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IDoIume HIT. 






Bis Early Life Whipped by his Father Appointed Brigadier-Gen, 
eral Is Sick during the Battle of Long Island Bravery at 
Brandy wine, and German town, and Springfield Appointed over 
the Southern Army Battle of Cowpens His Famous Retreat 
through the Carolinas Battle of Guilford Battle of Hobkirk's 
Hill Turns fiercely on Cornwallis's Line of Posts Storming 
of Ninety-six Battle of Eutaw Springs Distress and Naked- 
ness at bis Army Triumphant Entrance into Charleston- 
Removes South Death and Character, I 


Patriotism of South Carolina Moultrie fights the Cherokees Com- 
mands the troops in Charleston Battle of Fort Moultrie Made 
Brigadier-General under Lincoln Saves Charleston by his De- 
cision Bravery at the Siege of Charleston Is taken Prisoner 
Blowing up of a Magazine His Character, . . . 50 


His early Life Joins the Army as Volunteer Transports Cannon 
from Canada Appointed over the Artillery Fights bravely at 
Trenton, Princeton, Brandywine, Germantown, and Monmouth 
Appointed Secretary of War His Death and Character, . . 05 


IBs Youth Enters the Army Appointed Major- General Nar- 
rowly escapes Capture Sent to Vermont Joins Gates at Sara- 
toga Is Wounded Appointed over the Southern Army Battle 
of Stono Siege and Storming of Savannah Siege of Charles- 
ton Its Surrender Siege ef Yorktown Is elected Member of 
Congress Quells Shay's Rebellion His Death and Character, 69 



Early made a Soldier Serves in this Country Adopted into a Tribe 
of the Mohawks Assails the Ministry of England Made Aide- 
de-camp of the King of Poland Appointed Major-General in 
the Russian Service Travels in Italy Returns to England, 
and takes up warmly with the American Colonies Comes to 
America His Energy and Activity Appointed Major-General 
in the Army Boldness at New York Sent South Disobeys 
Washington's Orders, and is taken Prisoner Anecdote Battle 
of Moamouth, and Lee's Retreat Insults Washington, and is 
Court-martialled Review of the Proceedings Is Suspended 
His strange Mode of Life in Virginia Striking Death His 
Character 8fc 


An Officer in the French War Accompanies Montgomery to Can- 
ada Made Brigadier-GeneralAttack on Forts Montgomery 
and Clinton Bravery and Narrow Escape of Clinton Is Joined 
to Sullivan's Expedition His Character, . . . .116 


His Birth Studies Law Member of the First Congress Ap- 
pointed Brigadier-General Sent to Canada Bravery at Tren- 
ten and Princeton Attack on Staten Island Battle of Brandy- 
wine 'Expedition against Newport Expedition against the 
Indians Picturesque Appearance of his Army Beauty of the 
Indian Villages Devastation in the track of the Army Re- 
tires from the Service Elected to Congress Made Governor of 
New Hampshire, etc. His Character, 123 


Serves in the English Army Appointed Colonel by Congress 
Sent to Canada Battle of Princeton Evacuation of Ticon- 
deroga Bravery of Francis and Warner Review of St. Clair's 
Movements Appointed Governor of the Northwestern Terri- 
tory Commands the Expedition against the Indians The utter 
Rout and Slaughter of his Army His Character, . . 137 


Mb Early Life Heads a Forlorn Hope against the Cherokees 
Fires the Last Cannon in the Battle of Fort Moultrie Bravery 


at Savannah Breaks his Leg by Leaping from a Window in 
Charleston Is Hunted from Cover to Cover Left alone in th 
Field Joins Gates Appointed over a Brigade Its Appearance, 
and that of Marion His First Expedition Fight at the Black 
Mingo Camp at Snow's Island Pursued by Tarleton By 
Watson, and Defeats him His Camp Destroyed by Doyle 
Battle of King's Mountain Joined by Lee Takes Forts Wat- 
son and Motte Takes Georgetown Defeats Frazier Bravery 
at Eutaw Affair at Quimby Bridge Takes his Seat in the 
Legislature Retires to his Farm His Marriage Noble Con- 
duct in the Senate His Character and Death, . . . 154 


His Birth and Descent Serves in the French and Indian War 
Appointed an Officer in the American Army Bravery at Long 
Island Taken Prisoner Bravery at Brandywine and Mon- 
mouth Commands at Albany Exposes the Conway Cabal 
His Death and Character, 183 


His Birth and Early Marriage His Interest in our Cause Resolves 
to Come to this Country Forbidden by his Government Buys 
and Fits out a Ship at his own Expense Cold Reception by 
Congress Warm one by Washington Bravery at Brandywine 
Affair of Gloucester Point Given Command of a Division 
Affair of Barren Hill Bravery at Mon mouth Sent South to 
repel Arnold and Cornwallis Coops the Latter up at York- 
town Storming of the Redoubts Returns to France Chief 
Actor in the French Revolution Commands the National 
Guard Storming of Versailles by Women Scene in the Champ 
de Mars Appointed Commander in the French Army His 
/light Made Prisoner by Austria Noble Attempts to Rescue 
him Liberated by Napoleon Returns to Private Life Visit 
to this Country His Enthusiastic Reception His Triumphal 
Progress Returns to France Helps to Overthrow Charles 
X His Death and Character, 186 


Early Serves in this Country Comes over the Second Time with 
Lafayette Made Major-General A Secret Correspondent ot 
the French Government Sent South His Bravery and Death 
at Camdea Eulogy of Washington His Character, . 21% 



SONS 223 


Our Navy at the Commencement of the Revolution Birth and Early 
Life of Paul Jones First Cruise in the Alfred Commands the 
Providence Cruise in the Ranger Bold Attack on White- 
haven Battle with the Drake Prayer of Mr. Shirra Bloody 
Engagement with the Serapis Wreck of the Ariel Enters the 
Russian Service Crosses the Baltic in an Open Boat Adven- 
tures in the Black Sea His Death and Character, . . .225 



A Wagoner in Braddock's Army Receives five hundred Lashes 
Made Ensign Severely Wounded by the Indians Narrow 
Escape Becomes a Street Fighter Joins the American Army - 
His Military Career Becomes a Religious Man His Charac- 
ter ad Death Character and Dress of his Riflero"- . . 252 



S. MAJOR-GENERAL GREENE, . ; . . . . i 









His Early Life Whipped by his Father Appointed Brigadier-Genera^- 
Is Sick during the Battle of Long Island Bravery at Brandy wine, and 
Germantown, and Springfield Appointed over the Southern Army 
Battle of Cowpens His Famous Retreat through the Carolinas Battle of 
Guilford Battle of Hobkirk's Hill Turns fiercely on Cornwallis's Line 
of Posts Storming of Ninety-six Battle of Eutaw Springs Distress 
and Nakedness of his Army Triumphant Entrance into Charleston 
Removes South Death and Character. 

IT is pleasant to take up a character, the resplendent 
qualities of which are not darkened by serious defects. 
Arnold was adventurous and heroic, but he lacked principle 
Lee, brilliant and brave, but too ambitious ; while Greene 
possessed all their good qualities, with none of their bad 
ones. Poor, and without patrons, he began his career on 
the lowest steps of fame's ladder, and by his energy and 
effort, alone, reached the highest yet he never became dizzy 
by elevation, nor exhibited any of those weak or wicked 
passions power and rank so invariably develop. 

NATHANIEL GREENE was born in Warwick, Rhode 
Island, May 27, 1742, and hence was a young man at the 
breaking out of the Revolution. His father was a Quaker 
preacher ; and young Nathaniel was early instructed in the 
principles of peace and universal brotherhood. To have 
seen him about on the farm, in his drab suit and broad- 
brimmed hat, or sitting meek and grave as a statue in one 
of those silent conventicles, one would never have picked 
him out for a major-general in the American army. His 
father owned a forge, and to this Nathaniel was finally pro- 
moted from the farm, and worked at the anvil with the same 
vigor he afterwards did in hammering out his own fortune. 
For a while his youthful energy and ambition expended it- 
self in athletic sports, such as wrestling, leaping, throwing 
the bar, and so forth, and in these none swung a more 
vigorous or steadier arm than he. He was very fond of 


dancing, which, of course, was looked upon by his sect 
with abhorrence. To have the son of a Quaker preacher 
the wildest in the frolic, and the merriest in all the 
dance, was a public scandal not to be tolerated a moment, 
and the most peremptory commands were laid on young 
Greene. The latter pretended to obey ; but after his grave 
father was asleep he would often drop from his chamber 
window, and steal away to the scene of mirth. The sus- 
picious parent, however, got wind of it in some way, and so, 
one night, when there was to be a large ball in the neighbor- 
hood, kept watch. Finding, late in the evening, that his son 
had gone, the old gentleman locked the door of the house, and, 
with a horsewhip in his hand, began to pace backwards and 
forwards under the window from which the culprit had 
escaped. The latter, returning home before daylight, saw 
through the gloom the figure of his father slowly moving to 
and fro, and he knew what to expect. To wait at a dis* 
tance till morning would lead to certain detection, and to 
enter the house without being discovered was impossible, 
and so, after holding a short council of war with himself 
over the matter, he determined to advance boldly and take 
the flogging prepared for him. But with that quick inven- 
tion which afterwards served him so well on more impor- 
tant occasions, he slipped some shingles under his coat be- 
hind, to deaden the blows of the horsewhip, which he knew 
his stern father would wield with no baby hand. Having 
taken this wise precaution, he walked boldly up and took 
the castigation. The shingles, however, did their duty, 
much to the young culprit's gratification. 

But his strong mind could not long be satisfied wi f h 
these follies, and he soon became enamored of books, and, 
whether in the field or at the forge, was ever found with 
one by his side. He took up Euclid by himself, and mas- 
tered its difficult problems without assistance. While his 
Iron was heating, he would sit down, and with his soiled 
hands turn over the pages of the renowned geometer with 
delight. This, and similar studies, gave to his mind a 
breadth and grasp which he never could have obtained in 
his ordinary occupations. All the pocket-money he could 
raise was spent in purchasing books, and he made toys or 
trinkets of various kinds which he disposed of for the same 
object. His craving mind, having once seized on books, it 
seemed impossible to satisfy it ; and hence, at the age of 


twenty, he laid the basis of a powerful character. Abste- 
mious eating but two meals a day he devoted all his lei- 
sure hours to the cultivation of his mind, and the accumula- 
tion of knowledge, and, before twenty-eight years old, had 
a library of two hundred and fifty volumes. In 1770 he 
was elected member of the General Assembly of the colony, 
and entered at once with all the ardor of his nature into 
the contest which had commenced between the colonies and 
the parent country. He was soon convinced that the battle- 
field must decide the question, and, casting aside all his 
Quaker prejudices, resolved to draw his sword for freedom, 
He immediately plunged into the intricacies of military 
science, and eagerly devoured every book relating to the 
subject on which he could lay his hands. Bold and decided, 
he made no concealment of his determination ; and the 
sect to which he belonged, unable, of course, to overlook 
this violation of their rules, called him to account. But 
neither persuasions nor threats could change the young 
Quaker's purpose, and he was cut off from the society. 
His drab coat and broad-brimmed hat were now thrown to 
the winds ; and with his musket on his shoulder, he entered, 
as a private, one of the many independent companies then 
everywhere forming. 

In the year 1774 he was married ; but not even the at- 
tractions of his young bride could restrain him from the 
scene of danger. The next year the battles of Lexington 
and Concord were fought, and the rattling of arms was 
heard the length and breadth of the land, as the entire 
nation rose to defend its hearth-stones. Greene imme- 
diately started for Boston. In the organization of an army ? 
which followed, Rhode Island voted to raise a force of six- 
teen hundred men, and appointed Greene major-general. 

After the battle of Bunker Hill, he joined the army at 
Cambridge. Congress, in appointing the officers of the 
Continental army, was compelled in some cases to change 
the rank held by the provincial commanders ; and Greene, 
under qfie new arrangement, sunk to brigadier-general. He 
immediately entered upon a course of discipline, the effect 
of which was soon apparent in the troops under his com- 
mand. Trfis habit, formed at the outset, was of great use 
to him ever afterwards. 

He seems, also, to have studied more deeply than many 
others the character of the quarrel between the two conn- 


tries, and his strong mind to have forecast the necessity of 
a more decisive step than the mere redress of grievances ; 
for, from his camp at Prospect Hill, he writes to a member 
of Congress, saying, " Permit me to recommend, from the 
sincerity of a heart at all times ready to bleed in my coun- 
try's cause, a declaration of independence, and call upon the 
world, and the great God who governs //, to witness the neces- 
sity, propriety, and rectitude thereof." 

He early won the confidence and esteem of Washington, 
und the latter sent him in the spring to occupy Long Island 
with his brigade. He entered on his work with ardor ex- 
amined the ground, established his posts, and made all the 
preparations in his power to give the enemy a warm re- 
ception. But at this critical juncture he was seized with a 
billious fever, which laid him on his back, and for a while 
seriously threatened his life. It was thus Putnam became 
placed over his troops, who, from his ignorance of the 
ground, and unpreparedness every way, suffered that de- 
feat, which, but for the promptness and energy, generalship 
and skill of Washington, would have proved fatal to the 
whole army. One can imagine what a brave man like 
Greene must have felt, in being compelled to lie idle in such 
an important crisis. Just as his career was opening, and 
after all the labor and drudgery had been gone through, to 
be thrown aside as a useless thing was a most bitter disap- 
pointment. Besides, the fate of his brave troops, of which 
he had become so fond and so proud, might rest on the 
manner in which they were led into action. From his sick 
bed he heard the thunder of the first cannon, as it shook 
the house in which he lay helpless, and half-rising from his 
feverish couch, he exclaimed, " Gracious God, to be confined 
at such a time /" His brave heart was wrung with such 
Borrow as only heroes know, and as the uproar of the com 
bat increased, his agitation became intense. Explosion 
after explosion shook his bed, and his eager inquiries as to 
the fate of the battle could brook no delay. At last, when 
told that his favorite regiment that of Smallwood had 
been terribly handled and cut to pieces^ he could contain 
himself no longer, but burst into an ago.iy of tears. 

In the mean time, he had been promoted to the rank of 
major-general. As soon as he could sit his horse, he took 
the field, and was present at the battle of Harlaem Heights. 
The capture of the garrison of Fort Washington wa 


owing chiefly to Greene's want of judgment, who insisted 
on holding it against the enemy. He always contended, 
however, that his views in the case were correct, and that 
had the troops proved sufficiently brave, the fort could not 
have been taken. He was beside Washington in his mem- 
orable retreat through the Jerseys, and in the brilliant 
movement upon Trenton commanded the division which 
the latter accompanied in person. In that fearful night 
and fearful passage, he exhibited the coolness and stern res- 
olution which afterwards so characterized him. He was 
with him also in the march on Princeton, and led his bat' 
talions to the charge with incredible fury. In these des- 
perate encounters, the young Quaker had taken severe 
lessons in the art of war, while the heroism and personal 
exposure of the commander-in-chief had shown him how a 
general should behave in the moment of peril. He gazed 
in admiration on him, as he rode amid the guns through 
the gloom and storm towards Trenton, and saw, with un- 
bounded delight, that tall form spur into the deadly volleys 
at Princeton. His heart fastened at once on his glorious 
leader, and amid all the dangers and conspiracies that 
afterwards shook so terribly the integrity of many of the 
officers, his love and faithfulness never faltered. 

When the army went into winter-quarters at Morristown, 
he was despatched to Congress to push that dilatory body 
to an immediate reorganization of the forces. He after- 
wards was sent to examine the passes of the Highlands ; 
but spring found him again at his post. At the battle of 
Brandywine the finale to the manoeuvres that had been 
performed all summer, he exhibited that decision and 
power over his soldiers which rendered him such a dreaded 
antagonist At the commencement of the action he had 
been stationed far in the rear, as a reserve, to co-operate 
with any portion of the army which needed him most. 
But when the flight commenced, he hastened up, and 
marching his men four miles in forty-nine minutes, met the 
terrified, disordered army. Untouched by the panic and 
terror around them, his brave troops wheeled sternly in 
front of the pursuing, shouting enemy. As the throng of 
fugitives came pouring on them, the ranks would open and 
let them pass, then close again as the turbulent stream 
rolled away over the field. Thus opening and shutting his 
Steady ranks, and slowly retreating, Greene at length cleared 


himself of the shattered army, and reaching a narrow 
made a bold stand. Encouraging his little band b, 
and gesture, he held it to the shock for three-quarters 01 *u 
hour. His firm front and steady volleys repelled every 
effort and at length, as darkness shut in the scene, the 
enemy withdrew, and he hastened up to the main army. 
The conduct of his troops on this occasion, in thus with- 
standing the panic around them, and steadily holding in 
check the entire British force, was worthy the veteran 
armies of Europe. 

In the battle of Germantown, which followed, he com- 
manded the left wing, and did all that could be done to 
save the battle. In the retreat the gunners forsook their 
pieces, and he, after trying in vain to rally them, made them 
take hold of hands, and thus drag the artillery off. During 
this year he was appointed quartermaster-general, and his 
energy and industry soon wrought a wonderful change in 
this hitherto neglected department of the army. The next 
winter his home was a log hut at Valley Forge. At the 
battle of Monmouth, which opened the summer campaign, 
he commanded the right wing, and brought his troops nobly 
into action. His heavy guns sent disorder through the ad- 
vancing lines, and gave double power to Wayne's charge 
on the centre. In July he was sent to Rhode Island to 
co-operate with Lafayette and Sullivan in the projected 
descent on Newport, and covered that skilful retreat which 
saved the army. 

In the discharge of his duties as quartermaster-general, 
he had exhibited not only his energy and skill, but also the 
noblest moral qualities, in bearing up against suspicion and 
hate and slander, and generously sinking his own feelings 
and reputation in the general good. But at length Con- 
gress made his department so odious to the people that he 
determined to resign. Washington, however, persuaded 
him to remain until he could present a plan to the govern- 
ment, which, if accepted, would put his department on a 
proper footing. The plan, instead of being adopted, was 
mutilated and sent back, and Greene resigned. The letter 
conveying his resignation was, both in its manner and spirit, 
a stern and severe condemnation of the conduct of Con- 
gress ; and that body, swayed by passion and faction more 
than by judgment and patriotism, instantly proposed to dis- 
miss him from the service altogether. A fierce discussion 


, and the friends of Greene could scarcely check the 
Vent of wrath that was about to roll on his head. Wash- 
t ^ton heard of it, and wrote letters of earnest entreaty 
and solemn warning, telling those factious members to be- 
ware how they touched one so necessary to the country., 
and so beloved by the soldiers. Better counsels finally 
prevailed, and Greene's resignation was received without 
any reference to his rank in the line. 

During the year 1780 occurred his heroic defence at 
Springfield, New Jersey. Washington, fearing the enemy 
was about to make a demonstration on West Point, moved 
towards the Hudson, leaving Greene, with only thirteen hun- 
dred men, at Springfield. Here the latter received intelli- 
gence that Sir Henry Clinton, with five thousand British 
troops, had landed at Elizabethtown, and was marching 
against him. With his little band drawn up on the western 
bank of the Rahway, he coolly waited their approach. His 
first position was by the bridges, and his second on the 
heights in the rear. Soon the advancing columns emerged 
into view, and as they came within range, opened their 
artillery, and a fierce cannonade was kept up for two hours. 
Finding all attempts to dislodge our troops with the artil- 
lery fruitless, the infantry were ordered to advance, and 
soon opened their fire. Our men withstood gallantly for a 
while this overwhelming force ; and when at length they 
were compelled to retreat, did so in perfect order, and 
slowly fell back to their second position. Here Greene 
waited anxiously for a second struggle ; but Clinton wisely 
forbore, and returning to the village commenced the nobler 
work of burning it to the ground. Having accomplished 
this feat, he rapidly retreated, lest Washington should turn 
upon him. 

In the fall of this year, when the treason of Arnold sent 
consternation through the country, Greene was in command 
of the army Washington being at the time absent on a 
journey to Hartford to confer with the French commanders. 
On him fell the painful duty of presiding at the court- 
martial which tried and condemned Andre". West Point 
was immediately put under his command ; but scarcely had 
he entered upon his duties before he was called to the 
South, to repair the ruin wrought by Gates's terrible defeat 
at Camden. Although he had now been five years in ser- 
rice without any interval of repose, and his property was 


wasting away through want of his supervision, and his strong 
constitution was shattered by constant exposure, he hastened 
without delay to the new field of his labor. 

From this point commences the real history of Greene. 
Intrusted with a separate command, at a distance from the 
commander-in-chief and Congress, and surrounded by all the 
difficulties that try men most, the resources of his powerful 
mind, and his amazing energies, began to develop them 
'selves. He had hitherto been an able and efficient under- 
officer ; he was now to show that he possessed the higher 
qualities necessary to conduct a long and arduous campaign 
to a successful issue. But the obstacles that met him on the 
threshold were enough to daunt even a more resolute heart 
than his. Gates's overthrow had left everything in the 
worst possible state ; so that he was hurled into a perfect 
chaos, and expected to bring order out of confusion and 
strength out of weakness. Without money, without stores, 
without anything necessary to carry on a campaign, he 
joined his army, which, all counted, could not muster two 
thousand men. Destitute of clothing, of arms and ammu- 
nition, tattered, half-starved, and dispirited, covered with 
every and any article they could lay hands on, they pre- 
sented the appearance of a motley crowd, rather than of a 
well-appointed and organized force. Out of the whole he 
could muster but eight hundred men fit for service. With 
these, an empty magazine, no provisions, and a few pieces 
of cannon, he was expected to make head against Corn- 
wallis, with a well-disciplined and powerful army at his 
back. True, there were some cheering features to this 
otherwise hopeless prospect the officers under his com- 
mand were as brave men as ever drew sword in battle. 
There was Morgan, a host in himself Lee, with his fierce 
legion Marion, with his trusty partisans the gallant 
Sumpter ; the headlong and fiery-hearted Washington, with 
his cavalry ; forming a group of leaders to which the Brit- 
ish army could furnish no parallel. 

Greene's first step was to locate his troops where he 
could be safe from attack until he could drill them and 
obtain the necessary reinforcements to take the field. This 
was no easy task, for the British army, then lying at Winns- 
borough, flanked by strong garrisons, was on the alert, and 
ready at any moment to fall on their weak adversary and 
crush him at a single blow. Relying on himself alone, 


Greene called no council of war, and commenced at once 
that deep and daring game which baffled all the efforts ol 
Cornwallis to fathom. Selecting a strong post on the 
frontiers of South Carolina for the main army, he sent 
Morgan, with a few hundred troops, to hover about the 
enemy and strike wherever an opportunity offered. This 
division of his forces; already too weak, has been con- 
demned by some as a violation of the rules of military art * 
and so it would have been under ordinary circumstances. 
The smaller the force the greater the concentration is & 
rule which in active warfare it will not do to violate. But 
Greene wanted time delay was of vital importance to him, 
and this he could not expect with his army located in one 
place and constantly exposed to the attack of a superiol 
enemy. He divided his forces, not so much to give 
strength to his own operations, as to bewilder his antag- 
onist ; and it had the desired effect. Cornwallis scarcely 
knew which way to turn, or where his wary adversary was 
about to strike, and hence divided his own forces. Had he 
known the situation and plans of Greene, he might easily 
have destroyed him by marching his entire army first upon 
one and then upon the other detachment of the Americans. 
But Greene had calculated wisely ; his adversary was 
thrown into perturbation as he discovered Lee, Marion, 
and Morgan, hanging threateningly on his flanks. 


But Cornwallis at length saw the error he had been led 
into, and immediately concentrating his troops, moved for- 
ward upon Morgan. Tarleton, with eleven hundred men, 
was ordered to meet him in front, while he himself, with 
the main part of the army, would cut off his retreat. Mor- 
gan, with less than a thousand men, immediately began to 
retire ; but Tarleton, with his accustomed vigor, pressed 
him so hard, that when he came to Broad River he dared 
not attempt the passage, and so resolved to make a desper- 
ate stand where he was. He divided his troops into two 
portions, one in the open field, and the other behind it in 
the wood. Tarleton formed his men into two lines, with the 
artillery in the centre, and the cavalry on either flank. In 
this order they moved forward to the attack. After a single 
fire the first American line gave way, and the victorious 
enemy, with loud huzzas, pressed forward upon the second, 


Here, however, they met with a stern resistance, and the 
close volleys of the Americans made terrible havoc. Tarle- 
ton, seeing this, hurried up a part of his second line, and 
at the same time ordered his cavalry to charge the right. 
This double movement was completely successful, and the 
victorious British swept the field with deafening shouts. 
In this critical moment, Washington, who had calmly sat 
and watched every movement, ordered his bugler to sound 
the charge, and placing himself at the head of his squadron, 
shouted them to follow. With their sabres shaking above 
their heads, they burst in a headlong gallop upon the 
astonished infantry. Through and through their broken 
ranks they rode, scattering them like a whirlwind from 
their path. The British cavalry rolled back in confusion 
before the fierce onset, and the battle was restored. This 
gave time to Morgan to rally his infantry.* With his sword 
flashing above his head, and his tremendous voice ringing 
over the din of arms, he moved amid his disordered troops, 
and at length, by commands and threats, and the most pro- 
digious efforts, rallied them to the charge, and moving at 
their head, poured them in one wild torrent on the enemy. 
The shock of those thousand men was tremendous ; and 
the English army stopped and quivered a moment before 
it, then broke and fled in wild confusion, trampled down at 
every step by Washington's cavalry. Out of the eleven 
hundred men Tarleton led into battle, he saved but four 
hundred. Two cannon, eight hundred muskets, a hundred 
dragoon-horses, and tents and ammunition, were the friits 
of this victory. 

Scarcely had the roar of battle ceased before Morgan be- 
gan to retreat. He knew Cornwallis, with a powerful army, 
was close upon him, and an hour's delay might lose him 
all the fruits of his gallant achievement. The British com- 
mander strained every nerve to cut him off, and recover 
the spoils and prisoners that had been taken. But with 
such vigor had Morgan pushed his retreat, that his adver- 
sary was unable to overtake him, and came up to the Ca- 
tawba just in time to see the last of the rear-guard form 
on the opposite shore. Still it was possible to reach him 
before he could effect a junction with Greene, and he re- 

* Howard and Pinckney wrought prodigies making the militia charge 
bayonet like old veterans. The former had at one time five swords of 
officers, who had surrendered, in his hands. 


solved to spare no sacrifice to secure this result. He imme- 
diately ordered the baggage of the army to be destroyed, so 
that it could move rapidly and without encumbrance. 
Liquor casks were staved in before the soldiers wagons 
consumed, and all those things which go to make up the 
little comforts of a camp committed to the flames. Corn- 
wallis set the example and beginning with his own bag- 
gage, the destruction continued till it reached the last pri- 
vate. It took two days to complete it and then, stripped 
like a wrestler for the struggle, the British general moved 
forward. But Greene, with only a single aid, and a ser- 
geant's guard of dragoons, had left the main army, and 
pressed forward a hundred and fifty miles to succor Mor- 
gan. The victors of Cowpens received him with acclama- 
tions as he rode into camp. With him at their head they 
feared nothing, and joyfully entered on the race with their 


Greene had ordered the main army to rendezvous at 
Guilford, and thither he now directed his steps, closely 
watched by Cornwallis. 

To understand the ground over which this remarkable 
retreat was performed, it is necessary only to glance at a 
map. Three large rivers rise in the northwest parts of 
South and North Carolina, and flow in a southeasterly 
direction into the Atlantic. The lower, or more southern 
one, is the Catawba, which empties into the Santee. The 
next, north of it, and nearly parallel, is the Yadkin, empty- 
ing into the Pedee. The last, and more northern, is the 
Dan, which soon leaves its southeasterly direction, and 
winds backwards and forwards across the Virginia line, and 
finally falls into the Roanoke. Greene was now on the 
Catawba, or most southern river, and directed his steps- 
north his line of progress cutting the Yadkin and Dan. 
To place a deep river between two armies effectually sepa- 
rates them for some time, while a retreating army, between 
one and a powerful adversary, is almost sure to be ruined. 
Therefore, the great effort of Cornwallis was to overtake 
his weak enemy somewhere between the rivers, while the 
tatter strained every nerve to keep a deep stream dividing 
him and his foe. Greene was now across the Catawba, 
which, swollen by the recent rains, prevented Cornwallis 


from crossing. But at length it began to subside, and the 
latter determined, by a night-march to a private ford near 
Salisbury, to deceive his antagonist, and cross without op- 
position. But Greene had been on the alert, and stationed 
a body of militia there to dispute the passage. At day- 
break, the British column was seen silently approaching the 
river. A deep hush was on everything, broken only by the 
roar of the swollen waters, and not a living thing was to be 
seen on the shore. Twilight still rested on the forest, and 
the turbid, foam-covered stream looked doubly appall- 
ing in the gloom. The rain was falling in torrents, and the 
British commander, as he reined up his steed on the slip- 
pery banks, looked long and anxiously on the farther side. 
There all was wild and silent ; but faint flashes of the 
American fires, in the woods, told too well that he had 
been forestalled. Still, the order to advance was given, 
and the column boldly entered the channel. With muskets 
poised above their heads to keep them dry, and leaning 
against each other to steady their slippery footing, the 
grenadiers pushed forward. As they advanced the water 
deepened until it flowed, in a strong, swift current, up to 
their waists. The cavalry went plunging through, but the 
rapid stream bore many of them, both horses and riders, 
downward in the darkness. The head of the column had 
already reached the centre of the river, when the voices of 
the sentinels rung through the darkness, and the next mo- 
ment their guns flashed through the storm. The Ameri- 
cans, five hundred in number, immediately poured in a 
destructive volley, but the British troops pressed steadily 
forward. Soldier after soldier rolled over in the flood, and 
Cornwallis's horse was shot under him ; but the noble ani- 
mal, with a desperate effort, carried his rider to the bank 
before he fell. The intrepid troops at length reached the 
shore and routed the militia. Cornwallis was now on the 
same side of the river with his antagonist, and prepared to 
follow up his advantage with vigor. But the latter no 
sooner heard that the enemy had passed the Catawba than 
he ordered the retreat to the Yadkin. Through the drench- 
ing rain and deep mud, scarcely halting to eat or rest, the 
ragged troops dragged their weary way, and on the third 
day reached the river, and commenced crossing. In the 
mean time, the recent rains had swollen this riyer also, so 
that by the time Greene had safely effected the passage, 


the current was foaming by on a level with its banks. He 
had urged everything forward with the utmost speed, and 
at midnight, just as the last of the rear-guard were em- 
barking, they were saluted with a volley from the advanced 
guard of the British. When the morning light broke over 
the scene, there lay the two armies within sight of each 
other, and the blessed Yadkin surging and roaring in 
threatening accents between, as if on purpose to daunt the 
invaders from its bosom. Stung into madness at this 
second escape of their enemy, the English lined the shore 
with artillery, and opened a fierce cannonade on the Ameri- 
can camp. But the army, protected by an elevated ridge, 
rested quietly and safely behind it. In a little cabin, just 
showing its roof above the rocks, Greene took up his 
quarters, and while his troops were reposing, commenced 
writing his despatches. The enemy, suspecting the Ameri- 
can general had established himself there, directed his 
artillery upon it, and soon the rocks rung with the balls 
that smoked and bounded from their sides. It was not 
long before the roof of the cabin was struck, and the 
shingles and clapboards began to fly about in every direc- 
tion but the stern warrior within never once looked up, 
and wrote on as calmly as if in his peaceful home. 

Four days the British general tarried on the shores of the 
Yadkin, and then, as the waters subsided, again put his 
army in motion. Moving lower down the river, he crossed 
over, and started anew after his adversary. But the latter, 
ever vigilant, was already on his march for Guilford, where 
he resolved to make a stand, and strike this bold Briton to 
the heart. But on reaching Guilford, he learned, to his 
dismay, that the reinforcements promised him had not 
arrived. The English army was nearly double that of his 
own, and all well-tried, disciplined soldiers ; and he knew it 
would be madness to give battle on such disadvantageous 
terms. There was, therefore, no remedy but retreat, and 
this had now become a difficult matter. In the hope of 
being able to sustain himself at Guilford, he had suffered 
his enemy to approach so near, and block him in so effect- 
ually, that there was but one possible way of escape. Corn- 
wallis at last deemed his prey secure. 

On the loth of February, this battle of manoeuvres again 
commenced, and the two armies, now only twenty-five miles 
apart, stretched forward. Corn wallis supposed his adversary 


would make for the upper fords of the Dan, as there was 
nothing but ferries below, and hence put his army in such a 
position that he could crush him at once ; but Greene 
quietly withdrew towards the Lower Dan, where he ordered 
boats to be congregated in which he could transport his troops 
over. His object in this was twofold : first, to place a deep 
instead of a fordable river between him and his formidable 
adversary, and, secondly, to be in a situation to effect a junc- 
tion with the reinforcements he expected from Virginia. Dis. 
covering at once the error under which Cornwallis labored, 
he added to it by sending a large detachment to manoeuvre 
in front, as if the upper fords were indeed the object of hli 
efforts. Col. Williams commanded this chosen body of meh, 
and marched boldly against the entire English army. The 
British commander, thinking it to be the advanced guard of 
the Americans, began hastily to contract his lines, and make 
preparations for a fierce resistance. This detained his march, 
and allowed Greene to get a start, without which he must 
inevitably have been lost. The English were without 
baggage ; indeed, the whole army had been converted into 
light infantry, which enabled it to move with much mort 
alacrity than that of the Americans. It was now the dead 
of winter the roads to-day were filled deep with mud, and 
to-morrow frozen hard, presenting a mass of rugged points 
to the soldiers' feet, through which or over which they were 
compelled to drag themselves, wrged on by the fear of de- 
struction. In the mean time Cornwallis, apprised of his error, 
began the pursuit in good earnest. But that gallant rear, 
guard of Williams kept between the two armies, slowly re- 
treating, but still present ever bending like a brow of 
wrath on the advancing enemy. The fate of the American 
army rested on its firmness and skill, and every officer in it 
seemed to feel the immense trust committed to his care. 
There were Lee's gallant legion, and Washington's heavy 
mounted, desperate horsemen, heroes every one. Vigilant, 
untiring, brave, they hovered with such a threatening aspect 
around the advancing columns, that they were compelled to 
march in close order to prevent an attack. The least negli- 
gence, the least oversight, and the blow would fall like light- 
ning. Never did a rear-guard behave more gallantly. The 
men were allowed only three hours' sleep out of the twenty- 
four, and but one meal a day. By starting and pushing for- 
ward three hours before daylight, they were enabled to get 


a breakfast, and this was the last repast till next morning. 
Yet the brave fellows bore all without a murmur ; and night 
after night, and day after day, presented the same deter- 
mined front to the enemy. Cornwallis, believing for a while 
that he had the whole American force in front, rejoiced in 
its proximity, knowing that when it reached the river it must 
perish then Virginia would lie open to his victorious arms 
and the whole South be prostrate. But when he at length 
discovered his mistake, he strained forward with desperate 

In the mean while that fleeing army presented a most 
heart-rending spectacle. Half clad, and many of them bare- 
foot, with only one blanket for every four men, they toiled 
through the mire, or left their blood on the frozen ground 
pressing on through the wintry storm and cold winds in 
the desperate struggle for life. At night when they snatched 
a few moments' repose, three soldiers would stretch them- 
selves on the damp ground, under one blanket, and the 
fourth keep watch, and happy were those who had even this 
scanty covering. Over hills, through forests, across streams, 
they held their anxious way, drenched by the rains, and 
chilled by the water through which they waded and unpro- 
vscted and uncovered, were compelled to dry their clothes 
by the heat of their own bodies. Greene saw their distress 
with bitter grief, but it could not be helped his cheering 
words and bright example were all he could give them. 
Now hurrying along his exhausted columns, and now anx- 
iously listening to hear the sound of the enemy's guns in the 
distance, he became a prey to the most wasting anxiety. 
From the time he had set out for the camp of Morgan, on 
the banks of the Catawba, he had not taken off his clothes ; 
while not an officer in the army was earlier in the saddle, 
or later out of it, than he. But undismayed his strong 
soul fully resolved yet to conquer he surveyed with a calm, 
stern eye, the dangers that thickened around him. Should 
the rear-guard fail, nothing but a miracle could save him 
but it should not fail. Every deep-laid plan was thwarted, 
every surprise disconcerted, and every sudden movement to 
crush it eluded by its tireless, sleepless leaders. Often 
within musket-shot of the enemy's vanguard, the excited 
soldiers wished to return the fire ; but the stern orders to 
desist were obeyed, and the two tired armies toiled on. It 
was a fearful race for life, and right nobly was it rug. 


At length the main army arrived within forty mites of ths 
ferry-boats which were to place a deep river between them 
and the foe, and hope quickened every step. All night long 
they swept onward through the gloom, cheered by the 
thought that another day would place the object for which 
they struggled within their grasp. On that same cold and 
slippery night the noble rear-guard, slowly retreating, sud- 
denly saw, at twelve o'clock, watch-fires blazing in the dis- 
tance. There then lay the army, for which they had strug- 
gled so nobly and suffered so much, overtaken at last, and 
sure to fall. In this fearful crisis, that gallant band paused 
and held a short consultation ; and then resolved, with 
one accord, to throw themselves in an overwhelming charge 
on the English army, and rolling it back on itself, by a sac- 
rifice as great as it was glorious, secure a few more hours of 
safety to those they were protecting. This noble devotion 
was spared such a trial ; the fires were indeed those kin- 
dled by Greene's soldiers, but the tired columns had de- 
parted, and staggering from want of repose and food, were 
now stretching forward through the midnight, miles in 
advance. Cornwallis, when he arrived at the smouldering 
camp-fires, believed himself almost up with Greene, and 
allowing his troops but a few moments' repose, marched all 
night long. In the morning his van was close upon the 
rear of that firm guard. Now came the last prodigious 
effort of the British commander that rear-guard must fall, 
and with it, Greene, or all his labor and sacrifice would be 
in vain. On the banks of the Dan he had resolved to bury 
the American army, and if human effort and human energy 
could effect it, it should be done. His steady columns closed 
more threateningly and rapidly on the guard, pushing it 
fiercely before them, and, scorning all meaner success, 
pressed forward for the greater prize. Still Lee's intrepid 
legion, and Washington's fearless horsemen, hung black 
and wrathful around their path, striving desperately, but in 
vain, to check their rapid advance. On, on, like racers ap- 
proaching the goal, they swept over the open country, driv- 
ing everything before them. 

But at noon a single horseman was seen coming, in a 
swift gallop, up the road along which Greene had lately 
passed. Every eye watched him as he approached, and as 
he reined his panting steed up beside the officers of that 
exhausted, but still resolute band, and exclaimed, " The 
qrmy is over the river" a loud huzza rent the air. 


The main portion of the guard was now hastily de- 
spatched, by the shortest route, to the ferry, while Lee still 
hovered with his legion in front of Cornwallis. As the 
former approached the river, they saw Greene, wan and 
haggard, standing on the shore, and gazing anxiously up 
the road by which they were expected to appear. His 
army was over, but he had remained behind to learn tha 
fate of that noble guard, and, if necessary, to fly to its 
relief. His eye lighted with exultation, as he saw the col- 
umn rush forward to the river with shouts which were 
echoed in deafening accents from the opposite shore. It 
was now dark, and the troops were crowded with the ut- 
most despatch into the boats, and hastened over. Scarcely 
were they safely landed, before the banks shook beneath 
the hurried heavy tramp of Lee's legion, as it came triun^ 
dering on towards the ferry. The next moment the shores 
rung with the clatter of armor, as those bold riders dis- 
mounted, and leaped into the boats ready to receive them. 
Their horses wete pushed into the water after them, and 
the black mass disappeared in the gloom. In a few mo- 
ments, lights dancing along the farther shore told of their 
safe arrival, and a shout that made the welkin ring went up 
from the American camp. Lee was the last man that em- 
barked ; he would not stir till his brave dragoons were all 
safe ; and as the boat that bore him touched the shore, the 
tread of the British van echoed along the banks he had just 
left. The pursuing columns closed rapidly in towards the 
river, but the prey they thought within their grasp had es- 
caped. Not a boat was left behind, and Cornwallis saw, 
with the keenest anguish, a deep, broad river rolling be* 
tween him and his foe. It was a bitter disappointment ; 
his baggage had all been destroyed in vain, and this terri- 
ble march of two hundred and fifty miles made only to be 

But no pen can describe the joy and exultation that 
reigned in the American camp that night. The army re- 
ceived that gallant rear-guard with open arms, and hailed 
them as their deliverers. Forgot was all their lacerated 
feet, and stiffened limbs, and empty stomachs, and scanty 
clothing and even the wintry wind swept by unheeded in 
the joy of their escape. Together they sat down and re- 
counted their toils, and asked, each of the other, his perils 
and hardships by the way. Laughter, and mirth, and 
gongs, and all the reckless gayety of a camp from which re- 


straint is taken, made the shores echo. But it was witl 
sterner pleasure Greene contemplated his escape ; and as he 
looked on the majestic river, rolling its broad, deep current 
onward in the star-light, a mountain seemed to lift from his 
heart. He listened to the boisterous mirth about him, only 
to rejoice that so many brave fellows had been snatched 
from the enemy ; then turned to his tent to ponder on his 
position, and resolve what next to do. 

Thus ended this glorious retreat. It had been conducted 
for two hundred and fifty miles, through a country not fur- 
nishing a single defile in which a stand could be made. 
Three large rivers had been crossed forests traversed 
and through rain and mud, and over frost and ice, Greene 
had fled for twenty days, baffling every attempt of his more 
powerful antagonist to force him to a decisive action. For 
the skill in which it was planned, the resolution and energy 
with which it was carried through, and the distance tra- 
versed, it stands alone in the annals of our country, and will 
bear comparison with the most renowned feats of ancient 
or modern times. It covered Greene with more glory than 
a victory could have done, and stamped him at once the 
great commander. 

Cornwallis, far from his reinforcements, and in the heart 
of a hostile country, was now in a critical state. Greene no 
sooner saw his enemy halt, than he prepared to act on the 
offensive ; and if the reinforcements promised by Virginia 
had been ready, he could easily have crushed him. His 
letters, dated at this time, show how his heart was wrung at 
the obstacles thrown in his way. Bold and self-reliant, 
however, he did not give way to despondency ; but the 
moment Cornwallis began to retreat, threw out his light 
troops in every direction, in order to harass his movements ; 
and in five days himself crossed the Dan, and proceeded to 
a place between Troublesome Creek and Reedy Fork, 
where he established his camp. In the mean time, the 
British commander found himself surrounded by a cloud of 
republicans, who were incessantly driving in his pickets, 
beating up his quarters, and keeping his camp in a constant 
trepidation. Tarleton, sent out with fire and sword, was 
compelled precipitately to retrace his steps, followed fiercely 
by Lee and P'ckens, whose troops, in their ardor, marched 
all night, guiding their steps through the gloom by pine 
torches, and nearly succeeded in capturing him. 


Cornwallis, to whom a decisive battle had become a 
matter of life and death, immediately started in pursuit of 
Greene, hoping to fall on him before his army, now rapidly- 
swelling by reinforcements, should become too formidable 
to assail. But manoeuvre baffled manoeuvre, and the wily 
American turned and doubled on his adversary in such a 
way as completely foiled all his plans. He changed his 
camp every night, filling the Tories with alarm by his 
omnipresent army, while his light troops, imitating his ex- 
ample, were never to be found in the same place for two 
days together. Cornwallis labored like one in a dream, 
and knew not in what direction to expect the blow that 
seemed ever ready to fall. One day he would be told that 
his enemy was in front ; but before he had advanced far, 
he would hear of him on his flanks, and again back to his 
old quarters. His light troops were worn out with constant 
exertions, his foraging parties cut off, and he was gradually 
wearing away ; while his adversary, whose sleepless eye 
never for a moment lost sight of him, was gradually aug- 
menting his forces. Never before had he found an enemy 
so difficult to deal with ; and there seemed no end to the 
web in which it was sought to entangle him. At length, 
however, hearing that a large body of reinforcements was 
coming up in a certain direction, he immediately resolved 
to throw himself between them and Greene, and thus force 
him to a battle or to abandon his allies. But the American 
commander understood his designs before they were put in 
execution, and by a skilful manoeuvre saved the reinforce- 
ments, while, to make the chagrin of Cornwallis still more 
galling, they just slipped through his fingers. Other rein- 
forcements now arriving from Virginia, Greene saw his 
army swell to five thousand five hundred men. This was 
larger, numerically, than the force opposed to him ; but 
most of them were raw recruits. Still, he determined 
with these to risk a battle, for he knew that it was the 
largest army he could hope to raise, and that he could not 
long hold even this number together. For two months in 
the heart of winter he had kept manoeuvring, marching, and 
countermarching, retreating, and advancing, until the time 
had come for striking a blow or abandoning the attempt 
forever. He might not win the victory, but he would 
cripple his adversary so that he would be compelled to 
quit the field. With these views and this determination, he 


gave his troops a little repose and his raw recruits a little 
discipline, and then started for Guilford Court-House. 
Cornwallis, after his last attempt to cut off the American 
reinforcements, had retired, so that Greene's march was 


On the i4th of March he halted his army at Guilford, 
where he had formerly examined the ground with the inten- 
tion of making it, some day, a battle-field. The solitary 
building called the court-house stood on a hill in the centre 
of a small clearing. It was a lonely spot ; not another 
house was in sight ; and a limitless forest stretched away 
on every side, broken only here and there by a patch of 
cultivated ground, which some adventurous settler had 
made. In front of the building was a belt of forest, and 
beyond it and parallel to it a long, narrow cornfield. Along 
the farther edge of the field ran a rivulet. The road passed 
by the court-house, through the belt of forest and across the 
centre of the cornfield, and finally lost itself in the woods 
beyond, from which the enemy were to emerge. On the 
morning of the i$th of March, 1781, the drums beat their 
reveille early, and Greene drew up his men in three lines on 
this secluded spot, which, before night, was to be strewed 
With the dead. Along the ed^ of the piece of wood, be- 
hind a fence, and facing the cornfield, he placed the North 
Carolina militia. In the wood about fifty rods in the rear, he 
stationed the Virginia militia, under Stevens and Lawson ; 
both these lines extended across the road. Four hundred 
yards behind these, on the hill around the court-house, were 
ranged the brave Continentals, commanded by Greene in 
person. Two roads leading away from the court-house, in 
the rear, furnished a secure retreat. Thus strongly posted, 
with Lee's legion and some infantry covering the left flank, 
and Washington's heavy mounted dragoons the right, he 
waited the approach of the enemy. 

It was a clear, bright day as ever blessed the earth ; the 
bracing air just stirred the tree-tops over the soldiers' 
heads, and all was beautiful and spring-like. Early in the 
forenoon scouts returned with the news that the British 
Were advancing, and that gallant army stood to arms, and 
looked long and eagerly down the road along which they 
Were' to come. Noon came, and still the forest was silent 


and slumberous. But at length, about one o'clock, strains 
of martial music were heard in the distance, struggling up 
from the tree-tops, and soon the sharp rattle of the drum 
and the shrill tones of the fife and horn broke with startling 
distinctness on the ear, and then the head of the column 
began slowly to emerge into view. Two pieces of artillery, 
under Singleton, had been advanced along the road, and 
now opened on the approaching mass. Cornwallis immedi- 
ately brought forward his artillery, and a fierce cannonade 
commenced. Under cover of the smoke of his guns, he 
pushed his columns across the brook into the cornfield, 
where, deploying rapidly to the right and left, they formed 
in order of battle. Relying on the discipline of his troops, 
he formed them into a single line, without any reserve, 
resolved, by one terrible onset, to sweep the field. The 
Carolina tdilitia looked in terror over the cornfield before 
them, red w.'th the scarlet uniforms. The steady tread of 
the advancing battalions, the long lines of light made by the 
glittering bayonets over their heads, the banners floating in 
the breeze, and the loud strains of martial music, drowned 
ever and anon by the roar of cannon, conspired to render 
it a scene that might awe even more veteran hearts. 

On, on, they came, with the terrible front of battle, un- 
checked by the distant random shots of some of the militia, 
until they approached within a few rods, when they halted, 
and at the word of command poured in a simultaneous 
volley then, throwing their bayonets forward, rushed with 
loud shouts to the charge. The poor militia, frightened 
half out of their senses by this sudden and awful onset, 
forgot, many of them, to fire at all, and dropping their 
guns, knapsacks, canteens, and everything, took to their 
heels like a flock of sheep. Greene had not calculated 
on their firing more than four or five rounds ; but this 
was dastardly. Their officers strove bravely to rally 
them, seizing those nearest with their hands, entreating 
and threatening by turns, while Lee spurred among them 
with his drawn sabre, swearing that he would ride them 
down with his terrible legion if they did not halt. It was 
all in vain ; utter terror had seized them ; and they swarmed 
in affright through the woods, back to the second line. 
The Virginians, untouched by the panic, taunted them as 
they fled through, and railed on them as cowards and poK 
troons ; then bravely turned to meet the shock. Stevens 


had taken care his militia should not serve him as they did 
at Camden, and posted forty riflemen in the rear, with 
orders to shoot down the first man who should attempt to 

The British, elated by their first success, sent up a loud 
huzza, and pressed furiously forward upon the second line. 
In a moment the woods were red with the scarlet uniforms 
as they swept in one broad wave up to the Virginians ; but a 
deadly volley received them, and huge gaps opened in their 
files. Unable to stand this galling fire, they sprang forward 
with the bayonet, and with levelled pieces, and steady 
front, moved against the undisciplined militia but not a 
rank broke, not a battalion fled. Opposing steel to steel, 
and in the intervals pouring in their rapid volleys, they held, 
for a long time, the whole British army in check. At 
length, however, forced back by superior numbers, the right 
wing, still hanging together, swung slowly round on the 
centre as a pivot, until it reached the road, then broke and 
fled. The left wing, in the woods, on the opposite side of 
the road, still maintained the combat. Greene, now seeing 
that the battle was to be thrown upon him as that part of 
the British army opposed to the routed right wing, follow- 
ing up their victory, emerged into view rode along the 
lines, telling the soldiers that all now rested on them. 
" Be firm and steady," said he, " and give the finishing 
blow." On came the unbroken British line, and drew up 
in order on the open ground in front of those stern Conti- 
nentals. The next moment, with a loud shout and terrible 
impetuosity, they rushed to the charge. Cool and steady, 
those brave regulars watched their approach, undismayed 
by their shouts and fierce aspect, until within sure striking 
distance, and then poured a destructive volley in their very 
uoeoms. Stunned by the terrific discharge, the solid for- 
mations recoiled a moment, and before they could recover, 
the Americans were upon them with the bayonet. Shouting 
like madmen, they swept through the covering smoke and 
random discharges like a resistless tide. Nothing could 
check the fury of their onset ; and through and through 
the broken ranks they went, with the strength of a falling 
mountain. Oh ! that Washington's cavalry or Lee's legion 
had then been ready to burst on the shattered line, or even 
another regiment to follow up the victory, and the red field 
would have been won. Yet still onward swept that victor- 


ious regiment of Marylanders, chasing the fugitives before 
them. Suddenly turning upon the first battalion of the 
guards, before whom their companions had fled in terror, 
they fell on it with such fury that they shivered it in pieces 
with one fell blow ; and then, without taking time to 
breathe, rushed on the others. The conflict here became 
dreadful. That brave regiment, disdaining to fly, bore up 
against the overwhelming numbers that increased as it 
advanced, and was still maintaining its ground, when 
Washington, seeing how hard beset it was, ordered the 
bugles to sound, and the next moment the ground shook 
under the steady gallop of his squadron, as with shaking 
sabres and loud shouts they burst on the enemy. In vain 
did those veterans close up their ranks to meet the shock, 
and surround themselves with a girdle of steel in vain did 
their officers shout : " Be steady and firm " ; over and 
through everything went the fierce riders, trampling them 
down like grass. Stuart, who led them on, strove manfully 
to rally them to the charge, and as he moved about in the 
tumult came upon Captain Smith of those glorious Maryland- 
ers, and sprang fiercely upon him. The latter, parrying 
the Englishman's small-sword with his left hand, brought 
down his heavy sabre on his head with such force that he 
cleaved him to the spine. The next moment, stunned by a 
musket-ball, though not killed, he fell on his antagonist. 
Scarcely had he touched the body, before the soldier who 
had fired the shot also fell across him. Nothing could 
now stay the excited Americans ; and Washington's cavalry 
plunged amid the disordered guards, striking them down 
with their heavy sabres at every step. The battle seemed 
won; and Corn wallis, who saw the rout of his guards, 
spurred towards them. Washington, beholding him. 
pointed forward with his sword, and shouted to his men to 
follow. Pressing close after him, they dashed onward, and 
the great prize was almost within their grasp, when Wash- 
ington's cap, falling from his head, he dismounted to pick it 
up. At the same moment the officer at the head of the 
column, shot through the body, reeled in his saddle ; while 
his horse, now unmanageable, turned and carried him off 
the field. The squadron seeing one leader down, and the 
other riding away, thought a retreat had been sounded, 
and wheeled after the latter. In a moment, however, 
Washington came galloping up, and with a loud voice 


arrested their retreat, and again led them to the charge. 
But Cornwallis had retired, and so Washington fell again 
upon the guards, breaking to pieces every formation, and 
riding down every incipient square. The British com- 
mander saw at a glance that this rout of his guards must be 
arrested, or the whole army ruined ; and hastening to hi? 
artillery, that crowned a slight eminence, he ordered it to 
open on the driving mass. " Stop" said one of the leader? 
of that broken band, who had been borne back dreadfully 
wounded from the fight, "you will destroy your own men!'' 
" We must do it" replied Cornwallis, " to save ourselves from 
destruction" The flying guards were now mingled up with 
their pursuers so completely, that every shot aimed at the 
latter would strike them also. But stern necessity required 
the sacrifice, and the next moment the artillery opened like 
a clap of thunder, and the heavy shot went tearing through 
the bleeding guards with frightful effect. The wounded 
officer turned away sick from the murderous spectacle, 
but Cornwallis gazed sternly on the slaughter, and still 
kept up that heavy fire, till half the battalion was stretched 
on the field. This checked the pursuers, who were com- 
pelled to retreat, but not the battle. Volleys of musketry, 
interrupted by explosions of artillery, kept the atmosphere 
in an uproar ; while charging cavalry, and shouting infantry 
firm-set columns, and broken ranks horses galloping 
riderless over the plain, and heaps of dead, combined to 
make that lonely spot, and that bright afternoon, a scene 
and time of thrilling interest and terror. 

No sooner had Cornwallis cleared the field with his artil- 
lery than the routed troops began to rally some behind 
ravines, and some in the wods ; while those regiments yet 
unbroken were moved forward. In the woods on the left, 
Lee and Campbell still maintained the fight, and had done 
so from the outset, sternly refusing to yield one inch of 
ground. They and their foes were both out of sight, but 
the incessant and fierce discharges that rung through the for- 
est, and the wounded officers and men borne constantly back, 
told how close and dreadful was the struggle. But no 
news came from Lee. That gallant chieftain was straining 
every nerve to hold his position, ignorant of what had be- 
fallen the other portions of the army. Greene, in the mean 
time, could not advance with his few unbroken regiments on 
the whole British force, protected a c '**- was by cannon, with- 


But risking all on one hazardous throw. But this was 
the game for Cornwallis to play, not for him ; it was 
victory or ruin with the former, and at length, by incredible 
efforts, he succeeded in forming his line of battle anew, and 
again steadily advanced. Discipline had restored to him 
all his unwounded men ; while Greene surveyed, with an anx. 
ious eye, the few regiments on which alone he could rely. 
Though burning to renew the conflict, he dared not trust 
again his militia, who had been broken at the outset s and 
so he ordered a retreat while it could be safely made. 
Silence had now fallen on the field, and all was still, save tha 
beating to arms and the incessant volleys from the woods on 
the left, from whence no tidings reached Greene. 

The moment the former began his retreat, Cornwallis sent 
forward two regiments to break the rear-guard ; but the 
brave Virginians who composed it received them with such 
a scouring fire, and constantly presented such a firm front, 
that they soon gave it up, and the army retired three miles 
and halted. 

The bright spring sun had now gone down in a mass of 
clouds, and the wind began to moan through the forest, fore* 
telling a storm. After a few hours' repose, the weary army, 
in a cold and driving rain, again took up its line of march 
for its old encampment at Reedy Fork. All night long tho 
bleeding patriots continued to press forward, with the storm 
beating upon them ; and wet and exhausted, and many ot 
them barefoot, reached, at daybreak, their camp. One can- 
not think of those brave Continentals, and Virginia troops, 
measuring the heavy miles back from the battle which they 
had struggled so nobly to win, without the most painful 
feelings. Deserted by their own friends, they had, never 
theless, resolutely and gallantly met the onset of the whoU 
British army ; then, stung with disappointment, and vent- 
ing their rage on the cowardly Carolinians, closed their toil- 
some day by a heavy night-march. Many a noble heart lay 
cold and still on the field where they had struggled here 
you could see the track of Washington's cavalry by the 
ghastly saber-strokes that disfigured the dead ; and there 
by the heaps of the slain, where the gallant Maryland regi- 
ment, after it had broken to pieces one a third larger than 
its own, met the guards in full career. Around the court- 
house the ground was red with blood, and American and 
Briton lay almost Jn each other's embrace. But amid the 


piles of the slain there were two scarlet uniforms to one of 
the Continentals. Our unerring marksmen had made terrible 
havoc, and one-quarter* of Cornwallis's army had fallen on 
the field he had won. No wonder Fox said on the floor of 
the House of Commons, when the victory was announced 
4 Another such victory will ruin the British army." 

The troops under Greene, so far from being dispirited, 
were full of confidence and courage, and demanded eagerly 
to be led immediately against the enemy. Those who 
had fought bravely panted to re-measure their strength 
with the foe ; while the regiments which had made such a 
shameful flight, stung by the reproaches of their comrades, 
earnestly asked for an opportunity to wipe out the disgrace. 
How different was the state of Cornwallis. He had taken 
nothing but three pieces of artillery, which could not be 
brought off except by hand, as the horses had been shot 
down, and so left behind ; while encumbered with the 
wounded, and diminished in his strength, he lost all power 
to maintain his ground. No sooner, therefore, had he col- 
lected his wounded, than he began a precipitate retreat. 
His victory had been so dearly bought, that nothing but a 
rapid flight could save him. 

This battle, so admirably planned, would have finished at 
once the career of the British commander, had all of the 
American troops behaved even with ordinary bravery. If 
the first line had poured in but one well-directed volley, 
the English army would have been shaken and handed over 
to the second line disordered, or at least discouraged, in- 
stead of fresh and excited, as it was ; and by the time it 
reached the court-house, the fate of the day would have 
been settled. Or, had the second regiment of the Mary- 
landers showed but half the firmness their comrades of the 
first did, the victory would have been complete. Greene 
reckoned, and not without cause, on the good conduct of 
this regiment ; but instead of meeting the grenadiers of the 
guards with courage, they turned and fled at the first fire, 
leaving all the work to their companions, who had just broken 
one regiment into fragments. It was expected that the 
Carolina militia, unaccustomed to battle, would make but a 
feeble resistance ; but the failure of this body was a griev- 
ous disappointment, and left but a small band on which tbc 

* Six hundred killed and wounded 


American commander could rely. When Greene beheld it, 
he hastened forward, and in his eagerness came near being 
taken prisoner ; for, in approaching the spot where the con- 
flict was raging, he suddenly found himself upon the enemy, 
and screened from them only by a few saplings. His dan- 
ger was imminent ; but with that presence of mind which 
never deserted him, he walked away quietly so as not to 
attract attention and provoke pursuit. His whole plan ex- 
hibited the greatest genius and daring combined ; and as it 
was, he gained all that a mere victory would have given 
him. An utter rout would have finished the campaign ; 
but he could scarcely hope for this with the troops under 

Still undaunted by his reverse, he determined after giv- 
ing his men a short repose to hazard another battle. In 
the mean time, he heard of the flight of his enemy, and was 
about to start in rapid pursuit, when, to his dismay, he 
found that his ammunition was nearly exhausted. This 
saved the victor from a complete overthrow ; and those 
brave officers, who had struggled so nobly, were compelled 
to remain inactive. Washington, and Lee, and Campbell, 
and Smith, and Howard, and Stevens, and Huger, and last 
and noblest, Gunby, and many others, had won for them- 
selves an immortal name ; but they were impatient for an- 
other trial. 

As soon as he was able to make a demonstration, Greene 
sent forward Lee to hang on the rear of the crippled enemy, 
and immediately followed with his whole army. Nothing 
could shake the iron will of this man, or for a moment re- 
lax his energy. To-day retreating, to-morrow advancing, 
now pouring his columns to the charge, and now conducting 
them bleeding, through the storm and darkness, to a place 
of safety ; and again, with scarcely a day's repose, breaking 
into a furious offensive he exhibits all the qualities of a 
headlong warrior, and of a careful, great commander. 

The British fled toward Wilmington, and Greene thun- 
dered in their rear. The former dared not hazard a battle, 
and pressed forward towards Deep River, and halting at 
Ramsey's Mills, threw a bridge across the stream, and 
waited the approach of the Americans. Greene, who had 
been detained a day, in order to bring up his ammunition, 
urged his weary troops along the muddy roads and at 
length approached the river. But Cornwallis had changed 


his mind, and without waiting to receive the attack, 
his army across the bridge, and attempted to destroy it 
But before he could effect his object, Lee burst on him 
with his legion, and he was compelled to seek safety in 
precipitate flight, leaving some of his dead on the banks, 
and the beef his men had killed hanging in the stalls. But 
here the troops, overcome by their rapid marches and Ion?; 
toils, and seeing the enemy again beyond their reach, re 
fused to proceed any farther. No entreaties or remon- 
strance could prevail on them to stir ; for the term of en- 
listment of many of them had expired, and they were far 
from their homes. Thus fell a second blow on the heart of 
this indomitable chieftain, and he was compelled to see his 
adversary withdraw in security. Still, could one have 
looked upon that army, he would scarcely blame them. 
Barefoot, half-clad, and without provisions, they had 
marched, fought, and retreated, and suffered, and now 
needed repose. Their iron leader could not expect from 
them what he himself would undertake, and he was forced 
to halt. With the most strenuous exertions, he could not 
get a supply of provisions ; and the brave fellows, gnawed 
by the pangs of hunger, seized on the most disgusting food 
with avidity, but not a murmur escaped their lips. They 
loved their chieftain with devotion, for he asked nothing 
from them he did not himself cheerfully encounter ; and 
many a night they had seen him drenched and worn, riding 
in their midst, encouraging their spirits, and rousing their 
patriotism. And now, as their term of service expired, he 
called them out, and, after thanking them for their bravery 
and cheerful co-operation, dismissed them to their homes. 
With loud cheers they hailed him, as he rode along their 
lines, and then commenced their weary journey to their dis- 
tant firesides. 

With his army reduced to one-third of its size, no other 
course seemed left open to him but to take some central 
position, and watch the enemy. Cornwallis was beyond his 
reach if he attempted a pursuit ; besides, he was too weak 
to risk a battle with him. He had accomplished all that 
could be done with an inferior force out-manoeuvred and 
thwarted his enemy till he could raise reinforcements 
then fallen on him with terrible slaughter, and pursued him 
as long as an efficient army was left under his command, 
and now it was time to pause and reflect. What could be 


done in his crippled condition and destitute state ? The 
gates of success, and even action, seemed shut upon him, 
but his genius struck out a plan as original as it was bold. 
With his little band he resolved to carry the war into South 
Carolina, and fall on the line of the enemy's posts estab- 
lished between Ninety-Six and Charleston. These were all 
well garrisoned and fortified ; but if they could be taken, 
the base of Cornwallis's operations would be destroyed. 
Still it was a hazardous experiment; for if the latter, with 
his superior army, should follow him up, he would be crushed 
between it and the garrisons ; but relying on his own re- 
sources, and the confusion into which his sudden movements 
would throw his adversary, he set out on his desperate 
undertaking. Only a week's repose was given to the sol- 
diers, and then a series of toils entered upon, to which all 
they had before suffered was but a commencement. He 
had calculated all beforehand, and said : " / know the troops 
will be exposed to every hardship. But, as I share it with 
them, I hope they will bear up under it with that magnanimity 
which has already supported them, and for which they deserve 
everything of their country" Secretly and carefully the army 
took up its line of march, and in twelve days reached 
Camden, where Lord Rawdon lay, strongly fortified. 


