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Diary of 
Samuel Richards 

Captain of Connecticut Line 
War of the Revolution 


Published by his great grandson 

Philadelphia, Pa. 


Press of 

The Leeds & Biddle Co. 


Diary of Samuel Richards 


To My Son : — Recollecting how much I was en- 
tertained in my youth in hearing my father narrate 
incidents which occurred at the siege of Louisburgh 
on the island of Cape Briton, in the year 1745, 
where he acted a part — I conclude it would not be 
less interesting to you to learn from me some of 
the many incidents with which I became personally 
acquainted during the revolutionary war; through 
which I served from the commencement to the end, 
and coming from an eye witness in whom you can 
confide; leaving it to you to consult the many able 
historians for general facts and results as they arose 
in this event full period, and which will be long re- 
membered and passed down to posterity; and will 
loose none of their interest for many generations, 
but will rather expand with the advance of empire 
in this extensive republic : 

In narrating incidents it will naturally be sup- 
posed that in many instances circumstances which 
led to them, as well as the results which followed — 
will necessarily be involved : in which it is my de- 
sign to be as laconic as the nature of the case will 
admit: the field and the incidents are sufficiently 
ample without much digression or studied remarks. 

Those I have selected, and the manner of my 
treating them you will judge of by the sequel. 

In the year 1774 1 had arrived to the age of 21, 
and of course able — in some measure, to understand 

the accounts of passing events, and to witness their 
effects on the pubHc mind. 

The shutting up of the port of Boston, after the 
destruction of the tea on board the ships : the arrival 
of an additional number of regular troops, with the 
accompanying circumstances, as narrated by the his- 
torians of the day, sufficiently opened the drama to 
the view of even common observers — of a set'led 
design of the british government to persevere in 
subjecting the colonies to a system of taxation, and 
an equall fixed design of resistance on the part of 
the colonies. 

this system of taxing the colonies commenced in 
1765 — only two years after the peace of paris in 
1763 — the reasons held up in the discussions in Par- 
liament on the subject were principally that it was 
right that the colonies should help to reimburse the 
expense of the war which was carried on princi- 
pally for their defence and protection. The colonists 
abjected [sic] — pleading their charter rights, and 
the common right of citizens and subjects that none 
are to be taxed without their own consent, and the 
colonists not being represented in Parliament, could 
have no voice in the case : The stamp act — of 1765 — 
repealed in 1768 — the succeeding duties on paper, 
paints &c. and the strong effort by the duty on tea 
in 1773 — were tests to try the right & the power of 
the mother country to tax the colonies; and the re- 
sistance of the colonies was in principle to oppose 
that right, as not existing. After the destruction of 

the tea at Boston the british parHament came to the 
strong resolution that they had a right to bind the 
colonies in all cases whatsoever, this was the climax 
at which the subject had arisen — the british gov- 
ernment persevering in these measures — and the 
colonies uniformly resisting. Those things are fully 
treated on in history, and only inserted to keep in 
mind the foundation of the war of independance 
and the seperation of the colonies from the mother 
country. The firing of the british soldiery on the 
unarmed citizens of Boston : the burning of the Gas- 
pee schooner — a government vessell — in the harbor 
of Newport — the constant custom of the british of 
impressing our seamen wherever found on the high 
seas, all served to keep up and increase the acrimony 
between the mother country & the colonies. 

One of our whale vessels arriving into the harbor 
of Newport while the Gaspee schooner was lying 
there one of her officers came on board & declared 
his design of impressing one of the crew : the captain 
made a mark in some salt, and declared to the officer 
if he passed that he would harpoon him : the officer 
regardless of the threat advanced on which the 
Captain thrust the harpoon at him which caused his 

In the autumn of 1774 and during the succeeding 
winter, companies of minute men were formed in 
most of the towns and villages of New England, 
which were drilled and exercised with great atten- 

The colonies received regular information of the 
plans maturing in parliament during the winter 
'74-5 — for bringing the colonies to submission — of 
the reinforcement of the army in Boston: the ap- 
pointment of Howe, Clinton & Burgoyne — as lieut. 
generals — to command: of hiring 12,000 hessian 
auxilliers to be employed jointly with the british 
against us. The news of the action at Lexington, 
which was on the 19th of April '75 operated like 
electricity on the public mind — already prepared for 
the bursting of the volcano. 

By the 5th of May a company of 100 men, in- 
cluding officers, was enlisted in the town of Farm- 
ington in Connecticut to serve seven months, and in 
ten days were on their march towards Boston, which 
was then compleatly shut up: this company was 
composed principally of the sons of the yeomen or 
farmers, who furnished their own arms and cloth- 
ing — and was commanded by Capt. — afterwards 
Colonel — Noadiah Hooker. It was not necessary to 
urge anyone to enlist, it was only to receive the most 
promising of those who offered themselves to com- 
pleat the number. I hold this up as a sample of what 
was transacted in almost every town in Connecticut, 
and probably through New England to shew the 
spirit which pervaded the mass of the people. And I 
presume that female influence in society was never 
more evident than at this time : they appeared to 
vie with their brethren in sustaining the idea of a 
fixed and determined resistance to the tyranical 


measures carrying on against us. this spirit was 
continued by them in a good degree thro' the 
war. The few days previous to their marching 
were occupied in preparing clothing and necessaries 
for the service, a few of the men had served in the 
last french war and therefore could instruct their 
comrades how to conduct and manage in their new 
vocation. Previous to their marching a day was set 
apart for religious worship, the minister prepared 
and delivered an appropriate discourse to the com- 
pany at the church, this — like all other public ad- 
dresses of the day — was calculated to add a stimulus 
to those engaged for the service before them ; to ad- 
monish and urge them, while persevering with firm- 
ness and fortitude, to put their trust in God for 
succes in so righteous a cause. 

The last week in May the company began their 
march, and I accompanied them as a volunteer with 
the same enthusiastic feelings of almost every one — 
a small proportion of tories excepted — and amidst 
the benedictions of friends and connexions. 

The parting scene, the mutual adieus of connex- 
ions was very interesting and impressive : the men 
had a fixed expectation and a strong desire of meet- 
ing the british in real combat, those feelings ab- 
sorbed the more tender ones. 

two waggons were furnished to convey the bag- J 775 
gage and the provision, which was abundantly fur- 
nished by families gratuitously. 


The first day carried them to East Hartford — fif- 
teen miles, where they were received and lodged in 
the most friendly manner in the houses with the 
families, all striving how to best accomodate them. 

They marched about 30 miles a day through 
Bolton, North Coventry, Pomfret, Ashford, Thom- 
son, Douglas & Dedham, coulors flying and music 
playing as they passed through a town, much appar- 
ently — to the gratification of the assembled specta- 
tors ; this being the first regular company passing to 
the scene of action on that road. 

Arriving at Jamaica plains, a parish in Roxbury — 
they fell under the command of Genl. Ward of 
Massachusetts who was stationed there to command 
and recive the troops as they should arrive. 

This company formed part of the regiment com- 
manded by Colonel Wyllys, of Hartford — Connecti- 
cut, and with the other companies on their arrival, 
were cantoned in the houses and out buildings of the 
inhabitants who treated them with the greatest kind- 
ness & attention. 

The orders were for the troops to parade at day 
break and march to their alarm post, the summit of 
the hill in the center of Roxbury — looking towards 
Boston neck, there remain till about sun an hour 
high, awaiting the movement of the enemy — should 
he make any ; then return to quarters for breakfast. 
This continued untill the morning of the 17th of 
June when our repairing to our alarm post was 
hastened by information that the enemy was ad- 

vancing across the neck towards us. on reaching 
our post we saw them retreating back on the neck. 

They then opened a severe fire upon us from their 
batteries on the neck which kilHng but one of our 
men — we moved back beyond the range of their ^775 
shot : we being now informed of the real object and 
designs of the enemy, and placed on an elevated sit- 
uation could plainly see all their movements in 
crossing the ferry over to Charlestown ; advancing 
through the town to Breed's hill — since called 
Bunker hill. 

Our troops having the previous night commenced 
a slight breastwork there, the enemies object was to 
dislodge them — which occasioned the severe battle 
which ensued. 

This battle being an important point or link in 
the great chain of events which accompanied our 
arduous struggle for independence — deserves par- 
ticular notice. 

It appeared that some time was occupied in cross- 
ing the ferry — an arm of the sea which seperates 
Boston from Charlestown — and forming into order 
for battle: I saw their advance up the hill by the 
cloud of dust which was raised. 

In this interim — if it may be so called — the enemy 
kept up a constant cannonnade on our troops from a 
battery on Copps hill at the North end of the Copp's 
town of Boston (& Charlestown which is situated y " 
on a peninsula) on one side of which lay a british 
ship of the line — the Somerset of 64 guns & a ten- 

der — and on the other, or Mystic side was placed 
several Gundaloes — from both of those a con- 
stant cannonnade was kept up across the neck to 
prevent our troops from reinforcing the party on 
the hill. You may judge in some measure of the in- 
tensity of our feelings while viewing the passing 
scene in all its complicated points concentrating in 
the great conflict then commenced : tho' I am 
sure no one but a soldier can fully realize those feel- 
ings — to view our brethren in arms momentarily 
awaiting the attack — which I can assure you from 
experience is a moment interesting in the extreme — 
to see and hear the roar of the musketry which com- 
menced about ten o'clock: to see the enemy fall 
back twice before the deadly fire of our musketry — 
and then the dispersion of our troops and the shout 
of the victors; the beautifull town of Charlestown 
in flames — which general Burgoyne's letter that I 
subjoin, as giving a lively picture — and a counter- 
part of the scene on the British side — will add to the 
impresion, if not already arriven to a climax. 




(Copied from a London newspaper.) 

"Boston is a peninsula joined to the main land 
only by a narrow neck which in the first of the 
troubles Ga^e fortified: Arms of the sea and har- 

bor surround the rest. On the other side of one of 
these arms to the north is Charlestown, or rather J 775 
was, for it is now rubbish, and over it a hill, which 
is also like Boston, a peninsula, to the South of 
the town is a still larger slope of ground containing 
three hills, joining also to the main by a tongue of 
land and called Dorchester neck, the heights above 
described both to North and South, in the sol- 
dier's phrase, command the town, i. e., give an op- 
portunity of erecting batteries above any you can 
make against them, and consequently they are much 
more advantageous, it was absolutely necessary 
we should make ourselves masters of these heights, 
and we prepared to begin with Dorchester, because 
from particular situations of batteries (too long to 
describe and unintelligible to you if I did) it could 
evidently be effected without any considerable loss: 
everything was accordingly disposed. My two 
colleagues and myself* (who by the bye have never 
differed in an iotta of military sentiment) had in 
concert with Genl. Gage formed the plan. 

Howe was to land from transports on one point, 
Clinton in the center, and I was to cannonnade from 
the causeway on the neck — each to take advantage 
from circumstances, the operation must have been 
very easy. This was to have been executed on the 
1 8th. 

On the 17th (of June) at dawn of day we found 
the enemy had pushed entrenchments with great dil- 

Howe, Clinton and Burgoyne. 


igence during the night on the heights of Charles- 
town, and were there in force, and we evidently saw 
that every hour gave them new strength, it there- 
fore became necessary to alter our plan and attack 
on that side. Howe as second in command was 
detached with about 2000 men and landed on the 
outer side of the peninsula covered by shiping and 
without any opposition, was to advance from thence 
up the hill which was over Charlestown, where the 
strength of the enemy lay. 

He had under him Brigadier-general Pigot. Clin- 
ton and myself took our stand, for we had not a 
fixed post — in a large battery directly opposite 
Charlestown and commanding it, and also reaching 
to the heights above it and thereby facilitating 
Howe's attack. 

Howe's disposition was extremely soldierlike, 
and in my opinion it was perfect. As his first line 
advanced up the hill they met with a thousand im- 
pediments from strong fences, and were much ex- 
posed. They were also exceedingly hurt by musketry 
from the town of Charlestown though Clinton & 
I did not percieve it till Howe sent us word by a 
boat and desired us to set fire to the town. No 
sooner said than done : we threw in a parcel of 
shells and the whole was in flames. Our battery 
afterwards kept up an incessant fire upon the height, 
it was seconded by a number of frigates and floating 
batteries and one ship of the line. And now ensued 
one of the greatest scenes of war that can be con- 


cieved. If we looked to the right — Howes Corps 
ascending the hill in the face of entrenchments 
and in very disadvantageous grounds warmly en- 
gaged ; to the left the enemy pouring in fresh troops 
by thousands over the land : and in the arm of the 
sea our ships and floating batteries cannonading 
them; straight before us a large and noble town in 
one great blaze : the church steeples being all of 
timber were great pyramids of fire above the rest; 
behind us the church steeples & heights and our own 
camp covered with spectators of the rest of our 
army which was disengaged ; the hills all around 
the country crowded with spectators of the enemy 
all in anxious suspense. 

The roar of cannon, mortars and muskets, the 
crash of churches ships on the stocks and whole ms 
streets falling together in ruin, to fill the ear : the 
storm of the redout with the objects above described 
to fill the eye; and the reflection that perhaps a 
defeat was a final loss of the British empire in 
America to fill the mind, made the whole a picture 
and complication of horror and importance beyond 
any it came to my lot to be witness of. I much 
lament Tom's absence, it was a sight for a young 
soldier that the longest service may never furnish 
again : and had he been with me he would likewise 
have been out of danger, for except two cannon 
balls that went a hundred yards over our heads, we 
were not in any part of the direction of the enemy's 
fire, a moment of the day was critical. Howes 


left was staggered : two battalions had been sent to 
reinforce them on the beach seeming in embarrass- 
ment which way to march. Clinton then next for 

business took the part without waiting for orders 

to throw himself into a boat to head them : This rein- 
forcement moved to our left and poured their fire 
down through our entrenchment, which was the 
point on which the battle turned, he arrived in time 
to be of service : the day ended with glory, and the 
success was most important, considering the ascend- 
ancy it gives the regular troops, but the loss was un- 
common in officers for the number engaged. Howe 
was untouched, but his aidecamp captain Sherwin 
was killed. Jordan a friend of Howe's who came 
to see the campain, a shipmate of our ours on board 
the Cerberus and who acted as aidecamp, badly 
wounded. Pigot was unhurt but behaved like a 
hero. You will see the list of the loss, poor Col. 
Abecrombie who commanded the grenadiers died 
yesterday of his wounds. Capt. Addison our poor 
old friend who arrived but the day before, and was 
to have dined with me on the day of the action was 
also killed; his son was upon the field at the time. 
Major Mitchell is slightly wounded. Young Chet- 
wynde's wound is also slight. Lord Percy's regi- 
ment has suffered the most, and behaved the best— 
his Lordship was not in the action. Lord Rawdon 
behaved to a charm, his name is established for life. 
Col : Grosvenor who performed a very active part 
on that day being in the heat of the battle, nar- 

rated to me many striking incidents which occurred 
during the battle — Major Pitcairn of the British ma- 
rines — mounting the top of the ditch — our works 
having arrived to no greater point than that — ex- 
claimed "disperse ye rebels" when one of our men 
instantly shot him through and he fell in the ditch. 
A soldier just by the side of general Putnam had 
levelled his gun at Major Small — aide de Camp to 
Genl. Howe — on which Putnam struck it aside with 
his sword exclaiming "don't kill that man I love 
him as I do my brother." Col. Trumbull told me 
that Genl. Small repeated this to him in London 
with tears in his eyes on enquiring if Putnam was 
still living. I little thought on that day of the im- 
portant results which the battle of Bunkers hill was 
to produce in this our beloved country, thro' Europe 
and the whole civilized world both in a political and 
a religious view. 

The british official return stated their loss at 1052 
killed and wounded : our loss as published was be- 
tween 300 & 400. during the whole day & the ensu- 
ing night the enemy kept up a constant discharge 
on us with cannon & mortars, the next day we 
heard a continued tolling of bells in the town from 
morning till night, while they were burying their 
dead who fell in the battle. 

Three days after this we received our tents and 
pitched them on Heath's hill — a part of Genl. 
Heaths estate — in the western part of the town of 


Roxbury, in full view of the town of Boston & 
the vicinity. 

Usual camp duty now became constant : General 
Washington arrived a few weeks after the battle 
and established his headquarters at Cambridge 
where the greatest body of our troops lay. 

I occasionally saw Genl. Lee — accompanied by 
his two hounds. On becoming known to Genl. 
^''^ Spencer — I accepted his invitation to reside in his 
family as private secretary. I here found Dr. Cogs- 
well as one of the family and regimental surgeon. 

Here I first became acquainted with Captain — 
since Genl. Henry Champion and Dr. John Wat- 
rous, and my intimacy with them has continued thro' 
Hfe so far. 

Many gentlemen from the interior of Massachu- 
setts and Connecticut visited our encampment. 

I found Doct. Gordon the officiating minister of 
Roxbury a well informed & talented man: he 
wrote a concise history of the pending war. Almost 
every night the enemy would open a cannonnade 
from their batteries on the neck, the balls were 24 
pounders and almost every house in the center of 
the town was pierced by them, or shatter'd by the 
bursting of their bombs. 

