PICTORIAL FIELD BOOK OF THE REVOLUTION.
BY BENSON J. LOSSING
Tryon’s Expedition to Danbury. – Trumbull’s "M‘Fingal." – Life of the Author. – Landing of the British at Compo. – Object of the Expedition. – Rising of the Militia. – Character of the People. – Enemy’s March to Danbury. – Entrance into the Village. – Anecdotes of Holcomb and Hamilton. – Officers’ Head-quarters. – Imprudence of some Citizens. – Retaliation of the British. – Destruction of Stores and of the Village. – Estimated Damage. – Revolutionary Men. – Levi Osborn. – Joel Barlow. – The Sandemanians. – Obscurity of Wooster’s Grave. – Resolves of Congress. – A centenarian Loyalist. – Treatment by his Neighbors. – Tory Guides. – Night Ride toward Ridgefield. – Return to Danbury. – Ridgefield. – Military Movements. – The British attacked by Wooster. – Return Fire. – Death of Wooster. – Sketch of his Life. – Approach of Arnold. – Barricade at Ridgefield. – Bravery of Arnold. – Narrow Escape. – March to Compo. – Skirmishes. – Erskine’s Maneuver. – The Connecticut Militia. – Action of Congress concerning Arnold. – Place where Wooster fell. – Relic of the Revolution. – Reading. – Threatened Mutiny there. – Putnam’s Speech. – Putnam at Greenwich. – Tryon’s Expedition to Horseneck. – Skirmish at Greenwich. – Defeat of the Americans. – Escape of Putnam. – Putnam’s Hill. – Its present Appearance. – Norwalk. – Fitch’s Point. – Landing of Tryon at Norwalk. – Destruction of the Village. – Conduct of Tryon. – Scenes at Darien Church. – Visit to Gregory’s Point. – The Cow Pasture. – Ancient Regulations. – Grummon’s Hill. – Nathaniel Raymond. – Time of Tryon’s Landing. – Departure from Norwalk. – New England Villages. – The Green at Fairfield. – Pequots. – Destruction of the Pequots. – Greenfield Hill. – Dwight’s Poem. – Journey to New Haven. – A Stroll to East Rock. – East Rock. – View from its Summit. – Quinnipiack. – Settlement of New Haven. – Organic Law of the New Haven Colony. – The "Regicides." – The Concealment. – Friendship of Davenport. – Narrow Escape. – Goffe at Hadley. – Colonel Dixwell. – Tomb-stones of the Regicides. – Stamp Act Proceedings. – Treatment of the Stamp-master. – Joy on the Repeal of the Act. – Patriotism of the People. – Boldness of Benedict Arnold. – March of Arnold and his Company to Cambridge. – Expedition under Tryon. – Landing of the Troops near New Haven. – Alarm in New Haven. – Bravery of the Militia. – Battle on Milford Hill. – West Bridge. – Death of Campbell. – Campbell’s Grave. – Entrance of the Enemy into New Haven. – Dr. Daggett and his Treatment. – Landing of Tryon. – Conduct of the Enemy. – People on East Rock. – Evacuation by the British. – Destruction of Fairfield. – Dwight’s Account of the Destruction of Fairfield. – Tryon’s Apology. – Extent of the Destruction. – The Buckley House. – Treatment of Mrs. Buckley. – Interference of General Silliman. – Humphrey’s Elegy on the Burning of Fairfield. – Tryon’s Retreat from Fairfield. – Journey resumed. – Return to New Haven. – Visit to West Bridge and other Localities. – The Cemetery. – Humphrey’s Monument. – The Grave of Arnold’s Wife. – Her Character. – Colonel Humphreys. – Arnold’s Disaffection. – Dr. Eneas Munson. – Death of Colonel Scammell. – His Epitaph by Humphreys. – Nathan Beers. – Yale College. – Its political Character in the Revolution. – A Tory Student.
"When Yankees, skill’d in martial rule,
First put the British troops to school;
Instructed them in warlike trade,
And new maneuvers of parade;
The true war-dance of Yankee reels,
And manual exercise of heels;
Made them give up, like saints complete,
The arm of flesh and trust the feet,
And work, like Christians undissembling,
Salvation out with fear and trembling."
