A Boy Soldier Under Washington: The Memoir of Daniel Granger
A Boy Soldier Under Washington: The Memoir of Daniel Granger
Edit by M. M. Quaife
Daniel Granger, who at the tender age of thirteen years shouldered a musket and took his place in the ranks of the rebel army before Boston, was born in Andover, Massachusetts, on March 2, 1762. Already the Granger line was old in the commonwealth, its first representative (a great-great grandfather of Daniel) having migrated from England to New England about the year 1640. His great-grandson, Jacob Granger, who was born in Andover in 1735, was the father of Daniel, our narrator. He was the father of other sons as well, the eldest of whom, Jacob Granger, at the beginning of the Revolution enlisted in a regiment, recruited by Colonel Enoch Poor of New Hampshire. How Daniel, still a mere child, came to take his place in the ranks before Boston in the month of December, 1775, is related in the opening lines of his narrative.
It will be readily apparent to the reader that this narrative is not a contemporary journal of the events described. On the contrary, it seems not to have been composed until the author had passed his eightieth year, and at the end we a-re definitely informed that he completed its revision in March, 1848, on his eighty-sixth birthday. Notwithstanding this lapse of time between the occurrence and the recording of the events described, the author has imparted to his story a degree of vividness seldom encountered in an old man’s relations; and the reader will search long for a more intimate picture of the homely details of the life of a, common soldier in the American Revolution than the one here presented. The youthful soldier witnessed the surrender of Burgoyne, participated in the siege of Boston and the disastrous operations in Rhode Island, and at West Point observed the confusion attendant upon Arnold’s treason and viewed with pitying gaze gallant Major Andre as he despondently paced the prison from which he was shortly to be conveyed to meet a felon’s doom. Of these dramatic scenes, as alike of the horseplay and roguery with which the common soldier sought to relieve the tedium of his daily round, a vivid impression is conveyed to the mind of the reader. More important, perhaps, Granger’s narrative preserves a sense of homely humanness about our Revolutionary fathers which the passage of time and the process of deification at the hands of succeeding generations have conspired to obscure.
The original memoir contains a, succinct account of the writer’s ancestry and early years, as also a, continuation of his life story from the close of the Revolution until old age. We have deemed it advisable, however, to print only the story of his war-time experiences. Following the war he taught school for several years, and in 1786 settled in Saco, Maine, which remained his permanent home. He was collector of customs in Saco during the administrations of Jefferson and Monroe. He held various local offices at different times, and during the War of 1812 served as commissioner of prisoners. The present ownership of his manuscript narrative is unknown to the Editor, but a longhand copy of it, made with evident care in 1901, is owned by a granddaughter of this writer, Mrs. Mary Granger Chapin, of Somerville, Massachusetts. To her, and to her son, Mr. Ernest W. Chapin, chief of the technology department of the Detroit Public Library, the Editor is indebted for his knowledge of the manuscript, and for courteous permission to publish it here.
My first services in the Revolution were on Winter Hill in the Fall and Winter of 1775, I at the age of 13 years. In the Month of December, News came up, that my Brother was sick and unable to do Duty, he was very thinly clad, as most of the Soldiers were at that time; he had taken a Cold and became sick. My parents said that I must take the Horse and go down and bring him home. But if the Officers would receive me in his sted, (and he being able to ride alone) I might stay in his room: I went down, & found him, he went with me to the Officers, to offer my services and to obtain a Furlow for himself: they questioned me a little and finally said that I might stay in his room if I thought that I could do the duty of a Soldier, & I gave my Consent, my Brother took the Horse & went home, & I took his Accoutrements and went in his Mess. The Barracks were then building, but were not finished. The Weather was extremely cold, and Winter Hill was a high bleak & cold and the Soldiers then lived in Tents and suffered much with the cold. But the Mess, my brother belonged to had excavated a place into the side of the Hill covered it with Timber & boards built up a fireplace & Chimney and a Door, had Straw for the flooring & beading, where they were warm & comfortable, and were called a Mess of Cubs, who lived in a Den. As soon as the Barracks were finished, we were obliged to quit the Den & go into the Barracks, but were not so warm & comfortable: the Barracks were hastily built only boarded & battened & without Windows excepting a square opening with a sliding shutter. There were two long Barracks, one on the North side of the Hill, facing the South, the other on the East side of the Hill, facing the West, the Northern End close to the Eastern end of the other Rang of Barracks, forming two sides of a square. the ground of the square, made level, the Stones removed for a Parade Ground, Here I did duty as a Soldier nearby three Months at the age of 13 years, mounted Guard several times, first on the piquit or quarter guard, so called. The work of calling out the guard, was, that when any Guard or Detachment was wanted, a certain Number from each Company was given to the sergeant major of the Regiment every Night & he went around to every Company & notified each Soldier, and the non Commissioned Officers, on what Guard or duty he was so detailed, and to be ready at such an Hour, in the Morning. The Sergeant Major, whose name was Bell, would be out at the time with his Rattan and rap on the Barracks & halloo, turn out quarter Guard, & he had a stentorian Voice, When each Officer & Soldier would turn out, who were so detailed for that Guard & there would be a Commissioned Officer to receive them on the parade. The Roll was called. If no one was missing. they were marched off to the place appointed to relieve the Guard of the preceding Morning. Where the commanding officer of the New Guard received the Orders from the Commander of the Old, which had been given him on his coming on, & to guide the new Commander during his twenty four hours. The New [commander] enquired of the old one how many Sentries were out & on being told, detached the Number from his Guard & sent them out with a non commissioned Officer to relieve & bring in those of the old Guard, and each soldier of the new, received his Orders from the Sentry, whom he relieved at each Station. The Old Guard were then marched to the Barracks & discharged. The first time that I was detached, was on the main guard and I prepared my breakfast the Night before, so as to be ready, at the call of the little Bell, and not to get a caneing from him for negligence, as some others did, for when he began to wrap and to ball, the Soldiers would call out “there is the Bell, don’t you hear the Bell? ” So when I heard the little Fellow’s Voice I was out, about the first of any, and soon was marched off to the Main Guardhouse. but it did not come to my turn to stand Sentry, until about ten o’clock at Night, and it was the most