The Pictorial Field-Book
of The Revolution
by Benson J. Lossing
Chapter Fourteen, Part TWO
of debts and taxes, and also into the Continental loan offices, either on loan or to be exchanged for other bills of a new tenor, bearing interest at five per cent., and redeemable in specie within six years. The old bills thus called in were to be destroyed.(1)
This effort, like its predecessors, was unsuccessful. Prices rose as the money sank in value, and every branch of trade was deranged. In several states laws limiting prices were still in force, and the rapid depreciation of the bills threw all contracts into confusion. The amount in circulation on the 1st of September, 1779, was a hundred and sixty millions. Congress resolved that the issues should not exceed two hundred millions in the whole. The loans prior to the 1st of August, 1778, the interest of which was payable in bills on France, were seven millions and a half. The loans contracted since were more than twenty-six millions. The debt abroad was estimated at four millions. Only three millions out of the sixty millions of paper dollars already called for from the states had been paid into the public treasury.
Congress was powerless to stay the downward tendency of the paper currency. It continued to depreciate and prices to rise. Early in 1780, forty paper dollars were worth only one in specie(2) The commissaries found it extremely difficult to purchase supplies for the army, for the people refused to exchange their articles for the almost worthless paper. Direct taxes had been unsuccessfully tried to replenish the treasury, and, as supplies could not be obtained, a speedy dissolution of the army and abandonment of the rebellion seemed inevitable.
Congress was obliged to open new resources for the supply of the army, and required each state to furnish a certain quantity of beef, pork, flour, corn, forage, and other articles, which were to be deposited in such places as the commander-in-chief should determine. The states were to be credited for the amount at a fixed valuation in specie. This scheme was utterly
1 Journals of Congress, vol. i., p. 5.. 5.
2 The following bill of items is preserved, and illustrates the value of the Continental bills in 1781 :
impracticable, from the want of authority to enforce the demands, and the distance of several states from the army, and Congress speedily abandoned it. The several states were then recommended by Congress to pass laws making paper money a legal tender, at its nominal value, for the discharge of debts which had been contracted to be paid in hard cash. Such laws were enacted, and many dishonest debtors took advantage of them. Although the bills were passing at the rate of twenty for one, they were made a lawful tender, and debts were discharged at a cheap rate. It was one of the most unwise and unjust acts committed by Congress during the war. The honest and simple were defrauded, and the rogues were immense gainers.' The people justly raised a great clamor, while the friends of the king greatly rejoiced in seeing the growth of what they deemed the canker. worm in the seed of rebellion.(1)
Among the most prominent evils arising from the rapid depreciation of the paper was a spirit of speculation and fraud, which excited unfounded jealousies and suspicions. The
1 Washington opposed the measure from the beginning as iniquitous,
unjust, and fraught with the direst evils. He was a considerable loser by
it. While at Morristown, a respectable man in the neighborhood was very
assiduous in his attentions to the chief, and they were generally reciprocated.
This man paid his debts in the depreciated currency, under the law, and
the fact became known to Washington. Some time afterward the man called
at head-quarters, but the general hardly noticed him. This coldness was
observed by the officers, and La Fayette remarked, "General, this man
seems much devoted to you, and yet you have scarcely noticed him."
Washington replied, smiling, "I know I have not been cordial; I tried
hard to be civil, and attempted to speak to him two or three times, but
that Continental money stopped my mouth."
2 Rev. Charles Inglis, who was rector of Trinity Church, in New York, from 1777 until 1782, and, after the peace, was made Lord Bishop of Nova Scotia, in a letter to Joseph Galloway, the great Pennsylvania Loyalist, then in London, thus writes, under date of December 12th, 1778, in reference to the immense issues and the depreciation of the bills of credit: "The fee simple of the thirteen United States is not equal to this sum, which is still increasing. I therefore think it utterly impossible to support the credit of this money; and were there nothing else, this would be sufficient to destroy the rebellion, if Britain would hold the places she now possesses, and keep a moderate number of cruisers on the coast. The mode of securing French debts, by which the colonies became mortgaged for the fripperies of every French peddler, is another embarrassing article on this head, which must prove ruinous to America." Daniel Coxe, a member of the king's council of New Jersey, and a refugee in New York, writing to Galloway, under date of February 14th, 1779, says, "The current depreciation of their money now at Philadelphia is fifteen for one; and tho' there are clubs and private associations endeavoring to support its credit, nothing will do, nor can any thing, in my opinion, now save 'em on this point but a foreign loan, and which, though they affect otherwise, I think they can not negotiate any where in Europe, unless all the moneyed nations are turned fools; and if they can not command a loan, and are prevented from all remittances and trade southward, they must sink, never again, I hope, to rise In short, they never were so wretched and near destruction as at this moment, and, unless some unforeseen event takes place in their favor soon, I firmly expect the next summer must end their independence and greatness. . . . . . . For God's sake, then, encourage every degree of spirit and exertion all you can, and quickly; a good push, and they go to the wall infallibly." Such was the tenor of the letters sent to England by the Loyalists from 1778 until 1781. The financial embarrassments of Congress gave Loyalists and friends of government strong hopes that it would accomplish what British arms had failed to do. It may be here remarked that many of the letters which passed between the Loyalists here and their friends abroad were written in cipher, so that should they fall into the hands of the patriots, they might not be read, to the disadvantage of the writers and
their cause. I here give, for the gratification of the curious, an alphabetical key, and a fac-simile or two lines of the cipher writing, copied from one of the letters of a distinguished Tory, together with the interpretation.
rapid rise in prices was unjustly attributed to extortion on the part of public officers, and even General Greene, who acted as quarter-master general, was accus.ed of enriching him. self at the public expense, because he received for his salary a percentage on all moneys disbursed, and the depreciation made the nominal amount vast. Individual speculators and monopolizers were the extortioners and the oppressors of the people, and of them Washington said, in a letter to President Reed, "I would to God that some of the more atrocious in each state were hung in gibbets upon a gallows four times as high as the one prepared for Haman." It was remarked, " that while the honest and patriotic were impoverished, rogues and Tories were fast growing rich."
Toward the close of the summer of 1779, the country was greatly agitated by the existing financial embarrassments. Meetings were held in the chief cities on the subject. In Philadelphia, party feelings, growing out of the currency question, became so strong and decided that a riot took place under the very eyes of Congress. A committee had undertaken to regulate the prices of flour, rum, sugar, molasses, coffee, salt, and other articles of general use. Robert Morris and other leading merchants refused to conform to the regulation. Wilson, Clymer, and Mifflin, with their friends, were threatened with banishment to New York, as abettors and defenders of the Tories. They armed themselves, and repaired to (October 4, 1779.) Wilson's house. A mob, with fire-arms and two cannons, approached. Some shots were fired, and one of the defenders of the house was killed. A man and a boy of the mob were also killed. The mob were about to force the door, when Reed, the president of Congress, appeared with some cavalry, and partially restored order, but it was necessary for the citizens to turn out and patrol the streets. It was several days before quiet was restored. In the midst of this general excitement a convention of the five Eastern States (October 20, 1779.) was held at Hartford, and Congress, unable longer to disguise the fact that its bills of credit were permanently depreciating, approved of, and recommended, a plan elaborated by that convention, to regulate prices on the basis of twenty paper dollars for one of specie. This measure partially quieted the public mind. Before the end of the year the two hundred millions were emitted, and the press was stopped. (1) At that time the depreciation stood thirty for one, and was constantly increasing. The diversion of labor from agricultural and other industrial pursuits, the destruction of grain by the belligerent forces in various parts of the country, combined with the embarrassed state of the finances of government, which we have briefly considered, threatened famine and general bankruptcy; and during the winter and spring of 1780, when Washington had his quarters at Morristown, the hope of the patriot was suffering an almost total eclipse; it was the gloomiest period of the Revolution. The financial operations which subsequently occurred will be noticed hereafter, such as long drafts on the United States commissioners abroad, and foreign loans.