The expedition to Danbury, in the spring of 1777, conducted by Governor Tryon, of New York, in person, was, in its inception, progress, and result, disgraceful to the British character, no less on account of the barbarity and savageism displayed than of the arrant cowardice that marked all the movements of the marauders. Sir William Howe did well for his own character, in disclaiming any approval of the acts of Tryon on that occasion, and in endeavoring to excuse the leader of the expedition by pleading the apparent necessity of such harsh measures. Every generous American should be ready to accord all the honor, skill, bravery, and humanity which often belonged to British officers during the war, for some of them, despite the relation which they held to our people struggling for freedom, demand our admiration and regard. But these very officers, guided by a false philosophy, and the instructions of ministers grossly ignorant of the temper and character of the colonists, planned and executed measures which every true Briton then condemned, and which every true Briton now abhors. The destruction of Danbury, and, two years later, of Norwalk and Fairfield; the massacre of Baylor’s corps at Tappan and Wayne’s detachment at Paoli, are among the records which Britons would gladly blot out. Aside from the cold-blooded murder and incendiarism involved, there was cowardice displayed of the most abject kind. In each case, when their work of destruction was effected, the troops displayed the
"Manual exercise of heels"
when fleeing back to their respective camps.
DISTANT VIEW OF COMPO.2
On Friday, the 25th of April, 1777, twenty-six sail of British vessels appeared off Norwalk Islands, standing in for Cedar Point. It was a mild, sunny afternoon. The inhabitants of Norwalk and Fairfield, aware of their approach, took measures for the defense of their respective towns. But both villages were, at that time, spared. A little before sunset about two thousand well-armed troops landed upon the long beach at the foot of the beautiful hill of Compo, on the eastern side of the Saugatuck River, and near its mouth. They were commanded by Governor William Tryon, assisted by Generals Agnew and Sir William Erskine. The expedition had been fitted out by Sir William Howe at New York, its ostensible object being the destruction of American military stores at Danbury. The force marched about seven miles into the country that evening, where they rested until toward daylight. Clouds had gathered during the night, and rain began to fall. Resuming their march, they reached Reading, eight miles southeast of Danbury, at eight in the morning, where they halted and breakfasted.
General Silliman, who was attached to the Connecticut militia, was at his residence at Fairfield when the enemy landed. He immediately sent out expresses to alarm the country and collect the militia. The call was responded to,3 and early the next morning he started in pursuit. He reached Reading about noon, where his force amounted to five hundred men. He was there joined by Generals Wooster and Arnold, with a small number of militia. These officers, who were at New Haven, on hearing of the invasion, started immediately to the aid of Silliman. The Americans continued the pursuit as far as Bethel, within four miles of Danbury. They did not reach Bethel until eleven o’clock at night, owing to a heavy rain. There they determined to halt and postpone their attack upon the enemy until he should attempt to return to his shipping.
The British, piloted by two young men of Danbury – Stephen Jarvis and Eli Benedict – reached the village between one and two o’clock in the afternoon[April 26, 1777.]. They proceeded through Weston, by Reading Church, over Hoyt’s Hill and through Bethel; 4 and so expeditious was their march, that the people of Danbury were not warned of their approach until they were within eight miles of the town. Then all was confusion and alarm. Although the chief object of the invaders – the capture or destruction of the military stores – was understood, the Revolutionary party felt a presentiment that the expedition was fraught with cruelty and woes. Some fled, with the women and children and a few movable effects, to the woods and adjacent towns, while others remained to watch and guard the sick and aged who could not depart. There was a small militia force of only one hundred and fifty in the town, under Colonels Cook and Dimon, when the enemy approached 5 – too few to attempt resistance. When Tryon entered the village at the south end, Dimon and his troops, who were mostly without arms, retired across the Still River at the north, and, making a circuitous march under cover of night, joined the Americans at Bethel. 6
HEAD-QUARTERS OF AGNEW AND ERSKINE.7
Tryon established his head-quarters at the house of a Loyalist named Dibble, at the south end of the village, and near the public stores. Generals Agnew and Erskine made their head-quarters in a house near the bridge, at the upper end of the main street, now owned by Mr. Knapp. All the other houses in the village were filled with British troops at night.