stormy and bitter cold Night that I ever felt, and I had to stand on the N. E. side of the Hill, where the Wind blew extremely cold, two long hours, although I had a watch box to stand in yet I was obliged to go out for I could not see any one approaching when in the Box. I stood out my two hours and then was released. The manner of relieving the Sentries was thus. the relief Guard, (under the charge of an Officer.) marched up near to the old Sentry, in single file & halted, and at the words given, presented Arms, that is, the forward one of the Relief & the old Sentry, the old Sentry then gave to the Relief Sentry, such orders as he had received when he came on, the words given were, Shoulder Arms to the right face, march, the old Sentry marched to the rear of the single file, & the new Sentry took his place, the relief then marched to the next old Sentry and so on. We were then marched to the Guard-house, where was a good fire, & as soon as I got warm, I wrapped my Blanket round me, lie down on the cold wet floor, my Pack for a Pillow, and then slept, but some scuffled and wrestled all night rather than to sleep on a wet floor. The first part of the Day on Guard was warm & thawy. & I with three others were detailed by an Officer to go and take a Man who it was said was drunk fighting and making disturbance, we went, found him & took him prisoner, conducted him to the Guard-house, but on the way, going through a deep Puddle, the Prisoner (being cleverly drunk) slipped & fell f  at into the Puddle the Officer gave him a pretty heavy stroke with his Hangar and said, “what the devil did you fall in there for” he picked himself up as soon as he could, and in his Irish Language said, “why by Jesus, because I hadn’t a chance to chose a better” which made much Laughter, & he was put under Guard and his Offence sent in writing to the commanding Officer. And the next Morning we were relieved. The next time that I was detailed to go on Guard, was on what was called the Quarter Guard. which was to guard a quantity of Wood and other stores for the Armey. & of course I was detailed and notified the Night before, and early the next Morning I heard the little Sergeant Major. with his Cane raping on the Barracks, & balling turn out Quarter Guard, all were out pritty soon except one, found missing by a call of the Roll, but the Bell soon found him & roust him with his Rattan, we had not far to go, nor much to do, only to guard the stores. I was on Sentry twice during the twenty four hours. And then was releaved and returned to our old quarters at the Barracks. The third time that I was detailed to go on Guard was, I beleave on the first of the Month of February, and on the piquit guard so called, down on Litchmore ‘s Point the nearest Land to Boston A Captain’s Guard, of nearly a hundred Men, being detailed & notified the Evening previous, to be ready at daylight; the next morning; and about daylight, the little Bell was out, rapping & bellowing, turn out piquit Guard, turn out, and all were out very soon, the Officers were out to receive us, the Roll was called and all was ready, soon marched off, It was a considerable distance to the Point, we didn’t reach there until after the Sun was up a good height, the old guard was paraded ready to receive us, Orders were received, Senturies detailed from the relief Guard, to release those of the Old, the Sentinels all exchanged, the old Guard marched off, I was not detailed to go on Sentury until about. ten or eleven Oclock at Night, and it so happened that I was placed the lowest down on the Point, by a larg Oak stump the most awfully cold, bleak place, no watch-box to stand in; and by orders, our Guns were loaded. Here I had to stand two hours, and tramp round the old stump to Keep me from freesing, and no other Sentinal in sight of me. And about. eleven or twelve oclock the Sentinal that was placed above me, heard the Ice trickle down from the Rocks as the Tide fell off, which frightened him, I heard him hale, at the Top
of his voice, “who comes there” twice I beleave, and then fired off his Gun and ran off, I could hear the Drum beating at the guardhouse to turn out the Guard, I cocked my Gun, looked and lissaned, but could see nor hear anything but the trickling of the Ice on the Shore, I was determined not to run, nor to fire, until I should see or hear some thing to fire at. and soon I saw two Men coming, and as they approached, I haled, who comes there, one answered “grand rounds” I then said granld rounds, advance & give me the countersign, they advanced, and when at a proper distance, I charged baonnet ordered them to stand, & give the Countersign. one answered, “Baltimore” which was the Word given to all the Senturies for that night I answered the word is right, and shouldered my Gun. They talked with me some time, asked me, if I heard the Sentury fire? I told them that I heard him hale, and fire, & his tramp on the Snow when he ran, butt that I saw nothing, & was determined not to fire nor run until I did, they said, “I was a brave fellow” and asked my age, & on being told it, expressed astonishment, that I should be there so young. and that the Sentinal who ran off his post was a cowardly fellow, & was immediately put under guard and after prasing me a good deal, bid good night & left me, I was then soon releaved, giving the Orders & Counter sign, that I had received, to the relief Sentury & was conducted to the Guard house, had the benefit of a little fire, and when being warmed, I wrapped myself round with my Blanket and Camped down on the cold wet floor, my pack for a pillow, and slept some, but the Soldiers some of them preferred resteling and scuffling, to keep themselves warm, than to sleep on the cold floor. And early the next Morning an Officer came into the guard house & enquired for the Sentury that stood down the lowest on the Point in the Night at the time of the alarm, & soon found me, and took me into the Officers Room and I recollect the Captain’s name was Clough, he took me by the hand and sat me down on his Knees. praised me a good deal for my courage and said many plea-sing things to me which made me rather Proud. asked my age, & how I came to be there & I told him, soon after this the relief Guard were approaching, and the Old guard was paraded and ready to receive them in due form. Orders were delivered to the commander of the new guard Sentinals were detailed & sent out to releave the old ones and we soon marched off for our head quarters, I well recollect that on the Westerly part of this Point stood a very beautiful Seat, which belonged to a Mr. Daulton a Tory as I was informed with a beautiful Yard, Garden, Trees & Serpentine walks &c &c. But every thing ha .d been cruelly mutilated by the Soldiers out of spite to Toryism. I was not detailed to go on guard again while there. Mager Sellea had a Son for his waiter, who went by the appelation job Sillea, a great rogue, full of wit and fun, celdom a day passed, or an Eve, that he was not in our Room, and all made him welcome for the sake of his fun & wit. and once he ca-me in, and was in a terrible pet. and said that he intended to go off home that he would [not] stay an other day, he was asked “what is the matter,” “job”? “Because said he this [is] a poor damn silley Regiment.” Poor was the Colonel. Dam the Lieut Colonel and Sillea the Mager,1 which made us all laugh much, and we enjoyed him the Evening, but we soon found out what made the difficulty, his Father had given him a severe Chestisement, for some of his roguery.
