History From America's Most Famous Valleys
Campaign of Lieut. Gen. John Burgoyne
and The Expedition of Lieut. Col. Barry St. Leger.
by William L. Stone.
Albany, NY, Joel Munsell. 1877.
PROFESSOR SILLIMAN'S VISIT TO THE BATTLE GROUND IN l820.
The following account of the visit of Professor Silliman to the battle ground-although he was not a participant in the battle-has value, from the fact that his relation is derived mainly from his guide. Major Buel, who was in the conflict. In the course of his narrative-to avoid repetition-wherever he has quoted from Wilkinson or Mrs. Reidesel, passages which are familiar to the readers of the text, I have placed stars. -W. L. S.
IN WHICH GEN. FRASER DIED.
Ten o'clock at night.
We are now on memorable ground. Here much precious blood was shed, and now, in the silence and solitude of a very dark and rainy night-the family asleep, and nothing heard but the rain and the Hudson, gently murmuring along, I am writing in the very house, and my table stands, on the very spot in the room, where General Fraser breathed his last, on the 8th of October, 1777.
He was mortally wounded in the last of the two desperate battles fought on the neighboring heights, and in the midst of the conflict, was brought to this house by the soldiers. Before me lies one of the bullets, shot on that occasion; they are often found, in ploughing the battle field.
Blood is asserted, by the people of the house, to have been visible here, on the floor, till a very recent period.
General Eraser was high in command, in the British army, and was almost idolized by them; they had the utmost confidence in his skill and valor, and that the Americans entertained a similar opinion of him, is sufficiently evinced by the following anecdote, related to me at Ballston Springs, in 1797, by the Hon. Richard Brent, then a member of congress, from Virginia, who derived the fact from General Morgan's own mouth.
In the battle of October the seventh, the last pitched battle, that was fought between the two armies. General Eraser, mounted on an iron gray horse, was very conspicuous. He was all activity, courage, and vigilance, riding from one part of his division to another, and animating the troops by his example. Wherever he was present, every thing prospered, and, when contusion appeared in any part of the line, order and energy were restored by his arrival.
Colonel Morgan, with his Virginia riflemen, was immediately opposed to Fraser's division of the army.
It had been concerted, before the commencement of the battle, that while the New Hampshire and the New York troops attacked the British left, Colonel Morgan, with his regiment of Virginia riflemen, should make a circuit so as to come upon the British right, and attack them there. In this attempt, he was favored by a woody hill, to the foot of which the British right extended. When the attack commenced on the British left, "true to his purpose, Morgan at this critical moment, poured down like a torrent from the hill, and attacked the right of the enemy in front and flank." The right wing soon made a movement to support the left, which was assailed with increased violence, and while executing this movement. General Fraser received his mortal wound.
In the midst of this sanguinary battle. Colonel Morgan took a few of his best riflemen aside ; men in whose fidelity, and fatal precision of aim, he could repose the most perfect confidence, and said to them : " That gallant officer is General Fraser ; I admire and respect him, but it is necessary that he should die-take your stations in that wood and do your duty." Within a few moments General Fraser fell, mortally wounded.
How far, such personal designation is justifiable, has often been questioned, but those who vindicate war at all, contend, that to shoot a distinguished officer, and thus to accelerate the conclusion of a bloody battle, operates to save lives, and that it is, morally, no worse, to kill an illustrious, than an obscure individual; a Fraser, than a common soldier ; a Nelson, than a common sailor. But, there is something very revolting to humane feelings, in a mode of warfare, which converts its ordinary chances into a species of military execution. Such instances, were, however, frequent, during the campaign of General Burgoyne; and his aid-de-camp, Sir Francis dark, and many other British officers, were victims of American marksmanship.
* * * * *
Retiring at a late hour to my bed, it will be easily perceived, that the tender and heroic ideas, associated with this memorable house, would strongly possess my mind. The night was mantled in black clouds, and impenetrable darkness , the rain, increasing, descended in torrents, upon the roof of this humble mansion , the water, urged from the heights, poured with loud and incessant rumbling, through a neighboring aqueduct, and the Hudson, as if conscious that blood had once stained its waters, and its banks, rolled along with sullen murmurs , the distinguished persons, who forty-two years since, occupied this tenement -the agonized females-the terrified, imploring children-and the gallant chiefs, in all the grandeur of heroic suffering and death, were vividly present to my mind-all the realities of the night, and the sublime and tender images of the past, conspired to give my faculties too much activity for sleep, and I will not deny that the dawning light was grateful to my eyes !