Our advanced guards occupied some buildings 
near the gorge of the neck. The enemy knowing 
this directed their shott towards them. One night 
their fire was uncomonly severe towards one of 
those guard houses, and being informed that 3 

or 4 of the guards were killed I went in the morning 
to view the place, the bodies were removed, and 
where one man was dashed to pieces by a cannon 
ball I saw pieces of his entrails and the blood stick- 
ing against the adjoining wall where he was stand- 

We had a small horn work raised of earth for the 
defence of our sentinels : when the enemy was 
firing briskly a soldier peeped over the parapet to 
look out, when a ball just pierced the edge of the 
parapet and entered his body at the upper part of 
the breast bone, its force being nearly spent it re- ^jy^ 
mained in his body; I had just arrived when two 
men took hold of his feet and raised him up, when 
the ball dropped out at the place where it entered : 
it appeared to be a twelve pounder. 

The almost constant fire of the enemy produced 
one effect, probably not contemplated by them; it 
hard'ned our soldiers rapidly to stand and bear fire ; 
when their balls had fallen and become still the 
men would strive to be the first to pick them up to 
carry to a sutlor to exchange for spirits. 

At one time they came near paying dear for their 
temerity ; a bomb had fallen into a barn, and in the 
day time it could not be distinguished from a cannon 
ball in its passage, a number were rushing in to- 
gether to seize it when it burst and shattered the 
barn very much without injuring any one. The 
barn was emptied of hay & used as a barrack. 


Our guards now performed duty with the utmost 
vigilence, the patrolls were alert, watching if the 
enemy was making any movement. The capture of 
July two of the enemys vessells in Boston bay by our 
cruisars — loaded with warlike stores of almost every 
kind — proved a very seasonable supply to us as we 
were very deficient in those articles. 

We were highly rejoiced on the capturing of two 
y ^^ of the british vessels in Boston Bay — loaded with all 
■^^ .. kinds of warlike stores — by Capt. Manly and Capt. 
Mugford — while we mourned the loss of Capt. 
Mugford: who on boarding the enemy had one or 
both of his hands cut off and he fell back and was 

The arrival of Capt. M. afterwards Genl. Morgan 
with his company of Virginia riflemen in their hunt- 
ing shirts was rather a novel sight to us. about the 
middle of August we had erected somewhat of a 
regular fort on the summit of the hill in Roxbury 
in which was placed three 24 pound cannon — which 
being all discharged at once carried their balls quite 
into the works of the enemy on the neck, and one at 
least must have taken effect as I saw the next March 
where a ball had entered their guard house breaking 
& carrying away a beam — and I saw the marks of 
blood around the place. This was the first instance 
of our shewing the enemy that we had heavy can- 
non, and it gratified our men to see it. 

The season passed on from this time without any- 
thing more than the ordinary occurrencies of a siege. 

One day the enemy sent out two floating batteries J 775 
upon the bay and advancing in full view towards 
our encampment opened their fire, but their balls all 
fell short of us, much to our amusement. 

As the autumn advanced a considerable number 
of our men fell sick of dysentery that scourge of 
camps and some of fefers, but there was not a very 
great number of deaths, tho' some fine youth fell 
victims to those diseases. 

As the term our soldiers enlisted for was about J 775 
expiring Genl. W. strongly pressed them to remain ^S7* 
a month or two longer — untill the militia which were 
order'd in — should arrive : to this they reluctantly 

I will therefore take a stride to the closing of the 
campaign, as it might be called. — the beginning of 
December the troops abandoned their tents and oc- 
cupied the various buildings, which the inhabitants 
had left vacant — as temporary barracks — untill Feb- 
ruary when a line of slight barracks was compleated 
as near the gorge of the neck as prudence dictated, 
just in the front of which stretched a narrow marsh, 
and the barracks placed on the rising bank just East 
of it, and partially covered by the bank: the 
enemy knowing our position would almost every 
night open their fire from their batteries on the 
neck, with shott and shells, which generally passing 
over us — fell in the marsh, where the bombs burst- 
ing gave us much amusement, which however was 
sometimes interrupted by a ball passing through a 

barrack. One night a ball passed thro' my apart- 
ment in the barrack a few feet over me as I lay in 
my berth, but such things having become so com- 
mon we thought little of them. 

I was now serving under my first commission as 
a subaltern — with all the ardor which I suppose is 
usually felt by ardent youth in similar circum- 

Our advanced guard were posted quite on the 
neck : no buildings were then standing there, and no 
fires could be kept up, as it would draw the enemies 
fire towards them, the winter being severe it was 
rather uncomfortable to pass a whole winter night 
there : but without being accused of boasting — I 
think I may say that patriotism had its share in 
stimulating us. Our only way to avoid freezing was 
to be constantly walking, running, or jumping. Our 
immediate duty was to watch the movements of the 
enemy at the neck, supposing they might make a 
Sortie from there : but we knew that any general 
movement would be by attacking at some point 
where we were not so well prepared to receive and 
oppose them. The planning we knew must be by 
our commanding officer of the army. 
J776 The eventfull year '76 now opened, and informa- 

tion being transmitted to us by our friends in Eng- 
land that very active measures were taking there for 
our subjugation; that the army and navy employed 
against us was to be greatly reinforced, that 12,000 
german troops were hired to be employed against 

us: that in parliament — among other strong meas- 
ures — a resolution was passed "That parliament had 
a right to bind the colonies in all cases whatsoever," 
such information — instead of disheart'ning us — 
served to nerve us for the struggle to maintain our 
charter rights or "die in the last ditch." 

The british government appeared very solicitous 1775.^ 
in selecting their ablest and most experienced gen- 
erals to command their armies in subjugating the 

Howe — v/hose brother Gen. Robert Howe — had 
fallen in a small action near Ticonderogue — in the 
french war, in 1758-9 — possess'd the afifections of 
the nation — much increased by those recollections. 

Clinton and Burgoyne had distinguished them- 
selves, and acquired laurels by their services in Por- 
tugal. Richard — Viscount Howe was Admiral of 
the fleet, which displayed a very formidable appear- 
ance when assembled together in the outer harbor 
of New York. The number composing the fleet and 
land army was estimated at about 56,000 — of which 
about 35,000 composed the land army. 

I recollect the brilliant appearance they made in 
forming their line in our front on Haerlem plain on 
the morning of the i6th of September 1776 — we 
being on the heights near two miles distant from 
them, they were formed from the North river and 
stretched across towards the East river, or Long 
Island sound, and — as I afterwards learned — con- 
sisted of about 24,000, besides artillery. 


It was heart cheering to witness the ardency ardor 
[sic] of our men in prospect of the expected ensuing 

Fcby. In February things became more active with us, 

a considerable number of militia arrived from the 
country, parties were sent into the swamps to pre- 
pare materials and to make up facines. On the 

^ch. night of the ist & 2d of March our batteries both on 
the Roxbury & Cambridge side commenced & con- 
tinued discharge of shott & shells on the town, some 
of the balls fell in the town, for after we had en- 
tered it — a gentleman, in whose house Genl. Pigot 
had lodged, shewed me the hole where one of the 
cannon balls had pass'd a little way over his bed 

Mch. 3d ^^h^^h he was sleeping in. a fourteen inch mortar 

J 776 which among other military stores was captured in 
the ord'nance brig by Capt. Manly — was burst in 
firing from our lines on the enemy in Boston, we 
had set a high value on it — call'd it the Congress, it 
wounded one or two, in bursting, but killed none. 

during our fire — on the night of the 4th of March 
a detachment from our army moved on to the hights 
of Dorchester point — this is also a peninsula joined 
to the main by a narrow neck ; on this was placed — 
on the side looking toward the enemy — a line of 
bundles of pressed hay to defend our troops from 
the enemies fire while passing it. 

This detachment proceeded to the top of the hill 
and immediately commenced making a redoubt, en- 
trenching tools & facines being carried there & 


ready : the next morning at 8 oClock a relief was 
sent on — of which I was one — in passing the neck 
the tide having overflowed it I found my boots filled 
with mud and water, but we had no dry clothes with 
us, nor any time or opportunity for changing. 

Of this event I think some remarks more than a 
mere passing notice are proper. In perusing the va- 
rious histories of the revolutionary war I have ever 
thought that this [sic] was passed over in too sum- 
mary and slight a manner, readers of history gen- 
erally seem to be looking for descriptions of bloody 
battles and counting the number of killed and 
wounded : but the real philanthrophist must experi- 
ence a higher gratifycation in contemplating a series 
of firm, prudent and judicious arrangements tend- 
ing to effect a great object without one of those san- 
guinary conflicts which so strongly interest the feel- 
ings of most readers, the facts and results now 
under consideration afford a striking exhibition of 
that foresight and arrangement alluded to. Having 
carried you to the top of the hill on Dorchester point 
I found a redoubt considerably advanced in a posi- 
tion well calculated for defence. Outside the para- 
pet were casks filled with sand and so placed that a 
slight touch would set them rolling down the hill 
which was very steep on every side, and thus break 
the ranks of the enemy on their advance. On the 
afternoon of the 6th we very plainly saw the enemy 
in motion in the town : dense columns of troops 
moving down the main street to the wharf and em- 



barking on board the ships which moved down the 
harbor and formed in a kind of crescent at consider- 
able distance from the hill. 

most of the next day was spent by those ships in 
beating up nearer to our post — the wind being a 
head : we continued our work incessantly in com- 
pleating the redoubt, being urged to exertion by a 
full expectation of being attacked by the enemy's 
troops we had seen embark on board the ships; we 
had no time to spare for reflecting on and counting 
the cost of the issue of the expected battle, we did 
not work litterally with arms in our hands, but they 
were lying by our sides, and it is presumed that 
every one ardently wished for the opportunity of 
shewing the enemy what freemen would do when 
contending for their just rights. No one needed 
stimulating to the performance of his duty as every 
one possessed the inclination. 

As night approached an uncommonly severe 
South East rain storm came on with very high wind, 
and in that elevated situation, surrounded by the 
sea, it was felt in all its force, but the severity of the 
storm did not stop our work, which we pushed for- 
ward with the utmost alacrity. The next morning 
presented to the view of the enemy a regular fort, 
far advanced to completion — and to our view their 
ships below apparently in a very disorderly condi- 
tion : the day passed without any thing worthy of 
particular notice. You may form some faint idea 
of our situation ; thoroughly drenched by the copious 


rain, exhausted by severe exertion and want of re- 
freshment, & of course without cover. 

At evening we broke ground on Nook, or Nuke 
point, a small hill very near the water oposite South 
Boston. The enemy could plainly hear the sound 
of our entrenching tools, on which they opened and 
continued an incessant cannonade with a general 
direction towards this point. I counted the number 
of discharges up to about 1500 during half an hour 
and then left off counting ; this firing was continued 
through the night, and the morning shewed a novel 
sight; the ground all around where the work had 
been carrying on appeared as if it had been plowed 
irregularly, and a very great number of cannon balls 
were picked up : but strange as it may seem there 
was but a surgeons mate and two privates killed 
during the night. 

By the enemies inactivity for several succeeding 
days we concluded they had abandoned the idea of 
attacking our fort. 

Tliis comparative inactivity continued_^ untill the 
17th of the month when the whole of our troops 
were paraded and commenced our march into Bos- 
ton, it being announced that the enemy were evacu- 
ating it. I had the gratifycation of being selected 
to carry the American flag at the head of the column 
which entered from the Roxbury side. 

When arrived in the town numerous incidents 
crouded upon our view : I can particurize [sic] but 
few of them. The burst of joy shown in the counte- 


nances of our friends so long shut up and domi- 
neered over by an insulting enemy : the meeting and 
mutual salutations of parents and children and other 
members of families having been seperated and con- 
tinued seperated by the sudden shuting up of the 
town after the battle of Lexington : the general de- 
lapidation of the houses: several churches emptied 
of all the inside work — and turned into riding 
schools for their cavalry: all the places which had 
been previously used for public resort torn to pieces : 
and at the stores around the wharves groceries — 
particularly salt — were in a state of destruction. As 
I had no particular command I rambled at my pleas- 
ure — and being the carrier of the flag attracted some 
attention, was almost constantly pressed with invi- 
tations to "call in and take a glass of wine with me" 

I saw the last boat of the enemy put off and pro- 
ceed to the shiping. 

It was generally understood that an informal — 
not an official — agreement was made between the 
british commander and the select men of the town, 
that in case the troops were not in any way inter- 
rupted at their departure — the town should not be 

The next day I went and viewed Bunker hill, 
and the works appeared as if they had been dictated 
by Vauban, at least the plan: The walls were of 
earth but regularly constructed, a variety of asso- 
ciations of ideas crowded on my mind on recalling 
the scenes of the 17th of June of the last year, too 


numerous and impressive to dwell upon, as not com- 
ing within my present plan. 

The next day I went and viewed the works on 
Castle island, the enemy had endeavored to blow 
up every usefull part of the works; in many in- 
stances they had succeeded, in others but partially, 
they had broken off the trunnions of all the heavy 
cannon, and in addition had spiked them up. In 
general every thing was mutilated and rendered use- 

I was invited to take lodgings at the house of a 
respectable widow lady Mrs. C. and treated with the 
utmost hospitality during the few days of my stay 
in the town. 

On the 25th of the month the troops began their 
march by regiments toward New York, and by the 
4th of April 21 regiments had moved on, ours being 
one of the number : five regiments being left to gar- 
rison the town, we passed through Dedham and 
proceeded on the direct rout through Attleboro', 
Seaconk plam a sterile region — and arriving at 
Providence enjoyed a pleasing view of that flour- 
ishing town at the head of navigation of that river. 

We proceeded on thro' a barren part of Rhode 
Island to the border of Connecticut where the lands, ^^76 
buildings & general improvements appeared much P" 
better; on arriving at New London we found we 
had to wait for vessells to be procured to transport 
us to New York, we there waited five days, still en- 
joying the hospitality of the citizens, but the men 


drawing their own rations and cooking for them- 
selves. I was hospitably entertained during our 
stay — at the house of a namesake. 

While at New London went on board Commo- 
f.. dore Hopkins' ship, he having returned from his ex- 
pedition to the Island of New Providence, where 
y he siezed a considerable quantity of millitary stores 
belonging to the British, the powder taken was par- 
ticularly needed, every thing about the ship ap- 
peared in a forlorn condition, having had no repairs 
since a runing fight she sustained with a british ship 
on her way home; she having succeeded in captur- 
ing the ships tender. 

the fifth day I went on board a sloop with about 
loo of the regiment — on the commencement of a N. 
East storm and were driven rapidly on through the 
sound : in passing thro' Hurlgate, or as it is popu- 
larly called Hellgate — our vessell ran on the middle 
rock, an unpleasant and dangerous circumstance in- 
deed. As the vessell ran on at high tide, when it 
ebbed she slid off without our sustaining any injury. 
On our arrival at New York we were at first can- 
toned in the empty houses of the citizens, many of 
them having left the city to be away from the ensu- 
ing scene, we were soon furnished with tents and 
encampted on an open area of ground called the 
Jews burying ground, given up for cows to graze 
on — now entirely covered with elegant buildings, 
the populous part of the city not only covering it but 
extending far beyond it. For two or three weeks 


we were actively employed in constructing fortify- 
cations around the city, on Governors & long islands, 
besides furnishing guards at the various points. 
Incidents were not wanting to occupy our attention. 
Being on guard one day and walking in the front of 
a large sugar house filled with british prisoners — 
recruits — captured in a transport ship, — seeing the 
Serjeant relieve the sentry I heard a female voice 
making a pityfull moan, I stepped to the door and 
asked her the cause of her mourning, she replied 
that it was for the loss of all their farming tools, 
such as axes, hoes &c &c — on board the ship when 
they were captured. I asked what they were going J''° 
to do with those articles had they kept them she 
said that after they had subdued the rebels and taken 
possession of their lands, they were going to work 
with them on the land. 

I saw with pain the execution of one Thomas 
Hickey a soldier who had been retained in the 
family of Genl. Washington, he was convicted of 
being concerned in a plot either to take the life of 
the general, or to assist in taking him personally to 
deliver up to the enemy. July 12th being on guard j^j 
on the grand battery I saw two of the enemy's ships 
get under weight and passing our batteries — proceed 
up the Hudson under full sail, not appearing to re- 
ceive any injury from the shott from our batteries : 
those were the Phoenix 44 & the Rose 28 guns, they 
anchored in Tapan bay : their object appeared to be 
to reconnauter, to find the position and strength of 


our works, in our firing on them we had a 32 
pounder burst killing three men. 

The British commissioners having now arrived 
with Admiral Lord Howe at their head — to propose 
terms of accomodation with the colonies — being on 
guard at the battery I saw a barge approach from 
the Admirals ship, and meeting our barge — deliv- 
^ ered a package, and returned, this being the first 
step taken by the commissioners, it attracted much 
notice, and the terms proposed and offered were 
soon published : they were a submission on our part : 
on their part offers of pardon for the past, and a 
pacific arrangement to take place between the british 
government and the colonies : this being published 
in history I need not go into detail of it. 
.1 used frequently to go on board the fire ships — 
J 776 small vessells preparing with a design to blow up or 
destroy some of the enemys ships — On the night of 
the 3d of August five of our row gallies proceeded 
up the river under the command of Col : Tupper and 
commenced an attack on one of the enemy' ships : 
but without much effect. 

On the night of the i6th our fire craft succeeded 
in burning one of the enemy's armed vessells in the 
North river, in which Serjeant Smith of Connecti- 
cut after applying his match to the train — jumbed 
[sic] overboard to one of our boats, but was so se- 
verely burnt that he died of his wounds. The effects 
of our fire crafts here ended, and operations on a 
greater scale commenced. 


