The Pictorial Field-Book
of The Revolution
by Benson J. Lossing
"The sultry summer past, September comes,
Soft twilight of the slow, declining year;
All mildness, soothing loneliness, and peace;
The fading season ere the falling come,
More sober than the buxom, blooming May,
And therefore less the favorite of the world,
But dearest month of all to pensive minds."
N the morning of the 12th of September I left New York on my SECOND TOUR. My chief destination was Wyoming, after a visit to a few noteworthy places in New Jersey, of which Morristown was the first. I was in Newark just in time to be too late for the morning train for Morristown. Newark is beautiful and eligible in location, and a thriving city; but it has only a few scraps of Revolutionary history, exclusively its own, for the entertainment of an inquirer. The village contained about one thousand inhabitants at that time. British, republicans, and Hessians were alternately billeted upon the people; and, being on the line of travel from New York to Brunswick and Trenton, its monotony was often broken by the passage of troops. Political parties were nearly balanced at the commencement of the war, and, when the Declaration of Independence was put forth, many of the Loyalists left the place and went to New York, among whom was the pastor of the Protestant Episcopal Church of Newark. It suffered much during the war from the visitations of regular troops of both armies, and of marauders. When Washington fled toward the Delaware, in November, 1776, his army (three thousand in number) encamped there from the 22d to the 28th. On that day Cornwallis entered the town with a pursuing force. Both armies were quartered upon the inhabitants. Cornwallis left a strong guard there, which remained until after the battle of Princeton. Foraging parties and plunderers kept the inhabitants in a state of continual alarm. On the night of the 25th of January, 1780, a party of five hundred of the enemy went from New York to Newark on the ice, burned the academy,(1) carried off an active "Whig named Hedden, and would doubtless have laid the town in ashes had not the light of a conflagration at Elizabethtown (the burning of the Presbyterian Church by another party, unknown to the first) alarmed them, and caused them to hasten back to New York. No other events of much general importance occurred there during the war. It seems to have been as famous in early times as now for its cider. Governor Carteret wrote, in a letter to the proprietors in 1682, "At Newark are made great quantities of cider, exceeding any we can have from New England, Rhode Island, or Long Island."
I left Newark for Morristown at two o'clock, by mil-road, through a beautifully-diversified region. The road passes above the upper verge of the sandy plains, through a very hilly country, and makes some broad curves in its way from Newark to Morristown, a distance, by the track, of about twenty-two miles. Springfield on the left and the Short Hills
1 In that building the collegiate school, now the College of New Jersey, seated at Princeton, was held, while under the charge of the Rev. Aaron Burr, the father of the Vice-president of the United States of that name. This school was instituted at Elizabethtown by Jonathan Dickinson, in 1746. He died the following year, and the students were sent to Newark, and placed under the charge of Mr. Burr, who thus became the second president of the institution. It continued at Newark eight years, and was then removed to Princeton.
on the right, places of note in our revolutionary history, were pointed out as we sped rapidly by, and, before memory could fairly summon the events which made them famous, we were at the station at Morristown, a quarter of a mile eastward of the village green. The town is pleasantly situated upon a table land, with steep slopes on two sides. On the west is a high ridge called Kimble's Mountain, two hundred and fifty feet above the town, its summit commanding a magnificent prospect of the adjacent country, and considerably resorted to during the summer. It was upon the southern slope of this mountain that the American army, under the immediate command of Washington, was encamped during the winter of 1779-80; and upon the same ridge (which terminates abruptly at the village), half a mile from the green, are the remains of Fort Nonsense. It was nearly sunset when I ascended the hill, accompanied by Mr. Vogt, the editor of one of the village papers. The embankments and ditches, and the remains of the block-houses of Fort Nonsense, are very prominent, and the form of the embryo fortification may be distinctly traced among the trees. Its name was derived from the fact that all the labor bestowed upon it was intended merely to counteract the demoralizing effects of idleness. The American army was comfortably hutted, and too remote and secure from the enemy to make camp duty at all active. Washington foresaw the evil tendency of idleness, and discreetly ordered the construction of a fort upon a hill overlooking the town. There was no intention to complete it, and when the winter encampment broke up in the spring the work was, of course, abandoned.
From the mountain we saw one of those gorgeous September sunsets
so often seen in thc Northern States, and so beautifully described by Wilcox:
"The sky, without the shadow of a cloud,
Throughout the west is kindled to a glow
So bright and broad, it glares upon the eye,
Not dazzling, but dilating, with calm force,
Its power of vision to admit the whole.
Below, 'tis all of richest orange dye;
Midway, the blushing of the mellow peach
Paints not, but tinges the ethereal deep;
And here, in this most lovely region, shines,
With added loveliness, the evening star.
Above, the fainter purple slowly fades,
Till changed into the azure of mid-heaven."
As the warm glow in the west faded, the eastern sky was radiant with the light of the full moon that came up over the hills, and under it we made our way along the sinuous mountain path down to the village. I spent the evening with the Honorable Gabriel Ford, who owns the fine mansion which was occupied by Washington as his head-quarters during the winter encampment there in 1779-80. It belonged to Judge Ford's mother, then a widow, himself being a boy about fourteen years old. His well-stored mind is still active, notwithstanding he is eighty-four years old, and he clearly remembers even the most trifling incidents of that encampment which came under his observation. He entertained me until a late hour with anecdotes and facts of interest, and then kindly invited me to pass the night under his hospitable roof, remarking, "You shall sleep in the room which General Washington and his lady occupied." That certainly was the proffer of a rare privilege, and I tarried till morning. Before making further notes of a personal character, let us look at the history.