Greene took up his position on Hobkirk's Hill, about two 
miles north of the town, and remained there three days ; 
when, hearing that a British reinforcement was coming up, 
he hastened to cut it off. Finding, after a fatiguing march, 
that the report was unfounded, he retraced his steps, and, 
on the 25th of April, again drew up his little army, scarce a 
thousand strong, in order of battle on Hobkirk's Hill. The 
troops, who had now been twenty-four hours without food, 
were hastily supplied, and sat scattered around in every direc- 
tion, cooking it, when the fire from the videttes in the dis- 
tance announced the approach of the enemy. Greene was 
at the time in his tent, drinking a cup of coffee. In a moment 
he was in the saddle, his eye gleaming in exultation and con- 
fidence. The drums beat to arms the hungry soldiers 
came rushing back to their posts the stern order passed 
along the lines, and in a few minutes they stood prepared 
for the onset. The road ran directly through the American 
encampment, on each ide of which extended the army I/* 


a single line, one wing resting on a swamp, the other lost 
in the woods. The artillery occupied the road, while two 
hundred and fifty militia, and Washington's cavalry, were 
stationed in the rear, as a reserve. For a while all was silent 
around that little army cresting the hill, and they stood and 
listened anxiously to the firing in the forest, as the picket- 
guards, retreating inch by inch, kept up a sharp fire on the ad- 
vancing columns. Nothing could be seen except the smoke 
as it curled up over the tree-tops, revealing the struggle be- 
low, and all was breathless suspense, until at length the enemy 
emerged into the open ground, right in front of the height. 
The moment Greene's eye fell upon them, he saw that the 
narrowness of their front gave him a rare opportunity for 
a flank movement, and he resolved to overthrow them by 
one fell swoop. " Let Campbell and Ford turn their flanks \ 
the cavalry take them in the rear, and the centre charge with 
trailed bayonets" fell, in a single breath, from his lips ; and 
swinging down round the enemy, the whole army precipi' 
tated itself forward. The artillery opened, followed by the 
rapid volleys of the infantry ; and, in a moment, the field 
was in a blaze. Washington went galloping by a circuitous 
route to the rear ; while that resolute line closed like the 
hand of fate around the British column. Thrown into con- 
fusion by the searching fire, and rolling back before the 
steadily advancing bayonets, the enemy began to break 
on all sides, and one more bold push and the day would 
be won. Greene, at the head of a single regiment, fought 
like the meanest soldier, and led the intrepid band steadily 
through the fire that wasted it. But in this critical moment, 
the veteran regiment of Gunby, which had wrought such 
prodigies at Guilford, gave way ; and Rawdon, rallying at 
the sight, rapidly extended his lines pushing back the 
wings of the) Americans, until, at length, the two armies 
stood front to front. Greene, broken-hearted at the flight 
of his favorite regiment, on which he had placed his hopes, 
galloped up to it, and sending his stern commands through 
the ranks, again rallied them ; but it was too late. Spurring 
his steed up the hill, he cast his eye on the conflict beneath, 
and lo ! all was lost. His centre was pierced, the artillery 
pushed back, and the enemy, with loud shouts, were rolling 
in one broad wave up the hill. His fond hopes were all 
blasted ; and the irretrievable rout of his army burst like a 
tjiunder-clap upon him. Instantly ordering a retreat, be 


covered it with a single regiment, and spurring amid the 
bullets, which rained in an incessant shower about him, suc- 
ceeded in restoring partial order. In the mean time his ar- 
tillery was almost within the enemy's grasp. The men had 
left the guns, and had just turned to flee, when Greene 
burst in a fierce gallop among them, and leaping from his 
horse, seized the drag-ropes himself. This heroic example 
shamed the men into courage, and they flew again to their 
places. At this critical moment Smith came up wrth forty- 
five of the camp-guards to their defence. On this little 
band, drawn up behind the guns, the British charged with 
both infantry and cavalry, and in a few minutes the Ameri- 
cans, though they fought with incredible fury, were reduced 
to fourteen : the next moment, having fired simultaneously, 
the cavalry was upon them while in the act of loading, and 
every man of them fell dead in his footsteps. The artillery 
seemed now irretrievably lost ; but before the victors could 
secure their prize, Washington burst upon them with his 
fierce riders, trampling them under foot, and scattering them 
like leaves from his path. In the outset of the battle he had 
reached, as he was ordered, the rear of the army, where he 
came upon a motley group of surgeons and attendants, and 
so forth, which he should have rode down without hesitation, 
and charged home upon the main body of the enemy. This, 
however, his generous heart forbade him to do, and while 
he was securing the prisoners the battle was lost. Had 
he rode steadily forward, he might have compensated for 
the failure of Gunby. But the fortunate moment had 
passed, and finding that Greene had been beaten back, he 
made good his retreat, and arrived just in time to save the 
artillery. Each man had his prisoner behind him, and thus, 
riding double, they came upon the enemy but it was the 
:vork of only a moment for those bold dragoons to tumble 
each of those prisoners off, and then, with a shout, rush 
to the charge. Having rescued the artillery, Washingto; 
wheeled and fell like a loosened cliff on the shouting and 
victorious army, rolling it back on itself in utter amaze- 
ment. This checked the pursuit, and Greene withdrew 
without further attack. 

The grand cause of the failure was the unexpected re- 
treat of Gunby's regiment ; though the brave fellows who 
composed it were not to blame. As they were advancing, 
the first line, instead of charging bayonet, began to fire-~- 


this being arrested, they marched on down the hill, when 
the captain commanding the right fell dead. This caused 
a little confusion, though not a company retreated, or even 
halted. Gunby, seeing there was some little disorder, and 
fearing it might increase, ordered the line to halt until the 
second line could close in at quick-step. He shouted this 
command at the top of his voice ; but amid the noise of 
battle, it was not understood ; and the soldiers, mistaking 
it for an order to retreat, turned and fled. Gunby was 
court-martialled for his conduct, and severely reprimanded. 
It was clear that he ought not to have halted his men, but 
kept them moving till the second line advanced to their aid. 
This reversing orders and confusing the soldiers in the 
very moment of attack is the most ruinous thing that can 
be done. 

Greene retreated only a few miles after the battle, hoping 
that Rawdon would be encouraged to a second attack ; but 
he wisely forbore, and shut himself up in Camden. 

Never was the former in a more critical situation than at 
this moment. The blow he had planned so secretly, and 
planted so skilfully, had not only failed, but waked up the 
enemy in every quarter to his designs. Cornwallis, when 
he heard of it, knew that his line of posts was threatened, 
and revolved long and anxiously his course. First he 
determined to push on after his daring and adventurous 
adversary, and overwhelm him ; but finally turned -his 
steps to Virginia, to close' his career at Yorktown. In the 
mean time, reinforcements were hurrying up to Rawdon 
from Georgetown. On these Marion and Lee hung with 
threatening aspect, but they finally succeeded in reaching 
Camden. With his little destitute army about him, Greene 
TJOW felt the full peril of his position, and, for the first time 
during the campaign, his strong heart sunk in despondency. 
Rawdon was within striking distance of him, with a large 
force, while word was brought that Cornwallis was march- 
ing rapidly against him. His ammunition was exhausted, 
his recruits destitute of arms, and Congress seemed to have 
abandoned him to his fate. Deserted, impoverished, al- 
most surrounded with only a small and half-naked band 
around him, he for a moment bent under this accumulation 
of troubles, and the tide of despondency his iron will had 
so long kept back, flowed in one resistless flood over his 
manly heart. He drank deep of the cup of bitterness, and 


a heavy cloud rested on his brow as he sought in vain to 
pierce the gloom that surrounded him. It was, however, 
but a moment, and his strong nature roused itself to grap- 
ple with the difficulties that beset him. " We will dispute 
every inch of ground" said he, " though Lord Rawdon, 1 
know y will push me back to the mountains" 

The news of Cornwallis's march to Virginia saved him 
this alternative, and allowed him to carry out his original 
plan. Rawdon, seeing that despatch alone could save his 
garrisons south, immediately broke up his encampment at 
Camden ; and having destroyed his stores and fortifications, 
and with the blazing town, which he had fired, to light his 
path, began his rapid march towards Fort Motte. Thither, 
also, Greene hastened, to save Marion and Lee, who were 
pressing the siege. Both commanders, one with alarm and 
the other with joy, heard, just before they reached it, that 
it had surrendered to our arms. This fort occupied a sort 
of middle position, between Ninety-Six on the extreme 
northwest and Charleston on the extreme southeast : hence 
its fall broke the chain of posts completely. 

The field was now open again to Greene, and sending 
forward Lee against Fort Granby, he followed in rapid 
marches with the main army. On approaching the place, 
he found it already in the hands of Lee. His face bright- 
ened up at the news the morning was dawning, and a few 
more efforts, and lo ! the sun of prosperity would rise. 
Hurrying on Lee to unite with Pickens, now before Au- 
gusta, he turned his steps towards Ninety-Six, the last and 
strongest fortress. The garrison had been ordered long 
before to withdraw, but the messenger who bore the de 
spatch was captured, and Cruger, who commanded, was left 
to defend himself as he could. 


On the 22d of May, after a fatiguing march, Greene 
found himself before the fort, and immediately began his 
approaches. With Kosciusko and Pendleton, he made the 
entire circuit of the fortifications, going so near that he was 
fired upon by the sentinels. First came a heavy redoubt, 
surrounded with a ditch and frieze, and an abatis. A few 
rods distant was a stockade fort, supported by two strong 
block-houses the whole defended by a well-supplied gar. 
rison. On the 23d, Greene broke ground, and pushed hi* 


operations on with the utmost vigor day and night, with- 
out a moment's intermission, the spade and pick-axe were 
heard in the trenches. Sally after sally was made by the 
enemy, and a fierce fire kept up, but still the resolute work- 
men toiled on. Lee having failed before Augusta, now 
came up with his legion, and invested the stockade fort, and 
soon cut off the supply of water the guns had been silenced 
before. Day after day the work went on, and closer and 
closer drew the toils around the garrison. All that bravery 
and resolution could do had been done, and for eighteen 
days they had made desperate efforts to arrest the progress 
of the besiegers. But now the scene was drawing to a close, 
and in a few days more the fortress must fall. 

At this critical juncture, news arrived of the rapid ap- 
proach of Rawdon, by forced marches, to relieve the garri- 
son. Greene strained every nerve to bring up Marion, and 
Sumpter, and Pickens, that he might meet his enemy once 
more in the open field. " Let us have a field day," said he, 
" and I doubt not it will be a glorious one." Vain wish ! 
the British commander knew that everything depended on 
celerity, and he soon was upon him with double the number 
of his army. Nothing now remained but to retreat ; but 
this the soldiers could not bear to think of after all their 
toil, and begged so earnestly to be led to the assault, that 
Greene at length consented. He would not cripple his 
whole army by a general storm, and so he directed some 
picked regiments to make the attempt first on the stockade 
fort. On the iyth of June, the regiments destined to the 
assault stood to their arms the forlorn-hopes took their 
stations ; while fascines, with which to fill up the ditch, and 
hookmen, with long iron hooks to pull down the sand-bags 
that lined the ramparts, completed the stern preparation. 
The riflemen were in their towers, and the artillery was 
trained on the fort. At eleven o'clock the first cannon was 
fired, and the men sprung into the trenches ; then the whole 
opened at once, the signal for the assault, and amid the roar 
of artillery and peals of musketry, the brave fellows, with 
one fierce shout, plunged into the ditch, and began to climb 
the walls. In a moment a dreadful volley swept them down, 
yet they still pressed on over their dead companions, and 
mounted the ramparts against the line of bayonets that 
bristled above them. The fort was gallantly won, but the 
redoubt continued to hold out, and poured an incessant, 


galling fire on the Americans who crowded the ditch. 
But not a man yielded, and the assault was pressed with 
desperate impetuosity. But the ditch was too deep, and 
the parapets too high, and all efforts to scale them were un- 
availing. For a whole hour had this deadly conflict con- 
tinued, before Greene ordered the troops to be withdrawn. 
He had won the stockade fort, and might yet win all ; but 
he was afraid to risk his entire army, when Lord Rawdon 
was almost upon him. The assault had been nobly made, 
and the soldiers behaved with the courage of veteran troops, 
and it was with despondency and gloom they heard the or- 
lers to retreat. They had been nearly a month laboring to 
secure the prize, and now they were compelled to abandon 
it with heavy hearts they beheld the ramparts, still red 
with the blood of their comrades, fade away in the dis- 

Rawdon came rapidly up, and, passing the fort, pressed 
hard after Greene ; but after marching twenty-two miles, 
his overtasked troops gave out, and he returned. Ordering 
Ninety-Six to be evacuated, he began his retreat, harassed 
at every step by Lee, who kept dealing blow after blow, and 
yet receiving none in return. In the track of the retreating 
army were crowds of men, women, and children, fleeing from 
the vengeance of the Whigs, whom they had insulted, and 
robbed, and slain without mercy. The day of retribution 
had come ; and the panic-struck wretches fled to Charles- 
ton, to escape the vengeance due to their crimes. 

Greene no sooner saw his enemy retreat, than he turned, 
with his usual daring, in pursuit. Following rapidly on his 
flying traces, he again and again, by his deep-laid plans 
and unwearied exertions, almost captured a part of the 
army. Daunted by no danger, overcome by no toil, never 
beguiled into repose, he seemed omnipresent to his foe. 
At length, after having forced him back at every point 
Orangeburg alone remaining occupied between him and the 
coast he resolved to rest his troops. The heat of summer 
had set in, and the suffering and exposure of his men de- 
manded some relief. Choosing out a salubrious position on 
the high hills of Santee, he went into summer-quarters, and 
all the freedom and wild mirth of a camp life commenced. 
But to Greene there was no repose ; and he immediately 
set about a reorganization of the army. Congress, how- 
ever, could do nothing, and no money was sent him with 


which to payoff the soldiers. Still, partial success crowned 
his efforts resulting from the re-establishrnent of the civil 
power, which the presence of the enemy had abolished. 

As soon as he had rested his troops, he was again in mo- 
tion, saying, " We will seek the enemy wherever we can find 
them, unless they take refuge within the gates of Charleston." 
On the 22d of August he broke up his encampment, and 
began his march, looking anxiously for reinforcements, 
without which he would be powerless. Said he, in writing 
to Lee, " We must have victory or rum, nor will I spare 
anything to obtain it" Pushing on under the broiling Au- 
gust sun, he ordered in Pickens and Marion with the troops 
under their command, and approached Orangeburg. At 
length he heard that the enemy had halted at Eutaw 
Springs, and immediately moved forward to within seven 
miles, and halted. Here Marion joined him ; and that 
night, the yth of September, the toil-worn chieftain wrapped 
himself in his cloak, and slept on the ground, in the midst 
of his soldiers, with the root of a tree for his pillow. 


/ With the first dawn the drums beat to arms ; but Greene 
was already on horseback, and soon had his troops under 
way. The eastern sky was red and glowing with the near 
approach of the up-rising sun, and the dew-drops lay fresh 
and sparkling on the foliage, as they passed through the 
forest. In two columns the militia under the gallant 
Marion and Pickens in front, and the brave Continentals in 
the rear, while Lee's fierce legion led the van they moved 
silently on. But, with the exception of the officers there 
were few bright uniforms to be seen. Whole ranks were 
barefoot and in rags, and hundreds were stark naked, with 
nothing but tufts of moss on their shoulders and hips, to 
keep their muskets and cartridge-boxes from chafing their 
skins. I was a sight to move the heart, to see those naked 
freemen pressing on to battle, under the flag of liberty. 
Greene cast his anxious eye along the dark files, as they 
swept noiselessly onward, feeling that a few hours more 
would settle the fate of his army. The enemy he was 
advancing against was not only superior in numbers and 
discipline, but occupied an advantageous position, while a 
large portion of his own soldiers had never been in action, 
and would be compelled to take such ground as would be 


left them. No wonder that his heart was filled with the 
deepest solicitude, as he thought of the unequal contest he 
was seeking. Still, a battle he must have, and a victory 
too, cost what it might, before his troops again disbanded. 

About eight o'clock, when yet four miles from Eutaw, 
the rolling of drums in the distance announced the approach 
of the enemy. It proved to be only a detachment, which 
Lee's legion scattered before them like chaff of the summer 
threshing-floor. The shouts that were sent back over the 
American columns, inspired new hope and courage, and 
they pressed triumphantly forward. 

The British army, under Stewart, lay at Eutaw Springs, 
in an open field the only one in the whole region pro- 
tected on one side by the Eutaw creek, while in the rear 
stood barns and out-houses, presenting a rallying point in 
case of disaster. Added to all this, there was a strong brick 
house, commanding the entire ground. This house was in 
fact an impregnable fort, for the Americans had no artillery 
heavy enough to batter it down. Through this open space 
ran the road along which Greene was advancing. For miles 
away on either side it was an unbroken forest ; and that 
sweet spot, resting in the very bosom of nature, solitary and 
alone, was to be the meeting-place of the armies. When 
the news of Greene's approach was brought him, the 
English commander was surprised, but immediately began 
to put his army in order of battle. The tents were left 
standing in the morning sunlight, and the troops formed in 
a single line in front of them, and awaited the onset. They 
had not long to remain in suspense, for with streaming 
banners and glittering bayonets the American columns 
came steadily on, and soon the first line drew up face to 
face with the whole British force, and the battle opened. 
Gaines, with the American artillery, came sweeping in a 
gallop along the road, and hastily unlimbering his guns, 
vomited forth fire on the British line the enemy's artillery 
replied, and an incessant peal of thunder roiled through the 
forest of Eutaw. The raw militia bore up like veterans, and 
though outnumbered two to one, delivered their fire with 
such precision and swiftness as for a while to overbalance 
that of the enemy. It ran in a sharp, quick rattle from one 
extremity of the line to the other, with deadly effect, while 
the deep, regular volleys of the English replied. Greene's 
tyt kindled with exultation as he saw how firmly and reso- 


lately his untried troops closed on the foe. But at length 
the superior numbers of the enemy began to tell, and they 
moved forward. The militia, shaking under the pressure, 
slowly recoiled, when Greene ordered up some of his own 
battalions to their relief, which, led on by the gallant 
Sumner, came into action in beautiful order, and delivered 
such a scourging fire, and followed it up with such rapidity 
and precision, that the English were compelled to fall back to 
their first position, and the battle raged again with tenfold 
fury. A part of the artillery on both sides had been dis- 
mounted ; but the rest kept thundering on in deafening 
explosions, till the trees trembled and rocked above the 
combatants. Finding his line pressed so hotly, the English 
commander ordered up his reserve, and the entire army was 
now engaged. Greene still kept by him two battalions of 
Continentals, the brave Marylanders and Virginians, while 
Washington, with his fierce horsemen panting for the fray, 
eat in the rear. With these he had planned a terrible blow, 
but the moment to deliver it had not yet arrived. His eye 
flashed fire as he surveyed the tumultuous field, and he 
watched with delight the advancing smoke of the American 
Volleys. Loud shouts were borne back to his ear, and our 
gallant troops made head against the whole British array. 
But superior numbers at length prevailed our line halted, 
and then, after a short struggle, went backward like a 
serpent of fire over the ground. Vainly struggling to 
spring to its place again, it became broken ; when observ- 
ing it, the whole English army threw itself forward with 
deafening shouts. But pressing up its advantage too 
eagerly, it became disordered, which Greene's quick eye 
detected instantaneously. This was his time, and he 
shouted to his brave Continentals, "Advance, and sweep tht 
field with the bayonet ! " A loud huzza was the answer ; and, 
with leaning forms and trailed bayonets those two terrible 
battalions moved swiftly and sternly forward. In a moment 
the whole interest of the battle gathered around them, and 
every eye was turned on their ranks, as they came in beau- 
tiful order and stern array within reach of the enemy's 
volleys. The British saw them approach without dismay, 
and, sending up a loud shout of defiance, poured in a rapid 
and wasting fire. But nothing could stop those noble 
troops on, on they swept, shoulder to shoulder, without 
ghrinking, through thejiriving sleet. The Virginians, galled 


dreadfully by the fire, gave one volley, then rushed forward 
but the stern Marylanders never pulled a trigger. Their 
rapid tread shook the field, their terrible shout drowned 
even the roar of musketry, and with their eyes bent in wrath 
on the enemy, they moved in one dark and dreadful wave 
to the shock. Before their steady valor and determined 
aspect, the firmest veterans shrunk in dismay, and with one 
loud cry they fell like a rolling rock on the shaking ranks. 
Through and over them they went with headlong fury ; 
turning the whole army in affright over the field. Lee, too, 
came down on the flank with his legion, and the bugles of 
Washington's Cavalry rung over the tumult, and their fierce 
gallop made the earth tremble. The British army became 
like a flock of sheep before them. Past and through their 
camp, and along the road to Charleston, they fled, leaving 
their tents standing on the plain, and all seemed lost. But, 
alas ! that deserted camp, with its luxuries, was more potent 
than when filled with warriors. Breaking from their ranks, 
the soldiers swarmed through them after the spoils all 
but Lee's gallant legion, which turned neither to the right 
hand nor to the left, but pressed fiercely on after the fugi- 
tives. In this crisis, a few British soldiers, with Sheridan 
lit their head, threw themselves into the brick house ; and, 
though pressed so closely by the Americans that there was 
a desperate struggle at the door for the mastery, they suc- 
ceeded in shutting themselves in. Many of their own 
officers and men, however, were left without, whom the 
Americans seized and held before them, as they retreated, 
as shields against the marksmen in the house. The artillery 
was hurried up, but proved to be too light to batter down 
the walls, while from every window was poured an incessant 
fire. It was then that those who had broken their ranks 
and rushed into the tents, received the punishment of their 
deeds. As fast as they emerged into the open air, the 
deadly shots from the house mowed them down, and many 
a gallant officer, in striving to force his men out, was picked 
off. Thus ingloriously fell those brave troops, who had 
passed unscathed through the fight. 

Meanwhile, in an impenetrable thicket, which flanked the 
field of battle, there still remained a detachment of upward 
of three hundred British, whom no effort could dislodge. 
Washington came thundering on them with his squadron, 
but he could not pierce the hedge-like shrubbery. Halting 


to wheel his men by sections into an open space where he 
thought he could make a charge, such a destructive fire was 
opened on him, that every officer but two, and one-third of 
his entire squadron, fell at the first volley. His own horse 
was shot under him, and himself bayoneted and taken pris- 
oner. The remnants of the shattered band, undismayed, 
wheeled and charged with incredible fury. Vain valor ! the 
thicket was like a wall of adamant in their faces, and the 
Delaware infantry, brought up to their relief, met with no 
better success. The British officer who commanded that 
detachment, finding the Americans slowly enveloping him, 
at length began to retreat, hugging the thicket and ravine 
as he went, until he came where the house protected him. 
This enabled the British commander to form his line of 
battle anew. But Greene had already gained enough to 
secure his object. One-quarter of the whole English army 
had fallen on the field dead or wounded, another quar- 
ter he had taken prisoners ; and this brilliant success he 
did not wish to risk in another engagement, since he knew 
that his adversary would be compelled to retreat. He 
had driven the enemy from the field, taken a part of their 
artillery and a quarter of their army, and crushed forever 
their boasted superiority with the bayonet ; and so leaving 
a strong picket on the ground under Hampton, retired from 
the combat, though he could have renewed the battle with 
success, and gained it the second time. But with his pris- 
oners and wounded, and his army exhausted with fatigue, 
he could not continue the pursuit, and hence a complete vic- 
tory would end only in the retreat of the enemy a result 
that would occur without any more fighting. 

Lee went with a flag to the English commander, to pro- 
pose that both armies should unite in burying the dead. 
The roar of the conflict had died away, and the burning sun 
was still high in the heavens, when the hostile bands, for- 
getting their animosities, mingled together in bearing off 
their fallen comrades. There they lay, friend and foe, side 
by side many mutually transfixed, and scowling on each 
other in death. The field was red with blood, and the 
slain lay thick as autumn-leaves over that open space. But 
there was one spectacle which, as it met his gaze, wrung 
Greene's heart with the bitterest anguish. Before him, in 
ghastly rows, lay fifty of his brave officers, pale and cold in 
death, or bleeding fast from their wounds. In a small, mis- 


erable hovel, standing by itself, were the officers of Wash- 
ington's squadron, who had fallen under that dreadful fire 
from the thicket. They were all noble young men, in the 
morning of life heroes every one of them, who had closed 
firmly round him in his darkest hours. As he passed 
among them his lips quivered his eyes filled with tears, and 
to those stretched on the floor, still breathing, he said, in a 
voice choked with emotion, " It was a trying duty imposed 
on you ; but it was unavoidable. I could not help it." 

So overcome with thirst and heat were the men, after the 
battle, that they ran and plunged bodily into the ponds and 
swamps. But their sufferings did not end with the day. 
The sickly season had set in and fevers were added to 
wounds, till the hospitals were crowded, and the surgeons 
and physicians worn down with constant labor. The enemy 
had fled in affright, immediately after the battle, closely 
pursued by Lee's legion and Marion's men ; and Greene 
himself would have pushed on, but his sick and dying army 
required repose, and he repaired to the hills of Santee. In 
this distressed and crippled condition his feelings were 
sorely tried, and in no way more than in seeing the suffer- 
ings of his faithful soldiers. He would go himself through 
the hospital, cheering up the desponding, and stooping over 
the fevered couch of the dying, while blessings and tears 
followed his footsteps. 

Two months passed away in this manner, and the enemy 
were gathering their forces again. The recruits, on their 
way to join him, had been stopped at Yorktown, and but a 
feeble band remained under his command. Apparently de- 
serted and abandoned, his officers began to despond, and 
proposed to abandon all further effort. " No" said the in- 
trepid and noble-hearted patriot, " I will save the country or 
perish in the attempt '"; and while yet in the midst of his 
troubles and embarrassments, hearing of the approach of 
Washington against Cornwallis, and fearing the latter 
would attempt to retreat through the Carolinas to Charles- 
ton, he made preparations to cross his path, and again 
measure strength with him. But on the pth of November, 
1781, the news was brought of the surrender of the British 
army ; and joy and exultation reigned throughout the camp. 

Greene now hoped to draw the French fleet south, to co- 
operate with him in reducing Charleston ; but, failing in 
this, he boldly took the field against the enemy. Sending 


Marion to operate between Charleston and Santee, and 
Sumpter to overawe the Tories at Orangeburg, he, with 
eight hundred men, advanced against Dorchester, where one 
portion of the English army was lying. Stewart, his old 
adversary of Eutaw, was only seven miles from this place, 
with the other division ; but Greene hoped, by a surprise, to 
crush the former, before he could come to its relief. With 
his eight hundred men he moved rapidly over the inter' 
vening country, and abandoning the public roads, made his 
way through forests and swamps, and falling on the English 
cavalry and breaking it in pieces, suddenly presented him- 
self before Dorchester. But the British had heard of his 
approach, notwithstanding his precaution, and destroying 
their stores, precipitately retreated to within six miles of 
Charleston. Thither also Stewart fled, and thus, by a 
brilliant manoeuvre, Greene drove the enemy from all their 
strong posts, and cooped them up around Charleston. The 
country rung with applause, and his own officers were daz- 
zled at the genius and daring which had accomplished so 
much. Following up his success, he began to draw his 
toils closer and closer around the city. But in the very 
midst of his victories, came the news that two thousand 
men from New York, and three thousand from Ireland, 
were on their way to relieve the place. Instead of yielding 
to despair at this unlooked-for danger, he summoned all his 
energies to meet it. He called on the separate States, in 
the most beseeching language, for reinforcements, and the 
state of his mind at this time may he imagined, from a let- 
ter he wrote to Davies. " For God's sake ! " said he, "give 
no sleep to your eyes, nor slumber to your eyelids, until you get 
the troops on the march" Desperate as was his position, he 
was determined to fight ; and if he could not win the battle 
at least so burden the enemy with wounded that they could 
not pursue him. The report, however, turned out to be a 
gross exaggeration^ and a world of anxiety was taken from 
his mind. In writing to a friend afterwards, he says, with 
a mixture of mirth and firmness : " I have not been fright- 
ened, as Dr. Skinner says, but / have been confoundedly 

John's Island was now the only point around Charleston 
iu possession of the British troops, and this he determined 
to carry by storm. There was but one place where an 
army could wade to the island, and over that only at low 


tide ; while galleys moored within four hundred yards of 
each other commanded the passage. Two columns were 
put in motion on the night of the i3th of January, and 
silently began their march. Lee's reached the shore, and 
cautiously passed over ; while the " All's well," from the 
galleys, ringing through the darkness, showed that they 
had not been discovered. He drew up his men on the 
beach, and there, wet and shivering, waited the arrival of 
the other column. This, however, being deserted by its 
guide, and losing its way, had wandered all night through 
the fields. Messengers had been despatched in every 
direction, but the secrecy with which everything had been 
conducted rendered their search fruitless. At length light 
streaks along the eastern sky announced the approach of 
day, and the brave column was recalled to the main land, 
and reached it in safety, though the tide was running 
breast-high. This bold and skilfully laid plan had failed 
but nothing daunted, Greene ordered up his artillery, and 
opened a fierce fire on the galleys, which forced them from 
their position, and drove the enemy into Charleston. 
Pressing up his advantage, he now threatened the city 

But during the privations of the winter the troops became 
discouraged, and some of them, mostly Pennsylvanians, 
plotted a revolt. They opened communications with the 
enemy, and everything was arranged to deliver Greene 
into their hands. But the day before this infamous plot 
was to be carried into execution, it was discovered, and the 
leader of it hung in presence of the army. 

In the mean time Greene continued to draw his lines 
closer and closer around Charleston. The spring found him 
still menacing the town, but without the power to inflict a 
blow. Summer came, and still he lingered ; until at last 
the pestilential atmosphere began its work. Struck down 
by disease, the men died by scores, and the air became 
loaded with the stench of putrid corpses. In approaching 
the camp, you would have thought, from the smell, that the 
whole army was rotting in the sun. It was perfectly horri- 
ble ; and at last Greene himself was stricken down with the 
fever, though his resolute spirit still remained unbroken. 
The utmost destitution prevailed ; so that even salt had to 
be manufactured on the sea-shore, to furnish a supply. The 
soldiers were without clothing there was scarce one blanket 


to ten men hundreds were entirely naked ; and thus, con- 
sumed with fever, they slowly wasted away. There were a 
thousand so destitute of garments, that Greene could not 
ask them to appear on duty, except in the most desperate 
emergency. Thus the spring and autumn passed. At 
length the army received a good supply of clothing, and the 
sickness began slowly to disappear. 

The enemy were still in Charleston, but their condition 
was every day becoming more and more straitened ; and at 
last they determined to evacuate the city. When the morn- 
ing gun of the thirteenth of December broke over the Amer- 
ican camp the signal for the embarkation to commence 
loud shouts of exultation went up ; and as the soldiers en- 
tered the town, so great was their eagerness, that the offi- 
cers could scarcely restrain them from pressing on the ranks 
of the retiring foe. At three o'clock Greene entered, with 
the governor by his side, preceded by thirty dragoons, and 
followed by a long procession of citizens, while his brave 
cavalry brought up the rear. With banners flying, and 
drums beating, and bugles breathing forth their most tri- 
umphant strains, the imposing procession moved through 
the streets. Every window was thronged with happy faces ; 
and the whole city had turned out to see the man, the his- 
tory of whose toils, and sufferings, and battles, and victories 
had become familiar as household words, and who was now 
bringing them freedom, and joy, and peace. At first, a 
breathless silence hung over the immense multitude, and 
eyes swimming in tears were turned in mute love and admira- 
tion towards the advancing chieftain. Suddenly, as if by a 
common impulse, there arose over this deep hush one long 
and deafening shout, till the city rocked and rung with the 
jubilee ; and " God bless you ! God bless you!" fell on every 
side, from hearts overflowing with joy and gratitude. That 
was a proud day to the noble-hearted veteran ; and in that 
single moment of bliss he received a full reward for his 
coils. As he looked on the thousands of beaming and happy 
faces, his manly breast heaved with emotion, and that iron 
heart, which no toil, nor suffering, nor danger could sub- 
due, sunk under the tide of affection, and the eye that had 
never blenched, in the wildest of the battle, flowed in tears. 
Noble man ! those tears honored him more than his hard- 
earned laurels. 

This ended the war in the South Greene had conquered 


at last, though under circumstances that fill the historian 
with wonder as he traces back the stream of events. 

Of his efforts in behalf of his soldiers, and the difficulties 
he surmounted while commanding in Charleston, I will say 
nothing. In April, the news of peace was received with 
illuminations, and salutes of cannon, and unbounded dem- 
onstrations of joy ; and in August he bade farewell to 
his army, which had become endeared to him by a common 
suffering, and a thousand proofs of devotion, and took his 
journey northward. At Princeton he met his beloved com- 
mander, Washington, and there they talked over together 
their toils, and the glorious prospects before their country. 
Hastening on to his family in Rhode Island he was every- 
where received with applause. He found his affairs in- 
volved, but tkaing a small house at Newport, he began to 
gather around him the comforts of home. But his great 
exposures and incessant toil, together with his sickness in 
his southern campaigns, had made severe inroads on his 
iron constitution. He, however, rallied again, and, in 1785, 
after passing through great pecuniary embarrassments, 
removed to Georgia, to a plantation on the Savannah river, 
which had been presented to him by the State. Soon after 
his arrival, he received a challenge from a Captain Gunn, 
on account of some decision he had made against him 
during the war, respecting a horse. Greene promptly re- 
jected it, thus furnishing a noble example to the South, 
of which he had become a citizen. This was a bold step 
to take, considering the state of public feeling at that 
time, and Greene knew it, and wrote to Washington ask- 
ing his advice. It is needless to say, the latter approved 
his course. 

The next year he removed his family to his plantation, 
called Mulberry Grove, and there, surrounded by those he 
loved, he seemed to recover the freshness and elasticity of 
) youth. His happiness, however, was of short duration. On 
his way home from Savannah, in June, whither he had gone 
on business, he stopped with Mr. Gibbons over night, and 
next day walking out with him to view his rice plantation, 
received a partial sunstroke. He reached home, but the 
death-blow had been inflicted, and after a few days of suf- 
fering, he, on the i8th of June, 1786, closed his career. He 
was in the prime of life, being only forty-four years of age 
when he died. His body was carried to Savannah ; and 


there, followed by an immense concourse of people, and 
amid general mourning, was borne to the grave. 


Next to Washington, Greene was the ablest commander 
m the revolutionary army. In person he was above the 
middle height, and strongly made. He had a fine face, 
with a florid complexion, lit up by brilliant blue eyes. His 
natural expression was frank and benevolent, but in battle 
it assumed a sternness, which showed that beneath his easy 
and gentle manners was a strength of purpose not easily 
overcome. When highly excited, or absorbed in intense 
thought, he had a curious habit of rubbing violently his 
upper lip with his fore-finger. Inured by exposure and 
toil, his frame possessed a wonderful power of endurance, 
rendered still greater by the indomitable will it enclosed. 
A self-made man, he rose from the ranks to major-general 
of the army, solely by his own genius and force. Ignorant 
at first of military tactics, he applied himself with such dili- 
gence to the subject, that he mastered them in less time 
than many employ on the rudiments ; and the knowledge 
he obtained was not merely so many maxims and rules 
stowed away, but principles, out of which he wrought his 
own plans and system. He had an almost intuitive per- 
ception of character. He resembled Washington in this 
respect, and seemed to take the exact measure of every 
man who approached him. Many of his actions in the field 
were based upon this knowledge of his adversaries, and 
hence, though often inexplicable to others, perfectly clear 
and rational to himself. Thus, in the southern campaign 
against Cornwallis, his movements were sometimes con- 
sidered rash in the extreme by those who judged of them 
merely from the relative position and strength of the 
armies. But to him, who could judge more correctly from 
his knowledge of men's views and character than from 
their transient movements what course they would take, 
they appeared the wisest he could adopt. A more fearless 
man never led an army ; and his courage was not the result 
of sudden enthusiasm, or even of excitement, but of a well- 
balanced and strong character. He was never known to 
be thrown from his perfect self-possession by any danger, 
however sudden ; and was just as calm and collected when 
bis shattered army tossed in a perfect wreck around him, as 


in his tent at night. The roar of artillery, and the tumult 
of a fierce-fought battle, could not disturb the natural action 
of his mind his thoughts were as clear and his judgment 
was as correct in the midst of a sudden and unexpected 
overthrow, as in planning a campaign. This gave him 
tremendous power, and was the great reason that, though 
beaten he could not be utterly routed. No matter how 
superior his antagonist, or how unexpected the panic of his 
troops, he was never, like Gates, driven a fugitive from the 
field. He possessed two qualities seldom found united 
great caution, and yet great rapidity. His blow was care- 
fully planned, but when it came it fell like falling lightning. 
His mind was clear and comprehensive, and worked with 
ceaseless activity and energy. Nothing could escape his 
glance, and he seemed to forecast all the contingencies that 
did or could happen. His fortitude was wonderful. AD 
exposures, all privations, all embarrassments, toils, and suf- 
ferings, he bore with a patience that filled his soldiers with 
astonishment and admiration. During his southern cam- 
paign he never took off his clothes, except to change them, 
for seven months; and sometimes would be in the saddle 
two days on a stretch, without a moment's repose. His 
energy was equal to. his endurance ; for he not only bore 
everything bravely, but, under difficulties that would have 
weighed an ordinary man to the earth, put forth almost 
superhuman exertions. No sooner was one obstacle sur- 
mounted than he attacked another ; and no sooner was one 
danger escaped than he plunged into another, again to 
extricate himself, to the astonishment of all. Tireless as 
fate itself, he would neither take repose nor allow it to his 
enemy. His whole career, while opposed to Cornwallis, is 
one of the most remarkable in the history of military men. 
When he took command of the southern army, he found it 
to consist of a mere handful of destitute, undisciplined, and 
ragged troops ; yet, with these, he entered the field against 
one of the best generals of the age supported by an army of 
veteran soldiers. With his raw recruits around him, he 
immediately began the offensive ; and before his powerful 
enemy had time to penetrate his plans, smote him terribly 
at Cowpens. Having by this movement brought the whole 
English force against him, he was compelled to retreat, and 
by a series of skilful manreuvres and forced marches, com- 
pletely foiled every attempt to reach him. Unable to cope 


with his adversary, he, nevertheless, refused to quit the 
field retiring like the lion, slowly and resolutely. He 
kept his pursuer ever under his eye, so that he could not 
make a mistake without receiving a blow. He stopped 
when his adversary stopped, and looked him boldly in the 
face, till he provoked him to burn his baggage, in order to 
convert his entire army into light troops, and thus facilitate 
nis movements. But even then he would out-march and 
out-manceuvre him, penetrating and baffling every plan laid 
against him, and carrying out every one of his own. He 
thus led his enemy through the entire State of North Caro- 
lina ; and the moment he turned, followed him, and dealt 
him such a staggering blow at Guilford that he was com- 
pelled to a precipitate flight. No sooner was Cornwallis 
beyond his reach, than he turned furiously on his posts in 
South Carolina, and carrying them one after another, 
brought the war to the doors of Charleston. His combina- 
tions, throughout the whole campaign, were admirable, and 
succeeded beyond the most sanguine expectations. He did 
not commit a single error, and every failure that befell him 
was th^ result of the most arrant cowardice on the part of 
some o his militia. 

Years before, the English officer opposed to him in Jer- 
sey wrote, saying, " Greene is dangerous as Washington 
he is vigilant, enterprising, and full of resources"; and the 
Chevalier de la Luzerne, Knight of Malta, in speaking of 
his southern campaign, said : " Other generals subdue their 
enemy by the means which their country or sovereign fur- 
nishes them ; but Greene appears to reduce his enemy by 
his own means. He commenced his campaign without 
either an army, provisions, or military stores. He has 
asked for nothing since ; and yet, scarcely a post arrives 
from the South that does not bring intelligence of some new 
advantage gained over the foe. He conquers by magic. 
History furnishes no parallel to this." 

The resources of his mind were inexhaustible there was 
no gulf out of which he could not find a way of escape, and 
no plan, if necessary, too hopeless for him to attempt. 
Without a dollar from government, and penniless himself, 
he nevertheless managed to keep an army in the field, and 
conquer with it. True, it was half-naked and half-starved, 
but by his wonderful power he succeeded in holding it to- 
gether. His soldiers loved him with devotion : and having 


seed him extricate himself so often from apparently inevi- 
table ruin, they at length came to regard him as invincible. 
Sharing all their toils and dangers, and partaking of all 
their sufferings, he so wound himself into their affections, 
that they would go wherever he commanded. He made of 
raw militia all that ever can be made of them, in the short 
time he had them under his control. 

His patriotism was of the purest kind, and Washington 
spoke from correct knowledge when he said : " Could he 
but promote the interests of his country in the character of a 
corporal, he would exchange, without a murmur, his epau- 
lettes for the knot." His own reputation and life he re- 
garded as nothing in the cause of freedom. Next to his coun- 
try he loved Washington ; and no mean ambition, or envy 
of his great leader, ever sullied his noble character. That 
affection was returned, and the two heroes moved side by 
side, as tried friends, through the revolutionary struggle. 
He was a man whose like is seldom seen ; and placed in 
any country, opposed to any commander, would have stootf 
irst in the rank of military chieftains. In the heart of Eu 
rope, with a veteran army under his command h e would 
astonished the world. 


Patriotism of South Carolina Moultrie fights the Cherokees Co 
mands the troops in Charleston Battle of Fort Moultrie Made Brig- 
adier-General under Lincoln Saves Charleston by his Decision 
Bravery at the Siege of Charleston Is taken prisoner Blowing up of 
a Magazine His Character. 

IN that crisis of our history, when hot only the liberty of 
this country, but the fate of freedom, the world over, hung 
quivering upon our decision, South Carolina acted a noble 
part. The colonies were full of hesitation and fear at the 
gathering tempest, which, in its slow rising, darkened the 
whole heavens ; and when Massachusetts sent forth her ap- 
peal, thousands of patriotic hearts throbbed anxiously to 
hear the response which should be returned. South Caro- 
lina suffered least of all from the system of taxation insisted 
upon by the parent country, yet she was among the first to 
hail her New England sister ; and pledging her treasures 
and her hardy sons to the struggle, swore, on the common 
altar, to stand or fall by her side. Governed more by 
principle than interest, and obeying that generous sympathy 
which prefers death with the oppressed to honor with the 
oppressor, she stepped into the glorious sisterhood, who 
twined their arms together in the noblest sacrifice ever 
witnessed among the nations of the earth. 

May her love to the Union ever be as pure and unselfish, 
and her feet the last to leave the common platform on 
which they were first to be placed at such a cost of blood 
and treasure. 

Of the patriotic and chivalrous men of our Revolution, 
South Carolina, considering her population and extent, fur- 
nished an unusually large proportion. With Moultrie, the 
two Pinckneys, Sumpter, Laurens, Rutledge, and Marion, 
and others, she presented a galaxy of noble men, of which 
even a nation might be proud. 

WILLIAM MOULTRIE was born in Charleston, South C&r- 



olina, in 1731 ; and, like many of our distinguished officers, 
took his first lessons in war in combats with the Indians. 
When thirty years of age, he was appointed captain in a 
provincial regiment, raised to chastise the Cherokees for 
their frequent irruptions into the settlements. Marion was 
his lieutenant. He led his company gallantly into battle at 
Etchoe, where the Indians were completely humbled ; and 
performed that long and tedious march through the hostile 
territory, in which privation, and hunger, and toil almost 
unparalleled were endured. Through such swamps and 
thickets and difficulties innumerable, an army scarce ever 
before made its way. At its close the soldiers were literally 
mangled, though untouched by the enemy. The nightly 
bivouacs in the limitless forest the sleepless vigilance the 
destitution and labor of this campaign, were a good school 
for the future chieftain, and taught him to despise that ease 
and luxury which have been the grave of so many noble 

At the commencement of the Revolutionary War, the 
provincial congress of South Carolina voted a million of 
money to defray the expenses, and immediately commenced 
raising an army. In this, Moultrie, on the very day the 
battle of Bunker's Hill was fought, was appointed colonel, 
and Marion promoted to a captaincy. His first expedition 
was against Fort Johnson on James Island, then in posses- 
sion of the British. With a detachment of men he started 
at midnight, prepared to carry the works by storm, and ex- 
pecting bloody work ; but the enemy had got wind of the 
projected attack, and fled. Previous to their departure, they 
had dismantJed the fort, and it was with great difficulty 
Moultrie could mount three cannon before the British 
vessels of war appeared before it. They, however, con- 
cluded it was not best to venture an attack, and hauled off. 
At length, in November, the ships undertook to clear a 
passage through Hog Island channel, up to the town, which 
ended in a cannonade. 

In December, Moultrie erected a battery on Haddrell's 
Point, for the purpose of driving off two men-of-war, which 
annoyed the inhabitants exceedingly. Taking with him 
two hundred soldiers and several of the citizens, he started 
on a cold December night, and by the dim starlight toiled 
away till morning. When daylight dawned, they were well 
covered, and the vessels moved away. 


The next spring, early in March, he was ordered to take 
post on Sullivan's Island, and complete a fort there the 
outline of which had already been marked out within 
point-blank shot of the channel leading into Charleston 
harbor. A British fleet was expected to attack the town, 
and this was the only defence the inhabitan-ts could make 
Palmetto trees had been cut in the forest, and the logs in 
huge rafts lay moored to the beach the best material that 
could be obtained with which to resist the heavy broadsides 
of English frigates. Ignorant of gunnery, but confident in 
their own resources, and nerved with resolute courage, these 
hardy sons of the soil heaved those huge palmettoes from 
the water, and began the work. A square pen was built, 
with bastions at each angle, capable of covering a thousand 
men. The logs were laid in two parallel rows, sixteen feet 
apart ; bound together with cross-timbers dove-tailed and 
bolted into the logs, and the wide space between filled with 
sand. When completed, it presented the appearance of a 
solid wall sixteen feet wide ; but its strength was yet to be 
tested. Behind this, Moultrie placed four hundred and 
thirty-five men, and thirty-one cannon, some of them twenty- 
sixes, some eighteens, and the rest of smaller calibre 
throwing in all five hundred and thirteen pounds. 

At this juncture, Lee arrived from the North, and took 
command of the troops. When his eye, accustomed to the 
scientific structures of Europe, fell on this rudely built 
affair, he smiled in derision, calling it"# slatighter-pen,' 
and requested Governor Rutledge to have it immediately 
evacuated. But that noble patriot was made of sterner stuff, 
and replied, " That while a soldier remained alive ta defend 
it, he would never give his sanction to such an order." 


At length a fleet of fifty vessels was seen bearing up under 
a cloud of canvas for Charleston. In an instant, all was 
commotion ; soldiers were hurried off in every direction, the 
lead wrenched from the windows of the houses and churches, 
and run into bullets, and everything put in a state of prep- 
aration to receive the enemy. Consternation seized the 
inhabitants ; many left the town, and the most hopeful be- 
gan to despair of success. A former captain of an English 
mao-of-war went orer to the fort to see Moultrie, and while 


they were walking on the platform together, looking at the 
vessels as they floated lazily up, said to the latter, " Well, 
colonel, what do you think of it now?" "We shall beat 
them," was the laconic reply. " Sir," exclaimed the captain, 
in the most emphatic manner, "when those ships come to 
lay alongside of your fort, they will knock it down in half an 
hour." He expected Moultrie would be astonished at thi^ 
announcement, but he very coolly replied, " Then we win 
lay behind the ruins, and prevent the men from landing. ' ' Every 
experienced seaman in the harbor made the same declara- 
tion ; and with these on one side, and Lee, of world-wide 
experience in military matters, on the other, it is a little singu- 
lar that a provincial colonel, who had seen no real service, 
and a governor who did not pretend to know what English 
broadsides could do, should persist in defending it. This 
is the more strange, when we remember that the men knew 
little or nothing of artillery, having never fired anything 
heavier than a rifle, and hence could have but little confi- 
dence in their own skill. Besides, they had never been ac- 
customed to the tremendous uproar of a heavy cannonade, 
and it was not to be expected they would, for the first time, 
be particularly steady or true in their aim. 

But these brave men had labored hard to build a fort, 
tnd, whether it could be held or not, were determined to 
defend it to the last extremity. They knew nothing of 
artillery. They knew not the relative strength of such a 
fort to heavy frigates, nor what the result would be ; but 
they knew they could fight that much, at least, was within 
their comprehension. Lee would not stay in a structure 
which would be shattered into fragments in thirty minutes, 
and retired some distance, in order to manage the retreat 
In the mean time, Moultrie received the following laconic 
note from Rutledge : " General Lee wishes you to evacuate 
the fort. You will not, without an order from me. I will 
sooner cut my hand off than write one." 

At length, on the morning of the 28th of June, the wind 
being fair, the British fleet hoisted sail, and came steadily 
up towards the fort. There were nine of them in all two 
of fifty guns each, five of twenty-eight, one of twenty-six, 
and a bomb-vessel. In a moment the rapid roll of the 
drums behind the works, beating to arms, brought every 
man to his station. It was a warm and beautiful day a 
Jight ripple just stirred the bosom of the bay, and all was 


calm and peaceful. As the vessels swept gracefully up to 
their positions, Moultrie's eye flashed with delight ; and the 
men, eager for the fray, kept training their heavy guns upon 
them as they advanced. At length, as they came within 
point-blank shot, the order to fire was given, and that low, 
dark structure opened its thunder. The shores shook to 
the tremendous explosion, and in a moment the wharves, 
and steeples, and heights of Charleston were black with 
spectators, gazing with throbbing hearts on the volumes of 
smoke that rose in a vast cloud from that distant island. 
Without returning a shot, the vessels steadily advanced, 
until directly abreast of the fort then letting go their 
anchors, and clewing up their sails, they poured in a terrible 
broadside. More than a hundred cannon opened at once, 
with such a wild uproar that the boldest for a moment held 
his breath. The battle had now fairly commenced, and the 
guns were worked with fearful rapidity. It was one con- 
stant peal of thunder, and to the spectators in Charleston, 
that low spot, across the bay, looked like a volcano break- 
ing forth from the sea. Lee stood on Haddrell's Point, 
watching the effect of the first fire. When the smoke lifted 
like the folds of a vast curtain, he expected to see that 
" slaughter-pen " in fragments ; but there still floated the 
flag of freedom, and beneath it beat brave hearts, to whom 
that awful cannonade was but " a symphony to the grand 
march of independence." When the fight had fairly begun, 
they thought no more of those heavy guns than they did of 
their rifles ; and, delighted to find they could wield them 
with such skill, stripped to the work. Their coats were 
hastily flung one side, and their hats with them and in 
their shirt-sleeves, with handkerchiefs bound about their 
heads, they toiled away under the sweltering sun with the 
coolness and courage of old soldiers. The fire from those 
nine vessels, with their cannon all trained upon that pile of 
logs, was terrific, and it trembled like a frightened thing 
under the shock ; but the good palmettoes closed silently 
over the balls, as they buried themselves in the timber and 
sand, and the work went bravely on. Thus, hour after hour 
did it blaze, and flame, and thunder there on the sea, while 
the shots of the Americans told with murderous effect. At 
every discharge those vessels shook as if smitten by a rock 
the planks were ripped up, the splinters hurled through the 
air, and the decks strewed with mangled forms. Amid the 


smoke, bombs were seen traversing the air, and dropping 
in an incessant shower within the fort but a morass in the 
middle swallowed them up as fast as they fell. At length, 
riddled through and through, her beds cl mortar broken up, 
the bomb-vessel ceased firing. Leaving the smaller vessels, 
as unworthy of his attention, Moultrie trained his guns upon 
the larger ones, and " Look to the Commodore ! look to the 
fifty-gun ships," passed along the lines, and they did look to 
the Commodore in good earnest, sweeping her decks at 
every discharge, with such a fatal fire that at one time 
there was scarcely a man left upon the quarter-deck. The 
Experiment too came in for her share of consideration her 
decks were slippery with blood, and nearly a hundred of h^r 
men were borne below, either killed or wounded. Nor were 
the enemy idle, but rained back a perfect tempest of balls . 
but that brave garrison had got used to the music of cannon, 
and the men, begrimed with powder and smoke, shot with 
the precision and steadiness they would have done in firing 
ft a target. As a heavy ball in full sweep touched the top 
of the works, it took one of the coats lying upon the logs, 
and lodged it in a tree. " See that coat ! see that coat ! " 
burst in a laugh on every side, as if it had been a mere 
plaything that had whistled past their heads. Moultrie, 
after a while, took out his pipe, and lighting it, leaned 
against the logs, and smoked away with his officers as 
quietly as if they were out there sunning themselves, instead 
of standing within the blaze, and smoke, and uproar of 
nearly two hundred cannon. Now and then he would tak< 
the pipe from his mouth, to shout forth "Fire!" or givv 
e jme order, and then commence puffing away again, and 
talking thus presenting a strange mixture of the droll and 
heroic. The hearts of those spectators in the distance 
riany of whom had husbands and brothers in the fight were 
far more agitated thaa they against whom that fearful 
iion storm was hailing. 

Afte" the fight had continued for several hours, Lee, see- 
ing that *.he " slaughter-pen " held out so well, passed over 
to it in a >>oat, and remained for a short time. Accustomed 
as he was to battle, and to the disciplined valor of European 
troops, he still was struck with astonishment at the scene 
that presented itself as he approached. There stood Moul- 
trie, quietly smoking his pipe, while the heavy and rapid 
explosions kept up such a deafening roar that one cou!4 


hardly be heard, though shouting at the top of his voice 
and there, stooping over their pieces, were those raw gun 
ners; firing with the deadly precision of practised artillerists. 
Amazed to find an English fleet, carrying two hundred and 
sixty six guns, kept at bay by thirty cannon and four hun- 
dred men, he left the fort to its brave commander, and re- 
turned to his old station. 

Amid the hottest of the fire, the flag-staff was shot away 
and the flag dropped outside of the ramparts upon the 
beach. When it fell, the people of Charleston were filled 
with despair, supposing the fort had surrendered ; and men 
were seen hurrying through the streets with pale faces and 
tearful eyes. But the firing did not cease, and soon that 
flag was again seen fluttering amid the smoke. Sergeant 
Jasper, when he saw i* stretched in dishonor on the sand, 
leaped over .the ramparts, and walking the whole length of 
the works, though the balls were crashing fearfully around 
him, picked it up, and calling for a cord, bound it to a 
sponge-staff, and coolly mounting the logs, planted it on the 
bastion. As it shook its folds again in the sea-breeze, a 
loud shout went up, followed by an explosion which made 
that enclosure tremble. 

Every man was a hero, and, borne up by that lofty enthu- 
siasm which inspires the patriot in every age, thought only of 
the country for which he was struggling. Macdaniel, man- 
gled horribly by a cannon-shot, was borne mortally wounded 
from the. embrasure ; and as he was carried pale and bleeding 
away, cried out, " Don t give up you are fighting for liberty 
and country." At length the ammunition began to failj and 
Moultrie, hearing that a large force had effected a landing 
at some distance off, and was marching down to storm the 
works, relaxed his firing, in order to save his powder for the 
muskets, when it should come to a closer fight. Marion 
was hurried off to an American sloop-of-war for a supply, 
and another messenger to Charleston. Both were successful. 
With the five hundred pounds from Charleston Rutledge 
sent a hasty note, saying, " HONOR AND VICTORY, my 
good sir, to you and our worthy countrymen with you !" 
To this was attached the following postscript : " Do not 
make too free with your cannon cool, and do mischief'' 

The fire now opened with redoubled fury. At first, as 
long intervals followed between every explosion, making a 
feeble response to the heavy and rapid broadsides from the 


water, the citizens had again thought that resistance was 
almost over. The English themselves imagined that the 
Americans were gradually yielding ; but the first crash that 
followed the arrival of the ammunition convinced them of 
their error. The British commander, finding his shots had 
produced so little effect, redoubled his efforts, and poured 
in broadside after broadside with such terrible rapidity, that 
there was scarcely an interval between the explosions. 
Once the broadsides of four vessels exploded together, and 
when the balls struck the fort, it trembled in every timber 
and throughout its entire extent, and shook as if about to 
fall in pieces. 

All day long had that brave garrison toiled like slaves, 
and now the sun was sinking behind the distant shore, send- 
ing its level beams a moment through the cloud of battle ere 
it departed. Slowly the gray twilight began to creep over 
the water, and at last darkness settled on the shores and the 
sea. The scene now became one of indescribable grandeur. 
That heavy cannonade still continued, and still the specta- 
tors who lined the main-land, and covered the houses of 
Charleston, gazed seaward through the gloom, towards the 
spot where the battle still raged. Night had fallen on the 
island and fort, and all was dark and invisible there, except 
when the flash of the guns lit up its form, and then its mys- 
terious bosom for a moment would be inherent with flame, 
and it seemed as if the sea itself had opened and shot forth 
fire. Around those ships the smoke lay like a dark and 
heavy storm-cloud, through which the lightnings inces- 
santly played and thunders rolled. Moultrie and his men 
could distinctly hear the heavy blows of their shot, as they 
struck the ships and crashed through the solid timbers. 

At length, about half-past nine o'clock, the English, find, 
ing their vessels cut up, and the crews dreadfully reduced> 
slipped their cables, and moved quietly away. The uproar 
had suddenly ceased, and darkness and silence fallen on the 
scene ; but from that little fort went up three hearty cheers ; 
and when the news reached the town, one long, loud huzza 
rent the air, and" Victory/ Victory!" ran like wildfire 
through the streets, filling every heart with joy and exulta- 

The loss of the Americans in this gallant action was slight, 
amounting to only thirty-six, both killed and wounded; while 
that of the British, according to their own account, was a 


hundred and sixty. Double the number would probably be 
nearer the truth. The commodore had his arm carried 
away.* One is surprised that so few of the garrison were 
killed, when it is remembered that nearly ten thousand shot 
and shells were fired by the enemy during the day. The 
Acteon, during the action, went aground, and the next morning 
a few shots were fired at her, when a party was sent to take 
possession. The crew, however, setting fire to her, manned 
the boats, and pushed off. When the Americans got on 
board they turned two or three of the guns on the fugitives, 
but finding the flames approaching the magazine, abandoned 
the vessel. For a short time she stood a noble spectacle, 
with her tall masts wreathed in flame, and her black hull crack- 
ling and blazing below. But when the fire reached the pow- 
der, there suddenly shot up a huge column of smoke, spread- 
ing like a tree at the top, under the pressure of the atmos- 
phere and then the ill-fated vessel lifted heavily from the 
water, and fell back in fragments with an explosion that was 
heard for miles around. 

Thus ended one of the most brilliant actions of the Revo- 

That a small garrison, in an unfinished fort, made of 
green logs and sand, should attempt, contrary to the best 
military advice, with thirty-one pieces of artillery, to over- 
whelm the fire of a fleet of nine vessels, will ever be a matter 
of astonishment. But that they should actually succeed, and, 
after maintaining the unequal combat for eleven hours, come 
off victorious, is still stranger. Lee could not contain his 

* The springs of the cable of the Bristol were cut in the engagement 
by a cannon-ball, and she swung round stern-foremost to the fort. In a 
moment " look to the flag-ship," ran along the lines, and every cannon 
ihat could be brought to bear was trained on her. She was raked terribly, 
and scarce an officer was left on her splintered, rent decks but Captain 
Morris, and he was wounded in the neck. He maintained his post till a 
chain-shot struck his arm, shattering it in pieces. He was then taken 
into the cock-pit, and while he was undergoing the tortures of amputation, 
a hot shot entered it, killing two of the assistant-surgeons and wounding 
the purser. Soon as the operation was over, this gallant officer mounted 
to the deck again. But he had not been long in the action before a shot 
passed directly through his body. Again he was carried below, but lived 
only a few minutes. Some one asking him, as he was dying, if he had any 
instructions to leave respecting his family, " No ! " said he, " I leave them 
to the providence of God and the generosity of my country," and expired 
The British government afterwards settled a pension on his wife and chil 


delight at the result. All his arrangements for a retreat had 
been useless indeed, Moultrie told him they would, he de- 
claring he never had any intention of retreating. 

A few days after the battle, Governor Rutledge, and 
many of the distinguished ladies of Charleston, came down 
to the fort, and lavished their praises on the brave men who 
had so nobly defended it. The rough soldiers were taken 
by surprise at the familiarity and kindness with which they 
were treated never dreaming before that their fate had 
been so dear to those lovely and noble women. Governor 
Rutledge took a sword from his side and buckled it on the 
gallant Jasper, in reward for his daring and chivalric act, 
in planting the flag on the ramparts ; while Mrs. Elliot pre- 
sented a pair of elegant colors to the regiment under 
Moultrie and Motte, saying, " The gallant behavior in de- 
fence of liberty and your country entitles you to the highest 
honor ; accept of these two standards as a reward justly 
due to your regiment ; and I make not the least doubt, under 
Heaven's protection, you will stand by them as long as they 
can wave in the air of liberty." Jasper heard this speech 
with kindling feelings, and remembered it afterwards amid 
the carnage of Savannah. 

The ladies of Charleston were distinguished, during the 
Revolution, for their devotion to the cause of freedom. 
Enthusiastic, self-sacrificing, and cheerful, they inspired 
hope and courage and daring in the men, and shed glori- 
ous sunlight on that night of gloom. They were worthy 
mothers of noble sons. 

The defeat of the enemy at Fort Moultrie left South Car- 
olina free from all immediate danger, and Moultrie was 
sent to Savannah to make preparations for an attack on St. 
Augustine, of which his brother was governor. But the 
troops being withdrawn, it was abandoned. At this time 
he received his appointment of brigadier-general, under 
Lincoln, who had taken command of the Southern depart- 

From this time till 1779 he was constantly in the field, 
though engaged in no important battles. In February of 
this year he defeated a force larger than his own at Beau- 
fort. The enemy had the advantage also in position, being 
covered by a wood, while the Americans were compelled to 
form in the open field ; yet the latter drove them from 
cover, and forced them into a precipitate 


Soon after, Lincoln, marching into Georgia, left him, with a 
little over twelve hundred men, to watch the British and 
Tories, rapidly collecting their forces to strike at some im- 
portant point. At length, with upwards of three thousand 
men, Prevost, the English commander, commenced his 
march for Charleston. Moultrie no sooner heard of it, than 
he threw himself and his little army into the place, and be- 
gan to cast up works. The town was in a state of terrible 
alarm, and even the governor and privy council thought 
that Moultrie, with his feeble force, could not make a suc- 
cessful defence, and hesitated about risking the result of 
a storm. The latter was for defending the place to the 
last extremity, but between the governor and privy council 
he found himself fettered in all his plans. One day, just as 
he was riding rapidly out of the intrenchments, he heaid 
the governor say to the soldiers, " You are to obey the orders 
of the governor, privy council, and General Moultrie." 
The latter, without stopping his horse, merely turned his 
head as he rode away, and exclaimed, " You will obey no 
orders of the privy council." In the mean time Prevost had 
sent a summons to the town to surrender; the council, in 
deliberating upon it, came to the decision that it was best 
/to deliver up the place. One of the members, when he 
heard the decision, burst into tears. But in coming to 
terms, it was found that the English commander would have 
nothing to do with the governor and council, declaring that 
his business was" with General Moultrie alone." Upon this 
they looked very grave, and all eyes were bent upon Moul- 
trie. The latter, after a pause, said, " Gentlemen, you see 
how the matter stands the point is this : am I to deliver 
you up prisoners of war, or not ? " Some replied " Yes." 
The former sternly replied, " / am determined to do no such 
thing. We will fight it out" * On hearing this, the brave 
Laurens, who was in the tent, jumped to his feet, with a 
smile of exultation on his face and exclaimed, " Thank 
God ! we are upon our legs again." This settled the ques- 
tion. A flag was waved the signal that the conference 
was ended and preparations were immediately made for bat- 
tle. Prevost, however, remembered Fort Moultrie, and he 
had no wish to measure strength with the brave defender 
of it ; he withdrew his forces, and Charleston was saved. 