We have made a wide but necessary digression in turning aside to view the financial affairs of the patriots at the period under consideration. Let us resume our journey and historic annotations.
I left Morristown for Springfield in the early morning train. The air was (September 13, 1848.) cool and bracing, and I had a pleasant walk of about a mile from the station, at the foot of the Short Hills, to the pretty village lying in the bosom of a fertile plain near the banks of the Rahway River. The trees upon the surrounding hills were beginning to assume the variegated livery of autumn, not from the effects of frosts, but of a long drought, yet on the plain every thing was as green as in June, except thc ripening maize. I sought for the" oldest inhabitant," and found him in the person of thc venerable Gilbert Edwards, who was a half-grown boy at the time of the battle of Springfield, and sold apples to the American soldiers when they carne down from the Short Hills to oppose the invasion of the enemy under Knyphausen, the German general(2) He kindly accompanied me to the place
1 Pitkin, Marshall, Ramsay, Gordon, Sparks, Hildreth.
2 General, the Baron Knyphausen, was a native of Alsace, then one of the Rhenish provinces. His father was a colonel in the German regiment of Dittforth, in the service of John, Duke of Marlborough. The general was bred a soldier, and served under Frederic the First, father of Frederic the Great of Prussia. The
where the principal engagement occurred, which is on the right of the present turnpike leading from Springfield to Elizabethtown, and a few rods westward of the Rahway. Nothing now remains upon the spot to indicate military operations, for no works were thrown up on the occasion. The battle was the result of an unexpected invasion. The knoll on which the Americans were posted, then covered with apple-trees, is now bare, only a few stumps remaining; but on the eastern slope a few of the trees are left, venerable in form and feature, and venerated for their associations. One of them is pictured in the engraving. It bears several scars of wounds inflicted by the cannon-balls of the approaching enemy. They are" honorable scars," and I bespeak for the veteran a perpetual pension of respect.
On the 6th of June, 1780, General Knyphausen, then in temporary command of the British troops in New York during the absence of Sir Henry Clinton at the south, dispatched Brigadier-general Mathews from Staten Island with about five thousand- troops, who landed at Elizabethtown Point. He had been informed that the American army at Morristown was much dissatisfied, and ripe for mutiny and treason, and that the people of New Jersey were ready to join the royal standard as soon as ample protection should be guarantied them. Influenced by these opinions, Knyphausen ordered Mathews to march toward Morristown, but the annoyances which he met with on the way soon undeceived him. He burned the village of Connecticut Farms, and advanced on Springfield, but, being informed that Washington had sent a force to oppose him, he wheeled and returned to Elizabethtown. Many of his soldiers were cut off during the recession, by small parties of Jerseymen concealed behind fences, rocks, and bushes. On reaching Elizabethtown Point, he intrenched his forces within the old works thrown up there by the Americans, where they remained about a fortnight.
In the mean while, General Clinton arrived from the south, and determined to carry out the plan arranged by Knyphausen, to capture the stores at Morristown, and, if possible, draw Washington out from his strong position among the Short Hills, into a general engagement. He also took pains to mislead Washington, by embarking
twelve thousand German troops hired by the English government, for service in America, were placed under his command, and the Hessians were led by the Baron de Reidesel. He arrived with his troops, under convoy of Admiral Lord Howe, in June, 1776, and was engaged in the battle of Long Island in August following. He was also in the battle of Brandywine, and commanded an expedition to Springfield, New Jersey. For some months during the absence of Sir Henry Clinton at the south, Knyphausen was in command 0\ the city of New York. He was about sixty years of age, possessed of a fine figure, and was remarkably amiable and simple-minded. La Fayette used to tell an anecdote concerning him, on the authority of British officers. The passage to America was very long, and one night, while playing whist in the cabin, Knyphausen suddenly turned to the captain and said, with an air of much sincerity, "Captain, ain't we hab sailed past America ?" He died on the frontiers of Germany toward the close of the last century.
1 EXPLANATION OF THE MAP.-The stream with branches, and running in a southerly direction, is the Rahway River; a is the house (still standing) of Mrs. Mathews, near which the enemy formed for battle; b, the site of Byram's Tavern, at the foot of the first range of hills; c, the Springfield and Elizabethtown turnpike; d, the Vauxhall Road; e, the first position of the brigades of Stark and Maxwell, near the mill, and north of the rail-road; f, Shrieve's regiment at the second bridge; g, the mill; h, post of the Americans, on the hills in the rear of Byram's Tavern. The other localities are printed on the map.
troops in transports on the Hudson, as if an expedition was intended against West Point. Washington was deceived by this movement, and, with a considerable force, marched toward the Highlands, leaving Major-general Greene in command at Springfield. Clinton, perceiving the success of his stratagem, crossed over to Elizabethtown, with Knyphausen and additional troops, and at break of day on the 23d the whole army, consisting June. of about five thousand infantry, a considerable body of cavalry, and from fifteen to 17S0. twenty pieces of artillery, advanced toward Springfield. They moved in two columns, one on the main road (the present turnpike) leading to Springfield, the other on the Vauxhall Road, leading to the principal pass among the Short Hills, a series of high ridges at the head of the Springfield plains. The Americans were under the immediate command of Greene. The right column of the enemy, on the Vauxhall Road, was opposed by Major Henry Lee with his cavalry, and some pickets under Captain Walker, and the left was confronted by Colonel Dayton, of the New Jersey line.(1) The remainder of the American troops had been posted upon the roads leading to the different passes over the mountains, and it was with considerable difficulty that they were collected in force at Springfield to oppose the enemy concentrating there. The latter, after maneuvering to gain the flanks of thc Americans, formed upon a gentle eminence on the eastern side of the Rahway, near the house of Mrs. Mathews, which is still standing. Colonel Angell, with his regiment, was posted in the orchard upon the knoll west of the stream, with a single field piece under the charge of Captain Littell, to defend the bridge; and Colonel Shrieve's regiment was drawn up at the second bridge, in the rear of the town, to cover the retreat of the Americans, if such a movement should become necessary. Lee's dragoons, and the pickets under Captain Walker, were stationed at the Vauxhall Bridge, and the militia were drawn up on the flanks, principally under the command of General Dickinson, of New Jersey.
The first attack was made by the enemy upon Lee's force at the Vauxhall Bridge, and the Americans were repulsed. At that instant the British troops near the first Springfield Bridge moved to attack Colonel Angell in the orchard. Captain Littell played his artillery so briskly and well, that he kept the enemy east of the bridge for some tIme; but bringing their artillery to bear, they pressed forward, forded the stream (which is there only about two rods wide), and drove the Americans from their position and across the second bridge. The artillery of the British, being leveled too high, did but little execution, except among the branches of the apple-trees, and the Americans retreated with very little loss. The enemy were warmly received at the second bridge by Shrieve's regiment, but overwhelming numbers obliged the gallant little band of Americans to fall back and join the brigades of Maxwell and Stark upon the hill. The situation of the patriot army was now critical. The enemy was pushing vigorously forward on the Vauxhall Road, leading in
1 Elias Dayton was born in Elizabethtown, New Jersey, in
1735. He joined the army during the French and Indian war. He was a member
of the corps called "Jersey Blues," raised in 1759 by Edward Hart,
the father of John, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence.
With that corps he fought under Wolfe at Quebec. He was one of the Committee
of Safety at Elizabethtown at the beginning of the Revolution; in February,
1778, Congress appointed him colonel of a New Jersey regiment; and in 1782
he was promoted to the rank of brigadier general. He was in several of the
principal .battles of the Revolution, and had three horses shot under him-one
at Germantown, one at Springfield, and one at Crosswick Bridge. He was the
first president of the Cincinnati of New Jersey, and, during the life of
Washington, enjoyed the warm personal friendship of that distinguished man.
He died at Elizabethtown in 1807.
