Pictures and Illustrations.
Memoir of John Joseph Henry, by His Grandson.
John Joseph Henry, the author of the Campaign against Quebec, was born at Lancaster, Pennsylvania, on the 4th of November A.D. 1758. His ancestors came to Pennsylvania with the first great wave of Scotch-Irish immigration. His father, William Henry, in a brief memoir of himself, written in the German tongue a few weeks before his death, says:
"I was born May 19th, 1729. My grandparents on my father's side came from Scotland, and on my mother's side were descendants of French refugees. My parents on both sides came from Ireland to Pennsylvania, and were married in this country. My father was a Presbyterian and my mother a member of the Church of England, but as there was then no Anglican church in Pennsylvania the whole family felt drawn to join the Presbyterians."
Robert Henry, the Scottish grandfather, with his wife Mary and their three sons John, Robert and James, arrived in the Delaware in 1722. He settled in the pleasant valley of Doe Run in the wide county of Chester and there, in 1735, he and his wife ended their pilgrimages on the same day and were buried together at the historic Octorara Meeting House.
Of the three sons James died early leaving a single child who did not survive infancy, and Robert, following the current of Scotch-Irish emigration went into the valley of Virginia where he left many sons and daughters, and they many descendants.
John Henry married the daughter of Hugh De Vinney, one of the Huguenots of the Pequea valley. He remained upon and added to the lands
ivof his father, but dying in middle life his family, consisting of five sons and several daughters, was in the language of the memoir "entirely scattered."
William Henry, the eldest of the sons, then in his fifteenth year, was sent to Lancaster to learn the trade of gunsmith with Matthew Roeser.
Lancaster county had been set off from the vast county of Chester in 1729 and itself included "all and singular the lands within the province of Pennsylvania lying to the northward of Octorara creek and to the westward of a line of marked trees running from the north branch of Octorara creek northeasterly to the river Schuylkill." Lancaster, the county seat, was laid out by James Hamilton, afterwards governor of Pennsylvania, in 1728, and was in 1745 an active and prosperous town with about two thousand inhabitants.
Emigrants in large numbers and in some cases in organized bodies, from Ireland, Scotland, France, Germany and Switzerland, had poured into the fertile wilderness of southern Pennsylvania. Flying for the most part from oppressive land laws or from religious persecution they brought with them their clergy, their school masters and their books and that intensity of faith and purpose which had sent them forth to found new homes across the sea. Lancaster, situated in the midst of a great valley of unsurpassed fertility soon became not only the seat of an active commerce and manufacture connected with the Indian trade but the home of many men well cultivated in the learning of the day, especially in its theological departments.
William Henry possessed in full measure the perfervid imagination of his race, and at early age turned his thoughts upon those great religious questions which are so seldom solved by ratiocination. He tells the story of his spiritual experiences at length in his memoir, but it is enough to say that he did not find the peace he sought, till middle life, when in 1763 he and his wife joined themselves to the Moravians, then known only as the Church of the United Brethren.
His work in worldly matters prospered, however, for like many of his race he was prudent in action, though speculative in thought. He became early the head of a large establishment for the manufacture of arms and equipments for the Indian trade. In 1754 he was appointed armorer for the troops collecting in Virginia for Braddock's expedition, and in 1757 he was, with apparent reluctance, called again to go to Virginia as "gun contractor for the whole army."
From this time forward he was much engaged in public affairs, especially in those which related to the Indian tribes. Possessing the confidence both of the whites and the Indians, he was able to render essential service in the
vsettlement of many of the questions which arose between the races. The Delaware hero, Koquethagachton or White Eyes, and his successor Gelelemend or Leader called Killbuck by the whites, were among his friends.
Between him and the latter the tie of friendship was so strong that in 1784, after the Delaware custom, they agreed to exchange names. Gelelemend, a few years later, was baptized by the Moravians as William Henry and his descendants in Fairfield, Canada, still bear the name and claim kinship with the posterity of their ancestor's friend.
When the disputes between the colonies and the crown grew serious, William Henry, though a magistrate under the proprietary government, gave his support with characteristic ardor to the cause of the patriots. His activity and vigor were conspicuous during the war of the revolution. His factory was busy in the making of arms and he himself as deputy commissary general, exercised freely the almost unlimited authority given him by Washington, in the matter of raising supplies for the army. After the termination of the war he was called to fill a number of posts of honor and responsibility. It will seem strange to us, when the holding of a plurality of offices is deemed an abuse, that at the time of his death in 1786, he was a judge of the court of common pleas, a member of the general congress, and the treasurer of Lancaster county; and what may seem stranger still his wife, Anne Henry, succeeded him in the last office and continued to fill it with entire acceptation for many years and nearly up to the time of her own decease.
John Joseph Henry grew up in troublous times. In early childhood he and his elder brother William Henry, the younger, were witnesses of the Paxtang massacre. His own recollection was only of the hurrying and shouts of men, the firing of guns and the retreat at a gallop of those who had slain the helpless prisoners. His brother, two years his senior, was able, however, in later years to give a vivid account of the slaughter (Heckewelder's Narrative, p.78). Strenuous efforts were made to bring the murderers to trial by William Henry and others, but the state of feeling on what was then the frontier, was such that no success followed their efforts. Even the detachment of Highlanders quartered in the town at the time would do nothing to stay the carnage or arrest the perpetrators of it.
Judge Henry was accustomed to say, late in life, that he had watched the careers of all of those lawless men who had murdered the Conestogas, and that the retribution which man denied had been awarded by Providence, for that nearly all of them died violent deaths. Tradition tells that the
vilast of them broke his neck by falling from a loaded wagon near his own house.
As young Henry grew towards manhood the mutterings of the revolutionary storm were in the air. He drank in the passions of the time with eager spirit and with parental precept and example to justify him, gave up his whole heart to the strife. He had been sent in 1772, with his uncle John Henry, who was a gunsmith and Indian trader, to the remote frontier post of Detroit. Returning the next year on foot with a single guide, who died in the wilderness, he found his way after much suffering to the house of his relative General John Gibson, who dwelt at Logstown on the Ohio. He was kindly received by General Gibson and when restored to health was sent forward by him to his home in Lancaster.
General Gibson was himself one of the leading men of the frontier. He it was to whom the Mengwe chief, Logan, addressed the speech which Jefferson, in his Notes on Virginia, has made immortal. He was a brother of Colonel George Gibson, who was mortally wounded at St. Clair's defeat. Col. Gibson was the father of the late Hon. John Bannister Gibson, chief justice of Pennsylvania.
The Gibsons were all men of force of character combined with a gay humor. The story is told of Colonel Gibson that a couple of days after the defeat, whilst the army was still in great peril, as he lay in his rough shelter in the forest, his nephew, Lieutenant Slough of Lancaster, who had been slightly wounded in the arm, but had lent his blanket to his uncle, came to demand its return, saying that he had leave to go home to see his father and mother. The dying man turned to him with a smile and said "take it Jake, and go home and honor your father and mother that your days may be long in the land."
William Henry had designed that his sons William and John Joseph should follow his own avocation. The former acceded to his father's wishes and was the second in a line of prosperous makers of arms extending to the present day. But when the command was laid on the younger son to enter the factory he so far disobeyed it as to incur the serious displeasure of his father. Not long after the question between them was settled by the outbreak of the war. In 1774 the quarrel between the colonies and England was probably past cure. Both sides were making ready for the conflict.
In southern Pennsylvania the dour frontiersmen might differ as to the murder of Indian prisoners but they were of one mind as to fighting the British. They or their ancestors had fled across the ocean from the
viityrannical land and church laws of England and they would resist to the death a new oppression in America.
In the spring of 1775 two companies of riflemen were enlisted at the first tap of the drum for the army before Boston — one from the county of Cumberland under Captain William Hendricks, the other from Lancaster county under Captain Matthew Smith. Young Henry, by this time a tall and hardy youth, well skilled in the use of the rifle and the ways of the forest, joined the latter without the knowledge of his father. His good mother, however, whose patriotism may have been a shade less prudent than that of her husband, was made the confidante of his intention and gave her consent to an act which was but the natural corollary of her own teaching. She made with her own hands in secret his rifleman's uniform, if such it could be called, consisting as he himself tells of leggings, moccasins and a deep ash colored hunting shirt.
When the day of departure came and the company was drawn up for inspection before starting, his father passed along the line but did not recognize his own son in the tall rifleman on its right.
The story of the campaign so well told by himself needs not to be rehearsed here. It is enough to say that he came home in the fall of 1776, apparently in health but with the seeds of disease deeply planted in his constitution. In a few weeks after this, he tells us, "a slight cold caught while skating on the Susquehannah or hunting the wild turkey among the Kittatinny mountains, put an end to all his visionary schemes of ambition." The scurvy, from which he suffered in the prison at Quebec, attacked with terrible force the knee which had been injured at the assault. The joint became the seat of violent inflammation, disease of the bone followed and when two years afterwards he left his couch it was only to walk with a crutch through life. Some good, however, came out of so much evil. The house of William Henry had long been the resort of the educated men of the Lancaster community and of such strangers as visited the place. During the revolution the leading men of the day found quarters there. Franklin, Rittenhouse, Paine and others were among his guests. (Marshall's Diary passim.) The Juliana library founded in 1750, so called from Lady Juliana Penn, wife of Thomas Penn and daughter of the Earl of Pomfret, was kept there. Constant access to books with abundant leisure to read them and the society of the foremost men of the time made up for a somewhat desultory early training and probably determined his ultimate choice of the law as his profession.
The memoir of his life by his daughter, the mother of the present writer, tells us all that is known of him till he came to the bar. His preceptor, Colonel Stephen Chambers, whose youngest sister he afterwards married, was an Irishman by birth. He had come to Pennsylvania with his father, mother and sisters in the great Scotch-Irish immigration of 1771 and 1773. The father being a man of property had educated his son at Trinity College, Dublin, intending him for the bar. He had the misfortune; however, at an early age to kill his antagonist in a duel, whereupon the whole family came to America. He also entered the army and did good service for some years but resigned his commission and came to the Bar of Lancaster County in 1780 where he attained a large practice. He was a delegate to the Pennsylvania convention which ratified the federal constitution. He fell in a duel with Dr. Reger in 1789.
Mr. Henry, after several years of assiduous study, was admitted to practice in 1785. He too was soon largely employed. But the conditions of success in the law at that time were very different from those which command it now. Beyond the statutes of the states there were practically no books on the law written or printed in America, no text-books, no digests, no reports. The first volume of Dallas's Reports was published in 1790, the second in 1798, and the third in 1799. With these exceptions no regular series of reports had been published in America up to the year 1800. The entire vast array of American reports, both state and federal, has come into existence since that day. The lawyers of that time were thrown for aid wholly on English resources, and English law books exclusively composed their modest libraries. It is perhaps a fortunate thing for the jurisprudence of the country that such was the case. Where all sound learning in the law was drawn from one source, it was but natural that the several jurisprudences established on that basis should have a substantial uniformity though the peculiar political institutions of the country might seem to disfavor such a result. Many men of great ability and profound learning were trained in this early school. They sought their knowledge at the very fountain heads of the law and grew strong in the mastery of its principles by tracing them to their foundation. Among these George and James Ross, Duncan, Charles Hall, Yeates, Watts and Charles Smith were among the associates and friends of Judge Henry.
In 1793 Mr. Henry was appointed by Governor Mifflin, the president of the second judicial district of Pennsylvania. His commission, bearing date
ixthe 18th day of December, 1793, appoints him "President of the Several Courts of Common Pleas in the Circuit consisting of the Counties of Chester, Lancaster, York and Dauphin," a vast territory whose features were fertile valleys and rugged hills with the hard wood forests every where predominant.
Of his work as a judge but little remains. It may be said of him, as has been said of his kinsman and youthful friend, the late Chief Justice Gibson, who at one time presided over another Pennsylvanian circuit, that so far as his work in that circuit was concerned "he has left no monument of his labors. Like the fruits of much of the best ability of the state, displayed in the same sphere, they perished on the spot without a record to perpetuate their worth." (Essay on the Life and Writings of John B. Gibson, LL.D.,by William A. Porter.) The words of judge Porter have a sad aptitude to many cases.
The only case tried by Judge Henry, which is known to have been fully reported, is that of the Commonwealth vs. Hauer, et als. 2 Chandlers Criminal Trials, 353. The case in Chandler is but a feeble abridgment of a remarkable pamphlet printed at Harrisburg in 1798, giving a full account of the trials of the seven persons charged with complicity in the murder. It has been said that "few events ever caused more excitement and alarm amongst the German population than the murder of Francis Shitz in 1797. The trials of the parties implicated in this singular transaction are interesting as exhibiting the low state of public morals at that day in the interior of the state, especially amongst the foreign population, and also as involving some legal points of great importance in criminal law." (Prefatory note to the Report in Chandler.)
The counsel on both sides were of great ability and the many questions of law and of fact were argued with much learning and fullness. The rulings of Judge Henry throughout the case were briefly and clearly made, and his charge to the jury correctly stated the principles of the law applicable to it.
Two of the prisoners were found guilty of murder in the first degree and expiated their crime upon the gallows.
The pamphlet report, by an anonymous author, is a model of completeness. It gives a statement of the case, the pleadings, the evidence in full, the motions made at the several stages of the very complex proceedings, the rulings of the court on the points raised, the arguments of the counsel and the charge of the judge. It is a conscientious history by a fully competent
xhand of a celebrated case, from the perusal of which a lawyer may derive greater profit than by reading volumes of such reports as slip-shod indolence too often imposes on the profession.
About the year 1804, the constitution of Judge Henry, so severely tried in youth, began to give way under repeated attacks of the gout, which in a letter written to his brother William in 1807, he speaks of as an inheritance from his mother. That it is transmissible by descent many others have grievous reason to testify.
In succeeding years the severity of his attacks increased so greatly that he was unable longer to fill the arduous duties of his office. He therefore, in the latter part of the year 1810, tendered his resignation to the governor of the state. Four months later, on the 15th April, 1811, he rested finally from his labors. His remains lie in the burial ground of the Moravian church at Lancaster.
Judge Henry was a man of great stature and strength, and of grave and leonine aspect — yet he was of jovial temper and quick and warm sensibilities. His religious faith was cast in the antique mold which would not admit of a doubt and somewhat scorned the doubter. By the testimony of all who knew him he was a brave, just and honorable gentleman.
The Campaign against Quebec was dictated to his daughter, Anne Mary, the mother of the writer, with the aid of casual notes and memoranda from his bed of sickness in his latest years. The manuscript received no revision at his hands, for he was called away very shortly after its last pages were written. His widow gave it to the press in 1812, and it was printed without even the correction of verbal and typographical errors.
He left two sons, Dr. Stephen Chambers Henry, late of Detroit, and Dr. Julien Henry of St. Louis, also deceased, and several daughters, one only of whom, Anne Mary, the wife of the late Honorable Thomas Smith, of Delaware county, has left issue.
A portrait of Judge Henry in the stately dress of a gentleman of the old time, from the hand of his youngest brother, Benjamin West Henry, a pupil of Gilbert Stuart, represents him as a man of massive features, broad shoulders and grave yet kindly expression, and is in full harmony with what is remembered of him.
Aubrey H. Smith.
Philadelphia, May 25th, 1877.
Life of the Author. — Written by His Daughter.
There is an observation trite, true, and universally admitted, that the lives of those who have not embraced a wide sphere of action, are uninteresting and perfectly devoid of any incitements to attention. Biographies of warriors and statesmen are perused with avidity; but it is not merely their own history, but that of the times in which they lived, at least partially so. But descending to the quieter walks of life, when we trace the history of a good and unfortunate man, through all the varied evolutions that peculiarly mark his fate, and prevent him from being enrolled in the list of those beings who have found the path divested of thorns, it is, to some, still interesting; and although the incidents are not of a nature to excite wonder or astonishment, they may still possess the power to call forth the sympathy of minds of feeling — minds that have been taught to feel another's woe.
John Joseph Henry, the author of the following pages, was born November 4th, 1758, at Lancaster, Pennsylvania. His father, William Henry, was a man whose memory is still revered by those who possessed any knowledge of him, his strict honesty and known probity rendering it sacred to such as claimed him as their friend. He was possessed of a mechanical genius in a strong degree. He it was who invented the well known screw-auger.
Warmly addicted to this his favorite passion, he wished to instil into the minds of his children, a taste for mechanics. With some of them he succeeded. As soon as his son John Joseph had attained the age of fourteen, he bound him an apprentice to an uncle, who was a gunsmith, then a resident at Lancaster, but after sometime removed to Detroit, taking his nephew with him. At that place, his stay was but short, on account of scarcity of business. He returned on foot with a single guide, who died in the wilderness which lay between Detroit and his home. It was here that hardships and misfortune first were felt, his future companions during a
xiilength of years devoted to God and his Country. Young Henry returned to his parents and home, dissatisfied with the employment a judicious father had pointed out for him, as the means by which he wished him to gain a future subsistence. His ardent mind panted after military glory. The troubles of his country, which was then making vigorous and ultimately successful struggles for a total emancipation from slavery, wrought strongly upon one, the acme of whose hopes and wishes was, to be one of those who contended most for freedom. In the fall of 1775, he clandestinely joined a regiment of men raised in Lancaster county, for the purpose of joining Arnold, who at that time was stationed at Boston. His father was commissary to the troops, which office obliged him to attend them to Reading. It was at this time, under circumstances which rendered him most liable to detection from his parent, he left his home to wander, at the age of sixteen, in a strange land. Thus a thirst for glory inflamed his youthful breast, and superseded every other passion and affection of his heart. After enduring all the fatigues of a veteran soldier, they entered Canada on his birthday — an eventful one to him. He endured hardships here, which, in his own simple style, he fully enumerates. It was in prison, where he lay for nine months, that he contracted a disease (the scurvy), which at that time did not make its appearance, but six weeks afterwards, on his return home, at a time when least expected, it made its appearance under its most malignant form. It was at a time when it became a duty incumbent on him to continue in the army. A captaincy had been procured for him in the Virginia line, and a lieutenancy in that of Pennsylvania. He had designed to accept of the command under the hero Morgan, which was that of captain, but the disposer of all events arrested his career, and instead of his fond expectations being accomplished, all his hopes were blasted, his high prospects faded, and became a dreary void, by the order of that Omnipotence, who furnished him with that fortitude which enabled him, through all his misery, to kiss the rod that chastised him. It was after two years' continuance on the couch of sickness, his leg, which was the unfortunate cause of all his illness, began to heal, and renovated health to give hopes that peace yet remained for him.
As his lameness precluded all possibility of his again entering the army; as he had, by a disregard of parental authority, at least so far as concerned his trade, forfeited his claim to his father's exertions to place him in such a situation as would make him capable of rendering himself useful to society, a vigorous effort on his part was necessary; resolution was not
xiiiwanting; it was made. He bound himself as an apprentice to John Hubley, Esq., prothonotary of the county of Lancaster, as a clerk in the office. Here for four years he pursued his business with the closest application, and discharged the duties of his office with unabated care and strictness; and when the labors of the day were over, his nights were consumed in study, endeavoring to compensate himself, in some measure, for the neglect that his education had suffered by his becoming a soldier. His frame, still somewhat debilitated by his illness, was not capable of sustaining the fatigues of office; his health suffered much from labor so severe and application so intense. The time of his indentures being expired, he commenced the study of law, under Stephen Chambers, Esq. Here he became acquainted with his future companion in life, the youngest sister of Mr. Chambers. He practised law from the year 1785, until December, 1793. As his law knowledge was known to be extensive, his abilities and talents met their due reward, with an appointment, by his excellency Thomas Mifflin, governor, to the office of president of the second judicial district of Pennsylvania.
A number of years had now elapsed, his family was large; by an unfortunate removal to a country, at that period sickly, he was attacked by the gout, which from inexperience, and owing to his having no knowledge as to the consequences that would necessarily ensue, did not take proper precautions, so as to render it a regular disease. Under that deceptious name, numerous disorders invaded his frame, and at times with so much severity, that he was necessitated to continue at home, which prevented him from executing his official duties as a judge. It was during seven long years of bodily suffering, that his mind and memory reverted to those scenes more forcibly than ever, which formed so eventful a period in a life of misfortune and vicissitude. The interesting narrative of the sufferings of that band of heroes, of which he was the youngest, is a simple tale of truth, which he undeviatingly throughout his book adheres to.
He is supported in all his assertions, by the testimony of a number of his companions in that arduous campaign, men of character and respectability. His relation of incidents, his descriptive accounts of the country they passed through, the situation of Quebec, and the disposition of the army, all mark him to have been a youth of accurate observation, of a comprehensive and intelligent mind. Possessing, as he must necessarily have done, activity of spirit and contempt of fatigue, he gained the approbation and esteem of his seniors. The buoyant spirits of youth rose high over misfortune; under
xivthe pressure of the severest distress, vivacity was still retained, and burst forth at intervals to cheer his hopeless companions.
Disease had now made rapid progress on a constitution weakened by repeated attacks, and accumulation of disorders, which no skill could counteract or remedy. The nonperformance of his duties caused petitions from the several counties to be presented to the legislature, for his removal; nothing was alleged against him but absence. That honorable house, having examined and considered the charges, acquitted him with honor. His commission he retained for the space of two years afterwards; but illness and debility increasing, and a knowledge of his infirmities being incurable, compelled him to resign that office, which he had held with integrity, for seventeen years. Four months succeeding, his worn out frame was destined to feel the stroke of death, and his freed soul to seek refuge in the bosom of his Father and his God. He died at Lancaster, April 15th, 1811, aged 53.
Arnold's Campaign Against Quebec. — Preliminary.
When the bold enterprise of invading Canada by the way of the Kennebec river and the uninhabited wilderness of Maine had been determined upon by Washington, in the autumn of 1775, he wrote to congress as follows, on the 21st September, from Cambridge, Mass, where the American army was encamped:
I am now to inform the honorable congress that, encouraged by the repeated declarations of the Canadians and Indians, and urged by their requests, I have detached Col. Arnold, with one thousand men, to penetrate into Canada by way of Kennebec river, and, if possible, to make himself master of Quebec. By this maneuver I proposed either to divert Carleton from St. John's, which would leave a free passage to General Schuyler, or, if this did not take effect, Quebec, in its present defenseless state, must fall into his hands an easy prey. I made all possible inquiry as to the distance, the safety of the route, and the danger of the season being too far advanced, but found nothing in either to deter me from proceeding, more especially as it met with very general approbation from all whom I consulted upon it. But that nothing might be omitted to enable me to judge of its propriety and probable consequences, I communicated it, by express, to General Schuyler, who approved of it in such terms that I resolved to put it in immediate execution. They have now left this place seven days, and, if favored with a good wind, I hope soon to hear of their being safe in Kennebec River.
A copy of his plan of the proposed route was sent to congress, in the following words:
Route to Quebec, from Kennebec River.
From the mouth of Kennebec river to Quebec, on a straight line, is two hundred and ten miles. The river is navigable for sloops about thirty-eight miles, and for flat-bottomed boats about twenty-two miles; then you meet Taconick falls, and from Taconick falls to Norridgewock, as the river runs, thirty-one mile; from thence to the first carrying place, about thirty miles; carrying place four miles, then a pond to cross, and another carrying place, about two miles to another pond; then a carrying place about three or four miles to another pond; then a carrying place to the western branch of Kennebec river, called the Dead river; then up that
river, as it runs, thirty miles, some small falls and short carrying places around them intervening; then you come to the height of the land, and about six miles carrying place, into a branch which leads into Ammeguntick pond, the head of ChaudiÄre river, which falls into the St. Lawrence river about four miles above Quebec.
From the American Archives of Peter Force, Washington's instructions to Arnold are given, intrusting him with the command of the forces detached from the main army for the expedition, and the course he was to pursue in the execution of his important mission.
To Colonel Benedict Arnold, Commander of the Detachment of the Continental Army destined against Quebec:
Sir: You are intrusted with a command of the utmost consequence to the interest and liberties of America; upon your conduct and courage, and that of the officers and soldiers detached on this expedition, not only the success of the present enterprise, and your own honor, but the safety and welfare of the whole continent, may depend, I charge you, therefore, and the officers and soldiers under your command, as you value your own safety and honor, and the favor and esteem of your country, that you consider yourselves as marching, not through an enemy's country, but that of our friends and brethren — for such the inhabitants of Canada and the Indian Nations have approved themselves in this unhappy contest between Great Britain and America; that you check by every motive of duty and fear of punishment, every attempt to plunder or insult any of the inhabitants of Canada. Should any American soldier be so base and infamous as to injure any Canadian or Indian, in his person or property, I do most earnestly enjoin you to bring him to such severe and exemplary punishment as the enormity of the crime may require; should it extend to death itself, it will not be disproportioned to its guilt at such a time and in such a cause. But I hope and trust that the brave men who have voluntarily engaged in this expedition will be governed by different views; that order, discipline, and regularity of behavior, will be as conspicuous as their courage and valor. I also give it in charge to you to avoid all disrespect or contempt of the religion of the country; and if common prudence, policy, and a true Christian spirit, will lead us to look with compassion upon their errors, without insulting them, while we are contending for our own liberty, we should be very cautious of violating the rules of conscience in others, ever considering that God alone is the judge of the heart of man, and to him only in this case they are answerable.
Upon the whole, Sir, I beg you to inculcate upon the officers and soldiers. the necessity of preserving the strictest order during their march through Canada; to represent to them the shame, disgrace, and ruin, to themselves and country, if they should, by their conduct, turn the heart of our brethren in Canada against us; and, on the other hand, the honors and rewards which await them, if, by their prudence and good behavior, they conciliate the affections of the Canadians and Indians to the great interests of America,
and convert those favorable dispositions they have shown into a lasting union and affection.
Thus wishing you, and the officers and soldiers under your command, honor, safety, and success, I remain, Sir, your most obedient humble servant,
To Colonel Benedict Arnold;
1. You are immediately on their march from Cambridge to take the command of the detachment from the Continental Army against Quebec, and use all possible expedition, as the winter season is now advancing, and the success of this enterprise (under God) depends wholly upon the spirit with which it is pushed, and the favorable disposition of the Canadians and Indians.
2. When you come to Newburyport. you are to make all possible inquiry what men of war or cruisers there may be on the coast, to which this detachment may be exposed on their voyage to Kennebec river; and if you shall find that there is danger of being intercepted, you are not to proceed by water, but by land, taking care on the one hand not to be diverted by light and vague reports, and on the other not to expose the troops rashly to a danger which by many judicious persons has been deemed very considerable.
3. You are by every means in your power to endeavor to discover the real sentiments of the Canadians towards our cause, and particularly as to this expedition; ever bearing in mind that if they are averse to it, and will not cooperate, or at least willingly acquiesce, it must fail of success. In this case you are by no means to prosecute the attempt. The expense of the expedition and the disappointment are not to be put in competition with the dangerous consequences which may ensue from irritating them against us, and detaching them from that neutrality which they have adopted.
4. In order to cherish those favorable sentiments to the American cause that they have manifested, you are as soon as you arrive in their country to disperse a number of the addresses you will have with you, particularly in those parts where your route shall lie, and observe the strictest discipline and good order, by no means suffering any inhabitant to be abused, or in any manner injured, either in his person or property; punishing with exemplary severity every person who shall transgress, and making ample compensation to the party injured.
5. You are to endeavor, on the other hand, to conciliate the affections of those people, and such Indians as you may meet with, by every means in your power; convincing them that we come at the request of many of their principal people, not as robbers, or to make war upon them, but as the friends and supporters of their liberties as well as ours; and, to give efficacy to these sentiments, you must carefully inculcate upon the officers and soldiers under your command, that not only the good of their country, and their honor, but their safety, depends upon the treatment of these people.
6. Check every idea and crush in its earliest stage every attempt to plunder, even those who are known to be enemies to our cause; it will create dreadful apprehensions in our friends, and when it is once begun, none
can tell where it will stop. I therefore again most expressly order that it be discouraged and punished, in every instance, without distinction.
7. Whatever king's stores you shall be so fortunate as to possess yourselves of are to be secured for the continental use, agreeable to the rules and regulations of war published by the honorable congress. The officers and men may be assured that any extraordinary services performed by them will be suitably rewarded.
8. Spare neither pains nor expense to gain all possible intelligence on your march, to prevent surprises and accidents of every kind; and endeavor, if possible, to correspond with General Schuyler, so that you may act in concert with him. This I think may be done by means of the St. François Indians.
9. In case of a union with General Schuyler, or if he should be in Canada upon your arrival there, you are by no means to consider yourself as upon a separate and independent command, but are to put yourself under him, and follow his directions. Upon this occasion, and all others, I recommend most earnestly to avoid all contention about rank. In such a cause, every post is honorable in which a man can serve his country.
10. If Lord Chatham's son should be in Canada, and in any way fall in your power, you are enjoined to treat him with all possible deference and respect. You cannot err in paying too much honor to the son of so illustrious a character and so true a friend to America. Any other prisoners who may fall into your hands you will treat with as much humanity and kindness as may be consistent with your own safety and the public interest. Be very particular in restraining not only your own troops but the Indians from all acts of cruelty and insult which will disgrace the American arms, and irritate our fellow-subjects against us.
11. You will be particularly careful to pay the full value for all provisions or other accommodations which the Canadians may provide for you on your march; by no means press them or any of their cattle into your service, but amply compensate those who voluntarily assist you. For this purpose you are provided with a sum of money in specie, which you will use with as much frugality and economy as your necessities and good policy will admit, keeping as exact account as possible of your disbursements.
12. You are by every opportunity to inform me of your progress, your prospect, and intelligence, and upon any important occurrence to despatch an express.
13. As the season is now far advanced, you are to make all possible despatch; but if unforeseen difficulties should arise, or if the weather should become so severe as to render it hazardous to proceed, in your own judgment and that of your principal officers, whom you are to consult, in that case you are to return, giving me as early notice as possible, that I may give you such assistance as may be necessary.
14. As the contempt of the religion of a country, by ridiculing any of its ceremonies or affronting its ministers or votaries, has ever been deeply resented, you are to be particularly careful to restrain every officer and soldier from such imprudence and folly, and to punish every instance of it. On the other hand, as far as lies in your power, you are to protect and support the free exercise of the religion of the country, and the undisturbed
enjoyment of the rights of conscience in religious matters, with your utmost influence and authority.
The address to the people of Canada was printed for distribution as opportunity offered, and was in the following words:
By his Excellency GEORGE WASHINGTON, Esquire, Commander in Chief of the Army of the United Colonies of NORTH AMERICA.
To the Inhabitants of Canada:
FRIENDS AND BRETHREN: The unnatural contest between the English colonies and Great Britain has now risen to such a height, that arms alone must decide it. The colonies, confiding in the justice of their cause and the purity of their intentions, have reluctantly appealed to that Being in whose hands are all human events. He has hitherto smiled upon their virtuous efforts. The hand of tyranny has been arrested in its ravages, and the British arms, which have shone with so much splendor in every part of the globe, are now tarnished with disgrace and disappointment. Generals of approved experience, who boasted of subduing this great continent, find themselves circumscribed within the limits of a single city and its suburbs, suffering all the shame and distress of a siege, while the freeborn sons of America, animated by the genuine principles of liberty and love of their country, with increasing union, firmness, and discipline, repel every attack, and despise every danger. Above all, we rejoice that our enemies have been deceived with regard to you; they have persuaded themselves, they have even dared to say, that the Canadians were not capable of distinguishing between the blessings of liberty and the wretchedness of slavery; that gratifying the vanity of a little circle of nobility would blind the eyes of the people of Canada; by such artifices they hoped to bend you to their views, but they have been deceived; instead of finding in you that poverty of soul and baseness of spirit, they see, with a chagrin equal to our joy, that you are enlightened, generous, and virtuous; that you will not renounce your own rights, or serve as instruments to deprive your fellow-subjects of theirs.
Come, then, my brethren, unite with us in an indissoluble union; let us run together to the same goal. We have taken up arms in defence of our liberty, our property, our wives, and our children; we are determined to preserve them or die. We look forward with pleasure to that day, not far remote, we hope, when the inhabitants of America shall have one sentiment, and the full enjoyment of the blessings of a free Government. Incited by these motives, and encouraged by the advice of many friends of liberty among you, the grand American congress have sent an army into your province, under the command of General Schuyler, not to plunder, but to protect you; to animate and bring forth into action those sentiments of freedom you have disclosed, and which the tools of despotism would extinguish through the whole creation. To cooperate with this design, and to frustrate those cruel and perfidious schemes which would deluge our frontiers with the blood of women and children, I have detached Colonel Arnold into your country, with a part of the army under my command. I
have enjoined upon him, and I am certain that he will consider himself, and act as in the country of his patrons and best friends. Necessaries and accommodations of every kind which you may furnish he will thankfully receive, and render the full value. I invite you, therefore, as friends and brethren, to provide him with such supplies as your country affords; and I pledge myself not only for your safety and security, but for ample compensation. Let no man desert his habitation. Let no one flee as before an enemy. The cause of America and of liberty is the cause of every virtuous American citizen, whatever may be his religion or his descent. The United Colonies know no distinction but such as slavery, corruption, and arbitrary domination, may create. Come, then, ye generous citizens, range yourselves under the standard of general liberty, against which all the force and artifice of tyranny will never be able to prevail.
The following order is found among the general orders of the commander in chief, of Sept. 8, 1775:
The detachment going under the command of Colonel Arnold, to be forthwith taken off the roll of duty, and to march this evening to Cambridge common, where tents and every thing necessary are provided for their reception. The rifle company at Roxbury, and those from Prospect hill, to march early to-morrow morning, to join the above detachment. Such officers and men as are taken from General Green's brigade, for the above detachment, are to attend the muster of their respective regiments to-morrow morning, at seven o'clock, upon Prospect hill; when the muster is finished, they are forthwith to rejoin the detachment at Cambridge.
So many journals of this expedition have been preserved, and published with annotations and introductions more or less extensive, some of the more important of them are alluded to instead of going over the same ground with an elaborate introduction to the narrative which Judge Henry has left to us.
The most complete and circumstantial of these narratives that have attained to publication, are those of Henry, Thayer and Senter. The former was published in a separate volume in 1812, and has since been republished. Senter's may be found in vol. I of the Penn. Hist. Society Bulletin. The Journal of Melvin has been published in two or three editions. Meigs's in the Mass. Hist. Soc. Collections. Ware's in the New Eng. Hist and Genealogical Register, annotated by Mr. Justin Winsor. The Maine Hist. Soc. Collections, vol. I, 2d ed., gives several of Arnold's letters and orders during the
7expedition, and a narrative principally derived from the published journals. The Journal of Capt. Thayer has been elaborately annotated by the Rev. Edwin M. Stone, and published by him with an exhaustive bibliographical and historical introduction, which has been published entire in the Rhode Island Hist. Soc. Collections.
In view of the well preserved narratives in the collections of the historical societies of this remarkable episode in the history of the revolution, the publication of a new edition of Judge Henry's simple but truthful account of the expedition, was thought to be an enterprise of doubtful utility, unless accompanied by new and important adjuncts, further illustrating its authenticity, and the movements of the actors in the scene. Whatever it may lack therefore in bringing out new and startling facts, the contribution of a new memoir of Judge Henry, a few brief notes, and an index, so often omitted in such works, together with some documentary papers introductory to the narrative, are relied upon as an apology for the present edition, the previous crude ones being entirely out of print, and unattainable.
The narrative of Henry is the only one giving an account of the pioneer expedition of his party to discover the source of the ChaudiÄre river, a service that was executed with much energy and expedition, and attended with great peril and hardship. Looking at the exploit from this distant period, there seems to have been a good deal of misdirected energy and hardihood in the conduct of the enterprise, occasioning disaster and loss by unskillful management, amounting almost to recklessness, by which provisions and munitions of all kinds were wrecked, and time and human force inefficiently expended. The pioneer detachment under Steele, and the advance party under Arnold made good progress, but there was apparent lagging in the rear in bringing up the supplies, and the final defection of Enos was fatal to the entire success of the expedition, which was the capture of Quebec. The attainment of that object would have
8secured Canada to the revolutionists, and saved the valuable lives of Montgomery and others, and might have given another destiny to Arnold.
The original edition of the narrative was published at Lancaster, Pa., in 1812, with the following notice, and recommendation by one of the compatriots of the author.
To the Public.
This work is given to the world, as left by Judge Henry. Had he lived to superintend the printing of it himself, many alterations would, no doubt, have been made, many passages which may at present appear obscure, would have been fully explained, and many differences of style corrected. As the work purports to be written by Judge Henry, it was thought improper to make any alterations or additions, trusting that the world, when acquainted with the circumstances under which it was published, will be disposed to pardon trivial errors as to the truth of the principal facts. The following letter from General Michael Simpson, is ample testimony:
Dear Sir: I have read your work "of the expedition through the wilderness in 1775." So far as I was concerned in the transactions related in the work, they are truly stated. That expedition, perhaps the most arduous during the revolutionary war, is truly represented. The public may, in the general, be assured that the account is genuine.
Your humble servant,
Campaign Against Quebec.
My dear Children:
There is a point in the history of the American revolution, hitherto little attended to; as yet imperfectly related, and now at this late day almost forgotten; which would deserve and require the talents and genius of a Xenophon, to do it real justice. As your father in early life had a concern in that adventure, permit him to relate to you in the words of truth, a compendious detail of the sufferings of a small band of heroes; unused, to be sure, to military tactics and due subordination, but whose souls were fired by an enthusiastic love of country, and a spirit such as has often inspired our ancestors, when determined to be free. In giving you this relation, knowing him as you do, you will scarcely call in question his veracity; particularly when he assures you upon the honor of a gentleman and an honest man, that every word here related, to the best of his recollection and belief, is literally true. He could not be so unjust to your morals, your veracity, or integrity, as to state any thing to you which he knew, or even suspected to be untrue. He has himself been too much the victim of base liars, not to endeavor to eradicate so vile a principle from your minds. His own education, though made by his truantisms (in avoidance of the bounteous and liberal designs of his good father), an incorrect one, yet the piety and real religious fervor of his parents, never would tolerate a lie. This mental vice, to them, was the greatest of
10all abominations, as it is with your father: it is also his most fervent hope and prayer, that every one of you, will not only contemn the lie, but hold in sovereign detestation the liar.
Persons at your age, and at this advanced stage of the improvement and melioration of our soil, in a climate so far south as ours, can scarcely form a correct conception, but from actual observation, of the sterility, the dreariness and the destitution of every comfort of life, which a wilderness in a high northern latitude exhibits. A confidence however in your good sense, encourages, and in fact animates him, to put that upon paper, which has a thousand times, in detached parcels, been the subject of amusing prattle around the fireside. This is done the rather at this time, as some very atrocious scoundrels who never looked an enemy in the eye, now assume the garlands and honors which ought to adorn the brows of more worthy men.