My Brother returned in good health, and I went home about the last of February 1776, and worked with my Father on the Farm until the latter part of September 1777, when Gen’ Burgoine with a powerful Armey was progressing from Canida to New York, and another brittish Armey at New York, ready as it was supposed to march up the Burgoine was stoped at Stilwater by Gen’ Gates: and that if the Country would turn out spiritedly, he, Burgoin and his Armey might be captured. The People were called together, both Old and Young there was a general rally, spirited and patriotic addresses were made to them. I now well recollect the address mad by Samuel Phillips, full of courage and pathos, and the word was given, who will turn out and follow the Music? which soon struck up & marched around, Capt John Adams & Lieut Co Marble immidiately steped out & followed the Music, and a goodly number of young and spirited fellows, followed the two Officers, and I among them. We were then addressed again by Samuel Phillips, & urged to proceed on the very next Morning, which was agreed to by all. And it was, I beliave, proposed by Phillips to make up a Purse towards our expenses in traveling on, which was well don & the Money given to Capt Adams for the Purpose. We agreed to take Horses & rid[e] on the first day, with a Man to bring back the Horses, and we did so, and then footed on. Capt Adams Companey were made up from the North Parrish of Andover, Bradford & Boxford, upward of 60 in number. And an other Companey was from the South Parrish & some other towns, under Capt John Abbot, of about the same number, After we had passed over the hoosuck Mountains, we came to a small Village just at Night, the building[s] very small, except one, a very good House & other out buildings, whin the owner saw us approaching He was seen to run into his House and to close all the doors and & Windows. Capt Adams haulted the Companey, went to the Door and nocked, but no Answer was given, at length the Owner, run up a Window of the upper Storey, put out his Head and told the Capt that he should not come in, the Capt told him that he & his Men should have quarters in his House that Night and that if he didnt open his dowers like a Man & Patriot, he would open them for him, and take him and carry him on to head quarters, considerable altercation ensued, but, he was told that if he would behave like a Man he should be well paid for every Thing that he might furnish. We all understood that he was a rank Torey, and if the Word had been given, his buildings would have been demolished, in short metar but at length, he came down and opened the Doors, let the Officers have the best Room, furnished them with a good Supper, let the Soldiers have the use of his Barn & other out buildings and furnished us with Bread Milk, Butter, cheese and fine smoked hams and we slept on the Hay in his Barn, the Officers had Beds, The nexte Morning the Companey was paraded early, and for some reason, they were ordered to ground their Arms, and to stand easy. We had in the Companey an auquard gawkey kind of a fellow, tho very clever, on whom I loved to play rogueish tricks, and while the Companey were then standing, I steped round behind, and as this fellow stood by his gun, gawping as usual, I steped in softly took his gun by the brich, drew it back into the rear of the Companey, & went round to my place, he did not mis it until the Order was given, “take up Arms,” when he stooped down to take up his Gun, but it was not there, such a look as he gave then half stooping down, caused all that saw it to bust into a broad Laugh, Officers not excepted but he went back & took up his Gun being told where it was and went to his place, enquiry was mad “whom it was that had don the trick,” and the answer given was, “the greatest rogue in the Company” but all went off well and I escaped a reprimand from the OfficersWe then marched on, and were soon ordered to take the right hand Road which led to a Place caled Batinkill, which took its name from a small River of that name, which emptied into the Hudson nearly opposet to Burgoine’s Cantonment and where Gen’ Bricket’s Brigade were stationed, & about one Mile east of the Hudson, but we could not see the Brittish camp for the ground between was covered by a dense Wood, but could hear almost a constant discharge of Cannon & Muskitry, There were several Mills on the Stream, a Saw Mill, grist Mill & a cloathing Mill, and a few dwilling Houses on the East side, a temporary Barrack for the Troops on the west side of the Stream, and a plenty of Straw for beding, we reached there a little before Night, and after t.aking some refreshment, & just at Night I took a walk down to the River, when there came in a small Guard with about thirty Prisoners taken from the Enemy that afternoon. they were mostly miserable looking Canadians, and not having any proper Guard-house, they were stowed into a small dirty Room, Straw was given them, but there was not room enough for them to lie down, they swore bitterly & wanted something to eat. I understood some of their Language. I returned to my Barrack and slept soundly, being very tired. The next Morning I went again down to the Guardhouse, where there was brought in two Prisoners taken that Morning, they were Officers Servants; who had come out to cut Grass with their Knives under the fences & heges, for their Masters Horses, which were starving One of them was an Irish Man, and as cross as a Bear, & swore bitterly, and said that if any one had told him, that he would be a Prisoner this Morning, he would have spit in his face by jesus. The other was a Son of one of the Officers, about 14 Year of age, had a Lieutenants Commission, dressed in the British Uniform, and appeared much greived, was very polite, answered, directly any questions put to him and without any apparent reserve. & I talked with him a good deal. I could but pitty him, but could not release him. They were soon taken before the Officers for examination, and I saw them not afterwards. And this shows how closely Burgoyne’s Armey were penned up at Saratoga at that time. They had no Forrage for their Horses, nor Rations for themselves. The last Battles had been fought at Bemises Heights a day or two before we had reached our station, and were fought by Gen’ Burgoy[n]e in person, where he lost many Men, and several valuable Officers, Gen’ Frazier was then killed.2 My Brother Jacob was in that battle and received a wound by a musket ball in his left Shoulder, which loged und[er] the Shoulder blade & never was extracted, an other Man near him was shot through the Body at the same time and were left on the field. On the 16th of October, at night we drew rations and were notified to be ready early on the next Morn’ to march to Stillwater, so we boiled our Meet and had our provisions all in our Paiks ready. And early in the Morn’ were paraded and marched off, and about Nine Oclock we were halted on a fine Plain, a dence Wood on our left hand, and were told that we should have twenty Minutes To take our breakfast. And it was my turn to cook for the Mess. We struck up a fire by a larg Stump, on with Kittle, to make some hasty Pudding, & an other Kettle to heat water to steep some Tea, all was done as quick as possible. & when don I took a long Board from a Fence, lade one end on the fence & the other on a stump, took off my Kittle of Pudding, turned it out in six Piles on the Board, had my Tea steeped, then gave notice that Breakfast was ready, when the Mess came & saw the Pudding on a Board, it made some sport, we had Sugar in our Packs which we used with our Pudding & Tea, (our Meat had been cooked) we ate as fast as possible, expecting every moment to hear the drums beating, and we had not fairly don, when the Drums were beating to arms, to armes, some had not more than half don, but were driven to the ranks, and we marched on to Stillwater, reached there about 12 ok. The World seemed to be full of Troops, and all in motion. We too
k an ellivated piece of Ground, where we could very plainly see Burgoy[n]e’s encampment. There was a Bridge placed across the River, of buoyant logs, and Planks laid on them, and each end fastened to the Shores. Gen’ Gates’s headquarters was directly opposite to us, on the West side of the River, at a short distance from it, It was noticed that a Man mounted a white Horse at Gates’ Markee & rode off on a full canter up the Road toward Burgoynes Encampment, we could see him as he rose over the undulating Ground at a considerable distance, and it was rumered that Gen’ Gates had sent in his Ultimatum, to Gen’ Burgoyn, That if the Articles were not immediately signed & returned to him, He would fall upon him on all quarters, The troops on the West side were all in commotion, but it was not long before we saw the white2 Horse returning upon a full run, and as soon as the Messenger reached Gates’s Markee, the News flew that. the Capitulation was signed, and that the Troops were laying down their Armes to come out, and soon we saw them coming.3 Gen’ Gates’ Troops were arranged on both sides of the Road, Drums & Fifes playing Yankee doodle, Cannon roaring in all quarters, the whol World seemed to be in motion, Officers lost all command over the Soldiers, if they attempted it, we ran across the Bridge. I got as near to Gen’ Gates’ Markee as I could for the Crowd, and saw Gen’ Burgoyne & Suit ride up, and dismount and go into Gen’ Gates’ Markee, and soon the Van of the Prisoners made their appearance, The Hesson Troops came first with their Baggage on Horses that were mere Skelletins, not able apparently to bear the wait of their own Carkeses. These Troops had some Women, who wore short Petty coats, bare footed, & bare Leged, with huge Packs on their backs, some carrying a child & leading an other or two, They were silent, civil, and looked quite subdued. The English Troops followed, and were cross and impudent enough, they crossed the River that Night and encamped on a level Ground near the River, where they drew Rations and Cooked their suppers, they were very hungry, it was said that they had not drawn full Rations for several days, before the surrender, they had been cooped up in close quarters without Forrage for their Horses or Rations for the Troops.