THE BATTLE GROUND.
The rain having ceased, I was on horseback at early dawn with a veteran guide to conduct me to the battle ground. Although he was seventy-five years old, he did not detain me a moment; in consequence of an appointment the evening before, he was waiting my arrival at his house, a mile below our inn, and, declining any aid, he mounted a tall horse from the ground. His name was Ezra Buel,1 a native of Lebanon, in Connecticut, which place he left in his youth, and was settled here, at the time of General Burgoyne's invasion. He acted, through the whole time, as a guide to the American army, and was one of three who were constantly employed in that service. His duty led him to be always foremost, and in the post of danger, and he was, therefore, admirably qualified for my purpose.
The two great battles which decided the fate of Burgoyne's army, were fought, the first on the 19th of
1 Called colloquially, in the neighborhood, Major Buel, a rank which he never had in the army, but which was facetiously assigned him, while in the service, by his brother guides. He is much respected as a worthy man- 1820.
Major Buel, I believe, still lives. I saw him at Ballston Springs, in July, 1823, still active and useful, although almost fourscore; he was then acting as crier of a state court at that time in session at Ballston.- March, 1824.
September, and the last, on the 7th of October, on Bemis's heights, and very nearly on the same ground, which is about two miles west of the river. The river, is in this region, bordered for many miles, by a continued meadow, of no great breadth; upon this meadow, there was then, as there is now, a good road, close to the river, and parallel to it. Upon this road, marched the heavy artillery and baggage, constituting the left wing of the British army, while the elite, forming the right wing, and composed of light troops, was kept constantly in advance, on the heights which bound the meadows.
The American army was south and west of the British, its right wing on the river, and its left resting on the heights. We passed over a part of their camp a little below Stillwater.1
A great part of the battle ground was occupied by lofty forest trees, principally pine, with here and there, a few cleared fields, of which the most conspicuous in these sanguinary scenes, was called Freeman's farm, and is so called in General Burgoyne's plans. Such is
1 In May, 1821, I again visited these battle grounds, and availed myself of that opportunity, in company with my faithful old guide, Major Buel, to explore the camp of General Gates. It is situated about three miles below Smith's tavern, (the house where General Fraser died), and is easily approached by a cross road, which turns up the heights from the great river road. It is not more than half a mile from the river to the camp. I found it an interesting place, and would recommend it to travelers to visit this spot, as they will thus obtain a perfectly clear idea of the relative position of the hostile armies, and of the route pursued by the Americans when they marched out to battle. The outlines of the camp are still distinctly visible, being marked by the lines of defence, which were thrown up on the occasion, and which, although depressed by time, will long be conspicuous, if they are not levelled by the plough. My guide pointed out the ground occupied by the different corps of the army. Col. Morgan, with the Virginia riflemen, was in advance,, on the right, that is, nearest the river , the advance, was the post always coveted by this incomparable corps, and surely none could claim it with more propriety. There was much danger that the enemy would attempt to storm the camp of the Americans, and had they been successful in either of the great battles (Sept. 19, and Oct. 7), they would, without doubt, have attacked the camp.
The most interesting object that I saw in this camp, was the house which was Gen. Gates's head quarters. I am afraid that the traveler may not long find this memorable house, for it was much dilapidated-a part of the roof had fallen in, and the winds whistled through the naked timbers. One room was, however, tenantable, and was occupied by a cooper and his family. From the style of the pannel work and finishing of this room, the house appears to have been, in its day, one of the better sort-the pannels were large and handsome, and the door was still ornamented with brass handles. Here Sir Francis dark, aid-de-camp to Gen. Burgoyne, being mortally wounded and taken prisoner, languished and died. Gen. Wilkinson has recorded some interesting passages of his last moments, particularly his animated discussions with Gen. Gates on the merits of the contest. The recollection of the fate of this brave but unfortunate officer will always be associated with this building, while a single timber of it remains.
My guide conducted me from the American camp along the summit of the heights, by the same route, which was pursued by our gallant countrymen, when they advanced to meet their formidable foe, and I had the satisfaction of treading the same ground which they trod, in the silence and solemnity of impending conflict.