* fide memoirs of Moultrie. 


Ever active, he menaced the enemy wherever he ap- 
peared, until at last, in 1780, he "was shut up with Lincoln 
in Charleston, and bore a conspicuous part in that long and 
memorable siege. He was placed over the artillery, and 
kept at his post day and night, until at length, overcome 
with fatigue, he one evening retired into the interior of the 
town, where he should be less disturbed, and lay down to 
sleep. Early in the morning he was startled by a fierce 
and heavy cannonade ; and springing into the middle of the 
floor, was just putting on his regimentals, when a cannon- 
ball in full sweep crashed through the house, and entering 
the bed from which he had but that moment arisen, tore it 
into fragments. 

In the capitulation, he and his troops were surrendered 
prisoners of war, which closed his military career. When 
the militia laid down their arms, many of the muskets were 
still loaded, and in this state were thrown into the carts and 
carried away to the store-room. Some of them went off as 
they were pitched hurriedly together, and the officers in- 
formed the British of the danger that would ensue, if the 
whole were not discharged. But no attention was paid to 
the warning ; and when they were piled away into the 
store-room, in which there were also four thousand pounds 
of powder, the accidental discharge of one of them ignited 
the magazine, and away went the building, heavenwards, 
and every one of the fifty guards with it. The houses 
around were leveled with the ground, and the whole town 
shook under the terrific explosion, as if an earthquake had 
suddenly opened beneath it. Dismembered bodies, arms 
and legs were whirled through the air like branches of trees 
on the wings of the hurricane. One man was hurled vio- 
lently against the steeple of a church, from whence he 
dropped, a mass of mangled flesh, to the ground. He left 
his bloody mark high up where he struck, and it could 
be seen by the passer-by for days after. 

Immediately, the cry of "fire" rang through the streets, 
the contiguous buildings were in flames, while a magazine, 
containing ten thousand pounds of powder, .stoo'd near. 
Alarm and consternation spread on every side, and shouts 
of " The magazine is on fire ! " sent paleness to every cheek. 
Men and women streamed in crowds from the dangerous 
neighborhood ; and Moultrie, knowing the shock would 
knock down all the houses in the vicinity, walked towards 


the water, to escape the danger. As he was passing along v 
a British officer, in a state of the highest excitement, met 
him, and exclaimed : " Sir, if that magazine takes fire, the 
town will be blown to hell ! " Moultrie, not particularly 
pleased with this rough salutation, coolly replied, "I expect 
it will be a hell of a blast !" and walked on. The mag- 
azine, however, was saved, and the threatened catastrophe 
escaped. Moultrie remained a prisoner for two years, when 
he was exchanged, and appointed by Congress major-gen 
eral. The war soon after closing, he retired to private life> 
But the South Carolinians, remembering his distinguished 
services, elected him Governor of the State in 1785, and 
again in 1794. He lived to a good old age, and died Sep- 
tember 25, 1805, in his seventy-fifth year. 


Moultrie was unlike most of the Southern officers, whose 
bravery is usually of the fiery, chivalric kind, and accom- 
panied with intense excitement. He was brave as man can 
be ; but his courage was of that easy, nonchalant character, 
which always infuses a little of the comic into the heroic. 
Stubborn as a rock, decided, and watchful, he was neverthe- 
less quiet and unexcited, and went into battle with the 
sangfroid he would go to bed. When the governor and 
privy council proposed he should surrender up both them 
and the city to the enemy, he did not dash off into enthu- 
siastic appeals, but quietly said, " 7 will do no such thing 
ive will fight it out" ; and went to work with the cool and 
dogged resolution of one whose arm is better than his 
tongue. In his little palmetto fort, enveloped in the blaze 
of nearly two hundred cannon, he quietly lighted his pipe 
to while away the time whose minutes were measured by 
peals of thunder. Yet there was no carelessness in all this ; 
his calm eye surveyed everything, took in the whole field 
of danger, while his blow fell with the suddenness of 

He was lax in his discipline, and easy with his men, who 
loved him with devotion. This trait in his character dis- 
tressed Lee exceedingly when he took command of the 
Southern army, and he feared the worst results from it in 
the attack on Fort Moultrie ; but the hero knew his men, and 
knew himself, ancj had not the least concern about tfre way 


they would fight. A fiery-hearted, enthusiastic leader will 
carry soldiers in a storm, or sudden onset, farther and fiercer 
than a cool and steady one ; but for deliberate courage, self- 
confidence, and strength, the latter is by far the best. In that 
unbroken composure, and invincible will, soldiers behold 
not only courage, but hidden resources and strength on 
which they can safely rely. They are not roused by his 
appeals, but they are filled with trust in his ability. This 
quality of a great commander, Moultrie possessed to a re- 
markable degree. What he would have done with a large 
army, and during a long campaign, it is impossible to tell ; 
but the British officers had a high opinion of his skill. 

But his noblest quality was his pure and exalted patriot- 
ism. His country and liberty he loved above his life ; and 
no selfish ambition or sordid feelings sullied his honorable 
career. While a prisoner of war, a British officer, the 
former Governor of South Carolina, and once his intimate 
friend, endeavored, by every argument, to persuade him to 
enter the English service. He did not ask him to turn 
traitor, like Arnold, for that he knew him incapable of 
doing ; but to leave the country and serve in Jamaica. He 
was a prisoner ; and probably would remain so till the 
close of the war, and hence could be of no service to 
America ; while, as an English officer abroad, he could run 
a career of glory. But his ear was deaf to every offer that 
would divide him from the land of his birth, and from the 
interests of freedom ; and he wrote the following noble 
reply to the friend who sought to corrupt him : " When 
I entered into this contest, I did it with the most mature 
deliberation, and with a determined resolution to risk 
my IKe and fortune in the cause. The hardships I have 
gone through I look back upon with the greatest pleas- 
ure. I shall continue to go on as I have begun, that 
my example may encourage the youths of America to 
stand forth in defence of their rights and liberties. You 
call upon me now, and tell me I have a fair opening 
of quitting that service with honor and reputation to 
myself, by going to Jamaica. Good God ! Is it possi- 
ble that such an idea could arise in the breast of a man of 
honor ? I am sorry you should imagine I have so little re- 
gard for my own reputation, as to listen to such dishonor- 
able proposals. Would you wish to have that man, whom 
you have honored with your friendship, play the traitor? 


Surely not. You say, by quitting this country for a short 
time, I might avoid disagreeable consequences, and might 
return, at my own leisure, and take possession of my es- 
tates for myself and family. But you have forgot to tell 
me how I am to get rid of the feelings of an injured honest 
heart, and where to hide myself from myself ; could I 
be guilty of so much baseness I should hate myself and 
shun mankind. This would be a fatal exchange from my 
present situation, with an easy and approved conscience, of 
having done my duty, and conducted myself as a man of 

Such were the men who planted the tree of liberty in this 
soil, and watered t with their blood. 


His early Life Joins the Army as Volunteer Transports Cannon from 
Canada Appointed ovr the Artillery Fights bravely at Trenton, 
Princeton, Brandy wine, Germantown, and Monmouth Appointed Sec- 
retary of War His Death and Character. 

IN battle, the commander of heavy artillery, though one 
of the most efficient men, has but few opportunities to 
perform brilliant deeds. Neither commanding a division, 
nor expected to make a charge, his power is seen only in 
the way he manages his guns. Artillery is the most power- 
ful arm of an army, and, when well served, makes terrible 
work on a field. Bonaparte, perhaps, rendered it more 
effective than any other general, and had some of the best 
artillery officers in the world. Drouot stands first among 
these. So rapidly would he discharge his guns, that in ad- 
vancing to an attack one could hardly discover that he 
stopped to load ; they seemed to explode as they moved, 
and with terrible effect. He never could be prevailed upon 
to ride a horse, like other commanding officers, but always 
moved on foot amid his guns. A Polish officer, in one of 
the late revolutions in. Poland, saved the army by charging 
with his artillery, as if it had been cavalry. The battle was 
fierce, and had raged for a long time, when, seeing his 
countrymen beginning to give way, he ordered the horses 
to be attached, the gunners to mount the carriages, and 
the drivers to go in a full gallop straight on the Russian 
lines. He started with fifty pieces ; the earth smoked and 
trembled where they passed, and the Russian infantry, dis- 
mayed at this new mode of attack, broke in disorder. 
Wheeling suddenly in their midst, he opened all his cannon 
at once. The slaughter was horrible ; and this whole wing 
of the army was utterly broken. 

At the commencement of the Revolution we were exceed- 
ingly deficient in artillery, and it was only by taking the 
forts on Lake Champlain that we eventually obtained a 



supply. Washington felt very much the want of heavy 
guns when laying siege to Boston ; and, indeed, could 
effect but little, till Knox, at his own request, went in mid- 
winter to the Canadian frontier, and brought overland a 
quantity of artillery. 

HENRY KNOX was born in Boston, July, 1750, and edu 
cated in the best schools in the city. When quite young 
he opened a book-store, and drove a thriving business till 
the Revolution. He early evinced his military taste, and 
at the age of eighteen was chosen an officer in a company 
of grenadiers, composed of the young men of Boston, and 
distinguished for its thorough discipline. When the gather- 
ing storm finally burst on the country, he threw up his 
business, cast his prospects of fortune to the winds, and 
entered with all the enthusiasm of his young and noble 
soul into the contest. When from every sweet valley, and 
sheltered nook, and high hill of New England, the hardy 
yeomanry came thronging by thousands to avenge the 
blood shed at Concord and Lexington, he hastened to join 
them. Taking his young wife with him, who sewed his 
sword in the lining of her mantle, to escape detection, he 
sallied forth a soldier of fortune. Only twenty-five years 
of age, he first drew his blade behind the intrenchments on 
Bunker's Hill, and saw, with strange enthusiasm, the veteran 
thousands of England rolled back before the children of 
the soil. From this time on, his courage never wavers. 
Pure in his patriotism, unswerving in integrity, and of noble 
self-devotion, he rises steady and strong, till he stands 
one of the chief pillars in the temple of American liberty. 

Washington, with his penetrating glance, saw at once the 
strength and energy of the youth who asked for permission 
to bring artillery across the country from Canada, and 
cheerfully gave his consent. No one can appreciate the 
difficulties Knox encountered in the expedition. Without 
men, and relying solely on the aid of the inhabitants, to 
transport heavy cannon through the wintry forests, and 
over the miserable roads that then stretched between Bos- 
ton and Canada, was a task the oldest soldier might hesi- 
tate to undertake. Yet this strong-hearted youth accom-' 
plished it safely, and at length dragged triumphantly into 
camp the guns, which in a short time were bristling on 
Dorchester Heights, and before which the British were 
compelled to retire. 


As a reward for his labor, he was placed, young as he 
was, over the artillery. There were many competitors for 
the post, but Knox had so nobly earned it it could not 
be refused him. These guns he never left, but kept 
them thundering on the enemies of freedom till success 
smiled on our efforts. At Trenton his loud voice was 
heard, above the roar of the storm, guiding the distracted 
troops across the Delaware. At Princeton his guns sent 
havoc through the English regiments, and at Brandywine 
and Jamestown were served with terrible effect. But at 
Monmouth he showed the greatest skill and energy. Drag- 
ging his cannon over the sandy roads, and through the 
scorching sun, he formed in line of battle, and opened with 
fearful precision on the English ranks. He made that hot 
field smoke and thunder ; and with such skill and rapidity 
did he work his heavy pieces, that the British officers were 
amazed, and could not restrain their admiration. The 
time the increasing danger called for immense effort ; and 
he cheerfully exerted it, though his constitution was se- 
verely shattered under the exhausting toil of that burning 
day. Last of all, he trained them on the enemy's works at 
Yorktown, and his practice did not suffer, side by side 
with that of the French artillerists. 

He was selected as one of the commissioners to adjust 
the terms of peace, and afterwards, when Washington 
formed his cabinet, was chosen Secretary of War, which 
post he filled for eleven years. 

At length he retired from public affairs, and removed to 
Maine, on a tract of land thirty miles square, which he 
possessed. He was frequently elected member of the Leg- 
islature and Council of the State, which was then composed 
of both Massachusetts and Maine. In 1798, when war was 
expected with France, he was selected as one of the chief 
commanders. He died at Thomaston, October 25th, 1806, 
aged fifty-six years. He was sick but a short time, and, 
from perfect health, was hurried by a sudden internal 
inflammation into his grave. 

The services of Knox are not to be measured by the 
space allotted him. Occupying no separate command, and 
appointed to sustain attacks rather than make them, it is 
difficult to give a lengthened sketch of his actions. Still, 
he was a strong man, and an officer of rare abilities ; and 
S the friend of Washington, one who never left his side 


through all that gloomy period stood by him firmly ia 
every trial was sworn soul and body to the common cause 
he fastens himself in our affections forever. No vacilla 
tion of purpose is seen in him no low ambition or selfish 
schemes. Loving two things, his country and Washington, 
be ever rises before us the cool warrior, the devoted patriot, 
and the noble man. Washington loved him, and they 
never separated for any length of time, till the former re- 
tired to Mount Vernon after his public career was over. 
He stands by him on the shores of the Delaware moves 
with him over every battle-field, and finally weeps on his 
neck in the farewell scene in Francis' tavern. Of brilliant 
imagination, of strong, yet tender feelings benevolent, 
brave, frank, generous, and sincere he was an honor to the 
army, to the country, and to man. As he stood a strong 
and high-souled youth, on the summit of Bunker's Hill, so 
he stood amid all the corruptions of a camp, and the fac- 
tions of selfish men. 

He was a man of much religious feeling, though his 
creed did not agree with the strict notions of those times. 
He died as he had lived, an incorruptible patriot, and needs 
no brighter immortality than to be called THE FRIEND or 



His Youth Enters the Army Appointed Major-General Narrowly 
escapes Capture Sent to Vermont Joins Gates at Saratoga Is 
Wounded Appointed over the Southern Army Battle of Stono Siege 
and Storming of Savannah Siege of Charleston Its Surrender Siege 
of Yorktown Is elected Member of Congress Quells Shay's Rebel- 
lionHis Death and Character. 

SOME men, though possessed of every requisite to secure 
success, never, or seldom, meet with it. Placed in circum- 
stances that mock their endeavors, they show their power 
and force only by the noble manner in which they fail. 
BENJAMIN LINCOLN was one of these. Though serving 
throughout the war, and engaged in several fierce battles, 
he never won a victory. Born in the little town of H ing- 
ham, near Boston, January 23d, 1733, he was forty-two 
years old when the battle of Bunker's Hill was fought, 
His father joined the two occupations of farmer and malt- 
ster, and was enabled to give his son only a common school 
education. When twenty-two years of age the robust 
young farmer was appointed adjutant in a regiment of 
militia, commanded by his father ; and afterwards rose to 
lieutenant-colonel. He took sides with the colonies from 
the outset, and in 1775 was elected member of the provin- 
cial Congress. The next year he was appointed brigadier- 
general, and soon after major-general of the militia. 

After the army left Boston for New York, he remained in 
command of the troops around the former place, till he 
cleared the port entirely of the enemy, and then joined 
Washington in the Jerseys, with the rank of major-general 
in the Continental army. His career, however, came very 
near closing at the outset ; for, while lying at Bound 
Brook, on the Raritan, with only a few hundred men, he 
was surprised by Cornwallis and Grant, at the head of a 
large force. At daybreak, one spring morning, as he was 
reposing quietly in his camp, he was startled by the cry of 
" To arms ! " the fierce roll of the drum and report of 



cannon. Looking from the house in which he was quar- 
tered, he saw the enemy within two hundred yards of him. 
Through the carelessness of the patrols, they had been 
allowed almost to enter his camp without the alarm being 
given. Springing to his horse, he, with one of his aids, 
rallied his troops with inconceivable rapidity, and led them 
between the two rapidly closing columns of British, and es- 
caped to the mountains with the loss of sixty men killed 
and wounded. One of his aids, all his baggage and papers 
and artillery, fell into the hands of the enemy. 

In July, 1777, he v/as detached north to assist in repel- 
ling the invasion of Burgoyne. Taking his station at Man- 
chester, Vermont, he rallied around him the militia, and 
boldly descended on the British garrisons at Crown Point 
and Ticonderoga, in the hope of wresting these strongholds 
from their grasp, and thus cut off Burgoyne's retreat. Di- 
viding his corps into three portions, he ordered the first to 
surprise Ticonderoga ; the second to scour the country 
around Fort Independence, and, if possible, take it ; while 
the third was to reduce Skeensborough, Forts Ann and 
Edward. The first, uncbr Colonel Brown, surprised all the 
posts upon Lake George, Mount Hope, and Mount Defi- 
ance, and took two hundred batteaux, an armed brig, sev- 
eral gun-boats, nearly three hundred prisoners, and liberated 
a hundred Americans ; with the loss, on their part, of only 
three killed and five wounded. The second party, under 
Johnston, arrived before the walls of Fort Independence, 
but after cannonading it four days was compelled to aban- 
don the siege. Lincoln, in the mean time, with the main 
army, joined Gates at Saratoga, and took command of 
Arnold's division. He bore no important part in the battle 
of the 7th of October, but remained quietly within the 
lines, while Arnold, though bereft of command, was sweep- 
ing like a tornado over the field. The next morning after 
the action, he marched out at one o'clock, with his division, 
to relieve the troops which had been engaged the day 
before, and to occupy the battle-ground. While riding 
forward to reconnoitre and locate some of his regiments, a 
party of the enemy came suddenly upon him, and poured a 
volley of musketry into his suite. One ball struck his leg, 
shattering it dreadfully, and he was borne helpless from 
the field. He lay crippled for several months at Albany, 
and was finally compelled to have a part of the bone re- 


moved. He bore all with the firmness and heroism which 
distinguished him, and during the most painful operations 
while his friends, overcome by the scene, were compelled 
to leave the room would relate anecdotes and stories with 
the utmost cheerfulness. ^ 

He was afterwards removed to his native place, Hing- 
ham ; but during the summer, though his wound continued 
in an ulcerated state, joined the army. He suffered sev- 
eral years from this accident, and the limb became short- 
ened through the loss of a portion of the bone, which made 
him lame for life. 

In che fall he was sent to command the Southern army, 
and reached Char/eston in December. The campaign did 
not open auspiciously ; for not only were the British in 
possession of Savannah, thus controlling Georgia, but at 
the first movement robbed him of a quarter of his army by 
the victory over General Ashe, at Brier Creek. 

When Prevost threatened Charleston, Moultrie was 
thrown into the place and saved it. Lincoln, in the mean 
time, meditated an attack on the English forces at Stono 


On his first approach, Lincoln found his enemy too 
strong and well supported to risk an attack ; but Prevost 
having withdrawn a part of his force, leaving Maitland in 
command of the residue, he determined to carry out his 
plan. Maitland felt secure behind his works with his 
flanks resting one upon a morass, and the other on a 
ravine, and coolly awaited the approach of the American 
general. The ground in front of the intrenchments was 
level, and at a little distance from them covered with lofty 
pine trees. Lincoln, knowing that the Highlanders, the 
best troops under Maitland, would be placed against his 
left, wisely reversed the usual arrangement in our army, 
and put the Continentals on the left instead of the right, so 
as to oppose them. Butler led the Continentals, and Sum- 
ner the militia. 

It was a warm summer morning ;* a light breeze just 
stirred the tops of the pine trees when Lincoln put his 

* The twentieth of June. 


columns in motion, and passing under their deep shadows, 
emerged on the open ground in front. The roll of the 
drum and shrill tones of the fife blent in with the stern 
words of command, as, driving the pickets before them, 
they moved steadily forward upon the enemy. All there 
was still ; and the haughty banner of England swung 
heavily over the silent works. Lincoln had given orders not 
to fire a shot, but trust to the bayonet alone ; and with 
shouldered arms the steady troops firmly advanced. It 
was a moment of fearful suspense not a shot was heard 
along the lines, and not a sound broke from the intrench- 
ments. On, on, in perfect time and order, moved the 
intrepid Americans, until within ten rods of the works, 
when "Fire!" rang along the British lines. The next 
moment artillery and infantry opened together, and a sheet 
of flame rolled furiously over the advancing ranks. 
Stunned, but unterrified, they withstood it gallantly ; but 
instead of rushing forward with the bayonet, the men began 
to fire, and kept up a perfect blaze with their volleys for 
half an hour, and finally forced the British back in disorder. 
Lincoln strained every nerve to arrest the firing, and 
finally succeeded. A sudden and ominous hush fell on 
the scene ; for while the American general was preparing 
his troops to charge, Maitland was rallying his anew, and 
soon presented a firm front. When all was ready, the order 
to advance and charge bayonet was given ; but receiving 
that same galling fire, the soldiers again halted, and began 
to return it. Nothing could check them, and for more 
than an hour it was an incessant peal of musketry, to which 
the thunder of artillery, at short intervals, acted as an ac- 
companiment. At length Prevost was seen rapidly march- 
Ing up to Maitland's relief. Moultrie had not been able, as 
directed, to occupy him ; and therefore, as soon as the latter 
heard the heavy firing, he began to retrace his steps. Lin- 
coln, despairing of making successful head against these 
fresh troops, immediately ordered a retreat. To cover it, 
he directed Pulaski's cavalry to charge on the pursuers. 
The bugle sounded, and the gallant squadron swept for- 
ward in a steady gallop, and with loud shouts, to the shock. 
Maitland, seeing at a glance the threatened danger, or- 
dered his ranks to close compactly and instantly together, 
and, throwing their bayonets forward, await the onset. 
From this living wall and girdle of steel the horses swerved. 


and tuc whole column wheeled to the right-about. But 
before the huzza of the British had died away, Mason was 
upon them with his brave Virginians in such a fierce charge 
that they staggered back in dismay, and the retreat was 

In this short and bloody affair nearly four hundred men 
had fallen, showing how fierce and sanguinary the conflict 
had been. The loss was nearly equal, being about two 
hundred in killed and wounded to each army. Lincoln was 
repulsed, but brought off his troops in good order. Had 
they obeyed his commands, and charged bayonet, there is 
but little doubt he would have won a signal victory. 

After this, he kept manoeuvring with his small force in 
the vicinity of Charleston, until the news of the arrival of 
D'Estaing, with a French fleet, destined to operate against 
Savannah, caused him to break up his camp and march for- 
ward to assist in the disembarkation of the French troops. 


The two armies having formed a junction, proceeded to 
Savannah, and sat down before the town. D'Estaing, with 
the laurels of Grenada fresh on his brow, sent a haughty 
summons in the name of the King of France to the English 
commander to surrender. Prevost, inevitably lost, without 
some little delay, protracted the correspondence as long as 
he could, and then demanded twenty-four hours to consider 
the proposition, which D'Estaing madly granted. Had he 
immediately advanced on the place, it would have been an 
easy conquest, for the fortifications were in bad repair but 
few of the cannon being mounted, and the garrison small. 
During this interval, Prevost worked on the defences with- 
out intermission, and, at the end of the twenty-four hours, 
had nearly a hundred cannon lining the ramparts. Mait- 
Jand had also arrived, with his choice troops, thus swelling 
his army to three thousand men. He now felt himself strong 
the arguments which had influenced his determination 
were of the most forcible kind, and he sent to D'Estaing a 
polite note, saying he had resolved to hold out to the last. 

To attempt to carry the works by storm, strengthened as 
they now were, would be madness ; and so the French com- 
mander and Lincoln, with an army of six or seven thou- 
sand men, sat down before them in regular siege. The 


trenches were opened, and amid the fire of the artillery, the 
workmen toiled on with such vigor, that by the fourth of 
September a sap had been pushed to within three hundred 
yards of the abatis. At length the batteries were completed, 
and on the night of the fourth of October the tragedy com- 
menced. The autumn landscape was lighted up by the 
constant blaze, and it was one peal of thunder till morning. 
The uproar then became still more terrific thirty-seven 
cannon and nine mortars were opened at once upon the 
devoted town, while sixteen heavy guns from the fleet 
making in all more than sixty pieces kept up their stern 
accompaniment. To this deluge of iron, the garrison replied 
with nearly a hundred cannon. The earth shook under the 
tremendous explosions, and a vast field of billowy smoke 
trembled and hovered above the tumult. Carcasses were 
hurled into the town, which set the houses on fire ; and 
crackling timbers mingled in with the crash of cannon-balls. 
Shells smoked and burst along the streets, or, hanging a 
moment like fiery messengers in the air, dropped with an ex- 
plosion on the dwellings. Amid the uproar and thunder 
without, and the shrieks of women and children within, Sa- 
vannah presented a strange and fearful appearance. And 
when night came on, and darkness shut in the landscape, 
the scene was still more appalling. The smoke refused to 
lift in the damp air, and settled like a fog over the armies, 
adding a deeper gloom to the midnight. Through this the 
artillery kept playing, making the spot on which it rested 
appear like a volcano ; while in the distance a mass of flame 
would suddenly flash up, revealing the tall masts and rigging 
of ships, and then the deep echo roll heavily by. Through 
this thick and turbulent atmosphere, shells were constantly 
hissing and bursting, leaving long tracks of light in their 
passage or meteor-like splendor in their explosion. And 
when the sun rose in the morning, it came struggling up 
through a sulphurous cloud, and at evening its golden rays 
strove in vain to pierce the sullen folds. Thus day and 
night, for five days, did it thunder and clatter and flame 
there on the shores of the Savannah ; but still the besieged 
nobly maintained their post. 

At length D'Estaing began to be concerned for his fleet. 
The stormy season was coming on, and it would not be 
safe to ride at anchor on the open coast, and he therefore 
proposed to Lincoln to carry the works by storm. This 


was considered hazardous ; for that five days' cannonade 
had opened no breach, and battered down scarcely a de- 
fence which had not been fully repaired. Besides, if the 
siege were pressed a little longer, the town must surrender. 
The suffering of the inhabitants had become intolerable, and 
the resistance could not be protracted, in their confined and 
straitened condition. But twenty days had now elapsed 
since operations first commenced, and no one could tell how 
long the place might hold out. The season, moreover, was 
rapidly advancing, and dangers of every kind were thicken- 
ing around the fleet, and therefore a crisis of some sort 
must be hastened. 

D'Estaing being resolved on an assault, it only remained 
to determine the manner in which it should be conducted. 
He and Lincoln, after a short consultation, concluded to 
make the attack on the right side of the town ; where there 
was a deep hollow, along which the assailants could march, 
perfectly covered, till within a few rods of the walls. 

The ninth of October was fixed upon for the attempt ; 
and at one o'clock in the morning the Americans stood in 
order of battle, though the French did not take their station 
till three hours after. At length the flower of both armies, 
in one long column, stretched forward till they reached the 
open space in front of the works, when they broke, off into 
their several divisions, as arranged beforehand, and ad- 
vanced on the respective points to which they were destined. 
The French advanced in three columns, the Americans in 
one, D'Estaing and Lincoln gallantly leading them on. In 
the darkness they got confused in the swampy hollows, but 
as the gray light began to dawn in the east they formed 
anew, and pressed forward. D'Estaing, wishing to take 
the garrison by surprise, immediately -spurred to the head 
of the first column, and, without waiting for the others to 
come up, waved his sword over his head, and shouted " ad- 
vance." Straight on the abatis, and through it up to the 
very walls, and up their sides streamed the excited troops, 
while those hundred cannon opened in the twilight, like a 
peal of thunder, and one fierce fire of musketry rolled down 
on their heads. Still, " Advance ! advance !" rung along 
the shattered column, and still D'Estaing cheered them on, 
till, struck to the earth, he was borne wounded from the field. 
But nothing could withstand that deluge of grape-shot and 
balls; and the first column, riddled into fragments, swerved 


from the horrible storm, and wheeled away into the cover 
of the woods. The second, however, coming up, passed 
rapidly over their dead companions, and with shouts that 
were heard above the deafening uproar, gallantly mounted 
the walls. Around a redoubt on the Ebenezer road, the 
struggle and the carnage were awful. Again and again did 
this firm-set wall of living men move on that wall of stone 
and earth, and taking the loads of grape shot in their 
bosoms, rush shouting on the guns. Mowed down as they 
advanced, and stretched in ghastly rows along the ditch, 
they dissolved like mist in the path of the whirlwind. 

In the midst of the gloom and tumult two hundred horse- 
men were seen, with a fearless rider at their head, gallop- 
ing straight for the entrance to the town, in order to gain 
the enemy's rear. That was Pulaski, the noble, the chivalric 
Pole, and his strong cavalry. With their sabres shaking 
and flashing amid the smoke, they rode all steadily forward 
through the fiery sleet, shouting as they went, until their 
gallant leader, struck by a swivel-shot, was hurled, mangled 
and bleeding, to the earth and then broke and fled. 

This second column, too, at length recoiled, and then the 
third, and last, closed in over a pavement of dead bodies ; 
but still that same deluge of fire rolled over them, and the 
ranks shook, and reeled, and disappeared in the covering 
smoke, as if they had been mere visions, which the first 
breath could dissipate. The uproar was terrific ; and the 
heavy peals of artillery shaking the earth the incessant 
roar of musketry, mingled with the maddened shouts of 
near ten thousand warriors, and all in the morning twilight, 
conspired to render it a scene of appalling grandeur. But 
death and carnage are nothing to the excited passions of 
men ; and that last broken column stormed on, until, at last, 
it, too, turned discomfited back. In the midst of this deadly 
conflict the American column, with the chivalrous Laurens 
at its head, pressed straight on the Spring Hill redoubt, 
and crowding into the ditch, in the face of a tremendous 
fire, endeavored to scale the ramparts. But the parapets 
were too high ; and hurled back, rank after rank, and mowed 
down with merciless slaughter, they recoiled on each other in 
inextricable confusion. The brave South Carolina regiment, 
regardless of the fate of their companions and of the iron 
storm that smote them down, pressed fiercely forward, and 
*oon the two standards, presented to it at Fort Moultrie, 


were seen waving on the ramparts. Vain valor ! the be- 
sieged, seeing that the fury of the attack had slackened, 
sallied forth, with loud huzzas, and swept the walls and 
ditches. Then the ill-fated Laurens, seeing his troops 
routed, flung away his sword, and with his noble soul wrung 
with the bitterest anguish, stretched forth his arms, and 
prayed for death, and refused to stir, till forced away by his 
companions. Close beside him, in the ditch, lay that model 
of a soldier the tender, the lion-hearted Jasper, hugging 
his standard in death, and burying his bloody face in its 
folds. He had declared he would never surrender it but 
with his life ; and there, with his heart's blood ebbing slowly 
away, he stretched himself upon it. 

The strife was ever, and that bleeding army rolled slowly 
back from the ruddy and blackened ramparts. But what a 
scene that October morning presented ! The conflict had 
lasted only a little over an hour, and yet there lay over a 
thousand French and Americans, bleeding, or stark and stiff 
in death.* Here was a solitary limb there a disembowelled 
body and headless corpse, while the ditch looked as if a 
flood had suddenly wafted a dead multitude into it. Around 
the Ebenezer redoubts the blood was seen flowing in rills 
from out the wrecks of the fight, and gathering in deep pools 
amid the heaps of the slain, while the most pitiful groans 
loaded the air. And over all this, like a pall, hung a cloud 
of smoke, which had settled down upon the field, and was 
slowly twining itself into fantastic shapes above the dead. 
Dark, and sombre, and awful spread the field under this 
sulphurous canopy. At last the bright sun rose over the 
sea, and the morning wind, breaking from its sleep, stirred 
the slumberous folds of that murky curtain, till they slowly 
lifted and rolled upward, leaving the blue sky to look down 
on the ghastly spectacle. The dew glistened in the early 
light, but the red drops of the human heart outnumbered 
them a thousand to one. 

Wide pits were dug, and the dead crowded hastily into 
them and when that October sun went to his evening re- 
pose, nothing but the trampled and still ruddy earth, and 
broken muskets, and dead steeds, remained to tell of the 
direful struggle. 

* Six hundred and thirty -seven French, and four hundred and fifty-seven 


D'Estainghad failed ; and, precipitately raising the siege, 
embarked his troops and artillery, and put to sea. Lincoln 
his militia having disbanded, took with him his few remain- 
ing regulars, and crossed over the Savannah and retired to 
Charleston. Prompted to this undertaking by the genera! 
complaint that our allies were effecting nothing D'Esta- 
ing undertook it hastily, then became cautious and dilatory 
when haste would have brought success, and finally crowned 
the whole by a rash act, which ended in a signal defeat and 
dreadful slaughter. The British, protected by high ram- 
parts, suffered comparatively little. The whole blame of 
this unlucky affair rests on D'Estaing, who, by right of seni- 
ority, took the supreme command. Lincoln seconded him 
ably, when he found he could not alter his plans, and rather 
gained than lost in public estimation by the result. 

A more vigorous campaign was now planned by the 
British, and Clinton set sail from New York with ten thou- 
sand men to seize Charleston, which had so long baffled all 
attempts to take it. Lincoln, foreseeing the approaching 
storm, called loudly on Congress for reinforcements. A 
few troops were sent him, but not enough to give him any 
hope of long withstanding the overwhelming force brought 
into the field. In this state of affairs, it was clearly his 
duty to abandon Charleston to its fate, and fall back on the 
interior of the country. But the town had so long been 
preserved, and held such a large quantity of stores and am- 
munition, and was withal the key of the State, that he re- 
solved, at the urgent solicitation of the principal men of the 
place, to risk all in defending it. 

The British fleet soon sailed unmolested up the harbor 
Fort Moultrie made no resistance ; the troops were disem- 
barked, and, on the 30th of March, the siege commenced. 
It is useless to go into the particulars of this distressing 
siege. With an army that might have swept in one resist- 
less flood over the works, and carried the town in a few 
hours, Clinton pursued a more cautious course, and ad- 
vanced by regular approaches. On the loth of April, the 
first parallel was completed, and the garrison summoned to 
surrender. Lincoln, determined with his three thousand 
troops to hold out to the last extremity, sent a refusal ; and 
the siege went on. In ten days more the second parallel 
was finished, and a second summons sent and rejected. A 
furious cannonade then commenced, and was kept up, day 


and night, for several days, rilling the bosoms of the inhab- 
itants with terror, and carrying destruction into the town. 
Lincoln strained every nerve to resist this steady advance 
his men were kept constantly at work on the lines, the par- 
apets were mounted with sand-bags, and the batteries served 
with untiring vigor. The immense number of cannon em- 
ployed kept Charleston in a tremor, and the incessant ex- 
plosions were almost deafening. Lincoln, seeing how des- 
perate his situation had become, endeavored to make up in 
activity and energy what he lacked in strength. Night and 
day he was seen on the lines, cheering up the men, and di- 
recting and overseeing everything. One day he was ten 
hours in the saddle, without once dismounting riding 
hither and thither, with his great heart filled with anxious 
foreboding ; and the last fortnight he never took off his 
clothes to rest. Flinging himself, in his uniform, on a 
couch, he would snatch a few moments' repose, and then 
again be seen riding along the lines. All that man could 
do he did, and against the entreaties of the suffering inhab- 
itants, the distress of his own men, against even his own 
convictions of final success, held out with a tenacity and 
courage worthy of a better result. As he passed along his 
shattered works, he would see his soldiers their faces 
bloated with toil, sleeping with their instruments and mus- 
kets by their sides. The provisions were all exhausted, 
save a little rice ; and fears of famine were added to the 
miseries that already enveloped him. It was a sad specta- 
cle to see that firm old soldier standing amid the wreck of 
his defences, fighting against despair itself, and still refus- 
ing to submit to the decree he knew to be inevitable. To 
have that long campaign, on which he had staked his repu- 
tation, end in utter failure ; and surrender that army with 
which he had been intrusted to protect the South, was a 
thought too bitter to contemplate ; and he turned away to 
renew the struggle. Vain courage ; shut up by sea and 
: and part of his guns burst, others dismounted without 
provisions almost without defences, and with but twenty- 
five hundred effective troops, it was impossible to check the 
approach of that veteran army of nine thousand. The par- 
allel gradually drew ^nearer, till the batteries opened within 
eighty yards of him, and preparations were making for a 
general storm. Then, to save the inhabitants and the town, 
which he knew could not be held, he capitulated, and his 


entire army laid down their arms. Charleston fell ; and 
South Carolina lay open to the victorious troops of the 
enemy. Lincoln was shipped on board an English vessel 
and sailed for New York. In November he was ex- 
changed for General Philips, and in 1781 again joined the 
army, then around New York, and soon after accompanied 
Washington in his march to Yorktown. 


On the 28th of September, 1781, at five o'clock in the 
morning, Washington, having approached near the place, 
put the combined army in motion, and advancing in two 
columns the Americans on the right and the French on 
the left arrived in view of the enemy's lines at four o'clock 
in the afternoon. The next day the investment was com- 
pleted, and Cornwallis, abandoning all his advanced works, 
retired behind his principal fortifications. On the first of 
October he opened on our lines with his artillery, and kept 
up a cannonade all that day and night. But everything 
went steadily on, and in five days Washington was ready to 
begin his first parallel. This was commenced by Lincoln, 
who commanded one of the central divisions. On the 
eighth it was completed, and the next day the French 
opened a twelve gun battery from the extreme right, and 
the Americans one from the extreme left. At daybreak the 
following morning, fifty more guns, some of them of very 
heavy calibre, began to hurl their storm of iron on the 
enemy with prodigious effect. At seven o'clock, the Carron, 
of forty-four guns, was set on fire by our shot, and totally 
consumed ; and soon after other vessels began to blaze up 
along the river. On the night of the nth the second par- 
allel was begun, and in three days completed. In the 
mean time two redoubts were stormed, one by Viomenil, and 
the other by Lafayette. Both were carried at the point of 
the bayonet, though with the loss on our part of some hun- 
dred and forty men. On the i6th the British made a fierce 
sortie, and storming over one of our batteries, swept it of 
the artillerists, and spiked seven pieces ; but being charged 
in turn, were driven back, and the spikes withdrawn. Corn- 
wallis, finding his camp perfectly deluged with balls and 
shells, determined to cross the river by night, and try his 
fortune on the farther side ; and had succeeded with a part 


of his troops, when a. furious storm arose, which drove 
the boats down the river, and arrested the passage of the 
remainder. Washington, observing the movement, in the 
morning, ordered all his batteries to play, and it rained a 
horrible tempest on the British army, smiting down the 
crowded ranks with fearful slaughter. The earth shook 
under the heavy explosions, and at length the English lines 
were heard beating a parley. Shut in by the French fleet 
seaward, and blocked in by land, his camp uncovered and 
his army reduced, there was no door of escape left open to 
Cornwallis, and he proposed to surrender. After some little 
delay, the terms of capitulation were agreed to the same 
as those given to Lincoln at Charleston ; and the humbled 
army, with colors cased no more to float in the breeze as 
a symbol of England's might marched out and laid down 
their arms. Lincoln was appointed to receive the sword of 
Cornwallis an honor he richly deserved. Washington 
loved him, and he took this opportunity to heal his lacer- 
ated feelings and as he had been compelled once to 
surrender his spotless sword to an English commander, 
determined to make him the nation's representative in re- 
ceiving the submission of this veteran army. 

A hundred and sixty pieces of cannon, most of them 
brass, eight mortars, two frigates, twenty transports, and 
seven thousand prisoners, besides the seamen, were the 
fruits of this victory. Twenty other transports had been 
burnt in the bombardment, five hundred and fifty slain, and 
nearly two thousand wounded. Nor had the victory been 
bloodless on our part four hundred and fifty had been 
slain or wounded. Deeds of valor had been done, and a 
skill and bravery exhibited by Washington and his troops 
that covered them with unfading glory.* 

This ended Lincoln's military career; and in 1781, he 
was chosen member to Congress. At the end of two years 
he resigned, and retired to private life, and employed 
himself on his estate. Now and then he was engaged in 
public employments once or twice in treating with the 

* It is not, perhaps, generally known, that during this siege, when the 
French admiral was in haste to be off to the West Indies, Washington, 
to detain him, and hold him *o the promise given to Lafayette, sent Ham- 
ilton on board his ship with an urgent request not to depart. Hamilton 
passed unharmed through the entire British fleet, and returned with the 
joyful intelligence that the French ships would remain. 


Penobscot Indians, and again in settling a tract of land in 

In 1787 he was appointed over the troops called out to 
quell the famous Shay's rebellion. He left Boston with his 
forces on the 2oth of January, and marched to Worcester. 
Having protected the court in its session, he proceeded to 
Springfield, and routed the rebel. From thence he was 
ordered to West Springfield, and dispersed a detachment 
under Day, and then followed on to Amherst, where Shay 
was preparing to intrench himself. He came upon the lat- 
ter at Petersham, on the night of the 2d of February. The 
weather was biting cold and severe, and the rebels, not ex- 
pecting an attack on such a fierce night, were wholly taken 
by surprise, and dispersed or captured. This ended the 
rebellion, and Lincoln returned home. In April he was 
elected lieutenant-governor, but gave way the next year to 
Samuel Adams, and was chosen member of the convention 
to ratify the new constitution. In 1789 he was delegated 
commissioner to treat with the Creek Indians, and in 1793 
with the western tribes. The close of his life was spent in 
literary and scientific pursuits, and he stepped gradually 
down the declivity of life, until at length, May 9th, 1810, at 
the good old age of seventy-seven, be passed to a better 


Lincoln was a noble man, even among the noble men of 
that time. In person, he was of the middle height, with nn 
immense breadth of chest, and very muscular. His coun- 
tenance was open and benevolent, and he was almost too 
good a man for a warrior. The demoralizing life of a carrp 
never stained the purity of his character ; and, like Wash- 
ington, he passed through the terrible ordeal of a military 
career with a pure heart and unshaken religious princi- 

As an officer, he was brave without being rash perfectly 
cool and self-possessed in the hour of danger ; but without 
any of that chivalric feeling which loves adventure and the 
tumult of the battle-field. He was a strong man one of 
those firm, determined characters which nothing can deter 
or discourage. Resolute and decided, he was nevertheless 
kind, even to gentleness, and possessed of the warmest 
sympathies. Unlike Putnam, and Starke, and Arnold, and 


Greene, he was a gentleman of the old school, and believed 
in carrying on war in the old dignified, legitimate way 
There were several such officers in our army, as St. Clair, 
and Knox, and others, strong and noble men, but not precisely 
adapted to the spirit of our nation. The American soldier 
is impulsive loving acJon and daring, and will follow any 
where, but go without his officer scarcely nowhere. 

Lincoln has been blamed by many for the way he con- 
ducted the Southern compaign. It was disastrous as 
much, and even more so, than that of Gates, which suc- 
ceeded it. But the former was guilty of no gross blunder, 
like that which attended the overthrow of the latter. He 
managed skilfully and ably with the means placed in his 
hands, and committed no important error, except in risking 
kis army in Charleston, when such an immense force was 
advancing against him. He ought, no doubt, to have re- 
treated ; and it seems strange he should ever have dreamed 
of being able to sustain himself there. This is all very 
clear now ; but it does not follow it was equally so then. 
It is very easy to point out mistakes already made, but 
quite another matter to escape making them ourselves. 
Lincoln doubtless feared the disastrous effect of giving up 
Charleston, on the entire South, to say nothing of the stores 
and munitions of war gathered there. Besides, it had been 
defended twice against a superior force, and the chief men 
of the place thought it could be again. He could not 
anticipate that Fort Moultrie, which had shivered one fleet 
to pieces, would let that of Clinton enter the harbor without 
disabling a single vessel. We cannot now appreciate the 
circumstances in which he was placed, and hence, cannot 
judge correctly. A partisan war Lincoln never could have 
carried on yet this was the only alternative if he aban- 
doned Charleston ; and he probably did better, with the 
facts in his possession, to risk all as he did. 

In his later years, the old veteran was remarkable for hir 
somnolency he vould drop into a sound sleep while sitting 
at table ; and frequently, in driving along the road, would 
be in the land of dreams, while his horse trotted quietly on 
his way. When he commanded the militia against Shay, he 
would sleep between the sentences of his despatches ; yet 
never seemed to lose the connection. When jogged out of 
his slumbers by his secretary, he would go on as if nothing 
had happened. He kept the run of things just as well 


sleeping as waking ; for when his strong mind once got 
under way, it was no slight thing that could jar it from its 
course. He grew corpulent as he advanced in years, and 
this doubtless had something to do with his lethargic 

Lincoln was unlucky in his military career ; but the fact 
that his failures never shook public confidence shows con 
clusively that he must have possessed qualities of the high 
est order. 



arly made a Soldier Serves in this Country Adopted into a Tribe of the 
Mohawks Assails the Ministry of England Made Aide-de-camp of the 
King of Poland Appointed Major-General in the Russian Service 
Travels in Italy Returns to England, and takes up \varmiy with the 
American Colonies Comes to America His Energy and Activity 
Appointed Major-General in the Army Boldness at New York Sent 
South Disobeys Washington's Orders, and is taken Prisoner 
Anecdote Battle of Monmouth, and Lee's Retreat Insults Washing- 
ton, and is court-martialled Review of the Proceedings Is Sus- 
pended His strange Mode of Life in Virginia Striking Death His 

IN all revolutions, the successful leaders spring out of the 
people, and are a part of the times that generate them. 
Skill and experience gained in other fields do not compen- 
sate for the want of sympathy between them and the mass, 
and the energy and resolution which one born of the struggle 
possesses. Thus Gates and Lee, both natives of England, 
had been trained in the British army, and become familiar 
with the military tactics of Europe ; yet they both failed. 
The country had great expectation of them their familiarity 
with the regular and scientific modes of warfare, it was 
thought, would render them able to cope with the veteran 
British commanders. Lee was called the " Palladium of 
American Liberty," and Gates was crowded by the voice 
of the people into a place he ought not to have had. There 
can be no greater error committed, than for the leaders of 
a revolution to select, for military commanders, those whose 
tastes and habits have been formed under an entirely differ- 
ent organization of things. They have no sympathy with 
the impulsive, irregular movements, ardent hopes, and wild 
energy which a people exhibit just as they feel the shackles 
falling from their limbs, and, Samson-like, begin to cast 
abroad their arms in the joy of recovered freedom. The 
pillars of everything before stable and firm shake and totter 
in their grasp. There was not a lord in England who could 



have ca****d Cromwell's army as it went, under its appro 
priat* leattaf, from victory to victory. Cromwell was a 
creature of ihe revolution ; and th*i strong bond of sym- 
patny between him and his soldiers did more for him than 
all the science and experience of a long military career couh! 
have done. K&Q Bonaparte chosen his marshals from the ok 
and experienced military leaders of France, he never could 
have led his conquering eagles, as he did, the length and 
breadth of^Europe. rfe took the power the revolution rolled 
into his hands, ana used it. Moreau, an old veteran, and 
of good extraction, Betrayed him ; and Grouchy, born a 
count, ruined him at. Waterloo. So Gates, proud of his 
military experience, sought to supplant Washington ; while 
Lee, actuated by a similar desire, and filled with the same 
pride, almost lost us tne battle of Monmouth, and finally 
sunk into disgrace. Such men as Wayne, and Stark, and 
Putnam, and Greene, and Sullivan, and Schuyler, and 
Marion, and Sumpter, and others, who were born on our soil, 
partook of our character, and understood our feelings, were 
the men who stood firm in the hour of trial, and led our 
armies to victory. 

Charles Lee, youngest son of General John Lee, was 
born in England, in 1731, and when eleven years of age was 
a commissioned officer in his majesty's service. He pur- 
sued no regular course of study ; but educated partly in 
England, and partly in Switzerland, at an early age devoted 
most of his attention to military tactics. When twenty-four 
years old, he was placed at the head of a company of gren- 
adiers, and commenced his military life. 

Fiery, impetuous, and headstrong, the young officer from 
this point starts on a career so wild and irregular, and adven- 
turous now flashing up in splendor, and now sinking in 
darkness that his life seems a strange romance rather than 
a reality. Storming over half the world, to let off his Sur- 
plus energy plunging into every adventure for the mere 
love of it, he exhibits all the grandeur and all the folly of a 
bold but erratic genius. His fiery flight through history 
leaves a long bright track behind it, over which, finally, the 
clouds of disappointment and regret slowly and fatally 

The regiment Lee was in formed a part of the expedition 
sent against Louisburg in 1757. But on arriving at Halifax 
the English commander found the place too strongly garri- 


loned to be taken, and deferred the attempt till next year 
In the mean time, he sent a portion of his army to Ner 
York. Lee accompanied it, and soon after found himself 
stationed at Schenectady. Here he fell in with the Mohawk 
Indians, whose wild appearance, unshackled movements, 
and proud bearing, just suited his wayward, romantic spirit ; 
while his own frank, impulsive manner and ready confidence 
won equally on them. He would spend hours with these 
savage warriors, and they finally became so fond of him 
that they adopted him into one of their tribes under thai 
name of Ounewaterika, or boiling water. Even in his peace- 
ful intercourse with them, his natural vehemence and fierce- 
ness so constantly worked out that they gave him a sobri- 
quet to indicate his restless character. 

He remained here, however, but a short time ; for hia 
regiment was ordered to join Abercromby, then assembling 
his forces to attack Ticonderoga. Young Lee commanded 
a company of grenadiers in that fatal assault : and while 
bravely attempting to lead them through the storm of 
grape-shot, up to the breastworks, was severely wounded in 
the side, and borne from the battle. With other officers 
he was sent to Albany to recover from his wounds, and 
next winter was stationed on Long Island. Here occurred 
one of those hair-breadth escapes for which the rash are 
always remarkable. He had offended a surgeon in some 
way, who in revenge wrote a libel on him. Lee, hearing of 
it, met him and gave him a severe flogging. The doctor, 
not relishing the chances that would be against him in a 
duel, waylaid the former, and, seizing his horse by the 
bridle, presented a pistol to his breast, and fired. The 
flash startled the horse, and he sprang so suddenly one 
side, that the bullet only bruised the side of Lee, without 
entering his body. The surgeon, bent on murdering him, 
immediately drew another, but a friend of the latter, neaf 
by, struck up the weapon, and thus saved his life. The 
poor culprit had to make a public acknowledgment, and 
leave the army. 

We next find Lee besieging the French fort at Niagara, 
where, in a sharp conflict with the French and Indians, two 
bullets grazed his hair. Thence, with one officer, and only 
fourteen men, he crossed Lake Erie, and proceeded to 
Fort Duquesne, on the Ohio. A march of seven hundred 
back to Crowa Point was his oe*t exploit. After * 


short repose he went to Oswego, and afterward to Philadef. 
phia, where he wintered. In 1760, he accompanied Gen- 
eral Amherst down the St. Lawrence, to Montreal ; and at 
the close of the war soon after returned to England. In 
our wild solitudes and new life, and in the fatiguing marches 
and hazardous exploits inseparable from his career, his fierce 
adventurous spirit found enough to satisfy its cravings, 
and employ its energies. 

On his arrival in England he was promoted to the rank 
of lieutenant-colonel, and in that capacity joined the army 
sent to assist Portugal in repelling the invasion of Spain. 
He was attached to the brigade of Burgoyne, who was sta- 
tioned on the river Tagus. While there, the latter formed 
a plan to cut off a portion of the Spanish army left around 
the Moorish castle of Villa Velha, and intrusted the execu- 
tion of it to Lee. Crossing the river after dark, he led his 
men by a difficult circuitous march, and at length, a little 
after midnight, approached the enemy's lines. He then 
halted and formed his troops, who at a given signal rushed 
forward and swept the camp at the point of the bayonet. 

Returning from Spain, he scarcely gave himself time to 
look about before he plunged, with the same suddenness 
gnd impetuosity, into the distracted politics of England, 
that he did into battle. Wielding the pen with the same 
reckless energy he did the sword, he soon drew public 
attention to himself. A republican of the school of Byron, 
his liberal principles grew out of his scorn of fools in power 
rather than from love of the lower classes. Utterly desti- 
tute of all reverence for those who controlled the nation, he 
hurled the arrows of his wit, and sarcasm, and hatred 
against the entire administration and all its acts. His 
active spirit would not let him rest a moment ; and if not 
charging through the smoke of battle, he must expend his 
fury on the heads of government. 

But he soon tired of this unsatisfactory warfare ; and a 
cloud gathering over unhappy Poland, he hastened thither, 
seeking only glory, and free scope to his burning passions. 
Received as a friend by the Prince of Brunswick, he has- 
tened on to Berlin, to be flattered by Frederick the Great ; 
and then flew to Poniatowsky, King of Poland, at Warsaw, 
and was honored by him with the post of aide-de-camp.. 
Here, treated like a prince, with a seat at the king's table, 
be remained two years, passing his time, Heaven alone 


knows how. Passionate, fond of pleasure and excitement, 
his court career must have been anything but favorable to 
the development of his better qualities. At length, satiated 
with the pleasures of the Polish capital, and having ex- 
hausted the sources of excitement within his reach, he 
started with the king's ambassador for Turkey. Prompted 
only by curiosity, or driven by that fever of the spirit which 
was like a constant spur in his side, he undertook this long 
journey, which well-nigh cost him his life. Impatient of 
the slow movements of the ambassador, and eager to be at 
the end of his route, solely because his burning ardor 
pushed everything to its utmost limit at once, he joined a 
company of Turks, who were carrying the Grand Seignor's 
treasure from Moldavia home, and pushed on. The com- 
pany, however, was short of provision, and the whole came 
near dying with cold and hunger on the Bulgarian moun- 
tains. Several horses and men perished ; and Lee, after 
incredible fatigue and suffering from cold, finally reached 
Constantinople. Here he remained only four months just 
long enough to be rocked by an earthquake, which shook 
the houses down about his ears and then returned to Po- 
land. The next December he appeared in England, urging 
his petition for promotion in the army. Not a whisper is 
breathed of his reasons for leaving King Stanislaus, with 
whom he continued to correspond as a friend. Obeying his 
impulses alone, ever a law unto himself, and acting as if 
no other person had, or ever would have, any interest in his 
movements, he gives us no account of his actions. He 
leaves England and rises to the surface in Poland ; again 
disappearing for two years, he emerges a moment to the 
view in Constantinople. We get simply a glimpse of him 
again in Warsaw, when he is once more in England. 

During his absence, the quarrel had begun between the 
colonies and Great Britain the Stamp Act had been passed 
and repealed, and everything was in commotion. 

His efforts to obtain promotion proved abortive, for min- 
isters had not forgotten his sarcasm and ridicule ; and after 
two years' stay in his native country, he started for Corsica, 
-to recruit his health. But changing his plans at Paris, 
where he met Prince Czartorinsky, he turned his steps to- 
wards Poland. Appointed major-general at Warsaw, he en- 
tered the Russian service, but was compelled to wait awhile 
for an opportunity to join the army, then on the frontiers of 


Turkey. In writing home, he says, " I am to have a com- 
mand of Cossacks and Wollacks, a kind of people I have a 
good opinion of. I am determined not to serve in the line / 
one might as well be a church-warden" A place in the line 
did not suit his untamed spirit ; but at the head of a wild 
band of Cossacks, sweeping over the field, he could enjoy 
himself. He found it difficult to reach the Russian army, 
on account of the number of banditti that infested the 
country ; and even in Warsaw, he says that alarms are so fre- 
quent that he is compelled to " sleep with pistols on his pillow." 

His mind, never a moment at rest, had already marked 
out his future movements, if he did not succeed in joining 
the Russian army. In a letter home, he says, " If I am de- 
feated in my intention of joining the Russians, I think of 
passing through Hungary, and spending the ensuing winter 
in Italy, Sicily, or some of the islands in the ygean Sea. 
As to England, I am resolved not to set foot in it till the 
virtues, which I believe to exist in the body of the people, 
are set in motion." Hurling contempt on the government 
at home, he speaks of the unpopularity of the English at 
Warsaw, and says, "A French comedian was the other day 
near being hanged, from the circumstance of his wearing a 
bob wig, which, by the confederates, is supposed to be the 
uniform of the English nation. I wish to God the thre6 
branches of our legislature would take it into their heads to pass 
through the woods of Poland in bob wigs." 

He at length succeeded in overtaking the army, just be- 
fore a battle took place. The columns were marching 
through a ravine, when fifty thousand Turkish cavalry came 
rushing to the charge. Scattering the Cossacks and light- 
horse from their path, they fell with terrible fury on the in- 
fantry, and threw it into disorder. Rallying, however, they 
made good their stand until reinforcements came up, when 
they rolled back that cloud of horsemen and pressed for- 
ward. Selecting a good position, they threw themselves 
into squares to resist the shocks of cavalry. But those fifty 
thousand splendid horsemen swept to the charge in such 
successive and terrible onsets, that they were compelled 
gradually to fall back and take post on the heights of Choc- 
zim. Lee's eye rested with admiration on the cloud of cav- 
alry, bursting again and again in a headlong gallop on the 
steady squares. It was a nesv sight even to bim ; who had 
been trained in the camp. 


rfut the campaign that had opened with such a magnifi- 
cent display, soon closed to the discomfiture of the Rus- 
sians. The grand vizier, arriving with a hundred and 
seventy thousand men, forced them to retire behind the 
Dniester, and abandon their project of invasion. 

The change from the court, with its luxuries, to the camp, 
with its privations, proved too much for Lee he was seized 
with a slow fever, which gradually eat away his strength. 
He left the army for the waters of Buda, in search of 
health ; but had proceeded no farther than Hungary, when 
his disease became so violent that he was compelled to stop 
^and in an inn of a miserable village, lay three weeks on 
the verge of the grave. But his naturally strong constitu- 
tion finally triumphed, though for a year afterwards he suf- 
fered from the effects of this attack. In the spring he went 
to Italy, where he remained during the summer. But not 
even sickness could weaken the force of his passions ; and 
here, becoming embroiled, for some cause or other, with an 
Italian, he fought and killed him losing himself the use of 
two of his fingers in the encounter. In the winter he was 
again in England, as restless and untamed as ever, and 
finding nothing else on which to expend his fire, plunged 
anew into politics. He attacked Hume's History of the 
Stuarts with all the severity, sarcasm, and wit he was mas- 
ter of. 

In 1772, we find him in France and Switzerland, still furi- 
ously assailing Hume. Returning to England, 'he took up 
warmly in behalf of the American colonies. Throwing him- 
self soul and body into this vexed question, as he did into 
everything he seized upon, he started for this country, to 
view things for himself. Arriving in the fall of 1773, he com- 
menced travelling through the southern colonies. Whether 
his love of liberty, or the desire to strike a blow at the gov- 
ernment at home, which he had so often attacked, actuated 
him, he nevertheless openly and vehemently assailed the in- 
iquitous measures adopted against us. His frank and fear- 
less spirit, his eccentric manners, his fiery enthusiasm, and 
the romance thrown around his past life, soon made him one 
of the most prominent men in the country. His brilliant wit, 
biting sarcasm, and often cogent arguments, fell in a perfect 
shower on the advocates of taxation. He never seemed to 
have a moment's repose, but was either travelling, or writing 
letters, either to the friends or to the enemies of the colo- 


nies. He was present at the first Continental Congress, and 
was struck with the strength and wisdom congregated there. 
His pen at this time was never idle : he sent a letter to Gen- 
eral Gage at Boston, replied to a pamphlet written by Rev. 
Dr. Cooper in favor of governmental measures, and wrote to 
Lord Percy and Edmund Burke, boldly expressing his 
views of the approaching conflict and its probable issue. 
He went to Boston, and afterwards back to Maryland, 
everywhere feeding the fire that was already kindled into 
fearful intensity. He conversed with everybody, and gave 
counsel to state-deputies and members of Congress : in 
short, in ten months, he had so managed as to make him- 
self one of the principal leaders of the revolutionary move- 
ment. In the mean time, he made Gates a visit in Berkley, 
Virginia, and was persuaded by him to purchase an estate 
bordering on his own. 

At length that event towards which everything had been 
so rapidly tending, occurred blood had been shed, and the 
Revolution commenced. Congress, in organizing the army, 
appointed Lee second major-general. His military experi- 
ence and rank, and, above all, his vanity, may have led him 
to suppose he should be elected commander-in-chief. This 
would not only have given him prominence in this country, 
but made him formidable to the British ministry, for which 
he entertained such a violent hatred. He, however, had 
the good sense to keep his disappointment, if he had any, to 
himself, and accepted the appointment. First, however, he 
sent in his resignation to the Secretary of War at home. In 
doing this, he not only gave up his chance of promotion in 
the English army, but ran the risk of losing his entire prop- 
erty in England, and otherwheres, at the disposal of the 
government yielding in all an income of some six or seven 
thousand dollars per annum. All this, says he, " I staked 
on the die of American liberty ; and I played a losing 
game, for I might lose all, and had no prospect, or wish to 
better it." It is true, Congress promised to remunerate him 
for any losses he might sustain in joining the American 

This difficulty being disposed of, he accompanied Wash- 
ington to headquarters, at Cambridge, and was placed over 
the left wing of the army. Carrying the same zeal and 
earnestness into everything he undertook, he set about vig- 
orously the organization of the troops. His military expe- 



rience, his energy, and his noble appeals were of gieat ben- 
efit ; and he gave promise of being one of the firmest pillars 
of American liberty. In December he was sent to Rhode 
Island, to superintend matters there ; and while at Newport 
pointed out the best places to fortify, and went through the 
ridiculous formality of making the disaffected take a solemn 
oath to be faithful to the cause of the colonies. 

In January he was ordered to New York, to fortify the 
place and disarm the Tories on Long Island. With a small 
escort he set out but on arriving in Connecticut, where 
nearly two thousand men had been raised for him, was 
taken sick with the gout, and compelled to stop for several 
days. In the mean time, the inhabitants of New York, 
hearing of this movement, were filled with alarm, lest the 
presence of American soldiers in their midst should provoke 
a cannonade from the ships of war .in the harbor. The 
provincial Congress, too, was seized with sudden apprehen- 
sions at this apparent stretch of military power, and imme- 
diately wrote to Lee, expressing their astonishment that 
troops should be marched to New York without their 
orders ; and requesting him not to move them beyond 
Connecticut, lest the city should suffer from the enemy's 
vessels. Lee, still on his back with the gout, was filled 
with indignation at this letter, which he, in reply, told the 
Congress, in plain terms, was " wofulfy hysterical." He 
declared he had no intention of provoking hostilities, and 
sought only to protect and secure the city ; but added sig- 
nificantly, " If the ships of war are quiet, I shall be quiet ; 
but I declare solemnly that, if they make a pretext of my 
presence to fire upcn the town, the first house set in fames 
by their guns shall be the funeral pile of some of their best 
friends^ In the mean time, he sent on Colonel Waterbury 
with one regiment to the city. The committee of safety 
refused to provide any accommodation for the troops, 
declaring the whole movement to be an encroachment on 
tlif; power of the provincial Congress. In this dilemma 
j ,f.-e arrived ha\ing been brought from Stamford on a litter. 
His presence, together with that of a deputation from the 
Continental Cpugress, soon calmed the troubled elements, 
and he took possession of the place. Disregarding the 
threats oC the naval commanders, that if he took certain 
steps they would fire the town, he went boldly to work, 
He began three redoubts in Brooklyn, another at Hurl Gate ; 


pulled down an old fort which the enemy might convert 
into a citadel, and barricaded the streets, mounting some of 
the barriers with cannon. Not satisfied with this, he seized 
the prominent Tories on Long Island, and compelled them 
to take the same oath he administered in Rhode Island ; 
and when Congress, alarmed at his extraordinary use as they 
deemed it of his military power, wrote to him, he sent back 
a very submissive letter, though he never altered his plan 
of operations. He brought all his energies to the task 
before him ; and the soldiers being inspired with a portion 
of his ardor, the work went bravely on. He labored here 
for two weeks without cessation, and was then appointed to 
command the army in Canada. Rumors, however, reaching 
Congress, that the English were about making a descent 
on the South, they reversed their instructions, and ordered 
him to Virginia. He immediately entered on his duties, 
and was pressing everything with all the force he possessed 
when news arrived of the approach of the enemy's fleet on 
Charleston. He then hastened to South Carolina, and the 
troops, by order of the governor, were placed under his 
command. Sullivan's Island was already fortified. To 
strengthen this, and secure passages for retreat, in case of 
disaster, occupied all his attention till the attack commenced. 
Colonel Moultrie commanded the fort, while Lee stationed 
himself on Haddrell's Point, too far off to render any ser- 
vice, except in case of retreat. Why he did not take com- 
mand of the fort in person, since the great struggle was to 
be there, is not stated ; but having no idea it could with- 
stand the fire of the English fleet, he probably thought it 
best to remain where his chances of being made prisoner 
were much less. During the engagement, however, he 
passed over to it in an open boat, and after pointing some 
of the guns, returned. He was where he could watch the 
whole contest, and it was with the most lively exultation he 
finally saw the fleet hoist sail and bear away. 