Morristown was twice the place of a winter encampment of the division of the American army under the personal command of Washington. The first time was in 1777, after his brilliant achievements at Trenton, and the battle of Princeton. When the fortieth and fifty-fifth British regiments, which Washington encountered in that battle, fled, he pursued them as far as. Kingston, where he had the bridge taken up, and, turning short to the left, crossed the Millstone River twice, and arrived at Pluckemin the same evening. It had been his intention to march to New Brunswick, to capture British stores deposited there; but his troops were so exhausted, not having slept for thirty-six hours, and Cornwallis was
so near, that he abandoned the design and advanced to Morristown, where he went into winter quarters. He had achieved much, far more than the most sanguine patriot hoped for. At the very moment when his army appeared upon the verge of dissolution, and retreating from town to town, he struck a blow so full of strength that it paralyzed the enemy, broke up the British line of cantonments upon the Delaware, and made Cornwallis turn his eyes back wistfully to more secure quarters at New York, under the wing of General Howe, the British commander-in-chief. Nor did Washington sit down quietly at Morristown. He had established cantonments at various points from Princeton on the right, under the control of General Putnam, to the Hudson Highlands on the left, at which post General Heath was still in command, having been left there when the American army fled from Fort Lee, on the Hudson, to the Delaware, the previous autumn. He was in the midst of hills and a fertile country teeming with abundance, but he did not trust to the strong barriers of nature for his protection. Weak and poorly clad as was his army, he sent out detachments to harass the British, and with such spirit were those expeditions conducted, that, on or before the 1st of March, not a British or Hessian soldier remained in the Jerseys, except at New Brunswick and Amboy. Under the circumstances, it was a splendid triumph, and greatly inspirited the friends of the republican cause. The martial spirit of the people seemed to revive, and it was thought that the thinned battalions of the army would be speedily replenished. New courage was infused into the Continental Congress, the members of which, alarmed at the rapid approach of the British to Philadelphia, then the national metropolis, had fled to Baltimore, and held their sittings there.
The American army was encamped in log huts at Morristown, and Washington's headquarters were at the old Freeman Tavern, which stood on the north side of the village green. In the Morris Hotel, a building then used as a commissary's store-house, the chief often participated in the rites of Free-masonry, in a room over the bar, which was reserved for a ball-room and for the meetings of the Masonic Lodge. There he conferred the degrees of the Order upon his companions-in-arms, and his warm attachment to the institution lasted until his death.
Some writers assert that, toward the close of January, the small-pox broke out violently in the American camp, and that Washington resorted to a general inoculation (1777.) of the army to stay its fatal progress. As Dr. Thacher, who performed this service in the camp in the Highlands, opposite West Point, at a later period, does not mention the circumstance in his Journal, and as cotemporary writers are silent on the subject, it was reasonable to conclude that such an event did not occur at Morristown. But Dr. Eneas Munson, one of Dr. Thacher's assistants, and still living in New Haven, has settled the question. I wrote to him upon the subject, inquiring also whether vaccination was ever substituted for inoculation during the Revolution. It was during the preceding year that Jenner, a young English surgeon, had made his famous discovery of the efficacy of vaccination.(1) It had attracted the attention of Washington, for the soldiers of the Northern army had suffered terribly from the disease in Canada during the spring of 1776, and one of the most promising officers of the Continental army (General Thomas) had fallen a victim to the loathsome malady. Dr. Munson kindly answered my letter, as follows, under date of November 1st, 1849 : "In reply to your inquiries of the 30th ult., I can say that vaccination was not practiced
1 Edward Jenner, who was born in 1749, had his attention turned to the subject of vaccination at about the beginning of 1776, by the circumstance of finding that those who had been affected by the cow-pox, or kine-pox, as it is popularly called, had become incapable of receiving the variolous infection. Inoculation, or the insertion of the virus of the common small-pox, had long been practiced. It was introduced into general notice by Lady Mary Wortley Montague in 1721, whose son was inoculated at Constantinople, and whose daughter was the first to undergo the operation in England. It was reserved for Jenner to discover the efficacy and introduce the practice of vaccination, or the introduction of the virus of the cow-pox, more than fifty years afterward. It was first introduced into the British capital in 1796, but met with great hostility on the part of the medical faculty. The triumph of Jenner was finally complete, and his fame is world wide. Oxford presented him with a diploma, the Royal Society admitted him as a member, and the British Parliament voted him $100,000.
generally, nor at all, to my knowledge, in the American army of the Revolution. At Morristown there was a partial inoculation, but it was not general there. At the Highlands, opposite West Point, it (inoculation) was general, and I assisted in it professionally.(1) Vaccination was practiced by my father one year after the close of the war of the Revolution."(2) This is unquestionable authority.
When the British entered New Jersey, the proclamation of the brothers Howe, offering a free pardon to all rebels who should lay down their arms, and full and ample protection of person and property to those who should take an oath of allegiance to the British crown, was freely circulated.(3) This proclamation was received by the people while the American army was flying before the Britons, and general despondency was crushing every hope for the success of the patriot cause. Its effect was, therefore, powerful and instantaneous, and hundreds, whose sympathies were with the Americans, timid and hopeless, accepted the protection upon the prescribed terms. They generally remained in their houses while the belligerent armies were in motion. But they soon found their hopes cruelly disappointed, and those who should have been their protectors became their worst oppressors. The Hessians, in particular, being entirely mercenary, and influenced by no feelings of sympathy, plundered, burned, and destroyed every thing that came in their way, without discriminating between friend and foe. The people of all parties were insulted and abused in their own houses, their dwellings were rifled, their women were oftentimes ravished by the brutal soldiers, and neither smiling infancy nor decrepit age possessed immunity from their outrages. The British soldiery sometimes participated in these crimes, and upon the British government properly rested the guilt, for the Hessians were its hired fighting machines, hired contrary to the solemn protests and earnest negative pleadings of the best friends of England in its national legislature. But these enormities proved favorable to the republican cause. Those who had received paper protections regarded Sir William Howe as a perjured tool of oppression, and the loyalty of vast numbers of the disaffected and lukewarm, that burned so brightly when recording their oaths of allegiance, was suddenly extinguished, and their sad hearts, touched by the persuasions of self-interest, felt a glow of interested patriotism. Washington January 25, took advantage of this state of feeling, and issued a counter proclamation,(1777.) commanding all persons who had received protections from the British commissioners to repair to head-quarters, or to some general officer of the army, to deliver up such protections, and take an oath of allegiance to the United States. It nevertheless granted full liberty to all such as preferred "the interests and protection of Great Britain to the freedom and happiness of their country, forthwith to withdraw themselves and their families within the enemy's lines." The reasonable time of thirty days was allowed the inhabitants to comply with these requisitions,' after which those who remained, and refused to give up their protections, were to be regarded and treated as adherents to the king and enemies of the United States.
