Front Cover
 Front Matter
 Title Page
 Table of Contents
 List of Illustrations
 The pension agent
 The first trophy of the revolu...
 The flight of Hancock and...
 The old cocked hat
 The reading minute-men
 The king's own regulars
 The surprise at Ticonderoga
 Ethan Allen
 The old sergeant's story
 The death of General Frazer
 A fortunate discovery
 A mother's love
 General Gates
 The clothes-line telegraph
 The kidnapping of General...
 At Valley Forge
 The fire in the rear
 Christopher Ludwick
 Stony Point Jackson
 Old Put's Gallows
 The secret service
 David Gray, the double spy
 The spy and the innkeeper
 Charley Morgan
 Wadsworth's escape
 Female heroism
 The intrepidity of Miss Ross
 The story of a Tory
 The young sentinel
 A temperance sermon
 Our French allies
 A night with Cornwallis
 The brave old Baron Steuben
 Back Matter
 Back Cover

Title: The watch fires of '76
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00083202/00001
 Material Information
Title: The watch fires of '76
Physical Description: viii, 270 p., 12 leaves of plates : ill., port. ; 19 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Drake, Samuel Adams, 1833-1905
Lee and Shepard ( Publisher )
C.J. Peters & Son ( Typographer )
Rockwell and Churchill ( Printer )
Publisher: Lee & Shepard
Place of Publication: Boston
Manufacturer: Typography by C.J. Peters & Son ; Presswork by Rockwell & Churchill
Publication Date: 1895
Subject: Armed Forces -- Officers -- Juvenile literature   ( lcsh )
Presidents -- Juvenile literature   ( lcsh )
Soldiers -- Juvenile literature   ( lcsh )
War -- Juvenile literature   ( lcsh )
Battles -- Juvenile literature   ( lcsh )
Kidnapping -- Juvenile literature   ( lcsh )
Statesmen -- Juvenile literature   ( lcsh )
History -- Juvenile literature -- United States -- Revolution, 1775-1783   ( lcsh )
Bldn -- 1895
Genre: non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: United States -- Massachusetts -- Boston
Statement of Responsibility: by Samuel Adams Drake ; illustrated.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00083202
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 002225523
notis - ALG5798
oclc - 04823939
lccn - 02002903

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover 1
        Front Cover 2
    Front Matter
        Front Matter 1
        Front Matter 2
        Page i
        Page ii
    Title Page
        Page iii
        Page iv
    Table of Contents
        Page v
        Page vi
    List of Illustrations
        Page vii
        Page viii
        Page ix
        Page x
    The pension agent
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
    The first trophy of the revolution
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
    The flight of Hancock and Adams
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
    The old cocked hat
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 22a
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 24a
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
    The reading minute-men
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 38a
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 40a
    The king's own regulars
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 44a
        Page 45
        Page 46
        Page 47
    The surprise at Ticonderoga
        Page 48
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 55
        Page 56
        Page 57
        Page 58
        Page 59
    Ethan Allen
        Page 60
        Page 61
        Page 62
        Page 63
        Page 64
        Page 65
        Page 66
    The old sergeant's story
        Page 67
        Page 68
        Page 68a
        Page 69
        Page 70
        Page 71
        Page 72
        Page 73
        Page 74
        Page 75
        Page 76
        Page 77
        Page 78
        Page 79
        Page 80
        Page 80a
        Page 81
        Page 82
        Page 83
        Page 84
        Page 85
        Page 86
        Page 87
        Page 88
        Page 89
        Page 90
        Page 91
        Page 92
        Page 93
        Page 94
    The death of General Frazer
        Page 95
        Page 96
        Page 97
        Page 98
        Page 99
        Page 100
        Page 101
        Page 102
    A fortunate discovery
        Page 103
        Page 104
        Page 105
        Page 106
        Page 107
        Page 108
        Page 109
    A mother's love
        Page 110
        Page 111
        Page 112
    General Gates
        Page 113
        Page 114
        Page 115
        Page 116
    The clothes-line telegraph
        Page 117
        Page 118
        Page 119
        Page 120
    The kidnapping of General Prescott
        Page 121
        Page 122
        Page 123
        Page 124
        Page 125
        Page 126
    At Valley Forge
        Page 127
        Page 128
        Page 129
        Page 130
        Page 131
        Page 132
        Page 133
        Page 134
        Page 135
        Page 136
    The fire in the rear
        Page 137
        Page 138
        Page 139
    Christopher Ludwick
        Page 140
        Page 140a
        Page 141
        Page 142
        Page 143
    Stony Point Jackson
        Page 144
        Page 145
        Page 146
        Page 147
        Page 148
        Page 149
        Page 150
        Page 151
        Page 152
        Page 153
        Page 154
        Page 155
        Page 156
        Page 157
        Page 158
        Page 159
        Page 160
        Page 161
        Page 162
        Page 162a
        Page 163
    Old Put's Gallows
        Page 164
        Page 165
        Page 166
        Page 167
        Page 168
        Page 169
        Page 170
        Page 170a
        Page 171
    The secret service
        Page 172
        Page 173
        Page 174
        Page 175
        Page 176
        Page 177
        Page 178
        Page 179
        Page 180
    David Gray, the double spy
        Page 181
        Page 182
        Page 183
        Page 184
        Page 185
        Page 186
        Page 187
    The spy and the innkeeper
        Page 188
        Page 189
        Page 190
        Page 191
    Charley Morgan
        Page 192
        Page 193
        Page 194
        Page 195
        Page 196
    Wadsworth's escape
        Page 197
        Page 198
        Page 199
        Page 200
        Page 201
        Page 202
        Page 203
    Female heroism
        Page 204
        Page 205
        Page 206
        Page 207
        Page 208
        Page 209
        Page 210
        Page 211
        Page 212
        Page 213
    The intrepidity of Miss Ross
        Page 214
        Page 215
        Page 216
        Page 217
    The story of a Tory
        Page 218
        Page 219
        Page 220
        Page 221
    The young sentinel
        Page 222
        Page 223
        Page 224
        Page 225
        Page 226
        Page 227
        Page 228
        Page 229
    A temperance sermon
        Page 230
        Page 231
        Page 232
        Page 233
        Page 234
    Our French allies
        Page 235
        Page 236
        Page 237
        Page 238
        Page 239
        Page 240
        Page 241
        Page 242
        Page 243
        Page 244
        Page 245
        Page 246
        Page 247
    A night with Cornwallis
        Page 248
        Page 249
        Page 250
        Page 251
        Page 252
        Page 253
        Page 254
        Page 255
        Page 256
        Page 257
        Page 258
        Page 259
        Page 260
        Page 261
        Page 262
        Page 263
    The brave old Baron Steuben
        Page 264
        Page 265
        Page 266
        Page 267
        Page 268
        Page 269
        Page 270
    Back Matter
        Back Matter 1
        Back Matter 2
    Back Cover
        Back Cover 1
        Back Cover 2
Full Text

The Baldwin Ljbrary
Rn 93 lloodt.,Im


Burgoyne's Invasion of 1777 : .$ .50
The Taking of Louisburg .. .... .50
The Battle of Gettysburg .. ... .50
Our Colonial Homes Illustrated . .. .2.50
Old Landmarks of Boston Illustrated 2.00
Old Landmarks of Middlesex Illustrated 2.00
Captain Nelson A Romance of Colonial Days .75
The Heart of the White Mountains Illustra'd 7.50
The Same Tourists' Edition . 3.00
Old Boston Taverns Paper . .25
Around the Hub A Boys' Book about Boston I.12
New England Legends and Polk Lore Illus'd 2.00
The Making of New England Illustrated 1.50
The Making of the Great West Illustrated 1.50
The Making of Virginia and Middle Colonies .5o
The Making of the Ohio Valley States Ill'd 1.50
The Pine Tree Coast Illustrated .. .1.50

Any book in the above list sent by mail, postpaid,
on receipt of price, by






OF '76


Tke broken soldier, kindly bade to stay,
Sat by the fire and talked the night away"

Elll lt i i



All Rigzts Reserved





THE OLD COCKED HAT .. ........ . 21
THE READING MINTUE-MEN .. ... .. .... 33
THE KING'S OWN REGULARS .. ..... .. 41
ETHAN ALLEN ... .. ... ... 60
THE OLD SERGEANT'S STORY .... ... ... 67
GERMANTOWN ...... .. ... 77
CHEW'S HOUSE . .... .. .. 81
HUBBARDTON . . ... . 86
A MOTHER'S LOVE ... . . 110
GENERAL GATES . .. .... . 113
AT VALLEY FORGE . ..... .. .. .. 127
THE FIRE IN THE REAR . ........ 137
STONY POINT JACKSON . ........ 144
FILE-FIRING .. ....... .. .. 156
OLD PUT'S GALLOWS : ........ . 164














. . . 188

. 192

. 197

. 204

. . . 214

. . . 218

. . . 222

. . . 230

. 235

. . 248

. . . 264

. . 269


THE HEAD OF A PATRIOT ... .. .. .. . 2
PROVINCE HOUSE . .. ... 15
THE HEAD OF A TRAITOR.. . .... .55
COLONIAL FLAG .. ... .. So
GENERAL BURGOYNE .. .. .. .. .. 86
THE SILVER BULLET. ... ... .. 108
WEST POINT, N.Y ..... . ..... 141




MAJOR JOHN ANDR ..........














STEUBEN . . . .

. 217

. 221

. 229

. 237

. 242

. 253

. 257

. 259

. 261

. 264

. :


J~Ucdc~w4 ~)7&17




SOME years ago, in the course of my rambles
among the battlefields of old Middlesex, I chanced
to fall in with a hale old gentleman of seventy, or
thereabouts, in whose company I spent very many
happy hours. He knew the history of all the older
families of the neighborhood by heart. He had
the open sesame to all the old houses, and in not
a few cases also held the key which unlocked
closed chambers and long unused closets, in which
the family skeleton was shut out from the knowl-
edge of a gossiping world.
He told me that he had formerly been a Revolu-
tionary pension agent. Though his .clients were
all dead, his occupation gone, his interest in them
had suffered no abatement, and was easily aroused.
His gray eye would light up whenever we ap-
proached some century-old cottage, as if the bare
sight of it had made him feel twenty years younger,
or had awakened some slumbering recollection.


When we knocked at the door, he seemed to
expect to see one of his former clients standing,
with extended hand, on the threshold. There
was a hesitation in his manner, in his speech,
which showed all too plainly how hard it was
to realize the passing of his own generation.
Together we gleaned the country round of its
secrets. Like another Old
Mortality, he would scrape
away the clinging mosses
from some weather-beaten
headstone with loving
hand, and fall into silent
communion with himself
over the fading inscription
of "A soldier of the Rev-
olution, mustered out."
Then, as we loitered
homeward, he would tell
me some little anecdote,
THE HEAD OF A PATRIOT or some scrap of history,
which the incident had
called up, to all of which, it is certain, I eagerly
What a pity, thought I, that all the knowledge
this man has gathered, as it fell from the lips of
those veterans, should perish with him! Upon
this thought I spoke.
"You must have accumulated a vast fund of
information, first and last," I suggested.