After commanding here six months, he was ordered to 
Philadelphia. General Ward having resigned, he was now 
second in command to Washington, and enjoying the fullest 
confidence of the people. His untiring activity, and great 
energy, had accomplished much, and a bright and glorious 
career was opened before him. 

Washington, with the army, was at this time on Harlaem 
Heights, and thither Lee, at the order of Congress, repaired, 


and took command of the right wing. He covered the rear in 
the retreat to White Plains, and commanded the corps left 
there when Washington crossed over into the Jerseys to 
counteract the movements of Sir William Howe in that 
State. But Washington's army, constantly dwindling away, 
was not able to cope with that of his enemy, and he began 
his heroic retreat. Feeling the necessity of immediately 
concentrating his troops he wrote to Lee to join him as 
speecfily as possible, with the force under his command. 
So hard pressed was Washington, that he wrote as he fled, 
from Hackensack, then from Newark, and finally from 
Brunswick and Trenton, first requesting, as the former de- 
layed ; then sternly ordering him to hasten forward with all 
the despatch in his power. But Lee had plans of his own to 
accomplish, and refused to stir. He endeavored to force 
Heath, then commanding in the Highlands, to send a portion 
of his own troops : but he steadily refusing to obey any orders 
but those of the commander-in-chief, a quarrel arose between 
them. All this time Washington was retreating before his 
enemies, looking anxiously in the direction he expected the 
reinforcements to arrive ; but day after day, and week 
after week passed, and yet they did not appear. At length 
Lee put his troops in motion, but even after he had crossed 
the Hudson, he advanced slowly, and lingered on the way, 
as if held back by some powerful spell. He was ten days 
in reaching Baskinridge ; where, as a just punishment for his 
disobedience, he was captured in the most ridiculous manner. 
Governed by some freak or whim, or still baser passion, he 
took up his quarters at a house three miles distant from 
camp a nice communication to keep up between a com- 
mander and his army in the heart of a disaffected country. 
A Tory, passing by the house in the evening, was told that 
General Lee was there with only a small guard, and con- 
veyed the intelligence to a party of British dragoons near 
by. The commander of it immediately started off, to 
secure the prize thrown so unexpectedly in his hands. 

Next morning, just after breakfast, as Lee was writing a 
letter to Gates, he was startled by the report that a company 
of British dragoons were charging on a full gallop down the 
lane that led to the house. The next moment they had 
surrounded it. Lee exclaimed, " Where is the guard ? why 
don't they fire ?" The guard were running for their lives 
*)ver the fields, and the dragoons after them. Bareheaded, 


and with nothing but slippers on his feet, and a blanket- 
coat on his back, the aide-de-camp of the King of Poland, 
and the first major-general in the American army, was 
placed on a horse and led away to the British camp 
at Brunswick. 

The manner of his capture gave rise to many suspicions 
that it was premeditated and voluntary on his part. The 
fact that he was so far from his army, and that his guard 
never fired a shot, were regarded as strong circumstances 
against him. These accusations were groundless ; and we 
are to look for this strange location of his quarters to some 
private whim, which he thought not best to disclose. But 
it is not so easy to account for his protracted disobedience 
of orders, thereby placing Washington in the most critical 
danger. It is said that ambitious views of his own held him 
back that he expected, and waited to deliver some bril- 
liant stroke on the enemy, of vastly more service than to join 
the main army, as he was repeatedly ordered to do. But 
this is a frivolous excuse. A man of his military expe- 
rience, and knowledge of what belongs to a subordinate 
officer, knew perfectly well there could be no greater error, 
and scarcely a greater crime, than to refuse the repeated 
and peremptory orders of his commander-in-chief, closely 
pursued by a victorious enemy. Those who render this 
apology pay a poor compliment to his moral sense, or re- 
gard for his obligations still it may be better than a worse 
one. Others have whispered, that knowing the distressed 
condition of Washington, he delayed, on purpose to have 
him and his fragment of an army fall into the hands of the 
enemy, so that the supreme command might devolve on him. 
Whether his schemes looked forward to such a direful result 
as this, or not, it is evident he ran the risk, for the sake of 
promoting his selfish ends. It seems to me to matter very 
little, whether he wished Washington defeated, that he 
might mount to his place, or was willing to hazard such a 
catastrophe to advance his own fame the crime is the same 
in both cases : the only difference is, one is the other ma- 
tured, or simply a degree higher in the same scale. 

Notwithstanding these suspicions, which, whether just or 
not, Lee cannot complain of, the country deeply mourned 
his loss. His enthusiasm, activity, boldness, and success, 
especially at the South, had endeared him to the people, 
and they regarded him one of their strongest supports. 


The treatment he received from his captors, who Declared 
him a deserter, rather than a prisoner, awakened strong 
sympathy for him throughout the nation ; and Washington, 
whatever might have been his suspicions, took a deep in- 
terest in his welfare. He wrote to Howe, proposing an ex- 
change, and declared, if he presumed to touch a hair of hi? 
head, he would retaliate it severely on the Hessian officers 
he had captured at Trenton. Those officers were immedi- 
ately placed in close confinement, till Lee should be treated 
as a prisoner of his rank in the army was entitled to be. It 
was well for the latter that the commander whom he had 
left to his fate, by a bold stroke at Trenton had obtained 
the means of retaliation ; or he might have been sent to 
England, and subjected to the treatment Ethan Allen re- 
ceived, if not court-martialled as a deserter. In conse- 
quence of this firm attitude of Washington, Lee was allowed 
to go abroad on parole, and granted the liberty due his 
rank, until he was finally exchanged, in May, 1778. 

It is said that while he was a prisoner, a discussion arose 
one day at dinner respecting the American army, and the 
bravery of its officers. The conversation grew animated, 
when a young officer directly insulted Lee. The latter im- 
mediately rose to his full height, and while the star of 
honor he won in Poland rose and fell on his breast, as it 
heaved to the tide of indignation that swept through it, he 
fixed his eye fiercely on his adversary, and hurled defiance 
in his face. The British officers generously took sides with 
him, and the young bravo had to make an apology. 

Immediately after his release he joined the army at Val- 
/ey Forge, and was reinstated in his old command. In the 
middle of June, Clinton evacuated Philadelphia, and began 
his march across New Jersey, while Washington closely 
watched his movements, and hung like a gathering storm 
on his flanks. A council of war was called, to determine 
whether it was best to hazard a general engagement. Lee 
declared it was not ; and took such strong and decided 
ground, that he carried many of the officers with him. His 
.reason was, that with a force only a little superior to that of 
the British, it was impossible to contend with them on the 
open field. The battles of Long Island, Brandywine, and 
Germantown seemed to corroborate his opinion ; but Steu- 
ben had been with the army since then, and imparted new 
power to it by his energy and strict discipline. 


The result was, the council decided against a general ac- 
tion, and dissolved. This was a bitter disappointment to 
Washington. Greene, Lafayette, and Wayne, however, 
came to his relief, by each sending in a remonstrance 
against the decision rendered. This decided him, and he 
moved forward, determined, as he said, " to be governed by 
circumstances " ; while it is evident, he designed to arrange 
circumstances so that a battle could not be prevented. 


The English army, ten thousand strong, had evacuated 
Philadelphia, and was passing through New Jersey, on its 
way to New York. The whole country was filled with the 
marching columns the baggage-train alone stretching twelve 
miles along the road. On the rear of this army, in order to 
cut it and the baggage-train from the main body, Washing- 
ton determined to fall, and sent forward five thousand men 
to commence the attack. The command of this belonged 
to Lee, but he refusing to accept it, it was given to Lafa- 
yette. The former, however, thinking it would have a bad 
look to decline serving in such an important battle as this 
promised to be, changed his mind, and asked for the post 
assigned him, which was generously surrendered by Lafa- 

The 28th of June was one of the sultriest days of the 
year; it was also the Sabbath day ; yet at an early hour, 
Lee, who was but five miles from Monmouth, where the 
British army had encamped the night before, put his troops 
in motion. Pushing rapidly on through the broken and 
wooded country, he at length emerged in view of the plain 
of Monmouth, which, like that of Marengo, seemed made on 
purpose for a battle-field. Forming his men in the woods, 
to conceal them from the enemy, he and Wayne rode for- 
ward to reconnoitre and lo ! all the ample plain below 
them was dark with the moving masses. To the stirring 
sound of music the steady columns of the grenadiers moved 
sternly forward, their bayonets glittering in the morning 
sunlight ; while, far as the eye could reach, followed after 
the immense train horses and wagons, toiling through the 
sand and filling the air with dust. 

Wayne descended like a torrent upon this line of march, 
and soon the sharp rattle of musketry and roar of cannon, 


and heavy smoke, told where he was pouring his troops to 
the charge. Lee, in the mean time, with the rest of his di- 
vision, was taking a circuitous march to fall on the head of 
the corps with which Wayne was engaged, when he learned 
that the whole British army had wheeled about, and was 
hurrying back to protect the rear. That plain then pre- 
sented a magnificent appearance. Far away the cloud of 
horses and wagons was seen hurrying from the field, while 
nearer bj, the glittering columns fell, one after another, in 
the order of battle the artillery opened like a sudden con- 
flagration in their midst the cavalry went dashing forward 
to the charge, and amid the pealing of .trumpets, unrolling 
of standards, and shouts of men, the battle commenced. 

But at this moment, Lee, who had not expected to meet 
a strong force, and not liking to have a heavy battle thrown 
on him, with a morass in his rear, ordered a retreat and 
the brave Wayne, grinding his teeth in rage, was compelled 
i to fall back, and came very near being cut off in the at- 
tempt. Across the morass, and over the broken country, 
the division kept retiring, with the victorious columns of 
the British in full pursuit. 

-v In the mean time Washington, ignorant of this shameful 
retreat, was marching up with the other division of the 
army. As the sound of the first cannonade broke dull and 
heavy over the woods, the troops were hurried forward 
and the soldiers, eager for the encounter, threw aside their 
knapsacks, and many of them their coats, and with shouts 
pressed on. It was a terrible day the thermometer stood 
at ninety-six and as that sweltering army toiled through 
the sand and dust, many sunk in their footsteps over- 
powered by the heat. Washington had dismounted where 
two roads met, and stood with his arm thrown over the 
neck of his white horse, that was reeking with sweat listen- 
ing to the uproar in the distance, and watching his eager 
columns as they swept along the road. Far in advance, he 
heard the thunder of artillery that was mowing down his 
ranks, while before him fluttered the flag of his country, 
soon also to be enveloped in the smoke of battle. A shade 
of anxiety was seen to cross that calm, noble countenance ; 
but the next moment it grew dark as wrath. A horseman, 
dashing up to him, cried out that Lee was in full re* 
treat, bearing down with his disordered ranks full on his 
own advancing division. The expression of fair f *cr *t that 


moment was dreadful ; and with a burst of indignation that 
startled those around him, he sprang to the saddle, and 
plunging the rowels in his steed, launched away like a bolt 
from heaven. A cloud of dust alone told where he and his 
suite sped onward ; and those who looked on him then, 
with his usually pale face flushed, and his blue eye emitting 
fire, knew that a storm was soon to burst somewhere. He 
swept in a headlong gallop up to the van of the retreating 
army, and the moment his white horse was seen, the brave 
fellows, who had not been half beaten, sent up a shout that 
was heard the whole length of the line, and "Long live Wash- 
ington" rent the air. Flinging a hasty inquiry to Osgood 
as to the reason of this retreat, who replied, with a terrible 
oath, " Sir, we are fleeing from a shadow, " he galloped to 
the rear, and reining up his horse beside Lee, bent on him 
a face of fearful expression, and thundered in his ear, as he 
leaned over his saddle-bow, " Sir, I desire to know what is 
the reason and whence arises this disorder and confusion.'' It 
was not the words, but the smothered tone of passion in 
which they were uttered, and the manner, which was severe 
as a blow, that made this rebuke so terrible. Wheeling his 
steed, he spurred up to Oswald's and Stewart's regiment, 
saying, " On you I depend to check this pursuit"; and 
riding along the ranks, he roused their courage to the high- 
est pitch by his stirring appeals, while that glorious shout 
of "Long live Washington," again shook the field. The 
sudden gust of passion had swept by ; but the storm that 
ever slumbered in his bosom was now fairly up ; and gallop- 
ing about on his splendid charger, his tall and commanding 
form towering above all about him, and his noble counte- 
nance lit up with enthusiasm, he was the impersonation of 
all that is great and heroic in man. In a moment the aspect 
of the field was changed the retreating mass halted 
officers were seen hurrying about in every direction, their 
shouts and orders ringing above the roar of the enemy's 
guns. The ranks opened, and under the galling fire of the 
British, wheeled, and formed in splendid order. Washing- 
ton then rode back to Lee, and pointing to the firm front 
he had arrayed against the enemy, exclaimed, " Will you, 
sir, command in that place ? " He replied, " Yes." " Well" 
then said he, " / expect you to check the enemy immediately" 
" Your orders shall be obeyed," replied the stung com- 
mander ; " and I will not be the first to leave the field." 


The battle then opened with renewed fury, and Washington 
hurried back to bring his own division into action. 

It was a glorious triumph of discipline, and the power ot 
one master mind and a noble spectacle, to see how those 
retreating troops recovered their confidence, and formed 
under the very fire of their pursuers, and before the panic 
had been communicated to the other portion of the army, 

But the danger had only just commenced ; the few regi- 
ments which had been thrown forward could not long with- 
stand the heavy shock to which they were exposed. Swept 
by the artillery, and enveloped in fire, they were gradually 
forced back over the field. They fought bravely, as if they 
knew the fate of the battle rested on their firmness ; yet the 
advanced corps finally recoiled on the reserve. On this, too, 
the victorious legions of the enemy thundered with deafen- 
ing shouts the grenadiers pressed furiously forward the 
cavalry hung like a cloud on our flanks, while the steadily 
advancing cannon galled the ranks with a most destructive 
fire. Our whole line of battle began to shake. Washing- 
ton, with the rear division, was not yet up, and every mo- 
ment threatened to throw Lee's whole shattered corps back 
in disorder upon it. Everything quivered in the balance, 
but at this terrible crisis, the noble, the chivalric Hamilton, 
with his hat off and his hair streaming in the wind, was 
seen crossing the field in a sweeping gallop, making straight 
for Lee. Knowing that the fate of the battle rested on his 
firmness, and fearing he might shrink again under the heavy 
onsets of the enemy, he flew to his relief. Reining up his 
foam-covered steed beside him, he exclaimed in that lofty 
enthusiasm, which that day saved the army : " I will stay 
with you, my dear general, and die with you. Let us all die 
here rather than retreat" Nobly said, brave Hamilton ! 
the firmest prop of American liberty stands fast in this 
dreadful hour. 

In this decisive moment, Washington appeared on the 
field, and rapidly formed his division in front of the enemy 
Casting his eye over the battle, he saw at a glance the 
whole extent of the danger, and strained every nerve to 
avert it. His orders flew like lightning in every direction, 
while full on his centre came the shouting, headlong battal- 
ions of the enemy. Both his right and left flanks were 
threatened almost simultaneously ; yet calm and collected, 
he sternly surveyed the rapidly advancing storm, without 


one thought of retreating. Never did his genius shine 
forth with greater splendor than at this moment. Ordering 
up Stirling with the artillery, on the left, and the other por- 
tion of the army to advance, he watched for an instant the 
effect of the movements. Stirling came up on a furious 
gallop with his guns, and, unlimbering them, poured such a 
sudden fire on the enemy, that they recoiled before it. At 
the same time the veteran Knox hurried up his heavy can- 
non on the right, and began to thunder on the dense masses, 
while the gallant Wayne, at the head of his chosen infantry, 
charged like fire, full on the centre. The battle now raged 
along the whole line, and the plain shook under the uproar. 
But nothing could withstand the impetuosity of the Ameri- 
cans, and the fierce fire of our artillery. The hotly worked 
batteries of Knox and Stirling, were like two spots of flame 
on either side ; while the head of Wayne's column, envel- 
oped in smoke and flame, pressed steadily forward, bearing 
down everything in its passage, and sweeping the field with 
shouts that were heard above the roar of the artillery. 
Every step had been contested with the energy of despair ; 
and under the oppressive heat, scores of brave fellows had 
fallen in death, unsmitten by the foe. 

The whole English army retreated, and took up a strong 
position on the ground Lee had occupied in the morning. 
Almost impenetrable woods and swamps were on either side, 
while there was nothing but a narrow causeway in front, 
over which an army could advance to the attack. The 
battle now seemed over ; for under that burning sun and 
temperature of ninety-six degrees the exhausted army could 
hardly stir. Even Washington's powerful frame was over- 
come by the heat and toil he had passed through ; and as 
he stood begrimed with the dust and the smoke of battle, 
and wiped his brow, the perspiration fell in streams from 
his horse, which looked as if it had been dragged through a 
muddy stream, rather than rode by a living man. The tired 
hero gazed long and anxiously on the enemy's position, and, 
notwithstanding its strength, and the heat of the day, and 
the state of his army, determined to force it. His strong 
nature had been thoroughly roused, and the battle he sought 
and would have won thrown unexpectedly upon him, and 
well-nigh lost ; and he now resolved to press it home on the 
foe. All around him lay the dead, and the cry for water 


was most piteous to hear even those who bore back the 
wounded were ready to sink under the heat. The eye of 
Washington, however, rested only on the English army, and 
ordering up two brigades to assail it, one on the right flank 
and the other on the left, he brought the heavy guns of 
Knox forward to the front. In a few minutes these tre- 
mendous batteries opened, and the English cannon replied 
till it was one constant peal of thunder, there over the hot 
plain. In the mean time the burning sun was stooping to 
the western hills, and striving in vain, with its level beams, 
to pierce the smoke and dust-filled atmosphere, that spread 
like a cloud above the field. Still th^l heavy cannonade 
made the earth groan, and still those gallant brigades were 
forcing their way onward through the deep woods and over 
the marshes to the attack. But the almost insurmountable 
obstacles that crossed their path so delayed their march 
that night came on before they could reach their respective 
positions. The firing then ceased, and darkness shut in the 
scene. For a while the tread of the battalions, taking up 
their positions for the night the heavy rumbling of artillery- 
wagons, and the moans of the wounded, and the piteous 
prayers for water, disturbed the calmness of the Sabbath 
evening, and then all was still. The poor soldiers, over- 
come with heat and toil, lay down upon the ground, with 
their arms in their hands, and the two tired armies slept. 
Within sight of each other they sunk on the field, while the 
silent cannon, loaded with death, still frowned darkly from 
the heights upon their foes. The young moon just glanced 
a moment on the slumbering hosts, then fled behind the hills. 
The stars, one after another, came out upon the sky like 
silent watchers, and the smoke of the conflict hung in vapory 
masses over the woods and plain. Washington, determined 
with the dawn of day to renew the battle, wrapped his mili- 
tary cloak around him, and throwing himself on the ground 
beneath a tree, slept amid his followers. So did Bonaparte, 
on the first night of the battle of Wagram, sleep by the Dan- 
ube, lulled by its turbulent waters. 

But at midnight the English commander roused his sleep- 
ing army, and quietly withdrew, and before morning was 
beyond the reach of Washington's arm. So profound were 
the slumbers of our exhausted troops, that no intimation of 
the departure of the enemy was received until the morning 


light revealed their deserted camp. The prey had escaped 
him ; and so Washington followed on slowly moving his 
army by easy marches to the Hudson. 

This battle, though not so bloody as many others, was 
one of the most remarkable of the Revolution. The pres- 
ence of mind and firmness of Washington, which restored it 
after it seemed lost ; the steadiness and bravery of the 
troops, that rallied and formed right in the face of their 
pursuers ; and the energy and strength which not only over- 
came pursuit and restored the day, but finally broke into a 
furious offensive, scarcely have a parallel.* Especially do 
we feel this to be true, when we remember the extraordinary 
heat of the day, and that the troops, from a little after sun- 
rise till sunset, marched and fought on a field where no 
water was to be had. I never heard of a battle before lasting 
twelve hours, and with the thermometer at ninety-six Fah- 
renheit. It seems impossible that troops could be aroused 
to put forth, such exertions under such a scorching sun. 
The fact that many fell dead with a sun-stroke, shows that on 
this sandy plain the suffering from heat and want of water 
must have been intense. Over twenty thousand men packed 
into that valley, and struggling a whole day in such a tem- 
perature, made doubly worse by their own smoke and fire, 
is one of the most remarkable spectacles the history of war 

Immediately after the battle, Washington reinstated Lee 
in his old command, thus showing that he meant to over- 

* The corps of Colonel Dearborn, he who fought so gallantly at Bunker 
Hill, and charged with such desperate impetuosity at Saratoga, presented 
a striking exhibition of the triumph of discipline. When the British made 
a demonstration on the left wing, a body of troops separated from the 
main army, and were seen advancing through an orchard towards a position 
that would give them great advantage. Washington's quick eye observed 
it, and he detached Colonel Dearborn, with three hundred and fifty men, to 
attack them. Under a tremendous fire that little band moved steadily 
forward, with shouldered arms. The enemy, alarmed at their firm and 
threatening attitude, filed off and formed on the edge of a morass, which 
made a corresponding movement of the Americans to the right necessary 
The latter never stopped, but as the order, " Right wheel," passed along 
the lines, wheeled in perfect order, and moved steadily up to the opposing 
ranks, and taking a full volley, kept on with shouldered arms until within 
eight rods, when they halted, drtssed, poured in a destructive fire then 
sprang forward with the bayonet, scattering those veteran troops in 
affright from tluir path. Washington, from his position, saw this move- 
ment with unbound' d delight, and exclaimed " What troops are those?" 
" FuJJ-bJopded VuJikees fru& *\piv Hampshire," was the reply. 


took the whole matter. But the latter having been severely 
galled by the rebuke* he had received, and still farther 
irritated by the severe remarks made by the officers on his 
retreat, wrote a saucy letter to Washington, which called 
forth a short and severe reply. Stung by this additional 
attack, he wrote a stilt more impertinent and ridiculous 
letter, demanding a court-martial to decide on his conduct. 
Washington wound up J iis letter to Lee with a curtness and 
tartness uncommon for him declaring that he " was guilty 
of a breach of orders and of misbehavior before the enemy, 
in not attacking them as he had been directed ; and in 
making an unnecessary, disorderly, and shameful retreat." 
Lee's reply was : " You cannot afford me greater pleasure, 
sir, than in giving me an opportunity of showing to America 
the efficiency of her respective servants. I trust that the 
temporary power of office and the tinsel dignity attending 
it, will not be able, by all the mists they can raise, to eff usate 
the bright rays of truth. In the mean time, your excellency 
can have no objection to my retiring from the army." A 
more insulting letter could scarcely have been written, and 
he was put under arrest immediately. In August the court- 
martial sat, and he was tried under three charges : First, 
for disobeying orders, in not attacking the enemy ; second, 
for "making an unnecessary and disorderly retreat; " and 
Third, for "disrespect to the commander-in-chief in two 
letters." He had a fair trial, and was found guilty on all 
three charges, except that, in the second, the word " shame- 
ful " was expunged, and "in some instances" disorderly, 
inserted. He was suspended from the army twelve months. 
This decision fell like a thunderbolt on him, and his indig- 
nation against Washington burst forth like a torrent, and 

* There is some doubt about the exact language used by Washington 
on this occasion. Weems says that he exclaimed, as he rode up, " For 
God's sake ! General Lee, what's the cause of this ill-timed prudence ? " 
to which the latter replied, " No man, sir, can boast a larger portion of 
that rascally virtue than your excellency." This eccentric historian, I 
know, is not considered very reliable authority ; but the language here 
given corresponds precisely to the characters of the two men, in the state 
of mind in which they then were, and to me bears internal evidence of 
truth. Mr. Sparks informs me that he once asked Lafayette, at La 
Grange, what the expression of Washington was on that occasion. He 
replied, that he did not know, and though near them both at the time, 
could not have told an hour afterwards. He said it was not the language, 
but the manner no one had ever before seen Washington so terribly 
gxcited ; his whole appearance was fearful. 


never lost its intensity till the day of his death. Many 
exceptions have been taken to this decision, and even Mr. 
Sparks thinks the charges not fully sustained by the evi- 
dence. Lee's defence is, that he did attack the enemy in 
the first place, and that he did not order a retreat in the 
second place that when he found the whole English army 
on him, he fell back, and Scott's brigade, forming a large 
portion of his division, mistaking an oblique movement of 
a column for a retreat, crossed over the marsh without his 
orders that he could not reverse this movement in face of 
the enemy safely, and so he fell back also, intending to form 
his men in the first favorable position, which did not occur 
till he reached Washington. This statement at first sight is 
very plausible, but when sifted amounts to very little. In 
the first place, it is a mere farce to say he attacked the 
enemy m the spirit of his instructions. On the same con- 
struction, the firing of a single platoon might be called an 
attack. He knew, and everybody else knows, that Wash- 
ington meant more than he performed, by an "attack" It 
is ridiculous to quibble on the letter of his instructions in 
this way. Washington did not send him forward, with five 
thousand men, to execute a manoeuvre. In the second place, 
it is asserted that Lee's orders were discretionary, and 
therefore he could not be charged with disobedience of 
them by retreating if he thought best. His orders were to 
attack the enemy, unless there were " powerful reasons to the 
contrary" I see precious little that is discretionary in such 
an order. No general officer receives one less so, unless he 
is acting under the direct eye of the commander-in-chief ; 
or if he does, it is always construed in this way. No man, 
if ordered with five thousand men to " attack the enemy at 
all hazards" would feel himself bound to do so, if on coming 
up there were fifty thousand men strongly posted, instead 
of five thousand as supposed. A man would be court-mar- 
tialled for carrying out the letter of his instructions under 
such circumstances. The whole thing lies in a nutshell. 
When a man like Lee is sent forward with half the army, on 
purpose to commence the attack, and bring on a battle, he 
is expected to do it, and under such orders he is under 
obligations to do it, unless he finds circumstances so utterly 
different from what was expected that there can be no 
doubt the commander-in-chief would change his orders if 
he were present. No such difference existed in Lee's case, 


and he was bound to put himself in a position where he 
could commence the attack. The whole defence made on 
the word discretionary is a quibble, and only serves to 
reveal the weakness of the argument it is designed to sup- 
port. The mere fact that he declares he intended to make 
an attack, when Scott, retreating without his permission, 
forced him also to retire, shows how he construed his dis- 
cretionary orders, and makes all he says about having 
"saved the army by a timely and judicious retreat," su- 
rjfemely ridiculous. He either did or did not design to 
attack the enemy, before Scott retreated. If he did, the 
retreat about which he boasts so much was an accident, and 
not in any way owing to his excellent judgment ; if he did 
not, he violated his orders, and the whole story about being 
forced to retire by Scott's movement is a falsehood. 

He has been accused of designing to ruin Washington, 
but this is not so clear. At first sight the plain facts seem 
to be he went into the battle reluctantly, and only to save 
his reputation, and hence would not fight if he could help 
it. Haying no confidence in his troops, or in his ability to 
make a successful attack, he would, if possible, refrain from 
doing it. Hence he wavered and hesitated, when the ut- 
most promptness and decision were necessary. This un- 
certain action deceived his troops, who knew not what was 
expected of them, and so Scott retreated at the first appear- 
ance of a retrograde movement. Lee, glad of an excuse to 
follow his wishes, did not order him back, and retreated 
also. In the mean time, he designed to occupy the first 
strong position he came to, but, finding none, continued to 
fall back until met by Washington. 

There are only two objections to this charitable construc- 
tion. In the first place, he had marched over the ground 
just before, and he knew that behind that morass was the 
best place to make a stand between him and Washington r 
yet when the latter came up, there was no demonstration 
towards a rally. The second is, he retreated several miles 
without once sending word to Washington, who he knew 
was rapidly advancing, unapprised of his flight. The ex- 
cuse, that he expected to rally and make a stand every 
moment, and thought he would not shake the courage of 
the approaching corps, by announcing a pursuit he expected 
to check, is utterly worthless. It might bear him out dur- 
ing the first mile of his retreat, but not when he found him- 


self to be almost upon the ether division. He was too old 
a soldier not to be perfectly aware that there was no danger 
so great as tc come in full flight, unannounced, upon a body 
of advancing troops. He knew there was scarcely one army 
out of a hundred that could be rallied under such a sudden 
shock ; and that the steadiest would be dreadfully shaken. 
It was the height of madness to pour his five thousand dis< 
ordered troops upon an equal number unprepared to receive 
them ; and this refusal to apprise Washington of his move- 
ments, is the darkest thing about the whole affair. Nothing 
prevented the catastrophe he was precipitating, but the 
providential arrival of a farmer, who reported his disorderly 
retreat. Still, it is unjust to accuse him of the base motive 
to destroy Washington. There was never any low trickery 
in his actions, none of this underground treacherous dealing 
about his character. What he did, he did boldly, nay, defi- 
antly; and hence, it is more reasonable to look for an ex- 
planation of his conduct in these traits, than in one he 
never seemed to possess. The truth of the whole matter 
doubtless is his anger being aroused at the summary man- 
ner in which the commander-in-chief had set aside the de- 
cision of the council of war, he would just as soon have the 
attack unsuccessful as not. Going into the battle with these 
sullen feelings, he put forth no effort, and showed no zeal, 
and retreated at the first appearance of strong opposition. 
Attributing his repulse to the self-will of the former, rather 
than to his own bad management, he, in his savage anger, 
wished to see him punished, and determined to let events 
take their own course charging the whole responsibility 
over to his obstinacy in not regarding the opinions of his 
officers. His insulting letter to Washington, which he knew 
would recoil upon him, sprung out of this same reckless, 
independent feeling. 

At all events, this ended Lee's military career, and justly 
too. A man too proud to obey except when the orders 
harmonize with his own views, and so selfish and reckless, 
as to prefer the gratification of his passions to the salvation 
of an army, is not fit to be trusted with one. His downfall 
from this moment was rapid. Too haughty to submit to 
the decision of his peers, and too ungoverned and fierce to 
control himself, he launched his invectives both against 
Congress and Washington. Colonel Laurens, a brave and 
gallant officer, and member of the staff, finally took up the 


quarrel, and challenged him. They fought with pistols, and 
Lee was wounded. In a short time he retired to his estate 
in Virginia, where, in an old shell of a house, without & 
single partition in it, except imaginary ones, indicated by 
chalk-marks on the floor ; destitute of windows, and of 
furniture, with his pet horses and dogs about him, he lived 
the life of a hermit. " To a gentleman who visited him in 
this forlorn retreat, where he found a kitchen in one corner, 
a bed in another, books in a third, saddles and harness in a 
fourth, Lee, * Sir, it is the most convenient and econom- 
ical establishment in the world. The lines of chalk which 
you see on the floor, mark the divisions of the apartments, 
and I can sit in any corner, and give orders, and overlook 
the whole, without moving from my chair.'"* Here he 
employed himself on his farm, and in writing Queries, Polit- 
ical and Military ', the design of which was to injure Wash- 
ington. But that great man had become too deeply fixed 
in the heart of the nation to feel for a moment the revenge- 
ful attacks of a disappointed, ambitious man. 

After the term of his suspension from the army had ex- 
pired, he was told that Congress designed to take away his 
commission altogether. In the suddenness of his anger, 
and without waiting to know whether the report was true or 
not, he wrote that body an insulting letter, which, of course, 
precipitated his dismission. He afterwards sent a humble 
apology, condemning himself unsparingly for his language, 
and expressing his sincere regret for having used it. 

With ihe exception of a little interest which he took in 
some political questions in Virginia, he, after this, devoted 
all his attention to his farm. Under his bad management, 
however, it grew worse and worse, until at length it became 
PO encumbered that he resolved to sell it. In the fall of 
1782, he went to Baltimore to negotiate the sale, and from 
thence to Philadelphia. At the latter place he was seized 
with an ague, which terminated in a raging fever, producing 
delirium. Every remedy failed to arrest the disease ; and 
on the second of October, he was evidently fast sinking. 
Just before his death, his delirious soul, like that of Napo- 
leon, was in the midst of a heavy fight, and he seemed 
struggling amid the smoke and carnage of battle. He was 
again amid the falling ranks, and as, upon his dying ear 

* Vide Sparks's Biography. 


came the thunder of cannon, his glazing eye flashed for * 
moment with its wonted fire ; and " Stand by me, my brave, 
grenadiers" broke from his pallid lips. But the tumult 
around his tossing spirit was not that of the turbulent fight, 
but of dissolving nature ; and in a few moments more that 
fierce heart had ceased its throbbing, and the warrior was at 


One ought always to average such a character as that of 
Lee, and let the good balance the bad. A man of constant 
and great extremes must not be judged in any one phasis 
he exhibits. As a general thing, the frank, impulsive, 
positive man possesses the best qualities ; and yet he re- 
ceives the severest condemnation. He who trims his prin- 
ciples to suit the times, and his conduct to harmonize with 
prevailing prejudices, glides smoothly down the stream of 
public favor ; while the soul that scorns meanness, and 
strikes it with withering rebuke bursts into anger at op- 
pression, and leaves its curse upon it, is viewed with dislike 
and suspicion. The world, in its judgment, also pays little 
regard to temperament, and stretches a man with a soul of 
fire, and a heart of passion, on the same iron bedstead it 
does the meek and gentle, or even inefficient and stupid 
spirit, and gauges him by the same rule. Yet the tame or 
timid man could not by any effort or depravity possess that 
violent, fearless, reckless nature. The lamb cannot become 
the lion, nor the lion the lamb, by any sort of cultivation. 
Therefore, such a person is not to be judged solely by the 
extent and frequency with which he passes the line of right. 
His noble generosity, magnanimous self-devotion to the 
welfare of others, his hatred of oppression, and scorn of 
meanness are to be placed against his bursts of passion, 
sudden revenge, and those faults which are committed in 
moments of excitement. Besides, a man of strong and 
violent nature may put forth more effort, exercise more 
principle, resist temptation more manfully and nobly, and 
yet fall at last, than one who, with nothing but his stupidity 
to contend with, exhibits, in becoming a perfect pattern of 
morality. The world would stagnate without these souls of 
great energy, which are now and then thrown into it, and 
yet this energy will sometimes bolt from the track of virtue 
and waste and destroy. 


Lee was one of those tempestuous spirits which never 
can rest, and against all obstacles make themselves felt in 
the world. Of his republicanism one cannot have the 
highest opinion it was too much like Byron's and Alfieri's, 
which grew out of hatred of tyrants, rather than love for 
the people. They scorned oppression just as all generous 
natures must not only from its inherent meanness, but 
also from the meanness of those who practice it ; and henct 
assailed it without giving much thought to the welfare of 
the oppressed. Lee hated tyranny, yet he liked the com- 
panionship of kings ; and while he was attacking furiously 
the oppressive acts of the British ministry, he accepted the 
rank of major-general under the greatest despot of Europe, 
and to carry out an unjust war against a people of whom he 
knew nothing. His animosity towards England was no 
doubt the origin of much of his patriotism for the country 
he adopted. That it was to gratify a feeling, and satisfy 
his ambition, rather than at the stern call of principle, he 
took up arms in our defence, is seen from the prominence 
he always gives himself above everything else. An inci- 
dent occurred at Valley Forge which seems to corroborate 
this statement Washington was directed by Congress to 
administer the oath of allegiance to the commanding offi- 
cers of the army; and having called the major-generals in 
a circle about him, extended the Bible, on which they all 
placed their hands. But just as he was about to repeat the 
oath, Lee deliberately withdrew his hand. Every eye im- 
mediately rested upon him ; when he again placed it on 
the Bible, and the second time drew back. On Washing- 
ton inquiring the cause of this strange procedure, he 
replied : " As to King George, I am ready enough to ab- 
solve myself from all allegiance to him ; but / have some 
scruples about the Prince of Wales." The oddness of the 
reply produced a burst of laughter, which for a while sus- 
pended the ceremony. Eventually, however, Lee took the 
oath with the rest. The deep design which some have 
seen in this, in all probability did not exist ; but the fact 
shows one thing at least, that his republicanism was 
based on personal feeling more than on principle, and was, 
at the best, too much of an impulse with him. 

Lee was a generous man ; and if he wronged even an 
enemy in a gust of passion, his reparation was ample and 
cordial. He abhorred a secret foe, and never condescended 


to base means to compass his ends. His hostility was open> 
and he never struck in the dark. He gave the enemy 
warning before he assailed him, and though he might wage 
an unjust war, it was on a fair field. But his hatred was in- 
tense and unsparing, and where it fell every green thing 
withered. Yet he was not implacable, and forgot even 
injuries soon. The hostility he exhibited towards Washing. 
\>n, to the day of his death, is the only instance in his life 
where he seemed to be governed long by a revengeful feel- 
ing. Yet this was not cherished towards Washington wholly, 
nor, do I think, chiefly from the injury he had inflicted on 
him. True, he traced back to him the stream of all his 
troubles. At Washington's feet his bright career closed, 
and there sunk, at one fell blow, all his ambitious projects, 
and hopes and wounded vanity, and pride, and ruined 
prospects, and exultant enemies combined to kindle his 
wrath, and nurse it into fury. By the black gulf that lay 
between his bright past and gloomy present, Washington, 
to his diseased imagination, ever appeared to stand pointing 
within. Still, this does not account for the venom and 
endurance of his hate. This was owing chiefly to the 
powerlessness of Tiis rage. Up to the serene height which 
Washington occupied, he could not approach, and every 
arrow shot at him there fell short of its victim. To a man 
of Lee's pride and fierce temper, and one who had hitherto 
found no one so elevated as to escape his stroke, this utter 
helplessness of rage was terrible it was the worst punish- 
ment that could be inflicted on him the deepest torture he 
could be made to suffer. With all his strong passions 
bursting, and nothing but themselves to burst upon, he 
became a prey to those self-lashings which furnish the 
climax of rage. And worse than all, he not only failed to 
reach his object, but he failed even to excite his attention. 
He could not move even anger or scorn ; and what could 
goad a proud, fierce, and passionate nature into madness, 
more than the consciousness of this impotence. Every blow 
only recoiled on himself pushing him deeper in disgrace, 
and exalting still higher his enemy, whom he hoped to 
wound. In disappointed hate he aimed another, and 
another, only to be smitten to the earth by the rebound. 
To be thus stung into fruitless efforts, and gaze on one's 
enemy serene and tranquil in his glory and strength, is one 
ol the bitterest draughts man is ever compelled to 


and yet Lee drained it to the dregs. It was this that fed 
and kindled into tenfold intensity his wrath, so that at 
length, as he himself says, " // became the moon cf his mad- 

Lee was a brilliant man, and wrote with great facility and 
clearness. His arguments were characterized by force of 
expression rather than forcf; of thought ; yet, what he lost 
in logic he made up in wit, and was by no means an antag- 
onist to be despised. H ; s style was a representation cf 
himself impulsive, bold, and startling.* His pen brought 
efficient aid to our cause at the outset, and the weight of his 
name imparted confidence to our army. 

In person, he was a little above the middle size, with a 
rough, ugly face, and a nose shaped more like a parrot's 
than a man's the ur.pleasant expression of which was not 
at all relieved by the slovenly dress he wore. In manner 
he was eccentric, being governed entirely by his impulses, 
instead of conventional forms and rules. He was blunt, 
sometimes even tj rudeness, though a perfect gentleman in 
his address when he wished to be ; and hence made many 
enemies, and but few warm friends. His vanity, ambition, 
and self-confide'ice were enormous, and ruined him at last. 
He was a strong man ; but he could not persuade others to 
(ralue him so high as he esteemed himself ; and therefore 
never received, in his own view, the proper reward of his 
deserts. Born, as he supposed, to rule, he was ill fitted to 
obey. Irascible, impatient, and headstrong, he could not 
submit to disappointment, and would hear of no obstacles 
in the way of his own schemes. Brave, restless, and daring, 
he roamed the world in search of adventure ; and never 
seemed so much at home as when in danger. Rash and 
precipitate, he plunged himself into difficulties, from which 
his address or courage, or, what seemed oftener the case, 
his lucky star usually relieved him ; and stormed through 
life, leaving no record of half he did, or half he experienced. 
His mind seemed always in a state of fusion, and he was 

* He sprinkled even hie letters with profanity. Once, in writing to 
Edward Rutledge, member of the Congress of 1776, he says : " As your 
affairs prosper, the timidity of the senatorial part of the continent, great 
and small, extends itself. By the eternal G d, unless you declare your- 
selves independent, and establish a more certain and fixed legislation tham 
that of a temporary courtesy of the people, you richly deserve to be 
enslaved ; and I think it far from improbable that it should be your lot." 


lashed through the world by a nature to which repose 
seemed torture. 

His morals were as bad as his manners he was terribly 
profane, and always followed the bent of his own passions.* 
His religious sentiments may be gathered from his will. 
In drawing up an instrument of this kind in full view of 
death one is s ipposed to speak honestly. After bequeath- 
ing his soul to the Almighty, he declares that he thinks a 
man's religious notions are of no consequence adding, " a 
weak mortal can be no more answerable for his persuasive 
notions, or even scepticism in religion, than for the color of 
his skin." His soul being thus summarily disposed of, he 
proceeds to his body, and after bequeathing it to the earth, 
says, " I desire most earnestly that I may not be buried in 
any church, or churchyard, or within a mile of any Presby- 
terian or Anabaptist meeting-house ; for since I have 
resided in this country, I have kept so much bad company 
when living, that I do not choose to continue it when dead." 

His animosity to Washington embittered his feelings to- 
wards the entire country ; and in his letters to his sister, he 
speaks in terms of condemnation of almost everybody and 
everything. He excepts very few generals in the catalogue, 
and allows little or no virtue or true patriotism to the colo- 
nies, except those of New England. 

His opening career was bright and promising ; and es- 
pecially as a champion of liberty, he seemed destined to 
one of the highest niches in the temple of fame. Yet, in 

* Thatcher, in his Military Journal, tells an amusing incident illustrating 
both his dreadful temper and profanity. Judge Brackenridge, of Phila- 
delphia, had excited Lee, by some galling paragraph he had published 
about his conduct, and the latter challenged him. The Judge declined 
the honor in a very odd and laughable manner ; and so Lee provided 
himself with a horsewhip, and seeing his enemy going down Market Street 
one day, gave chase. The latter no sooner saw him than he ran into c 
public house, and bolted the door in his face. Lee immediately began to 
swear at him, telling him to come out and fight like a man. The 
humorous Judge replied, that he never had a fancy to be shot at, and had 
rather not, if it was just as agreeable. By this time a crowd had gathered 
around, and hearing Brackenridge's droll replies to Lee's threats, burst 
into uproarious laughter. This maddened the latter still more, and he 
cursed Brackenridge dreadfully, and dared him to come out and he would 
horsewhip him. The imperturbable Judge replied, with the utmost sim- 
plicity, that he had no occasion for such discipline he never liked it 
^rhen a child, and did not now. Shouts of laughter followed ; and Lee 
at length finding he was making himself ridiculous retired, when the 
judge quietly walked forth. 


an evil hour he perilled and lost all. He was a striking in- 
stance of that 

Vaulting ambition which o'erleaps itself, 

and his fate has a lesson to it, which no one can mistake. 
His death was in keeping with his life. One would expect 
him to die in delirium, and that the spirit which ever sought 
the whirlwind in life, should go out of the world in the 
smoke of battle. Yet still the nation honored him in death ; 
and funereal pomp and military honors attended him to tht 
grave. He died as such fierce natures always do, early, 
being only fifty-five years old. At an age when many ot 
eur generals began their career he ended his. 


An Officer in the French War Accompanies Montgomery to Canada-* 
Made Brigadier-General Attack on Forts Montgomery and Clinton 
Bravery and Narrow Escape of Clinton Is Joined to Sullivan's 
Expedition His Character. 

JAMES CLINTON was born in Ulster County, New York, 
August iQth, 1736, three years before his brother, Governor 
George Clinton. Two nobler sons a father never gave his 
country. A biography of the latter I omit, not only be- 
cause he was a brigadier, but also because his life is that of 
a statesman rather than of a warrior. 

James Clinton seemed designed for a military man, and 
his natural tendencies developed themselves early. Al- 
though he had received an excellent education, and was in 
every way fitted to enter on a successful career in civil life, 
he chose the hardships and dangers of the forest-march, 
Indian ambush, and deadly encounter. When but twenty 
years of age, he was captain under Colonel Bradstreet, 
and fought bravely at Frontenac. Here the almost beard- 
less stripling took his first lessons in war, and showed, by 
his intrepidity and daring, that he possessed the qualities of 
a successful commander. In this expedition he took a 
French sloop-of-war, on Lake Ontario, in gallant style. 
One day when it was a perfect calm, so that the vessel 
could not make sail, he placed his company in row-galleys, 
and pulled towards her. As they came within reach of the 
guns, a fierce fire was opened upon them ; but Clinton, 
shouting to his men to pull steady, he soon laid his boats 
alongside, and pouring in volleys of musketry, boldly 
mounted the sides of the ship and captured her. 

Afterwards he was placed over four companies appointed 
to protect the western frontiers of Ulster and Orange 
counties. A line of settlements extending fifty miles was 
under his supervision, over which he exercised a sleepless 
vigilance, and succeeded in overawing the savages. 



At the close of the war he married Miss Mary De Witt 
and retired to private life. But when the trumpet of war 
again sounded from the top of Bunker Hill, he took down 
his neglected sword, and leaving the joys of his quiet home, 
entered soul and heart into the struggle. In the list of the 
officers of the Continental army, made out by Congress, he 
is found colonel of the third regiment of New York forces 
His regiment formed a part of Montgomery's army in its 
invasion of Canada, and he followed that noble, but ill-fated 
commander, through his toilsome marches and dangers to 
the last. 

In 1776, he was promoted to brigadier-general, in which 
capacity he served through the war, and at its close was 
made major-general. In October, 1777, he commanded at 
Fort Clinton, which, with Fort Montgomery, formed the 
key to the Hudson. These two forts, situated a few miles 
above Peekskill, on the western shore, crowned ragged 
heights, up which, in front, it was next to impossible for an 
enemy to advance. A deep torrent separated them, and 
the only way by which they could be approached was 
through narrow defiles in the mountains, where a few brave 
men could keep at bay a large force. To prevent the 
English vessels from ascending the river above them, 
chevaux-de-frise were sunk in the bed of the stream, and a 
tremendous boom swung from shore to shore, guarded by 
an immense chain. Behind these were a frigate and several 
galleys, while the artillery from the forts was so placed as 
to sweep the entire channel. Thus defended and supported, 
it was thought that Clinton, with his six hundred men, could 
destroy any force that might attempt to pass to Albany. 
But it was necessary that the English commander at New 
York should make some demonstration in favor of Bur 
goyne, who had now emerged from the wilderness and 
drawn up his army in front of Gates at Saratoga. 

Sir Henry Clinton, therefore, started with between three 
and four thousand men, and landing them at Verplanck's 
Point, began to manoeuvre in front of Putnam, stationed at 
Peekskill, as if about to assail his position. The latter im- 
mediately sent word to Governor Clinton, who in a moment 
penetrated the enemy's plans : and knowing at once that 
the landing at Peekskill was only a feint, to mask a more 
important design, prorogued the Assembly, and hastened 
to Forts Montgomery and Clinton. He had conjectured 


right ; for no sooner did the English commander convince 
Putnam that the attack was to be "made upon him, than 
after dark, he secretly, and covered by a dense fog, con- 
veyed his troops across the river. By daybreak his columns 
stood in battle-array on the banks at Stony Point, and im- 
mediately crowded forward into the defiles that led to Forts 
Montgomery and Clinton. All day long they swept for- 
ward amid those gloomy mountains, and late in the after- 
noon arrived before the fortifications. The situation of the 
two brothers was now desperate enough the wily English- 
man had stolen a march upon them, and clearing all the 
passes where a determined stand might have been made, 
and driving in the detachments sent out to arrest his pro- 
gress, stood with his veteran thousands in battle-array before 
their little band of a few hundred. About two hours before 
sunset, he despatched a summons to them to surrender, 
giving only five minutes in which to make up their minds. 
Governor Clinton did not wish even that time, and imme- 
diately sent a stern refusal. The order to advance was 
then given, and the British army moved forward upon both 
forts at once. As soon as they came within reach of our 
marksmen, a dreadful volley smote them down. For two 
hours that little band gallantly withstood the onset of the 
overwhelming force which pressed so fiercely upon them. 
The two Clintons stood like lions at bay, and rallying their 
diminished numbers around them, presented a living wall, 
against which the tide of British valor rolled in vain. In 
the mean time the English ships of war had arrived, and 
began to thunder on the forts from the river. Against this 
united attack, these noble brothers defended themselves 
with a heroism worthy of a better fate, and struggled des- 
perately to maintain their posts. The sun went down on 
the fight, and darkness gathered slowly over the forest and 
the river and then it was a constant blaze around those 
dark structures ; and standards were seen waving, and 
swords flashing in the light of the incessant volleys. Gradu- 
ally bearing down all obstacles, the English at length ad- 
vanced to the storm and sweeping, with loud shouts, over 
the works, drove everything before them. Disdaining still 
to surrender, Clinton, whose strong soul was now fully 
aroused, continued to fight ; and gathering a few brave 
men around him, attempted boldly to cut his way out. 
Ftoeing to the river shore, h came upon a small boat, in 


which he urged his brother George to embark and make 
his escape. The latter firmly refused to go, unless he ac- 
companied him. But this was impossible ; and to end the 
dispute, James pushed his brother into the boat, and shoved 
it from the shore before he had time to offer any resistance, 
then, springing on a horse near by, galloped away. It was 
dark ; and as he came to a bridge which he must cross, he 
saw it occupied with English soldiers. They challenged 
him ; but ordering them to clear the way, he drove the 
spurs in his horse, and dashed through the bayonets, one of 
which pierced his leg. Knowing that his safety lay in 
reaching the mountains, he flung himself from his horse, 
and snatching the bridle from his head, plunged into the 
woods. His remarkable presence of mind did not forsake 
him in this critical moment. He knew that unless he could 
catch another horse, he should perish amid the mountains, 
with his wound, before he could reach any settlement: and 
remembering that there were many half-wild horses roving 
about the shores, he suddenly bethought himself that he 
might possibly take one of these next morning, and escape. 
So, preserving the bridle he had taken, he limped away ; 
and sliding down a precipice, a hundred feet high, into the 
ravine which separated the forts, was out of the reach of 
his pursuers. Creeping along the steep and rocky sides, 
with the blood oozing rapidly from his wound, he slipped 
and fell into the stream. The cold plunge helped him, for 
it stayed the effusion of blood , and drenched and faint, he 
made his way to the mountains, where he remained all night, 
racked with pain, covered with blood, and burned with 
fever. When daylight dawned he began to look about him, 
and finally came upon a horse, which he caught. Placing 
the bridle, which he still retained, upon him, he mounted 
bare-back, and rode sixteen miles every step driving a 
dagger into the wounded leg before he came to a house. 
He presented a frightful spectacle to the astonished in- 
mates his regimentals were covered with blood, his cheeks 
flushed with fever, and his voice hollow and husky. 

He had fought nobly, and though two hundred and fifty 
of his brave troops had fallen in the unequal combat, two 
hundred of the enemy had also been killed or wounded. 
After the battle, the English, with their usual brutality, 
committed the most inhuman outrages on the unresisting in- 
habitants ia the region. They even refused to bury th# 


dead of the Americans ; but left some to moulder away in 
the sun and wind of heaven, and pitched the rest in crowds 
into a shallow pond near by. Seven months after the battle, 
skeletons were seen lying around the fort, while a dreadful 
stench arose from that pond, along whose stagnant surface, 
arms, and legs, and half-submerged bodies were protrud- 
ing most of them clad in farmers' apparel, showing that 
they were militia. 

Thatcher, in his Military Journal, relates a curious inci- 
dent connected with this affair. In the darkness and 
general confusion of the assault on the forts, two hundred 
and fifty Americans escaped and rallied again under the 
governor. One day, a man suspected of being a spy, was 
caught and brought into the camp, who, on being searched, 
took something from his pocket and hastily swallowed it. 
An emetic was immediately administered to him ; and in a 
short time he threw up a silver ball, which, on being un- 
screwed, contained the following note to Burgoyne : 

" Fort Montgomery ', October 8, 1777. 

"Nous void. Nothing between us now but Gates. I 
hope this little affair will facilitate your operations, etc. 


After his recovery, Clinton was joined to the expedition 
under Sullivan sent against the western Indians. While 
the latter was slowly making his way through the wilderness 
up the Susquehanna, he with his brigade ascended the 
Mohawk. Pushing their batteaux up the current, his little 
army finally reached Canajoharie, where they lifted their 
boats from the stream and carried them across the country 
to the head of Otsego lake. Floating for nine miles down 
this beautiful sheet of water, they came to the outlet which 
forms the Susquehanna river. But here they were arrested, 
for the stream was too shallow to admit the passage of the 
boats. Clinton, however, with that quickness which had 
served him in more desperate circumstances, immediately 
ordered a dam to be constructed across the outlet, which 
soon raised the level of the lake. Then arranging his 
little fleet behind it, he ordered it to be cut away. On the 
swollen flood they all floated off in gallant style, while the 
Indians along the river, miles below, could not divine the 
cause of this sudden and heavy freshet in the midst of 
general drought. 


He effected a junction with Sullivan at Tioga, and ac 
companied him on that strange, picturesque, yet fearful ex- 
pedition into the valley of Genesee. 

On his return, he was stationed at Albany, where he re- 
mained most of the time till the close of the war. While 
here, an incident occurred which illustrated in a striking 
manner his character. A mutiny had broken out in a regi- 
ment, and it refused to obey the orders to march. When 
word was brought to Clinton, a fearful expression passed 
over his countenance, and snatching up his pistols, he 
walked to the head of the refractory regiment. Casting his 
flashing eye along it a moment, he thundered out " MARCH ! " 
but not a soldier stirred. Turning to the ringleader, he 
presented his pistol to his breast, and told him to advance, 
or he would shoot him dead on the spot. The dastardly 
sergeant knew well what kind of a man he had to deal with, 
and pale with rage and fear, moved on. Clinton then passed 
along to the second and third officer, in the same way, till 
he traversed the whole line and put it in motion. Thus, by 
his resolution and energy, he quelled a dangerous mutiny, 
and reduced the disobedient ranks to subordination. 

Clinton accompanied Washington and the allied army to 
Yorktown, and commanding in a central division under 
Lincoln, did good service on that glorious field. He was 
present at the evacuation of New York by the British, and 
formed one of that immortal group of officers of whom 
Washington took his affectionate and touching farewell. 
He then retired to his estates, and became a sober citizen of 
the great Commonwealth he had helped to rear. He was, 
however, called to perform various public duties and was 
one of the members of the Convention which adopted the 
present constitution of the United States. He died the 
22d of December, 1812, aged seventy-six. 

Clinton was a noble man and an able officer. Inured 
from his early youth to danger, privations, and toil, his 
frame acquired a wonderful power of endurance, and noth- 
ing seemed able to shake his iron constitution. Like 
Stark, Putnam, and others who served in the French War, 
he became so accustomed to surprises and ambuscades, and 
all the sleepless vigilance required in that half-civilized half- 
savage warfare, that danger had lost all power even to ex- 
cite him. He could not be startled from his self-possession, 
his feelings for a moment thrown into confusion. 


Cool, steady, and determined, he moved amid a battle with 
a sangfroid and firmness that astonished his soldiers. 

He was affectionate in his disposition, frank, generous, and 
kind, and when unexcited, mild. But when aroused, he 
was terrible as a storm. His was one of those powenul 
natures, which in repose exhibit only traits of gentleness, 
and quiet strength ; yet if summoned into sudden action, 
put forth awful energy, and appall those, who befor* 1 . had 
never dreamed of such a slumbering volcano under s< mild 
an exterior. 

He was an incorruptible patriot, a fearless and jr-illant 
soldier, and a true-hearted man. It is seldom a fathe; ^ives 
to the world two such sons as James and George Cli/ on. 


lis Birth -Studies Law Member of the First Congress Appointeu 
Brigadier-General Sent to Canada Bravery at Trenton and Princeton 
Attack on Staten Island Battle of Brandywine Expedition against 
Newport Expedition against the Indians Picturesque Appearance of 
his Army Beauty of the Indian Villages Devastation in the track of 
the Army Retires from the Service Elected to Congress Made 
Governor of New Hampshire, etc. His Character. 

THE parents of Sullivan were Irish, and emigrated to this 
country in 1723. They settled in Berwick, Maine, where 
John Sullivan, the subject of this sketch, was born, Febru- 
ary 1 7th, 1740. A farmer in youth, he at a later period 
studied the law, and eventually established himself at Dur- 
ham, New Hampshire. His energy and industry soon ren- 
dered him a prominent man, and he was chosen delegate to 
the first Congress. Returning from Congress, he, with 
John Langdon, headed a small force, and seized Fort Wil- 
liam and Mary, at Portsmouth, and carried off the cannon 
and powder. The next year he was rechosen as delegate 
to Congress ; but being elected by that body one of the 
eight brigadier-generals in the new army, he soon after pro- 
ceded to headquarters, at Cambridge. The next year he 
was sent to command the troops in Canada ; but arrived at 
the Sorel just as the army was abandoning the province. 
He directed General Thompson to make an attack on the 
British at Three Rivers, which was poorly planned and 
poorly carried out. Sullivan, though nearly fifty miles off, 
was awakened at daylight by the booming of cannon, which 
told that the fight had commenced. At eight o'clock, the 
sharp rattle of musketry was distinctly heard ; while at inter- 
vals, the dull echo of the cannonading was borne down the 
river. The whole forenoon till one o'clock, he was kept in 
suspense by this heavy firing ; but at length it ceased, and 
before morning the fugitive troops began to arrive. Being 
compelled to retreat, he fell back on Crown Point, where 
Gates arrived to supersede him. 



Finding a junior thus promoted over him, he, ever fier 
and impetuous, hastened to Congress, and offered his resig^ 
nation. The president of that body, however, prevailed on 
him to retain the command ; and he joined the army of Wash- 
ington, at New York. In the battle of Long Island, he was 
stationed on the heights above Flatbush, with a few regi- 
ments, where he bravely withstood the combined attacks of 
De Heister and Clinton ; and facing both ways to meet the 
double enemy, struggled desperately, for three hours, to 
save his corps. At length, however, he was compelled to 
surrender. Being, after a short time, exchanged for Gen- 
eral Prescott, he again joined the army, and was put at 
the head of one of the four divisions that composed it. 

When Washington was retreating across the Jerseys, 
Sullivan, after the capture of Lee, took charge of his di- 
vision, and hastened with it to the main army. Soon after, 
he had the honor to head one of the columns across the ice- 
filled Delaware and through that storm of sleet and snow 
charged home on the Hessians, and shouted the victory. 
He was with the army also at Princeton, and fought bravely 
to the end of this fearful, yet glorious campaign. 

The next summer, in August, Sullivan's division being 
located at Hanover, New Jersey, he planned an attack on 
Staten Island, where were only about two thousand British 
troops, and half as many provincials. The plan was to fall 
on the latter, with the hope of cutting them off before the 
regulars, stationed on another part of the island, could 
come to their assistance. It promised well ; but the attacks 
on the several detachments proved only partially successful 
and he retired rapidly with his prisoners. In the mean 
time the British general, informed by the fugitives of what 
was going on, pursued Sullivan, and overtaking him before 
he could embark all his men, compelled his rear-guard, 
after defending itself bravely, to surrender. The loss was 
about the same on both sides. He was much blamed for 
this expedition, and a court of inquiry called ; but he was 
acquitted with -honor, and the failure placed, where it 
belonged, to accidents which no one could foresee, and 
which really ought not to have occurred. 


At the battle of Brandywine, which followed not long 


after, he commanded the right wing, and was defeated, and 
the whole army forced to a precipitate retreat. Washing- 
ton had arranged his troops on the Brandywine, to dispute 
the passage with the enemy, who were rapidly advancing 
towards Philadelphia. He had under him about fifteen 
thousand men, while the British army numbered eighteen 
thousand veteran troops. It was hazardous to risk such 
an unequal combat ; but he knew a defeat would not be 
so bad in its effects, as to let the hostile forces march into 
Philadelphia without attempting to arrest them. Besides 
Congress had written to him, insisting on his engaging the 
enemy, and this was the most favorable spot he could select. 

Wayne was stationed at Chad's Ford, while the smaller 
/ords, for six miles up the river, were guarded by detach- 
ments. Washington was afraid that Howe would attempt 
*o cross above his army, and attack him in the flank and 
rear ; and so ordered a strict watch to be kept, and scouts 
to be sent out. Sullivan, commanding highest up the river, 
the duty devolved on him ; and hence the salvation of the 
army was in a great measure intrusted to his keeping. 

General Knyphausen advanced to the river, in front, and 
kept up a cannonading, so as to attract the attention of the 
Americans, while Cornwallis took a circuit of sixteen miles, 
and crossing above the fork of the Brandywine, marched 
down on the right wing of the army. News had been re- 
ceived of this movement ; and Washington, advancing on 
foot along his lines, greeted with loud acclamations as he 
went, immediately ordered the army to advance on Kny- 
phausen, so as to crush him before Cornwallis could arrive. 
Part of the troops had crossed ; but just as the attack was 
libout to commence, Sullivan sent word that the report was 
contradicted, and so they were ordered back to the old 
position. It was true, nevertheless, and the advanced guard 
Df the enemy was soon reported marching down upon our 
flank ; and Sullivan was then directed to hasten forward 
with the entire right wing, to engage it. Advancing 
rapidly up the river, he soon learned that the whole column 
had crossed, and was in battle array. He had hardly time 
to form his men in front of a piece of woods, before Corn- 
wallis was upon him. He came up in splendid order, and 
the fields, as far as the eye could reach, were reddened with 
the scarlet uniforms. At length the artillery began to play, 
and soon after the musketry opened. Our militia met the 


shock bravely, and by their deadly fire thinned jast the 
hostile ranks ; but nothing could resist their steady advance. 
At length both wings of the American line began to shake, 
and recoil, and finally broke into fragments, and undulated 
wildly over the field. Sullivan strained every nerve to arrest 
their flight, but finding every effort vain, in mingled scorn 
and heroism, separated himself from them, and joined the 
central division, which stood firm as a rock amid the dis' 
order. Here the wretched Conway was stationed, with 
eight hundred men, and showed how gallant an officer a 
mean man may make. Holding those eight hundred brave 
hearts around him, he cheered them on by such noble words, 
and nobler example, that they for a long time withstood the 
onset of the entire British army. The artillery ploughed 
through these untrained militia with frightful effect, and the 
dead lay in heaps ; yet there were Sullivan, and Lafayette, 
and Stirling riding through the fire, and they bore up man- 
fully in the unequal contest. But Cornwallis having got rid 
entirely of the two disordered wings concentrated all his fire 
upon them, till they at length, scourged into madness, 
broke and fled. Two of Sullivan's aids had been killed, and 
the discomfited general galloped in vain amid his shattered 
troops. Lafayette leaped from his horse, and marching 
among them, with his sword flashing above him, called on 
them to halt. In the midst of his efforts he fell, struck by a 
musket-ball. All now seemed lost ; but Washington, com- 
ing rapidly up with Greene's corps, threw himself before the 
enemy, and for a while held them in check. But Kny. 
phausen had forced Chad's Ford, where Wayne commanded, 
and was hastening into the combat. Nothing could now 
arrest the disorder ; and the broken army rolled in one huge 
multitude from the field. The coming on of night, and the 
firmness of Greene, alone saved it from an utter overthrow. 