In the autumn of 1775, our adorable Washington thought it prudent to make a descent upon Canada. A detachment from the American grand army, then in the vicinity of Boston, Massachusetts, was organized, to fulfill this intention, by the route of the Kennebec and ChaudiÄre rivers. It was intended as a cooperation with the army of General Montgomery, who had entered the same province, by the way of Champlain and Montreal. Colonel Benedict Arnold was appointed the commander in chief of the whole division. The detachment consisted of eleven hundred men. Enos
11from Virginia; that of Captain William Hendricks from Cumberland county in Pennsylvania, and Captain Matthew Smith's company from the county of Lancaster, in the latter province.
Our commander, Arnold, was of a remarkable character. He was brave, even to temerity; was beloved by the soldiery, perhaps for that quality only. He possessed great powers of persuasion, was complaisant; but, withal, sordidly avaricious. Arnold was a short, handsome man, of a florid complexion, stoutly made, and forty years old at least.
On the other hand Morgan was a large, strong bodied personage, whose appearance gave the idea history has left us of Belisarius. His manners were of the severer cast; but where he became attached he was kind and truly affectionate. This is said, from experience of the most sensitive and pleasing nature; activity, spirit and courage in a soldier, procured his good will and esteem.
Hendricks was tall, of a mild and beautiful countenance. His soul was animated by a genuine spark of heroism. Smith was a good looking man, had the air of a soldier, was illiterate and outrageously talkative. The officers of the eastern troops were many of them men of sterling worth. Colonel Christopher Greene seemed too far advanced in life for such hard service, yet he was inspired by an ardor becoming a youth. He afterwards did the public good service at Redbank on the Delaware, in the autumn of 1777. Majors Meigs, Febiger and Bigelow, were excellent characters. As we acted in the advance, the latter gentlemen were not well known to us, until sometime afterwards. Your father was too young to enjoy any other honor than that of exposing himself, in the character of a cadet, to every danger. This little army in high spirits, marched from Prospect hill near Cambridge in Massachusetts, on the 11th of September, 1775, and on the following day
13arrived at Newburyport (which is formed by the waters of the Merrimac river). This place, at that time, was a small but commercial town, near the border of Massachusetts. Here we remained encamped five days, providing ourselves with such articles of real necessity, as our small means afforded. On the afternoon of the sixth day, we embarked aboard of ten transports;
To give some degree of certainty of success to so hazardous an enterprise, Arnold found it necessary to
14select an officer of activity and courage; the choice fell upon Archibald Steele
15M'Konkey, of Smith's company. Though a very youth, yet in a small degree accustomed to hardships, derived from long marches in the American woods, Steele's course of selection next fell upon your father, who was his messmate and friend. Two birch-bark canoes were provided; and two guides, celebrated for the management of such water craft, and who knew the river as high up as the great carrying-place were also found. These were Jeremiah Getchel, a very respectable man, and John Home, an Irishman who had grown gray in this cold climate.
This small party, unconscious of danger, and animated by a hope of applause from their country, set forward from Fort Western in their light barks, at the rate of from fifteen to twenty, and in good water, twenty-five miles per day. These canoes are so light, that a person of common strength may carry one of the smallest kind, such as ours were, many hundred yards without halting.
On the evening of the 23d of September, our party arrived at Fort Halifax,
17as those of Buffon, or De Pauw, give occasion to systems in natural history, totally inconsistent with the laws of nature; still there may be something in it; animals, like human beings, whether forced by necessity or from choice, do migrate. Many instances might be given of this circumstance of the animal economy, in various parts of the world. The above relation is the only instance which has come to my knowledge, where one species has expelled another of the same genus. If the fact be true, it is either effected by a species of warfare, or some peculiarity in the appearance of the one kind, and of horror or perhaps of disgust in the other; We know the rock goat (steinbock of the Germans and boquetin of the French) formerly inhabited the low hills of southern France and of the Pyrenees; they have been driven thence by some peculiar cause, for they are now confined to the tops of the highest mountains in Europe. It is true, it has been frequently advanced by men of respectability and information in Pennsylvania, that the grey fox which is indigenous in the United States, and all North America, has been driven from the Atlantic sea coast into the interior, by the introduction of the red fox from Europe. But we have no sufficient data to warrant this assertion. The truth probably is, that as the grey fox is a dull and slow animal, compared with the sprightliness, rapidity, and cunning of the red fox, that the first has been thinned by the huntsmen, and gradually receded from the seacoast to the forest, where, from his habits, he is more secure. The cunning and prowess of the latter, has enabled him to maintain his station among the farms, in despite of the swiftness and powerful scent of the dogs. But that which puts this assertion out of view, is that the red fox is indigenous throughout North America; He and the grey fox are found in the highest latitudes, but there, their skins are changed into more beautiful furs than those of ours, by the effects of climate. Another notion has been started within these
18twenty years past, of the fox squirrel expelling the large grey squirrel: but it is fallacious.
Be these things as they may, we spent an agreeable and most sociable evening with this respectable man, and his amiable family. On the following day, our party rose early, and accompanied by our host, waited upon the tory, who then showed himself to be an honest man, of independent principles, and who claimed the right of thinking for himself. He exchanged a barrel of smoke-dried salmon for a barrel of pork, upon honest terms.
We set out from this place, well pleased with our host, the old tory, and our bargain. In a very few days, without other accident than the spraining of Lieut. Steele's ancle, by his slipping, when carrying a canoe over the path, at one of the intermediate portages, we arrived safely at Norridgewock falls. Coming to the landing place, the water being smooth and very deep, a rock, as we passed it, drew my attention very particularly, it was standing in a conical form, five feet in perpendicular height, and ten or twelve feet in diameter at the base. I observed that next the water, the face of the rock, which was a bluish flint, was, as it were, scalloped out, down to the very water's edge. Asking Getchel how this had occurred, his reply was that the Indians, in former times, had from thence obtained their spear and arrow points. It seems unreasonable that without a knowledge of iron, they should have been capable of executing such a labor. However, upon observation and reflection, since Getchel's time, an inducement from experience and reasoning occurs, which influences me to believe that he might have been correct in his observation. The rock, no doubt, still remains, and there is leisure for inquiry and discussion.
We were hurried. The village within one hundred yards of the pitch of the fall, was evidently a deserted
20life, are equally incapable of those virtues which make man respectable in society.
On the afternoon of this day, we crossed to the west side of the river below the fall: searched for, and with difficulty found the carrying place. Having marked it with precision, we rested awhile. On the west side of the river, not very distant from us, there was a considerable extent of natural meadow.
21exploring the country for deer, met with two white men who had come from a distance, mowing the wild grass of the meadow. An agreeable barter ensued; we gave salted pork, and they returned two fresh beaver tails, which, when boiled, renewed ideas imbibed with the May-butter of our own country. Taste, however, is arbitrary, and often the child of necessity. Two years before this, acorns had supplied me with a precarious sustenance, on a journey from Sandusky to Pittsburg; it momentarily sustained life and bodily labor, but the consequence was ill health. Your respectable kinsman, General Gibson, received me into his house at Logstown on the Ohio, and restored me sound to my parents. These minute matters are noted here from an expectation that, knowing the privations men may suffer in respect to food, you will each of you remember to receive the dispensations of Providence, of every kind, if not with thankfulness, at least with submission.
We passed the portage of Norridgewock falls. Thence for several days, the navigation for such canoes as ours was tolerable, and in the most part convenient. We ascended the river rapidly, blazing every carrying-place. Having now receded many miles from the last white inhabitants at Norridgewock, it became us therefore to proceed cautiously. A circumspection was adopted, which, though prudent in the predicament we were in, appeared to be rather harsh to the feelings; the firing of a gun was prohibited; though the weather was chilling,
22we dared scarcely make a smoke at night. Angling for trout and chub in the morning and evening, made up our stock of fresh food. We frequently saw ducks, etc., and many moose deer, yet we discharged not a gun; in truth we had been made to believe that this country had numerous Indians in it.
The party proceeded without molestation but from natural rock, and a strict current (by the 27th of September)
Now we assumed the title of being our own guides, giving to Getchel due respect and attention for his information relative to the route north. He informed me that the course of the river, which is injudiciously called the Dead river, tended sixty or one hundred miles northerly, took a short turn southwardly, and was then within twelve miles of us. That that part was full of rapids, and impassable to boats, or even canoes. We searched for the carrying-place, and found a path tolerably distinct, which we made more so by blazing the trees and snagging the bushes with our tomahawks; proceeding until evening, the party encamped at the margin of a
23mall lake, perhaps about half a mile wide, where there plenty of trout, which old Clifton, who was good at anglings caught in abundance. Here, in a conference on the subject, it was resolved that two persons of the party should remain (with about one-half of the provisions), until the return of our main body, calculating the return would be in eight or ten days. It had been observed that Clifton, being the oldest of the company, yet brave and a good shot, from the fatigues we had endured, had begun to flag. With the assent of our chief, the younger part of us proposed to him to remain where we then were, with the better part of the provisions. After considerable altercation he assented, on condition of his having a companion. The youngest of the party nominated M'Konkey, who could not restrain his joy at the proposal. It was advised for them to retire to the south end of the pond, perhaps a mile, and there, as in a perfect recess, remain concealed; knowing M'Konkey, the consequences were foreseen. After the accomplishment of this affair, Lieutenant Steele parted the provision appropriated for the marchers, not by pounds or ounces, my dear children but by: "Whose shall be this." Some of you have been taught how this is done; if you should have forgotten, it will be well now to tell you of it. The principal of the party, if he is a gentleman and man of honor, divides the whole portion equally into as many parts as there are men, including himself; this is done under the eyes of all concerned, and with their approbation the officer then directs some one of the company to turn his back upon him, and laying his hand on a particular portion, asks, "Whose shall be this?" The answer is hap-hazard, A, S, etc., or any other of the party. It has frequently occurred that we were compelled to divide the necessaries of life in this way, and it could not be fairly said, that any fraud or circumvention took place.
September 28th, we left Clifton and his companion in a most dreary wild, but with enough to support them;
24and if they would act honorably, to assist us. A laughable occurrence ensued. Sergeant Boyd and myself had, that day, the charge of unloading and loading the canoes, which, as customarily, being very light and easily blown off shore by a puff of wind, were drawn half their lengths on the beach; we ran a race who should perform his duty soonest — he arrived first. Taking up his canoe suddenly, but hoping to have a better stand than the shore presented, he set his foot on a large bed of moss seemingly firm, and sunk ten feet into as cold water, while fluid, as was ever touched. We soon passed the pond, found the path, marked it, and came, at the end of several miles, to a second pond, if my recollection serves, larger than the former: traversing this, we encamped more cautiously than ever. On the next day, pursuing the path, and marking it, a third pond of small diameter was presented to our view. Passing this, by the evening we encamped on the north bank of the Dead river.
This river, which is nothing more than an extension of the Kennebec,
25convinced me more than reading could, of the manner of the formation of turf. Sometimes, to lighten the canoes when ascending strict water, several of us would disembark and proceed along shore, and on many occasions, traverse a point of land to save distance. Doing this, we often met with what we thought a flat ground covered by moss. Entering the parterre, as it might be called, and running along that which we found to be a log covered with moss, the moisture on the log, would cause a foot to slip — down we would come, waist deep in a bed of wet moss; such incidents always created a laugh. A spark, if these beds of moss had been dry, as they were wet, would have made a dreadful conflagration: the upper country seemed throughout as if covered with it. To the south and west of the bog first mentioned, there was a natural meadow of great extent. On the west it reached, seemingly, to the foot of the mountains several miles off. A beautiful creek serpentined through it and formed a convenient harbor and landing place, opposite to our camp, and directly to which the Indian path led us.
The timber trees of this, are in great measure different from those of our country. Here are neither oaks, hickories, poplars, maples nor locusts; but there is a great variety of other kinds of excellent timber, such as the white and yellow pines, hemlock, cedar, cypress, and all the species of the firs.
26balsam fir, Canada balsam. Balm of Gilead fir, or bahamum Canadense, pinus bahomea, which produces the purest turpentine, and the yellowbirch The first, as its vulgar name imports, yields a balsamic liquid, which has been, and perhaps now is, much esteemed by the medical profession. The bark is smooth, except that there are a vast number of white and lucid protuberances upon it, of the size of a finger or a thumb nail, bulging from the surface of the bark. This tree grows to the size of from fifteen to twenty inches in diameter. From the essays made, it seems to me that a vial containing a gill might be filled in the space of an hour. Getchel, our guide, taught me its use. In the morning when we rose, placing the edge of a broad knife at the under side of the blister, and my lips at the opposite part, on the back of the knife which was declined, the liquor flowed into my mouth freely. It was heating and cordial to the stomach, attended by an agreeable pungency. This practice, which we adopted, in all likelihood contributed to the preservation of health. For though much wet weather ensued, and we lay often on low and damp ground, and had very many successions of cold atmosphere, it does not now occur to me, that any one of us was assailed by sickness, during this arduous excursion. The yellow birch is useful in many particular instances to the natives. They form the body of the tree into setting-poles, paddles, spoons and ladles. The bark, its better property, serves as a covering for the frame of the canoe, much in the same manner as the Esquimaux and Greenlanders apply the seal skin. To you it may appear to be a strange assertion, but to me it seems true, that the birch-bark canoe is the most ingenious piece of mechanism man, in a rude state, is capable of performing. This bold idea requires a disclosure of the means and the manner of the work, which shall be done before I leave the subject.
27From the bark of the yellow-birch the Indian also forms bowls, and baskets of a most beautiful construction, and it even serves as a wrapper for any nice matter which it is wished to keep securely, much in the manner we use brown wrapping-paper. The appearance of the yellow birch tree at a distance, is conspicuous. Approaching near it, in the autumn, it seems involved in rolls, something resembling large circular rounds of parchment, or yellow-paper. There is in my mind no question, but that among a numerous and industrious people, such as the
28Chinese, this indigenous product would become an article of general use in various ways. The bark, when taken from the tree, may be obtained lengthwise of the tree, from one to four feet in breadth, and of a length equal to the circumference. It is sometimes white with a yellowish cast, but more usually of a pale, and sometimes of a deep gold color. It is partible, when ever so thick, into the most filmy sheets. The Indians, for canoes, use it of the thickness of from a fourth, down to the eighth of an inch, according to the size of the vessel. Curiosity and convenience made us reduce it often to a
29film by no means thicker or more substantial than the silky paper we obtain from India. It serves equally well for the pencil as paper. Ink, however, flows upon it. In the course of time a medium may be discovered to preclude this inconvenience — this bark will preserve better than paper.
September 30th. The company, not apprehending the reverses which fortune had in store for them, left the encampment full of courage and hope, though a strong drift of snow, which whitened all the surrounding hills, had fallen during the night. Having smooth water, we paddled away merrily, probably for thirty miles. Getchel, besides his sheer wisdom, possessed a large fund of knowledge concerning the country, which he had derived from the aborigines, and much humorous anecdote with which, in spite of our privations, he made us laugh. It was omitted to be mentioned that, before we left our last encampment, it became a resolution of the whole party that the pork in the possession of each one should be eaten raw, and to eat but in the morning and evening. As we could not obtain food in this miserable portion of the globe, even for money, if we had it, and having nothing else than our arms and our courage to depend on; unacquainted with the true distance of our expedition, for we had neither map nor chart, yet resolved to accomplish our orders at the hazard of our lives — we prudently began to hoard our provision; half a biscuit and half an inch square of raw pork, became this evening's meal. The day's journey brought us to the foot of a rapid, which convinced us that the term Dead river was much misapplied. The night was spent, not upon feathers, but the branches of the fir or the spruce. It would astonish you, my dear children, if there was leisure to explain to you, the many comforts and advantages those trees afford to the wayworn traveler. Suffice it now to say, we rested well.
October 1st. The morning brought on new labors. Our secondary guide and myself, thinking that we could
30manage the water, slipped into our canoe. Getchel and another worked Steele's, while our companions, crossing the hill, marked the carrying-place. From our camp two-thirds at least of these rapids were concealed from our view. In much danger, and by great exertion, we surmounted them in less than an hour. Taking in our company, we had good water till the evening, when we were impeded by a precipitate fall of four feet. We encamped.
October 2d. Carrying here, we had good water all the next day. Mere fatigue and great lassitude of body, most likely, in a good measure, owing to the want of food, caused us to sleep well. From cautionary motives our guns, though not uncared for, were considered as useless, in the way of obtaining food. Several of our company angled successfully for trout, and a delicious chub, which we call a fall fish. This place became remarkable to me, as, sometime afterwards, my friends Gen. Simpson,
October 3d. The evening brought us to our encampment, on the south side of the river. Angling was
31resorted to for food. Sergeant Boyd, observing low ground on the other side of the river, and an uncommon coldness in the water, passed over, and in an hour returned with a dozen trout of extraordinary appearance, long, broad and thick. The skin was of a very dark hue, beautifully sprinkled with deep crimson spots. Boyd had caught these in a large and deep spring-head.
October 4th. The next day, proceeding onward, we here and there met with rough water. In the evening we were told that on the next day we probably should arrive at the camp of Natanis, an Indian, whom our commander was instructed to capture or kill. Natanis was well known to the white inhabitants of the lower country: they knew from him the geographical position of his residence. The uninstructed Indian, if he possesses good sense, necessarily from his wanderings as a hunter, becomes a geographer. This good man (as we subsequently knew him to be), had been wrongfully accused to Arnold, as a spy, stationed on this river to give notice to the British government of any party passing this way into Canada: hence that cruel order. We landed some miles below where we supposed his house was. Our canoes were brought upon the shore, and committed to the care of two of the party. We arrived at the house of Natanis, after a march, probably of three miles, over a flat country covered with pines, etc. Approaching on all sides with the utmost circumspection, we ran quickly to the cabin, our rifles prepared, and in full belief that we had caught Natanis. Some were
32persuaded, at the distance of two hundred yards from the place, that they saw the smoke of his fire. But the bird was flown. He was wiser and more adroit than his assailants, as you will afterwards learn. The house was prettily placed on a bank twenty feet high, about twenty yards from the river, and a grass plat extended around, at more than shooting distance for a rifle, free from timber and brushwood. The house, for an Indian cabin, was clean and tight, with two doors, one fronting the river, the other on the opposite side. We found many articles of Indian fabrication, evidently such as would not be totally abandoned by the owner: besides, it was remarked, that the coals on the hearth, from their appearance, had been burning at least within a week past. These notions did not allay our apprehensions of meeting with Indian enemies. The canoes, in the meantime, having been brought up, we embarked and proceeded with alacrity.
This afternoon, in a course of some miles, we came to a stream flowing from the west, or rather the northwest. As we were going along in uncertainty, partly inclined to take the westerly stream, one of the party fortunately saw a strong stake, which had been driven down at the edge of the water, with a piece of neatly folded birch-bark, inserted into a split at the top. The bark, as it was placed, pointed up the westerly stream, which at its mouth seemed to contain more water than that of our true course. Our surprise and attention were much heightened, when opening the bark, we perceived a very perfect delineation of the streams above us, with several marks which must have denoted the hunting camps, or real abodes of the map maker. There were some lines, in a direction from the head of one branch to that of another, which we took to be the course of the paths which the Indians intended to take that season. This map we attributed to Natanis; if not his, to his brother Sabatis, who, as we afterwards knew, lived about seven miles up this westerly stream. For when our party,
33after returning to the twelve mile carrying-place, had again reascended the river, we were told, by the crew of one of Morgan's boats, that they had mistaken the westerly stream as the due route, and had found deserted cabins at the distance already mentioned, and the property of the late inhabitants placed in a kind of close cages, made of birch-bark, in the forks of the trees; these they most iniquitously plundered. Venison, corn, kettles, etc., were the product. Inspecting the map thus acquired, we pursued our journey fearlessly. Now the river became narrower and shallower. The strength of each of us was exerted at poling or paddling the canoes. Some strict water interfered, but in a few days we came to the first pond, at the head of the Dead river.
October 7th. This first pond, in the course of the traverse we made, might be about a mile, or a little more, in diameter. Here, on a small island, scarcely containing one-fourth of an acre, we discovered and ate a delicious species of cranberry, entirely new to us. It grew upon a bush from ten to twelve feet high, the stock of the thickness of the thumb, and the fruit was as large as a may-duke cherry.
October 8th. Being near the height of land which divides the waters of New-England from those of Canada, which run into the St. Lawrence, the weather
34in consequence of the approaching winter, had become piercingly cold. My wardrobe was scanty and light. It consisted of a roundabout jacket, of woolen, a pair of half worn buckskin breeches, two pair of woolen stockings (bought at Newburyport), a hat with a feather, a hunting-shirt, leggings, a pair of moccasins, and a pair of tolerably good shoes, which had been closely hoarded.
We set out early, yet jovially. We entered a lake surrounded by high and craggy mountains, and perpendicular rocks of very considerable altitude, which about eleven o'clock, a.m., cast us into a dusky shade. Pulling the paddle, as for life, to keep myself warm, some trifling observation which fell from me, relative to the place we were in, such as its resemblance to the vale of death, which drew the attention of the company: Getchel, in his dry way, turning toward me, said, "Johnny, you look like a blue leather whet stone." The simplicity and oddity of the expression, and the gravity of his manner, caused great merriment at my expense; it was enjoyed on my part, certain that it was not an expression of disesteem, but affection, for the man liked me. These minim tales and jejune occurrences are related to convey to your minds an idea, how men of true spirit will beard death in every shape, even, at times, with laughter, to effectuate a point of duty which is considered as essential to the welfare of their country. Thus we went on, incessantly laboring, without sustenance, until we came, about three o'clock, to the extreme end of a fifth and the last lake. This day's voyage might amount to fifteen or twenty miles.
On this lake we obtained a full view of those hills which were then, and are now, called the height of land. It made an impression upon us that was really more chilling than the air which surrounded us. We hurried ashore, drew out our canoes, and covered them with leaves and brush-wood. This done, with our arms in our hands, and our provision in our pockets, we made a race across the mountain, by an Indian path, easily ascertainable, until we arrived on the bank of the ChaudiÄre river. The distance is about five miles, counting the rising and descent of the hill as two. This was the acme of our desires. To discover and know the course of this river, was the extent of our orders: beyond it, we had nothing to do. Our chief, wishing to do every thing a good officer could, to forward the service, asked, if any one could climb a tree, around the foot of which we then stood? It was a pine of considerable height, without branches for forty feet; Robert Cunningham, a strong athletic man, about twenty-five years old, presented himself. In almost the twinkling of an eye, he
36climbed the tree. He fully discerned the meandering course of the river, as upon a map, and even descried the lake ChaudiÄre, at the distance of fourteen or fifteen miles. The country around and between us and the lake was flat. Looking westward, he observed a smoke intimating this to us, from the tree where he sat, we plainly perceived it. Cunningham came down the sun was setting seemingly in a clear sky.
Now our return commenced. It so occurred, that I was in the rear, next to Getchel, who brought it up. We ran in single file, and while it was light, it was observed by me, as we tried to stride into the footsteps of the leader, that he covered the track with his feet this was no mean duty. It required the courage, the vigor, and the wisdom, which designates genuine manhood. Our object was to be concealed from a knowledge of any one who might communicate our presence there, to the Canadian government. The race was urged, and became more rapid by the indications of a most severe storm of rain we had scarcely more than gotten half way up the hill, when the shower came down in most tremendous torrents. The night became dark as pitch we groped the way across the ridge, and in descending, relied on the accuracy of our leader, we continued with speed. The precipice was very steep a root, a twig, perhaps, caught the buckle of my shoe: tripped, I came down head foremost, unconscious how far, but perhaps twenty or thirty feet. How my gun remained unbroken, it is impossible to say. When I recovered, it was in my hands. My companions had outstripped me. Stunned by the fall, feeling for the path with my feet, my arrival at the canoe-place was delayed, till ten at night, an hour and more later than my friends. An erection called a tent, but more correctly a wigwam, was made in the hurry with forks, and cross-poles, covered by the branches of fir. It rained incessantly all that night. If the clothes we wore had been dry, they would have become wet — so we laid down in
37all those we had on. Sleep came to my eyes, notwithstanding the drippings of the pelting storm, through the humble roof.
October 9th. We arose before day. The canoes were urged suddenly into the water, it still rained hard, and at daylight we thought of breakfasting. Gracious God! what was our fare? What could we produce for such a feast? Rummaging my breeches pockets, I found a solitary biscuit and an inch of pork. Half of the biscuit was devoted to the breakfast, and so also by each person, and that was consumed in the canoes as we paddled over the lake. The rain had raised the lake, and consequently the outlets about four feet. We slided glibly along, over passages where a few days previously we had carried our canoes. At the outlet of the fourth lake, counting as we came up, a small duck appeared within shooting distance. It was a diver, well known in our country — a thing which we here contemn. Knowing the value of animal food, in our predicament, several of us fired at the diver: Jesse Wheeler, however (who all acknowledged as an excellent shot), struck it with his ball. A shout of joy arose — the little diver was safely deposited in our canoe. We went on quickly, without accident, till the evening, probably traversing a space of more than forty miles. At night-fall we halted, weary and without tasting food since morning. Boyd and Cunningham, who were right-hand men on most occasions, soon kindled a fire against a fallen tree. An occurrence this evening took place, which my dear children you will hardly credit, but which (permit me to assure you) is sacredly true; the company sat themselves gloomily around this fire. The cooks, according to routine (whether our chief or others), picked the duck, and when picked and gutted, it was brought to the fireside. Here it became a question how to make the most of our stock of provisions. Finally it was concluded to boil the duck in our camp-kettle, together with each man's bit of pork, distinctively marked by running a
38small skewer of wood through it, with his particular and private designation. That the broth thus formed should be the supper, and the duck on the ensuing morning should be the breakfast, and which should be distributed by "whose shall be this." Strange as this tale may appear to you, in these times, the agreement was religiously performed. Being young, my appetite was ravenous, as that of a wolf, but honor bound the stomach tightly.
We rose early and each person selected his bit of pork, which made but a single mouthful; there was no controversy. The diver was parted most fairly, into ten shares, each one eyeing the integrity of the division. Lieutenant Steele causing the turning of the back, the lottery gave me a victory over my respectable friend Cunningham. His share, was the head and the feet, mine one of the thighs. Hungry and miserable as we were, even this was sport to our thoughtless minds. In fact, we were sustained by a flattering hope that we should soon meet our friends, the army.
October 10th. Setting out early, by the evening we made nearly fifty miles. The bit of pork and the rest of the biscuit became my supper. My colleagues were similarly situated. The morning sun saw us without any food. We did not despond. The consolatory idea, that on that, or the next day, we should certainly join the army, infused energy into our minds and bodies. Yet being without food, though we loved each other, every endearment which binds man to man was, as it were, forgotten in a profound silence. After a long day's journey still we were supperless.
11th. The succeeding morning, starting early, we ran at a monstrous rate. The waters by additional rains above, had risen greatly. By ten or eleven o'clock a.m., we observed a great smoke before us, which from its extent, we could ascribe to nothing else, than the encampment of the army, our friends and fellow soldiers. After some time the light canoe, several hundred yards before us (with Steele and Getchel in it), passed between
39the forks of a tree, which lay rooted in the middle of the stream, where most likely it had lain for many years. All its branches had been worn away by the annual frictions of the ice or waters, except those which formed the fork, and those stood directly against the current, nearly a foot out of water, and ten or more feet apart. Seeing our friends pass through safely, and being unconscious that we were worse or less adventurous watermen than they were, we risked it. We ran with great velocity. My good Irishman steered. By an unlucky stroke of some one of our paddles (for each of us had one), but from his situation and power over the vessel it was fairly attributable to the steersman, the canoe was thrown a little out of its true course, just as it was entering the prongs of the fork. Trifling as this may appear to you, to us it was the signal of death. One of the prongs took the right hand side of the canoe, within six inches of the bow, immediately below the gunwale. Quick as lightning that side of the canoe was laid open from stem to stern, and water was gushing in upon us, which would inevitably have sunk us in a second of time, but for that interference of Providence, which is atheistically called presence of mind, otherwise a host of men could not have saved us from a watery grave. Instinctively leaning to the left, we sunk the gunwale of that side down to the water's edge, by which we raised the broken side an inch and more out of it. Calling loudly to our companions ahead, they soon saw our distress and put in, at the great smoke. Carefully and steadily sitting, and gently paddling, many hundred yards, we landed safely. Here was no army, no friends, no food, only a friendly fire, kindled by ourselves as we ascended the river it had been our camp. The fire we had made had scarcely more than smoked, but now it had crept into the turfy soil, and among the roots of trees, and was spread over half an acre. Our situation was truly horrible. When we had examined the broken canoe, and had rummaged both for the means of mending it, every
40heart seemed dismayed. Our birch-bark and pitch had been exhausted in former repairs, we were without food, perhaps one hundred miles from the army, or perhaps that army had returned to New England. That sensation of the mind called the horrors, seemed to prevail. Getchel alone was really sedate and reflective. He ordered the other guide to search for birch bark, whilst he would look among the pines for turpentine. We followed the one or the other of these worthies, according to our inclinations, and soon returned with those desirable materials. The cedar root was in plenty under our feet. Now a difficulty occurred, which had been unforeseen, and which was seemingly destructive of all hope. This was the want of fat or oil of every kind, with which to make the turpentine into pitch. A lucky thought occurred to the youngest of the company, that the pork bag lay empty and neglected, in one of the canoes. The thought and the act of bringing it were instantaneous. The bag was ripped, and as if it had been so much gold dust, we scraped from it about a pint of dirty fat. Getchel now prepared an abundance of pitch. The cedar root gave us twine. The canoe was brought up to the fire. We found every rib, except a few at the extreme points, actually torn from the gunwale. All hands set to work — two hours afterwards the canoe was borne to the water.
We embarked, and proceeding cautiously, as we thought, along the shore (for we dared not yet, with our craggy vessel, venture into deep water), a snag, standing up stream, struck through the bottom of the canoe. This accident happened about five hundred yards from the fire. We put back with heavy hearts and great difficulty — our friends followed. It took an hour to patch the gap. The cup of sorrow was not yet full. As the men were bearing the wounded canoe to the water, Sergeant Boyd who paddled in the small canoe, which was drawn up as usual, taking hold of the bow raised it waist high (as was right) intending to slide it
41gently into the water — the bank was steep and slippery. Oh! my dear children, you cannot conceive the dread and horror the succeeding part of this scene produced in our minds: Mr. Boyd's own feet slipped — the canoe fell from his hands — its own weight falling upon the cavity formed by the declivity of the bank and the water — broke it in the center, into two pieces, and which were held together by nothing but the gunwales. Now absolute despair for the first time seized me. A thought came across my mind, that the Almighty had destined us to die of hunger, in this inhospitable wilderness. The recollection of my parents, my brothers and sister, and the clandestine and cruel manner of my deserting them, drew from me some hidden, yet burning tears, and much mental contrition. This was unknown, unseen and unheard of by any, but he who is present everywhere, knows everything, and sees our inmost thoughts. Getchel (comparing small things with great, who much resembled Homer's description of Ulysses, in his person, and whose staid and sober wisdom and foresight, also bore a likeness to the talents of that hero), resigned, yet thoughtful and active, instantly went to work. The canoe was brought to the fire and placed in a proper posture for the operation. The lacerated parts were neatly brought together, and sewed with cedar root. A large ridge of pitch, as is customary in the construction of this kind of water craft, was laid over the seam to make it watertight. Over the seam a patch of strong bark a foot in width, and of a length sufficient to encircle the bottom even to the gunwales, was sewed down at the edges and pitched. Again over the whole of the work, it was thought prudent to place our pork bag which was well saturated with liquid fat. It was a full yard wide, and was laid down in the same manner. This work which was laborious nearly consumed the rest of the day.
We set out notwithstanding the lateness of the hour, and would it is likely have gone all night, well knowing the water below to be good, but for an enlivening occurrence
42which soon after happened. Hunger drove us along at a cautious but rapid rate. The sterility of the country about had afforded us no game, neither moose, bear nor wolf: nothing in short, but the diver and a red pine squirrel which was too small and quick to be killed by a bullet. These squirrels did not much exceed in size our striped ground squirrel. About dusk the lieutenant's canoe, four hundred yards before us, had within view turned a sharp point of land, when we heard the crack of a rifle, and presently another and a huzza. Apprehending an attack from an enemy, we pulled hard to be enabled to sustain our friends. In a moment or two, observing them pulling for the north shore which was steep, we looked up it for the enemy. Good Heavens! what a sight! We saw a moose-deer, falling on the top of the bank. A cry of exultation seemed to burst the narrow valley of the river. Steele had struck the deer in the flank, as it was leaving the water, but it sprung up the bank with agility. Wheeler, with better fortune for us all, pierced its heart as it arrived at the top. Seeing this you can scarcely imagine the celerity of our movements. We were ashore in a moment. A fire was kindled, the secondary guide cut off the nose, and upper lip of the animal, instantly, and had it on the fire. What a feast! But we were prudent. We sat up all night, selecting the fat and the tit-bits — frying, boiling, roasting, and broiling, but carefully eating little at a time. Towards morning, we slept a few hours, absolutely careless of consequences. We knew that we had arrived in a land where game was plentiful, and where there were no foes superior to our number, to oppose us.
October 12. We rose after sunrise, and began, according to practice, to examine and prepare our guns. Prepared, mine was placed against a tree my duty, in course, was of the culinary kind. George Merchant, my coadjutor, had gone to the river for water. He ran back, seized his own gun, and intimated that a bull moose was swimming across the river towards the camp.
43We jumped to our arms — it so happened that my station was rearward. The enormous animal was coming towards us, and not more than fifty paces off, his head and horns only above water. The sight was animating. Wheeler and some others fired at his head, but without effect. The extreme desire they had to possess so noble a prey, probably caused a tremor of the hand, or that part of his body was impenetrable to our small balls, which is most likely. The moose turned and swam to the opposite bank. Having got to the verge of the river, his emerging was awaited. My ball struck precisely where it ought to kill. The huge animal rose the bank by several boggling leaps, but seemed unknowing which way to run — we thought he would fall. Wheeler, and some others, getting into the canoes, pursued him by his blood half a mile. When Wheeler returned, he overloaded me with praises for the accuracy of the shot, and was confident that the deer was killed. We had no time to spare. We feasted till noon, and in the intermediate moments, culled the entrails for the fat; we even broke the bones, and extracted the marrow, under the full persuasion that food of an oily nature is one of the strongest mainstays of human life. Of this principle, if we had a doubt, we were shortly afterwards most irrefragably convinced. We departed from our camp joyously, untortured by the fear of starving our canoe sunk deep by the weight of our venison. Running some miles and suddenly doubling a point, we saw a large grey wolf sitting on his haunches he was fired at, but the distance was too great he escaped. Looking down the river we saw a moose swimming from the main to an island it was soon brought down. It proved to be young, of about 300 weight. Its ears and flanks were much torn by the wolf. This prize constituted veal in our larder. The choice parts were deposited in the canoes, the residue was at the disposal of the wolf.
October 13th, the following morning, embarking early, after noon we arrived at our first encamping ground on
44the Dead river, in good health and spirits though pallid and weak, for the want of substantial food in due quantity.
By this time the tat and marrow of the animals we had killed were exhausted, and our stock of salt had been long since expended. One who has never been deprived of bread and salt, nor known the absence of oleaginous substances in his food, cannot make a true estimate of the invaluable benefits of such ingredients, in the sustentation of the bodily frame nor of the extremity of our corporeal debility.
We ascended the bank, which is steep, and about fourteen feet high, carrying our baggage, arms and venison, leisurely, by piecemeal. The canoes, as being too heavy for our strength, were secured below, in the water, by withes. It was immediately concluded to preserve our provisions by jerking. This operation is done by slicing the meat into thin strips. Then driving four forks into the earth, in a square position, at the required distance perpendicularly, and laying poles from fork to fork, and poles athwart from pole to pole. A rack is thus made, about four feet high, on which the sliced meat is laid, and smoke-fires are made underneath. This duty was soon performed. We now began to look about us, and discuss the subject of our return to the army, which we had, before this time, persuaded ourselves we should meet at this place. The non-appearance of the army and our distress, induced a conclusion that we were deserted, and abandoned to a disastrous fate, the inevitable result of which would be, a sinking into eternity for want of food, for though we might have killed more deer, the vigor of our bodies was so reduced, that we were convinced that that kind of food could not restore us to our wonted energy, and enable us to perform so rugged and long a march, as that to the frontiers of Maine. The notion of navigating the river, was scouted as a fallacy, because we did not possess a sufficient degree of bodily force to bear the canoes across the twelve-mile carrying-place. As, in the case of the
45retreat of the army, we had determined to fallow, it became requisite to finish the jerking, which would take six days, to make it the more portable for our feebleness and preservable if we should have wet weather on the march. It was further concluded "That Lieut. Steele Getchel and Wheeler, should immediately proceed on foot across the twelve-mile carrying-place, to meet the army if they did meet it, that they should return to us with supplies by the end of three days, but in all events to return." Having no doubt of the honor of those gentlemen, the rest of the party remained cheerfully jerking the meat. Now we experienced the full extent of a new species of starving. Having neither bread, nor salt, nor fat of any kind, every day we remained here, we became more and more weak and emaciated. We had plenty of meat, both fresh and dried, of which we ate four, five and six times a day, in every shape we had the means of dressing it. Though we gorged the stomach, the appetite was unsatiated. Something like a diarrhoea ensued, which contributed to the imbecility of our bodies. Bear's oil would have made our venison savory, but such an animal as a bear we had as yet not seen in all our wanderings. On the evening of the fourth day, we looked out for our absent companions with much heartfelt anxiety. They came not. In the morning of the next day, we consulted upon the question whether we should follow the army. A majority voted for staying a few days longer to complete the jerking. To show you the great bodily weakness we were brought to, it may be proper to relate the following anecdote as more evincive of the fact, than any other method which might be adopted, to bring it fully to your minds. Sergeant Boyd (the strongest and stoutest man of the party and perhaps of the army), and myself, taking our arms, descended into a canoe, and passed the river to the mouth of the creek before mentioned, intending to go to the next pond on the carrying-place, there to meet, as we hoped, the advance of the
46army. We staggered along through the plain, falling every now and then, if our toes but touched a twig or tuft of grass. Thus going forward, we arrived at the edge of the moss-bog, which is mentioned as we ascended the river, and which is one and a half or two miles from the pond. Here my worthy friend Boyd, unable to proceed, sunk down upon a log. My seat, in tears of excruciating grief, was taken beside him, endeavoring to infuse comfort and courage into his manly mind — it was in vain. The debility of his body had disarmed his courageous soul. Every art in my power was exercised to induce him to pass the bog he would not listen to me on that subject. Melancholy of the desperate kind oppressed me. Convinced that the army had retreated, a prognostication resulted in my mind, that we should all die of mere debility in these wilds. We sat an hour. At length we agreed to return to our camp, though it was yet early in the afternoon. Our companions were pleased to see us, thinking our coming so soon indicated good news but a gloom of desperation followed. As a last effort to save our lives, we all agreed to pass the river the next morning and follow the army, which we were now assured had returned to Fort Western. Each one put into his knapsack as much of our mawkish food, as he could conveniently carry.