1 In his Military Journal, p. 250, Dr. Thacher,
alluding to the inoculation in the Highlands, says, "All the soldiers,
with the women and children, who have not had the small-pox, are now under
inoculation. . . . . . . Of five hundred who have been inoculated here, four
only have died." He mentions a fact of interest connected with the medical
treatment of the patients. It was then customary to prepare the system for
inoculation, by doses of calomel and jalap. An extract of butternut,
made by boiling down the inner bark of the tree, was substituted, and found
to be more efficacious and less dangerous than the mineral drug. Dr. Thacher
considered it "a valuable acquisition to the materia medica."
2 Dr. Munson's father was an eminent physician, and was for many years the President of the Medical Society of Connecticut. He was a native of New Haven, graduated at Yale College in 1753, and, having been a tutor, he was a chaplain in the army on Long Island in 1775. He died at New Haven in 1826, aged nearly ninety-two years. He was a practicing physician seventy years. Being a man of piety, he often administered medicine to the mind, by kneeling at the bed-side of his patients and commending them to God in prayer.
3 General Sir William Howe, the commander-in-chief of the British forces in America, and his brother Richard, Earl Howe, the admiral of the fleet on our coast, were appointed by Parliament commissioners to negotiate for peace with the American Congress, or to prosecute the war, as events might determine. They issued a circular letter to all the royal governors, and a proclamation to the people, offering pardon and protection. This commission will be considered hereafter.
Notwithstanding Washington had been vested by Congress with the power December 27, of a military dictator, and the wisdom and equity of the proclamation were not 1776.
questioned, the Legislature of New Jersey regarded it as an infringement upon state rights; that political stumbling-block in the progress of the Revolution; and even members of the Continental Congress censured the commander-in-chief. The former claimed that each state possessed the exclusive power of requiring such an oath, and the latter deemed the oath absurd when the states were not legally confederated, and such a thing as "United States" did not exist. But Washington, conscious of the necessity and wisdom of his course, did not heed these foolish murmurs. His plan worked admirably, and hundreds flocked to the proper officers to give up their British protections. The state was purged of the most inimical Tories, and the ranks of the army were so rapidly filled by volunteers and new recruits, that, when the campaign opened in June, his force, which numbered about eight thousand men when he left his head-quarters at Morristown, toward the close I,If May, for Middlebrook (a strong position, twelve miles from the British camp at New Brunswick), had swelled to fourteen thousand. He had previously written to the republican governors of the several states, urging them to adopt prompt and efficient co-operative measures, by raising recruits and filling up the broken regiments. He also wrote stirring appeals to Congress, but that body, acting under powers undefined, and swayed by the jealousies of the several states represented therein, was tardy and inefficient in its action. He was obliged, in his public declarations, to magnify the strength of his army, in order to encourage the desponding people and awe the enemy; and this justifiable deception made his appeals less effective, for the necessity did not seem so great as represented. These were trying circumstances for the commander-in-chief, but his stout heart did not despond, and his hopeful spirit saw brighter prospects in the future.
Morristown was again the head-quarters of Washington during the winter of 1779-80. The campaigns for the season had been fruitless of very favorable results to either party. The war had been carried on chiefly at the extreme south, and in the vicinity of New York city, at the north. Toward the close of the year, Sir Henry Clinton, who had succeeded Sir William Howe in the chief command, sailed from New York for Charleston, and the main body of the American army went into winter quarters near Morristown. They remained
1 This view is from the forks of the road, directly in front of the mansion. The house is of brick, covered with planks, and painted white. The rooms are large and well finished, and it was a fine mansion for the times.
in tents until the 14th of February, when log huts were completed for their use. Strong detachments were stationed at West Point and other posts near the Hudson, and the American cavalry were cantoned in the western part of Connecticut. Washington, as we have noted, made his head-quarters at the residence of the widow of Colonel Jacob Ford, who had commanded a regiment of Morris county militia during Washington's retreat through New Jersey. It is situated nearly three fourths of a mile east of the village green, on the Newark and Morristown turnpike. The general and his suite occupied the whole of the large building, except two rooms on the eastern side of the main passage, which were reserved for Mrs. Ford and her family. The lower front room, on the left of the door, was his dining-room, and the apartment immediately over it was his sleeping-room while Mrs. Washington was at head-quarters. He had two log additions made to the house, one for a kitchen, on the east end, and the other, on the west end, was used as the offices of Washington, Hamilton, and Tilghman. In the meadow, a few rods southeast of the dwelling, about fifty log huts were erected for the accommodation of the life-guard, which consisted of two hundred and fifty men, under General William Colfax. In that meadow Count Pulaski exercised his legion of cavalry, and his dexterous movements were the wonder and emulation of the officers, many of whom were considerably injured in attempts to imitate his feats.(1)
The main body of the army, as we have noticed, was encamped upon the southern slope of Kimble's Mountain, beginning about two miles from head-quarters, and extending several miles westward. They were sufficiently near to be called into service instantly, if necessary During the winter many false alarms occurred, which set the whole camp in motion. Sentinels were placed at intervals between the camp and head-quarters, and pickets were planted at distant points toward the Raritan and the Hudson, with intervening sentinels. Sometimes an alarm would begin by the firing of a gun at a remote point. This would be answered by discharges along the whole line of sentinels to the head-quarters and to the camp. The life-guard would immediately rush to the house of the general, barricade the doors, and throw up the windows. Five soldiers, with their muskets cocked and brought to a charge, were generally placed at each window, and there they would remain until the troops from the camp marched to head-quarters, and the cause of the alarm was ascertained. It was frequently the case that the attempts of some young suitor, who had been sparking until a late hour, and attempted to pass a sentinel without giving the countersign, caused the discharge of a musket, and the commotion in the camp. These occasions were very annoying to the ladies of the household, for both Mrs. Washington and Mrs. Ford were obliged to lie in bed, sometimes for hours, with their rooms full of soldiers, and the keen winter air from the open windows piercing through their drawn curtains.