On the landing of the enemy on long Island on August 
the 22d of the month — and the general succeeding ^^^^ 
transactions consequent on it — at this important 
crisis — the historian has been copious and undoubt- 
edly correct so far as he goes : yet a sufficient num- 
ber of incidents remain to occupy the attention. 

Probably no period of our revolutionary struggle 
was more critical than this. It is well known that 
at none had the enemy concentrated a more numer- 
ous or better appointed army than at this : their for- 
eign mercenary — as well as their own regular troops 
having all arrived and landed, and began their oper- 
ations. The day after their landing our regiment — 
among others was ordered on, and myself — being in 
full health — of course marched with it and remained 
there on active duty untill the memorable retreat on 
the night of the 29th. The part falling to me to act 
was one of the detachment of 2400 posted at the 
woody heights of Flatbush, and overlooked the plain 
where the enemy lay. the detachment was divided 
so as to occupy the only three passes through which 
the enemy might advance, if not secured. Their 
advanced guards were posted so near us that their 
shott reached us from their german rifles, they 
also annoyed us with their grape shott from their 
field pieces. The soldier well knows that when the jyy^ 
smoke from the muzzle, and the vent of the gun is 
seen in the same line with himself — the piece points 
directly towards him. being in such a situation at 
this time I remember I stepped behind a tree to avoid 


the shott discharged from one of their pieces, when 
the grape had passed I perceived that one of them 
had struck the tree behind which I stood. 

Those being the only passes through which the 
enemy could approach directly, and as our force so 
posted was viewed sufficient to defend them — both 
bodies remained in that position till the night of the 
26th. I well remember that all the former part of 
the night their front guards appeared very active, 
frequently passing and repassing us and their fires 
doubtless to attract our attention from their princi- 
pal movement, which was during the night — moving 
round and turning our left flank, approaching by the 
Bedford road : the remainder of the night passed 
as usual ; not indeed very quietly — untill just at day 
break when we were attacked in front by the enemy 
which we soon repulsed, and almost at the same time 
an attack commenced on our rear: on which a re- 
treat was ordered, and a scene most disastrous en- 
sued. Those from the three posts retreating seper- 
rately were met by the enemy in solid body and 
driven back alternately on either body of the enemy, 
during the night another strong body of the enemy 
had landed, which moved and joined the first assail- 
ants thus heming in our troops — except about 700 
or 800 of the 2400 — of which number I was one — 
who made our way thro' the enemy's fire — to our 
entrenchment at Brooklyn. 

As I at seting out, informed you my narration 
should be of Incidents not mentioned by the general 


historian, and altho' he has been somewhat particu- J 776 
lar in describing the several points of attack by the A«g«st 
enemy and the general results, yet the scenes of this 
memorable day were so complicated that enough re- 
mains to be told to occupy an inquisitive mind. 

Huntington's — a Connecticut regiment, falling 
under the command of Genl. Lord Stirling — he be- 
ing general officer of the day — this body of about 
1000 being bro't together sustained the attack of the 
enemy with firmness, drove them back and made a 
number of prisoners ; the enemy being reinforced at 
that point our troops surrendered. We being called 
rebels the most barbarous treatment was inflicted by 
the enemy. 

Capt. Jewet of Huntington's regiment, an officer 
much respected and beloved, of elegant and com- 
manding appearance and unquestionable bravery — 
was murdered in cold blood — having surrendered 
his sword when demanded — the officer on receiving 
it instantly plunged it through his body. Our 
wounded were principally put to death by the bayo- 
net. This I did not see — as you will notice by my 
remarks, but it was told to me by an officer of that 
regiment who was present and witnessed the trans- 
action, and on whose veracity I could depend. 

We were indeed hardly pressed by the enemy: 
one of my soldiers near me fired on one of those 
murderers and brought him down, leaving his own 
black gun — he siezed the brighter one of his fallen 
enemy, the bayonet of which I perceived was bloody 


J 776 more than half its length. Our loss on that day you 
will see stated in history. No mention being made 
of the wounded, it is presumed they were dispatched 
by the bayonet. 

No one unused to such scenes can form any just 
idea of the confusion and vicissitudes of that day. 
in the flight of those who broke through the enemy, 
numbers plunged themselves into a millpond and 
other marshy places which intercepted them, rather 
than to fall into the hands of the enemy, and were 
principally either drowned or shott. 

Those of this advanced body who escaped — joined 
their regiments, and the main body formed on the 
swell of ground in Brooklyn behind the slight en- 
trenchment which had been hastily thrown up and 
rails cut in two and stuck in the earth on the top, 
as at Bunker hill in that battle. 

Between nine and ten in the morning the enemy 
appeared in force in our front, and advanced to about 
300 yards distance from us, and an attack was mo- 
mently expected ; indeed a firing had commenced on 
our right, at this interesting crisis General Washing- 
ton having arrived rode slowly past our rear, animat- 
ing and encouraging our troops. When passing the 
place where I was posted he said in an annimating 
tone — which I distinctly recollect "Remember what 
you are contending for." The bulk of his speech at 
this memorable crises, which is preserved — I did not 
hear, he being too far on my right to be heard. The 
enemy instead of commencing the attack moved by 


their right — round the swell of a small hill and 1776 
were soon out of sight. I could never conceive of Aogft. 
any good reason for general Howe's retrograde 
movement as it appeared by his official letters that 
he commanded in person through the day, except his 
recollection of the Bunker hill battle : our troops be- 
ing similarly situated to receive him, and his known 
tenderness of the lives of his men, added to a con- 
fidence of his ultimate success. 

Things lay apparently still for the two succeeding 
days : on the 29th just at dusk we commenced our 
memorable retreat across from our position at 
Brooklyn, to New York, and an interesting and busy 
scene it was: but from the regularity and order 
which was preserved — no untoward accident occur- 
red. A dense fog arose early in the evening and 
continued all night, and till late in the morning : and 
it appeared afterwards that the enemy knew nothing 
of our movement untill it was completed. 

The enemy were now in full possession of our 
works on Long Island, and Governors Island : and 
I noticed from day to day the removal of our mili- 
tary stores from the city : and it soon became evi- 
dent to a common observer that things were in a 
train for evacuating the city. 

On the evening of the 14th the greatest part of 
the troops marched out and took post on the bank of 
the East river just below Kip's bay — about three 
miles from the city. Myself being one of the body 
— we were posted behind a slight entrenchment re- 



J 776 cently thrown up, opposite and near which lay five 
Sept, J5 ships, on the 15th as the morning advanced we saw 
the road opposite to us — the sound not being two 
^ miles wide at that place — filled with a dense column 
of the enemy moving down to the waters edge and 
embarking on board fiat boats, knowing their ob- 
ject we prepared to receive them. 

As soon as they began their approach — the ships 
opened a tremendous fire upon us. the column of 
boats on leaving the shore proceeded directly to- 
wards us; when arriving about half way across the 
sound they turned their course and proceeded to 
Kip's bay — about three quarters of a mile above 
us — where they landed: their landing there being 
unexpected they met with no opposition : the firing 
from the ships being continued — our slight embank- 
ment being hastily thrown up — was fast tumbling 
away by the enemy's shott. Our troops left their 
post in disorder, and before being rallied the enemy 
had completely formed in the road on the adjoining 
hill, our regiment with some others being ordered 
on the Bloomingdale road and to march towards 
Kingsbridge. the weather being unusually hot for 
the season, the men suffered severely from thirst, 
not finding any water untill we arrived at a spring 
near Kingsbridge. On passing by the body of the 
enemy on the hill road they opened a sharp fire on 
us with their field pieces, but they being on higher 
ground than we, their shott — as usual in such 
cases — passed over us. 


On arriving at the spring I found a great number 1776 
around it contending for the water. I was shewn a ^^P*' ^^ 
man lying dead who I was told had died from drink- 
ing the water; he proved to be a captain Crosby of 
the militia from Connecticut. I was shewn by the 
side of a fence, a soldier who they said was dying, 
or was dead, from drinking the water : I had him 
raised up and thoroughly rubbed, his mouth pried 
open — his jaws being set — and some brandy poured 
down his throat — I left him recovering, with my 
heart glowing with the reflection that I had been 
the instrument of saving a fellow man from imme- 
diate death. 

We were employed principally thro' the succeeding 
night in throwing up a slight entrenchment on the 
brow of the hill called Haerlem heights, in full ex- 
pectation of being attacked by the enemy in the 

When the morning arose — at about 9 or lo oClock Sept. 16 
I saw the enemy in the plain below us, at the distance 
of about three quarters of a mile — forming in a line : 
by accounts afterwards their number was said to ex- 
ceed twenty thousand — they indeed made a brilliant 
display : by the reflection of the suns rays on their 
arms in wheeling. 

The sharp action which took place that day under Sept J 6 
the command of Col. Knowlton is so circumstan- 
tially detailed by the historian I need not repeat it. 
here I first saw Lt. James Munro, he had volunteer'd 
to go to the attack on our right under command of 


Sept. J 7 Col. Knolton. The next day I had a mournful duty 
assigned to me — the command of a covering party 
over the fatigue men who buried the dead who fell 
in the action the previous day. I placed myself and 
party on a small eminence so as to see the men at 
their work, and to discover the enemy should they 
approach to interrupt them, there was 32 or 33 
bodies found on the field, and were drawn to a large 
hole which was prepared for the purpose and buried 
together. One body of a fine limbed young man 
had been brought into the camp with a bullet hole 
in the breast near the region of the heart. I was 
struck with reflections on the force of habit: to see 
those fatigue men performing this duty with as little 
concern as they would have perfomed any common 
duty. Two days after this we marched across 
King's bridge and took post on the high ground a 
little beyond it. 
Oct. After our army had passed Kingsbridge Eastward 

and lying a short time, a detachment of about 250 
was ordered to proceed in the night — down Haerlem 
creek and endeavor to capture an out post of the 
enemy on Monterures Island, near the mouth of the 
creek : the crew of the front boat landed promptly at 
the signal, when the sentinels fell back, but the other 
boats unaccountably laged behind — when the enemy 
rallied and fell upon the party which had landed 
and very much cut them up: a few got on board 
their boat and effected their retreat: a number of 


our men remained prisoners : a Major Henly was 
killed — thus the enterprise wholly failed. 

Two of the enemys ships of a 44 & a 28 guns were ^yj^ 
lying in the straight just south of Hurlgate — a de- Qct. 
tachment of artillery with two pieces of cannon was 
ordered to go in the night & post themselves abreast 
of them, they lying within the range of cannon shot 
from our shore : the artillery opened their fire on 
them as soon as light, which was briskly returned by 
the ships. I had the command of a covering party 
of 35 men taking our station on a knop a little above 
the artillery so as to watch the motion of the enemy 
in case of landing. 

the enemies fire being brisk we lay flat on the 
ground — their cannon balls passing over us. As we 
lay at the foot of a large rock one of their balls 
struck the rock above our heads & fell down just by 
me & within my reach, when it became still I felt 
on it with my hand & found it very hot, it was a 24 
pounder. The two ships fell down with the tide and 
hauled round behind Blackwell's island out of the 
reach of our shott. we did not know the damage 
we did to them. As they lowered down a boat & 
filled it with men one of our shot capcized the boat 
& the men were thrown into the water. We could 
plainly discover that our shot told against the sides 
of the ships, but we did not learn the effect. Capt. 
Crane — afterwards Col : Crane received a slight 
wound in his heel from one of their shot, which was 
all the injury we sustained. 


In hasty retreat from N. York our tents were left 
behind and for some time we lay without cover. 

I was ordered with a small detachment — to take 
charge of sixteen hessian soldiers who had been cap- 
tured a few days before — and crossing the North 
river into Jersey proceeded down to fort Lee, de- 
livering the prisoners to the care of Genl. Green. 
Those were well built young men, very athletic. As 
they were the first hessians we had taken — as we 
passed along the road they attracted much attention, 
and procured for me many civilities & some sub- 
stantial refreshment. 

On my return I found the battle of White plains 
had taken place and much to my regret I could act 
no part in it. 
j__x As the enemy landed at Frogs neck, up the sound 

Q^^^ from us, we in a few days were ordered to cross the 
river into Jersey. Here for a few weeks few inci- 
dents occurred under my notice worthy of remark. 
Our regiment was left to cover the country, and 
repel any small foraging party of the enemy; the 
main body of our troops moving southward to- 
wards Philadelphia. 
^ov. As the enemy had landed above us and were in 

full force — our army retreated across King bridge — 
a large number of craft of different sizes being col- 
lected in Haerlem creek — were set on fire & burnt 
to prevent their falling into the enemies hands, the 
sight of this occasioned a very disagreeable sensa- 
tion in my mind : but the loss of fort Washington — 



a few days after — with its garriison of 2700 men 
filled us with deep melancholly — for the time, still 
our fortitude and fixed determination was unabated. 

As we passed fort Lee — on the West bank of 
Hudson river the fort was evacuated & the garrison 
joined us — marching into New Jersey. 

I should be glad to narrate to you from personal X'jt^ 
observation — the circumstances attending the cap- 
ture of the enemy at Trenton and Princeton : but 
those transactions, being so important are circum- 
stantially detailed in history as are others — the most 
important battles: and the regiment to which I be- 
longed was, among others — left near New York to 
watch the movements of the enemy in that quarter. 
Common prudence dictated to have a strong body of 
troops kept up in & near the Highlands at all times 
to be ready to repel the incursions of the enemy 
either by land — from New York, or by the Hudson 

A very prominent position which our army occu- 
pied was Peekskill — a village 40m. above New 
York, and properly at the commencement of the 
Highlands: it seemed formed by nature as a de- 
fensable place ; a chain of hills ran from the S. West 
or North river side — North Eastward several miles 
with a mural like front to the Southward ; might be 
easily defended from an attack in front, and with 
proper precaution the flanks might be secured from 
being turned. 


This post was frequently occupied by our army 
in its various marches and countermarches after the 
year 1776, tho' mentioned but cursorily by the his- 
torian, as no important battle was ever fought near 
it. Keeping this in view as a rallying point when- 
ever occasion occurred — was among the evidences of 
Genl. Washington's segacious and solid judgment 
in carrying on his Fabian system in the prosecution 
of the war, which from almost the necesity of our 
case forbid our rashly pushing onward to battle. As 
I have elsewhere remarked — a respectable body of 
our army were necessarily kept in that vicinity, not- 
withstanding their strong desire to act in a more 
extended and active sphere. 

A Soldier has, of course, to remain at the post 
where he is ordered to, and it was the order of the 
commander in chief for the regiment to which I be- 
longed, to be much employed in the country between 
New York & the highlands; which prevented my 
being present at the great battles of Brandywine, 
Germantown, & Monmouth, as well as at the South- 
ward, but from those who were present at those 
several points I used to obtain on their return and 
joining us a particular narrative of the transac- 
Tj The surprise and capture of the 800 or 900 hes- 

sians at Trenton, and the successfull battle at Prince- 
ton you will see recorded in history. 

In the bay below N. York the british fleet made 
"" a great display; the no. of the vessells of all sizes 


amounted to about 300; and as they spread their 
sails to dry — after a rain — they covered a large ex- 
tent of the water. 

The admirals ship — the Eagle of 64 guns appear- 
ing in full sight, known by her flag, and Capt. Bush- 
nell — of the sappers & miners — having prepared his 
submarine engine — it was sent one night, with a 
magazine of powder attached to it — under the com- 
mand of a Serjeant and 12 men — the party pro- 
ceeded to the ship and the engine was let down 
under the ship — having a pointed rod at top designed 
to be stuck into the ships bottom; /but this point not 
taking effect — the tide which was strong — wafted 
the engine away from under the ship & the enter- 
prise failed. The sergeant who had the command 
gave me a particular narrative of the proceeding, 
and said that he was of opinion that the projecting 
point struck the head of a bolt which prevented its 
success : but I judged it as probable that the point 
was prevented from penetrating the ship by the 
copper sheathing. A similar engine was used in the 
Delaware river in 1777 — which awakened such 
alarm among the british shiping. 

The period of our mens enlistment having arrived 
and returning to their homes in Connecticut I went 
at the same time, and while at Hartford lodged in 
the same house with a Capt. Peters of Massachu- 
setts, who had the charge of the british and hessian 
officers captured at Trenton & Princeton, on their 
way to the interior of Massachusetts : he shewed me 


Genl. Washington's instructions, in which was this 
clause "treat them as gentlemen while they behave 
as such." 

J 776 did not realize it that we had entered on a serious 

war untill the declaration of independence in July 
1776. but our spirits were highly elated on that 
occasion — our determination fixed to persevere. 

J 777 I passed the rest of the winter in re-enlisting men 

and preparing to go into the field at the opening of 
the spring. 

June Collected my recruits which being joined by 

others made a command of about 100 — marched to 
join the army in Jersey. 

Passing through New Haven Genl. Parsons in- 
formed me that I had orders to take under my com- 

1777 mand one Robert Thomson of Newtown and gave 
me a warrant for his execution in his own town. 
He having been regularly tried and convicted of 
having been into New York and came out with en- 
listing orders to raise men among the disaffected — 
to join the british army, the order being positive I 
could do no other than to execute it however un- 
pleasant and mournfull. I forwarded a serjeant with 
a small party to the place of execution, to make the 
necessary preparation : and on the 9th of June su- 
perintended his execution in presence of a large con- 
course of spectators, among which were his own 

After hanging the hour — the body was taken 
down and a request was made from his family that 


the body might be deHvered to them, which — of 
course — was readily granted. 