As soon as the enemy entered the town they began to insult and abuse the people, but committed no great excesses. Had the inhabitants who remained kept quiet, the town might have been saved from conflagration; but four men,8 whose feelings were wrought to the highest pitch by the free use of liquor, madly placed themselves in a large and valuable dwelling near the court-house, belonging to Major Starr, and, as the van of the British army approached, fired upon them several times from the windows, without effect. The exasperated troops rushed into the house, seized the men, thrust them into the cellar, and burned the building over their heads. The unhappy men perished in the flames, victims of most egregious folly.
The public stores were now attacked. The Episcopal Church was filled with barrels of pork and flour as high as the galleries, and two other buildings were also filled with provisions. One of them, the barn of Mr. Dibble, is still standing[1848.], on the southwest side of Main Street, at the lower end of the town. The American commissioners made use of it without his consent. Being a Tory, his barn was spared, and all the stores in it were saved. Those in the church were taken into the street and destroyed. The liquors were freely used by the soldiery, and they passed the night in drinking and carousing.
As yet, the torch had not been applied. The sky was cloudy and the night was intensely dark. Having marched a greater portion of the preceding night, the troops were much exhausted by fatigue and want of sleep. Those who remained awake were intoxicated, except a few sentinels. The force of two thousand men that landed at Compo was reduced, in reality, to three hundred; and could the American generals at Bethel have known the exact state of things in the hostile camp, they might have annihilated the invaders. Tryon was on the alert, and slept but little. He was apprised by a Tory scout of the gathering of the militia at Bethel. Knowing the present weakness of his army, he resolved on flight, and accordingly, before daylight on Sunday morning[April 27, 1777.], his troops were put in marching order. Fire-brands were applied to every house in the village, except those belonging to Tories. These had been marked with a conspicuous cross the previous evening. At the dawn of day the enemy marched toward Ridgeway, while for miles around the country was illumined by the burning village. 9
"Through solid curls of smoke the bursting fires
Climb in tall pyramids above the spires,
Concentering all the winds, whose forces, driven
With equal rage from every point of heaven,
Wheel into conflict, round the scantling pour
The twisting flames, and through the rafters roar;
Suck up the cinders, send them sailing far,
To warn the nations of the raging war."
Nineteen dwellings, the meeting-house of the New Danbury Society, and twenty-two stores and barns, with all their contents, were consumed. The exact amount of military stores that were destroyed is not known, but, from the best information that could be obtained, there were about three thousand barrels of pork, more than one thousand barrels of flour, four hundred barrels of beef, one thousand six hundred tents, and two thousand bushels of grain, besides many other articles, such as rum, wine, rice, army carriages, &c. A committee appointed to appraise the private losses estimated the whole amount at nearly eighty thousand dollars.
On inquiring for men of the Revolution in Danbury, I was referred to three, all of whom I had the pleasure of seeing. I first called upon the venerable Levi Osborn, then eighty-six years of age[September, 1848.]. He resided in Danbury when the village was burned, and remained, amid the jeers of Tories and the insults of the invaders, to protect an aged and sick parent. He is a leader of the sect of Sandemanians, of the division known as "Osbornites." 11 His naturally strong mind was yielding to the pressure of bodily infirmities, yet he still lives, an honored representative of the men of 1776.
After sketchingKnapp’s house, printed on page 403, I walked down to the old burial-ground, toward the lower part of the village, where the remains of many of the men of the Revolution rest, and among them those of the brave General Wooster, who fell, as we shall presently observe, while gallantly opposing Tryon and his marauders on their retreat from Danbury. Not even a rough stone of the field marks his grave, and no man living can now identify it! The fact is a disgrace to the people, past and present, among whom he fell in battle; and the government, whose representatives, with grateful appreciation of his services, long ago voted money to erect a monument to his memory, 12 is guilty of positive ingratitude in so long withholding the paltry sum, while the long grass is weaving a web of utter obscurity over his dust.
