up in two battalions, on the hill in the centre of Concord. We had hardly formed, when we saw the red-coats coming up only about a quarter of a mile off. Our officers held a short council. Some were for making a bold stand where we were; but the greater number said it would be best to retreat till we were reinforced. Accordingly, the back-out advice was adopted, and we retreated over the North Bridge, about a mile from the common. I saw the royals come up and enter Concord in two divisions. Soon after, some of their companies took possession of the bridges, while the others hunted the stores. About sixty barrels of flour were broken open, a large quantity of cannon-balls thrown into the wells, the liberty-pole cut down, and the court-house set on fire. But the greater part of the stores were saved. In the meantime, the minute-men had come in from Acton, Carlisle, Weston, Littleton, and all around, and our force swelled to about four hundred men. I tell you, when the men saw the houses in Concord burning, they got a leetle excited—they did. Adjutant Hosmer made a speech to them, and they wanted to go right down and attack the red-coats at the North Bridge. Our company was very anxious to go, and it was settled that the attack should be made. Major John Buttrick took command, and ordered us to follow. There was about three hundred of us, the Acton company, under Captain Isaac Davis, taking the lead. We marched in double file, with trailed arms. I felt anxious to have a good fire at the rascals. They were on the west side of the river; but when they saw us coming, they crossed over and commenced pulling up the planks of the bridge. Major Buttrick called out to them to quit, and told us to hurry on to save the bridge. The red-coats formed for action, and, when we were near the bridge, fired a few shots at us. Captain Davis and Adjutant Hosmer were killed, and one Acton man wounded. Davis and Hosmer were both brave men, and they died like heroes. Seeing these men fall, Major Buttrick called out, 'Fire, for God's sake, men, fire!' and we did pour a volley into the redcoats. I brought down one man, and he never got up again. We were getting ready to give them another, when the cowards retreated. We found three of the enemy had been killed, and the Acton company took several of the wounded prisoners. I saw a mere boy, with a hatchet in his hand, run up to a Britisher who wasn't quite dead, and kill him with one blow. That I didn't like, though the boy's spirit and courage pleased me."
"It was butchery," said Pitts.
"So it was," replied Kinnison; "and it caused a report to be spread that we killed and scalped all the men who fell into our hands. As I said, I didn't like it; but we had no time for thinking. The enemy saw how fast our men were coming in from all quarters, for, by that time, the whole province was aroused, and they thought it would be best to think of getting back to Boston. Well, they started from Concord about twelve o'clock. As the main body marched along the road, the flanking parties tried to cover them, but it was of little use. We followed, and kept picking off men from their rear, while it seemed as if there was a minuteman behind every fence or tree by the road. We didn't march under any regular orders, but each man tried to do all he could with his musket. I and two or three other Lebanon men kept together, and managed to pick off some men at every by-road. At one time, we just escaped the attack of a flanking party who killed some of the militia a short distance from us. We lay concealed in the bushes till they went by, and then followed them up as before. At two or three points, some companies of minute-men attacked the enemy in the open field, and killed a considerable number of them. When they reached Lexington they were almost worn out, and could not have marched much farther. Just then, we saw a large reinforcement of the red-coats, under Lord Percy, coming along the Roxbury road, and we had to hold off awhile. You ought to have seen those royals, how they lay stretched on the ground, with their tongues hanging out of their mouths. I got on the top of a stone barn, and saw Percy's men form a hollow square about Smith's troops, in order to protect them while they got a little breath. But they could not halt long. The woods were swarming with minute-men; and, if they waited, their retreat would have been cut off. Well, they started again, and our men followed as before, picking off men from the flanks and rear. At West Cambridge, we met Dr. Warren with a party of our men, and attacked the enemy boldly. But their bayonets kept us off, and we only roused 'em so much that they plundered and burnt some houses along the road, and butchered some women and children. Well, after a hard struggle, the enemy reached Charlestown, and then General Heath called us from the pursuit."
"I've read," remarked Mr. Hand, "that the British loss during that day was nearly three hundred—that is, including wounded and prisoners."
"It amounted to that, at least," replied Kinnison; "and our loss was less than one hundred men. I think the royals got a taste of our spirit that day."
"Here's a man can tell you something about the retreat of the enemy," said Pitts, pointing to one of the old men, named Jonas Davenport.
"Yes," said Jonas; "I know a little about it. I lived near Lexington. My house stood on the road. I joined the minute-men when I heard of the comin' of the British troops, and left my wife and two children home, under the care of my father, then about sixty. I told 'em to keep as quiet as possible and they would be safe. Well, as I said, I joined the minute-men, and, when the rascals retreated from Concord, followed and did some execution with my firelock. But one of 'em shot me in the shoulder, and I couldn't point my gun any more. I waited till the enemy had got a considerable distance on the road towards Boston, and then managed to reach my house—but such a house as I found it! The windows were broken in, the doors torn off their hinges, and the furniture broken and thrown about in heaps. I called for my father and wife, but received no reply. I crawled up stairs, for I was nearly exhausted from loss of blood, and there I found my father and oldest child stretched on the floor dead. The old man had his gun still clenched in his hand, and he had, no doubt, done the enemy some damage with it. But his face was beaten in, and he had two or three bayonet stabs in his breast. The little boy had been shot through the head. I was a pretty tough-hearted man, but I fainted at the sight; and, when I came to myself, I found my wife and the youngest child bending over me crying. How they did hug and kiss me when they saw me revive! I think I did as much to them, for I never expected to see them alive. My wife told me that the old man would fire at the British as they were passing the house, and some of them stopped, broke open the doors, and knocked the things about. The old man and the little boy ran up stairs, while my wife and the other child ran from the house towards a neighbor's. As she ran away, she heard the muskets fired, but couldn't stop, as she thought the rascals were after her. She had returned as soon as she knew they were far on the road. I didn't grieve long; but sent her for the doctor at Lexington to dress my wound. Boys, boys, I've made many a red-coat pay for the lives of that old man and child. I hated them enough before, but that day's work made me all gall!" The memory of gratified revenge lighted up the old man's eyes as he spoke. He was a man of stern spirit, and no thought that such revenge was wrong ever crossed his mind.