As I have previously informed you, I shall not 
make many digressions : but I cannot avoid stoping 
for a few moments to reflect on such a scene, which 
I am happy to reflect but rarely occurred during our 
war. but this was a crime which when fully proved, 
never escaped a similar punishment, and perhaps the 
peculiar state of our country at the time war- 
ranted it. 

That night I passed on to Danbury where I took 
quarters and lodged ; the next morning I went round 
and viewed the marks of the destruction of the town 
by burning in April previous. 

Proceeding directly onward — passed North river jyyy 
into Jersey, joining our regiment and brigade, at June 
the village of Bound brook where the our [sic] army 
was encamped : the british lying in and around New 
Brunswick. The enemy being superior to us in 
numbers duty was very vigilant. 

The small action at Scotch plains, or shorthills 
took place, on which our army made a hasty move- 
ment to the summit of the hill, in the rear of our 
encampment, expecting the enemy to attempt to 
turn our left flank : finding us formed & prepared 
to receive them, they made no farther advance, but 
fell back to Amboy, after burning the village of 
Springfield, and the adjoining villages. 

When the enemy advanced toward any place the 
women with some of their children would flee to 


our rear generally carrying bundles of clothing and 
some victuals with them. Essex and Middlesex 
counties suffered severely by their depredations. 
The enemy gradually vi^ithdrew their out posts : and 
as it afterwards appeared — in order to move with 
their main body to Philadelphia: but as a strong 
body remained in New York, which by their shiping 
"^ might be removed up the several rivers so as to 
attack or ravage — a part of our army was left in the 
vicinity to oppose their predatory excursions. Our 
regiment was part of the force thus left; and most 
of the summer passed in our moving from one post 

^''' to another as the movements of the enemy dictated. 
This kind of service was very harrassing, but af- 
forded but few incidents enough interesting to de- 
serve particular insertion. 

We marched three times across Jersey from the 
North river towards the Delaware, and back. 

Scpr. In September duty became more arduous and 

pressing. General Burgoyne's army being in mo- 
tion towards compleating the plan of forming a 
junction with Genl. Clinton of the british army at 
Albany, — the enemy's troops in New York fre- 
quently presented the appearance of attacking us 
at some point : probably with a design of prevent- 
ing reinforcements being sent from us to Genl. 
Gates who commanded that part of the army op- 
posed to Genl. Burgoyne; this occasioned our fre- 
quent removal from one post to another. 


Being one of a detachment of 80 men under the 
command of Major Clift — which was ordered to 
pass below Peekskill around the country — as a kind 
of scouting party we found in the morning a party 
of the enemy had landed from the North river and 
was advancing into the country. 

This was undoubtedly intended by the enemy as 
a decoy to attract our attention from their main ob- 
ject, the troops being in motion — proceeding to the 
attack on fort Montgomery. We lay on our arms 
that night : the next day was a very interesting one 
to us, knowing the enemy to be near us in force ; 

We marched to several points where it was 
judged the enemy might approach. It appeared that 
they had landed at Verplank's point at evening, and : 
the next morning they crossed over the river & 
landed near Stoney point, five or six miles below ^^J^ 
fort Montgomery, the capture of which was the ob- 
ject of their movement : it being necessary for them 
to possess it both to prevent the fire from it on their 
ships passing, as well as to remove a massive chain 
drawn across the river. They advanced towards it 
in two columns, one on each side of bald, or thunder 
mountain, their movements being regulated by a 
flag held by a man on the top of the mountain, this 
a man told me afterwards — who lived at its foot, 
and observed all their movements after they came 
in sight of the fort. Fort Montgomery is situated 
on the North side, and fort Clinton on the south 
side of a creek which falls into the river at that 



place, the one commanded by Genl. George Clinton 
and the other by Genl. James Clinton. Fort Clin- 
ton, being weak was soon carried by the enemy, but 
fort Montgomery — commanded by George Clinton 
made a very stout resistance. General Putnam who 
commanded the troops in the highlands had ordered 
a detachment of 400 picked men under the com- 
mand of Col. Meiggs to move across the river and 
reinforce the garrison. I being one of this body 
had an opportunity of seeing the movements; the 
river being less than half a mile wide at that place : 
we moved quietly down to the waters edge where 
flat boats were waiting for us: it being now near 
sunset, the battle raging between the combatants in 
the fort and the assailants, and just as we were 
steping into the boats the firing ceased and we heard 
J 777 three cheers, which convinced us that the fort had 
surrendered : this had an instantanious and very 
strong effect on the brave men of this party, whose 
feelings were wrought up to a high pitch in hopes 
of sharing in the defence of the post. I never knew 
chagrin and disappointment more strikingly exhib- 
ited than on this occasion by the men both in their 
words and countenances. 

We soon rejoined our respective Corps, and lay 
on our arms through the night, two ships of ours 
lying just above the fort were set on fire on the sur- 
rendry of the fort, and the balls from their guns 
passed over us in the tops of the trees during the 
night. The second day after we — with the rest of 


General Putnam's command amounting to 5,000 or 'Octf. 
6,000 — after being joined by some of the militia — 
commenced our march up the' river to assist in cap- 
turing the army under Genl. Burgoyne. After we 
had proceeded to nearly opposite the armies at Sara- 
toga we being on the East side the river — a horse- 
man came galloping along proclaiming that Bur- 
goyne had surrendered with his army. 

In the afternoon the troops were formed into a 
hollow square and the official news having been 
received — was read to us by the Adjutant General 
while on horse back. A note was also read, taken 
from a spy — from General Sir Henry Clinton who 
remained in fort Montgomery after the capture — 
to Genl. Burgoyne informing him of his situation. 

The circumstances attending the apprehension of 
this spy were somewhat singular: he was a young 
subaltern officer who for a promise of promotion 
had undertaken to pass through the country with 
this note. The day he sat out he fell in with a small 
scouting party of ours under the command of a Ser- 
jeant of Webb's regiment who, with his men, were 
dressed in British uniform which had been captured '• 
in a transport ship ; their speech and appearance be- 
ing the same, and our Serjeant managing with the 1777 
utmost address, proposed to shew themselves to gen- Octf . 
eral Clinton who — our serjeant said — was out from 
the fort and not far off. On seeing the American 
general Clinton he instantly discovered that he was 
deceived and swallowed something hastily, which 


being noticed, the general ordered the regimental 
surgeon to administer a strong emetic, which in its 
powerfull operation occasioned his throwing up a 
silver ball of the size of a pistol bullet, which on 
being cleansed and opened was found to contain the 
note. He was tried the next day, and the proof be- 
ing full and compleat — was condemned and exe- 
cuted as a spy. Our warm and joyfull feelings were 
dampened the next day by a severe North East rain 
storm which continued two or three days, and being 
without tents, and in an open country where cover 
could not be obtained we suffered severely, being 
previously worn down by severe duty and exposure. 
After the ending of the storm the militia were 
discharged, and we commenced our march back to- 
ward the highlands, during this time general 
Vaughn with his detachment was burning and de- 
stroying the towns and villages in the vicinity. I 
saw the old village of Eusopus while burning, and 
though not very compact, the number of buildings 
was considerable, and the conflagration brought 
mournfull ideas to mind, those facts, of the burn- 
ing — you may see in history. For a few days after 
we saw the enemy's shiping falling down the river, 
conveying their troops from fort Montgomery and 
their other posts. 
jyyy The troops who had been the captors of Bur- 

Novf goynes army were moving Southward to join our 
army near Philadelphia : our regiment with some 
others were retained at and near the highlands : 


the enemy's force in New York being considerable, 
and the depth of water in the river being sufficient 
to admit of ships of 700 or 800 tonns as far up as 
West Point. 

We had now an opportunity of seeing the effects 
of the enemy's ravages and burning at Continental 
village, Peekskill, and the parts adjacent. As winter > 

sat in we were ordered to the edge of a woods back 
of Robinson's plantation — to build log hutts for our 
winter cantonment, this was the first of the kind 
which our army experienced, tho' resorted to for 
several winters afterwards. 

We had but just made ourselves what we called ^^°' 
comfortable when our regiment was ordered to re- ^''" 
move on and occupy West Point : government view- 
ing it absolutely necessary to have a strong post es- 
tablished on the river Hudson to serve as a barrier 
against the enemy's cutting off communication be- 
tween the Northern and Southern states. This was 
in the month of February 1778. 

I being, at the time, senior officer of the regi- 
ment present — of course led on the regiment, cross- 
ing the river on the ice, the winter proving severe — 
the ice had formed very firm. Coming on to the 
small plain surrounded by high mountains — we 
found it covered with a growth of yellow pines ten 
or fifteen feet high: no cottage or improvement on 
it, the snow waist high — we fell to lopping down 
the tops of the shrub pines and treading down the 
snow, spread our blankets and lodged in that condi- 


tion the first and second nights, had we not been 
hardned by two years previous severe service we 
J 778 should have thought it difficult to endure this. The 
Fcby. pines not being large enough for logs for huts, we 
were under the necessity of making temporary 
covers of those scanty materials untill we could 
draw logs from the edge of the mountain, and pro- 
cure the luxury of log hutts : this we effected but 
slowly, the winter continuing severe. In two or 
three weeks we had erected our huts — and a french 
engineer by the name of La. Radiere arriving the 
snow being removed for the site of — the present 
main fort, the works were traced out, and parties 
sent out every fair day up the river to cut timber 
and drag it on to the ice to be ready to float down 
to the point when the river should be clear of ice. 
this service was rather fatigueing to the men, but as 
they had a cabin to lodge in at night, and provision 
served out with tolerable regularity, they thought 
themselves comparatively happy, though their work 
was incessant. 

Our line of huts were built just below the summit 
of the upper bank that they might be partially shelt- 
ered from the North West wind. As spring ap- 
proached we set ourselves to collect the rough stone 
which we found on the surface of the ground — to 
use in erecting the fortifycation. 

Two other regiments coming on and Brigr. Gen- 
eral Parsons arriving the brigade was formed and 
a regular routine of duty was established. The 


duty of Brigade Major devolving on me — those of J 778 
us of the staff — had a tolerable sized log hutt erected March 
near the centre of the plain — of the point — 

La. Radier the engineer was very assidious in 
planing and laying out the fort : and as soon as the 
frost was out we broke ground under his direction. 
He was a young gentleman educated at a military 
school in France, and like many other ambitious men 
of his nation — was attracted by the celebrity our 
cause had gained by the capture of the army under 
Burgoyne — to come and act a part with us : but his 
delicate frame was not equall to sustaining those 
hardships which were so familiar to the soldiers of 
the revolutionary army : he caught a severe cold 
which ended in consumption of which he died about 
midsummer following. On his leaving the point he 
was succeeded by the well known Koziusko as engi- 
neer. I quartered a considerable time with him m 
the same hut, and soon discovered in him an eleva- 
tion of mind which gave fair promise of those high 
achievements to which he attained, his manners 
were soft and conciliating, and at the same time 
elevated. I used to take much pleasure in accom- 
panying him with his theodolite measuring the 
heights of the surrounding mountains; he appeared 
to be very ready in the mathematics. 

our family now consisted of brigadier General 
Parsons, Doctor — afterwards — President Dwight 
Kosciusko and myself with the domestics. 



As spring advanced orders and injunctions were 
communicated to us almost every day to press for- 
v^ard the v^orks. we soon began to erect fort Put- 
nam far up the mountain, on beginning the work 
we found plenty of rattle snakes, which of course — 
Aoril ^^ dispatched as soon as discovered. We were in 
dayly expectation of a visit from the enemy, but 
they did not see fit to interrupt us. When the weather 
had become mild and pleasant in April — I went one 
day with Dr. Dwight down to view the ruins of fort 
Montgomery, distant about eight or ten miles. 
There was a pond just North of the fort where we 
found the british had thrown in the bodies of their 
own and our men who fell in the assault of the fort. 
The water had receded leaving a number of the 
bodies entirely out of the water, while others lay 
covered at different depths. 

I saw many fine setts of teeth bare and skeleton 
like, by the destruction of the skin and flesh around. 
Mournfull and impressive reflexsions arose in my 
mind. There lie the youth who stood in the hour of 
their countries trial; they fought and fell to pur- 
chase the independance of their country, and there 
they lye without a burial — I thought too of the vicis- 
situdes to which the soldier is subject, had the fort 
held out a little longer, I very probably might have 
lain among them. 

Those scenes made so deep an impression on my 
mind that the lapse of time has not obliterated them, 
though the fleeting objects of the day pass unheeded. 


One day having been to Fishkill I found on my re- 
turn my tempory hut which I first buih had taken 
fire and was burnt down, with a number of my ar- 
ticles which remained in it, the roof being thatched 
with straw. 

In May General Gates came on and took the com- 
mand, he had been for several weeks at Robinson's 
plantation, where I once dined at his table : here I 
first saw Major Armstrong, his aid-decamp who 
afterwards wrote the famous Newhurgh letters, 
which came so near causing much trouble. Some 
pieces of fine brass artillery which had been cap- 
tured with Burgoyne's army were brought here and 
engraved with the time of their capture. 

Baron Steuben having arrived in the country to 
introduce into our army the prussian discipline, a 
f rench ofBcer was sent from him onto the point and 
200 men were selected to pass through the exercises, 
as a model ; of which I had the command : and two 
days in a week we used to go through the exercises, 
with manoeuvering and firing: this was a pleasant 
part of duty, and was like sunshine after a severe 

The men were employed under the direction of 
the engineer in compleating the fortify cations, 
which had now arrived to a point somewhat respec- 
table ; beside the main work, which took the name of 
Fort Clinton we had erected several redoubts fur- 
nished with cannon, to resist and annoy the enemy 
should they approach. Thus the time passed untill 


J 778 

the 29th of June, the day after the Monmouth battle, 
the main army of the enemy being advancing to- 
ward New York, we were ordered to march, leave 
the point and move on towards White plains, we 
were joined by a body of other troops in the high- 
lands and advanced in two columns under the com- 
mand of General Gates ; arriving at White Plains a 
regular encampment was formed; the troops 

^778 amounting to 5,000 or 6,000. Here I first saw Genl. 

•^ ^^ La Fayette, his person and manners were prepossess- 
ing. At parading the guards in the morning, and 
their moving off for their several stations he was 
generally present, and my official duty causing me 
also to be present and near him, I had a fair oppor- 
tunity of noticing his personal appearance. I was 
glad of the opportunity as he had become a favorite 
to the army. The news of the treaty between 
France and the United States having arrived and 
been published — much raised our spirits. On our 
part of the war it was policy to act on the defensive, 
of course watching the movements of the enemy 
and going to meet them whenever they pointed their 
operations or made their approaches — was what 
employed us principally. 

Atigost In August general La Fayette was detached with 
a body consisting of 1,500 — of which I was one — to 
be posted in New Jersey, we had no fixed station 
but for 3 or 4 weeks we were placed, one night on 
one small hill loping down the bushes for a cover; 
the next night removed to another hill — to prevent 


a surprise — and watching the movements of the 
enemy, who always having superior numbers to us - 
were able to send out marauding parties, either for J 778 
foraging or to harass and plunder. 

One afternoon genl. La Fayette invited some half 
a dozen of us to his bush hut to spend a social hour 
with him on account of his having heard of the birth 
of a dauphin — son of the King of France. We en- 
joyed such an hour of relaxation with a high zest, 
as the occurrence was so rare. 

The enemy not appearing to make any movement Aoet. 
in that quarter the party was ordered back to join 
our several regiments. A few days after a detach- 
ment of 400 was selected for service commanded by 
Genl. Parsons : we — of course, did not know our 
object untill we arrived at Norwalk, on Long Island 
sound where we found boats in which we embarked 
and passed over across the sound landing near the 
village of Setalket : where a considerable body of the 
british were posted in a meeting house, stockaded 
around and within the stockade a parapet was raised 
and planted with a few cannon. Is seems a surprise 
was intended : but the water at the landing place be- 
ing shallow, and we having two iron field pieces to 
unlade took up considerable time : then to drag the 
cannon up the beach, where the sand and pebbles 
was over shoes increased our delay: the noise our 
movement made awakened all the dogs in the vil- 
lage, their noise gave the alarm to the garrison who 
were ready to receive us, and as soon as we had 



J 778 

approached within the range of their shott they be- 
gan their fire on us, day break having arrived — we 
indeed returned their fire, but they being sheltered 
by their works probably did not receive much in- 
jury : we had two men wounded — only, except Genl. 
Aueust Parsons' receiving a slight graze on his arm. Genl. 
Parsons finding his object so far unsuccessful or- 
dered a retreat, tho' there was little doubt but the 
place might have been carried by assault : but the 
object to be gained would not have compensated for 
the loss of half a dozen men, and as they were 
picked men prudence dictated that their lives should 
be held dear. 