By way of reply he threw open a closet door,
and taking down from a shelf one of half a dozen
thick folios, he let it fall on the table before me.
A cloud of light dust rose and floated around
the room, as if we had wantonly disturbed the
ashes of the dead.
I turned over the leaves with a certain feeling
of respect. Muster-rolls, enlistment papers, sworn
affidavits, letters of identification, furloughs and
the like, followed each other in rapid succession.
It was like a disbanded army again collected with-
out order or organization. It was like the head-
stones in the old graveyard across the way.
Impressed with my idea, I put my finger, at
hazard, on a name against which, in the margin,
there was only a cross. "Who was this man,
who thus makes his mark ? I asked. "Was that
common ? "
Oh," replied the pension agent, glancing over
my shoulder, that was my first case. Queer old
chap, that. You should have seen him come hob-
bling in here one day on his crutch. I asked him
the usual questions, made out the application in
proper form, and told him where to sign his
name. He couldn't do it because he had lost his
right arm, and could only make his mark with
his left.
"I then asked him for his discharge papers or
other proofs of service.
"' Proofs, proofs,' the old fellow repeated after


me, in high dudgeon, 'here's one,' touching his
empty sleeve; 'here's another,' pushing back his
long, scanty white hairs, so as to uncover a deep
scar on his seamy forehead; and here's another,
somewhere hereabouts,' he added, fumbling with
unsteady hand at the buttons of his waistcoat.
'What more do you want ?'
"Of course I stopped him. 'Nothing,' said I
mildly, 'you need nothing more to convince me;
but the rules of the pension office are strict, you
see, and must be complied with.'
"'I've got my gun and ca'tridge-box to home,'
he said doubtfully.
"I told him to go home and make search for
the necessary papers. 'By-the-by, how did you
lose your arm ?' I asked him as he was going.
'Me? lose my arm? Oh, I lost it at the
storming of Fort Montgomery by the British.
You've heard tell of that?' I nodded. 'Ah,
that was rough and tumble! We had a cannon
trained on them, loaded chock up to the muzzle
with every kind of thing we could rake and scrape
up, even to old spikes and horseshoes. I was
cannoneer. I was chuckling to myself a thinking'
what kind of a grist we would give them, when up
they come a-hoorarin like time. Says I to my-
self, now's your time, Jake; give it to 'em. Just
as I was touchin' her off, a musket-ball from the
enemy broke this arm, thug! Like a fool I let
the match drop to the ground. "Steady," says I


to myself; "that cannon's got to be fired." I
snatched up the match with my left hand, saw it
was lighted, gave it a switch to make sure, and
touched off the piece at the very instant the
enemy were rushing into the fort, shouting, Give
the rebel rascals no quarter!" When the smoke
blew off, not a living soul was to be seen nowhere
near. You can tell them that's why I have to
make my mark. I never learned how to write
with my left hand.' "
"Bravo! I hope he got his pension," I cried.
Oh, yes, he got it; but I had a deal of trouble
to establish his claim, all the same. Red tape is
no respecter of persons."
"The hand that wrote this signature must have
shaken terribly," I remarked, seeing that my host
had finished. "What do you make of it ?" I
"No wonder you're puzzled. That's Starbuck
Ramsdell. The boys used to call him Old Buck-
ram, for short. 'Joe,' he used to say to me, I've
settled down in three States. I left one leg in
the Jarseys, an arm in Virginny, and the rest of
me is here in old Massachusetts.' He used to ask
the parson if he thought a man like him would
find himself all together on resurrection day.
"Well, when Ramsdell applied to me for his
papers, I asked .him where he had served. Some-
how that question always nettled those old sol-
diers. They seemed to think you were playing


with them. Poor old Buckram! He was over
eighty, nearly blind, and hardly able to help
himself. He flew up in a moment.
"'Why, first,' said he, 'in the old French War.
Put that down.'
Oh,' said I, 'you can't get a pension for that.
You must have served in the Revolutionary
"'The Revolutionary army, is it? Lemme see.
I was at Bunker Hill, afterwards at Long Island,
and the taking of the Hessians at Trenton. Have
you got that down ?'
"'Yes, in black and white.'
"'That's right. Then I was at the attack on
Germantown, in the battle of Monmouth, and
finally at the siege of Yorktown, in Virginia;
and,' added the old man, his eyes rekindling with
the fire of '76, 'I was the first American sentinel
placed at the quarters of Lord Cornwallis when
he became an American prisoner.'"
Before leaving him, I made my friend promise
to tell me as many more of these stories as he
could remember, and it was accordingly agreed
that we should meet every Thursday evening for
.the purpose; he meanwhile refreshing his memory
by a reperusal of his old documents; while I,
fully alive to the conviction that individual valor
and heroism had never had half the recognition
they deserved, made up my mind that love of
country could have no nobler inspiration than in


these homely tales of the Continental rank and
file. Brave veterans those of us who, in our
own generation, have striven to uphold the totter-
ing fabric that your devotion had reared, salute
you !



ON my part, I took good care that the pension
agent should not forget his promise.
"Since you were here," said he at our next
meeting, I have been ransacking my memory as
well as my old documents; and, as luck would have
it, I have found some minutes of several informal
meetings, held at the old village tavern, years and
years ago. In fact, I had forgotten all about
them. The tavern was a place of much resort
for my clients, the veterans; but at first it was
like pulling teeth to get them to talk at all; nor
would they until I had broken the ice myself.
Now imagine yourself in that tavern, and fancy
that you hear them talking through my lips,
if you can." With this preamble he thus pro-
ceeded: -
"Among other relics of the old Revolutionary
times, sacredly preserved in the State House at
Boston, is an old king's arm with a history. No
soldier would ever dream of carrying such a
clumsy affair nowadays; indeed, visitors are often


heard to remark that the gun looks as if it would
do greater hurt to the one who should fire it than
the one fired at; yet it was with just such weapons
as this that the battle was won and independence
achieved. I will give you the story of this mus-
ket as well as I can; because from seeing it ex-
hibited in so public a place, visitors are naturally
curious about it.
"Now, this old rusty king's arm is something
more than a musket. To be sure, I cannot well
explain the curious association that exists between
a thing made of wood, iron, and brass, and the
event in which it may have borne a part. But so
it is. I should call it a sort of conductor between
mind and matter. For instance, at the Springfield
arsenal you will probably see thousands of mus-
kets. Yet who cares for them ? Now, with this
one it is different. It is a sort of talisman to the
memory. Give it but a rub, and, like the magi-
cian's lamp in the tale, it whisks you away in an
instant across the gulf of time. The past lives
again, and you live in it."
Thus spoke the pension agent, whose business
had often taken him to the State House, there to
delve among the musty archives of that past of
which he had become almost a part himself.

It is an episode of the Nineteenth of April,
1775-the beginning of the war for independence,


the ending of British dominion over her American
colonies. If, now, it should appear that this very
musket had fired the first shot, people would look
upon it with almost superstitious awe. But of
that we are not quite certain. It may or may not
be so.
Everybody knows that Hancock and Adams
were staying at the Rev. Jonas Clark's house on
the night of the i8th. Hancock's sweetheart was
staying there too. You can put this and that
together as well as I.
During that afternoon several British officers
were seen riding up the main road in the town.
This aroused the suspicions of some of our people,
who knew them to be British officers, although
they were so disguised as to look like honest
Very early in the morning word was brought
to Hancock and Adams that a British force was
on the way to Lexington, designed, it was sup-
posed, to get possession of their persons, and also
to destroy the military stores at Concord. In
fact, it could mean nothing else. First one mes-
senger rode up in hot haste, then another, both
with the same startling story- "The regulars
are coming The regulars are coming !"
They had been seen getting under arms, had
been watched while crossing the bay, and were
now, no doubt, well on their march, which they
hoped and expected would be as complete a sur-


prise as General Gage had meant it should be.
On their way up to Concord they could easily lay
hands on those two arch-rebels, Hancock and
Adams, clap a pair of handcuffs on each one of
them, destroy the stores, overawe the people by
this display of force, and presto, the infant rebel-
lion would be strangled in its cradle. That was
General Gage's logic.
"Man proposes and God disposes." The mes-
sengers had only succeeded in passing the pickets
by the skin of their teeth, and by hard riding had
got far ahead of the marching column, setting
the church bells ringing, rousing people in a fright
from their beds, and spreading the alarm as they
went, from village to village, and from door to
door. And still on they went.
All that, every schoolboy knows so well that
it is hardly worth while to repeat it here.
About that musket. John Parker, yeoman, was
captain of the Lexington company of minute-
men. There never was a better name given, as
every man was pledged to turn out at a minute's
notice. Well, the alarm was soon spreading on
every side; and, as the enemy's force was reported
to be very large, besides warning the minute-men,
messengers were sent off through the town, call-
ing out the regular militiamen as well. The church
bell on the green also struck up, sounding ten
times louder and more startling than it ever did in
the daytime. Lights were soon flashing in the


windows, windows went up, doors flew open, and
voices were heard timidly asking what was the
matter. No more sleep that night.
Captain Parker lived about two and a half
miles from the meeting-house on the Common,
which was the place of rendezvous agreed upon
in case of an alarm. He had been there late in
the evening to see Hancock and Adams about
calling out his men, in case it should be neces-
sary. Parker went to bed late, feeling quite ill.
About two o'clock he was called up by the mes-
sengers referred to, and went in haste to the meet-
ing-house. There he formed his company on the
Common, a little after daybreak, and ordered the
roll called. About a hundred and twenty men
answered to their names, armed and equipped;
but as some doubted the truth of the reports
brought in, Parker dismissed them, with the order
to be within call, ready to fall in at the tap of the
drum. Not long after, one of his own scouts re-
turned, bringing the startling news that the British
were close at hand.
Parker then ordered the drum beat in front of
the tavern, near by the Common. It is there
now. Seventy men fell in, were formed in four
platoons, and marched into the Common to the
music of a fife and drum. Parker's nephew, Jona-
than Harrington, then a lad of sixteen, played the
fife that morning.
After forming his men in line, Parker ordered


them to load With powder and ball. There was a
famous rattling of ramrods. When this was done,
he said, Men, don't fire unless fired upon; but if
they want war, let it begin now and here. He
then took his station at a little in front of the
company's right wing, and waited.

S -A -


Soon the British came marching up, in full view,
with Pitcairn on his horse at their head. Some
of Parker's men were so terrified that they began
to slink off out of harm's way. Seeing this, the
captain drew his sword, and calling on them by
name to come back, said he would order the first
man shot who should show the white feather.
You know what followed the fire of the Brit-


ish, the return of the fire, the killing of eight of
Parker's company, his order to them to disperse
and to take care of themselves.
After they were gone, the British soldiers gave
three loud cheers, and halted for half an hour or
so to eat their breakfasts, after which they marched
off at a quick step for Concord. But they came
back quicker.
Upon their leaving the ground, Captain Parker
and his men came back, took up the dead, looked
after the wounded, and tried to realize what had
happened. Bloodshed had happened; death had
stricken down the flower of the little village; war
had begun. Where would it all end?
Then it was that fear left the breast of every
true man, and thirst for revenge steeled every
true heart. The minute-men grasped their mus-
kets, and followed on after the royal troops. Cap-
tain Parker saw a British soldier, who had loitered
behind, sitting by the roadside. The man was too
far gone in drink to keep up with the marching
column. Parker instantly seized and disarmed
him. Besides his musket, he carried a knapsack,
blankets, haversack, and cartridge-box, with sixty
rounds of ammunition in it. Captain Parker kept
them as the spoils of war, as did also his son, and
so likewise his grandson, before they finally passed
into the keeping of the State of Massachusetts.
This is that very same musket.
A great affair, truly," said I, when I saw he


had finished his story, "to take away a helpless
man's gun! "
"Never mind," he returned, with a quiet
chuckle, "it was the first trophy of the Revolu-
tion the very first."