October 17. We started early, passed the river, but from mere inability to carry our canoes, left them behind us, at the bank of the creek. Marching forward as fast as our feeble limbs would carry us, when we came to the log where Boyd had seated himself, we were filled with extatic joy to observe, on the far side of the bog, a party of pioneers forming a causeway for the passage of the army. Our strength redoubled — we passed the bog with considerable speed. Our wan and haggard faces and meagre bodies, and the monstrous beards of my companions, who had neglected to carry a razor with them, seemed to strike a deep sorrow into the hearts of the pioneers. They gave us a little of their food, but
47what exhilerated us more, was the information that Major Febiger, with the advanced-guard, lay at the next pond. We urged forward as fast as we could. Arriving at his fire a little before my company, an incapacity to stand compelled me to sit. Febiger, in a hurried manner, asked who we were? and from whence we came? A few words explained the mystery and cause of our distress. A glistening tear stood in this brave soldier's eye. As it were with a sudden and involuntary motion and much tenderness, he handed me his wooden canteen (which contained the last spirits in the army), from me it passed to Cunningham, who had just come up, the most ghastly and way-worn figure in nature, from him it went round to the rest, who arrived gradually, but slowly. The heart of Febiger
48forward. By-and-by Morgan came, large, a commanding aspect, and stentorian voice. He wore leggings, and a cloth in the Indian style. His thighs, which were exposed to view, appeared to have been lacerated by the thorns and bushes. He knew our story from Steele and Wheeler, and greeted us kindly. We now found ourselves at home, in the bosom of a society of brave men with whom we were not only willing, but anxious to meet the brunts of war. This was the twenty-sixth day we had been absent from the army. In the evening we resumed our stations in our respective messes. It was now fully explained to us, why Steele had not brought us relief. He had met the advance of the army on the Kennebec side of the carrying-place. Always alert and indefatigable, when any duty was to be done, the labors of the men in carrying boats, barrels of flour, etc., were intolerable, and required the strength and athletic exertions of the officers, and particularly, such as Lieut. Steele, to enliven them in their duty. In bearing a heavy burden over rugged ground, he fell and sprained or dislocated his shoulder. Notwithstanding this accident, he had sent us supplies, but the bearers, either from cowardice or other cause, never came near us. Getchel and Wheeler had other duties to attend to — they were under immediate command. We also discovered from Steele, that Clifton and M'Konkey, soon after we left them, had deserted their post, carrying all they could on their backs, to meet the army, The dastardly vices of the latter, prevailing over the known courage, good sense, and sedate age, of the former: nothing occurs to me contributory to the fame of these men afterwards. The first was an invalid, the latter a caitiff coward. In your scanning the characters of men, which you will be compelled to do in your own defence, in the course of your lives, it will be a good general rule for you to adopt: that whether you be in the company of military men, scholars, men of the law, legislators, etc., etc., in short, persons
49of any profession or class, if you find a person very loquacious, dragging the conversation to himself, and in dictatorial way taking the lead; but more especially if he talks of his own prowess, deep reading, causes he has gained, eloquence, etc., etc., but still more so if the party boasts of wealth or ancestry in the first instance, without hesitation, set such a person down in your memory as a braggadocio, a mere puffer, until you can inquire further for a proof to the contrary. There are, to my knowledge, exceptions to this general rule, but few in number, particularly in the military class. M'Konkey was of the puffing sect, and there never was a more consummate scoundrel and coward.
October 18th. Now we turned our faces towards the north. Having rejoined our messmates, enjoying substantial food and warm tents, we soon recruited a good degree of strength, and our former gayety of temper and hilarity returned to us. We accompanied the army, and became a kind of guides in minute matters, for the paths and carrying places we had sufficiently developed, for Captain Ayres and his pioneers, by strong blazing and snagging of bushes, so that he might proceed in perfect security, in the performance of the duties of his office. The three companies of riflemen under Morgan took up our old encamping ground-on the Dead river, during the afternoon of the following day.
October 19th and 20th. Here we lay encamped for several days, waiting the arrival of the rear of the New England troops: they came up hourly. During our stay here, it pleased me internally, to observe that Morgan adopted certain rules of discipline, absolutely necessary to the state we were in, but discordant with the wild and extravagant notions of our private men.
51had got into a habit of throwing it away at every trifling object. Upon our return from the ChaudiÄre, this circumstance raised disgust in us for we had been studiously careful of our ammunition, never firing but at some object which would give us the means of subsistence. Though we drew our loads every morning, from a fear of the dampness of the atmosphere, yet the ball and powder were never lost. Our bullet screws brought the first out with ease, and it was recast, the latter was carefully returned to the horn, where, if moist, it soon became dry. The principal of Morgan's rules were, that there should be no straggling from the camp; and no firing without authoritative permission. Reasonable as these injunctions were, they were opposed. Being young and my friend Steele absent, a whisper of approbation did not fall from me, which, in my subordinate station, might have been indelicate. It was left to the energy of Morgan's mind, and he conquered. During our resting here, Arnold, accompanied by Steele and some excellent boatmen, proceeded to the head of the river. The rifle corps preceded the main body of the army, both by land and water. The boats, which were heavily laden with baggage and provisions, took in no more men than were necessary to navigate them, that is, three to a boat. The remainder of the army marched by land, the river being generally the guide.
Here, my dear children, permit me to give you the genuine character of my friend, General Simpson, whom you all know personally. He was among my earliest and best friends. He was then as apparently eccentric, as he is at this time there is no obvious difference in his manners between the two periods. As an officer, he was always active and keen in the performance of his duty. Hard was the service but his heart was soft to his friend. Simpson invited his messmate aboard his boat, being still somewhat feeble from our late privations the invitation was gladly accepted.
October 21st. We embarked. Having Lieut.
52Simpson for a steersman, and John Tidd and James Dougherty as boatmen, we went gaily on for that and the next day: able to lead any boat in the river.
October 22d. On the evening of this second day, we encamped on a bank eight or nine feet high, at a place where we had rested when ascending the river the first time. In the evening a most heavy torrent of rain fell upon us, which continued all night. Having now a good tent over our heads, the inconvenience was not much felt. We slept soundly. Towards morning, we were awaked by the water which flowed in upon us from the river. We fled to high ground.
October 23. When morning came the river presented a most frightful aspect it had risen at least eight feet, and flowed with terrifying rapidity. None but the most strong and active boatmen entered the boats, the army marched on the south side of the river, making large circuits to avoid the overflowings of the intervale or bottom lands. This was one of the most fatiguing marches we had as yet performed, though the distance was not great in a direct line. But having no path and being necessitated to climb the steepest hills, and that without food, for we took none with us, thinking the boats would be near us all day. In the evening we arrived at the fall of four feet, which was mentioned when ascending the river. Alas! all the boats of the army were on the opposite side of the river. The pitch of the fall made a dreadful noise, and the current ran with immense velocity. We sat down on the bank sorely pinched by hunger, looking wistfully towards our friends beyond the torrent, who were in possession of all the provisions, tents and camp equipage, convinced however, that the most adventurous boatmen would not dare the passage, for the sake of accommodating any of us. We were mistaken. There were two men, and only two, who had skill and courage to dare it. Need Lieut. Simpson, on an occasion like this, be named? he, accompanied by John Tidd, entered his empty boat.
53What skill in boatmanship! what aptitude with the paddle was here exhibited. The principal body of the water ran over the middle of the fall, and created a foaming and impetuous torrent, in some measure resembling at this particular time, of a very high freshet, that of the Oswego falls, which has been known to me ere this. The river was about one hundred and fifty, or two hundred yards in breadth, counting on the increase of water by the rains. The force of the central current naturally formed considerable eddies at each side of the river, close under the pitch. Simpson now disclosed his amazing skill. Though there was an eddy, even that was frightful, he came by its mean nearly under the pitch, and trying to obtain an exact start, failed. The stream forced his boat down the river, but he recovered and brought it up. Now we, who were trembling for the fate of our friends, and anxious for our own accommodation, began to fear he might be drawn under the pitch. Quick, almost in a moment, Simpson was with us. He called in his loud voice to Robert Dixon, James Old (a messmate) and myself to enter the boat. We entered immediately. He pushed off; attempting the start by favor of the hither eddy, which was the main thing — we failed. Returning to the shore, we were assailed by a numerous band of soldiers, hungry, and anxious to be with their companions. Simpson told them he could not carry more with safety, and would return for them. Henry M'Annaly, a tall Irishman, who could not from experience comprehend the danger, jumped into the boat; he was followed by three or four other inconsiderate men. The countenance of Simpson changed, his soul and mine were intimate. "O God," said he, "men we shall all die." They would not recede. Again we approached the pitch; it was horrible. The bateau swam deep, almost ungovernable by the paddle. Attempting again to essay the departure — we failed. The third trial was made it succeeded. As lightning we darted athwart the river. Simpson with his
54paddle, governed the stern. The worthy Tidd in the bow. Dixon and myself, our guns stuck in the railing of the bateau, but without paddles, sat in the stern next to Simpson. Mr. Old was in the bow near Tidd. Henry M'Annaly was adjoining Mr. Old. The other men sat between the stern and bow. Simpson called to the men in the bow to lay hold of the birch bushes the boat struck the shore forcibly they caught hold M'Annaly in particular (this was in the tail of the eddy), but like children, their holds slipped, at the only spot where we could have been saved; for the boat had been judiciously and safely brought up. Letting go their holds, the bow came round to the stream, and the stern struck the shore. Simpson, Dixon, and myself, now caught the bushes, but being by this time thrown into the current, the strength of the water made the withes as so many straws in our hands. The stern again swung round: the bow came again ashore. Mr. Old, Tidd, and M'Annaly, and the rest, sprung to the land to save their lives. Doing this, at our cost, their heels forced the boat across the current. Though we attempted to steady it, the boat swagged. In a moment after, at thirty feet offshore, it being broad side to the current, turned; borne under, in spite of all our force, by the fury of the stream. The boat upsetting, an expression, as going into the water, fell from me, "Simpson we are going to heaven." My fall was head-foremost. Simpson came after me — his heels, at the depth of fifteen; feet or more, were upon my head and neck and those grinding on the gravel. We rose nearly together, your father first — my friend followed. The art of swimming, in which, I thought myself an adept, was tried, but it was a topsy-turvy business. The force of the water threw me often heels-over-head.
In the course of this voyage, after a few hundred yards, Simpson was at my side, but the force of the stream prevented the exertion of swimming; yet the impetuosity of the current kept us up. It drove us
55toward the other side of the river, against a long ridge of perpendicular rocks of great extent. Luckily, in the course of some hundred yards, the current changed, and brought us perforce to the north side of the river. Floating along with my head just above water — prayers in sincere penitence having been uttered, a boat's crew of the eastern men bonded me a pole. It was griped as by the hand of death — but griped the pole remained to me. The strength of water was such, that the boat would inevitably have upset, if the boatman had kept his hold. A glance of the eye informed me that my companion in misfortune had shared the same fate. Resigned into the bosom of my Savior, my eyes became closed the death appeared to me a hard one; sensibility in a great degree forsook me. Driving with the current some hundreds of yards more, the most palpable feeling recollected, was the striking of my breast against a root or hard substance. My head came above water. Breathing ensued; at the same moment Simpson raised his head out of the water, his gold laced hat on it, crying "Oh" neither of us could have crept out we should have there died but for the assistance of Edward Cavanaugh, an Irishman, an excellent soldier, who was designated in the company by the appellation of Honest Ned. Passing from the lower part of the river, he happened to come to the eddy, at the instant of time my breast struck. He cried out "Lord, Johnny is this you" and instantly dragged me out of the water. Simpson immediately appearing, he did him the same good office. Lying on the earth perhaps twenty minutes, the water pouring from me, a messenger from the camp came to rouse us. Roused we went to it. But all eyes looked out for Dixon, all hearts were wailing for his loss. It was known he could not swim, but none of us could recollect whether he had dropped into the water or had adhered to the boat. In some time we had the inexpressible pleasure of Dixon in our company. He had stuck to the side of the boat, which lodged on a vast pile of drift
56wood some miles below, and in this way he was saved. Arriving at the camp our friends had a large fire prepared, particularly for our accommodation; heat upon such an occurrence is most agreeable. My two friends in distress, whose clothing was principally woolen — felt none of my private disaster. My leather breeches attached closely and coldly to the skin. Modesty prohibited a disclosure. The sense of pain or inconvenience which was observed by my seniors, caused an inquiry. Immediately the breeches were off and stuck upon a pole to dry. Simpson was so much exhilerated by our escape, that seated on a stump, he sung Plato in great glee. It became a favorite with us. During all this time, perhaps till one or two o'clock, my breeches were in my hand almost in continued friction. The laugh of the company was against me, but it was borne stoically.
October 24, the following morning, presented me with many difficulties to be sure my horn, with a pound of powder, and my pouch, with seventy bullets, were unharmed by the water, though around my neck in the course of our swimming. Yet I had lost my knapsack, my hat, and my most precious rifle. Awaking, the world appeared to be a wild waste. Disarmed, my insignificance pressed strongly on my mind — dishonor seemed to follow of course. Without the armor of defence, men and nations are mere automatons, liable to be swayed by the beck of power and subject to the hand of oppression. Young as your father was, his soul was oppressed. To return with the invalids was dreadful, and without arms, he could not proceed. Comfort came to me in the shape of Lieutenant, now General Nichols, then of Hendricks. He had two hats — he presented me one but what was more to my purpose, he, or General Simpson, informed me that some of the invalids wished to dispose of their rifles. With the assistance of Nichols and Simpson, a bargain was struck with a person called William Reynolds, or Rannals, of our company, who was miserably sick, and returned in the boats. Money was out of the
57question, an order upon my father, dated at this place, for the price of twelve dollars was accepted, and afterwards, in due time, paid honorably. This gun was short, about forty-five balls to the pound, the stock shattered greatly, and worth about forty shillings. Necessity has no law. Never did a gun, ill as its appearance was, shoot with greater certainty, and where the ball touched, from its size, it was sure to kill. This observation, trifling as it may seem, ought to induce government to adopt guns of this size, as to length of barrel, and size of ball. There are many reasons to enforce this opinion. We departed from this place without any material occurrence, and went rapidly forward.
October 27th. Somewhat laughable ensued on this morning near the first pond, at the head of the river. The Virginians (though it is not probable that any of the officers excepting one) had taken up the idea, that they were our superiors in every military qualification, and ought to lead. Hendricks, though the oldest commissioned officer of the rifle companies, was still the youngest man. For the sake of peace and good order, he had not assented to, but merely acquiesced in Morgan's assumption of the command of our corps, as the elder person. Those men, who were clever and brave, were just such in that behalf, as we were ourselves: but a Mr. Heath, who was blind of an eye, a lieutenant of Morgan's, seemed to think, that all others were inferior to those of the ancient dominion. We had a hard morning's pushing, when coming up to the first pond, at the head of the Dead-river, we saw Heath before us. Observing to Simpson, "push him," we went up with much force poor Heath laboring as a slave to keep his place. Tidd and Dougherty felt my spirit as much as Simpson did. At the moment of our passing, for we went up on the outside of him, towards the middle of the current, his pole stuck, upon which he gave us a few hearty curses. Entering the lake, the boat under my guidance and information, steered directly for the
58passage to the second lake. Humphreys (Morgan's first lieutenant) a brave and most amiable man, whom we highly esteemed, was in a boat far to the left, searching for a passage. Simpson, at my instance, hailed him to come on. He answered there was no passage there. alluding to the place we steered for. Encouraging my friend to go on, the deception Humphreys lay under was soon discovered. The creek was soon discovered. The creek was deep and serpentine, and the country around, for a considerable distance, a flat. A log brought down by the last freshet, lay across the stream, so as to give to a stranger the idea that the mouth of the creek was merely a nook of the lake. Setting the log afloat, as was easily done, the boat proceeded.
October 28. Continuing rapidly, for now we had no carrying, nor marking of trees, there being plenty of water, the evening was spent at the foot of that mountain called the Height-of-land.
October 29th. The following day, the army, disjointed as was our corps, at least Hendricks's and Smith's, encamped on the plain, on the bank of the ChaudiÄre.
59Morgan afterwards took his station near us. Here it first became generally known, that Enos had returned from the twelve mile carrying-place, with 500 men, a large stock of provisions, and the medicine chest.
60damped our spirits much, but our commander conceived it was better to proceed than return. We were about a hundred miles from the frontier of Canada, but treble that distance from that of New-England. Our provisions
61were exhausted. We had no meat of any kind. The flour which remained, so far as I know, was divided fairly and equally, among the whole of the troops, the riflemen shared five pints of flour per man. During the
62night and the ensuing morning, the flour was baked into five cakes per man, under the ashes, in the way of Indian bread.
October 30th. We set forward. The men were told by the officers "that orders would not be required in the march, each one must put the best foot foremost." The first day's march was closed by a charming sleep on fir-branches. The gentlemen of our mess lay together, covering themselves with the blankets of each one. My memory does not serve, to say, that any stir was made by any one, during the night. Happening to be the first
63who awaked, in the morning, the blanket was suddenly thrown from my head, but what was my surprise to find that we had lain under a cover of at least four inches of snow. We scarcely had risen and had our kettle on the fire, when our drummer (we had no bugles), John Shaeffer came slipshod to our fire, complaining that all his cakes had been stolen from him. A more wretched figure was scarcely ever beheld. He was purblind. This circumstance, though he was my townsman, and acquainted with me from my earliest infancy, was yet unknown to me until this last march, ascending the
64Dead river, commenced. My station in the line of march, which was in the single file (or Indian, as it was then called), was next to the captain; the drummer followed. Here it was his defect of sight was most effectually shown. Smith was lithsome and quick afoot, as we all were, except poor Shaeffer. In the course of this toilsome march, without a path, many deep ravines presented, over these lay many logs, fallen perhaps many years before. The captain took the log, preferring it to a descent of twenty or thirty feet into the gulf below, which at times was quite abrupt. Following me, Shaeffer would frequently, drum and all, tumble headlong into the abyss. His misfortunes in this way, for he was a laughing stock, excited contempt in the soldiers, but in me compassion.
65latter occasion, our kettle, boiling a bleary, which was other than flour and water, and that without salt, my solicitations prevailing, the mess gave him a tin cup full of it. He received from me my third cake. This man, blind starving and almost naked, bore his drum (which was unharmed by all its jostlings) safely to Quebec, when many other hale men died in the wilderness.
November 1st. This morning, breakfasting on our bleary, we took up the line of marsh through a flat and boggy ground. About ten o'clock a.m., we arrived by a narrow neck of land at a marsh which was appalling. It was three-fourths of a mile over, and covered by a
66coat of ice, half an inch thick. Here Simpson concluded to halt a short time for the stragglers or maimed of Hendricks's and Smith's companies to come up. There were two women attached to those companies, who arrived before we commenced the march. One was the wife of Sergeant Grier, a large, virtuous and respectable woman. The other was the wife of a private of our company, a man who lagged upon every occasion. These women being arrived, it was presumed that all our party were up. We were on the point of entering the marsh, when some one cried out "Warner is not here." Another said he had "sat down sick under a
67tree, a few miles back." His wife begging us to wait a short time, with tears of affection in her eyes, ran back to her husband. We tarried an hour. They came not. Entering the pond (Simpson foremost), and breaking the ice here and there with the buts of our guns and feet, as occasion required, we were soon waist deep in the mud and water. As is generally the case with youths, it came to my mind, that a better path might be found than that of the more elderly guide. Attempting this, in a trice the water cooling my armpits, made me gladly return into the file. Now Mrs. Grier had got before me. My mind was humbled, yet astonished, at the exertions of this good woman. Her clothes more than waist high, she waded before me to the firm ground. No one, so long as she was known to us, dared intimate a disrespectful idea of her. Her husband, who was an excellent soldier, was on duty in Hendricks's boat, which had proceeded to the discharge of the lake with Lieutenant M'Cleland. Arriving at firm ground, and waiting again for our companions, we then set off, and in a march of several miles, over a scrubby and flat plain, arrived at a river flowing from the east into the ChaudiÄre lake. This we passed in a bateau, which the prudence of Colonel Arnold had stationed here, for our accommodation; otherwise we must have swam the stream, which was wide and deep. In a short time we came to another river flowing from the same quarter, still deeper and wider than the former. Here we found a bateau, under the superintendency of Capt. Dearborn, in which we passed the river. We skirted the river to its mouth, then passed along the margin of the lake to the outlet of ChaudiÄre, where we encamped with a heterogeneous mass of the army. It was soon perceived that the French term ChaudiÄre, was most aptly applied to the river below us. Indeed every part of it, which came under our view, until we arrived at the first house in Canada, might well be termed a caldron or boiler, which is the import of its French name. It is remarkable of
68this river, and which, to me, distinguishes it from all others I had seen, that for sixty or seventy miles it is a continued rapid, without any apparent gap or passage, even for a canoe. Every boat we put into the river was stove in one part or other of it. Capt. Morgan lost all his boats, and the life of a much valued soldier. With difficulty he saved his own life and the treasure committed to his care. Arnold, accompanied by Steele, and John M. Taylor, and a few others, in a boat, were in the advance of the army. He may have descended in a boat, it is most likely he did.
November 2d, in the morning we set off from the ChaudiÄre lake, and hungered, as to my own particular, almost to death. What with the supplies to Shaeffer, and my own appetite, food of any kind, with me, had become a nonentity. My own sufferings, in the two succeeding marches, from particular causes, were more than ordinarily severe. My moccasins had, many days since, been worn to shreds and cast aside; my shoes, though they had been well sewed and hitherto stuck together, now began to give way, and that in the very worst part (the upright seam in the heel). For one to save his life, must keep his station in the rank. The moment that was lost, as nature and reason dictate, the following soldier assumed his place. Thus, once thrown out of the file, the unfortunate wretch must await the passage of many men, until a chasm, towards the rear, happened to open for his admission. This explanation will answer some questions which you might naturally put. Why did you not sew it? Why did you not tie the shoe to your foot? If there had been awl, and thread, and strings at command, which there was not, for the causes above stated, one dared not have done either, as the probable consequences would ensue "Death by hunger in a dreary wilderness." For man when thrown
69out of society is the most helpless of God's creatures. Hence you may form a conception of the intolerable labor of the march. Every step taken the heel of the foot slipped out of the shoe: to recover the position of the foot in the shoe, and at the same time to stride, was hard labor, and exhausted my strength to an unbearable degree. You must remember that this march was not performed on the level surface of the parade, but over precipitous hills, deep gullies, and even without the path of the vagrant savage to guide us. Thus we proceeded till towards mid-day, the pale and meagre looks of my companions, tottering on their feeble limbs, corresponding with my own. My friend Simpson, who saw my enfeebled condition and the cause, prevailed with the men to rest themselves a few minutes. Bark, the only succedaneum for twine, or leather, in this miserable country, was immediately procured and the shoe bound tightly to the foot. Then marching hastily, in the course of an hour or more, we came within view of a tremendous cataract in the river, from twelve to twenty feet high. The horror this sight gave us, fearing for the safety of our friends in the boats, was aggravated, when turning the point of a steep crag, we met those very friends; having lost all but their lives, sitting around a fire on the shore. Oh God! what were our sensations! Poor M'Cleland, first lieutenant of Hendricks's, and for whose accommodation the boat was most particularly carried across the mountain, was lying at the fire; he beckoned to us. His voice was not audible; placing my ear close to his lips, the word he uttered scarcely articulate, was, "Farewell." Simpson, who loved him, gave him half of the pittance of food which he still possessed; all I could was — a tear. The short, but melancholy story of this gentleman, so far as it has come to my knowledge, may be detailed in a few words. He had resided on the Juniata at the time he was commissioned. My knowledge of him commenced in the camp near Boston. He was endowed with all those
70qualities which win the affections of men. Open, brave, sincere and a lover of truth. On the Dead river, the variable weather brought on a cold which affected his lungs. The tenderness of his friends conducted him safely, though much reduced, to the foot of the mountain, at the head of the Dead river. Hence he was borne in a litter across the mountain by men. If you had seen the young, yet venerable Capt. Hendricks bearing his share of this loved and patriotic burden across the plain to our camp, it would have raised esteem, if not affection, towards him. From our camp, M'Cleland was transported, in the boat, to the place where we found him. The crew, conducting the boat, though worthy men and well acquainted with such kind of navigation, knew nothing of this river. They descended, unaware of the pitch before them, until they had got nearly into the suck of the falls. Here, luckily, a rock presented, on which it was so contrived as to cause the boat to lodge. Now the crew, with great labor and danger, bore their unfortunate lieutenant to the shore, where we found him. We passed on, fearful for our own lives. Coming to a long sandy beach of the ChaudiÄre, for we sometimes had such, some men of our company were observed to dart from the file, and with their nails, tear out of the sand, roots which they esteemed eatable, and ate them raw, even without washing. Languid and woe-begone as your father was, it could not but create a smile to observe the whole line watching, with Argus eyes, the motions of a few men who knew the indications in the sand of those roots. The knowing one sprung, half a dozen followed, he who grabbed it ate the root instantly. Though hunger urged, it was far from me to contend in that way with powerful men, such as those were. Strokes often occurred.
During this day's march (about 10 or 11 A.M.) my shoe having given away again, we came to a fire, where were some of Captain Thayer or Topham's men. Simpson was in front; trudging after, slipshod and tired, I sat
71down on the end of a long log, against which the fire was built, absolutely fainting with hunger and fatigue, my gun standing between my knees. Seating myself, that very act gave a cast to the kettle which was placed partly against the log, in such a way as to spill two-thirds of its contents. At the moment a large man sprung to his gun, and pointed it towards me, he threatened to shoot. It created no fear; his life was with much more certainty in my power. Death would have been a welcome visitor. Simpson soon made us friends. Coming to their fire, they gave me a cup of their broth. A table spoonful was all that was tasted. It had a greenish hue, and was said to be that of a bear. This was instantly known to be untrue, from the taste and smell. It was that of a dog. He was a large black Newfoundland dog, belonging to Thayer's
72added strength and vigor to our nerves. This evening it was, that some of our companions, whose stomachs had not received food for the last forty-eight hours, adopted the notion that leather, though it had been manufactured, might be made palatable food, and would gratify the appetite. Observing their discourse, to me the experiment became a matter of curiosity. They washed their moccasins of moose-skin, in the first place, in the river, scraping away the dirt and sand, with great care. These were brought to the kettle and boiled a considerable time, under the vague but consolatory hope that a mucilage would take place. The boiling over, the poor fellows chewed the leather, but it was leather still; not to be macerated. My teeth, though young and good, succeeded no better. Disconsolate and weary, we passed the night.
November 3d. We arose early, hunger impelling, and marched rapidly. After noon, on a point on the bank of the river, some one pretended he descried the first house, ten miles off. Not long after another discerned a boat coming towards us, and turning a point of land, presently all perceived cattle driving up the shore. These circumstances gave occasion to a feeble huzza of joy, from those who saw these cheerful and enlivening sights. We were now treading a wide and stony beach of the river. Smith, our captain, who at this moment happened to be in company, elated with the prospect of a supply of food, in the joy of his heart, perhaps thoughtlessly, said to me, "take this Henry." It was gladly received. Opening the paper, which had been neatly folded, there appeared a hand's breath and length of bacon-fat, of an inch thick; thoughtlessly, it was eaten greedily, inattentive to all former rule, and thanks to God, did me no harm. Here it was that for the first time, Aaron Burr, a most amiable youth of twenty, came to my view. He then was a cadet. It will require a most cogent evidence to convince my mind, that he ever intended any ill to his country of late years,
73by his various speculations. Though differing in political opinion from him, no reason has as yet been laid before me, to induce a belief that he was traitorous to his country. However, take this as the wayward ideas of a person totally excluded from a knowledge of the secrets of the cabinet; who was somewhat attentive to its operations, so far as newspaper information can elucidate.
We marched as hastily as our wearied and feeble limbs could admit, hoping soon to share in something like an abysinian feast. The curvatures of the river had deceived us in the calculation of distance. It was many hours ere we came to the place of slaughter. We found a fire, but no provision, except a small quantity of oaten meal, resembling in grit, our chopped rye. Simpson warmed some of this in water, and ate with gout. To me it was nauseous; this may have been owing to the luncheon from Smith's hoard. The French men told us, that those who preceded, had devoured the very entrails of the cattle. One of the eastern men, as we came to the fire, was gorging the last bit of the colon, half rinsed, half broiled. It may be said, he ate with pleasure, as he tore it as a hungry dog would tear a haunch of meat. We soon encamped for the night, cheered by the hope of succor.
November 4th. About two o'clock, P.M., we arrived at a large stream coming from the east, which we ran through, though more than mid-deep. This was the most chilling bath we had hitherto received; the weather was raw and cold. It was the 17th, and the harshest of my birthdays. Within a few hundred yards of the river, stood the first house in Canada; we approached it in ecstacy, sure of being relieved from death by the means of famine. Many of our compatriots were unaware of that death which arises from sudden repletion. The active spirit of Arnold, with such able assistants as John M. Taylor and Steele, had laid in a great stock of provisions. The men were furious, voracious, and insatiable. Three starvations had taught me wisdom. My
74friends took my advice. But, notwithstanding the irrefragable arguments the officers used to insure moderation, the men were outrageous upon the subject; they had no comprehension of such reasoning. A Pennsylvanian German of our company, a good and orderly soldier, who, from my affection towards him, I watched like another Doctor Pedro Positive; yet all representation and reasoning on my part, had no influence. Boiled beef, hot bread, potatoes, boiled and roasted, were gormandized without stint. He seemed to defy death, for the mere enjoyment of present gratification, and died two days after. Many of the men sickened. If not much mistaken, we lost three of our company by their imprudence on this occasion. The immediate extension of the stomach by food after a lengthy fast, operates a more sudden extinction of life, than the total absence of aliment. At this place we, for the first time, had the pleasure of seeing the worthy and respectable Indian, Natanis, and his brother Sabatis, with some others of their tribe, the Abenaquis. Lieutenant Steele told us that when he first arrived, Natanis came to him, in an abrupt but friendly manner, and gave him a cordial shake by the hand, intimating a previous personal knowledge of him. When we came, he approached Cunningham, Boyd, and myself, and shook hands in the way of an old acquaintance. We now learned from him, that on the evening when we first encamped on the Dead river (September 29th) in our first ascension, he lay within view of our camp, and so continued daily and nightly to attend our voyage, until the path presented which led directly into Canada. This he took; to the question, "Why did you not speak to your friends? He readily answered, and truly, "You would have killed me." This was most likely, as our prejudices against him had been most strongly excited, and we had no limit in our orders, as to this devoted person. He, his brother Sabatis, and seventeen other Indians, the nephews and friends of Natanis, marched with us to Quebec. In the attack
75of that place, on the morning of the first of January following, Natanis received a musket ball through his wrist. He adopted a chirurgery which seemed extraordinary at the time, and quite new, but which now seems to me to be that of nature itself. He drew a pledget of linen quite through the wound, the ends of which hung down on each side of the arm. He was taken prisoner, but General Carleton discharged him immediately with strong tokens of commiseration. This is the first instance in the course of our revolutionary war, of the employment of Indians in actual warfare against our enemies. To be sure it was the act of a junior commander, unwarranted, so far as has come to my knowledge, by the orders of his superiors; yet it seemed to authorize, in a small degree, upon the part of our opponents, that horrible system of aggression which in a short time ensued, and astonished and disgusted the civilized world.
November 5th. Hunger, which neither knows governance or restraint, being now gratified, we turned our attention towards our friends, who were still in the wilderness. Smith and Simpson (for recollection does not serve to say how my friends Hendricks and Nichols were employed, but it was certainly in doing good), always active, procured two young Indians, nephews of Natanis, "Sweet fellows," as Simpson called them, to proceed on the following morning to the great fall, for the person of the invaluable M'Cleland. Before we started, it gave me pleasure to see these youths, excited by the reward obtained, pushing their birch-bark canoe against the strict current of the river. It seemed like an egg-shell to bound over the surface of the waves of every opposing ripple. To end at once this dolorous part of our story; the young men, in despite of every impediment from the waters, and the solicitations of the starved wanderers in the rear, for food, hurried on to the fall, and on the evening of the third day, brought our dying friend to the first house. The following day he died, and his corpse received a due respect from the
76inhabitants of the vicinage. We were informed of this a month after. This real Catholicism towards the remains of one we loved, made a deep and wide breach upon my early prejudices, which since that period has caused no regret; but has induced a more extended and paternal view of mankind, unbounded by sect or opinion.
November 6th. This morning we marched in straggling parties, through a flat and rich country, sprinkled, it might be said, decorated, by many low houses, all white washed, which appeared to be the warm abodes of a contented people. Every now and then, a chapel came in sight; but more frequently the rude, but pious imitations of the sufferings of our Savior, and the image of the virgin. These things created surprise, at least, in my mind, for where I thought there could be little other than barbarity, we found civilized men, in a comfortable state, enjoying all the benefits arising from the institutions of civil society. The river, along which the road ran, in this day's march, became in the most part our guide. It now flowed in a deep and almost sightless current, where my opportunities gave me a view. Our abstemiousness was still adhered to. About noon of the next day, we arrived at the quarters of Arnold, a station he had taken for the purpose of halting and embodying the whole of our emaciated and straggling troops. We were now perhaps thirty miles from point Levi; which is on the St. Lawrence, and nearly opposite to Quebec. Now our mess had "friends at court." Arnold, since we left the twelve-mile carrying place, the last time, had, deservedly, taken Steele as a guide, into his mess; and he had become a kind of aid-de-camp — he was, to say no more, a confidential man. John M. Taylor, keen and bold as an Irish greyhound, was of our company, being a ready penman and excellent accountant. He was at once exalted, by the shrewd and discerning eye of Arnold, to the offices of purveyor and commissary. We had no distinctions of office, scarcely any of rank, in those days. Our squad,
77in consequence, came boldly up to head-quarters, though we came not now into their presence. Steele, who was in waiting, pointed to the slaughter-house, a hundred yards distant. Thither we went, determined to indulge. Here we found our friend Taylor, worried almost to death, in dealing out the sustenance of life to others. Without hyperbole or circumlocution, he gave us as many pounds of beef-steaks as we chose to carry. Proceeding to the next house, a mile below, some one of the party became cook. Good bread and potatoes, with the accompaniment of beef steak, produced a savory meal. Believing myself out of danger from any extraordinary indulgence of appetite, the due quantity was exceeded, and yet, believe me, it was not more than an anchorite might religiously take. We soon became sensible of this act of imprudence. The march of the afternoon was a dull and heavy one. A fever attacked me. I became, according to my feelings, the most miserable of human beings. Determined not to lag behind, my eyes, at times, could scarcely discern the way, nor my legs do their office. We did not march far this afternoon. In this high latitude, a winter's day is very short and fleeting. The evening brought me no comfort, though we slept warmly in a farm house.
November 7th. The army now formed into more regular and compact order; in the morning pretty early we proceeded. About noon my disorder had increased so intolerably, that I could not put a foot forward. Seating myself upon a log at the way side, the troops passed on. In the rear came Arnold on horseback. He knew my name and character, and, good naturedly, inquired after my health. Being informed, he dismounted, ran down to the river side, and hailed the owner of the house, which stood opposite across the water. The good Canadian, in his canoe, quickly arrived. Depositing my gun and accoutrements in the hands of one of our men, who attended upon me, and had been disarmed by losing his rifle in some one of the wreckings above, and
78Arnold putting two silver dollars into my hands, the Frenchman carried me to his house. Going to bed with a high fever upon me I lay all this and the following day without tasting food. That had been the cause of the disease, its absence became the cure.
November 10th. The morning of the third day brought me health. The mistress of the house, who had been very attentive and kind, asked me to breakfast. This humble, but generous meal, consisted of a bowl of milk, for the guest, with excellent bread. The fare of the family was this same bread, garlic, and salt — I had observed, that this was the usual morning's diet, for I lay in the stove-room, where the family ate and slept. This worthy family was composed of seven persons; the parents in the prime of life, and five charming, ruddy children, all neatly and warmly clothed in woolen, apparently of their own manufacture. You might suppose, from the manner of their living, that these persons were poor. No such thing. They were in good circumstances. Their house, barn, stabling, etc., were warm and comfortable, and their diet such as is universal among the French peasantry of Canada. Proffering my two dollars to this honest man, he rejected them with something like disdain in his countenance, intimating to me that he had merely obeyed the dictates of religion and humanity. Tears filled my eyes when I took my leave of these amiable people. But they had not even yet done enough for me. The father insisted on attending me to the ferry some miles off, where the river takes a turn almost due north, to meet the St. Lawrence. Here my worthy host procured me a passage scott free, observing to me my money might be required before the army could be overtaken. Landing on the north bank of the river, the way could not be mistaken, the track of the army had strongly marked the route. To me it was a most gloomy and solitary march. Not a soul was to be seen in the course of ten miles. Being without arms, and in an unknown country, my
79inconsequence, and futileness lay heavy on my spirits. Here and there was a farm-house, but the inhabitants were either closely housed or absent from their homes. Afternoon, arriving at the quarters of our company, my gun and accoutrements were reclaimed with ardor, and a solemn resolution never to part with them again, unless it happened by the compulsion of the foe. The house, which the company possessed, lay some hundreds of paces from head-quarters, but within view. Morgan's quarters were nearer. Where Hendricks made his lodgment is not now recollected, but it was at no great distance.
November 11th, on the following day, our guns in order, a scene opened, which then and now seems to me to have exhibited us in a disreputable point of view; it evinced, at least, the necessity of a staid and sober conduct of the officer, as well as a strict subordination and obedience of the private. A hurried and boisterous report, came from head-quarters, that the British were landing to our left at a mill, about a mile off. Each one grasped his arms. Morgan and the Indians, who lay nearest to the commander's quarters, were foremost. The running was severe. The lagging Indians, and a variety of the three companies were intermingled. Coming to the brow of the precipice, but still unseen, we perceived a boat landing, which came from a frigate lying in the stream a mile below. The boat came ashore. A youth sprung from it. The tide ebbing, the boatswain thought it better to obtain a deeper landing-place, nearer the mill, and drew off. Morgan, apprehensive of a discovery of our presence, fired at the boat's crew. A volley ensued without harm, probably because of the great space betweeen us. They pulled off shore, until beyond the range of our guns, leaving the midshipman to our mercy. The hapless youth, confounded, unknowing what to do, plunged into the river, hoping to regain his boat. His friends flying from him, he waded, he swam, yet could not reach the boat. At the distance,
80perhaps of one hundred and fifty yards, nothing but his head above water, a shooting-match took place, and believe me, the balls of Morgan, Simpson, Humphreys, and others, played around, and within a few inches of his head. Even after a lapse of thirty years, it gives me pain to recollect that my gun was discharged at him. Such, however, was the savage ferocity engendered, in those ungracious times, by a devolution of the ministry of the mother-country from the true line of conduct towards her colonies.