Gen’ Bricket’s division was appointed to guard the Prisoners down to Boston, and of course we took a position near them, I went into the British Camp that Eve’, & because acquainted with several young Lads of about my Age, pleased with them, and they seemed to be pleased with me, & said that we were no longer Enemies. I traded with them. We had drawn Rations that Eve’, some Whiskey & other articles which I sold to the Soldiers & got Silver Money, whieh was a rare article with us. We sleaped on the Ground that Night without any covering other than our Blankets. We marched the next Morning as soon as the Troops could be arranged. I was in the Section that formed the Van Guard, an other Section followed the Prisoners to drive them all forward, and on the third or fourth day at Night we were in a new & wild country, where there was but few horses & very small, we could git no quarters to cover us, the Wether cold, and a Storm approaching. A Gent, told 3 me that he had a Cutdown about 20 rods Ea.st of the Road where there was large Piles of Logs & Stuff, which we might set fire too & be comfortable through the Night, we went there, set fire to many of those huge Piles which made a tremendous heat, had no supper, rolled ourselves up in our Blankets and lie down on the Ground, feet toward the fire, and it began to snow, I was soon fast asleep, and in the Morning when I awoke I was covered with snow five or six inches deep, the fires had principaly gon down, but was set to other piles & we breakfasted on raw Pork, cold Beef & Bread, had no Camp utensils there to cook anything in. We paraded soon and led off the Troops, We reached Northhampton just at Night, got into good quarters and it came on to rain, and rained all the next Day. and all were very glad & willing to rest. I did not look over the Place much by reason of the rain. There was quite a Row got up there, between the British troops and the american Guard, the americans not having their Arms were about on a par with the British, and fought with clubs brickbats and fists, but the American Officers rushed into the thickest of them, with their Swords & Cutlasses & some of the british were badly wounded, some were nocked down by the Cutlasses Some of the british Officers took an active part in quelling the Riot. but the Guard soon were there with Arms & Bayonets fixed & pushed the british back over the line, beyond which they had no right to advance, some of them were obstinate & were wounded by the bayonets, I recollect of seeing Capt Abbot with his long Sword cuting & slashing over the heads of the british with great spirrit, for he was the Officer of the Day, There was an Officer, generally a Captain, detailed every Day, with under Officers & Men called the Officer of the Day, who sat Senturies at the Gen”s quarters at Night, & at other places, to keep order through the Night. On an open square in the town, the Butchers were killing Beef for the Armey. & on tricing up a lard Ox, the cross Pole cracked, as if to brake, Capt Abbot standing by cried out, “take care take care it is going to crack ” a British Officer stainding near, said to the Capt “going to crack, I should think it was going to brake” the Capt gave him an indignant look and walked off. The next day was fair & we crossed the River over to Hadley, which took up most of the day, the rear Guard did not pass over until near Night. These two Towns were very beautiful. I recollected them on our march up. was highly pleased with them, and with the arbanity of the People, which was accorded to us again on our return, more fully than before, having accomplished so compleatly the object for which we went up, and this was accorded to us, generally throw the Country. We then couter marched, as it was called, we took the Rere & the former rere Guard took the Van. The rear was said to be the hardest & the most trouble some. they had to push the British on at point of the Bayonet. the Hessons were peaceable & orderly. We marched on to Cambridge Commons near the collages, and were there dismissed. The Prisoners went into the old Barracks on Prospect and Winter Hills, which had formerly been erected for the Yankee Troops, while the British hild Boston. I now find, that we reached Battenkilns the 29th of September marched to Stillwater on the 17th of October the day on which Gen’ Burgoyne surrendered, marched with the Prisoner Troops on the 18th and arrived at Cambridge on the 6th of Novr and were 20 Days on the march down. Then each one had to shirk for himself and it was near Night, we stubed on a short distance and found quarters for the Night in a Barn reached home the next day, to relate to our friends the whol Story. And a good one we had to relate. Having seen a large & well equiped British Armey of about eight thousand, surrender as prisoners of War and leaving on the field the finest & largest park of Artilery that ever was seen in America, with all their Carts Timbrels & Veicles for the conveyance of their Amonition was a great & pleasing novelty in deed. And the first Britislh Armey that ever had surrendered to any Nation, as it was said. I had forgotten to mention that on our way up we passed over the Ground where Gen’ Starks at Benington fought & took a Boddy of the Hesson Troops, which had been sent out from Burgoynee’s Armey, to procure Forrage & Provision, this was the first check that Burgoy [n] e met, from the Americans, during his march from Caneda. lIere he lost about eight hundred of the best Hesson Troops. We extracted some Balls from the scattering trees standing on the battle field as memorials of the fortunate battle, These Prisoners were distributed abought. the country, several of them came to Andover, & worked with old Eqr Phillips, and were very sedate, sober, & temperate Men, attended Meeting every Sabbath, dressed in their Uniforms with their huge cocked up hats, They had a seat assigned them, & when they went in, all Kneald down in the attitude of Prayer, for a few moments, and were attentive and devotiona.l throug out.4
I then worked with my Father on the Farm until the next Season, when on abouLt the last of August 1778 I enlisted as a Mulsician with a Number of other young Men, and went on to Rhode Island, to take it from the British, who invested the whol Island at that time, at that time, Gen’ john Sullivan was commander in chief. Generals Lafeate, Green and Wain were there. We went onto the Island about the first of September. and were in the companey commanded by Capt Walloon, and the Regiment of Colo Wordsworth. We drew Tents and were encamped at first on the North end of the Island, in Tents and had the most tremendous South East Storm of Wind & Rain, that I ever saw, every tent and Markee were blown down in the Night. & the Rain poring down in torrents, all turned out, trying to pitch their Tents but the Wind & Rain was so severe that the Pins could not hold for a single moment, at length we took our Bayonets and put them through the Loops & down into the Ground their whol length, which held the Tent up, others did not do so. and in the Morning, not a Tent or Markee was standing in the Regiment excepting ours, and all laying under their Tents flat on the Ground, drenched to the Skin by the Rain, And it continued till the afternoon, so that not a fire could be kindled or any thing until just at Night. But the Tents and Markees were gotten up & made to stand, but all were as wet as Rain could make them, and very hungery and cold, but got some relief then. had Firs and cooked our Breakfast Dinner & Supper all together, Soldier like, and contented. We stayed there a few Days, and then marched down towards Newport, and invested it on the Land side, by a line acrosst the Island, and approached the British Lines by regular movements, and soon cooped them up in close quarters & expected assistance from the French Fleet, expected to arrive, Colonel Wardsworth had a position