The determined manner with which Sullivan, on whom 
the weight of the battle fell, contested the ground, may be 
seen from the heavy loss on both sides. The British re- 
ported nearly six hundred killed and wounded, while those 
of the Americans amounted probably to a thousand. 

The charge has been brought against Sullivan, that he 
ought to have known of the approach of Cornwallis, soon 
enough to have been prepared to meet him. Much has been 
said in his defence ; but after the cloud of dust which has 
been thrown over this whole matter is cleared away, it is 


manifestly evident, that he did not use all the precaution 
demanded of him, in the position he occupied. No doubt 
he expected that the enemy, if they attempted to cross the 
river anywhere, would do it within six miles of the Ameri- 
can army. Hence, his guards and scouts were most of them 
on the river shore, within that distance. Still, the unaccount- 
able delay of the remaining British troops, hour after hour, 
while apart was cannonading the American army across the 
river, should at least have aroused sufficient suspicion to 
have caused scouts to be sent in every possible direction. 
However, there can be very little blame attached to him ; for 
he could not believe that Howe would commit such a blunder 
as to place sixteen or twenty miles between his forces, while 
the whole American army was within a short march of one 
portion of them. A flank movement was wise, but not of 
that distance ; and had not the first report of his approach 
been contradicted, he would have learned it to his cost. 
Washington would have precipitated himself on Knyphau- 
sen, and beaten him before Howe came up ; and quietly 
placed the river between them again. It was hardly to be 
supposed that the Americans would not know of his move- 
ment in time to make this attack. The' fact is, the very im- 
probability and error of this flank movement, with such an 
immense circuit, saved the English general. The magnitude 
of the blunder effectually deceived the American commander, 
and secured it from being discovered. A general, however, 
is always more or less to blame, for having a heavy battle 
thrown on him unawares, in broad daylight, while he knows 
the enemy is meditating an attack. Ordinary excuses will not 
do ; and Sullivan, in this affair, though guilty of no violation 
of duty, evidently came short of doing all that might have 
been done. 

At all events, the battle was lost for want of proper in- 
formation, which must have come through Sullivan, if any- 
body ; and the field was left covered with our slain. 

The October following, Sullivan commanded one of the 
divisions in the attack on Germantown. Washington, un- 
dismayed by his losses, and unshaken by defeat, planned a 
surprise on Lord Howe, encamped with his victorious troops 
in that town. Throughout this battle, which lasted two 
hours and a half, Sullivan conducted himself nobly, and 
won new honors ; and when his men fled, he rode among 
them, endeavoring bravely, but in vain, by voice and ex- 


ample, to rally them. Washington's great heart was wrung 
at this new discomfiture, following so close on the heels of 
the other, and foreboding such a gloomy termination to 
the summer's campaign. When he found the ranks begin- 
ning to shake, he galloped in front of them ; and there, 
where the volleys were deadliest, his form was dimly seen 
through smoke, and his calm voice heard steadying the men. 
Sullivan, alarmed at his great exposure, rode up to him, and 
begged him, as he valued his country, not to throw his life 
away. This appeal he knew was the strongest he could 
make, and backed as he was by other officers, it succeeded, 
and Washington retired a little distance out of the fire. 
His anxiety, however, would not let him rest, and in a few 
minutes he was again seen sitting on his horse where the, 
fire was most deadly, and remained there till the column 
turned in flight. It could not be helped fate had decreed 
that he should be tried to the uttermost ; and the encamp- 
ment of Valley Forge, with its accumulations of horvor-;, 
tested the fine gold. 

Sullivan, like many others, was compelled at Valley Forge 
to draw on his personal fortune for support. In the noble- 
ness of his heart, he had refused to ask interest on money 
loaned out, because the people, he said, had burdens enough 
to bear; and now, getting destitute himself, anj doing 
nothing at headquarters, he asked permission t ) return 
home, for the purpose of raising funds to meet his pressing 
wants. But Washington, who saw that the moral iffect on 
his tattered troops, of this apparent desertion of the officers, 
would be bad, begged him to withdraw his application, 
which he did, and remained till spring. 


In March, he was ordered to take command of the army 
in Rhode Island, and immediately proceeded to Providence. 
In July, the French fleet, under Count d'Estaing, designed 
to co-operate with our army, arrived on the coast. Wash- 
ington wished to attack New York ; but the French admiral 
declared that he could not float his largest ships up, for want 
of water ; and so it was determined to make a descent on 
Rhode Island, and seize the British garrison, of six or seven 
thousand men, at Newport. Sullivan was directed to in- 
crease his force to five thousand men ; while Lafayette, 
with two brigades, was sent to his aid. After some delays 


for want of men, which proved disastrous to the expedition, 
everything was arranged for a descent on the British garri- 
son. The fleet came up the channel without much damage, 
though the batteries kept up a fierce fire upon it, and 
everything promised success. At this critical juncture, the 
British fleet, under Lord Howe, was seen hovering like a 
cloud in the distance. D'Estaing immediately abandoned 
his project, and stood out to sea, under all the sail he could 
crowd. His reason for this was, that he could engage the 
English to better advantage at sea, than where he was : 
though some have attributed it to pique, on account of 
some breach of etiquette on the part of Sullivan, concern- 
ing their relative rank others, to his preference for a naval 
victory, where he would have all the glory to himself. At 
all events, his splendid fleet sailed out of the harbor, and 
the people^ on shore saw, with inexpressible regret, that 
cloud of canvas lessen every moment to the view. Sulli- 
van, at the head of ten thousand men, had crossed over to 
Rhode Island, ready to co-operate with the naval force ; 
and just as the hour of decisive action and comparatively 
easy victory had arrived, he saw his ally depart. Resolved, 
however, not to be baffled in his plans, he put his army in 
motion, intending to lay siege to Newport without the aid 
of the fleet. But to complete his misfortune, a terrible 
storm just then set in, which raged without intermission 
for three days drenching his troops, who without anything 
to shelter them, lay around under fences on the wet ground, 
exposed to all the fury of the wind and rain. From that 
sorrowful bed many never rose again. It blew a perfect 
hurricane night and day the sea was lashed into foam, 
and the roar of the waves and the wind together, was per- 
fectly deafening. In the midst of the darkness and tempest 
a fierce cannonading was heard far out at sea some of the 
dismasted, disabled vessels had drifted together, and, though 
rolling in the storm, fell furiously on each other. 

When it cleared up, the crippled fleets parted the Eng- 
lish returning to New York for repairs, while the French 
vessels came limping into Newport. Sullivan's hopes again 
revived, and he began to make regular approaches towards 
the town, determining to take it by storm, should the French 
fleet refuse to assist him. Every argument was used to in- 
duce D'Estaing to co-operate ; but he stubbornly refused, 
declaring his orders were, if anything happened, to repair 


to Boston and refit. As a last resource, Sullivan entered a 
protest against his sailing, which only made matters worse, 
and the fleet departed. This disheartened the troops so 
much, many of whom were volunteers, that they went off in 
crowds ; and the army, from ten thousand, rapidly dimin- 
ished to seven thousand. With this force but very little 
larger numerically, tnan that of the enemy, which besides 
being composed of regular troops, were protected by strong 
works it would evidently be madness to continue the siege, 
and so he began his retreat. On observing this, the English 
commander took the offensive, and pressed furiously after 
his retiring columns. The American light troops, however, 
met him so firmly that he could make no impression on the 
army, and therefore took a position on Quaker Hill, and 
waited for morning. Sullivan arranged his army in three 
columns -the first in front of the works, on Butts's Hill ; the 
second in rear of it ; while the third, acting as a reserve, 
were a half a mile still farther back, covered by strong de- 
fences. At nine o'clock, the English commenced a heavy 
cannonade on the American lines, which was answered with 
equal spirit for an hour detached parties, in the mean time, 
meeting in combat in various parts of the field. At length 
two ships of war, and some other vessels, approached the 
shore, and opened on Sullivan's right ; but, erecting batter- 
ies on the beach, he soon compelled them to retire. At two 
o'clock the whole British army advanced to the attack, and 
a fierce conflict ensued. But the Americans were victorious, 
driving them back at every point and night soon after shut in 
the scene. Darkness, however, did not bring repose ; for 
all night long the heavy roll of cannon shook the field, 
while here and there flashes of light would suddenly reveal 
two bodies of soldiers in close combat. This cannonade 
was kept up all next day ; but the British made no general 
attack, as they were waiting for reinforcements. Sullivan, 
knowing that his troops were too much exhausted to make 
a general assault on the enemy's lines, and knowing also, 
that the return of the British fleet would secure his capture, 
resolved on the second night to retreat to the main . land. 
This he effected with a secrecy, and skill, and success, that 
brought on him the highest praise. Thus ended this expe- 
dition, of which such high hopes had been entertained. 

Sullivan was retained in his command in Rhode Island 
during the winter, but the next spring was called to a new 


field, where great exertions were demanded, and few laurel* 
to be won. 


Our Revolution called forth every variety of talent, and 
tried it in every mode of warfare. Perhaps there never was 
a war which such various elements entered. We had 
not only to organize a government and army, with which to 
meet a powerful antagonist, and also quench the flames of 
civil war in our own land, but were compelled to meet a 
cloud of savages on their own field of battle the impene- 
trable forest and in their own way. The English enlisted 
them against us by promises of plunder, and appealing to 
their revenge ; while their own bitter hatred prompted them 
to take advantage of the defenceless state of our frontiers, 
to fall on our settlements and massacre our people. 

The tragedies which were enacted at Cherry Valley and 
Wyoming, with all the heart-sickening details and bloody 
passages, finally aroused our government to a vigorous 
effort. Washington, being directed to adopt measures to 
punish these atrocities and secure our frontiers, ordered 
Sullivan to take an army and invade the Indian territories. 
The Six Nations, lying along the Susquehanna and around 
our inland lakes, extending to the Genesee flats, were to be 
the objects of this attack. His orders were to burn their 
villages, destroy their grain, and lay waste their land. 

A partisan warfare had been long carried on between the 
border inhabitants and the Indians, in which there had been 
an exhibition of bravery, hardihood, and spirit of adventure 
never surpassed. The pages of romance furnish no such 
thrilling narrative, examples of female heroism, and patient 
suffering, and such touching incidents as the history of our 
border war. For personal prowess, manly courage, and ad- 
venture, nothing can exceed it. Yet it had hitherto been a 
sort of hand-to-hand fighting, a measuring of the Indian's 
agility and cunning against the white man's strength and 
boldness ; but now a large army, with a skilful commander 
at its head, was to sweep down everything in its passage. 
The plan adopted was for the main army to rendezvous at 
Wyoming, and from thence ascend into the enemy's country, 
while General James Clinton, advancing with one brigade 
along the Mohawk west, was to form a junction with it, 
wherever Sullivan should direct.- The first of May, 1779, 


the troops commenced their march, but did not arrive at 
Wyoming till the middle of June. It was a slow and toil- 
some business for an army to cut roads, bridge marshes, and 
transport artillery and baggage through the wide expanse 
of forest between the Delaware and Susquehanna. At 
length, however, the whole force assembled at Wyoming ; 
and on the thirty-first of July took their final departure. 
So imposing a spectacle those solitudes never before wit- 
nessed. An army of three thousand men slowly wound 
along the picturesque banks of the Susquehanna now 
their variegated uniforms sprinkling the open fields with 
gay colors, and anon their glittering bayonets fringing the 
dark forest with light ; while by their side floated a hun- 
dred and fifty boats, laden with cannon and stores slowly 
stemming the sluggish stream. Officers dashing along in 
their uniforms, and small bodies of horse between the col- 
umns, completed the scene while exciting strains of mar- 
tial music rose and fell in prolonged cadences on the sum- 
mer air, and swept, dying away, into the deep solitudes. 
The gay song of the oarsman, as he bent to his toil, mingled 
in with the hoarse words of command ; and like some wiz- 
ard creation of the American wilderness, the mighty pageant 
passed slowly along. The hawk flew screaming from his 
eyrie at the sight ; and the Indian gazed with wonder and 
affright, as he watched it from the mountain-top, winding 
miles and miles through the sweet valley, or caught from 
afar the deafening roll of the drums and shrill blast of the 
bugle. At night the boats were moored to the shore, and 
the army encamped beside them the innumerable watch-fires 
stretching for miles along the river. As the morning sun 
rose over the green forest, the drums beat the reveille 
throughout the camp, and again the pageant of the day be- 
fore commenced. Everything was in the freshness of sum- 
mer vegetation, and the great forest rolled its sea of foliage 
over their heads, affording a welcome shelter from the heat 
of an August sun. Thus, day after day, this host toiled 
forward, and on the twelfth from the date of their march, 
reached Tioga. Here they entered on the Indian settle- 
ments, and the work of devastation commenced. Here 
also Clinton, coming down Uje Susquehanna, joined them 
with his brigade and when the head of his column came in 
sight of the main army, and the boats floated into view, there 
went up such a shout as never before shook that wilderness- 


Sulliva^ in the mean time, had destroyed the village of 
Chemung ; and Clinton, on his passage, had laid waste the 
settlement of the Onondagas. The whole army, now 
amounting to nearly five thousand men, marched on the 
26th of August up the Tioga river, destroying as it went. 
At Newtown the Indians made a stand. From the river 
to a ridge of hills, they had thrown up a breastwork a mile 
in extent, and thus defended, boldly withstood for two 
hours a heavy fire of artillery ; but being at length attacked 
in flank by General Poor, they broke and fled. The village 
was immediately set on fire, and the rich fields of corn cut 
down and trodden under foot. On the first of September 
the army left the river, and struck across the wilderness, to 
Catherine's Town. Night overtook them in the middle of 
a swamp, nine miles wide ; and the rear-guard, without 
packs or baggage, were compelled to pass the whole night 
on the marshy ground. This town also was burned, and 
the fields ravaged. Having reached Seneca Lake, they 
followed its shores northward, to Kendaia, a beautiful In- 
dian village, with painted houses, and monuments for the 
dead, and richly cultivated fields. It smiled like an oasis 
there in the wilderness ; but the smoke of the conflagration 
soon wrapped it, and when the sun again shone upon it, a 
smouldering heap alone remained the waving corn had 
disappeared with the dwellings, and the cattle lay slaugh- 
tered around. Our troops moved like an awful, resistless 
scourge through this rich country open and fruitful fields 
and smiling villages were before them behind them a ruin- 
ous waste. Now and then, detachments sent off from the main 
body were attacked, and on one occasion seven slain ; and 
once or twice the Indians threatened to make a stand for 
their homes, but soon fled in despair, and the army had it 
all their own way. The capital of the Senecas, a town con- 
sisting of sixty houses, surrounded with beautiful cornfields 
and orchards, was burned to the ground, and the harvest 
destroyed. Canandaigua fell next, and then the army 
stretched away for the Genesee flats. The fourth day it 
reached this beautiful region, then almost wholly unknown 
to the white man. The valley, twenty miles long and four 
broad, had scarce a forest tree in it, and presented one of 
the most beautiful contrasts to the surrounding wilderness 
that could well be conceived. As the weary columns slowly 
emerged from the dark forest, and filed off into this open 


space, their admiration and astonishment knew no bounds. 
They seemed suddenly to have been transported into an 
Eden. The tall, ripe grass bent before the wind cornfield 
on cornfield, as far as the eye could reach, waved in the 
sunlight orchards that had been growing for generations, 
were weighed down under the profusion of fruit cattle 
grazed on the banks of the river, and all was luxuriance and 
beauty. In the midst of this garden of nature, where the 
gifts of Heaven had been lavished with such prodigality, wer~ 
scattered a hundred and twenty-eight houses not miser- 
able huts, huddled together, but large, airy buildings, situ- 
ated in the most pleasant spots, surrounded with fruit trees, 
and exhibiting a civilization on the part of the Indians 
never before witnessed. 

Into this scene of surpassing loveliness the sword of war 
had now entered, and the approach of Sullivan's vast army, 
accompanied with the loud beat of the drum and shrill fife, 
sent consternation through the hearts of the inhabitants. 
At first they seemed resolved to defend their homes ; but 
soon, as all the rest had done, turned and fled in affright. 
Not a soul remained behind ; and Sullivan marched into a 
deserted, silent village. His heart relented at the sight of 
so much beauty ; but his commands were peremptory. The 
soldiers thought, too, of Wyoming and Cherry Valley, and 
the thousand massacres that had made our borders flow in 
blood, and their hearts were steeled against pity. An 
enemy who felt no obligations, and kept no faith, must be 
placed beyond the reach of inflicting injury. 

At evening, that army of five thousand men encamped in 
the village ; and just as the sun went down behind the lim- 
itless forest, a group of officers might be seen, flooded by its 
farewell beams, gazing on the scene. While they thus 
stood conversing, suddenly there rolled by a dull and heavy 
sound, which startled them into an attitude of the deepest 
attention. There was no mistaking that report it was the 
thunder of cannon and for a moment they looked on each 
other with anxious countenances. That solitary roar, 
slowly traversing the mighty solitudes that hemmed them 
in, might well awaken the deepest solicitude. But it was 
not repeated ; and night fell on the valley of Genesee, and 
the tired army slept. The next morning, as the sun rose 
over the wilderness, that heavy echo again shook the 
ground. It was then discovered to be the morning and 


evening gun of the British at Niagara ; and its lonely 
thunder there made the solitude more fearful. 

Soon after sunrise, immense columns of smoke began to 
rise the length and breadth of the valley, and in a short 
time the whole settlement was wrapt in flame from limit to 
limit ; and before night those hundred and twenty-eight 
houses were a heap of ashes. The grain had been gathered 
into them, and thus both were destroyed together. The 
orchards were cut down, the cornfields uprooted, and the 
cattle butchered and left to rot on the plain. A scene of 
desolation took the place of that scene of beauty, and the 
army encamped at night in a desert. 

The next day, having accomplished the object of his 
mission, Sullivan commenced his homeward march. Ah ! 
who can tell the famine, and disease, and suffering of 
those homeless Indians during the next winter? A few 
built huts amid the ashes of their former dwellings, 
but the greater part passed the winter around Fort 

On the fifteenth of October, after having been absent 
since the first of May, or five months and a half, the army 
again reached Easton. Two hundred and eighty miles had 
been traversed over mountains, through forests, across 
swamps and rivers, and amid hostile Indians. The thanks 
of Congress were presented to Sullivan and his army for 
the manner they had fulfilled their arduous task. 

Sullivan now asked permission to retire from the service, 
under the plea of ill health. Congress made no effort to 
retain him, but granted his request. Retiring to private 
life, he recommenced the practice of law, and was immedi- 
ately elected delegate to Congress. He took his seat in 
1780, and left the next year, and again pursued his profes- 
sion in Durham, the town where he resided. Appointed 
Attorney-General of New Hampshire, he, in 1783, helped 
to form the constitution of the State, and was chosen mem- 
ber of the Council. In 1786 he was elected Governor of 
the State, and in that capacity boldly withstood, and event- 
ually quelled a mob of two hundred persons, who had as- 
sembled to overawe the Legislature, and obtain a grant of 
their petition for the issue of paper money, w as a relief to the 
burdens of taxation. The next year he was re-elected to 
ihe Chief Magistracy of the State, and again in 1789. He 
was soon after appointed, by President Washington, Judge 


of the District of New Hampshire, which office he filled TiH 
his death, January 23d, 1795. 


General Sullivan was five feet nine inches in height, and 
somewhat corpulent. His complexion was swarthy, set off 
by a pair of black eyes, and curling black hair. Though 
mild and gentle on ordinary occasions, he was easily excited, 
and rash as a storm in his rage. That black eye would 
flash from' its swarthy back-ground, and his anger was un 
sparing as death. He was not revengeful, however, and a 
kind and generous word would disarm him at once. He 
was unpopular as a general, though it is hard to tell why. 
He was somewhat ostentatious in manner, which would 
account for a portion of it ; while his failure on Lake 
Champlain, and afterwards in Rhode Island, redeemed by 
no after 'brilliant success, might, perhaps, explain the rest. 
In times of excitement, especially in war, a man is judged 
alone by his success. The people will forgive a man any- 
thing but failures. But Sullivan showed himself a good 
general throughout. He was not a brilliant man in battle, 
nor characterized by any great qualities as a commander. 
Yet he was a good and able officer, finding more beneath 
than above him in merit. Considering that his education 
had not at all been military, his career exhibits a man of d 
high order of intellect. Washington always entertained 6 
great regard for him. His blunt, and sometimes fierce way 
of telling his mind to Congress, offended that body, so th?*. 
his resignation was received with apparent pleasure. Sul) " 
van was doubtless somewhat vain, and he annoyed Congre*t 
by his complaints ; but it yet remains to be shown thU 
they ought not to have been annoyed. He clung to Wash- 
ington to the last, and lived and died a true patriot. 


e English Army Appointed Colonel by Congress Sent to 
Canada Battle of Princeton Evacuation of Ticonderoga Bravery of 
Francis and Warner Review of St. Clair's movements Appointed 
Governor of the Northwestern Territory Commands the Expedition 
against the Indians The utter Rout and Slaughter of his Army His 

ARTHUR ST. CLAIR was born in Edinburgh, in 1734. 
Nothing is known of his boyhood ; but when twenty-one 
years of age he came to this country with Admiral Bos- 
cawen, and received an ensign's commission in the English 
army, then operating against the French in Canada. He 
was with Wolfe in that bold night-march up the heights of 
Quebec, and saw with delight the unrolling of standards on 
the plains of Abraham. He himself carried a banner in the 
battle, and heard the victorious shout which recalled for a 
moment the departing spirit of Wolfe. He soon rose to the 
rank of lieutenant ; but at the close of the war sold his 
commission, and entered into trade. Not succeeding well, 
he threw up his business, and after being buffeted about by 
fortune for several years, finally settled in Ligonier valley, 
west of the Alleghany mountains, where he had formerly 
commanded an English fort. 

Here he rapidly acquired a fortune, and in 1775 was a 
married man, and settled down apparently for life. At this 
time he held six offices in Pennsylvania, all of them lucra- 
tive : "viz., clerk of the court of general quarter sessions ; 
prothonotary of the court of common pleas ; judge of pro- 
bate ; register of wills ; recorder of deeds ; and surveyor 
of the largest county in the province." There must have 
been a great lack of material for good functionaries in that 
region, to cause so many offices to be heaped on one man. 

When the Revolution broke out, he, as secretary, accom- 
panied the commissioners appointed by Congress to treat 
with the Indians at Fort Pitt, and soon after received a 


colonel's commission. The next year he was ordered to 
raise a regiment to serve in Canada. In six weeks it was 
complete, and started for the north. Four companies ar- 
rived near Quebec just in time to cover the retreat of the 
Americans from the place, and the remaining six took post 
at Sorel. He was in the attack on Three Rivers, and 
passed through the remaining part of that unlucky cam- 
paign with so much honor that he was promoted to briga- 

In the autumn of the same year he accompanied the 
forces despatched to Washington's aid, in the Jerseys. He 
was attached to Sullivan's division in the assault on 
Trenton, and afterwards fought gallantly in the battle of 


St. Clair was the only general officer in the army who un- 
derstood perfectly the topography of the country between 
Trenton and Princeton ; and hence was relied on chiefly by 
Washington in the dispositions made for that glorious battle. 

The same day on which Washington captured the Hes- 
sians at Trenton, he recrossed the Delaware ; but no 
sooner were his troops refreshed, than he resolved to follow 
up the victory, and in a few days was again on the same 
side of the river with the enemy, who had assembled their 
forces at Princeton. But in the mean time, Cornwall is had 
been despatched from New York with a large army, to 
retrieve the heavy disasters the British had sustained ; and 
hearing that Washington was at Trenton, hastened forward 
to meet him. 

The manoeuvres of the American commander-in-chief, 
which finally ended in the brilliant victory at Princeton, 
seem to me the worst he ever executed ; and can be 
accounted for only on the ground, that he was utterly 
ignorant of the advance of Cornwallis. It was now mid- 
winter, and hence no easy matter to throw an army, if com- 
pelled to retreat over the ice-filled Delaware. Washington 
had with him but four thousand seven hundred men, only 
twelve hundred of whom were regulars ; while Cornwallis 
was at the head of eight thousand veteran troops, well sup- 
plied with artillery and dragoons. It was impossible for 
him to retain his position ; and yet to retreat across the 
Delaware would insure the entire destruction of his army 


He was in what the French call a cul de sac out of which 
nothing but a miracle seemed able to extricate him. As 
soon, however, as he heard of the force under Cornwallis, 
he became perfectly aware of his situation, and began to 
put forth those desperate efforts for which he was remark- 
able in an emergency. 

The morning of the second of January opened darker for 
Washington, than that which, a short time before, saw his 
wearied troops form in the driving storm on the shore* of 
the Delaware. Gornwallis, with his splendid army, had left 
Princeton at an early hour, and was rapidly marching on 
Trenton, where he and his apparently devoted band lay. 
By a sudden turn of fortune, the spot of his triumph seemed 
now to be chosen on purpose to make his overthrow the 
more terrible. But his was one of those natures which rise 
with danger, and the wilder the storm, the steadier and 
stronger his efforts. He saw his peril to retreat in open 
daylight was evidently impossible, and the struggle must 
therefore be to maintain his position till night, and then 
trust to darkness and Providence for the rest. Having 
once resolved on his course, all vacillation was at an end ; 
for if nothing better could be done, he could fall on the 
field of honor retreat he would not. 

He instantly sent forward Colonel Reed to harass the 
march of Cornwallis ; and this gallant officer showed him- 
self worthy of the trust reposed in him. Colonel Hand and 
Captain Forest were ordered to sustain him the latter 
making wild work with his artillery and soon the English 
columns were seen closing up in order of battle. Morgan 
and Miller followed, and placing themselves in ambush in a 
thick wood, galled the enemy with such a deadly fire, that 
they were compelled to halt, and order up the artillery to 
scour their place of concealment. This delayed them two 
hours and never did greater destinies hang on two fleeting 
hours. Washington had told them to dispute every inch of 
ground, and they had obeyed his orders. As they fell 
slowly back towards the main army, he loae across the As- 
sanpink, and thanked them for their bravery ; and with the 
order to fight to the last moment, ana retreat only when 
necessary to save their pieces, recrcssed the creek, and 
formed his battle array on the farther shore. 

These brave detachments for a wnile bore up gallantly 
against that advancing host, but we*e finally forced across 


the stream, on the main body. Only one bridge crossed 
the creek, though there were numerous fords over which 
the enemy could pass. It was now sunset, and the hostile 
lines stood front to front. The final struggle had appar- 
ently come, and the cannon on both sides opened with 
*errific uproar. Amid the gathering shades of evening, the 
incessant firing threw masses of flame upon the landscape 
and a few minutes only were needed to bring the armies 
together. The shock must have sent Washington's troops 
rolling, in a frightened crowd, back on the Delaware, whose 
chilly waters, before morning, would have flowed over 
many a gallant form. But, at this critical moment, Corn- 
wallis, as if under the influence of some fatal spell, com- 
manded the attack to cease, in order to wait for daylight. 
Ersktne remonstrated with him, declaring that Washington 
would not be there in the morning ; but the vigorous resist- 
ance which had been made during the day convinced the 
English commander that the Americans meant to give him 

The thunder of artillery then ceased watch-fires were 
kindled along the lines and the low hum of the two armies 
preparing their evening repast, and heavy rumbling of 
artillery-v/agons, blended over the quiet stream. The 
banners drooped down their staves in the starlight, and the 
cold January breeze swept mournfully by. Gradually the 
confused sounds grew less and less the heavy tramp of the 
marching columns died away, the deep murmur of the hosts 
ceased, and the two tired armies sunk in silence and repose. 

The British commander, elated with hope, now deemed 
his foe secure, and waited anxiously for the dawn, to 
crown his hopes with success. But Washington immediately 
called a council of war at St. Glair's tent ; when, after some 
discussion, it was resolved to march on Princeton, and turn- 
ing the flank of the enemy, fall boldly on his rear. Wash- 
ington judged, from the large force which Cornwallis had 
with him, that he had not left many behind ; and therefore 
ventured on this hazardous movement. To march back on 
the very track of the victorious enemy, and fall on the places 
of security he had just left, was a plan as brilliant as it was 
daring. To retreat at all would have been sufficiently 
dangerous, but he meant to strike as he went. 

Rousing up his slumbering troops, and silently forming 
them by starlight, he began to hasten them forward. The 


baggage had all been sent away before, so as not to impede 
the movements of the army. It was very dark and cold, 
and the soldiers were weary, but at the voice of their com- 
mander they cheerfully shouldered their muskets, and a little 
after midnight were on the way to Princeton, where three 
British regiments lay. Washington ordered the watch-fires 
to be kept burning along the lines the guards to be placed 
on the bridge and at the fords, and men set to work upon 
the intrenchments, to deceive his incautious antagonist. 
All night long, the sound of the spade and the pick-axe told 
the sentinels on watch that the American army had no 
thought of retreating. But while things thus stood in front 
of the enemy'slines, Washington's sleepless eye was passing 
rapidly along his dark columns, as they stretched onward 
through the gloom, and his ear was ever and anon turned 
back, to catch the first sounds of alarm. Not a drum or 
bugle-note cheered the tired soldiers' march ; and the 
muffled tread of the heroic battalions, and the low word 
of command, were all that broke the silence of the wintry 
night. Hour after hour they toiled on, till the cold Jan- 
uary sun, rising over the bleak hill-tops, revealed Prince- 
ton to their view. Suddenly the flashing of steel bayonets 
in the sunbeams was seen, and lo ! the road was filled with 
scarlet uniforms the next moment drums and bugles rung 
out upon the morning air. 

Washington was in advance with St. Glair's brigade and 
immediately ordered the ranks to close up, and the whole 
column to move forward. Mercer, who was advancing along 
Stony Brook, did not see the enemy till close upon them. 
He then attempted to occupy a hill in advance of the British, 
who were marching for the same position. Reaching it a 
few moments first, he formed his men behind a rail fence. 
The British, however, were but a few yards distant, and both 
rines fired simultaneously, when the former, with a tremen- 
dous shout, rushed forward with the bayonet. The volleys 
of the combatants were delivered so nearly together, that the 
smoke met in the centre, and rose in a beautiful cloud, re- 
flecting all varieties of hues in its ascent in the morning sun- 
light. The Americans a great part of them having nothing 
but rifles immediately broke and fled down the hill. Mer- 
cer leaped from his horse, and throwing himself in front., 
strove gallantly to rally them. Whether in scorn at their 
flight, or to shame them by his example, he lingered in the 


rear and was shot down. Washington sat on his horse and 
viewed this movement with the intensest anxiety. He had 
hoped for a firmer resistance ; but seeing the rout, he has- 
tened forward in person with reinforcements. These came 
into action gallantly, but the British charged with such des- 
perate impetuosity that they also at length began to shake. 
\Vashington knew that there was no retreating he must 
conquer or perish and seeing his ranks beginning to undu- 
late and recoil, he shouted to his men to stand fast ; and 
dashing up to a standard-bearer, snatched the flag from his 
hand, and spurred midway between the contending lines, 
and there, only thirty yards from each, and frowning sternly 
on the foe, calmly sat and took the fire. The soldiers, 
struck at the sight, gave a loud huzza, and charged up to 
him, and past him and through and over the broken ranks 
swept like a resistless torrent. Scarcely was this regiment 
broken before another came marching up. On this, Wash- 
ington led his soldiers also in person, and where the shot fell 
thickest, there his form was seen like a pillar of fire to his 
men. The brave fellows closed sternly around him, and, 
*ji'ith his sword to wave them on, bore everything down in 
their charge. 

The field was won, and nearly two hundred scarlet uni- 
iMIHs lay sprinkled over the frost-covered ground, and the 

3(1 shout of victory went up like a morning anthem to 
Heaven. There, too, lay the bosom friend of Washington, 
the gallant Mercer, and beside him on the cold earth, many 
a noble officer and brave soldier. When that same morning 
sun shone down on Cornwallis, a dull and heavy sound, like 
distant thunder, broke over his camp. The anxious com- 
mander went out and listened but no storm-cloud was on 
the sky, and a wintry sun was mounting the heavens. Ah ! 
his foreboding heart told him too well that those successive 
thunder-peals were the roar of Washington's cannon at 
Princeton. As he turned towards the deserted American 
camp, he knew that the prey had escaped him, and that the 
regiments he had ordered up to his help, were being cut to 
pieces beyond the hope of relief. Alarmed for the fate of 
Brunswick, where his stores were gathered, he immediately 
put his columns in motion, and urged them to the top of 
their speed. 

When the American army arrived at Princeton, Washing. 
ton was nowhere to be found, and the greatest alarm pre 


vailed ; but in a few moments he was seen galloping back 
from a pursuit, whither his eager spirit had carried him at 
the head of a few men. The chase then commenced in 
good earnest, and continued as far as Kingston. Washing- 
ton, as mentioned before, wished to advance on Brunswick, 
but his troops, which had not slept for thirty-six hours, 
were exhausted, and Cornwallis was thundering close on his 
rear ; and so he turned short about to Pluckemin, where he 
arrived that evening with three hundred prisoners ; and 
soon after retired to Morristown, and took up his winter- 

In the spring St. Clair was appointed major-general one 
of those juniors promoted over Arnold and sent north to 
the assistance of Schuyler. The latter placed him in Ti- 
conderoga, with a garrison of two or three thousand men, to 
check the progress of Burgoyne, then on his march from 
Canada. Ticonderoga was strongly fortified, and deemed 
almost impregnable. Great labor had been bestowed upon 
it, and the whole country looked for a severe and bloody 
contest around its ramparts. 

On the 2d of July, 1777, Burgoyne arrived before it. 
St. Clair immediately abandoned all his works, and allowed 
the enemy to take possession of Mount Hope, which gave 
him the command of the line of communication between the 
fort and Lake George. After thus easily completing his 
investment of the Americans towards the lake, Burgoyne, 
with incredible labor, dragged some heavy guns to the top of 
Sugar Hill, and there, almost over the fort, erected his bat- 
teries. In the mean time, a detachment of British ap- 
proached within a hundred yards of the works, when one 
thousand American infantry and several cannon opened 
at once upon them, without killing a man. It was the wild- 
est shooting sver witnessed every gun must have gone off 
at an angle of about forty-five degrees and if the British 
had immediately made a bold push, they would probably 
have carried the fort with but very little loss. 

St. Clair, finding his communication with Lake George 
cut off, and batteries frowning upon liim from above, hastily 
called a council of war, which decided that it was expedient 
to evacuate the place. This was followed by a most dis- 
orderly retreat. A house on Mount Independence, which 
had been carelessly set on fire, revealed their flight to the 
British, and a hot pursuit was immediately commenced. 


Two hundred boats and five armed galleys carried the 
stores, baggage, artillery, and sick, which were hurried up 
Wood Creek. The barrier which had been erected at the 
mouth of the stream, it was supposed would arrest the 
progress of the British vessels for some time. The "bridge 
over the inlet was supported on twenty-two timber piers of 
vast dimensions, sunken at nearly equal distance ; the 
soaces between these were filled with separate floats, each 
about fifty feet long, and twelve feet wide, and the whole 
was held together by chains and rivets of immense size 
To prevent the enemy from approaching with his numerous 
ships and attempting to force the bridge, it was defended 
on the side towards Lake Champlain by a boom composed 
of very large pieces of timber, joined together with iron 
bolts of prodigious thickness." Such were the obstacles 
the Americans left behind them to retard the enemy's pro- 
gress, as their long procession of boats began, by moon- 
light, to wind up Wood Creek. All night long, with the 
still shadows of the boundless forest darkening the stream, 
they toiled on, and when the unclouded sun burst in splen- 
dor over the tree-tops, the fife and drum awoke the morning 
echoes with their stirring notes, and mirth and careless 
gayety filled the day. But they had scarcely reached 
Skeensborough, when the thunder of cannon, and skipping 
of balls in their midst announced, to their astonishment, 
the approach of the enemy. Through those formidable 
timbers at the mouth of the creek, the British fleet had 
swept, as if they had been threads of gossamer, and pressed 
vigorously in pursuit. 

Two of the American galleys were surrendered and three 
blown up ; and the salvation of the rest, with the baggage, 
etc., being considered a hopeless task, they were set fire to 
and destroyed. 

In the mean time, Frazer pressed after the army, which 
St. Clair commanding the van, and Francis and Seth Warner 
the rear-guard was streaming through the forest, towards 
Hubbardton. By crossing rapidly a mountain, he came up 
just at sunrise, on the seventh of July, with the American 
rear-guard, and immediately made preparations for an 
attack. Warner and Francis, determined to deal the enemy 
one blow before they retreated farther, formed their men in 
order of battle within sixty yards of the British column. 
Male's regiment surrendered at the outset ; but the other 


two regiments showed a valor which, if it had been properly 
directed by St. Clair, would have shaken terribly that proud 
invading army. They closed in with their antagonists so 
fiercely, that Frazer was perfectly amazed ; and it was with 
the utmost difficulty he could steady his troops. Colonels 
Francis and Warner moved at their head, cheering them 
again and again to the onset ; and they pressed forward 
with shouts, delivering their volleys with terrible precision. 
Counting the numbers engaged, it was one of the most 
hotly contested and bloody combats of the Revolution. At 
length, the British veterans recoiled before the impetuosity 
of the Americans, and fell back in disorder ; but Frazer, 
with a prodigious effort, rallied them again, and led them 
up with levelled bayonets. They charged almost on a run, 
and the American ranks shook for a moment under the 
shock ; before they could recover, Reidesel came up with 
reinforcements, and fell on them with such vigor that they 
broke and fled. Colonel Francis fell at the head of his 
regiment, and two hundred Americans were left dead on 
the field. Hundreds more were wounded, who crawled off 
into the forest, and died from loss of blood, and exposure, 
and want. The English had also suffered severely. This 
was a heavy blow to St. Clair ; for the killed, wounded, 
prisoners, and missing, amounted to near a thousand men, 
or a third of his entire army. 

In the mean time the troops under Colonel Long, which 
had taken another direction with the boats, fled from 
Skeensborough farther up Wood Creek, to Fort Anne. 
Thither also the English bent their footsteps, and soon ap. 
proached the fort. The brave Long did not wait to be at- 
tacked behind his works, but sallied forth at the head of 
his men, and rushed on the enemy with incredible fury 
After nearly two hours of desperate fighting, the British 
commander, finding himself almost surrounded, and pressed 
with such resolution, endeavored to take up a more favor- 
able position ; and owing to the admirable discipline of hi* 
men, succeeded, though the Americans fell upon him, with 
charge after charge, that were sufficient to break the ordei 
of the steadiest troops. Nothing could long resist those 
fierce onsets, and they were on the point of winning the 
victory, when the Indians, with horrible yells, came rush- 
ing to the combat. The former, finding their ammunition 
nearly exhausted, immediately retired within the fort. Set- 


ting it on fire, they continued their retreat through tht 
forest, to Fort Edward, where Schuyler was posted. These 
battles have never had the prominence given them which is 
their due. They were fought with great gallantry, and the 
loss, compared to the numbers engaged, was frightful. 
Our troops allowed themselves to be literally cut to pieces 
before they yielded the contest, and braver officers never 
commanded men. 

With the surrender of these posts, were lost a hundred 
and twenty-eight pieces of artillery, and an immense quan- 
tity of stores, baggage, and provisions. The news spread 
consternation through the country. Washington, when he 
heard of it, wrote to Schuyler in the following strong lan- 
guage : '* The evacuation of Ticonderoga and Mount Inde- 
pendence is an event of chagrin and surprise, not appre- 
hended, nor within the compass of my reasoning. I know 
not upon what principle it was founded, and 1 should sup- 
pose it still more difficult to be accounted for, if the garri- 
son amounted to five thousand men in high spirits,. healthy, 
well supplied with provisions and ammunition, and the 
Eastern militia was marching to their succor, as you men- 
tioned in your letter of the gth to the Council of Safety of 
New York." The condemnation of St. Clair and Schuyler, 
the country over, was sweeping and unsparing. It was 
even declared by some that they were bribed by the British, 
who shot their silver in bullets into camp, in order not to 
compromise the American leaders. It was a long time 
before there was any reversion of the terrible verdict ren- 
dered by an indignant people. At length, however, men 
began to look on the subject more dispassionately, and now 
as we are ever prone to extremes it is declared to have 
been a judicious measure throughout. But the truth, as is 
usual in such cases, lies between these opposite opinions. 
That St. Clair, with the force under him, could have held 
Ticonderoga against Burgoyne, no one at this day supposes. 
The evacuation was inevitable, especially after the British 
had planted batteries on Sugar Hill. At first, because the 
evacuation of Ticonderoga was considered unnecessary and 
culpable, St. Clair's entire course was pronounced utterly 
wrong now, because it is considered to have been inevi- 
table, and sanctioned by the best rules of military art, his 
conduct is regarded as irreproachable. But neither view is 
right. To conclude, because the evacuation was necessary, 


that therefore the way and time in which it was done were 
judicious and proper, and the amount of resistance to 
the enemy all that sound judgment would approve, is any- 
thing but rational. St. Clairwas finally cleared by a court- 
martial ; but court-martials seldom render heavy verdicts 
against negative errors, unless they are so gross as to amount 
to heavy misdemeanors. Besides, the successful issue of the 
campaign covered a multitude of previous sins. Burgoyne 
was captured, therefore government and the nation were in- 
clined to forget the past. But if Burgoyne, by the little re- 
sistance made to him, had been able to reach Albany safely, 
and the result had showed that another week's delay or the 
loss of a thousand more men would have prevented it, and 
saved the country, St. Clair would have found another ver- 
dict recorded against him. His very blunders secured the 
overthrow of the enemy, for, elated by their easy success, 
they ventured so far into the interior, that even retreat was 
cut off. The invasion turned out well, but no thanks to St. 
Clair. If he had done his duty, Burgoyne, in all probabil- 
ity, would never have ventured on to the head-waters of 
the Hudson. Encumbered with wounded and crippled by 
heavy losses, he would have been delayed till an army had 
been raised against him too formidable to be met so far 
from his garrisons and depots. To stop or delay Burgoyne 
was the duty of St. Clair, and he did not do it. By all hu- 
man calculation, to allow him to proceed, full of hope and 
unmolested, to the plains of Saratoga, was ruinous in the 
extreme. With three thousand men at his back, a strong 
fort, more than a hundred pieces of artillery, and a perfect 
knowledge of the country, he not only failed to deal his 
adversary a single blow of importance, but lost a third of 
his entire army. Now it is useless to enter into a close 
analysis of his actions it is not difficult, by establishing 
a different basis of reasoning, to prove entire opposites 
in military matters ; but a mere statement of the facts is 
sufficient to show there was great incapacity or inefficiency 

No one supposes that Putnam, or Stark, or Arnold, or 
Wayne, or Greene, or Moultrie would have evacuated Ticon- 
deroga lost more than two hundred boats all their ar- 
tillery, baggage, and stores, and nearly a thousand men, 
without making the enemy pay dear for them. The truth 
is, St. Clair was a man of mere rules and forms, without a 


spark of genius, and he managed this whole affair badly, 
In the first place, he ought not to have abandoned his whole 
line of communications to the lake, including Mount Hope, 
without a stubborn resistance : and when he retired, he 
should have kept such a knowledge of the enemy's move- 
ments, that no detachments could have chased his whole 
army in sections, into the forest, without being cut up. 
Colonel Warner made a noble resistance ; and if St. Clair 
had sustained him, as Reidesel did Frazer, these two Eng- 
lish generals would have been utterly annihilated. Had 
that same Arnold, who drove the British from Danbury, and 
whom St. Clair superseded, been in his place, he would have 
left bloody testimonials of himself around Ticonderoga, and 
made that forest the grave of some of the choicest troops of 
Burgoyne, and more than all, never suffered Warner and 
Francis, with their handful of brave men, to fall alo-TC. It 
is said that St. Clair could not induce the militia to inarch 
to the aid of their companions. The militia fought 1 ke vet- 
erans under Warner, and Long, and Francis ; and if they 
would not under the commander-in-chief, it was because 
they had no confidence in him. The British, carrie 1 away 
by the ardor of pursuit, exposed themselves to he vy dis- 
asters ; but St. Clair, bound down by general rules unable 
to carry on a partisan war, which circumstanc' s threw 
upon him, allowed his army to be cut up, and al -lost dis- 
banded, without retarding for a moment the ene uy. No 
one supposes that he was not a brave officer, or d ; 1 not do 
all that he deemed within his power to accomplisl ; but he 
was not the man for the place he occupied. Pos essed of 
no quick invention, and unable to take advantage of cir- 
cumstances adhering to his rules, so that if he should die, 
he might die secundum artem : he failed miserably. He did 
well to evacuate Ticonderoga ; but he did not do well to 
offer so feeble a resistance, or suffer such an unnecessary 
loss, without injuring his adversary. Why, the real destruc- 
tion to our army was greater than in either battle of Sara- 
toga, and without scarcely any recompense. 

That St. Clair was condemned too unqualifiedly at the 
time, every one is willing to concede ; but to assert that he 
conducted throughout, like an able and skilful commander, 
is to put one's reason against facts. 

Though St Clair failed in energy and great genius, he 
vas a noble man in his feelings and sympathies, and was 


not unsuccessful from want of patriotism, or willingness to 
sacrifice himself. Washington knew this, and hence never 
withdrew his confidence. He had him by his side at Brandy- 
wine, though holding no command ; and as soon as the court- 
martial pronounced his acquittal, again intrusted him with 
the highest responsibilities. 

When Washington made his rapid movement upon York- 
town, to invest Cornwallis, St. Clair was left in command of 
the Pennsylvania volunteers, to protect Philadelphia. He 
however joined the former at Yorktown, five or six days be- 
fore the capitulation took place, and then was despatched 
with six regiments, and ten pieces of artillery, to aid 
General Greene in South Carolina. Before he arrived, 
however, the great struggle was over, and he soon after re- 
traced his steps northward. Peace followed, and he retired 
to private life, and took up his residence again in Pennsyk 
vania. In 1786 he was elected a member of Congress from 
the State, and the next year chosen president of that body. 
At this time also, he held the office of auctioneer of the city 
of Philadelphia, which afforded him a large income. In 1788, 
when the Northwestern territory was erected into a govern- 
ment, he was appointed governor and held that office till 


During his administration occurred those troubles with 
the Indians orj the northwestern frontier, which at last 
ended in open war. Harmar, sent out against them, had 
been defeated, and another army of three thousand men 
being voted, the command, after much deliberation, was 
given to St. Clair. On the 7th of September, 1791, he left 
Fort Washington, and moved north, into the Miami country, 
where he arrived on the $d of November, within fifteen 
miles of the Indian villages. His army, by desertions, had 
dwindled from over two thousand men down to fourteen 
hundred ; and so he resolved to make a stand, and throw- 
ing up intrenchments, wait the arrival of Major Hamtrank 
with the first regiment, who had been sent back to protect 
the supplies, threatened by the savages. 

But the next morning, about a half an hour before sun- 
rise, the Indians advanced to the attack. The militia, who 
were about a quarter of a mile in advance, received the first 
shock, and immediately broke and fled back on the main 


body, bringing confusion and terror with them, and break- 
ing through the lines which at the first firing had been 
hastily formed. General Butler and Lieutenant Darke 
commanded the two wings of the army, and for a while 
kept firm. But on came the shouting savages, charging 
home on our troops with incredible daring. There were 
near fifteen hundred of them, and their war-whoops and 
yells were enough to daunt the stoutest heart. Springing 
from tree to tree, skulking through the underbrush, leap- 
ing up only to deliver their fatal fire, they gathered closer 
and closer on our shivering flanks, until at length they 
formed a complete circle of flame around the distracted 
army. The artillery was useless against such an invisible 
foe, and was soon swept by the Indians. Butler and Darke 
strove gallantly to bear up against this appalling fire, but 
the former soon fell, mortally wounded, and the Indians, 
emboldened by their success, leaped from their cover, and 
rushed with uplifted tomahawks and the most terrific shouts 
on the disordered ranks. The carnage was horrible. On 
this fearful scene the sun rose, pouring its light over the 
mingled hosts, wrapped in a cloud of their own making. 
Finding that the fire of the Americans produced but little 
effect on the concealed savages, St. Clair ordered Darke to 
charge bayonet. He obeyed, rousing the Indians from 
their lair, and driving them before him. But the moment 
he retreated in order to keep up his communication with 
the main body, they turned with increased fury upon him. 
The second time he advanced with the same success, and 
again retired, only to be enveloped in the same circle of 
fire. Major Butler, brother of the general, also made sev- 
eral gallant charges, and though so badly wounded he could 
not mount his horse alone, was helped into the saddle, and 
thus led his men fiercely to the attack.* 

But the best officers having at length fallen, all order was 
lost, and the men, huddled together in a dense mass, were 
mowed down with frightful rapidity. All around, soldiers 
were seen struggling single-handed with the Indians, while 
the edges of this dense crowd crumbled away like banks of 
mist. St. Clair, though sick and scarcely able to sit his 
horse, rode among the ranks striving in vain to restore 
order. He had received eight bullets through his coat, and 

* Vifc Dr. Giijnan's Address before the New York Uistorical Society. 


seeing at length that to keep his position was simply tc pro- 
long the butchery, he ordered a retreat. Directing Darke 
to charge the Indians in rear and open a passage along the 
road, the remnants of the bleeding army broke into a wild 
and headlong flight. The savages pursued them with ter- 
rible slaughter for three or four miles, and then turned back 
for the spoils. 

That little battle-field presented a horrid aspect the 
ground was literally covered with the dead and wounded, 
and among them the maddened savages moved with toma- 
hawk and scalping-knife, crushing in the skulls of those 
still breathing, and scalping the helpless. General Butler 
was among the wounded, and as he lay weltering in his 
blood, an Indian approached and buried his tomahawk in 
his brain and tore away his scalp, and then dug out his 
heart and divided it into as many pieces as there were 
tribes, and distributed them about. Nearly nine hundred 
Americans were killed or wounded, and such a ghastly 
spectacle as that field presented is seldom witnessed on the 
earth. The blood stood in pools, and the bodies, mutilated 
and gashed in the most revolting manner, lay in naked 
piles. The Indians, in contempt of the rapacity of the 
white man, who was seeking their lands, filled the mouths 
of the dead with earth, and thus left them unburied to 
bleach in the November sun. Two years after, when 
Wayne with his army crossed this battle-ground, its " ap- 
pearance was most melancholy." "Within the space of 
three hundred and fifty yards square were found five hun- 
dred skull-bones, and for five miles in the direction of the 
retreat of the army the woods were strewn with skeletons 
and muskets."* 

This disastrous defeat filled the country with gloom, ahd 
loud and deep were the clamors against St. Clair. He 
asked for a court of inquiry into his conduct, but it was not 
granted, and Washington, refusing to sympathize with the 
popular feeling against him, still gave him his confidence, 
and insisted on his retaining his command, which he wished 
to resign. The mass of mankind judge by results alone, 
and hence St. Clair suffered dreadfully in public estimation; 
but it is hard to put one's finger on the mistake he made. 
He could not prevent the militia from breaking through his 

's Bpok ojf the Iniians, a.nd Cplonel Stone's JLife of 


lines, or arrest the murderous fire which followed. The 
truth of the whole matter is, St. Clair was not the man to 
head the expedition, and Washington would never have se- 
lected him but for the difficulties attending the advance- 
ment of a younger officer to the post. His army was a 
miserable affair at best torn by dissensions, weakened by 
desertions, and rendered unmanageable by the rivalries and 
jealousies of the officers. But all these evils disappear be- 
fore a stern and energetic commander, while they always 
come to the surface under one whom nobody respects. 
Greene and Wayne would have made short work with them, 
and by inspiring both fear and confidence, kept their troops 
together and submissive. St. Glair's fault lay in his charac- 
/<?/-, not in his actions. Though an able and excellent man, 
he found himself in a position for which nature never fitted 

There is an anecdote connected with this defeat, related 
to me by a gentleman who knew St. Clair, too illustrative 
of Washington to be lost. An adjutant-general, Sargent, 
who was wounded in the battle, immediately left the army, 
and made his way back to the seat of government. Being 
a man of wealth, he was enabled to get transported with 
great rapidity, and hence preceded by several days the 
news of the defeat. Washington invited him to Mount 
Vernon, where he remained nearly a fortnight before St. 
Glair's despatches arrived, and yet in all this time the former 
never asked him a question of the battle, or of the causes 
of the overthrow. Although filled with the deepest anxiety, 
he was afraid his mind might be prejudiced by hearing a 
one-sided story, and so he remained entirely silent on the 
subject. His dread of doing injustice overcame his desire 
to hear the particulars of the defeat ; and Sargent said, 
that during the whole time he was at his house, one neve, 
would have known a battle had been fought, but for tht. 
regular inquiry every morning respecting his wound. 

St. Clair lived twenty-seven years after this poor and 
destitute, spending much of his time in besieging the doors 
of Congress for a settlement of his claims. Government 
owed him justly a large sum ; indeed he had advanced his 
own money to defray its expenses ; and it is a lasting dis- 
grace that the debt was not cancelled. He died at Laurel 
Hill, Philadelphia, August 3ist, 1818, at the advanced age 
of eighty-four. 



St. Clair was a most excellent and able man, full of 
integrity, just and kind. He possessed talents, but no 
genius, and was never made for a military character of our 
times. Careful, methodical, governed entirely by rules, he 
had no power of adaptation and no quickness of perception, 
and hence never changed his course because the circum- 
stances in which he was placed had changed. He was 
brave, self-collected, and steady, but too deliberate and 
precise in all his plans and movements to make an efficient, 
energetic commander. He was unfortunate throughout, 
and never in his whole military career met with anything 
but defeat. Indeed, he never showed any superior military 
ability, and his life in the field was one long, sad failure. 
One cannot help pitying him, for he deserved, from his 
integrity, patriotism, and honest endeavors, a better fate 
than he received. 


His Early Life Heads a Forlorn Hope against the Cherokees Fires 
the Last Cannon in the Battle of Fort Moultrie Bravery at Savannah 
Breaks his Leg by Leaping from a Window in Charleston Is Hunted 
from Cover to Cover Left alone in the Field Joins Gates Appointed 
over a Brigade Its Appearance, and that of Marion His First Expe- 
dition Fight at the Black Mingo Camp at Snow's Island Pursued 
by Tarleton By Watson, and Defeats him His Camp Destroyed by 
Doyle Battle of King's Mountain Joined by Lee Takes Forts 
Watson and Motte Takes Georgetown Defeats Frazier Bravery at 
Eutaw Affair at Quimby Bridge Takes his Seat in the Legislature 
Retires to his Farm His Marriage Noble Conduct in the Senate 
His Character and Death. 

MARION, SUMPTER, and LEE are names immortalized in 
the annals of Southern warfare. These did not rank as 
major-generals in the army, yet they commanded more or 
less separate portions of the country, and frequently carried 
on an independent warfare. They were partisan leaders ; 
and as partisan war, especially in the South, constituted 
such an important feature in our Revolutionary struggle. 
I venture to depart from my original plan, and place 
MARION, the chief of them, in the group of major-generals. 
Though usually operating in small detachments, the com- 
bined action and influence of those leaders were equal to 
Ihat of a division of the army, and for a long time the fate 
of the Carolinas was in their keeping. A partisan warfare 
calls into action qualities different from those needed in a 
commander-in-chief. Celerity, boldness, and personal 
prowess are usually the characteristics of a partisan officer. 
Stratagems take the place of extensive combinations, and 
secret excursions that of an open campaign. Reckless 
daring is better than discipline ; for the sudden onset is 
demanded oftener than the open field-fight. A good par- 
tisan leader may become an able commander of an army, 
though, to be the former, it is not necessary one should pos- 
sess the qualities of the latter. 


<D RJ 


A predatory warfare was carried on to some extent by 
the Indians all along our northwestern and western fron- 
tiers, furnishing occasions to exhibit the hardihood and 
valor of our early settlers ; but in the south it became a 
pertnanent thing, and assumed a settled character. The 
presence of a great army would swallow up for awhile these 
independent companies ; but at the withdrawal, or defeat of 
the former, the latter sprung again into existence, and hung 
like a cloud around the victorious enemy. No sooner did 
Lincoln surrender at Charleston, than from every swamp of 
the Carolinas started up bands of resolute men, ready to 
dispute with the invader the right to the soil. Out of the 
wreck of Gates's army arose, phoenix-like, a new form of 
opposition, which showed the thrice-conquered country un 
conquered still. 

Marion's career embodies more of romance, personal ad- 
venture, hairbreadth escapes, wild daring, and heroic courage 
than usually falls to the lot of any man. During all that 
distressful period when our country was bleeding at every 
pore, his patriotism burned with a pure flame, and his hand 
was ever ready to strike. Whether we behold him in his 
solitary island encampment, amid the dark pine-trees, on 
whose branches his sentinels sit eating his rude meal by 
the light of the blazing fire, or stealing with his chosen Dand 
of horsemen, by midnight, through the forest, to the unsus- 
pecting enemy, or bursting with his fierce war-cry on the 
British dragoons, or with sword waving above his head lead- 
ing his brave militia to the shock of the bayonet ; he is the 
same cautious, daring, prompt, and resolute man. From the 
shades of the gloomy swamp, by the light of his lonely 
watch-fires, in the midst of battle, that same swarthy, calm, 
thoughtful face, looks steadily upon us, and that pierc- 
ing black eye holds our earnest gaze. Through all the 
changes that came and went like shadows over the distracted 
south, the shout of ** Marion's men " rings cheerily out, and 
their rifle-shot is heard, sending hope and courage through 
thousands of brave, but desponding hearts. 

FRANCIS MARION was born at Winyah, near Georgetown, 
South Carolina, in 1732 the same year which gave birth 
to Washington. His grandfather was one of the Huguenots 
of France, who fled to this country to escape persecution at 
home. Of diminutive proportions, and feeble frame, he 
seemed destined to an early grave, rather than to the long 


and arduous career he pursued with such honor to himself v 
and good to his country. But at twelve years of age his 
health became firm, and that defiant, untamed spirit, which 
afterwards characterized him, began to exhibit itself. At 
sixteen he undertook a voyage to the West Indies, and was 
shipwrecked. Six days in an open boat on the sea, without 
provisions, except a dead dog, and without water, seem to 
have cured him of his roving propensities ; and he retired 
to the farm of his father. 

He had but just arrived at maturity when his father died : 
and after a short residence with his mother and brother Ga- 
briel, he removed to Bell Isle, near Eutaw Springs, where he 
ever afterwards' lived, and where his bones now rest. At 
the commencement of the French and Indian war, he enlisted 
as a private in a regiment of cavalry commanded by his 
brother. Afterwards he was appointed lieutenant under 
Moultrie, in an expedition against the Cherokees ; and in an 
attack on them at Etchoee, led a forlorn-hope of thirty-one 
men, only ten of whom escaped unwounded. The battle 
raged with sanguinary ferocity for six hours, when the 
savages gave way. After the peace, he returned to his farm, 
and between the labors of the field and the excitement of 
hunting, passed his life till the eventful year of 1775. The 
quarrel with the mother country then assuming a more 
alarming aspect, he entered warmly into the cause of the 
colonies, and was elected member of the provincial Congress 
of South Carolina. Casting his vote in favor of the act that 
bound the South and North together in a common brother- 
hood, he soon after received from that body the commission 
of captain in one of the three regiments raised for the 
defence of the colony. From this time till June of the next 
year, he was busy recruiting his regiment, disciplining his 
men, and performing the various duties of his station. 
His company composed a part of that gallant few, who 
so bravely defended Fort Moultrie for eleven hours 
against the combined attack of the British fleet. It is said 
the last gun fired on that day was directed by him. As the 
ships were retiring, he gave them a parting salute, and so 
well aimed was the piece, that the shot struck the cabin of 
the commander's ship, killing two young officers drinking 
at the table ; then coursing onward, shattered in pieces three 
sailors in its passage, and, finally, bathed in the blood of its 
foes, "sunk with sullen joy to the bottom." This was but a 


presage of the destruction he was yet to carry through the 
ranks of the enemy merely a messenger of deeds to be done. 

After the battle, he continued for a while in command of 
the fort, but was engaged in no important action till the 
fatal attack on Savannah, by Count D'Estaing and General 
Lincoln. In the attempt to carry the town by storm, Marion 
was in the column led on by the gallant Laurens, and saw 
with the deepest indignation the terrible sacrifice of life 
that succeeded. 

In the defence and fall of Charleston, which followed, 
Marion took no part, and hence was saved to the country 
in a time when his services were most needed. The merest 
accident, however, prevented his sharing the fate of Lincoln 
and his army. Soon after the siege commenced, he was 
invited, with a party of friends, to dine at the house of a 
gentleman in the city. After dinner, the host good-naturedly 
turned the key of the door on his guests, declaring that 
none should depart till they were all well filled with wine. 
Marion was a man of temperate, abstemious habits, and not 
wishing to offend his host by raising a disturbance with his 
half-tipsy companions, coolly threw up a window and leaped 
out. They were dining in the second story, and Marion 
came to the ground -with such force that he broke his 
ankle. This rendered him unfit for service, and he was 
carried on a litter out of the place, so as not to add to the 
burdens of the besieged. 

After the fall of Charleston and defeat of Beaufort, the 
whole surrounding country was in possession of the enemy, 
and Marion's position became exceedingly critical. Hunted 
from cover to cover, and too crippled to help himself, he 
was entirely dependent on his friends for safety. Some- 
times in the thicket, and sometimes in the field, he lurked 
from one place of concealinent to another until he was at 
length able to ride on horseback ; when, gathering around 
him a few friends, he started for North Carolina, to join 
Baron de Kalb on his way thither from Virginia. Poor and 
penniless, without any prospect of pay, and impelled only 
by a devoted love to his country, he pursued his weary way 
northward. Horry, his companion and friend, in speaking 
of their poverty, says, " except for carrying a knife, or a 
horse-fleam, or a gun-flint, we had no more use for a pocket 
than a Highlander has for a knee-buckle. As to hard 
money, we had not seen a dollar for years/' 


In the mean time, Gates had superseded De Kalb, 
commenced that series of blunders which ended in his over- 
throw and the destruction of the army. Marion joined him 
with but twenty men, all told, and a most sorry company 
they were. Mounted on such horses as they could get, clad 
in tattered garments, with small leather caps on their heads, 
and equipped with rusty firelocks, powder-horns, and scarce 
a bayonet among them, they moved the mirth of the regular 
soldiers and the contempt of Gates. But this brave partisan 
was worth a hundred of such men as Gates, and had the 
latter consulted him, his fate might have been different. 
From Marion's side the militia were never known to fly, as 
they did from their leaders in the disastrous battle of 
Camden. But he was spared the pain of witnessing the 
errors that preceded and brought on the action, and per- 
haps the death he would doubtless have sought beside the 
brave De Kalb. For while in camp, he received a message 
from the Whigs of Williamsburg to become their leader,, 
and immediately departed to take command. Gates, sure 
of victory, ordered him to destroy all the scows and boats 
on the way, so as to prevent the doomed Cornwallis from 
escaping. The brigade over which he found himself was 
composed of undisciplined, but brave and hardy men, 
accustomed to the use of firearms, and fatal marksmen. Its 
after history was one of patient toil, privations, perilous 
adventures, and heroic deeds, unsurpassed in the annals of 
partisan warfare. 

At this time, Marion received his commission as brigadier 
from Governor Rutledge ; though from his dress one would 
never have supposed him to be a general. He was now 
forty-eight years of age, small, lean, and swarthy, but firmly 
set, and of iron sinews. He wore a scarlet-colored outer 
jacket, of coarse cloth, and a leather cap with a silver cres- 
cent in front, on which was inscribed " Liberty or Death." 
His new troops were no better equipped than himself ; but 
their wants were few, and if they could but get arms and 
ammunition, the regimentals could be dispensed with. In 
order to supply themselves with swords, they took the saws 
from the neighboring sawmills, and hammered them into 
stout blades ; which, though not of Damascus temper and 
polish, would, in the brawny hands that wielded them, cleave 
a man to the spine at a blow. Without tents or baggage, 
with but few blankets, their intrepid leader having but one 


to serve both for his bed and covering, they mounted their 
fleet horses and entered on their adventurous career. They 
were bold riders, and could fire as well from the saddle as 
from the ground ; and, proud and careful of their steeds, 
often starved their own stomachs to feed them. Marion, 
soon after he set out, obtained a splendid horse, from a 
Tory, named Ball, which would outstrip the wind in speed, 
and could swim like a dog. Many a dark night, when the 
horses of his column would refuse to enter a deep river, the 
farther shore of which could not be seen, has Ball boldly 
plunged into the stream with his fearless master, and drawn 
the whole troop after him. 