M'Kensie (the name of the young man), seeing that his boat's crew had deserted him, showed a desire to surrender, by approaching the shore. The firing ceased. But a still more disgusting occurrence than the preceding, followed. The lad, coming towards the shore, evidently intending to submit, Sabatis, the Indian, the brother of Natanis, sprung forward, scalping knife in hand, seemingly intending to end the strife at a single blow. The humanity of Morgan and Humphreys, towards a succumbent foe, was excited. One or the other of them, it is not now recollected which, in particular, by his agility and amazing powers of body, was enabled to precede the Indian by several yards. This contest of athleticism was observed from the shore, where we were, with great interest. Morgan brought the boy (for he was really such), to land, and afterwards esteemed him, for he merited the good will of a hero. Wet and hungry, we returned to quarters. Running along the shore with our prey, the Hunter, sloop of war, having warped up for the purpose, pelted us all the way with ball and grape shot. It was no easy matter to ascend the bank, which was steep and craggy. Our prisoner was prudently loquacious, and very genteel. He had left the sloop, of which he was a midshipman, upon command, to procure spars and oars, which lay in the mill. He had ordered off the boat to procure a better landing, when our imprudent fire drove his people from him. He was the brother of Captain M'Kensie of the Pearl
81frigate. In 1777, the young M'Kensie was again taken. I saw him at Lancaster (Pennsylvania), active, lively, and facetious as ever. During our stay at Point Levi, Colonel Arnold was busily engaged. Being now discovered, it became us to pass the St. Lawrence as soon as possible. The main difficulty consisted in the procurement of boats or canoes. Those kinds of craft on this part of the river had, previously to our arrival, been secured by the vigilance of government, which it is likely had some intimation of an inroad in the direction we came. Twenty-five canoes, chiefly of birch bark, were with difficulty procured. The command of these was conferred upon Lieutenant Steele, who selected the steersmen, of whom it came to me to be one. The passage, if practicable, must be made in the night, and that in the most silent manner, at a time the tide served.
Between the hours of ten and eleven o'clock, on the night of the 13th of November, the troops paraded on the beach, near the mill before mentioned, without noise or bustle. One cargo was despatched — then a second: upon making the traverse a third time, an accident happened to my friend Steele, which you can scarcely credit. Being at a considerable distance behind with his canoe, I could not, at its occurring, observe the transaction, nor share in the danger, though my life would have been willingly risked for his, and yet the relation of this fact is most unquestionably true. These frequent asseverations may appear somewhat awkward, and to blur the detail of our story; but our sufferings were so extraordinary in their kinds, and so aggravated by the nature of the severe services we underwent, that now-a-days it will require a faith almost approaching to credulity, to convince the mind of their truth. Steele steered a birch-bark canoe, the weight, and it is likely the awkwardness of the men, when about the middle of the river (which at this place is fully two miles wide), burst the canoe. The men who were in it, swam to, or were taken up, by the canoes nearest to them. It was
82otherwise with Steele. He was the last to get to a canoe under the management of the worthy Wheeler: but it was full of men. There could be no admittance. The steersman advised, and Steele was compelled from necessity, to throw his arms over the stern — Wheeler, seating himself upon them, so as to hold him securely, for it was a bleak and numbing night. Thus, in this manner was this worthy and adventurous officer floated to the shore at Wolf's cove. Here there was an uninhabited house. A fire had been lighted in it, by some of our people, who first landed. It became a pole-star to us in the rear, we steered for it. Landing about half an hour after Steele, we found him at the fire, seemingly chilled to the heart; but he was a man not to be dispirited by slight matters. Friction soon restored him to his usual animation. The moon, now about three o'clock, shone brightly, and the tide run out rapidly, so that the passing of the rest of the troops, about one hundred and fifty in number, this night was given up. This circumstance, of the absence of so large a part of our force, was known but to few. They joined us on the following night. It had been the intention of our chief to storm the town this night; but the deficiency of our scaling ladders, many of which were left beyond the river, now repressed that design.
November 14th. The troops easily ascended the hill, by a good road cut in it slantingly. This was not the case in 1759, when the immortal Wolf mounted here, it was then a steep declivity, enfiladed by a host of savages, but was surmounted by the eager and gallant spirit of our nation.
November 15th. Arriving on the brow of the precipice, we found ourselves on the plains of Abraham, so deservedly famous in story. The morning was cold, and we were thinly clad. While an adventurous party despatched by Arnold, under the command of one of Morgan's lieutenants, were examining the walls of the city, we were pacing the plains to and fro, in silence,
83to keep ourselves warm. The winter had set in — a cold north-wester blew, with uncommon keenness. By the time the reconnoitering party returned, daylight was not very distant. The party found every thing towards the city, in a state of perfect quietness. This report was delivered, in my presence, to Morgan, however the contrary may have been represented since. Not even the cry of "All's well," was uttered, was a part of their report, yet we heard that cry from the walls, even where we were; but this in a direct line, was nearer to us than the voices opposite to the party. This was the happy moment, but with our small and disjointed force, what could be done? There was scarcely more than three hundred and fifty men, willing and determined to be sure, but too few to assail a fortress, such as Quebec is. If that had been known this night, which was evidenced in a few days by the fugitives from the city, Arnold would most assuredly have hazarded an attack. St. John's gate, which opens on Abraham's plains, and is a most important station, was unbarred, nay, unclosed: nothing but a single cannon under the care of a drowsy watch, was there as a defence; we were not a mile distant, and might have entered unknown, and even unseen. These are uncertain opinions, resting on the vague reports of the moment, which might have been true, or untrue. My memory is, however, fresh in the recollection of the heart-burnings this failure caused among us. Providence, for wise purposes, would have it otherwise. Near daylight, requiring rest and refreshment, the troops moved a mile, to a farm-house of Lieutenant Governor Caldwell's. This was a great pile of wooden buildings, with numerous outhouses, which testified the agricultural spirit and taste of the owner. He, good soul, was then snug in Quebec. Those who came first, fared well, and as luck would have it, we were of the number: all within and without the house, became a prey. Adversity had destroyed in our minds, every decorous or delicate sensation. Guards were
84stationed next the city. Wrapped in my blanket, fearless of events, casting my person on the floor of an elegant parlor, I slept sweetly and soundly, till two in the afternoon, and then was roused solely by a cry, that the enemy was advancing. We flew to arms, and rather in a hurried manner run towards the city, which was nearly two miles from us. We saw no enemy. It turned out that a Mr. Ogden, a cadet from Jersey, a large and handsome young man in favor with Arnold, had been authorized to place the sentinels that day. He did place them, most stupidly. George Merchant, of Morgan's, a man who would at any time, give him fair play, have sold his life dearly, he stationed in a thicket, within view of the enemy; at the time of placing him, when at his post, he was out of sight of the garrison; but the mischief was (though he could not be seen), he could see no one approach; he was taken absolutely unaware of danger. A sergeant of the seventh, who, from the manner of the thing, must have been clever, accompanied by a few privates, slily creeping through the streets of the suburbs of St. John, and then undercover of the bushes, sprung upon the devoted Merchant, even before he had time to cock his rifle. Merchant was a tall and handsome Virginian. In a few days, he, hunting shirt and all, was sent to England, probably as a finished specimen of the riflemen of the colonies. The government there very liberally, sent him home in the following year.
The capture of Merchant grieved us, and brought us within a few hundred yards of the city. Arnold had the boldness, you might say the audacity, or still more correctly, the folly, to draw us up in a line, in front and opposite to the wall of the city. The parapet was lined by hundreds of gaping citizens and soldiers, whom our guns could not harm, because of the distance. They gave us a huzza! We returned it, and remained a considerable time huzzaing, and spending our powder against the walls, for we harmed no one. Some of our men to
85the right, under the cover of something like ancient ditches and hillocks, crept forward within two hundred yards of the works, but their firing was disregarded by the enemy as farcical. Febiger, who was a real and well instructed soldier, and engineer, did advance singly within a hundred paces, and pored with the eye of an adept. During all this, as my station in the line happened to be on a mound, a few feet higher than the common level of the plain, it was perceptible through the embrasures that there was a vast bustle within. In some minutes a thirty-six pounder was let loose upon us; but so ill was the gun pointed, that the ball fell short, or passed high over our heads. Another, and another succeeded — to these salutes, we gave them all we could, another and another huzza. It must be confessed, that this ridiculous affair gave me a contemptible opinion of Arnold. This notion was by no means singular. Morgan, Febiger and other officers, who had seen service, did not hesitate to speak of it in that point of view. However, Arnold had a vain desire to gratify, of which we were then ignorant. He was well known at Quebec. Formerly, he had traded from this port to the West Indies, most particularly in the article of horses. Hence, he was despised by the principal people. The epithet Horse jockey was freely and universally bestowed upon him, by the British. Having now obtained power, he became anxious to display it in the faces of those, who had formerly despised and contemned him. The venerable Carleton, an Irishman of a most amiable and mild character, Colonel Maclean, a Scotchman, old in warfare, would not, in any shape, communicate with him. If Montgomery had originally been our commander, matters might have been more civilly conducted. This particularity in relating a most trivial and disgusting occurrence, arises from a desire to set before you a cautionary rule, which it will be prudent for you to observe in your historical reading. "Do not believe an author, unless the story he relates be probable, accompanied by
86such circumstances as might reasonably attend the transaction, unless he is corroborated by others, who speak on that subject." Many of our wisest men, within the colonies, wrote and spoke of this bravading, as a matter of moment, and with much applause. Even some of our historians (Gordon), have given it celebrity. But a more silly and boastful British historian (Amwell), says there was a dreadful cannonade, by which many of the rebels were destroyed. The truth is, that this day not a drop of blood was shed, but that of Governor Caldwell's horned cattle, hogs and poultry, which run plentifully. After this victory in huzzaing, which was boys' play, and suited me to a hair, we returned to quarters to partake of the good things of this world.
November 15, the next day, a scene of a different kind opened, which let us into the true character of Arnold. In the wilderness, the men had been stinted to a pint of flour by the day. This scanty allowance of flour had been continued since we had come into this plentiful country. Morgan, Hendricks and Smith waited upon the commander in chief, to represent the grievance and obtain redress. Altercation and warm language took place. Smith, with his usual loquacity, told us that Morgan seemed, at one time, upon the point of striking Arnold. We fared the better for this interview.
November 16, on the following day, the rifle companies removed further from the city. About half a mile from Caldwell's house, our company obtained excellent quarters, in the house of a French gentleman, who seemed wealthy. He was pleasing in his manners, but the rudeness our ungovernable men exhibited, created in him an apparent disgust towards us. Here we remained near a week. During that time, we had constant and severe duty to perform. There was a large building on the low grounds, near the river St. Charles, which was occupied by a most respectable society of ladies as a nunnery. In the front of this house, at the distance of fifty yards, there was a spacious log building,
87which seemed to be a school house, occupied by the priesthood attendant on the nunnery. This house we took possession of, as a guard-house, under an idea, as it stood directly between the town and the nunnery, which contained some precious deposits, that they had not had time to remove, that the enemy would not fire in this direction. The conjecture was just.
November 16. In the afternoon a distressing occurrence took place here, notwithstanding our vicinity to this holy place. Towards the evening the guard was relieved. Lieut. Simpson commanded it. This guard was composed of two-and-twenty fine fellows, of our company. When the relief guard came, a Frenchman, of a most villainous appearance, both as to person and visage, came to our lieutenant, with a written order from Colonel Arnold, commanding him to accompany the bearer, who would be our guide across the river St. Charles, to obtain some cattle feeding beyond it, on the account of government. The order in the first instance, because of its preposterousness, was doubted, but, upon a little reflection, obeyed. Knowing the danger, our worthy lieutenant also knew the best and only means of executing the enterprise. The call "come on lads," was uttered. We ran with speed from the guard-house some hundreds of yards, over the plain to the mouth of the St. Charles, where the ferry is. Near the ferry there was a large wind-mill, and near it stood a small house resembling a cooper's shop. Two carts of a large size were passing the ferry heavily laden with the household-stuff, and women and children of the townsmen flying from the suburbs of St. Roque, contiguous to palace-gate, to avoid the terrible and fatal effects of war. The carts were already in a large scow, or flat-bottomed boat, and the ferrymen, seeing us coming, were tugging hard at the ferry-rope, to get off the boat, which was aground, before we should arrive. It was no small matter, in exertion, to outdo people of our agility. Simpson, with his usual good
88humor, urged the race, from a hope that the garrison would not fire upon us, when in the boat with their flying townsmen. The weight of our bodies and arms put the boat aground in good earnest. Simpson vociferously urging the men to free the boat, directing them to place their guns in my arms, standing on the bow. He ordered me to watch the flashes of the cannon
89windmill. Now a roar of triumph was heard from the city, accompanied by some tolerably well directed shots. The unfortunate was borne at a slow and solemn pace to the guard-house, the enemy, every now and then, sending us his majesty's compliments, in the shape of a twenty-four or thirty-six pound ball. When the procession came into a line with the town, the guard-house and nunnery, the firing ceased. At the time we were most busily engaged with Dixon, at the windmill, the vile Frenchman, aghast and horror stricken, fled from us to the city. If his desertion had been noticed in time, his fate had been sealed, but the rascal was unobserved till he had run several hundred yards along the beach of the bay of St. Charles. He turned out to be a spy, purposely sent by government to decoy and entrap us, and he succeeded but too easily with the vigilant Arnold. Dixon was now carried on a litter to the house of an English gentleman, about a mile off. An amputation took place — a tetanus followed, which, about nine o'clock of the ensuing day, ended in the dissolution of this honorable citizen and soldier. There are many reasons for detailing this affair so minutely to you. Among these are, to impress upon your minds an idea of the manners and spirit of those times: our means and rude methods of warfare: but more particularly for the purpose of introducing to your observation an anecdote of Dixon, which is characteristic of the ideas and feelings then entertained by the generality of his countrymen. Before we left our native homes, tea had, as it were, become an abomination even to the ladies. The taxation of it by the parliament of England, with design to draw from us a trifling revenue, was made the pretence with the great body of the people, for our opposition to government. The true ground, however, with the politically wise, was, that that law annihilated our rights as Englishmen. It is an axiom of the common law of our glorious ancestors, that taxation and representation must go hand in hand. This rule was now violated. Hence it was, that no one, male or
90female, knowing their rights, if possessed of the least spark of patriotism, would deign to taste of that delightful beverage. The lady of the house, though not one who approved of our principles of action, was very attentive to our wounded companion: she presented him a bowl of tea; "No madam," said he, "it is the ruin of my country."
November 17th, uttering this noble sentiment, this invaluable citizen died, sincerely lamented by every one who had the opportunity of knowing his virtues. Dixon was a gentleman of good property and education, though no more than the first sergeant of our company. His estate lay in West Hanover township, in the county of Lancaster (now in Dauphin). He was an agriculturist, which, in the vagueness and uncertainty of our language, is called a farmer. In fact he was a freeholder, the possessor of an excellent tract of land, accompanied by all those agreeables which render the cultivator of the earth, in Pennsylvania, the most independent, and, with prudent economy, the most happy of human beings. The following morning, Simpson was the first to give me an account of Dixon's death, which affected us much; his corpse received the usual military honors. Duty compelled my absence elsewhere. The blood of Dixon was the first oblation made upon the altar of Liberty at Quebec, and Merchant was the first prisoner. The latter was a brave and determined soldier, fitted for subordinate station; the former was intuitively a captain. The city and vicinity occupied the attention of the commander nearly a week.
November 18th. Not being fully in the secret, it does not become me to recount the causes of our retreat to Point Aux Tremble. We did, however, make this retrograde movement, rather in a slovenly style, accompanied, probably, by the maledictions of the clergy and nobility, but attended by the regrets of a host of well-wishers among the peasantry. Point Aux Tremble is at the distance of twenty, or more, miles from Quebec.
91The route thither, though in a severe winter, was interesting. The woods were leafless, except as to those trees of the fir-kind; but numerous neat and handsomely situated farm houses and many beautiful landscapes were presented, and enlivened our march along this majestic stream. At Detroit, which is supposed to be little short of nine hundred miles from Quebec — even there, it is no contemptible river, but here the immense volume of its waters, strikes the mind of the stranger with astonishment and rapture. Our Susquehanna, which, from its grandeur, attracts the European eye, stands in a low grade when compared with the St. Lawrence. Ascending the river at a distance of ten or fifteen miles, we observed the rapid passage, down stream, of a boat, and soon afterwards of a ship, one or other of which contained the person of Sir Guy Carleton. That it was the governor of the province, flying from Montgomery, who had by this time captured Montreal, we were informed by a special kind of messenger, which was no other than the report of the cannon, by way of feu-de joie, upon his arrival at the capital. Water, in regard to the communication of sound, is nearly as good a conductor as metals are, for the transmission of the electric fluid. Though near to the place of our destination, we could mark with precision the report of every gun. Point Aux Tremble, at this time, had assumed the appearance of a straggling village. There was a spacious chapel, where the ceremonies of the Roman Catholic religion were performed, with a pomp not seen in our churches but by a fervency and zeal apparently very pious, which became a severe and additional stroke at early prejudices. Quarters were obtained in the village and farm houses, dispersed over a space of some miles, up and down the river. We enjoyed as much comfort as tight houses, warm fires, and our scantiness of clothing would admit. Provisions were in plenty, and particularly beef, which, though small in bulk, was of an excellent flavor. Being in a few days, as it were, domesticated in a respectable
92farmer's house, we now had leisure to observe the economy of the family. Every crevice through which cold air could penetrate, was carefully pasted with strips of paper of every color. To permit the cold air to intrude is not the only evil which results; but the smallest interstice with the air, also admits an almost impalpable snow, which is very inconvenient, particularly at night, when the winds blow most sharply. A stove of iron stood a small space from the wall of the kitchen chimney, but in such a way that it might be encompassed by the family or the guests. This stove was kept continually hot both by day and by night. Over the stove there is a rack so constructed as to serve for the drying of wet clothes, moccasins, etc., etc. When these people slaughter their beasts for winter use, they cut up the meat into small pieces, such as a half pound, two pounds, etc., according to the number of the family. In the evening before bedtime, the females of the house prepare the dinner of the following day. It may be particularly described, as it was done in our view for a number of days together, and during the time was never varied. This was the manner: a piece of pork or beef, or a portion of each kind, together with a sufficiency of cabbage, potatoes and turnips, seasoned with salt, and an adequate quantity of water, were put into a neat tin kettle with a close lid. The kettle thus replenished, was placed on the stove in the room where we all slept, and there it simmered till the time of rising, when it was taken to a small fire in the kitchen, where a stewing continued till near noon, when they dined. The contents were turned into a large basin. Each person had a plate, no knife was used, except one to cut the bread, but a five or six pronged fork answered the purposes of a spoon. The meat required no cutting, as it was reduced to a mucilage, or at least to shreds. This, you may say, is trifling information, and unworthy of your notice; according to my mind, it is important to all of us, to know the habits, manners, and means of existence of that class of society,
93which, in all nations, composes the bulk and strength of the body politic. Our dinner followed in a few hours. The manner of our cookery excited astonishment in our hosts. As much beef was consumed at a single meal, as would have served this family for a week. Remember, however, that the mess consisted of persons who were entitled to double and treble rations. Two rosy-cheeked daughters of the house, soon contrived the means and obtained the surplus. This circumstance, most probably, made us agreeable to the family, for we had nothing else to bestow. The snow had now fallen in abundance, and enlivened the country. Sleighs and sleds were passing in every direction. The farmers began to supply themselves with a full stock of winter's fuel from the forest. No fowls were visible about the house; a few were kept alive for breeding in the ensuing summer, in a close and warm coop in the upper story of the barn. The rest of the fowls, intended for the market or winter's use, had been slaughtered, early in autumn, at setting in of the frost, and were hung up in the feathers in the garret. Thence they were taken as wanted. Towards March they become unsavory, but in no way tainted. We became acquainted with this kind of economy, but upon a much larger scale afterwards, when in a state of affliction and sorrow. The roads in this part of Canada are kept in excellent order. The corvee of European France is maintained by the government in full effect, as to its principles, but far less rigid in its practice. The roads in low grounds, were ditched on the sides and curved towards the centre. Every forty or fifty yards on each side of the road, throughout the extent of it, young pines were stuck in the ground, to mark the central and safest passage. It is a law, that the landholder, whenever a snow falls, whether by day or night, when it ceases, shall with his horses and cariole, retrace the road, formed on the preceding snow, throughout the extent of his grounds. This is a laborious duty, but it was discernible that it was performed with punctuality, if
94not pleasure. In December, January and February, when the snow lays from three to five feet deep over the surface, there is no traveling in this country, but by ways thus formed, or upon snow shoes.
December 1. General Montgomery, who was anxiously expected, arrived. Arnold's corps was paraded in the front of the chapel. It was lowering and cold, but the appearance of the general here, gave us warmth and animation. He was well limbed, tall and handsome, though his face was much pockmarked. His air and manner designated the real soldier. He made us a short, but energetic and elegant speech, the burden of which was, an applause of our spirit in passing the wilderness; a hope our perseverance in that spirit would continue; and a promise of warm clothing; the latter was a most comfortable assurance. A few huzzas from our freezing bodies were returned to this address of the gallant hero. Now new life was infused into the whole of the corps.
December 2d. The next day we retraced the route from Quebec. A snow had fallen during the night, and continued falling. To march on this snow, was a most fatiguing business. By this time, we had generally furnished ourselves with seal-skin moccasins, which are large, and, according to the usage of the country, stuffed with hay or leaves, to keep the feet dry and warm. Every step taken in the dry snow, the moccasin having no raised heel to support the position of the foot, it slipped back, and thus produced great weariness. On this march the use of the snow-shoe was very obvious, but we were destitute of that article. The evening brought up the riflemen at an extensive house, in the parish of St. Foix, about three miles from Quebec. It was inhabited by tenants. We took possession of a front parlor on the left, Morgan one upon the right, Hendricks, a back apartment, and the soldiery in the upper parts of the house, and some warm out-buildings.
December 3d. Morgan, not finding himself
95comfortable, moved a short space nearer to the city. Here, in low and pretty country houses, he and his men were neatly accommodated. It seemed to me, that the Canadians in the vicinage of Quebec lived as comfortably, in general, as the generality of the Pennsylvanians did, at that time, in the county of Lancaster. It may readily occur to you, that some restriction ought to cramp this latitude of expression; take it, however, as a description of our sensations, entertained in our minds by the conveniences we now enjoyed, in opposition to our late privations. We had just arrived from a dreary and inhospitable wild, half-starved and thinly clothed, in a land of plenty, where we had full rations and warm quarters, consequently, our present feelings contrasted with former sufferings, might have appreciated in too high a degree, the happiness of the Canadian. What is now said, ought not to be taken in anywise as an allusion to the political rights, but be confined solely to the apparent prosperity and economy of families.
December 12th. We remained about ten days at these quarters. The tours of duty, to Arnold's party, were peculiarly severe. The officers and men still wore nothing else than the remains of the summer clothing, which, being on their back, had escaped destruction in the disasters of the wilderness. The snow lay three feet deep over the face of the whole country, and there was an addition to it almost daily. Many impediments occurred, to delay the transportation of the clothing, which General Montgomery had procured for us at Montreal. Our miserable state, contrary to our principles, excited an illicit desire to be apparreled more comfortably. This desire would probably have lain dormant, but for a scoundrel Canadian, who in all likelihood was an enemy of Lieutenant Governor Cromie's. One morning having returned from a cold night's duty, near palace gate, the fellow addressed Simpson, who was the only officer in quarters, and communicated the information: "That about two miles up the St. Lawrence, lay
96a country seat of Governor Cromie's, stocked with many things we wanted, and he would be our guide." Carioles were immediately procured. The house, a neat box, was romantically situated on the steep bank of the river, not very distant from a chapel. Though in the midst of winter, the spot displayed the elegant taste and abundant wealth of the owner. It must be a most delightful summer residence, in the months of July and August, when the heat of this northern climate seems greater to sensation, than that of our country, in the same season. The house was closed; knocking, the hall door was opened to us by an Irishwoman, who, of the fair sex, was the largest and most brawny that ever came under my notice. She was the stewardess of the house. Our questions were answered with an apparent affability and frankness. She introduced us into the kitchen, a large apartment, well filled with those articles which good livers think necessary to the happy enjoyment of life. Here we observed five or six Canadian servants, huddled into a corner of the kitchen, trembling with fear. Our prying eyes soon discovered a trapdoor leading into the cellar. In the country houses of Canada, because of the frigidity of the climate, the cellars are usually under a warm room, and are principally intended for the preservation of vegetables. The cavity in this instance, abounded with a great variety of eatables, of which we were not in the immediate want. The men entered it. Firkin after firkin of butter, lard, tallow, beef, pork, fresh and salt, all became a prey. While the men were rummaging below, the lieutenant descended to cause more despatch. My duty was to remain at the end of the trap door, with my back to the wall, and rifle cocked, as a sentry, keeping a strict eye on the servants. My good Irishwoman frequently beckoned to me to descend; her drift was to catch us all in the trap. Luckily she was comprehended. The cellar and kitchen being thoroughly gutted, and the spoil borne to the carriages, the party dispersed into other
97apartments. Here was elegancy. The walls and partitions were beautifully papered and decorated, with large engravings, maps, etc., etc., of the most celebrated artists. A noble view of the city of Philadelphia, upon a large scale, taken from the neighborhood of Cooper's ferry, drew my attention, and raised some compunctive ideas; but war and the sciences always stand at arms length in the contests of mankind. The latter must succumb in the tumult. Our attention was much more attracted by the costly feather beds, counterpanes, and charming rose-blankets, which the house afforded. Of these there was good store, and we left not a jot behind us. The nooks and crevices in the carioles were filled with smaller articles; several dozens of admirably finished case-knives and forks; even a set of desert knives obtained the notice of our cupidity. Articles of lesser moment, not a thousandth part so useful, did not escape the all-grasping hands of the soldiery. In a back apartment there stood a mahogany couch, or settee in a highly finished style. The woodwork of the couch was raised on all sides by cushioning, and lastly, covered by a rich figured silk. This to us was lumber, besides our carioles were full. However, we grabbled the mattrass and pallets, all equally elegant as the couch. Having, as we thought, divested his excellency of all the articles of prime necessity, we departed, ostensibly and even audibly accompanied by the pious blessings of the stewardess for our moderation. No doubt she had her mental reservations; on such business as this, we regarded neither. Near the chapel we met a party of Morgan's men coming to do that which we had already done. The officer appeared chagrined when he saw the extent of our plunder. He went on, and finally ransacked the house, and yet a little more, the stables. The joy of our men, among whom the plunder was distributed in nearly equal portions, was extravagant. Now an operation of the human mind, which often takes place in society, and is every day discernible by persons of observation, became clearly
98obvious. "Let a man once, with impunity, desert the strict rule of right, all subsequent aggression is not only increased in atrocity, but is done without qualm of conscience." Though our company was composed principally of freeholders, or the sons of such, bred at home under the strictures of religion and morality, yet when the reins of decorum were loosed, and the honorable feeling weakened, it became impossible to administer restraint. The person of a tory, or his property, became fair game, and this at the denunciation of some base domestic villain.
December 13th. On this morning the same audacious scoundrel again returned. By leading to the first affair, and his intercourse with the privates, he had so wormed himself into their good graces that nothing would do but a system of marauding upon our supposed enemies, the tories. In this new expedition, which was further than the former, the officers thought it prudent to accompany the men, in truth, to keep order and repress their ardency. We arrived at a farm said to belong to Gov. Cromie or some other inhabitant of Quebec. The farm house, though low, being but one story, was capacious, and tolerably neat. The barn built of logs, with a threshing-floor in the center, was from seventy to eighty feet in length. The tenant, his wife, and children, shuddered upon our approach. Assurances that they should be unharmed, relieved their fears. The tenant pointed out to us the horned-cattle, pigs and poultry of his landlord. These we shot down without mercy, or drove before us to our quarters. Thus we obtained a tolerable load for our caravan, which consisted of five or six carioles.
With this disreputable exploit, marauding ceased. A returning sense of decency and order, emanating from ourselves, produced a species of contrition. It is a solemn truth that we plundered none but those who were notoriously tories, and then within the walls of Quebec. The clergy, the nobles, and the peasantry,
99were respected and protected, especially the latter, with whom, to use a trite expression, we fraternized. The minuteness of this description of occurrences, of a trivial, yet disgraceful nature, is made the more strongly to impress your minds with the horrors attendant on civil wars. This species of war, more than any other, not only affects the great and the wealthy, but it intrudes itself into, and devastates the cottage. This the American people know, from the many melancholy scenes which succeeded the period spoken of.
Gracious and Almighty God! the shield and protector of the good, as well as thou art the scourge of the base and wicked nation, avert from my country this the most terrible of thy modes of temporal vengeance.
December 15th. In a short time, the rifle companies moved and occupied good quarters on the low grounds, near St. Charles river, and about two miles from Quebec. Our clothing was still of the flimsy kind, before noted, but our hearts were light, even to merriment. Individually, from our own funds, we supplied ourselves with arm-gloves, and renewed our moccasins. This was about the middle of December. During all this time, our daily duty was laborious in various ways, and every other night we mounted guard at St. Roque. A guardhouse ere this, had been established at this place, in a very large stone house, which, though strong, being exposed to the enemy's fire, was soon battered about our ears, the distance scarcely more than three hundred yards. That position was changed for one more secure. A house which had been a tavern, was adopted in its stead. This house was peculiarly situated. It was comparatively small with the former in its dimensions, but the walls were strong, and the ceilings bomb-proof. It stood under the hill, so as to be out of the range of the shot from the ramparts contiguous to palace gate, which were elevated far above us. Simpson would say, Jack, let us have a shot at those fellows. Even at noon-day, we would creep along close to the houses,
100which ranged under the hill, but close in with it, till we came within forty yards of palace gate. Here was a smith-shop, formed of logs, through the crevices of which we would fire, at an angle of seventy, at the sentries above us. Many of them were killed, and it was said, several officers. This was dishonorable war, though authorized by the practices of those times. The distance from this guard-house to palace gate, may be three hundred and fifty yards. The hill, at the back of the house, seemed to make an angle of sixty or seventy degrees. This activity continued from the walls of the city, and around it by the lower town (where it is greatest), for many miles up the St. Lawrence and St. Charles, and forms the basis of Abraham's plains. It was about that time the York artillerists, under Captain Lamb, had constructed a battery on the Plains, at the distance of six hundred or seven hundred yards from the fortress. The earth was too difficult for the intrenching tools to pierce, the only method left was to raise a battery composed of ice and snow. The snow was made into ice by the addition of water. The work was done in the night time. Five or six nine-pounders, and a howitzer were placed in it; it was scarcely completed, and our guns had opened on the city, before it was pierced through and through, by the weightier metal of the enemy. Several lives were lost on the first and second day. Yet the experiment was persisted in, till a single ball, piercing the battery, killed and wounded three persons. In the quarters last mentioned, we enjoyed some pleasant days. The winter in Canada, as with us, is the season of good humor and joy.
December 18th, 19th. Upon a secession from the out-post, or other military employments, we were agreeably received in the farm houses around. Our engagements near palace gate, still continued to be of the arduous kind; our numbers being few, every second watch was performed by the same persons who had made the guard the last but one. Between the
101guardhouse, and the extreme end of the suburbs of St. Roque, which may be half a mile from the ramparts, there was a rising ground in the main street fairly in view of the enemy, and whilst we relieved in daylight, was raked even by grape shot. Some good men were lost here. This circumstance changed the time of relief, to nine o'clock in the evening. The rifle men were principally employed as guards at this dangerous station, It is but fair and honest to relate to you an anecdote concerning myself, which will convey to your minds some notion of that affection of the head or heart, which the military call a panic terror. Being one of the guard and having been relieved as a sentry, about twelve or one o'clock at night, upon returning to the guard house, in a dozing state, I cast myself on a bench next the back wall — young, my sleeps were deep and heavy; my youth obtained this grace from Simpson, the officer who commanded; about three o'clock I was roused by a horrible noise. The enemy, in casting their shells, usually began in the evening, and threw but a few, towards morning they became more alert. Our station being out of sight, it was so managed as to throw the shells on the side of the hill, directly back of us, so as they would trundle down against the wall of the guard house. This had frequently occurred before, but was not minded. A thirteen inch shell, thus thrown, came immediately opposite the place where my head lay; to be sure the three feet wall was between us. The bursting report was tremendous, but it was heard in a profound sleep. Starting instantly, though unconscious of the cause, and running probably fifty yards, through untrod snow, three feet deep, to a coal house, a place quite unknown to me before, it was ten or fifteen minutes before the extreme cold restored that kind of sensibility which enabled me to know my real situation. Knowing nothing of the cause, the probable effect, nor anything of the consequences which might follow from this involuntary exertion, it seemed to me to be a species of the panic which
102has been known to affect whole armies. The circumstance here related, caused a laugh against me; but it was soon discovered that those of the soldiery, though wide awake, were as much panic stricken as myself. The laugh rebounded upon them. During this period we had many bitter nights. To give you some idea of a Canada winter, allow me to relate an occurrence which is literally genuine.
December 24th. One night, at the time of relief, a confidential person came from Colonel Arnold, accompanied by an Irish gentleman named Craig, directing the relieved guard to escort him to his own house, which stood between twenty and thirty paces from palace gate. Craig was a merchant of considerable wealth, and what was more, an excellent whig. He was expelled from his habitation because of his whigism, and took refuge in Arnold's quarters. Montgomery, by this time, had furnished us with personal clothing suitable to the climate, but there were a thousand other things wanting for comfortable accommodation. Many of these Mr. Craig possessed, and Arnold's luxurious cupidity desired. Craig's house was an extensive building, three stories high, with back buildings of an equal height, running far in the rear along the foot of the hill. This last building consisted of stores which, as well as the house, was of brick work. We came to the back part of the house silently, and with the utmost caution. Mr. Craig by a slight knock brought a trusty old negro to the door, who was the sole guardian of the house. The objects of Mr. Craig were frying pans, skillets, and a great variety of other articles of ironmongery, together with cloths, flannels, linens, etc., etc., etc. The party with Craig entered the house. As a man of confidence and as a sentry, it became my business to watch the palace gate. There was a clear moonlight, but it was exceedingly bleak. My place of observation was under a brick arch, over which were stores of Mr. Craig, perhaps less than eighty feet from palace gate. My
103gloves were good and well lined with fur, and my moccasins of the best kind, well stuffed. Unseen, continually pacing the width of the arch, my companions seemed to employ too much time. Some Frenchmen, of Colonel Livingston's regiment, without our knowledge, had been below palace gate marauding, Repassing the house we were at, like so many hell hounds, they set up a yelling and horrid din, which not only scared our party, but alarmed the garrison itself. My companions in the house (apprehensive of a sally from palace gate), fled, carrying all they could. Though I heard the noise, the flight of my friends was unseen, as they emerged from the cellars. The noise and bustle created by the Canadians attracted the attention of the enemy. Large and small shells were thrown in every direction, wherever a noise was heard in St. Roque. Having on a fine white blanket coat, and turning my cap, or bonnet rouge, inside out, the inside being white, made me, as it were, invisible in the snow. Under the arch the conversation of the sentries, as it were, almost over my head, was very distinguishable. In this cold region, many reasons operate to induce the placing two sentries at the same post — they enliven each other by conversing, and it prevents the fatal effects which follow from standing still in one position. Fifteen minutes, at this time, was the term of the sentries standing. The time of my standing under the arch seemed to be several hours, yet honor and duty required perseverance. At length, being wearied out, going to the back door of the house and knocking, no whisper could be heard within, the old negro was soundly asleep in his bomb-proof shell. At this moment those Canadians ran past the gateway again, with their usual noisy jabber; to me, in my deserted state, it seemed a sally of the enemy. There was no outlet but by the way we came, which seemed hazardous. Running gun in hand into a large enclosure, which was a garden of Mr. Craig's, here was a new dilemma. There was no escape but by
104returning to the house or climbing a palisade twenty feet high. The latter was preferred; but my rifle was left within the enclosure, as no means could be fallen upon to get it over the stockade. The guard house was soon reached. One of the sergeants kindly returned with me to assist in bringing over my gun. It was grasped in ecstasy. Alas! the determination never to part with it again, but with life, was futile. While in the enclosure, going from and returning to it, we were assailed with grape-shot and shells, not by any means aimed at us, for the enemy knew not that we were there, but was intended to disperse those vociferous and vile Canadians, and it had the effect. They were as cowardly as noisy. The cohorn shells were handsomely managed. They usually burst at fifteen or twenty feet from the earth, so as to scatter their destructive effects more widely. Again coming to the guard house, my immediate friends all gone, I ran thence to our quarters, about two miles, with great speed. This was about three o'clock in the morning. Coming to quarters, my feet and hands were numbed, without ever having, during those many dreary hours, been sensible of the cold. It was soon discovered that they were frozen. Pulling off my leggings, etc., and immerging my feet and legs knee deep in the snow at the door, rubbing with my hands a few minutes, soon caused a recirculation of the blood; the hands were restored by the act. For fifteen, and even twenty years afterwards, the intolerable effects of that night's frost were most sensibly felt. The soles of my feet, particularly the prominences, were severely frostbitten and much inflamed; so it was as to my hands. But it was very remarkable that these subsequent annual painings uniformly attacked me in the same month of the year in which the cause occurred.