assigned him, nearly down to the British Lines on the East side of the Island. here we pitched our Tents on a good dry piece of Ground, and while there, the Regiment was paraded one Day & marched toward the North part of the Island. about two miles, no one knew where, or for what purpose we were going, except the Officers probably did. We came to a level Plane near to a large Oak Tree, here the Regt formed into a hollow square, partly enclosing the Tree, soon there came a Horse-Cart, with a Man in it, seting on his Coffin, & a Rope round his Neck. We then Knew for what purpose we were there, to keep Order wile the convict was to be hung. The Cart drove und[er] the Tree the Rope thrown over an Arm of the Tree, the Cart drove from under him, when he droped about four feet and soon expired, was cut down & berried under the Tree, a disgusting transaction to me. And we marched back to our Station. After this I was with a considerable portion of the Regt detached & marched over toward the South part of the Island just at Night, & took a Position a little in advance of our Lines, to watch the Scouting Parties of the Enemy, We went into a field which had a high Stonewall on the South & West sides, Sentinels were set out in advance of the Troops, the Troops lie down on the Grass, with their Arms, Gen’ La feeate came & took the command of the Party, about Midnigh[t] one of our Senturies was alarmed by a Scouting Party, the Sentinel haled, & as soon as he haled the Party fired a Volly at him but did not hit him, he returned the fire, and said that he heard them. cry out, and was sure that he hit some of them. This roused the Party and were ordered up to the Wall, and to push it down till they could fire over it with a level Gun which was quick don, but the party fled, was heard of no more, tho a small Party was sent out, who advanced as far as prudence dictated, saw nothing and returned. The Troops stood in their places by the Wall the rest of the Night, and in the Morn we returned to our quarters again. Count De Estang came in with his Fleat. But as he knew that the English Fleat were out in pursuit of him, and might come in and blockade him in there, he could not be prevailed on to stay, he chose to meet them at Sea, if he must at all, then, Prudence dictated & he fired a Salute & sailed out with his whol Fleat, And soon a British Fleat came in [and] attempted to invest the whol Island, some on both sides, Those on the West side got up nearly to bristol Ferry. Gen’ Sullivan well knew his fate and began a retreat directly, and the British followed our Troops fought them all day on a retreat under Gen”, Green, Wane & LaFeatt. In the afternoon, Colo Wardsworth received orders to go with his Regiment and attact a small Body of Hissons, he informed us of it immediately and ordered the Soldiers to take off their Packs & lay them down then marched the Regt a few paces forward of the Packs ordered them to load their Arms, and that if any were sick and not able to go into battle, they might go back and take care of the Baggage. Two only, out of Regiment went back, one, an Old Man, & was very sick the other a robust well looking young Man, & trembling like an Aspen leaf, and he was hooted at, I then thought that I should rather be shot, than to be in his place I well recollect, one of my comrads, Wilson, on loading his gun, put in two Catridges, & as he ramed it down said to me, “Ile be damd if I dont give them a good grist the first time ” Marched dow[n] & attacted the Hessons gave them one discharge, and they returned the fire, and they fled, those who could, for some were left on the Ground, the Regt was then ordered back. The battle then was very hot on the South part of the Island. Two long brass nine pounders, were on the Hill just back of us, were playing on the Enemy with very great effect, the Wadding from them, fell into our ranks, and we could see the effect of the Balls on the ranks of the Enemy, The wounded of our Troops were brought a long close by us, in all possible shapes. And wile we lie there a Number of the Enemy were taken Prisoners alnd among them, there was an American, from our Troops who had dezerted, and knowing his fate, as soon as he should be distinguished, after the Party had surrendered, shot at the colo and wounded him on his arme, that distinguished him. And a number of Officers formed a Court Marshel on the spot, and he was shot, two balls passed through his head, carried off all the upper part of his head, one went through his Boidy, all this was don near to us, And after he was shot, I went to the place to see him, The file of Men who shot him, fired while advancing and they were so near to him, when they fired, that the Powder blacked his face, This shows how hardened Soldiers are in time of War, I felt it myself, I went to the Man that had been shot, there an auful Object to view, but was not So to me at that time as I viewed the mangled Corps without much human feeling.5 The fighting ceased a little before Night, except the Ships that went up on the West side of the Island, continued firing at the Batteries on that Shore. We then marched up to the North end of the Island, and were ordered to pitch our Tents, which we did, but we did not like this, for we all felt that we shoud be Prisoners the next Morn’, for the Ship on the eastern side, was in plane sight, and that if the wind should be favorable, she would come up and command the Ferry, and it would be impossible for us to escape. I felt willing to fight, but was not willing to be made a Prisoner. However our pitching our Tents, at that time, was only a Show, for as son as it was dark, we were ordered to strike our Tents, and marched off down to the Ferry, & into large Boats and crossed the [water] to the maine Land in safety, and glad was I. We there pitched Tents again and sleped in safety. The whole Armey and every Gun & Article that belonged to it, was gotten off that Night, not a Man or tlhing left behind. It was said that Gen’ Sulivan managed the retreat most admirably. The British gained 5 no advantage of him during the retreat. On the next Mor
n’ we saw the British Troops march into Cutskill Fort. They had one Cannon which they fired at us several times, as we lay very thick on the Maine, but the Balls did not reach us, but fell short into the Water and the Soldiers shouted on the Maine every time they fired. We then marched off to a place called Parkipey, Pitched our Tents there and stayed there until the time of our enlistment expired and were discharged. And I returned hom & worked on the Farm with my Father until the Year 1780, There came an Order for a certain number of Men to be drafted from each Town, to recruit the Main Armey about New York. And I enlisted as a drummer with others to make up the Number. Some time in june 1780, I do not recollect how many from the Town, but from the Companey to which I belonged there was taken about Nine or ten. And we marched on to a place called Cloverack, on the Hudson River, but there was no Officer there to receive us, nor could we draw Provisions, But were billeted out, To the Dutch farming Houses by a Dutch Officer, We stayed there several days. The owner was a very old Man he did nothing but sat out on the Stoop, & smoak his pipe. his Son carried on the Farm, and was taking in his Crop of Wheat with two large Horses in a Wagon & stacking it near his Barn, under a moveable Roof which was new to me. Had four Posts sat into the ground and about fifteen feet high The Roof placed between was histed up and fastened with Pins, as the [y] piled in the shieves of Wheat, but [t] ends outward until the Roof was raised to the top of the Posts, and lowered again as they took the Wheat off to thrash it. And this was performed in the farm by a Mashine moved by Horses, which he had many and a Span worked till Noon, then another Span taken out, and when a Span were put up, I saw a half Bushel of the