2 This sketch was made from the left bank of the Rahway, at the site of the old bridge. This is now the rear of the house, but, at the time of the battle, the road was upon this side of it, which formed the front. The deviation of the road is indicated on the map by a dotted line Remains of the abutments of the old bridge, where the British crossed, may still be seen.
their rear, and their numbers were too small to guard the several passes through the mountains, and have a respectable force engaged in battle. Greene accordingly ordered the main body of the army, except the two brigades already mentioned, to take post on the hills in the fear of Byram's Tavern, and detached the regiments of Colonels Webb and Jackson, with one piece of artillery, to check the advance of the enemy on the Vauxhall Road. The movement was successful, and that important pass was secured.
The Americans were now advantageously posted, and General Greene was anxious for an engagement; but Knyphausen saw his own disadvantage, and, after setting fire to the village, began a retreat toward Elizabethtown. Greene ordered out detachments to extinguish the flames of such houses as were not within the reach of the enemy's cannon, but their efforts were of little avail. The church, and every house and barn in the village but three, were burned. One of the latter now stands close by the tavern of Mr. Reynolds. It is it very well built house, and exhibits an orifice in the northwestern gable, made by the passage of a cannon-ball. The parsonage was saved, and in it the congregation worshiped until a more convenient place was supplied.
As soon as the village was fired, the enemy began their retreat. Captain Davis, with one hundred and twenty men and large parties of militia, fell upon their flanks and rear, and kept up a continual fire upon them all the way to Elizabethtown. The retreat was so precipitate that Stark's brigade, which was put in motion, could not overtake them. At midnight the enemy began crossing over to Staten Island on a bridge of boats, and (June 23.) by six o'clock in the morning they had evacuated Elizabethtown and removed their bridge.(1) The loss in killed and wounded has not been fully given on either side. Lieutenant-colonel Barber, in his return to General Greene, reported thirteen Americans killed, and fifty-eight wounded and missing. In this report was not included the return of Davis's detachment and of the militia that pursued the enemy to Elizabethtown. The militia had twelve wounded and none killed. The loss of the enemy is unknown. The newspapers of the day put down their loss in the skirmish at Connecticut Farms and vicinity, two weeks previous, at one hundred and fifty killed, and as many wounded. Colonel Barber, who acted as deputy adjutant general on the occasion, was particularly recommended for his activity, by General Greene, in his report of the engagement. (2) General Washington, on hearing of the movement of the enemy toward Springfield, sent a re-enforcement, but it was too late to save the town. Greene, in his report, says, "I lament that our force was too small to save the town from ruin. I wish every American could have been a spectator; they would have felt for the sufferers, and joined to revenge the injury."
After much difficulty, I procured a conveyance to Elizabethtown. Mr. Meeker, a resident of Springfield, seventy-four years old, kindly left his plow, and in a light wagon took me thither, by the way of Connecticut Farms, a small village now called Union, lying four miles northwest of Elizabethtown. Almost every building in that village was destroyed by the British invaders while on their way to Springfield, on the 6th of June, 1780. An event occurred there at that time, which excited the greatest indignation throughout the country. The family of the Rev. James Caldwell, the pastor of the First Presbyterian Church at Elizabethtown, and an ardent Whig, had removed to Connecticut Farms as a place of greater security, and occupied the parsonage. Mrs. Caldwell was the daughter of John Ogden, of Newark, and was greatly beloved for her piety and benevolence. When she heard of the
1 Report of General Greene to the commander-in-chief.
2 Francis Barber was born at Princeton in 1751, and was educated at the College of New Jersey. He was installed rector of an academic institution connected with the First Presbyterian Church at Elizabethtown, in which situation he remained until the commencement of the Revolution. He joined the patriot army, and in 1776 was commissioned by Congress a major of the third battalion of New Jersey troops; at the close of the year was appointed lieutenant colonel, and subsequently became assistant inspector general under Baron Steuben. He was in constant service during the whole war, was in the principal battles, and was present at the surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown. He was with the Continental army at Newburgh in 1783; and on the very day when Washington announced the signing of the treaty of peace to the army, he was killed by a tree falling upon him while riding by the edge of a wood.-Rev. Nicholas Murray.
approach of the enemy, and the people fled from the town, she resolved to remain, trusting in Providence for protection. When they entered the village, she withdrew, with her infant in her arms, into a private apartment, and engaged in religious devotions. A maid, who had charge of the other children, and accompanied her to the private apartment, saw a "redcoat soldier" jump over the fence into the yard, and told Mrs. Caldwell that he was approaching the window. Mrs. Caldwell arose from a bed on which she had been sitting, and at that moment the soldier discharged his musket at her through the window. It was loaded with two balls, both of which passed through her body, and she fell lifeless upon the floor, in the midst of her children.(1) It was with much difficulty that her body was saved from the conflagration that ensued. It was dragged into the street, and lay exposed for several hours in the hot sun, when some of her friends procured liberty to take it to the house of Captain Wade, on the opposite side of the road. Her husband was at the Short Hills that night, suffering dreadfully from anxiety respecting his family. The next day he procured a flag and went to Connecticut Farms, when he found the village in ruins and his wife no more. That cold-blooded murder, as well as the wanton destruction of the peaceful village, changed many Tories to Whigs, and helped to confirm the settled hatred of the well-affected and the patriots against the British government, whose military officers winked at such atrocities.
On our way, Mr. Meeker related some interesting facts concerning his family. His grandfather was a stanch republican, and had eight sons and four sons-in-law in the Continental army, who were remarkable for their physical strength and moral courage. The father of Mr. Edwards, the old gentleman who went over the Springfield battle-ground with me, was one of the sons-in-law. One of his sons (Mr. Meeker's father) lived up among the Short Hills, and was a substantial farmer. A conversation which he had one day with General Dayton, at Elizabethtown, well illustrates the political character of many of the yeomanry of that period. While a portion of the standing army, under the administration of the elder Adams, was at Elizabethtown, Mr. Meeker went to General Dayton to pay his direct tax, in hard cash, for the support of the army. " Of what use is your standing army?" asked Meeker. "To support Congress," replied Dayton. "Ay, to support Congress indeed," said the old man, bitterly. "To support Congress in taking away our liberties, and in altering the Constitution so as to place men in public offices for life. I fought for freedom through the war for nothing (his Continental money was worthless), and now I want to pay for my land and be independent indeed, but tax upon tax keeps me poor. I could at any time raise one hundred men among my neighbors upon the Short Hills, say privately to your standing army, 'Come and help us'-and they would come, and we'd march to Philadelphia and take your Congressmen from their seats. We will not have a standing army. Disband it." " Our standing army," said Dayton, "will intimidate the British." "Look ahere, General Dayton," said Meeker, while his eyes sparkled with emotion, "you are well acquainted in London. Write to your acquaintances there, and tell them that Timothy Meeker is dead, and that he has left seven sons, everyone of whom is a stronger man than he. Tell them we are seven times stronger than before, and that will intimidate them more than all your standing armies, that suck the life-blood from the people." Such was the logic of New Jersey farmers in 1798, and our government soon acted in accordance with it.