"I can tell you folks of something more about that retreat from Concord," continued Davenport. "The story is generally known up around the country here, but some of you may not have heard it. It's about old Hezekiah Wyman, who gained the name of 'Death on the pale horse.'"
"I heard the story, and saw the old man on his white horse," remarked Kinnison; "but it will interest the young men, no doubt—so drive on."
"Well, you see," began Davenport, "the window of old Hezekiah Wyman's house looked out on the ground where the British shot our men at Lexington. The old man saw the whole affair, and it made him so savage that he vowed to revenge his countrymen if he fell in doing it.
"'Wife,' said he, 'is there not an old gun-barrel somewhere in the garret.'
"'I believe there was,' said she; 'but pray what do you want with it?'
"'I should like to see if it is fit for service,' replied he. 'If I am not mistaken, it is good enough to drill a hole through a rig'lar.'
"'Mercy on me, husband! are you going mad? An old man like you—sixty years last November—to talk of going to war! I should think you had seen enough of fighting the British already. There lies poor Captain Roe and his men bleeding on the grass before your eyes. What could you do with a gun?'
"The old man made no reply, but ascended the stairs, and soon returned with a rusty barrel in his hands. In spite of his wife's incessant din, he went to his shop, made a stock for it, and put it in complete order for use. He then saddled a strong white horse, and mounted him. He gave the steed the rein, and directed his course toward Concord. He met the British troops returning, and was not long in perceiving that there was a wasp's nest about their ears. He dashed so closely upon the flank of the enemy that his horse's neck was drenched with the spouting blood of the wounded soldiers. Then reining back his snorting steed to reload, he dealt a second death upon the ranks with his never-failing bullet. The tall, gaunt form of the assailant, his grey locks floating on the breeze, and the color of his steed, soon distinguished him from the other Americans, and the regulars gave him the name of 'Death on the pale horse.' A dozen bullets whizzed by his head, when he made the first assault, but, undismayed, the old patriot continued to prance his gay steed over the heads of the foot-soldiers—to do his own business faithfully, in the belief that, because others did wrong by firing at him, it would be no excuse for him to do wrong by sparing the hireling bullies of a tyrannical government. At length, a vigorous charge of the bayonet drove the old man, and the party with which he was acting, far from the main body of the British. Hezekiah was also out of ammunition, and was compelled to pick up some on the road, before he could return to the charge. He then came on again and picked off an officer, by sending a slug through his royal brains, before he was again driven off. But ever and anon, through the smoke that curled about the flanks of the detachment, could be seen the white horse of the veteran for a moment—the report of his piece was heard, and the sacred person of one of his majesty's faithful subjects was sure to measure his length on rebel ground. Thus did Hezekiah and his neighbors continue to harass the retreating foe, until the Earl Percy appeared with a thousand fresh troops from Boston. The two detachments of the British were now two thousand strong, and they kept off the Americans with their artillery while they took a hasty meal. No sooner had they again commenced their march, than the powerful white horse was seen careering at full speed over the hills, with the dauntless old yankee on his back.
"'Ha!' cried the soldiers, 'there comes that old fellow again, on the white horse! Look out for yourselves, for one of us has got to die, in spite of fate.' And one of them did die, for Hezekiah's aim was true, and his principles of economy would not admit of his wasting powder or ball. Throughout the whole of that bloody road between Lexington and Cambridge, the fatal approaches of the white horse and his rider were dreaded by the trained troops of Britain, and every wound inflicted by Hezekiah needed no repeating. But on reaching Cambridge, the regulars, greatly to their comfort, missed the old man and his horse. They comforted themselves by the conjecture that he had, at length, paid the forfeit of his temerity, and that his steed had gone home with a bloody bridle and an empty saddle. Not so.—Hezekiah had only lingered for a moment to aid in a plot which had been laid by Amni Cutter, for taking the baggage-waggons and their guards. Amni had planted about fifty old rusty muskets under a stone wall, with their muzzles directed toward the road. As the waggons arrived opposite this battery, the muskets were discharged, and eight horses, together with some soldiers, were sent out of existence. The party of soldiers who had the baggage in charge ran to a pond, and, plunging their muskets into the water, surrendered themselves to an old woman, called Mother Barberick, who was at that time digging roots in an adjacent field. A party of Americans recaptured the gallant Englishmen from Mother Barberick, and placed them in safe keeping. The captives were exceedingly astonished at the suddenness of the attack, and declared that the yankees would rise up like musketoes out of a marsh, and kill them. This chef d'oeuvre having been concluded, the harassed soldiers were again amazed by the appearance of Hezekiah, whose white horse was conspicuous among the now countless assailants that sprang from every hill and ringing dale, copse and wood, through which the bleeding regiments, like wounded snakes, held their toilsome way. His fatal aim was taken, and a soldier fell at every report of his piece. Even after the worried troops had entered Charlestown, there was no escape for them from the deadly bullets of the restless veteran. The appalling white horse would suddenly and unexpectedly dash out from a brake, or from behind a rock, and the whizzing of his bullet was the precursor of death. He followed the enemy to their very boats; and then, turning his horse's head, returned unharmed to his household.