After the battle of Monmouth, and the return of 
the British army to New York things lay compara- 
tively still for some time. Our position being in the 
middle department, the enemy's force being concen- 
trated and powerfuU they might approach us by the 
rivers, or along the coast of the sound and arrive 
at a point we did not expect them, this kept us con- 
stantly on the alert but without producing any par- 
ticular incidents to attract attention. You are to 
keep in mind my suggestion on seting out, that I am 
narrating incidents which came under my own ob- 
servation; for other transactions carrying on upon 
a larger scale I must refer you to history, cautioning 
you against some things in Botta, which on reading 
I was led to the conclusion that he had not been suffi- 
ciently diligent in his collection of facts. Thus the 
rest of the year passed away, we marching and 


countermarching with full confidence in our com- 
mander in chief that he would point out our steps 
to the path of duty and honor. 

We of the Connecticut line moved to Redding in Dec. 
Connecticut where we established our log hut en- 
campment for the winter, and were but once inter- 
rupted by the enemy's pushing out a party — into 
the country, which proved only a foraging party. 

In the month of May 1779 we left our huts and J779 
marched to Peekskill. The movement of the british 
up the North river the beginning of June — when June 
they took possession of Stoney point — made it nec- 
essary for us to be on the alert : we advanced near 
to their main body — when discovering some troops 
on a hill in our front — we were ordered to form 
and load our guns ; but they proved to be a party of 
our own, returning from reconnoitering. All this 
time we lay on our arms in rediness to meet the 
enemy at whatever point they should attack. When 
it was discovered that the enemy was making their 
attack on the Connecticut coast, burning the town 
of Norwalk &c. we were ordered to make a forced 
march to Fairfield. 

Part of our regiment only — arrived in season to 
have an opportunity of firing on the enemy, and that 
in a cornfield. I was not so fortunate as to arrive in 
season to share in the conflict, as I was advancing ^j-j^ 
I was met by Capt. Eells who with his advance party 
had been firing on the enemy's rear as they were 
retreating, he told me he had just lost one particu- 


larly valuable man, John Robinson father of Reu- 
ben, shot through the breast at his side, he was a 
neighbor of mine, and left a wife and three young 
chlidren. It gave me pleasure to see the enemy's 
ships depart after having taken their party on board. 
July Marching back to the highlands, and arriving 

near Stoney point on the i6th of July we heard a 
heavy firing during the night in the direction of 
Stoney point ; and in the morning were informed of 
its capture by Genl. Wayne and the light infantry 
under his command. The date I take from my jour- 
nal of the time. 

Capt. — afterwards General — Champion who led 
in the second battalion, told me the second day after 
the capture many particular circumstances of the as- 
sault, but I dont recollect as he mentioned that the 
men had orders to take the flints out of their locks, 
as is mentioned by some in history. 

I was presenj: at the auction sale of the articles 
captured and saw the coat of a Captain Tew who 
fell in the assault — and noticed a bullet hole in it 
near the breast. 

I was much gratified to find that our soldiers gave 
quarter to all after the surrendery, it being so dif- 
ferent from the custom of the british towards us 
rebels in similar cases. 

A few days after this was the first interview I had 

with Capt. — since Judge — Marshall, while taking 

YY orders at the markey of the adjutant general. Af- 

■^ ter leaving the office — as several of us were walking 


together he walked a head by himself appearing in 
a contemplative frame; I found his habit and man- 
ner to be reserved. 

Count D'Estang's arrival on the American coast 
about this time with a land force as well as naval 
occasioned the british to withdraw their troops from 
their out posts. New York being the central point of 
their main army, and a communication by water 
opening to every point there from kept us constantly 
on the alert during the remainder of the season. 

The last of October we crossed the Hudson at 
Dobb's ferry and lay several days on its Western 
bank, from here I was ordered to New Burgh with 
a small detachment to draw clothing for the brigade, 
having obtained it I put it on board a large Peria- 
gue, and as no time was to be lost — proceeded just 
before night, down the river in a severe North East 
snow storm. 

Our boat runing on a rock at flood tide she lay f^ov. 
there untill morning when a higher tide enabled her 
to slide off. After remaining near Dobbs ferry two 
or three days that the clothing might be issued to 
the men — the 5th of November we resumed our 
march towards Morristown in New Jersey, the snow 
being five or six inches deep. 

This snow remained on the ground through the 
succeeding memorable cold winter. We proceeded 
by slow marches to the place of our winter canton- 
ment at Kemble's farm, a village five or six miles 
from Morristown, Head quarters of the Army being 



established in Morristown. The winter having com- 
menced, increased in severity and proved the most 
intense of any winter for the last half century. Our 
army — as usual — lay out uncovered untill the enemy 
had retired to their winter quarters, and about the 
20th of December we were marched on to the 
ground for our winter cantonments. It was on the 
southern side of a hill thickly wooded, a brook run- 
ning in the front : here our men went to felling trees 
to procure logs for building their hutts, and in about 
a week a line of hutts was formed sufficient to cover 
the army. For want of proper tools our hutts were 
constructed in a rude and coarse manner even for 
log hutts : before the mud, or mortar could be applied 
to fill the vacancies between the logs — it was frozen. 
All those things could have been endured — accus- 
tomed as we had become to them — had not our ra- 
tions of provisions failed; for some time the daily 
allowance was curtailed : then for three days it was 
entirely cut off. This situation was indeed gloomy 
in the extreme, during the previous curtailment our 
family consisting of Major C. the surgeon and my- 
self — had drawn some corn for our horses from the 
forage master ; we directed the waiters to hull it and 
prepare it for eating for ourselves, to facilitate the 
process they used weak ley, and not cleaning it suffi- 
ciently it produced extreme pain by corroding in the 
stomach and bowels. During the entire suspension 
of our allowance of provision for three days — I hav- 
ing a young dog — though fully grown and fat we 


held a consultation on the necessity of killing him to J 780 
eat, and nothing saved poor Hector's life but the 
idea of the story's reaching the enemy's quarters, 
that the American officers were reduced to such 
straits as to eat dogs flesh. 

On the request of the Pay Master general — I went 
to his quarters to assist him for a few weeks : he 
occupied a large roomy house in Morristown There 
being spare rooms Genl. Howe requested the use of 
one of them to accomodate the court martial of 
which he was president, on the trial of Genl. Arnold, 
accused of peculation in Philadelphia. General Howe 
used to spend some evenings in our room and nar- 
rated many details of the battle near Savannah, in 
which he commanded — The pivot on which the de- 
feat turned, which he remarked would never come 
up to public view, but was like the cleving of the air 
after the flight of a bird. The decision of this court 
is well known to have issued in the conviction of 
Arnold, and the consequent sentance of the Court, 
which is generally supposed to have laid the founda- 
tion in his mind for revenge which he afterwards 
found an opportunity to put in practice. 

Seeing Arnold halt in his walk, from the fracture 
of his leg in [sic] battle made a strong impression 
on my mind occasioned by an association of ideas 
on a military life, which I had observed witnessed 
[sic] in its most active forms during the last five 


Winter quarters are generally supposed to give 
some repose to an army, the present gave us but 
little, part of the time on short allowance, or desti- 
tute; our clothes worn out, our pay suspended for 
J780 months beyond the stipulated time, and when reed. 
Jany. was in depreciated paper, the winter extremely se- 
Feby. vere ; no bright prospect before us of a speedy term- 
ination of the war : we spending the prime and vigor 
of our lives without laying any foundation for old 
age, and those who had families unable to afford 
them any thing for their present subsistence; those 
things kept our heads on a pillow of thorns rather 
than of roses. Added to all this our soldiers looked 
up to us urging a fulfillment of promises, or encour- 
agement held up to them on enlistment — can it be 
said that any thing but patriotism sustained us? 

On leaving our cantonments in the spring we 
marched toward the Hudson river; halted and re- 
^ mained some time in Essex & Middlesex counties in 

New Jersey. In May witnessed a very painfull spec- 
tacle, the execution of three young men of the vi- 
cinity convicted of having gone over to the enemy 
in New York and returning with enlisting orders to 
induce their comrades to join the army of the enemy. 
One of those was named Hutchinson, whose father 
— with his family emigrated from Yorkshire in 
England a few years before the war and brought 
with him some very fine horses and horned cattle — 
purchased a fine landed estate in the best part of 
Morris county where he lived in a good degree of 



independance ; but adhering to the royal cause, he 
left his estate, went over to the enemy, his family 
broken up and scattered, this son hanged and a J 780 
brother remaining in New York; his estate after- 
wards confiscated. This item is one of the thous- 
ands which occurred during our unhappy struggle — 
if not issuing in so sanguinary a manner, yet accom- 
panied with circumstances of great distress. 

Another season of starvation occurred : while re- 
maining in New Jersey, for several days previous 
to the 25th of May the rations were curtailed; and 
then entirely suspended, on that day two Connec- 
ticut regiments — Wyllys' & Miegs' appeared pa- 
raded under arms without an officer to head them, 
and directed in their movements by Serjeants : Their 
movements had been silent untill then. The officers 
all sprang out and enquiring the object of their 
movement and their designs ; they replied thro' a 
leading Serjeant, that their sufferings had become 
so great they could endure them no longer, and 
were determined to quit the service and return 
home : adding that from the commencement of the 
year they had received neither pay nor clothing, and 
now provision failed. 

Col. Meigs who was a favorite of the soldiers — 
having his sword drawn — moved near to the Ser- 
jeant, who was the speaker, and commanded him to 
fall into the ranks and return with the men to quar- t7Z0 
ters ; on this the serjeant levelled his gun with the •'^^7 
bayonet fixed towards Col : M. saying their resolu- 


tion was formed and they should not recede from 
it. The moment was a critical one and had Mar- 
shall witnessed it as I did I trust he would not have 
passed it over so philosophically as he has done in 
his history, unless he was restrained by motives 
arising from the honor of the army and of the coun- 
try. A short season of calm ensued and the officers 
assured the men that if they would quietly return to 
their duty, and their pressing wants were not sup- 
plied by a given day, they — the officers — would not 
attempt to prevent their dispersing. The officers 
then retired and by midday all was apparently quiet. 

A brigade of Pennsylvania troops lay near us, 
and one of the officers — a Mr. Stevenson — came to 
us and remained with us untill the disorder had sub- 
sided. I presume his object was to watch our 
motions and report to his line, that they might pur- 
sue such measures as the case might require. The 
situation of the officers was very painfull; them- 
selves being in the same state of privation with the 
men, but pressed by motives of duty and honor to 
preserve discipline, and knowing that the demands 
of the men were just they still had to perservere in 
the performance of their own duty. 

The army moved toward Pompton Orange 
County N J and encamped; advancing at time to- 
ward where the enemy pointed their movements 
watching their motions, and I presume waiting for 
an opportunity to strike some stroke to our advant- 


age. The army was thus occupied untill the begin- 
ning of September without any striking incidents. 

At this time Genl. Washington went to Hartford Sepr, 
in Connecticut to meet the french General Rocham- 
beau who had come there for the meeting, from 
New Port, where the french troops of his command 

General Green remained as commander — during 
the absence of Genl. Washington. On one fine day 
the army which then consisted of about ii,ooo was 
paraded and divided into two seperate bodies, one 
occupying a small hill and the other moved on to at- 
tack them. In this sham fight the various manoeuv- 
erings common in a real battle were acted over ; 

After the assailants had continued the attack for 
some time the reserve came up which turned the 
battle in their favor. The usual shouting of the 
victors ensued, while the defeated retreated : the vic- 
tors then took possession of the hill and pitched their 
tents on the battle ground. The army continued near 
Pompton untill the return of General Washington 
from the East, when the catastrophy of the defection 
of General Arnold ensued: that produced a strong 
sensation in the army, every thing was put upon the 
alert, expecting the enemy to approach and attack 
West point, or strike some important stroke, two 
days were spent in anxious suspense by the army. 
A board of general officers consisting of twelve was 
assembled and Major Andre was brought before it, 
heard in his defence, and the proof being full and 


completely satisfactory he was adjudged to be a spy 
and sentenced to be executed as such. 
t780 General Patterson — with whom I was well ac- 

Scpf • quainted — & who was a member of the board, stated 
to me the particulars of his trial and the impressions 
made on their minds and feelings while contemplat- 
ing his situation and destiny. Andre appeared dur- 
ing the trial altogether firm and collected in his mind 
and manner. 

In the interim between his trial and execution an 
informal proposal was made by Genl. Washington 
to Sir Henry Clinton who commanded in New York, 
that Andre might be restored back in exchange 
for Arnold. Genl. Clinton's refusing to comply with 
the proffer, and the intimation thereof being com- 
municated to Capt. Ogden, who was the bearer of 
the message and returned during the night — an order 
was given for his execution. I was on my horse and 
of course outside of the line of infantry, and could 
plainly see Andre and all that passed ; he walked up 
the hill in Pompton the place of his execution Arm 
in arm with Col : Hamilton with a firm and gracefull 
step. My feelings had been previously drawn out 
favorably towards him from what had passed, but 
when I come to view him, an elegant and fine person, 
every way gracefull, at the age of twenty eight, and 
to be thus publicly executed, almost overcame me, 
but I had to endure it while I contemplated the sim- 
ilar fate of my former acquaintance Capt. Nathan 


Hale who was executed by the british in Brooklyn 
in 1776. 

Sep. 1776. The british having landed on long J 780 
island — Genl. W. wanting to find out their real posi- 
tion — after due enquiry Capt. Hale of the Count, 
line was selected to be employed as a spy, & having 
proceeded on to the island, pursued his discoveries, 
taking plans &c — was returning and fell into the 
hands of the enemy near Brooklyn. The next day 
was examined by some board by the enemy and con- 
victed as a spy, condemned, and order'd to be exe- 
cuted in two hours, was denied his request for an 
opportunity & time to write to his friends, & the 
sentance was carried into execution, was of Glas- 
tenbury in Count, aged abt. 24 or 25 : educated & 
of high promise. 

The remains of Major Andre were removed from 
the place of his interment in A.D. 1821 — by order of 
the British government : he having been buried near 
the place of his execution. It was found that a red 
cedar tree had grown up over his grave; a piece of 
this tree was conveyed to England in the ship — with 
his remains ; and the King ordered a gold snuff-box 
made, inlaid with a part of this tree — to be presented 
to the episcopal minister who officiated at the disin- 

Altho' there was no particular battle in this de- 
partment during the season, the incidents almost 
dayly occurring were sufficiently interesting to oc- 
cupy the attention. The army being pretty much 


together, In midsummer a selection of 2,500 of the 
troops who were judged fit to make the best appear- 
ance were selected and prepared for review on a 
plain, a temporary stage was raised with seats to ac- 
comodate spectators, on which was seated General 
Washington, the other general officers present; the 
f rench minister Luzerne : the Spanish minister Don 
Juan, and a large number of respectable citizens 
from the adjacent parts. 

Baron Steuben ordered and conducted the re- 
view, the exercises were commenced by skirmishes 
in the adjoining woods as if scouts had fallen in with 
each other, and were returning : after they had 
joined the main body the evolutions were com- 
menced, each one preceeded by discharge of a can- 
non. The weather being fine and no accident hap- 
pening, the day passed off brilliantly. Not long after 
we were ordered out to attend the funeral of Don 
Juan the Spanish minister who died of a fever. The 
ceremonies attending it were as shewy as circum- 
stances would admit, and to those of us having been 

1780 accustomed to plain republican simplicity were very 
impressive imposing [sic] . The body was placed in 
a coffin in a very rich dress trimmed with a broad 
gold lace; his sword laid conspicuously by his side: 
minute guns firing during the whole time, except 
while religious service was performing. 

J78J As the year opened and advanced brighter pros- 

pects for the U. States began to appear : a special 
deputation had been sent to the french court to lay 


our case and situation fairly before the king, urging 
the necessity of some important effort being made 
which should bring the war to a close, the french 
king very promptly dispatched an agent Courier 
[sic] to the Spanish court, the reigning king being 
uncle to the — then french king — strongly suggest- 
ing a co-operation [sic] with france and the United 
states to accomplish the object. The Spanish gov- 
ernment readily and promptly acceeded to the pro- 
posed measures which issued in a compleat success. 
As the spring opened our army left their canton- 
ments in the highlands, took the field and advanced 
towards White plains; the first part of the season 
for the campaign was spent by our army in march- 
ing and counter-marching — it seemed as watching 
the movements of the enemy. The british army kept 
closely shut up in New York, and appeared looking 
sharply on the defensive for the time being; Genl. 
Rochambeau was with a body of about 5000 regular 
and choice troops lying in New Port Rhode Island — J78J 
and a french fleet commanded by Count D'Estang 
arriving on our coast effectually prevented the 
british army from attempting any considerable en- 
terprise. Thus the season advanced untill the fore 
part of September when the great plan which had 
been concerted between Genl. Washington and our 
allies was put in operation. The period having ar- 
rived for the necessary movements to commence — 
General Washington formed the plan which so com- 


pletely eluded the enemy — the detail of which is min- 
utely described in history. 

The f rench army at New Port was put in motion ; 
at the same time the American army began its move- 
ments by crossing the river Hudson into New Jer- 
sey : hovering around New York and puting on the 
appearance of a design to attack it : parties were ad- 
vanced forward of bakers with instructions to pre- 
pare ovens and other fixaments for the accomodation 
of the army in its meditated attack. — 

An express was forwarded by Genl. Washington 
with his letter containing directions for the forming 
a camp &c to accomodate the army on its arrival: 
the bearer — it seems conformable with his instruc- 
tions — passed so near an out guard of the enemy 
that he was captured by them. 