The winter of 1780 was one of uncommon severity, and the troops suffered dreadfully from a lack of provisions, clothing, and shelter.(2) The snow fell in great quantities, and the
1 It is related that, among other feats, that
daring horseman would sometimes, while his steed was under full gallop, discharge
his pistol, throw it in the air, catch it by the barrel, and then hurl it
in front as if at an enemy. Without checking the speed of his horse, he would
take one foot from the stirrup, and, bending over toward the ground, recover
his pistol, and wheel into line with as much precision as if he had been engaged
in nothing but the management of the animal.
2 Dr. Thacher, in his "Military Journal," p. 181, says, "The sufferings of the poor soldiers can scarcely be described; while on duty they are unavoidably exposed to all the inclemency of storms and severe cold, at night they now have a bed of straw upon the ground, and a single blanket to each man; they are badly clad, and some are destitute of shoes. We have contrived a kind of stone chimney outside, and an opening at one end of our tents gives us the benefit of the fire within. The snow is now [January 6th, 1780] from four to six feet deep, which so obstructs the roads as to prevent our receiving a supply of provisions. For the last ten days we have received but two pounds of meat a mail, and we are frequently for six or eight days entirely destitute of meat, and then as long without bread. The consequence is, the soldiers are so enfeebled from hunger and cold as to be almost unable to perform their military duty, or labor in constructing their huts. It is well known that General Washington experiences the greatest solicitude for the suffering of his army, and is sensible that they, in general, conduct with heroic patience and fortitude." Ia a private letter to a friend, Washington said, "We have had the virtue and patience of the army put to the severest trial. Sometimes it has been five or six days together without bread, at other times as many with-out
channels of transportation for provisions being closed, Washington found it necessary to levy contributions upon the inhabitants in neighboring towns. He applied to the magistrates for aid, apprehending some difficulty in the exercise of his power, but the people cheerfully complied with his requisitions, and the pressing wants of the army were supplied. The chief was greatly annoyed by complaints of frequent thefts committed by his soldiers; but such was the force of the first law of nature-self-preservation-when the commissariat was empty, that the severest punishments did not deter them from stealing sheep, hogs, and poultry. Repeated warnings were given to the army, in general orders and otherwise, against the marauding practice, yet many suffered the inflictions of the lash, and in some cases of robbery the death penalty was incurred.(1)
In January, Major-general Lord Sterling, with about fifteen hundred men in sleighs, set off at night on a secret expedition, ostensibly to procure provisions, but really to (1780.) attack the enemy in their quarters on Staten Island. They passed over on the ice from Elizabethtown about midnight. It was a starry night, and the weather was extremely cold. The enemy had notice of their approach, and the object of the expedition was defeated. They captured some blankets and stores, and then returned to camp about daylight. The snow was three feet deep on the ground, and so excessive was the cold, that five hundred of the party were more or less frozen.(2) A retaliating movement was made soon afterward by the enemy. A party attacked the American picket guard, and carried (January 27, 1780.) off a major and forty men. Two or three enterprises of a like nature were all that varied the monotonous round of duties until the arrival at head-quarters of the Chevalier de Luzerne, the minister from the French government. He succeeded M. Gerard, the (April 19.) first minister sent to the insurgent colonies from France, and had arrived in Philadelphia the September previous. He was an accomplished and highly honorable gentleman, and was received with much regard by the commander-in-chief. Don Juan de Miralles, a distinguished Spaniard, accompanied him; and during their visits the military education which Baron Steuben, the celebrated tactician, had imparted to the army was several times displayed in reviews and difficult evolutions. Luzerne remained some time at head-quarters. and a ball, which was attended by Washington and his lady, all his officers, Governor Livingston and his lady, and many other distinguished persons, was given in his honor, at the Morris Hotel. Miralles, in the meanwhile, was seized, at head-quarters, with a pulmonic fever, and died on the 28th. The religious ceremonies of the funeral were conducted by a Spanish Catholic priest, and the body was interred with great pomp in the common burying ground near the church in Morristown.(3) A guard of soldiers was placed near the grave, to
meat, and once or twice two or three days at
a time without either. . . . . . . . . At one time the soldiers eat every
kind of horse food but hay. Buckwheat, common wheat, rye, and Indian corn
composed the meal which made their bread. As an army, they bore it with the
most heroic patience; but sufferings like these, accompanied by the want of
clothes, blankets, &c., will produce frequent desertions in all armies;
and so it happened with us, though it did not excite a single mutiny."
1 Dr. Thacher says (Military Journal, p. 182) that whipping with knotted cords, which often cut through the flesh at every blow, applied to the bare back, was the most common punishment. The drummers and fifers were made the executioners, and it was the duty of the drum major to see that the chastisement was well performed. The soldiers adopted a method which they said somewhat mitigated the anguish of the lash. They put a leaden bullet between their teeth, and bit on it while the punishment was in progress. They would thus often receive fifty lashes without uttering a groan or hardly wincing.
2 So intense was the cold that winter that New York Bay was thickly frozen over, and large bodies of troops, with heavy cannons, were transported on the ice, from New York city to Staten Island, a distance of nine miles.
3 Dr. Thacher has left a record of the burial"The deceased," he says (page 188), "had been about one year a resident with our Congress, from the Spanish court. The corpse was dressed in rich state, and exposed to public view, as is customary in Europe. The coffin was most splendid and stately, lined throughout with fine cambric, and covered on the outside with rich black velvet, ornamented in a superb manner. The top of the coffin was removed, to display the pomp and grandeur with which the body was decorated. It was in a splendid full dress, consisting of a scarlet suit embroidered with rich gold lace, a three-cornered gold-laced hat, and a genteel cued wig, white silk stockings, large diamond shoe and knee buckles; a profusion of diamond rings decorated the fingers, and from a superb gold watch, set with diamonds, several
prevent its desecration in search of hidden treasure, until the body could be removed to Philadelphia.