MY father was town clerk, justice of the peace,
and general factotum for all the country round;
the man, in short, to whom everybody goes for
advice. He knew every family in the county -
knew all about them away back as far as the first
settler of the name. After the battle of Lexing-
ton he took down the depositions of a number of
his townspeople whose houses had either been
burned or plundered, or both ; for at that time it
was the very general expectation that these losses
would be made good to them.
Sometimes, of an evening, mother would glance
up from her knitting-work at father's face, and if
she thought he was in the right mood, would say
to him, Father, why can't you tell the children
about those folks who used to live down by the
Hollow, on the Woburn road ? "
What folks ? "
"Oh, you know who I mean those women
down there, who helped Hancock and Adams to
get away so cleverly on the night after the battle
was fought."
We all knew that father was only making
believe, for he dearly loved to tell a story, and, for


that matter, few could tell one better. So we all
teased him to begin.
"Oh, that's an old story," he would say
"What if it is ? I want these children to know
that the men-folks were not the only ones who
faced dangers, and went through hardships, for
their country's sake," mother would very earnestly
As near as I can recollect, the tale ran about as
follows: -
It was late on that night of the Nineteenth of
April, 1775. Mrs. Vallette and her friend Mrs.
Reed were sitting over a few dying embers, in
their home at Lexington, with their infants in
their arms. The clock had struck eleven -guns
had been heard throughout the day-the firing
had ceased; and they sat talking over the perils
of the times, when Mrs. Reed said, Hark! I
hear footsteps."
"It is only the rustling of the trees, and we will
not be needlessly alarmed," said Mrs. Vallette,
pressing at the same time her infant closer to her
heart, as if fearful it might be wrested from her,
and trying to assume a courage which she did
not feel.
At that moment a gentle rap at the door was
Who is there ? asked Mrs. Reed, in a tremu-
lous tone, hardly above a whisper.


Friends," replied a low voice, speaking through
the small hole where the cord had been drawn in
to prevent the lifting of the latch outside, for few
doors had locks and keys in those simple times.
They immediately opened the door; and three
men, each muffled in a long cloak, entered in pro-
found silence.
"Do not be alarmed, ladies," said one, in the
same low tone of voice; "we are friends to our
country, and are pursued by the enemy; we have
hid in the woods through the day, and have come
now to seek your bounty, and a shelter for the
And these you should have with all my heart,"
said Mrs. Reed, whose countenance brightened
up when she found that instead of the dreaded
enemy, her guests were those distinguished pa-
triots, John Hancock, Samuel Adams, and Paul
Revere. But," she continued, "you would not
be safe here a moment. Why, the redcoats are
prowling around us in every direction ; they were
here only yesterday, eating up all my pies, and
bread and cheese, and because they could not find
enough at my neighbors' to satisfy their hunger,
they must needs rip open their beds, and leave
their cider running out. Oh, sir, these are dread-
ful times !"
"They are, indeed, madam," said Mr. Hancock.
" But, gentlemen," he said, turning to his com-
panions, "what shall we do, for it is certain we
are not safe here ? "


They looked at each other, but did not speak.
Have you any neighbors," asked Mr. Hancock,
" where we might find safety for the night ?"
"None except my father," replied Mrs. Reed,
"who lives five miles off, on the main road. It
would be dangerous for you to go by the road, and
you could not find your way through the woods;
and we have neither man nor boy to guide you;
they have all gone to fight the redcoats."
"Will you stay alone and nurse my baby,"
asked Mrs. Vallette of her friend, "while I go
and show these gentlemen the way ? "
She answered, I will do so, though it is sad to
be alone in such dangerous times. But you must
not go ; you are not able, you are lame, and never
walked a mile at once in your life ; you must not
think of going on this wet night." Mrs. Vallette
had had the misfortune to fall and break her back,
and was ever afterward an invalid and a cripple.
Mrs. Vallette made no reply ; she knew there
was not a moment to be lost ; so laying her infant
in the arms of her friend, she wrapped her riding-
hood around her, and desired the gentlemen to
follow her.
When they saw this deformed little woman, not
more than four feet high, prepared to walk a dis-
tance of over three miles, they looked at each
other in astonishment; but not a word was spoken,
for the case was desperate.
Mrs. Vallette, taking the proffered arm of Mr.


Hancock, they went forward, the other two gen-
tlemen bringing up the rear. The rain which had
fallen for some days previous, had so swelled the
brooks, that the gentlemen were obliged at times
to lift Mrs. Vallette over them. Thus wading and
walking, they reached the farm-house at about
three o'clock in the morning.
No sooner had they aroused the family, and
made known who they were and what they
wanted, than every one was up and in motion;
and even the dog tried to show them by his gam-
bols that they should find protection. A blazing
fire soon shone forth on the hearth, and a plenti-
ful repast was provided; and notwithstanding the
gloominess of the times, a degree of cheerfulness,
and even humor, pervaded the little company.
At early dawn a carriage was prepared to con-
vey Mrs. Vallette home to her infant. Mr. Han-
cock politely lifted her into the carriage, and said,
" Madam, our first meeting has been in trouble-
some times. God only knows when these scenes
will end; but should we both survive the struggle,
and you should ever need a friend, think of me."

There, children," said mother triumphantly.
"It was a woman who saved King Charles from
his enraged pursuers; and it was a woman who
led the proscribed American patriots to a place
of safety."
"Do tell! said father dryly.



HERE'S another story of Concord Fight, as told
by one of my pensioners.

A Boston boy, I was born in an old house on
Copp's Hill, near the burying-ground, which, I can
promise you, I gave a wide berth after dark. I
lived with my grandparents, my own father hav-
ing been lost at sea. The old folks used to give
me the run of the house; and many is the romp
I've had, playing hide-and-seek around the huge
chimney-stack in the garret, knocking my head
against the big, cobwebbed rafters, from which
all sorts of old cast-off clothes were hanging limp
and forlorn. How they did scare me !
Being a boy, what most charmed me in this
museum of antiquities was an old sword, with the
blade peeping out at the end of the scabbard, just
like Jim Bolles the tinker's toes out of his boots.
It went beyond my small strength to draw it, so
firmly was the weapon rusted in the sheath; but
with it loosely belted round me, and dragging on
the floor behind me, and an old cocked hat -
which to my surprise fitted me exactly stuck on
my head, I doubt if any veteran just returned
from victorious fields ever felt prouder than I.


But we know it is not the sword alone that
makes the soldier, any more than it is the dress
that makes the man.
One day, equipped as I have described, I ven-
tured down-stairs to where grandfather was sitting
by the fireside smoking his pipe, with one eye
shut, and with the other meditatively watching
the smoke slowly curling upward along the low
ceiling. At the clatter on the stairs, and the
queer figure I cut, the old man took his pipe from
his mouth, straightened himself up, and when I
had made him a mock salute, said with a quiet
chuckle, -
Well, lad, ready for action, I see. Do you
mean to attack our old four-post bedstead, or will
you try a bout with the pump, out in the back-
yard ? "
"But, grandpa," said I, "where in the wide
world did you get this rusty old sword, and this
funny old hat ? "
Come here, boy," said the old man ; and tak-
ing from my head the thing which appeared so
ridiculous to me, he put his finger through a hole
I had not before noticed, and said very gravely,
"two inches lower, and the bullet would have
gone through my head."
"Where? when ? I breathlessly exclaimed,
quite overcome by the thought of grandfather's
narrow escape, as well as by the impressive way
in which he spoke of it.



"At Concord Fight, in the year '75. You've
read of that,, my boy, in your history book, I'll be
"To be sure I have; and about General Gage
and Pitcairn, and the minute-men. It is also
called the Battle of Lexington. Oh, do, grandpa,
tell me all about it. You don't know how I love
to hear you talk about war and battles."
Well, 'tis an old story. But sit down, my boy,
and listen. You shall hear my first experience of
strife and bloodshed.
Grandfather gave the backlog a stir, refilled his
pipe, settled himself comfortably back in the old
rush-bottomed chair, and thus began:-
I was just fourteen in April, '75, and lived in
this same house, built by my grandfather a hun-
dred years before. On my way to and from
school, I passed every day the barracks of the
king's soldiers, for at that time Boston was a gar-
risoned town. Some of them were always loiter-
ing about, and I grew quite accustomed to hear
myself called a young rebel by the redcoat gen-
try. But my cheeks would burn for many a long
hour after. I must not forget to mention that I
had got acquainted with a boy of about my own
age, called Tony Apthorp, drummer-boy of the
Welsh Fusileers, who now and then invited me
into the barracks, and had even taught me how to
beat the drum a little.
"One fine morning I started off for school, as


usual. When I got to the barracks, the redcoats
were forming out in the street as if for parade;
but even I, boy that I was, knew by their faces
that something unusual was going on. The ser-
geants were serving out ammunition, while the
goat of the corps, a prime favorite with us boys,
was loudly bleating in the barrack-yard. Such a
look as Tony gave me! not a bit like his usual
mocking expression. Even the surly old drum-
major let me pass without a word. I was lost in
"While I stood looking at the men,- some of
whom were buttoning their gaiters, others trying
the locks of their muskets, an aid came down
the street at full gallop.
"'Halloo, there, Royals !' said he; 'where is
your officer?'
A sergeant stepped out of the ranks, and made
a salute. The officer then ordered the detachment
to march ; but the men did not stir a step.
"' Does he take us for raw recruits, like him-
self ?' growled some of those grizzled veterans.
"'It is his excellency's command,' said the aid
angrily, starting off as fast as his horse could
carry him.
"'You should have said so at first, young
greenhorn,' muttered the old sergeant, fixing his
bayonet. 'Come along, lads, come along; the
general must not be kept waiting.'
"The soldiers shouldered their firelocks, and



took their way towards the Common. I soon lost
sight of them in a turn of the street.
"When I reached the schoolhouse door, I found
it shut fast. A group of wondering urchins were
loitering there, each asking the other the mean-
ing of these strange proceedings. But we were
true schoolboys, and, provided our holiday did not
disappoint us, cared not a button where it came
from. Just then an upper window was thrown
open, and the schoolmaster called out to us : -
Boys, war has begun ; school is dismissed '
Some one proposed that we should follow the
'rig'lars;' a proposal no sooner made than agreed
to. Away we scampered, in the route the troops
had just taken. By this time every one we met
seemed strangely excited ; and I scarcely remem-
bered that I would not have ventured above the
mill-bridge the day before, for fear of a sound
drubbing from the South End boys.
"When we came near the Common, a long line
of soldiers extended to the head of the mall in
Long-Acre, and in their midst were two brass
cannon I had so often gazed at with admiration
and awe. At command of Lord Percy, the rig'lars
shouldered their muskets, and moved off towards
the Neck. We boys followed on in the rear, tak-
ing care to keep a good distance behind the
marching column. I well remember that the fifes
struck up 'Yankee Doodle,' as they often did, just
to plague our people.