On the night of the 20th, or 21st of December, a snow-storm, driving fiercely from the north-east, induced the noble Montgomery to order an attack on the fortress. Our force, altogether, did not amount to more than
105eleven hundred men, and many of these, by contrivances of their own, were in the hospital, which, by this time, was transferred to the nunnery. The storm abated — the moon shone, and we retired to repose, truly unwillingly. We had caught our commander's spirit, who was anxious, after the capture of Chamblee, St. Johns and Montreal, to add Quebec, as a prime trophy to the laurels already won. Captain Smith,
106schemes; his desertion caused much anxiety. The general prudently gave out that it was by command, he would return soon with intelligence. This was believed generally. The latter information came to my knowledge some months afterwards, when a prisoner. The relation of Smith to me is perfect on my memory. Youths seldom forget their juvenile impressions. It was this: "That we, of Arnold's corps, accompanied by Captain Lang's York artillerists, should assail the lower town, on the side of St. Roque: General Montgomery was to attack the lower town by the way of Cape Diamond, which is on the margin of the St. Lawrence. A false attack was to be made eastwardly of St. John's gate. When Montgomery and Arnold conjoined in the lower town, then the priests, the women and the children, were to be gathered and intermingled with the troops and an assault be made on the upper town." Visionary as this mode of attack was, from what ensued, it is sincerely my belief that Smith was correct in his information, as to the plan suggested by the general. In those turbulent times, men of gallantry, such as Montgomery, were imperiously necessitated, to keep up their own fame and the spirits of the people, to propose and to hazard measures, even to the confines of imprudence. There was another circumstance which induced our brave and worthy general to adopt active and dangerous means of conquest. Many of the New England troops had been engaged on very short enlistments, some of which were to expire on the first of January, 1776. The patriotism of the summer of seventy-five, seemed almost extinguished in the winter of seventy-six. The patriotic officers made every exertion to induce enlistments but to no purpose. We, of the rifle corps, readily assented to remain with the general, though he should be deserted by the eastern men, yet this example had no manner of influence on the generality. The majority were either farmers or sailors, and some had wives and children at home. These, and
107other reasons, perhaps the austerity of the winter, and the harshness of the service, caused an obstinacy of mind which would not submit to patriotic representation. Besides the smallpox,
It was not until the night of the thirty-first of December, 1775, that such kind of weather ensued as was considered favorable for the assault. The forepart of the night was admirably enlightened by a luminous moon. Many of us, officers as well as privates, had dispersed in various directions among the farm and tippling houses of the vicinity. We well knew the signal for rallying. This was no other than a snow-storm. About twelve o'clock P.M., the heaven was overcast. We repaired to quarters. By two o'clock we were accoutred and began our march. The storm was outrageous, and the cold wind extremely biting. In this northern country the snow is blown horizontally into the faces of travelers on most occasions — this was our case.
January 1st. When we came to Craig's house, near palace gate, a horrible roar of cannon took place, and a ringing of all the bells of the city, which are very numerous, and of all sizes. Arnold, heading the forlorn hope, advanced, perhaps, one hundred yards before the main body. After these, followed Lamb's artillerists. Morgan's company led in the secondary part of the column of infantry. Smith's followed, headed by Steele, the captain, from particular causes, being absent. Hendrick's company succeeded, and the eastern men, so far as known to me, followed in due order. The snow was
108deeper than in the fields, because of the nature of the ground. The path made by Arnold, Lamb and Morgan, was almost imperceptible, because of the falling snow; covering the locks of our guns with the lappets of our coats, holding down our heads (for it was impossible to bear up our faces against the imperious storm of wind and snow), we ran along the foot of the hill in single file. Along the first of our run, from palace gate, for several hundred paces, there stood a range of insulated buildings, which seemed to be store-houses; we passed these quickly in single file, pretty wide apart. The interstices were from thirty to fifty yards. In these intervals we received a tremendous fire of musketry from the ramparts above us. Here we lost some brave men, when powerless to return the salutes we received, as the enemy was covered by his impregnable defences. They were even sightless to us, we could see nothing but the blaze from the muzzles of their muskets.
A number of vessels of various sizes lay along the beach, moored by their hawsers or cables to the houses. Pacing after my leader, Lieutenant Steele, at a great rate, one of those ropes took me under the chin, and cast me headlong; down a declivity of at least fifteen feet. The place appeared to be either a dry dock, or a sawpit. My descent was terrible; gun and all was involved in a great depth of snow. Most unluckily, however, one of my knees received a violent contusion on a piece of scraggy ice, which was covered by the snow. On like occasions, we can scarce expect, in the hurry of attack, that our intimates should attend to any other than their own concerns. Mine went from me, regardless of my fate. Scrabbling out of the cavity, without assistance, divesting my person and gun of the snow, and limping into the line, it was attempted to assume a station, and preserve it. These were none of my friends — they knew me not. We had not gone twenty yards, in my hobbling gait, before I was thrown out, and compelled to await the arrival of a chasm in the line, where a new place
109might be obtained. Men in affairs such as this, seem in the main to lose the compassionate feeling, and are averse from being dislodged from their original stations. We proceeded rapidly, exposed to a long line of fire from the garrison, for now we were unprotected by any buildings. The fire had slackened in a small degree. The enemy had been partly called off to resist the general, and strengthen the party opposed to Arnold in our front. Now we saw Colonel Arnold returning, wounded in the leg, and supported by two gentlemen, a Parson Spring was one, and in my belief, a Mr. Ogden the other. Arnold called to the troops, in a cheering voice, as we passed, urging us forward, yet it was observable among the soldiery, with whom it was my misfortune to be now placed, that the colonel's retiring damped their spirits. A cant term, "We are sold," was repeatedly heard in many parts throughout the line. Thus proceeding enfiladed by an animated but lessened fire, we came to the first barrier, where Arnold had been wounded in the onset. This contest had lasted but a few minutes, and was somewhat severe, but the energy of our men prevailed. The embrasures were entered when the enemy were discharging their guns. The guard, consisting of thirty persons, were either taken or fled, leaving their arms behind them. At this time it was discovered that our guns were useless, because of the dampness. The snow, which lodged in our fleecy coats, was melted by the warmth of our bodies. Thence came that disaster. Many of the party, knowing the circumstance, threw aside their own, and seized the British arms. These were not only elegant, but were such as befitted the hand of a real soldier. It was said that ten thousand stand of such arms had been received from England, in the previous summer for arming the Canadian militia. Those people were loath to bear them in opposition to our rights. From the first barrier to the second, there was a circular course along the sides of houses, and partly through a street, probably of three hundred yards,
110or more. This second barrier was erected across and near the mouth of a narrow street, adjacent to the foot of the hill, which opened into a larger, leading soon into the main body of the lower town. Here it was, that the most serious contention took place; this became the bone of strife. The admirable Montgomery, by this time (though it was unknown to us), was no more; yet, we expected momentarily, to join him. The firing on that side of the fortress ceased, his division fell under the command of a Colonel Campbell, of the New York line, a worthless chief, who retreated without making an effort, in pursuance of the general's original plans. The inevitable consequence, was, that the whole of the forces on that side of the city, and those who were opposed to the dastardly persons employed to make the false attacks, embodied and came down to oppose our division. Here was sharp shooting. We were on the disadvantageous side of the barrier, for such a purpose. Confined in a narrow street hardly more than twenty feet wide, and on the lower ground, scarcely a ball, well aimed or otherwise, but must take effect upon us. Morgan, Hendricks, Steele, Humphreys, and a crowd of every class of the army, had gathered into the narrow pass, attempting to surmount the barrier, which was about twelve or more feet high, and so strongly constructed, that nothing but artillery could effectuate its destruction. There was a construction, fifteen or twenty yards within the barrier, upon a rising ground, the cannon of which much overtopped the height of the barrier, hence, we were assailed, by grape shot in abundance. This erection we called the platform. Again, within the barrier, and close in to it, were two ranges of musketeers, armed with musket and bayonet, ready to receive those who might venture the dangerous leap. Add to all this, that the enemy occupied the upper chambers of the houses, in the interior of the barrier, on both sides of the street, from the windows of which we became fair marks. The enemy, having the advantage of the ground in front,
111a vast superiority of numbers, dry and better arms, gave them an irresistible power, in so narrow a space. Humphrey's, upon a mound, which was speedily erected, attended by many brave men, attempted to scale the barrier, but was compelled to retreat, by the formidable phalanx of bayonets within, and the weight of fire from the platform and the buildings. Morgan, brave to temerity, stormed and raged, Hendricks, Steele, Nichols, Humphreys, equally brave, were sedate, though under a tremendous fire. The platform, which was within our view, was evacuated by the accuracy of our fire, and few persons dared venture there again. Now it was, that the necessity of the occupancy of the houses, on our side of the barrier, became apparent. Orders were given by Morgan, to that effect. We entered — this was near daylight. The houses were a shelter, from which we could fire with much accuracy. Yet, even here, some valuable lives were lost. Hendricks,
112and fell upon a bed, where he instantly expired. He was an ornament of our little society. The amiable Humphreys died by a like kind of wound, but it was in the street, before we entered the buildings. Many other brave men fell at this place, among these were Lieutenant Cooper, of Connecticut, and perhaps fifty or sixty noncommissioned officers, and privates. The wounded were numerous, and many of them dangerously so. Captain Lamb, of the York artillerists, had nearly one half of his face carried away by a grape or canister shot. My friend Steele lost three of his fingers, as he was presenting his gun to fire; Captain Hubbard and Lieutenant Fisdle, were also among the wounded. When we reflect upon the whole of the dangers at this barricade, and the formidable force that came to "annoy us, it is a matter of surprise, that so many should escape death and wounding, as did."
113consisted in running two miles across shoal ice, thrown up by the high tides of this latitude — and its danger, in the meeting with air holes, deceptively covered by the bed of snow.
Speaking circumspectly, yet it must be admitted conjecturally, it seems to me, that in the whole of the attack of commissioned officers, we had six killed, five wounded, and of non-commissioned and privates, at least one hundred and fifty killed, and fifty or sixty wounded. Of the enemy, many were killed and many more wounded, comparatively, than on our side, taking into view the disadvantages we labored under; and that but two occasions happened when we could return their fire, that is, at the first and second barriers. Neither the American account of this affair, as published by congress, nor that of Sir Guy Carleton, admit the loss of either side to be so great as it really was, in my estimation. It seems to be an universal practice among belligerents of all nations, to lessen the number of the slain of the side of the party which reports the event, and to increase it on the part of the enemy. Having had pretty good opportunities of forming a just opinion on the subject, it is hoped that gentlemen who have thought or written differently, will not disdain to listen to my argument. As to the British, on the platform they were fair objects to us. They were soon driven thence by the acuteness of our shooting, which in our apprehension must have destroyed many. Perhaps there never was a body of men associated, who better understood the use and manner of employing a rifle, than our corps, which by this time of the attack, had their guns in good order. When we took possession of the houses, we had a greater range. Our opportunities to kill were enlarged. Within one hundred yards every man must die. The British, however, were at home — they could easily drag their dead out of sight, and bear their wounded to the hospital. It was the reverse with us. Captain Prentis, who commanded the provost guards, would tell me of
114seven or eight killed, and fifteen or twenty wounded. Opposed to this, the sentries (who were generally Irishmen that guarded us with much simplicity, if not honesty), frequently admitted of forty or fifty killed, and many more wounded. The latter assertions accorded with my opinion. The reasons for this belief are these: when the dead, on the following days, were transported on the carioles, passed our habitation for deposition in the dead house we observed many bodies of which none of us had any knowledge; and again when our wounded were returned to us from the hospital, they uniformly spoke of being surrounded there, in its many chambers, by many of the wounded of the enemy. To the great honor of General Carleton they were all, whether friends or enemies, treated with like attention and humanity. The reason why the wounded of our side bore so small a proportion to the dead, seems to be this: in the long course we ran from palace gate to the first barrier, we lost many men who were killed outright, but many more died, who were merely wounded, yet in such a manner as in a milder region to make the case a curable one. A blow from a ball so large as that of a musket, staggers a man, whether the wound be in the arm, leg, or elsewhere; if in staggering he falls, he comes down into a deep bed of snow, from which a hale man finds it very difficult to extricate himself. Five or ten minutes struggling in such a bed, benumbs the strongest man, as frequent experience has taught me; if the party be wounded, though but slightly, twenty or thirty minutes will kill him, not because of the severity of the wound, but by the intensity of the frost. These are my opinions, grounded on a tolerably distinct and accurate knowledge of particular cases which occurred in the first part of the attack, and a variety of information obtained afterwards from individual sufferers, who were persons of credibility, rescued from death by the humane activity of Governor Carleton. About nine o'clock, A.M., it was apparent to all of us that we must
115surrender. It was done. On this occasion, my friend General F. Nichols, by his own native spirit, perseverance and determined bravery, obtained an honorable distinction, and acknowledgment from a brave and distinguished enemy. It enhances his merit and the boon (when we reflect that that enemy was no other than General Carleton), an ornament such as would grace any nation, whether in the worst or best of times. Some privates came to Lieutenant Nichols, and demanded his sword; the requisition was peremptorily denied, though there was great risk in the refusal. He retained his sword till meeting with Captain Endesly of the enemy, to whom it was surrendered; but with the exaction of a promise that it should be returned when he, the captive, should be released. In the August following, before our embarkation for New York, Captain Endesly waited on Lieutenant Nichols, and in the presence of all the American officers, redelivered the sword, under the assurance that it was by the permission and command of General Carleton. This trait in the character of Carleton adds to the celebrity of his derivation, and manner of thinking, and casts into a dark ground the characters of most of the principal British officers, particularly the Scotch, who had much influence in those days and bore towards us an intemperate hatred.
The commissioned officers, and some of the cadets were conducted to the seminary, a respectable building. It became my lot, in one way or other, to be lost in the crowd, and to be associated with the non-commissioned officers, in the company of some of whom ardent and perilous duties had been undergone. These men are by no means to be lessened in character, by contrasting them with the levies made in Europe, or those made since that time in our own country. Many of our sergeants, and even of our privates, were, with good educations, substantial freeholders in our own country. Upon a former occasion you were told the story of the respectable Dixon. He possessed (if sordid wealth
116makes the man), two-fold the riches of his captain; and if it be permitted me to decide upon the characters of men, five-fold his understanding, activity and spirit. Amiable Dixon! Many of these men, in the progress of the bloody scenes which ensued, became props of our glorious cause, in defence of our sacred liberties. All could be named. Let a few suffice. Thomas Boyd, so often spoken of in the wilderness for his good humor, his activity and the intensity of his sufferings; struggled gloriously for his life as a captain, and died a dreadful death by the hands of the savages in 1779, in the expedition conducted by General Sullivan against the Six-nation Indians.
117battle of Camden, when in the station of a colonel. Joseph Aston, of Lamb's, who served his country throughout the war, and was promoted to a majority. Doctor Thomas Gibson, of Hendricks', who died in the performance of his duty, at the Valley Forge, in the winter of 1778. Robert Cunningham, a wealthy freeholder of Smith's, who here imbibed the seeds of that disorder, which, at too early an age, hurried him to the grave. He was a younger brother of that excellent
118citizen, and frequent representative of the people of the county of Lancaster, James Cunningham. In short, many others might be mentioned in the general, as worthy and well informed as their superiors, without in anywise, imputing to the latter, in so saying, the slightest degree of disparagement. This will always be the case, when the great body of a nation rises in its strength to defend its rights. Those who understand the point in question, in a national dispute, and are most strongly impressed
119with its importance, will be the first to arm. This has been, and ever will be, the disposition of men in all ages, past or to come, whenever their privileges are invaded. Offices of prime importance cannot be obtained by all. Men of talents, of genius and courage must step into subordinate stations. Socrates, Alcibiades and Demosthenes fought in the ranks.
God in his great goodness grant, in the future vicissitudes of the world, that our countrymen, whenever their essential rights shall be attacked, will divest themselves of all party prejudice, and devote their lives and properties in defence of the sacred liberties of their country, without any view to emolument, but that which springs from glorious and honorable actions. Pardon me for frequent digression, upon this subject particularly, as my whole soul was bound up in our cause, you must forgive me. The real apology is, we were, all of us, enthusiastic whigs.
When under guard, in the morning of the first of January, Colonel M'Dougal, a Scotch gentleman, near noon, came to review us; his person was known to me at Detroit, as an intimate of an uncle, three years before this time. The colonel was naturally polite and kind-hearted. When it came to my turn to be examined, as to name, place of birth, etc., besides making the proper answers to his inquiries, I was emboldened to declare that he was known to me. He seemed surprised, but not displeased; a request was immediately added "that he would order me to be transferred to the quarters of the officers." "No, my dear boy," said he, "you had better remain where you are; the officers, as you are in rebellion, may be sent to England, and there be tried for treason." The advice of this venerable veteran made an impression on my mind, which was then agitated by a thousand vagrant thoughts, and involved in doubt and uncertainty as to our destination. We then well
120knew of the voyage of Colonel Ethan Allen to England, and the manner of it;
121our fellow soldier, but the consequences were unknown. It became my determination to take the fatherly advice
122of Colonel M'Dougal, for it was really delivered in the parental style, and to adhere to it. He brought one of
123his sons, whom I had formerly known, to see me on the following day. About mid-day we were escorted to a
124ruinous monastery of the order of St. Francis, called the Reguliers. It was an immense quadrangular building,
125containing, within its interior bounds, half an acre or more, of an area, which seemed to be like a garden or
126shrubbery. The monks, priests or what not, who inhabited the house, must have been few in number, as
127for my part, not more than half a dozen of distinct faces came into my view while we staid here. We entered by the ground floor (that is by the cellar), the building on that side being built on the declination of the hill, which in this part of the city is very uneven. The apartments on our right, as we entered, seemed to be filled with governmental stores, and of provisions of all kinds. They made us ascend a large staircase into an upper story, where we were complimented with two sides, or rather a part of each of the two sides of the quadrangle. The whole building would have accomodated four thousand men. Monkish spirit must have
128been in high vogue, when so great a pile could be erected merely from the alms of the people, and that too, for so egregiously absurd a purpose. The ranges of the rooms, though extensive in the length of the galleries, were small in their size, being scarcely more than ten by twelve or fourteen feet. The galleries were about twelve feet wide; many rooms were comfortable, others were dilapidated. Ten or a dozen of our poor fellows were compressed into one of these small rooms. So much the better, as it served to keep them the warmer. Boyd, Cunningham and a few of our intimates, took possession of a room near a large stove. The first week we slept most uncomfortably. Gracious God! what did we not suffer.
It was now that we fully learnt the destinies of our dear and revered general and his companions in death. But allow me before the detail of that sad story, to give you an anecdote. The merchants of Quebec, like those of England and our country, are a spirited and generous sect in society; they applied to Governor Carleton, and obtained leave to make us a "New Year's gift." This turned out to be no other than a large butt of porter, attended by a proportionate quantity of bread and cheese. It was a present which exhilarated our hearts and drew from us much thankfulness. We shared more than a pint per man.
General Montgomery had marched at the precise time stipulated, and had arrived at his destined place of attack, nearly about the time we attacked the first barrier. He was not one that would loiter. Colonel Campbell,
It is impossible to give you a fair and complete idea of the nature and situation of the place solely with the pen, the pencil is required. As by the special permission of government, obtained by the good offices of Captain Prentis, in the summer following, Boyd, a few others and myself reviewed the causes of our disaster, it is therefore in my power, so far as my abilities will permit, to give you a tolerable notion of the spot. Cape Diamond nearly resembles the great jutting rock which is in the narrows at Hunter's falls, on the Susquehanna. The rock, at the latter place, shoots out as steeply as that at Quebec, but by no mean forms so great an angle on the margin of the river; but is more craggy. There is a stronger and more obvious difference in the comparison. When you surmount the hill at St. Charles, or the St. Lawrence side, which, to the eye are equally high and steep, you find on Abraham's plains, and upon an extensive champaign country. The birds-eye view around Quebec bears a striking conformity to the sites of Northumberland and Pittsburg, in Pennsylvania; but the former is on a more gigantic scale, and each of the latter want the steepness and craggyness of the back ground, and a depth of rivers. This detail is to instruct you in the geographical situation of Quebec, and for the sole purpose of explaining the manner of General Montgomery's death, and the reasons of our failure. From Wolf's cove there is a good beach down to, and around "Cape Diamond." The bulwarks of the city came to the edge of the hill above that place. Thence down the side of the precipice slantingly to the brink of the river there was a stockade of strong posts, fifteen or twenty feet high, knit together by a stout railing at bottom and top with pins. This was no mean defence, and was at the distance of one hundred yards from the point of the rock. Within this palisade, and at a few yards from the very point itself, there was a like palisade, though it did not run so high up the hill. Again, within Cape Diamond, and probably at a distance of fifty yards,
130there stood a block-house, which seemed to take up the space between the foot of the hill and the precipitous bank of the river leaving a cart way or passage on each side of it. When heights and distances are spoken of you must recollect that the description of Cape Diamond and its vicinity is merely that of the eye, made as it were running, under the inspection of an officer. The review of the ground our army had acted upon was accorded us as a particular favor. Even to have stepped the spaces in a formal manner would have been dishonorable if not a species of treason. A block-house if well constructed, is an admirable method of defence which in the process of the war to our cost was fully experienced. In the instance now before us (though the house was not built upon the most approved principles), yet it was a formidable object. It was a square of perhaps forty or fifty feet. The large logs neatly squared were tightly bound together by dove-tail work. If not much mistaken the lower story contained loop-holes for musketry, so narrow that those within could not be harmed from without. The upper story had four or more port holes for cannon of a large calibre. These guns were charged with grape or canister shot, and were pointed with exactness towards the avenue at Cape Diamond. The hero Montgomery came. The drowsy or drunken guard did not hear the sawing of the posts of the first palisade. Here, if not very erroneous, four posts were sawed and thrown aside so as to admit four men abreast. The column entered with a manly fortitude. Montgomery, accompanied by his aids, M'Pherson and Cheeseman, advanced in front. Arriving at the second palisade, the general with his own hands sawed down two of the pickets, in such a manner as to admit two men abreast. These sawed pickets were close under the hill and but a few yards from the very point of the rock out of the view and fire of the enemy from the block-house. Until our troops advanced to the point, no harm could ensue but by stones thrown from above. Even now, there had been but an
131imperfect discovery of the advancing of an enemy, and that only by the intoxicated guard. The guard fled, the general advanced a few paces. A drunken sailor returned to his gun, swearing he would not forsake it while undischarged. This fact is related from the testimony of the guard on the morning of our capture, some of those sailors being our guard. Applying the match, this single discharge deprived us of our excellent commander.
Examining the spot, the officer who escorted us, professing to be one of those who first came to the place, after the death of the general, showed the position in which the general's body was found. It lay two paces from the brink of the river, on the back, the arms extended — Cheeseman lay on the left, and M'Pherson on the right, in a triangular position. Two other brave men lay near them. The ground above described, was visited by an inquisitive eye, so that you may rely with some implicitness on the truth of the picture. As all danger from without had vanished, the government had not only permitted the mutilated palisades to remain, without renewing the enclosure, but the very sticks, sawed by the hand of our commander, still lay strewed about the spot.
Colonel Campbell, appalled by the death of the general, retreated a little way from Cape Diamond, out of the reach of the cannon of the block house, and pretendedly called a council of officers, who, it was said, justified his receding from the attack. If rushing on, as military duty required, and a brave man would have done, the block-house might have been occupied by a small number, and was unassailable from without, but by cannon. From the block-house to the centre of the lower town, where we were, there was no obstacle to impede a force so powerful as that under Colonel Campbell.
Cowardice, or a want of good will towards our cause, left us to our miserable fate. A junction, though we might not conquer the fortress, would enable us to make an honorable retreat, though with the loss of many valuable lives. Campbell, who was ever after considered as a poltroon in grain, retreated, leaving the bodies of the general, M'Pherson and Cheeseman, to be devoured by the dogs. The disgust caused among us, as to Campbell, was so great as to create the unchristian wish that he might be hanged. In that desultory period, though he was tried, he was acquitted; that was also the case of Colonel Enos, who deserted us on the Kennebec. There never were two men more worthy of punishment of the most exemplary kind.
On the third or fourth of January, being as it were domesticated in the sergeant's mess, in the reguliers, a file of men headed by an officer, called to conduct me to the seminary. Adhering to the advice of Colonel M'Dougal, the invitation was declined, though the hero Morgan had solicited this grace from Governor Carleton, and had sent me a kind and pressing message. My reasons, which were explained to Morgan, in addition to the one already given, operated forcibly on my mind. Having lost all my clothes in the wilderness, except those on my back, and those acquired by the provident and gratuitous spirit of General Montgomery, having remained at our quarters, and become a prey to the women and invalids of the army; nothing remained fitting me to appear in company anywhere. Additionally, it had become a resolution, when leaving Lancaster, as my absence would go near to break the hearts of my parents, never to break upon my worthy father's purse. Dire necessity compelled me to rescind this resolution in part, in the wilderness, but that circumstance made me the more determined to adhere to the resolve afterwards. Again, my intimate friends were not in the seminary. Steele was in the hospital, and Simpson, by previous command, on the charming Isle of Orleans,
133which, from its fruitfulness had become, as it were, our store-house.
134small-clothes, all in fritters, had been cast away, and a savage covering adopted, until more auspicious times came. But even now, an idea of escape and vengeance inflamed the breasts of many, and we were here in a much superior situation for such a purpose, than that of the seminary. More of this hereafter. All these facts and circumstances, induced an evasion of the friendly solicitation of the kind-hearted Morgan.
On the third day of our capture, the generous Carleton despatched a flag to Arnold, to obtain what trifling baggage we had left at our quarters; mine was either forgotten, or miserable as it was, had been plundered; but as good luck would have it, the knapsack of one Alexander Nelson of our company, who was killed when running to the first barrier, was disclaimed by all of our men. Your father in consequence, laid violent hands upon the spoil. It furnished Boyd and myself, with a large, but course blue blanket, called a stroud and a drummer's regimental coat. The blanket became a real comfort, the coat an article of barter. It was on this day that my heart was ready to burst with grief, at viewing the funeral of our beloved general. Carleton had, in our former wars with the French, been the friend and fellow-soldier of Montgomery. Though political opinion, perhaps ambition or interest, had thrown these worthies on different sides of the great question, yet the former could not but honor the remains of his quondam friend. About noon, the procession passed our quarters. It was most solemn. The coffin covered with a pall, surmounted by transverse swords — was borne by men.
135The regular troops, particularly that fine body of men, the seventh regiment, with reversed arms, and scarfs on the left elbow, accompanied the corpse to the grave. The funerals of the other officers, both friends and enemies, were performed this day. From many of us it drew tears of affection for the defunct, and speaking for myself, tears of greeting and thankfulness, towards General Carleton. The soldiery and inhabitants appeared affected by the loss of this invaluable man, though he was their enemy. If such men as Washington, Carleton and Montgomery, had had the entire direction of the adverse war, the contention in the event might have happily terminated to the advantage of both sections of the nation. M'Pherson, Cheeseman, Hendricks, Humphreys, were all dignified by the manner of burial.
On the same, or the following day, we were compelled (if we would look), to a more disgusting and torturing sight. Many carioles, repeatedly one after the others, passed our dwelling loaded with the dead, whether of the assailants or of the garrison, to a place, emphatically called the dead-house. Here the bodies were heaped in monstrous piles. The horror of the sight to us southern men, principally consisted in seeing our companions borne to interment uncoffined, and in the very clothes they had worn in battle; their limbs distorted in various directions, such as would ensue in the moment of death. Many of our friends and acquaintances were apparent. Poor Nelson lay on the top of half a dozen other bodies — his arms extended beyond his head, as if in the act of prayer, and one knee crooked and raised, seemingly, when he last gasped in the agonies of death. Curse on these civil wars which extinguish the sociabilities of mankind, and annihilate the strength of nations. A flood of tears was consequent. Though Montgomery was beloved because of his manliness of soul, heroic bravery and suavity of manners; Hendricks and Humphreys, for the same admirable qualities, and especially for the endurances we underwent in conjunction, which
136enforced many a tear; still my unhappy and lost brethren, though in humble station, with whom that dreadful wild was penetrated, and from whom came many attentions towards me, forced melancholy sensations. From what is said relative to the dead-house you might conclude that General Carleton was inhumane or hardhearted. No such thing. In this northern latitude, at this season of the year, according to my feelings (we had no thermometer), the weather was so cold, as usually to be many degrees below zero. A wound, if mortal, on even otherwise, casts the party wounded in the snow; if death should follow, it throws the sufferer into various attitudes, which was assumed in the extreme pain accompanying death. The moment death takes place, the frost fixes the limbs in whatever situation they may then happen to be, and which cannot be reduced to decent order, until they are thawed. In this state, the bodies of the slain are deposited in the dead-house hard as ice. At this season of the year, the earth is frozen from two to five feet deep, impenetrable to the best pick-axe, in the hands of the stoutest man. Hence you may perceive a justification of the dead-house. It is no new observation, that "climates form the manners and habitudes of the people."
January 4th, on the next day, we were visited by Colonel Maclean, an old man, attended by other officers, for a peculiar purpose, that is, to ascertain who among us were born in Europe. We had many Irishmen, and some Englishmen. The question was put to each; those who admitted a British birth, were told they must serve his majesty in Colonel Maclean's regiment, a new corps, called the emigrants. Our poor fellows, under the fearful penalty of being carried to Britain, there to be tried for treason, were compelled by necessity, and many of them did enlist. Two of them, very brave men, Edward Cavenaugh and Timothy Conner, deserve to be named, because of a particular occurrence which happened shortly afterwards. These two men, among
137others, called upon me for my advice how to act. Being, at that time, neither a lawyer nor a casuist, they had my opinion according to the dictates of nature, and some slight reading. That is, that they should enlist, for a constrained oath, as theirs would be, could not be binding on the conscience: and by all means to join our army as soon as practicable. They enlisted under the notion that the oath was non-obligatory, and a hope of a speedy return to their sweet-hearts and wives. Allow me here to recount, by anticipation, the residue of the adventures of "honest Ned." It is due to him, for he saved my life, and that of Simpson, on the Dead river. Towards the end of January, Cavenaugh and Conner happened to compose a part of the same guard at palace gate, where the walls are from thirty to forty feet high, independently of the declivity of the hill. Cavenaugh was stationed as a sentry in conjunction with one of the British party. Conner had procured a bottle of rum; coming to the station, he drank himself, and presented the bottle to the British sentry. While the latter was in the act of drinking, Cavenaugh gave him a push with the butt of his musket, which stunned and brought him to the earth. Taking his arms, they sprung over the wall into a bed of snow, perhaps twenty-five feet deep. This averment concerning the depth of the snow, may appear problematical, as we know nothing like it in our climate. Form no definitive opinion until you have heard the reasons why it does happen. As you may recollect several instances in this memoir, where the asperity of a Quebec winter is intimated, and a description of its effects attempted — such as frequent snow storms and fierce winds. In the month of January, particularly, when the snow has increased to a depth of seven feet over the face of the country, notwithstanding the shining of the sun, the cold is so great, that those winds drive the snow daily against the high ramparts of the city, where it forms a compact mass — the last stratum being light and dry, as the finest sand, which
138may be whirled by the wind. Cavenaugh and Conner leaped mid-deep into such a soft bed. Their disadvantage consisted in sinking too deep; the height of the leap, plunging them deeper than ordinary walking would do, made it difficult for them to extricate themselves. The relief guard came in time to give them a volley, as they were scampering away. Thanks to God, my worthy Irishmen escaped unharmed, though as they passed through St. Roque, they were complimented by several discharges of cannister and grape shot. This was the first notice we had of the escape of our daring friends. We heard next morning, all the minutiae from those who guarded us. Cavenaugh is still alive — is laborious, and has a large family of children, who are respectable in their way. You cannot conceive the joyousness of my heart, when hearing of him in my peregrinations a few years since, in the mountainous parts of York county. The pittance then spared him, it is hoped, will make you never the poorer. The assembly of Pennsylvania have granted him a pension for which that honorable body have my most fervent blessings. Old age and decrepitude, by the extremity of our sufferings, is brought upon us long before the ordinary allotments of nature. We served our country faithfully, and at this late day it is really pleasant to observe the spirit of the public, inclined to compensate the veterans of 1775 and 1776. So much for my preserver "honest Ned," which epithet he still bears among his neighbors, by whom, bating a venial vice, he is esteemed. Timothy Conner, on the contrary, possessing the art of acquiring wealth, married, had a competency, but lost it subsequently by his vices, which bore a strong affinity to gross criminality.
By the middle of January, we were settled down into a state something like household order: those who could economize, fared tolerably well, though they could have used more. Our daily provision consisted of a biscuit made of a coarse meal, from something like our chopped rye; very often chaff or straw, half an inch in length,
139was found in this species of bread. A biscuit of the size of a cake of gingerbread, now sold with us for a cent, was the daily allowance of this article; half a pound of pork, or three-quarters of a pound of beef, though these were much salted, even so as to be uncomfortable — they were of Irish preparation, perhaps for the sea-service: a competent allowance of butter, originally fine, yet now rancid; candles, molasses, and even vinegar: this last article, so long as it could be afforded us, was a preservative from the disorders which unwittingly we were imbibing daily. Knowing the difficulties under which the garrison lay — foes at the gates, and an uncertainty of succor; the governor was thought of by me, with similar allowances, that ought to be made to our own generals, in circumstances of such pinching necessity. From all information attainable on our part, we were as well treated as those of the garrison, who lived on the same kinds of food, except as to liquor, which deprivation was more beneficial than injurious to our men. It is grateful to my heart, now to remember and repeat, the benevolent sensations this mildness and humanity created in my mind, towards the virtuous, the amiable and venerable Carleton. He was a genuine representative of the gentility of the Irish nation, which is so deservedly famous for the production of real heroes, patriotic statesmen, and a generosity and suavity of manners. He was of great candor, uprightness and honor, and full of the spirit of philanthropy, which marks the real gentleman. He made us several visits, in all of which he seemed merely to have a solicitude for our welfare, without any sinister view, such as a seduction from our principles, etc. That he granted us every accommodation his trying situation authorized, there can be no doubt. Shortly after the time now spoken of, we were conducted to the Dauphin jail. Before we quit the Reguliers, admit me to state to you something more, relating to our manner of living there. My youthful appetite required and demanded a greater quantity of
140food than we then enjoyed. We wanted spoons, not only in our own mess, but throughout the whole corps. There was no money among us to purchase such an implement, and if there had been, and opportunity had offered, it is likely the jealousy of government would have deprived us of them, if formed of metal of any kind.
One day being at the unloading a cord of wood, a birch stick, the only piece of hard wood in the load, was eagerly laid hold of, and borne to the mess-room; from this, a wooden spoon was soon formed for my own use. Lobscouse made a part of our diurnal food. This term, though vulgar, conveys to one, who, when hungry, has tasted the dish, some agreeable ideas. Among soldiers and sailors, it is esteemed equal to the olla podrida of the Spaniards, and nearly so to the speck and oyer
141invented, and tolerably well carved. Some came to five biscuits, some to ten, and one in particular at twenty, which my friends thought worthy of the acceptance of the governor, but care was taken not to present it. Boyd and Cunningham carefully furnished the wood. Thus we could exist pretty well on our slender diet. But we had other resources, which were by no means neglected, Henry Crone, a well bred young man, descended from a worthy and respectable family of York county, Pennsylvania, much my senior, but who was known to me during his apprenticeship at Lancaster, had dissipated a good fortune at the gaming-tables; he was a sergeant of Hendricks'. Miserable as was our predicament, the demon of play had intruded itself among us, though there was neither money nor clothing but that upon our backs, and our daily provisions to sport with. The play was for biscuit, and most usually at a game called all-fours, in which Crone was a real adept. He was a droll dog, and much inclined to play with and beat the Yankees, as he termed them. Many mornings, being compelled by the inclemency of the season to leave our uncomfortable beds, pacing the avenues in front of our cells for exercise and warmth, drawing aside the curtain of the gambling room door, which was no other than a thread-bare blanket, Crone was seen and heard, with bleared eyes and a vociferous voice, after a night's sitting, contending for a biscuit, with as much spirit and heat, as most probably he had done in former times for fifty or a hundred dollars. The passion of gaming, is almost an inexplicable trait in the human character, the poor, the rich, the savage and the civilized, are equally its devotees. The greatest and the least are alike subject to its fascinations. Crone, poor dog, was one of the devoted.
Montgomery, in his care for Arnold's party, besides an excellent blanket coat, had assigned to each man a new red regimental coat of the seventh, or some other regiment, stationed in the upper country. This clothing
142had been seized at Montreal. Crone, in the division, had fared well. He had obtained a large superfine broadcloth coat, such as is worn by the sergeant-major of the British army, which "fitted him like a shirt." He was so totally devoid of care, that he never once applied to the tailors of the army, who were employed by the public, to fit the coat to his back, and to sew it regularly. What was still more laughable, he had no pockets to this coat, unless you may call the flannel such, which interiorly lined the lappets, and bore the appearance of large bags dangling about his heels. Crone was facetious and clever; he had an affection for me. Often about daylight he would come to my blanket and waken me, and shake the lappets of his coat. He would say "Damme Jack, here's something for you," and would force upon me ten, fifteen, and several times, even thirty biscuits. With all his vices he bore a great share of my esteem, for the goodness of his heart. When ill-luck occurred, there was a refunding on my part, but it seldom happened. Our other resource was William M'Coy, a sergeant of Hendricks' an excellent clerk, who came into favor of the governor, by giving to Major Murray, of the garrison, a genuine copy of his journal of the route through the wilderness into Canada. He was a sedate and sensible man. He was installed clerk of the kitchen, and put me much in mind of Gil Blas' clerk. The cook, whom M'Coy patronized was a very Boniface in accomplishments and a Sancho Panza in rotundity. He was of Thayer's or Dearborn's company. Believe me that these two men were courted by our hungry wights among the soldiery, with as much eagerness and solicitude, and often sycophancy, as would have been the case had they been the ministers of a great state. What could you suppose to be the object of such servility? To explain — the boiling utensils were two very large coppers. A boiling of pork, produced a great quantity of liquid fat, which the men called slush. The skimmings constituted the importance of the cook, who
143made a profit from it by selling it to certain tradesmen of the city. A half pint of this slush was a good succedaneum for better food, to a mess of six stout men. It, with the molasses, formed an excellent lobscouse. Oleaginous matter, next to bread, is, however, the great support of the animal functions, and even superior to bread, to sustain life, and gratify the palate. Here you see the real ground of the causes of distinctions in society. The cook possessing this perquisite, commanded his applicants for additional food, with an unwarrantable austerity. As to our mess, it was strong in habits of intimacy with M'Coy, who was one of us. The cook was far below our notice. Friend M'Coy gave us every advantage our melancholy situation afforded him. This minute information is given to you, to inspire you with a disgust towards war of any kind. As to my sons, if the liberties of our country ever be invaded, it is humbly hoped, under the protecting hand of Providence, that they will always be ready and active to rally round the standard of Freedom, the principles of which we derived from our forefathers, whose blood freely flowed in its defence.
Coming to the Dauphin jail, escorted by the military, we found it well accommodated for our lodgment. There were four rooms below, and as many above stairs, all capacious and well supplied with berths or bulks, in the common method of barracks. Our company taking the right our precedency in the procession gave us, assumed the possession of a room in the third story, which was in truth the very best. Morgan's took a room immediately below us; Hendrick's one adjoining; but remember that at this time we were reduced most lamentably by killed, wounded and missing. Many were in the hospital. Out of sixty-five who came on Abraham's plains in November, we had scarcely more than thirty left with us in prison. The fire of the enemy and disease had so thinned us. Morgan's gallant men fared worse. Like the eastern people
144before and at that period, they detested the introduction of the small-pox into their country by inoculation. Now they were its victims. Less than twenty-five of the privates of that company regained their native homes. They were originally as elegant a body of men as ever came within my view.