In pursuing this route, the traveler, if accompanied by an Intelligent guide, will have a very interesting opportunity of marking the exact places where the advanced guards and front lines of the contending armies met. In this manner we advanced quite to Freeman's farm, the great scene of slaughter, and thence descended again to the centre of the British encampment on the plains.
nearly the present situation of these heights, only there is more cleared land ; the gigantic trees have been principally felled, but a considerable number remain as witnesses to posterity , they still show the wounds, made in their trunks and branches, by the missiles of contending armies ; their roots still penetrate the soil, that was made fruitful by the blood of the brave, and their sombre foliage still murmurs with the breeze, which once sighed, as it bore the departing spirit along.1
My veteran guide, warmed by my curiosity, and recalling the feelings of his prime, led me, with amazing rapidity, and promptitude, over fences and ditches - through water and mire - through ravines and defiles -through thick forests, and open fields-and up and down very steep hills ; in short, through many places, where, alone, I would not have ventured ; but, it would have been shameful for me not to follow where a man of seventy-five would lead, and to hesitate to explore in peace, the ground, which the defenders of their country, and their foes, once trod in steps of blood.
On our way to Freeman's farm, we traced the line of the British encampment, still marked by a breast work of logs, now rotten, but retaining their forms, they were, at the time, covered with earth, and the barrier
1 There is a barn now standing near Freeman's farm, one of the beams of which contains a six-pound ball, It was imbedded in the tree out of which the timber was cut, and the builder considerately left the ball in as a memento.-W. L. S.
between contending armies, is now a fence, to mark the peaceful divisions of agriculture. This breast work, I suppose to be a part of the line of encampment, occupied by General Burgoyne, after the battle of the 19th of September, and which was stormed on the evening of the 7th of October.
The old man showed me the exact spot, where an accidental skirmish, between advanced parties of the two armies, soon brought on the general and bloody battle of September 19.
This was on Freeman's farm, a field which was then cleared, although surrounded by forest. The British picket here occupied a small house,1 when a part of Col. Morgan's corps fell in with, and immediately drove them from it, leaving the house almost " encircled with their dead." The pursuing party, immediately, and very unexpectedly, fell in with the British line, and were in part captured, and the rest dispersed.
This incident occurred at half-past twelve o'clock; 2 there was an intermission till one, when the action was sharply renewed; but it did not become general, till three, from which time it raged with unabated fury, till night.
* * * *
General Burgoyne states that there was scarcely ever an interval of a minute in the smoke, when some British
1 Major Forbes, of the British army, states, that the American picket occupied the house, both facts might have been true at different periods of the affair.
2 An evident error, see text.- W. L. S.
officer was not shot by the American riflemen, posted in the trees, in the rear and on the flank of their own line. A shot which was meant for General Burgoyne, severely wounded Captain Green, an aid-de-camp of General Phillips : the mistake was owing to the captain's having a richly laced furniture to his saddle, which caused the marksman to mistake him for the general.
Such was the ardor of the Americans, that, as General Wilkinson states, the wounded men, after having their wounds dressed, in many instances, returned again into the battle.
The battle of the seventh of October was fought on the same ground, but was not so stationary; it commenced farther to the right, and extended, in its various periods, over more surface, eventually occupying not only Freeman's farm, but it was urged by the Americans, to the very camp of the enemy, which, towards night, was most impetuously stormed, and in part carried.
The interval between the nineteenth of September, and the seventh of October, was one of great anxiety to both armies ; " not a night passed," says General Burgoyne, " without firing, and sometimes concerted attacks upon our pickets; no foraging party could be made without great detachments to cover it; it was the plan of the enemy to harass the army, by constant alarms, and their superiority of numbers enabled them to attempt it, without fatigue to themselves. By being habituated to fire, our soldiers became indifferent to it, and were capable of eating or sleeping when it was very near them , but I do not believe either officer or soldier ever slept during that interval, without his clothes, or that any general officer, or commander of a regiment, passed a single night, without being upon his legs, occasionally, at different hours, and constantly, an hour before day light."
The battle of the seventh was brought on by a movement of General Burgoyne, who caused one thousand five hundred men, with ten pieces of artillery, to march towards the left of the American army for the purpose of discovering whether it was possible to force a passage; or in case a retreat of the royal army should become indispensable, to dislodge the Americans from their intrenchments, and also to cover a foraging excursion, which had now become pressingly necessary. 1 It was about the middle of the afternoon, that the British were observed advancing, and the Americans, with small arms, lost no time in attacking the British grenadiers and artillery, although under a tremendous fire from the latter; the battle soon extended along the whole line: Colonel Morgan, at the same moment, attacked, with his riflemen, on the right wing. Colonel Ackland, the commander of the grenadiers, fell, wounded ; the grenadiers were defeated, and most of the artillery taken, after great slaughter.