From the cemetery I strolled down the winding road along which Tryon entered Danbury, and, returning, called to see the venerable Joseph Dibble, then in his hundredth year. He lives with a nephew, near the same spot where he resided when Danbury was burned. He is the Loyalist who, with his father, entertained Governor Tryon while he remained at Danbury. He was a Loyalist in principle, and adhered to the royal cause in accordance with his convictions of right as an order-loving, law-obeying citizen. He was not armed against his Whig neighbors, and took no part in the cruelties which his guest sanctioned, but simply gave "aid and comfort to the enemy" while there. But the outrages committed by the men whom he sheltered and fed drew upon himself much of the odium that belonged to them, and for many years he was greatly despised by the sufferers. One night he was taken from his bed by some of his neighbors in disguise, to a deep place in the little river near the village, where they ducked him several times during the darkness. He expected that they would leave him under water with the fishes at the last immersion, but there was as much funny mischief as serious malice in his tormentors, and, to his great joy, they released him on dry land just as the first hue of light in the east appeared. Time softened the asperities of feeling, and for half a century he has lived among his old neighbors and their descendants, a worthy and respected citizen. The two guides who piloted the army to Danbury did not fare so well; they were obliged to flee. After the war, Benedict returned to Danbury for the purpose of residing there, but the people at once prepared to ride him out of the town upon a rail, and he fled. Jarvis went to reside in Nova Scotia. Many years afterward he returned privately to Danbury, to visit his relations. His presence being known, some citizens prepared tar and feathers for him. They surrounded his father’s house, and demanded his person. His sister concealed him in an ash-oven, where he lay until the search was over and the party gone, when he left the town, and never returned.
Mr. Dibble was too nearly a wreck to give me any clear account of Revolutionary matters in that vicinity, and it was with much difficulty that he could be made to understand my object in wishing to sketch his portrait and obtain his autograph. He is a bachelor, and assured me seriously that he intended to remain one all the days of his life. I believe he is still living[September, 1850.] – an old bachelor indeed.
I also called upon Ezra Foote, Esq., one of the patriarchs of the village. Although eighty-four years of age, his erect figure, firm voice, and clear, intelligent eye gave him the appearance of a man of sixty. After half an hour’s pleasant and profitable conversation with him, on Revolutionary topics connected with the locality, I returned to the hotel, and prepared to depart for Ridgefield, nine miles distant, after supper. For two or three hours a strong southeast wind had been piling the driving scud from the ocean in huge cumulous masses along the northwestern horizon, and, when darkness came, it was intense. I had hired a conveyance, and a young man to accompany me from Danbury to Norwalk, by the way of Ridgefield, and, in the midst of the gloom and the rain that began to fall, we left the village. For a little while the beaten road was visible, but, when the light dust became wet with showers, not a trace of the track could be seen. The young man became alarmed, and urged me to turn back. I was too anxious to reach New Haven by Sunday to be easily persuaded, and, borrowing a tin lantern from a farmer whom he knew, we endeavored to grope our way. The perforations of the lantern were "like angels’ visits, few and far between," and the light that stole through them was just enough to make "darkness visible." After tilting half over by the road side once or twice, and being assured by my companion that there was a "dreadful ugly place in Sugar Hollow, a mile or two beyond," I consented to turn back, on condition that he would be ready to start at peep of day. He promised, and at nine in the evening we were again in Danbury. At dawn we started for Ridgefield. The rain had ceased, and the clouds were dispersing. We had a delightful ride over the broken, but fertile country, and before ten o’clock I had visited the place where Wooster fell, and where Arnold made his escape, and made sketches of the localities. Let us for a moment follow the British on their departure from Danbury, and the Americans in their opposing maneuvers.
Tryon, doubtless fearing that he might be cut off on his retreat directly back to his shipping at Compo, marched toward Ridgeway, a parish in the town of Ridgefield, and north of that village. This movement was probably made to deceive the Americans into the belief that he intended to return by land through West Chester, and then, by a sudden turn, push for the shipping along the least guarded route. When this movement was made known to the American generals, they divided their forces into two parts. The largest division, consisting of about four hundred men, under Silliman and Arnold, proceeded to take post its front of the enemy, while Wooster, with the other division of two hundred, was left to hang upon and annoy their rear.