Thus equipped and thus commanded, this mounted bri. 
gade started off on its first expedition. At the outset Maripn 
showed his men what kind of service he expected of them. 
Ordering them to ride all night, he came up in the morning 
with a large party of Tories encamped at Butler's Neck, and 
fell on them with such suddenness and fury, that the whole 
party was scattered as if a whirlwind had swept through it. 

Many of those who composed Marion's troop were men 
of amazing physical strength daring riders, and desperate 
fighters. In this first encounter, one of them, named James,* 
made at Major Gainey, who commanded the Tories, and 
chased him for a half a mile along the road. Leaning over 
his saddle, with his drawn sword in his hand, he swept on- 
ward in such a headlong gallop, that he soon left all his com- 
panions far behind. With his flashing eye fixed on his antag- 
onist, on whom he was gaining at every spring, he did not 
see that he was dashing, all alone, into a large body of 
Tories, who had rallied in their flight. Not a moment was 
to be lost to retreat was impossible and without tighten- 
ng the rein he waved his sword over his head, and shout- 
ing, as if a whole troop were at his back : " Come on, boys; 
here they are ! " burst like a thunderbolt into their very midst. 
The whole party broke without firing a shot, and fled to the 

Halting only long enough to rest his men and horses, 
Marion went in search of another detachment of Tories. 
On coming up he found them too strongly posted to be 
attacked in their position, and so beguiled them into art 

* There were five brothers of this nama, all in Marion's brigade ; and 
mta they wn. 


ambush, when he fell on them so unexpectedly, that ha 
dispersed them without losing a man. He then marched 
for the Upper Santee, and on his route heard of the defeat 
of Gates, at Camden. Concealing the news from his men, 
lest they should be discouraged, he pushed on to intercept 
a party, which his scouts informed him was coming down 
the river with a large number of prisoners, taken at Camden, 
in their charge. Marching rapidly forward, he got posses- 
sion of a defile, through which they were to pass, and at 
daylight attacked them, both in front and rear, with such 
suddenness that they gave but one volley, and fled. Twenty- 
four British soldiers, and a hundred and fifty Continentals 
of the Maryland line, were the fruits of this victory. 

Marion now found himself alone in the field the South- 
ern army was annihilated, and he was left single-handed to 
resist the overwhelming force of the enemy. But his brave 
followers, instead of being discouraged, as he feared they 
would be, rose in daring and determination as the danger 
thickened clinging faithfully to their leader. This bold 
band, on their fleet horses, darted from point to point now 
breaking up a recruiting party now dispersing and dis- 
heartening the loyalists, and again cutting off supplies of the 
British army, or falling on their outposts, and beating up 
their quarters, till at length Cornwallis was irritated beyond 
all endurance. He had cut up our army, and if left alone 
for only a short time, could fill the country with such an 
array of Tories, that the Whig militia would be overawed 
and subdued. .But this policy could not be carried out, so 
long as this wily partisan was scouring the country with his 
riders. The Tories themselves were afraid to gather to- 
gether, for they could scarcely organize before the crack of 
his rifles sent them frightened to their homes, and roused 
the courage of the Whigs. 

At length Cornwallis wrote to Tarleton, to get hold of 
* Mr. Marion," at all hazards ; and soon this daring, relent- 
less officer was after him with his dreaded legion. With 
only a hundred and fifty men Marion was unable to com- 
pete with this force : but still hoping for some favorable 
opportunity to strike, he sent out Major James the same 
*rho had charged, all alone, so valiantly, a large band of 
Tories, while he was chasing down Gainey to reconnoitre. 
With a few picked men he set forth on his perilous mission, 
which he contrived, before he got through with it, to make 


still more dangerous. Concealing his little party in a thicket, 
at sunset, by the road along which he knew the enemy to be 
inarching, he waited their approach. Soon after dark he 
heard the tread of the advancing column ; and notwith- 
standing his dangerous proximity, determined to stay and 
count the troops as they passed. By the light of the moon, 
in whose rays the long line of bayonets sparkled, he could 
distinguish everything. With laughter and mirth the shin- 
ing procession passed on ; but at sight of the Tories who 
followed, ttue bold partisan's wrath was so kindled that he 
resolved to leave his mark on them before he left. In the 
rear of the cavalcade were several stragglers, and these 
James selected as the objects of his fury. At a given signal 
the spurs sunk into the flanks of their steeds, and those 
fierce horsemen cleared the thicket with a single bound, and 
emerged into the moonlight. With their sabres gleaming 
above them, and a terrible shout, they fell on the panic- 
struck wretches the next moment, each with his prisoner 
behind him was sweeping in a tearing gallop along the 
road, the echo of their horses' feet rapidly dying away in 
the distance. Before daybreak he was with Marion. The 
news of the enemy's force was even worse than the latter 
had feared ; and the officers retired to consult, while the 
men sat on their horses to wait the issue. There was no 
alternative they must take refuge inflight ; and the gallant 
band obeyed, though they received the announcement with 
groans. The next evening, at sunset, with only sixty men, 
he commenced his march for North Caroline,. The merci- 
less invaders had it now their own way, and swept through 
the country with fire and sword. The ashes of nouses and 
churches burned to the ground, lands laid waste, and mur- 
dered men, were the monuments they left along the track of 
their desolating march : but a score of wrongs and cruelties 
was run up, yet to be wiped out with their own'blood. 

The immediate effect of these barbarities was to arouse 
the militia to resistance. Marion, who had traveled night 
and day till he reached North Carolina, soon learned from 
his scouts of the rallying of the country, and joyfully 
hastened back to the scene of danger. The rapidity of his 
march shows the amazing celerity of his movements and 
the wonderful endurance possessed by his men. He 
traveled night and day, and the second day marched sixty 
miles. Being joined on his way by reinforcements, he im^ 


Mediately planned a night attack on a large party of Tories 
encamped on the Black Mingo. Though they outnumbered 
him two to one, his men were fierce for the fight, and he 
determined to gratify them. The ferry across the river 
was commanded so completely by the enemy, that it would 
be impossible to force it, while the only other route to their 
camp was through a swamp and over a plank bridge about 
a mile farther up. The latter Marion resolved to take, and 
pressing on through the darkness, he with his men reached 
the bridge about midnight, and immediately began to cross 
it in close and firm order, hoping to take the enemy by 
surprise. But the clatter of the horses' feet on the loose 
planks was heard by the sentinel, and an alarm-gun fired in 
the distance. Concealment was now over, and spurring to 
the head of his column, Marion ordered his men to follow 
on a gallop ; and away they dashed, making the bridge 
rattle and creak under their feet. When he came within 
about three hundred yards of the Tories, he ordered his 
militia-men to dismount and fasten their horses. He then 
planned his attack ; and falling on them both in front and 
rear at the same time, after a short but bloody conflict laid 
half of their number prostrate on the field, and drove the 
remainder into the swamps ; but his own brigade also 
suffered severely. His loss was often greater, from the 
fact that he much of the time had no surgeon in his band, 
and hence the wounded would frequently bleed to death. 
The alarm given also, while he was yet a mile off, had 
allowed the enemy time to rally, and choose their own field 
of battle. But Marion learned a lesson by this which he 
never forgot ; and ever after, when a bridge was to be 
crossed, he covered it with the blankets of his men, so as to 
deaden the sound. 

Those night marches and night battles added inconceiv- 
ably to the mystery and romance of his character. They 
remind us of olden stores of outlaws and robber bands, 
and present a series ot pictures worthy the pencil of Sal- 
vator Rosa. The marshalling of those uncouth-looking, 
coarse-clad men, at sunset ; the winding of the silent 
column through the gloomy swamp, where even the moon- 
light seemed darkened ; the array of stern-knit brows which 
pressed close after that solemn, swarthy face, when danger 
was near ; the watch-fires of -he unsuspecting enemy in the 
instance ; tte sudden bias* of bugles ; the clatter of gallop- 


ing steeds, and the shouts of fierce riders as they burst in 
one wild torrent on the foe, combine to throw an air of 
mystery and poetry around Marion that make us fascinated 
with his character. Slightly made, reserved almost sol- 
emn given to no excess, very abstemious in all his habits, 
kind and gentle even to his foes, but stern as death when 
aroused, seeking no emolument, and receiving no reward, 
sustained alone by a lofty patriotism, he is just the man 
around whom to weave romances, and gather all that is 
picturesque and thrilling in human life. Thus a short time 
after the affair at Black Mingo, he came again at midnight 
upon a party of Tories wrapped in sleep, and rode over 
them ere they could rise from their repose. 

He was soon after pressed closely by Tarleton, with a 
superior force, and came near falling into his hands, through 
the treachery of one of his recruits but escaping by a sud- 
den flight, he led his enraged adversary through swamps 
and morasses twenty-five miles, till the latter gave over, 
saying, " Come, my boys, let us go back. We will soon find 

the game cock (meaning Sumpter) ; but as for this d d 

swamp fox, the devil himself could not catch him." 

Every adventure of this character added to the influence 
and strength of Marion. 


His camp at Snow's Island, whither he now retired after 
an unsuccessful attempt on Georgetown, was calculated to 
increase it still more. This island is situated in the Pedee, 
where Lynch's Creek empties into it, and at the time he 
selected it as a place of retreat, was covered in the more 
elevated parts with tall pine-trees, and in the lower portions 
with dense cane-brakes. All the boats in the region, except 
those moored to his island castle, he ordered to be de- 
stroyed , and here amid the wildness and beauty of nature, 
this bold partisan pitched his camp, and ruled like an 
ancient feudal lord. He strengthened the natural defences 
around him, while the few avenues that led to his retreat 
were guarded by trusty rifles. A more picturesque scene 
cannot be imagined than this camp presented on a bright 
warm day. There, in the tali cool forest, those hardy war- 
riors, in their uncouth garments, lay stretched on the 
ground, or sat scattered around, preparing their repast of 


potatoes, while the smoke of the fires, curling slowly up 
through the tree-tops, struggled almost in vain to reach the 
open space of heaven. On every side, half-hid by the 
trunks and foliage, horses were browsing with their saddles 
on and the bits dangling about their necks, ready at a mo- 
ment's warning to be mounted ; and from the branches of the 
trees swords hung idly suspended. Here and there, through 
the trees, blue wreaths of smoke were seen rising where the 
outposts were engaged at their frugal meal, while down 
that dark and silent avenue, which led to the shore, the 
rifles of sentinels gleamed amid the shrubbery. 

But as one gazes into that camp, the object of deepest 
interest there is a single sleeper. His slight form is thrown 
upon the ground, and though the piercing black eye is 
veiled, that calm swarthy face reveals the partisan leader. 
He sleeps soundly, securely and well he may amid that 
circle of iron-hearted men ; for at his slightest cry a hun- 
dred swords would leap from their scabbards ; and bold 
must be the foeman who then and there would dare press 
upon him. He sleeps well ; but a slight touch has awak- 
ened him, and he rises to hear the message brought by one 
of his scouts. A band of Tories is near, laying waste the 
country. In a moment that quiet camp is alive with the 
bustle of preparation ; and lo ! that column of horsemen i? 
winding its way to the river. 

Before morning their war-shout will be heard, and the 
strokes of their sabres felt by the spoilers of the land. 

It was here he received the visit of the English officer, 
and dined him on roasted potatoes. Marion's fare was 
always simple in the extreme vinegar and water mixed 
composing his only drink. " His favorite time for moving 
was with the setting sun, and then it was known the march 
would continue all night. Before striking any sudden 
blow, he has been known to march sixty or seventy miles, 
taking no other food in twenty-four hours than a meal of 
cold potatoes and a draught of cold. water. His scouts 
were out in all directions, and at all hours. They were 
taught a peculiar and shrill whistle, which at night could be 
heard at a most astonishing distance. They did the double 
duty of patrols and spies. They hovered about the posts 
of the enemy, crouching in the thickets or darting along the 
plain, picking up prisoners, and information, and spoils 
r, ipumetimes the single scout, buried in the thick 


top of a tree, looked down upon the march of his legions, 
or hung perched over the encampment till it slept, the* 
slipped down, stole through the silent host, carrying off a 
drowsy sentinel or a favorite charger, upon which the dar- 
ing spy flourished conspicuous among his less fortunate 
companions."* Among this hardy band, none had greater 
powers of endurance than Marion. In summer and win- 
ter he had but one blanket to protect him from cold and 
storms, and this, after a while, he lost. Lying one night 
upon some straw, it took fire while he was asleep, and the 
blanket was nearly consumed he himself narrowly escaping 
a severe scorching. It mattered not to him, however ; with 
his hominy or potatoes, his vinegar and water, he would ride 
sixty miles on a stretch, and then fight a battle before rest- 
ing. He never informed his men of the length of his pro- 
posed expeditions, and the only way they could ascertain it 
was to see how much hominy or corn meal his servant put 
up. He frequently went into action with only three rounds 
of ammunition to each man ; and sometimes without any 
or even arms to a portion of his company. In such cases 
the men would coolly stand and watch the fight, till their 
companions shot down some of the enemy, when they would 
rush up and take possession of their muskets and cartridges. 
Siw-mill saws furnished broad-swords, but there was a 
oreadful scarcity of bullets. If the militia could obtain 
buck-shot, they were satisfied ; but they were often com- 
pelled to fight with nothing but swan-shot, which, though 
peppering a great many, killed but few in proportion. 

Such was Marion, and such were his men and equipments, 
when he pitched his camp on Snow's Island. But here re- 
inforcements began to come in ; and he soon found himself 
a brigadier in strength, as well as in name. 

About this time, however, he met with two heavy losses, 
one of which wrung his heart, and the other weakened his 
power. His nephew, Gabriel Marion, whom he loved with 
the affection of a father, a young officer of great bravery 
and promise, was taken prisoner by the Tories, and cruelly 
massacred. The blow fell heavy upon him, and many a 
deep and terrible oath was sworn by his band to avenge 
his death. The supposed murderer was afterward taken, 
and slain before Marion could interpose to his rescue. 

* Vide Sinims, pages 163, 167, 171. 


The other calamity was the loss of Sumpter's services. 
This gallant chief had met Tarleton, and utterly routed him 
at Blackstoek. Pushing on with four hundred mounted 
men, the British leader fell furiously on him, but was re- 
pulsed, with the loss of nearly two hundred men. Sumpter 
had only three killed, and three wounded out of his 
whole command ; but among the latter was himself. A 
bullet struck his breast, inflicting a terrible wound. "His 
devoted followers immediately wrapped him in the raw hide 
of a bulUnck, and slinging him between two horses, sent 
him, guarded by a hundred resolute men, into North Caro- 
lina. It was a long time before he could again take the 

But if disasters thickened in one quarter, hope brightened 
in another. In October of this year, 1780, occurred the 


Colonel Ferguson had been detached by Cornwallis to 
the frontiers of North Carolina, to encourage and arm the 
loyalists, and intimidate the patriots. He swept the coun- 
try with fire and sword, and drove the defenceless mothers 
and children, with ribald shouts, from their blazing homes. 
Women were ravished, and every enormity human depravity 
could suggest practiced. These outrages at length aroused 
the mountaineers to the highest pitch of desperation. 
Rallying in haste, they appointed their own officers, and 
demanded immediately to be led against the bloody mon- 
ster. Mounted each on his horse, with only a wallet and a 
blanket, they set forward. At night they slept on the damp 
earth, and in the morning again pressed resolutely on. At 
every step they came upon the marks of the ravages of the 
enemy, which whetted into keener vengeance their already 
excited passions. Ferguson, hearing of the storm that was 
gathering around him, retired to a hill covered with trees, 
and shaped somewhat like a flattened cone, and there 
planted his men, and awaited the onset. At length the 
enraged patriots found him, and with cries of vengeance, 
swarmed in a crowd at the base of the hill. Colonels Cleve- 
land, Campbell, Selby, Sevier, Williams, and others led them 
on. The first, addressing his men, said : " My brave fel- 
lows, we have beat the Tories, and can do it again. When 
you are engaged, you are not to wait the word of command 


from me : I will show you, by my example, how to fight. I 
can undertake no more. Every man must consider himself 
an officer, and act from his own judgment. Fire as quick 
as you can, and stand your ground as long as you can. 
When you can do no better, get behind trees, and retreat ; 
but I beg of you not to run quite off. If we are repulsed, 
let us return to the fight ; perhaps we will have better luck 
the second time. If any of you are afraid, such have leave 
to retire, and I beg they will immediately take themselves 
off."* They shouted to be led forward ; and driving the 
advanced guard of the British before them, streamed up 
the heights, and surrounding the enemy, began to pour in 
their rapid fire. Ferguson ordered his men to charge 
bayonet ; and moving intrepidly on the column of Cleveland, 
drove it back. But while pressing up his advantage, Selby 
began to ascend the farther side, compelling him to turn 
back and defend himself, which he did like a tiger at bay, 
and the Americans again recoiled. But Cleveland's men, 
following the advice which had been given them, rallied 
anew, and rushed, with loud shouts, to the charge. Camp- 
bell also had now come up, and the battle raged like a 
storm, there on the crest of the hill. Ferguson found him- 
seif completely hemmed in, yet continued to fight like a 
desperado. He knew there was no hope for him if once 
CSUght by those outraged Americans, and he strained every 
nerve to clear himself from the circle of fire that was every 
moment contracting closer and closer. Charge after charge 
of bayonet was made, but those determined men recoiled 
only to spring with more desperate energy to the encounter. 
They called on Ferguson to surrender but he sternly re- 
fused ; and rallying his diminished troops around him, 
bravely fell, with his sword waving over him. His troops 
then called for quarter and the battle ceased. The British 
lost in all, eleven hundred killed, wounded, and prisoners ; 
together with their arms and munitions of war. The ex- 
cited patriots spared the English soldiers, but many of the 
Tories were strung up to the trees before order could be 

This was a severe blow to Cornwallis, and filled the 
Tories with terror. 

The prospect around Marion was relieved now and then 

* Vide Memoirs of Moultrie. 


by such bright spots, and the cause of liberty strengthened. 
At length, when Greene took command of the Southern 
army, the sky began slowly to brighten. He did not, like 
Gates, despise such men as Marion, Sumpter, and others, 
but leaned heavily upon them, and, as the sequel proved, 
not in vain. He wrote immediately to Marion, encouraging 
and strengthening him. 

About this time occurred one of those incidents so fre- 
quent during the Revolution, and which illustrate the char- 
acter of our people. Washington, with his cavalry, came 
upon the British Colonel Rugely, posted in a strong re- 
doubt and knowing that it would be vain to attack him 
simply with horsemen, ordered a pine log to be hewn into 
the shape of a cannon and mounted on a pair of wagon- 
wheels. With this he slowly and solemnly approached the 
redoubt, and summoned the English commander to sur- 
render. Seeing such a formidable piece of artillery ap- 
proach, the latter concluded it would be useless to attempt 
a defence, and yielded the post. Cornwallis, speaking of it 
in a letter to Tarleton, very significantly remarks, " Rugely 
will not be made a brigadier" 

Soon after Lee joined Marion, and the two together made 
an attack on Georgetown, which was only partially success- 
ful. But when Greene commenced his famous retreat, Lee 
was called to his aid, and Marion again left alone. He, 
however, did not relax his efforts, but with his little band, 
and sustained by such trusty men as Horry, Macdonald, 
James, and others, kept the Tories and British detachments 
in constant alarm. 

A British officer, Major McElrath, was sent out to destroy 
his band ; but Marion -attacked him with such vigor that he 
forced him to retreat. The latter being without cavalry, 
was compelled finally to take a strong position and ofter 
battle. But the wily partisan knew too well where his 
strength lay to accept it, and coolly encamped near him, 
waiting until he should move again. While the two forces 
were occupying this position, the British officer sent Marion 
a challenge to single combat. The latter replied, that if he 
wished to see a fight between twenty picked men, he had 
no objection. The proposition was accepted, and all the 
arrangements made for this strange encounter, which 
seemed to transport one back to knightly days. Marion 
picked out his own men ; and, when everything was ready, 


addressed them in his usually pithy style : " My brave 
soldiers," said he, " you are twenty men picked out of my 
whole brigade. I know you all, and have often witnessed 
your bravery. In the name of your country I call upon 
you to show it. My confidence in you is great : I am sure 
it will not be disappointed. Fight like men as you always 
have done, and you are sure of the victory." This was a 
long speech for him, and it was received with loud shouts 
by those resolute men. They had no bullets, and so 
rammed home good heavy charges of buck-shot, and 
marched out towards where the British stood drawn up in 
order. Vanderhorst, who commanded this gallant little 
band, turned to Witherspoon, the second officer, and asked 
" what distance he would prefer, as the most sure, to strike 
with buck-shot ? " " Fifty yards for the first fire," he replied. 
" Then," said Vanderhorst, turning to the men, " when we 
get within fifty yards, as I am not a good judge of distance, 
Mr. Witherspoon will tap me on the shoulder ; I will then 
give the word, my lads, and you will then form on my left 
opposite to these fellows. As you form, each man will fire 
at the one directly opposite, and my word for it few will 
need a second shot." * They advanced boldly, till within 
about a hundred yards of the British, when the latter, at 
the order of their officer, retreated. The Americans then 
halted, gave three cheers, and marched laughing back to 
their companions. 

That night McElrath broke up his camp, and, leaving his 
heavy baggage behind, commenced a precipitate retreat. 
In the morning, Marion followed him though he finally, 
out of respect to an enemy who had shown a forbearance 
towards the people not practiced by any other British officer, 
called off his troop. 

Colonel Watson was next despatched, with a strong force, 
to destroy our unconquerable partisan. The latter boldly 
advanced to meet him, and coming up with his guard at 
Wiboo Swamp, immediately commenced the attack. Horry, 
who commanded his cavalry, was thrown back in disorder, 
which Marion no sooner discovered, than he cried out 
"charge" with such a vehement expression, that the whole 
body threw itself forward with resistless impetuosity, and 
swept the road. Watson's regulars, however, restored the 

* Vide Simms's Life of Marion. 


fight, and finally forced Marion to retreat. The Tory horse, 
following up the advantage, were pressing with dangerous 
energy upon him as he was crossing a narrow causeway, 
when Gavin James, a man of huge proportions and boiling 
courage, and mounted on a powerful gray horse, wheeled 
right in front of the whole advancing column. He was 
armed with a musket, and as he turned, took deliberate 
aim, and shot the first man dead. A whole volley blazed in 
his face, sending the bullets in a shower around his head, 
not one of which however struck him. A dragoon rushing 
forward, he transfixed him with the bayonet ; a second 
coming to the rescue, fell beside his companion. Awe- 
struck at this bold horseman, as he thus sat on his steed in 
the road and hurled death around him, the whole column 
halted. In a moment Marion's cavalry was upon it, break- 
ing it in pieces, and sending the fugitives in affright back to 
their infantry. 

He then slowly retired, fighting as he went, till at length 
he threw himself across the Pedee, and destroying the 
bridge, awaited his ememy. As Watson approached the 
bank, the deadly riflemen picked off his men with fearful 
rapidity ; and when he ordered the cannon to be advanced, 
so as to clear the low grounds on the farther side, the 
artillerists fell dead beside their guns. Finding this would 
not do, he attempted to force the ford, and a detachment 
was sent forward. The officer commanding it advanced 
gallantly ; but as he approached the water, waving hij 
sword and cheering on his troops, the crack of a single rifle 
was heard, and he fell dead in his footsteps. A whole volley 
followed, which sent the thinned ranks in affright to their 
cover. Four brave fellows undertook to bear off their 
dead commander, but they all fell beside the corpse. Wat- 
son was terrified, declaring he had never seen such shooting 
in his life, and, afraid to force the passage of the river, 
resorted to skirmishing across it. 

The next day he sent a flag to Marion, complaining bit- 
terly of his barbarous practice of shooting down his pickets, 
affirming it was fit only for" robbers," and challenging him 
to come out and fight like a man and a Christian. Marion 
did not even deign a reply to this message, and coolly told 
his men to keep shooting both sentinels and pickets. But 
the flag did not go back unanswered a Sergeant McDon- 
ald, a hole] Scotchman, who had lost all his clothes in one 


of the late skirmishes, sent word to Watson, that he was 
very much in want of them, and if he did not give them up, 
he would kill eight of his men as pay. The English officer 
was thrown into a transport of rage at this insolent message ; 
but his fellow officers, who knew McDonald well, told him 
that the bold dragoon would certainly fulfil his threat. 
Watson, who had been filled with terror at the sharp-shoot- 
ing of our men, and thinking, perhaps, that he might be the 
first victim of McDonald's vengeance, actually sent back 
his clothes. But the most amusing part of the whole affair 
Was the gratitude and politeness of McDonald. He imme- 
diately returned word to Watson, that he would not now ful- 
fil his threat, and instead of killing eight of his men, would 
kill but four. Whether the former was particularly thank- 
ful for this reduction of fifty per cent., or not, is not recorded, 
but it was certainly the coolest piece of impudence one 
could well perform. To make it still worse, this fearless 
dragoon, two days after, shot an English lieutenant through 
the knee, at the distance of three hundred yards. 

At length Watson, finding he could not force the river, 
and seeing also that he had far the worst of k in skirmish- 
ing, broke up his camp and retired' precipitately towards 
Georgetown ; but Marion's men seemed everywhere present, 
and the crack of their rifles rung from every thicket. Sur- 
rounded and kept in constant trepidation, the English colo- 
nel hurried on till he reached Ox Swamp. Here he made 
a halt, for only one narrow causeway crossed the morass, 
and on that stood Marion's men, protected by trees, which 
they had felled across the road. Recoiling from the en- 
counter, Watson wheeled into the open pine-woods, and 
struck across the country for the Santee road, fifteen miles 
distant. He had not gone far, however, before Marion was 
xipon him, and when the latter came up, he found the Brit- 
ish infantry on the full trot in their precipitate flight. 
Falling on their flank and rear, he mowed them down, and 
but for the failure of a single officer, whom Horry had 
placed over an ambush party, the whole corps would have 
been captured. It made out to reach Georgetown, though 
thinned and wasted severely by Marion's rifles and heavy 

At the same time that Watson set out with his expedition, 
a Colonel Doyle, with another regiment, marched on Snow's 
Island, and wasted that romantic encampment of the partisam 


leader, capturing all his baggage and stores. This was a 
heavy blow ; and Marion, . for the first time, gave way to 
despondency. Greene was fleeing northward before the vic- 
torious Cornwallis, and South Carolina lay open to the rav- 
ages of the Tories and British, who now were able to con- 
centrate all their forces on him and his brigade. This 
hardy and patriotic chief was not fighting for victory, but 
simply to do what he could towards keeping alive the spirit 
of the Whigs ; and it is a matter of astonishment that he 
was able to retain his irregular troops about him, under such 
disheartening circumstances. The storm began to gather 
darker and more threateningly over his head, and his stern 
soul at last sunk under the accumulated dangers that mo- 
mentarily increased. In this crisis of his affairs, he did not 
know which way to turn ; and one day as he was walking 
alone, absorbed in thought, and weighed down with dis- 
couragement, Horry approached him and said : " General, 
our men are few ; and, if what I hear be true, you never 
wanted them more." Marion started, as if from a dream, 
and fixing on Horry an anxious look, exclaimed : " Go 
immediately to the field-officers, and learn from them, if, in 
the event of my being driven to the mountains, they will 
follow my fortunes, and with me carry on the war until the 
enemy is driven out of the country. Go and bring me their 
answer without delay" Away went Horry, while the anxious 
chief returned to his solitary walk and his gloomy medita- 
tions. The former had not been gone long before he 
returned with the joyful intelligence that they, one and all, 
would stand by him till death. At the news Marion's black 
eye flashed with delight, and rising on his toes, he exclaimed : 
"/ am satisfied one of these parties shall soon feel us."* 
Noble man he wanted only to know that his brave troops 
would bear all that he woulil bear, to be himself again. 

Immediately after this, he turned on Doyle, who had just 
laid waste his beautiful encampment on Snow's Island : but 
in crossing Lynch's Creek and swamp, which were overflow- 
ing with water from a recent freshet, many of his men 
lost their muskets, and with difficulty floundered through in 
the darkness. Nothing daunted, however, he pressed on, 

* Vide Simms's Life of Marion. I shall not give this book credit again, 
but say, once for all, I am almost wholly indebted to it for my facts, and 
recommend all who wish to know more of Marion to read it. 


and soon came upon traces of the flying enemy. Destroy- 
ing all his heavy baggage, and strewing the road with the 
wreck, Doyle fled towards Camden, impelled by the fear of 
Marion, and anxiety for the fate of Rawdon, on whom 
Greene, fresh from the battle of Guilford, was now rapidly 
marching. Finding him beyond his reach, Marion wheeled 
about, and set out in search of his old enemy Watson, who 
was again in the field, and hanging darkly on his flanks. 
The latter immediately fled rapidly towards Camden, and 
Marion, with Lee, who had just joined him, left the pursuit, 
and marched against Fort Watson, and invested it. But 
neither besiegers nor besieged had a single cannon, while 
the strong fortifications rendered a storm extremely hazard- 
ous. In this dilemma Marion's genius, which had helped 
him out of worse difficulties, came to his aid. He ordered 
trees to be cut down, and the logs carried on men's shoul- 
ders, close to the fort. After dark, these were piled cross- 
wise, one upon another, thus forming a huge cobhouse, high 
enough to overlook the garrison, into which the riflemen 
crawled, and waited for daylight to appear. Hardly had the 
gray dawn streaked the east, before the British were aroused 
by a shower of rifle-bullets in their midst. Finding their 
Works thus unexpectedly commanded and assailed, in the 
mean time, by a storming party, the garrison surrendered. 

Greene's bold and sudden movement on Cornwallis's line 
of Southern posts, had encouraged the Whigs, and the 
hardy mountaineers now came pouring in to Marion, and 
he soon found a respectable brigade again under his com- 
mand. Lee and Eaton having joined him, he invested, by 
Greene's direction, Fort Motte, the principal depot of pro- 
vision for the British army, between Camden and Charles- 
ton. A fine large house, belonging to Mrs. Motte, situated 
on a high hill, had been turned into a fort, and surrounded 
with a deep trench, and high parapets. The lady herself 
had been driven forth, and at this time occupied an old farm- 
house near by, where Marion also took up his headquarters. 
The Americans had only one six-pounder with which to 
batter down these fortifications ; but having completed the 
investment, and planted their single gun, the garrison was 
summoned to surrender. A refusal being returned, the 
siege went gradually on. But before the place could be 
reduced, news arrived of the rapid approach of Rawdon to 
the rescue. He had destroyed his baggage set Camden 


OR fire, and was now advancing by forced marches ; whfla 
Greene, anxious for Marion, was also straining every nerve 
to reach him first. He wrote to him to press the siege with 
the utmost despatch : but Rawdon's fires were already blaz- 
ing on the farther side of the river, and another day would 
place him in the fort. The garrison were overjoyed at the 
prospect of their deliverance ; but Marion was filled with 
the deepest perplexity, respecting the next measure to be 
adopted. There seemed no alternative but to set fire 
to the fine mansion of Mrs. Motte, within the fort if 
this could be done, the place must surrender. Marion felt 
great reluctance in proposing it to the lady, who had treated 
him and his officers with so much kindness and generosity, 
during the eight days they had consumed in the siege ; yet 
there was no other course left open to him, and he at length 
hesitatingly told her so. But Mrs. Motte was one of those 
noble South Carolina matrons, whose virtues shed lustre on 
themselves, and glory on our cause, and not only consented, 
but seemed delighted with the prospect of rendering her 
country a service. Hastening to a private apartment, she 
brought forth a bow and some arrows, which had been sent 
from India, as objects of curiosity. To those arrows com- 
bustible materials were attached and set on fire, and thus 
launched against the roof, which rose above the parapets of 
the fort. A strong militia-man shot the missiles, which, 
lighting on the dry shingles, soon kindled them into a blaze. 
The English commander immediately ordered a company 
of soldiers on the roof, to extinguish the fire ; but Marion 
had trained his six-pounder upon it with such precision, 
that they were forced to retire, and the house was soon 
wrapped in flames. This made the quarters too hot for the 
garrison, and they surrendered. 

That same night Greene entered the camp of Marion, and 
shook the hand of the worthy partisan with delight. There 
had been a slight quarrel between them, which well-nigh 
completely estranged the latter. The former had sent to 
him for some horses to replenish his cavalry, which he re- 
fused to furnish. Greene, hearing that his refusal grew out 
of unwillingness to dismount his militia, wrote him a re- 
proachful letter, which wounded his feelings so deeply that 
he resolved to resign his commission. The noble-hearted 
Greene, both grieved and alarmed at the serious light in 
which Marion viewed his complaint, wrote him immediately 


a long explanation which healed the breach before it became 
widened, and thus secured an ally who had ever been faith- 
ful, and whose aid at this critical moment was of vital im- 

After the fall of Fort Motte, Lee again left Marion, and 
the latter, with Sumpter, was appointed to hold Rawdon in 
check, while Greene could advance on Ninety-Six. They 
succeeded in driving him behind his intrenchments in and 
near Georgetown, and then began that daring game so com 
mon with our partisan troops. Marion at length took 
Georgetown, but not being able to garrison it, removed all 
the stores, provisions, etc., and abandoned it. 

In the mean time, Rawdon, having received large rein- 
forcements, became too strong for Marion, and started off 
to relieve Ninety-Six, as mentioned in the sketch of Greene. 

After the return of the former to Orangeburg, Marion 
was despatched with Sumpter and Lee, and others, to the 
south, and succeeded in driving the enemy within the gates 
of Charleston. 


Sumpter and Marion then advanced to Monk's Corner, 
vvhere Colonel Coates was posted with six hundred and 
fifty men. Watboo and Quimby creeks lay between him 
and Charleston, and the destruction of the bridges over 
them would effectually cut off his retreat to the latter 
place. Failing to destroy that of Watboo in time, Sumpter, 
Lee, and Marion pressed on after the retreating column, 
Loping to overtake it before it reached Quimby Creek. On 
going a little distance, they discovered that the cavalry and 
infantry had separated, and taken different routes. Hamp- 
t ;n, therefore, pressed on after the former, while Lee's and 
Marion's cavalry gave chase to the latter, and came up with 
the rear-guard about a mile from Quimby Creek. " Front 
rank, bayonets ! second rank, fire ! " fell in startling distinct- 
ness on the squadron ; but the next moment the fierce horse- 
men were riding through the broken lines, and without a 
musket being discharged the whole rear-guard surren- 

But Coates, with the main body, was already over the 
bridge, and drawn up on the farther side, waiting for the 
baggage to pass before he threw the planks into the water. 
They had all been loosened, and needed but a slight loud* 


r.o cast them off, while a howitzer, at the opposite extremity, 
Commanded the passage. 

This was the position of things, when the Americas cav- 
alry was seen sweeping along the narrow causeway leading 
to the creek. The rear-guard having surrendered, without 
firing a shot, Coates was ignorant of the disaster that had 
befallen him, and hence was not fully prepared for this 
sudden onset. He, however, ordered the men to throw off 
the planks, and his troops to form in order of battle. Cap- 
tain Armstrong, who led the first section of the pursuing 
cavalry, halted, as he saw the preparations made to receive 
him, and sent back word to Lee to know what should be 
done. In the hurry of the moment he forgot to state the new 
position of things, and hence received in reply the order, 
" To fall on the enemy at all hazards." A terrible expression 
gathered on Armstrong's brow when he heard it, and he 
leaned fiercely over his saddle-bow for a second ; the next 
instant his powerful horse sprung, with a terrible snort, into 
the air, as the spurs sunk deep in his sides, and "Legion 
cavalry, CHARGE ! " rang back in a voice of thunder, and 
away went those bold riders like a rattling storm. The 
bridge creaked and shook under their headlong gallop, and 
the loose planks flew like shingles beneath the feet of the 
horses, leaving huge gaps as they passed. Up to the how- 
itzer, and over it, they swept with one wild shout, and had 
the rest of the cavalry followed, the victory would have 
been complete. Carrington, with the second section, boldly 
leaped the chasms after Armstrong, but the third faltered, 
and stood shivering, when the first section of Marion's cav- 
alry came up, and bursting through the reluctant company 
without stopping to think, cleared the bridge. 

In the mean while Lee, with the rest of the legion, ar- 
rived ; but Armstrong's cavalry had thrown off so many 
planks in their fierce passage, that he was compelled to stop 
and replace them. This settled the fate of the day, for 
Armstrong, finding himself unsupported, and with only 
three sections of cavalry opposed to the whole British 
army, dashed through the discomfited soldiers, and wheel- 
ing into the woods, went off on a tearing gallop. 

Coates immediately retreated to Shubrick's plantation, 
and made a stand. Sumpter, Lee, and Marion, though 
outnumbered two to one, followed on, and came upon him, 
with bis troops drawn up in square, in front of the house. 


This was four o'clock, and the battle immediately com- 
menced, and lasted till dark. Marion's men showed their 
training in this engagement, and fought with the coolness 
and steadiness of veteran troops. Fifty were killed or 
wounded in the action every one of them belonging to 
Marion's brigade. 

Sumpter finally withdrew ; not because he was beaten, 
but from want of ammunition. He had not managed 
well, or the whole British force of six hundred would 
have been captured, and the bloody battle of Eutaw in all 
probability prevented. He and Marion separated after 
this the latter operating on the Santee. While here, he 
heard that Colonel Harden, at the Pon-Pon, was sorely 
pressed by a British force of five hundred men ; and taking 
with him two hundred picked soldiers, started off to relieve 
him. With his accustomed secrecy he stole across the 
country, and passing through the lines of the enemy's com- 
munication twice, at length after marching a hundred 
miles came up with the British near Parker's ferry. Plac- 
ing his men in ambush in a swamp, he sent forward fifty of 
his swiftest horse to decoy them to his place of conceal- 
ment. Major Frazier, who was wholly ignorant of Marion's 
approach, took the company for a part of Harden's force, 
whom he was after, and ordered his cavalry to charge. On 
a full gallop, and with loud shouts, they came thundering 
over the causeway after the flying horsemen, till they ap- 
proached within fifty yards of Marion's riflemen, when a 
deadly volley received them. Wheeling, they attempted to 
charge the swamp, but a second volley made them recoil. 
They had now got fairly into the lane made by those marks- 
men, and there was no retreating. They therefore pushed 
on through it towards the ferry, taking the fire as they 
passed. The infantry followed, and there seemed not a 
chance of escape to the British army ; but at this moment 
Marion's ammunition gave out, and he was compelled to 
order a retreat. A little more powder, and a few more buck- 
shots, and the whole would have been captured. He had 
effected his object, however relieved Harden, and thinned 
terribly the British cavalry. He then turned back, and by 
rapid marches succeeded in reaching Greene just before the 
battle of Eutaw thus, in six days' time, fighting one battle, 
and marching two hundred and fifty miles. At Eutaw he 
commanded the right of the South Carolina militia, arid 


led them nobly into action. He fought like a lion on that 
bloody day, and when the British army retreated, followed 
swiftly on their flying traces, dealing the rear-guard heavy 
blows in the chase. 

When Greene retired to the high hills of Santee, Marion 
repaired to Santee River swamp, where, after having cleared 
an open space in the cane-brakes, he erected huts for his 
men. Here he was taken sick, but it did not keep him idle. 
He was constantly on the alert, and from his sequestered 
spot in the swamp learned everything that was going on 
about him. Those rude huts, thatched with cane, looked 
lonely and wretched enough in the evening sunlight ; but 
at the blast of a single bugle, they would pour forth as 
hardy and determined warriors as ever raged through a 

With the commencement of winter his brigade began to 
increase, and he again took the field. But after some little 
success, the mountaineers returned to their homes, leaving 
him weak as before. He, however, co-operated with 
Greene, till that able general drove the enemy into Charles- 

The field soon after being left clear, he made over his 
brigade to Horry, and hastened to Jacksonborough to take 
his seat in the Assembly, of which he had been elected a 
member from St. John's, Berkley. This was in 1782 ; but 
while doing his duty as a legislator, his brigade came very 
near being wholly destroyed. The British, taking advan- 
tage of his absence, had sent out a detachment against it, 
which he no sooner heard of, than he hastened back and 
arrived in time to save it, though beaten in the encounter. 
He continued to overawe the Tories, till called by Greene to 
headquarters near Charleston. With his departure, the 
disaffected again took up arms ; but scarcely had they 
organized, before Marion, who had heard of their move- 
ments, suddenly appeared in their midst and awed them 
into submission. Thus marching hither and thither ap- 
pearing and disappearing, like some wizard who has the 
power of self-transportation through the air, he kept the 
country quiet. But with the exception of a conflict with 
Major Frazier's cavalry, which he routed, he was engaged 
in no more battles. The British evacuated Charleston, and 
the country was free. 

Marion then called his trusty followers together, and, 


amid the cedars of his encampment at Watboo, gave them 
his affectionate farewell, and returned to his ravished farm. 
He looked mournfully over his desolate fields, and then hung 
up his good blade, and took the implements of agriculture. 

He was, however, soon elected to the Senate of the State, 
and there showed the same patriotism and decision he had 
done in defending his country with his sword. On one oc- 
casion, a Tory presented a petition to be exempted from 
the confiscation act, which had been passed during the war, 
and at that time received the sanction of Marion. But 
peace had now returned, and with it passed all feelings of 
vengeance in his noble heart, and he arose to speak on the 
petition. The poor Tory turned pale when he saw the old 
partisan leader about to speak, and gave up his case as 
hopeless ; but, to his surprise, he heard him advocate it. 
" Then," said Marion, referring to the time the act was 
passed " it was war. It is peace now. God has given us the 
victory; let us show our gratitude to Heaven, which we shall 
not do by cruelty to man." It was a noble sentiment, arid 
worthy the patriot who uttered it. At another time a bill 
was introduced to exempt the Revolutionary officers from all 
legal prosecutions for their conduct during the war. Cir- 
cumstances, and the common good of the State, had com- 
pelled them to stretch their power in a way that the civil 
law would not sanction, and this bill was designed to secure 
them against annoyance. But no sooner was it read, than 
Marion rose to his feet, and with his solemn black eye flash- 
ing fire, demanded to have his name taken off from the list 
of exempted officers. He said he was friendly to the bill, 
but he would not be sheltered by it. His honor he valued 
more than his life, and this tacit implication that it might 
not be spotless, he scorned at once. Said he, "If I have 
given any occasion for complaint, I am ready to answer in 
property and person. If I have wronged any man, I am 
willing to make him restitution. If in a single instance in the 
course of my command, I have done that which I cannot 
fully justify, justice requires that I should suffer for it." 
His name was excluded, and he stood proudly on his un- 
sullied honor, and challenged the strictest scrutiny into his 
conduct during years of civil war. 

Marion received no appropriation from the State for his 
services, though he was appointed commander of Fort 
Johnson, at Charleston, with a salary of about $>2oo pcx 


annum. This was a sinecure, and the post made on pur- 
pose for him ; but a lucky turn in his fortune saved him 
from the necessity of accepting it. Miss Mary Videau, a 
lady of wealth, had fallen in love with our hero, though 
fifty years of age. The latter was slow to discover it, but 
when he did, proposed and was accepted. 

Retiring to his plantation, he lived happily with his bride, 
though she, too, was getting into the " sere and yellow 
leaf." In the hot summer months, he would take his old 
camp-bed and cooking utensils, and repair with her to the 
mountains. Thus he lived, honored by his country, and 
loved by all ; and at length, at the age of sixty-three, sur- 
rendered his soul, without fear, into the hands of his Maker. 
He declared himself a Christian a firm believer in all the 
great truths of religion. 

Thus passed cfcvay this strange and noble man ; but his 
memory lives, and the name of " Marion " will ever thrill 
the hearts of our youth, and nerve the patriot, in every age, 
to strike for freedom. 


In personal appearance, Marion presented a striking con- 
trast to most of the officers in our army. It is a curious 
fact, that the generals of the highest grade, in both armies, 
during the Revolutionary war, averaged nearly two hundred 
pounds in weight. But Marion was a very small man, and 
of diminutive proportions every way. He was not only 
short, but remarkably thin. His countenance was swarthy, 
and grave in its expression, and his eye dark, solemn, and 
poetic.* Extremely plain in his dress, and with still plainer 
manners, he did not strike a stranger very favorably. Re- 
served and silent, he seldom spoke, except when necessary, 
and then expressed his thoughts in the most direct and 
simple language he could command. These peculiarities 
increased the mystery which his actions threw around him, 
and doubtless added much to the influence he held over his 
band. Cool and quiet, he went on the most desperate 
missions without excitement as calmly stormed through the 

* The portrait accompanying this sketch, was taken from one by Trum- 
bull, representing Marion in the action at Eutaw. Some changes were 
necessary, in order to place him in a more tranquil attitude. It is prob- 
ably as correct as the original. 


nght, and then, in the same composed manner, drew off his 
men to their dark and lonely encampment. He seemed 
utterly destitute of passions. He possessed neither re- 
venge, nor thirst for glory, nor love of excitement, nor de- 
sire of money or power. He showed no fondness for the 
table, but was abstemious as a hermit. Even the women 
had no influence over him ; and he moved amid the turbu- 
lent scenes around him, like one whose mind is wholly ab- 
sorbed on one great object, yet to be accomplished. Drink- 
ing his vinegar and water enough to keep any man thin ; 
eating his coarse hominy, or rice with the trees for his 
shelter, and the swamps for his retreat, he fastens himself 
upon our affections and interest with a firmness nothing 
can shake. 

Living in lawless times, and among rough and boisterous 
men, he retained all his delicacy of feeling, refined tastes, 
and scrupulous virtue. Moving in an orbit of his own, he, 
like Washington, was beyond the influence of others, and 
seemed free from the common frailties of men. 

Without pay, without even the hope of victory, hunted 
from swamp to swamp, and chased the length and breadth 
of his State, he still struggled on to keep alive the waning 
flame of patriotism in the hearts of the inhabitants. Bind- 
ing his men to him by love, rather than by commands, he 
would let them disband to their homes, with no security but 
their single promise to return. Yet that promise was never 
broken ; and the love those stern hearts bore him is one of 
Che most touching incidents in his career. 

As a partisan leader Marion has no equal. One cannot 
point out a defect in him, nor suggest a single good quality 
which he did not possess. To sleepless, tireless vigilance, 
he added an energy and perseverance that nothing could 
shake ; and to bravery, which never deserted him, a pru- 
dence unmarred by a single rash act. Provoked into no 
haste, beguiled into no procrastination, undated by success, 
undiscouraged by defeat, he bafHed every plan of his 
pursuers to take him, and kept the field in the very midst of 
his foes. For a long time the only patriot who dared to 
lift the standard of freedom in his native State, he became 
the object against which the British directed all their efforts. 
Yet they never disbanded his corps, or broke his power. 
The name of Marion became a spell-word with which to con- 
jure up the Republicans, and frighten the Tories. Seeking 


th recesses of the swamps by day, and stealing on his foes, 
likit the panther, by night, his swift horsemen came and 
went like the invisible stroke of fate. No precaution could 
escape his penetrating glance, and no concealment furnish 
security against his deadly rifles. He seemed omnipresent 
to the enraged, terror-stricken loyalists : and when they 
deemed themselves safest, he was often nearest. And yet, 
not a vice sullied " his ermine character." No ferocity 
was mingled with his courage and no cruelty accompanied 
his fierce onsets. Neither the barbarity of his enemies, nor 
the treason of his friends could provoke him to injustice 
even the clamors of his own followers were unable to swerve 
his just soul from the path of integrity. Given to no excess, 
he asked no share of the plunder, and never used the power 
he possessed to gratify a single selfish passion. 

His patriotism was pure and lofty as his character; and 
for his sufferings and losses he neither asked nor expected 
remuneration. His country he loved better than his life, 
and liberty was dearer to him than all things else on earth 
beside. Wealth, rank, ease, safety, all sunk before his 
country's claims, and he seemed to aim at nothing but its 
interests. His like is seldom seen. 

His followers were worthy of him. Bold, fearless true 
as steel in the hour of danger, they closed round him with 
a faith and devotion that excite our admiration, and claim 
our love. 


His Birth and Descent Serves in the French and Indian War Ap- 
pointed an Officer in the American Army Bravery at Long Island- 
Taken Prisoner Bravery at Brandywine and Monmouth Commands 
at Albany Exposes the Conway Cabal His Death and Character. 

As my design is simply to give the military events of the 
Revolution, Lord Stirling does not receive that prominence 
which is justly his due. The part he bore in the battles in 
which he was engaged was secondary ; and, performing no 
campaign on his own responsibility, he naturally does not 
occupy a separate place in history. 

WILLIAM ALEXANDER was his proper name, but being 
considered by many rightfully entitled to an earldom in 
Scotland, which he vainly endeavored to obtain, he was by 
courtesy called Lord Stirling. Born in New York in 1726, 
he received an excellent mathematical education, and was 
distinguished as a man of science. In the French and 
Indian war, he acted as commissary, aide-de-camp, and 
finally secretary to General Shirly. At its close he accom- 
panied the latter to England, to prosecute his Scotch claims, 
and in this fruitless effort expended a great deal of money, 
which impaired his fortune. 

When war was declared against the mother country he 
warmly espoused our cause, and was appointed colonel of 
a regiment. He was stationed at New York previous to the 
arrival of Washington from Boston, and, while there, per- 
formed a very gallant act. Although the Asia man-of-war, 
a British ship, lay in the harbor, he one night fitted out a 
pilot-boat and some smaller boats, and taking his men, armed 
with nothing but muskets, put to sea and captured an 
English transport laden with stores, etc., for the enemy at 

He opened the battle of Long Island, and, having been 

* Vide Life of Lord Stirling. 


promoted to the rank of brigadier, commanded a brigade 
in the engagement. He fought for a long time with deter- 
mined bravery, contesting every inch of ground with a 
firmness worthy of better success. While he was thus 
sullenly retiring before the advancing battalions of the 
enemy, he heard a heavy firing in his rear, showing that the 
American army was out-flanked, and indeed its communica- 
tions with Brooklyn cut off. No time was to be lost, and 
he immediately ordered a retreat : but Cornwallis was 
already rapidly advancing to secure the only route left open 
to him. Nothing daunted, however, he determined to attack 
him with a part of his troops, and thus employ him while 
the rest were making their escape. So, withdrawing six 
companies of Smallwood's regiment of riflemen, he led 
them on in person against Cornwallis. This gallant body 
of men advanced in perfect order, and charged home on the 
astonished ranks of the English with such impetuosity that 
they shook and recoiled before the onset. Three times in 
succession did Stirling lead those noble troops to the charge, 
and so steadily and fiercely, that Cornwallis was about to 
give way, when reinforcements came up and relieved him. 
Being taken in front and rear, Stirling endeavored to escape, 
but was finally compelled to surrender not, however, be- 
fore he had secured the retreat of the detachment for which 
he had made such a noble sacrifice. 

Being exchanged for the Governor of Florida, he again 
joined the army, and in 1777 was with Washington at 
Brandywine, and fought side by side with Sullivan and 
Lafayette in that bloody battle. At Germantown he com- 
manded the reserve. The next year he led one of the 
divisions of Washington's army into battle at Monmouth. 
When everything was trembling in the balance, he brought 
up Lieutenant Carrington's artillery on a full gallop, and 
unlimbering them hastily, opened with astonishing effect on 
the advancing enemy. His guns were served with such 
admirable skill as to excite the surprise of the British. In 

1780, he was sent with twenty-five hundred men to make an 
attack on the British stationed on Staten Island ; but the 
enemy having got wind of the project, he was compelled to 
withdraw his forces without accomplishing anything. In 

1781, he was stationed at Albany to command the northern 
army. The next year he made Philadelphia his winter- 
quarters ; but at the opening of spring again took command 


of the northern troops, and located himself at Albany. 
The following year, 1783, he died from an attack of the 
gout, aged fifty-seven. 

Stirling was a fine-appearing man, and distinguished for 
great intrepidity. His bravery amounted to rashness ; and 
there were some faults in his character, which rendered it 
safer to have him under the immediate eye of the com- 
mander-in-chief. Still he was a good officer and stanch 
patriot. It was through him the Con way cabal was dis- 
covered by Washington. There was no low intrigue or 
trickery in his character ; and the moment that Wilkinson 
disclosed the contemptible and nefarious designs of Gates, 
he exploded them, and adhered throughout to the fortunes 
of bift commander. 


tTIs Birth and Early Marriage His Interest in our Cause Resolves tf, 
Come to this Country Forbidden by his Government Buys and Fits 
out a Ship at his own Expense Cold Reception by Congress Warm 
one by Washington Bravery at Brandy wine Affair of Gloucester Point 
Given Command of a Division Affair of Barren Hill Bravery at 
Monmouth Sent South to repell Arnold and Cornwallis Coops the 
Latter up at Yorktown Storming of the Redoubts Returns to France 
Chief Actor in the French Revolution Commands the National 
Guard Storming of Versailles by Women Scene in the Champ de 
Mars Appointed Commander in the French Army His Flight 
Made Prisoner by Austria Noble Attempts to Rescue him Liberated 
by Napoleon Returns to Private Life Visit to this Country His 
Enthusiastic Reception His Triumphal Progress Returns to France 
Helps to Overthrow Charles X His Death and Character. 

THERE are now and then bright spots on this darkened 
planet of ours great and glorious examples of human virtue 
Interrupting the otherwise sad history of the race. Patriot- 
ism, which sinks self and scorns death, is a noble virtue ; 
yet one might be expected to defend his ow.n land and 
hearth-stones. But that philanthropy which goes out of 
its own hemisphere to seek the welfare and suffer for the 
freedom of strangers, is a rarer virtue, yet the one which has 
immortalized Lafayette. One can never think of that 
French boy, eighteen years of age, just married, rolling in 
wealth and basking in the sunshine of court favor, sending 
up from the Tuileries of Paris his shout for us and our cause, 
without the deepest emotion. Our admiration and affec- 
tion are not lessened, when we see him lavishing his wealth 
on our naked, famishing soldiers, winding himself in child- 
like love round the great heart of our Washington, charging 
like a veteran through the ranks of our foemen, and carried 
pale and bleeding from our disastrous fields. 

There is something exquisitely touching and beautiful in 
the enthusiasm of this youth in our behalf. His whole 
career, as connected with this country, seems to belong 


rather to the writer of romance, than of plain history. To 
give a naked narrative of facts, is to weave poetry into 
politics, and throw gushes ot warm, generous feeling into 
the cold calculations of intriguing statesmen. France 
wished us success, because it would revenge her for the loss 
of her colonies in this country, and weaken the power of her 
rival in the new world ; but these motives never entered into 
the heart of Lafayette. He saw only a weak, but brave 
people struggling to be free ; and overleaping all questions 
of interest, breaking away from all the ties of home, family, 
and country, threw himself alone into our arms. National 
prejudice, the jealousy of our officers, and the coldness of 
Congress could not check the warm current of his sympathy. 
For us he -was determined to fight in our cause expend his 
fortune, and peril his life. Not an exile, nor an adventurer, 
but a wealthy, flattered young nobleman, he cast from 
him the luxuries and gayeties of the French court, turned 
away from all the honors that clustered in his path, and be- 
came the companion of our poverty and toils, the jest and 
by-word of kings. 

GILBERT - MOTIER LAFAYETTE was the only son of 
Marquis de Lafayette, a French colonel, who fell in the 
battle of Minden. He was not born till two months after 
the death of his father. At the age of twelve years ,he was 
sent to college at Paris, but, his mother dying soon after, 
he became sole possessor of the family estates, and his own 
master. At fifteen he was chosen one of the queen's pages 
and appointed an officer in the king's regiment of mus- 
keteers the next year he married Countess Anastasie, 
daughter of the Duke de Noailles, a lady of immense wealth. 
The fortune she brought her young husband, added to his 
own, swelled his income to $37,500 per annum. Ardent, 
enthusiastic, loving adventure and glory, he entered on 
the race of life under the most flattering auspices. Inde- 
pendent and bold, he disdained to flatter, and sought no 
emoluments from the throne which threw the shadow of its 
protection over him. 

At this early age he belonged to an association of young 
men, the object of which was to discuss the question of 
civil liberty. Our Revolution, with the principles on which 
it was based, startled every despot of Europe on his throne; 
and the young Lafayette seemed suddenly to have opened 
his eyes on a world about which he had hitherto been only 


dreaming. Says he : " When I first learned the subject of 
this quarrel, my heart espoused warmly the cause of liberty, 
and / thought of nothing but of adding also the aid of my ban- 
ner.'* The question took such deep hold of his ardent and 
generous nature, that he could not rest until he resolved to 
come te America. Acquainting his relative, the Count de 
Broglie, with his intentions, the latter approved of his feel- 
ings, but condemned his plans. Said he : "I have seen 
your uncle die 'n the wars of Italy ; I witnessed your 
father's c'eath at the battle of Minden ; and I will not be 
accessory to the ruin of the only remaining branch of the 
family." When, however, he found him determined, he 
kindly gave him his countenance and aid. 

He then obtained, through the Baron de Kalb, an intro- 
duction to Silas Deane, our ambassador at Paris ; who en- 
tered warmly into his feelings, and gave him a letter to 
Congress, requesting them to appoint him major-general in 
the American army. A vessel was about being fitted out to 
come to this country, in which the young marquis resolved 
to embark. But just then came the news of our disasters ; 
New York, Long Island, and our posts on the Hudson, had 
fallen one after another, and our cause seemed hopeless. 
It was no longer possible to obtain a vessel ; and Doctor 
Franklin and Arthur Lee, who had been added to our em- 
bassy at Paris, endeavored to persuade the young nobleman 
to abandon his project. But he was not to be thus deterred; 
our distresses only inflamed ,his sympathy ; and calling on 
Mr. Deane, he told him that he was now going to prove his 
ardor in the cause of American liberty, by purchasing and 
fitting out a vessel with his own means, in which he himself 
would carry out the officers they wished to send. A vessel 
was purchased at Bordeaux ; and while it was undergoing 
repairs he went to England with the Prince de Poix in 
>rder to conceal his designs from the French government, 
which would have arrested them at once. 

Returning to Paris, he concealed himself several days, 
and then went to Bordeaux. But his vessel was not ready 
for sea, and while he was waiting, his friends and the gov^ 
ernment got wind of his plans, and the latter immediately 
sent officers to arrest him. Hearing of these movements, 
he fled to Passage, a Spanish port, where his arrest and his 
letters overtook him. The king ordered him peremptorily 
to court, while the letters of his friends were violent in the 


extreme. Here was a dilemma for the bold stripling. To 
prevent his departure from being known, he had concealed 
it even from his young wife, and her letter reproached him 
for his cruelty. This shook his resolution more than the 
threats of his relatives or the authority of the king. He 
returned to Bordeaux, and opened a correspondence with 
the government, justifying his course, and asking permis- 
sion to depart. Receiving no answer, he determined at all 
hazards to sail, and, disguising himself as a courier, started 
for Passage, where his vessel lay. His pursuers were on the 
track, but his disguise protected him, and he reached 
Passage in safety, and the same day weighed anchor and 
stood out to sea. Baron de Kalb, and eleven other officers, 
accompanied him, and after a voyage of seven weeks, he 
finally reached Georgetown, South Carolina, and received 
his first welcome from Major Huger. Repairing imme- 
diately to Charleston, he presented Moultrie with clothing, 
arms, etc., for a hundred or a hundred and fifty men, as a 
reward for their gallant defence of Sullivan's Island. His 
letters to his wife, written at this period, are full of affec- 
tion, and exhibit the ardor and enthusiasm of a youth on 
whom this new country, with its new scenes, customs, and 
manners, had made a lively impression. 

Hastening on to Philadelphia riding nine hundred miles 
of the distance on horseback he presented his letters to 
Congress, together with the stipulation of Mr. Deane 
respecting the rank he was to hold. Congress, however, 
received him coldly ; such a host of foreign officers, many 
of them needy adventurers, had applied for appointments, 
that it began to be alarmed ; and Mr. Lovell, one of the 
members, told him he thought his request would be denied. 
Besides, Lafayette was a mere boy, only nineteen years of 
age, and it was risking too much to place him in a respon- 
sible position. But he was not to be offended or deterred 
by coldness, and so the next day he sent the following note 
to Congress : " After the sacrifices I have made, I have the 
right to exact two favors ; one is, to serve at my own expense ; 
the other is, to serve at first as a volunteer'' " Favors," 
indeed, to fight at his own expense, without rank or emolu- 
ment, and for the freedom of strangers, who received him 
coldly ! Congress must have possessed hearts of stone to 
have resisted this magnanimity ; it could not do it, and 
immediately made out his commission. The next day he 


was introduced to Washington at a dinner-party, and the 
impression the latter made on him may be inferred from 
his own language ; says he, " Although he was surrounded 
by officers and citizens, it was impossible to mistake, for a 
moment, his majestic figure and deportment." 

After dinner, Washington took him aside, and told him 
always to regard himself as one of his own family pleas- 
antly adding, that he must not expect the luxuries of a 
court in a republican army. From that moment a friend- 
ship commenced between them, which only grew stronger 
with time. The generous heart of Washington warmed 
spontaneously towards this enthusiastic, self-sacrificing 
youth, and he took him to his arms at once, and loved him 
as a son. That affection was returned, and there is noth- 
ing more touching and beautiful in our Revolutionary his- 
tory, than the attachment between that strong, self-reliant, 
mature man, and the young, impulsive nobleman. But 
though there was such a disparity in their age and experi- 
ence, there was not in the height of their persons, and they 
moved about head and shoulders above all the rest. 

On the day that he arrived in camp, there was a review 
of the troops, and one can well imagine that those elevea 
thousand men " presented a strange spectacle " to him. 
" Their clothes," he writes, " were party-colored, and many 
of them were partly naked ; the best clad wore hunting- 
shirts large gray linen coats. As to their military tactics, 
it will be sufficient to say that, for a regiment ranged in 
order of battle, to move forward on the right of its line, it 
was necessary for the left to make a continued countermarch. 
They were all arranged in two lines, the smallest men in the 
first line ; no other distinction, as to height, was ever ob- 

Soon after, the battle of Brandywine occurred, in which 
Lafayette behaved with the greatest gallantry. He sought 
the post of danger ; and while on foot, endeavoring to 
rally the troops, received a wound in the leg. In the flight 
he came very near being taken, and but for his aide, Gima, 
who helped him on a horse, this, his first battle in behalf 
of American freedom, would probably have been his last. 
As he was hurrying over the field, he met Washington, ad- 
vancing to check the pursuit, and was about to turn back 
with him, when the loss of blood obliged him to halt and 
have his wound bandaged. In the final rout he was com- 


pelled, though pale and bleeding, to ride twelve miles with- 
out stopping. At length, coming to a bridge, he endeav- 
ored, weak and exhausted as he was, to rally the troops, and 
was straining every nerve when Washington and his suite 
came galloping up. He then had his wound dressed, and 
the next morning was carried into Philadelphia, and from 
thence, on the approach of the British, to Bethlehem, and 
left in the care of the Moravians, who nursed him with the 
greatest, solicitude. The pious brotherhood endeavored to 
instill in his mind sentiments of peace ; he listened with 
great attention, but was planning the while an attack on the 
English possessions in the West Indies, and another on the 
English factories in the Isle of France. These projects 
were forwarded to the French court ; but though approved 
were not carried out, as it still occupied a neutral position 
between the colonies and England. The French minister, 
however, was pleased with the spirit and energy of the 
young Republican, and remarked pleasantly: "He will end 
one day by unfurnishing the palace of Versailles, to serve 
the American cause ; for when he has taken anything into 
his head, it is impossible to resist him." 