The intercepted letter added strength to the delu- 
sion which was designed, and among other circum- 
stances lulled the enemy from any apprehension of 
the real object contemplated. By a sudden move- 
ment our army marched onward toward York- 
town: the success which followed you will read in 

Rochambeau with his five thousand soon moved 
on : as they passed thro' Farmington in Connecticut 
I being there at the time — had a fine opportunity of 
seeing them, they were said to be the flower of the 
f rench army, having been raised principally in Nor- 
mandy and the North of France. 


Beside the officers who held rank in the army — 
were many men of science, as Chatteikix & others 
who it seems were collecting & preparing materials 
for a practical description of things in the United 
States, and which were afterwards published by 

I was particularly struck — while in conversation 
with Count D'Ponts, who commanded the regiment 
Du Fonts — to observe with what fluency and pre- 
cission he spoke english. at a small distance one on 
hearing him, would not have supposed that he spoke 
any otherwise than a well educated English gentle- 
man, I viewed their manner of encamping over 
night, the perfect mechanical manner of perform- 
ing all they had to do : such as diging a circular hole 
& making nitches in which to set their camp kettles 
for cooking their food, &c every necessary accomo- 
dation was performed in the most natural and con- 
venient manner. They rose in the morning and 
paraded by day light; soon struck tents and began 
their march which they completed — for the day — 
about noon, then pitched tents and set about their 
cookery : 

They marched on the road in open order, untill 
the music struck up, they then closed into close 

On the march — a quarter master preceeded and at 
the forking of the road would be stuck a pole with 
a bunch of straw at top to shew the road they were 
to take. 



Not being at the siege of Yorktown — I must re- 
fer you to the history of it in detail. 

On the surrender of Yorktown all concluded it 
was the closing part of active war, which it ulti- 
mately proved to be. 

Having served this the whole of our eventfull 
struggle for independance ; and being preserved to 
the age of 78, I say with my feeble voice to my 
children and grandchildren of whom God has given 
me numbers, should an equal imperious call of duty 
ever press on you — go and do likewise. 

The irregularity and frequent destitution of sup- 
plies you will see adverted to in the history of the 
war : but the impression made by reading it falls far 
short of the reality of experience, when I recall 
to mind those scenes I am now astonished at the per- 
severance of our army under such circumstances. 

had we money received for our pay the inhabit- 
ants of the country thro' which we passed would 
have brought articles of provision to us as a market, 
but by this time — 1777 — the paper currency had 
become of little value. The counterfeiting of our 
bills was carried on in New York extensively, and 
sent out into the country by agents employed for the 
purpose. I once saw in New Jersey a large bundle of 
these bills in the hands of a justice of peace, brought 
for inspection : he pronounced them counterfeit, an- 
other justice of peace had previously judged them 


When I look back I find that the close of the year 
1776 and the beginning of 'yj was the darkest and 
most trying time of the war. 

When encamped at Bound brook N. J. an officer 
of my acquaintance called on me — after how d'e he 
says how do you live? I replied — very well — says 
he we have nothing but indian meal & that sour — 
with salted beef in bad order — the teamster's having 
drawn out the brine to lighten their loads. I re- 
plied — do you think that we — of the same brigade 
fare any better? he said he could not and would not 
live so : I found he soon after obtained a discharge 
& returned home. 

The details of a lawless set of banditta constantly 
in action between the lines of the two armies com- 
miting every kind of crime — robbery, house burn- 
ing, murder &c. I have reserved hitherto that I 
might introduce it in more compact order. The 
various isolated acts of this kind would — if collect- 
ed — serve to fill a small volume : nor can I pretend 
to give but a mere glance at some of them, they 
being so numerous. 

They began as soon as the enemy became fully 
possessed of New York and the posts appending to 
it. A kind of lineway formed by their out posts 
looking towards us; and a similar one formed by 
us, looking towards them : this left a tract of country 
extending from the Hudson to long Island sound 


of ten or fifteen miles in width, with a tolerable 
dense population previous to the war; the inhabit- 
ants did not at first leave their homes and become 
victims — pretty generally to these merauders : those 
who retained any moveable property in cattle or 
anything else were soon robbed of it. 

The british commander appointed Lord Tarlton 
over a corps of rangers who were very active in 
making incursions on our most exposed places, mak- 
ing what prisoners he could, and his men consider- 
ing themselves as free hooters made light of lives 
which fell in their wa}^ or in any manner opposed 

Next to him one Barmore a native of Connecti- 
cut — had permission to raise a company of despera- 
does to plunder and murder at their pleasure. A 
number of other voluntary companies were formed 
and acted in some concert, all following the trade 
of destruction. If the british commander did not 
directly authorize those things, he at least only 
winked at them : probably counting that they all 
came into the general plan of subduing rebels. 

Beside those who were formed into somewhat 
regular companies — a considerable number acting 
without concert were springing up attacking the 
persons and property of all who were exposed to 
them, among those was one Joshua Houston a 
noted desperado who was a terror to all around him : 
he on attempting to enter a home for robbery was 
discovered & met by the keeper of the house, who 


having provided himself with a bayonet fixed on 
the end of a stick or staff plunged it into him, which 
caused his death. Those for a time were called cow 
boys; having become very bold in driving off cows 
as well plundering other property. 

The scenes of their depredations varied with the 
movemints and position of the armies, but wherever 
the armies were posted there was a space called 
between the lines infected by a similar banditta. 
New Jersey was grievously scourged by such me- 
rauders in the course of the war. Complaints being 1778 
frequently made to Genl. Washington of those 
enormities, he remonstrated strongly to the british 
commander against them, and assured him if they 
were continued he should be forced to retaliate on 
the british prisoners — War operations becoming 
very pressing he did not have recourse to this meas- 
ure untill the latter part of the year 1781, the cir- 
cumstances of which I shall notice in its place. 

In '78 when our troops were lying in New Jersey, 
an officer of the Connecticut line, on his return to 
his regiment, from whence he had been on some 
business — was shot down by some one concealed in 
the bushes by the road side. The assassin was never 
discovered, but was supposed to belong to one of 
those companies of banditta. 

Soon after this I was designated to go to head 
quarters — then at Morristown — to dfUw money foj 
the brigade as pay. On my return — approaching 
near the ground where I left the regiment — I found 


they had taken up their march for a distant place: 
as night approached I pursued on to overtake them. 
I was unexpectedly hailed by a stentorian voice 
Who comes there — I instantly put spurs to my 
horse, he being very fleet I shot ahead of two men 
also mounted — they constantly hallowing "stop or I 
will fire on you." knowing the country to be in- 
fested by merauders and desperadoes I without 
J778 minding their threats — pushed on untill coming to 
the foot of a hill they came up with me. it may well 
be supposed my situation was an unpleasant one : I 
had no arms but my sword, they two to one and 
armed with muskets: I asked them what they 
wanted of me — they replied — go to the next house 
and we will inform you: I of course went to a 
house when I told them I was an officer of the 
army dispatched on important business and — if they 
did not kill and conceal me — any other violence 
would be made known, and they would be pursued, 
they each produced a subalterns commission of the 
militia. — thus ended a scene which commenced 
rather abruptly. I felt indeed some solicitude for 
the money I had in my portmanteau, but my prin- 
cipal concern was for my own personal safety. This 
night I spent far less pleasant than the one previous : 
being acquainted with Col. Hamilton and Major 
Colfax who commanded the generals guard — I was 
invited to spend the evening in a room with an 
agreeable circle — the adjutant general of Bur- 
goyne's army being one; being on parole he was 


spending some time here; he was an Irish gentle- 
man, highly polished, and appeared to enjoy himself 
& the society very well. Col. Scammell — whose 
memory I shall ever hold in high estimation — was 
one of the party. 

As I previously remarked I shall attempt to give 
only a scetch [sic] of the outlines of their praeditory 
and murderous transactions. 

The murder of Col. Baylor & Major Clough — of 
the cavalry, with a great part of the regiment was 
the result of one of their praedatory enterprizes. a 
detail of this you will see in the history. 

The frequent open and private attacks, waylaying 
and murdering by hanging and otherways having be- 
come so numerous — and representations being fre- 
quently made to general Washington of them — he 
proceeded — late in the year '8i to put in force his 
threats of retaliation he had so often express'd. He 
selected from a great number of others — a case of 
much notoriety which occurr'd on Staten Island. A 
party in their way siezed on one Capt. Huddy and 
as usual — without much delay hung him on a staddle 
which they bent down for the purpose — where his 
friends found him with a label on his breast "Up 
goes Huddy for Henry White." 

Those things having arisen to a climax — Genl. 
Wn. selected by lot — from among the prisoners cap- 
tured at Yorktown — a Capt. Argill — son of Sir 
Charles Argill — of very respectable standing — as 
the victim for retaliation. He was kept in close con- 


finement for a considerable time, apparently await- 
ing his execution: His mother Lady Argill wrote 
a very moving letter to Vergennes — the then prime 
minister in France — uring him to intercede with 
Genl. Wn. to spare her sons life. Those things hav- 
ing become a subject of considerable notoriety the 
british commander order'd the companies he had 
commissioned — to be dissolved : thus those barbar- 
ities were in a considerable degree checked, and 
Capt. Argill released on parole. The feelings of the 
mass of the people were shewn to be strongly inter- 
ested in favour of Capt. Argill, as they were for 
Major Andre — previously; and much to the praise 
of their humanity. A similar opportunity occurred 
to shew the general state of feeling; the two British 
ships — the Java and the Massadonian recently cap- 
tured — were placed for safe keeping in the river 
Thames 8 or lo miles from New London, and a 
number of British seamen — prisoners — confined in 
them. Orders were either given out or expected to 
be — to retaliate on those prisoners some of the se- 
verities practiced on our marine prisoners confined 
in the ship Jersey lying at Brooklyn. 

The populace interfered which prevented the or- 
ders being carried into effect. 

In the year 1783 — the war being ended — I was 
travelling through East and West Chester coun- 
ties, in the state of New York — and was forcibly 
struck by the appearance of this once beautiful sec- 

tion of country, the inhabitants had acquired and 
collected around them — previous to the war — all the 
conveniencies and accomodations of rural life; and 
the country now appeared in a state of desolation. 
I stopped at an inn on the great road — which was 
reopened as a house of entertainment — and one I 
had lodged at in 1774 — the year preceeding the 
war — it was a large stone building with out houses, 
surrounded with fruit trees, and appearing to possess 
every convenience of rural life : it then appeared al- 
most in ruins, like every thing else around it. 

I said to the hostess — Mother Day your place 
dont look as it did when I was here in '74 : No says 
she then we had every thing we wanted : now we 
found the out buildings and all the fences burnt ; all 
the fruit trees destroyed, with every thing else — 
and we as poor as the free negroe. 

Being in Boston I saw the part of the f rench army 
which had acted in the siege of Yorktown in Sep- 
tember & October previous — enter the town under 
the command of Baron Viominel to embark on board 
shiping which had arrived and were lying ready to 
receive them. I conversed with some of the officers 
and noticed the high gratification they appeared to 
feel in adverting to their fortunate success in this 

Being in Boston I saw the arrival of the British 
transport ships in the harbour — come to receive the 
prisoners of Burgoynes army captured October pre- 


J 778 vious. A prominent article in the capitulation was 

April "that those troops should be delivered up to the 

British government, with a guarantee that they 

should not be employed against the United states 

again during the war." 

Our government waited for the british govern- 
ment to ratify the convention, or articles of capitu^ 
lation agreed on at the surrendery. The British 
finding it would be recognizing our independance to 
ratify it — refused: and the ships returned without 
the prisoners. 

It being proved to Europe and the world by the 
Dattle of Bunker hill & the capture of Burgoyne's 
army that the United States were able to sustain 
their independance — the treaty offensive and defen- 
sive between the French government and ours was 
ratified at Passi near Paris in February 1778: on 
J 778 which the British government immediately declared 
against France. 

J 775 Battle of Lexington. The british march out from 

Apl. J9 Boston to Lexington to destroy some stores of the 
americans : they fired on a militia company — the 
fire returned. The british made a precipitate retreat 
toward Boston, being fired on by the militia of the 

Boston shut up. The men from the adjoining 
towns assembled in arms and invest it : bodies of 
men hastily raised and formed round Boston to keep 
the British in. 


The middle of May the new raised troops from May 
Connecticut & the adjoining towns in Massachu- 
setts arrive & something Hke miHtary arrangements 
made. Cambridge fixed on as the head quarters : a 
strong body stationed at Roxbury. 

sHght fortifications erected on Roxbury side: 
alarm posts affixed, to which the troops repaired 
every morning at day break. Things remained 
quiet untill the night of the i6th of June, when a 
detachment of our army went on to Breed's hill — 
since called Bunker hill, and began to fortify. _ 

Battle of Bunker hill — the british marched out in jj 
force and attacked us in our trenches : they were re- 
pulsed three several times, but by the arrival of jyyc 
2000 fresh troops as a reinforcement they succeeded 
in carrying our works : the enemy in his official re- , 
port acknowledged the loss of 1052 men in killed jy 
& wounded. Our loss was between 3 & 400. This 
affair prevented an attack of the enemy on the south 
side of the town : as the i8th of June was fixed on to 
take possession of the hill on Dorchester point, by 
the british. 

General Washington arrived in a few days after 
the action & took the command of our army. 

troops continued to arrive to strengthen our army, 
which had become so strong that the enemy did not 
move out to attack it during the rest of the year. 
Our guards were extremely vigilent. 

The enemy had very strong works on Boston neck 
mounted with a numerous train of heavy artillery, 


and their firing from there was kept up almost every 
night, which killed some of our advanced guards. 

\776 Both armies lay still untill the beginning of the next 
f^^ march; when on the 2d & 3d nights we commenced 
a heavy fire from all our batteries on the Cambridge 
& Roxbury side : and on the night of the 4th a de- 
tachment of ours moved on to Dorchester point & 
began to entrench. 
^^j^ during the most of the 6th the enemy were em- 

J776 barking troops on board their ships, and at evening 
Mafch they fell down to the outer harbor & formed round 
the point, intending to commence an attack on it the 
next day. 

but that night the vernal equinoxal storm of rain 
sat in which continued with increasing violence dur- 
the night : and in the morning their ships appeared 
in disorder, and the troops were not landed, but the 
ships returned up the harbor, it subsequently ap- 
peared that they had abandoned the design of at- 
tacking us at our post, but to make preparation to 
evacuate the town and proceed for Halifax. Their 
preparations went on till the 17th of the month 
when they completely evacuated the town and har- 
bor, and sailed for Halifax : and our army moved in 
and took possession. 

(Original entry) 

The 17th of March 1776 The enemy evacuated 
the town of Boston — the particular circumstances of 
which are too recent in every one's memory to need 


a new recital, the American Army immediately 
marched in & took possession of the Town together 
with what stores the enemy had left — the night be- 
fore they went away they destroy 'd all the fortifica- 
tions on Castle Island. — The enemy then proceeded 
with their fleet directly to Hallifax — the Towns 
along shore were in great consternation for some 
time, expecting the enemy would make some de- 
scent on them, nor was new York out of fear — the 
Inhabitants of it went to fortifying their streets &c 
— under the direction of Genl. Lee. — Our Army now 
prepared for marching to the Southward & North- 
ward to meet the Common enemy — About the first 
of April Genl. Thomas arrived at near [sic] Quebec 
& found our Army but a handfull & those destitute 
of almost every convenience for subsistance — scat- 
ter'd twenty or thirty miles round on different 

The reinforcements from different parts which 
he expected to find there had not arrived — the few * ° 
who were really on the ground he set about collect- 
ing together so as to form them into something 
regular — but while he was giving such necessary 
orders & making proper distributions — he died of 
the small pox, after a very days illness — at this 
juncture two or three of the enemys frigates came 
in sight of the Town from Hallifax — to reconnoitre 
& find in what situation the garrison was, in the 
Town, & likewise to see if the river was clear of Ice 
so as to be navigable by larger ships — on their com- 


ing in sight, our people supposing they had brought 
a reinforcement for the Garrisson & thinking also 
that there were more on their passage — agreed to 
retreat while they could with safety, — accordingly 
they collected together, convey'd what Artillery & 
Stores they had, & march'd as far as the three 
Rivers & there made a fortification with a view to 
make a stand. — The fatigues our Army underwent 
1776 in this department thro the winter was very great — 
the detachment under Col. Arnold had to perform a 
march of six hundred miles over a wild inhospitable 
Country in October & November — when they ar- 
rived they found themselves destitute of almost 
every necessary of life as well as warlike stores for 
attacking or Blockading a City like Quebeck — in a 
Country where the Cold is intense — the inhabitants 
unable & unwilling to supply them with provision — 
nor has there been a post in America of that im- 
portance so neglected as that for After the defeat 
our people were very dilatory in sending any kind of 
succour & relief either in men money or provisions. 
Quebec assaulted by Genl. Montgomery Dec. 31, 
1775. — After the death of Genl. Thomas the Com- 
mand devolv'd on Genl. Arnold who held it but a 
short time. 