1 Also an error. "The foraging party," says Gen. Riedesel, "was made the day previous to the battle of the 7th." The gathering of forage while the army were forming for battle was merely an incident. Hence the confusion which has arisen on this subject. W.L.S.
At the end of a most sanguinary contest, of less than one hour, the discomfiture and retreat of the British became general, and they had scarcely regained their camp, before the lines were stormed with the greatest fury, and part of Lord Balcarras's camp, was for a short time in our possession.
* * * *
I was on the ground where the grenadiers, and where the artillery were stationed. "Here, upon this hill" (said my hoary guide), " on the very spot where we now stand, the dead men lay, thicker than you ever saw sheaves on a fruitful harvest field." " Were they British, or Americans ?" " Both," he replied, " but principally British." I suppose that it is of this ground, that General Wilkinson remarks, " it presented a scene of complicated horror and exultation. In the square space of twelve or fifteen yards, lay eighteen grenadiers in the agony of death , and three officers, propped up against stumps of trees, two of them mortally wounded, bleeding, and almost speechless."
My guide, proceeding with his narrative, said: "There stood a British field piece, which had been twice taken, and retaken, and finally remained in our possession : I was on-the ground, and said to an American colonel, who came up at the moment, ' Colonel, we have taken this piece, and now we want you to swear it true to America ;' so the colonel swore it true, and we turned it around, and fired upon the British, with their own cannon, and with their own ammunition, still remaining unconsumed in their own boxes."
I was solicitous to see the exact spot where General Fraser received his mortal wound. My old guide knew it perfectly well, and pointed it out to me. It is in a meadow, just on the right of the road, after passing a blacksmith's shop, and going south a few rods. The blacksmith's shop, is on a road, which runs parallel to the Hudson - it stands elevated, and overlooks Freeman's farm.
I saw various places, where the dead were interred, a rivulet, or creek, passes through the battle ground, and still washes out from its banks, the bones of the slain. This rivulet is often mentioned in the accounts of these battles, and the deep ravine through which it passes; on our return, we followed this ravine, and rivulet, through the greater part of their course, till they united with the Hudson.
Farm houses are dispersed, here and there, over the field of battle, and the people often find, even now, gun-barrels and bayonets, cannon balls, grape shot, bullets, and human bones. Of the three last, I took from one of these people, some painful specimens ; - some of the bullets were battered and misshaped, evincing that they had come into collision with opposing obstacles. Entire skeletons are occasionally found a man told me, that in ploughing, during the late summer, he turned one up; and it was not covered more than three inches with earth ; it lay on its side, and the arms were in the form of a bow; it was, probably, some solitary victim, that never was buried. Such are the memorials still existing, of these great military events; great, not so much on account of the numbers of the actors, as from the momentous interests at stake, and from the magnanimous efforts to which they gave origin.
I would not envy that man his state of feeling, who could visit such fields of battle without emotion, or who (being an American), could fail to indulge admiration and affection, for the soldiers and martyrs of liberty, and respect for the valor of their enemies.
GENERAL FRASER'S GRAVE
Having taken my guide home to breakfast, we made use of his knowledge of the country, to identify with certainty,t he place of General Fraser's interment.
General Burgoyne mentions two redoubts, that were thrown up, on the hills behind his hospital, they are both still very distinct, and in one of these, which is called the Great redoubt, by the officers of General Burgoyne's army. General Fraser was buried. It is true, it has been disputed, which is the redoubt in question, but our guide stated to us, that within his knowledge, a British sergeant, three or four years after the surrender of; Burgoyne's army, came, and pointed out the grave. We went to the spot, it is within the redoubt, on the top of the hill, nearest to the house, where the general died, and corresponds with the plate in Anbury's Travels, taken from an original drawing, made by Sir Francis Clarke, aid-de-camp to General Burgoyne, and with the statement of the general in his defence, as well as with the account of Madam Reidesel.
The place of the interment, was formerly designated, by a little fence, surrounding the grave. I was here in 1797, twenty-two years ago ; the grave was then distinctly visible.