He also wrote at this time an affectionate and playful 
letter to his wife, in which he pours forth every feeling of 
his heart with the frank impulsiveness of a child. In 
speaking of the battle of Brandywine, he says : " I must 
now give you a lesson, as wife of an American general 
officer. They will say to you, * They have been beaten.' 
You must answer ' That is true ; but when two armies of 
equal number meet in the field, old soldiers have naturally 
the advantage over new ones ; they have, besides, had the 
pleasure of killing a great many of the enemy, many more 
than they have lost.' They will afterwards add, * All that 
is very well ; but Philadelphia is taken, the capital of 
America, the rampart of liberty.' You must politely an- 
swer, * You are all great fools ! Philadelphia is a poor for- 
lorn town, exposed on every side, whose harbor was already 
closed, though the residence of Congress lent it, I know 
not why, some degree of celebrity.' This is the famous 
city, which, be it added, we will, sooner or later, make them 
yield back to us." 

In October, while his wound was still unhealed, he joined 
the army at Whitemarsh. Soon after, Greene was sent by 
Washington to operate against Cornwallis, then in New Jer- 


sey, and Lafayette, though unable yet to wear a boot, re- 
quested to accompany him as a volunteer. Having obtained 
permission to take with him three hundred and fifty men, 
and reconnoitre, he left the main body, and came up with 
Cornwallis at Gloucester, opposite Philadelphia. Advanc- 
ing out on a sandy point to obtain a better view, he was 
discovered by the British commander, and a detachment of 
dragoons immediately sent to cut him off ; but taking a back 
road he escaped them, and passing within two miles of the 
enemy's camp, came upon an outpost of four hundred Hes- 
sians. Without a moment's delay he led his raw militia so 
furiously to the attack, that the whole detachment gave 
way. He pursued them to within a half mile of the main 
body, killing and wounding fifty or sixty of them, and then 
retired in safety. Lafayette was delighted with the be- 
havior of his men on this occasion, saying, in his letter to 
Washington, that he " found the riflemen even above their 
reputation, and the militia above all his expectations. I 
must tell, too," he added, "that the riflemen had been the 
whole day running before my horse, without eating or tak- 
ing any rest." This brilliant little affair contributed much 
to bring about an event which had troubled Washington 
exceedingly. Lafayette had requested to be given the com- 
mand of a division, and the former had written frequently 
to Congress about it ; but the appointment, for various 
reasons, was delayed. A resolve, however, was finally 
passed, recommending him to be placed over a division of 
the Continental army, and the Virginia troops, hitherto 
under General Stephens, were given him. 

The sufferings of Valley Forge followed this campaign, 
and Lafayette, notwithstanding his wealth and the comforts 
to which he had been accustomed, cheerfully shared with 
the officers their privations, and entering at once into our 
feelings, adopted our dress and customs, and thus com- 
pletely wound himself into our affections. Everybody loved 
him, and from one end of the land to the other his name 
was ever coupled with blessings. 

I have spoken elsewhere of the Conway cabal, by which 
it was sought to place Gates over Washington, and of the 
effort to draw Lafayette into it by appointing him com- 
mander of the expedition to be fitted out against Canada. 
The plan was laid with skill, for the authors of it knew that 
nothing could be more agreeable to the French nobleman 


than to wrest the former province of his country from the 
hands of the English. Finding, however, that his attach- 
ment could not be shaken, the contemptible Board of War, 
and still more contemptible faction in Congress, concluded 
it was best to abandon the project altogether, and in March, 
Lafayette returned from Albany, where he had been making 
arrangements for it, to Valley Forge. 

Here, on the 5th of May, arrived the intelligence of the 
alliance of France with us ; and the most unbounded joy 
prevailed throughout the camp and the nation. Lafayette 
had contributed much to secure this result, which at once 
gave permanency to our struggle. His letters to his friends, 
high in favor, and to Government, the enthusiasm with which 
he followed our fortunes, had all combined to make our 
cause popular with the entire French nation. 

A day of general rejoicing was set apart to commemo- 
rate the event, and amid the gloomy huts of Valley Forge went 
up a loud huzza, that from that time on scarce ever died 
away, till the united shout of a ransomed people shook the 


On the 1 8th of May, Washington, having heard that the 
British were making preparations to evacuate Philadelphia, 
detached Lafayette with two thousand men and five pieces 
of cannon, to watch their motions and protect the country 
from the incursions of marauding parties. Crossing the 
Schuylkill, the latter took post on Barren Hill, about half- 
way between Valley Forge and Philadelphia, or nine miles 
from each, and stationed his pickets so as to prevent sur- 
prise. But information of his movements was conveyed to 

* The following is the general order issued by Washington on that 
occasion : 

' ' Headquarters, Camp Valley Forge \ 
May stfi, 1778. f 

*' It having pleased the Almighty Ruler of the universe propitiously to 
defend the cause of the United American States, and finally, by raising us 
up a powerful friend among the princes of the earth, to establish our liberty 
and independence on a lasting foundation ; it becomes us to set apart a 
day for gratefully acknowledging the Divine goodness, and celebrating 
the important event which we owe to His benign interposition. 

" The several brigades are to be assembled for this purpose at nine 
o'clock to-morrow morning, when their chaplains will communicate the 
Intelligence contained in the Postscript to the Pennsylvania Gazette of the 


Sir Henry Clinton, in Philadelphia, by a spy, and a force, 
sufficient to crush three such detachments immediately sent 
out against him. It was designed to take him by surprise, 
and, cutting off his retreat, oblige him to surrender. On 
the morning of the ipth, the English commander put his 
troops in motion advancing in three columns. One of 
these, five thousand strong, ascended the Schuylkill, and 
threw itself directly in rear of Lafayette. There were two 
fords by which the marquis could cross the river, and to 
each of these one of the columns was directed, while Howe 
marched with an overwhelming force to attack him in front. 
The whole affair had been planned with such secrecy that 
the enemy never doubted of success, and Howe had prom- 
ised to bring Lafayette with him to dinner next day. When 
the sun rose in the morning, his promise bid fair to be 
fulfilled. A spectacle, alarming enough to appall an older 
heart than Lafayette's, met his gaze as he looked off from 
his height. Between htm and the Schuylkill, and Valley 
Forge, lay an immense army one portion commanding 
completely one ford, the other occupying a hill, from which 
it could descend like a torrent on its line of march for the 
remaining passage, while in front was rapidly advancing the 
main body, to attack him. Owing to the neglect or treach- 
ery of the Pennsylvania picket, he had received no intimation 
of all these movements till they were completed. In a 
moment the drums beat to arms, while far in the distance 

second instant, and offer up a thanksgiving, and deliver a discourse suit- 
able to the occasion. 

" At half-past ten o'clock a cannon will be fired, which is to be a signal 
for the men to be underarms. The brigade inspectors will then inspect their 
dress and arms, form the battalions according to the instructions given 
them, and announce to the commanding officers of brigades that the 
battalions are formed. The brigadiers and commandants will then ap- 
point the field-officers to command the battalions ; after which, each 
battalion will be ordered to load and ground their arms. At half-past 
eleven, another cannon will be fired as a signal for the march ; on which 
the several brigades will begin their march by wheeling to the right by 
platoons, and proceed by the nearest way to the left of their ground, in 
the new position that will be pointed out by the brigade inspectors. A 
third signal will be given, on which there will be a discharge of thirteen 
cannon ; when the thirteenth has fired, a running fire of the infantry will 
begin on the right of Woodford's, and continue throughout the whole 
front line ; it will then be taken up on the left of the second line and con- 
tinue to the right. On a signal given, the whole army will huzza Long 
&vf the King of France! " 


was heard the report of cannon. Washington, from his 
camp, had discovered the advance of the British almost as 
soon as Lafayette, and filled with anxiety for the flower of 
his troops, ordered alarm-guns to be fired, and the whole 
army to stand to their arms. He himself, with several of 
his officers, ascended a hill, and gazed anxiously through 
his glass towards the Schuylkill. 

But Lafayette was already in motion. His quick eye 
took in at a glance the extent of the danger that surrounded 
him, and he immediately adopted the only course that could 
have saved him. The enemy was in force in front, and the 
ford in his rear, which lay on the direct road to Valley 
Forge, was too strongly defended to be attacked. The 
other ford alone remained to him, the road to which was 
commanded by Grant, with five thousand veteran troops. 
On this, however, he boldly and rapidly marched. But to 
deceive the British officer, he sent out small detachments, 
to manoeuvre in a piece of woods in front of him, as if his 
purpose was not to reach .the ford, but assail his position. 
False heads of columns were organized, which, protruding 
themselves through the trees, caused Grant to suppose the 
whole American army was advancing against him ; and so, 
instead of cutting off Lafayette's line of march, he halted 
where he was, and formed in order of battle. In the mean 
time, Lafayette, covered by the woods, kept swiftly and 
noiselessly on his way, passing directly beneath the hill on 
which his enemy was posted ; and, while the latter was 
wondering why those columns, the heads of which he had 
seen, did not advance reached the ford in safety. These 
sham columns then hastily retreated, and joined the main 
army ; and Washington saw with inexpressible delight his 
boy-general, whom he loved, draw up his troops in order of 
battle on the side of the river opposite the enemy. He had 
extricated himself with consummate ability, losing only nine 
men in all, and even for these making the enemy pay nearly 
double. This small affair gave him great reputation as a 
skilful and self-collected officer. 

He arrived the same day at Valley Forge, and was re- 
ceived with shouts and huzzas, while the English army 
marched sullenly back to Philadelphia.* 

* A curious incident occurred in the morning when the pickets of the 
two armies first came together. Fifty English dragoons suddenly came 
pon fifty Indians belonging to the American army, lying in ambush. 


About this time Lafayette received the news of the death 
of his oldest daughter, which afflicted him deeply. 

In the following month occurred the battle of Monmouth, 
in the description of which, in a preceding sketch, I have 
spoken of the generosity of Lafayette, in giving up his com- 
mand to Lee, at the request of the latter. Had he retained 
it, there is but little doubt that a signal victory would have 
been won. But being a subordinate in command, he was 
compelled to obey the vacillating orders of this uncertain 
man. While Lee was manoeuvring in front of the enemy> 
now directing Lafayette to advance, and now to retreat, the 
latter saw a party of British troops on the right flank, so far 
advanced from the main body, that he thought it could easily 
be cut off, and galloping up to Lee, asked permission to 
attack it. " Sir," said the latter, " you do not know British 
soldiers ; we cannot stand against them ; we shall certainly 
be driven back at first, and we must be cautious." Lafa. 
yette replied, " It may be so ; but British soldiers have been 
beaten, and it is to be presumed they may be again at all 
events, 1 would like to make the trial." He was forbidden, 
however, and Lee began that shameful retreat which robbed 
us of our victory and well-nigh secured our ruin. 

When the burning sun of that terrible day disappeared 
behind the western hills, and the exhausted armies sunk on 
the scorching earth, young Lafayette lay down beside Wash" 
ington, and the tired chieftain wrapped him affectionately in 
his own mantle. For a while they lay awake and talked 
over the events of the day, and especially the conduct of 
Lee, until at length, overtasked nature gave way, and the 
two heroes and patriots slept. 

The French fleet arriving in July, and a descent on Rhode 
Island being resolved upon, Lafayette was sent with two 
brigades, to the aid of Sullivan. He used all the means in 
his power to induce the French admiral to remain and co- 
operate in the attack, but in vain ; and when the latter 
sailed for Boston to refit, repaired thither himself, by land. 
While there, hearing that Sullivan had been attacked, he 
immediately started off, and traveling ten miles an hour, for 

The savages, frightened at the presence of the horsemen, suddenly started 
up, and giving one terrific yell, fled like deer. The dragoons, equally 
affrighted by this unexpected apparition, also turned and fled, never stop- 
ping till they reached Philadelphia. 


eight hours, arrived in time to bring off the rear-guard to 
the main land. 

For the untiring efforts he put forth on this occasion, and 
especially for the service he rendered, as mediator between 
the offended admiral and our government, he received the 
warmest thanks of both Congress and Washington. The 
former, through its president, Laurens, sent him its acknowl- 
edgments. The reply of Lafayette was frank, and full of 
feeling. In it occurs the following sentence, which must 
endear him to every American. " The moment I heard of 
America, I loved her ; the moment I knew she was fighting for 
freedom, I burned with a desire of bleeding for her ; and the 
moment I shall be able to serve her, at any time, or in any part 
of the world, will be the happiest one of my life" 

Soon after this, he challenged Lord Carlisle, president of 
the Board of British Commissioners, for having said, in his 
correspondence with Congress, that France, in her alliance 
with us, was " guilty of perfidy," etc. Washington en- 
deavored to dissuade him from this act, but the latter felt 
that his nation was insulted, and as one of her representa- 
tives here, he ought to resent it. The challenge was de- 
clined, and Lafayette afterwards confessed that he had done 

Having now been in the country fifteen months, he 
wished to return home to visit his family, as well as obtain 
more aid for the country of his adoption. Fortified with 
letters from Congress, and bearing testimonials of the esteem 
and parental love of Washington, he started for Boston. 
But at Fishkill he was seized with a fever, which prostrated 
him Tor three weeks, and for a while threatened seriously 
his life. 

At length, after many delays, he set sail on the nth of 
January, 1779, ^ n tne frigate Alliance, which had been 
assigned him by Congress. He had, however, escaped from 
sickness only to encounter still greater danger. On the 
banks of Newfoundland a fearful storm overtook them, 
which partially dismasted the vessel, and left her half-filled 
with water. They were scarcely out of this peril before 
another arose. The English and Irish sailors, who had been 
engaged in Boston, formed a conspiracy to murder the pas- 
sengers, and, seizing the vessel, carry her into an English 
port. The plot was discovered only an hour before the time 
fixed upon for putting it into execution. 


On his arrival in France, Lafayette was banished fro:, 
the court, because he had presumed to leave the kingdom in 
disobedience of the orders of government. Eight days, 
however, served to dissipate the royal displeasure. The 
queen, Marie Antoinette, immediately took a deep interest 
in him, and he became the talk and favorite of the city. 
Everybody spoke of his enthusiasm, his devotion to 
liberty, and his chivalric feelings. The queen procured for 
him the command of a regiment of the king's dragoons ; 
and was so struck with his enthusiastic love for Washington, 
that she afterwards remarked to Dr. Franklin : " Do you 
know, doctor, that Lafayette has really made me in love 
with your General Washington ? What a man he must be, 
and what a friend he possesses in the marquis." 

In the mean time he planned a descent on the west coast 
of England the land forces to be under his command, and 
the fleet under that of Paul Jones. It was, however, 
abandoned ; and he then turned all his efforts to obtain aid 
for America. He spent his own fortune as freely as water ; 
and at length, by his unwearied efforts and sacrifices, ob- 
tained twelve battalions of infantry in all six thousand 
men, with a proportionate artillery force and six ships-of- 
the-line, together with the requisite number of transports. 
These were the troops who pressed so gallantly, with us, the 
siege of Yorktown. 

Having accomplished this, he set sail himself to join the 
American army as one of its officers. When he arrived in 
Boston, all the bells of the town were set ringing, salvos 
of cannon were fired, and shouts and acclamations followed 
him on his way to the house of President Hancock. Has- 
tening on to headquarters, Washington received him with 
open arms, and embraced him as a son, and the whole army 
shouted "LONG LIVE LAFAYETTE." Remaining here but a 
few days, he hurried to Philadelphia to confer with Con- 
gress, greeted everywhere with acclamations. He was the 
people's friend, and tears of joy fell at the mention of his 

The fleet at ieeigtlt arrived, and he was sent to Newport 
to receive it ; and a campaign began to open, which prom- 
ised scenes of stirring interest. After several demonstrations 
on the part of the French and British of the latter against 
Newport, and the former on New York resulting in noth- 
ing Lafayette repaired to headquarters, and took com' 


mand of a corps of light infantry, numbering two thousand 
men, who had been selected from the different regiments 
on purpose for him. They were fine-looking soldiers, but 
without clothing. The marquis, proud of them, furnished 
the entire corps with uniforms at his own expense ; and 
presented every officer in it with a sword, and the separate 
battalions with standards. The first time they were re- 
viewed in their new dress, and under their gay standards, 
they presented a splendid appearance ; and were a body of 
troops of which any commander might be proud. Lafa- 
yette's eye ran along their lines with delight, and he seemed 
willing to take the very coat from his back for their benefit. 
This affection was returned, for he was idolized by the 
whole corps. 

While Washington was thus hovering around New York, 
and the French were blockaded in Newport, news arrived 
of the utter rout of Gates at Camden. 

Lafayette was annoyed exceedingly by the inactivity 
which marked the campaign, and again and again besought 
Washington to let him attack some of the more northern 
posts of the English at New York ; but that skilful com- 
mander knew that the hour for striking had not arrived ; 
and at length the army went into winter-quarters, and the 
fine corps of the marquis was disbanded. 

The next year, however, a great part of it was reorgan- 
ized and put under its old commander, who was ordered to 
Virginia, to repel the invasion of Arnold. Of the failure of 
the attempt to take the traitor, and the return of Lafayette, 
I have already spoken in my sketch of Steuben. His whole 
management in this expedition was excellent. But when 
Cornwallis directed his steps north, the marquis was again 
ordered in all haste to the south. The soldiers, however, 
were averse to going, and began to desert in such numbers, 
that his army threatened to dwindle to a mere handful. In 
ihis dilemma he appealed to the honor of his troops, saying, 
" they had been ordered against a superior enemy that 
the confidence of the government in their patriotism and 
virtue, their general, at least, would not violate, and was 
determined to march against the enemy. As for them," he 
said, " they need not desert, he would save them that dis- 
grace and crime ; and those who wished to leave had 
only to apply to headquarters for a pass, and it should be 
granted." Strange as it may seem, this checked entirety 


desertion. Lafayette sympathized with the distressed con 
dition of his troops ; and unable to obtain any supplies 
from government, borrowed ten thousand dollars from the 
merchants of Baltimore on his own credit, all of which he 
expended in shirts and shoes, etc., for the soldiers. Mur- 
muring and complaints gave place to enthusiasm and love ; 
and his little army closed round him like a band of broth- 
ers. Advancing south he reached Richmond, and drove 
General Philips down the river. This officer dying, tin 
command devolved on Arnold, who sent a letter to Lafa- 
yette, but the latter refused to hold any correspondence 
with a traitor. 

Cornwallis finally effected a junction with Arnold, and 
the marquis was compelled to retreat. Then commenced a 
series of brilliant manoeuvres, which did infinite credit to the 
generalship of the young commander. Cornwallis had been 
driven about by Greene, like a man wandering in his sleep, 
but he now supposed himself in front of a different antago- 
nist, and wrote, saying, "the boy cannot escape me." But the 
boy did escape him, retiring slowly before the overwhelming 
force pressing upon him, and watching every movement with 
a vigilance nothing could elude. 

At length Cornwallis advanced towards Albemarle court- 
house, in order to destroy the magazines placed there for 
the southern army. Lafayette penetrated his plans, but 
vras unable, from the feebleness of his force, to thwart them. 
But at this critical juncture Wayne arrived with his corps 
of Pennsylvanians, which emboldened him to make an 
attempt to save the magazines. Taking a cross road, he 
suddenly threw himself in front of the British commander, 
prepared, inferior though he was in numbers, to give him 
battle. The latter, seeing his antagonist strongly posted, 
and being made aware of the reinforcements he had re- 
ceived, declined the offered engagement, and began tc 
retreat. Lafayette immediately gave chase, and overtaking 
his rear-guard at Williamsburgh, killed and wounded a. 
hundred and sixty men, with the loss to himself of less than 
forty. Thus for a hundred miles did he pursue Cornwallis, 
and by his boldness and apparent eagerness for an engage- 
ment, effectually blind him as to the real strength of his 
army. Fooled into a disastrous retreat, the British com- 
mander kept retiring till he came to Jamestown, where 
occurred the gallant charge of Wayne, with merely a de- 


tachment, on the whole English army. When, from the 
heavy firing, Lafayette, who was in the rear with the main 
body, was made aware of the danger of Wayne, he came on 
a swift gallop to his aid, and, with his usual recklessness ot 
i;is life, and deaf to the remonstrances of his officers, 
.-purred where the volleys were heaviest, and had two horses 
shot under him. 

He at length forced Cornwallis into York, where he en- 
trenched himself. The plan was then formed to hem him 
in seaward with the French fleet, while Washington, at the 
head of the allied army, should hasten to form a junction 
with Lafayette. But it was necessary, in the mean time, that 
"the boy" should keep the old soldier he had so completely 
outwitted shut up in his retreat, until these forces could be 
transported south. Cornwallis saw his danger, and at one 
time thought seriously of retreating into North Carolina, 
which he could have done. But Lafayette, by his extra- 
ordinary exertions, succeeded in keeping him at bay. He 
called in the militia to guard all the passages, and had his 
spies in the very heart of the English camp.* 

The siege and capture of Yorktown followed. During 
its progress, it was necessary to storm two redoubts. The 
attacks on both were to be made simultaneously that of 
the right being intrusted to Lafayette, at the head of 
American troops, and the one on the left to the Baron Vio- 

* Sparks relates an anecdote received from Lafayette too good to be 
omitted. The marquis wished to send a spy into the English army, not 
only to obtain information, but deceive the commander ; and Morgan, a 
Jerseyman, was pointed out to him as a proper person. The brave sol- 
dier was ready for any peril for his country, but he hated the character of 
a spy. He did not care for his life, he said, but for his name. At length, 
receiving a solemn promise that, if he was hung, a full account of the 
matter should be published in the New Jersey papers, he consented, and 
went over to the enemy. Cornwallis soon sent for him, and in the 
presence of Tarleton, asked what means Lafayette had of crossing James 
river. He replied, that he had boats sufficient to transport his whole 
army across at a moment's warning. Cornwallis, turning to Tarleton, 
said, " In that case, what I said to you cannot be done," referring evi- 
dently to the projected retreat south. At length, one day, after the 
arrival of the fleet, Lafayette found in his quarters six men dressed in the 
English uniform. Morgan had returned, bringing five deserters and a 
prisoner with him. The brave fellow was offered the rank of sergeant for 
his behavior, but he refused it, as he did every other offer. The only 
favor he would ask was the restoration of his gun, which had been lost 
during his absence. It was found and returned to him. 


menil, with four hundred French grenadiers. The French 
officer, in speaking of it, intimated that the Americans were 
not so good as French troops for work of this kind, to 
which Lafayette simply replied ; " We shall see." At length 
the storming parties were arranged, Colonel Hamilton lead- 
ing the van of that under the marquis. The signal to ad- 
vance was to be two shells fired, one from the American 
and the other from the French battery. First the she 11 
arose from the American battery, and the moment the flam- 
ing missile reached the zenith, that of the French mounted 
the heavens, and then the shout " Advance," rang along the 
steady columns. Hamilton, in his headlong courage, never 
waited for the abatis to be removed, but rushing over it, 
mounted the parapet with only three men by his side. 
Gazing back one moment on his crowding followers, with 
his sword waving over his head, he summoned them on, and 
then leaped into the ditch. With a loud and thrilling 
shout, the brave fellows stormed after their intrepid leader, 
who, still far in advance, was for a moment lost sight of, 
and thought to have fallen. But he was soon seen in the 
centre of the redoubt, forming his men. Not a shot had 
been fired ; the naked steel had done it all, and in nine 
minutes' time. The Americans carried their radoubt first, 
and Lafayette remembering what Viomenil had said, 
sent him word that he had succeeded, and asked if the aid 
of the Americans was not needed. The latter replied, 
" Tell Lafayette that I have not yet carried my redoubt, 
but shall do so in five minutes." He made good his word. 

After the capitulation of Yorktown, Lafayette again 
returned to France, loaded with eulogies from Washington 
and Congress. The French king offered him the rank of 
field-marshal in his army, and honors clustered thick around 
the youthful brows of the noble champion of liberty. 

In the mean time a powerful armament was fitting out in 
France and Spain in our behalf, and Lafayette was ap- 
pointed chief of the staff of the combined armies. But 
England, at length, reluctantly consented to acknowledge 
our independence, and gave up her vast possessions, which 
had cost her so much treasure and blood. When the mar- 
quis first heard the news of it, he despatched a vessel, the 
Triumph, to bring it to this country. He wished to accom- 
pany it to be himself the bearer of the glad tidings, and 
mingle his joy with that of a ransomed people ; but the 


Spanish court having refused to receive our charge*, Mr. 
Carmichael, he hastened to Madrid to reconcile the difficul- 
ties, and in a few days succeeded in putting things on the 
most amicable footing. Thus, ever ready to sacrifice his 
own feelings or pleasures for America, he undertook this 
unpleasant journey, instead of coming to our arms, to be 
bedewed with our tears, and covered with our blessings 
Washington, in an affectionate letter to him, says, " Your 
going to Madrid from thence,* instead of coming imme- 
diately to this country, is another instance, my dear Mar- 
quis, of your zeal for the American cause ; and lays a fresh 
claim to the gratitude of her sons, who will always receive 
you with open arms." 

In 1784, Lafayette, anxious once more to see Washing, 
ton, again embarked for this country. He was received 
with every mark of respect, and pressed with invitations in 
every city ; but in eleven days after his arrival he was in 
the arms of Washington at Mount Vernon. He remained 
at the latter place fourteen days ; and the intercourse of 
these two noble and affectionate men must ever remain one 
ot those touching incidents which are never revealed to the 
common gaze. They had pressed shoulder to shoulder 
together through the battle, slept in the same cloak on the 
dreadful field of Monmouth, had suffered and rejoiced 
together, and now they stood side by side, and gazed on 
the land they had freed ; and saw, with the joy patriots 
only know, a happy people reposing under the tree of 

He arrived in this country in August, and having visited 
his old battle-fields, and traversed a large part of the 
country, set sail again in December for France. 

His farewell to Congress was impressive. That body 
had passed a resolution, expressing the gratitude and affec- 
tion of this country for him. He closed up his reply with, 
" May this immense temple of freedom ever stand as a 
lesson to oppressors, an example for the oppressed, a sanc- 
tuary for the rights of mankind ! and may these happy 
United States attain that complete splendor and prosperity, 
which will illustrate the blessings of their government ; and, 
for ages to come, rejoice the departed souls of their 

* Referring to Cadiz, where he was superintending the preparations 01 
the new armament fitting out for our relief. 


founders." Washington accompanied him as far as Anna- 
polis, and afterwards wrote him a farewell letter, full of 
simplicity and affection ; and it is hard to say whether it 
honors him or Lafayette most. 

After his return, he labored arduously *o establish such 
commercial regulations for us, as would be for our own 
advantage ; and never lost sight of oui welfare or in- 

In 1785 he visited Austria, Prussia, and Germany ; and 
was everywhere received, by monarchs and Cobles, with the 
highest honors. Frederick the Great presented him with his 
miniature, set in diamonds, complimenting him on his dis- 
tinguished services in America, and, at the same time, 
expressing his great admiration of Washington. 

I cannot give an account of his efforts for the emancipa- 
tion of the blacks, in which he was seconded by Washing- 
ton, Patrick Henry, Laurens, Jefferson, and others, nor of 
the interest he took in the cause of the French Protestants. 
Hating despotism, whether it took the form of unjust taxa- 
tion, domestic slavery, or religious intolerance, he showed 
throughout that he had been in the school of Washington, 
and lived respected by all. 

But now he was destined to e^t^r upon a new scene, on 
a succession of tragedies never before enacted on this 
earth, the French Revolution, it is impossible to go into 
an account of this terrific e^vent, or trace out its causes. 
France, burdened with debt, taxed to death, and starving, 
needed help, and an assembly of Notables was convoked, to 
deliberate on the means to be adopted. Of this Lafayette 
was a member, and boldly taking ground for reform in 
every department of government, moved, among other 
things, the convocation of the States General, which con- 
misted of representatives from the three orders the nobility, 
clergy, and untitlecj middle classes. This extraordinary 
body assembled, and the great struggle commenced. The 
Commons wished the three orders to constitute one 
assembly, to which the haughty clergy and nobility refused 
their assent. Lafayette, though one of the nobles, sustained 
manfully the request of the tiers etat, or lower order. 
Months uassed away in this contest, until at last the Com- 
mons resolved to constitute themselves the National As- 
aablv at 'France, and did so. 

'& was the first revolution. The marquis then boldly 


separated himself from the nobility, and joined the Assembly, 
of which he was soon after chosen vice-president. The 
famous " Declaration of Rights" which is a mere epitome of 
our Declaration of Independence, was presented by him, 
and France moved tumultuously towards a republic. He 
sat in the Assembly at Versailles on that terrible night, 
when the attack upon it by the troops was expected ; firmly 
resolved to fall at his post. In the mean time, the Bastile 
fell, and the great key of that stronghold was sent by him 
to Washington. 

In the midst of this gathering of the elements, Lafayette, 
by permission of the king, organized the National Guard, 
and placed upon them the " tri-colored cockade." In 
announcing the event to the Assembly, he made the follow- 
ing remarkable declaration : " Gentlemen, I bring you a 
cockade which shall make the tour of the world ; and an 
institution, at once civic and military, which shall change the 
system of European tactics, and reduce all absolute govern- 
ments to the alternative of being beaten if they do not 
imitate it, or of being overthrown if they dare oppose it." 
Bold prophecy, half of which has already been fulfilled. 
With this guard he succeeded in restoring partial order in 
the city but the torrent was only arrested, not dried up. 
Women, beating drums through the streets and crying 
" bread," thrilled every heart, and rolled into wilder motion 
the already excited passions of the people. 


From May till October had the national representatives 
struggled to save France. Met at every turn by the court 
and aristocracy, surrounded with obstacles their enemies 
had constantly thrown in their path, and compelled to spend 
months on the plainest principles of human liberty and 
justice, they had been utterly unable to relieve the public 
distress. For this they were not to blame, but the selfish, 
blind, higher orders. Everything had been compelled to 
wait but famine. That had never wavered nor faltered, but, 
with ever-increasing proportions and frightful mien, had 
stalked over the land, turning women into tigers, and men 
into fiends. 

Suddenly there is a strange and confused uproar on the 
fr oo) Paris to Versailles. An army of women is on the 


march for the king's palace. All efforts to disband them 
have been powerless ; and Lafayette, after attempting in 
vain to keep back the National Guard of 30,000 men, who 
demand with loud cries to accompany them, is compelled to 
yield, and they too go thundering along the road. Armed 
with pikes, hatchets, and sticks pointed with iron, this 
motley crowd march on foot through the drenching rain, 
measuring the weary leagues with aching limbs, and at 
length stream around the magnificent palace of Versailles. 
Wild faces look out from dishevelled hair, and haggard 
features, more fearful than the swaying pikes, move amid 
this con fusion of sexes and hurricane of passion. With eyes 
upturned to where their monarch dwells, they suddenly 
shriek out in wild concord, " BREAD ! " God in heaven ! 
what a cry from women to their king ! Regardless of the 
falling rain and approaching night, and their toilsome 
journey, those strange faces are still turned to him who 
alone can relieve their distress. At length, twelve are con- 
ducted as deputies into the presence of the king. One, 
young and beautiful, overwhelmed at her own boldness in 
thus approaching her monarch, can only faintly utter the 
word "Bread" and swoons at his feet. Here was woe, here 
was suffering, sufficient to bring tears from stones. 

Bread was ordered to be distributed to this famished 
multitude, but was not, and they wandered about searching 
in vain for means to alleviate their hunger, till at length 
they came upon a dead horse, and began in savage ferocity 
to tear out his entrails, and devour his flesh. Tumult was 
again abroad, and shots were fired from the palace on the 
crowd, which rush in return up the marble steps, and stream 
through the royal apartments, demanding blood. But the 
adored Lafayette is seen moving amid the multitude, and 
the storm is stayed, and the king is saved. All night long 
he moved about amid the disorderly crew, to calm their 
excitement ; and at five o'clock, lay down with his clothes 
on to snatch a moment's repose. But the first fierce shout 
brought him to his feet, and, springing on the first horse he 
found, he burst in a furious gallop among the mob, who 
were butchering the Life Guards. Having rescued them 
and sent them away, he suddenly found himself alone in 
presence of one of the murderers, who was aiming his car- 
bine at him. Undismayed, Lafayette ordered the culprit to 
be brought to him. The awe-struck mob obeyed, and seiz- 


ing him, dashed out his brains on the pavement. He then 
hastened to the palace, and the Life Guards, whom he had 
saved, received him with shouts of "Lafayette forever! 
Leading the king forth upon the balcony, he presented him, 
and afterwards the queen, to the people, kissing her maj- 
esty's hand in their presence, while " Vive la Reine /" "Vive 
Lafayette!" rent the air. The next morning, the shout, 
" To Paris ! " was heard, and Louis was compelled, with his 
family, to take this wild escort to the capital. The tiger 
was changed into the fiend. The excitement of the day 
before the hunger and murder of the night, and the strange 
spectacle of the morning, had completely unsettled what 
little reason the rabble had left, and the procession they 
form for the king their furious shouts and bacchanalian 
songs, and disorderly movement as they carry a gory head 
aloft on a pike, making it nod and bow to the multitude in 
grim salutation, are enough to appall the stoutest heart. 
Kingship is ended, reverence is gone, and all after-respect 
and loyalty will be but the spasmodic flame of the dying 
lamp. Vive le rot ! Vive la nation ! Vive Lafayette ! are 
alike incoherent and trustless. But fondly believing that 
France could follow in the steps of America, the intrepid 
Lafayette moved at the head of his faithful troops, preserv- 
ing order, and guiding with his steady hand the car of the 
revolution towards a safe goal. 

At length a confederation of the entire realm was re- 
solved upon ; to take place on the anniversary of the over- 
throw of the Bastile. 


The world never exhibited such a scene as the Field of 
Vlars presented, previous to, and at this grand celebration. 
An area of three hundred thousand square feet was to be 
scooped out, and fitted up with balconies, seats, etc. ; while 
a grand altar, on a base twenty feet high, was to be erected 
in the centre. There were but fifteen days in which to 
make all this preparation, and fifteen thousand men were 
therefore set to work. A mighty army toiled on that open 
field ; but their united efforts were soon seen to be insuffi- 
cient to complete the work in time. The excited populace, 
determined not to be disappointed, and carried away by an 
enthusiasm as sudden as it was fearful, then volunteered 


their labor. In a moment that enthusiasm became mad- 
ness ; and from every quarter came streaming the shouting, 
singing multitude. Young girls, with green boughs and 
tri-color streamers, marched at the head of columns of men 
with spades and pickaxes on their shoulders, singing as 
they advanced. Beautiful women, throwing aside their 
hats and shawls, seized the wheel-barrows, and with di- 
shevelled locks, toiled on beside the brawny laborers ; gay 
young men stripped to the task ; whole families dashed 
into the area ; the great, the noble, and the learned came, 
and shouted and heaved away, till a hundred and fifty 
thousand of all ages, and sexes, and conditions, were gath- 
ered in one mighty throng, working and singing on in the 
July sun. The whole city turned out ; advocates and 
judges, nuns from the convent, with singers from the opera 
seized the spade or barrow ; and amid the deafening strain 
of Ca ira, the work went bravely on. " Beautifullest 
Hebes, the loveliest in Paris, in their light air-robes, with 
ribbon girdles of tri-color, are there, shovelling and 
wheeling with the rest ; their Hebe-eyes brightening with 
enthusiasm, and long hair in beautiful dishevelment ; hard 
pressed are their small fingers ; but they make the patriot 
barrow go, and even force it to the summit of the slope 
(with a little tracing which, what man's arm were not too 
happy to lend ?), then bound down with it again, and go for 
more ; with their long locks and tri-colors blown back 
graceful as the rosy hours."* Lafayette came and looked 
on ; and the king, at last, carried away by this whirlwind of 
feeling, also comes, and spades are lifted on high, and 
" Vive le rot! " rends the air. 

Such was the scene which the last night previous to the 
grand celebration presented ; and never did the setting sun 
throw his farewell beams on a stranger spectacle. Paris 
was mad, crazy ; and the whole population in a frenzy of 
excitement. But, at length, the crowd began slowly to 
retire to their homes, and the Champ de Mars was deserted. 
The next morning the multitude again assembled, in their 
gayest apparel ; and soon three hundred thousand men and 
women crowded that vast amphitheatre. A hundred thou- 
sand men accompanied Lafayette and the king in joyful 

* Vide Carlyle's French Revolution. 


Mounted on a splendid white charger, the marquis enters 
this spacious area, with sixty thousand troops ; while the 
braying of trumpets, and shouts of ten times ten thousand 
voices, make the very heavens reel. Three hundred priests 
stand at the four corners of the altar and celebrate mass, 
amid the pealing of trumpets and thunder of cannon. A 
sudden silence succeeds the uproar, and the deep breathing 
of that vast throng is like the sigh of the sea. Lafayette 
then moves forward, and is borne from his steed on the 
shoulders of grenadiers, to the altar, and placing the point 
of his sword upon it, swears to defend the constitution to 
the last. The thunder of artillery, and shouts of the people 
answer. The king then advances, and with the queen in the 
background, holding her infant son in her arms, repeats the 
solemn oath. A thousand standards are lowered at once ; 
the cannon again roar forth their stern approval ; and such 
a shout goes up, as never before shook the earth. " France 
is free ! " rings out on every side, and universal joy fills the 
heart of the nation. 

Lafayette was greater than the king on this day ; and 
every eye looked to him as the saviour of his country. 

It is impossible, in this brief sketch, to follow him through 
all the scenes of the revolution. Firm, mild, his integrity 
undoubted, and his republicanism unquestioned, he moved 
for a while like an ark of safety amid this sudden and fearful 
deluge. At the head of his thirty thousand troops, he 
carried more authority with him than the king or Assembly. 

The next year a revolt broke out in the Champ de Mars, 
which he no sooner heard of than he marched to quell it 
with twelve hundred grenadiers. On his way, a traitor in 
the ranks fired a pistol at him, but missed his aim. When 
he came up to the crowd, he ordered them to disperse, but 
only received a shower of stones in reply. Firing a volley 
over their heads with no better success, he ordered a volley 
point-blank, which brought down a hundred men, and dis- 
persed the rest. These energetic measures awed the insur- 
gents, and had they been followed up, would have pre- 
vented the Reign of Terror. But unsustained by the royal 
authority, he could not carry out the measures he knew to 
be indispensable to the safety of France, and so the revolu- 
tion went rolling forward to that awful gulf into which it at 
last sunk. 

At the close of the constituent Assembly, he resigned his 


command of the National Guard, and retired to private life. 
But when the war broke out with Austria, he was appointed 
one of the three commanders of the French army, and 
hastened to the frontiers on the Rhine. All this time he 
kept up a constant correspondence with Washington. 

While he was here straining every nerve to save the honor 
of the French army, he heard of that disgusting scene en- 
acted by thirty thousand men and women in the hall of the 
Assembly, and the after insult offered to the king in the 
Tuileries ; and immediately hastened to Paris. Denouncing 
the Jacobins, the authors of those outrages, he made one 
more desperate effort to save the revolution ; and earnestly 
besought the king to let him break up the Jacobin club, that 
nest of vipers, but his request was refused, and the besotted 
monarch, too proud to resign, and too weak to rule, let this 
mob power have way, till it usurped the government. 
Lafayette then attempted to save the royal family, offering 
to conduct them out of the kingdom. They refusing his 
generous proposal, he hastened back to the army, deter- 
mined to wait the issue of things. He saw clearly the 
tempest that was gathering, but knew it was now too late to 
arrest it. He had done all he could, and but for the imbe- 
cile king, would have saved all. 

Soon after the insurrection of the loth of August took 
place ; the Tuileries ran blood, and amid the storm and 
terror of that day, the Bourbon dynasty closed. The 
Jacobins seized the reins of government, and immediately 
sent commissioners to the army, announcing the change in 
affairs. But Lafayette would not receive them, and ordered 
them to be imprisoned. He was in turn accused as a 
traitor, and measures set on foot to arrest him. Deserted 
by his associate generals, and seeing that the army was go- 
ing also, he determined to abandon France and seek an 
asylum in this country, where liberty could be enjoyed with- 
out anarchy. But being seized on his way by the Austrian 
authorities, he was treated as a prisoner of war. It is true, 
the magnanimous despots of Austria and Prussia offered 
him freedom if he would renounce his republican principles. 
Refusing to do this, he was cast into a dungeon, and after 
being tossed about from prison to prison by those royal 
villains, who, destitute alike of honor or of truth, coolly 
covered themselves with infamy in presence of the civilized 
world, was transferred to the gloomy dungeons of Ql- 


mutz, in Austria. Of the sympathy this act of atrocity 
awakened in the bosoms of all true men ; of the efforts of 
Washington and other Americans in his behalf, and the 
noble devotion of his wife, who shared his imprisonment, I 
shall say nothing. The noble attempt made by J. Errick 
Bollman, a German physician, and Francis Huger, son of 
Colonel Huger, of South Carolina, at whose house Lafayette 
was first received on his arrival in this country, have ren- 
dered their names immortal. These men of heroic virtue 
were thrown into prison for their bold and well-nigh success- 
ful effort, where they languished for eight months. Aftet 
their release, they still exerted themselves in behalf of 
Lafayette, though without success. 

In the mean time, the young Napoleon had mounted to 
power, and was rolling the revolutionary earthquake under 
the thrones of Europe. He smote Austria hip and thigh in 
Italy ; and at the peace of Leoben, ma4e one of the chief 
stipulations the release of Lafayette from imprisonment. 
With much reluctance it was acceded to, though the perfidi- 
ous government endeavored first to make their prisoner 
promise to go to America, never to return. This the in- 
dignant patriot firmly refused to do, even to terminate his 
long imprisonment. The king delaying and deferring, 
young Bonaparte gave him to understand, in the most per- 
emptory manner, that unless the marquis was immediately 
released, he would soon hear the thunder of his cannon. 
This argument was understood ; and Lafayette, after having 
suffered five years a close and cruel confinement, was at 
length permitted to go abroad. This first effort of Na- 
poleon's power does him more honor than his victories. 
After his release, Lafayette went first to Holstein, and 
afterwards to Holland, where he remained till the revolu- 
tion which made Napoleon First Consul for life ; and then, 
under his mighty aegis, returned to France, and received 
his old rank in the army. He was attached to the First 
Consul, and well he might be, for he owed him liberty, and 
the restoration to his old honors and home. Still he was 
not a person to sympathize with the fierce tempestuous 
character that was to upset the world ; and Bonaparte felt 
that Lafayette was a man of a past age, and could effect 
nothing in carrying out his stupendous plans. Nevertheless, 
he revered his virtues, and endeavored to bind him to his 
interests, but the latter gradually retired to private life ; 


when the former began his rapid strides towards supreme 
power, wrote him a plain kind letter, asking for guaranties 
of the liberties of the people. This letter was never 
answered, and the writer was well-nigh forgotten in the 
wondrous events that succeeded. In the retirement of La 
Grange he listened to the thunder and tumult that accom- 
panied Napoleon's progress ; saw the century-bound despot- 
isms of Europe shaking, like cedars in a tempest, as his 
mighty hand swept over them, and heard the sound of fall- 
ing thrones, with feelings of mingled wonder and distrust. 
It seemed a strange dream through which he had passed : 
from the bright dawnings of liberty, his country had sunk 
into the darkest night that ever shrouded a nation, and then 
suddenly risen into a vast empire, from whose presence the 
world shrank in dismay. It was natural, in this confusion 
of all things at home, he should turn his thoughts to the 
peaceful Republic he had helped to rear on this side of the 
water. He made known his intentions to Washington, but 
political considerations induced the latter to request him to 
defer his visit, and he continued to live in retirement. But 
when Jefferson became president, he offered him the gover- 
norship of Louisiana, which was declined. 

At length the star of Napoleon went down ; but before 
the nation had time to compose itself, it rose again on the 
troubled world. At his second assumption of imperial 
power, Bonaparte endeavored to win Lafayette over to his 
interests, but the latter stubbornly refused to accept a seat 
in his new Chamber of Peers, preferring to act as one of 
the deputies. 

After the battle of Waterloo, he took stron'g ground 
against the emperor ; and was one of those who procured 
his abdication. Mindful, however, of his former kindness 
to him, when a prisoner at Olmutz, he endeavored to stipu- 
late for his personal safety and liberty. At the restoration 
of the Bourbons, he solemnly warned them against any 
attempts to revive old despotisms ; but his warnings were 
unheeded, and he again sunk into private life, a victim to 
his integrity and unyielding patriotism. 


Again, in his old age, Lafayette determined to look on 
the young Republic that had escaped the disasters which 


had overwhelmed France. When his plans were made 
known, our government offered to place a national vessel 
at his disposal ; but he declined accepting it, and embarked 
at Havre in a merchantman, and arrived at New York, 
August 15, 1824. He was at this time sixty-seven years 

His reception in this country, and triumphal march 
through it, is one of the most remarkable events in the his- 
tory of the world. Such gratitude and unbounded affection 
were never before received by a man from a foreign nation. 
As he passed from Staten Island to New York, the bay was 
covered with gay barges decorated with streamers ; and 
when the beautiful fleet shoved away, the bands struck up. 
" Oil peut-on etre mieux, quau sein de sa famille ? " " Where 
can one better be, than in the bosom of his family ? " Never 
did this favorite French air seem so appropriate not even 
when the shattered Old Guard closed sternly around its 
Emperor, and sang it amid the fire of the enemy's guns 
as when a free people thus chanted it around the venerable 
Lafayette. As he touched the shore, the thunder of cannon 
shook the city, old soldiers rushed weeping into his arms : 
and, " Welcome, Lafayette ! " waved from every banner, 
rung from every trumpet, and was caught up by every 
voice, till " WELCOME, WELCOME ! " rose and fell in deafen- 
ing shouts from the assembled thousands. During the four 
days he remained in the city, it was one constant jubilee ; 
and when he left for Boston, all along his route the people 
rose to welcome him. He traveled every night till twelve 
o'clock, and watch-fires were kept burning on the hill-tops, 
along his line of progress. Blazing through the darkness, 
they outshone the torches that heralded him ; while in the 
distance the pealing of bells from every church-spire an- 
nounced his coming. The same enthusiastic joy received 
him at Boston ; and when he returned to New York, the 
city was wilder than ever with excitement. In Castle 
Garden there was a splendid illumination in honor of him ; 
the bridge leading to it was surmounted by a pyramid sixty 
feet high, with a blazing star at the top, from the centre of 
which flashed the name of Lafayette. The planks were 
covered with carpets, and trees and flowers innumerable 
lined the passage. Over the entrance was a triumphal arch 
of flowers, huge columns arose from the area, supporting 
arches of flowers, and flags, and statues. As he entered this 


wilderness of beauty, the bands struck up, " See the conquer- 
ing hero comes," and shouts shook the edifice to its founda- 
tions. He had scarcely taken his seat in a splendid marquee, 
prepared for his reception, when the curtain before the gal- 
lery, in front of him, lifted and there was a beautiful trans- 
parency, representing La Grange, with its grounds and 
towers, and beneath it, " This is his home." Nothing could 
be more touching and affectionate than this device ; and 
as Lafayette's eye fell upon it, a tear was seen to gather 
there, and his lip to quiver with feeling. 

Thus the people received the "people's friend." From 
New York he went to Albany and Troy, and one long shout 
of welcome rolled the length of the Hudson as he floated 
up the noble stream. Returning, he went to Philadelphia, 
and passing through the same scenes that had been enacted 
in every city he had visited, continued his route to Mount 
Vernon, to visit the tomb of Washington. The thunder of 
cannon announced his arrival at the consecrated ground ; 
calling to his mind the time when he had seen that now 
lifeless chieftain move through the tumult of battle. Wish- 
ing no one to witness his emotions as he stood beside the 
ashes of his friend, he descended alone into the vault. 
With trembling steps and uncovered head he passed down 
to the tomb. The secrets of that meeting of the living 
with the dead no one knows, but when the aged veteran 
came forth again his face was covered with tears. He then 
took his son and secretary by the hand, and led them into 
the vault. He could not speak ; his bursting heart was too 
full for utterance, and he mutely pointed to the coffin of 
Washington. They knelt reverently beside it, kissed it, 
then rising, threw themselves into Lafayette's arms, and 
burst into tears. It was a touching scene, there in the 
silent vault, and worthy the noble sleeper. 

From thence he went to Yorktown, where a magnificent 
reception was given him. Proceeding south, he passed 
through all the principal cities, to New Orleans, and thence 
up the Mississippi, to Cincinnati, and across to Pittsburg, 
and finally to western New York, through which he has- 
tened rapidly to Boston, to be present at the laying of the 
corner-stone of the Bunker Hill monument. 

Previously to his southern trip, however, he had visited 
Congress, and been received by that body with distinguished 
honor. A few days after a bill was passed, giving him a 


hundred and forty thousand dollars, as payment, in part, 
for the money he had expended in our behalf. He had 
clothed and fed our naked, starving soldiers at his own 
cost, expended money for the State, fought our battles, 
endured, suffered, and toiled for our welfare; yet he never 
asked, never expected compensation. It had been entirely 
a free-will offering his youth, his wealth, his life, all, an 
unselfish, noble sacrifice to a weak, but brave people, strug- 
gling to be free. 

This generous, and yet only just remuneration, took 
Lafayette by surprise, and affected him deeply. Indeed, to 
a heart like his, the open arms and overflowing affection of 
the people were a sufficient reward. The entire nation had 
risen to do him homage. " Honor to Lafayette," " Welcome 
to Lafayette, the nation's guest," and such like exclama- 
tions had met him at every step. Flowers were strewed 
along his pathway, his carriage detached from the horses, 
and dragged by the enthusiastic crowd, along ranks of 
grateful freemen, who rent the heavens with their acclama- 
tions. From the heads of government down to the lowest 
menial, all had united in pouring blessings on his venerable 
head. Melted to tears by these demonstrations of love, he 
had moved like a father amid his children, scattering bless- 
ings wherever he went. 

One of his last acts in this country was to lay the corner, 
stone of the Bunker Hill monument. He had placed the 
stone over Baron De Kalb's grave, in South Carolina, and 
now it was fit that he, the last survivor of the major-generals 
of the American Revolution, should consecrate the first block 
in that grand structure. Amid the silent attention of fifty 
thousand spectators, this aged veteran, and friend of Wash- 
ington, with uncovered head, performed the imposing cere- 
monies, and" Long live Lafayette," swelled up from the top 
of Bunker Hill. 

At length, after having passed through almost the entire 
Union, in the space of a few months, he embarked, the eighth 
of September, for his native land. The Brandywine was 
sent out by government to convey him home ; and when it 
reached Havre, the officers, wishing to express their admira- 
tion of him, deputed their first lieutenant, Gregory, to con- 
vey their sentiments. The young officer, overcome by his 
feelings, was unable to utter a word ; but in a spirit of true 
heroism, ran to the stern of the vessel, and snatching the 


flag that waved there, handed it to him, saying : " We can 
not confide it to more glorious keeping." He then made a 
short address, to which Lafayette replied, saying : " I hope, 
that displayed from the most prominent part of my house, 
at La Grange, it will always testify to all who may see it, 
the kindness of the American nation towards its adopted 
and devoted son." 

The people thronged around him as he traveled through 
France, and he was everywhere hailed " The people's 

In public and private duties, in the service of his coun- 
try, and in acts of private charity, he passed his life, until 
1830, when Charles X mad, like all his race issued his 
tyrannical ordinances, which produced the revolution that 
placed Louis Philippe on the throne. With the first inti- 
mation of the outbreak, he hastened to Paris, and at once 
took sides with the people. On the second day's fight, the 
students of the Polytechnic School assembled at his house 
to receive instructions in the- course they should pursue. 
Lafayette was a man of a past generation, but his name had 
been a household word ; and it was a touching spectacle to 
see those fresh and youthful students gather around the 
man of silver locks, and listen to the words of freedom that 
dropped from his lips, and then go forth to lay down their 
lives for their country. On the last day of that terrible 
struggle, amid the pealing of the tocsin, the thunder of 
cannon, and groans of the dying, the name of Lafayette 
was the watch-word that rung over the tumult, and roused 
the courage of the patriots. Again the Bourbon throne 
went down in blood, and again Lafayette put aside the 
power which a successful revolution had placed in his hands. 
Louis Philippe was called to the throne, which the arm of 
Lafayette alone steadied till the revolution subsided. 

It was not very long, however, before he and the king's 
cabinet disagreed. Louis Philippe had promised to pro- 
tect the liberties of the people ; but no sooner did he feel 
the sceptre in his hand, than the blood of a Bourbon began 
to tingle in his fingers. He had deceived Lafayette but 
what could the latter do ? The first revolution broke away 
from his restraining influence, and raged on till it was 
quenched in a sea of blood itself had set flowing. Bona- 
parte had deceived him, and grasped imperial power, and 
now Louis Philippe had proved false to his promises. 


He lived but four years after this, and died of an affec 
tion of the kidneys, in 1834, in his seventy-seventh year. 
His death produced a great sensation in this country, and 
funeral honors were everywhere paid him. 


Lafayette was about six feet high, and in his later years 
somewhat corpulent. His face was oval, with light, large, 
and prominent eyes, a high forehead and aquiline nose. 

He did not possess what is commonly termed genius, nor 
was he a man of remarkable intellectual powers. In'youth, 
ardent and adventurous, he soon learned, under Washing- 
ton, to curb his impulses, and act more from his judgment. 
Left to himself, he probably never would have reached any 
great eminence, but there could have been no better school 
for the fiery young republican than the family of Washing- 
ton. His affection and reverence for the latter gradually 
changed his entire character. Washington was his model ; 
and imitating his self-control and noble patriotism, he be- 
came like him in patriotism and virtue. The difference 
between them was the same as that between an original and 
Si copy. Washington was a man of immense strength of 
character, not only strong in virtue, but in intellect and will. 
Everything bent before him, and the entire nation took its 
impress from his mind. Lafayette was strong in integrity, 
and nothing could shake his unalterable devotion to the 
welfare of man. Enthusiastically wedded to republican in- 
stitutions, no temptation could induce him to seize on, or 
aid power which threatened to overthrow them. Although 
somewhat vain and conceited, he was generous, self-sacri- 
ficing, and benevolent. Few men have passed through so 
many and so fearful scenes as he. From a young courtier, 
he passed into the self-denying, toilsome life of a general in 
the ill-clothed, ill-fed, and ill-disciplined American army, 
thence into the vortex of the French Revolution and all its 
horrors, thence into the gloomy prison of Olmutz. After 
a few years of retirement, he appeared on our shores to 
receive the welcome of a grateful people, and hear a nation 
shout his praise, and bear him from one limit of the land to 
another in its arms. A few years pass by, and with his 
gray hairs falling about his aged countenance, he stands 
amid the students of Paris, and sends his feeble shout of 


defiance to the throne of the Bourbon, and it falls. Rising 
more by his virtue than his intellect, he holds a prominent 
place in the history of France, and, linked with Washington, 
goes down to a greater immortality than awaits any em- 
peror or mere warrior of the human race. 

His love for this country was deep and abiding. To the 
last his heart turned hither, and well it might : his career 
of glory began on our shores, on our cause he staked his 
reputation, fortune, and life, and in our success received 
the benediction of the good the world over. That love was 
returned with interest, and never was a nobler exhibition of 
a nation's gratitude than our reception of him at his last 
visit. We love him for what he did for us we revere him 
for his consistency to our principles amid all the chaos and 
revolutions of Europe ; and when we cease to speak of him 
with affection and gratitude, we shall show ourselves un- 
worthy of the blessings we have received at his hands. 
;< HONOR TO LAFAYETTE ! " will ever stand inscribed on 
our temple of liberty until its ruins shall cover all it now 


Early Serves in this Country Comes over the Second Time with Lafayette 
Made Major-General A Secret Correspondent of the French Gov- 
ernment Sent South His Bravery and Death at Camden Eulogy of 
Washington His Character. 

BUT little remains to be said of this brave stranger, after 
the description in the first volume of the battle of Camden, 
where he fell nobly struggling to save the honor of our 

DE KALB was a German by birth, though he served so 
long in the armies of France that he came here as a French 
officer. It was he who first introduced Lafayette to Silas 
Deane. Afterwards he accompanied him to this country, 
and his fame as an officer of experience caused him to be 
promoted at once to the rank of major-general. Very little 
is known of his early life ; but he was knight of the order 
of military merit, and brigadier-general in the French army, 
when he joined our standard. According to Weems, who 
makes him sixty-three years old when the battle of Camden 
was fought, he must have been born in 1717. From re- 
marks which he was heard to make, it is evident he came 
to America in the French war of 1753, as a secret messen- 
ger of the French government. He always seemed to keep 
up, during the Revolution, a voluminous correspondence, 
all of which was written in characters or ciphers. His bag- 
gage never amounted to much, yet he was nervously sensi- 
tive about it, and invariably requested, when the army was 
moving, that it should be placed in the centre. This anx- 
iety was evidently on account of his papers rather than from 
the value of his wardrobe. Abstemious as a hermit, drink- 
ing nothing but water, he was as fresh and hearty at sixty as 
most men are at forty. 

He served in the American army three years ; but his 
actions, whatever they may have been, have sunk into ob- 
livion. When Lincoln's overthrow at Charleston opened 


the South to the British, he was sent with two thousand 
Continentals to operate against them, and had he been left 
alone, would have given a good account of those noble 
troops. But Congress hurried off Gates, who immediately 
changed the cautious and skilful course of De Kalb, and 
rushed, contrary to the advice of the latter, directly into the 
arms of the British, and had his army cut to pieces. 

In this battle, the thousand Continentals under De Kalb 
were worthy of their leader, who put forth on that disastrous 
day almost superhuman energy. With his silvered locks 
streaming in the smoke of battle, and his loud voice ringing 
over the tumult, he strode amid the carnage, and did all 
that man could do to win the victory. Against the two 
thousand British veterans they stood firm as a rock, and 
when De Kalb saw that they were fast thinning before the 
superior fire to which they were exposed, and ordered them 
to charge bayonets, they rolled the whole hostile army back, 
and all alone might have won the day, had even the Amer 
ican cavalry remained on the field to keep that of Tarleton 
in check. But having fled, the latter came thundering on 
the gaping ranks of those glorious Continentals, and rode 
them down without mercy. Then De Kalb fell, as before 
stated, pierced with eleven wounds. Never was the superi- 
ority of American over British troops, when equally dis- 
ciplined, more apparent than in this defeat. 

He was buried near Camden, and Congress voted, though 
never placed, a monument over his grave. South Carolina, 
I believe, has since erected one ; the foundation-stone of 
which Lafayette, on his last visit to this country, laid amid 
appropriate ceremonies. It is said that Washington, visiting 
his grave many years after his death, sighed, as he bent 
thoughtfully above it, and exclaimed : " So there lies the 
brave De Kalb ; the generous stranger, who came from a 
distant land to fight our battles, and to water, with his 
blood, the tree of our liberty. Would to God he had lived 
to share with us its fruits." 

Noble, generous, and frank De Kalb had the heart of a 
lion, in a breast where dwelt every tender emotion. His 
death was a glorious one for a warrior. Fighting for 
liberty, he fell on the field he struggled so nobly to win ; 
and by his great example honored the troops, who honored 
both him and their cause. 


JOHN THOMAS was born in Plymouth county, Mass. Little 
is known of his early life, but he served in the French and 
Indian war ; and at its close was considered an able and ef- 
ficient officer. Brave, yet prudent, he had such a reputa, 
tion through the country, that he was looked upon by the 
colonies as a strong ally, when the struggle between them 
and the mother country commenced. At the time the bat- 
tle of Bunker's Hill was fought, he was residing at Kings- 
ton. Throwing himself at once, soul and body, into the 
contest, he in a short time raised an entire regiment by his 
own efforts, and marched to Roxbury. Here he received, 
first, his appointment as brigadier, and then as major-general. 

After the death of Montgomery he was placed over the 
army in Canada. Arnold and he could not agree very well, 
and so the former left. In the spring it became evident 
that Canada could not be held, and Thomas retreated to 
Chamble'e, where he was taken with the small-pox and died. 

ALEXANDER McDouGALi, was the son of a Scotchman,who 
used to sell milk in New York city. Just before the Rev- 
olution, he, then a captain, wrote a pamphlet, entitled " A 
Son of Liberty to the Enslaved Inhabitants of the Colony 
of New York," which caused him to be arrested and thrown 
into prison, where he remained three months. He was im- 
mediately looked upon as a martyr, and the first ladies of 
the city flocked to visit him. Ai length a grand jury was 
packed to try him. It was proposed to try torture, to 
make him recant his opinions ; bu^ he declared he would 
see his arm cut off at the bar of the house, before he would 
retract. Being acquitted he became a prominent man, and 
was soon promoted in the army.* 

* Vidt Life of Hamilton, by hit so* 


When Washington retired from New York, and finally 
drew up his forces in a strong position on White Plains, 
McDougall was placed over a Jarge body of troops, and or- 
dered to hold Chatterton's Hill a height about half a mile 
south of the American right flank, and separated from it by 
the Bronx. On these the English commander first advanced. 
The troops crossed the Bronx under a heavy fire from 
McDougall's cannon ; and though severely galled, advanced 
steadily up the hill, and drove the Americans from their 

McDougall commanded in the Highlands, and was kept 
constantly in the field, though engaged in no important 
battle, except that of Germantown. He was attached to 
Greene's division in this engagement, and fought bravely. 
In 1781 he was elected member of Congress, and afterwards 
of the senate of New York. He died in June, 1786, living 
but a few years after the establishment of our Indepen- 


DAVID WOOSTER was born in Stratford, Connecticut, 
March 2d, 1710, and hence was an old man when the Rev- 
olutionary war commenced. He graduated at Yale Col- 
lege in 1738, and the next year, when the Spanish war 
broke out, was made first lieutenant, and afterwards cap- 
tain of a vessel fitted out to guard the coast. In the expe- 
dition against Louisburg, in 1745, he served as captain, and 
was distinguished for his intrepidity. Selected as one of 
the American officers to take charge of a cartel ship for 
France and England, he sailed for the former country, but 
not being permitted to land, went to England. Here he 
received great attention, and was presented to the king, and 
became a favorite at court. 

In the war of 1756 Wooster was appointed colonel, and 
afterwards brigadier-general in the English service. At its 
close he embarked in mercantile business, and was quietly 
descending the declivity of life when the collision took 
place between Great Britain and her colonies. Though an 
officer in the British army, and collector of his majesty's 
customs in New Haven, he enlisted warmly in our cause. 
It is said the expedition against Ticonderoga and the forts 
on Lake Champlain was first suggested by him and a few 
others, who held themselves personally responsible for the 
money necessary to carry it out. 

In 1775 he was appointed brigadier-general in the Conti- 
nental army, and the next year went into Canada. After 
our army was beaten back and evacuated the provinces, he 
returned to his native State, and was appointed major-gen- 
eral of the State militia he never held this rank in the 
regular army. 

I have already spoken, in my sketch of Arnold, of the 
gallant behavior of Wooster when the British attacked Dan- 



bury, and of his heroic death at the head of his followers. 
The old man, then sixty-seven years of age, led on the 
militia in person, and while endeavoring to encourage them 
to advance in the volleys before which they recoiled, was 
himself struck by a ball and mortally wounded. He lived 
but a short time, and his last words were, that he hoped and 
believed his country would gain her independence. Noble 
old man ! but he sleeps among a recreant people, for no 
monument rises above his ashes. 

MAJOR-GENERAL HOWE was from North Carolina, but of 
his birth, and the part he took in the war, I haye been able 
to ascertain but little. He commanded the troops in Savan- 
nah at the time it was taken by the British, and was not 
considered much of a soldier or officer. He afterwards 
commanded in the Highlands, and was one of the major- 
generals who composed the court-martial which tried Andre*. 
He seems to have effected but little in military matters, and 
was probably one of those numerous appointments made 
out by Congress to satisfy local feeling rather than from 
any fitness of the person for the office. 

SAMUEL H. PARSONS was the son of Rev. Jonathan Par- 
sons, of Newburyport. He graduated at Harvard, in 1756 ; 
and established himself as a lawyer in New London county, 
Connecticut. He was a firm supporter of the cause of the 
colonies, and devoted all his great powers to the interests of 
freedom. When the war commenced he threw aside his 
legal profession and took the sword. He entered the army 
as lieutenant-colonel ; and though engaged in no important 
battles, by the skill and energy he showed in his station 
soon rose to the rank of major-general. After the peace, 
he was sent as commissioner to treat with the Indians 
northwest of the Ohio ; and when that country was created 
into a territorial government, received the appointment 
of first judge, and removed to Marietta, Ohio. He was 
drowned in crossing the Great Beaver Creek, near Pitts- 
burg, November 17, 1789. 