But to return to affairs nearer home — about the 
twenty fifth of March the Troops began their 
March from Boston towards New York & by the 
4th of April Twenty One Regiments had left that 
place — leaving 5 Regs, to Garrison the Town. On 



arriving at New York five Regis, were order'd to 
March & join the Northern Army under the Com- 
mand of Brigr. Genl. Thomson of Virginia, & the 
of April 6 Regts. more under the Command of 
Brigr. Genl. Sullivan of New Hampshire — march'd 
to join the Army in that department. — On their 
Arriving near there our people who were left at the 
3 rivers met them near a place call'd the Cedars 
informing them that the Enemy had been reinforced 
at Quebeck by Genl. Burgoyne & about four thou- 
sand under him & that immediately on their arriving 
at Quebeck they pursued our Troops to the 3 rivers 
& obliged them to retreat — large numbers of them 
were sick with the small pox & in a dispirited situa- 
tion — They immediately communicated the infection 
to them — The number of Troops now collected in 
this department amounted to about 9 or 10,000 & 
in a Months time near half of them were sick of the 
small pox & the fatigue of their march. — The enemy t776 
still push'd on & arrived at the Cedars, while our 
Troops retreated before them, while the enemy 
were at the Cedars Genl. Thomson agreed to attack 
them, — he accordingly went himself at the head of 
about 1500 men to execute his plan, but his guides 
missing the roads led them round about in swamps 
& Morasses till they were discover'd by the enemy, 
who were ready to receive them — a small action en- 
sued — but our Troops not being able to come on 
properly to the charge by reason of the badness of 
the ground — Genl. Thomson was surrounded by a 


superior number of the enemy & made a prisoner of, 
together with 4 field Officers & about 20 or 30 
men — abt. this time a party of about 300 Under 
command of Ma jr. Butterfield was attack'd by abt. 
60 Regular Troops & 400 Indians & Canadians — 
at a small breastwork they had erected, & sur- 
render'd without any opposition — of this party a 
number were murder'd by the Savages under the 
J 776 connivance of the British Officers — Genl. Arnold 
found means to have those prisoners return'd by 
promising to give as many more in exchange, & left 
four Captains as hostages to bind him to the per- 
formance of his promise. — In the month of June 
Genl. Gates was appointed Major Genl. & Comman- 
der in chief in that department & set off immedi- 
ately : On his arriving there he found Affairs in an 
unsettled confused way. The Army were sick & dis- 
pirited — fast retreating before the enemy — they 
made but a short stay at Montreal — Chambli — St. 
Johns — Isle Au Noix &c till they arrived at Ticon- 

News arrived from Great Britain during the 
Spring — by the way of the West Indies — of the de- 
signs of Parliament; during the past Winter their 
whole attention seem'd to be taken up about Amer- 
ica — People of all ranks were inveterate against us 
& viewed us as Rebels — while the most vigorous 
plan was adopted for our subjection : — & the most 
experienced Commanders by land & Sea appointed 
to Command: twelve thousand Hessian Troops & 


1500 other Germans were taken into British pay — & J 776 
sent against America. Levies were made in Eng- 
land & Ireland & the land Army by that means aug- 
mented to thirty odd thousand : Lord Howe was ap- 
pointed to Command the fleet & his Brother Genl. 
Howe — the land Army — the plan of operation 
agreed upon was to send a part of their Army to 
Quebeck : a part to the Southward & the main body 
to New York — in consequence of which Genl. Bur- 
goyne had been sent to Quebeck with abt. 4 or 5 thou- 
sand, to be join'd by a large number of Savages & 
Canadians & retake the fortifications on the Lakes & 
penetrate through the Country to the River Hudson, 
& go to New York & join the main Army there 
under the Command of Genl. Howe: & by that 
means cut off the communication between the South- 
ern & the New England Governments & distress our 
back Settlements. 

Genl. Howe with the fleet remaining at Hallifax 
Arrived at New York the 30th of June with a large 
fleet & about 12000 Troops — they came into the Bay J 776 
& anchored under [sic] Straten Island shore where - 
they form'd a Camp & landed a part of their men 
finding themselves too weak to attack us, they agreed 
to lye there & wait for a reinforcement of the for- 
eign mercenaries — which they expected soon — the 
I2th of July the Ship Phoenix of 44 Guns&the Rose 
of 28 — commanded by Wallace with three tenders 
went with a fair wind & tide up the River Hudson — 
thro' the fire from our Batteries — they went up past 


Kingsbridge as far as Taupan Bay & there came to 
Anchor — their design was to reconnoitre & learn the 
strength of our Batteries & perhaps find the most 
convenient place to land their Troops — The Troops 
had been coming in & joining our Army this fort- 
night — which now amounted to about 30,000 — but 
as the enemy did not attack us immediately as was 
expected — our Militia &c drew off, & left the Army 
to consist of about 22,000 — 
i776 The Commissioners now arrived with Lord Howe 

who took command of the fleet — Independancy .was 
now declared by the Congress on the 4th of July 
The enemy sent two flags of truce to the General 
with a letter superscribed to Geo. Washington Esqr. 
which were rejected on acct. of the superscription — 
The 15th the Adjutant Genl. of the British army 
ask'd and obtain'd a conference with Genl. Wash- 
ington — on the subject of exchanging prisoners. — 
The Congress now came to a resolve that if the 
enemy should commit any more inhuman murders 
on our soldiery whom they should take prisoners — 
that retaliation should be made on them — 

The enemy on Staten Island now set vigorously 
to fortifying & laid out very large works; the Gen- 
eral Officers of Our army held a Council of war to 
consult whether to attack them or not, but it was still 
concluded best to act on the defensive — A proclaim- 
ation from Lord Howe was now publish'd offering 
pardon & protection to all who shou'd lay down their 
Arms & implicitly submit. — News now arrived from 


Genl. Lee at Charlestown S. Carolina — that the 1776 
enemy had been repulsed in attempting to Land — 
the particulars are that on the 26. of July two fifty 
Gun Ships & 6 frigates came over the bar & came 
close up to the fort on Sullivans Island & there com- .^^ 
menced a most furious fire on the fort — our people 
returned it with equall spirit & had the sattisfaction 
to see the fleet almost entirely destroy'd thereby — as 
they were within half musquet shott from the fort — 
almost every shott did execution — during the Can- 
nonade the enemy attempted three several times to 
land at the end of the Island, & were as often re- 
repulsed — during the action the enemy had 172 
kill'd & wounded — On our side were 10 kill'd & 20 
wounded — 

A plan was in the spring conjectured adopted 
[sic] to fix a number of fire ships & attempt thereby 
to destroy some of the enemy's fleet. — a number of 
Vessels & Chiveaux De frize's were made & sunk in 
the channell of the river to stop the Ships from 
passing. — They are now vigorously preparing. — 

August 3d. Five of our Row Galleys went up the 
River & attack'd the two ships of the enemy's — after 
a brisk Cannonade of about three Quarters of an 
hour our Galleys moved off by order of Col. Tupper 
who commanded — with the loss of 9 kill'd & 
wounded — seven shott had gone thro' the providence 
Galley as she lay nearest the Phoenix — which was 
within musquet shott — the whole was conducted 
with regularity & coolness & the enemy much dam- 



J 776 

aged. On the night of August i6th we had the 
good fortune to burn out one of the enemys Tenders 
in the north River. 

On the 1 8th very early in the morning the Shiping 
came down the river thro' a brisk fire from our Bat- 
terys — 

The whole of the enemys reinforcement now ar- 
riving except five thousand Germans, & the southern 
Army after their defeat join'd the Grand Army — 
the enemy opened the Campaine in this department 
by landing a large body of Troops on Long Island 
& march'd up to Flat Bush about 5 miles from New 
York ferry: which was on the 22d. — a detachment 
of our Army were accordingly sent to intercept them 
consisting of 2400 who were posted at three differ- 
t776 ^"^ places where the passage was very narrow be- 
Aogt. tween the hills — these were the only passes where 
they could approach directly from their incampment 
towards our lines in a direct course, & that body of 
men was sufficient to defend those passes had the 
enemy approach'd that way. — both Armys appear'd 
silent almost till monday the 26th when the enemy 
just at evening decamp'd & filed off from their right 
& by a forced march all night they came round the 
left wing of our Guards & just at day break of the 
27th they appeared in the Bedford road between our 
out guards & the lines — just at the time of their 
coming in sight a considerable body of them attacked 
us in front at each post, for a diversion to us to pre- 
vent our discovering those in the rear, at the same 


time another body landed from the fleet between 
our out post & our lines & met those who came 
round our left : as soon as we perceived their design, 
orders were given for us to retreat to the lines, but 
in attempting it we found our retreat nearly cut 
off — abt. 7 or 800 cut their way through, the re- 
mainder join'd Genl. Lord Stirling who commanded 
on the right in consequence of his being Brigadier 
of the day — the remainder of Huntington's & 
Smallwood's Regts. reinforced him so that his little 
army consisted of about a thousand when after pos- 
sessing the most advantageous ground — he received 
the enemy's attack with the intrepidity that becomes 
Heroes, & repulsed them, the enemy being Strongly 
reinforced, renewed the attack & most of those brave 
men were kill'd, wounded & or [sic] imprison'd, 
only about 150 or 200 got to our Army, some by the 
way of Hull Gate going round the enemy & some by 
going thro' their Guards — it was then expected the 
enemy would attempt forcing our lines which were 
well man'd ; & march'd a column within musket shott 
of them but retreated without attempting them — 
Affairs remained in this Situation till the 29th when 
we evacuated the Hand [sic] intirely, but we brought 
off the most of the Stores — Governor's Island was 
evacuated the same night. — Removing the Stores & 
Artillery from New York was the next step to be 
taken, as the enemy then possess'd our front & both 
flanks the Army was therefore posted so as to favour 
a good retreat from the City — while we were prepar- 


ing to evacuate the City — the enemy were preparing 
to land above us & cut off our retreat, the movements 
and manoeuvers of both Armies were therefore cal- 
culated to favour their designs — the enemy moved 
up & encamp'd opposite Horns hook, erected a bat- 
tery there & play'd briskly on our battery, which 
was returned as briskly. 

177^ Our army moved & encamp'd opposite the enemy 

along the bank of the East River — & made lines at 
the most defensible places — in this way the time was 
spent till the 14th of September when the General 
designed to evacuate the City, beginning at Seven 
oClock in the evening & at three the Guards to march 
off — but by the Solicitations of his other General 
Officers, he order'd that at three in the morning of 
the 15th we should repair to our lines & begin our 
march at day light — the 15th the enemy perceiving 
by our movements that the critical time was come 
when they were like to loose the opportunity of hem- 
ing us in on the Island — they drew up two 50 Gun 
Ships & 2 36 Gun frigates close under the shore & 
opened a most furious cannonade on us — which al- 
most levell'd our lines as they were only proff against 
musquetry — favour'd by this cannonade they landed 
abt. 3000 of their best troops about a mile below 
Turtle bay Kipp's bay — the boats after they had 
come within about half a mile of shore — took a tack 
& rowed round a point of Land which projected out, 
which carried them a mile & a half above where we 
expected them to land as we did not in the least ex- 


pect them here — our lines were not so well man'd, 
for our force was mostly opposite the Shipping, & 
the fire was so surprisingly hot that we could not 
shift our post — so that they landed without much 
opposition & formed on the bank — orders were then 1 776 
given for us to secure a retreat, which was done with ^P** 
as much regularity as the situation would admit of — 
but not without the loss of some men & baggage, 
but the loss was inconsiderable. — 

We then march'd & took possession of the heights 
of Haerlem & immediately flung up lines for our 

The enemy (the next morning) march'd on after 
us & encamp'd at the extremity of the plain, about 

3 miles distant from us — from there they sent a de- 
tachment of abt. 500 along the bank of the North 
river, which our people attack'd with spirit with 
about an equall number & drove them back to their 
main body, The loss on our side was about 30 kill'd 
& 60 or 70 wounded — the loss of the enemy must a' 
been more than that, as we repulsed them after a 
warm fire of three quarters of an hour. — The two 
Armys went now to strengthening their lines — we 
made our lines so good across at the heights that the 
enemy dare not attempt to force them by Storm. — 

The enemy having a small guard of abt. 100 on 
Montazures Island — it was proposed to take them 
off — accordingly a detachment of i Lt. Coll, i Majr. 

4 Capts. 8 Suba. & 200 rank & file were sent to at- 
tack them — going in boats down Haerlem Creek — ^77^ 


at day break they had orders to land — when only 
one boat out of the six landed with 46 men, who 
after a most obstinate struggle — were drove off — the 
other boats crews were so cowardly they durst not 
land, so those who landed fell a sacrifise to the 
enemy all except eight — among those who fell was 
Ma jr. Henly & Maj. Hatfield taken prisoner — This 
happened on the 23d of September — 

On the 1 2th of October the enemy landed a body 
of their Troops on frogs point in East Chester — & 
another body landed on Rodmans point : — in march- 
ing up from the point, they were opposed by three 
Regiments which were posted behind a Stone wall 
near East Chester Church — who repulsed them three 
several times, but they having a strong reinforce- 
ment — our people left them the ground — with the 
loss of only three men. 

The whole of the enemys reinforcement, which 
consisted of about five thousand Germans — now ar- 
riving they took the field with a strong Army of 
nearly 20,000 effective — & our Army retreated back 
to the White plains & posses'd themselves of the 
most advantagous heights; — the enemy took the 
heights opposite them & there lay in sight of each 
J776 A detachment of our Army consisting of abt. 400 

were left at Kings bridge — to secure that pass, but 
as the enemy were posted between them & our Army 
across to the North River, & that party being judged 
too small to defend the post, they were order'd to 


retreat to Fort Washington — which they did after 
burning the barracks & removing the Artillery & 
Stores — leaving the enemy masters of East & West 
Chester & all New York Island except Fort Wash- 
ington — which had a good store of provision, a good 
Artillery & a strong garrison. — 

Skirmises happened now almost every day be- 
tween the two Armies, but they were mostly very 
small & the successes various — a party of Rogers's 
Rangers attack'd a party of Ours, but were repulsed 
with a number kill'd & 36 taken prisoners. — 

On the 28th of October the enemy began their 
Manoeuvers early in the morning & show'd us that 
their design was to attack us — accordingly they 
posted a large number of field pieces opposite our 
right wing where was posted Genl. McDougle's 
Brigade — & opened a brisk fire on them, while their 
Infantry advanced in two Columns to the attack — 
our troops were formed on an eminence — & while 
one column of the enemy advanced & attacked in 
front — the other march'd round & attempted to 
gain our right flank as the enemy were superior in 
number & during the action which lasted with mus- 
quetry about half an hour — they were twice relieved 
with fresh troops — we having suffered considerably 
by the artillery — & no reinforcement or relief com- 
ing up — our troops left the ground to the enemy — 
after losing in kill'd & wounded — about 150 — the 
loss of the enemy was not known — but as our troops 


behaved with coolness & spirit — the enemy's loss 
could not be less than ours. 

at the time of our retreating Genl. Putnam was 
coming up with a reinforcement of 5,000 — but I sup- 
pose his orders were to keep the enemy from ad- 
vancing any farther, & so to cover the retreat of 
Gen. McDougles men — & not to join them in the at- 
tack which if he had, must have drawn on a General 
action — as both armies were in spirits & confident 
of their own strength & good disposition : — but our 
General in consequence of the directions of Con- 
gress, was obliged to shun a General action — if it 
could possibly be avoided with honor. — Nothing 
more of any consequence happened between the two 
Armies in the field — They march'd, countermarch'd 
& manouver'd — the enemy looking for an opportu- 
^''° nity to attack us at a time when we were unguarded 
— as they had no opportunity for that — they de- 
camp'd the beginning of November & moved to- 
wards Kings bridge — burning & destroying every 
thing in their way. — 

On the 15th they appeared before the lines near 
-Fort Washington — on the South side of it, & at the 
bridge north of it — marching in Columns — The Gar- 
rison which then amounted to abt. 2,300 march'd out 
each way to attack them, leaving a proper Guard in 
the Fort : The party at the Bridge were repulsed 
with a very considerable loss — but while the action 
was at the hottest at the lines — the enemy landed a 
large body across harlem Creek — east of the Fort & 


moved briskly on & attacked our Troops in the rear 
while they were fighting them in front — in conse- 
quence of which they were obliged to surrender — 
being overpowered with numbers. 

The party who had fought near the bridge, re- 
turning victorious — to the assistance of their 
brothers at the lines — found them surrender'd — 
they then repaired immediately to the fort & so 
many of them got in that the Guns could not play 
without killing more of them than of the enemy — 
Who immediately sent & demanded a Surrendery of 
the fort — the Garrison being in this disagreeable 
situation — the lines taken which was the key to the 
fort — the fort without either wood or water suffi- 
cient to hold out three days — the Enemy consisting 
of 10,000 determined to storm it if it did not sur- 

Coll. M'Gaw surrender'd the fort. Artillery &c. 
& the Garrison prisoners of war, on conditions only 
that the Garrison should not be rob'd of their bag- 

The enemy now possessing all York Island — dis- 
mantled the fort & turned their force against the 
Jersey shore — Fort Lee was the first object of their 
attention — its chief design was to annoy the Shiping 
in passing up & down the river : it mounted thirty 
heavy Cannon on the water side, & but only two or 
three field pieces on the land side — 

Our people knowing it to be untenable had re- 
solved to evacuate it — they therefore moved ofif the 

Stores but left the heavy Artillery in it & evacuated 
it on the night of the 17th of Novr. — The same 
night the enemy landed about 3000 of their troops 
five miles above the fort, — & abt. the same number 
at Hackinsack (a River running past there) — • 
marched those two bodys across with a design to 
J776 hem our people in before they had left the fort — 
they then went & took possession of the fort. — Thus 
were both Fort Washington & Fort Lee reduced — 
they were built opposite each other on the banks of 
the river Hudson, where it was narrow, & a Chiv- 
auxdefriese together with the hulks of old vessell 
i sunk across the river to Stop the passage of Shiping, 
but on the forts being given up, the Chivauxdefrieses 
were render'd useless, which was the last effort we 
have try'd to impede the course of the ships — much 
dependance having been placed on the fire Craft & 
them & large sums expended in preparing them — 
but they have both disappointed us without answer- 
ing any end except the burning one tender for the 
enemy by the fire Craft in the river. — 

Our Army posted themselves across from Newark 
to the River — 
1776 The Amn. army surprised a body of the enemy at 

Dec. 26 Trenton, N. Jersey & captured 800 or 900 hes- 
sians. — 

Two days after we attacked a body of the british 
at Princetown : & after a sharp acttion took 4 or 500 

This closed the year in this department. 