We reached Elizabethtown at about noon, and having ample time before the departure
1 Such is the current history, and the diabolical act was fixed upon "a British soldier." Some believed that the occurrence was a mere accident, resulting from the cross firing of the combatants, but there is ample evidence that it was a deliberate murder. A correspondent of the Newark Advertiser says that "there is evidence of a very direct character, which affixes the guilt of murder of the poor lady to a particular individual." " A very respectable citizen," he adds, "lately deceased, who was a witness of the scenes of that day, says that a man named M'Donald, from the north of Ireland, who had been in the employment of Mr. Caldwell, or of his family, was the person who committed the atrocious deed. This man, from some unknown cause, had conceived a violent enmity against his employer, and it was in this manner he satiated his revenge. The witness. to whom reference is now made, further declared that he saw M'Donald after the murder, and heard him avow it, saying, at the same time, that' now he was satisfied,' "upon which he joined and went off with the enemy."
of the evening train for Middlebrook, my next tarrying-place, I visited the several Revolutionary localities in the vicinity. The burial-ground of the First Presbyterian Church, on Broad Street, was the chief attraction within the village, for therein repose the remains of many distinguished men of the Revolution. The church that occupied the site of the present one was burned on the night of the 25th of January, 1780, together with the academy (which stood upon the ground of the present lecture room) and the court-house. A notorious Tory named Cornelius Hetfield fired the church with his own hands, and was heard to lament that the" black-coated rebel," as he called Dr. Caldwell, the pastor, was not burned in his pulpit. Near the Broad Street front of the burying ground stands the monument erected to the memory of the Rev. James Caldwell and his wife, by citizens of Elizabethtown. It is a handsome marble obelisk, which, with an inscribed pedestal, rests upon a granite base. On the left in the picture are seen a recumbent slab, and also an upright one. The former is of brown stone, and covers the grave of Jonathan Dickinson! the founder of the College of New Jersey, now located at Princeton; the latter is of white marble, and is sacred to the memory of Margaret Van Pelt, a grand-daughter of Mr. Caldwell. On the west side of the cemetery, in the rear of the church, are several vaults shaded by a venerable oak, among which is that of the celebrated Elias Boudinot, who was president of Congress in 1782, and an active patriot during the Revolution. Of him I shall have occasion to write hereafter. A little south of Boudinot's vault is that of General Dayton, just mentioned, and in the vicinity are the graves of General Crane, an active patriot of the Revolution; Colonel Barber, already mentioned; Moses Ogden, a young American officer, who was killed at Connecticut Farms when that settlement was burned, and of several others of colonial and Revolutionary eminence, among whom is Governor Belcher.
1 Jonathan Dickinson was born in Hatfield, Massachusetts,
April 22d, 1688. He graduated at Yale College in 1706, and two years afterward
became the pastor of the First Presbyterian Church at Elizabeth. town, New
Jersey, where he continued nearly forty years. He was the cotemporary of
Whitfield, Brainard, Edwards, and the Tennants. He was chiefly instrumental
in organizing the academy at Elizabethtown, which was chartered as the College
of New .Jersey in 1746. He was made its first president, but the institution
did not long enjoy the advantages of his care, as he died on the 7th of
October, 1747, aged fifty-nine. The first commencement of the college was
in 1748, when six young men graduated, five of whom became ministers of
2 The following are the inscriptions upon the Caldwell monument:
EAST SIDE. "This monument is erected to the memory of the REV. JAMES CALDWELL, the pious and fervent Christian, the zealous and faithful minister, the eloquent preacher, and a prominent leader among the worthies who secured the independence of his country. His name will be cherished in the church and in the state so long as Virtue is esteemed and Patriotism honored."
WEST SIDE. " Hannah, wife of the Rev. James Caldwell, and daughter of Jonathan Ogden, of Newark, was killed at Connecticut Farms by a shot from a British soldier, June 25th, * 1780, cruelly sacrificed by the enemies of her husband and of her country."
NORTH SIDE. '" The memory of the just is blessed.' 'Be of good courage-and let us behave ourselves valiant for our people, and for the cities of our God, and let the Lord do that which is good in his sight.' ' The glory of children are their fathers.' "
SOUTH SIDE. "James Caldwell. Born in Charlotte county, in Virginia, April, 1734. Graduated at Princeton College, 1759. Ordained pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Elizabethtown, 1762. After serving as chaplain in the army of the Revolution, and acting as commissary to the troops in New Jersey, he was killed by a shot from a sentinel at Elizabethtown Point, November 24th, 1781."
* This is an error, as will be perceived by reference to the text.
The death of Mr. Caldwell, which occurred a little more than a year subsequent to that of his wife, was regarded as a foul murder. He was shot upon the causeway at old Elizabethtown Point, by an American sentinel named Morgan, who was hung for the deed. The circumstances are substantially as follows. At the time of the occurrence the Americans had possession of Elizabethtown, and there was established there a commissariat of prisoners, under the superintendence of Major Adams. To facilitate the business for which the commissariat was established, a sloop made weekly trips between the Point and New York, then the head-quarters of the British army. Passengers with a flag, and also parcels, were frequently carried by this vessel, and a strong guard was placed at a tavern on the shore, having one or more sentinels upon the causeway that extended across the marsh to the wharf. On the 24th of November, 1781, this vessel arrived at the wharf, having on board a Miss Berlah Murray (afterward Mrs. Martin Hoffman), who had permission to visit her sister (Mrs. Barnett), at Elizabethtown. Mr. Caldwell went down to the sloop in his chaise to receive her, but she was not there. He went on board the vessel, when a small bundle belonging to her was placed in his charge, with which he started for his vehicle. James Morgan, a sentinel on duty upon the causeway, ordered Mr. Caldwell to deliver his bundle to him for examination, as his orders were not to let any thing of the kind pass without strict scrutiny. Mr. Caldwell told him it was the property of a lady, which had been placed in his charge, and refused to give it up. The sentinel reiterated his demand, when Mr. Caldwell turned from him, and, it is said, went toward the vessel to leave the bundle, rather than subject it to the inspection of the soldier. The latter, probably irritated by disobedience of his orders, and, it may be, by words, leveled his musket and shot Mr. Caldwell dead upon the spot. Opinions were, and still are, various as to the motive of the sentinel. Some justify him as acting in strict obedience to his orders; others believe him to have been bribed to murder the active patriot when the first opportunity should offer; and others, again, simply condemn him for exceeding the spirit of his instructions. Morgan was arrested, the coroner's inquest brought in a verdict of willful murder against him, and he was tried, found guilty, and executed at Westfield on the 29th of January, 1782. He was taken to the church, where a sermon was preached by the Rev. Jonathan Elmer, from the words of Jeremiah, "O, do not this abominable thing which I hate;" and immediately after the close of the services the prisoner was hung. The place of his execution is about half a mile north of the church, in Westfield, and still bears the name of Morgan's Hill. A local controversy has arisen upon the subject, which seems to turn more upon the inferences of the several writers than upon the material facts here given. " Who shall decide when doctors disagree?" Cotemporary records form the best umpire inc such cases, and correct history, the patient in question, is not likely to suffer from such a disagreement.
The death of Mr. Caldwell, a pious and eloquent minister, and such an active patriot, made a powerful impression on the public mind, and there was" a voice of mourning" wherever his eminent virtues were known. It was Saturday afternoon when he was shot. His body was conveyed to the house of his friend, Mrs. Noel, whence it was buried the following Tuesday. "Many," says Dr. Murray, "were ignorant of the tragical deed until they came to church on the Sabbath; and, instead of sitting with delight under his instructions, there was a loud cry of wailing over his melancholy end. There was a vast concourse assembled to convey him to his tomb. The corpse was placed on a large stone before the door of the house of Mrs. Noel (now the residence of Miss Spalding), where all could take a last view of the remains of their murdered pastor. After all had taken their last look, and before the coffin was closed, Dr. Elias Boudinot came forward, leading nine orphan children, and, placing them around the bier of their parent, made an address of surpassing pathos to the multitude in their behalf." (1)
I rode down to Elizabethtown Point, a place famous in the annals of the Revolution.
1 Notes on Elizabethtown, page 77. The funeral Service was preached by Dr. M'Whorter, of Newark, from Ecclesiastes, viii.,8.
The distance is about two miles, and so nearly adjacent are the houses along the road, that it may be said the village extends all the way to the Point. The old wharf or landing is about three quarters of a mile northeast of the present bustling port, and only a solitary dwelling, the traces of the causeway, and the apparition, at low water, of some of the logs of the ancient wharf, constitute the remains of the Revolution there, except slight indications of the works thrown up by the Americans in the rear. Making a journey in a direct line through some shrub oaks and a field of tangled buckwheat, I visited and sketched the old tavern, now the property of Mr. Isham, of New York, where many of the stirring scenes of the Revolution occurred. There American and British officers were alternately quartered, from 1776 until the close of the war, and in that house the corpse of Mr. Caldwell was laid while a wagon was procured to convey it to the town. In front of it is a flat shore, overflowed at high tide, across which was a substantial causeway about seventy-five rods in length, with a wharf at the end. Here was the landing-place of troops passing and repassing to and from Staten Island, closely contiguous; and from this wharf extended the bridge of boats over which the British retreated after the battle of Springfield. There Washington embarked in the barge prepared to convey him to New York, to be inaugurated the first President of the United States, and in the old tavern (April 24, 1789) he breakfasted that morning.