Parsons is another of those generals whose services are 
not to be measured by the battles they fought. They hold 
a prominent place in the military history of our country, 
though not so conspicuous in its military scenes. GeneraJ 
Parsons was a man of strong intellect, a stanch patriot, and 
rendered his country great service. The name is one of 
the first in New England. 



Our Navy at the Commencement of the Revolution Birth and Early Life 
of Paul Jones First Cruise in the Alfred Commands the Providence 
Cruise in the Ranger Bold Attack on Whitehaven Battle with the 
Drake Prayer of Mr. Shirra Bloody Engagement with the Serapis 
Wreck of the Ariel Enters the Russian Service Crosses the Baltic 
in an Open Boat Adventures in the Black Sea His Death and Char- 

As it was rny design in the present work to illustrate all 
the great features of the Revolution, without going into a 
detailed history, it seems hardly just to leave out altogether 
our embryo navy. Marion, though only a State brigadier, 
is introduced to illustrate our partisan warfare, and PAUL 
JONES is now added, to bring within the survey that portion 
of the struggle which took place on the water, and thus 
complete the panorama of the Revolution. This departure 
from my original plan may detract somewhat from the 
unity of the work, but I trust it will more than compensate 
for it in the extent of the field it embraces. 

It is impossible to do justice to all the brave men who 
commanded our national vessels during the Revolution ; 
and hence I have chosen Jones, around whom, perhaps, 
more interest gathers than any other, to stand as a represent- 
ative of all. 

At the outset, Ezekiel Hopkins was appointed commtnd- 
er-in-chief of our naval forces, and hence ranked as com- 
modore ; but after his first cruise he was censured by 
Congress, and dismissed from service. Captain Nicholson 
then became the senior officer, but ranked only as captain. 
In 1776 we had twenty-six vessels, great and small. The 
number afterwards became reduced, but the activity and 
energy of this little fleet may be gathered from the fact, 
that during the first two years of the war, it captured eight 
hundred English merchantmen.* 

* Vide Cooper's Naval History. 


Among the commanders were many who distinguished 
themselves greatly. Captain Barry was as brave an officer 
as ever fought a ship. In the Raleigh, of thirty-two guns, 
he was attacked by a fleet of British vessels ; and aftef 
endeavoring in vain to escape, closed desperately in with 
the most forward of his antagonists, hoping to carry her by 
boarding, before the other vessels could come up. Failing 
in this, he boldly ran his ship ashore, and leaping overboard, 
with eighty-five men, reached a barren and rocky island. 
In 1781, then in the Alliance, he attacked two English 
vessels ; and, after a hot engagement, was wounded and 
carried below. While his wound was dressing, one of his 
lieutenants came and asked whether they should surrender? 
" No" exclaimed the intrepid commander ; " // the ship 
cant be fought without me, I will be carried on deck" This 
reply inspired the men, and both vessels were captured. 
The next year he extricated himself and his consort, the 
Luzerne, from a whole British squadron, with unsurpassed 
skill and bravery. He was an officer of great qualities, and 
did the country good service. 

JOSHUA BARNEY was another gallant officer. His capture 
of the Monk a ship larger than his own, the Hyder Ally 
right in the presence of other vessels, was one of the most 
brilliant things in our naval history. His deeds, however, 
belong to the historian of the war of 1812, in which he 
served as commodore. 

JAMES NICHOLSON, the senior officer before mentioned, 
was an equally able, though less successful commander. 
He was placed over the Virginia, of twenty-eight guns, in 
1776 ; but his vessel being soon after blockaded, he joined 
Washington's army with his crew, and led them into action 
at Trenton. He afterwards took command of the Trumbull. 
With this vessel he fought the Watt, of superior force ; and 
for two hours and a half lay directly abeam of her, and 
within musket-shot, pouring in broadside after broadside 
with terrible effect. The loss of his spars alone prevented 
him from capturing the enemy. In 1781, after fighting 
against the most desperate odds, he was compelled to sur- 

The name of such officers as Manly, Harding, Biddle, 
Robinson, Alexander, Williams, Truxton, Murray, Young, 
and Dale, can only be mentioned. Some of them rose to 
high rank afterwards in the navy. 


Our first ships were bold cruisers, and, in almost every 
instance, were fought by their commanders with great reso- 
lutieti and bravery. 

PAUL JOKES, or John Paul, was born July 6th, 1747, in 
Kirkcudbright, Scotland, and was the son of a poor gar- 
dener, on the estate of Arbigland. The name of Jones was 
entirely assumed, though for what purpose is not stated. It 
was probably arnxed to render him unknown to his friends 
in Scotland, who plight regard him as a traitor, if they 
knew he was fighting against his country. At all events, 
he rendered his new name immortal, and the real name, 
John Paul, is sunk in that of Paul Jones. By a large class 
of men he is regarded as a c>ort cf freebooter turned patriot 
an adventurer to whom trje American war was a God- 
send, in that it kept him from being a pirate. But noth- 
ing could be farther from -the truth. He was an 
adventurer, it is true, as all men ere who are compelled to 
make their own fortunes in the world ; and had all the 
boldness and rashness which are necessary to success in 
military life. Born by the sea-shore, wht>re the tide heaves 
up the Solway living on a promontory, vhose abrnpt sides 
allowed vessels to approach almost against the shore 
surrounded by romantic scenery, and with the words of 
sea-faring men constantly ringing in his ear, he naturally, 
at an early age, abandoned his employment as gardener, 
and became a sailor. Independent of the associations in 
which he was placed leading to such a course of life, he was 
of that poetic, romantic temperament, which always builds 
gorgeous structures in the future. No boy, with a fancy 
like that of Paul Jones, could be content to live the hum- 
drum life of a gardener's son. To him this great world 
presents too wide a field, and opens too many avenues to 
fame, to be lightly abandoned, and he launches forth with 
a strong arm and a resolute spirit to hew his way among 
his fellows. 

Paul was but twelve or fourteen years of age when he was 
received, as a sailor, on broad the ship Friendship, bound 
to Rappahannock, Virginia. Thus early were his footsteps 
directed towards our shores, by which his whole future 
career was shaped. The young sailor, by his skill and in- 
dustry, was soon promoted to the rank of third mate, second 
mate, first mate, supercargo, and finally captain. Thus he 
Continued roaming the sea till he was twenty-six years of 


age, when a brother of his, a Virginia planter, having died 
intestate, without children, he took charge of the estate for 
the family, and spent two years on the land. 

In 1775, when the American Revolution broke out, the 
young Scotchman commenced his brilliant career. His 
offer to Congress, to serve in the navy, was accepted, and 
he was appointed first lieutenant in the Alfred. As the 
commander-in-chief of the squadron came on board, Jones 
unfurled the national flag the first time its folds were ever 
given to the breeze. What that flag was, strange as it may 
seem, no record or tradition can certainly tell. It was not 
the Stars and the Stripes, for they were not adopted till two 
years after. The generally received opinion is, that it was 
a pine tree, with a rattlesnake coiled at the roots, as if 
about to spring, and underneath, the motto, " Don't tread 
on me." At all events, it unrolled to the breeze, and waved 
over as gallant a young officer as ever trod a quarter-deck. 
If the flag bore such a symbol, it was most appropriate to 
Jones, for no serpent was ever more ready to strike than 
he. Fairly afloat, twenty-nine years of age, healthy, well 
knit, though of light and slender frame, a commissioned 
officer in the American navy, the young gardener saw, with 
joy, the shores receding as the fleet steered for the Bahama 
Isles. A skilful seaman, at home on the deck and a bold 
and daring man, he could not but distinguish himself, in 
whatever circumstances he might be placed. The result of 
this expedition was the capture of New Providence, with a 
hundred cannon, and an abundance of military stores. It 
came near failing, through the bungling management of the 
commander-in-chief, and would have done so, but for the 
perseverance and daring of Paul Jones. 

As the fleet was returning home, he had an opportunity 
tn try himself in battle. The Glasgow, an English ship, was 
chased by the whole squadron, yet escaped. During the 
running fight, Jones commanded the lower battery ot the 
Alfred, and exhibited that coolness and daring which after- 
wards so characterized him. 

Soon after, he was transferred to tht sloop Providence, 
and ordered to put to sea on a six week A cruise. H re- 
quired no ordinary skill or boldness to keep this little sloop 
hovering amid the enemy's cruisers, and yet aWd capture. 
Indeed, his short career seemed about to end, fo' he found 
himself, one day, chased by the English frigate Solebay; 


and despite of every exertion overhauled, so that at the end 
of four hours, his vessel was brought within musket-shot of 
the enemy, whose heavy cannon kept thundering against 
him. Gallantly returning the fire with his light guns, Jones, 
though there seemed no chance of escape, still kept his flag 
flying, and saved himself by his extraordinary seamanship. 
Finding himself lost in the course he was pursuing, he 
gradually worked his little vessel off till he got the Solebay 
on his weather quarter, when he suddenly exclaimed, " Up 
helm," to the steersman, and setting every sail that would 
draw, stood dead before the wind, bearing straight down on 
the English frigate, and passing within pistol-shot of her. 
Before the enemy could recover his surprise at this bold 
and unexpected manoeuvre, or bring his ship into the same 
position, Jones was showing him a clean pair of heels. His 
little sloop could outsail the frigate before the wind, and 
he bore proudly away. x 

He soon after had another encounter with the English 
frigate Milford. He was lying to, near the Isle of Sable, 
fishing, when the Milford hove in sight. Immediately put- 
ting his ship in trim, he tried the relative speed of the two 
vessels, and finding that he could outsail his antagonist, let 
him approach. The Englishman kept rounding to as he 
advanced, and pouring his broadsides on the sloop, but at 
such a distance that not a shot told. Thus Jones kept ir- 
ritating his more powerful enemy, keeping him at just such 
a distance as to make his firing ridiculous. Still it was a 
hazardous experiment, for a single chance shot, crashing 
through his rigging, might have reduced his speed so much 
as to prevent his escape. But to provoke the Englishman 
still more, Jones, as he walked quietly away, ordered one of 
his men to return each of the enemy's broadsides with a 
single musket-shot. This insulting treatment made a per- 
fect farce of the whole chase, and must have enraged the 
commander of the Milford beyond measure. 

He continued cruising about, and at the end of forty- 
seven days sailed into Newport with sixteen prizes. He 
next planned an expedition against Cape Breton to break up 
the fisheries ; and, though he did not wholly succeed, he 
returned to Boston in about a month, with four prizes and 
a hundred and fifty prisoners. The clothing on its way to 
the Canada troops, which he captured, came very oppor- 
tunely for the destitute soldiers of the American army. 


During this expedition Jones had command of the Alfred, 
but was superseded on his return, and put again on board 
his old sloop, the Providence. This was the commence- 
ment of a series of unjust acts on the part of our govern- 
ment towards him, which as yet could not break away from 
English example, and make brave deeds the only road to 
rank. It insisted, according to the old continental rule, 
with which Bonaparte made such wild work, on giving the 
places of trust to the sons of distinguished gentlemen. 
Jones remonstrated against this injustice, and pressed the 
government so closely with his importunities and complaints, 
that, to get rid of him, it sent him to Boston to select and 
fit out a ship for himself. In the mean time, he recommend- 
ed measures to government, respecting the organizing and 
strengthening of the navy, which show him to have been the 
most enlightened naval officer in our service, and that his 
sound and comprehensive views were equal to his bravery. 
Most of his suggestions were adopted, and the foundation 
of the American navy laid. 

Soon after (June, 1777), he was given command of the 
Ranger, and informed in his commission, that the flag of 
the United States was to be thirteen stripes, and the union 
thirteen stars on a blue field, representing a new constella- 
tion in the heavens. With joy he hoisted this new flag, and 
put to sea in his badly equipped vessel steering for France, 
where he was, by order of his government, to take charge 
of a large vessel, there to be purchased for him by the 
American Commissioners. Failing in this enterprise, he 
again set sail in the Ranger, and steered for Quiberon Bay. 
Here, passing through the French fleet, with his brig, he 
obtained a national salute, the first ever given our colors 
Having had the honor first to hoist our flag on the water, 
and the first to hear the guns of a powerful nation thunder 
forth their recognition of it, he again put to sea, and boldly 
entered the Irish Channel, capturing several prizes. 


Steering for the Isle of Man, he planned an expedition 
which illustrates the boldness and daring that characterized 
him. He determined to burn the shipping in Whitehaven, 
in retaliation for the injuries inflicted on our coast by Eng- 
lish sbipsv Mor* than three hundred vessels lay in this 


part, protected by two batteries, composed of thirty pieces 
of artillery, while eighty rods distant was a strong fort. To 
enter a port so protected, and filled with shipping, with a. 
single brig, and apply the torch, under the very muzzles of 
the cannon, was an act unrivalled in daring. But Jones 
seemed to delight in these reckless deeds there appeared 
to be a sort of witchery about danger to him, and the greater 
it was, the more enticing it became. Once, when govern- 
ment was making arrangements to furnish him with a ship, 
he urged the necessity of giving him a good one, "for" 
said he, "/ intend to go in harm's way." This was true, and 
he generally managed to carry out his intentions. 

It was about midnight, on the 226. of April (1778), when 
Jones stood boldly in to the port of Whitehaven. Having 
got sufficiently near, he took two boats and thirty-one men, 
and rowed noiselessly away from his gallant little ship. He 
commanded one boat in person, and took upon himself the 
task of securing the batteries. With a mere handful of 
men he scaled the breastwork, seized the sentinel on duty 
before he could give the alarm, and rushing forward took 
the astonished soldiers prisoners, and spiked the cannon. 
Then leaving Lieutenant Wallingsford to fire the shipping, 
he hastened forward with only one man to take the fort. Alt 
was silent as he approached, and boldly entering, he spiked 
every cannon, and then hurried back to his little band. He 
was surprised, as he approached, not to see the shipping in 
a blaze ; and demanded of his lieutenant why he had not 
fulfilled his orders. The latter replied that his light had 
gone out ; but he evidently did not like his mission, and 
purposely neglected to obey orders. Everything had been 
managed badly, and to his mortification he saw the day be- 
ginning to dawn, and his whole plan, at the moment when 
it promised complete success, overturned. The people, 
rousing from their slumbers, saw with alarm a band of men 
with half-burnt candles in their hands standing on the pier, 
and assembled in crowds. Jones, however, refused to 
depart, and, indignant at the failure of the expedition, 
entered alone a large ship, and coolly sat down and kindled 
a fire in the steerage. He then hunted about for a barrel 
of tar, which having found, he poured it over the flames. 
The blaze shot up around the lofty spars, and wreathed the 
rigging i n their spiral folds, casting a baleful light over the 
town. The terrified inhabitants, seeing the flames shoot 


heavenward, rushed towards the wharves ; but Jones posted 
himself by the entrance to the ship with a cocked pistol in 
his hand, threatening to shoot the first who should approach. 
They hesitated a moment, and then turned and fled. Gaz- 
ing a moment on the burning ship and the panic-struck 
multitude, he entered his boat, and leisurely rowed back to 
the Ranger, that sat like a sea-gull on the water. The 
bright sun had now risen, and was bathing the land and sea 
in its light, revealing to the inhabitants the little craft that 
had so boldly entered their waters ; and they hastened to 
their fort to open their cannon upon it. To their astonish- 
ment they found them spiked. They, however, got posses- 
sion of two guns, which they began to fire ; but the shot 
fell so wide of the mark, that the sailors, in contempt, fired 
back their pistols. 

The expedition had failed through the inefficiency of his 
men, and especially one deserter, who remained behind to 
be called the " Saviour of Whitehaven " ; but it showed to 
England that her own coast was not safe from the hand of 
the spoiler ; and that the torch she carried into our ports 
might be hurled into hers al^o. In carrying it out, Jones 
exhibited a daring and coolness never surpassed by any man. 
The only drawback to it was, that it occurred in the neighbor- 
hood of his birth-place and amid the hallowed associations 
of his childhood. One would think that the familiar hill- 
tops and mountain ranges, and the thronging memories 
they would bring back on the bold rover, would have sent 
him to other portions of the coast to inflict distress. It 
speaks badly for the man's sensibilities, though so well for 
his courage. 

He next entered Kirkcudbright Bay in a single boat, for 
the purpose of taking Lord Selkirk prisoner. The absence 
of the nobleman alone prevented his success. 


The next day, as he was off Carrickfergus, he saw the 
Drake, an English ship of war, working slowly out of har- 
bor to go in pursuit of his vessel, that was sending such 
consternation along the Scottish coast. Five small vessels, 
filled with citizens, accompanied her part of the way. A 
heavy tide was setting landward, and the vessel made feeble 
headway ; but at length she made her last tack, and stretched 


boldly out into the channel. The Ranger, when she first 
saw the Drake coming out of the harbor, ran down to meet 
her, and then lay to till the latter had cleared the port. 
She then filled away, and stood out into the centre of the 
channel. The Drake had, in volunteers and all, a crew of 
a hundred and sixty men, besides carrying two guns more 
than the Ranger. She also belonged to the regular British 
navy, while Jones had a crew imperfectly organized, and 
but partially used to the discipline of a vessel of war. He, 
however, saw with delight his formidable enemy approach, 
tnd when the latter hailed him, asking what ship it was, he 
feplied : " The American Continental ship Ranger ! We 
ire waiting for you come on ! " 

Alarm fires were burning along both shores, and the hill- 
tops were covered with spectators, witnessing the meeting 
of these two ships. The sun was only an hour high, and as 
the blazing fire-ball stooped to the western wave, Jones com- 
menced the attack. Steering directly across the enemy's 
bow, he poured in a deadly broadside, which was promptly 
returned ; and the two ships moved gallantly away, side by 
side, while broadside after broadside thundered over the 
deep. Within close musket-shot they continued to sweep 
slowly and sternly c iward for an hour, wreathed in smoke, 
while the incessant crash of timbers on board the Drake 
told how terrible was the American's fire. First, her fore 
and main topsails were carried away then the yards began 
to tumble, one after another ; until at length her ensign, 
fallen also, dragged in the water. Jones kept pouring in 
his destructive broadsides, which the Drake answered, but 
with less effect ; while the topmen of the Ranger made 
fearful havoc amid the dense crew of the enemy. As riie 
last sunlight was leaving its farewell on the distant moun- 
tain-tops, the commander of the Drake fell, shot through 
the head with a musket-ball, and the British flag was low- 
ered to the Stripes and Stars a ceremony which, in after 
years, became quite common. 

Jones returned with his prizes to Paris, and offered his 
services to France. In hopes of getting command of a 
larger vessel, he gave up the Ranger, but soon had cause 
to regret it, for he was left for a long time without employ- 
ment. He had been promised the Indian ; and the Prince 
of Nassau, pleased by the daring of Jones, had promised to 
accompany him as a volunteer. But this fell through, 


together with many other projects, and but for the firm 
friendship of Franklin, he would have fared but poorly in 
the French capital. After a long series of annoyances and 
disappointments, he at length obtained command of a vessel, 
which, out of respect to Franklin, he named " The Bon 
Homme Richard," "The Poor Richard." With seven 
ships in all a snug little squadron for Jones, had the dif- 
ferent commanders been subordinate he set sail from 
France, and steered for the coast of Ireland. The want of 
proper subordination was soon made manifest, for in a 
week's time the vessels, one after another, parted company, 
to cruise by themselves, till Jones had with him but the 
Alliance, Pallas, and Vengeance. In a tremendous storm 
he bore away, and after several days of gales and heavy 
seas, approached the shore of Scotland. Taking several 
prizes near the Firth of Forth, he ascertained that a twenty- 
four gun ship and two cutters were in the roads. These 
he determined to cut out, and, landing at Leith, lay the 
town under contribution. The inhabitants supposed his 
little fleet to be English vessels in pursuit of Paul Jones ; 
and a member of Parliament, a wealthy man in the place, 
sent off a boat, requesting powder and balls to defend 
himself, as he said, against the " pirate Paul Jones." Jones 
very politely sent back the bearer with a barrel of powder, 
expressing his regrets that he had no shot to spare. Soon 
after, in his pompous, inflated manner, he summoned the 
town to surrender ; but the wind blowing steadily off the 
land he could not approach with his vessel. 

At length, however, the wind changed, and the Richard 
stood boldly in for the shore. The inhabitants, as they saw 
her bearing steadily up towards the place, were filled with 
terror, and ran hither and thither in affright ; but the good 
minister, Rev. Mr. Shirra, assembled his flock on the beach, 
to pray the Lord to deliver them from their enemies. He 
was an eccentric man, one of the quaintest of the quaint 
old Scotch divines, so that his prayers, even in those days, 
were often quoted for their oddity and even roughness. 

Whether the following prayer is literally true or not, it is 
difficult to tell, but there is little doubt that the invocation 
of the excited eccentric old man was sufficiently odd. It is 
said that, having gathered his congregation on the beach in 
full sight of the vessel, which, under a press of canvas, was 
fnaking a long tack that brought her close to the town, he 


knelt down on the sand, and *hus began : " Now, deaf 
Lord, dinna ye think it a shame for ye to send this vile 
pirate to rob our folk o' Kirkaldy ; for ye ken they're puir 
enow already, and, hae naething to spare. The way the 
wind blaws he'll be here in a jiffy, and wha kens what he 
may do ? He's nae too good for onything. Mickle's the 
mischief he has done already. He'll burn their houses, tak 
their very claes, and tirl them to the sark. And wae's me ! 
wha kens but the bluidy villain might take their lives ? 
The puir weemen are maist frightened out o' their wits, and 
the bairns skirling after them. I canna think of it ! I can- 
na think of it ! I hae been long a faithful servant to ye, 
Lord ; but gin ye dinna turn the wind about, and blaw the 
scoundrel out of our gate, I'll nae stir a foot ; tut will just sit 
here till the tide comes. Sae tak ye'r will o't." To the no little 
astonishment of the good people, a fierce gale at that mo- 
ment began to blow, which sent one of Jones's prizes ashore, 
and forced him to stand out to sea. This fixed forever the 
reputation of good Mr. Shirra ; and he did not himself 
wholly deny that he believed his intercessions brought on 
the gale, for whenever his parishioners spoke of it to him, 
he always replied, " I prayed, but the Lord sent the wind." * 


Stretching from thence along the English coast, Jones 
cruised about for a while, and at length fell in with the 
Alliance, which had parted company with him a short time 
previous. With this vessel, the Pallas, and Vengeance, 
making, with the Richard, four ships, he stood to the north ; 
when, on the afternoon of September 23d, 1779, he saw a 
fleet of forty-one sail hugging the coast. This was the 
Baltic fleet under the convoy of the Serapis, of forty-one 
guns, and the Countess of Scarborough, of twenty guns 
Jones immediately issued his orders to form line of battle, 
while with his ship he gave chase. The convoy scattered 
like wild pigeons, and ran for the shore, to place themselves 
under the protection of a fort, but the two war-ships ad- 
vanced to the conflict. 

It was a beautiful day, the wind was light, so that not a 
wave broke the smooth surface of the sea, and all was 

* Vide Mackenzie's Life of Paul Jones. 


smiling and tranquil on land, as the hostile forces slowly 
approached each other. The piers of Scarborough were 
crowded with spectators, and the old promontory of Flam- 
borough, over three miles distant, was black with the multi- 
tude assembled to witness the engagement. The breezo 
was so light that the vessels approached each other slowly, 
as if reluctant to come to the mortal struggle, and mar thai 
placid scene and that beautiful evening with the sound Oii 
battle. It was a thrilling spectacle, those bold ships with 
their sails all set, moving sternly up to each other. At 
length the cloudless sun sunk behind the hills, and twi- 
light deepened over the waters. The next moment the full 
round moon pushed its broad disk above the horizon, and 
shed a flood of light over the tranquil waters, bathing in hef 
soft beams the white sails that now seemed like gently mov- 
ing clouds on the deep. 

The Pallas stood for the Countess of Scarborough, while 
the Alliance, after having also come within range, withdrew 
and took up a position where she could safely contemplate 
the fight. Paul Jones, now in his element, paced the deck 
to and fro, impatient for the contest ; and at length ap- 
proached within pistol-shot of the Serapis. The latter was 
a new ship, with an excellent crew, and throwing, with 
every broadside, seventy-five pounds more than the Richard. 
Jones, however, rated this lightly, and with his old, half- 
worn-out merchantman, closed fearlessly with his powerful 
antagonist. As he approached the latter, Captain Pearson 
hailed him with "What ship is that ?" " I can't hear what 
you say," was the reply. " What ship is that ? " rung back, 
" answer immediately, or I shall fire into you." A shot 
from the Richard was the significant answer, and imme- 
diately both vessels opened their broadsides. Two of the 
three old eighteen-pounders of the Richard burst at the 
first fire, and Jones was compelled to close the lower deck 
ports, which were not opened again during the action. 
This was an ominous beginning, for it reduced the force of 
the Richard to one-third below that of the Serapis. The 
broadsides now became rapid, presenting a strange specta- 
cle to the people on shore the flashes of the guns amid 
the cloud of smoke, followed by the roar that shook the 
coast, the dim moonlight serving to but half-reveal the 
struggling vessels, conspired to render it one of terror and 
of dread. The two vessels kept moving alongside, con- 


stantly crossing each other's track ; now passing each 
other's bow, and now the stern ; pouring in such terrific 
broadsides as made both friend and foe stagger. Thus 
fighting and manoeuvring, they swept onward, until at 
length the Richard got foul of the Serapis, and Jones gave 
orders to board. His men were repulsed, and Captain 
Pearson hailed him to know if he had struck. " I have not 
yet begun to fight," was the short and stern reply of Jones ; 
and backing his topsails, while the Serapis kept full, the 
vessels parted, and again came alongside, and broadside 
answered broadside with fearful effect. But Jones soon 
saw that this mode of fighting would not answer. The 
superiority of the enemy in weight of metal gave him great 
advantage in this heavy cannonading ; especially as his 
vessel was old and rotten, while every timber in that of his 
antagonist was new and stanch ; and so he determined to 
throw himself aboard of the enemy. In doing this, he fell 
off farther than he intended, and his vessel catching a mo- 
ment by the jtbboom of the Serapis, carried it away, and 
the two ships swung close alongside of each other, head 
and stern, the muzzles of the guns touching. Jones imme- 
diately ordered them to be lashed together ; and in his 
eagerness to secure them, helped with his own hands to 
tie the lashings. Captain Pearson did not like this close 
fighting, for it destroyed all the advantage his superior 
sailing and heavier guns gave him, and so let drop an 
anchor to swing his ship apart. But the two vessels were 
firmly clenched in the 'embrace of death ; for, added to all 
the lashings, a spare anchor of the Serapis had hooked the 
quarter of the Richard, so that when the former obeyed her 
cable, and swung around to the tide, the latter swung also. 
Finding that he could not unlock the desperate embrace in 
which his foe had clasped him, the Englishman again opened 
tis broadsides. The action then became terrific ; the guns 
touched muzzles, and the gunners, in ramming home their 
cartridges, were compelled frequently to thrust their ram- 
rods into the enemy's ports. Never before had an English 
commander met such a foeman nor fought such a battle. 
The timbers rent at every explosion ; and huge gaps 
opened in the sides of each vessel, while they trembled 
at each discharge as if in the mouth of a volcano. With 
his heaviest guns burst, and part of his deck blown up, 
Jones still kept up this unequal fight, with a bravery unpajv 


alleled in naval warfare. He, with his own hands, helped to 
work the guns ; and, blackened with powder and smoke, 
moved about among his men with the stern expression 
never to yield written on his delicate features in lines not 
to be mistaken. To compensate for the superiority of the 
enemy's guns, he had to discharge his own with greater 
rapidity, so that after a short time they became so hot that 
they bounded like mad creatures in their fastenings ; and 
at every discharge the gallant ship trembled like a smitten 
ox, from keelson to crosstrees, and heeled over till her yard- 
arms almost swept the water. In the mean time his topmen 
did terrible execution. Hanging amid the rigging, they 
dropped hand-grenades on the enemy's decks with fatal 
precision. One daring fellow walked out on the end of the 
yard with a bucketful of these missiles in his hand, and 
hurling them below, finally set fire to a heap of cartridges. 
The blaze and explosion which followed were terrific arms 
and legs went heavenward together, and nearly sixty men 
were killed or wounded by this sudden blow. They suc- 
ceeded at length in driving most of the enemy below decks. 
The battle then presented a singular aspect Jones made 
the upper deck of the Serapis too hot for her crew, while 
the latter tore his lower decks so dreadfully with her broad- 
sides, that his men could not remain there a moment. Thus 
they fought, one above and the other beneath, the blood in 
the mean time flowing in rills over the decks of both. Ten 
times was the Serapis on fire, and as often were the flames 
extinguished. Never did a man struggle braver than the 
English commander ; but a still braver heart opposed 
him. At this juncture the Alliance came up, and instead 
of pouring her broadsides into the Serapis, hurled them 
against the Poor Richard now poor indeed ! Jones was 
in a transport of rage, but he could not help himself. 

In this awful crisis, fighting by the light of the guns, for 
the smoke had shut out that of the moon, the gunner and 
carpenter both rushed up, declaring the ship was sinking. 
The shot-holes which had pierced the hull of the Richard 
between wind and water had already sunk below the surface, 
and the water was pouring in like a torrent. The carpenter 
ran to pull down the colors, \rhich were still flying amid the 
smoke of battle, while the gunner cried, " Quarter, fof 
God's sake ; quarter." Stil/ keeping up this cry, Jones 
burled a pistol, which be bad just fired at the enemy, at hi? 


head, which fractured his skull, and sent him headlong down 
the hatchway. Captain Pearson hailed to know if he had 
struck, and was answered by Jones with a " No," accom- 
panied by an oath, that told that, if he could do no better, he 
would go down with his colors flying. The master-at-arms, 
hearing the gunner's cry, and thinking the ship was going to 
the bottom, released a hundred English prisoners into the 
midst of the confusion. One of these, passing through the 
fire to his own ship, told Captain Pearson that the Richard 
was sinking, and if he would hold out a few moments longer, 
she must go down. Imagine the condition of Jones at this 
moment with every battery silenced, except the one at 
which he still stood unshaken, his ship gradually settling 
beneath him, a hundred prisoners swarming his deck, and 
his own consort raking him with her broadsides, his last 
hope seemed about to expire. Still he would not yield. His 
officers urged him to surrender, while cries of quarter arose 
on every side. Undismayed and resolute to the last, he 
ordered the prisoners to the pumps, declaring if they refused 
to work he would take them to the bottom with him. Thus 
making panic fight panic, he continued the conflict. The 
spectacle at this moment was awful both vessels looked like 
wrecks and both were on fire. The flames shot heavenward 
around the masts of the Serapis, and at length, at half-past 
ten, she struck. For a time, the inferior officers did not 
know which had yielded, such a perfect tumult had the fight 
become. For three hours and a half had this incessant 
cannonade, within yard-arm and yard-arm of each other, 
continued, piling three hundred dead and wounded men on 
those shattered decks. Nothing but the courage, and stern 
resolution of Jones never to surrender, saved him from 

When the morning dawned, the Bon Homme Richard 
presented a most deplorable appearance ; she lay a com- 
plete wreck on the sea, riddled through, and literally stove 
to pieces. There were six feet of water in the hold, while 
above she was on fire in two places. Jones put forth every 
effort to save the vessel in which he had won such renown, 
but in vain. He kept her afloat all the following day and 
night, but next morning she was found to be going. The 
waves rolled through her she swayed from side to side, 
like a dying man then gave a lurch forward, and went 
head foremost. Jones stood pn the deck of the 


lish ship, and watched her as he would a dying friend, and 
finally, with a swelling heart, saw her last mast disappear, 
and the eddying waves close, with a rushing sound, over 
her as she sunk with the dead, who had so nobly fallen on 
her decks. They could have wished no better coffin or 

Captain Pearson was made a Knight, for the bravery with 
Srhich he had defended his ship. When it was told to 
Jones, he wittily remarked that if he ever caught him at sea 
again he would make a lord of him. 

Landais, of the Alliance, who had evidently designed to 
destroy Jones, then take the English vessel, and claim the 
honor of the victory^ was disgraced for his conduct. 
Franklin could not conceal his joy at the result of the 
action, and received the heroic Jones with transport. 

The remainder of this year was one of annoyance to 
Jones. Landais continued to give him trouble, and the 
French government constantly put him off in his requests 
to be furnished with a ship. But at length the Alliance, 
which had borne such a disgraceful part in the engagement 
with the Serapis, was placed under his command, and he 
determined to return to America. But he lay wind-bound 
for some time in the Texel, while an English squadron 
guarded the entrance of the port. During this delay he 
was subject to constant annoyance from the Dutch Admiral 
of the port. The latter inquired whether his vessel was 
French or American ; and demanded, if it was French, 
that he should hoist the national colors ; and if American, 
that he should leave immediately. Jones would bear no 
flag but that of his adopted country, and promised to 
depart, notwithstanding the presence of the English squad- 
ron watching for him, the moment the wind would permit, 
At length, losing all patience with the conduct of the Dutch 
Admiral, he coolly sent word to him that, although he com- 
manded a sixty-four, if the two vessels were out to sea, his 
insolence would not be tolerated a moment. 

The wind finally shifting, he hoisted sail, and with the 
Stripes floating in the breeze, stood fearlessly out of the 
harbor. With his usual good luck he escaped the vigilance 
of the English squadron, cleared the Channel, and with all 
his sails set, and under a " staggering breeze," stretched 
away towards the Spanish coast. Nothing of consequence 
occurred during this cruise, and the next year we find him 


again in Paris, and in hot water respecting the infamous 
Landais, whom Arthur Lee, one of the American Commis- 
sioners at Paris, presumed to favor. At length, however, 
he was appointed to the Ariel, and ordered to leave for 
America with military stores. In the mean time, however, 
the French king had presented him a magnificent sword, 
and bestowed on him the cross of military merit. 

On the yth of September he finally put to sea, but had 
hardly left the coast when the wind changed, and began to 
blow a hurricane. Jones attempted to stretch northward, 
gnd clear the land, but in vain. He found himself close on 
& reef of rocks, and unable to carry a rag of canvas. So 
fierce was the wind that, although blowing simply on the 
naked spars and deck, it buried the ship waist-deep in the 
pea, and she rolled so heavily that her yards would fre- 
quently be under water. Added to all the horrors of his 
position, she began to leak badly, while the pumps would 
not work. Jones heaved the lead with his own hand, and 
found that he was rapidly shoaling water. There seemed 
now no way of escape ; yet as a last feeble hope he let go 
an anchor ; but so fierce and wild were the wind and sea, 
that it did not even bring the ship's head to, and she kept 
driving broadside toward the rocks. Cable after cable was 
Spliced on, yet still she surged heavily landward. He then 
cut away the foremast, when the anchor, probably catching 
in a rock, brought the ship round. That good anchor held 
like the hand of fate, and though the vessel jerked at 
every blow of the billows as if she would wrench every, 
thing apart, yet still she lay chained amid the chaos of waters. 
At length the mainmast fell with a crash against the 
mizzenmast, carrying that away also, and the poor Ariel, 
swept to her decks, lay a complete wreck on the waves. In 
this position she acted like a mad creature, chained by the 
head to a ring that no power can sunder. She leaped, and 
plunged, and rolled from side to side, as if striving with 
all her untamed energy to rend the link that bound 
her and madly rush on the rocks, over which the foam 
rose like the spray from the foot of a cataract. For two 
days and three nights did Jones there meet the full terror of 
the tempest. At last it abated, and he was enabled to re- 
turn to port. The coast was strewed with wrecks, and the 
escape of the Ariel seemed almost a miracle. But Jones 
was one of those fortunate beings, who, though ever seek- 


ing the storm and the tumult, are destined finally to die In 
their beds. 

Early the next year he reached Philadelphia, and re- 
ceived a vote of thanks from Congress. After vexatious 
delays in his attempts to get the command of a large vessel, 
he at length joined the French fleet in its expedition to the 
West Indies. Peace soon after being proclaimed, he re- 
turned to France, and failing in a projected expedition to 
the Northwest coast, sailed again for the United States. 
Congress voted him a gold medal, and he was treated with 
distinction wherever he went. Failing again in his efforts to 
get command of a large vessel, he returned to France. 
Years had now passed away, and Jones was forty years of 
age. He had won an imperishable name, and the renown 
of his deeds been spread throughout the world. The title 
of chevalier had been given him by the French king, and 
he was at an age when it might be supposed he would re- 
pose on his laurels. 

But Russia, then at war with Turkey, sought his services 
and made brilliant offers, which he at last accepted, and 
prepared to depart for St. Petersburg. On reaching Stock- 
holm he found the Gulf of Bothnia so blocked with ice that 
it was impossible to cross it ; but impatient to be on his 
way, he determined to sail round the ice, to the southward, 
in the open Baltic. Hiring an open boat, about thirty feet 
long, he started on his perilous expedition. Knowing that 
the boatmen would refuse to accompany him, if made 
acquainted with his desperate plan, he kept them in igno- 
rance until he got fairly out to sea, then drew his pistol, and 
told them to stretch away into the Baltic. The poor fellows, 
placed between Scylla and Charybdis, obeyed, and the frail 
craft was soon tossing in the darkness. Escaping every 
danger, heat length on the fourth day reached Revel, and set 
off for Gt. Petersburg, amid the astonishment of the people, 
who looked upon his escape as almost miraculous. He 
was received with honor by the Empress, who immediately 
conferred on him the rank of rear-admiral. A brilliant 
career now seemed before him. Nobles and foreign ambas- 
sadors thronged his residence, and there appeared no end 
to the wonder his adventurous life had created. He soon 
after departed for the Black Sea, and took command of a 
squadron under the direction of Prince Potemkin, the for- 
mer lover of the Empress, and the real Czar pf 


Jones fought gallantly under this haughty prince, but at 
length, disgusted with the annoyances to which he was sub- 
jected, he came to an open quarrel, and finally returned to 
St. Petersburg. Here he for a while fell into disgrace, on 
account of some unjust accusations against his moral charac- 
ter ; but finally, through Count Se"gar, the French ambassa- 
dor, was restored to favor. 

In 1792 he was taken sick at Paris, and gradually de- 
clined. He had been making strenuous efforts in behalf of 
the American prisoners in Algiers, but never lived to see 
his benevolent plans carried out. On the i8th of July, 
1792, he made his will, and his friends, after witnessing it, 
bade him good-evening and departed. His physician, com- 
ing soon after, perceived his chair vacant ; and, going to 
his bed, found him stretched upon it dead. A few days 
after, a despatch was received from the United States, 
appointing him commissioner to treat with Algiers for the 
ransom of the American prisoners in captivity there. The 
National Assembly of France decreed that twelve of its 
members should assist at the funeral ceremonies of 
" Admiral Paul Jones," and a eulogium was pronounced 
over his tomb. 

Thus died Paul Jones, at the age of forty-five, leaving a 
name that shall live as long as the American navy rides the 


In person Jones was slight, being only five feet and a 
half high. A stoop in his shoulders diminished still more 
his stature. But he was firmly knit, and capable of endur- 
Itf.g great fatigue. He had dark eyes, and a thoughtful, 
pensive look when not engaged in conversation, but his 
countenance lighted up in moments of excitement, and in 
battle became terribly determined. His lips closed like a 
vise, while his brow contracted with the rigidity of iron. 
The tones of his voice were then haughty in the extreme, 
and his words had an emphasis in them which those who 
heard never forgot. That he was brave, even to reckless- 
ness, no one will doubt. He seemed unconscious of fear, 
and moved amid the storm of battle, and trod the deck of 
his shattered and wrecked vessel, like one who rules his own 
lestiny. I do not believe he ever entertained the thought of 
^/rendering his vessel to any force. It was a contingency 


he was unprepared for, and he acted as if conyinced thai 
his own iron will and resolute courage could overcome 
every obstacle. Thus, in his fight with the Serapis, he was 
fairly beaten several times, but did not seem to know it, 
and no doubt had resolved to sink with his flag flying. His 
boldness and success appear the more strange when one re- 
members what kind of vessels he commanded, of what mate- 
rials his crews were composed, and the well-manned and abl) 
commanded vessels of his adversary. He would cruise 
without fear in a single sloop right before the harbors of 
England, and sail amid ships double the size of his own. 

But with all his fierceness in the hour of battle, he had as 
kind a heart as ever beat. His sympathy seemed almost 
like sentimentality. To see him in a hot engagement, cov- 
ered with the smoke of cannon, himself working the guns, 
while the timbers around him were constantly ripping with 
the enemy's shot ; or watch him on the deck of his dis- 
masted vessel, over which the hurricane swept and the sea 
rolled, one would think him destitute of emotion. But his 
reports of these scenes afterwards resembled the descrip- 
tions of an excited spectator, unaccustomed to scenes 
of carnage and terror. He was an old Roman soldier in 
danger, but a poet in his after accounts of it. 

Jones had great defects of character, but most of them 
sprung from his want of early education. He was haughty 
to his under-officers, and frequently overbearing to his su- 
periors. But his chief fault was his unbounded vanity. He 
would admit no superior, and hence never acknowledged 
that he received his deserts ; and, constantly pushing his 
claims, wearied out his friends, and sometimes disgusted 
his admirers. He was as bombastic as he was brave a 
contradiction of character seldom exhibited. There was 
something of the charlatan about him, which reminds one 
frequently of Bernadotte, and he never hesitated to puff 
himself and dilate eloquently on his own achievements 
Out of this same vanity grew his inordinate love of pomp> 
and display. In this respect he aped the nobles with whom 
he associated. But money was frequently wanted to carry 
out his extravagant notions, and hence he became unscrupu- 
lous in the means he used to obtain it. He was chivalric 
in his admiration of women, writing poetry and making 
love to some one in every port where he stopped, and fre- 
quently became involved in intrigues that lessen our re- 


pt for his character. He was a restless being, ^nd his 
brain constantly teemed with schemes, all of which he deemed 
practicable ; and therefore became querulous and fault-find- 
ing when others disagreed with him. Many of his plans 
for the improvement of our marine were excellent. His 
restlessness grew out of his amazing energy ; he was ever 
seeking something on which to expend himself, and this 
was the reason he joined the Russian service, after peace 
was proclaimed in the United States. It was this alone 
that carried him from his low condition, through so many 
trials, and over so many obstacles, to the height of fame he 
at last reached. 

He was not a mere adventurer owing his elevation to 
headlong daring ; he was a hard student as well as hard 
fighter, and had a strong intellect as well as strong arm. 
He wrote with astonishing fluency, considering the neglect 
of his early education. He even wrote eloquently at times, 
and always with force. His words were well chosen, and 
he was as able to defend himself with the pen as with the 
sword. He now and then indulged in poetic effusions, 
especially in his epistles to the ladies ; and his verses were 
as good as the general run of poetry of that kind. 

Paul Jones was an irregular character, but his good 
qualities predominated over his bad ones ; and as the man 
who first hoisted the American flag at sea, and received the 
first salute offered it by a foreign nation, and the first who 
carried it victoriously through the fight on the waves, he de- 
serves our highest praise and most grateful remembrance. 

With such a commander to lead the American navy, and 
stand before it as the model of a brave man, no wonder it 
has covrgd itself with glory. 


IT was my intention, at first, to give a short biography J5 
each brigadier-general ; but the number is so great, that I 
find it impossible to do so. Besides, there were many 
colonels in the army who performed more real service than 
some of the brigadiers. COLONEL LEE, for instance, was 
one of the finest officers in the American army, and accom- 
plished more than half the major-generals ; yet it would be 
hardly just to give a lengthened sketch of him, and omit 
other officers of equal rank, because they performed less. 
In their stations they may have fought and suffered with 
equal alacrity. 

At Powles' Hook, where Lee surprised the English gar- 
rison, and took it with the loss of only two killed and three 
wounded on his part ; with his swift cavalry, as a portion of 
that immortal rear-guard which covered Greene's retreat 
through the Carolinas ; at Guilford fighting with unsur- 
passed bravery ; co-operating with Marion ; at Eutaw 
Springs, and throughout the war, he exhibited all the 
qualities of a great and skilful officer. He stands promi- 
nent in the history of our Revolution, and one can hardly 
refrain from sketching his brilliant career. Hereafter, 
perhaps, should it be demanded, I may give lengthened 
sketches of all these noble men. 

GENERAL SUMPTER, with his headlong courage, chivalric 
feeling, and lofty patriotism, is another character dear to 
the south, and to the country. At Rocky Mount, and 
Hanging Rock, and Blackstock's Hill, where he defeated 
Tarleton, with great loss ; and throughout the vicissitudes 
of the southern war, he fought bravely, and rendered in- 
calculable service to the country. Fearless, decided, and 
untiring, his eventful life furnishes themes for the painter 
and poet, as well as matter for the historian. The stern 
and self-sacrificing patriot lived to be near a century old 
dying in his ninety-seventh year. 



GENERAL ANDREW PICKENS was another southern officer 
of great merit, and at Cowpens, where he was a host in 
himself, and led on the militia to as gallant a charge as ever 
was made, and at Eutaw, where he covered himself with 
glory, he showed himself worthy of the trust reposed in 

GENERAL POOR was also an efficient commander. At 
Saratoga, he advanced with his brigade on k the English 
guns, in the face of a tremendous fire, and at length, after 
great efforts, drove the Hessians before him. He accom- 
panied Sullivan on his western expedition ; and at Mon- 
mouth, and on various occasions, evinced the highest 
qualities of a general. His brilliant career was cut short by 
sickness. He died in the camp of Washington, in New 
Jersey, of a putrid fever, and the most imposing ceremonies 
honored his funeral. 

JOSEPH REED was one of those rare men in the world, 
who seem to combine the good qualities generally found 
divided among many. Polished, refined, brave, and of un- 
sullied honor, he passed through the Revolution the friend 
and counsellor of Washington. Although he wrote with 
great fluency, and had an eloquent tongue, the short reply 
he made to Governor Johnstone, who wished to corrupt him, 
has immortalized him more than all he ever wrote or said. 
To the offer of fifty thousand dollars, and the best office in 
the colonies, if he would join the royal standard, he an- 
swered : " / am not worth purchasing ; but, such as I am, the 
King of Great Britain is not rich enough to do it. " Noble 
words, and constituting his best eulogy. 

He had several horses shot from under him during the 
war, but aever received a wound himself. 

GENERAL CADWALLADER also ranked among the personal 
/riends of Washington, and served as a volunteer beside 
him, at Princeton, Brandywine, Germantown, and Mon- 
mouth. Of his duel with Conway I have before spoken, in 
my sketch of the latter. 

GENERALS GIST and SMALLWOOD are coupled together, 
for they won together an imperishable name in the disastrous 
battle of Camden. They fought side by side also in the 
battle of Long Island, where the company of the latter was 
literally cut to pieces. 

There never was greater heroism shown, than exhibited 
by them at Camden, After the battle was irretrievably lost, 


Gist, excited to the highest pitch, rode about amid the 
storm of fire, his handsome face lighted up with enthu- 
siasm, and steadied his men to the onset with unparalleled 
bravery. He and Smallwood were the rocks on which De 
Kalb leaned in that dreadful hour ; and no wonder on his 
dying bed the latter dictated to them a letter of thanks 
They were both splendid officers. 

GENERAL HUGH MERCER, though a Scotchman by birth, 
and a physician by profession, was one of our best brigadiers, 
He served with Washington in the opening of his military 
career, and the two young men became warm friends. At 
Braddock's defeat he was so severely wounded through the 
shoulder, that he was unable to keep up with the shattered 
army in its wild retreat, and lay down behind a fallen tree. 
An Indian in pursuit leaped upon the log, and Mercer gave 
himself up as lost ; but the excited savage, in his eagerness 
to detect the track of the fugitives, of whom Mercer was 
one, never saw the wounded man at his feet ; and after gaz- 
ing about a moment, sprang away. He lay here bleeding, 
and racked with pain, while the Indians were scalping the 
dead, and tomahawking the wounded. After their infernal 
labor was over, and the field was cleared, Mercer, parched 
with fever and faint from loss of blood, crawled forth, and 
succeeded in reaching a little brook, on the bank of which 
he lay down and drank. Finding himself somewhat re- 
freshed by the cooling draught, he began to limp away on 
the track of the army. Night came on and found him, alone 
and bleeding, in the depths of the forest, and a hundred 
miles from a settlement. Halting every now and then to 
rest, he made but slow progress ; and it was evident he must 
die of famine, before he could reach the abodes of civiliza- 
tion. Pale and exhausted he stumbled on, thinking only of 
the slow and painful death before him, when he saw a rattle- 
snake in his path. By a great effort he made out to kill the 
viper, and then with one hand succeed in skinning it. 
Devouring a part of it raw, he threw the rest over his un- 
wounded shoulder, and pressed forwards. When the pangs 
of hunger overcame all other feelings, he would chew a 
piece of the rattlesnake ; and managing thus, finally made 
out to reach Fort Cumberland on the Potomac though 
when he arrived, he looked more like a walking ghost than 
a living man. 

He fought bravely at Princeton, as mentioned in the d* 


icription of that battle. When he was wounded, he found 
that it was impossible to escape, and so surrendered ; but 
the British soldiers, enraged at the three destructive volleys 
they had received, and the loss of their officers, paid no re- 
gard to his request for the treatment due a prisoner, and 
rushing upon him, knocked him down, piercing him witt 
thirteen bayonets. As he lay with the blood gushing from 
every part of his body, one of the brutal soldiers exclaimed, 
" D n him, he is dead, let us leave him "; and passed on. 
After the battle he was discovered on the field, and taken 
to the house of Thomas Clark, where he lingered a few days, 
and then died.* 

OTHO H. WILLIAMS, early taken prisoner in the surrender 
of Fort Washington, was afterwards exchanged for Major 
Ackland, and joined Gates, when he took command of the 
southern army. He fought bravely at Camden, but he 
exhibited his greatest qualities as adjutant-general to Greene. 
Especially as commander of the rear-guard, in the famous re- 
treat of the latter, his genius shone with transcendent lustre. 

Ney, as commander of the rear-guard of Napoleon's army, 
in his flight from Moscow, showed scarcely more heroism or 
skill, than did Williams in this retreat through the Carolinas. 
For self-denial, firmness, constancy, courage, and success, 
it stands unsurpassed. One cannot think of Williams, as 
hovering between Greene and Cornwallis, sullenly and 
sternly retiring, still keeping the enemy at bay, and holding 
his exhausted and famished troops to the trial, without the 
profoundest admiration. And then, his noble determination, 
when on seeing the still-blazing camp-fires of the main 
army, he thought it was overtaken, and resolved to fall with 
the fury of one bent on self-destruction, upon the foe, to 
arrest their progress, throws a flood of light on his char* 
acter. No wonder Greene loved and trusted him. 

But no sooner did Greene stop retreating and assume the 
offensive, than Williams, with that same corps of brave men, 
became at once the vanguard, and hung threateningly on 
the retiring ranks of Cornwallis. Side by side with his fear- 
less commander, he formed one of his chief props during 
that long, unequal struggle ; and in the last great battle at 
Eutaw, led on those matchless Marylanders in their terrible 
charge with the bayonet. 

* Vide Wilkinson's Memoirs. 


He possessed an almost faultless form, and presented * 
striking appearance on the battle-field. Cool and steady in 
the conflict, urbane and affable in society, he was at once a 
gentleman and a soldier. 

ETHAN ALLEN has acquired a prominence in our Revolu 
tionary history, not so much for the service he rendered, as 
from the sufferings he endured. 

His successful surprise of Ticonderoga filled the country 
with his praises. He had with him in this daring enterprise 
two hundred and thirty men, though he took the fort with 
half of them. The following is his own account of the 
matter, after the troops had effected a landing : " The men 
at this time being drawn up in three ranks, each poised his 
firelock ; I ordered them to face to the right, and at the 
head of the centre file, marched them immediately to the 
wicket-gate aforesaid, where I found a sentry posted, who 
instantly snapped his fusee at me. I ran immediately 
towards him, and he retreated through the covered way, into 
the parade within the garrison, gave a halloo, and ran under 
the bomb-proof. My party, who followed me into the fort, 
I formed on the parade, in such a manner as to face the bar- 
racks, which faced each other. The garrison being asleep, 
except the sentries, we gave three huzzas, which greatly sur- 
prised them. One of the sentries made a pass at one of my 
officers with a charged bayonet, which slightly wounded 
him. My first thought was to kill him with my sword, but 
in an instant I altered the design and fury of the blow to a 
slight cut on the side of the head ; upon which he dropped 
his gun, and asked quarter, which I readily granted him, 
and demanded the place where the commanding officer 
slept. He showed me a pair of stairs in the front of the 
garrison, which led up a second story in said barracks, to 
which I immediately repaired, and ordered the commander, 
Captain De la Place, to come forth instantly or I would sac- 
rifice the whole garrison ; at which the captain came imme- 
diately to the'door, with his breeches in his hand, when I 
ordered him to deliver me the fort instantly. He asked me 
by what authority I demanded it. I answered him, * In the 
name of the great Jehovah, and the Continental Congress.* 
The authority of Congress being very little known at that 
time, he began to speak again : but I interrupted him, 
and, with my drawn sword near him, again demanded an 
immediate surrender of the garrison. In the mean time, 


some of my officers had given orders ; and in consequence 
thereof, sundry of the barrack doors were beat down, and 
about one-third of the garrison imprisoned." The surprise 
was complete ; and this stronghold fell without the loss of 
a single life. It was boldly planned, and boldly carried out ; 
and Allen was looked upon as one of the chief men in the 
approaching struggle. 

But his brilliant career soon terminated. Joined to the 
army of Montgomery, he foolishly suffered himself to be 

Allen was immediately put in heavy irons and treated 
with the greatest cruelty. After being tossed about from 
ship to ship, he was at last sent to England, and lodged 
in Pendennis Castle, near Falmouth. In his vest and 
breeches of sagathy, short jacket of deerskin, plain shirt, 
worsted stockings, and red worsted cap, he presented a 
strange appearance to the English, and excited their curi- 
osity almost as much as if he had come from another 
world. While here proposals were made him to join the 
British cause, backed by large offers of land in the United 
States. To these Allen replied, that promises of land in 
the United States reminded him of Satan's offer to Jesus 
Christ of all the kingdoms of the world if he would fall 
down and worship him; "when," he said, "at the same 
time the poor devil had not one foot of land upon the earth." 
There are a multitude of anecdotes related of him, charac- 
teristic, whether true or not ; and which correspond well 
with his original, strong, and independent character. 

He was finally shipped to this country, and after under- 
going the severest trials from the brutality of his captors, 
was eventually exchanged in 1778, and set at liberty. He 
was promoted to brigadier-general in his native State, but 
performed no military service. He lived but few years 
after peace was proclaimed. 

Of the noble HUBER, gallant STEVENS and SUMNER ; of 
SETH POMEROY, the tireless patriot ; the intrepid MAX- 
NASH, and a host of others, my limits forbid me to speak. 
Brave men were they all, and deserved well of their coun- 


A Wagoner in Braddock's Army Receives five hundred Lashes Madu 
Ensign Severely Wounded by the Indians Narrow Escape B- 
comes a Street Fighter Joins the American Army His Military 
Career Becomes a Religious Man His Character and Death Char- 
acter and Dress of his Riflemen. 

PERHAPS no man performed more efficient service in the 
Revolution than Morgan. His riflemen became the terror 
of the enemy, and, with his trusty band around him, he was 
a most dangerous foe to meet. 

He was born in New Jersey, in 1736, of humble parents; 
and his early life is wrapped in obscurity. In 1755 he re- 
moved to Virginia, where he continued for a while to work 
as day laborer, and then turned wagoner. He accompa- 
nied Braddock's army as a teamster ; and, for some offence 
committed against a British officer, was condemned to re- 
ceive five hundred lashes, though, as he always jocosely 
affirmed, the drummer miscounted, and gave him but four 
hundred and ninety-nine. 

Soon after Braddock's defeat, he received an ensign's 
commission, and repaired again to the frontier. One day, 
in carrying despatches from one post to another, accompa- 
nied by only two men, he was suddenly attacked by a large 
party of Indians. Both his companions fell at the first fire, 
and he received a ball in the back part of the neck, which 
passed entirely through, coming out at the left cheek, and 
shattering his jaw dreadfully. He immediately fell for- 
ward on his horse, but fortunately had the presence of mind 
to seize him by the neck and hold fast. Believing himself 
mortally wounded, and thinking only of getting his body 
beyond the reach of the savages, he struck his heels in his 
steed, and darted away like an arrow. He was mounted 
on a noble animal, and was soon out of the range of the 
rifles ; but one Indian kept beside him, running at the top 
of his speed, expecting every moment to see Morgan fall 



He had no time to kill him, for the horse was on a furious 
gallop, and it required the exertion of every nerve to keep 
up. Panting with fatigue, his mouth open, and his toma- 
hawk in his hand, the bloodthirsty savage for a while held 
his speed but at length exhausted, and finding the noble 
steed distancing him with every spring, he halted and threw 
his tomahawk. Missing his aim, he gave a yell of disap- 
pointment and abandoned the pursuit. 

Morgan reached the fort, but more dead than alive. He 
was taken from his horse insensible, and remained an invalid 
for six months. 

After his recovery he returned to Barrystown, in Fred- 
erick county, where he evidently became a swaggerer and a 
bruiser. He was constantly engaged in fights ; and though 
sometimes worsted, never gave up the contest till he came 
off victorious. He kept this little place in such a perpetual 
broil, that it became notorious, and finally received the cog- 
nomen of " Battletown" Still he did not appear to be 
ferocious in his disposition it was simply a love of action 
and of conflict. He was industrious, with all his fighting 
propensities ; and buying a piece of land, he settled down as 
a farmer, and was rapidly acquiring property when the 
Revolution took place. 

After the battle of Bunker Hill he immediately left his* 
fields, and began to enlist a rifle company. So high was his 
reputation as a man of firmness, bravery, and withal judg- 
ment, that he had it complete in less than a week, and 
marched to Boston. 

He commanded the advanced guard of Arnold in that 
dreary march through the wilderness ; and after the fall of 
the latter in the storming of Quebec, took command of the 
Column, and led it on through the driving snow-storm to 
the assault. His bravery and the account of his capture 
are given in the sketch of Montgomery. During his cap- 
tivity he was treated with kindness, and offered a colonel's 
commission in the British army, if he would join it. But, 
though Morgan had a rough heart, it was above meanness, 
and he rejected the proposal with a scorn and fierceness 
that prevented its repetition. After his exchange he rejoined 
the army, and received the command of a regiment. At 
the two battles of Saratoga he fought nobly, and his rifle- 
men did terrible execution ; yet Gates never mentioned him 
in his despatches. The two, Arnold and Morgan, who \t4 


more for him than any others in capturing Burgoyne, were 
studiously neglected. 

After the surrender, Gates endeavored to corrupt him, 
and prejudice him against Washington, saying, that the 
reputation of the commander-in-chief was on the decline, 
and a change was needed. To this infamous attack on his 
integrity, the fearless rifleman replied : " Sir, I have one 
favor to ask ; never mention to me again this hateful sub- 
ject ; under no other man but General Washington, as 
commander-in-chief, will I serve." This severe rebuff so 
enraged Gates that afterwards, when he gave the English 
officers a dinner, Morgan was not invited. The latter con- 
tinued to serve in the field till 1780, when, broken down by 
his constant and great exertions, he obtained leave to retire 
for a while to his home. 

When Gates took command of the southern army, he 
endeavored to induce Morgan to join it ; but the latter 
bluntly told him, he had not forgotten his unjust treatment, 
and that no motives of personal kindness would prompt him 
to accept his proposal the call of his country he would 
obey, but not that of a commander who had not the mag- 
nanimity to acknowledge the services of his subordinate 
officers and they parted. 

But soon after, Congress sent him the appointment of 
brigadier-general, with the request he should join Gates. 
He immediately set out, but the battle of Camden took 
place before he reached the army, and he was saved the 
mortification of participating in that shameful defeat. 

When Greene superseded Gates, Morgan entered cheer- 
fully into the contest, and opened that arduous, but 
glorious campaign with the victory of Cowpens. This 
battle did Morgan infinite credit, both in the plan and 
management of it, and stamped him at once the able and 
skilful commander. But his career in the south was soon 
cut short by severe and repeated attacks of rheumatism, 
which so disabled him that he was compelled to retire from 
the service altogether. The war soon after closing, he 
never entered the field again, except in 1794, when he was 
called out to suppress the insurrection in Pennsylvania. On 
his return he was elected to Congress. Broken down by 
disease, he served only two sessions, and then retired to his 
farm. In 1800 he removed to Winchester, where he lived 


for nearly two years a helpless invalid ; he expired at the 
age of sixty-six. 

Morgan was of gigantic proportions, six feet high, and of 
Herculean strength. His features were regular, and the 
whole expression of his face indicated decision and energy. 
Possessed of a strong mind, it wanted only the breadth and 
compass imparted by education to have made him a great 
commander. But he was better fitted for movements on a 
small scale, and indeed loved a partisan warfare better than 
open field-fight. He was no great disciplinarian, and relied 
more upon the affection of his troops, than on his own 
authority. He was a fearful man in battle, and fought with 
an obstinacy that nothing seemed able to overcome ; indeed, 
he seldom was beaten ; and even when defeated, "his 
retreat was sullen, stern, and dangerous." 

He exhibited a curious contradiction in his character, 
for, notwithstanding the utter recklessness he exhibited in 
battle, he was, when unexcited, nervously afraid of death. 
He once said, that he " would agree to pass half his time as 
a galley-slave rather than quit this world for another." 
This, as in the case of Doctor Johnson, was doubtless owing 
to a strong religious tendency in his character, which would, 
now and then, exert its influence in spite of himself. 
Indeed, in the latter part of his life, he had many serious 
convictions, and spent a great portion of his time in reading 
the Bible, and in acts of devotion, and died a worthy mem- 
ber of the Presbyterian church. 

His riflemen were the terror of the British, and no won- 
der ; for, before their unerring rifles, officers fell with 
frightful rapidity. Their uniform was " an elegant loose 
dress, reaching to the middle of the thigh, ornamented with 
fringes in various parts, and meeting the pantaloons of the 
same material and color, fringed and ornamented in a cor- 
responding style. The officers wore the usual crimson sash 
over this, and around the waist, the straps, belt, etc., 
were black."* This dress gave the riflemen a picturesque 
appearance as they moved through the forest. The pre- 
cision of their fire was astonishing. Morgan had a curious 
way of collecting them, when dispersed, as was frequently 
the case, where each was accustomed to fight so much on 

* Vuk National Portrait Galley. 


his own responsibility. He always carried a turkey-caM, a 
small instrument used by hunters to decoy the wild turkey, 
and when his men heard its shrill whistle, they immediately 
began to gather. 

Our troops have always been distinguished as marksmen ; 
owing, no doubt, to their being accustomed to the use di 
fire-arms from boyhood. A large proportion of European 
troops never handle a musket till they do ft on drill ; while 
most of our people can pick off a squirrel from a tree-top 
before they are old enough to become soldiers. The con- 
sequence is, that our fire is much more deadly one out of 
fifty shots taking effect ; while but one out of every hun- 
dred is calculated to hit in European battles.* 

It is a curious fact, that notwithstanding the sparseness 
of our population at the time of the Revolution, our battles 
then were the bloodiest we have ever fought. At Bunker 
Hill we lost five hundred to the British fifteen hundred. 
At Brandywine we lost probably over a thousand at 
Germantown a thousand, the British nearly the same. In 
each of the two battles of Guilford and Eutaw, Greene lost 
six hundred. In the latter engagement, his loss equalled a 
quarter of his entire army. In the storming of Savannah 
over a thousand fell in a single hour. Such mortality in 
our battles with the Mexicans would stun the nation. 

* This is an average estimate some say one oat of two hundred in this 
country, and one out of four hundred in Europe, but all agree in tfee 



E Headley, J. T. (Joel Tyler) 
206 Washington and his 
H335 generals