"'Where have you been, husband?'
"'Picking cherries,' replied Hezekiah—but he forgot to say that he had first make cherries of the red-coats, by putting the pits into them."
"That old man was sure death," remarked Kinnison. "I knew the old fellow well. He had the name of being one of the best shots around that part of the country. I should never want to be within his range."
"The old man immortalized himself," said Hand.
"It served the 'tarnal rascals right," observed Hanson. "They only reaped what they had sown. War's a horrible matter, altogether, and I don't like it much; but I like to see it done up in that old man's style, if it is done at all."
"I should like to have seen that royal officer that said he could march through our country with three regiments," said Kinnison. "If he was with Smith and Pitcorn that day, he saw there was a little of the bulldog spirit in the Yankees."
"I think," observed Pitts, "we might have that old, heart-firing, arm-moving tune called Yankee Doodle. Come, Brown, pipe."
"Ay," replied Brown, "that tune came out of this here fife naturally—almost without my blowing it. For some time, I couldn't work anything else out of it."
"Come, pipe and drum the old tune once more," cried Colson; and it was piped and drummed by Brown and Hanson in the real old continental style. The effect on the company was electric. Knives, and forks, and feet, kept time to the well-known music. Some of the old men could scarcely restrain themselves from attempting a cheer, and the young men felt themselves stirred by a feeling of patriotism they had scarcely known before. The spirit of 1775 dwelt in the music, and, as the quick notes started from fife and drum, visions of farmers leaving the plough in the furrow and shouldering the rusty and unbayoneted firelock—of citizens leaving their business and homes to grasp the sword and gun—of stout-hearted, strong-armed minute-men, untrained to war's manoeuvres, marching and battling with the well-disciplined, war-schooled, and haughty Britons, made confident by a more than Roman career of victory—and of the glorious fight at Breed's Hill—came to the minds of all present. Three cheers were given, when the musicians had concluded, for the tune itself, and three more for those who had played it.
"More ale," called out Hand, and more ale was brought; and then Hand proposed as a toast—"The memory of the men who fell on the 19th of April, 1775." This was drank standing, and a short pause ensued.
"Now," said Kinnison, "I expect that some of you men who know something about them times shall keep your promise of following my story."
"I'll tell you a story," replied Brown, the fifer. "P'raps some of you won't swallow it; but it's all fact, and that you'll find if you choose to hunt for the papers. It's chiefly about me and my fife, and Hanson and his drum."
"Pipe away, Brown," said Kinnison.
"Well, you see," began Brown, "Hanson and I were drummer and fifer in Colonel Brooks' regiment, at Saratoga, and we were in the battle of Stillwater, fought on the nineteenth of September. I'm not going to 'spin a yarn,' as the sailors say, in the way of an account of that battle, for that has been said and sung often enough. It is sufficient for me to say, that it was the hardest fought, and the bloodiest battle that ever I saw, and Hans n and I were in the thickest of it, where the bullets were hailing. Our regiment suffered a good deal in the way of losing men, and I saw many an old friend fall near me. But at dusk, when most of the Americans were ordered to camp, I and Hanson were unhurt. Colonel Brooks kept the field when the other officers retired with their forces. Some of the men of his regiment were tired and grumbled, but he wanted to show the enemy that they had gained no advantage over us, and that our spirits were as strong as when the day's work commenced. This conduct you might have expected from what you have heard of Brooks' character. He was all game—Brooks was. One of those whip or die men, that are not to be found everywhere. Well, as I said, our regiment remained on the field, and finally got into a skirmish with some of the German riflemen. We knew they were German riflemen by the brass match-cases on their breasts. In this skirmish, a ball struck me on the hand, went through it, and knocked my fife clear away beyond our flank. Well, I couldn't part with my Yankee Doodle pipe in that way, without trying to get hold of it again. So I told Hanson, and he put down his drum, and proposed that we should go and get it; and we did go out together, while the balls were whizzing round our ears, and got the pipe."
"Hold on, Brown," interrupted Kinnison. "Wasn't it a dark night?"
"Yes," replied Brown; "but we saw where the fife lay, by the quick flashes of the guns. Didn't we, Hanson?"
"Yes; it's a fact," replied the drummer; "and when we returned, I found a couple of balls had passed through the heads of my drum."
"I told you I thought you wouldn't swallow it," observed Brown; "but here's the fife, and here's the mark where the ball passed through my hand." Brown exhibited the scar, and doubt seemed to be set at rest. Kinnison, however, shook his head, as if unsatisfied.
"There wasn't a great deal in the mere going after the fife at such a time," continued the fifer, "but I thought I'd mention it, to give you an idea of Hanson's spirit."
"Very well," remarked Hand, "we are satisfied now that both Mr. Brown and Mr. Hanson are really men of spirit."
"Mr. Davenport," said one of the young men, "won't you entertain us with an account of something you saw or joined in, or did yourself, during the war?"
"Were any of you at Quebec, with Arnold and Montgomery?" inquired one of the veterans who had been an attentive and silent listener to the preceding narratives.
"I accompanied Colonel Arnold on the expedition up the Kennebec," replied Davenport.
"Then tell us about it, won't you?" eagerly exclaimed one of the young men.
"Ay, Davenport, tell us about it," added Kinnison. "I've never heard anything I could depend on about that march through the wilderness. Old Joe Weston tried to give me an account of it; but his memory was very weak, and he hadn't the knack of talking so that a person could understand him."