Wheat taken from the Pile and given to two Horses at once I remarked that it was too much, the Man answered that they would not eat more than they wanted, and never too much. This Man had a very smart Wife, but the most infarnel scold that I ever saw, and would swear most profanely. Angalls, one of our Mess who understood some of the Language used to tell us what she said, & some times very quere when swearing at her little servant Girl. As the Troops came in daily Our Mess had a Billet to go to an other House, and when we got there, no one was at home, but an Old Lady. We gave her the Billet or offered it and told her that we wanted something to eat, but she said, “no fe ston, no fe ston,” which was in English, “I dont understand I dont understand “, This was about Noon, and soon the Old Man came in, with his Sons & Daughters, from their work cradling Wheat. He took the Billet, read it, and said “Yes my good fellows, you shall live with me, I have plenty, good Bread, good Supann 6 & Milk, but you must not kill my Poultry, nor rob my Cucumbers” We told him that we would do no such thing, but that [we] would protect all his Property, and prevent the Soldiers from milking his Cows or robing any thing from his Barn or Garden. the old Man seemed to be pleased, Ordered a table to be sat for us and which was soon don and filled with good Bread smoked Ham, Cucumbers, Supann and sweet Milk. We boarded there sometime and maintained the best conditions with the whole Family. The Old Lady could understand us then very well, and we fairly well. had a plenty of Buckwheat Cakes, cooked in a fryingPan & very nice, which the Girls well understood, And that we had lodging much better than in Camp. And when the Trops were all in, We were marched off down to West Point, and were quartered in Barracks at Fort Arnold. Gen’ Arnold then Commander of the Point which is on the West side of the River, but he had his headquarters on the East side. But I have forgoten to mention that while boarding there with the Old Dutch Man, we used to go out to the Field where he and his two Sons & two Daughters were at Work cradling the Wheat, the two females binding it up into Shieves, and would bind it as fast as the two Mails could Cradle it. He had 50 Acres of Wheat in one Field, A large Space on the Point is quite levil tho very high above the Water. At the foot of the declivity right below the Fort, there was a monstrous Chain stretched across the River on buoyant Logs, & well secured at the ends to the Shore, at this Place the River turns in a Westerly direction up to the Point of Crow Mountain, and then turns in a Northly direction. The Mountains on the South & West sides of the Plain are quite high and steep especialy on the South on which is Fort Putnam, the Barracks in which we were quartered, had been left extremely dirty, & very infected with Millions of Fleas & other Insects. and on the declivity west of the Barracks, there was a large flat Rock, the surface was nearly level, And on a very hot Evening I proposed to the Mess to take our Blankets and Packs and before the Tattoo should beet, & go down and sleep on the Rock, and to have one Nights comfort, & they all directly agreed to do so, and at the pr[!o]pper time we all went, and soon all were fast asleep. But a little past midnight, were roused by tremendous Thunder and Lightning, the question then was, how should we get into the Barracks, for if the Sentinals should see us and hale, on their discovering us, it would not do to run, for then they would fire, and if we should submit, then we should be put under guard. I told them that we could creep on our hands & knees and when the Lightning 6 flashed, lay still, and when it was dark, creep on, And that one of the Pickets at the corner of the Fort was loos, and that we could take it up & then creep in undiscovered, but that we must be careful when the sentinal was walking towards that corner, to lay still, so we creaped on & when the Lightening flashed we could see the Sentinel, very planely, on the Rampart & near to us. We got to the Pickets, I got hold of the loos one but could not rais it, until one next to me got hold with me, we then raised it out and all creped in safely, & got into the Barracks safely, & glad we all were, for the Lightning & Rain was tremendous, At an other time several of us, obtained liberty of absence and were determined to go up to the Sumit of Crow Mountain, We sat out & accomplished the Task, and on the way up the Oilnuts lay in the crevises of the Rocks in Bushels which had fallen from the Trees growing on the declivity of the Mount, on which we feasted and then went to the Summit and while on the summit, there was a Thunder Cloud of great volume and dencity came over us, rushing over with the most tremendous Lightening & Rain We had to stay & take it, The Cloud about us & over us, was very dence and dark. we could see but a very short distance, and were as wet as rain could make us, Thunder tremendous & Lightening vivid about us, runing a long on the ground as tho attracted by the Rocks The Specticle was truly Sublime, however much the Danger, were in, we did not seem to contemplate, as we escaped from the Lightening. The dence Cloud passed over and fell below the Top of the Mountain, and spread over the Plain, covering it entirely from our view. The Sun shineing upon it, presented a Specticle truly sublime & terrific, not easily discribed. A small space on the “top of the Mount’ was about level having a few stunted Trees. The East End next the River very precipitus. There had been a large round Rock, in the shape of an Egg sitting on the big end, as large as a common Haystack and that one Man could put his Shoulder to it and rock it. General Putnam had caused it to be rolled down the Presipice, which carried with it all the projecting Rocks & Trees, making a Path from the Top of the Mountain to the River. We could see the clear path it had made, and at low Water could see the monstrous Rock. We descended the Mountain and returned to the Barracks, And were told that the Lightning, Thunder, and Rain had been tremendous on the Plain. At another time we obtained leave to go up the River in a Boat under the pretence of getting Wood. We went up some distance and landed at a Dutchman’s Farm, his buildings were on high ground some dista
nce from the River, & a large Peach Orchard occupied the declivity excepting a small space by the River. And we agreed that two of us should go to the House, and buy some of his best apples, while the others should fill their Packs from the Peach Orchard. And as I didnt like stealing I with an other went to the House, found the Oner, he took us back into his apple Orchard, was willing to sell us apples as he loved Money, And we selected such as we liked, and paid for them, he was liberal in his price, and seemed to be pleased. And we pushed off down to the Boat, and there we found the rest of the Crew, with their Packs full of the best Rarripes and Malicatoons, that I ever saw. We took the Boat & pushed off down to the Point, did not get much Wood. And then we feasted on the Fruit, with our Friends, and imparted some to the Officers, such as we preferred, but didnt let them into the secret, how we obtained them. An other Incident happened. There had been two Dragoons, arrested and put under Guard, accused of stealing, from the public Store, but had not been tryed by a Court Martial. And the Companey they belonged to had been removed down below the Point; The Prisoners taked off their Uniform to keep it nice, and put on an undress, nor had they shaved since being confined, of course they looked shabby, And one day, two of their Comrades came up to see them & obtained leave, by a written Order, to go into the Guard house which on being shone to the Sentury at the Door, were permited to pass in, and while there, contrived the plot, They shaved the two Prisoners, put on their