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Recollections of an Old Soldier* 

















Directly ofi/tostte (he Bank of tVindsor, 




10 wit: 5 ^^T 

lE IT REMEMBERED, That Oil th« ^Hll ^^F ^^ Feb- 
ruary, in the forty-sixth year of the Independence 
of the United States of America, David Perry, of thfc said 
District, hath deposited in this office the title of a book^ 
the right whereof he claims as proprietor, in the words following* 
to wit: "Recollections of an Old Soldier. The Life of Captain Da- 
vid Perry, a Soldier of the French and Revolutionary Wars. Con- 
taining many extraordinary occurrences relating to his own private 
history, and an account of some interesting events in the history of 
the times in which he lived, nowhere else recorded. Written by 

In conformity to the act of the Congress of the United States, en- 
titled, "An act for the encouragement of learning, by securing the 
copies of maps, charts, and books, to the authors and proprietors 
Qf such copies, during the times therein mentioned." 

Clerk of the District of Vermont. 
A true eopy of record 

Examined and defied by me. 



IT was on a "cold wintry day," that the writer of the fol- 
lowing Narrative called at the Printing Office*— it was a 
winter^sday indeed, to most of his compatriots in the scenes 
of privations and blood-shed through which he had passed — 
that the hoary«headed veteran of four score, called on the 
Printer, and made known his errand — He was anxious to 
tell his tale of ^ils and hardships to his posterity; but, alas! 
pinching poverty, the too constant companion of patriotism 
and worth, had deprived him of the means. He had dpent 
many days of bis old age, in noting down, as the only leg- 
acy he could bequeath his posterity, the leading ineidents 
of his life, and of the momentuous times through which he 
had passed, which could avail them nothing, without the 
aid of Printing, "the art and preserver of all arts." Too 
poor to bear the expence himself, he solicited the Printer's 

assistance and who could withstand the solicitations of 

of a WAR-WORN Soldier of the Revolution, whose tale 
bears the impress of simplicity and truth, while is evinces 
no ordinary degree of devotion to the cause of liberty and 
his country? It was not in the Printer to do it; and he now 
looks to a liberal public for some trifling remuneration of his 
labor and expence, from the sale of this little volume. 

Thousands, no doubt, of the Revolutionary Heroes, 
might have left a more brilliant specimen of talent and 
learning— many have- ^p.oved in a higher sphere of action, 
who have left no record of their toils and privations behind 
them-— but we venture to assert, that few have hetler earn- 


ed the appellation of a faithful Soldier, than the subject of 
these memoirs. Though his name may not live on the an- 
nals of his country, yet his fellow-citizens should never for- 
get, nor act unworthily of the sentiments of gratitude, which 
a recollection of this important truth should ever inspire^ 
that, had it not been for the prowess and achievements — the 
fortitude, patience and perseverance of those who, like 
himself, in the humbler ranks of the common soldier, bared 
their breats to the foe, upon the "tented field,*' that country 
had never known "a name and a rank among the nations.'* 

^^ The profits of this work (if any) &hall be reserved to 
defray the expence of printing memoirs of other Revolu- 
lionary Soldiers, who may be in "reduced circumstances," 
should any such wish to avail themselves of the same fof 
that purpose. 


I WAS born August 8th, (O. S.) 1741, in 
the town of Rehoboth, Mass. 1 was the oldest 
child of Eliakini and Sarah Perry. The first 
thing of consequence that occurs to my mind, 
was the transactions relating to the war be- 
tween the English and French. An army was 
raised in the New-England States, to go against 
Cape Breton, under Gen* Peppcrell, at which 
time I was in my fifth year. My father and 
©ne of his brothers, and alsa one of my moth- 
er's brothers, enlisted into this army. And 
what strengthens my memory with regard to 
these events^ one of my uncles above mention- 
ed, whose name was Abner Perry, was killed at 
the taking of the Island Battery. 

Nothing of consequence took place until the 
fall after I was sevenyears oM, when my moth- 
er died, leaving four small children, viz: one 
brother and two sisters. There was something 
very singular took place respecting her sick- 
ness. She went with my father, to visit his rev 


6 Recollections of an Old Soldier, 

lations at Eastown. They rode on horse-back. 
While they were there, on Lord's day, I was 
at play with my brother and two little sisters, 
and it appeared to me that I saw my mother 
ride by on the same horse she rode away on, 
and dressed in the same clothes. I mentioned 
the circumstance to my brother and sisters at 
the time; but she rode out of my sight immedi- 
ately. At this time she was taken sick at Eas- 
ton, in which condition they brought her home; 
and she died a few days afterwards. — Inconse^ 
quence of this event, my father broke up house- 
keeping, and put out his children. Myself and 
sisters went to live with our uncle David Joy, 
the brother of my mother who, as I before said, 
went with my father to Cape Breton. I lived 
with my uncle, (who treated me very kindly) 
until my fifteenth year; when I was placed 
with Mr. David Walker, in Dighton^ Mass. to 
learn the trade of tanner and shoe-maker. 

About this time war again broke out be- 
tween the English and French, and it raged 
sorely in our part of the country, especially 
near the lakes. Our people made a stand at 
the south end of Lake George, where they built 
a fort, and another about 14 miles below, on 
the Hudson River, called Fort Edward. In 
1755, a bloody battle was fought at the half- 
way-house, between Fort Edward and Lake 
George, t^en. Johjison commanded the Eng- 

RecoUeciions of an Old Soldier, 7 

lish forces; and under him Maj. Rodgers com- 
manded the Rangers. They had a number of 
sore battles with the French and Indians, and 
lost a great many of our best men. In the 
year 1757, Gen. Mont Calm came against Fort 
George, with a large army of French and In- 
dians, and obliged the garrison to surrender^ 
after which, contrary to his express agreement, 
he let loose his Indians upon our men, and 
massacred a great many of them. 

This year, in August, I was sixteen years old; 
at which age the young lads of that day were 
called into the training-bands. In the Spring 
of 1758, I was warned to trainings and there 
were recruiting officers on the parade- ground,, 
to enlist men for the next campaign. I enlist- 
ed into Capt. Job Winslow's company, of CoL 
Prebble's regiment, to serve eight months. — 
People said I would not "pass muster,'' as I 
was small of niy age; but there was no diffi- 
culty about that. When the company was full^ 
we marched first to Worcester, staid there a few 
daySj and then marched to Old Hadley. We 
remained here about a week. From this place 
we crossed the river to Northampton, where 
we drew five days^ provisions— 7I eft the place 
in the afternoon, and encamped a few miles 
out of town, in the' woods for the night. — In 
that day there were no human habitations 
from Northampton, to within ten miles of Alba- 

S Recollections of an Old Soldier. 

hy. There was a small picket Fort in what 
was then called Panto cet Woods, commanded 
by Col. Williams We had no other road than 
marked trees to direct our course — no bridges 
on which to cross the streams; some of which 
we waded; others we passed on trees felled by 
our men: and for five successive nights we lay 
on the ground. We arrived at Greenbush, and, 
after a few days' tarry, marched up the North 
River to a place called Setackuk, where the In- 
dians had driven off, captured, or destroyed the 
inhabitants. We here took a number of horses 
to draw the cannon to Lake George, but not 
having horses enough, some of the cannon were 
drawn by men. Part of the men went in Bat- 
teaus with the provisions. When we arrived 
at the Lake, the army, consisting of British and 
Americans, amounted to about 20,000 men. It 
was commanded by Gen. Abrecombe, and 
Lord Howe was second in command. We en^ 
camped there unl^il boats and provis^ions enough 
were collected to carry us across the Lake, 
with cannon, &c. to attack Ticonderoga. We 
arrived at the Narrows the second morning af- 
ter our embarkation, where we expected to be 
attacked by the enemy. 

Major Rodgers, with his Rangers was 
the first to land. He was joineilby l^ord Howe 
andhispajrty; and we had proceeded but a short 
distance into the woods, before we were met by 

RecoUeciions of an Old Soldier. 9 

the enemy, and a brisk fire ensued. It was the 
first engagement I had ever seen, and the whist- 
ling of balls, and roar of musqivetry terrified 
me not a little. At length our regiment (ormed 
among the trees, behind which the men kept 
stepping from their ranks for shelter. Col. 
Prebble, who, I well remember, was a harsh 
man, swore he would knock the first man down 
who should step out of his ranks; which great- 
ly surprised me, to think that I must stand still 
to be shot at. Pretty soon, however, they 
brought along some wounded Frenchmen; and 
when I came to see the blood run ho freely, it 
put new life into me. The battle proved a sore 
one for us. Lord Howe and a number of other 
good men, were killed. 