At the Dauphin jail our notions of escape were
145strengthened. The prison may be three hundred yards from St. John's gate, the interval at that time was free from buildings. From without the building appeared formidable. The courtyard was very contracted for so large a house, and was encompassed by a strong stone wall at least twenty feet high. The windows and doors were seemingly by their bars impenetrable. But what cannot men of true spirit effect when made the subjects of oppression? Opposite to the jail, across the street leading to St. John's gate, at a distance of forty yards there stood a house which became the station of the guard who superintended us. In the first of our imprisonment we were attended by the regular troops, or sailors, who were embodied by government as soldiers, but now the guard (as our force without had made a firm stand), was replaced by the militia, who were the most inert and despicable of military men. The sentries were stationed on the outside of the jail; we had no witnesses of our conduct within, except the captain of the provost, who did not pry with a suspicious eye. He was a generous and open-hearted enemy — had no guile himself, nor imputed it to others. The principal defence on this side of the city, as it regarded our attempt at evasion, lay at and near St. John's gate. The guard here was most usually composed of thirty men of the regular troops or sailors. They would have given us a hustle but of a certainty we should have overpowered them by the force of numbers as stout and as able bodied men as themselves whose courage was not to be questioned, though there was a great difference in the nature of our respective arms. Having examined the jail carefully, its imbecility to restrain us was apparent. It was an old French building in the Bastile style. The walls of stone, and more than three feet thick, were impenetrable by any of our means. Upon examining the bars of the windows, which were originally ill-constructed, many were found so much corroded as to move up and down in the sockets. These could be taken out. The mildness of Governor
146Carleton's reign seemed not to require a strict inspection into places of this kind. About this time a selected council was called, of which your father had the honor to be one, and was chiefly composed of the sergeants. The present Major Joseph Aston, of Lamb's artillerists, then a sergeant-major had the presidency. Our discoveries were disclosed, the means of escape considered, and a consultation of the men recommended. This was done, and there was not a dissentient voice. At the stair head there was a small room lighted by a small window; the door was locked. Peeping through the keyhole large iron hoops were discovered; the spring of the lock kindly gave way to our efforts, the room was ransacked; and as neatly closed. The room furnished us with a large number of strong iron-hoops, two and three inches broad, and a considerable quantity of other iron, of different shapes and sizes deposited there as lumber. From the first of these articles we formed a rough, but weighty species of sword with a wooden handle, a blow from which, in the hands of one of our stout men would have brought down one of the stoutest of the enemy. The residue of the iron was applied to formation of spear-heads. These were affixed to splits of fir-plank, about ten feet in length, which had formed in part, the bottoms of the lower berths. These weapons, it is true, were of the coarsest make, yet in the hands of men determined to sacrifice their lives for freedom, they would have had a considerable sway. Our long knives, which many of us secreted when captured, also became spear-points. These weapons were concealed under the lower range of berths, which were raised a foot from the floor. The planks were neatly raised, the nails were extracted, and the nail-head with a part of its shank, placed in its former position. Over these lay our blankets and bundles. It was a standing rule to have two sentries constantly on the watch, one at each end of the interior of the jail. Their duty consisted in giving a signal of the approach of the officers of the garrison,
147who were in the habit of visiting us daily, as there were shoemakers and tailors among us, who worked cheaper than those of the city, merely for the purpose of bettering their condition. There was policy in this watchfulness. When the signal was given the inner doors were thrown open, those appointed for the purpose laid upon the berth which hid our arms, as if in a drowsy state. The officers were accosted with assumed confidence, and much complaisance. The council met daily, sometimes in small squads, and when anything of much consequence was to be considered in larger; but at all times secretly, or at least not obviously as a council, from a fear of traitors, or some indiscretion of the young men. Our arrangements, so far as my judgment could discern, were judicious. Aston was to act as general, M'Coy and some others became colonels. Boyd and others of the most spirit became majors, captains, lieutenants, etc. That which cheered me much was that the council assigned me a first lieutenancy under my friend Boyd, whose vigor and courage were unquestionable.
The plan of the escape was thus: Aston, who was an excellent engineer, was to have the particular superintendency of Lamb's company, which to a man was well informed in their duty, active and spirited. These were to be increased to a band of one hundred and fifty men, whose duty it was to attack the guard at St. John's gate. The attack of the guard opposite the jail was assigned to the discretion of Boyd, Cunningham and myself; the council generously giving us the authority of a first selection of twenty two persons, from the whole body of our men. The residue of our force was so disposed of as to act as a body of reserve to Aston, under the command of M'Coy, and another smaller body was reserved to support Boyd, particularly by way of setting fire to the jail, the guard house, and the buildings in its neighborhood, to amuse or employ the enemy, while we were running to St. John's gate. It was expected we could arrive there by the time Aston and his party
148would be victorious. Our particular duty was of the desperate kind, something of the nature of the "forlorn hope." Nothing but the virtue and bravery of our comrades could ensure the safety of our lives; for if they should arrive at St. John's gate, and discomfit the guard, and if then seeking safety by flight, they would leave us to the mercy of an enraged enemy, who would sacrifice us to their fury. But there has been too much precipitation in the relation. Previously to the last observations, besides being told of our force, our weapons, and our military plans, you should have been informed also, of the real site of the jail, of its internal structure, from which the sally was to be made. The Dauphin jail is built on a plain, pretty much declined towards the street. It follows that the front of the lower story, that is the cellars, was on a level with the street. The back ground was ten or twelve feet higher. In the cellar, near the foot of the stairway, there was a plenteous fountain of water, which supplied the house. The conduits leading from the spring, by the severity of the weather, were impeded by ice, so that the water, in great quantity remained in the cellar, which with the additional carelessness of our people, who cast the rinsing of their buckets on the floor of the apartment, formed a bed of ice a foot thick, and very firm and solid. This cellar had a door newly made of strong pine plank, five feet in width, which opened inwards, the sill was level with the street. The door was hung upon H hinges of a large size, fixed on the inside, exposed to our view and operations. But what was still more absurd, the door was hasped within and secured by a large pad lock. Close inspection and thoughtfulness had made the members of the council, by the means they enjoyed, perfect masters of those hinges and the lock; they would not have stood a second of time. The principal obstacle was the ice which was raised fully a foot against the door. Even this would have given way to our ingenuity. The whole of our plan was well laid, and thoroughly
149digested. That door was to be our sally port. Boyd preceding with our division, Aston and M'Coy following, they turning rapidly to the left for St. John's gate. The dislocation of the iron bars of the windows, was to ensue: all those which could be removed being known, were to become issues for our bravest men. Every man knew his station. It is an old and a trite observation, that it is a difficult thing to describe a battle, so as to give a clear idea of all the causes and effects of each movement, without overloading and confusing the picture. The same may be said of a conspiracy such as ours. Going through the entry from the front door into the jail yard, near the back door but still within the prison, there are two cavities opposite to each other, strongly walled and arched. We called them the black holes. On the outside of the building in the yard, these cavities assumed the forms of banks, ten or eleven feet high, and as wide; and well sodded. With some address and agility a sprightly man could surpass either of them. The wall above those banks was probably ten feet higher. In the daytime we often climbed up the wall, by means of its interstices, from which the mortar had fallen in the course of time, to take a peep at the city, merely putting our eyes above the level of the top of it.
A Mr. Martin, a hardy, daring and active young man, of Lamb's company, I think a sergeant, proposed to bear intelligence of our projects, to the American commander without the walls. His plan was approved. A time for irruption was named, though the day was not particularized. The signals to invite the advance of our army to St. John's gate, were the burning of the houses, and the firing of the guns of the ramparts towards the city. As yet, we were unprepared to move. This expedition of Martin's was profoundly a secret among those of the council, from a fear that some bungler might attempt the same path, fail, and by his being taken, unveil our plots. Permit me a short episode on the escape of Martin. It was singularly adventurous, and the neatness
150of its execution renders it worthy of remark. I had the pleasure of hearing it recounted, in more happy times, at New York. Martin was dressed in warm clothing, with good gloves; a white cap, shirt and overalls were prepared for him. He appeared in the jail yard among the prisoners, in his daily dress. The time of locking up, and calling the roll generally happened about sundown. It was the business of the captain of the provost, who was accompanied by a file of men. The prisoners, instigated by those in the secret, employed themselves out of doors, until late in the evening, in play, as if to keep their bodies warm. It was a blowing and dreary evening, which was purposely chosen. At locking up, those in the secret lagged behind, tardily, pushing the uninformed before, yet so slowly, as effectually to crowd the gangway; Martin remaining in the rear. The operation took place at the clanging of the lock of the great front door. This measure was imagined and effected on purpose to procure to Martin a sufficiency of leisure to get to his hiding place, which was no other than a nook formed by the projection of the door way, and on the top of one of the banks before spoken of. Here he had time to put on his cap, shirt, etc. The officer who examined the yard, could not perceive him, unless he went out of the door, several paces to the left, and most probably, not even then, for Martin would be covered in the snow, and imperceptible. Happily the officer went no further than the threshold, and made but a slight survey of the yard. This account, so far, is derived from my own knowledge; what follows, is from Martin himself. "Martin tarried there until seven or eight o'clock. The dilemma he was in, could only be surpassed in imminence of danger, by his extreme activity, skill and courage. There were four sentries stationed around the jail — two at each corner in front, and the like number at the corners of the yard in the rear. Those sentries, though relieved every quarter of an hour, were soon driven into the sentry boxes, by the cold and keenness
151of the whistling winds. If they had paced the spaces allotted them by duty, the escape of Martin must have been impossible. Watching the true time, he slipped down the wall into the deep snow underneath unobserved. Hence, he made a sudden excursion to the left of St. John's gate, at a part of the wall where he well knew no sentry was placed. Leaping the wall, into the snow, he received the fire of a distant sentry. Martin was unharmed. The soldier fired, as it were, at a phantom, for when Martin's body came into contact with the snow it was undiscernible — the desired information was given;" but of this, we could merely make surmises until the May following. That which is very remarkable is, that the absence of Martin was unknown to government, until the explosion of our plot.
Our next solicitude was the acquisition of powder. This article could be obtained but by sheer address and shrewd management. But we had to do with men who were not of the military cast. We began first to enter into familiarity with the sentries, joking with them and pretending to learn French from them. The guard, usually of Canadians, consisted of many old men, and young boys, who were very "coming." A few small gun-carriages were constructed, not more than six inches in length, and mounted with cannon, or howitzers, which were made of many folds of paper, and were bound tightly around with thread. These were shown to the sentries from time to time, and a little powder was requested, with which to charge them. Our berths formed an angle of the room. The upper berths, as well as the lower, had a ledge of several inches in height, in which embrasures were formed with the knife. Two parties were raised in opposition to each other, each of which took possession of one side of the angle. The blaze and report, which was nearly as great and as loud as that of small pistols, created much laughter and merriment. This sport, the child of a seeming folly, served us as a pretence and justification for soliciting
152powder. The apparent joy prevailing among us pleased the Canadians, both old and young, and did not alarm the government. We obtained many cartridges in the course of a few weeks, two-thirds of which came to the hands of Aston and his corps, for the purpose of manufacturing matches, etc., etc. Fire arms of any kind could not, by any finesse, be procured. The commerce of cartridges, accompanied by a suavity and deference of manners towards our young friends, procured us many quarters of pounds of powder, which they bought secretly out of funds, some of which were procured in a ludicrous way. We had many sick in the hospital, for when any one appeared to be disordered in the least degree, he was hurried to the infirmary, when cured, he was returned to us. Some of the men went so far as to feign sickness to get to that place, where they lived in a more sumptuous style than that of the jail. The frequent removals caused the propagation of a report that the prison was unhealthy. Many pious matrons came to see us, and never empty handed. Some elderly nuns, of respectable families, were of the number, and generally brought money, truly not great in quantity, but not the less acceptable to the sick and convalescent, as these alms procured them some slight comforts, such as tea, etc. These were the religious and humane collections of the sisterhood, and mostly consisted of the smallest change. There was a beautiful countenanced youth, Thomas Gibson, first sergeant of Hendricks, who had studied physic at Carlisle, Pennsylvania, allied to me by affinity, who had, probably from a knowledge he had of his profession, sustained his health hitherto; his cheeks were blooming as roses. He was one of the council. As young men, we cared little about the means, so that we obtained the end, which was powder. We lived above stairs, and never shared in the gratuities of the ladies, which were rapaciously awaited at the entrance of the prison. Gibson and myself were standing at a window near the great door, and opposite
153to M'Coy's room, a neat little box which had been knocked up for his purposes. Looking into the street, a lady with a thick vail, was observed to take the path through the snow to our habitation. "Zounds, Gibson, there's a nun," was scarcely expressed, before he was hurried into M'Coy's apartment and put to bed, though dressed. Several of us waited respectfully at the door, till the officer of the guard unlocked it. The nun entered — she seemed, from her manners, to be genteel and respectable. We were most sedulous in our attentions to the lady, and so prevailed, as to induce her to come into M'Coy's room. Here lay Gibson, covered to the chin with the bed-clothes, nothing exposed but his beautiful hair and red cheeks, the latter indicating a high fever. It was well the lady was no physician. The nun crossing herself, and whispering a pater-noster, poured the contents of her little purse into the hand of the patient, which he held gently, without the blanketing, and left us. What should the donation be, but twenty-four coppers, equal at that time to two shillings of our money. The latter circumstance added much to the humor, and extreme merriment of the transaction. This money was solely appropriated for powder. Thus, careless of every thing but the means of escaping, we enjoyed many merry, and even happy hours. Aston, who was provident of time, by the middle of March (I have no note of the precise period), had all his matters of arrangement in good order.
The council assigned a day for the irruption. As we dared not touch the door in the cellar, from a fear of discovery by inspection (and it was examined almost daily), it was determined to postpone the unloosing the hinges and lock, which were under our command, until the moment of escape. It became a main question how to remove the ice at the foot of the door. Here lay the great difficulty, as it was universally agreed that the door must be dragged down suddenly, so that we might march over it. Remember also, that a sentry was posted not
154more than from fifteen to twenty feet from the outside of the door. Many propositions were made in council, how to effect the removal of the body of ice without exposure to detection. One was lightly to pick it away with hatchets, a few of which had been secretly retained by the prisoners, and brought into the jail. To this, there were several insuperable objections; the softest stroke of the lightest tomahawk upon the ice would be heard by a sentry so near; or an unlucky stroke might touch the door which would resound and inevitably cause a discovery. Others proposed to wear away the ice by boiling water; two most obvious objections lay here; the steam would search for a vent through the crevices of the door and window, and develop our measures; besides the extreme cold would have congealed the hot water the moment it fell, so as to add to our difficulties. Another idea was suggested that was "with knives to cut the door across on the surface of the ice;" to this plan there was a fatal exception, the ice had risen on the lower cross-piece of the door nearly an inch, so that we must cut through the cross-piece lengthwise, and through the thick plank crosswise. Though this labor might have been accomplished by industry and perseverance, yet the time it would necessarily take would cause a discovery by the searchers. The last and only method to avoid discovery was adopted. This was to embody sixteen or eighteen of the most prudent men who knew the value of silence, who should, two and two, relieve each other, and with our long knives gently pare away the ice next the sill of the door, so as to make a groove of four or six inches wide, parallel with, and deep as the sill. The persons were named and appointed to this service. Now the capability of the execution of our plot, infused comfort and joy into all hearts. It was intended immediately after locking up, on the night of the irruption, that those prudent men, should descend into the vault by pairs, and by incessant labor have the work finished by three o'clock in the morning, when the sally should be made.
155We had carefully noticed from the walls of the jail, and the ridge of the house where there is a trap-door, the placing of the guards, the numbers and stationing of the sentries. We were safe therefore, in the measures we had taken for the attack of the guard of St. John's gate. Our own guard was perfectly scrutinized. The opportunities were of the most commodious kind. The guardhouse was directly in our front, where we could see and be seen. Their windows had no shutters. They had lights all the night through; we, the better to observe them, kept none. This latter circumstance, enabled us distinctly to see that the arms with fixed bayonets were placed in the right hand corner of the room, as we would enter from the stairhead, and that the guard towards morning to a man were lying asleep on the floor. The sentries as they were relieved, did the like. This guard, as was before said, in ordinary consisted of thirty persons. Boyd's party, from a perfect knowledge of their method of conducting, esteemed it no great hardiness to undertake the overwhelming them. Subsequently our danger must appear. The nights were piercingly cold — the sentries soon housed themselves in their boxes. As the sally, to succeed, must be most silent and quick, it was hoped to quiet all of them before any alarm could spread. Besides Boyd's division (the first rank of which, were to despatch the nearest sentry by the spear), others of the succeeding corps, were assigned to assail the rest of the sentries, immediately around the prison. The getting up the stairs of our guard-house so quickly as to create no alarm was not only feasible, but in my mind (with the force delegated to us), of absolute certainty of success. The front door was always open by night and by day, we knew the precise number of steps the stairs contained. An agile man would mount at three strides. A light was continually in the passage. Entering the room and turning to the right the arms in the corner were ours. The bayonet, from necessity, would become the lot of the guard. In this part of the enterprise
156profound silence was all important; the section was to rely on the spear and tomahawk. Aston on the other hand, being victorious at St. John's gate, was instantly to turn the cannon upon the city; his fuses, portfire, etc., were prepared and ready as substitutes for those of the enemy, if they were extinguished or taken from the guns. It was known to us, that all the cannon of the ramparts were charged and primed, and boxes of ammunition and piles of balls in the vicinity of each gun, it was calculated that the execution of the business of our section, might be effected in at least fifteen minutes, together with the firing of the houses. Then running to support Aston and if he was victorious, to maintain our position on the walls, under a hope of the arrival of the American army from without. In that event St. John's gate, as a first measure, was to be opened. But if Aston should unfortunately be beaten (which was most improbable,) then we were to fly in all directions, and make the adventurous leap. It was supposed that in the latter case the hurry and bustle created by so sudden, unforseen and daring an attack, would throw the garrison into consternation and disorder, to so great a degree, as to admit the escape of many. Sluggards might expect to be massacred.
The particularity of the foregoing details are purposely made to impress on your minds a single truth: "That the best imagined schemes and thoroughly digested designs, whether in military or civil life, may be defeated by a thoughtless boy, the interference of an idiot or a treacherous knave." Two lads from Connecticut or Massachusetts, whose names are now lost to my memory, prisoners with us, but who had no manner of connection or intercourse with the chiefs, nor knew the minute, yet essential parts of the measures of the council, but probably having overheard a whisper of the time and manner of the evasion; those young men, without consultation, without authority from their superiors, in the thoughtless ardor of their minds, on the eve of the sally, descended into the cellar, and with hatchets, picked at
157the ice at the door-sill. The operation was heard. The sentry threatened to fire. The guard was instantly alarmed and immediately doubled, and all our long labored schemes and well digested plans, annihilated in a moment. You cannot form an adequate idea of the pangs we endured. My heart was nearly broken by the excess of surprise and burning anger, to be thus fatuitously deprived of the gladdening hope of a speedy return to our friends and country. It became us, however, to put the best face upon it. It was suddenly resolved by the chiefs to kill the person who should disclose the general plot, and to wait upon the officers on the ensuing morning, with our usual attentions. When morning came, it found us afoot. About sunrise, the formidable inquisition took place. Major Murray, Captain Prentis, the officer of the guard, and a dozen musketeers came, — we awaited their approach undismayed. They accosted us very coolly. The cellar was visited, and the work of those fools was apparent. Reascending, we could assure the gentlemen that this effort to escape, was without the knowledge of any of us. This, to be sure, was said in the jesuitical style, but those who made the assertion, did not then know either the persons or the names of the silly adventurers. The officers and the guard were departing, fully persuaded that it was no more than the attempt of one or two persons to escape. Major Murray was the last to recede. An Englishman of whom we knew not that he was a deserter from our enemies at Boston, had posted himself close to the right jamb of the door, which was more than half opened for the passage of the major. Those of us who were determined to execute our last night's resolution, armed with our long knives, had formed a half circle around the door, without observing the intrusion and presence of the deserter. Major Murray was standing on the threshold, speaking in a kindly manner to us, when the villain sprung past the major, even jostling him. The spring he made, was so sudden and so entirely
158unsuspected, that he screened himself from our just vengeance. Touching Major Murray's shoulder, "Sir," says he, "I have something to disclose." The guards encompassed the traitor, and hurried him away to the governor's palace. We instantaneously perceived the extent and consequences of this disaster. The prisoners immediately destroyed such of the arms as were too bulky to hide, if destructible, and secreted the rest. In an hour or two, a file of men with an officer, demanded Boyd, Cunningham and others, represented by the vile informer, as lukewarm in the plot. They were escorted to the governor's council. Here they found that the wretch had evidenced all our proceedings minutely, naming every one who was prominent. Our worthy compatriots were examined on oath, and as men of honor could not conceal the truth. The questions of the council (furnished by the informer), did not admit of equivocation or evasion, if the examinants had been so inclined, and besides all tergiversation, when the outline was marked, was nugatory. They boldly admitted and justified the attempt. We did not fare the worse in our provisions nor in the estimation of our enemy. Returning to the jail, my dear Boyd shed the tears of excruciating anguish in my bosom, deploring our adverse fate. We had vowed to each other to be free or die, and to be thus foolishly baulked caused the most heart rending grief. Towards two o'clock P.M. were seen several heavy cart loads, consisting of long and weighty irons, such as bilboes, foot-hobbles and hand-cuffs, arrive. The prisoners were ordered to their rooms. The ironing began below stairs with Morgan's company. Here the bilboes were expended. If not much mistaken, ten or twelve persons were secured, each by a foot to a bar twelve feet long, and two inches in diameter. The heavy bolts were exhausted in the story below us. When they came to our range of rooms, they turned to the left, instead of coming to the right where we were. By the time the officers came to us, even the handcuffs were
159nearly out. Each of us was obliged to take to his berth, which contained five men each. When they had shackled those of the lower berths, they commenced at one the most distant from ours. Slipping in the rear of my companions, bent down in apparent trepidation, the blacksmith ironed my messmates, and then called to me to descend and submit to his office. Coming — "Never mind that lad," said my friend Captain Prentis. They had but three or four pair of handcuffs left, which were clapped on the elderly and robust. Besides M'Coy, our Boniface the cook, Doctor Gibson, two others and myself, who were unhampered, all the rest were, in appearance, tightly and firmly secured. Though M'Coy and Boniface were adepts at insurrection, yet their services were of too much importance to government to be dispensed with. The others of the unfettered remained so from the exhaustion of the shackles. A new species of interesting occurrences, mingled with much fun and sportive humor, now occurred, which was succeeded by a series of horrible anguish. The doors were scarcely closed, before we began to assay the unshackling. Those who had small hands, by compressing the palms, could easily divest the irons from their wrist. Of these there were many, who became the assistants of their friends, whose hands were larger. Here there was a necessity for ingenuity. Knives notched as saws, were the principal means. The head of the rivet, at the end of the bar, was sawed off, it was lengthened and a screw formed upon it, to cap which a false head was made, either of iron or of lead, resembling as much as possible the true head. Again new rivets were formed, from the iron we had preserved in our secret hoards, from the vigilance of the searchers. These new rivets being made to bear a strong likeness to the old, were then cut into two parts — one part was driven into the bolt tightly, became stationary, the other part was movable. It behoved the wearer of the manacle to look to it, that he did not lose the loose part, and when the searchers
160came to examine, that it should stand firm in the orifice. Some poor fellow, perhaps from a defect of ingenuity, the hardness of the iron, or the want of the requisite tools, could not discharge the bilboes. This was particularly the melancholy predicament of three of Morgan's men, whose heels were too long to slip through the iron, which encompassed the small of the leg. It was truly painful to see three persons attached to a monstrous bar, the weight of which was above their strength to carry. It added to the poignancy of their sufferings, in such frigid weather, that their colleagues at the bar, having shorter heels, could withdraw the foot and perambulate the jail; where their companions left them, there they must remain, seated on the floor, unless some kind hands assisted them to remove.
There was a droll dog from the eastward who was doubly unfortunate; in the attack of the city he had received a spent ball in the pit of the stomach, which had nearly ended him; now it became his lot to have an immense foot bolt fastened to his leg, without a companion to bear him company and cheer his lonely hours. This victim of persecution and sorrow would sometimes come among us in the yard, bearing up his bolt, slung by a cord hitched over his shoulder. Nothing could damp his spirits. He talked, laughed and sung incessantly. Some others besides those, were similarly situated. Those who were so lucky as to have light hand cuffs, bore them about with them. The greatest danger of discovery arose from those who could free themselves from the heavy irons. The usual visitations were increased from twice to thrice a day, in the first and last the smith searched the bolts of each person. But there were other intrusions intermediately, by officers evidently despatched by the suspicions of government, for the purpose of discovery. To counteract these new measures of caution and jealousy, we were well prepared. Sentries, on our part, were regularly stationed at certain windows of the jail, to descry the
161approach of any one in the garb of an officer. The view from these windows was pretty extensive down two of the streets, particularly that leading to the palace. Notwithstanding every caution to avoid detection, yet the clang of the lock of the great door, was upon some occasions the only warning given us of the impending danger. The scamperings at those times were truly diverting, and having always escaped discovery, gave us much amusement. The clanking of the fetters followed, and was terrible; such as the imagination forms in childhood, of the condition of the souls in Tartarus; even this was sport. Happily our real situation was never known to any of the government officers; unless the good blacksmith (a worthy Irishman, of a feeling heart), might be called such, and he was silent.
Towards the middle of April the scurvy, which we had been imbibing during the winter, now made its appearance in its most virulent and deadly forms, preceded and accompanied by a violent diarrhoea. Many of those who were first affected were taken to the hospital. But the disease soon became general among us. We were attended several times by Doctor Maybin, the physician-general, who, by his tender attentions, and amiable manners, won our affections: he recommended a cleansing of the stomach, by ipecacuanha and mild cathartics, such as rhubarb, together with due exercise. Those who were young, active and sensible of the doctor's salutary advice, kept afoot, and practiced every kind of athletic sport we could devise. On the contrary, those who were supinely indolent, and adhered to their blankets, became objects of real commiseration — their limbs contracted, as one of mine is now; large blue and even black blotches appeared on their bodies and limbs — the gums became black — the morbid flesh fell away — the teeth loosened, and in several instances fell out. Our minds were now really depressed. That hilarity and fun which supported our spirits in the greatest misfortunes, gave way to wailings, groanings and death. I know, from
162dire experience, that when the body suffers pain, the mind, for the time, is deprived of all its exhilarations — in short, almost of the power of thinking. The elbow joints, the hips, the knees and ancles were most severely pained. It was soon observed (though the doctor's mate attended us almost daily, and very carefully), there was little or no mitigation of our diseases, except that the diarrhoea, which was derived from another cause than that which produced the scurvy, was somewhat abated; and that our remedy lay elsewhere in the materia medica which was beyond the grasp of the physician. The diarrhoea came from the nature of the water we used daily. In the month of April the snows begin to melt, not by the heat of the sun, but most probably by the warmth of the earth beneath the snows. The ground, saturated with the snow-water, naturally increased the fountain-head in the cellar. Literally, we drank the melted snow. The scurvy had another origin. The diet — salt pork, infamous biscuit — damp and close confinement in a narrow space, together with the severity of the climate, were the true causes of the scurvy.
There was no doubt in any reflective mind among us, but that the virtuous and beneficent Carleton, taking into view his perilous predicament, did every thing for us, which an honest man and a good Christian could.
An observation may be made in this place with propriety, that is, that in the climates of all high southern or northern regions, the soil is very rich and prolific. This beneficial operation of nature, is, in all likelihood attributable to the nitrous qualities which the snow deposits. Of the fact that nitre is the principal ingredient which causes fertility in the earth, no man of observation can at this day reasonably doubt. The earth is replete of it. Wherever earth and shade unite, it is engendered and becomes apparent. This idea is proved by the circumstance that nitre may be procured from caves, the earth of cellars, outhouses, and even from common earth, if kept under cover. During the late revolution, when
163powder was so necessary, we every where experienced the good effects of this mineralogical discovery; it gives me pleasure to say that it is most fairly ascribable to our German ancestors. The snows which usually fall in Canada about the middle of November, and generally cover the ground until the end of April, in my opinion, fill the soil with those vegetative salts, which forward the growth of plants. This idea was evinced to me by my vague and inconsiderate mind, from observations then made, and which were more firmly established by assurances from Captain Prentis, that muck or manure, which we employ in southern climates, is there never used. In that country, the moment the ground is freed from snow, the grass and every species of plant, spring forward in the most luxuriant manner. Captain Prentis, besides the continuation of his care and friendship to Gibson and myself, did not restrain his generosity to individuals, but procured for us a permission from government, to send out an old Irishman, of the New York line, an excellent catholic, to collect for us vegetable food. The first specimen of this good old man's attention and industry, was the production of a large basket-full of the ordinary blue grass of our country; this grass, by those who got at it, was devoured ravenously at the basket, if so happy as to be able to come near it. Scurvy grass, in many varieties, eschalots, small onions, onion-tops and garlic, succeeded, and were welcomed by all of us for several months afterwards. This voracious appetite for vegetables, seems to be an incident always concurring in that terrible disease, the scurvy; nature seems to instil into the patient, a desire of such food, and of acids, which are the only specific, with a due attention to cleanliness, hitherto discovered, that do eradicate the stamina of the disease. From my contracted knowledge, it is imperceptible that there is any material discrepancy between the sea-scurvy and the land-scurvy of high southern and northern latitudes. The descriptions given by Robins
164(or if you please, the Rev. Mr. Walter), and other voyagers, of the causes, the symptoms and the effects of that disorder, seem to concur in every particular with our various experience at Quebec. Recollect it is not a physician who speaks.
About the time above spoke of Governor Carleton directed that we should be supplied with fresh beef. This was no other than that which had been brought into the city when we lay at Aux-Tremble, in the foregoing autumn, and in aid of the stores of the garrison. It had lain in a frozen state during the winter, without salting, but now as warm weather was approaching, it began to thaw and was liberally disposed of to the garrison and prisoners. The beef was sweet, though here and there a little blueish, like the mould of stale bread, very tender, but somewhat mawkish. It was palatable and nutritive to men afflicted as we were. This beef, connected with vegetables, soon animated us with an idea of returning health and vigor; yet, though it mitigated the pains we endured, it did not totally expel the scurvy.
The seventh of May arrived. Two ships came to the aid of the garrison, beating through a body of ice, which perhaps was impervious to any other than the intrepid sailor. This relief of men and stores, created great joy in the town. Our army began their disorderly retreat. My friend Simpson, with his party, were much misused, from a neglect of giving him information of the intended flight of our army. Some few of the men under his authority, straggled and were taken in the retreat. They came to inhabit our house. Now, for the first time, we heard an account of the occurrences during the winter's blockade, which to us, though of
165trivial import, were immensely interesting. The sally of this day, produced to the prisoners additional comfort. Though the troops took a severe revenge upon our friends without, by burning and destroying their properties. The next day, more ships and troops arrived; a pursuit took place, the effect of which was of no consequence, except so far as it tended to expel the colonial troops from Canada. To the prisoners, this retreat had pleasing consequences; fresh bread, beef newly slaughtered, and a superabundance of vegetables, was a salutary diet to our reduced and scorbutic bodies. Still freedom, that greatest of blessings, and exercise were required to bring back to us genuine health. About this time an incident occurred, which threw us into ecstasy, as it relieved our minds and faculties from a most torturing piece of preservative duty; this was no other than an authoritative divestment of the irons. One day, perhaps the fifteenth or eighteenth of May, Colonel Maclean, attended by Major Carleton, a younger brother of the general's, Major Maibaum,
166Colonel Maclean, pointed out to the other officers: "This is general such-a-one, — that is colonel such-a-one," and in this manner proceeded to name all the leading characters. Happening to be very near the amiable, it might be said, admirable Major Carleton, he was overheard to say, "Colonel, ambition is laudable; cannot the irons of these men be struck off?" This the colonel ordered to be done immediately. Our kind-hearted blacksmith was not distant: he came and the officers remained to see some of the largest bolts divested, and then left us. "Come, come, gentlemen," said the blacksmith, "you can put off your irons." In a minute, the vast pile lay before him. Being now at full bodily liberty, we completed a ball court, which had been originally formed, as it were, by stealth. Here a singular phenomenon which attends the scurvy, discovered itself. The venerable and respectable Maybin had recommended to us exercise, not only as a mean of cure, but as a preventive of the scorbutic humors operating. Four of the most active would engage at a game of fives. Having played some games in continuation, if a party incautiously sat down, he was seized by the most violent pains in the hips and knees, which incapacitated him from play for many hours, and from rising from the earth, where the patient had seated himself. These pains taught us to keep afoot all day, and even to eat our food in an erect posture. Going to bed in the evening, after a hard day's play, those sensations of pain upon lying down, immediately attacked us. The pain would continue half an hour, and often longer. My own experience will authorize me to say two hours. In the morning, we rose free from pain, and the routine of play and fatigue ensued, but always attended by the same effects, particularly to the stubborn and incautious, who would not adhere to the wholesome advice of Doctor Maybin. Those who were inactive, retained those excruciating pains to the last, together with their distorted, bloated, and blackened limbs. Upon our return from
167Canada, in the autumn of 1776, I saw five or six of my crippled compatriots hobbling through the streets of Lancaster on their way home. It cost a tear — all that could be given. By the month of August, the active were relieved from those pains.
Towards the end of May, Governor Carleton ordered each of the prisoners a linen shirt. This gift, to me, was most agreeable, as linen next the skin, for some months past, was unfelt, and few persons who have not felt the extremity of such endurances as ours, can form a full conception of the gratification we enjoyed. Having had but one shirt on at the time of our capture, it was soon destroyed by the wearing, and the repeated washings it required. Delicacy forbids a dilation upon the cause and effects. You would laugh at the description of one of our washing parties. Rising early, the prime object was to make a strong ley of wood ashes, of which we had plenty, into which the linen was plunged, and concocted for an hour or more, under a hope of putting an end to certain vagrants, of a genera with which most of us are acquainted. During the boiling, the votaries of cleanliness, cloaked in a blanket, or blanket coat, watched the ebullitions of the kettle. The boiling done, the linen was borne to the yard, where each one washed his own, and watched it during the drying, almost in a state of nature. Captain Prentis, pitying my sad condition, pressed upon me often to accept from him, money to purchase a suit of clothes, and he would trust to the honor and integrity of my father for payment, whose character he knew. Adhering to my first determination, this polite and generous proposal of my amiable and deserving friend was as often, yet most thankfully declined, maugre the advice of my bosom friends Boyd and Cunningham to the contrary. He however forced upon me a half johannes. This small sum was applied to the solace of my heart. In the first place, to an article still more necessary than a shirt. The residue was expended upon matters which cheered the hearts of my messmates,
168whom I dearly loved; cheese, sugar, tea, coffee, etc., spirits was detested, as we knew it to be a poison to scorbutic persons. What pleased me much more, and gave me pure delight, was the following occurrence: Of my own accord, no one knowing of the intention, the good old Irishman was delegated to purchase three or four pounds of tobacco. It was secretly brought, and as secretly borne to our room. A pound was produced and fairly parted among our tobacco chewers. You cannot conceive their joy. When the first paroxysm was over, the remainder was disposed of in the same way. The thankfulness of those brave, but destitute men, arose towards me, nearly to adoration. You will ask why? Hear the reason. From your small knowlege of mankind, you can have little conception of the force habit has on the human race. One who chews, smokes or snuffs tobacco, is as little able to abstain from that enjoyment, as you would be, if compelled to refrain from your usual meals. This particular is spoken of, to persuade you by no mean to use tobacco in any shape. It is a poison, of the most inveterate kind, which like opium, arsenic, and several other medicaments, may be applied to healthful purposes, yet, if employed in an extreme degree, produces instantaneous death. These ideas are not visionary, but are supportable by the authority of some of the best physicians. You are at full liberty to put your own constructions upon these observations. But to return to my fellow-prisoners.
In the wilderness where the army soon run out the article of tobacco, the men had many valuable succedaneums. The barks of the different kinds of firs, the cedar, the red willow,
169astringent or bitter plants supplied the place; but within the bare walls of our jail there was no substitute for this dear and inebriating vegetable. Thus was all my money expended and much to my satisfaction and to the heartfelt pleasure of my brave and worthy companions, whose sufferings in certain points, were greater than my own. The table of the virtuous and generous Prentis had often furnished me liberally with wholesome viands. With convalescency, though pennyless, we again became merry and lighthearted.