When the British fleet appeared off Sandy Hook with the troops of General Howe, in June, 1776, great alarm spread through New Jersey; for, as the Americans then had military occupation of New York city, it was supposed the enemy would land on the Jersey coast. Governor Livingston, at the head of the New Jersey militia, established his camp at Elizabethtown Point, and caused a fortification to be constructed by digging ditches and throwing up breast-works, which extended from the old to the new Point, and on which a few cannons were mounted. These works were never of any material use, and hardly a vestige of them remains.
From the Point several water expeditions were fitted out, for the narrow and tortuous channel, and low, marshy sh.ore protected the place from the visits of large vessels of war. One of these expeditions was under the command of Elias Dayton and William Alexander. The latter is better known in our history as Lord Stirling, and was Governor Shirley's military secretary at Albany twenty years before. Informed that a British transport and provision ship was on the coast, the Committee of Safety at Elizabethtown ordered four armed boats to attempt its capture. They came in sight of the vessel about forty miles from Sandy Hook. The men in the boats were all concealed under hatches, except two in each, unarmed,
1 This view is looking eastward. In the distance, on the right, is seen a vessel, at the entrance of Newark Bay, and the land beyond is the high ground intervening between it and Jersey City. In one of the rooms of the old tavern is a Franklin stove, which has probably been a tenant there ever since it came from the foundry. I gave a sketch of it, not only because it is a relic of the time, but because it doubtless shows the form of the stove as invented by Dr. Franklin in 1742, * before an "improvement" was made. On its front, in raised letters, are the words "Ross and Bird's Hibernia Foundry, 1782." Ross had a foundry at Elizabethtown in 1774 as appears by the inscription upon the dinner-bell of Sir William Johnson, now in the belfry of the old Caughnawaga Church at Fonda. See note. page 233.
* Franklin says, in reference to this invention, "Governor Thomas was so pleased with the construction of this stove, that he offered to give me a patent for the sole vending of them for a term of years; but I declined it, from a principle which has ever weighed with me on such occasions, viz., that as we enjoy great advantages from the inventions of other" we should he glad of an opportunity to serve others by an invention of ours; and this we should do freely and generally." A London iron monger made some alterations, which Franklin says" hurt its operation," got a patent for it there, and made a small fortune by it.
who managed the oars. The enemy mistook them for fishing vessels, and allowed them to come along side. At a preconcerted signal, the hatches were raised, the armed Americans poured upon the deck of the ship, and in a few minutes she was their prize, hardly a show of resistance having been made. She was taken in triumph to Elizabethtown Point, where her cargo was landed. This exploit was performed in the summer of 1775, soon after the battle on Bunker Hill. Some privateering expeditions were fitted out here and at Amboy during the war; but, with the exception of ,the invasion already detailed, there were few military operations there. There area few blemishes in the general good character for Whiggery, claimed by Elizabethtown. During the war there was a great deal of " London trading," or supplying the enemy with provisions and other things, carried on there. The high price paid by the British on Staten Island tempted even the most ardent 'Whigs to put money in their purses by the traffic. Many took their pay in British goods, and actually opened stores in the village with articles thus obtained. Governor Livingston, alluding to the practice, said, "The village now consists of unknown, unrecommended strangers, guilty looking Tories, and very knavish Whigs."
Having an hour to spare on my return to the village, I walked out to old "Liberty Hall," the former residence of Governor Livingston, now the property of Mr. John Kean. It is a fine old mansion. imbowered in shrubs and overshadowed by venerable trees. It is situated upon the left of the Springfield Turnpike, beyond the Elizabeth River, and about three fourths of a mile north of the rail-way station in the village. Governor Livingston was an active partisan, and during the whole war was continually employed in public duties or in wielding his pen in favor of the Republican cause. For this reason he was extremely obnoxious to the enemy, and particularly to the Tories, whom he cordially hated and despised. Several attempts were made to abduct him, but they were all unsuccessful. It was also said that Sir Henry Clinton offered a bounty for his life, if he could not be taken alive, and that a prominent Tory of New Jersey had been solicited to assassinate him for a price. Of this Governor Livingston accused Clinton, in a letter. The latter did not deny the charge, but, in a very discourteous reply, said, "Had I a soul capable of harboring so infamous an idea as assassination, you, sir, at least, would have nothing to fear; for, be assured, I should not blacken myself with so foul a crime to obtain so trifling an end." Sir Henry, however, thought the "end not too trifling" to fit out an expedition for the express purpose of capturing the" rebel governor." It was midnight, on the 28th of February, 1779, that a party of British troops, sent by Clinton from New York, landed at Elizabethtown Point, and,
1 Some time after the death of Governor Livingston this property was purchased by Lord Bolingbroke, who, under the assumed name of John Belesis, ran away from England with a daughter of Baron Hompasch, " German general. She was at a boarding school there, and Bolingbroke had a wife Jiving. He married the girl here. She died in England in 1848. The grandmother of the present proprietor, Susan, the daughter of Peter Van Burgh Livingston, bought the farm of Lord Bolingbroke, and it has been in possession of the family ever since. Her first husband was John Kean, a member of Congress from South Carolina from 1785 to 1787, and was first cashier of the first United States Bank, chartered by an act of Congress passed February 8th, 1791. Her second husband was Count Niemcewicz, a Polish nobleman.
marching directly to "Liberty Hall," burst open the doors, and shouted vociferously for" the damned rebel governor." Fortunately, the governor had left home some hours before, to pass the night with a friend, a few miles distant. After becoming convinced that he was not there, they demanded his papers. Those of the greatest importance (his recent correspondence with Washington, and with Congress and the state officers) were in the box of his sulky, in his parlor. This box the officer in command was about to seize, when Livingston's daughter Catharine, a girl of great spirit and presence of mind, represented to him that the box contained her private property, and appealed to his courtesy as a gentleman and a soldier to protect it for her. A guard was placed over it, and she then led the men to the library, where they filled their foraging bags with worthless law papers, After threatening to burn the house, they returned to Elizabethtown, burned one or two dwellings in the village, and then departed for New York.(1)
Mr. Sedgwick relates a tradition connected with the family of Governor Livingston. At the time of the invasion, when the village of Connecticut Farms was burned, Governor Livingston was absent from home on official duty. The family had spent the day in great alarm, for immediately in front of their dwelling the smoke and flames of the conflagration of that village were distinctly seen. Late in the evening several British officers came to the house, told them that their troops were retreating, and proposed to pass the night there. The family felt secure from marauders while such protectors were present, and retired to bed. About midnight they were aroused. The officers were called away, and soon afterward some drunken soldiers rushed into the hall, swearing that they would burn the "rebel house." There were none but women in the house. The maid servant fastened herself in the kitchen, and the ladies of the family locked themselves in another room. The ruffians discovered their hiding-place, and, fearing to exasperate them by refusing to come out, one of the governor's daughter boldly opened the door. A drunken soldier seized her by the arm, and at the same moment she seized him by the collar with a force that alarmed him. At that instant a gleam of light illumined the hall and fell upon the white dress of the lady. The soldier staggered back, exclaiming, "Go! it's Mrs. Caldwell, that we killed to-day!" They soon left the house.