The army moved on that day to within a 
short distance of the enemy, and encamped for 
the night, in the morning we had orders to 
move forward again, in a column three deep, 
in order to storm the enemy^s breast-works, 
known in this country by the name of "the Old 
French Lines." Our orders were to ^ 'run to the 
breast-work, and getinif we could." But their 
lines were full, and they killed our men so fast, 
that we could not gain it. We got behind 
trees, logs and stumps, and covered ourselves as 
we could from the enemy's fire. The ground 
was strewed with the dead and dying. It hap- 
pened that I got behind a white-oak stump, 

10 Recollections of an Old Soldier* 

which was so small that I had to lay on my side^ 
and stretch myself; the balls stiking the ground 
within a hand's breadth of me every momentj 
and I could hear the men screaming, and see 
them dying all around me, I lay there pome 
time. A man could not stand erect, without 
being hit, any more than he could stand out in 
a shower, without having drops of rain fall up- 
on him; for the balls come by hands full. It 
was a clear day— a little air stirring. Once in 
a while the enemy would cease firing a minute 
or two, to have the smoke clear away, so that 
they might take better aim. In one of these in- 
tervals I sprang from my perilous situation, and 
gained a stand which I thought would be more 
serure, behind a large pine log, where several 
of my comrades had already taken shelter: but 
the balls came here as thick as ever. One of 
the men raised his head a little above the log, 
and a ball struck him in the centre of the fore- 
head, and tore np his scalp clear back to the 
crown. He darted back, and the blood ran 
meirily; and, rubbing his face, said it was a bad 
blow, and no one was disposed to deny it, for 
he \ojoked bad enough. We lay there till near 
-sunset; and, not receiving orders from any offir 
cer, the men crept off, leaving all the dead, and 
most of the wounded. We had two of our com- 
pany killed, and a number wounded. Our 
captain (Winslow) received a ball in his wrist, 

Recollections of an Old Soldier, 1 1 

which passed up the fleshy part of his arm, and 
he carried it there as long as he lived, which 
was a number of years: he was afterwards rais- 
ed to the rank of Colonel. Our Lieutenant 
was wounded by a shot in the leg, and one of 
our Sargeants received a ball in his arm, which 
he carried with him to his grave. 

We got away the wounded of our company; 
but left a great many crying for help, which we 
were unable to afford them. I suppose, that 
as soon as we left the ground, the enemy let 
loose his Indians upon them: for none of those 
that we left behind were ever heard of after- 
wards. We started back to our boats without 
any orders, and pushed out on the Lake for the 
night. We left between 6 and 7000, in killed 
and wounded, on the field of battle, which I be- 
lieve is a greater number than ever was lost on 
our side, in one day, in all the battles that have 
been fought in America. We went over the 
Lake with about 21,000 men, in high spirits, 
with all Mnds of music; but returned back mel- 
ancholy and still, as from a funeral, and took 
our old stand at the south end of the Lake. 

A great deal was said by the subaltern offi- 
cers and men, at that time, with regardjMfttf? 
conduct of the commanding General. I was 
but a boy, and could have but Utile judg- 
ment about it then; but, from later experience 
and reflection, I think it looks more like the 

12 Kecollections of an Old Soldier. 

conduct of a Hull, a Wilkinson, or a Hampton, 
than like that of an able General and firm Pat- 
riot. We had artillery enough, and might have 
erected batteries; and it seems as though we 
might have taken the place. But it was 
thought by some, that the misfortune happened 
in consequence of the death of Lord Howe, as 
he was a more experienced officer. 

Nothing of material consequence took place 
after this, for some time. Hardly a day passed, 
however, while we lay in camp, in which Brit- 
ish and Yorkers did not flog some of their men. 
We were employed in building a fort. 

Not long after, Major Rodgers and Major 
(afterwards General) Putnam, took charge of a 
party of men, on an expedition to a place call- 
ed South Bay, where they met the enemy, and 
had a smart engagement. Maj. Putnam was 
taken and carrietl to Canada; and Maj. Rodg- 
ers returned to Fort Edward with what men 
they had left. While lying in camp, our water 
and provisions were very bad, the ^en grew 
sickly, and a great many died of the Dysentery. 
But the same Almighty Power that warded off 
the balls in the day of battle, preserved me 
from the desolating scourge of disease. 

Towards Fall, Maj. Rodgers, with a party of 
men, went away to the wesUvard, to a place 
called Cataraqua, and destroyed it. 

Recollections of an Old Soldier, 13 

It was during the Summer of this year, that 
Generals Wolfe and Amherst came from Eng- 
land with a fleet and army, and took Cape Bre- 
ton; after which Gen. Amherst came and took 
command of our army, and Abrecombe went 


When our times were out, we were dismiss- 
ed, and went home. Our rout« was b^ck 
to Albany, through Sharon and the ^^Green 
Woods," and over Glascow Mountain to Spring- 
field, and so on to Worcester. I returned to 
my master, and weftt to work at my trade. In 
the Spring of 1759,' I enlisted under Lieut. John 
Richmond, expecting to join Capt. Nathan 
Hogers' company, with the lads that enlisted 
with me; but when we arrived at Worcester, 
Lieut. Richmond was transferred to Capt. Sam- 
uel Peck's company, of Boston. He (Lt. R.) 
urged me hard to go with him, as waiter, and 
told me I should live as well as he did. But 
Capt. Hogers said I should not go with him, 
and they contended pretty hard about it, till at 
last Maj. Caleb Willard,who had the command 
there, said it should be left to the lad^ dioice. 
I went with the Lieutenant, and he was as good 
as his word as to my fare. We started for Bos- 
ton: I rode his horse as much as he did until 
we gained the company. I never saw the Cap- 
tain before, nor any of the company: but he 
proved to be a fine man, as was the first Lieu- 

14 Recollections of an Old Soldier. 

tenant, whose name was Abbot. But the En- 
sign, (Larkm) was an Irishman, and the com- 
pany was a pretty rough set: I did not like 
them much. 

This Summer General Wolfe went up the 
River St. Lawrence with a fleet of about fifty 
men-of-war, and a great many transport ships. 
We shipped a-board an English transport, un- 
der convoy of a frigate, and the first harbor we 
made was Cape Breton. The main fleet had 
sailed before we arrived. We lay there a few 
days, and sailed up the river after them, and, 
in forty-one days from the time we left Boston, 
we arrived at Quebec. Part of the main army 
had landed at Point Levi, and part on the 
other side of the river, below Mount Morancy 
Falls. We were landed on the Island of Or- 
leans. On our first landing, considerable fight- 
ing took place, and many of the Rangers were 
killed. Two companies, one commanded by 
Capt. Danks, who was badly wounded, and 
the other by Captain Hazen, lost so many of 
their men, that they were put together, and 
did not then make a full company. They were 
stationed on that side of the river with General 
Wolfe: and they came to the Island to see if 
some of the provincials would go into their 
company. I turned out for one, and went into 
Capt. Hazen's company, and went ashore with 
them, and never saw my company again till af- 

Recollections of an Old Soldier, 15 

ter the city was taken, and we had got aboard 
the ship to return home. 

We now had hard fighting enough, as we 
were scouting over the country nearly all the 
time, and were shot upon, more or less, nearly 
every day, and very often had some killed or 
wourided. We used frequently to get on boad 
large flat-bottomed boats, that would hold eigh- 
ty men each; to do which we had to wade in 
the water up to the middle; and, after sitting in 
our wet clothes all night, jump into the water 
again, wade ashore, go back into the woods, and 
scatter into small parties, in order to catch the 
inhabitants, as they returned from the woods to 
look after their domestic affairs; and when they 
had got in among us, one party would rise in 
their front, and another in their rear, and thus 
we surrounded and cftptured a great many of 

The country was settled on that side of the 
river, to the distance of about thirty miles bcr 
low our encampment; and we took the graater 
part of their cattle and sheep, and drove them 
into camp. We went down there a number of 
times, and found that they had a considerable 
force stationed back in the woods. One night 
in particular, I well remember, our company 
and a company of regulars, took a trip down 
there in boats, and landed about day-break. — 
As soon as it was light, Capt. Hazen told his 

IB Recollections of an Old Soldier. 

men to stroll back, a few at a time, undiscover- 
ed, into the woods. As soon as we had done 
this, the regulars marched, by fife and drum, 
in a body round a point of the woods, in order 
to draw the enemy there; and we kept still, un- 
til they got between us and the regulars, when 
we rose and fired on them, and put them to 
flight immediately. Our orders were, to "kill 
all, and give no quarters." The enemy had a 
Priest with them, who was wounded in the 
thigh, and begged earnestly for quarters^ but 
the Captain told the men to kill him. Upon 
which, one of them deliberately blew his brains 
out. — We effectually broke up the enemy in this 
quarter, and returned safe to camp. 