Morristown was the scene of the only serious and decided mutiny in the American army during the Revolution. It occurred on the 1st of January, 1781. The whole movement, when all the circumstances are taken into account, should not be execrated as a military rebellion, for, if ever there was just cause for men to lift up their strength against authority, those mutineers possessed it. They had suffered every privation during a long, and, in many respects, disastrous campaign, and not a ray of hope appeared in the gloomy future. Their small stipend of money was paid irregularly, sometimes not at all, and generally in Continental bills, which were every day becoming more valueless. The frequent promises of Congress had as frequently been unfulfilled, and the illiberal interpretations which the officers gave to the expressed terms of the enlistment of the soldiers produced great dissatisfaction. It was stipulated in those terms that they (the soldiers of the Pennsylvania line, who revolted) should. serve for three years, or during the war. The soldiers interpreted these words to mean that they should be entitled to a discharge at the end of three years, or sooner, if the war should terminate. This was doubtless the spirit of the agreement, but the officers read it otherwise, and claimed their service until the conclusion of the war, however long that time might be. This was the principal cause of dissatisfaction, and a quarrel with the officers led to open rebellion.
The Pennsylvania line at that time consisted of about two thousand men, and was stationed at the old camp-ground near Morristown. The three years' enlistment had expired with most of them. A bounty of three half joes (about twenty-five dollars) had been offered to new recruits, while the pay of these veterans of three years' service was not increased. There was still due them their pay for twelve months, and nakedness and famine were their daily companions. The officers had murmured somewhat, and the soldiers, hearing the whisperings of complaint, took courage and spoke out boldly. They appointed a sergeant major their commander, styling him major general; and in the evening of the 1st of (1781.) January, on a preconcerted signal, the whole line, except a part of three regiments, paraded under arms without officers, marched to the magazines, supplied themselves with provisions and ammunition, and, seizing six field pieces, took horses from General Wayne's stables to transport them. The officers of the line collected those who had not joined the insurgents, and endeavored to restore order, but some of the revolters fired, killing a Captain Billings and wounding several others. The mutineers then ordered the minority to come over to their side immediately, or suffer destruction by the bayonet, and the command was obeyed.
General Wayne was in command of the Pennsylvania troops, and was much beloved by them. He exerted all his influence, by threats and persuasions, to bring them back to duty until their grievances should be redressed. They would not listen to his remonstrances, and, on his cocking his pistol, they presented their bayonets to his breast, saying, "We respect and love you; often have you led us into the field of battle, but we are no longer under your command; we warn you to be on your guard; if you fire your pistol, or attempt to enforce your commands, we shall put you instantly to death." Wayne appealed to their patriotism; they pointed to the impositions of Congress. He reminded them of the strength their conduct would give to the enemy; they exhibited their tattered garments and emaciated forms. They avowed their willingness to support the cause of freedom, for it was dear to
rich seals were suspended. His excellency, General Washington, with several other general officers and members of Congress, attended the funeral solemnities, and walked as chief mourners. The other officers of the army, and numerous respectable citizens, formed a splendid procession, extending about a mile. The pall-bearers were six field officers, and the coffin was borne on the shoulders of four officers of artillery, in full uniform. Minute guns were fired during the procession, which greatly increased the solemnity of the occasion." Dr. Thacher adds, "This gentleman is said to have been in possession of an immense fortune, and has left to his three daughters, in Spain, one hundred thousand pounds sterling (half a million of dollars) each. Here we behold the end of all earthly riches, pomp, and dignity. The ashes of Don Miralles mingle with the remains of those who are clothed in humble shrouds, and whose career in life was marked by sordid poverty and wretchedness."
their hearts, if adequate provision could be made for their comfort, and declared their intention to march directly to Philadelphia, and demand from Congress a redress of their grievances. Finding threats and persuasion useless, Wayne resolved upon a line of policy that proved effective. He supplied them with provisions, and, with Colonels Stewart and Butler, officers whom they greatly respected, marched with them to prevent their depredating upon the inhabitants, and to draw from their leaders a statement of their claims and wishes. They reached Princeton on the 3d, and there a committee of sergeants submitted to Wayne, in writing, the following demands: First, a discharge for all those, without exception, who had served three years under their original engagements, and not received the increased bounty and re-enlisted for the war. Second, an immediate payment of all arrears of pay and clothing, both to those who should be discharged and those who should be retained. Third, the residue of their bounty, to put them on an equal footing with the recently enlisted, and future substantial pay to those who should remain in the service. General Wayne was not authorized to promise a full acquiescence in their demands, and further negotiations were referred to the civil authority of the state of Pennsylvania.