Uniform, caused them to walk out by the Sentury, he thinking them to be the same two that went in with the Order, and they walked out through the Gate of the Fort by the Sentury there, and continued their course down the Road. the Plot was not discovered until they had got down near the Woods below the plains, nor until the two other Dragoons came out with their written Order which the Sentinel was obliged to acknowledge or grant. This mad a Stir The Adjutant had a Horse there, which he mounted and rode after the escapes. I ran to the Gate of the Fort and climbed up to the Top of the Posts of the Gate, where I could see two Men, and as soon as they saw the Adjutant on Horseback in pursuit, they took to the Woods & made their escape. for the Adjutant could not follow them into the Woods on Horseback, amongst the thick Trees, Bushes, & Rocks; and he came back empty. This made some sport, for the Plot was well carried out. And I heard no more of it. On the Plain, there was a Hollow of an Oval shape a little in advance of the Fort, the longest diameter, East & West and about six rods over, where the Soldiers were ordered to throw all their filth and dirt, in order to fill it up, it was said. And while there, Three Soldiers who had been condemned to be shot, were brought to that Place and stood at the West end. The Troops were paraded, and occupied the North and South sides of the Hollow, the Crimenals were blind-folded and caused to neal down on their Knees at the West end facing the East, where prayers were had. An other Band of Soldiers, about Thirty, were on the east side of the Hollow, at a distance from it, and having their Guns loaded with Ball catrages, and instructed, no doubt, how to do, by an Officer who commanded them as no Words of Command were to be given audibly. but three motions of his Sword, by the commanding Officer signifying, Make ready, Take aim, Fire. and soon they marched up silently to the East End of the Hollow, & by the three motions of the Officer’s Sword, the Band mad[e] ready, took aim, and fired, very exactly together, whin the Criminals died instantly, But I was told afterward, that this Band did not load their own Guns, but it was don for them & that one half was loaded with Ball, the other half with blank Cartrages and that the Band was told so, that no one knew whether he fired a Blank or a Ball Cartrage, and that they were directed to take direct aim, that the Criminals might suffer the less, -A maloncally disagreeable sight to behold, But we were all obliged to be present and could not but see it. And at an other time the Troops were paraded & marched out on the Plain, and formed into a hollow square round a Post sat into the Ground, and three or four Criminals were brought there who had been Court Marshaled, and ordered to be whiped a certain Number of Lashes each, with Cat-o-nine-tales, And they were striped and twisted up with Cords, by their hands to the Post, and whiped, One after the Other, most cruelly. A hard harted Officer, standing by with his drawn Sword, and bawling out to those who did the duty “la.y it on you Rascal, lay it on” ! the poor fellows cringing & wreathing, and crying out for Mercy. I do not know, which of the transactions effected me the most, whether those who were shot dead at once, or those who were so cruelly whiped, which I considered a rascally and infamous practice. But which was well relinquished before the Revolution ended.7 But every thing was out of Order on the Point. Parties of the Troops were detached and sent out some foraging, some into the Mountains choping Wood, some one way, & some an other, I know not on what, pretence. Some times, there were but few of our Company on the Point, and of our Mess only myself and a black Man the cook, for several Days together, Cannon were dismounted and the pretence of repairing the Carriages &c, &c, This was noticed by some, and spoken of, but very cautiously. I recollect of hearing an Officer say, that all was not right, but I did not then know to what he particularly alluded, But soon after this, the Riddle was explained, to the surprise of all. The news came, that Gen’ Arnold had gone off down the River, in his Boat, and on board the Vulter, a British armed 7 Ship then lying just below Stoney Point. And it so happened, that Gen’ Washington and his Suit, were on their way from Rhode-Island and reached Arnolds quarters about Noon. Where he expected to dine with Gen’ Arnold. Then and there he heard the sad Tidings. and he exclaimed “Whom can we Trust”? I beleave that They dined with Mrs. Arnold, and then came over on the Point, When for the first time I saw Gen’ Washington He rode round the Point, took a View of all, with Gen’ Wane, & hastened off down to head quarters, and sent on Troops to defind the Point as fast as they could come. Much activity prevaled during the afternoon & Night in making preparation to contend, and repel the Enemy if they should come. This was confidently expected. A little before Sundown Mager Andree was broat on to the Point. I was on the quay when the Guard landed with him, One of My Messmates was on the Guard, to which he was first carried when taken, and the same Guard conducted him to the Point under the command of an Officer by the name of a janieson, a Major. My Messmate told me much about it, how, and when, Andree was brought to the Guard in the Night, by the Three Men who took him, that he was examined & searched, and that the Papers, which he took from Arnold, were found in his boots, which explained the Treachery of Arnold, which he intended to accomplish, and to deliver up the Point, the strongest Hold, in the United States, to the Enemy for Money. The Troops were all out & placed to the best advantage, & stood to the Lines the whol Night, & had Pikes in their hands. I had a Pike as it was called given to me, to defend the Lines, if the Enemy should come & attempt to scale the Walls, having Ladders or otherwise The Pikes were, a piece of Wood about eight feet long, made round & smooth, larger than a Rake-handle with an Iron blade on the End about ten Inches long, pointed, & flat, with sharp edges. Once in the Night, I was called off with several others & required to go into the Magazine, to bring out cartridges, for the Cannon &c, Lights were carried in, & open, no Lantons which was very hazadous. If a spark fell on the scattered powder, All must have been into Eternity in an Instant, I felt in more danger than I would have felt in Battle. The Magazine was wholly under Ground, covered with large hewn Timber a
nd covered [with] a Body of Earth & flat Rocks to make it proof against Bum Shals, During the Night there was an Alarm That the Enemy were approaching in great force. This caused a great bustle for a time, all to quarters, Cannon loaded, & also Muskits, in order to receive them with the true Spirit of resestance, but it turned out to be a large Virginia Regiment of regular Troops, ordered up by Washington, and had marched all Night, in order to reach the Point before Daylight, as it was confidently expected that. there would be an Attack. I saw Andree again the next Morning. I was permited to go to the Window of the Room, where he was confined, Window being up, He was pacing the Room, did not appear to notice me, And no doubt was contemplating his fate, which he very well understood. He left the Point that Day & was conducted down, near to headquarters, Where he was tried by a Court Marshal as a Spy, condemned as a Spy and hung as a Spy. I did not go down to see him executed, altho some of my Comrades did. It would not have been an agreeable sight to me, altho I knew that he was a Spy. While on the Point we frequently went down the declivity on the East side of the Plain, to Gen’ Cozicusco’s garden to pr[a]ctice in Music. It was said that the Polish Gen’ took great delight in the cultivation of it. It was a delightful place, then, but no doubt had