After proceeding to Ridgeway, the enemy turned southward toward Ridgefield,13 their route from Danbury thus forming the two sides of a scalene triangle, of which the present direct road from village to village is the hypotenuse. This change of direction was made known to Wooster about nine in the morning [April 27, 1777.], and, hastening forward, he came up to them when within a few miles of Ridgefield. He attacked the rear-guard, and, after a little skirmishing, took forty prisoners. Thus he harassed them, and kept them in partial check, until they arrived within two miles of Ridgefield meeting-house, when another smart skirmish ensued. The ground is very broken, and well adapted for such a sort of guerrilla warfare as the American militia kept up. While the enemy were hidden by a hill, near the present road from Ridgefield to Salem, Wooster encouraged his undisciplined army to push forward and attack them on the flank. The British made several discharges of artillery, which caused the American column to break and give way. Wooster endeavored to rally them, exclaiming, "Come on, my boys! Never mind such random shots!" While thus in the van, urging his troops, a musket-ball took him obliquely in the side and broke his back-bone. He fell from his horse, and was removed from the field to Danbury, at which place he died. 14
PLACE OF THE BARRICADE, RIDGEFIELD.15
General Arnold, informed of the change in the route of the enemy, made a forced march across the country to Ridgefield village, where he arrived at about eleven o’clock in the morning, with his force increased to about five hundred men. Across the upper end of the main street he cast up a barricade of carts, logs, stones, and earth, which was flanked on the right by a house and barn, and on the left by a ledge of rocks. Behind this barricade he formed his men in battle order, and awaited the approach of the enemy. As soon as Tryon discovered Arnold, he ordered General Agnew to advance with the main body in solid column, while detachments were sent to outflank him and fall upon his rear. With only about two hundred men, Arnold confronted nearly two thousand, who advanced, and delivered and received several fires. In this way the action continued nearly a quarter of an hour. Agnew succeeded in gaining the ledge of rocks. From that position a whole platoon of British infantry fired, with deliberate aim, at Arnold, who was not more than thirty yards distant. Not a bullet hit him, but his horse was pierced, and fell dead under him. Seeing their leader prostrate, the Americans fled. For a moment Arnold could not extricate his feet from the stirrups. Perceiving this, a Tory named Coon, from New Fairfield, rushed toward the general with his bayonet, to seize him. "Surrender! you are my prisoner!" shouted the Tory. "Not yet," exclaimed Arnold, as, springing to his feet, he drew his pistol, shot the Tory dead, and bounded toward a thick swamp near by, followed by a shower of bullets, and escaped. The number of Americans killed in this skirmish was between forty and fifty; of the enemy’s loss no account was given. Colonel Gould, of Fairfield, was among the slain. He fell about eighty rods east of the house of Mr. Stebbins, seen in the engraving, and his body was carried to Fairfield.
Having repulsed the Americans, Tryon’s army encamped upon high ground about a mile south of the Congregational Church in Ridgefield, until daylight the next morning[April 28, 1777.], when they resumed their march toward Norwalk and Compo, through Wilton. Four dwellings were burned in Ridgefield, and other private property was destroyed when the marauders struck their tents. As they approached Norwalk, Tryon learned that Arnold was again in the saddle, and was rallying the scattered militia upon the road leading to Saugatuck Bridge. He filed off eastward, and forded the Saugatuck some distance above the bridge, where about five hundred Americans, under Colonel Huntingdon, were posted to oppose his passage. Small detachments of militia annoyed the British all the way from Wilton to the Saugatuck; and while the latter were pushing forward toward Compo and their shipping, on the east side of the creek, the former kept upon the west side, and galled them with cannon-shot and musket-balls. A small detachment of Americans forded the stream, picked off many of the rear-guard of the enemy, and returned without losing a man.
At the bridge was the battalion of the New York artillery, under Colonel John Lamb, with three field pieces, under Lieutenant-colonel Oswald. Perceiving the formidable force there collected, Tryon urged forward his men as fast as they could run, and they succeeded in passing by the bridge before the main body of the Americans could get over. Exposed to an enfilading fire, the enemy were partially checked, and for about fifteen minutes there was a sharp engagement at the bridge.16 The Americans pushed across and followed the flying enemy to Compo, gaining the right flank of their rear in an advantageous position. Here another hot skirmish ensued, and, but for a successful maneuver of Sir William Erskine, the exhausted Britons must all have been captured. That officer landed some marines from the vessels, who furiously attacked the fatigued Americans in front, and drove them back some distance. While this conflict was going on, the main body of the enemy embarked, amid a galling fire from Lamb’s artillery. The marines, by a sudden retrograde movement, took to their boats and reached their vessels. At about sunset the fleet weighed anchor.