"By this time the whole town knew that the
rig'lars had gone out the night before to destroy
the stores at Concord, and that Lord Percy had
been sent to re-enforce them. It was just as we
came to the George Tavern that I noticed a small
boy seated astride a fence, laughing so immoder-
ately I felt sure he must be a born idiot, for I
assure you I saw nothing to laugh at.
What are you laughing at, sirrah ?' demanded
his lordship sternly.
"'To think how you'll dance to another tune
by and by,' replied the young scape-grace, scam-
pering off, out of harm's way.
"Lord Percy gave his horse the spur, and gal-
loped off tp the front, as if these idle words had
called up something in his mind he would rather
have forgotten at that moment. If you should
ever read the old ballad of 'Chevy Chase,' you
will understand what I mean.
"We had got quite through Little Cambridge,
now Brighton, when an express from General
Gage overtook the troops. The courier rode
straight up to the earl, and, lifting his hat, deliv-
ered his errand in a few hurried words. His lord-
ship turned in his saddle, and exclaimed,-
"' On press on God's life, gentlemen we
shall be too late !'
Urged on by their officers, the soldiers marched
silently and with a quickened pace. The road
was deserted. Every house was shut up. Not a


living soul was to be seen as we passed by. Now
and then our ears caught the sound of some dis-
tant alarm bell. Once in a while we even thought
we could catch the report of distant gunshots. At
hearing these ill-omened noises in the air, some of
our comrades began to lag behind, but a few of us
kept on, more because we wouldn't give ourselves
the time to think, than from superior courage.
Boys will be boys, you know. We soon reached
the bridge leading to the colleges, and I heard
the word passed to halt, prime, and load. The
cannoneers lighted their matches. These orders
being executed, the troops impatiently awaited
the word to march; but it did not come. The
officers impatiently slashed the bushes by the
roadside with their swords, and demanded of each
other what was up.
The bridge is up,' said one.
Then the rebels mean to make a stand here,'
said another.
"''Tis what I most wish for, next to my din-
ner,' ejaculated a third.
"'My throat is full of this infernal Yankee
dust,' observed a fourth, carrying his well-filled
canteen to his lips. 'Here's confusion to the
whole rebel crew!'
"The bridge was soon made passable, and the
troops crossed. Before we followed, I picked up
a handful of musket-balls where, they had stood.
At the colleges, an officer sternly forbade our fol-


lowing the column farther; and as we were thor-
oughly tired out, after quenching our thirst at a
neighboring well, we threw ourselves down upon
the grass to rest.
"The rig'lars were hardly out of sight, when the
roads in every direction seemed swarming with
men, some in little squads of two's and three's,
some with the semblance of military order, but all
armed with muskets or fowling-pieces, and every
one looking eager and determined. They halted,
by common consent, on the college green. An
angry murmur of many voices, every instant
growing more and more threatening, came out of
the throng, as their numbers increased. They
seemed undecided what to do next.
"'The bridge is where we ought to have stopped
them,' I heard one strapping fellow call out.
"'So we might, if the planks hadn't been piled
up on the wrong side; too bad, too bad!'
"A roar of rage and disappointment went up
from two hundred lusty throats. It subsided in a
moment, and I heard a voice, very calm, but clear
as a bell, speaking rapidly. Every word cut like
a whip-lash.
"'Friends, all: we're just too late to prevent
the two detachments from forming a junction, as
I hoped we might; but so long as we're between
them and their quarters, shall we let them march.
back unscathed ? Hark!' The distant booming
of a cannon broke the stillness. The speaker, who


had been standing quietly in the middle of the
minute-men, now pushed his way out of the
throng. Oh, he was a beautiful looking young
man, armed with a fusee and hanger.
"'Why do we stand here idle, when our
brethren are being slaughtered by the king's
cut-throats? We have them between two fires.
Let all who are willing to strike one good blow
for liberty, follow me! '
How brave he looked as he said this, his eye
sparkling, his fine form drawn up to its full
height! I thought I had never beheld such an
heroic countenance.
"'Ay, avenge them Down with the bloody-
backs !' shouted the multitude.
"'Lead us on, Doctor!' cried several voices;
and I then knew it was Warren who had first
"Waving his fusee toward the enemy, Warren
put himself at the head of our people, who started
off at a brisk pace up the road. As excited as the
rest, without a moment's I. i..,, I joined them.
We soon heard firing at no great distance. By
our leader's advice, we now made a circuit across
the fields so as to reach the road again unperceived
at a point where it descends from a great pile of
granite ledges into the plain. It is what military
men call a defile. Here we concealed ourselves
among the bushes and trees, on both sides of the
road, Indian fashion. The place where we lay


hid is known as the Foot of the Rocks, to this

" Cannon firing now

grew rapid
At every

I ,

Th II.-,
S. I '- l -_


,,1 f"rr-.
r -., ,

L__-_- 4.

and clearer.
peal my heart

I.-t... I ,,.. .i

i.:lJ, ,lI. I h,-f ,
I> r v ti 1

'a .


With cellar-way showing bullet-holes. (Eleven Americans were killed at
this house.)

they were, coming down the narrow road in a
cloud of dust, and that cloud spitting out fire
right and left. Every house they came to was


. . . .


saluted with a volley; and we were maddened to
desperation by the sight of feeble women, with
babes in their arms, flying shrieking across the
fields, while these miscreants fired and hooted at
them, like so many demons let loose. Then up
would leap the red flames from the dwellings that
those poor, terrified creatures had just quitted."
The old man had kept his pipe lighted, giving
now and then an angry whiff between whiles; but
he had now got so worked up over his recollec-
tions, that he bit the stem of his pipe short off.
"Don't stop, grandpa! How did it end ?" I
"Waal, boy, we just let the rig'lars clear our
hiding-place, and then, with a yell of rage, our
men fell on their rear. I forgot I had no earthly
weapon but a stout hickory stick, and shouted,
and rushed into the thickest of the mYlee with the
rest. The first thing I knew, the soldiers faced
about, and gave us a volley slap in our faces. I
thought the day of judgment had come, sartin'
sure. How like fiends they looked, panting with
rage and heat, and with faces begrimed with
powder and dirt! Well, I guess we looked as
wicked to them as they did to us.
"An officer on horseback waved the rig'lars on,
his sword in one hand, his hat in the other.
"'Upon them, my gallant Fusileers! Give
them the cold steel! Drive the rebel pack to
their kennels !'


"'Down with the murderers! Kill the assas-
sins !' we yelled back at them. I jest tell you,
bullets and curses flew thick and fast that day.
Oh, we peppered them good, and they know it !
"The soldiers were actually pushed along by
our onset, some falling every instant under the
deadly fire. Presently, a shot knocked the officer
from his horse, at which a cheer went up from
our side. Then we made another rush, and forced
the enemy to a run. A poor devil of a drummer-
boy was just in front of me. I sprang upon him,
and brought him to the ground. Lo and behold!
it was Tony, my chum of the Royals. It was the
work of an instant to take away his drum, put it
on, and then to follow the throng, beating the
charge like a drummer gone mad. My prisoner
kept close at my heels. Our people saw my
capture, and heard my drum. As for me, I
hurrahed myself hoarse, and got this hole in my
Here the old man paused, quite breathless.
"Plague on't he at length exclaimed; "here's
my pipe gone out, and the fire too. What'll
granny say ?"



THE pension agent now invited me to consider
myself as listening to the pensioners themselves.

Deacon Adoniram Short, who, by the way,
stood some six feet two in his blue yarn stock-
ings, having pleaded conscientious scruples against
drawing lots to see who should tell the next story,
was finally persuaded into telling one of his own
free choice. Like some other people whom I
have known, he only needed a little coaxing.
After leaning back in his chair as far as safety to
his long person would permit, and dovetailing his
hands together as a support to the back of his
very bald head, he delivered himself as follows:-
"I s'pose, friends, you've all heard how Colo-
nel Barrett's house, up in Concord town, was one
of the places where our ammunition was stored
agin' the time when we should give it to the
British. If they'd only waited a little longer
they might have had it for nuthin'!
"Well, tew days before they come out, I
hauled an even ton of bullets, with my tew old
losses, over from Reading. I lived in Reading
then, and done teaming when I could get it.


When I got to Colonel Barrett's, they told me to
drive over yon into the rye-field, where some
men in their shirt-sleeves were hard at work dig-
ging a big hole in the ground. They told me to
dump the bullets into the hole, and I done it.
"' You don't expect 'em to sprout without pow-
der, do ye?' said I to one of the diggers, who
was shovelling the dirt back into the hole, and
stamping it down with his feet.
Dunno, mebbe so; some say they come up
first rate if you don't plant too deep,' he replied
with a sort o' knowing wink at me. 'At any rate,
they won't spile.'
"'Waal,' says I, winking back at him, 'if that's
so, I'll jest take a handful home for seed.' So off
I drove.
I belonged to our minute-company. I was
corporal. Captain Brooks was our captain, Dave
Butters orderly sergeant. There was seventy-five
of us, all big, strong fellows, who didn't take no
dare from nobody, either drillin' or shooting' at a
mark. Our captain was clear grit through and
through, if he was a doctor; and we all sot as
much by him as anybody could. And I guess he
did by us.
"After I'd put up my team, I went over to
have a little talk with the captain.
"'Hello, Shorty, is that you?' he sung out,
when I poked my head into his office. Come


"'It's me, Cap,' says I, 'and I'm goin' to put a
flea in your ear.' I then up and told him where
I had been, and what goings-on I had seen.
"His tone changed in a minute. 'Corporal
Short, notify your platoon to report for duty at
the meeting-house after dark to-night. You know
where the key is kept ?' I nodded so; he went
on: 'You keep watch by reliefs till sun-up. If
nothing happens by that time you can go home.
Take care I don't catch one of you napping; if I
do, I'll break him. Now go warn your men. Off
with you!'
"There was mischief brewing. I see it in his eye.
Nothing happened that night. The captain
didn't come round, though, 'cause as soon's 'twas
dark he'd saddled his old bay mare and rode off
to Boston full tilt. Next day he was back again,
looking' sober as a-as a-
"'Say deacon,' some one suggested, seeing
Adoniram halting for a word.
'Well, deacon, then,' Adoniram continued,
chuckling a little to himself. 'Well, the cap' he
came back chock full of something he'd picked up
in Boston. He rode round town as usual, making
calls on his patients, but somehow or other most
all his patients that day were minute-men. At
each house, it was noticed, he left the same pre-
scription : To-night ; Weston's corner; sixty
rounds.' At each house visited he received the
same response, 'We shall be there.'


On his way home the captain stopped before
the minister's gate. The parson came out looking'
as stiff as a drum-major, and the two men held a
whispered talk together.
The parson stood with his hand on the horse's
mane, looking up into the young captain's face till
he had done speaking.
"'These are fine words you have just spoken;
but will you have the courage to repeat them to
others besides an old man like me?'


such a reply. But -pardon me

"'In the face
of all the world,
and even of my
Well said.
I have waited
long for this
visit and for just
- if worst comes

to worst, do you think you can be cool on the
ground ?'
"'I do not know. But you may depend upon
it, that if I do lose my head, it will always be at
the front.'
"'God be with you, then. Good-night.'
"' Good-night.'
"The men began stealing off for the rendez-
vous as soon as it grew dark. As I'd been on
duty all night before, the captain said he'd excuse
me, on my promise to be at the rendezvous bright
and early in the morning.


