History From America's Most Famous Valleys
Frontiersmen of New York
by Jeptha R. Simms
Albany, NY 1883
Volume II, Page 692
La Fayette.-When the great and good LaFayette last visited the United States, he received in all parts of the republic the gratitude and welcome of a prosperous people, his own arm and purse had aided in making free. At that time he landed in the United States August 15, 1824, and again sailed for France in September, 1825. Cities and towns vied with each other in commendable zeal, to render their illustrious guest happy. Not a few companions in arms now grown old, met, recognized and shed a few tears with the old patriot; in his journey through the union. The following incident is one of not a few of an interesting nature attendant on the visit of this kind hearted man.
At the termination of his visit at Schenectada, he was escorted from thence by a body of troops under the command of Gen. Schemerhorn, to the half-way house between that city and Albany ; at which place a military corps from the latter city under Gen. Matthew Trotter, awaited his arrival. After the ceremonies of an introduction, Trotter asked the distinguished guest if he recognized him ? He replied that he did not. Said Trotter : " Do you not remember that a drummer boy tied his neck handkerchief about your leg, when you were wounded at Brandywine?" "I do indeed remember," said La Fayette, " that my boot was drawn from my wounded limb, and an American drummer drew from his neck a handkerchief and tied it firmly around it." " I was that drummer '." said Trotter, and the next instant the old veterans were locked in each others arms, blending tears of a hallowed nature. The scene, as may be supposed, was an affecting one to the by-stander : the duplicate of which transpired when they were both young. After the war, Trotter was promoted in the military service to the office of General, on account of Revolutionary merits as a soldier. When the Albanians wanted a marshal to receive and conduct La Fayette to the threshold of their hospitality, they very wisely designated Gen. Trotter to discharge that pleasing duty.-From Isaac V. Morris, who witnessed the interview.
The Trick of a Soldier.-Col. Gozen or Goshen Van Schaick, was one of the bravest and most efficient officers of the Revolution. He had seen no little service as an officer in the northern campaigns of the French war under Sir William Johnson, and in 1776, he was given the command of a regiment of New York State troops: and being a rigid disciplinarian, it became proverbially known as one of the best drilled battalions in the American army. While he was on duty in Albany, he found it extremely difficult to prevent his men from obtaining liquor; indeed, Washington found the use of liquor among the troops when in camp, a source of very great annoyance. Col. Van Schaick was constantly on the qui vive to protect his men from using alcohol, and his espionage was so marked, that some of his men resolved to play a trick upon him. Jack Wells, a well known wag was designated for the pun, and observing the Colonel on some occasion spooking about the Dutch church-which then stood in State street near its junction with Broadway- he quickly filled a canteen with urine, sallied out and concealing it under his coat, he attempted to pass the Colonel as if by accident ; but the latter had observed his movements, and thought to catch him with the tabooed beverage. " Halloo Jack ! " he exclaimed, " what have you got there ? " " Vinegar !" whined Jack, endeavoring by his voice and manner to imply surprise at being detected. " Let me see," said the Colonel, pulling the vessel from under Jack's coat. Drawing the stopple he applied his mouth to the nozzle, to be sure of the guilt of his victim. Jack, who stood looking very penitent, tarried just long enough to see what a wry face the officer made, and then sought his own quarters, leaving the canteen with the detective. The Colonel, who always liked a good practical joke, hit whom it might, finding he had caught a Tartar, said no more about it.
At another time when Col. Van Schaick met Jack Wells in a vein of good humor he said to him: "Jack, what was the strangest thing you have ever seen ? " " Well," he replied, " to be honest with you, Colonel, the strangest thing I have ever seen was a goose with boots and spurs on." Goshen was often spoken and written " goose " by the Dutch.
A fatal Sleigh Side.-Speaking of the old Dutch Church of Albany, I am reminded of a tradition I heard many years ago. The soldiers in their long winter encampments, sought by various means to break the ennui of their monotonous life ; and at a time of good sleighing, some of the soldiers quartered in Albany rode down State street on sleds, starting from near the site of the Capitol. On a large sled or sleigh, one of them rode down to show what he could do ; and from his long passage, and the smoothness of the hill, his sled gained a wonderfully rapid motion. Whether he would have chosen to pass the old church at the foot of the hill, or not, is unknown, but he did not; and, flying with the speed of an arrow, his sled suddenly brought up against the wall of the building with so much force that he was sent headlong against it and instantly killed.- Joseph Hillebrandt.
Historical Matters Connected with Schoharie County, etc.- Here are some facts of its history, that were given in detail in our History of that county in 1845. The county-taken from Albany county-was organized in 1795, and its first attorneys were George Tiffany and Jacob Gebhard. The county is about 39 miles long by 20 wide, and presents every variety of surface from river flats to mountain elevation, yielding bountifully all crops produced in the climate. Its principal water-course is the Schoharie creek, which rises in Greene county and runs through Schoharie county in a northerly course. Much of the northern part of the county is underlaid with limestone, and, as it abounds in fossils, it affords a fine study for the practical geologist.
Caverns.-It also has several caverns of notoriety, which afford rich spar. Ball's-or Gebhard's cavern, has yielded some of the purest white specimens ever found in any cavern, and, although the formations from Howe's, or Otsgaragee cavern, are not as white or its aragonite so handsomely crystalized, yet their characteristics make a most interesting study. There are also other caverns of greater or less extent in the county, some of which have yielded fine specimens. Howe's Cave is easy of access, having become a station on the Susquehanna railroad. For some years this cave, which has some spacious rooms and much to interest the visitor, has become noted as a pleasure resort for students in nature. Water is heard in some part of this cave seeking a lower level, which fact gave rise to the penning of the following lines, found some years ago in Ballou's Pictorial:
TO THE SUBTERRANEAN RIVER, OTSGARAGEE CAVE, SCHOHARIE.
BY IRENE MONTAGUE.
Roll on, thou dark mysterious tide, roll on!
Thy thunders only reach us from that shore
From whence thou pealest up thy endless song,
From whence thou'rt heard-but seen, ah, nevermore.
Thy wavelets gush, we hear their cordial plash:
Thy urn is emptied into depths profound:
Thy riplets murmur, and we list the dash
Of thy mysterious cataract underground.
Roll on, thou tide of endless song, roll on !
Thou dwell'st a pean in a lofty dome:
Thou fill'st old nature's organ with thy song:
Thou peal'st an anthem through the darkened tomb.
But whence thou com'st and whither goest-in vain
For us to ask thy subterranean wall,
Earth's mighty dome reverberates back again,
And only echo answers when we call.
<-Sharon Springs Pavilion, erected in 1836.
Mineral Waters.-The county also has its celebrated mineral waters, known as the Sharon Springs, so called after the town in which situated. They are denominated Sulphur Springs, and have for years been the resort of multitudes of health and pleasure seeking visitors. As a summer resort this retreat, where are several well kept hotels besides the Pavilion, owing to its salubrious and bracing atmosphere, is visited every season by the fashionable and elite of many sea-board towns, and is now approached within a mile by cars (probably Railroad, ajb, typist) from Albany via. Cobelskill to Cherry Valley.
How a Poor Soldier got a Carriage.-One of the first settlers in the interior of the town of Broome, N. Y., was David Elerson, who located in 1793. Previous to the Revolution he was engaged in the Indian wars of Virginia, in which he received a bullet through his left shoulder. Several Indians having secreted themselves behind a fallen tree, were doing fearful execution in the ranks of the colonial troops, and Elerson determined, at the peril of his life, to punish them. While crawling towards a covert for that purpose, he received the ball as described, but soon had the satisfaction, by one or two effective shots, of driving the enemy from their position.
He was in the Monmouth battle, under Col. Morgan, and escaped unhurt. Col. Morgan hung upon the rear of the British army some distance in their retreat. Arriving near Middletown, Elerson, Murphy, Wilbur, and Tuffts (all of whom were afterwards on duty in Schoharie), obtained permission to leave the ranks, with the caution of extreme vigilance from their commander, and pursue the enemy towards Raritan bay. Having separated from his companions, Elerson found himself in sight of his foes. The army had embarked at Gravelly Point, and effected a landing on Staten Island by the boats of the enemy's fleet, then in the bay to cover their retreat. Nothing remained on the Middletown shore except 40 or 50 horses, several baggage wagons and a phaeton, supposed to belong to Sir Henry Clinton. This property he perceived was guarded by only two sentinels, one of whom stood on the beach near the water. Arriving unperceived within a few yards of the two soldiers, one of whom was a mounted trooper, he leveled his rifle and shouted to them to surrender themselves prisoners. The man on foot was so surprised that he let his gun fall into the water, wetting its powder. The dragoon rode into the water, with the intention of swimming his horse to the island, but the tide compelled him to return. In the meantime, Elerson ordered the other man to harness a span of good horses before the carriage, and compelled, with leveled rifle, his immediate compliance. Returning to the beach, the trooper was evidently intent on getting a pistol shot at Elerson, when the latter ordered him to leave his presence or surrender himself a prisoner. Elerson did not wish to fire, as the British army and fleet were in eight, and would doubtless turn their artillery upon him; but the sentinel, drawing a pistol, did not heed his threats, and he sent a ball through his heart. The rifle's report had hardly ceased its echoes, when a cannon shot plowed up the sand near his feet; and just as the second ball lodged in the loose soil near him, having reloaded his piece and observed that his carriage was ready, he bounded into it, and, with his prisoner for driver, soon left the Middletown hills, and rode in safety to the American camp. This daring hero, as he assured the author, sold his carriage and horses for $187.50, and sent the money to his poor father in Virginia. As was the case with many other brave spirits of the Revolution, Elerson could neither read or write. He died in 1838 or '39.
David Williams, one of the captors of Maj. Andre, removed from South Salem, Westchester county, 1805, to this town, and settled on the farm recently owned by Gen. Daniel Shays,* near
* This Gen. Shays was the man who headed an insurrection against the government of Massachusetts in 1786; the malcontents were dispersed in 1787, by State troops under Gens. Shephard and Lincoln. This transaction has since been called Shays Rebellion. Not long after becoming thus celebrated he removed to Schoharie county, from whence, after a residence of some 15 years, he went to reside at Cayuga, N. Y., where he died in 1831 He drew a pension of $240 a year; a captain's pay for services in the Revolution. Shays was a man of noble and commanding figure, fine martial appearance, and pleased with the title of General, with which he was usually saluted.- Judge W. W. Murphy.
Livingstonville,* where he resided to the time of his death. A sketch of his life, the capture and execution of Andre, etc., are given elsewhere.
<-Bouck's Falls.-Of the beautiful scenery in Schoharie county, this cascade, in the town of Fulton, is among its most romantic. The falls are on Panther creek, a mill stream which runs into the Schoharie, just above Panther mountain, a mile or two from the Gov. Bouck mansion, the present residence of his son, Charles Bouck, Esq. At my first visit to this waterfall (in Oct., 1837), I named it after Col. J. W. Bouck, also a son of the governor, who accompanied me to it. The stream dashes down a precipice in a little distance, at least 100 feet, into a deep pool its action has worn at the base. The bold cliffs tower upwards on either side about 200 feet, while the trees-standing upon the summit like sentinels on the walls of a castle-present a picture romantic and enchanting. In its descent, the water is concealed by projecting rocks, except in two places, the one near the bottom, and the other 50 or 60 feet above, at which latter place it dashes down with thundering, deafening roar. The opening cut in a mountain gorge by this cataract, is from 200 to 300 feet across at the bottom and much less at the summit, so that, could the hill tops unite, a cavern would thus be formed several hundred feet in depth, with a vaulted ceiling nearly a hundred feet high. The rock is sandstone, similar to the prevailing formation of Otsego and Madison counties, characterized at this point by the inoceramus and several other varieties of fossil shells, and farther upward by the trilobite DeKayii.