Ill the autumn previous — Genl. Montgomery bad 
marched from New York at the head of about 
troops to proceed on to Quebec, it being known that 
the town contained a large quantity of mihtary 
stores of all kinds, which were much wanted by the 
amn. army^and the garrison weak. 
Majr. Henly & Ma jr. Hatfield taken prisoner — This 

Another body of about 1500 moved from near 
Boston under command of Genl. Arnold to join 
Montgomery at Quebec and when joined to assault 
the place : which they did on the night of the last of 
December, but were repulsed with the loss of Genl. 
Montgomery killed, with a considerable number of 
men, and a number made prisoners. 

Was filled with important transactions. 

the british capturing fort Montgomery and we 
capturing Burgoyne's Army — and in Novr. the en- 
emy took Philadelphia. 

Through November no particular action took 1776 

place the british army pressing forward, in New Novr. 

Jersey, & the Amn. army falling back. ^ 


Deer. 25 & 26 — capture of the Hessians at Tren- 
ton & the british at Princeton. — I was not present at 

Commenced with great exertions on our part to J 777 
raise a permanent army — British in a very high ex- 


hulting state, the first of our army regularly taking 
the field — at Bound brook — N. Jersey. — the British 
at N Brunswick : their outposts extending some dis- 
tance out. 

Amn. army was posted on the Southern side of 
the range of hills between the village of bound brook 
& scotch plains the front Southward towards the 
enemy: Genl. Grey with about 3 or 4,000 made a 

June circuitous movement to turn our left flank: general 
W. had advanced a strong body of troops in that 
quarter, with two field pieces — Genl. Lord Stirling 
as officer of the day had the command a brisk action 
ensued, which lasted but a short time when our 
troops fell back and occupied the pass in the hills; 
the rest of the troops moved to join them — but the 

4yjy enemy did not proceed to attack them in that post. 

June This a most critical time for our general cause. 

important movements in the Northern department. 
Burgoyne with a strong army pressing down South- 

Scpj** ward : ours retreating before him, but reinforced by 
a general rally of the militia: a strong detachment 
of the enemy under Col. Baum defeated & mostly 
made prisoners at the battle of Bennington. 

{9tJi battle at Bemas heighths 

Oct 7th Another severe battle near Seratoga — enemy de- 

j^ Burgoyne's army surrended. 


At the south — 

Octr. the british under command of Genl. Clinton 
move from New York up the river: capture fort 
Montgomery; burn Eusopus & other places. On 
hearing of the capture of Burgoyne move dov^n the 
river again to N York : 

thence proceed by shiping to Philadelphia, which 
surrenders to them, after the battle of Brandewyne. 

Our main army passed the winter at Valley forge 
near Philadelphia. 

The first Count, brigade remained in the middle 
department & built hutts in the highlands. 

Those troops of the middle department under J 778 
the command of Genl. Putnam went on to West ^^^Y* 
Point & began to collect materials to fortify it : Kos- 
iesco engineer. Our regiment continued there till 
June following. 

The British main army moved from Philadelphia i^^^ 
across New Jersey towards New York. Our army 
attacked them at Monmouth the 28th of June. 

nothing decisive. 

News of the treaty between France & the United 
states made last February much raised our spirits. 

The british army after arriving at New York — 
did not attempt any thing considerable the rest of 
the year. 


Wyllys' regiment & the rest of the ist Connt. 
brigade were kept in the middle department princi- 
pally during the rest of the year. And in Deer, 
went to Reading in Connt. where they built hutts & 
continued thro' the winter. 

The enemy detached a strong body of their army 
Deer. to act against Charleston S. C. 

J 779 The enemy advanced up the Hudson river & took 

June from us Stoney Point &c. 

A detachment of the enemy under Genl. Tryon 

^^^ made a descent on the coast of Connecticut : plund- 
ered the town of New Haven: plundered & burnt 
the towns of Fairfield and Norwalk. 

J6th ^^ night our light infantry under command of 

Genl. Wayne stormed stoney point, made prisoners 
of I Lieut. Col. 30 other officers & 500 men, with the 
loss of 14 kill'd & 50 wounded: this occasioned the 
plundering party on our coast to return to N York. 

Scpf. War declared by Spain against England. 

Our army moved to Morristown N J. — head quar- 
Decr* ters at Kimball's farm — built log hutts — remained 
there during the winter which was very severe — suf- 
fered much for want of provision. 

left our winter cantonments & marched to the 
iZ®" vicinity of Amboy & New Brunswick — observing 
the movements of the enemy. 


marched & countermarched the remainder of the 

Genl. Lafayette — who had marched the i8th of 
Feby. from the main army towards Virginia with 
about 1 200 or 1500 men having arrived & entering 
the town of Richmond on James river — towards 
which the british were advancing with about 1500 
men — they learning that our troops were there — re- 
turned to their former station near the mouth of the 

Genl. Green arrived before Cambden but finding 
the place too strong to attack moved back about a 
mile from the town & occupied an eminence expect- 
ing the enemy to sally out and attack him, which 
they did on the 25th & obliged Genl. Green to retreat 
with the loss of i Capt. & 17 rank & file kill'd: & 2 
Lt. Col. 2 Capt. & 3 Lieut, wounded & about 200 
privates wounded & missing. 

March 15 a small action happened between the 
french fleet consisting of 6 ships of the line & 4 
frigates — commanded by 

and a detachment of the english fleet consisting of 7 
ships of the line & 3 frigates commanded by 

at the mouth of cheasopeake bay in 
Virginia: the action continued an hour — in which 
the french lost one Officer killed : and eighty pri- 
vates killed & 120 wounded. The english lost one 
Officer & 40 privates killed and 80 wounded. 


J 78 J 

the english having estabhshed a post at Ports- 
mouth on the bay, and having but a small naval force 
to co-operate with it — the french — then at Newport 
embarked 2000 of their land troops and sail'd with 
an intention to opperate in conjunction with the 
Marquess De La Feyatte who march'd from the 
American Army for Virginia — with iioo light in- 
fantry — against the english garrison at that place, 
then commanded by General Arnold : 

The english fleet sailing immidiately after the 
french and not having to make so great an offing in 
passing New York as the french — arrived at the bay 
before them : the action happening near night — the 
english took advantage of the night & went into the 
bay : on which the french returned to New Port. 

March i6th. A severe action happened between 
General Green & Lord Cornwallis near Guilford 
Court House in 

General Green's small army consisted of about 
1400 regular troops & about 2000 militia of Vir- 
ginia & North Carolina with which he attacked the 
english army consisting of 2500 regulars. — Greene 
was defeated with the loss of Major Anderson, 
Captn. Barret & about 90 killed & 200 wounded: 
four pieces of artillery fell into the enemy's hands 
with all the wounded. 

The enemy having met with a severe loss, did not 

Greene retreated three miles in good order to 
where his baggage had remainded during the action, 


The enemy's loss in this action was so severe that 
without attempting to pursue the advantages they 
before hoped to have gained by a victory — they im- 
mediately began a retreat towards Charlestown 
South Carolina, — where Greene pursued them. 

Genl. Marion reduced fort Watson & made pris- Apl, 23d 
oners 3 officers & 100 Rank & file. 

Fort Mott reduced. 

The post at Orangeburgh reduced. ^^ 

Maryland having fully acceded to the articles of 
Confederation — that being the last State which has 
hitherto neglected to do it — the confederation was 
finally closed, by which Congress has fully become 
a legislative body. 

By the United States in Congress Assembled 
March 16, 1781. 

Resolved that all debts due from the United States 
which have been liquidated in spcie [sic] value ; and 
all debts which have been, or shall be made payable 

General Washington marched from his winter 
cantonments in the highlands — & took post in Phil- y^j^^ 
ipsburgh : the four French regiments & the ligion 
which had been lying at New Port arrived there at 
the same time & encamped on the left of the Ameri- 
can line. Some skirmishing happened between the 
advanced parties of both the English & Americans — 
the loss on each side was about 60; without any 
Officers. — 


Augft. 5 An action happened between Admiral H. Parker 
with 7 ships ; & a dutch squadron of 8 ships — in the 
Enghsh Seas — it lasted near 4 hours very severe; 
the English owned the loss of 443 & it appears they 
were worsted — for after the action the dutch with 
their large convoy proceeded to the Texell. 

Auft. 30 General Washington with the French line & two 
regiments of Americans crossed the Hudson at 
Kings Ferry & moved on southward. 
25 Count DeBarras with eight ships of the line & 

frigates sailed from New Port to join the fleet of 
Count DeGrasse bound from the West Indies to the 
bay of Cheaseapeake. 

Scpr. 3d Admiral De Grasse arrived with 28 ships of the 
J78t line & frigates in the bay of Cheasepeake & sent 
two 64 Gun ships to shut in General Cornwallis at 
Yorktown on York River : on their arrival an Eng- 
lish 22 gun ship fell into their hands. 

Three thousand land forces were landed from the 
^P* ^ fleet to operate with the Marquess DLa Feyatte 
against Cornwallis. 

Brigadier General Arnold with two twenty gun 
ships, 40 transports & a detachment of about 1,500 
troops made a descent at New London in Connect- 
ticut. About 130 of the inhabitants flung them- 
selves into a small fort on the east side of the har- 
bour — which the English attacked and after being 

twice repulsed — carried by storm & the Garrison fell 
a sacrifice; all but about 20, 75 being killed dead, 
among the latter was Col. Ledyard of the militia. 
The enemy lost Col. Airs, Majors Stewart & Mont- 
gomery & fifty odd killed. 

the towns of New London & Groton were then 
pillaged & burnt & about 20 vessells in the harbour. 

An action happened off Cape Henry in Virginia 
between the French fleet, consisting of 24 Sail of <, ^^ 
the line commanded by Count De Grasse And the ^^P'* 
English fleet consisting of 18 ships of the line com- 
manded by Admiral Greaves. 

An action was fought between General Greene «.* 
and the British forces under the command of Col. 
Stewart — at Eutaw 53 miles distant from Charles 
town in South Carolinia [sic]. Greene defeated the 
English, killed & wounded 600 & took 500 prisoners : 
with the loss of 500 killed & wounded & 42 missing : 
Lieut. Col Campbell was the highest in rank killed. 

The enemy fled to Charlestown. 


Battle of Bunker Hill. 

^ Altho' this has been so often described, it is pre- 
sumed a recollection of the scenes of the 17th of 
June 1775 will be felt with interest by the few re- 

maining survivors of that day, as v^ell as by those of 
the present generation. 

At day break the road on Boston neck appeared 
fill'd with the enemy moving out from the town; 
this though a feint, designed to attract our attention 
from the real object, caused our instantly repairing 
to our alarm post, which was on the swell of the hill 
in Roxbury: as we were forming for the expected 
attack the enemy poured a heavy and constant dis- 
charge of shott & shells from all their batteries which 
would reach us. 

By sun rise their troops appeared moving back, 
and the real object of the day discovered itself — the 
landing of their army on Charlestown side, which 
was covered by a tremendous fire from their ships, 
floating batteries, and all their works which could be 
brought to bear on our troops who wer [sic] en- 
trenching themselves on Bunker hill. It is well 
known that a soldier has nothing to do but to obey 
his orders. My position was a most painful one : be- 
ing on the hill in Roxbury from whence I could see 
all the general movements without the opportunity 
of sharing in the most active parts, every real soldier 
knows the extreme solicitude felt on such an occa- 
sion. As the scene progressed I saw the enemy ad- 
vancing up the hill, heard the roar of musketry com- 
mence, the dense body of smoke ascending, by which 
I saw the enemy three times retreating before the 
deadly fire of our brave defenders of their country's 
rights. Burgoyne in his letter has drawn a veil over 

this— but the arrival of the reinforcement of the 
2 ooo fresh troops completely turned the scale, as 
they moved to the left of our entrenchment and en- 
filaded it. 

Col Grosvenor who performed a very active part 
on that day described to me many striking incidents 
which occurred during the bustle of battle: such as 
Major Pitcairn of the marines mountmg the top of 
the ditch and exclaiming disperse ye rebels; when 
one of our men instantly shot him thro' and he fel 
in the ditch. A soldier just by the side of General 
Putnam had levelled his gun at Major Small, aid de 
camp to Genl. Howe, on which Putnam struck it 
aside with his sword saying dont kill that man I love 
him as I do my brother. Col. Trumbull told me 
Genl Small repeated this to him in London, with 
tears in his eyes. I little thought on that day of the 
important results which were to be produced by it 
in this our favoured country: thro' Europe and the 
whole civilized world. 

The subjoined letter of Genl. Burgoyne will be 
read with deep interest. The return of this 4th of 
July has refreshed those things in my mmd. R. 

Extract of a private letter written by Genl. Bur- 

^%otton is a peninsula joined to the main land only 
by a narrow neck, which in the first of the troubles 
Genl Gage fortified ; arms of the sea and harbor sur- 
round the rest. On the other side of one of these 

arms to the North is Charles Town, or rather, was, 
for it is now rubbish, and over it a large hill which 
is also, like Boston, a peninsula, to the South of the 
town is a still larger scope of ground, containing 
three hills, joining also to the main by a tongue of 
land, and called Dorchester neck. The heights above 
described, both to North & South, in the soldier's 
phrase, commanded the town — i. e. — give an oppor- 
tunity of erecting batteries above any you can make 
against them, and consequently they are much more 
advantageous. It was absolutely necessary we 
should make ourselves masters of these heights, and 
we proposed to begin with Dorchester : because from 
particular situations of batteries and shiping — too 
long to describe and unintelligible to you if I did — 
it would evidently be effected without any consider- 
able loss. 

Every thing was accordingly disposed, my two 
colleagues & myself — who by the bye have never dif- 
fered in an iota of miletary sentiment — had in son- 
cert with Genl. Gage formed the plan. Howe was to 
land from transports on one point, Clinton on the 
center, and I was to cannonade from the causeway 
on the neck, each to take advantage from circum- 
stances. The operation must have been very wary. 
This was to have been executed on the i8th (June) 
On the 17th at dawn of day we found the enemy 
had pushed entrenchments with great diligence dur- 
ing the night — on the heights of Charles Town, were 
there in force, & we evidently saw that every hour 


gave them new strength, it therefore became neces- 
sary to alter our plan and attack on that side. Howe 
as second in command was detached with about 2000 
men and landed on the outside of the peninsula cov- 
ered by shiping, without opposition, he was to ad- 
vance from thence up the hill which was over 
Charlestown, where the strength of the enemy lay: 
He had under him Brigadier general Pigot. 

Clinton & myself took our stand (for we had not 
a fixed post) in a large battery directly opposite to 
Charlestown, and commanding it, & also reaching to 
the heights above it, and thereby facilitating Howe's 
attack. Howes disposition was extremely soldier 
like; in my opinion it was perfect. As his first line 
advanced up the hill they met with a thousand im- 
pediments, from strong fences, & wer [sic] much 
exposed. They were also exceedingly hurt by mus- 
quetry from the town of Charlestown ; though Clin- 
ton & I did not perceive it till Howe sent us word by 
a boat, and desired us to set fire to the town. No 
sooner said than done, we threw in a parcell of 
shells and the whole was instantly in flames. Our 
battery afterwards kept an incessant fire upon the 
height, it was seconded by a number of frigates & 
floating batteries, & one ship of the line. 

And now ensued one of the greatest scenes of war 
that can be conceived, if we looked to the right, 
Howe's corps ascending the hill in the face of in- 
trenchments, and in very disadvantageous ground, 
warmly engaged : to the left — the enemy pouring in 


fresh troops by thousands over the land : and in the 
arm of the sea, our ships & floating batteries cannon- 
ading them, straight before us a large & noble 
town in one great blaze, the church steeples, being all 
of timber, were great pyramids of fire above the rest : 
behind us the church steeples & heights & our own 
camp covered with spectators of the rest of our army 
which was disengaged : The hills all round the 
country crouded with spectators of the enemy, all in 
anxious suspense. 

(Endorsed) Bunker hill 



A T the close of the war Captain Richards 
'^ returned to Farmington, Conn., and served 
as postmaster for twenty years. He married 
Sarah Welles, of Glastenbury, Conn., daughter 
of Jonathan Welles and Katherine Saltonstall. 
Their daughter Cornelia married John Lord 
Butler, and lived in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. Captain 
Richards removed to Wilkes-Barre and lived 
there to be 87 years old. He is buried in 
the Hollenback Cemetery near Colonel Zebulon 
Butler, his comrade in arms and father of his 
son-in-law. He was a member of the Society of 
the Cincinnati. 






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