1 Sedgwick's Life of William Livingston, p. 322.
2 William Livingston was. descended from the old Scotch family of that name, whose first representative in this country was Robert, the "first lord of the manor" upon the Hudson. He was born in November, 1723, and graduated in Yale College in 1741. He was well educated, and possessed many solid as well as brilliant attainments in law and literature. He early espoused the cause of the colonists, and, having removed from New York to New Jersey, was elected a delegate to the first Continental Congress. from that state. In 1776, after the people of New Jersey had sent Governor Franklin, under a strong guard, to Connecticut, Mr. Livingston was elected chief magistrate of the state; and such were his acknowledged talents, and republican virtue, and the love of the people for him, that he was annually elected to that office until his death. In 1181 he was a delegate to the convention that formed the Federal Constitution; and, after being actively employed in public life for almost twenty years, he died at " Liberty Hall," near Elizabeth town, July 25th, 1790, aged sixty-seven years. The silhouette here given is copied from one in Sedgwick's Life of Livingston, which he says was probably taken from life, about 1773. The Livingstons are descended from a noble Scotch family. Lord Livingston, afterward Earl of Linlithgow, was one of the custodians of Mary, Queen of Scots, while in Dumbarton Castle in 1547. The great-grandson of the Earl was John Livingston, a pious Scotch minister who fled from persecution, and went to Holland. He was the
I left Elizabethtown in the cars, at about three o'clock, and arrived at Middlebrook, a pleasant little village on the Raritan, toward sunset, passing on the way Scotch Plains and the thriving town of Plainfield. The road passes over an almost level country, and, though the soil is light and sandy, thrift appeared on every side. Middlebrook and Boundbrook lie close together, and are included in one village. Here, toward the last of May, 1777, Washington encamped his army, after breaking up his cantonments at Morristown. His troops rapidly augmented; and when, in June, General Howe began to show some disposition to open the summer campaign, the American army mustered about fourteen thousand effective men. They were strongly posted upon the Heights of Middlebrook, in the rear of the village, near the place of the winter encampment in 1778-9, which will be presently noticed. Washington suspected Howe's design to be to make an attempt to capture Philadelphia. He concentrated the Northern forces on the Hudson; a strong division under Arnold was posted on the Delaware, and a considerable force was under his immediate command at Middlebrook. General Howe had encamped at New Brunswick, ten miles distant, and endeavored to draw Washington out from his strong position, into a general engagement upon the plains. But the chief would not hazard a battle while his forces were so divided. Howe remained two days at New Brunswick; but, concluding that Washington was too strongly posted among the hills to be attacked with impunity, the British commander sought to accomplish by stratagem what he had failed to do by open and obvious movements. For this purpose (June 14,1777.) he advanced rapidly toward Somerset Court-house, feigning a design to cross the Delaware. Failing to draw Washington from his post by this maneuver, he made another feint, a few days afterward, which succeeded better. He suddenly retreated, first (a June 19.) toward New Brunswick,(a) and then to Amboy, (b) and even sent some detachments (b June 22.) over to Staten Island. Partly deceived by these movements, and hoping to reap some advantage by harassing the British rear, Washington sent strong detachments after the retreating enemy, and also advanced with his whole force to Quibbletown (now New Market), five or six miles from Middlebrook. This was exactly what Howe desired to accomplish, and, accordingly, on the night of the 25th, he suddenly recalled his troops from Staten June. Island and Amboy, and early the next morning marched rapidly toward the American lines, hoping to cut off their retreat to Middlebrook, and thus bring on a general action. Washington was too quick and vigilant for Howe, and reached his strong position again. The advanced guard of the British fell in with Lord Stirling's division, and a warm skirmish ensued. On the approach of Cornwallis with a considerable force, Stirling retreated to his camp with inconsiderable loss. Other skirmishes ensued, but neither party suffered much. At Westfield the British forces wheeled, and, marching back to Amboy, passed over to Staten Island, leaving the Americans in the quiet possession of New Jersey.
It was on the gentle slope from the plain to the steep acclivities of the mountain in the rear of Middlebrook, that seven brigades of the American army were hutted during the winter of 1779-80. After the battle of Monmouth, (c) the American army crossed the (c June 28, 1778.) Hudson River, and took post chiefly in Westchester county. The head-quarters of Washington were at White Plains. In the mean while the Count d'Estaing had arrived at Sandy Hook with a French fleet; but, being unable to pass the bar with his heavy ships, to attack Lord Howe in the bay, he sailed eastward to co-operate with General Sullivan in a proposed attack upon Newport, on Rhode Island. Of this expedition, which proved unsuccessful, I shall hereafter write.
Washington continued at White Plains until late in autumn, suspecting the design of Sir Henry Clinton to be to make a movement eastward. Sir Henry gave currency to the reports that such were his intentions, until Washington moved his head-quarters to Fredericsberg,
common ancestor of all the Livingstons in America. His son Robert, the first "lord of the manor" of Livingston, in Columbia County, New York. came to America about 1675, and from him all the family in this country have descended. They were all remarkable for their patriotism during the Revolution; and for sixty years afterward the Livingstons were among our prominent public men.
near the Connecticut line, and turned his attention decidedly to the protection of the eastern coast. Clinton then sent foraging parties into New Jersey, and ravaged the whole country, from the Hudson to the Raritan, and beyond. The abandonment of 'the siege of Newport, the return of Howe's fleet to New York, and the entire withdrawal of forces from the east by Clinton, except those stationed upon Rhode Island, convinced Washington that the British commander had no further designs in that direction, and he prepared to put his army into the most advantageous winter-quarters. Nine brigades were stationed on the west side of the Hudson, exclusive of the garrison at West Point. One of these was at Smith's Cove, in the rear of Haverstraw, one at Elizabethtown, and the other seven were at Middlebrook. Six brigades were cantoned on the east side of the Hudson and at West Point. One was at West Point, two were at Continental Village, a hamlet near Peekskill, and three in the vicinity of Danbury, in Connecticut. The artillery was at Pluckemin, in Bedminster county, New Jersey(1) The head-quarters of the chief were in the vicinity of Middlebrook. Knox, Greene, and Steuben were among the general officers that accompanied him; and the ladies of several of the officers, among whom was Mrs. Washington, enlivened the camp by their presence during the winter.
The place of encampment was about three fourths of a mile northwest from the village. Log huts were completed, for the use of the soldiers, in February, after they had suffered exposure under canvas tents for several weeks. The huts, according to the description of Dr. Thacher, who was there, were made very comfortable by filling the interstices between the logs with mud, as log houses in our Western and Southwestern states are now made. The huts were arranged in straight lines, forming a regular and compact village. The officers' huts were arranged in front of the line, according to their rank, with kitchens in the rear; and the whole was similar in form to a tent encampment. Remains of these are still found in the fields where the encampment was. I could not ascertain where Washington was quartered; and, as far as could learn by inquiries, there is only one house remaining in the neighborhood which was occupied by any of the general officers at that time, and that is the dwelling of Mr. Staats, where Major-general Baron Steuben had his quarters. From a remark by Dr. Thacher, in his Military Journal (page 156), I infer that Washington's quarters were at or near Pluckemin, a few miles from the camp. The doctor speaks of all event that occurred" near head-quarters, at Pluckemin."