Intelligence of this revolt reached Washington and Sir Henry Clinton on the (January 3, 1781.) same day. The head-quarters of the former were at New Windsor, on the Hudson, just above the Highlands; of the latter, in the city of New York. Washington called a council of war, and, as the extent of the disaffection was unknown, it was determined to have one thousand men, drafts from the several regiments in the Highlands, held in readiness to march at a moment's notice, to -quell the rebellion, if called upon. The council heartily approved of the course pursued by General Wayne; and Washington, whose patience had often been severely tried by the tardy movements of Congress, was willing to have that body aroused to activity by circumstances which should demand immediate and undivided attention. Sir Henry Clinton, mistaking the spirit of the mutineers, thought to gain great advantage by the event. He dispatched two emissaries, a British sergeant, and a New Jersey Tory named Ogden, to the insurgents, with the written offer that, on laying down their arms and marching to New York, they should receive their arrearages, and the amount of the depreciation of the Continental currency, in hard cash; that they should be well clothed, have a free pardon for all past offenses, and be taken under the protection of the British government; and that no military service should be required of them, unless voluntarily offered. Sir Henry requested them to appoint agents to treat with his and adjust the terms of a treaty; and, not doubting the success of his plans, he went to Staten Island himself, with a large body of troops, to act as circumstances might require. Like his masters at home, he entirely misapprehended the spirit and the incentives to action of the American soldiers. They were not mercenary-not soldiers by profession, fighting merely for hire. The protection of their homes, their wives and little ones, and the defense of holy principles, which their general intelligence understood and appreciated, formed the motive power and the bond of union of the American army, and the soldier's money stipend was the least attractive of all the inducements which urged him to take up arms. Yet, as it was necessary to his comfort, and even his existence, the want of it afforded a just pretext for the assumption of powers delegated to a few. The mutiny was a democratic movement; and, while the patriot felt justified in using his weapons to redress grievances, he still looked with horror upon the armed oppressors of his country, and regarded the act and stain of treason, under any circumstances, as worse than the infliction of death. Clinton's proposals were, therefore, rejected with disdain. "See, comrades," said one of the leaders, "he takes us for traitors. Let us show him that the American army can furnish but one Arnold, and that America has no truer friends than we." They immediately seized the emissaries, who, being delivered, with Clinton's papers, into the hands of Wayne, were tried and executed as spies, and the reward which had been offered for their apprehension was
1 When they were delivered up, the insurgents stipulated that they should not be executed until their own affairs were compromised, and, in case of failure, that the prisoners should be delivered when demanded.
tendered to the mutineers who seized them. They sealed the pledge of their patriotism by nobly refusing it, saying, "Necessity wrung from us the act of demanding justice from Congress, but we desire no reward for doing our duty to our bleeding country!"
Congress appointed a commissioner to confer with the insurgent troops at Princeton. The result was, a compliance with their just demands, and the disbanding of a large part of the Pennsylvania line for the winter, which was filled by new recruits in the spring. Thus "terminated," as Thacher remarks, "a most unfortunate transaction, which might have been prevented had the just complaints of the army received proper attention in due season."
The wisdom of Washington's precaution in having a thousand men ready for sudden marching orders was soon demonstrated. About the middle of January a portion of the New Jersey line, cantoned at Pompton,(1) followed the example of the Pennsylvania mutineers, and revolted. The chief resolved not to temporize with them, and ordered a detachment of five hundred men, under Major-general Robert Howe, to reduce them to subordination. Howe reached their encampment, after a fatiguing march of four days through (1781.) deep snow, on the 27th of January. His troops were well armed, and, parading them in line, he ordered the insurgents to appear in front of their huts, unarmed, within five minutes. They hesitated, but a second order, as promptly given, made them obedient. Three of the ringleaders were tried and condemned to be executed on the spot. Two of them were shot, and their executioners were twelve of the most prominent of their guilty associates. The other one, less guilty, was pardoned. Their punishment was quick and terrible, and never were men more humble and submissive than were the remainder of the insurgents. General Howe then addressed them effectively, by platoons, and ordered their officers, whom the mutineers had discarded, to resume their respective commands. The hopes of Sir Henry Clinton had been again excited, but the emissary whom he sent to the revolted troops, hearing of the fate of the others, played false to his master, by going directly to Howe and delivering the papers into his hands. Revolt, that followed so closely upon Arnold's treason a few months before, was thus effectually nipped in the bud.
I have said that I spent an evening at Morristown with Judge Ford, the proprietor of the head-quarters of Washington. I look back upon the conversation of that evening with much pleasure, for the venerable octogenarian entertained me until a late hour with many pleasing anecdotes illustrative of the social condition of the army, and of the private character of the commander-in-chief. As an example of Washington's careful attention to small matters, and his sense of justice, he mentioned the fact that, when he took up his residence with his (Ford's) mother, he made an inventory of all articles which were appropriated to his use during the winter. When he withdrew in the spring, he inquired of Mrs. Ford whether every thing had been returned to her. "All but one silver table-spoon." she answered. He took note of it, and not long afterward she received from him a spoon bearing his initials, G. W. That spoon is preserved as a precious relic in the family. His tender care for the comfort of Mrs. Ford was often evinced. On the occasions when the alarms, which we have noticed, were given, he always went to her room, drew the curtains close; and soothed her by assurances of safety. And when her son, a lad of seventeen, was brought home from the Springfield battle, seriously wounded, his first care in the morning was to inquire after the sufferer.(2) Washington's moral and religious feelings were never blunted by
1 Pompton is a small town upon a fertile plain on the Pompton
River, in Pequannock county.
2 The wounded lad recovered, and afterward became a distinguished lawyer in a southern city. A remarkable instance of Washington's remembrance of persons was related to me, as having occurred in connection with the wounded boy. Many years afterward, when success had crowned his professional industry with wealth, and two daughters had nearly reached womanhood, he was returning south with them in his carriage, after a visit to his friends at Morristown, and stopped at Mount Vernon to see the retired chief. Reasonably concluding that Washington had forgotten the boy of 1780, he had procured a letter of introduction. When he drove up to Mount Vernon, Washington was walking upon the piazza. He went to the carriage, and as the servant of Mr. Ford threw open the door, and he stepped out, the general extended his hand, and said, with all the confidence of a recent acquaintance, "How do you do, Mr. Ford?" Eighteen years had elapsed since Washington had seen his face, and the boy had grown to mature manhood.
the influences of the camp. While at Morristown, he observed that gambling was frequent among the officers and soldiers. This growing vice he arrested by prohibition and threats of punishment, put forth in general orders. It is related that he called upon the Rev. Dr. Jones, the pastor of the Presbyterian Church of Morristown, on learning that the communion service was to be observed in his church on the following Sabbath, and inquired whether communicants of another denomination were permitted to join with them. The doctor replied, "Most certainly; ours is not the Presbyterian's table, general, but the Lord's; and hence we give the Lord's invitation to all his followers, of whatever name." " I am glad of it," said the general; "that is as it ought to be; but, as I was not quite sure of the fact, I thought I would ascertain it from yourself, as I propose to join with you on that occasion. Though a member of the Church of England, I have no exclusive partialities." Washington was at the communion table on the following Sabbath.