deteriorated much after he left the Point. We went there to practice in Martial Music because it was out of the sight and hearing of the Camp. The business of the Camp went on in the usual regular manner, at this time, I recollect that after standing through the Night to the lines with my Pike, that in the Morning when we were permited to go to our Barracks I took my Pike with me, and as no inquiry was made about it, I cut off the handle, keeping about five feet in length with the blade. Wint into Laboratory, borroed a file, and filed it off smooth & sharp, at the Edges & Point, and pollished it bright, scraped the handle all round & smooth, and took it whin I was discharged & carried it home, as a Memorial of what took place on the Point by the Treachery of the infamous Arnold. When I went to the Laboratory I saw Men cutting Files. A new and interesting thing to me then, The piece of Steel was forged out into form, then softened by some process, so that it cut easily. Then laid upon a large Block of lead, and with sharp chissels driven with a hammer of about four Pounds weight, they cut the files with great rappidity. & apparently with ease. I stood by and saw one side of a large File cut, & then turned over to cut the other side. An other Man was cuting three Cornered files, they told me that after being cut the files were hardened again, I do not now recollect of any Incidents taking place after that which I have related until we were discharged nor do I recollect precisely the time at which we were discharged. but I believe it was about the last of November. I know that we suffered much in traveling home in cold and stormy weather, having to sleep in Barns on Hay or Straw, sometimes very cold and uncomfortable, but we all stood it out, except one of my Mess, by the name of Coulton, was taken very sick, and we were obliged to leave him at a Hospital, but have forgoten in what Town, I was loath to leave him for he was a very clever young Man. I offered to stay with him but [the] Superentendent told me that it was of no use, and that I could not draw Rations if I stayed, and that my Friend should be well taken care of & have the best attendance, and so I left him, and reached home in a few days after in safety, My Messmate got well and reached his home in two or three Weeks after, and he told me that he suffered very much the first Night from violent pain, but that he received the best & kindest attention, especially from an Old Lady an Attendant there. Thus in the Year 1780, in the Autumn, I found myself at home again and at work on the Farm with my Father. He had raised that Season a Larg Crop of Rye, Corn & Flax all of which was to be taken care of during the Winter. The Rye to be thrased out, cleaned up, & put away into Bins, &c. The Indian corn was put into a Building fited for the purpos, with propper Bins for drying & seasoning the corn, while on the Cobb, and with a good floor for thrashing it out when wanted, so we had work enough to do through the Winter, in taking care of Corn & grane, breaking & swingling out the Flax, geting up Wood sufficient for the Winter and the comming Summer, and to take propper Care of the Stock of Cow.s Calves Oxen, Sheep & Lambs, and a large Flock of Poultry. To go to Mill with grests of Corn, Rye & Oats, care of several Hogs in the Pen fating, and the store Hogs at large, & a good Bullock fating for Beef, Then Killing off the Hogs & Poultry, going to market with the same, making up a Load with corn & Rye, for the Team. I went to Market several times with my Father, to Salem, during the Winter with the Team seting out just at Night and traveling all Night, so as get into the Market in good season in the Morning, and some of the Nights were intolerably cold, but I never got frost-bitten in the least degree. We sold off our Load very soon, & got a plenty of Ginger Bread which satisfyed me, & we generally got home before Night.8
Author(s): M. M. Quaife Reviewed work(s): Source: The Mississippi Valley Historical Review, Vol. 16, No. 4 (Mar., 1930), pp. 538-560
River to support Burgoine. & I well recollect the dispondency of the Country at that time. at the awful prospect before them. But the NTews came
Enoch Poor of Exeter was appointed colonel, May 24, 1775, of one of the three New Hampshire regiments which the New Hampshire Assembly resolved to raise on receiving news of the Battle of Lexington. Joseph Cilley of Nottingham was appointed major of the regiment, and John MeDuffee of Rochester, lieutenant colonel. See New Hampshire State Papers, XIV (Bolls of Soldiers in the Revolutionary War I), Apparently the writer wa.s in error in naming Dam as lieutenant colonel. Several men of this name, however, appear in the Rolls of New Hampshire soldiers in the Revolution. -Editor
The second battle of Bemis Heights, or Freeman’s Farm, occurred Oct. 7, 1777. General Fraser was among the slain. -Editor
The first that we saw coming were a small number on the Road near the River, partially covered by Trees, and we tlhought that they were Armed Troops, and that the Capitulation was a mere Ferce, but it turned out to be a small Party sent down for Provisions for some part of the vanquished Troops before they could come out, as they had had no Rations that Day and but half rations for several days before the Day of surrender. This I believe was true, as some of the Hessions came out with the Biscuit in their hands crumping it as they marched on us. -Editor
One of these Hessions who worked with Phillips, with whom I had some acquaintance after he knew that I had been where [he] was taken a Prisoner, asked me whether I saw at the Northerly part of the Battle Ground, or a little distance from it, a small, high round Hill? I told him that I did And that it appeared to have something on the Top of it, as tho some thiing like a Brestwork had been made there he said that there was a Brestwork of Rales from a Frence near by, to secure the Troops against musket balls, and that there he was made a Prisoner. And they had a Man in it who was very tall, more so than any other in the little Fort, and that he, the tall Man, was told, to keep down & not let his head be above the Brst work and that he answere to it, “that Yankey Balls wouldnt kill him,” and didn’t set down, and that in a few moments a Ball from the Yankey Gun hit him in the Head, & killed him instatly, and they all surrendered immediately. -Author.
There was four Men selected to shoot him under the direction of an Officer, and they fired by the word of command as they were advancing on a quick step, the Criminal was blind folded and caused to kneel down, two balls went through his head and one through his Body, they must have been very near to him when they fired, for the Powd[er] from the muzzels of their Guns blacked his face. I had the curiosity to go to the spot after he was shot. The whole of his Head was blown off except the bare face, two Men were digging a grave to bury the Corps, and when they had got it barely deep enough to cover the Body, they took it up to lay it in, and the wind quackeled in the throat of the Corps, and one of the Men said “dam you hold your tongue now ’tis too late for you to say a Word.” This will show the hardness, and the unfeelingness of Soldiers in the time of War. -Author.
Corn meal, or mush. The word supan (variously spelled) is supposed to be of Algonquin origin. -Editor.
Apparently this is an error. The practice of whipping soldiers for dereliction of duty continued to prevail in the United States army for almost half a century after the Revolution. -Editor
The remainder of the journal continues the author ‘s narrative of his career in civil life, closing with this entry: “Thus I have reviewed, and added some Appendisses of recollections, and made some corrections &c and have finished it this second day of March 1848, being my birth Day, having now reached the Age of Eighty six Years this Day.” -Author