As if to add interest to the scene, at the time of the visit named, there stood Dick Bowk, then a gray-headed old negro, who, as before stated, was the little captive slave taken with William Bouck and part of his family in 1780. Dick had been fishing for trout until they would no longer bite, and was then hooking them up. He recounted the story of his captivity-but could not resist the temptation, as a good sized fish came within reach, to attempt its capture, thus often losing the thread
* A war path in the Revolution led from Kingston to Schoharie. Following up the Catsklll, through the towns of Durham and Rensselaerville, It proceeded onward through Broome to Middleburgh At Livlngstonvllle, in Broome, directly on this path, lived Derick Van Dyck, who settled there before the war; and often did Timothy Murphy partake of the hospitality of this pioneer when on his secret expeditions into that neighborhood, and regale himself with a good draught of buttermilk; a beverage of which it is possible the Indian also partook in the absence of his destroyer.- Judge Murphy.
of his tale, to the great amusement of his auditors. He several times raised his hooks from the water for the purpose of finishing his narrative, but the line -would as often sink unconsciously into it, to capture a good sized trout. Poor Dick, he sleeps with his fathers; but long will the author remember the story of his captivity, and the novel manner in which he related it.
A Brief Mention of Gov. Bouck.-The late Gov. William C. Bouck, denominated the farmer Governor of Hew York, was a native of Fulton, Schoharie county, N. Y., and was born January 7, 1786. His early education was mostly obtained at a common school; but, the better to fit him for usefulness, he was given a course of study in the law office of George Tiffany, Esq. At an early age he held several town and county offices, including that of sheriff ; and in 1814, '15 and '17 he was in the State Legislature, and in 1819 he was chosen a State Senator, about which time he was Colonel of the Eighteenth Regiment of New York infantry. While in the Senate in 1821, where he was respected for his practical knowledge, he was chosen-irrespective of political bias, by the unanimous vote of both houses of the Legislature-a member of the Canal Board, and was appointed to superintend an important part of the Erie canal then being constructed. He was retained as Canal Commissioner for 19 years. In 1840 he was the Democratic candidate for Governor ; in 1842, at his second nomination, he was elected by a large majority.* He was member of the Constitutional Convention in 1846, and was treasurer of the New York customs from 1846 to 1849, when he resumed the life of a farmer. He died April 15, 1859, aged 73 years.
I may also remark that the late Gen. William Mann assured the writer, when speaking of Gov. Bouck as a military man, under whom it was his pleasure to do duty, that, had he been going into actual service, he would have chosen to do so under Col. Bouck rather than under any officer lie had ever known, believing he would have been a prudent and sagacious commander.
* Many a word spoken In jest becomes prophetic About the year 1820, an honest farmer living on Foxescreek, held a conversation with a friend of ours, in which Mr. Bouck was mentioned. Of the latter gentleman the former thus remarked: " Depend upon it, that man will yet be Governor of this State; for instead of going round a hill as other men do to see what is on the opposite side he looks right through it." This casual remark was made at a time when his Excellency's intimate friends did not anticipate for him a seat in the gubernatorial chair of State.
Execution of Andre and Treason of Arnold.-Among the most important events of the war, was the treason of Gen. Benedict Arnold, and execution of Maj. John Andre. David Williams, one of the captors of Andre, settled in Schoharie county after the war, and having from his personal friends his life and character, as also his narrative of the arrest of Andre, the matter is here brought together. It was the writer's good fortune to converse, years ago, with R. W. Murphy, Esq., a nephew of David Williams, who was brought up in his family, and Isaac Hall Tiffany, Esq., who took down from the lips of Williams the particulars of the surprise and capture of Andre, at his residence in Broome, February 13, 1817. He was a son of After and Phebe Williams, who emigrated from Holland in early life. They were poor but reputable ; he died near the close of the Revolution, and the widow died at the residence of her son David, in 1795. The following biography of David Williams appeared in the Albany Advertiser, in January, 1817, and is said to have been dictated by himself :
" I was born in Tarrytown, then called Philips' Manor, Westchester county. New York, October 21, 1754. I entered the army in 1775, at the age of 21, and was under Gen. Montgomery at the siege of Fort St. Johns, and afterwards on board the flat bottomed boats to carry provisions, etc.; served out my time which was six months. I then went, enlisted again in the spring of 1776, and continued in the service by different enlistments as a New York militiaman until 1779.
In 1778, when in Capt. Acker's company of New York militia at Tarrytown, I asked his permission to take a walk in company with William Van Wart, a boy 16 or 17 years old. I proceeded to the cross-roads on Tompkins, ridge, stood looking a few minutes, saw five men coming, they had arms ; we jumped over a stone fence, and concealed ourselves in a corner of it; observed that they were armed with two muskets and three pistols. They came so nigh that we recognized two of them, viz.: William Underhill and William Mosher, who were tories, and known to be of De Lancy's corps. When they came within proper distance, I said to my companion, ' Billy, neck or no joint!' I then said aloud, as if speaking to a number, with the view of intimidating them, 'men make ready!' They stopped immediately; I told them to ground their arms, which they did ; I then said, ' march away ;' they did so ; I then jumped over the fence, secured their arms, and made them march before us to our quarters. I continued in the service until a week or ten days before the year 1780. In December, 1779. Captain Daniel Williams, who was commander of our company, mounted us on horses and we went to Morrisiana, Westchester county. We swept all Morrisiana clear; took probably $5,000 worth of property, returned to Tarrytown, and quartered at Young's house. My feet being frozen, my uncle Maninus Van Wart took me to his house. I told Capt. Williams that the enemy would soon be at Young's, and that if he remained there he would be on his way to Morrisiana before morning. He paid no attention to my remarks-he did not believe me; but in the course of the night a woman came to my uncle's crying ' Uncle Martinus ! Uncle Martinus !' The truth was the British had surrounded Young's house, made prisoners of all the company except two, and burnt the barn.
" Having got rid of my frozen feet, on the third of June, 1780, we all drove from Tarrytown to the upper part of Westchester county, in the town of Salem. We belonged to no organized company at all, were under no command, and worked for our board or johnnycake. Isaac Van Wart, who was a cousin of mine (the father of Williams and mother of VanWart were brother and sister), Nicholas Storms and myself went to Tarrytown on a visit, we carried our muskets with us, and on our way took a Quaker who said he was going to New York after salt and other things. The Quaker was taken before the American authority and acquitted.
" In July or August a number of persons of whom I was one, went on a visit to our friends in Tarrytown, and while on the way took 10 head of cattle which some refugees were driving to New York, and on examination before the authority, the cattle were restored to their right owners, as they pleaded innocence saying they were stolen from them. I then returned to Salem and worked with a Mr. Benedict, for my board until the 22d of September. It was about one o'clock p. M., as I was standing in the door with Mr. Benedict's daughter (who was afterwards my wife), when I saw six men coming ; she remarked ' they have got guns.' I jumped over a board fence and met them. ' Boys,' said I, ' where are you going ?' They answered ' we are going to Tarry-town.' I then said ' if you will wait until I get my gun I will go with you.' The names of the six persons were Isaac Van Wart, John Paulding, William Williams, John Yerks and James Romer ; the name of the sixth I have forgotten. We proceeded about 15 miles that night, and slept in a bay barrack. In the morning we crossed Buttermilk hill, when John Paulding proposed to go to Isaac Reeds and get a pack of cards to divert ourselves with. After procuring them we went out to Davis' hill, where we separated ; leaving four on the hill, and three, viz : Van Wart, Paulding and myself proceeded on the Tarrytown road, and commenced playing cards three handed, that is each one for himself. We had not been playing more than an hour, when we heard a horse galloping across a bridge but a few rods from us ; which of us spoke I do not remember, but one of us said, ' there comes a trader going to New York, we'll fix him."
is the statement noted by Judge Tiffany, at the home of Williams, in Broome,
N. Y., February 13, 1817, which differs in nothing material from the one given
in the Advertiser, connected with the sketch quoted. Williams was aged 22,
and his comrades were younger. On gaining the road, they saw a gentleman approaching,
seated on a large brown horse marked on the near shoulder, " U. S. A."
The rider was a light, trim-built man about five feet eight inches in height,
with a determined countenance, dark eyes, and dressed in a round hat, surtout,
crimson coat (a coat borrowed of Smith, such as was worn by English and American
gentlemen), with pantaloons and vest of buff nankeen. As he neared them, they
cocked their muskets, and as they leveled them at the rider, he checked his
horse, drew up before them and the following conversation followed :
Andre-" Gentlemen, I hope you belong to our party !"
Paulding-" What party ? "
Andre-"The lower party."
Paulding-" We do" (this answer threw him off his guard).
Andre-" I am a British officer ; I have been up in the country on particular business, and do not wish to be detained a single moment."
" He thereupon pulled out a gold watch and exhibited it as an evidence that he was a gentleman, and returned it to its fob. Paulding thereupon remarked : " We are Americans ! "
Andre-" God bless my soul! a man must do anything to get along-I am a continental officer, going down to Dobb's Ferry to get information from below."
Andre then drew out and presented a pass from Gen. Arnold, in which was the assumed name of John Anderson. Seizing the bridle reins of his horse, they ordered him to dismount. Andre exclaimed: "You'll bring yourselves into trouble." One of them replied ; " We do not care for that." They then took him down 10 or 15 rods from the road beside a run of water, and Williams proceeded to search his hat (a civilian's hat), coat, vest, shirt and pantaloons, in which they found $80 in continental money ; and at last ordered him to take off his boots. At this he changed color (and not inclining to do it), Williams drew off the boot (finding nothing in it), and Paulding seizing the foot exclaimed (excitedly), my God! here it is ! They pulled off the stocking and found in it a package containing three half sheets of written paper marked on wrapper, 'Contents West Point.' Paulding (excited), again exclaimed ; " My God ! he is a spy !" On pulling off the other boot and stocking, a similar package was found." The words in parenthesis show explanations made by Judge Tiffany.
"Andre was now allowed to dress, when the trio marched him across the road and into the field about 20 rods. The young men then winked to each other to make further discoveries, and inquired from whom he got the papers ? " Of a man at Pine's Bridge, but I did not know the man," replied Andre. He then offered them for his liberty, his horse, browsing a few rods off, and equipage, watch and 100 guineas. They said they would not let him go unless he told them who he had the papers from. He refused to tell, but offered them his horse, equipage and 1,000 guineas. They were firm in their denial unless he would tell them who he had the papers of. He then increased his offer to 10,000 guineas, and as many dry goods as they wished, which should be deposited in any place desired, that they might keep him and send some one to New York, 28 miles distant, with his order, so that they could obtain the goods and money unmolested. To this they replied " that it did not signify for him to make any more offers, for he should not go." (At the trial of Joshua H. Smith, a few days after, for complicity in this affair, Paulding testified that when Andre made his last offer he replied : " No, by G---, if you would give us 10,000 guineas, you should not stir a step, we are Americans above corruption, and with us you must go.") The captors at once proceeded to North castle, the nearest military station, about 12 miles distant, with their prisoner, whom they delivered to the custody of Col. Jamieson, who enjoined secrecy, supposing others were in the conspiracy, Maj. Tallmadge, who commanded the guard, received the prisoner in charge. On their way to this post, Andre gave his watch to his captors, telling them it was a prize. Maj. Tallmadge with about 20 men, conducted Andre to the quarters of Col. Shelen, at Salem, and the captors after proceeding part of the way, left them and returned to their homes. At Comyn Hill, on his route, Tallmadge caused the prisoner to be tied, but he was not bound by his captors.