At another time, we went down the river a- 
bout forty miles, in the night, and landed in the 
morning on the opposite side to the place last 
mentioned, and secreted ourselves in small par- 
ties, in the woods, beside the road. I was with 
the Lieutenant's party. We had a man by the 
name of Frazier in our party, who enlisted un- 
der Capt. Peck, in Boston, and he was a pretty 
unruly fellow. There came along three armed 
Frenchmen near where we lay concealed, and 
Frazier saw them, and hallooed to them %oon 
quarter ;^^ whereupon one of them levelled his 
piece and shot him through the head, and kill- 
ed him instantly. The Captain hearing the re- 
port; came and inquired how it happened. We 

Recollections of an Old Soldier, 17 

told him we could not keep Frazier still; "well," 
said he, "his blood be upon his own head." 
We now expected to have some fighting. We 
left our blankets upon the dead man, and took 
the road the Frenchmen came in, and, after 
marching about half a mile, we came into an 
open field, with a large number of cattle in it; 
and on the opposite side of the field, just in the 
edge of the woods, were a great many little huts, 
full of women and children, with their hasty- 
pudding for breakfast, of which I partook with 
them; but their little children scampered into 
the brush, and could not be got sight of again, 
any more than so many young partridges. We 
did not, however, wish to hurt them. There 
were three barns in the lot, filled with house- 
hold goods: we took as many as we could of 
these, and drove the cattle back the way we 
came, to where the dead man and blankets were 
left, which we took up, and were proceeding 
with our booty to the river, when the enemy 
fired on us, and killed Lieut. Meachum, of 
Capt. Dank's company, and wounded one other. 
In the mean time, the cattle we had taken all 
ran back; but we drove off the enemy, and got 
our goods, &c. aboard the boats, and returned 
to camp. 

About this time the French fixed long fire 
rafts on the banks of the river, nea^ the lower 
town, and tilled them with fuel, and other com- 


18 Recollections of an Old Soldier, 

bustible materials. Our shipping lay below, to 
the number of about three hundred sail, and 
iiealy filled the river: and in the night, when 
the wind and tide favored (heir project, they 
communicated fire to this raft, and set it afloat 
down the river. It was nearly half a mile in 
length, and so rapidly did the flames extend 
from one end of it to the other, that it seemed 
as though the whole river was on fire The 
men-of-war despatched their boats w4th iron 
hooks and grapples, and fastened one end of it, 
and so turned it endwise. Some ot the vessels, 
in the mean, time weighed anchor — others cut 
their cables; and in this way they opened a 
passage, and towed this threatening engine of 
destruction through the fleet, without sustain- 
ing much damage. 

That part of the army stationed on Point Le- 
vi had batteries erected, and threw shells, and 
shot from them into the town all the time, and 
burnt and demolished a great many of their 
buildings. On the side of the river where we 
lay, a large river, which has its rise in the moun- 
tarns, empties into the St. Lawrence against the 
Morancy Falls. This river w^as not fordable 
back to the mountain; but below the falls, 
when the tide was out, it spread over the marsh, 
and was so shallow that men could w^ade it. 
The banfes of the St. Lawrence are very high, 
and the French built a strong breast- work on 

RecoUections of an Old Soldi^* t9 

them, to prevent Gen. Wolfe getting to the city 
that way. And we had a battery against them 
on the opposite side of the abovementioned riv- 
er, from which we kept up a pretty constant 
fire at each other for a long time, but with- 
out much effect on either party. At length/ 
Gen. Wolfe ordered a couple of ships up a- 
gainst their breast-works, at high water, with 
cannon on board, and anchored them, with 
springs on their cables, in a position to fire on, 
and with intent to batter down, the enemy's 
works; but when the tide fell, the vessels groun» 
ded, arid the crews rehnquished the project, set . 
them on fire, and returned in their boats. 

Soon after this^ at low water, General Wolfe 
ordered his men to pass down the banks, and 
cross the river by platoons, in order to storm 
their breast- work. They formed in sohd col- 
umn, as they reached the opposite shore,^to the 
number of about two thousands The enemy 
did not fire a single shot until our men had 
formed, when they opened upon them the most 
destructive fire I ever witnessed: it appeared 
to me that nearly four-fifths of them fell at the 
first discharge, and those who did not fall turn- 
ed about promiscuously and came back without 
-any order. Our company remained on the 
bank, with our muskets loaded, as a kind of 
corps de reserve, to follow the detachment, in 
case it succeeded in making a breach in the 

20 Recollections of an Old Soldier. 

enemy's works. Gen. Wolfe stood with us, 
where we could see the whole manoeuvre; and 
the tide came and swept them off together. — 
And there arose the most tremendous thunder- 
shower I ever witnessed; which, combined 
with the continual roar of cannon and musket- 
ry, conspired to produce a trwly sublime and 
awful scene! 

Gen. Wolfe then broke up his encampment 
on that side of the river, and went over to Point 
Levi. A few nights after, Capt Warren, com- 
mander of a sixty-four man-of-war, was or- 
dered to pass by the town, up the river; and, 
wind and tide favoring, he went by, under the 
most tremendous cannonade I ever heard, and 
we expected she would be blown to atoms, but 
never a shot hit her. A few nights afterwards 
two more vessels passed up, under similar cir- 
cumstances, and had their rigging considerably 
^ cut to pieces. 

The country this side the river was settled 
to the distance of about one hundred and sixty 
miles below. All the rangers, and one compa- 
ny of Light-Iiifantry of the British, were order- 
ed to go a-board vessels, and to sail down the 
river as far as it was settled, then to land and 
march back towards the City, burning and de- 
stroying, in our course, all their buildings, kill- 
ing all their cattle, sheep and horses, and lay* 
ing waste the country far and near. 

Recolkctions of an Old Soldier. 21 

The company to which I belonged, landed 
early one morning, and we went directly to a 
large house, about a quarter of a mile distant. 
The people fled at our approach, and we caught 
plenty of pigs, geese, and fowls; and while 
part of our men were busied in carrying the 
squawling and squealing booty to the vessels, 
there came a Frenchman out of the woods, and 
ran into the house. We followed after and 
took him, and carried him a- board the vessels. 
And the officers told him if he would be friend- 
ly to us, and pilot us to their back settlements, 
he should be used well; which he complied 
with, and he proved true to his engagements. 
Having breakfasted a- board the ship, our whole 
party went up to the house just mentioned, 
where we found large stores of provisions, of 
one kind and another, and among the rest a 
plenty of pickled Salmon, which was quite a 
rarity to most of us; and as we had been sev- 
eral days a- board the vessels, we concluded to 
stay there the day and night, and went to cook- 
ing Salmon for dinner, Slc. The men strolled 
about as they pleased, and pretty soon we heard 
three or four guns fired a short distance from 
us, and we paraded immediately, to see who 
was missing. It appeared there were only iwo 
absent, viz: Lieut. Toot, of Capt. Stark's* com- 

*Thi8 is Gen. John Stark, who is now [1-822] living at 
Pembroke, N. Hampshirej and, according to my best re-* 

2S Recollections of an Old Soldier, 

pany, and a private. We then marched to the 
place from which the report had been heard, 
and found the soldier, who had been shot and 
scalped, who died soon after. The Lieuten- 
ant returned unhurt. We marched on a little 
distance, and came to a large opening. Here 
we surrounded and took a Frenchman, from 
whom we endeavored to learn what had be- 
come of those who fired the guns, but he would 
not tell: and the Captain told him he would 
kill him if he did not, at the same time direct- 
-ing us to draw our knives, upon our doing 
whic6' he fell to saying his prayers upon his 
knees, firmly refusing to tell. Finding hini 
thus- resolute and faithful to his friends, the 
Captain sent him a prisoner to the shipping, 
and we went to our cooking again. 