"Well, you see," began Davenport, "I was livin' up here on the Lexington road, when I hear that General Washington had planned an expedition to Canada by way of the Kennebec and the wilderness north of it, and that Colonel Arnold had been appointed to command the troops who were to undertake it. I was preparing to join the army at Cambridge; but I thought that Arnold's expedition would suit me better than staying in camp around Boston. So I furnished myself with many little knick-nacks, shouldered my musket, and started off to offer my services. They placed me in one of the companies of Major Bigelow's battalion. I believe there was about eleven hundred men, in all, under Arnold's command, who marched from Cambridge to Newburyport. There we embarked on board of eleven transports, and, on the nineteenth of September, sailed for the Kennebec. I must confess, I didn't like the idea of starting so late in the year, because I knew we'd meet with some of the coldest kind of weather before we reached Canada; but I had to be satisfied. At the end of two days, we had entered the Kennebec and reached the town of Gardiner. The only accident we had met with was the grounding of two of our transports; but we got them off without much difficulty. I forgot to mention, however, that two hundred carpenters had been sent up the river, before we started from Cambridge, with orders to build two hundred batteaux at Pittston, opposite Gardiner. Well, when we arrived at that place, we found the batteaux ready, and immediately transferred our baggage and provisions to them, and pushed up the river to Fort Western. At that place our real work was to commence. Colonel Arnold knew a great deal about the route, and he had undertaken it because he knew what he had to encounter, and how much glory he would win if he succeeded; but we men, who were to work and suffer most, knew nothing about the route; except that it was through a wilderness where few white men had set foot. Before the army started from Fort Western, two small parties were sent forward to survey and reconnoitre the route as far as Lake Megantic and the Dead River. Next, the army began to move in four divisions. Morgan and his riflemen went first; next day, Green and Bigelow, with three companies; next day, Meigs, with four companies; and the next day, Colonel Enos, with the three other companies. You see, the divisions started a day apart, so as to prevent any difficulty in passing rapids and falls. Colonel Arnold waited to see all the troops embarked, and then passed the whole line till he overtook Morgan. On the fourth day after our party—that is, Green and Bigelow's—started from Fort Western, we arrived at Norridgewock Falls. You may recollect, there used to be a tribe of Indians called the Norridgewocks, who had a village near these falls. I saw the plain where the village stood, and the ruins of the church which was destroyed by Captain Moulton during the war with the tribe. At the falls, all the batteaux had to be taken out of the river and transported a mile and a quarter by land. You may suppose, there was some work about that part of the journey. The banks on each side of the river were very rugged and rocky; and we had to carry the greater part of our baggage on our backs. One half of the party helped the oxen to draw the boats up to the place where they were to be put into the water again. We found some of the boats were leaky, and a great deal of the provisions damaged, which was a matter of importance, as you will see when I get farther on in my story. We were seven days in passing round that fall and repairing our boats. During those seven days, we worked as I had never seen men work before; and, strangely enough, there were very few grumblers in our party. We joked and sang lively songs, even during the hardest labor; and I got into a much better humor than I was in when I started. We had an Irishman, named Jim O'Brien, in our mess, who was one of the best hearted and quickest-witted chaps I ever encountered; and we had a friend of his, named Murtough Johnson, who was as dull and blundering as O'Brien was keen and ready. So, you see, with O'Brien's jokes and Johnson's blunders we had something to amuse us. I recollect, at one time, we were pushing our boat up on the bank clear of the water, and Johnson handled his pole so clumsily that he fell into the river. O'Brien hauled him out after he had a severe ducking in rather cold water. The officers worked as hard as the men. Every sinew and muscle was brought into use. Colonel Arnold seemed to be ever active, cheering on the men, and often lending his hand to aid them."
"What sort of a looking man was Arnold at that time?" inquired Hand.
"He was then about thirty-five years old," replied Davenport; "of the middle size, and rather stout, his face was rather handsome; but there was an iron look about his mouth that many a man would not like; his eyes were of a dark grey, and full of fire and restlessness. He seemed never to be satisfied unless he was moving about and doing something."
"Exactly as I knew him," remarked Kinnison.
"Well," said Davenport, "I'll return to my story. At the end of seven days we were ready to move on; and we soon arrived at the Carratunc Falls, where there was another portage. We got round that, however, without much difficulty. The banks were more level and the road not so long; but the work afterwards was tough. The stream was so rapid that the men were compelled to wade and push the batteaux against the current. There was a little grumbling among us, and quite a number of the men deserted. Two days after reaching the Carratunc Falls, we came to the Great Carrying Place. There work was to begin to which all our other work was play. The Great Carrying Place extended from the Kennebec to the Dead River, about fifteen miles, and on the road were three small ponds. Before we took our batteaux out of the water of the Kennebec, we built a block-house on its banks, as a depository for provisions, so as to secure a supply in case of retreat."
"I thought you said you had no extra quantity of provisions," said Pitts.