General Schuyler was with Washington during the winter of 1780. His head-quarters were at a house (still standing) a few rods eastward of the rail-way station. A portion of his family was with him, among whom was his daughter Elizabeth, a charming girl, about twenty-two years of age. Colonel Alexander Hamilton, who was Washington's aid and military secretary, was smitten with her charms and accomplishments, and his evenings were usually spent with her at her father's quarters. Mr. Ford, then a lad, was a favorite with Hamilton, and, by permission of the chief, the colonel would give him the countersign, so as to allow him to play at the village after the sentinels were posted for the night. On one occasion he was returning home, about nine o'clock in the evening, and had passed the sentinel, when he recognized the voice of Hamilton in a reply to the soldier's demand of " Who comes there?" He stepped aside, and waited for the colonel to accompany him to the house. Hamilton came up to the point of the presented bayonet of the sentinel to give the countersign, but he had quite forgotten it. " He had spent the evening," said Judge Ford, who related the anecdote to me, "with Miss Schuyler, and thoughts of her undoubtedly expelled the countersign from his head." The soldier lover was embarrassed, and the sentinel, who knew him well, was stern in the performance of his duty. Hamilton pressed his hand upon his forehead, and tried hard to summon the cabalistic words from their hiding-place, but, like the faithful sentinel, they were immovable. Just then he recognized young Ford in the gloom. "Ay, Master Ford, is that you?" he said, in an undertone; and, stepping aside, he called the lad to him, drew his ear to his mouth, and whispered, " Give me the countersign." He did so, and Hamilton, stepping in front of the soldier, delivered it. The sentinel, seeing the movement, and believing that his superior was testing his fidelity, kept his bayonet unmoved. " I have given you the countersign; why do you not shoulder your musket?" asked Hamilton. " Will that do, colonel?" asked the soldier, in reply. "It will for this time," said Hamilton; "let me pass." The soldier reluctantly obeyed the illegal command, and Hamilton and his young companion reached headquarters without further difficulty. Colonel Hamilton afterward married Miss Schuyler. She still survives him (1849), and at the age of ninety-two years is the attractive center of a circle of devoted friends at Washington city, her present place of residence.
I passed the night under the hospitable roof of Judge Ford, and in. the room which Washington and his lady had occupied. The carpet upon the floor, dark and of a rich pattern, is the same that was pressed by the feet of the venerated chief nearly seventy years ago; and in an apartment below were a looking-glass, secretary, and book-case that formed a portion of the furniture of the house at that time. (1) The room fronts south, and, the sky being
1 Since my interesting visit, Judge Ford has been taken from among the living, and these relics will
(September 12,1848.) perfectly clear, I had a fine view, from the window, of an almost total eclipse of the moon, which occurred at about midnight. .As from that interesting observatory I watched the progress of the obscuration, and then the gradual enlightenment of the satellite, it appeared to me a most significant emblem of the political condition of America, and the cause of the patriots, at the time when, from the same window, Washington, with anxious eye, had doubtless gazed upon the same moon in its silent path-way among the stars. It was the gloomiest period of the war. For many months the bright prospects of the patriots were passing deeper and deeper within the penumbra of British power and oppression, and, at the beginning of 1780. only a faint curve of light was seen upon the disk of hope; the eclipse was almost total. Financial embarrassment was the chief bane of the patriots, and the expected antidote of rebellion for the Loyalists and the king. Let us here take a brief view of the financial affairs of the Revolutionary government.
When the Continental army was organized, in June, 1775, and other methods of defense were adopted by the General Congress, the necessity for providing pecuniary means for defraying the expenses, demanded and received the most serious attention of the delegates. The colonies, deprived, in a great measure, of all commercial intercourse with other parts of the world, by the unwise and oppressive policy of the mother country, a paper medium seemed to be their only resource. It was a blessing at the beginning, but proved a curse in the end. To place it upon a footing that should command the public confidence, and to secure it from depreciation, was important and difficult. The New York Convention, foreseeing the necessity of such a measure, had already considered the subject, and a committee of that body had reported suggestions a few weeks previously. They proposed three distinct modes of issuing paper money. First, that each colony should issue, for itself, the sum which might be appropriated to it by Congress. Second, that the united colonies should issue the whole sum necessary, and each colony become bound to sink its proportionable part; and, third, that Congress should issue the whole sum, every colony be bound to discharge its proportion, and the united colonies be obliged to pay that part which any colony should fail to discharge. The convention preferred the last mode, as affording higher security to those who should receive the paper, and, of consequence, as likely to obtain more ready, general, and confidential circulation. It was also believed that it would be an additional bond of union to the associated colonies.(1)
The Continental Congress adopted, substantially, the last proposition, and, in the course of the session of 1775, three millions of dollars were issued in bills of credit, and the faith of the confederated colonies was pledged for their redemption.(2) This sum was appropriated
doubtless lose their value, by being separated and distributed
among the family. I have preserved drawings of the articles here named.
Judge Ford expressed his surprise that the mirror was not demolished, for
the room in which it hung was occupied, at one time, by some of the subalterns
of the Pennsylvania line, who were sons of some of the leading men of that
state-gentlemen by birth, but rowdies in practice. They injured the room
very much by their nightly carousals, but the mirror escaped their rough
1 Pitkin, i., 347. Records of the New York Convention.
2 The resolution providing for the first emission of bills was adopted on the 22d of June, 1775, and was as follows: "Resolved, That a sum not exceeding two millions of Spanish milled dollars be emitted by the Congress in bills of credit, for the defense of America." On the next day the committee appointed for the occasion reported and offered resolutions (which were adopted) as follows: "Resolved, That the number and denomination of the bills to be emitted be as follows:
among the colonies according to the supposed number of the inhabitants, including negroes and mulattoes. and each colony was to pay its proportion, in four equal annual payments, the
first by the last of November, 1779, and the fourth by the last of November, 1782. The several Colonial Conventions were to provide, by taxes, for sinking their proportion of the bills, and the bills themselves were to be received in payment for such taxes. Two general treasurers were appointed, and it was recommended to each colony to appoint a treasurer. The amount of the first emission was two millions of dollars.