In the morning our company took the friend- 
ly Frenchman for a guide, and marched off 
three or four miles to a back village, and got 
there before it was light. We were divided in- 
to small parties, as usual, in order to take what 
prisoners we could. I was stationed in a barn 
with the Lieutenant's party, and while we lay 
there, a Frenchman came along smoking his 
pipe, and one of our men, an outlandish sort of 

collection as to his age, he is rising of 95 years old» I have 
frequently been told, within a few years, by intelligent per- 
sons, that Gen. S. and myself are the only men now living 
in New* England, who belonged to the army which took 

Hecollections of an OldSoldier^ 39^ 

a fellow, put his gun out of a crack in the barn, 
and, before we had time to prevent it, fired up- 
on the man; the shot carried away his pipe, 
but did him no other injury, and he ran off. 
But when the Captain heard of it, he flogged 
the soldier severely. We burnt the buildings, 
destroyed every thing there, and returned to- 
wards the river again. The main party march- 
ed up the river, burning and destroying every 
thing before them: and our company followed 
on some distance in the rear, collecting the cat- 
tle, sheep and horses, and burning the scatter- 
ing buildings, &c. In this way we continued 
our march at the rate of about twelve miles a 
day. Every six miles we found large stone 
churches, at on& of which we generally halted 
to dinner, and at the next to supper, and so on. 
We lived well, but our duty was hard — climb- 
ing over hills and fences all day; always start- 
ing in the morning before break of day, in or- 
der to make prisoners of some of the enemy, in 
which we were hardly ever disappointed. We 
were very often fired on by the enemy, and 
many of our men were killed or wounded, in 
these excursions. Where there was a stream 
to crossj in our course, they would take up the 
bridge, secrete themselves on the opposite side, 
and fire on us unawares. 

Our Captain was a bold man. I have seen 
him cock his piece, and walk promptly up to 

24 Recollections of an Old Soldier. 

the enemy, face to face; and our men would 
never shrink from following such an officer, and 
Ihey seldom followed him without success. 

While we were on this tour, Gen. Wolfe 
landed his main army on the Plains of Abra- 
ham; Gen. Mont Calm sallied forth from the 
City, and a battle took place, the result of 
which is well known: both the commanding 
Generals were killed, the second in command 
on the side of the British badly wounded, with 
the loss of a great many men, on both sides; 
but the English remained masters of the field. 

And we continued our route up the river till 
we had proceeded about sixty miles, when a* 
Vessel came down from the main army, with 
information of the battle and victory, and with 
orders for us to "drive on faster, and destroy 
all before lis " We continued our march three 
days more, which brought us to within about 
sixty miles of head-quarters, when a second ves- 
sel came down to us, with orders to cease burn- 
ing and pillaging, for Quebec had given up to 
the English. We went a-board our vessels, 
and sailed up to the city, and landed at the 
lower town, where we witnessed the destruc- 
tion made there. From the lower, we went to 
the upper town, up their dug-way; and it was 
truly surprising to see the damage done to the 
buildings, &c. by the shot and shells that were 
thrown into the town by^our artillery. Their 

Recollections of an Old Soldier, 25 

houses were principally made of stone and lime 
— the gable-ends of wood, which were burnt 
out of a great many of them, and cannon balls 
stove holes through the buildings in many pla- 
ces, and a great number drove the stones part 
way out, and remained in the w^alls. The 
city surrendered to Brigadier General Towns- 
end, as Major General Wolfe was killed, and 
General Moiikton badly wounded. We were 
sent up the river about four miles above the 
city, as a vessel ""guard. 

Nothing of consequence took place after this, 
till our times were out, when We were- sent 
back to our old company, a-board ship, to re- 
turn home. The ship's crew were very sickly, 
having laki still all Summer on the Island.— 
Lieut. Richmond, with whom I enlisted, was 
very sick, as also were a great many of the sol- 
diers between decks, and I had to take care of 
them. Lieut. Richmond kept sendhig for me 
to attend on him, and I grew tired of it, kxsA 
refused to go; upon which Capt. Peck sent for 
me, to know^ why I would not, and I toid him 
it was as much as I could do to take care of the 
sick privates. He then told me to come and 
live in the cabin, and wait upon Lieut. Rich- 
mond, which should be itiy duty, and I did so. 
Owing to bad weather, w^e were a long time 
getting down the river, and before we arrived 
nt Halifax eight or jrfhe of our men died and 

26 Recollections of an Old Soldier, 

were thrown overboard. When we arrived at 
Halifax, I went ashore, and found my old Cap- 
tain (Winslow) there, who had been promoted 
to the rank of Major. He wished me to stay 
and go home with him before Spring, and I did 
as he desired, and lived with him and the Co- 
lonel of the regiment, till about the first of Feb- 
ruary, when we set sail for Boston, and had a 
ong passage of twenty-one days. On our pas- 
sage we made the harbors of Penobscot, Ports- 
mouth, and Coh asset, at which last place I 
left the vessel, and went home on foot. 

This year Gen. Amherst went over the lake 
with an army, where we went the year preced- 
ing, and took Crown-Point and Ticonderoga, 
with the loss of but few men: and in the fall he 
went back to Albany with his main army, leav- 
ing a sufficient force to garrison the places he 
had taken. In the Spring of 1760, he went up 
to the head of Mohawk river, and from thence 
proceeded to Wood-Creek, and on through the 
western waters to Lake Ontario, and thence 
down the river St. Lawrence to Montreal, 
which town surrendered to him without much 
resistance, and thus terminated the war in that 

After I had been at home about a month, 
Major Winslow told me, that if I would enlist 
what men I could, and go back to Halifax with 
Wm, I should have a sergeant's birth, as soon 

Recollections of an Old Soldier. 27 

as there was a vacancy for one in any of the 
companies; and if no vacancy occurred, 1 
should be cleared from duly through the sea- 
son. I accordingly enlisted eight or t-en likely 
young men, and w^ent on with them to Boston.- 
There being no vessel ready at the time we ar- 
rived at Boston, we were billetted out at the 
house of a widow, named Mosely; and while 
we were here the town took fire in the night- 
It originated in a tavern, (sign of the Gold Ball) 
in Main or King's Street, at about midnight, 
the wind in the north-west and pretty high; and 
in spite of all we could do with the engines, &c. 
it spread a great way down King's Street, and 
went across and laid all that part of the town 
in ashes, down to Fort Hill. We attended 
through the whole, and assisted in carrying wa- 
ter to the engines. The number of buildings 
burnt was about three hundred. 

As soon as the vessel was ready, we sailed 
for Halifax, and arrived there in four days, — 
There being no vacancy for a sergeant's birth, 
I lived with the Colonel, Major and Chaplain 
of the regiment, and fared very well. 

During this Summer some of the Connecti- 
cut people obtained a grant of a number of 
towns in the Menus country, and moved on 
to settle them; and as there were a considera- 
ble number of French and Indians in that quar- 
ter, they wanted a guard to protect them. A 

28 HecoUections of an Old Soldier. 

draft was made from our regiment, to obtain 
men for that purpose. I wanted to see that 
country, and turned out for one of the detach- 
ment. Just previous to our departure, a man 
and woman were executed for murder-— the 
woman killed a small girl that was living with 

We set out from Halifax by water, and went 
to the head of the Bason to fort Sackfield, a- 
bout twelve miles distant; from that place we 
went by land about thirty miles through the 
woods, and then came into a fine open country. 
There w^as a fort here, called Fort Pisga, with 
a considerable number of troops in it. Beside 
this fort ran a large river, of the same name, 
(Pisga River) over which w^e passed in boats, 
into the Menus country. The people had laid 
out two towns, one called Horton, and the oth- 
er Cornwallis. We were stationed at the lat- 
ter, it being the farthest from Fort Pisga. We 
had a very agreeable time of it, among our own 
country people, and built a picket fort there; 
but there was not much need of it, for the 
French and Indians were quite peaceable, and 
to all appearance friendly. At one time about 
thirty of the Indians, with their Sachem, came 
to see us. I talked with the Sachem some 
time; and, among other things, about going a 
hunting with him. I asked him if he would use 
me well: he said, if I did as he bid me, he 

Recollections of an Old Soldief. 29' 

would; if not, that he would kill me. On such 
terms, I thought it best not to try a new master. 
Two French famiUes came to reside with us, 
who were very friendly and useful to our peo- 
ple, and learned them many useful arts, and a- 
mong others, how to cath fish, which was of 
great service to them, as the provisions they 
brought with them were soon exhausted, iptit 
as they could not subsist on fish alone.i r:^ny 
of them must in all probability have star*>^//rtf 
we had not dealt out to them provisions from 
the king's stores. 