As this is a matter of deep interest to the American reader, I feel it a duty to give more of its attending circumstances. The father of David Williams, was a farmer, in Tarrytown, at the beginning of the war, who, being too poor to purchase a farm, worked land upon shares. When the British and tories began to commit acts of cruelty in the vicinity, Williams removed with his family to South Salem. He lived on lands belonging to Joseph Benedict, Esq., near the village of Cross River. The Americans having possession of the country in the vicinity of West Point, and the British that above New York, Tories about the neutral ground were not only despoilers of whig property, committing acts of cruelty, such as murder, theft, rapine and the like ; but, coming in the night, they drove off cattle, horses and swine to the British posts, where they were liberally paid for them. For such acts they came to be called cow-boys, a term then implying the lowest calling in life. De Lancey's corps, which became a terror to well doers, was generally mounted on horseback, and consisted mainly of cowboys.
On the removal of the Williams family to Cross River, David hired out to Mr. Benedict to work on his farm, and became so much of a favorite with the family, that, whenever he was not engaged in military service, he made the house of his employer his welcome home. Mr. Benedict had a fair daughter named Nancy, and Cupid had so interwoven the affections of the young couple, that David found his time pass agreeably at her father's. The whigs who encountered the cowboys in their excursions, were generally in the militia service on short inlistments, and as they had been obliged in many instances to change their residences, they acquired the name of refugees, a title sometimes given the Tories The cowboys were often overtaken, and the plunder they had made taken from them by the refugees, almost within sight of the British camp. Not unfrequently the agressor's life was forfeited on these occasions, and now and then a conflict ensued, when the life-blood of friend and foe mingled together.
In the fall of 1780, at a time when Williams was at the house of Mr. Benedict, enjoying a tete-a-tete with his Nancy, she pointed to a small company of armed men approaching their village. They entered an inn near by, and the lover, having recognized them, hastened to join them. The names of the party are given in the preceding statement of Williams. The night before, a party of cowboys had been into the adjoining town of Poundridge, led by one Smith, a noted tory, and besides stealing much property, they had killed a neighbor to some of the Whigs then convened, by the name of Pelham, who had run out in his night-clothes to save his horses. To reclaim the stolen property and return it to the widow, or avenge the death of her husband, was the especial object this scout of American militia had in view, when they set out for Tarrytown.
The movement of these friends, up to the arrest of Andre, is already before the reader. Meeting the three armed men below the American pickets, he took them to be cowboys, and being thrown off his guard, his manner excited suspicion in his captors, and he was strictly searched. His pass from Arnold, which had protected " John Anderson " thus far, would protect John Andre no farther. While in the act of exhibiting his pass, he stated that he " was going below on an express from the headquarters of the American army at West Point, and here," he added, " is a pass from Gen. Arnold, who commands in the absence of Gen. Washington." The pass, which was dated " Headquarters, Robinson House, Sept. 22, 1780," required all persons to assist John Andersen, who was going to New York on business highly important to the American army, forbidding any person to stop or molest him at their peril. Knowing that Washington bad gone to Hartford on business, after the pass from Arnold was produced, his captors had nearly allowed him to proceed, and be was reining his horse into the road, when Paulding, in an undertone, observed, " D-n him, I do not like his looks." It is stated in the " Life of Gen. Greene," who was president of the board which tried Andre, that when he first became visible to his captors he was engaged in examining a sketch of the route, to determine which of the several roads he ought to pursue.
At the expression of Paulding, that he did not like his looks, he was again ordered to stop. One of the party inquired what he had done with the paper he had in his hands when he first appeared in sight. The question produced a momentary hesitation, and his embarrassment being noticed by the party, he was then told that the circumstances of his first avowing himself to belong to the lower party-in connection with Arnold's pass -required their searching his person, to which he remonstrated, threatening them with the vengeance of Arnold for detaining him. But his threats were of no avail; his manner increased their suspicions; the love of liberty fired the patriotic heart, and leading his horse aside into a field partially covered with underwood, he was examined. His person was strictly searched -his hat, coat, vest, shirt and breeches-even his hair, which was done up in a cue, the fashion of the day, was untied without creating any unusual anxiety in the prisoner, until he was ordered to take off his boots, when he changed color and manifested fear. As he did not remove them, Williams, who had been selected by his companions to search him, while they retained their arms, drew them off, and inside his stockings the treasonable papers were found; in one boot was also discovered the sketch of the route. Finding his true character disclosed, and being told that he was considered as a spy, Andre saw at once the danger of his situation, and attempted to regain his liberty by the offer of bribes, such as required Roman firmness -I should say American firmness, for Roman history exhibits no parallel-to resist. But the attempt was futile, evincing in his captors a love of liberty stronger than love of riches and virtue that kings might envy.
Some writer has said that these young men would have taken the reward offered by Andre, for his ransom, had they not expected a greater one for retaining him. I hope such people do not use as their standard the strength and stability of their own virtue. Those men were old enough to know that a country so impoverished as ours then was, could hardly be expected to reward them in a manner at all commensurate with the liberality of the proffered bribe. The truth is, love of country did prevail on this occasion. God, who favored the cause of suffering humanity, sustained those young men, and impelled their action in this emergency for good.
While they were searching Andre, his horse had strayed some distance, grazing among the underbrush ; when the search was completed, one of them led up the horse and he was permitted to mount and ride between his captors, to the military post of Col. Jamieson. At the examination of Andre at Tappan, and also at his trial at the same place, the captors were present. Indeed, they were also within the ring when Andre was executed, and Mr. Williams made the following statement to Mr. Tiffany : When the officer informed the prisoner that his time had nearly expired, and asked him if he had anything to say, he answered: "Nothing but for them to witness to the world that I die like a brave man." The hangman, who was painted black, then offered to put the noose about his neck. " Keep off your black hands," said he, putting it on himself. He then tied a handkerchief over his eyes, drawing it up with a smile. Until blindfolded, he bowed and smiled to such acquaintances as be recognized, and thus seemingly resigned he died.
While at West Point, the magnanimous Washington took the three intrepid soldiers into the arsenal, and presented each of them a sword and brace of pistols, telling them to go constantly armed-" that they would be hunted like partridges upon the mountains "-offering, at the same time, that if they chose to remain in the army, he would give to each of them a Captain's commission. They all declined promotion, and returned to their friends ; and, as Williams was, I have no doubt they all were narrowly watched by the tories.
On one occasion, while at his father's, Williams came near being taken. The house was surrounded in the night by a party of cow-boys, but their cowardice in making the attack was probably the only circumstance to which he owed his life. At another time Williams, having spent the evening with his intended, while returning home in the night, was waylaid in a by-place, and a man, stepping from his concealment, exclaimed, "'Stand, you d-d rebel!" Williams drew a pistol and fired upon his intruder, who vacated the path and retreated. The next day the course of his assailant could be traced some distance by blood. Thus one of the pistols presented by Washington prevented his falling into the hands of his enemies, if it did not in fact save his life.
The following singular coincidence is related at the particular request of the widow of David Williams, and may be relied upon as strictly true. The father of David, a short time before the capture of Andre, had the following singular dream : He saw a crow alight in his path, having in its beak a folded paper. He was extremely anxious to obtain the paper, and see what it contained. For some time he followed after the bird, which would fly up and again alight in his path. His anxiety to obtain the paper increasing, he threw his hat at the bird, which then dropped it. He snatched it up, and, eagerly unfolding, found it a blank sheet of paper, containing in one end a piece of gold, and in the other a piece of silver. A few days after, he heard of Andre's arrest, and that his son was one of the captors. Diviners of dreams are at liberty to make out of this what they please. They can, if they choose, liken the bird to the dark spirit which was besetting the path of Andre ; the paper to the pass of Arnold ; the gold to the bribe offered by the prisoner for Ins release ; and the silver to the reward granted the captors by act of Congress.
The following extract of a letter from Gen. Washington to the president of Congress, dated " Robinson's house, in the Highlands, September 26, 1780," will show the manner in which that body was apprised of Arnold's treason and Andre's arrest :
"I do not know the party that took Maj. Andre, but it is said that it consisted only of a few militia, who acted in such a manner upon the occasion as does them the highest honor, and proves them to be men of great virtue. As soon as I know their names I shall take pleasure in transmitting them to Congress."
Washington communicated to the president of Congress the names of Andre's captors, as the following extract of a letter, dated " Paramus, October 7, 1780," will show :
" I have now the pleasure to communicate the names of three persons who captured Maj. Andre, and who refused to release him, notwithstanding the most earnest importunities, and assurance of a liberal reward, on his part. The names are John Paulding, David Williams, and Isaac Van Wart." (They were presented to Gen. Washington by Col. Hamilton.)
The following is a resolution of Congress, adopted November 3, 1780 :
" Whereas, Congress has received information that John Paulding, David Williams and Isaac Van Wart, three young volunteer militiamen of the State of New York, did, on the 23d day of September last, intercept Maj. John Andre, Adjutant-General of the British army, on his return from the American lines in the character of a spy ; and notwithstanding the large bribes offered them for his release, nobly disdaining to sacrifice their country for the sake of gold, secured and conveyed him to the Commanding officer of the district, whereby the dangerous and traitorous conspiracy of Benedict Arnold was brought to light, the insidious designs of the enemy baffled, and the United States secured from impending danger : Resolved, That Congress have a high sense of the virtuous and patriotic conduct of the said John Paulding, David Williams and Isaac Van Wart: In testimony whereof, Ordered, That each of them receive annually, out of the Public Treasury, Two Hundred Dollars in specie, or an equivalent in current money, of these States, during life, and that the board of war procure for each of them a silver medal, on one side of which shall be a shield with this inscription, " Fidelity"-and on the other the following motto, " Vincit Amor Patriae"-and forward them to the Commander-in-Chief, who is requested to present the same, with a copy of this resolution, and the thanks of Congress for their Fidelity, and the eminent service they have rendered their country."
In addition to the medal and yearly annuity, Congress granted to each of the captors the privilege of locating any confiscated lands in the county of Westchester, to the value of $1,250, or of receiving the said sum in cash, to be expended as they chose. About this time, Williams married Miss Benedict, who was several years younger than himself, and with the $ 1,250 granted by Congress, bought a part of the farm owned by his father-in-law and settled upon it, erecting a log cabin to live in.