"I was just putting the bridle on Old Calico,
when I.heard the clatter of a horse going by the
house at a great rate, as if he'd run away. While
I was listening somebody shouted out at the top
of his voice, Turn out turn out the rig'lars are
comrin' !'
"In five minutes the meetin'-house bell struck
up at a lively rate. In ten, the whole village was
turned topsy-turvy. When I got outdoors every-
body was a-streakin' it for the green, where the
courier sat on his steamin' horse with a crowd
around him, all talking' and gesticulatin' at once.
The parson he stood on the top step of the porch
with a gun in his hand.
"Just as I turned my horse's head down the
road, my wife, Marthy, ran out to the gate. She
had one corner of her apron in her mouth, and
looked as if she was goin' to bust right out cryin'.
"'Come back you, Adoniram,' sez she. 'You
ain't goin' off looking' so. How 'shamed I should
be to have you taken up dead with that old waist-
coat on.'
"I got to the rendezvous. Nobody there, so
I pushed on quicker ; and a mile or two further
on, where the road crosses the Widow Peters's
medder (she had money fell to her), I overtook our
boys. I put up my horse in her barn, and j'ined
the company.
"Whenever we halted for a minute or two's
rest, we could hear the sound of distant bells or


blowin' of horns, and now and then a gun-shot
would crack away. That made us move on all
the faster. We were 'fraid the fighting' would
be all over before we could take a hand in it.
"When we got to where our road and the
one from Chelmsford come together, we fell in
with Colonel Bridge, to whose regiment we be-
"We were glad enough to see them, and they
us. 'There come the man-eaters!' we hollered
out to them.
"'What do you know about war? You never
fired a gun !' they hollered back.
"The regiment, or as much of it as Bridge had
been able to get together, was also on the march
to Concord. Captain Brooks saluted, and reported
for orders. Colonel Bridge said to him, I'm glad
you've come up, Captain: we will halt here, give
our men some refreshment, and then push on
for Concord.' To this Brooks replied, 'My men
have just refreshed themselves; and as I think
there is no time to be lost, with your leave,
Colonel, I will push ahead; and, as neither of us
knows just what is going on over there, if I
should get into trouble, I shall know that you
are following me, and shall have you to fall back
upon.' 'You may go,' the colonel replied, 'but
be careful not to get too far ahead.'
"Our captain then ordered us forward again.
"We had gone a strong mile, I should say, when


S6. .. -. H S. ... .




we met a courier, looking for us. In a few hurried
words he told the captain how matters stood, how
the enemy (for as such they had now shown them-
selves) had fired upon our men, how the fire had
been returned, and how, if we expected. to do any
good, now was our time. Not a man of us could
stand still. The news made us as skittish as a lot
of two-year-old colts.
"As luck would have it, we had arrived in time
to intercept the villains.
Ride back, as hard as you can, till you meet
Colonel Bridge. Tell him what you've told me.
Don't spare the spur. Away with you!'
"We halted only long enough to load. Every
man looked well to his priming. Every face was
set for what was coming. As I was feeling' pretty
fresh, I was sent on ahead, with a file of men, to
see what we could scare up.
"When we had come quite near to the main road
from Concord to Lexington, we saw some seventy
or eighty men, making their way across a hillside,
which rose between us and the village. They
seemed to be watching us. They were redcoats
"Captain Brooks at first took these men for some
scattered party of our own. The fact is, they were
the enemy's flankers. He therefore halted us,
until he discovered his mistake, which he soon
did upon seeing this flank-guard fall in with the
main body, to cross a bridge down the road, below


the hill which had hid them from us. The enemy
was in full retreat.
"Finding his position could not be outflanked,
Brooks then ordered us to advance to Merriam's
Corner, where we were covered by a barn and
some stone walls (for all I know the old barn's
there now); and as soon as we were securely
posted, he gave the order to fire straight at the
crowded bridge, not more than twenty or thirty
rods off. We let 'em hev.
As the enemy were in a great hurry, they fired
only one volley at us in return. They shot wild.
Our men took deliberate aim, and every shot told.
After they had all crossed the bridge we followed
them up, loading and firing, and either on or near
it, nine dead bodies were lying where they had
fallen, undei the unerring aim of the Reading

That just about squared the account for those
of our men killed on Lexington Green, without
provocation, in the morning," observed one of
the deacon's most interested listeners.
How great a matter a little fire kindleth,"
added another.

.-A BRi i IS GRENAD.IER, 1775

; r ru~
r ,
b~ u'



"ONE story's good till another's told," said
Jotham Beard, contemplatively punching the fire
with his iron-shod staff. "Now, for my part, I
always like to hear both sides, then you can put
this and that together, and perhaps get the rights
of it."
"Don't you b'leeve what your own folks say?
I d6," remarked Reddy, rather testily. "I'd
b'leeve the deacon, here, ten times over, before I
would a Britisher," he added.
"That reminds me of the Dutch judge, out in
York State, who was trying a case of assault and
battery. He refused to hear the defendant's
counsel, because he said he could decide the case
so much better by hearing only one side."
There was a ripple of laughter at Reddy's
expense. But he took it all in good part, though
vigorously maintaining his own opinion.
Go on, Jotham, with your other side," said
several voices. "Court's open, and the jury's all
good men and true."
So be it, then. You know, I was second
officer of a Marblehead privateer. We cruised
out in the bay, looking for what we could pick up


in an honest way, and one day we gave chase to a
transport ship bound out. She gave us a long
chase; but at last we came up with her off the
Salvages, fired a shot across her bows, and ordered
her to heave-to. She hove to.
"When we boarded her the captain tried to
throw his mail-bag overboard ; but I fished it out
of the water with a boat-hook before it could
sink, and after we had taken our prize into port,
we went through the contents.
They were mostly letters from officers of the
British army to their friends at home. After
reading them through, we sent the whole batch to
General Ward, to do what he pleased with them.
Some, I believe, were eventually returned to the
writers, who probably chose a safer mode of de-
livery next time. I hope so. They had wives
and sweethearts over the water, those Britishers.
Though enemies, they were men. Why, some of
the letters had little keepsakes in them."
"Yes, and I've got one of their little keepsakes
in my left leg now," growled the irreconcilable
"Come, no more interruptions; open your
budget, Jotham," commanded the deacon author-
"Sartain; here it is," Jotham returned, pro-
ducing a bundle of papers from his side pocket,
putting on his spec's, and unfolding a sheet of
yellow foolscap. "Listen, all."


BOSTON, May 5, 1775.
Won't my dear Bess be more pleased with hearing I am
well and hearty, than with the account of all the world
besides? That I am so, God alone can, in his goodness,
account for. The tale would last a winter's night, so
some Christmas, when we have exhausted all our gambols,
you shall have a history of our late frolic. At present, it
would seem we have the worst of the fight, for, however we
block up their port, the rebels certainly block up our town,
and have cut off our good beef and mutton, much to the dis-
comfiture of our mess.
But while I get sufficient to sustain life, though of the
coarsest food, with two nights out of three in bed, I shall not
repine, but rejoice that fortune has given me a constitution
to endure fatigue, and prove that it is accident, not inclina-
tion, that has made me hitherto eat the bread of idleness.
"'You will perceive that I write in a great hurry; probably
this will be finished by the side of my fortification -mine I
may safely call it, as I am not only planner and director, but
partly executor- as often taking the spade as telling others
where to employ it; which is attended with these good effects
-exercise to myself and encouragement to the men, who,
you will be pleased to hear, fly to execute that for me, which
for others would be done with a very bad grace, because I
set them a good example in not being afraid to work.
I had three approving generals (Gage, Pigot, and Howe)
in favor of my work, with one of whom I dine to-morrow.
I have now before me one of the finest prospects a warm
imagination can picture. My tent-door, about twenty yards
from a piece of water, nearly a mile broad, with the country
most beautifully tumbled about in hills and valleys, rocks
and woods, interspersed with straggling villages, with here
and there a spire peeping over the trees, and the country of
the most charming green that delighted eye ever gazed on.
Pity these infatuated people cannot be content to enjoy such


a country in peace But alas this moment their advanced
sentinels are in sight, and tell me they have struck the fatal
blow. Where it will end, but in their destruction, I cannot
see. Thank you for the pocket-pistol (the bottle and cup):
would that I had had it on the 19th of April for the sake ot
my friends and self.
"When Lord Percy's brigade joined us there were very
few men had any ammunition left, and we were so fatigued
that we could no longer keep our flanking parties out; so
that we must soon have laid down our arms, or been picked
off by the rebels at their pleasure."

"Well, I don't see any bragging there," re-
marked one of the listeners, when the reading was
completed. "We certainly had 'em on the run,"
he added triumphantly. Let's hear another

"This one," continued Jotham, "was written
after the Battle of Bunker Hill, and shows how
perilously near the writer came to leaving his
bones to moulder with the dust of so many of his
companions-in-arms. I will read it."

We had made a breach in their fortifications, which I
had twice mounted, encouraging the men to follow me, and
was ascending a third time, when a ball grazed the top of
my head, and I fell back deprived of sense and motion.
My lieutenant, Lord Rawdon, caught me in his arms,
and, believing me dead, endeavored to remove me from the
spot, to save my body from being trampled on. The motion,
while it hurt me, restored me to my senses, and I feebly
articulated, For God's sake, let me die in peace.'






The hope of preserving my life induced Lord Rawdon
to order four soldiers to take me up and carry me to a place
of safety. Three of them were wounded while performing
this office (one afterwards died of his wounds) ; but they suc-
ceeded in placing me under some trees, out of reach of the
rebel balls. A retreat having been sounded, poor Holmes
(my body servant), was running about like a madman, in
search of me, and luckily came to the place where I was lying,
just in time to prevent my being left behind; for when they
brought me to the water's edge, the last boat was put off, the
men calling out that they would take no more On Holmes'
hallooing out, It is Captain Harris,' they put back and took
me in.
I was very weak and faint and seized with a severe shiv-
ering; our blankets had been flung away during the engage-
ment; luckily there was one belonging to a man in the boat,
in which, after wrapping me up, and laying me on the bot-
tom, they conveyed me safely to my quarters.
The surgeons did not at first apprehend danger from the
contusion, notwithstanding the extreme pain I felt, which
increased very much if I attempted to lie down. A worthy
woman, seeing this, lent me an easy chair, but this being full
of bugs, only added to my sufferings. My agonies increas-
ing, and the surgeons, observing symptoms of matter form-
ing (which, had it fallen on the brain, must have produced
instant death, or at least distraction), performed the opera-
tion of trepanning, from which time the pain abated, and I
began to recover. But before the callous was formed they
indulged me with the gratification of a singular curiosity-
fixing looking-glasses so as to give me a sight of my own
brains. The heat of the weather, and the scarcity of fresh
provisions, added greatly to the sufferings of the wounded.
As patience was the only remedy for the former, I trusted to
it for relief; and for the latter, the attention of the surgeon,
and a truly benevolent family in Boston who supplied me
with mutton-broth, when no money could purchase it, was
a blessing for which I can never be sufficiently thankful."


"That seems a good sort of fellow," the deacon
You'll see a white blackbird, when you see
one," interjected the incorrigible Reddy.

"Here's another, written by an officer of the
52d, a right jolly fellow, I'll be bound; for he
'seems to have enjoyed a joke cracked even at the
expense of his own comrades."

"During the winter of 1775-76, plays were acted at Bos-
ton twice a week, by the officers, and some of the ladies of
the town. A farce called The Blockade of Boston,' written
by General Burgoyne, was on the stage. The enemy knew
the night it was to be performed, and made an attack on the
mill, at Charlestown, at the very hour that the farce began.
They fired some shots, and surprised and carried off a ser-
geant's guard. We immediately turned out and manned the
works, and a shot being fired by one of our advanced sen-
tries, a firing commenced at the redoubt, and could not be
stopped for some time.
"An orderly sergeant, standing outside the playhouse
door, who heard the firing, immediately ran into the play-
house, got upon the stage, and bawled out at the top of his
lungs, Turn out! turn out! they're hard at it, hammer and
The whole audience, supposing the sergeant was acting
a part in the farce, loudly applauded, and there was such a
noise, he could not, for some time, make himself heard.
When the applause was over he again cried out, What the
dickens are ye all about? If ye won't b'lave me, be gorra
you need only go to the door, an' there ye'll hear and see
If the enemy intended to stop the farce, they certainly


succeeded, as the officers immediately left the playhouse to
join their regiments."
"Where was the playhouse ? it was asked.
"In old Faneuil Hall."
Who wrote the letters ? "
"The first two were written by Captain Harris,
afterward Lord Harris, the conqueror of Mysore,
in India. The last was from the pen of Lieu-
tenant Hunter, afterward a lieutenant-general.
Both fought their way up, through the interme-
diate grades, to high distinction. Both are dead.
Peace to their ashes!"