* * * * *
On the present occasion, I did not visit the British fortified camp.1 When I was here in 1797, I examined
1 In May, 1821, I again visited this fortified camp, and found it as perfect as it was when I saw it nearly twenty-three years before, and almost every particular stated in the text was strictly applicable to it. It is about a mile from the river, and was certainly chosen with great good judgment, and had the American army attempted to take it by storm, it would evidently have cost them very dear. While at Ballston Springs during the late summer, some gentlemen of our party made an excursion to this place, and I learned from them, with extreme regret, that the plow was passing over the fortified camp of General Burgoyne, and that its fine parapet would soon be levelled, so that scarcely a trace of it would remain.
it particularly. It was then in perfect preservation (I speak of the encampment of the British troops, upon the hill, near the Fish kil), the parapet was high, and covered with grass and shrubs, and the platforms of earth, to support the field pieces, were still in good condition. No devastation, of any consequence, had been committed, except by the credulous, who had made numerous excavations in the breast works, and various parts of the encampment, for the purpose of discovering the money, which the officers were supposed to have buried, and abandoned. It is scarcely necessary to add, that they never found any money, for private' property was made sacred by the convention, and even the public military chest was not disturbed : the British retained every shilling that it contained. Under such circumstances, to have buried their money, would have been almost as great a folly, as the subsequent search for it. This infatuation, has not, however, gone by, even to this hour, and still, every year, new pits are excavated by the insatiable money diggers. 1
1 This appears to be a very common popular delusion , in many places on the Hudson, and about the lakes, where armies had lain, or moved, we found money pits dug; and in one place, they told us, that a man bought of a poor widow, the right of digging in her ground for the hidden treasure.
Were Professor Sllliman alive now (1877), he would find a stock company organized and in active operation for the purpose of digging on the lower Hudson for the treasures of Captain Kidd.- W. L. S.
THE FIELD OF SURRENDER.
We arrived at this interesting spot, in a very fine morning; the sun shone with great splendor, upon the flowing Hudson, and upon the beautiful heights, and the luxuriant meadows, now smiling in rich verdure, and exhibiting images of tranqullity and loveliness, very opposite to the horrors of war, which were once witnessed here.
The Fish kil, swollen by abundant rains (as it was on the morning of October loth, 1777, when General Burgoyne passed it with his artillery), now poured a turbid torrent along its narrow channel, and roaring down the declivity of the hills, hastened to mingle its waters with those of the Hudson.
We passed the ruins of General Schuyler's house, which are still conspicuous, and hastened to the field where the British troops grounded their arms. Although, in 1797, I paced it over injuvenile enthusiasm. 1 I felt scarcely less interested on the present occasion, and again walked over the whole tract. It is a beautiful meadow, situated at the intersection of the Fish kil, with the Hudson, and north of the former. There is nothing now to distinguish the spot, except the ruins of old Fort Hardy, built during the French wars, and the deeply interesting historical associations which will cause this place to be memorable to the latest generation. Thousands and thousands yet unborn, will visit Saratoga, with feelings of the deepest interest, and it will not be forgotten till Thermopylae, and Marathon, and Bannockburn and Waterloo, shall cease to be remembered. There it will be said, were the last entrenchments of a proud invading army ; on that spot stood their formidable park of artillery - and here, on this now peaceful meadow, they piled their arms! their arms no longer terrible, but now converted into a glorious trophy of victory !
REFLECTIONS AND REMARKS.
I have adverted but little to the sufferings of the American army, because but little, comparatively, is known of what they individually endured. Excepting
1 In company with the Hon. John Elliott, now a senator from Georgia, and John Wynn, Esq., from the same state.
the inevitable casualties of battle, they must have suffered much less than their enemies; for they soon ceased to be the flying, and became the attacking and triumphant party. Colonels Colburn, Adams, Francis, and many other brave officers and men, gave up their lives, as the price of their country's liberty, and very many carried away with them the scars produced by honorable wounds. The bravery of the American army was fully acknowledged by their adversaries.
" At all times," said Lord Balcarras, " when I was opposed to the rebels, they fought with great courage and obstinacy. We were taught by experience, that neither their attacks nor resistance was to be despised," Speaking of the retreat of the Americans, from Ticonderoga, and of their behavior at the battle of Hubberton, Lord Balcarras adds: "Circumstanced as the enemy were, as an army very hard pressed, in their retreat, they certainly behaved with great gallantry;" of the attack on the lines, on the evening of the 7th of October, he says: " The lines were attacked, and with as much fury, as the fire of small arms can admit,"
Lord Balcarras had said, that he never knew the Americans to defend their entrenchments, but added:- " The reason why they did not defend their entrenchments was, that they always marched out of them and attacked us." Captain Money, in answer to the question, whether on the 19th of September, the Americans disputed the field with obstinacy, answered, " They did, and the fire was much hotter than I ever knew it any where, except at the affair of Fort Anne," and speaking of the battle of October 7th, and of the moment when the Americans, with nothing but small arms, were marching up to the British artillery, he adds : " I was very much astonished, to hear the shot from the enemy, fly so thick, after our cannonade had lasted a quarter of an hour." General Burgoyne gives it as his opinion, that as rangers, " perhaps there are few better in the world, than the corps of Virginia riflemen which acted under Colonel Morgan." He says, speaking of the battle of September 19th, that, " few actions have been characterized by more obstinacy, in attack or defence. The British bayonet was repeatedly tried ineffectually."