He was liberal even to a fault, and the sin of selfishness was one of the least of which he had to render a final account. He was most esteemed and respected by those who knew him best, which is ever the surest test of merit. Naturally honest and confiding, he believed others to be so, and therefore was liable to be plundered by the knavish. He was by habit an early riser, and very industrious. His early education, like that of many others who fought under the star of liberty, was limited; but being fond of reading, he acquired before his death a good fund of general information. He collected some valuable books which he repeatedly read through, and not only took a newspaper and paid for it, but he read its contents. In principle, he was a Jeffersonian ; liberal in his religious views, he never was heard extolling one denomination and denouncing another; and although he made no public profession of religion, he regularly attended divine worship when held in his neighborhood, frequently opening his own house for that purpose. In the latter part of his life, he often read the scriptures aloud in his family, and not unfrequently he was seen or overheard engaged in secret devotion.
In the fall of 1830, the corporation of the city of New York sent an invitation, by a special messenger, to Mr. Williams, to be present as a guest at the celebration of the French Revolution. He was, with Enoch Crosby, another hero of '76, and two others, drawn in an elegant carriage at the head of the procession, attracting much attention, as the writer well remembers. While in the city, he visited with the mayor and other distinguished citizens, theatres, public schools, the navy yard, etc., at all of which he was a welcome guest. At one of the schools a silver cup was presented to him, and at another a silver headed cane, the stem of which was made from a part of a chivaux-de-frise, used near West Point in the Revolution. He was also presented while on this visit, with an elegant horse, carriage and harness by the mayor of New York.
Mr. Williams returned from New York in December, and soon after began to decline, and died August 2, 1831, at the age of nearly 77. He was buried with military honors, on which occasion Robert McClellan, Esq., delivered a befitting oration, and R. W. Murphy, Esq., addressed the assemblage, reviewing the life of his kinsman. Ten years after his death, Mrs. Williams obtained his pension-stopped at his death-receiving $2,000 at one time. The Legislature of 1876, having appropriated $2,000 for a monument to the memory of David Williams, on the 23d of September of that year-the anniversary of Andre's capture -the ceremony of laying its foundation was celebrated at the old R. D. church in Schoharie, a stone edifice used as a fort in the Revolution, when addresses were delivered by Grenville Tremain, Esq.,* and Dr. Daniel Knower, and a poem by Alfred B. Street, was written for the occasion. A large audience was present to take part in the interesting event. Dr. Knower, one of the commissioners for prosecuting the enterprise, spared no pains to secure the site of the monument, and the completion of the noble work. Indeed, his zeal in the undertaking makes the structure, a very nice one for its cost, a perpetual monument to his own memory.
Something to be Regretted.-In 1817, when Maj. Tallmadge was in Congress from Connecticut, a petition was presented in that body to increase the pension of Paulding, one of Maj. Andre's captors. It seems a pity that Maj. Tallmadge, in whose custody Andre mainly was after his arrest, should have so sympathized with the prisoner, as to have led him into an indiscretion in congressional debate, for I can give it no milder term. Andre chose to consider his captors as belonging to a class of reprobates then on the neutral ground in the British service, denominated cow-boys-literally thieves and murderers-and expressed his opinion that his detention was not owing to the virtue of his captors, but a desire to plunder his person; and that could he have given them a generous reward in hand he would have escaped. At that period it was hoped the matter was set at rest by the statements of the captors, and the affidavits of 17 respectable aged witnesses to their character as reputable citizens. Now, at the end of another half century, this sympathetic testimony of Maj. Tallmadge is paraded in an attempt to belittle the patriotic virtue of Andre's captors. In Maj. Tallmadge's "Military Journal," from which I have several times quoted, I remember no sentence that cast a stain upon
* A young man of much promise, who died not long alter the event His address, with the proceedings of the day, may be found in the volume entitled Centennial Celebrations of New York, ordered printed by the State, and handsomely Issued by Allen C. Beach, Esq., Secretary of State in 1879.
the fair fame of Andre's captors; and it is believed that hereafter no true American will ever be found attempting to impeach the character and motives of the three heroes named, or to blot out one of the fairest pages of American history.
Matters Connected With the Arrest and Execution of Maj. Andre.-I have already shown the arrest of Maj. Andre, and the statement of David Williams, one of his captors, regarding it. Here is a further account of the affair, with important matters attending it implicating others :
When the British evacuated Philadelphia in 1778, Gen. Benedict Arnold was given command of that station. His extravagance and dissipation, while a resident of that city, subjected him to a court martial, and a reprimand from the Commander-in-chief. From that moment the star that had guided his footsteps in the path of glory and honor was extinguished, and more evil spirits took possession of his soul, than haunted a certain woman of olden time. In 1780, Arnold sought and obtained from Gen. Washington, the command of the forts at West Point. He soon after, by letter, signified to Sir Henry Clinton, the British Commander-in-chief, then at New York, by a correspondence carried on for a while between Maj. Andre and Mrs. Arnold, and afterwards by himself, under the assumed name of Gustavus, while Andre assumed that of John Anderson, his intention of surrendering that fortress, the Gibraltar of the Union, to the British. Andre was selected by Clinton to complete the diabolical design, and he, for that purpose, landed from the sloop of war Vulture, which had ascended the Hudson, on Thursday night, September 21, 1780, and held an interview with Mons. Gustavus. Joshua H. Smith, with two brothers, Samuel and Joseph Cahoon, as oarsmen, visited the Vulture about midnight, with oars muffled with sheep-skins, agreeable to the orders of Gen. Arnold, and receiving Andre on board their boat, landed with him at the Long Clove, on the west margin of the river, three and one-fourth miles below Smith's residence at Haverstraw, (which residence was distant from Stony Point two and three-fourths miles,) and nearly 20 miles below West Point. To the place of meeting, Arnold had ridden from Smith's house. The boatmen refused to return that night to the ship, and after a protracted conference, Arnold and Andre proceeded on horseback to the dwelling of Smith, who went with the boatmen to Crom's Island, in Haverstraw creek, where the boat was left, and then returned with them to his home, arriving about daylight, Andre was clad in full uniform, but over it he wore a blue traveling coat. The positive orders from Clinton to Andre were, " not to change his dress, go within the American lines, or receive any papers," all of which circumstances impelled him to do.
Morning dawned ere the hellish plot was consummated, and his return to the sloop deferred until the next night. Early in the morning a heavy gun was brought to bear on the Vulture, by a party of Americans on shore, and several shots planted between wind and water compelled her to drop down the stream, where her men stole some plank on the bank of the river, and stopped her leaks. The night following, two men deserted from the Vulture in a boat. It was very dark, but the darkness being lit up at intervals by vivid lightning, the fugitives escaped to the shore, although they were pursued some distance by a boat's crew.-Jude Watson, a sentinel in the Highlands at the time.
Finding his return to the vessel cut off, Andre was compelled to set out for New York by land. Laying aside his regimentals, he put on a plain suit of clothes belonging to Smith, and having received a pass from Arnold, he started on horseback, under his assumed name, on Friday evening, September 22d, accompanied by Smith and a black servant of the latter. About sundown they crossed the Hudson at King's Ferry, from Stony Point on the west, to Verplank's Point on the east side. They met with but little interruption until they arrived near Crom pond, between eight and nine o'clock, when they were hailed by a sentinel under Capt. Ebenezer Boyd. That officer examined the pass of Arnold to Smith, and advised the party to put up at one Andreas Miller's over night, which advice was followed. He also advised Smith to take the road by North Castle church and Wright's mills, as being less likely to meet with cowboys on that than on the Tarrytown road : the latter advice was, however, not regarded, for obvious reasons. Two miles beyond Pine's bridge they ate a breakfast of hasty pudding, or supawn and milk, at the house of a Dutch woman. Smith soon after took leave of Andre, and with his servant returned to Peekskill, where his wife had been previously sent. Andre succeeded in passing all the American guards and posts on the road without suspicion, and was proceeding to New York in perfect security, when, on Saturday morning, between nine and ten o'clock, he was arrested in what was then called Beckman's forest, near a small brook, about half a mile from Tarrytown. He had taken the road that way as being more likely to meet with friends upon it, or to find safety on board a British vessel in that part of the river.
The following papers were found on the person of Andre :
" No. 1.-Artillery orders (then) recently published at West Point, directing the disposition of each corps in case of alarm. No. 2.-An estimate of the American force at West Point and its dependencies. No. 3.-An estimate of the number of men requisite to man the works. No. 4.-A return of the ordnance in the different forts, redoubts and batteries. No. 5.-Remarks on the works at West Point, describing the construction of each, and its strength or weakness. No. 6.-A report of a council of war lately held at headquarters, containing hints respecting the probable operations of the campaign, and which had been sent by Gen. Washington a few days before, requesting his opinion on the subjects to which it referred. These papers were all in the handwriting of Arnold, and bore his signature. In case of Andre's detection, the papers were to be destroyed." No. 4 named the fortresses at West Point, and the requisite number of men to garrison them. They were Forts Arnold, Putnam, Wyillis, Webb ; and redoubts numbering from one to seven, and north and south redoubts-making in all at and contiguous to West Point four forts and nine strong batteries-requiring to man them all, 2,438 men. In this estimate artillery-men were nut included.
When taken before Col. Jamieson by his captors, Andre, anxious for his own safety and that of his accomplice, requested Col. Jamieson to inform Arnold that Anderson (himself,) was taken, which solicitation was very imprudently complied with. A line was dispatched by Solomon Allen, which gave the traitor an opportunity to escape ; and he readily embraced it, leaving the spy to his fate.
At the time of his treason, Arnold was making his headquarters at the Beverly, or Robinson house, as still called, a dwelling which belonged to Beverly Robinson, then an officer in the British service, situated about two miles below West Point, on the east side of the river. It was at his own quarters he had purposed to have have held his interview with Andre, at an earlier date ; but circumstances prevented. Washington was to have breakfasted with Arnold on the morning of his flight ; but sending his aide with his compliments, and an apology to Mrs. Arnold, he rode down to inspect the redoubts on that side of the river. The messenger with Jamieson's note arrived while the company were at breakfast. Leaving the table abruptly, and with evident emotion, Arnold set out for West Point, saying that his immediate presence was demanded there. Washington had been to Hartford on business, and an express dispatched to him passed him, in consequence of his taking an unexpected route back, else he would have been apprised the evening before of Arnold's treason. Instead of going to West Point, Arnold proceeded to the river; and entering his barge, ordered two men to row him on board the Vulture, then at anchor in Tappan bay, below King's Ferry. They did not like to comply with his request, but were stimulated to do so, by the promise of a liberal reward. Once on board the vessel, Arnold wished to detain the men as prisoners, but the captain, informed of what was passing, interfered, ordered the men to be paid what the traitor had promised them, and then liberated ; which order was promptly obeyed. He made his escape at 10 o'clock on Monday morning following the capture of Andre, and Washington was apprised of his treasonable conduct at 4 P.M. of the same day.
It seems not a little surprising that Col. Jamieson, after enjoining secrecy on the captors, from a belief that others were concerned, should himself take measures to notify one he could not fail, in his right mind, to suspect, even if he did not discover that the treasonable papers were all in his hand-writing. Col. Jamieson was probably bewildered ; for at first he actually ordered Maj. Andre sent to Arnold's headquarters. From the Journal of Maj. Tallmadge, who had command of a corps of cavalry in West Chester, I make the following extract:
" When I reached Lieut.-Col. Jamieson's quarters, late in the evening of the 23d, and had learned the circumstances of the capture of the prisoner, I was very much surprised to learn that he was sent by that officer to Arnold's headquarters at West Point, accompanied by a letter of information respecting his capture. At the same time he dispatched an express to meet Gen. Washington, then on his way to West Point. I felt much impressed with the course which had been taken, and did not fail to so state the glaring inconsistency of this conduct to Col. Jamieson in a private and most friendly manner. He appeared greatly agitated when I suggested to him a measure, which I wished to pursue ; offering to take the whole responsibility on myself, and which, as he deemed it too perilous to permit, I will not further disclose." (The measure proposed by Major Tallmadge was, as he at a subsequent period informed his family, to proceed as speedily as possible with his troops to Arnold's headquarters, and arrest him on his own responsibility.)