WHEN Thursday evening came round again,
there was quite a full turn-out of veterans, as the
word had been passed from house to house that
these talks were likely to prove much more inter-
esting than at first had been supposed. Some of
the old fellows were naturally talkative, some
grown garrulous with age, and some, who were
really the best informed of all, needed to be
drawn out. But that old feeling of brotherhood
in arms! Once aroused, it proved a talisman to
loosen all tongues.
In order to overcome the feeling of awkward-
ness, or rather, perhaps, I should say of backward-
ness, which invariably showed itself at our first
coming together, I resolved to take upon myself
the part of spokesman. Fortunately I knew
where all the men had served, so that I was at no
loss for a subject.
"Peleg," said I, by way of an opening, "you
were with Allen at Ticonderoga. Come, we
would like to hear your account of that affair.
Are you ready?"
"Cocked and primed," was the prompt reply.
"I can't tell it as some of the rest could; but any-


how, I can give you the real Simon-pure facts
about the taking of 'Ty,' and if that will sarve,
here goes."
"There were two men consarned in that affair
who were born leaders of men. You all know
who I mean. 'Ethan Alien was one, Benedict
Arnold another."
An ominous, though suppressed, growl ran
round the circle at the mention of the traitor's
hated name.
"That's right; give it to him," resumed Peleg,
with an angry toss of the head, "he's no more a
friend of mine than of yours, though now that
he's dead and gone, give the devil his due, say I,
for one."
"Amen! he's got it, or I'm a sinner," spoke
up Thody Rhodes testily.
"Ay, along with Judas Hiscarrot," interposed
Remember Bowen, whose recollection of Scrip-
ture names was none of the clearest.
"How you do take me up. Let him go. He
was dog in the manger at 'Ty'; but when it
came to fighting, Benedict Arnold would rather
fight than eat any time. Neither Allen nor Ar-
nold made the first move toward taking 'Ty.'
That was done by some quiet, long-headed folks,
down in Connecticut, who planned the whole
affair beforehand. They sent up spies to see how
the land lay; saw how the thing might- be done
by a bold dash, invited Allen to take hold with


his Green Mountain Boys, let the Massachusetts
folks know what they were up to, and Arnold got
a commission to raise men and go up and help
them. But all the men that Arnold raised, be-
sides himself, was his own servant. That, how-
ever made no difference with 'him. He was
bound to be there, men or no men.
"Now then, the leaders were on tenter-hooks
for fear the secret would get out before they were
good and ready. They knew it must be a sur-
prise or nothing; so they took precious good care
not to beat any drums or blow any trumpets, but
just quietly mounted their horses and rode off to
Pittsfield, where they let some good men and true
into their plans, who in turn passed the word
round among their neighbors so quietly that,
presently, they rode out of Pittsfield with forty
men, for Bennington, -and there's where I come
into the story.
"At Bennington they met Allen, who entered
into the spirit of the thing with all imaginable
ardor. Allen instantly set about raising his men.
Castleton was appointed as the place of rendez-
vous; for which place the party pushed on in
great spirits, now that the famous leader of the
Green Mountain Boys was so thoroughly enlisted
in the good cause.
"When we were all mustered at Castleton,
there were just two hundred and seventy of us.
Two hundred and thirty were Allen's boys, who


'minded me of Robin Hood's outlaws, such a
tough looking lot they were, all keen as briers
and wild as so many catamounts. It took Allen
to handle 'em. It was there that Arnold joined
us, with his re-enforcement of one, though to hear
him talk you'd have thought he had got up the
whole thing. With his accustomed impudence he
immediately laid claim to the command, by virtue
of his commission. Allen swore he never should
have it. Arnold vowed he would ; and for a while
the sparks flew, because one was flint and the
other steel, and neither would give an inch.
Pretty way to begin by fighting' among yourselves,
wasn't it? But that was Arnold all over.
However, it was finally settled that Allen
should be first in command and Arnold second.
One party was sent off to Skenesborough, now
Whitehall, at the head of the lake, to secure
Major Skene with his negroes and tenants, who
might have given us trouble, as they belonged to
the other side of the dispute. You see, the thing
had so grown upon us that we had pretty much
made up our minds to make a clean sweep of
everything on Lake Champlain.
"Allen had set the next morning to march for
'Ty' with his hardy band. It so happened, how-
ever, that something caused that plan to be
changed. That something was a man who came
ridin' up to our rendezvous with his horse all in a


"We all crowded up round him. 'Where's
Ethan?' says he.
"' Here I am,' called back Allen, pushing his
way through the crowd. 'Stand back there, you
fellows,' he commanded in that big voice of his;
'Noah Phelps and I must have a little talk to-
"As the men didn't move along quite so quick
as he thought they should, Allen gave one or two
of them a smart shove, -by way of emphasizing his
words. But they took it all from him. He was
over six foot, long-limbed, and muscular; and I'd
as soon have let a bear hug me as get into Allen's
clutches, especially when he was a little riled.
"'So you're back, Noah ?' Ethan said, when his
men were out of earshot. What's the word ?'
"'Good for us. The best. I've been in the fort.'
"' You have ?'
"'Yes; I disguised myself as a countryman,
went boldly up to the sentinel, and told him I
wanted to be shaved by the fort barber. He
let me pass. I vowed and vum'd I never did
see such tarnal big guns before in all my born
days. "Take care you don't care any of 'em
off with you," says he, a-laughin' fit to kill him-
self. I couldn't," says I, onless I had father's
ox-team and some of the boys to help me. How
many of 'cm might there be, now? I asked him.
"Oh, about a hundred or so," he replied, then
turned sharply on me with the question, "What's


that to you ? "Oh, nothing, I replied indiffer-
ently. "I was only wondering' what an all-fired
noise they would make if they was all touched
off at once.'
"' Come to the point,' said Allen, rather im-
"'All in good time, friend Ethan. The first
thing was to disarm suspicion. In the character
I assumed, of a simple, inquisitive, country lout,
they let me look about as long as I liked. Our
information was correct. They have not the
least suspicion of our plans. There are only
forty odd privates, besides half a dozen officers;
but, in his talk while shaving me, the barber,
who, like his tribe the world over, is given to
babbling, let fall something about a re-enforcement
being expected from below. Ethan, we must be
beforehand with them.'
"'By the tall pines of these hills, you say well,
Noah It shall be this very night! Here's for
Ticonderoga or a turf jacket !' exclaimed Ethan,
turning away to give the necessary orders.
"We were soon ready for the march. Every
man's horn, bullet-pouch, and flints were care-
fully looked to. By the light of the stars we
stole noiselessly out of the little village, picked
up our picket, posted outside on the road we
were travelling, settled down into our leader's long,
swinging stride, and were presently swallowed up
in the pitch-darkness of the surrounding woods.


"After a long, hard march we got to the lake
opposite the fortress the next evening. Here we
expected that the detachment sent to Skenesbor-
ough would join us, with what boats they had
been able to pick up at that place. But the night
wore away without news of them. This was the
ninth day of May. I remember it so well because
the next was my birthday, which I had promised
myself to celebrate (providing our expedition did
not fail), by making an assault on the larder and
cellars of Ticonderoga.
"With what few boats our scouts had ferreted
out along shore, eighty-three men of us crossed
the lake, and landed under the fortress just as
the east was brightening up a little. Allen first
formed us in three ranks, and then sent the boats
back for the rest. I confess that I felt a little
nervous when I saw them push off, leaving us
to take what the enemy might choose to give
us, either in cold lead or stiff hemp; for from
where we stood, screened by the cliffs above oui
heads, the fortress loomed up dark and threaten.
ing, like some ancient castle, silent now, but ready
to spit out fire and flames as soon as we should
show ourselves. I know I was all of a shiver.
"But my teeth actually chattered in my head
when, instead of pushing on, as any man in his
sober senses would, Allen stepped out in front and
began making us a speech. A speech! and we
standing there at the imminent risk of discovery !


I've heard that Allen first studied for a minister,
so he may have felt that morning like one of the
prophets of old, before leading his men forth to
battle. But this was no time to preach. Men
fought then with darts and javelins, not powder
and ball. Pooh !



"All I can now recollect of what Allen said was
this: 'You men that are not afraid to undertake
this adventure, poise your firelocks '
Every musket was instantly brought to a
"We were now faced to the right, and Allen,
with his drawn sword, put himself at our head.
Arnold did the same thing. He declared by all


that was good and great that he would go into the
fort first. Allen swore he should not. Here was
a pretty pickle. Two commanders quarrelling-for
precedence within gunshot, ay, almost within ear-
shot, of the sentinels on the ramparts. For my
part, at that moment, I heartily wished both of
them at the bottom of the lake.
"The dispute was finally compromised by let-
ting them march side by side. It is my firm
belief that Arnold would rather have seen the
expedition fail, than not to have carried his point.
"This war of words being over, we advanced
briskly up to the water-gate, where a sentry was
posted. This man snapped his musket at Allen,
looked as though he had seen a ghost, and then
took to his heels, we pushing on after him through
the covered way right into the fort, before he had
time to give more than one yell of wild alarm.
Once there, we formed in line on the parade, the
front rank facing one row of barracks on one side,
the rear rank those on the other, ready to fire at
any one who showed himself at a window. So
far, so good.
"The garrison being sound asleep, we gave
three rousing huzzas, that would have waked the
dead. If they heard us, they took good care to
keep quiet. If they saw us, they saw our guns
held at a ready. Ticonderoga, the gate of the
North, was ours without the loss of a man.
"The next thing was to secure the garrison.


We had no trouble at all. One'only of the sen-
tinels made a lunge at one of our officers with his
bayonet, giving him a slight wound. A. in-
stantly gave the fellow a neat sword-cut over the
head, which made him drop his gun, and howl for
quarter. On being ordered to lead ti._- ;.:.- to the
commandant's quarters, the fellow showed Allen
a pair of stairs leading up to the second story of
the barracks, which Allen inr!!i-i.-i.it%.I: mounted,
two steps at a time, finding himself before a door
at the top. The door being locked on the inside,
Allen dealt it two or three furious blows with -
hilt of his sword, at the same time c,.tin out to
the terrified commandant that if he did not in-
stantly come forth, the garrison should all be
put to the sword.
"The bewildered commander did not hesitate to
open the door at this threat; altlh,:.i.ih he stood
only in his shirt, with his breeches in his hand,
not having had time to pull them on. Without
more words Allen demanded the surrender of the
By what authority ?' asked the perplexed
"'In the name of the Great Jehovah and the
Continental Congress !' was the bombastic reply.
"Still more astounded, for supposing he had
heard of the first, it was unlikely that he ever
had of the second, the commandant began to
stammer out some objections, which Allen, how-


ever, cut short by brandishing his naked sword
over the officer's head, repeating his demand in
a still more peremptory voice. To this display
of force, the unlucky commandant incontinently
yielded. Orders were given for the garrison to
parade, as prisoners of war to the Great Jehovah
and the Continental Congress.
"While Allen was thus occupied, the rest of us
had not been idle. By command of our officers,
we had beaten down several of the barrack doors
without opposition, taking the soldiers within be-
fore they could muster in any force. We were
too overjoyed by our success to jeer at them, in
spite of the black looks they gave us. A more
mortified lot of men you never saw in your life
than the forty-six officers and soldiers we took
there on the ever glorious. Ioth of May, 1775."
But what became of the other detachments ? "
it was asked when Peleg had finished.
"Oh, I forgot to say that Seth Warner crossed
over with the rearguard as soon as the boats had
got back, though not in time to take part in the
capture of the fort. Immediately upon his join-
ing us, he was sent off down the lake to Crown
Point, another strong fortress, built at a narrow
part of the lake during the Old French War.
Warner got possession of it very easily. There
were only a sergeant and twelve men there. Glory
enough for one day !
This was not all. There was an armed sloop


at St. Johns, at the foot of the lake, with which
the enemy could, of course, keep control of the
water, if let alone. It was determined to take
her too. For this purpose a schooner was fitted
out, and put under the command of Arnold, who
had been a sailor, I believe. At any rate, he got
the chance he had been waiting for, to do some-
thing on his own hook. To make sure of their
prey, Allen sailed with some bateaux, along with
Arnold; but the wind came out fair and fresh, the
schooner outsailed the boats, and Arnold took the
sloop alone. That puffed him up like a peacock."