"I did," replied Davenport. "We did not intend to leave any of our provisions at the block-house. It was built as a repository for supplies ordered up from Norridgewock. Well, we took the boats out of the water, and took most of the baggage and provisions out of the boats, and toiled up a steep, rocky road for more than three miles to the first pond. There the boats were put into the water, and we had a short rest. We caught plenty of fresh salmon-trout in the pond, and Colonel Arnold ordered two oxen to be killed and divided among us, as a sort of treat. At the second portage we built another block-house for the sick. At that time I felt sick and worn out myself, but I couldn't think of stopping, so I kept my sufferings hidden as much as I could from everybody but O'Brien, who did all he could to help me. After crossing the last pond, we had several marshes and deep ravines to cross. Sometimes we had to wade up to the knees in mud and water, carrying heavy bundles of baggage on our shoulders, and in constant danger of sinking into deep mud holes. Ha! ha! I recollect, O'Brien, Johnson and myself were toiling along through one of the marshes, Johnson a short distance behind, when O'Brien and I heard a yell and a cry of 'Och, murther!' The yell, I thought might have come from a savage, but the 'Och, murther!' I knew never could. O'Brien's quick eye soon discovered what was the cause of it, and I followed him back. There we found Johnson, up to his neck in mud and water, yelling for help to get out of the bloody dirt. I was the first to grasp his hand, but in pulling, my foot slipped, and I fell in alongside of Johnson. O'Brien was more careful; he got on the baggage that Johnson and I had thrown down, and by great exertions, dragged us both out; but in such a condition—covered with mud from head to foot. Of course, O'Brien and I laid it all on Johnson's blundering. O'Brien said he believed Johnson's birth was a blunder of nature, she had regretted ever since; and that if he fell into a mudhole again, he should stick there. Johnson admitted that he was thinking of home when he fell into the dirty place; he was just kissing his darlin' Mary when his foot slipped. Well, we shouldered our wet baggage, and waded on to the rest of the party, and soon after, we reached Dead River. This river seemed to have a smooth current, broken by two or three little falls, and we thought we could have quite an easy progress. The boats were easily pushed along, and the men got the rest they wanted. As we were going slowly along the river, we discovered a high mountain, the summit of which appeared to be whitened with snow. Near the base of the mountain we found Arnold, with the two first divisions, encamped. We were all very glad to see a camp once more and enjoyed it, I tell you, as much as a good meal after a hard day's work. On the day after the arrival of our party, Colonel Arnold raised the pine-tree flag over his tent, the men firing a salute and giving three cheers, as soon as it was raised. On the same day, Major Bigelow went up to the top of the mountain, expecting to see the spires of Quebec. But he weren't a Moses; he didn't see the promised land. After that, I believe the people gave the Major's name to the mountain. Ninety men were sent back to the rear for provisions which now began to grow scarce. It began to rain before we left the encampment, and it rained the best part of three days; every man and all the baggage were drenched with water. Morgan and Arnold, with the first and second divisions had gone ahead, and we followed. One night, we landed at a rather late hour, and were trying to get a little rest, when we were awaked by the freshet, which came down upon us in a torrent; O'Brien waked Johnson and myself just in time to allow us to get out of the way. The water arose to a great height, covering the low grounds on each side of the river, and the current became very rapid. As the batteaux moved on they would get entangled among the drift wood and bushes. Sometimes we wandered from the main stream into the branches, and then we would have to fall back into the proper course. The number of falls seemed to increase as we advanced, and of course, there was a portage at every one. I was almost worn out with toil and sickness, yet I was sustained by the hope of succeeding in the expedition, and of doing some injury to the enemy before I died. You know how an excited spirit will overcome weakness of body. At length a disaster happened to our party which almost checked the expedition. By some bad management, and partly by accident, seven of our batteaux were overset; O'Brien, Johnson and myself were among the men thrown into the water, and we had a terrible time of it, clinging to the bottom of the batteaux. We pushed the boats ashore, and not a single man was drowned; but all the baggage and provisions in the boats were lost. That made such a breach in our provisions, that the boldest hearts began to be seized with despair. We were then thirty miles from the head of Chaudiere river, and we had provisions for twelve days at the farthest. A council of war was held, and it was decided to send the sick and feeble men back, and press forward with the others. Colonel Arnold wrote to Colonel Greene and Colonel Enos, who were in the rear, to select such a number of their strongest men that could supply themselves with fifteen days' provisions, and to come on with them, leaving the others to return to Norridgewock. You know how Colonel Enos acted upon that order; he marched back to Cambridge, while Colonel Greene obeyed Colonel Arnold's instructions."
"People have different opinions of that man's conduct," said Kinnison. "For my part, I think he was a poor-spirited man, if not a coward."
"I think so too," said Davenport. "Although his court-martial acquitted him, General Washington, and other officers showed such dissatisfaction, that he resigned his commission."
"Never mind the shirk," said Pitts: "tell us how the men of the right grit made out."