" Failing in this purpose (continues the journal), I instantly set about a plan to remand the prisoner to our quarters, which I finally effected, although with reluctance on the part of Col. Jamieson. When the order was about to be despatched to the officer to bring the prisoner back, strange as it may seem, Col. Jamieson would persist in his purpose of letting the letter go to Gen. Arnold. The letter did go on, and the prisoner returned before the next morning. As soon as I saw Anderson, and especially after I saw him walk (as he did almost constantly) across the floor, I became impressed with the belief that he had been bred to arms. I very soon communicated my suspicion to Col. Jamieson, and requested him to notice his gait, and especially when he turned on his heel to retrace his course across the room. It was deemed best to remove the prisoner to Salem, and I was to escort him. I kept constantly in the room with the prisoner, who became very conversable, and extremely interesting. Indeed, he very pleasantly inquired why I watched him so narrowly. It was very manifest that his agitation and anxiety were great ; and after dinner on the 24th, perhaps by three o'clock P. M., he asked to be favored with a pen, ink and paper, which I readily granted, and he wrote the letter to Gen. Washington, Salem, 24th September, 1780, which is recorded in most of the histories of that eventful period. In this letter he disclosed his true character to be ' Maj. John Andre, Adjutant-General to the British Army.' When I received and read the letter, for he handed it to me as soon as he had written it, my agitation was extreme, and my emotions wholly indescribable. If the letter of Information had not gone to Gen. Arnold, I should not have hesitated for a moment in my purpose ; but this I knew mast reach him before I could possibly get to West Point.
" I took on Maj. Andre, under a strong escort of cavalry, to West Point, and the next day I proceeded down the Hudson to King's Ferry, and landed at Haverstraw, on the west side of the Hudson, where a large escort of cavalry had been sent from the main army at Tappan, with which I conducted the prisoner to headquarters, where I reported proceedings to Gen. Washington, who ordered a Court Martial."
The part Joshua H. Smith had acted in the treasonable affair, left suspicions resting upon him ; on which account he was tried by court martial. The board consisted of Col. H. Jackson, as president, Lieut.-Col. Halt, Maj. Ball, and Captains Jacob Wright, Drew, Fry, Sandford, Fowie, Daniels, J. A. Wright, Marshall, Chase, and Tiffany ; conducted by John Lawrence, Judge Advocate General. The captors of Andre were among the witnesses called on the trial. In the absence of testimony to criminate him, after an examination, lasting two weeks, he was finally acquitted, though not without some suspicion of guilt. Arnold and Andre, however, both exonerated Smith from any knowledge of what was passing between them, the former by letter, and the latter when on his own trial.
Maj. Andre was tried at Tappan, September 29, 1780, and condemned to be hung as a spy. The board consisted of
Greene, M. Gen., President.
Sterling, M. G. ..... H. Knox, B. G.
La Fayette, M.G......Jno. Glover, B. G.
R. Howe, M. G. ....Jno. Patterson, B. G.
Steuben, M. G......Edw. Hand, B. G.
Saml. H. Parsons, B. G.... J. Huntington, B. G.
James Clinton, B. G....John Starke, B. G.
John Lawrence, Judge Adv. Gen.
Of this court it may justly be said, that an abler or more impartial one was never convened on a similar occasion. When the examination commenced, he was informed by the court, from whom he received every possible indulgence, that be was at liberty to answer no questions unless he chose ; but he frankly confessed, every thing material to his condemnation. He evinced great firmness on his trial, in the course of which he spoke- of Capt. Hale. Said he, " I wish that in all that dignifies man, that adorns and elevates human nature, that I could be named with that accomplished, but unfortunate officer. His fate was wayward and untimely ; he was cut off yet younger than I now am." But, he argued, their cases were not parallel.
After his condemnation, Andre wrote to Gen. Washington requesting as a last favor that he might be shot, a request the commander would have granted, had he consulted only his own feelings, instead of the inflexible demands of justice. The execution was first ordered to take place at five o'clock r. M., on the first day of October, and a vast concourse of people then assembled, but it was postponed until the next day in consequence of the arrival of a flag from the enemy. Gen. Greene met Gen. Robertson at Dobb's Ferry, but as the latter could make no proposals calculated to save the spy, the conference soon ended.-Journal of Maj. Tallmadge.
When led out on the morning of October 2d, he chose to walk to the place of execution, some two miles distant. The American army was drawn out to witness the sad spectacle, and as he passed through the files of soldiers bowing to those he knew, many a brave heart throbbed with emotion, and from many an eye, which had calmly glanced along the rifle's barrel in the hour of peril, now gushed the warm tears of pity.
A wagon containing his coffin, the latter painted black, followed by a number of American officers of rank on horseback, behind which Andre marched in procession with Maj. Tallmadge on foot. About one-quarter of a mile from the village of Tappan, in Rockland county, stood a high gallows, made by setting up two crotches and laying a pole across the top. The wagon that contained his coffin was drawn under the gallows. Andre, after shaking hands with several friends, stepped into the wagon, and stood upon the coffin. Laying down his hart, he paced back and forth several times the length of his narrow house, with his hands upon his hips, casting his eyes upon the pole overhead and the surrounding scenery. He was dressed in a British uniform, sent to him alter his arrest. It consisted of a rich scarlet coat trimmed with green, with vest and breeches of bright buff. His dying request to the spectators was, " Witness to the world that I die like a brave man!" The executioner, painted black, stepped into the wagon to adjust the halter, which had a hangman's knot at the end, "Keep off your black hands," said Andre, as he removed his cravat and unpinned the collar of his shirt. Seizing the rope, he placed the noose around his neck with the knot under the right oar, and drew it up snugly, then taking from his coat a handkerchief, he tied it over his eyes. An officer told the hangman his arms must be tied. Andre drew the handkerchief from his eyes, and taking out another, handed it to the executioner, replacing the one over his eyes. His arms were tied above the elbows, behind his back-and the rope made fast to the pole overhead. The wagon was then suddenly drawn from under him, and soon his spirit was in the presence of his God.- Capt. Eben Williams.
After hanging nearly half an hour, the body was taken down and laid upon the ground. His coat, vest, and breeches were taken off and handed to two dwarfish looking servants dressed in gaudy apparel, who were in attendance from New York, to one of whom Andre handed his watch while standing in the wagon. The body was wrapped in a shroud (as I have been informed by an eye witness), before it was placed in a coffin. The captors of Andre witnessed his execution. Very great sympathy was manifested for Andre at his death. Says Maj. Tallmadge:
" When I saw him swing under the gibbet, it seemed for a time as if I could, not support it. All the spectators appeared to be overwhelmed, with the affecting spectacle, and many seemed to be suffused in tears. There did not appear to be one hardened, or indifferent spectator in all the multitude of persons assembled on that solemn occasion."
Champe's Adventure.-Sir Henry Clinton made some efforts to save Andre, but still greater were those made by Gen. Washington ; and "it is a singular fact, that while the former was hastening the death of Andre, the latter was exerting himself to ward off that calamity." So great was the desire of Gen. Washington to get Arnold and nave Andre, that he sent one of his best soldiers into the camp of the enemy. Major Lee, who was entrusted by the commander with the attempt to arrest the traitor, selected John Champe, a sergeant of cavalry, for the enterprise. Champe was a native of London county, Virginia ; a young man of much discernment and great personal bravery. The sergeant was to enter the enemy's lines as an American deserter-enlist into the British service under Arnold, and having matured his plans, was, with a trusty companion, to surprise and gag him late in the evening in his garden-bear him to a boat and cross to the Jersey shore from New York ; where Major Lee was to await his arrival with two spare horses. Champe approached the enemy, hotly pursued by a party of his countrymen, and as they supposed their former comrade a deserter, it is not surprising the enemy admitted him into communion. Having all things ready, he notified Lee when to meet him ; but fortunately for Arnold, on the afternoon of the very day on which the plan was to be consummated, that officer shifted his quarters, and the sergeant was transferred to another regiment. The scheme, of course proved abortive. Nothing but an unforeseen event saved Arnold from the just vengeance of his countrymen. The intrepid sergeant readily embraced the earliest opportunity to desert and return to the camp of Washington, who kindly received and rewarded him.-Niles' Principles of the Revolution.
Incident connected faith the Attempt to Rescue Arnold.-Having matured his plan, Champe notified Major Lee on what night he would put it in force, and be at a certain point on the New Jersey shore. Major Lee, with a squad of trusty men and two spare horses, were at the place designated at the appointed time. To favor the design, and succor Lee in case of pursuit, a body of 900 infantry were marched down from the American camp on the west side of the Hudson, to the vicinity of the British posts. They moved forward just at night-fall, and after a tedious march of some hours, the night being dark and rainy, they drew near the river not far from Hoboken. The troops were concealed in the woods beside the road, where they could distinctly hear the sentinels upon a British guard-ship anchored in the river, exclaim at each hour, " all's well' " When the troops gained this position, sentinels were posted in pairs at short intervals, with arms ready cocked, and were enjoined not to speak aloud on penalty of death. The whole corps wore in readiness for immediate action.
Major Lee remained in his position until the break of day, when with a sad heart, he retraced his journey over the Bergen hills. The troops sent to his aid, regained their former position unmolested. While marching back after sunrise, the jaded men, not knowing the object of their unpleasant journey, swore lustily at being dragged through the mud so far for nothing. Gen. Heath was in command of the post from which the relief corps had marched, to whom returns were made of the fruitless proceeding. It was long after the event transpired, when the men learned that they had been sent to succor Lee, and why they had " marched down the hill and then marched up again." As Arnold changed his quarters on the day designated for his capture, the daring sergeant was transferred to another military station. Thus the well laid plan failed, owing to circumstances unlocked for ; and it was several months ere the noble Champe found an opportunity to desert and join the Americans ; and lest he might be captured and suffer as ;a deserter, Washington gave him a discharge from the service. When the sergeant reached the American camp, the corps to which lie had belonged, especially the men who had pursued him in his night, were surprised to see him welcomed by Lee and Washington ; and hearing the true state of things, they were all ready to lionize him. The facts respecting the intended succor of Lee, are from Daniel Spencer, an old pensioner of Canajoharie, who was one of the 900 men sent out by Gen. Heath.
Capt. Nathan Hale, to whom Maj. Andre alluded on his trial, is not sufficiently well known to the American reader. He was a son of Deacon Richard Hale, of South Coventry, Ct., and was born on the sixth day of June, 1756. He graduated at Yale College in September, 1773, with the first honors of the institution. He ardently espoused the cause of his suffering country at an early day, and when the news of the Lexington fight reached New London where he was then teaching an academy, he dismissed his school, and joining the company of Capt. Coit, as a volunteer, marched to the vicinity of Boston. In the fall of 1775, he received a Lieutenant's commission and soon after a Captain's, in Col. Charles Webb's regiment. Early in the summer of 1776, Gen. Washington formed a select regiment of infantry for special service, under the command of Col. Knowlton, a brave officer who fell that season at Harlem Heights.