"WASN'T Allen a little cracked in the upper
story?" asked Uncle Billy, without addressing
any one in particular.
Well, if he was, I only wish for my part we'd
had a few more like him, that's all. I call him
an original, I do," said Reddy, with his usual.
decision. "What's your opinion?" he added,
turning to me.
Thus appealed to, I could only say that, in
my judgment, Allen was a singular compound
of courage and rashness, of shrewdness and self-
conceit, and of misdirected abilities. He was one
of those men who believe they are born to great
things; and such men are always a power, if per-
sonally brave, because courage and decision are
qualities all men admire, more especially in the
soldier. But then Arnold was thoroughly unprin-
cipled. Allen has always made me think of one
of Cromwell's Ironsides. His talk was a strange
mixture of local barbarisms, scriptural phrases,
and Oriental wildness, though often highly ani-
mated and forcible. So much, at least, I have
gathered from his own narrative, I finished, by
way of apology, for I saw the frowns gathering


upon the brows of my venerable hearers, who,
however, heard me through silently, if I may ex-
cept an occasional angry snort or grunt coming
from the right or left of my chair.
Reddy tilted his chair back to the verge of
oversetting it, passed his big freckled hand over
his glistening bald head, gazed up at the ceiling,
as if I was beneath his notice, and blurted out the
question : -
What was Greene ? "
"The son of an anchor-smith."
Knox? "
A bookseller."
"Putnam ?"
A farmer and tavern-keeper."
"Turned out pretty well, didn't they ? "
"None better."
"Well, Squire, when you lay down the law at
education, don't forget what our generals were
made of. Weren't they all sons of the soil, like
Allen? "
Mostly so, I admit."
"And had to get their growth by the hardest
kind of knocks ? "
If you mean that experience was their teacher,
I think you said something about Cromwell's
Ironsides. You never said a better thing. They
were the hard-handed yeomanry of England. We
fought their fight over here. They won theirs; so


did we ours. As for Allen, I wouldn't give a pis-
tareen for a man who hadn't a little gunpowder
in him, eh, boys?"
There was a general murmur of assent, so I
held my peace. Reddy went on: -
"In a single night Allen, with his handful of
homespun soldiers, did what whole armies had
failed to do in the French War. It was a great
"Yes; but not his," objected some one else,
who now took up the cudgels on the other side.
" Peleg told us how that was. To tell the truth,
I've about come to the conclusion that Allen's
success at 'Ty,' turned his head. What could
have been more foolish than his attack on Mon-
treal, with only a hundred and ten men, and a
river a mile wide behind him ?"
He made a good fight, anyhow," Reddy in-
sisted, apparently determined not to desert his
"And was taken prisoner for his pains," was
the reply.
"Like some other folks I know of."
"You mean me. I don't mind your twitting
on facts, Reddy. Fortune of war. When I was
a prisoner in New York, Allen was there too,
so I saw him- often. To speak out plainly, the
British had treated him more like a wild beast
than a human being. I think it was because
they were afraid of him. But he was the same


old Allen still. They had kept him in irons, like
any criminal; but his spirit was just as untamed
as if he had been walking the wild woods of his
native hills."
That's the boy for me Reddy exclaimed in
triumph. "Never say die! "
"How did he look after his long confinement ? "
I asked.
"As you would naturally expect, very bad.
He had been brought from Halifax a short time
after that wretchedly managed business at Long
Island, where I was taken, and was paroled when
we were. Allen at that time looked like a once
robust man, worn down by hard usage and worse
fare, but he was then recovering his health and
spirits. He wore a suit of blue, with a gold-laced
hat, presented to him by some gentlemen of Cork,
when Allen was there, in which he cut a very
passable figure-for a rebel colonel. He used
to show us a tooth that had been broken by his
twisting off with it, in a fit of anger, the nail
which fastened the bar of his handcuffs; an act
which drew, from one of the astonished spectators,
the exclamation of 'Hang the man; can he eat
iron ?' I soon became well acquainted with Allen,
and have more than once heard him relate his
adventures while a prisoner, exactly correspond-
ing, both in substance and language, with the
narrative he gave to the public in the year 1779.
I have seldom met with a man possessing in my


opinion a stronger mind, or whose mode of ex-
pression was more vehement and oratorical."
"There!" exclaimed Reddy, turning to me
with every mark of triumph on his honest face;
seeing'ss believin', Squire, the world over."
"Anyhow, the taking of Ticonderoga was a most
costly victory for us," I returned, "because it drew
our people on to attempt the conquest of Canada,
instead of confining their efforts to holding that
strong place alone. What happened? We lost
two armies, three generals, and were kicked out
of Canada in the bargain."
"Nothing venture, nothing have," observed
Peleg. "I notice," he continued, "that none
of you have found out that Boston was taken at
Seeing that his remark was a puzzle, he pro-
ceeded to make it clear to us in this wise:-
"At that time, as you all know, our New Eng-
land yeoianry had General Gage penned up in
Boston hard and fast; but their intrenchments
were without cannon, and their men without
powder. It could not be a siege; it was more
of a blockade. 'Ty' was taken in May. Things
lingered along until winter. Washington wanted
those cannon and mortars badly, but getting them
down to camp before there was snow on the
ground was not to be thought of. Even then
it was a task to make a man think twice. Just
you think of it yourselves.


But where there's a will there's a way. Wash-
ington sent for Knox, who declared himself ready
for anything. Dear me, I was just like him at
his age! Washington gave him his instructions,
some letters to friends at Albany, handed him
a wad of money, wished him success, and watched
the young colonel of artillery mount his horse and
ride off, with something of the feeling of having
asked him to perform a miracle.
"'It is only miracles, after all, that can save
us,' murmured the commander-in-chief to himself,
as he turned to his writing-table, loaded down
with piles of official correspondence, and set him-
self resolutely at work again.
"That was a proud day for Knox, a glorious one
for us, when the long train of ox-teams came
toiling down into Cambridge from across the
mountains. The whole army turned out to cheer
them as they passed by- twenty-fours, eighteens,
heavy mortars, shot, shell, and what not with
Knox at their head, brown and ragged, but happy.
When they had come up abreast of the com-
mander-in-chief's quarters, he with his staff stood
on the doorstep, clapping their hands. Knox
dismounted, threw the bridle over the hitching-
post, and walked up 'the flagged-walk to where
they stood.
"' Here are the guns from "Ty," your Excel-
lency,' was all he said, making his salute.
"'They speak for themselves, Colonel,' put


in bluff old Putnam, who was standing by with
a face wreathed in smiles.
"Washington grasped Knox's hand, and shook
it warmly, 'God has decreed that we should
succeed,' he said, 'since He has permitted a
miracle in our favor. This is more than I dared
to hope for. Colonel, you dine with us to-day.'
"'By your Excellency's leave, there is a little
woman not far off who is expecting me.'
"The general smiled benignantly. 'Ah very
true. I forgot. Go and embrace her, and report
here to-morrow. General,' turning to Putnam,
'wve will send the enemy the latest news from
Ticonderoga from the muzzles of their own
guns.' "



IT was Christmas night. Four of us were sit-
ting round a blazing wood fire in the old tavern at
X. A wrinkled, white-haired man crouched over
the fire, rubbing his hard, bony hands together, in
the seat that by general consent was always left
vacant for him in the chimney corner.
There is always something about very old men
that inspires us with a feeling of awe. So we sat
silent now, although our tongues had been running
fast enough before this taciturn old fellow had
dropped in upon us. He said never a word.
After giving a meaning glance at the rest of us,
one of the boys spoke up: "What makes you look
so glum, Uncle Billy ? Brighten up, old man, and
tell us a story about the good old times of 'sev-
The good old times of seventy-six,' the old
man slowly repeated, the good old times of sev-
enty-six ?' You don't know what you're talking
Having said this, the old sergeant fell into a
brown study again. Our defeated companion
nudged me.
"My grandfather was in the retreat from Long
Island," I said, rather grandly I suppose.


"Was he ? retorted Uncle Billy: "I hope he
retreated in good order," he added, with a grin of
Which would you rather do, fight the British
or Hessians ?" my next neighbor asked, half iron-
ically, half in earnest.
At this question the old man fired up.
"Neither," he replied, with decision. I'd rather
be a-settin' here, by a warm fire, hearing' other
folks tell about their explites. Ah, boys, boys,"
he continued, in a more gentle tone, "this is
the time o' year when peace on airth and good
will toward men is the universal gospel, and
right it should be ; but I've seen the time when
things were different, I can tell ye."
We sat as still as mice, afraid to interrupt
"You want to hear about it ? You shall. I
remember it as if it was yesterday, and yet it
was nigh on sixty year ago. How time does fly !
"It was at Trenton, the very last of December
'seventy-six.' The time for which most.of us had
enlisted was out -yes, and more too. Now, just
as we'd made up our mouths to go home, what
does Gin'ral Washington do but order our regi-
ment paraded. God bless the man he's goin' to
give us all our discharge,' was what we thought,
at first. Instead of that he made us a speech,
begging and entreating us to stay a month


-"" -r





-: I



"The drums beat up for volunteers. Not a
man stirred. What do you think? We were all
worn out. We were in rags. I know I was
nothing' but skin and bone; for sence we licked
the Hessians and before, we'd been kept dancin'
back and forth, to and fro, up hill and down dale,
until we looked more like a pack of scarecrows
than good flesh and blood. The only thing we
ever got a full meal of was fighting ; and most of
us weren't hankerin' for any more of that, you can
take your Bible oath on. Why, many's the time
I've eat raw potato peelin's, and glad to get 'em.
Now just look at it. For the last month we'd
been counting' the days, one by one, when we
should go home home! why it was like heaven!
And now to be asked to stop another month. It
was enough to turn a man to stone.
I said not a man stirred in his tracks, didn't
I? I know my backbone was stiff as a ramrod.
We stood there like graven images, deaf and
dumb, and never winked.
"The gin'ral wheeled his horse, and rode along
in front of the regiment, very slow. Says he -
I give you his very words My brave lads, your
country is at stake; wives, homes, little ones, and
all you hold dear. I know you have worn your-
selves out with fatigues and hardship, and now
want to go home ; but we know not how to spare
you. If you will only stay one month more, you
will render that service to the cause of liberty, and


to your country, which probably you can never do
under any circumstances. The present is em-
phatically the .crisis, which is to decide our des-
tiny.' Oh, he was grand!
"The drums then beat for the second time.
The soldiers felt the force of the appeal and
showed it. One said to another, I'll stay if you
will.' Others said, 'We can't go home under
such circumstances, can we?' A few stepped
forward. Their example was quickly followed
by nearly all who were fit for duty, in the regi-
ment, amounting in all to about two hundred
Shall these men be enrolled, sir?' our colonel
"'No,' said the gin'ral; 'men who will act as
they have don't need any enrolment.'
Now, you must know that we were in a pretty
tight fix. There was Lord Cornwallis planted
squarely in our front, with men enough to eat us
all up. We stood looking' at each other across the
Assanpink. Three times the Hessians tried to
force their way across the bridge, and three times
our cannon drove them back. At last they gave
it up, and left us alone for the night.
"Then we played them a Yankee trick. We
built big fires to make them think we were lying
there all snug, waiting' for them to come on in the
morning, turned off by a roundabout way, and
marched away for Princeton. Ugh, but it was
cold !