"Well," said Davenport, "after Colonel Arnold had arranged his plans, he hurried forwards with sixty men, intending to proceed as soon as possible to the inhabitants on the Chaudiere and send back provisions to the main body. When we started again, the rain had changed to snow, which fell two inches deep. Ice formed on the surface of the water through which we were forced to wade and drag the boats. You may talk about suffering at Valley Forge, but I tell you it was no kind of circumstance to what we men endured. We were cold, hungry and tired all the time, and yet we couldn't rest, for fear of starvation in the wilderness. I always think my living through it all was owing to O'Brien's care and his trying to keep me in good spirits. Poor fellow! he met his death at Quebec. I'll never forget him. The man who could forget such service at such a time would be a blot upon the name of humanity." Davenport paused, as if indulging mournful memory, and then proceeded. "Near the source of the Dead River, we had to pass through a string of small lakes, choked with drift-wood and rocks. So it seemed as if we met greater difficulty at every step of our advance. At last we reached the four-mile carrying place, from the Dead River to the stream that leads into Lake Megantic. We took the batteaux out of the water and dragged and carried them over the highlands till we reached the little stream, which conducted us by a very crooked course into Lake Megantic. I began to think our toils and dangers would soon be over, and of course worked with a light heart. At the Lake, we found Lieutenant Steel and the exploring party which had been sent forward to explore and clear the path at the portages. The night after our party entered the Lake, we encamped on the eastern shore, where a large Indian wigwam that appeared as if it had been used for a council, served to shelter us from the cold winds. Colonel Arnold ordered Hanchet and fifty men to march by land along the shore of Chaudiere River, and he, himself, embarked with Captain Oswald, Lieutenants Steel and Church and thirteen men, determined to proceed as soon as possible to the French inhabitants, and send back provisions to the army. This was the only plan to save the men from starvation. You see the Chaudiere is a rough rapid river, the water in some places boiling and foaming over a rocky bottom. The baggage had to be lashed to the boats. Arnold's party fell among the rapids. Three of the boats were overset, dashed to pieces against the rocks and their contents swallowed up by the waves. Six men struggled for some time in the water, but were saved. That accident turned out to be a lucky one, for no sooner had the men dried their clothes and re-embarked, than one of them, who had gone forward, cried out 'a fall ahead,' and thus the whole party was saved from destruction. Soon after we entered the Chaudiere we worked round several falls and kept clear of the rapids for a while; but it couldn't last. We lost boats here and there, till we hadn't enough to carry the men and what baggage we had with us, and so we took to the land, and began our march through the woods along the banks of the river. Now a kind of suffering began, which we hadn't dreamed of when we started, but which we had been expecting before we lost our boats. We had to drag ourselves along, over rocks and ravines and through thick underwood, with starvation staring us in the face. I had never been a hearty feeder, and could bear the want of provisions better than those in good health and who had accustomed themselves to cramming. But poor Johnson fainted several times on the march, and O'Brien suffered more than he would tell. Every thing eatable was at length entirely used. Several dogs, generally favourites of their owners, had been killed and entirely devoured, even to the entrails. O'Brien, Johnson and myself boiled our moccasins, to see if any nourishment could be drawn from the deer-skin. But the skins were dry. It seemed as if we were doomed to starvation. No game of any kind appeared, and even the eatable roots were not to be found. I remember seeing a party of men, Johnson among them, discover a well-known root in the sand and rush for it as if it had been a diamond. The man who got it devoured it instantly, though at any other time it would have made him sick."
"I wonder how those men would have acted if they had met such a loaded table as this in the woods," said Hand.
"Acted!" said Davenport. "Like wolves, whose bellies had been pinched with hunger for a week. You may judge from what I tell you. As we were marching slowly through the woods, a set of ragged skeletons, the foremost of the party caught sight of some Canadians and Indians coming towards us, with great packages and bundles which we knew were the provisions sent by Colonel Arnold. There was a perfect yell of joy, and the whole party rushed towards them. But Major Bigelow and his officers kept the men off from the food, at the sword's point. The food was then distributed in very small quantities to each man. How it disappeared! I venture to say that ten minutes after the men received their shares, they had devoured them all. The Canadians and Indians were ordered to keep enough provisions for the other troops, who were fed as they came up. At last we caught sight of the French settlement of Sertigan, where Colonel Arnold had arrived some days before. The people came out to receive us; but they wondered at us as if we were more than men. They offered us plenty of food and clothing, and took care of the sick. Within four or five days, the whole army was collected by small parties at Sertigan."
"What was the number of the troops who arrived safe?" enquired Pitts.
"About five hundred and fifty men, I suppose," replied Davenport. "The rest had either gone back with Enos, deserted, or been left at the block-house, sick."
"How long did the expedition occupy?" enquired Hand.
"About two months," replied Davenport. "For thirty-two days we traversed a dreary wilderness without meeting a human being."
"It was a great feat, and the men who performed it are entitled to high renown," said Hand.
"Many of them afterwards became distinguished," said Davenport. "Morgan, Dearborn, Meigs, Febiger, Greene and others were known to the enemy in after years."
Mr. Hand now proposed three cheers for the men of Arnold's expedition and three more for Mr. Davenport, both of which propositions were acted upon in the heartiest manner by the young men. Mr. Hand then said he had a song to sing to the tune of "Ye Mariners of England." It was not his own composition; he had found it in print, and knowing the music, thought it would be acceptable. Being pressed to sing, he complied, singing the following words:—
Ye freemen of Columbia, Who guard our native coast, Whose fathers won your liberty, Your country's pride and boast; Your glorious standard rear again, To match your ancient foe, As she roars on your shores, Where the stormy tempests blow; As she prowls for prey on every shore, Where the stormy tempests blow.
The spirits of your fathers Shall hover o'er each plain, Where in their injured country's cause The immortal brave were slain! Where bold Montgomery fearless fell, Where carnage strew'd the field, In your might shall you fight, And force the foe to yield; And on the heights of Abraham Your country's vengeance wield.
Columbia fears no enemy That ploughs the briny main; Her home a mighty continent, Its soil her rich domain! To avenge our much-loved country's wrongs, To the field her sons shall fly, While alarms sound to arms, We'll conquer or we'll die. When Britain's tears may flow in vain, As low her legions lie!
Columbia's eagle standard Triumphant then shall tower, Till from the land the foe depart, Driven by its gallant power. Then, then, ye patriot warriors! Our song and feast shall flow, And no more, on our shore, Shall war's dread tempests blow; But the breeze of peace shall gently breathe, Like the winds that murmur low.
The song was well received by the company, who were not disposed to be critical. The drum and fife were then brought into play, Brown and Hanson, without entreaty, striking up, "Come out, ye Continentallers." This rollicking tune called up such laughable associations, that one of the young men proposed that it should be sung. No one knew it entire, except Brown, the fifer, who had been the musician of his mess as well as of the company, and Brown complied with the repeated entreaties of the young men, singing the following ludicrous words in a cracked and weak remnant of a voice.
Come out, ye continentallers! We're going for to go To fight the red-coat enemy, Who're plaguy "cute," you know.
Now, shoulder whoop!—eyes right and dress— Front!—Davis, wipe your nose— Port whoop!—that's slick—now, carry whoop! Mike Jones, turn out your toes.