After the unfortunate engagement which took place on Long Island, August 27, 1776, the Americans under the prudent Washington, abandoned the island and retreated to New York, in the manner described in the journal of Maj. Tallmadge. About this time an incident occurred as stated in the Memoir of Capt. Hale, which will serve to show the daring spirit of that hero.
Our troops were still wretchedly supplied with even the necessaries of life ; things without which the warmest zeal cannot long endure. There was much suffering and much repining. A British sloop, laden with provisions, was lying in the East river, under cover of the ship Asia, man-of-war, with 90 guns. Capt. Hale formed the bold project of capturing this sloop, and bringing her into the harbor of New York. He soon found hardy compeers for the enterprise. At dead of night the little band of adventurers rowed silently, in a small boat, to a point near the sloop, and there waited for the moon to go down. As soon as it was dark, and all still, save the watchman's voice from the deck of the Asia, they darted upon their prey, sprang aboard, hoisted sail, and brought her into port with the British tars in the hold, and without the loss of a man. This exploit was loudly applauded, and the daring leader distributed the goods of the prize to feed and clothe the hungry and naked soldiers."
The retreat of the Americans from Brooklyn, left the whole island in possession of the British. Anxious to obtain information of their strength and intended future operations, Washington applied to Col. Knowlton to gain such information, who made the request known to his officers. Among others, he solicited a sergeant to undertake it, who had served in the French war, but he promptly refused, saying that he was ready to fight the. British at any place or time, but did not feel willing to go among them to be hung up like a dog. Young Hale, inspired with a belief that the safety of his country demanded the desired information, at once volunteered his services for the enterprise ; and in a citizen's dress and character of a school teacher, he proceeded to Norwalk, Conn., from whence he was conveyed to Huntington, L. I., in an armed sloop. He journeyed to Brooklyn, went through the enemy's lines, and after making a careful survey of their posts and strength, he crossed over to New York, where a part of the British army were then stationed ; and having faithfully completed his charge, set out on his return to the American camp, then near the Harlem Heights-five or six miles from the city. When nearly out of danger as he supposed, he met a small party of the enemy, and one of their number, a refugee cousin who had espoused the cause of oppression, recognized and betrayed him. This relative was on a visit to Hale's father's only a year or two before. The party made the spy a captive, and hastened with him to the presence of Sir William Howe.
The proof of his object was so clear that he frankly acknowledged who he was, and what were his views. Howe at once gave orders for his execution. The order was executed on the morning of September 22d, in a most unfeeling and barbrous manner, by William Cunningham,* the British provost-marshal, than whom a greater villian never disgraced a human form. " A clergyman, whose attendance he requested, was refused him, a Bible, for a few moments devotion, was not procured, although he wished it." Letters, which, on the morning of his execution, he wrote to his intended, and other
* He was a native of Dublin, Ireland. He was executed sometime after the war for a forgery committed In England. In his dying confession, he says: "I shudder to think of the murders I have been accessory to, both with and without orders from government, especially while in New York; during which time there were more than 2,000 prisoners starved in the different churches, by stopping their rations, which I sold. There were also 275 American prisoners and obnoxious penons executed, out of all which number there were only about one dozen public executions, which chiefly consisted of British and Hessian deserters;"- Niles' Principles of the Revolution.
friends, were destroyed, and this very extraordinary reason given by the provost-marshal, "That the rebels should not know they had a man in their army who could die with such firmness." Unknown to all around, without a friend present to offer him the least consolation, thus fell as amiable and as worthy a young man as America could boast, with this, his dying observation: " He only lamented that he had but one life to lose for his country." Andre, in his defense, alluded to the death of Capt. Hale, and paid his character a just tribute. He closed his allusion to the fate of Hale by saying that their cases were not parallel. Let us see how far they differed :
Both, when taken, were in a citizen's dress, and that of Andre at least, not his own ; both had been within the lines of the enemy in that disguise ; Andre had assumed a false name, although it is not certain that Hale did ; both had gone to learn the situation of the enemy's works, and Andre was taking measures to criminate another-and while neither the expectation of pecuniary reward or promotion influenced the action of Hale, it is believed one or both were in prospect for Andre. The one was the agent of a powerful king, the other the agent of an oppressed people, struggling to be free, who felt it his duty, not for gold or worldly honors, to peril his life. Andre was planning the easy capture of a strong fortress by becoming accessory to treason ; Hale was endeavoring to learn the future operations of the enemy, but not through the treachery and crime of her officers. Andre was 29 years old when he suffered, and Hale but 22. If both were guilty of the same crime, under precisely the same circumstances, should not sympathy incline to the younger '? for age is expected to bring with it experience divested of rashness. Contrast tie treatment of the two officers after their arrest : The one is tried by court-martial, and every possible indulgence granted him, added to the sympathy of the whole American people ; while the other, without the form of a trial, or the sympathy of a single Briton, without being granted the favor of Christian devotion, without permission to send a dying epistle to his father, is hurried out and executed, with the cold formality that would attend the execution of a rabid dog. Finally, let us contrast their dying words. Said Andre to the spectators, " Witness to the world that I die like a brave man !" Said Hale, " I only lament that I have but one life to lose for my country !" The one implies a desire for personal fame, even in death ; while in the other, self is buried deep in the love of country. His blood, while yet warmed with the fire of youth, watered the roots of the tree of Liberty. It is said that the father of Capt. Hale was mentally deranged ever after the execution of his son.
Hale's Monument, South Coventry, Conn.-After a noble effort, in which the ladies of Coventry took a conspicuous and telling part, and the State Legislature assisted, a monument was erected to the memory of CAPT. NATHAN HALE, and completed in the summer of 1847. It stands in the Church Cemetery where his kindred repose. It was constructed of Quincy granite, is 4ft feet high, and cost $4,000. It does its projectors great credit, and posterity will award them its gratitude.
Removal of Andrews Remains.-In August, 1821, the remains of Andre were exhumed by royal mandate, under the direction of Mr. Buchanan, British Consul at New York, and removed to England to find a resting place in Westminister Abbey, where a monument had previously been erected to his memory, bearing the following inscription :
"Sacred to the memory of Major John Andre, who, raised by his merit at an early period of life to the rank of Adjutant General of the British forces in America, and employed in an important but hazardous enterprise, fell a sacrifice to his zeal for his king and country, on the 2d of October, A. D. 1780, universally beloved and esteemed by the army in which he served, and lamented even by his foes. His gracious sovereign, King George III., has caused this monument to be erected." On the base of the structure is inscribed the following: " The remains of Major John Andre were on the 10th of August, 1821, removed from Tappan by James Buchanan, Esq., his majesty's consul at New York, under instruction from His Royal Highness, the Duke of York : and with permission of the Dean and Chapter, finally deposited in a grave contiguous to this monument, on the -28th of November, 1821." It may be pertinent here to remark, that in Andre's written defense submitted to the court on his trial, he made this prediction : " If misfortune befalls me, I shall in time have all due honors paid to my memory. The martyr is bright in remembrance when the tribunal which condemned him is forgotten."
A Monument at Andre's Grave.-In the fall of 1879, Cyrus W. Field, Esq., erected a monument on the site of Andre's grave at Tappan. A very commendable act this seemed, far an American thus to mark for all time, the place of execution and burial of a noted foeman. But the act of thus distinguishing the grave of one of our country's foes, was viewed differently in that neighborhood, and has led not only to much newspaper controversy, but to the violent destruction of the monument, and originated a speculation, that the remains of Andre were never interred at Tappan, but had been taken to New York, and from thence secretly conveyed to England. Such was not the case, however, and had it been, his own sister would have known the fact, and would not have memorialized the king for the removal of the remains of their kinsman in 1821, 41 years after his death. So much apparent zeal was put forth to favor the idea of no burial where executed, that I published an article in the New York World of October 12, 1879, which was corroborated by an article from F. W. Fish, in the same paper of October 20th, and which, I trust, fully satisfied the reader, that his first burial was at the place of his death.
I conversed with several who witnessed the execution, saw the open grave and Andre's remains in a coffin beside it, who could never have had a doubt of his then resting place. Indeed, when disinterred in 1821, quite a number of people, male and female, were present, who witnessed his death and burial but 40 years before. He was a man of small stature, and that was one of the first remarks made by the British minister when the lid of the coffin was removed, as the skeleton remained intact. The grave was only about three feet deep. As I was assured by a continental Captain, he was in stature about the size of Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr, who were both under the medium standard of manhood. Buchanan sifted the dust in the coffin with his fingers to find the guilt buttons of Arnold's coat, supposing he had been buried in the uniform in which he suffered ; but his coat, hat and pants were given to two dwarfish, gaudily dressed waiters, who were there from New York to receive them ; as I was assured by an eye witness. Dr. Thacher in his military journal said of Andre at the time of his execution, which he witnessed : " He was dressed in his royal regimentals and boots, and his remains, in the same dress, were placed in an ordinary coffin, and interred at the foot of the gallows." This is correct except that his regimentals were removed and given to English waiters in attendance, and his body wrapped in a shroud.
An Answer to Prayer.-It is stated in the Christian Intelligencer of January 20, 1881, that on board the Vulture, Andre had a secretary-then a member of John Wesley's religious society, whom he required to copy certain treasonable papers in this affair, who, as a duty did so ; but who shocked at the nature of Andre's mission, after that officer left the Vulture, spent the remainder of the night in earnest prayer to the Almighty, to interpose to defeat the contemplated treason. This account is accredited to the Rev. Ebenezer F. Newell, a Methodist clergyman, who claimed to have received this story about the year 1800, from the secretary of Andre, whose name unfortunately is not stated. Mr. Newell believed it was in answer to the earnest prayer of this individual that the treason contemplated was thwarted by Divine interposition, and the country saved, since he was the only praying man cognizant of it: but it is well to remember that every praying soul in the land, was breathing a prayer that God would thwart the evil intentions of the enemy, and make us free.
Maj. Andre was no doubt a brave, accomplished, and at times, generous man ; but sympathy, for which the American character has ever been distinguished, and for which I trust it ever will be, tended at the time of his death to throw around his name a fictitious coloring that would not stand the ordeal of scrutiny. Going to prove that fact, is the following article, which is an extract of a communication published in the Philadelphia True American, and copied by Niles in his Register, March 1, 1817 :
" Andre was in Philadelphia with the English army, and was quartered at the house of Dr. Franklin, in which the doctor's furniture and valuable library had been left. When the British were preparing to evacuate the city, M. D. Simetre,* who was an intimate friend of Andre, called to take leave, and found him busily engaged in packing up and placing amongst his own baggage a number of the most valuable books belonging to Dr.
* Simetre was a native of Genoa, who had settled in Philadelphia, and was the person who laid the foundation of the valuable museum, once belonging to Mr. Paul.