Three large rivers run through the town of 
Cornwallis. At high water vessels of the larg- 
est size could sail up and down them with 
safety. These rivers made a vast quantity of. 
marshy land, and the upland between them 
was not very good. I did not Hke the country, 
but staid there till our times were out, and then 
returned to Halifax, where we remained till a 
transport could be provided, when about one 
hundred and fifty of us shipped aboard a large 
British Snow, for Boston, and had ^ne weather 
for a few days; but while our top-sails, &:c. 
were all standing, and every thing indicated a 
short and prosperous voyage J there came on a 
sudden squall of wind, and stripped our sails ail 
to pieces. The seas ran mountain high, and 
every soul of us momently expected to go to 

the bottom. The Captain of the vessel said he 


30 Htcolledions of an Old Soldier* 

had followed the seas fifteen years, and never 
experienced such a gale before. But being a 
good new-built vessel, she rode out the storm, 
which lasted several days, and blowed us so 
far out of our course that we were obliged to 
be put on short allowance, of one seabiscuit 
and a half, each, per day; or in lieu of the bis- 
cil^, a piece of better of the size of a hen's 
esTihe hr a slice of beef as large as one's three 
uiout ts. We lived on this allowance about a 
fortnight, when we arrived at Boston. I went 
home to my master, to work at my trade again. 

This completed the third campaign in which 
I had served as a private: and I do not remem- 
ber that in all this time I was ever so unwell as 
to lose a meal of victuals, or to miss a tour of 
duty: and I think I have the greatest reason ta 
bless and praise the name of the Lord, that he 
covered my head in the day of battle, and pre- 
served my body from wasting sickness at noon- 

I worked at my trade this year — the war in 
our part of the country being pretty much over, 
a few soldiers only being retained for garrison 

In 1762, the state raised a regiment of men 
to go to Halifax. It was commanded by Col. 
Jonathan Hoar, and Maj- Winslow was* Lieut 
Colonel under him. As there was no recruit- 
ing officer near him, CoL Winslow persuaded 

Recollections of an Old Soldier, 31 

me to enlist once more into the service. I had 
orders to enlist what men I could; and having 
obtained a number of recruits, I proceeded vi^ith 
them to join the Regiment at the Castle, near 
Boston, and was directed to enter Capt, Abel 
Cain's company. Here I was appointed a ser- 
geant. We shipped for Halifax, arrived there 
without any occurrence of note^and eneaaiped 
a little out of the town, in tents. We Vf reem- 
ployed in wheeling off J he fop of CitmW Hillj 
so called, in order to erect a fort upoi it Our 
duty was pretty hard, but then we worked with- 
out any apprehensions of being fired upon by 
an enemy. 

Th ere is one thi ng I woul d here noti ce, w!ii ch 
shows a specimen of British emelty without a 
parallel, I could hope, in the history of that nation. 
Three men, for some trifling offence which I da 
not recollect, were tied up to be whipped. One 
of them was to receive eight hundred lashe^^ 
the others five hundred a piece. By the time 
they had received three hundred lashes^ the 
flesh appeared to be entirely whipped from their 
shoulders, and they hung as mute and motion- 
less as though they had been long since depriv- 
ed of life. But this was not enough. The doc- 
tor stood by with a vial of sharp stuff, which he 
would ever and anon apply to their noses, and 
finding, by the pain it gave them, that some 
signs of life remained, he would tell them. 

32 Recollections of an Old Soldier, 

"d — -mn you, you can bear it yet" — and then 
the whipping would commence again. It was 
the most cruel punishment I ever saw inflicted, 
or had ever conceived of before ^^ — by far worse 
than death. I felt at the time as though I could 
have taken summary vengeance on those who 
were the authors of it, on the spot, had it been 
in my power to do it. 

During this year an expedition was fitted out 
by the English, and American Colonies, against 
the Havanna, which they succeeded in taking. 

In the course of the Summer, the French 
came and took Newfoundland. In a town cal- 
led St. Johns, w^as a very strong fort, built with 
stone and lime, at the head of the harbor. The 
French took possession of this fort, and distres- 
sed the inhabitants very much. After it was 
ascertained how strong they were by land and 
by sea, the commander of the British land for- 
ces, Col. Amherst, (brother to Gen. Amherst) 
and Lord Caldwell, commander of the fleet, 
held a council of w^ar on board the comman- 
der's ship. The result of the consultation was, 
that we had a force sufficient to go and re-take 
the place, and accordingly immediate prepara- 
tions w^ere made. It was necessary there should 
be a company selected out of our regiment for 
Rangers, of which Capt. William Barron was 
appointed commander: and as I had become 
somewhat familiar with a sergeant's duty, he 

Recollections of an Old Soldier. S3 

requested me to go into his company, and I 
complied. When all things were ready, we set 
sail with three ships of the line, two or three 
frigates, and about two thousand five hundred 
soldiers, British and Americans. We had a 
good passage. The enemy having possession 
of the Harbor, we could not make the land in 
that direction, but were compelled to sail round 
a few miles to Tarpolin Cove, where we land- 
ed, though not without much difficulty — the 
wind blowing strong, and the seas ran so high, 
that the ships dragged their anchors. But we 
at length succeeded in landing all our men &€. 
and marched several miles through the vroods, 
till we came within sight of the fort. They 
fired on us with their cannon, but we lay be- 
hind the rocks^ so that they could do us no 
harm. I was a fair day. 1 walked out alone 
from behind the rocks, and saw the men in the 
fort about firing a cannon in the direction in 
which I stood. I had heard it remarked that a 
ball could be seen in the air after it left the can- 
non's mouth, and thought this a good time to 
ascertain the truth of what appeared so incred- 
ible to me. I stood my ground. The piece 
was fired, and before the ball got half way to 
me, I could see where it was, by its driving the 
air together, arid forming a blue kind of sub- 
stance about the size of a barrel. 

There w^ere two Yery high hills near the har- 

34 Recollections of an Old Soldier. 

bor of St Johns; one was called Fagst'^^ff-Hill, 
and the other Gibbet-Hill. The enemy had 
possession of both. These hills commanded 
the ground on which it was desirable to erect 
our Batteries, to play on the fort. On the Fag- 
stafF-Hill the enemy had })laced three hundred 
men^ in a situation very dijfficult to be got at by 
an opposing force. After dark our company 
and a company of British Light Infantry, com- 
manded by Capt. MacDonald, set out under 
the guidance of one of the inhabitants, and 
marched in an Indian file round the hill, until 
we were pretty near the enemy's sentinels. 
Here we sat down upon the ground, and re- 
mained all night without speaking a word, un- 
til day-break, when the word was whispered 
from the ii'ont to the rear, to march forward. 
We had a Frenchman in our company, and 
when we were hailed by the Sentinels, he 
would answer them in French, and by this 
means we succeeded in taking several of them, 
without alarming the main force at the top of 
the hill. But before we had reached the top, 
one of them fired on us, which gave notice of 
our approach lo their van guard, who immedi- 
ately opened a brisk fire upon our foremost men. 
We however rushed on till we came near their 
main party. In the mean time, Capt. MacDon- 
ald was so badly wounded that he died soon 
after, and about thirty of our party were either 

Recollections of an Old Soldier. 35 

killed or wounded. We killed and took about 
the same number of the enemy. The Lieuten-* 
ant of the British company and myself, were 
foremost, and we advani ed on and found their 
stepping-place, and while running up it, the Lt. 
was shot through the vitals, and he died soon 
after. Thus I was all alone, the remainder of 
our party not having gained the summit; the 
enemy retreatedj and I followed ihem to the 
other end of the hill.^ — In my route on the hill, 
I picked up a good French gun, and brought it 
home with me. 

It pretty soon commenced raining exceed- 
ingly hard, and continued to rain until about 
midnight of the next night, when it cleared a- 
way. We remained masters of the hill, and 
and were obliged to remain on it without a 
mouthful of food or drink of any sort, until morn- 
ing of the second day after we started, when a 
British Colonel came on the hill, and applaud- 
ed us very highly for our exploit and surcess, 
and said we should have some refreshment. 
Gibbet-hill, before mentioned, was between us 
and the fort, and we could not tell whether 
there were any of the enemy's men on it or not. 
The British. Col told Capt. Barron to send two 
men to the top of this hill, and direct them to 
retreat if they found any body there, if they 
did not, to swing their hats. Capt. Barron turn- 
ed immediately to me, and said "Sergeant 

SB Recollections of an Old Soldier. 