In the beginning of August we were told by Captain Prentis, that the governor had concluded to send us by sea to New York upon parole for the purpose of being exchanged; that the transports which had brought the late reinforcements from Europe, were cleansing and preparing for the voyage. Now there was exultation. On the seventh of August we subscribed our written
171and which was to lead us in our supposed attack upon the upper town; this we pursued and came to the place of the second barrier, which had been lately demolished. The houses on both sides of the street in which we had taken our stand, were now in ruins, having been burnt by the garrison as were the suburbs of St. Roque and St. Johns. This was done to render them unfit for the shelter of future assailants. Thus it is that war destroys the wealth and robs the individual of happiness. We had no time to make observations but such as could be done in passing hastily. Returning to the upper town by the principal and winding road, we were strongly impressed with the opinion that if our whole force, as was intended, had formed a junction in the lower town, that it was utterly impracticable, either from our numbers or our means, to mount by a road such as this was. Suppose it not to have been barricaded and enfiladed by cannon, it must be assailed by the bayonet, of which weapon we had very few and the enemy was fully supplied. But when we reflect that across the road at the centre of the arc of each curve there was a barricade, and cannon placed to rake the intervals between the different barricades, the difficulties of the ascent, which is very steep, would be increased even to insurmountability. The road is very narrow and lined next the hill by a stupendous precipice; on the other hand there were some houses romantically perched on the side of the declivity, and some rocks. The declivity of itself was an excellent defence if the besieged could maintain the position in front, for in a short time, in so confined a space, the assailants must either die, retreat, or be thrown down the hill from the road. But suppose all these defences overcome, and we had arrived at the brow of the hill at the entrance of the upper town, here a still more formidable obstacle presented itself than those which could be formed by art in the lower parts of the road. At this place there is a hollow way, which in the hurry we were in and the slight view we dared take,
172appeared as if cut out of the solid rock, of a depth of thirty or forty feet. Athwart this way there was a strong stockade of a height nearly equal with the perpendicular sides of the way or gulley. From the surface above we might have been stoned to death by the defenders of the fortress without a probability of their receiving harm from us below, though ever so well armed. But the stockade itself, from its structure and abundant strength, would have resisted a force manifold our numbers, and much better supplied and accoutred. From these observations (those of an uninstructed youth to be sure), there was no hesitation in telling my intimate friends, then and since, that the scheme of the conquest of the upper town was visionary and groundless; not the result of our dear general's reflections, but forced upon him by the nature and necessities of the times and his disagreeable predicament. If a coalition of our forces in the lower town had taken effect, the general would then most probably have developed his latent and real plans. The reasons given in council may have been promulgated merely to induce a more spirited exertion upon the part of the officers and soldiery, who were not in the secret, to excite a factitious valor. Getting into serious action and warmed by the opposition of the enemy, the troops might have been induced to persevere in any apparently sudden design of the general. The cupidity of the soldiers had been played upon. This latter fact is known to me of my own particular knowledge. Some weeks before the attack the soldiers in their common conversations, spoke of the conquest of the city as a certainty; and exultingly of the plunder they should win by their bravery. It was not my business to contradict, but to urge them on. Perhaps the setting fire to the lower town on the side of Cape Diamond, considering the prevailing wind which was at southeast, but afterwards changed to north and northwest, such a design might have been effected. The shipping also ice-bound, numerous and valuable, moored around the
173point, would have been consumable. All this destruction would have been a victory of no mean kind; but adding eclat to the known gallantry and prowess of the general. The Almighty willed that we should never know the pith or marrow of his projects; whatever they were, my mind is assured that they were considerately and well designed. He was not a man to act incautiously and without motive, and too honest and brave to adopt a sinister part. No doubt we could have escaped by the way of St. Roque, protected by the smoke of the conflagration, and the terror and bustle which would consequently be created in the town. Though this pass is too narrow for the operation of a large body of men in an extended front, still we should have been too numerous (under the circumstances supposed), for the enemy to afford a force issuing from palace gate, adequate to oppose us. In the next instance if we should happen to be so very fortunate in such a retreat, as to bat the foes, they must retreat into the city by the way of palace gate, and we should have entered pell-mell, and should thus have achieved the possession of that important place, the upper town, which was the primary view and last hope of the general and the army. These were the crude notions of a youth formed upon the spot, but in a maturation of thirty years, are still retained.
The general did not want for information. Many persons, male and female (unnecessary mouths), were expelled the city, to wander for subsistence among their friends in the country. His own knowledge of Quebec, where he had served, would enable him by interrogation to extort from those emigrants a full stock of information of all the new defences erected by Governor Carleton since. Consequently, knowing the practicability of Cape Diamond (Aunce de mere, which must be provincial, and I do not understand), as an entrance to the lower town (but a most dangerous one), and that ol St. Roque, with which and its barriers, he was particularfy
174acquainted, from his own, and the observations of others; if so, he would most assuredly be informed of the defensive obstructions on the slope of the hill, and the encloyment of the troops, which would in consequence attend; and he would also know that this place, to the garrison, would be a perfect Thermopylae, impassable by ten times our numbers, if we had been veterans and were better furnished. From these reasons, there was an inducement for my mind, at all times since the attack, to conclude that it was never General Montgomery's real design to conquer the upper town, by an invasion from the lower town, but his hidden and true plan was, by a consolidation of our whole force, to burn the lower town, and the shipping, and to retreat by the way of palace gate and St. Roque. If a sally was made at palace gate, the event, as was observed before, might be fatal to the enemy. The comprehensive mind of Montgomery would not only appreciate to the full extent the peculiar advantages of the enemy, but estimate to its true value the means he possessed, and the merits of his own army. Presuming the colonists to be successful in the lower town, where there was much wealth, and the avaricious among us be in some degree gratified, it would have created a spirit of hope and enterprise in the men, tending to induce them to remain with us. Afterwards, combining our whole force, with the reinforcements we had a prospect of receiving, an attack upon the upper town might have succeeded. In a word the destruction of the lower town, in my apprehension, should be considered merely as preparatory to a general assailment of the upper town, notwithstanding all that has been said in the memoirs of those days. A contrary opinion went abroad "that the general, if he had lived, by this assault would have conquered Quebec." No idea could be more fallacious. It was politically right to keep up that opinion among the people in those trying times, but its accomplishment, with our accompaniment of men and defective arms, was ideal. Our walk
175from the great gate and palisade, was considerable, ere we reached our detestable dwelling; as we had enjoyed a few hours of fleeting liberty, the locking-up became the more horrible to our feelings. The next day, however, we had the ineffable pleasure of marching in a body to the water side, and embarked on board five transports. On the following day a new joy was in store for me. General William Thompson (of whom it might well be said, "this is a man"), who had commanded our regiment at Prospect hill, as its colonel: he had been taken prisoner at the Three rivers, with several other officers, in the preceding month of June. He was now aboard of our little fleet, destined to New York. Thompson came to our ship, to visit the miserable remnant of a part of his gallant corps. The general had a special message to me, from my father, with whom he was intimate. Coming through Lancaster in his way to his command in Canada, he was authorized by my father, if he saw me in that country, to furnish me with money. The good man proffered me four half-johannes, one only was accepted. What was nearer and dearer to my heart, was the information that my parents, relatives and friends were well. That money was applied to the use of my messmates, in the way of sea-stores. Permission being obtained, Boyd and myself went ashore; our purchases consisted of a very large Cheshire cheese, coffee, tea and sugar, together with a large roll of tobacco for the men. Again pennyless, jollity and mirth did not forsake us.
We sailed on the tenth of August, convoyed by the Pearl frigate, Captain M'Kenzie. Passing the delightful island of Orleans, much in shore, we observed the farmers reaping their wheat, which, as we run along, we could observe the haum, in many instances, was green towards the foot of the stalk. From this circumstance it was concluded, that frequently, particularly in cold or wet seasons the grain must be kiln-dried, as it is done in the north of England, and in Scotland, before it is housed
176and threshed. The wheat, though sown between the fifteenth and twentieth of May, and probably sometimes earlier or later, is weighty, and produces a very fine white flour. The voyage down the river, except a few boisterous days, was pleasant. We had some noble views, interspersed here and there with something like villages, chapels, and farm-houses. Afterwards, we had in prospect a bleak and dreary coast and country, whose craggedness inspired disagreeable sensations. The greatest curiosities were the seals, whose history and manners were then known to me, but whose living form excited attention, as they were creeping up or basking on the rocks. The porpoises, perfectly white, in vast droves played before and around us, and drew my attention and surprise, as none but the black southern porpoise had before come under my view. To become a naturalist, it is necessary a man should travel; it was many years before books could persuade me of the existence of a green-haired monkey; but these were diminutive objects indeed in nature's scale, of comparative imagery, when contrasted with the immense river Cadaracqua, or as it is now called St. Lawrence, second to no river in the world, unless it be the La Plata, of South America. Making this observation, you must understand me to include within it, the Lake Superior, and the waters which feed that lake. Off Gaspy Point, where we soon arrived, in a due north line, across the island of Anticosta, the river is about ninety miles wide. Steering with favorable weather, the island of St. Johns came in view; passing it, and the Gut of Canceaux, experiencing some stormy weather upon the ocean, and a few difficulties, we happily arrived at New York on the eleventh of September, 1776, and anchored three miles south of Governor's island. Now it was, for the first time, that we heard of the dilemma in which our country stood.
The battle of Long Island, on the twenty-seventh of August, had been unsuccessfully fought by our troops,
177many of whom were prisoners. In such hurrying times, intercourses between hostile armies in the way of negotiation upon any point, are effected with difficulty. We had waited patiently several weeks, to be disembarked on our own friendly shore; yet tantalized every day with reports that to-morrow we should be put on shore; some, and in a little while all, began to fear it was the intention of General Howe to detain us as prisoners in opposition to the good will of Sir Guy Carleton. This notion had so strongly impressed the minds of my friend Doctor Thomas Gibson, and a young man called John Blair, of Hendricks, that they determined to escape from the ship. They were, both of them, athletic and able bodied men, and most adroit. Gibson planned the manner of escape; its ingeniousness, hazard, boldness of execution and eventual success, received the applause of all, but was disapproved, upon the principle that it trenched upon their honor, and would impede our release. The story is this: Gibson and Blair, in the evening, dressed in shirts and trowsers, were upon the main deck with their customary flapped hats on their heads. Gibson gave me a squeeze of the hand in token of farewell; he was greeted kindly, for he was the brother of my soul. He and his companion went to the forecastle, where there were two large New Foundland dogs, each of which had his party, or rather his partizans among the crew. These, the adventurers hissed at each other. The dogs being engaged with their usual fury, attracted the attention of the sailors and many of the prisoners; they took this opportunity of stripping and letting themselves down at the bow into the water. Leaning over the sides of the ship, in company of some friends in the secret, and unregardful of the dogs, we awaited the management of the flight. The last lighted cloud appeared low in the west. Something extraordinary passed along the side, a foolish fellow asked, "what is that?" "a wave, you fool — a mere deception of sight," was answered. It was the head of Gibson, covered by his
178large black hat. Within a few yards of Gibson came Blair, but with a smaller hat, he was obvious; his white skin discovered him, but luckily the attention of the ignoramus was engaged another way. These daring men swam to the barge at the stern, entered it, and slipped the rope. They had rowed a thousand yards before the boat was missed. The other boats of our ship, and of those near us, were despatched after the runaways; it was too late, the fugitives had too much of a start to be easily overtaken. They landed (having rowed about five miles), naked, in our own country, somewhere in the vicinity of Bergen-neck, and bartered the boat for some ordinary clothing. They waited on General Washington, who disapproved of their demeanor.
A short time after the foregoing occurrence, a most beautiful and luminous, but baleful sight occurred to us, that is, the city of New York on fire. One night (Sept. 22), the watch on deck gave a loud notice of this disaster. Running upon deck we could perceive a light, which at the distance we were from it (four miles), was apparently of the size of the flame of a candle. This light to me, appeared to be the burning of an old and noted tavern, called the Fighting Cock (where, ere this I had lodged), to the east of the battery, and near the wharf. The wind was southwardly, and blew a fresh gale the flames at this place, because of the wind, increased rapidly. In a moment we saw another light at a great distance from the first, up the North river. The latter light seemed to be an original, distinct and new formed fire, near a celebrated tavern in the Broadway called White Hall. Our anxiety for the fate of so fine a city, caused much solicitude, as we harbored suspicions that the enemy had fired it. The flames were fanned by the briskness of the breeze, and drove the destructive effects of the element on all sides. When the fire reached the spire of a large steeple, south of the tavern, which was attached to a large church, the effect upon the eye was astonishingly grand. If we could have divested
179ourselves of the knowledge that it was the property of our fellow-citizens which was consuming, the view might have been esteemed sublime, if not pleasing. The deck of our ship for many hours was lighted as at noon day. In the commencement of the conflagration we observed many boats putting off from the fleet, rowing speedily towards the city; our boat was of the number. This circumstance repelled the idea that our enemies were the incendiaries, for indeed they professedly went in aid of the inhabitants. The boat returned about daylight, and from the relation of the officer and the crew, we clearly discerned that the burning of New York was the act of some mad-cap Americans. The sailors told us in their blunt manner, that they had seen one American hanging by the heels dead, having a bayonet wound through his breast. They named him by his Christian and surname, which they saw imprinted on his arm; they averred he was caught in the fact of firing the houses. They told us, also, that they had seen one person who was taken in the fact, tossed into the fire, and that several who were stealing, and suspected as incendiaries, were bayonetted. Summary justice is at no time laudable, but in this instance it may have been correct. If the Greeks could have been resisted at Persepolis, every soul of them ought to have been massacred. The testimony we received from the sailors, my own view of the distinct beginnings of the fire, in various spots, remote from each other, and the manner of its spreading, impressed my mind with the belief that the burning of the city was the doings of the most low and vile of persons, for the purposes, not only of thieving, but of devastation. This seemed, too, the general sense, not only of the British, but that of the prisoners then aboard the transports. Laying directly south of the city, and in a range with Broadway, we had a fair and full view of the whole process. The persons in the ships nearer to the town than we were, uniformly held the same opinion. It was not until some years afterwards, that a doubt was created;
180but for the honor of our country and its good name, an ascription was made of the firing of the city, to accidental circumstances. It may be well, that a nation, in the heat and turbulence of war, should endeavor to promote its interests, by the propagating reports of its own innocency and prowess, and accusing its enemy of flagrant enormity and dastardliness (as was done in this particular case), but when peace comes, let us in God's name do justice to them and ourselves. Baseness and villainy are the growth of all climes, and of all nations. Without the most numerous, and the most cogent testimony, as the fact occurred within my own view, the eloquence of Cicero could not convince me that the firing was accidental. Some time after the burning of the city, we understood that we were to be embarked in shallops, and landed at Elizabethtown point.
The intelligence caused a sparkling in every eye. On the next day about noon, we were in the boats; adverse winds retarded us. It was ten or eleven at night, before we landed; the moon shone beautifully. Morgan stood in the bow of the boat; making a spring not easily surpassed, and falling on the earth, as it were to grasp it — cried "Oh my country." We that were near him pursued his example. Now a race commenced which in quickness, could scarcely be exceeded, and soon brought us to Elizabethtown. Here, those of us who were drowsy, spent an uneasy night. Being unexpected guests, and the town full of troops, no quarters were provided for us. Joy rendered beds useless, we did not close our eyes till daylight. Singing, dancing, the Indian halloo, in short, every species of vociferousness was adopted by the men, and many of the most respectable sergeants, to express their extreme pleasure. A stranger coming among them, would have pronounced them mad, or at last intoxicated; though since noon, neither food nor liquor had passed our lips; thus the passions may at times have an influence on the human frame, as inebriating as wine or any other liquor. The
181morning brought us plenty, in the form of rations of beef and bread. Hunger allayed, my only desire was to proceed homewards. Money was wanting. How to obtain it in a place where all my friends and acquaintances were alike poor and destitute, gave me great anxiety and pain. Walking up the street very melancholy, unknowing what to do, I observed a wagon built in the Lancaster county fashion (which at that time was peculiar in Jersey), unloading stores for the troops come or coming. The owner seeing me, grasping my hand with fervor, told me every one believed me to be dead. Telling him our story in a compendious manner, the good old man, without solicitation, presented me two silver dollars to be repaid at Lancaster. They were gladly received.
182horses. Mounting, we arrived at the Harp and Crown about two o'clock in the morning. To us it was most agreeable that we passed through the streets of Philadelphia in the night time, as our clothing was not only threadbare but shabby. Here we had friends and funds. A gentleman advanced me a sum sufficient to enable me to exchange my leggins and moccasins, for a pair of stockings and shoes, and to bear my expenses home. A day and a half brought me to the arms of my beloved parents.
At Philadelphia, I waited upon a cousin of my mother's, Mr. Owen Biddle, then a member of the council of safety, who informed me that while in captivity, he had procured me a lieutenancy. My heart was otherwise engaged. Morgan the hero! had promised and obtained for me, a captaincy in the Virginia line. Following the fortunes of that bold and judicious commander, my name might have been emblazoned in the rolls of patriotic fame. But alas! in the course of eight weeks after my return from captivity, a slight cold, caught when skating on the ice of the Susquehanna, or in pursuing the wild-turkey among the Kittatinny hills, put an end to all my visionary schemes of ambition. This cause renewed that abominable disorder, the scurvy (which I had supposed was expelled from my system), accompanied by every morbid symptom, which had been so often observed at Quebec, attendant upon others. The medical men of all classes, being engaged in the army, that species of assistance was unattainable, in the degree requisite; lameness, as you now observe it, was the consequence. Would to God! my extreme sufferings had then ended a life, which since has been a tissue of labor, pain, and misery.
The following letters written from Canada respecting the Invasion of that Province by Arnold and Montgomery, are taken from the Pennsylvania Journal and Weekly Advertiser, Jan. 3, 1776.
Extract of a Letter from an officer under Col. Arnold, dated at Point aux Tremble (in Canada), Nov. 21, 1775.
"The last letter I wrote you was from the Dead river, Oct. 24, which 'tis probable you have never received. At that time our difficulties seemed to increase. We had a very rapid river to encounter with our boats, and a thick wilderness for those that marched by land; many places, some miles in length, of cedar swamp, hills, etc., but all these were tolerable while our provisions were plenty. At the head of ChaudiÄre lake, which is an hundred and some miles from the Canadian settlements, every man received his allowance of flour, and there was exactly four pints to each. Meat there was none. Upon this small supply we were obliged to push as we valued our lives, and did not know but we should have a powerful army to encounter. Then I first experienced the real advantage of health, being able to keep pace with the foremost, and reached the inhabitants, though in a very weak, half starved condition, Some dogs that had followed us were killed and eat, even the intestines, skin, etc. Many eat their shoes, shot pouches, etc., and some never reached the settlements; I believe no men ever went through more or greater hardships. Col. Enos, who commanded the fourth or last division of our little army, called a council o war at his entrance into the Dead river, and he with his whole party, consisting of three companies, returned back; this first caused our distress, as chief of our provision was in the rear under his care. From the last English inhabitants in the province of Maine, to the Canadian settlements, we were thirty-two days marching, and never saw any human being but those of our party, neither do I think it was ever passed, except by Indians and wild beasts. We were at least one month too late for this northern climate, as we suffered much from rains, cold, snow, etc., but our joy upon our arrival among the Canadians is inexpressible, and their kindness and hospitality soon made amends for all our fatigue, though I am sensible it will never be forgotten. From the first inhabitants up ChaudiÄre river, to Quebec, is called ninety miles. We were not permitted to tarry at any place, but marched on as fast as our strength would permit to Point Levi,
which is on the river St. Lawrence directly opposite to Quebec, where we found a number of armed vessels, from whom we were frequently complimented with salutes of their cannon.
"The country we last passed through was very thick settled, though every where you see marks of oppression. The people are poor and illiterate and appear to have no other end in view than keeping their souls and bodies together, and preparing for the next world, being exceedingly devout. We tarried at Point Levi near a week, during which time we were busy in preparing to cross the river, being obliged to purchase birch canoes twenty miles distant and carry them by land, the regulars at Quebec having burnt all near them as soon as they heard of our coming. The men of war lay in such a manner as they supposed would prevent our attempt, but on Monday the 13th inst., every thing was ready for our embarkation, and at nine o'clock in the evening, being very dark, the first division set off, and we passed between the Hunter of fourteen guns and Quebec, and landed safely at Point de Pezo. The boats were immediately sent back and continued passing till near daybreak, while the men on this side marched up the hill, at the same place the immortal Wolfe formerly did, and immediately formed. The place we marched up is called Wolfe's Cove, and were you to see the hill, you would think it morally impossible for any thing mortal to get heavy artillery up it. I forgot to inform you that Wolfe had intrenched himself very strongly at Point Levi, the remains of which are very evident, though defaced and much filled up. Near daybreak the guard boat belonging to the man of war was passing from the Hunter to the Lizard, a frigate of twenty-eight guns, at the time some of our boats were crossing, which made us uneasy, and as the guard boat came near the shore we hailed her, and then fired upon her, and could distinctly hear them cry out they were wounded; they pushed off, and the whole garrison was immediately alarmed. After waiting some little time till all our men were over (except a guard stationed at Point Levi), we marched across the plains of Abraham, and at daybreak took possession of some houses, one mile and an half from Quebec; after fixing a strong guard we retired, but were alarmed by their seizing one of our sentinels, whom they carried off. Our army was immediately marched off towards the walls. They fired some heavy shot at us, but without any execution; and our men as usual at Cambridge, picked up a number of them, gave them three hearty cheers and retired to their quarters. On Tuesday they made an attempt for a second sentinel, but were unsuccessful. Our little army immediately turned out, and we took possession of a nunnery in the suburbs within point blank shot, and fixed a strong guard there; they kept up a pretty heavy fire, but fortunately no person received the least injury. We had now in a great measure cut off all communications between the city and country, and I believe they began to feel we were not the most agreeable neighbors. On Wednesday we had two alarms and expected they would have turned out and ventured a battle, but it vanished with the roaring of their cannon. On Thursday evening, as a party were crossing St. Charles river (for Quebec stands on a point between St. Lawrence and St. Charles), one of our men, a Pennsylvanian, and a noble soldier was wounded by a cannon ball in the leg, which was cut off as soon as possible, but he had lost
so much blood before the doctor could see him that he expired next morning. We buried him on the plains of Abraham. A noble grave for a soldier, and which his past conduct, since he has been in this department, really merited. Little or nothing material passed on Saturday. On Sunday evening, about seven o'clock, every man received orders to parade at Head Quarters at three o'clock in the morning, with his pack on his back. The boats were dispatched across the river and our guard brought from Point Levi. At the appointed hour we assembled and received orders to retreat. We set off, and in our march passed three different armed vessels, and as the road is on the shore we expected at least a broadside, ut they passed us in peace, and upon their arrival at Quebec, we heard the discharge of a number of cannon, from which we concluded Carleton was on board one of them, or that 'twas for joy of our raising the seige. We marched eight leagues that day, and the colonel found it absolutely necessary to halt here, till he could provide the men with shoes or moccasins, many of them being almost barefoot; it was the first time I ever wore moccasins on a march, and I assure you from the roughness of the road (it being very hard) I could not, in my opinion, if my life had depended upon it, have marched ten miles next day. It has ever been our fortune from first marching from Cambridge, whenever we were much depressed, fatigued, etc., to hear some agreeable news that would immediately invigorate us, and enable us to proceed with tolerable cheerfulness. At this place we heard the agreeable news of Montreal being in our possession, that Governor Carleton made his escape in a birch canoe, and that he was actually in the ship that passed by here yesterday. In short everything once more seems to conspire in our favor. Gen. Montgomery is on his march for Quebec, and we halt here till he comes up, when we shall return to Quebec again, though whether it will be in our possession this winter or not is uncertain. We hear they are driving in all the cattle, etc., which will enable them to stand a long seige. In this part of the world 'tis time for men to think of winter quarters rather than attacking fortified towns; however we are Americans and American soldiers. I have not an objection to visiting the plains of Abraham once more, and 'tis probable shall have good quarters even in Quebec; at any rate I go with pleasure and sincerely believe every man in our army would rather return and is only sorry that our situation rendered it impossible for us to stay longer before Quebec. Our commander is a gentleman worthy the trust reposed in him; a man, I believe, of invincible courage; a man of great prudence; ever serene; he defies the greatest danger to affect him, or difficulties to alter his temper; in fine you will ever see him the intrepid hero, and the unruffled Christian.
"Thus have I endeavored to give you a short sketch of our past and present situation; I could wish my abilities could have placed it in a more correct light before you; in my present abode it was entirely out of my power, and it was not a little time before I could procure even thus much paper, which is the leaf of a book, a gentleman had for his journal. In better times expect better fare. Quebec, as I mentioned, stands upon a point, between St. Lawrence and St. Charles rivers, the latter not navigable, except for ferry boats, it consists of the upper and lower town, the latter is immediately on the point or water's edge, and consists of a large number of
houses built thick; the upper town is upon the hill, which is prodigiously high; the town is surrounded on the country part by a wall, from twenty-five to thirty feet high; there are, I think, three gates (though I am not certain), St. John's, Port Lewis, and St. Roque's. On each side the river St. Lawrence, from Quebec to Point aux Tremble (our present camp), the hills, or rather banks, are very high, not much less in general than fifty felt; many places close upon the river; in some places there is a rich piece. of level meadow, perhaps the distance of half a mile from the bank to the river. The whole from here to Quebec, is thickly inhabited, which I am informed is the case to Montreal. The houses are many of them genteel, rather than otherwise, though in general the inhabitants live very low, and in their dress, manners, stoves, etc., exactly resemble our Germans. Since I left Newbury Port till our march last Sunday, I do not recollect that I have seen an oak tree; I venture to say I have not. In the province of Maine, such part as we came through and Canada, has abounded chiefly with evergreens, such as fir, hemlock, spruce, cedar, pine, birch, maple, etc.; last Sunday I was happy in seeing a few oaks and an apple orchard. The inhabitants few or none speak English. How long we may stay here is uncertain — till our reinforcement arrives, 'tis probable, unless they should venture to attack us from Quebec. Be it as it will I am content, and can remove from place to place with as much resignation as almost any one, having been taught by this campaign to consider no place as my home for more than an hour or a day."
Extract of a letter from a volunteer with Col. Arnold to his friend in this city, dated Point aux Tremble, 21 miles from Quebec, November 21, 1775.
"We arrived before Quebec the 15th inst., after a severe march of about 600 miles; when we left Cambridge we were eleven hundred strong; about half way Colonel Enos got frightened, and with three companies, and the sick, which together was about one-half of our number, and the greatest part of the provision, turned back! May shame and guilt go with him, and wherever he seeks a shelter may the hand of justice shut the door against him; perhaps I have said too much, but a man that has suffered by him, can hardly refrain speaking. We were about two months on our march, thirty-two days of which we did not see a house, and at short allowance, six days of which we were at half a pound of pork and half a pound of flour per man a day, after which for four days we had only half a pound of flour per day, our pork being gone; two days of which we lost ourselves, marched forty miles, and were but ten miles on our way; our whole stores was then divided, and it was about four pints of flour per man; a small allowance for men near one hundred miles from any habitation, or prospect of a supply. After having traveled fifty or sixty miles on this scanty allowance we came to a river, which we were told was only eight miles from the inhabited parts, here I sat down, baked and eat my last morsel of bread; but, think what was my distress, when I found, after crossing the river, that I had thirty miles to travel before I could expect the least mouthful; however my dread was soon removed by the return of Col. Arnold, who, with a small party had made a forced march, and returned to us with some cattle he had purchased of the inhabitants; on these we made a voracious meal, and renewed our march with new courage to Point Levi — from
thence we were transported in birch canoes to the plains of Abraham, and from thence retreated to this place to wait for Gen. Montgomery, who, we are told, by express this day, will be with us soon."
Extract of a Letter from Point aux Tremble, dated Dec. 1, 1775.
"An incessant hurry of business since my arrival in Canada, has deprived me of the pleasure of writing before. This serves to give you a short sketch of our tour, the fatigue and hazard of which is beyond description; a future day may possibly present you with the particulars. The 15th Sept. left Cambridge, same night arrived at Newburyport 18th embarked and sailed; 19th thick weather and a gale of wind, which divided the fleet; 20th arrived in Kennebec river, 21st reached Fort Western; 25th to 29th one division marched off each day, with forty-five days provisions; from 29th to the 8th Oct. the whole detachment were daily up to their waists in water, hauling up the batteaux against the rapid stream, to Norridgewock, fifty miles from Fort Western; from the 9th to the 16th not a minute was lost in gaining the Dead river about fifty miles; from 16th to 27th we ascended to Lake Megantic or ChaudiÄre pond, distance eighty-three miles; 28th Col. Arnold embarked with seventeen men in five bateaux, being resolved to proceed on to the French inhabitants, and send back provisions to the detachment, who are near out, and must inevitably suffer without a supply; at ten we passed over the lake thirteen miles long and entered the ChaudiÄre river, which we descended about ten miles in two hours, amazingly rocky, rapid and dangerous, when we had the misfortune of oversetting and staving three bateaux and lost all their baggage, provisions, etc., and with difficulty saved the men. This disaster, though unfortunate at first view we must think a very happy circumstance to the whole, and kind interposition of providence, for had we proceeded half a mile further, we must have gone over a prodigious fall which we were not apprised of, and all inevitably perished; here we divided the little provisions left, and Col. Arnold proceeded on with two bateaux and five men with all possible expedition, and on the 30th at night, he arrived at the first inhabitants, upwards of eighty miles from the lake, where he was kindly received, and the next morning early sent off a supply of fresh provisions to the rear detachment by the Canadians and savages, about forty of the latter having joined us; by the 8th the whole arrived except two or three left behind sick; the 10th we reached Point Levi, seventy-five miles from Sartigan (the first inhabitants), waited until the 13th for the rear to come up and employed the carpenters in making ladders and collecting canoes, those on Point Levi being all destroyed to prevent our crossing; having collected about thirty we embarked at nine P. M. and at four A. M. carried over at several times five hundred men without being discovered. Thus in about eight weeks we completed a march of near six hundred miles not to be paralleled in history; the men having with the greatest fortitude and perseverance hauled their bateaux up rapid streams, being obliged to wade almost the whole way, near one hundred and eighty miles, carried them on their shoulders near forty miles over hills, swamps and bogs almost impenetrable, and to their knees in mire, being often obliged to cross three or four times with their baggage. Short of provisions, part of the detachment disheartened and gone back; famine
staring us in the face and an enemy's country, and uncertainty ahead; notwithstanding all these obstacles the officers and men inspired and fired with the love of liberty and their country, pushed on with a fortitude superior to every obstacle. Most of them had not one day's provision for a week. Thus I have given you a short, but imperfect sketch of our march. The night we crossed the St. Lawrence, found it impossible to get our ladders over, and the enemy being apprised of our coming we found it impracticable to attack them without too great a risk; we therefore invested the town and cut off their communication with the country. We continued in this situation until the 20th, having often attempted to draw out the garrison in vain; on a strict scrutiny into our ammunition found many of our cartridges (which to appearance were good) unserviceable, and not ten rounds apiece for the men who were almost naked, barefooted and much fatigued, and as the garrison was daily increasing and near double our number, we thought it prudent to retire to this place and wait the arrival of General Montgomery with artillery, clothing, etc., who to our great joy this morning joined us. We propose immediately investing the town, and make no doubt in a few days to bring Carleton to terms."
"I wrote you the 21st ult. which I make no doubt you have received. I then gave you some particulars of our march, proceedings, etc., since which Gen. Montgomery has joined us with artillery, and about 3000 men; and yesterday we arrived here from Point aux Tremble, and are making preparation to attack the enemy, who are in close garrison, but cannot hold out long, as from the best account they are very much divided amongst themselves, and a prodigious panic has seized them all. Carleton, we are told, is determined to hold out to the very last, as his only hope, for he can expect nothing but punishment from the ministry, whom he has most egregiously deceived, in regard to the inhabitants of this country. All his friends, or rather his courtiers, say, he could not have taken more effectual measures than he has, to ruin the country.
"The 22d ult. he issued a most extraordinary proclamation, strictly ordering all who refuse to take up arms and defend the garrison, to depart the town and district within four days, with their wives and children, under pain of being treated as rebels or spies. In consequence of which a great number of the principal inhabitants came out with their families, but were obliged to leave all their property behind, except some wearing apparel, and a little household furniture, etc. I inclose you a copy of the proclamation. Among the corps who came with Gen. Montgomery, is your worthy friend Captain Lamb, whom I had the pleasure of seeing a few days ago at Point aux Tremble. Our men are in high spirits, being now well clothed with the regimentals destined for the 7th and 26th regiments, who were taken prisoners at St. John's. This is a circumstance which, I believe, the like never before happened to British troops, as two regiments of them to be made prisoners at one time. Providence smiles on us in a most remarkable manner. The Canadians say, ‘Surely God is with his people, or they could never have done what they have done.’ They are all astonished at our march through the wilderness which they say was impossible, and
would not believe our coming, until they had ocular demonstration of it. We are at a great loss for intelligence from the army at Cambridge and other quarters, having had no certain accounts of their movements, nor the least syllable of news since we left Newbury. I am astonished a regular communication has not been opened between Montreal and the colonies, hope you will pay a little attention publicly to it, more especially as there are some scoundrels who, with impunity, open the letters directed to the officers in our army, and I suppose they continue the like infamous practice with the letters which are sent to our friends and acquaintance. The general is now absent sending off an express, by whom I send this. I hope the next time I write you, it will be from Quebec, for if the insulting foe does not surrender shortly, I believe it is the general's intention to carry the town by storm."
On leaving Paxtang this company mustered eighty-seven (87) men. Of this number notwithstanding our researches the names of only fifty-one (51) can be ascertained with certainty. No papers of Smith, Steel, Simpson or Cross, are known to exist. Of Capt. Hendricks's company raised near the same locality, on the west side of the Susquehanna, scarcely a dozen names have been rescued from oblivion. Both companies were of the flower of the country, brave, ardent and patriotic — and no wise daunted by the sufferings of the Arnold campaign — of those who returned nearly all returned to the service:
Matthew Smith, Paxtang.
Archibald Steel, Donegal.
Michael Simpson, Paxtang, commanded in the assault.
William Cross, Hanover
Boyd, Thomas, Derry, subsequently Capt.-Lieut, 1st Pa.
Cunningham, Robert, Londonderry, d. at Lancaster, of disease contracted in prison, soon after.
Dixon, Robert, killed in front of Quebec, Nov. 17, 1775. Belonged to West Hanover.
Ayres, John, Upper Paxtang.
Binnagle, Curtis, Londonderry.
Bellinger, Emanuel, Paxtang.
Black, James, Hanover.
Black, John, Upper Paxtang.
190Cavenaugh, Edward, resided in York county, subsequently, "Honest Ned" of Judge Henry.
Carbach, Peter, Paxtang. After return enlisted in Capt. John Paul Schott's Co., March 12, 1777. Discharged at Lancaster, in 1783. Resided in Dearborn Co., Ind., in 1830.
Connor, Timothy, Bethel.
Crouch, James, Paxtang; afterwards a colonel.
Cochran, Samuel, Paxtang; afterwards captain of the militia, 1781.
Crow, Henry, died in Derry.
Dougherty, James, Londonderry, captured at Quebec and put in irons eight weeks. Subsequently enlisted 12th Pa.
Dixon, Richard, Dixon's Ford.
Dean, Samuel, served one year, then appointed Lieut, in Col. Harts' regiment, Flying camp. Subsequently 1st Lieut, 11th Pa.
Egle, Adam, Lebanon; wagon-master at Cambridge, Col. Thompson's regiment.
Elder, John, Paxtang.
Feely, Timothy, Dixon's Ford.
Griffith, John, Harris's Ferry.
Harris, David, Harris's Ferry; subsequently Capt. Pa. Line.
Harris, John, Harris's Ferry; killed at Quebec.
Henry, John Joseph, Lancaster.
Kennedy, John, Hanover.
Marshall, Laurence, Hanover.
M'Granagan, Charles, Londonderry.
Merchant, George, Donegal.
M'Enally, Henry, Londonderry.
M'Konkey, John, Hanover.
Mellen, Atchison, Paxtang; resided in Lycoming county in 1813.
Nelson [Nilson], Alexander, Derry; killed in front of Quebec, Jan. 1, 1776.
Old, James, Derry.
Porterfield, Charles, Hanover.
Ryan, John, Derry.
Simpson, William, Paxtang; wounded August 27, 1775; brother of Michael Simpson.
Sparrow, William, Derry.
Shaeffer, John (drummer); resided in Lancaster in 1809.
Smith, Samuel, Paxtang.
Taylor, Henry, Paxtang; captured Dec. 31, 1773, returned Nov. 10, 1776.
Todd [Tidd] John, Hanover.
Teeder, Michael, Hanover; subsequently enlisted 5th Pa.
Warner, James; died in the wilderness near ChaudiÄre lake. — Henry, p. 198.
Waun, Michael, Derry; died at the crossing of the ChaudiÄre.
Weaver, Martin, Upper Paxtang.
Weirick, Valentine, Hanover; resided in Dauphin Co., 1813.
Wheeler, — [uncertain] from Paxtang. — Letter from Dr. W. H. Egle.
It often reëxhilerates my mind, when reflecting on the waywardness and unhappiness of my life, to remember the occurrences (July 1773), in a part of a days journey from the windlass of the old carrying place, on the south side of the river, west of Niagara, by a path which led us to a celebrated fountain, a little below the brow of the hill, called Mount Pleasant, and thence to the falls. My youthful imagination was greatly excited. The company consisted of a French gentleman, my uncle John Henry, and myself. The Frenchman was a trader who had but just arrived from the Illinois country, and had dealt beyond the Mississippi. When we came to Stedman's, his canoe, attended by three or four couriers de bois, lay on the beach turned upside down, with an immense number of packs of beaver, press-packed, strewed around, perhaps the whole might have been 3000 lb. weight. The canoe was of birch, fifty feet in'length, most beautifully made, its breadth was probably from six to seven feet in the middle, I examined with a curiosity, such as a boy of my age might possess — Henry.
"A Centennial Relic." Mr. Sheppard Harville of Lincolnville, has in his possession a French rifle gun barrel, that he found over thirty years ago, on Dead river at the foot of Arnold's falls, so called from the fact of its being on the route that Arnold marched with his army, through the wilderness to Point Levi, Quebec. It is one of the numerous falls by which he was obliged to carry his bateaux; Skowhig falls, Skowhegan; Bombazee falls, Norridgewock; Carratunk falls, Solon; and Hurricane falls, near White's ferry, Dead river.
Arnold's falls are a few miles below Flagstaff village, where Arnold raised his rag. He then sent Sergeant Bigelow and a few chosen men up on a high mountain, near by, to see if they could discover settlements in Canada; hence the name, Mt. Bigelow.
"Mr. Harville then of Solon, Charles Folsom and others of Skowhegan, Hartly Green and Asa Green of Dead river, were driving logs for Captain John Wheeler of Skowhegan. Hartly and Asa Green being the boatmen on the drive near where this gun barrel was found by Mr. Harville. When discovered by him on the trail near the falls, it was resting against a rock. The stock had entirely rotted off; and it is supposed to have been left there by one of Arnold's men one hundred years ago last September."
During the survey of the north-eastern boundary in 1844, one of the engineers traversing the swampy highland observed a hollow sound where he struck down his Jacob staff, he discovered on scraping away the moss an entire bateau, composed of sawed wood which was not indigenous to the locality, that rendered it more than probable that it was one of Arnold's Bateaux. — Later of Mr. John F. Anderson. — M.
At this place Morgan had given it out in orders, that no one should fire. One Chamberlaine, a worthless fellow, who did not think it worth while to draw his bullet, had gone some hundreds of yards into the woods, and discharged his gun. Lieut. Steele happened to be in that quarter at the time; Steele had but arrived at the fire, where we sat, when Morgan, who had seen him coming, approached our camp, and seated himself within our circle. Presently Chamberlaine came, gun in hand, and was passing our fire, towards that of his mess. Morgan called to the soldier, accused him as the defaulter; this the man (an arrant liar) denied. Morgan appealed to Steele. Steele admitted he heard the report, but knew not the party who discharged the gun. Morgan suddenly springing to a pile of billets, took one, and swore he would knock the accused down unless he confessed the fact. Instantly, Smith seized another billet, and swore he would strike Morgan if he struck the man. Morgan knowing the tenure of his rank, receded. This was the only spirited act I knew of Smith. Such were the rough-hewn characters which, in a few subsequent years, by energy, of mind and activity of body, bore us safely through the dreadful storms of the revolution. Morgan was of an impetuous temper, yet withal, prudent in war, as he was fearless of personal danger. His passions were quick and easily excited, but they were soon cooled. This observation is applicable to many men of great talents, and to none more than Morgan. His severity at times, has made me shudder, though it was necessary, yet it would have been a pleasing trait in his character if it had been less rigid. — Henry.