Charge bagnet!—that's your sort, my boys: Now, quick time!—march!—that's right; Just so we'd poke the enemy, If they were but in sight.
Halt!—shoulder whoop!—stop laughing, Nick— By platoons, wheel!—halt—dress! Hold up your muzzles on the left; No talking, more or less.
Bill Sneezer, keep your canteen down, We're going for to travel; "Captain, I wants to halt a bit, My shoe is full of gravel."
Ho—strike up music—for'ard march! Now point your toes, Bob Rogers; See! yonder are the red-coat men— Let fly upon 'em, sogers.
This song was written in the early part of the revolutionary war to burlesque the meeting of the country militia, and afterwards became very popular. Although Brown had not much voice, he managed to give a correct and exceedingly laughable expression to the old song.
"That may be all true enough of some of the country militia," said Robinson, "but in our village, there was no such foolery. Regulars—and British ones at that—couldn't have gone through a better training, or a better rill. One of the British officers at Saratoga said that the New England militia were equal to regulars; and as far as marching up to cannons' mouths and driving back dragoons goes, I think they were, myself. You see, for a long time previous to the battle of Lexington, we had trainings all around the country, and some of our officers were men who had seen some hard service in the old French War. Why, just look at the men that Ethan Allen and Arnold led against Ticonderoga, as strong a place as was ever fortified in the northern states. There was not a bolder or better conducted enterprise in the whole war."
THE EXPEDITION AGAINST TICONDEROGA.
"Were either of you in the expedition against Ticonderoga?" enquired Hand, wishing to learn the particulars of that affair.
"Ay," replied a little old man, who had quit eating and fallen asleep during Davenport's narrative, and had only wakened up at the sound of the drum and fife, playing "Come out, ye Continentallers." "I was with Ethan Allen. I was one of the Green Mountain Boys, that did the thing."
"Then perhaps you can tell us something about it," said Kinnison, "and about the quarrel between Allen and Arnold. I never heard the facts of the case, but from what I know of the two men, I feel sure Arnold was wrong."
"To be sure he was," said old Timothy Ransom. "To be sure he was. But I'll tell you all I know about the matter. I was at work on my farm when I heard of the battle of Lexington. I belonged to a regiment of militia that used to meet for drill on a neighbouring farm. Ethan Allen was the Colonel, and he was fit to be the leader anywhere. He would lead where any would follow, was as honest a man as ever breathed, and had a great share of strong sense. As soon as Colonel Allen heard that the war had really begun, he determined to seize Ticonderoga, where a great quantity of munitions of war were stored. I forgot to tell you, however, that Allen was commissioned a colonel by the government of Vermont. He collected our boys at his residence, and marched to Bennington, where he expected to be joined by more volunteers. At Bennington we met Colonel Easton, with some men from his regiment of militia. Our party then amounted to two hundred and seventy men; and, though I was one among 'em, I may be allowed to say, that a more daring, and a tougher set of men were never assembled. About dusk on the 7th of May, we reached Castleton—that's about fourteen miles east of Skenesborough. There we were to make our final arrangements. A council of war was held. Colonel Allen was appointed commander of the expedition, Colonel Easton second in command, and Seth Warner, third. Allen, with the main force, was to march to Shoreham, opposite Ticonderoga, Captain Herrick with thirty men was to push up to Skenesborough, and capture the young Major Skene, confine his people, and seizing all the boats he could find there, hasten to join Allen at Shoreham; and Captain Douglas was to proceed to Panton, beyond Crown Point, and secure all the boats that should fall in his way. On the 9th of May, Arnold arrived at Castleton, with a few officers and men, and after introducing himself to our officers, showed a commission from the Massachusetts Committee of Safety, by which he claimed the supreme command. But our boys wouldn't hear anything of the kind. We all said that Ethan Allen was our leader, and if he had not the command, we would march back to our homes. So Colonel Arnold found that he would have to join us without a command, or go back where he came from. He chose to join as a mere volunteer, smothering his claim till another occasion. On the same day on which Colonel Arnold arrived, Mr. Phelps, one of the Connecticut Committee who were with us, disguised himself as a countryman who wanted to be shaved, and visited Ticonderoga, to spy into the condition of the garrison. He found that the walls of the old fort were broken down, and that the small garrison were careless of all discipline. As soon as Colonel Allen was informed of this state of things, he resolved to move on at once. We marched to the shore of the lake, opposite Ticonderoga, during the night of the 9th of May. Allen had secured a guide in a boy named Nathan Beman, who was fully acquainted with every secret way that led into the fortress. But we found that we hadn't boats enough to carry all the party over the lake. Allen, Arnold, Easton, and eighty-three of the men, of whom I was one, had crossed just as the day was beginning to dawn. To wait would have been too hazardous, as the garrison, if aroused, might make a stout resistance; and we wanted to buy success as cheap as possible. Colonel Allen resolved to commence the attack at once. We were drawn up in three ranks on the shore nearly opposite the fort. Allen then made a short address to us. He was never a man of many words. He said he knew our spirit, and hoped we would remember the cause for which we were about to strike; that would nerve the arm of a coward. He concluded by conjuring us to obey orders strictly, and to commit no slaughter that could be done without. Then, with Arnold at his side, Allen led us stealthily up the rocks to the sally-port. I saw the sentinel snap his fusee at our bold leader, and rush into the covered way that led into the fort. We followed upon his heels, and were thus guided right into the parade within the barracks. There another sentinel made a thrust at Easton. But Colonel Allen struck him on the head with his sword and the fellow begged for quarter. As we rushed into the parade, we gave a tremendous shout, and filed off into two divisions. The men of the garrison leaped from their beds, seized their arms, and rushed into the parade, only to be seized by our men. I snatched a musket from a red-coat's hand just as he was taking aim at Captain Herrick, and made the fellow shriek for quarter, by merely striking him alongside of the face with my fist. While we were securing the men, Colonel Allen and the boy, Nathan Beman, went up stairs to the door of the room in which Captain Delaplace and his wife were sleeping. Allen gave three loud raps with the hilt of his sword on the door, and with his strong voice, ordered the captain to surrender, or the whole garrison should be slaughtered. Our shouting had awakened the captain and his wife, and they sprang to the door. Delaplace appeared in his shirt and drawers, and recognising Colonel Allen as an old friend, boldly demanded why he was disturbed. Allen replied, by ordering him to surrender instantly. Delaplace then said, 'By what authority do you demand it?' 