Perry, take a man with you, and go to the top 
of the hillj" and before 1 had time to pick one, 
he ordered Peter Laford, the Frenchman who 
deceived the Sentry on Flagstaff-hill, to go 
with me. After we had started, Peter said the 
Captain ought not to have sent him; for they 
would kill him if they took him. He said "we 
must throw the Priming out of our guns, and if 
they take us, we will tell them we deserted — 
and we shall soon be re-taken." I told him he 
might throw his priming out if he chose, but I 
would not mine. The brush were so wet, how- 
ever, that we could not have used our pieces, 
if we hax! occasion. We at length gained the 
top of S rjll, and swung our hats as a signal 
that the||: was none of the enemy on it. 

We could see into the enemy's fort, which 
was nearer to us than our own men. They 
fired a cannon at us, the ball went over our 
heads, and struck on the other hill within six 
feet of our men, who were all paraded, but did 
no injury. Pretty soon the Commander, with 
his men, came to Gibbit-Hill to look out a place 
for his battery, and set those of his men to work 
on the battery, who had not been engaged in tak 
ing Flagstaff hill. Our company were much fa- 
tigued. — The enemy kept up a constant firq up- 
on us, and threw balls and shells on the hill, 
but did not make very great slaughter, though 
some of our men were killed. While a squad 

Recollections of an Old Soldier. ot 

t)f regulars sat eating their breakfast in a tent, 
a cannon ball passed through it, and killed one 
man instantly; and another by the name of Da- 
vid Foster, belonging to Capt. Cain's company, 
was struck on the temple bone by a grape shot, 
which passed under his forehead, rolled his eyes 
out, and left a little piece of the lower part of 
his nose standing; and what I thought was very 
remarkable, he lived to get home — but how 
much longer I do not know for a certainty; 
though, about ten years ago, I was credibly in- 
formed that he was then living in the state of 

We landed at the Island, on ^PfTiy morn- 
ing—on Tuesday morning toot '^' session of 
Flagstaff hill, and on Wednesday broke up the 
ground for our batteries — so that by Friday they 
were ready to open upon the enemy.. At about 
12 o'clock on Friday night, having eleven mor- 
ters fixed, we commenced throwing shells in 
great abundance, into the enemy's Fort, which 
caused much screaming and hallooing in their 
ranks, and did great execution. We kept thein 
flying the remainder of the night, and until the 
sun was about two hours high on Saturday 
morning, when the enemy sent out a flag, with 
proposals for a Capitulation. But the condi- 
tions were such as our commander could not 
agree to, and we went at it again as hard as ev-^ 

38 Recollections of an Old Soldier. 

er, and so continued, till the sun was about 
two hours high at night. They then sent out 
another flag of truce, bringing word that they 
had concluded to comply with the terms we 
offered them in the morning; and about sun-set 
they marched out of the fort, and we marched 
in, and took possession. 

A few days after this, three men-of-war ar- 
rived at the harbor of St. Johns, from Havana, 
for assistance, and brigning news of the surren- 
der of that place to the English. There was 
great rejoicing in the fort and on board the ves- 
sels, on the occasion of these signal successes. 
We remained here a short time, and, having 
put all things to rights, we shipped for Halifax, 
leaving British soldiers enough to garrison the 

After being some time at sea, the men grew 
sickly, and on our way a great many were tak- 
en sick, and I w^as among the number. I had 
the nervous fever. When we arrived at Hali- 
fax, our times were out; but I was so unwell, 
that instead of returning home, I was obliged 
to go to the hospital. I told ray friends that 
were discharged, as we parted, that they w^ould 
never see me again, for I was very sick and out 
of my head — and no one thought I could live 
long. I remained in the hospital some time, 
but was so deranged that I cannot tell exactly 
how long. I had my reason, however, by turns; 

Recollections of an Old Soldier, 39 

and ill one of these intervals, I remember per- 
fectly well, Doctor Matthews, the surgeon of 
our regiment, had me brought into his room, 
and tried to make me drink some sour punch, 
but I told him 1 could not. He asked me if I 
did not love it when I was well. I told him 1 
did. At another time I came to myself so much 
as to know that the body lice were eating me 
up, and told one of those who waited on me, to 
heat a tailor's goose which was in the roam, 
and iron my blanket on both sides, which he 
did, and it turned it as red as blood. 

Capt. Barron staid with us all winter, and the 
British gave him a Lieutenant's commission in 
the standing army, for his valor in taking Flag- 
staff-Hill at Newfoundland. He came to see 
me^ and I told him I wanted to go home. He 
askerd me if I would not have staid, if I had 
been well. I told him, no. He then said he 
would see that I was put a-board the first ves- 
sel that sailed for Boston. He asked me if I 
had any money. I told him I did not know 
what had become of my money or clothes; up- 
on which he took from his pocket a cob dollar 
and gave it me, but what became of it I never 
knew. — The Captain was as good as his word, 
for in a few days after I was put a-board a ves- 
sel for Boston. I do not know the name of the 
Captain, nor how long I was on the passage: 
but I remember they once took me up on deck^ 

40 Recolletiions of an Old Soldier, 

it being a very pleasant day, and combed my 
head, and my hair all rolled off. 

While I was on board that vessel, it appears 
to me that I d* d — that I went through the ex- 
cruciating pa^ li the separating ot soul and 
body, as comp. 'ei/ as ever I shall again, (and 
such a separation must soon take place) and 
that I was immediately conveyed to the gate of 
Heaven, and was going to pass in; but was 
told by one, that I could not enter then, but 
in process of time, if I would behave as he di- 
rected, on the set time I should have admit- 
tance. It appeared to me that my feet stood 
en a firm foundation, and that I stood there-for 
the space of about a half hour. In this time 
there appeared to be a continual flowing up of 
people, as we suppose they die; and none stop- 
ped, but all passed off, one way or the other. 
Just at my left hand, there appeared to be the 
opening of a great gulph, and the greater part 
cf the grown people seemed to pass off there. 
Once in a while one passed through the gate 
ioto the Holy City. One person appeared, with 
•;vhom 1 had been intimately acquainted, and it 
appeared to me that I knew him as well as ever I 
did: it was Doct. Matthews — [and whether I 
5aw bim or not, he died, as I afterwards learn- 
ed, while 1 was sick on board the ship.] The 
one that talked with me, told me about the 
Revolutionary War, and showed me the British 

Recollections of an Old Soldier. 41 

vessels in the harbor of Boston, as plainly as 
I saw them when they came. And during the 
first year of that war, I was down there in Gen. 
Putnam's regiment, and I went on Roxbury 
hill to see the shipping in ^' arbor, and they 
looked exactly as they h^ a shown to me 
many years before. — This transition (as I firm- 
ly believe) from life to death, and from death 
to life, which took place nearly sixty years ago, is 
as fresh in my mind now as it was then: and not 
many days have passed from that time to this, 
which have not brought the interesting scenes I , 
then witnessed, clearly to view in my mind. But 
I never dared to say any thing about it, for a great 
many years afterwards, for fear of being ridi- 
culed. But about the last of February or first 
of January, 1763j peace was declared between 
England, France and Spain, and the people re- 
joiced exceedingly on account of it. I told 
them we should have another war soon. They 
asked me why I thought so. I told them the 
British had settled peace with their foreign 
enemies, but they could not live long in peace, 
and they would come against us next. But I 
never told my own wffe^ nor any other person, 
of what happened to me on board the vessel, as 
above related, for nearly thirty years afterwards,, 
when a great deal was sard in the neighbor- 
hood where I lived, about one Polly Doves, of 
Grantham, Mass. who was taken very sick, so 