In the evening of my arrival at Middlebrook, I called on Mrs. Polly Van Norden, a small, but vigorous old lady, eighty-four years of age. She lived near the Monmouth battle-ground at the time of the conflict there, and was well acquainted with the sufferings of the Whigs in that region from the depredations of the desperate band of Tories called the Pine Robbers. She was a woman of strong but uncultivated mind, and became excited with feelings of the
1 Pluckemin lies at the base of a high mountain, about six miles northwest of Somerville. There the American army halted on the 4th of January, 1177 (the day after the battle of Princeton), on its way to Morristown. In the village burial-ground is the grave of Captain Leslie, of the British army, who was mortally wounded at Princeton. Mr. Custis, in his Recollections of the Life of Washington, says, "It was while the commander-in-chief reined up his horse, upon approaching the spot, in a plowed field, where lay the gallant Colonel Harslet, mortally wounded, that he perceived some British soldiers supporting a wounded officer, and, upon inquiring his name and rank, was answered, 'Captain Leslie.' Dr. Benjamin Rush, who formed a part of the general's suite; earnestly asked, 'A son of the Earl of Levin?' to which the soldiers replied in the affirmative. The doctor then addressed the general-in-chief: 'I beg your excellency to permit this wounded officer to be placed under my care, that I may return, in however small a degree, a part of the obligation I owe to his worthy father for the many kindnesses received at his hands while a student at Edinburgh.' The request was immediately granted; but, alas! poor Leslie was soon past all surgery." He died the same evening, after receiving every possible kindness and attention, and was buried the next day at Pluckemin, with the honors of war. His troops, as they lowered the body to the soldier's last rest, shed tears of sorrow over the remains of their much-loved commander. On a plain monument erected to his memory is the following inscription: "In memory of Captain WILLIAM LESLIE, of the seventh British regiment, son of the Earl of Levin, in Scotland. He fell, January 3d, 1777, aged 26 years, at the battle of PRINCETON. His friend, Benjamin Rush, M.D., of Philadelphia, hath caused this stone to be erected, as a mark of his esteem for his worth, and respect for his family."
bitterest hatred against thc Tories while telling me of their deeds-a hatred, the keenness of which the lapse of seventy years has scarcely blunted.
Early the following morning, in company with a gentleman of the village, I (September 11, 1848.) rode to the residence of the venerable Bergen Bragaw, a hale old man of eighty-seven. From him I learned the exact locality of the American encampment. His half brother was one of the Pennsylvania line, and my informant often visited him in the camp. He said the slope where the huts were erected was heavily timbered at that time, but it was completely cleared in cutting down trees for the log houses, and has been a cultivated tract ever since.
From Mr. Bragaw's we rode to the house formerly owned by Abraham Staats, and now in possession of his son. Three sisters survive, one of whom (Mr's. Jane Doty) nearly eighty years of age, who resided there during the Revolution, has a clear recollection of many events connected with Baron Steuben's occupancy of the house. Although she was then a child eight or ten years old, she remembers the dignity of his appearance, the urbanity of his manners, for which he was noted, and the elegance and richness of the ornaments with which he was adorned. She spoke of a brilliant medal that hung by a ribbon upon his breast. (1) Mrs. doty recollected two visits made to the baron by Washington and his lady, one to dine and the other to take tea with him. On the latter occasion several ladies were present. She also remembers an entertainment given by the baron to the American officers and their ladies, on which occasion the table was spread was spread in a grove near by. This occurred a short time before the encampment broke up, which event took place early in June. (1779.)
Returning to the village, we proceeded to visit the camp-ground, which is upon the left of the main road over the mountains to Pluckemin; also "Washington's Rock." The former exhibits nothing worthy of particular attention; but the latter, situated upon the highest point of the mountain in the rear of Middlebrook, is a locality, independent of the associations which hallow it, that must ever impress the visitor with pleasant recollections of the view obtained from that lofty observatory. We left our wagon at a point half way up the mountain, and made our way up the steep declivities along the remains of the old road. How loaded wagons were managed in ascending or descending this mountain road is quite inconceivable, for it is a difficult journey for a foot-passenger to make. In many places not even the advantage of a zigzag course along the hill sides was employed, but a line as straight as possible was made up the mountain. Along this difficult way the artillery troops that were stationed at Pluckemin crossed the mountain, and over that steep and rugged road heavy cannons were dragged. Having reached the summit, we made our way through a narrow and tangled path to the bold rock seen in the picture on the next page. It is at an elevation of nearly four hundred feet above the plain below, and commands a magnificent view of the surrounding country included in the segment of a circle of sixty miles, having its rundle southward. At our feet spread out the beautiful rolling plains like a map, through which course the winding
1 Baron Steuben had received from the King of Prussia a
splendid medal of gold and diamonds, designating the Order of Fidelity,
which he always wore when in full mIlitary dress.
2 This view is from the field in front of the house, looking north. The d welling is at the end of a lane several rods from the main road leading to Middlebrook from New Brunswick. It is on the western side of the Raritan, and about a mile from the bridge near Middlebrook. Only the center building was in existence at the time in question, and that seems to have been enlarged. Each wing has since been added. The interior of the old part is kept in the same condition as it was when Steuben occupied it, being, like most of the better dwellings of that time, neatly wainscoted with pine, wrought into moldings and panels.
Raritan and the Delaware and Hudson Canal. Little villages and neat farm-houses dotted (he picture in every direction. Southward, the spires of New Brunswick shot up above the intervening forests, and on the left, as seen in the picture, was spread the expanse of Raritan and Amboy Bays, with many white sails upon their bosoms. Beyond were seen the swelling hills of Staten Island, and the more abrupt heights of Neversink or Navesink Mountains, at Sandy Hook. Upon this lofty rock Washington often stood, with his telescope, and reconnoitered the vicinity. He overlooked his camp at his feet, and could have descried the marchings of the enemy at a great distance upon the plain, or the evolutions of a fleet in the waters beyond. In the rear of Plainfield, at an equal elevation, and upon the same range of hills, is another rock bearing a similar appellation, and from the same cause. It is near the brow of the mountain, but, unlike the one under consideration, it stands quiet alone, and rises from a slope of the hill, about twenty-five feet from base to summit. From this latter lofty position, it is said, Washington watched the movements of the enemy in the summer of 1777, recorded on page 331.
While upon the mountains a haze that dimmed the sky in the morning, gathering into thick clouds, assumed the nimbus form, and menaced us with rain. This fact, and the expectation of the speedy arrival of the train for Sommerville, where I was to take stage for Easton, on the Delaware, hurried us back to the village. There I met an old gentlemen (whose name I have forgotten), who, though a small boy at the time, remembered the grand display at Pluckemin during the encampment, on the anniversary of the alliance of America with France. (1) He remembered an incident which I have not seen mentioned in the published accounts of that (February 6, 1778.)
1 The following account of this celebration, published at
the time, will doubtless interest the reader. It must be remembered that
on the 6th of February, 1778, Dr. Franklin and other American commissioners,
and commissioners appointed by the French government, signed a treaty of
friendship and alliance between the two countries. The event alluded to
occurred on the first anniversary (1779) of the alliance, or a few days
afterward. It was postponed until the 18th, on account of Washington's absence
from camp. The general-in-chief, and all the principal officers of the army
there, Mrs. Washington, Mrs. Knox, Mrs. Greene, and the ladies and gentlemen
for a large circuit around the camp, were of the company; and there was
a vast concourse of spectators from every part of New Jersey.
The artillery were posted upon a piece of rising ground, and the entertainment was given by General Knox and the officers of the artillery corps. The entertainment and ball were held at the academy of the Park. The celebration was commenced at about four o'clock in the afternoon, by a discharge of thirteen cannons. The company invited then sat down to dinner in the academy. In the evening a display of fireworks was made, under the direction of Colonel Stevens, "from the point of a temp]e one hundred feet in length, and proportionately high." The temple showed thirteen arches, each displaying an illuminated painting. The center arch was ornamented.with a pediment larger than any of the others; and the whole edifice was supported by a colonnade of the Corinthian order. The illuminated paintings were disposed in the following order: The 1st arch on the right represented the commencement of hostilities at Lexington, with this inscription: "The scene opened." 2d. British clemency, represented in the burning of Charlestown, Falmouth, Norfolk, and Kingston. 3d. The separation of America from Britain. A magnificent arch broken in the center, with this motto: "By your tyranny to the people of America, you have separated the wide arch of an extended empire." 4th. Britain represented as a decaying empire, by a barren country, broken arches, fallen spires, ships deserting its shores, birds of prey hovering over its moldering cities, and a gloomy setting sun. Motto,
"The Babylonian spires are sunk,
Achaia, Rome, and Egypt moldered down;
Time shakes the stable tyranny of thrones,
And tottering empires crush by their own weight."
affair. He said that several boys had possession of a small swivel, and, in firing it, one of them, while loading, had his hand blown off by a premature discharge of the piece. The boy was the son of a widow, and Washington, hearing of the circumstance, sent his mother two guineas.