'In the name of the Great Jehovah and the Continental Congress,' replied Colonel Allen, with the full thunder of his voice, as he raised his sword over the head of the Captain. This convinced the captain that the wisest course was to comply, and so he gave the order for the troops to parade without arms. Forty-eight British regulars surrendered prisoners of war, and the fort and every thing in it became ours. The regulars, with the women and children, were sent to Hartford. We found nearly two hundred pieces of ordnance, and an immense quantity of ammunition of all kinds and plenty of eatables. Just after the surrender, Seth Warner, with the rear division, crossed the lake and joined us. The prisoners were secured and then we all took a hearty breakfast. We had been up and on duty all night, and that, together with our success, made us enjoy that breakfast more than an every-day one. Colonel Arnold again attempted to take the command of our men and the fort. But none of us would obey his orders, and the Connecticut Committee said that Colonel Allen was the rightful commander, as the men were to be paid by Connecticut, and Massachusetts had furnished nothing for the enterprise, and Allen had been formally chosen. Arnold was forced to yield; but he sent a statement of the matter to the Massachusetts Assembly. That body confirmed Allen's appointment and directed Arnold not to interfere. On the day of the capture of Ticonderoga, Colonel Seth Warner, with a small body of our men, was sent to take possession of Crown Point. But a tremendous storm arose, and Warner was compelled to put back and pass the night with us. But the next day, he started and captured Crown Point without firing a shot. You see the garrison only amounted to a serjeant and eleven men, and they didn't expect an attack; so that Warner had only to come suddenly upon them, and make a bold show, and they surrendered. More than one hundred cannon were taken at that place, and thus, you see, we had something to begin the war with. Colonel Arnold gave up the idea of commanding at Ticonderoga, but he would command somewhere, and so he soon after undertook an expedition against St. John's. It appears to me, Arnold was very wrong in attempting to remove such a man as Allen from the command. But I believe he was always thinking of himself alone."
"I can't agree with you, Ransom," said Jonas Davenport. "I think he was a selfish man in general; but I know he could be generous sometimes. In that expedition to Canada, he helped his men whenever he could in the smallest matters, when many other commanders would have minded their own comfort alone. Let us have justice done to every man. I never liked Arnold as a man; but I think he was as good a soldier and general as I ever knew."
"Certainly as good a soldier," said Kinnison.
"His generalship," said Pitts, "never had much play. As far as he had the chance, he proved that he had the skill and knowledge for planning military enterprises."
"I preferred old Putnam to Arnold," said John Warner. "He was quite as daring, and a much better-hearted man."
"Ay, a braver man than General Putnam never drew a blade," said Kinnison. "That man's adventures would make as interestin' a book as you'd wish to read."
"I should like to hear some of them," said Hand.
"You've heard of his great feat at Horseneck, I suppose," said Jonas Davenport.
"Yes," replied Hand, "and often wondered at it."
"I happened to be on the spot and see that affair," said old John Warner. "I was on a visit to a friend at a farm near Horseneck, when the news of Governor Tryon's approach, with a large force, reached me. I hadn't joined the regular army, for a great many reasons; but I always took advantage of an opportunity to serve the right side. General Putnam's picket of one hundred and fifty men, with two field-pieces, was the only force in that neighbourhood; but I knew Old Put. would have a shot at the enemy, no matter how few men he had with him. So I shouldered my firelock and went and offered my services. General Putnam planted his cannon on the high ground near the meeting-house, and awaited the approach of the enemy. Directly, we saw Tryon, with a great force of regulars, coming along the road. Our cannon blazed away at them and checked their advance for a short time. But pretty soon, we saw the dragoons and infantry preparing to make a charge, and Old Put. knew there wouldn't be much chance of our withstanding the shock. So he ordered us to retire into the swamp just back of our position, where we would be safe from dragoons, at least, and where we would have an even chance with the infantry. I expected to see the general follow us; but he turned his horse towards the stone steps that led down the rocks from the meeting-house. As we fell back I had time to observe him. When he reached the head of the steps, the horse stopped as if afraid of the attempt. But Old Putnam knew there was no time to lose, as the dragoons were nearly upon him. So he struck his spurs into the horse's sides, and they plunged down the steps together. I lost sight of the horse and rider just then; but saw the red-coat dragoons stop short at the head of the precipice, and fire their pistols after them. Not one among the red-coats dared to follow, and ten chances to one if they had attempted it, they would have broken their necks; for the precipice was so high and steep as to have one hundred steps cut in it. Before they could get round the brow of the height by the ordinary road, the General was far beyond their reach. Tryon didn't attempt to follow us into the swamp, but soon after commenced his retreat. We fell back to Stamford, where we met the General with some militia he had collected, and marched back in search of Tryon. The red-coats had completed their work and were out of our reach."