"Our two hundred volunteers were with the
advance. We were in a sorry plight for a forced
march, but there were no stragglers. Our artil-
lery horses were without shoes; and when we
came to a spot that was frozen over, they would
slip and slide about so that the soldiers would
have to drag and push them along, by main
strength. The men were hardly better off than
the horses for shoes, many having nothing on but
some old rags or a piece of. carpet to keep their
feet from the frozen ground."
"You don't mean to say that the men were
actually barefooted ?" we cried out in a chorus of
"Boys, you could have tracked those men by
the blood oozing out at every step, where the
sharp ice had cut through into the flesh."
I should have thought their feet would have
frozen stiff," was the sympathetic rejoinder of the
youngest of us.
"Oh, your feet won't freeze as long as the
blood runs. You wanted me to tell you about
the good old times of 'seventy-six,' didn't you ?"
And the old sergeant went on with his story.
It was, I think, about sun-up on the morning
of January 3, 'seventy-seven,' when, upon reach-
ing the top of a hill near Princeton, we saw a
light-horseman watching us at a distance. Gin'ral
Mercer, he gave orders to some of the riflemen to
pick him off; but before they could draw a t ri. e r.


the vedette turned his horse and galloped off, out
of our reach.
"'That rascal will give the alarm,' said the
gin'ral to my captain.
There was a farmhouse a few rods from where
we halted, to spell the men a little. Presently a
countryman came out of the house, and stood on
the doorstep staring at us, as if we were so many
ghosts. The gin'ral beckoned to him.
'Are you a friend to your country?' he asked.
"'I am.'
"'There ought to be some by-way by which
we can approach the village without being seen.'
'There is one.'
'Very good, Captain,' continued the gin'ral,
turning to us, 'here is the man you want. If he
prove faithful, reward him ; should he betray us,
shoot him.'
"The countryman's eyes roved from one to the
other, but. he said never a word. You see, boys,
the man who didn't carry a musket on one side or
the other, in those days, couldn't be trusted out
of sight.
You hear?' said our captain to the man.
Yes,' was the sullen reply.
"'Then take care how you lead us into an
ambuscade. If you do, I'll blow out your brains.
March '
"The man led us off through a farm-road, that
ran nearly parallel with the one on which we had


seen the vedette disappear. For some distance
our march was concealed by a piece of pine woods,
but at the end of about fifteen minutes, as I
should judge, we came out of this wood into open
ground again, on the top of a small hill, which we
began descending. Before us We saw a high
bank and hedgerow, stretching across our path,
and glittering with icicles in the morning sun,
which.shone full in our faces. It blinded us. All
seemed quiet around us.
"Turning to my captain, who marched at my
side, I pointed to this innocent looking hedgerow,
without speaking. He nodded, as much as to say,
'I see it as well as you do,' and kept right on.
If it hadn't been for those plaguy icicles, I could
have sworn I saw bayonets sticking up behind
that hedge.
"In a couple of minutes more, we were within
twenty paces of the ditch, under the bank. All
of a sudden a perfect swarm of British rose up,
and poured a tremendous fire into us.
"'Aha! Captain,' said our guide, 'it seems that
two can play at this game.'
He had hardly got the words out of his mouth,
when the captain brought down the breech of his
musket on the fellow's head with all his might.
It was enough to have felled an ox.
Fire, men why don't you fire ?' shouted the
gin'ral, reining back his horse. I then saw that
he was bare-headed and bleeding too.


"Luckily for us, their first volley mostly went
over our heads. They were in too big a hurry to
do execution. We were ordered to wheel out.
As my platoon was obeying this order, the cor-
poral at my left let go his gun, gave a spring in
the air, and pitched headforemost into the ditch.
We rallied, moved on, shoved our muskets
through the hedge, and gave it to the beggars
hot and heavy. If ever I smelled powder, it was
then and there."
The old sergeant stopped to mop his forehead,
and get his breath.
"Where was I ? Oh! we were a-fightin' away
across the bank. Well, pretty soon they fell back
about eight rod, to where their packs were laid on
the ground, in a line. We kept on rattling the
buckshot into 'em, like all possessed; for we saw
we had 'em beaten, fair and square. But just
then, what should we see but another passel on
'em come a-runnin' up double-quick.
"Some one sung out to us, 'Stan' your ground,
brave boys The beggars are coming' to town !'
"It was no use. They were three to our one,
and all fresh men. Pretty soon I heard some one
give the order to retreat, in a dying sort of voice.
It was the general. I looked around to see if I
could discover anything of our main body; for we
were all fought out, and the enemy were driving'
their bayonets into our wounded men, right and
left. Our folks were nowhere to be seen. After


giving the enemy what I had in my gun, I ran for
the woods I told you of before.
Before I could get there, Gin'ral Washington
came ridin' up. at full gallop. Far behind him I
could see the head of our advancing columns.
'Parade with us, my brave fellows,' he shouted,
'there are only a handful of the enemy, and we'll
have them directly.'
"If there- was one of 'em, there was a million;
and he was almost alone.
"Well, the minute they saw us trying to rally,
the enemy gave us a whole volley. How the bul-
lets did hum Some of us grabbed the gin'ral's
bridle, and tried to turn his horse's head. We
all felt that it was no place for him. But he
wouldn't budge an inch. 'Leave me alone!' he
cried, 'the enemy is there,' pointing his sword
toward the rascals who were popping away at us
out of the smoke. It was the bravest thing I
ever saw. I vow and declare to you nobody would
have thought he was the commander-in-chief. It
was the Virginia colonel, stemming the tide of
defeat at Braddock's field over again. My heart
was in my mouth, for I expected to see him fall
from his horse every instant. But bless you, they
couldn't hit him. That man bore a charmed life."
"Well, go on, go on; how did it come out?"
we breathlessly exclaimed.
"Just like this. Up came our folks, puffin' and
blowin', cheerin' and shoutin', have at the blood-


hounds !' 'Trenton Trenton!' I tell you it was
beautiful. Did you ever see dead leaves go whirl-
ing away before a gust of wind in autumn? At
'em we went, tooth and nail. They retreated
back to the college, where they thought them-
selves safe. Our army was there in an instant.
Our cannon unlimbered right before the door;
and, after two or three shots, we saw a white
handkerchief hung out of the window on the point
of a sword. The enemy had surrendered."



THERE was Germantown. We had them whipped
there as clean as a whistle. I'll tell you how I
know it. After the British marched out of Phil-
adelphia for good, some of us were rummaging
around their quarters at Germantown, when we
ran across a lot of papers that had been torn up
and thrown into a fireplace among the ashes.
One of the men, I forget now who it was, picked
up a piece to light his pipe with.
"Hold on," says he, "there's writing on it."
We pulled a rickety table out of a corner, spread
the torn pieces out on it, and went to work trying
to put them together. It took us a good while;
but we got as much interested in it as boys will
over a puzzle, and at last we had them all com-
plete, like a book.
One paper was a return of the killed and
wounded; another was a letter telling about the
battle, which the writer evidently hadn't had time
to finish before he was ordered off somewhere in
a hurry. So he tore it up. This was the way it
read. I know it by heart. You can see by the
way it is worded that an educated man and an


officer wrote it, none of your ignorant rank and
file, Squire ahem !

"While the greater part of our army were employed at
Mud Island, General Washington, availing himself of that
circumstance, attacked our battalion at Biggerstown with
his whole army.
The first General Howe knew of Washington's march-
ing against us was by his attacking us at daybreak. General
Wayne commanded the advance, and fully expected to be
revenged for the surprise we had given him a short time
When the first shots were fired at our pickets, so much
had we all Wayne's affair in remembrance, that the battalion
was out and under arms in a minute. The day had just
broke; but it was a very foggy morning, and so dark we
could not see a hundred yards before us.
"Just as the battalion had formed, the pickets came in
and said the enemy were advancing in force. They had
hardly joined the battalion when we heard a loud cry of
'Have at the bloodhounds! revenge Wayne's affair!' and
the enemy immediately fired a volley at us.
We gave them one in return, cheered, and charged.
"As it was near the end of the campaign, our battalion
was very weak; it did not consist of more than three hun-
dred men, and we had no support nearer than Germantown,
a mile in our rear.
On our charging they gave way on all sides, but again
and again renewed the attack, with fresh troops and greater
"We charged them twice, till the battalion was so re-
duced by killed and wounded that the bugle sounded a
retreat; indeed, had we not retreated at the very time we
did, we should all have been taken or killed, as two columns
of the enemy had nearly got round our flank. But this was


the first time we had ever retreated from the Americans, and it
was with great difficulty we could get the men to obey orders.
"The enemy were kept so long in check that the two
brigades had advanced to the entrance of Biggerstown when
they met our battalion retreating. By this time General
Howe had come up; and seeing the battalion retreating all
broken, he flew into a passion and exclaimed, For shame,
Light Infantry! I never saw you retreat before; form! form!
it's only a scouting-party !'
However, he was quickly convinced it was more than
a scouting-party, as the heads of the enemy's columns soon
appeared. One coming through Li. .:r.:. r. with three
pieces of cannon in their front, immediately fired, with
grape, at the crowd that was standing with General Howe
under a large chestnut-tree. I think I never saw people
enjoy a discharge of grape before; but we really all felt
pleased to see the enemy make such an appearance, and to
hear the grape rattle about the commander-in-chief's ears,
after he had accused, the battalion of having run away from
a scouting-party.
He rode off immediately at full speed, and we joined the
two brigades that were formed a little way in our rear; but it
was not possible for them to make any stand against Wash-
ington's whole army, and they all retreated to Germantown,
except Colonel Musgrave, who, with the Fortieth Regiment,
nobly defended Chew's house till we were re-enforced from

There the letter ended abruptly.

It may be supposed that we were far from sat-
isfied with the way the story broke off. Just as
we had worked ourselves up into a fine state of
excitement, to be left dangling in a state of
uncertainty was cruel.


"What did he mean by 'Wayne's affair'? "
one asked.
What had Chew's house to do with the battle ?
and why couldn't they have marched past it ?"
asked another.
"That's another story," the veteran replied,
shaking his gray head regretfully. Ah, boys,
fortune o' war, fortune o' war."

University of Florida Home Page
© 2004 - 2010 University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries.
All rights reserved.

Acceptable Use, Copyright, and Disclaimer Statement
Last updated October 10, 2010 - - mvs