Franklin. Shocked and surprised at the proceeding, he told him, in order that he might be influenced by the highly honorable conduct of Gen. Kniphausen, who had been quartered at Gen. Cadwallader's, that officer sent for the agent of the latter, gave him an inventory, which he had caused his steward to make out on his first taking possession, told him he would find everything in proper order, even to some bottles of wine in the cellar, and paid him rent for the time he occupied it. Not so with Andre ; he quietly carried off his plunder. I have often thought his character owes many beams which play around it, to the fascination of Miss Seward's verse and description, of which he was by no means worthy, though there can be no doubt but he was a gallant soldier, and in some respects, an honest man."
It is also stated in a pamphlet publication of the proceedings, at the time a monument was erected to the memory of John Paulding, on the authority of Johnson's Life of Gen. Greene, that Maj. Andre was in Charleston, South Carolina, in the character of a spy, during the siege of that city by the British, and that he was probably instrumental, to a great extent, in involving the very man in captivity, whose fate he intimated in his letter to Washington avowing his real character, " the treatment he received might affect."
Gen. Greene was in command of the army at headquarters during Washington's visit to Hartford, to meet the French officers, and in a letter to him, dated two days before Andre's arrest, he thus writes from Tappan :
" Col. -- communicated the last intelligence we have from New York ; since that I have not been able to obtain the least information of what is going on there, though we have people in from three different quarters. None of them returning, makes me suspect some secret expedition is in contemplation, the success of which depends upon its being kept a secret."
" Arnold knew the bearing of this post (West Point), upon the operations of the American army ; and afterwards avowed his confident expectation, that, had the enemy got possession of it, the contest must have ceased, and America been subdued."
Andre was not only pleased with poetry, but wrote it very well. His poetic wit generally flowed in a strain of sarcasm, and the American officers were usually the butt of it. His most celebrated poem of the kind was called the " Cow Chase,' written a short time before his death, and in this he aimed a share of his wit at Gen. Wayne, one of the bravest of the brave. The doggerel ended with the following stanza :
And now I've closed my epic strain,
I tremble as I show it,
Lest this same warrior-drover, "Wayne,
Should ever catch the poet."
When Andre was delivered a prisoner at the village of Tappan, he found Gen. Wayne in command of a division of the army, the first Pennsylvania brigade, then stationed at that place. Thus we see that indirectly " the warrior-drover Wayne " did catch the poet.
As a reward for his treason, Arnold received from the British government, as is supposed, ten thousand pounds, and a commission in her service. He issued a proclamation to induce the American soldiers to desert; yet, as dark as their prospects were, English writers say there was not a solitary instance of desertion on his account. He was actively employed until the close of the war, exerting himself to injure his parent country. At the end of the war, lie was engaged in commercial pursuits in the West Indies. He afterwards removed to England, where he was shunned and despised by all virtuous and honorable men. He died in London, in 1801.*
A Sarcastic Acrostic.-The following bitter invective is said to have been written by a brother of the traitor :
for a curse to virtue and mankind,
Earth's darkest realm can't show so black a mind:
Night, sable night, thy crimes can never hide-
Each is so great it gluts historic tide.
Defunct, thy memory shall ever live,
In all the glare that infamy can give:
Curses of ages shall attend thy name,
Traitors alone shall glory in thy fame.
'' Almighty vengeance waits to roll
Rivers of sulphur o'er thy treach'rous soul:
Nature looks back with conscious error sad,
On such a tarnished blot that she had made.
Let hell receive thee rivited in chains-
D-d to the forms of its hottest flames!"
* The following anecdote, given by one of his biographers, will show the estimation in which his character was held in the land of his adoption. On a certain occasion Lord Surry, rising to speak In the House of Commons, and perceiving Arnold in the gallery, sat down with precipitation, exclaiming, " I will not speak while that man " pointing to Arnold, " is in the house."
Monuments-Have been erected to all the captors of Maj. Andre. Paulding died February 18, 1818, and was buried at Peekskill, where a monument was raised to his memory by the city of New York, November 22, 1827. Van Wart died May 23, 1828, and June 11, 1829, the citizens of Westchester county placed a monument over his remains at Tarrytown. Williams, as shown, died August 2, 1831, and a monument was erected in Schoharie at the expense of the State in 1876. Thus has justice finally been done to the memory of all three of those patriotic militiamen.
water is running from mountain to plain,
And our star-spangled banner floats over the main;
When myrtle and laurel in green life are drest,
We'll cherish thy rnem'ry, brave captors at rest.
Wit Outwitted, or a Novel Device to Avoid Punishment.- War has its attendant vices, which appear in every variety of form. At some period of the war, Lieut. Armstrong, of the Connecticut line, kept a mistress, said to have been quite pretty, at least so thought a soldier, who, when a favorable opportunity presented, made known his partiality for her. Whether or not she possessed the affectionate spirit of the Parisian lady in the French Revolution of 1830-who said, " she could embrace all the patriots of France"-I cannot say, but certain it is she encouraged his addresses. On some occasion when the subaltern was from home and all things seemed propitious, the private visited the quarters of his superior to get his promised share of a harlot's love, lucky indeed to get nothing more.
Returning unexpectedly in the night, the Lieutenant was surprised to find his place in bed occupied by another. As the groom and maiden were reposing in each other's arms and those of Morpheus, the mortified officer who had supposed his castle less tenable, was highly offended and resolved to be revenged by getting his rival publicly flogged on the following day. That he might effect this with certainty, instead of waking the parties, he cautiously clipped off one of his ear-locks, to aid in identifying the guilty lover, and silently withdrew. The rules of etiquette in camp rendered the offense of the amorous soldier a serious one, no doubt exposing him to a castigation of an hundred lashes.
Reader, judge the surprise of the affectionate youth, when on the morrow-with love out of his noddle and reason in-he discovered that, like Samson of old, his hair had been shorn in his slumber. A confidential friend at once divined by whom and for what purpose the keepsake had been taken, and to render the guilty one less likely to be detected, three others of the company whose hair was of a similar color, suffered a corresponding lock to be shaven. The consequence was that when the troops were paraded in the morning, and the Lieutenant was expecting to identify " who's been here when I'se been gone !" and see him punished for assuming too many duties in his absence, lo ! four men stood before him with the same mark of reprisal. Finding himself so wittingly trumped-for he could not possibly identify his proxy-he bit his lip with evident displeasure and said to them all, " What you know I know, and see that you tell it to no one else."-Elishu Bache, of the, same corps.
A final Treaty with the Six Nations.-On the 2d of Dec., 1784, a treaty was held at Fort Stanwix, between Oliver Wolcott, Richard Butler and Arthur Lee, on the part of the U. S., and the chiefs of the Six Nations. Gov. George Clinton, Gen. La Fayette and other distinguished individuals were present. Cornplanter and Red Jacket were among the principal Indian speakers. The former took a reasonable view of the condition of things, but Red Jacket did not care to bury the hatchet, but to war for the territory they had lost by their adherence to the British Crown, and as a condition of peace, ceded to the United States. Cornplanter saw the folly of his people in waging war with the young republic ; but the influence of Red Jacket inaugurated several years more of warfare on our western frontier. Nor was Brant pleased with all the conditions of the treaty. He did not like it that his son-in-law, Captain Aaron Hill, was detained as a hostage until the American prisoners were all given up by the Indians, and he so wrote to Col. James Monroe.
Gen. Washington, on the policy to be adopted toward the Indians, in a letter to James Dunne in Congress, said it would be bad policy to allow land speculators to monopolize the Indian territory. " He thought the first step towards manifesting a spirit of forgiveness to the misguided and deluded Indians should be to require that all prisoners among them of whatever age or sex, should be delivered up ; that the Indians should be informed that by our treaty of peace with great Britain, their lands had become ceded to us, but that we would forgive them and still grant them a home, guaranteeing them their possession of the land, necessary for them, on condition of their good behavior." '
Gen. Schuyler was of the opinion of Washington, that an attempt to expel the Indians from the territory of New York, would lead to a war with them. He thought such a result might also be looked for in Virginia and other States.-Sparks, vol. 8, p. 477.
In a letter, dated at Mt. Vernon, Dec. 5, 17?4, (Sorry the print is blurred on the third digit of the date, but it is probably an 8. ajb) said Washington to Chevalier de Lazerne : " We have lately held a treaty with the Six Nations at Fort Stanwix, advantageously it is said to the United States, though the issue is not pleasing to the State of New York. The commissioners were by the last accounts, proceeding by way of Fort Pitt to Cayahoga, to a meeting of the western tribes, who every now and then have bickerings with our settlers on the Ohio, in which lives and property have been lost, etc.-Sparks, vol. 9, p. 76.
An exciting Foot-race.-The business of this last treaty with the New York Indian Confederacy having been amicably concluded and the multitude of whites and Indians been well feasted by the forethought of Gov. Clinton ; it was concluded to terminate the meeting by a foot-race, each member of the Six Nations furnishing a competitor. Gov. Clinton hung a buckskin sack containing $250 in specie on a flag staff at the starting point, on the bank of the Mohawk, below the site of the fort, which was not rebuilt after its destruction in 1781 : and another flag was placed on a post over a mile distant, and near the former Arsenal buildings. The Mohawks, the Senecas, the Cayugas, the Tuscaroras, and Onondagas, had in turn each selected its swiftest man, whose physical development would have delighted a sculptor. As the race was to be run on the territory of the Oneida Nation, much interest was manifested in their selection. Powalus-Paul-a celebrated war chief, had himself been one of the fleetest men of the confederacy, and now had several noble sons grown to manhood, one of whom it was supposed would be placed on the course ; but to the surprise of everyone, they were passed by and his youngest son a namesake, stood beside the athletic Mohawk, looking not unlike David before Goliath. That he should have been selected, a boy in his teens, when it was known that the Oneida's had so many strong and swift men, caused not only astonishment, but almost a smile of derision with five of the nations, but the Oneidas gave each other a sly wink, as much as to say, " let those laugh who win, we know what we're about."
The runners were to turn the western bound, and run to the place of starting. The course having been staked into quarter sections, a horseman was ready to accompany the competitors. They wore moccasins and were stripped nearly naked, each wearing a badge of distinction, that of little Paul, a white plume in his raven hair. All being in readiness they started at the tap of a drum, and rapidly for so long a race. Every eye was riveted upon the runners, and no doubt many bets were pending on the result. The Mohawk took the lead, the little Oneida bringing up the rear, evidently taking it easy. He passes over the ground with the agility of an antelope, while his competitors seem running at the top of their speed. The goal was turned by the runners almost in a body, the Mohawk just ahead, and the Oneida boy just at the rear. Before reaching the first quarter back, little Paul, having drawn on his reserved strength, which it was evident he had been husbanding, passed all but the Mohawk, who is now struggling as for life, but in vain. The boy passed him before he reaches the half-way stake, and his shrill whoop of triumph is heard at the flag staff, and is sent back with the cheer of a thousand voices. With his competitors the struggle is over, but the boy is flying, and ambition urges him onward with the speed of an arrow, and as he had distanced all his competitors, the Indians, without regard to nationality, with a joyous shout rush out to meet him, and actually carry him over the last 20 rods. Never was the result of a foot-race the cause of greater astonishment, or hailed with such universal satisfaction. Gov. Clinton on presenting little Paul with the prize, congratulated him in a very feeling manner. Thus terminated the last Indian foot-race of the Six Nations at Fort Stanwix, and never will a similar one be seen on the soil of the Empire State.