42 Recollections of an Old Soldier. 

that no one thought she could live long, and- 
many times the people thought she was dying. 
In one of these turns she had a dream or vision, 
by which she was assured thatj.on a stated Sun- 
day, she should be healed, and go to meeting 
the same day. On the Saturday night, previ- 
ous to the time appointed, many people stood 
round her bed, expecting every moment that 
she would breathe her last: but when the hour 
she had mentioned arrived, she rose from her 
bed, and said she was well: and Captain Rob- 
ert Scott carried her some distanceto meeting, 
behind him on horseback, the same day she re- 
covered. There was so much talk about it, that 
I ventured to tell my experience as before de- 
scribed, and have since told it to a great many 
people; and. some believe it, and others do not.. 
But to return to my narrative.— When we ar- 
rived in Boston harbor, the authority of the place 
W'ould not permit the sick to be brought into 
t:pwD, for fear of the fever; and ! was carried to 
the Castle. A Major Gay, who was there at 
the time^ was very kind to me^ and took me in- 
to his room, and gave me some re fresh me nt.— 
He asked me if I had any friends that would 
come and take care of oie, if they knew I was 
there. I told him that I did not doubt but that 
xny uncle David Joy would come^ if he knew it; 
upon which he sat down and wrote him a letter, 
and despatched a boat a~shore, with directions 

Recollections of an Old Soldier. ^ 

to leave it at Martin's tavern, where, it fortun- 
ately happened, was a man, going directly to 
Rehoboth, who took the letter and carried it to 
my uncle that very night The second day af- 
ter the letter was written, my uncle arrived 
with a horse and chair, and took me off by tha 
way of Dorchester Point. When I got into the 
chair, I felt nicely; and told my uncle* that if 
the horse eould stand k,. I would ride homa 
tliat night,, a distance of forty-four miles. But 
my resolution soon forsook me^ 1 became ex- 
tremely weak, and my delirium returned, so 
^lat my uncle was unable to get me to a tav- 
ern. He carried me to a private house the first 
night, and it took him three days more to get 
me homej where we arrived on the ninth day 
of December, which was the day appointed by 
the civil authority for public Thanksgiving. — 
I think Ihad the greatest reason to give thanks 
to God, of any body in the world, for sparing 
my life in so many trying scenes, and safely re° 
turning me to my friends again. 

I remained sick at my uncle's house about 
two months, and my recovery for most of that 
period, was considered doubtful; but in process 
of time it pleased God to restore me to health. 

In August this year, (1762) I was twenty-one 
years old: Before I went on the last tour in 
the Spring, I agreed with my master, and got 
^p my indentures. As he had all my wages for 

44 Recollections of an Old Soldier. 

the former campaigns, I thought I would have 
them this year myself; but by reason of sickness, 
&c. I spent or lost them, and all my clothes, ex- 
cept thos6 I had on at the hospital. 

In April, 1763, I left my native home, and 
went into the town of Killingly, Connecticut, 
and agreed to work for a man six monthsj at my 
trade. On the 12th of January, 1 764, I was 
married; at which time I was not w^orth ten dol- 
lars, besides my clothes. I followed shoe-mak- 
ing, made a comfortable living by it, and soon 
was able to buy a few acres of land, upon which 
I erected tan- works — had a pretty good run of 
custom, and the inhabitants assisted all they 
Gould. Thus for a time matters went on pros- 
perously, and in three or four years I gained 
considerable property. But there was another 
tanner in Killingly, named Watson, who used 
to have all the custom before I set up business 
there, and had become pretty rich. Finding 
his custom decrease as mine gained, he cam« 
and proposed to take me into partnership with 
him, so that we could carry on the business on 
a large scale. 1 closed with him, and in three 
years he managed to get all 1 had earned, and 
left me two hundred dollars in debt. 

This brings me up to our Revolutionary war. 
In the Spring of 1775, as there could be no ac^ 
Gommodation of the difficulties between Great 
Britain and the Americans, the British troops 

Recollections of an Old Soldier. 45 

inarched out of Boston to Lexington and Con- 
cord, and killed a number of our men, which 
aroused every part of the country to arms! An 
army was immediately raised, and I was ap- 
pointed a Lieutenant in Capt. Fleet's compa- 
ny, and General Putnam's regiment. As soon 
as our company was full, (and it did take long 
to fill it) the ensign and myself marched with 
ittaRoxbury, and quartered our men in the 
Loring house. In a few days the Captain and 
the other Lieutenant joined us. The Captain, 
however, was soon taken sick, and died before 
he had done one tour of duty. We remained' 
there till after the llth of June, on which day 
the Bunker-Hill fight took place; but my com- 
pany was not in it. This was a severe battle, 
especially to the British, who had 1053 killed' 
and wounded, according to their returns, in- 
cluding a great proportion of officers. We had 
78 killed, and 86 wounded, and among the slain 
was the noble Gen. Warren, whose death was a 
great loss to our army and country. Our regi- 
ment, immediately after this battle, was col- 
lected together on Prospect-Hill, where we 
built a fort. The British were in possession of 
Bunker-Hill, about three quarters of a mile dis^ 
tant, and in plain sight of our works. 

This Spring Gen. Ethan Allen went and 
took Crown-Point from the British, together 
with a number of cannonj which were of great 

46 Recollections of an Old Soldier, 

service to us, as we had but a small quantity ©f 

When the fort was completed on Prospect- 
Hill, our cannon w^ere placed within point-blank 
shot of the enemy, and as I was walking one 
day with an old experienced officer, I asked 
him why we did not fire upon the enemy? He 
said, if, by our formidable appearance, we could 
keep them where they were', we should do well, 
for we had not amunition enough to last one 
day and a half. There was but little fighting 
this season, except some small skirmishes be^ 
tween the sentinelsof the out-posts, which were 
soon put a stop to. 

In the heat of Summer, the men were at- 
tacked with the Dysentery, and considerable 
rruiiibers of them died. The people flocked in 
from the country, to see the camps and their 
friends, and took the disorder; and it spread all 
over the New-England states: it carried off a 
great many more in the country than in the 
camp, which seemed to dishearten the people 
very much. But in the latter part of winter 
General Washington marched a considerable 
force on to Dorchester Point, in the night, erect- 
ed temporary batteries, and conveyed his can- 
non to them — and in the morning, when th€ 
British came to find their fleet exposed to his 
fire, they sent word to him, that if he fired on 
their shipping, they would burn the town: b\it 

Recollections of an Old Soldier, 47 

if he would let them pass out of the harbor un- 
molested, they would quit the place: and they 
did so. — Gen. Washington expected their next 
object would be New- York, and marched all 
his troops immediately for that city. He went 
by land, and arrived there before the enemy 
did by water: but, for want of men and ammu- 
nition, he was obliged to evacuate the city to 

About this time several regiments were rais- 
ed for one year's service. Col. Durgee, who 
commanded one of them, pressed me hard to 
take a Captain's commission in his regiment. 
But as I was poor at that time, and had a 
wife and five small children to support, or if I 
went, to leave without the proper means of sup- 
port, I could not comply with his wishes. I 
told him a soldier ought not to have any thing 
to think of at home. 

But they could not raise men enough, without 
making large drafts of militia. In the Fall of 
the year, a number of regiments were ordered 
to be raised for the winter. I had the appoint- 
ment of a first Lieutenant, and was ordered to 
march with my company to New- York. We 
accordingly set out, and had proceeded one 
clay, when I had counter orders, to go to Provi- 
dence, the enemy having taken possession of 
Newport, I was put into Col. John Ely's regi- 
ment, which was under the command of Gen. 

48 Recollections of an Old Soldier, 

Spencer, and remained at Providence till the 
expiration of the term for which we were called 
out, without any occurrence of importance, and 
then returned home. 

In the year 1777, Congress, and the states 
individually, made an attempt to raise an ar- 
my for three years, or during the war, that Gen. 
Washington might have an army that he could 
depend upon: but it was difficult to raise such 
a force. The government of Connecticut 
passed a law providing, that if any two men 
would procure one soldier to enlist for three 
years or during the war, they should be exempt- 
ed from a draft during that period. One of my 
neighbors wished me to find a man who w^ould 
enlist, and he would pay one half, and find 
some body to pay the other half. I found a 
man as he desired: but my neighbor failed to 
get a partner as he proposed, and the man re- 
fused to go, unless the whole sum was paid 
him in advance. I was so anxious to have 
the man enUsted, that, notwithstanding my 
poverty, I paid him twenty pounds myself, al- 
though I was not exposed to a draft. This set- 
tled the difficulty; and I afterwards enlisted 
several others. 

As there is history extant giving account of 
the principal events of the whole war, I will con- 
fine myself merely to an account of my domes- 
tic concerns. Nothing material with regard to 

Recollections of an Old Soldier. 49 

them took place, until the month of March, in 
the year 1779, when I MtrConnecticut, and 
moved into Piainfield, Nev%Hampshire. I liv- 
ed in that town eighteen j^s. The inhabit- 
ants of this part of the country were not much 
distressed after 1 moved here; f^r Burgoyne was 
taken, and that pretty much stopped the ene- 
my's progress to the northward, except a party 
that came and burnt Royalton, (that being a 
frontier town in those days,) and went off again 
without much oppositiDn. 