I left Middlebrook at noon, and within half an hour was at dinner in Somerville, five or six miles distant, whence, at one o'clock, I departed in a stage-coach for Easton. Within the coach were seven grown persons, three children about ten years old, and two babies of a respectable size and sound lungs; while on the outside were four passengers and the driver, and an indefinite quantity of baggage. The roads were excessively dusty. The rain that commenced falling gently soon after leaving Somerville relieved us of that annoyance, but produced a greater-the necessity of having the windows of the coach closed, to keep out the drippings of the increasing storm. A wheezing old gentleman in green goggles insisted upon keeping the window open near him, to save him from suffocation; while a shadowy, middle-aged lady, upon the next seat, wrapped in a cloak, as earnestly declared that it should be closed to save her from an ague that had threatened her for a week. The matter appeared to be very properly a casus belli, as prime ministers say; but, unlike the action of prime ministers in general, the controversy was compromised by mutual concessions, the crooked roads over the rough hills presenting a basis for an amicable treaty of peace. It was agreed that, when the course of the road brought the lady to the windward, the window was to be closed, and at other times the gentleman was to be accommodated with fresh air.
The country through which we passed is beautifully diversified with lofty hills and deep ravines, forming numerous water courses, whose irrigating streams fertilize the broad valleys which are found occasionally imbosomed among the less fertile, but cultivated mountains. Of these, the Musconetcong,(1) through which flows a small river of the same euphonious name, dividing the counties of Hunterdon and Warren, is said to be one of the most charming. We crossed the Musconetcong at the pretty little village of Bloomsbury, at twilight, but the gloaming and the rain deprived us of the pleasure of a view of the valley and its thriving town. We were now within six miles of the Delaware, and as the darkness deepened the storm increased; and when, at seven o'clock, we crossed the river, and reined up at the hotel in Easton, we seemed to alight in the very court of Jupiter Pluvius.
Easton is upon the right bank of the Delaware, at its confluence with the Lehigh River, thirty-seven miles northwest from Somerville. Arriving there after dark, and departing the next morning before daylight, I had no opportunity to view it. It is said to be a place of much business, and inhabited by a well-educated, social, and highly moral population, and is in the midst of natural scenery singularly picturesque. It has but little Revolutionary history, and that relates chiefly to contests with the Indians. Here the division of the army
5th. America represented as a rising empire. Prospect of
a fertile country, harbors and rivers covered with ships, new canals opening,
cities arising amid woods, splendid sun emerging from a bright horizon.
"New worlds are still emerging from the deep,
The old descending, in their turns to rise."
6th. A grand illuminated representation of LOUIS THE SIXTEENTH, the enconrager of letters, the supporter of the rights of humanity, the ally and friend of the American people. 7th. Thc center arch, THE FATHERS IN CONGRESS. Motto," Nil despemndum reipublicae." 8th. The American philosopher and embassador extracting lightning from the clouds. 9th. The battle near Saratoga, 7th of October, 1777. 10th. The Convention of Saratoga. 11th. A representation of the sea fight, off Ushant, between Count d'Orvilliers and Admiral Keppel. 12th. Warren, Montgomery, Mercer, Wooster, Nash, and a crowd of heroes who have fallen in the American contest, in Elysium, receiving the thanks and praises of Brutus, Cato, and those spirits who in all ages have gloriously struggled against tyrants and tyranny. Motto," Those who shed their blood in such a cause shall live and reign forever." 13th represented Peace, with all her train of blessings. Her right hand displaying an olive branch; at her feet lay the honors of harvest; the background was filled with flourishing cities; ports crowded with ships; and other emblems of an extensive empire and unrestrained commerce.
When the fire-works were finished, the company concluded the celebration by a splendid ball, which was opened by Washington, whose partner was the lady of General Knox.
1 This is an Indian word, signifying "a rapid-running stream."
of Sullivan, under his immediate command, rendezvoused previous to its flying and desolating campaign against the Six Nations in central New York in 1779, and hither came the poor fugitives from the blackened Valley of Wyoming, after the terrible massacre and burning there in 1778. It has history antecedent to this, but in a measure irrelevant to our subject. Here, in 1758, the chiefs of the Indian tribes, the Delawares, Shawnees, Miamis, Nanticokes, Mohicans, Conoys, Monseys, and all of the Six Nations, assembled in grand council with the Governors of Pennsylvania and New Jersey, Sir William Johnson, and other distinguished men; and the eloquence and good sense of the great Indian diplomatist, Teedyuscung, were here displayed on several occasions. Here, too, before the cabin of the white man was built upon the Delaware above Trenton, the surrounding hills echoed the voices of the eminent Whitefield and Brainerd,(1) as they proclaimed the Gospel of Peace to the heathen; and here the good Moravians sang their hymns and held their love-feasts in the wigwams of the Indians.
1 GEORGE WHITEFIELD was born in Gloucester, England, December
16th, 1714. After making some progress in learning, he was obliged to assist
his mother, who kept an inn. At the age of eighteen he entered Oxford, where
he became acquainted with the Wesleys (John and Charles), the founders of
the Methodists. He joined these eminent Christians, took orders, and was
ordained by the bishop in June, 1736. Mr. John Wesley was then in Georgia,
and by his persuasion Whitefield embarked for America. He arrived at Savannah
in May, 1738, and returned to England in September following. Bishop Benson
ordained him priest in January, 1739. He made several voyages to America,
and traveled through nearly all the colonies. He went to the Bermudas in
1748. In 1769 he made his seventh and last voyage to America. After preaching
in different parts of the country, he died suddenly at Newburyport, Massachusetts,
September 30th, 1770, aged fifty-five. His powers of eloquence were wonderful,
and his ministry was exceedingly fruitful. His voice was powerful. Dr. Franklin
estimated that thirty thousand people might hear him distinctly when preaching
in the open air. Of him Cowper wrote,
"He loved the world that hated him; the tear
That dropped upon his Bible was sincere;
Assailed by scandal and the tongue of strife,
His only answer was a blameless life;
And he that forged and he that threw the dart,
Had each a brother's interest in his heart.
Paul's love of Christ and steadiness unbribed
Were copied close in him, and well transcribed ;
He followed Paul, his zeal a kindred flame,
His apostolic charity the same;
Like him, crossed cheerfully tempestuous seas,
Forsaking country, kindred, friends, and ease;
Like him he labored, and like him content
To bear it, suffer shame where'er he went.
mush, Calumny! and write upon his tomb,
If honest eulogy can spare thee room,
The deep repentance of thy thousand lies,
Which, aimed at him, have pierced th' offended skies,
And say, blot out my sin, confessed, deplored,
Against thine image in thy saint, oh Lord!"
DAVID BRAINERD was born at Haddam, Connecticut, April 20th, 1718. He entered Yale College in 1739; but, being expelled in 1742, on account of some indiscreet remarks respecting one of the tutors, he never obtained his degree. He immediately commenced the study of divinity. Toward the close of the year he was licensed to preach, and immediately afterward was appointed a missionary to the Indians. His first efforts were made among the Stockbridge Indians, about fifteen miles from Kinderhook, New York. There he lodged upon straw, and his food was the simple fare of the savages. After the Stockbridge Indians agreed to remove to Stockbridge, and place themselves under the instruction of Mr. Sergeant, Brainerd went to the Indians upon the Delaware. There he labored for a while, and then visited the Indians at Crossweeksung, or Cross wicks, in New Jersey, where he was very successful. He worked an entire reform in the lives of the savages at that place. In the summer of 1746, Mr. Brainerd visited the Indians upon the Susquehanna. The next spring, finding his health giving way, he traveled in New England. In July he halted at Northampton, and there, in the family of Jonathan Edwards, he passed the remaining weeks of his life. He died October 9th, 1747, aged twenty-nine years. His exertions in the Christian cause were of short continuance, but they were intense, incessant, and effectual.
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