Remarking upon the battle of the 7th of October, he observes : " If there be any persons who continue to doubt that the Americans possess the quality and faculty of fighting, call it by whatever term they please, they are of a prejudice, that it would be very absurd longer to contend with ;" he says, that in this action the British troops " retreated hard pressed, but in good order," and that " the troops had scarcely entered the camp, when it was stormed with great fury, the enemy rushing to the lines, under a severe fire of grape shot and small arms."
In a private letter, addressed to Lord George Germain, after the surrender, he says : " I should now hold myself unjustifiable, if I did not confide to your lordship, my opinion, upon a near inspection of the rebel troops. The standing corps that I have seen, are disciplined. I do not hazard the term, but apply it to the great fundamental points of military institution, sobriety, subordination, regularity, and courage."
It is very gratifying to every real American to find, that for so great a prize, his countrymen (their enemies themselves being judges), contended so nobly, and that their conduct for bravery, skill and humanity, will stand the scrutiny of all future ages.
From the enemy it becomes us not to withhold the commendation that is justly due ; all that skill and valor could effect, they accomplished, and they were overwhelmed at last by complicated distresses, and by very superior numbers, amounting at the time of the surrender, probably, to three for one, although the disparity was much less, in the two great battles.
The vaunting proclamation of General Burgoyne, at the commencement of the campaign ; some of his boasting letters, written during the progress of it, and his devastation of private property, reflect no honor on his memory. But, in general, he appears to have been a humane and honorable man, a scholar and a gentleman, a brave soldier and an able commander. Some of -his sentiments have a higher moral tone than is common with men of his profession, and have probably procured for him more respect, than all his battles. Speaking of the battle of the 7th, he says: " In the course of the action, a shot had passed through my hat, and another had torn my waistcoat. I should be sorry to be thought, at any time, insensible to the protecting hand of Providence , but I ever, more particularly considered (and I hope not superstitiously) a soldier's hair breadth escapes as incentives to duty, a marked renewal of the trust of being, for the purposes of a public station ; and under that reflection, to lose our fortitude, by giving way to our affections; to be divested by any possible self-emotion from meeting a present exigency, with our best faculties, were at once dishonor and impiety."
Thus have I adverted, I hope not with too much particularity, to some of the leading circumstances of the greatest military event which has ever occurred in America ; but compared with the whole extent and diversity of that campaign, the above notices, however extended, are few and brief. I confess, I have reviewed them with a very deep interest, and have been willing to hear some of the distinguished actors speak in their own language. Should the notice of these great events tend, in any instance, to quench the odious fires of party, and to rekindle those of genuine patriotism - should it revive in any one, a veneration for the virtues of those men who faced death, in every form, regardless of their own lives, and bent only on securing to posterity, the precious blessings, which we now enjoy; and above all, should we thus be led to cherish a higher sense of gratitude to Heaven, for our unexampled privileges, and to use them more temperately and wisely, the time occupied in this sketch, will not have been spent in vain. History presents no struggle for liberty which has in it more of the moral sublime than that of the American Revolution. It has been, of late years, too much forgotten, in the sharp contentions of party, and he who endeavors to withdraw the public mind from those debasing conflicts, and to fix it on the grandeur of that great epoch-which, magnificent in itself, begins now, to wear the solemn livery of antiquity, as it is viewed through the deepening twilight of half a century, certainly performs a meritorious service, and can scarcely need a justification. The generation that sustained the conflict, is now almost passed away ; a few hoary heads remain, seamed with honorable scars - a few experienced guides can still attend us to the fields of carnage, and point out the places where they and their companions fought and bled, and where sleep the bones of the slain. But these men will soon be gone; tradition and history, will, however, continue to recite their deeds, and the latest generations will be taught to venerate the defenders of our liberties-to visit the battle-grounds, which were moistened with their blood, and to thank the mighty God of battles, that the arduous conflict terminated in the entire establishment of the liberties of this country.
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