Vermont w^as not Jpf that time recognized as 
a state. New -York harrasi^d them on one 
side, and New-Hampshire -"^on the other. Fi- 
nally ,what was formerly call^d'the N. Hampshire 
Grants; that is, three tier of to#i;is on the east 
side of Connecticut River, joined with Ver- 
mont, in order to help her obtain her state priv- 
ileges. They at last agreed to give N. York 
thirty thousand dollars to rehnquish their claim, 
and by that means Vermont obtained of con- 
gress an admission into the union, on an equal 
footing with the original states. 

in 1783, peace was declared between Great 
Britain and the United States, and the army 
was disbanded and returned home to their 
friends, without any thing for their toils and sac- 
rifices, but the consciousness of having "fought 
a good fight," and having won aninvahiable in- 
heritance for their posterity. The slates hud 


50 Recolkitions of an Old Soldier, 

heavy taxeSjin order to defray their individual ex- 
penses in carrying" on the war, which were bur- 
thensome to the people. But they finally paid 
into the state treasuries enough toredeem the pa- 
per they had issued, to pay the soldiers their 
bounty, which is more than could be said of the 
National Government, until after the poor sol- 
diers had disposed of their hard-earnings for a 
tenth or twentieth part of its nominal value. 
In 1785, I took a captain's commission in the 
N. H. militia, signed by Meshick Ware, Presi- 
dent; (for at that time there was no governor) and 
served eight years. I also served nine years as 
Selectman of Plainfield. 

In 1797, I moved to Chelsea, Vt. and have 
lived here twenty one years last March, and 
helped pay the premium to New- York, in order 
to become a state — and for a portion of the 
time we have been a state much opposition has 
been manifested by a part of our citizens, to- 
wards the general government, and in a very 
bad time, too — in a time of war, when we 
ought to have united as a band of brothers in 
the comixron cause of our country. But we 
w^ere not alone in this evil. It has pervaded 
most of the New England states. I have lived 
to see four wars in our country, and the last was 
attended with difficuliies harder to be surmount- 
ed than any of the other wars, by reason of the 
enmity ^towards the General Government,of that 

Recollections of an Old Soldier, 5t 

portion of the people, who declared there was 
no cause of war with England, although sh^ 
had taken between nine hundred and a thou- 
sand of our vessels, impressed some thou- 
sands of our citizens, and sent the Indians to 
massacre our defenceless inhabitants — and not- 
withstanding the General Government had done 
every thing to effect an accommodation of their 
differences, and obtain redress for our grievan- 
ces, without a resort to arms. 

I desire it may never be forgotten by my pos- 
terity, for whom I have written these memoirs, 
that there was once a time, when party spirit 
raged to an extent that threatened the destruc- 
tion of those liberties, which I had some smal 
share in establishing. I hope they will never 
forget, that when war was declared to main- 
tain those liberties, there were men claiming 
all the wealth, talents and religion of the coun- 
try, who, from party, or w^orse motives, held 
back their resources from Government, and did 
all in their power to keep those who were dis- 
posed to lend an assisting hand, from entering 
into their country ^s service. In the time of the 
Revolution we had a few such men among us, 
who set much by the British Government, 
arid we drove them out of the CGuntry^ or con- 
fined them at home, so that they could not 
meet in Convention^ in (he heart of the land, to^ 
plot against the government^ and divide the 

52 Recollections of an Old Sbldiei\ 

Union. And I desire it may be remembered^ 
that notwithstanding they boasted of their tal- 
ents andreUgion, the Lord stood by us and put 
our enemies to flight in a marvellous manner, 
and wrought wonders for us as a nation: and 
we have the greatest reason to bless and praise 
his holy name, of any people on the earth. — Let 
it be remembered, as a warning to future gen*- 
^rations, of the dangerous effects of party spirit, 
when carried to excess, that a governor of Ver- 
mont, at a time when the enemy threatened a 
powerful invasion of our frontier towns, with the 
avowed intention of laying them in ruins, stood 
on the shores of the lake, discouraging our val- 
ient freemen from going to the assistance of 
their brethren, by telling them they would be 
killed if they went over— when he, and every 
other person of common sense, knew, that it 
would not be more than six hours before the 
enemy would be at Burlington, if he beat our 
men at Plattsburgh. But let it also, with grati>- 
tude,be remembered^that while the chief mag^ 
istrate was thus employed, the gallant Gol. Fas- 
sett encouraged and prevailed on them to go 
forward— and they did go forward to participate 
in a glorious battle and victory, which preserved 
our towns from conflagration, and wiped the 
foul stain from the character of our state, which 
the conduct of this Governor would otiierwise 
have brought upon it.. 

Recollections of an Old Soldier. 53 

While the enemy were thus discomfited by 
land, we beheld the British fleet on the lake 
heaving in sight of the little squadron of the in- 
vincible Macdonough, who was on his knees, 
praying to his God; and He answered him by 
Jire, as in former times — ^and notwithstanding 
the enemies' superior force, they were obliged 
to strike — ^and on that ever-memorable elev- 
enth OF September, the Lord discomfited their 
whole force, and returned them back from 
whence they came: so that we may see, that 
the effectual, fervent pray^er of a righteous man 
availeth much: and that the sacrifice of the wick- 
ed is an abomination to the Lord — For the great 
jnen of a great state said, that it was unbecom- 
ing a moral and religious people to pray for 
the success of our arms, and that we must not 
fight the British, because they were "the Bul- 
wark of our religion." But I cannot but think, 
that they were deluded and blinded by party 
prejudices, and that the good hand of God was 
discernible at Baltimore, New-Orleans, and 
Plattsburgb, — on Lake Erie, and Lake Cham- 
plain, and every where else that a traitor did 
not command. Had not the Lord been on our 
side^ and fought our battles, we must have fail- 
ed to maintain our liberties against so potent 
a foe from abroad, aided by so many of our mis- 
guided people at home — and it becomes us as 
St people, (as I have before said;) to. bless and 

54 Hecolkctions of an Old Soldier. 

praise his Holy name forever, that He caused 
us to overcome our pov^^erful enemies in two 
wars for our independence, and that there seems 
now to be so happy a union taking place among 
ourselves — that those of our fellow-citizens who 
have been thus deluded and deceived, are sen- 
sible of their errors, and appear ready to unite 
with all real friends of their country's honor and 
prosperity. — And I pray God that this bond of 
union may continue to grow firmer and strong- 
er, till every American citizen will be of one 
heart and one mind, in a determination to sup- 
port our Republican form of Government to 
the latest posterity. May we all remember the 
maxim of our illustrious Washington: "United 
WE stand; divided we fall." — When we reflect 
back to our Revolutionary war, and see how 
much blood and treasure were spent to gain 
our independence, shall we, after so long an ex- 
perience of the advantages arising from so good 
a government, be any more deceived by inter- 
nal or foreign enemies? Shall we contrast the 
mildness of our government,and the civil andre- 
ligious liberty that we enjoy under it, with the 
bigotry and tyranny which prevails under the 
monarchiesof Europe, and say we are wiUingto 
exchange the former for the latter? I dare say not. 
Then let me conjure my posterity to stand by 
Ihis government of our choice, and never be de- 
ceived by political or ecclesiastical demagogues* 

Recollections of an Old Soldier, 55 

Let fhe people keep the right and power of e- 
LECTioN always in their own hands, and at their 
annual freemen's meetings be sure to choose 
men into office, who are true friends of a Re- 
publican Government. Let them encourage 
all the arts and sciences that are necessary in a 
Republic, and none others, — and in this way 
they may perpetuate their liberties. — ^Butif they 
are ambitious to ape the follies, extravagance, 
and luxury of European countries, their freedom 
can have but a short duration. But, above all, 
let us as a nation dedicate ourselves to God, 
and pray that he would have us in his holy 
keepmg, and so direct the councils of our na- 
tion, as may tend to preserve its free institu- 
tions, to the latest period of time; which is the 
ardent prayer of 

Chelsea, Vt. 1819. 


ERR^T.^—^Page 41, 2nd line from bottom, for "Polly Dov€s, of 
Grantham, Massachusetts," read Polly Davis, of Grantham, New