"Resolved, That the form of the bills be as follows:
CONTINENT AL CURRENCY.
No. - - Dollars.
This bill entitles the bearer to receive Spanish milled dollars, or the value thereof in gold and silver, according to the resolutions of the Congress, held at Philadelphia on the tenth day of May, A.D. 1775.
"Resolved, That Mr. J. Adams, Mr. J. Rutledge, Mr. Duane, 'Dr. Franklin, and Mr. Wilson be a committee to get proper plates engraved, to provide paper, and to agree with printers to print the above bills."*
1 The paper on which these bills were printed was quite thick, and the enemy called it " the pasteboard money of the rebels." The vignettes were generally, both in device and motto, significant. The one most prominent in the engraving represents a beaver in the slow but sure process of cutting down a tree with its teeth. The motto, " PERSEVERANDO-by Perseverance," said to the colonists, "Persist, and you will be successful!." I will notice a few other devices and mottoes of bills which I have seen. A globe, with the motto, in Latin, "THE LORD REIGNS; LET THE EARTH REJOICE." A candlestick with thirteen branches and burners, denoting the number of states; motto, "ONE FIRE, AND TO THE SAME FURPOSE." A thorn-bush with a hand grasping it; motto, "SUSTAIN OR ABSTAIN." A circular chain bearing on each link the name of a state, an emblem of union; motto, "WEARE ONE." I have in my possession a coin, made of some composition resembling German silver of the present day (of which the following is a fac-simile the proper
* The plates were engraved on copper by Paul Revere,. of Boston. Himself, Nathaniel Hurd, of the same city, Amos Doolittle, of New Haven, and an Englishman named Smithers, in Philadelphia, were the only engravers in America at that time. Hurd engraved as early as 1760. Revere began a little later. In 1766 he engraved a picture emblematic of the repeal of the Stamp Act This, and a caricature called The Seventeen Rescinders, were very popular, and had an extensive sale. He engraved and published a print in 1770, representing the "Boston Massacre," and in 1774 he engraved another of a similar size, representing the landing of the British troops in Boston. In 1775 he engraved the plates, made the press, and printed the bills of the paper money ordered by the Provincial Congress of Massachusetts. Doolittle was at Lexington and Concord, and made drawings and engravings of the skirmishes at those pisces. The sketches were made on the morning after the engagements, and were en. graved during the summer of 1775. Mr. Doolittle assisted in re-engraving the battle of Lexington on a smaller scale, in 1832, forty-three years afterward, for Barber's"History and Antiquities of New Haven." A copy of it, by permission, is inserted in this work.
On the 25th of July the Continental Congress ordered the issuing of one million (1775.) of dollars more, (1) and from time to time new emissions were authorized, to meet the demands upon the treasury, until, at the beginning of 1780, the enormous sum of two hundred millions of dollars had been issued, no part of which had been redeemed. While the amount of the issues was small, the credit of the bills was good; but when new emissions took place, and no adequate measures for redemption were exhibited, the people became suspicious of those frail representatives of money, and their value began to depreciate. This effect did not occur until eighteen months from the time of the first emission had elapsed. Twenty millions of the Continental bills were then in circulation, besides a large amount of local issues by the several states. It was now perceived that depreciation was inevitable, and Congress proposed, as a substitute for farther issues, a loan of five millions, at an interest of four per cent. A lottery was also authorized, designed to raise a like sum on loan, the prizes being payable in loan office certificates. These offices were opened in all the states; the rate of interest was raised from four to six per cent., but the loans came in very slowly. The treasury ran low, the loan offices were overdrawn by the commissaries' drafts, the issue of bills was reluctantly recommenced, and ten additional millions were speedily authorized. During the year 1778 sixty millions and a half were added to the issues already made. The commissioners in France (see page 86) had been instructed to borrow money there, but as yet they had been unsuccessful.
Various plans were proposed at different times to sink those issues of bills of credit, but none could be put into efficient practical operation. The several states issued paper money independently of the Continental Congress; and the Loyalists, aided by Sir Henry Clinton, in the autumn of 1778 sent out large quantities of counterfeits of the Continental emissions of May 20th, 1777, and April 11th, 1778, and scattered them as widely among the people as their means would allow.(2) Under these circumstances, Congress felt the necessity of making an extraordinary effort to sustain the declining credit of the bills, by making some provision for their actual redemption. On the 2d of January, 1779, it was" Resolved, That the United States be called on to pay in their respective quotas of fifteen millions of dollars for the year 1779, and of six millions of dollars annually for eighteen years from and after the year 1779, as a fund for sinking the emissions and loans of the United States to the 31st of December, 1778, inclusive." It was provided that any bills emitted by order of Congress prior to 1780, and no others, should be received in payment of those quotas. A period of five months was given for taking out of circulation the emissions which had been counterfeited, during which time they were to be received into the public treasury in payment
size), bearing the same device on one side. On a three dollar
note is a device representing a stork struggling with an eagle-the feeble
warring with strong Great Britain; motto, "THE RESULT IS UNCERTAIN."
This bill is dated eighteen days after the adoption of the Declaration of
Independence. A majestic oak-tree; motto, "I SHALL FLOURISH THROUGH
OF AGES." A hand planting a young tree; motto, "FOR POSTERITY." A boar encountering a spear; motto, "DEATH, OR LIFE WITH DECENCY." A harp, denoting harmony; motto, "LARGE THINGS ARE CONSONANT WITH SMALL ONES." A figure of Justice; motto, "THE WILL OF JUSTICE."
1 As the signing of so many bills would require more time than the members could spare from public duties, Congress appointed twenty-eight gentlemen to perform the duty, allowing each one dollar and thirty three cents for every thousand bills signed and numbered by him. It was necessary for each bill to have the signature of two of them. See page 662, Vol. II.
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