Head-Quarters, Cambridge, November 30, 1775.
A General Court Martial to sit to-morrow morning, at eleven o'clock, at Mr. Pomeroy's, in Cambridge, to try Lieutenant-Colonel Enos, for "quitting his commanding-officer without leave." President, Brigadier-General Sullivan, with the twelve field-officers next for court-martial duty.
I esteem it the duty of every man not only to merit a good name, but to appear in defence of it when unjustly attacked, and, if possible, to clear it from groundless aspersions. Great numbers, for want of proper information, or by artful misrepresentations, imbibe unreasonable prejudices against their fellow men, and form conceptions greatly to their disadvantage, who, on a full and impartial knowledge of the facts, will essentially alter their opinions, and applaud those actions which, from misrepresentation, they were inclined to censure and condemn. As my character, both as an officer and soldier, hath of late suffered much in the view of many, and as I value my reputation as high as my life (indeed, I consider it as the greatest curse that can befall a man to outlive his character), I must beg leave, through the channel of the press, to exhibit to the world the following representation of my case; which I trust will sufficiently clear up my character, and convince the impartial, that my conduct, instead of the censure, merits the approbation of the public.
At a Court of Inquiry held at Cambridge, on Wednesday, the 29th day of November, 1775, by order of his excellency the commander-in-chief of the forces of the United Colonies, to examine into the conduct of Lieutenant-Colonel Enos, for leaving the detachment under Colonel Arnold and returning home, without permission from his commanding officer, present:
Major-General Lee, president; Brig. General Greene, Brig. General Heath, Colonel Nixon, Colonel Stark, Major Durkee, Major Sherburne.
The court are of opinion, after receiving all the information within their power, that Colonel Enos's misconduct (if he has been guilty of misconduct) is not of so very heinous a nature as was first supposed, but that it is necessary, for the satisfaction of the world, and for his own honor, that a court-martial should be immediately held for his trial
CHARLES LEE, Maj. General, President.
A true copy, from the minutes of said court, compared and examined by
W. TUDOR, Judge Advocate.
Proceedings of a general court-martial of the line held at bead-quarters at CAMBRIDGE, by order of his Excellency GEORGE WASHINGTON, Esq., Commander-in-chief of the Forces of the UNITED COLONIES, DECEMBER 1, A.D. 1775.
Brigadier-General Sullivan, president Colonel Bridge, Colonel Sergeant, Colonel Greaton, Lieutenant-Colonel Cleveland, Lieutenant-Colonel Marsh, Lieutenant-Colonel Reed, Lieutenant-Colonel Brown, Lieutenant-Colonel Vose, Major Poor, Major Wood, Major Woods, Major Johnson W. Tudor, judge advocate.
The court, being duly sworn, proceeded to the trial of Lieutenant-Colonel Enos, of the Twenty-Second Regiment, under an arrest for leaving the detachment under Colonel Arnold, and returning home, without permission from his commanding officer.
Lieutenant-Colonel Enos, being arraigned on the above charge, says, that true it is, he did return without permission from Colonel Arnold, his commanding officer; but the circumstances of the case were such as obliged him so to do.
Captain Williams. At the great carrying-place, I heard that the men ahead were in want of provision. About two-thirds across the great carrying-place, I met Major Bigelow coming back with ninety-five men, who said they wanted provision I dealt out to them a barrel of pork and one of flour I delivered Major Bigelow six barrels more of provision. We proceeded forward, and met several parties returning home, and we had orders to supply them with provision to reach the English settlements, When I came up with Colonel Enos, I was informed by Major Bigelow there had been a council of war, and that it was settled that, for want of provisions, the whole detachment under Colonel Enos should return. Colonel Enos proposed to go forward, and let his division return; but as there was a large number, besides those which belonged properly to our division, and as we had several invalids to bring back, and were very short of provision (for we had but three days' provision, and were above one hundred miles from the English settlements), I thought it was absolutely necessary for Colonel Enos to take the command of the party back, and protested against his going on to join Colonel Arnold at the same time, not knowing that Colonel Enos had any orders from Colonel Arnold to join him. That division which went on to join Colonel Arnold had not more than five days' provision. We supplied Colonel Greene's division with most of their provision, and left ourselves but three days' provision.
Captain McCobb. About fifty miles up the Dead river we held a council of war, at which I assisted as a member; and it was agreed that the whole division go forward, and time was too precious and provision too scarce to enter into disputes. It was thought best for the service, that Colonel Greene's division should proceed, and we left them with about five days' provision, and returned with three ourselves. Lieutenant-Colonel Enos was for going forward without his division; but, for the same reasons which have been mentioned by Captain Williams, I protested against his going on.
Captain Scott confirms all that Captain McCobb deposes, and adds, that he himself protested against Colonel Enos's going forward that he thought, and is now confirmed in the opinion, that the presence of Colonel Enos was very necessary to preserve the harmony and order necessary to secure the safe retreat of the men who were ordered to return.
Lieutenant Hide. I assisted at the council of war up the Dead river. We found, by the best computation, that it would take fifteen days to reach any French inhabitants, and that it would be impossible for both divisions of Greene's and Enos's to go through, the provision being so short. It was adjudged that there was about four days' provision for those who went forward, and we returned with three. I protested against Colonel Enos's going on to join Colonel Arnold, his presence being necessary for our safe retreat, as we had a number of invalids, and a considerable number of men who did not belong to either of the companies in our division.
Lieutenant Buckmaster confirms what Lieutenant Hide deposes; and adds, that it was the opinion of all the officers of Colonel Enos's division, that he should return with his division, as we had one hundred and fifty men who did not belong to our division, who had only a subaltern to command them, and whom it would have been impossible to manage without Colonel Enos's presence.
The court being cleared, after mature consideration, are unanimously of opinion, that Colonel Enos was under a necessity of returning with the division under his command, and therefore acquit him with honor.
JOHN SULLIVAN, President.
A true copy of the proceedings.
Attest:— W. TUDOR, Judge Advocate.
New-York, April 28, 1776.
I hereby certify that I was president of a court-martial, in Cambridge, when Colonel Enos was tried for leaving Colonel Arnold with the rear division of the detachment under his command, bound for Quebec and, upon the trial, it clearly appeared to me, as well as to all the other members of the court, that Colonel Enos was perfectly justifiable in returning with the division, being clearly proved, by the testimony of witnesses of undoubted veracity (some of whom I have been personally acquainted with for a number of years, and know them to be persons of truth), that so much provision had been sent forward, to support the other divisions, as left them so small a quantity that their men were almost famished with hunger on their return and some would undoubtedly have starved, had they not, by accident, come across and killed a large moose. Upon their evidence, there remained no doubt in the mind of myself, or any of the members, that the return of the division was prudent and reasonable; being well convinced that they had not provision sufficient to carry them half way to Quebec, and that their going forward would only have deprived the other division of a part of theirs, which, as the event has since shown, was not enough to keep them all from perishing we therefore unanimously acquitted Colonel Enos with honor.
I further certify, that by a strict inquiry into the matter since, from persons who were in the divisions that went forward, I am convinced that had Colonel Enos, with his division, proceeded, it would have been a means of causing the whole detachment to have perished in the woods, for want of sustenance.
I further add, that I have been well informed, by person acquainted with Colonel Enos, that he has ever conducted as a good and faithful officer.
The case of Lieutenant-Colonel Enos having engaged the attention of many officers of the army, as well as others, and as we are informed he is much censured by many persons, for returning back from the expedition to Canada, under the command of Colonel Arnold, by which Colonal Enos's character greatly suffers, we think it our duty to certify, that some of us, from our own personal knowledge of the military abilities of Colonel Enos, and others of us from information, are fully convinced that he is a gentleman fully acquainted with his duty as an officer, a man of fortitude and prudence, and, in our opinion, well calculated to sustain, with honor, any military character; and, from the fullest inquiry, we are satisfied that (whatsoever different representations may be made) in returning to camp, with the division under his command, he is justifiable, and conducted as an understanding, prudent, faithful officer, and deserves applause rather than censure; and we can safely recommend him as a person worthy to be employed in any military department.
WILLIAM HEATH, Brig.-Gen.
JAMES REED, Colonel.
J. BREWER, Colonel.
SAMUEL H. PARSONS, Colonel.
JOSEPH REED, Colonel.
JONATHAN NIXON, Colonel.
CHARLES WEBB, Colonel.
DANIEL HITCHCOCK, Colonel.
JOHN STARK, Colonel.
LEVI WELLS, Major.
SAMUEL WYLLYS, Colonel.
WILLIAM SHEPARD, Lieut.-Col.
ANDREW COLBURN, Major.
JOEL CLARK, Lieut.-Col.
EBENEZER SPROUT, Major.
EBENEZER CLAP, Lieut.-Col.
SAMUEL PRENTICE, Major.
CALVIN SMITH, Major.
JOSIAH HAYDEN, Major.
JOHN BAILY, Colonel.
JOHN TYLER, Lieut.-Col.
THOMAS NIXON, Lieut.-Col.
LOAMMI BALDWIN, Colonel.
JAMES WESSON, Lieut.-Col.
ISAAC SHERMAN, Major.
Now, let Dr. Smith, of Philadelphia, display the malignity of his heart in another funeral oration, in attempting to stab my reputation, and render me infamous in the view of the world. However, I will venture to assert, that if ill-nature, and a fondness to raise his reputation on the ruin of his fellow-men, are as discernible in his other political writings as in this oration, so far as it respects my character, he is one of the most dangerous writers, and, perhaps, the most consummate villain, that walks on the face of God's earth. Ignorance of my real character, and of the grounds and reasons of my conduct in returning from the expedition to Canada, was no warrant for such indecent freedom as he has used in his malicious, though feeble attempt to ruin my reputation. He ought to have waited till a true and impartial history of the facts had enabled him to talk on the subject with propriety, and not have uttered things at random; and, for the sake of furnishing matter for declamation, have undertook, with such violence, to blacken the character of an innocent man. ROGER ENOS.
New London, May 31, 1776.
In a drunken bout at Philadelphia, he had blindly stumbled into a house, which he took to be his lodgings. Here detected in one of the chambers, he was charged as a felon. Gracious God! upon the superfices of thy earth, there was never a more unoffending soul. He could scarcely see a yard before him.
It has amused and pleased me often to hear that he extols me. He is now industrious.
The fate of James Warner, among others, was really lamentable. He was young, handsome in appearance, not more than twenty-five years of age; he was athletic and seemed to surpass in bodily strength. Yet withal he was a dolt. His wife was beautiful, though coarse in manners. The husband on the other hand, was a poor devil, constantly out of view, or in the background of the pictures.
We heard nothing of them after entering the marsh, and until a month had elapsed at Quebec. In December, the wife or widow of poor James Warner, came to our quarters on the Low-grounds, bearing her husband's rifle his powder-horn and pouch. She appeared fresh and rosy as ever. This arose from the religious and gratuitous spirit of the Canadians.
The story Mrs. Jemima Warner told, was extremely affecting, and may be worth remembering, as it is something like a sample of the whole of our distresses and intolerable disasters.
The husband was a great eater. His stores of provisions after the partition, at the head of the ChaudiÄre, were in a little time consumed. The consummate wife ran back from the marsh, and found her beloved husband sitting at the foot of a tree, where he said he was determined to die.
The tender-hearted woman attended her ill-fated husband several days, urging his march forward; he again sat down. Finding all her solicitations could not induce him to rise, she left him, having placed all the bread in her possession between his legs with a canteen of water. She bore his arms and ammunition to Quebec, where she recounted the story. The nephews of Natanis, afterwards at Quebec, confirmed the relation of this good woman. For when going up, and returning down the river with our inestimable friend M'Cleland, she urged them, suffused in tears, to take her husband on board. They were necessarily deaf to her entreaties. Thus perished this unfortunate man at a period of his age when the bodily powers are generally in their full perfection. He and many others, who died in the wilderness, lost their lives by an inconsiderate gluttony. They ate as much at a meal as ought to have been in our circumstances the provision of four days, and a march of one hundred miles. Young men without knowledge or previous experience are very difficult to govern by sage advice, when the rage of hunger assails.
To conclude this lengthy note, allow me to introduce to you another instance of human misery, which came under my eye, in this dolorous and dreadful march. As was before observed in the body of the work "At the head of the ChaudiÄre, it was given out by the officers, that order would not be required from the soldiery in the march, etc." Yet the companies, being in the most part either fellow-townsmen, or from the same county, adhered together, bound by that affectionate attachment which is engendered by the locality of birth, or the habitudes of long and severe services, in a communion and endurance of hardships and desperate adventures. It appears to me to be a principle of the human mind, "that the more hardships we endure in company of each other, the greater becomes our esteem and affection for our fellow-sufferers." For myself, this is said from experimented woe and extreme calamity.
We had no path, the river was our guide. One day, either the second or third of this march, a mountain jutting in a most precipitate form into the river compelled us to pass the margin of the stream upon a long log, which had been brought thither by some former freshet. The bark and limbs of the tree had been worn away by the rubbings of the ice, and the trunk lay lengthwise along the narrow passage, smooth and slippery, and gorged the pass. This difficulty had collected here a heterogeneous mass of the troops, who claimed the right of passage according to the order of coming to it. The log was to be footed, or the water, of the depth of three or four feet, must be waded. There was no alternative. An eastern man, bare-footed, bare-headed, and thinly clad, lean and wretched from abstinence, with his musket in hand, passed the log immediately before me. His foot slipped, and he fell several feet into the water. We passed on regardless of his fate. Even his immediate friends and comrades, many of whom were on the log at the same moment, did not deign to lend him an assisting hand. Death stared us in the face. I gave him a sincere sigh at parting, for to lose my place in the file, might have been fatal. This pitiable being died in the wilderness. The hard fate of many others might be recapitulated, but the dreadful tale of incidents, if truly told, would merely serve to lacerate the heart of pity, and harrow up the feelings of the soul of benevolence. Tears many years since, have often wetted my cheeks, when recollecting the disasters of that unfortunate campaign, the memorable exit of my dearest friends, and of many worthy fellow-citizens, whose worth at this time, is embalmed solely in the breasts of their surviving associates. Seven died sheerly from famine; and many others by disorders arising from hard service in the wilderness. — Henry.
Of the other company officers Lt. John McClellan, who resided on the Juniata died on the march to Quebec. Lt. Francis Nichols was captured at Quebec; after the war he was commissioned brigadier general in the Pennsylvania forces. Dr. Thomas Gibson of Carlisle was also captured. He died at Valley Forge in the memorable winter of 1778. — Ibid.
To give you a more perfect idea of the brutality of savage torture, and of heart-rending sensations, I can do no better than to lay before you the letter of the Honorable Thomas Campbell, of the senate, who himself has been a martyr in our cause. He saw the corpse of the unfortunate Boyd on the following day, and interred it. Since the death of Colonel Crawford we know nothing like the present martyrdom, in the cause of liberty; and it is to be hoped, from the prudence and strength of the federal government, nothing of the kind will again occur in our future wars with the aborigines of our country.
"SENATE CHAMBER, LANCASTER,
"January 30th, 1809.
"Captain Lieutenant Thomas Boyd, belonging to the riflemen of the state of Pennsylvania, was most inhumanly murdered by the Indians. His death occurred on the 13th day of September, 1779, at the Genesee Castle, on General Sullivan's expedition to the northwestward, against the Six-nation Indians."
"He was sent on the night of the 12th of September, from the camp, near a lake called ‘Conesus,’ with a party of men, consisting of twenty soldiers, five volunteers and an Indian chief, named Han-Jost, belonging to the Oneida nation: in all twenty-seven in number. They were sent by General Sullivan to reconnoitre an Indian town, supposed to be about six miles distant from the camp. On the morning of the 12th of September, the army took up the line of march before sunrise, but marching a short distance, was obliged to halt, till the pioneers made a bridge over a morass, otherwise the cannon could not have been brought up. The town that Captain Boyd was taken to, was evacuated by all except two Indians, one was on horseback, the other was leading a cow. James Elliot and Timothy Murphy were sent to stop them, they both discharged their guns at the same time, the one that led the cow was killed, the other, though severely wounded, escaped. Boyd returning slowly, expecting to meet the army, saw an Indian start up and run off. It was with great difficulty that Boyd stopped the men from pursuit, at the request of Han-Jost, who said the Indian was only a runner, sent to draw them into an ambuscade. Eighteen of the soldiers were killed, and Han-Jost the Oneida chief, was made a greater sacrifice than any of the white men who fell or were taken at that place.
"Captain Boyd and Michael Parker were made prisoners, and taken to the Genesee Castle, and there most inhumanly murdered. Boyd's head was taken off and totally skinned, his right eye was taken out, as also his tongue. His right foot, from the ball of the heel to the toes, was laid open as if with a knife. He was cut open across the bottom of his belly, and his bowels were taken out, and a very long knife was sticking in between his shoulders, descending to the vital parts. This seems to have been the coup de grace.
"General Simpson and myself, were sent to see the corpse of Boyd interred. I spread a blanket on the ground beside him, we then turned the corpse over on it. I took the head of the deceased, and put it as near the neck as possible. I procured a needle and thread from one of the tailors, and sewed the corpse up as well as I could. As to the head of Michael Parker, it could not be found. All the flesh was cut out from his shoulders downward, and otherwise his body was most inhumanly mangled.
"We interred the corpses of both, near the Genesee Castle, in separate graves, on the 14th day of September, 1779.
"I am Sir,
Your humble servant
Late a captain of the fourth
"To the Hon. John Jos. Henry."
Though we have no account from an eye witness, of the barbarous manner in which Captain Boyd was tortured, yet we may conceive from the appearance of his body, that the most malignant and hellish pains were exercised upon it. The being emboweled, conveys an idea of a known mode of Indian torment: the fixing an end of the entrails to the stake, and compelling the prisoner by fire and blows to run till the conglomerated mass is expended. Upon the subject of these tortures, look at Dr. COLDEN'S History of the Mohawks, and Judge SMITH'S History of New York.
Colonel Campbell is of opinion, that the wound along the sole of Captain Boyd's foot, was made before the savages brought him to their (castle) or village. His reason is, that the wound was filled with bits of rotten branches of wood, and small pieces of leaves. The conjecture may be true, as Indian punishment, at its acme, is to give the greatest degree of pain. — Henry.
This, however, is known, that for many years he was a prisoner in England, returning from his captivity to America, he brought with him a manuscript, which he afterwards entitled The Oracle of Reason. My beloved children, it is the farthest from my thought to confine your knowledge to narrow bounds; when you dip into scriptural history, dip deep, do not skim the surface of the subject, as many fools have done of late days. Upon a thorough inquiry, your hearts will be animated by a conviction that there came a Saviour to redeem you from eternal perdition, and to provide for you an eternal salvation and state of happiness.
That book was most certainly the composition of Ethan Allen. He was very illiterate; he did not know the orthography of our language. The extent of his learning, probably bounded by some historic chronicles, and a few other books of little account, did not go beyond the scriptures. The gentleman who gave me the above information, was an elegant scholar, bred at Harvard college. Going to New York in the summer of 1786, a friend, from mere curiosity, requested me to purchase the book for him. Being detained at New York six weeks by business, I frequently looked into the detestable volume. The argument if so diabolical a work can be said to contain argument, was in general arranged, and conducted in the same manner as the Age of Reason, but in a coarser, and yet a more energetic language, than that of the latter work. On my return to Philadelphia, in a conversation with the Vermontese gentleman, who was still there, Ethan Allen's Bible, became a topic of discourse. He gave me this curious anecdote which he averred upon his honor to be true. A young gentleman, either a scholar of Harvard or Yale college, had come into Vermont, and there taught a school, Allen labored under the want of an amanuensis and transcriber of knowledge and learning. The scholar, to increase his emoluments, became such. Allen attended him daily, standing, staff in hand, at the back of the young man's chair. "Sir," he would say to Allen, "this word is misspelled." "Amend it." Again, "this word is misplaced, the sense is incorrect," etc. Allen, who was most profane, would swear (sometimes raising his staff) "By G** sir, you shall insert it; you shall not alter it." Thus the Oracle of Reason came into the world; which, of all books, is the most bluntly vicious, as regards the well-being of society; the salvation of souls; and the happiness of those who have faith in the redemption by the blood of our Saviour. But that which is very remarkable, is, that long after the publication of Allen's book, which had fallen into oblivion, even with its readers, that vile reprobate, Thomas Paine, loaded with every crime which stains and dishonors the Christian and the gentleman (in addition to his shameful practices in life, Paine, as an author, superadded plagiarism), filched from Ethan Allen the great body of his deistical and atheistical opinions, which from the time of Celsus, down to the age of Chubb, Tindal and others, have been so often refuted by men of the utmost respectability of character and fame. When we reflect upon the vicissitudes of this world, its immense revolutions in temporal affairs, the awful persecutions which occurred in early times, the collisions of opinion and party rage, in the article of religious belief; and the vast body of martyrs who devoted their lives in support of their faith, we must believe that there is something more than ordinary; something really divine in the system of our religion, springing from God himself. In the last ages, we know of many of both sexes, of the soundest and best instructed minds, whom it is almost needless to name, unless it be merely for the purpose of opposing their virtues and characters to persons of a different mode of thinking. All of them possessed a firm and solid credence in the celestial origin of our holy faith, and some of them sealed their creed with their blood. When such men suffer because of principle, some reliance should be placed on their good sense and knowledge. The terms enthusiasm and madness, have been too often coupled, as conveying the same idea. George Fox, Captain Meade, and William Penn, have been called enthusiastic madmen, but we now know that they acted through the course of the religious parts of their lives, from a conviction of the principles of the gospel, being genuine and absolutely true. However, on this subject, but a few names need be repeated to convey to your minds its importance and solemnity. Many of the greatest men, as it concerns worldly things, were Christians. John Huss, Jerome of Prague, Martin Luther, John Calvin, Cranmer, Hooker, Tillotson, of the clergy; of the laity, Sir Thomas Moore, Sir Matthew Hale, Spangenberg, Mosheim, Joseph Addison, Richard Steele, Lord Henry Littleton, Soame Jenyns, and thousands of others, all men of profound learning, have testified by their lives and writings, a reliance on the merits of the redemption by the blood of Christ Jesus. But when we find those men supported and reinforced by two of the strongest minded men that ever lived, Sir Isaac Newton and John Locke, who can doubt? When we contrast their opinions with those of Hobbs, Chubb, Henry St. John, Voltaire, J. J. Rousseau, Beringer, the great Frederick of Prussia, or Mr. Gibbon, how deeply do the last not sink, by the weight of reason and argument? Allen and Paine are paltry wretches, mere scribblers, if classed with the men last named. Those were beautiful writers, whose language fascinates, but corrupts the youthful mind, these are dull plodders, who knew not the principles of their mother tongue; but it is perhaps from the circumstance of illiterateness, that Allen and Paine have attacked Christianity in so gross and indecorous a manner. The maniac Paine, when confined in the prison, Conciergerie, at Paris, seems to boast "that he kept no bible." This may be true. But the expression shows that his proper place, instead of a common jail, should have been a mad-house.
It shows, however, a vanity of mind beyond the bearing of men of understanding. Indeed he was inflated by a supercilious pride, and an imaginary importance, which made his society undesirable. He was one of that class of men who, with a small spice of learning, in company, domineered as if he had been a Johnson. He was almost unbearable to many men, who patronized him because of the good effect of his works during the revolution. To give you a few instances; the late David Rittenhouse, Esq., one of the most amiable, most ingenious and best of men, treasurer of the state, George Bryan, Esq., the vice-president of the council, a man of great reading and much good sense, Jonathan Sergeant, the attorney general of Pennsylvania, whose oratorical powers could scarcely be surpassed, and your grand-father, and many other gentlemen of character, during the course of the years '77, '78 and '79, were in habits of intimacy with him, but his dogmatic disposition and obstinacy of mind, frequently caused great disgust. Again, Colonel Samuel John Attlee, an excellent patriot, and a man of note among us, both in the military and civil capacities of a citizen, gave this anecdote to me, a few months after the occurrence happened. Though all the gentlemen present, approved of the writings of Paine, as they concerned our political state, for they were all of them to a man, good whigs, yet they abhorred him, because of his personal aberrations from virtue, and the decencies of social life. A Mr. Mease of Philadelphia, who was clothier general, had invited a number of gentlemen of the army, then in the city, to dine with him. Among whom were Colonel Attlee, Colonel Francis Johnson, General Nichols, and many members of the legislature of whom there was Matthias Slough of Lancaster. You may readily suppose, that the excellent wine of Mr. Mease exhilerated the company. When returning to their lodgings, Colonel Attlee observed Paine coming towards them down Market-street. There comes "Common Sense," says Attlee to the company. "Damn him," says Slough, "I shall common sense him." As he approached the party, they took the wall. Mr. Slough tripped him, and threw him on his back into a gutter, which at that time was very offensive and filthy.
This is told, to communicate a trait to you, in the character of Thomas Paine, who did some good, but a vast deal of harm to mankind, "that the very people who were most benefited by his literary labors, hated him." The company I have spoken of, were all men of eminence in the state; men who staked their all on the issue of the revolution. The writings of Paine as concerns us, are many of them handsomely worded, have pith and much strength or argument, and are in general correct, yet his domestic life and manners were so very incorrect, that a disgust, which was perhaps right, destroyed every favorable personal feeling towards him. His indelicacy was intolerable. His numbers of Common Sense, the Crisis, and some other of his fugitive pieces, every American who recollects those "trying times," must acknowledge to have been extremely beneficial to our cause. This has often been admitted by our Generals Washington, Gates, Greene, etc., but he was compensated, and had the secretaryship for foreign affairs. Like all men of bad principles, he betrayed his trust, and a virtuous congress displaced him, yet the different states more than remunerated him for all his writings.
So it is, that that man who was without virtue, a disturber of society, an ill husband, an unworthy citizen, cloaked by every vice, would now by his Age of Reason, which he stole from the ignorant Ethan Allen, who was as iniquitous as himself, destroy the peace of mind, and all the hope of happiness in futurity, of those who rely on the redemption of their souls by the blood of Christ; and that, without substituting, or even suggesting, any other manner of faith, tending to quiet the minds of sinners. I knew Paine well, and that personally, for he lodged in the house of my father, during the time that Generals Howe and Clinton were in Philadelphia. His host often regretted the entertainment he gave him. His manners were in opposition and hostile to the observances of the proprieties and due ordinances of social life. Many who approved of his political writings abominated his detestable mode of living and acting.
[I am justified in using these expressions, by an occurrence in 1794, with my own mother. She was a woman of strong understanding, and of unfeigned and rigid belief in the truths of gospel-history, yet a dispassionate, placid and mild religionist. Her heart was so free from thinking ill of any one, that of a truth of her it might be said "she knew no guile." One day going to a bookseller's in Lancaster, I met with an extract in the shape of a pamphlet of Doctor Joseph Priestley's History of the Corruption of Christianity. Never having seen any of that gentleman's polemic works, it was purchased. My mother as usual came in in the evening, to sit and converse with my family. I was reading the pamphlet. "What have you got?" "A work of Doctor Priestley's on religion." I was then at the chapter of the "Doctrine of the Atonement of Christ," for the sins of the world. The title of the chapter excited the attention of my mother. Before she came in the passage had been partly perused, and she eagerly asked me "to read the whole of it to her." I began, but had scarcely proceeded through two or three pages, when she rapped the book from my hands, and threw it into the fire, where it was most deservedly burned. Smilingly, I said "mother, why do you destroy my book?" The reply was with an observable degree of anger: "Because your book would destroy my happiness, in this and the world to come! I know that I have a Savior, who redeemed me, whose blood was shed upon the cross for me: of this, I am convinced. Your book goes to make me doubt of the merits of the sufferings of that Savior. The book would deprive me of the only staff upon which my hope of salvation rests, and gives me none other, upon which I can lean." These notions of my beloved mother, which accorded fully with my own, on that topic, were submitted to with a juvenile frankness which pleased her, and of all the world I knew none whom I so much wished to oblige, as that dear, amiable and instructive mother. My father had been a mechanic of much respectability, and great skill. During the war usually called "Braddock's war," and afterwards in Forbes's campaign (in 1758), he was at the head of the armory, which in those days was no mean station, and required talents of a superior grade. Afterwards, having made a tolerable fortune, he entered into trade, but his inclinations led him into chemical experiments. His evenings and mornings were devoted to the laboratory. This gave rise to my mother's acquaintance with Mr. Priestley, as an experimental philosopher. For the instruction of his children, my father would discourse upon the subjects of science and particularly of chemistry, which was his favorite theme, and in which the names of Franklin and Priestley were sure to stand foremost. My beloved parent's manner showed me that she was stung to the quick. My apology to her, had the desired effect, as her curiosity and mine sprung from similar motives, "a desire to know the religious opinions of a man of whom we had had superlative ideas," because of his acquirements in many other branches of knowledge.
The position wished to be proved to you, by this relation which is true, is "that for the sake of public and private comfort and genial happiness, it is better not to disturb the devout mind by fanciful and newfangled schemes of belief, and that those should be open only to the eyes of the learned." My mother was a person of extensive reading; her religious tenets and faith were solely grounded on the scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, as these, in her mind, were considered as clearly correct, but nevertheless she was fearful of a disturbance of her mind by the quirks and quibbles of deistical scribblers. Therefore to interfere with her devotional principles, in so rude and heterodox a manner, tended to derange her charming mind, and devastate those elegant maxims of Christian belief, which the excellency of her maternal education had infused into her heart; in short, to destroy that firmness with which she relied on the merits and sufferings of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Such men as Hobbs, Chubb, etc., seem not to have reflected on the dreadful ills and calamities their writings would create, if their books came into general circulation. If they did reflect, posterity ought to consider them to have been the tigers and hyenas of human society, opposed to the well being of the human race. Voltaire and John James Rousseau, in my humble opinion, intended well to the people of France, but when speaking of those gentlemen, we should recollect that they, as well as the virtuous and celebrated Montesquieu, were the subjects of a prince who might, if he pleased, be despotic: but that which was still worse, was, that the people were abandoned to the control of a theological aristocracy — bigoted, wealthy, imperious and scandalously subjected to vices, in many instances, greater than those of laymen, insomuch that in the reign of Louis XIV, because of the infamous lives, and the oppressions of all classes of the nation by the clergy, there was scarcely a gentleman in the kingdom, who was not deistically inclined. For when the ministers of a religion of so high sanctity, as that of our Holy Faith, demean themselves in a manner which evinces to laymen their want of confidence in the religion (which they had been consecrated to propagate and enforce), by an unholy life and conduct, particularly in their cruel exactions from devotees; in the latter instance, of enormous fees, and various demands of tithes of a most exorbitant nature, which from time to time, they wickedly usurped. Hence, it arose that Montesqueiu, Voltaire, Diderot, Rousseau, and hundreds of others, of the learned men of France (considering the state of that government), formed a phalanx of historic knowledge, genuine reasoning, true wit, and an inexhaustible fund of humor, which slurred their opponents to such a degree, as in the minds of the generality of Europe gave them a deserved victory even over the government, which supported the theocracy, with its vast power. It also, most probably, came from thence, that those men under the clerical persecutions raised against them (for many were confined in the dungeons), in the heat of controversy, emitted opinions and ideas inconsistent with our pure, simple and holy religion, according to the Augsburg creed, which we know has been adopted, either in the whole or in part, by all the reformed churches. In polemic disputes, and perhaps more particularly in those which happened in monarchies, there is an acrimony and irascibility of temper, inflaming the minds of men generally, greater than is the case in democracies. The cause seems to be, that in monarchies the priesthood becomes a machine of government, in democracies it is the vehicle by which the people simply adore God.
Those controversies, between the so styled philosophers of France and the clergy, were conducted with such hatred and obloquy towards each other, that they elicited sparks which enkindled that nation in a dreadful flame of internal destruction; and the brand has not only communicated itself to all Europe, but in general to the world at large. Since the time of Julius Caesar, nothing has occurred equal in barbarity, irruption, bloodshed, murder, by public or domestic treason, as that which has happened in Europe, since the year 1789. Gracious and omnipotent God, restore the peace of the world!!!]
Such is the man who, upon his slight intercourse with the American people, pluming himself with the well-earned celebrity of his political pieces, that now presumes to become a reformer of our morals, our religious opinions and thinkings on Divine subjects. He himself a reprobate, cloaked by every vice, would dictate to a great and independent Christian people, their formulary of belief. Such insolence and presumption was never before witnessed unless it was in the instance of Mahomet, or in those of the impostures (such as Sabbati Sevi), who frequently as Messias, appeared to deceive the remnant of the Jewish people. Paine with all his other vices had a foible injurious to our country. To keep up the spirits of the people it was requisite that there should be a series of patriotic publications. Paine was the most indolent of men; if he was inspired by a muse, the goddess most certainly made him but few visits. The office of secretary of foreign affairs, was conferred upon him, because of the merit of his Common Sense, or what are called the Crisis, under the signature to Common Sense. It was to him personally a sinecure. He never went to York (Penn.), where congress then sat, but occasionally, and stayed but a day or two. His true employment was that of a political writer. In the summer and winter of 1777, and 1778, he was an inmate of my father's house, as were the late David Rittenhouse, the state-treasurer, and John Hart, a member of the then executive council.
Paine would walk of a morning until twelve o'clock; come in and make an inordinate dinner. The rising from table was between two and three o'clock. He would then retire to his bed-chamber, wrap a blanket around him, and in a large arm-chair, take a nap, of two or three hours — rise and walk. These walks, and his indolence, surprised my parents; they knew him as the author of Common Sense, who had written patriotically, and in those writings, promulged some moral and religious ideas, which induced them to believe he was an orthodox Christian. Indeed Paine, during the revolution, was careful to emit no irreligious dogmas, or any of his late diabolic ideas; if he had, the good sense of the American people, their virtue, and unfeigned worship of the Deity, would have, in those days, banished him from their country. Your grandfather's feelings a few months before his death (which occurred on the 15th of December, 1786), when speaking of the unbeliever (Paine), were truly poignant; for now the wretch's true character had began to open on the world. He lamented with tears that he had ever admitted him into his house, or had a personal acquaintance and intercourse with him. He was, from conviction, a sincere Christian, converted by the scriptures; of a strong mind, and of a most tender conscience.
Do not permit anything now said, to induce you to undervalue the sagacity of my father, for he was wise; but of so benevolent a mind, that in the common affairs of life he held a principle in morality as true, which is by no mean generally received; to wit, "That we should consider every one as possessing probity, until we discover him to be otherwise." Other gentlemen think differently. However, it may well be maintained that the side my father took on this topic, which I have often heard argued, accords with the true spirit of the gospel, the other side is stoicism. From these last observations, you will readily perceive how easy it was to impose on my father. This is the reason for his entertaining Paine. I have said that Paine was in indolent. Take this as an instance; the Crisis, No. V, is but a short political essay, to be sure of great skill in the composition, of much eloquent invective, strong reasoning, some historic anecdote, and a fund of ridicule which fitted the passions of the times. But recollect that this piece, to Paine, was a labor of three months in the inditing. It was written in my father's house. Mr. Rittenhouse inhabited the front room, in the upper story, where was the library. There he kept the office of the treasury of Pennsylvania. The room of Mr. Hart and Paine, was to the left hand as you come to the stair-head entering the library.
When my wound in 1778 was so far mended, that hobbling on crutches, or by creeping up stairs (as you may have seen me of late years do), my greatest recreation in my distressed state of mind was to get into the chamber of Mr. Rittenhouse where the books were. There, his conversation, (for he was most affable), enlivened my mind, and the books would so amuse it, that it became calm, and some desperate resolutions were dissolved. While that excellent man was employing his hours in the duties of his office, for the benefit of the people, Paine would be snoring away his precious time in his easy chair, regardless of those injunctions imposed upon him by congress, in relation to his political compositions. His remissness, indolence or vacuity of thought, caused great heart-burning among many primary characters in those days. I have heard the late George Bryan, Esq., then vice-president of the council, speak of his gross neglects with remarkable harshness. I would sometimes go into Paine's room, and sit with him. His Crisis, No. V, lay on his table, dusted; to-day three or four lines would be added, in the course of a week, a dozen more, and so on. No. V, is dated 21st March, 1778, but it was not published until some months after that date, and it was generally thought by good whigs, that it had been too long delayed. For my own part, I was so passionately engaged at heart, in the principles of our cause, that Paine's manner of living and acting, gave me a high disgust towards him. No idea could enter my mind, that any one in that noble struggle could be idle or disengaged. As to myself, my sensations were such, that the example of a Decius might have been renewed. — Henry.
"SIR: — You are to proceed to Orleans, and take charge of the men there, and keep all provisions from going to town; you will be assiduous in gaining the esteem of the inhabitants, who are now complaining that they have been treated in a rigorous manner; for provisions or assistance you receive from them, you will pay them the value, or give orders on me for the same. I make no doubt but you will endeavor to cultivate the friendship of the people as far as is consistent with your duty. You will be careful to keep your men under strict discipline, and not suffer them to have too much liquor. I am told there has been open house kept there. You will use as much economy as is consistent with our circumstances.
"I am, Sir, Your humble servant,
"B. ARNOLD, Col."
"December 29, 1775."
[This rigor was administered by a William Cross, our third lieutenant, with as free a hand as he was lax in his principles of morality. Cross was a handsome little Irishman, always neatly dressed, and commanded a detachment of about twenty men. The Canadian gentlemen who came as agents from the islanders on this occasion, stated that Cross had extorted from them their wines and other liquors, and all kinds of provisions, which he lavished on worthless people; making no compensation for his exactions. This was rigor indeed! for the people of the isle were our friends. In short, this unworthy officer kept "open house," and had a short, but a luxurious and merry reign over that charming spot. He was not with us at the attack of the city, but gaily danced his way to quarters.]
Smith wrote, but Simpson acted. A letter from Smith to a worthy and patriotic clergyman, the Rev. Mr. Elder, of Paxton, which was filled with bombast and trash, and stuffed with the most flagrant untruths; that he was in the "midst of the battle, covered by smoke; bullets of all sizes playing around him, etc, etc.," every word of which was fabulous. This person was among the last of those savage men who murdered the innocent and unoffending Indians in the jail of the town we now live in. They have all died miserably; but a few remaining to relate the anecdote of the occurrence of that horrible massacre. — Henry.
This is supposed to have been Major Juste Christoph von Maibom, who was taken prisoner at Bennington, and died at Wolfenbuttel, duchy of Brunswick, in Germany, 17 Feb., 1804. — M.
J. J. H. &c."
I received the original paper in 1778, in consequence of an exchange of the St. John's prisoners for us. — Henry.