Alas ! the poor Indian, the victim of the while man's avarice and his fire-water. Who cannot drop a tear of pity over the poor Indian's grave? Do you say he was cruel and blood-thirsty ? Who paid him to practice cruelty? Who nursed and kept in activity his cruel and untutored nature ! The while man did it with his boasted virtues. For the details of this interesting foot-race, I am indebted to Judge Anson S. Miller, De Redwood, Cal.
Mr. Miller was the son of a pioneer settler near Rome, N. Y., and long ago removed to Rockford, III., where he became distinguished as a lawyer and jurist; but recently he removed to the golden State, to promote the health of his family. With a love for historical truth, he has done much to preserve the early history of the country and especially of Illinois, a history of which State he has for some time been engaged upon. He is one of the writer's most valued correspondents.
The Last of the Mohawk Nation at Fort Hunter.-Several Indian families remained about Fort Hunter after the war. John Krine and family lived about 20 rods south of the chapel parsonage. In the spring, believed of 1790, this couple set out to cross the creek on the ice near the chapel, to attend the funeral of an old white man named ___ Hall, when the squaw got into the water, and in trying to assist her, Krine fell in and both were drowned. They left three sons, John, Krine, and Isaac, the oldest being 16 years of age, they all became objects of charity. John, the oldest, went to live with Judge Harper ; Krine went with Peter Martin, and Isaac, the youngest, lived with Col. John Newkirk. When the oldest grew to manhood he went to Canada, and sometime after he came back and took his brothers with him to their tribe, where they all remained. Another Indian called Scale-low-the Dutch of squint-eye-and his squaw also remained upon the glen side of the creek several years after the war, but they finally went off to Canada.-Jeremiah Martin.
A likely young Indian lived several years after the war with Cornelius Putman, of Cadaughrita,* but going to Johnstown with Mr. Putman for a load of boards, several guns were pointed at him in the street (by whom is unknown), when he got behind
* In an order drawn In 1773, by Raynl Newkirk on Mistress Fonda, the wife of the Caughnawaga merchant. Major Jelles Fonda, for certain goods, and dated at this place, this name is written Cadaratie. The order is written in Low Dutch.
Mr. Putman for safety; and so frightened was he, that, he mended up his clothes-took French leave for Canada, and never returned. Elijah Pye, a Stockbridge Indian of fair repute, lived about Fort Hunter, to be old, and died in the Mont. County Poor House, not far from 1840.-Martin.
Thus passed away the last of the veritable owners of the soil contiguous to one of the last two strong castles, of a Nation, which, for 200 years, to a great extent, had controlled the destiny of the red men in a circuit of thousands of miles.
A Gun Recovered.-Nicholas Hansen was at Niagara soon after the war, where he met a Mohawk sachem whom he knew. The latter told him to go on the hill back of where Abram V. Pulman once lived, below Auriesville where were three pine trees together ; and in a hollow between them tied to a crotch by a piece of deer-skin, he would find a good gun, which he could have. On his return he found the gun where indicated, which proved an excellent one for shooting ducks on a long range. -Martin.
A Canadian Military Journal.-The following paper which is a copy of the military exploits of a loyal emissary in the British Canadian service, was made at the close of the war by himself to aid him in procuring a bounty or promised pay for such services during the Revolution. I am indebted to John Gebhard, Jr., Esq., for a copy of this memoranda. I may also here state that this same partisan officer was by Gov. Moore, appointed an ensign in the militia service of the colony of New York, October, 14, 1768.
"Journal of Adam Crysler, Lieutenant in the Six Nation, Indian department, commencing in March, 1777, at Schoharie." "I thought it my duty to get as many men and Indians for government as laid in my power, which will be seen as follows, and my proceedings.
" In March I had to maintain all the Indians which were at Schoharie, in all 25, until the 10th of August [Capt Crysler or Kreislar, as written in his early commission, as this man was usually called, resided on a knoll at the upper end of Vrooman's Land, at the long known Samuel Lawyer place]. In the meanwhile I recruited all the men for government that laid in my power, being in number 70. In June I received a letter from Capt. Brant, who desired me to remain at Schoharie, in readiness till he came to me. On the ninth of August, Capt. McDonald joined w with 28 men from Charlotte creek ; and I found them in provisions for one day and night, and from thence (my residence) we went down the river (Schoharie) about four miles to the lower end of Vrooman's Land, where we remained one day Mid night, and where we were informed that the rebels had got a reinforcement, and we thought it proper to retreat, until we saw a convenient place to make a stand, which was at my house; from whence I detached 35 men to intercept the rebels at Breakabeen if they should take that route: in the meanwhile the rebels advanced (up the creek) until they came to the place where we laid in ambush waiting for them, when we gave them a volley, killed and wounded three men and nine of their light horse ; it being a great shower of rain that we could not pursue them, and our men being in two divisions.
"At the same time we were informed they were 400 strong, and we retreated back in the woods, which was the 10th of August, where we held a consultation, and concluded that, with the small number of men we had, it would be madness to reattack their increasing numbers-which was already four to our one-but collect all together and proceed to Oswego to the army ; for which purpose Mr. David Brass (now Lieutenant in the corps of rangers) went in search of the 35 men which were detached to Breakabeen [four or five miles above his own house]. On his return he informed me they were all dispersed."
If the narrative of this event is a fair sample of the whole journal, the reader must take it with great allowance. He stated that he had 25 Indians with him, after which he recruited 10 men [tories], and that Capt. McDonald joined him with 28 men. This would give him an effective force of 123 men, and some more are believed to have swelled his numbers on that day, who sought their own homes. But he says he delegated 35 men up the river to intercept the rebels-he seems to have thought they might approach via Catskill. This would still leave him 88 men at his dwelling. Rumor told him, as he states, that Col. Harper was advancing 400 strong. I have elsewhere shown that Harper brought a company of cavalry from Albany-numbering 28 men all told-as they were counted by several witnesses. A small body of militia joined them at Mann's tavern on Foxescreek, and a small body at Middleburgh, making, as believed, from 75 to 100 men-80 perhaps being its greatest figure. Part of the Schoharie militia were, at this time, on duty in the northern army. Crysler states that his forces killed and wounded three men-meaning militia-and wounded nine of the cavalry. None of the militia were harmed, that I could learn, from those who were present, but Lieut. Wirt of the cavalry was killed, and two of his comrades wounded, one mortally. The troops dashed among the enemy gallantly, and put the whole crew to instant flight. The old people of Vrooman's Land have always stated the men under McDonald at nearly double the American force. The journal continues:
" Capt. McDonald and myself proceeded for to go to Oswego with 35 of my men and about 20 of his. The 4th days' march I fell sick and was obliged to stay behind at Butternuts, but sent my men on with Capt. McDonald (who are at present in Sir John Johnson's corps), in hopes of following him in a day or two, but was not able to proceed till I heard of Gen. St. Ledger's retreat; and the Indians thought proper that I should continue with them in the Indian country till I could get some intelligence of Gen. Burgoyne, whose ill fate put me again at a stand. At length I proceeded with about 100 Indians to Niagara, in the latter end of November, at which time I acquainted Col. Butler with my proceedings as above, upon which he promised me payment for the expenses I had been at, and allowed me 4s. per day from the time I came to Niagara ; was here three weeks, when I received Col. Butler's orders to proceed to Tunadella [Unadilla], to watch the motions of the rebels, and to keep the Indians as much in favor of Government as laid in my power, where I continued all winter.
"In May, 1778, I received Col. Butler's orders to come to Canatasaga. Accordingly I did, and brought 19 men with me (who are with Col. Butler's Rangers at present), at which time he made me a Lieutenant [he seems to have acted without a commission up to this time] ; and from there I went under the command of Col. Butler to Wayomen-Wyoming-where we had an engagement and killed about 460 of the enemy, and from there we went to Aughquagy-Oquago.
" In September, I went with a party of Rangers and Indians to Mr. Tunnicliff's [now Otsego county], and returned again to Aughquagy ; and then I went under the command of Capt. Caldwell to the Cook House; then returned to Aughquagy " I went under the command of Capt. Caldwell to the German Flats, and destroyed the whole settlement, and returned, until we came near Shemung (Chemung) to Capt. Butler, and encamped under his command.
" In November I went under the command of Capt. [Walter] Butler to Cherry Valley, and destroyed that whole settlement, and returned to Niagara in December, 1779 [should be 1778].
"In the spring [of 1779] I went to Canatasago under the command of Col. Butler. In July I went to the West branch of the Susquehannah, under the command of Capt. McDonald, with rangers and Indians, and killed 40 men and took 30 prisoners ; destroyed that whole settlement and then returned to Col. Butler at Canatasago, and from thence went to the Shemung, where we found the whole army of the rebels [Sullivan's army], and was forced to retreat to Oyenyange, where we attacked them again, and from thence we retreated to Niagara." I fail to locate this event of July, and think it greatly exaggerated.
"In October, 1779, on Col. Johnson's arrival at this place [Niagara], I was ordered by him to attend Capt. Brant with 80 Indians to go to the Three Rivers, by land, to meet Sir John Johnson. On our arrival there we sent a party to Oswego, who returned and brought us accounts that nobody was there, upon which we proceeded to Oswego, and from that to Niagara.
" On the 25th of May, 1780,1 received Col. Johnson's instructions to proceed to the Indian country, and collect all the Indians that laid in my power, and join Capt. McDonald with a party of rangers to go to Schoharie : we proceeded as far as Oneida, where we had a consultation with the Oneidas, and brought off the Oneidas as far as Canosauago, where I turned back with seven Indians and proceeded to Turlough, where I took nine prisoners and returned to Niagara." The prisoners made at this time were Wm. Hynds, his wife and seven children, as I have elsewhere shown. The surprise took place, as one of the family assured the writer, July 5, 1780.
"June 7th, 1781, received Col. Johnson's instructions to proceed with a party of Aughquagas, etc., upon which I proceeded to Schoharie, where I had a skirmish with the rebels ; took five scalps two prisoners, and burnt some houses and barns-lost one man and one wounded, and from thence returned to Niagara." I cannot locate this transaction, unless it was the murder of the Dietz family at Beaver-dam.
"September 28th, 1781, received Col. Johnson's instructions to proceed with a party of Aughquagas, etc., consisting of 28 men, to Schoharie. On November 10th, when we came to Schoharie, we killed one man near the [upper] fort [Isaac Vrooman], and drove off 50 head of horned cattle, a number of horses, and burnt two houses. On our retreat the rebels turned out with a party consisting of 30 men, in pursuit of us. They overtook us about four miles from the fort, and began to fire on us, upon which we returned the fire and killed one of their men [Richard Haggidorn], on which they retreated, and I went on with the cattle. The next morning the rebels turned out a second time with 150 men, and overtook us about 23 miles from the fort, upon which we had another skirmish and killed four of their men, and some wounded-they retreated ; at the game time we lost all the cattle : upon which I had a consultation with the Indians, and they concluded not to pursue the rebels, since we were all safe and they too strong for us, but make the best of our way to Niagara, where we arrived the 11th of December, and have since that time done the duties ordered me with satisfaction and spirit." Two of the Americans were killed and one wounded-instead of four killed and others wounded, as the above statement affirms-as I have shown elsewhere.
It seems surprising that Capt. Crysler did not mention his last Schoharie invasion, which was made in the Foxescreek and Cobelskill valleys the 26th and 27th of July, 1782, the details of which I have elsewhere narrated.
[END OF VOL. II.]
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