A large number of the Connecticut militia had collected at Compo, besides those actually enrolled in the special service on that day. Many of them were without arms, others were insubordinate, and a good proportion of the new-comers behaved in the most cowardly manner. Had they possessed a tithe of the courage of their leader, who was seen urging his men at points of most imminent danger, the exhausted troops of Tryon might have been made prisoners or destroyed. Arnold knew this, and, unmindful of danger, urged on the militia by voice and example, until his horse was wounded in the neck and disabled. The opportunity was not courageously improved, and the enemy escaped.
The loss of the Americans during the invasion was about one hundred men; the enemy lost, in killed, wounded, and prisoners, about three hundred. Tryon was slightly wounded. Colonel Lamb, while gallantly leading his men at Compo, received a violent contusion from a grape-shot. Arnold was untouched, though a bullet wounded his horse, and another passed through the collar of his coat. Congress, impressed with the brilliancy of his achievements, directed the quartermaster general[May 30, 1777.] to "procure a horse and present the same, properly caparisoned, to Major-general Arnold, as a token of their approbation of his gallant conduct in the action against the enemy in the late enterprise to Danbury." 17
PLACE WHERE WOOSTER FELL.
It was a little after sunrise when we reached Ridgefield,18 and, after sketching the place of the barricade in the village, we rode to the spot where General Wooster fell. It is about a mile north of Mr. Stebbins’s, at the forks of the road, one of which is the way from Ridgefield to North Salem. For a long time tradition pointed to a large chestnut-tree as the place where the brave soldier was wounded. The tree has been converted into rails, and the stump, almost decayed into dust, is flanked by the two thrifty sugar maples seen toward the left of the picture. The taller tree is a locust. It is to be hoped that some monument will be reared to mark the spot, before these mature and decay by age. The owner of the land pointed out the locality to us, and expressed the patriotic opinion that "Congress ought to do something." He had long contemplated the erection of a chestnut post at his own expense, but, having done that, the public would expect him "to paint some lettering on’t," and he was not disposed to bear the whole burden himself. Clearly right; it would be asking too much of a single citizen.
Returning to the village, we breakfasted at ten at the tavern of Mr. Resseque, whose wife is the daughter of Mr. Keeler, the owner of the dwelling at the time of the invasion. It is about half a mile south of the Congregational Church, where the British planted a cannon after driving the Americans from the barricade. Near the northeast corner of the house is a four pound cannon-ball, lodged in one of the posts, where it has remained ever since the Revolution. Some Americans near the house were the objects at which some balls were discharged. One passed into the building, just over the north door, and, crossing a staircase, hit a chimney and fell to the floor. A man was just ascending the stairs when the ball entered, with a terrible crash, and passed between his legs. Unhurt, but greatly frightened, he fell to the foot of the stairs, exclaiming, "I’m killed! I’m a dead man!" and for some time he insisted that his legs were shot off. As soon as he was undeceived, he put them in requisition, and fled, as fast as they could carry him, toward Wilton. The house was set on fire, but the flames were extinguished by a Tory brother of Mr. Keeler, whose own property was endangered.
A few miles northeast from Ridgefield is the village of Reading,19 distinguished as being the head-quarters of General Putnam in the winter of 1779. He occupied that position with General Poor’s brigade of New Hampshire, two Connecticut brigades, Hazen’s infantry corps, and a corps of cavalry under Shelden, for the purpose of covering the country from the British lines in New York, eastward along the Sound. Like many of the New England villages, it is scattered, and beautifully shaded with elms, maples, and sycamores. Putnam’s quarters were at a house situated on the Norwalk and Danbury Road, about three miles westward of the Congregational Church in Reading. During the winter a mutinous spirit pervaded the Connecticut troops. They were badly fed and clothed and worse paid for their small pittance, when received consisted of the rapidly depreciating Continental bills. Brooding over their hard lot the Connecticut brigades finally resolved to march to Hartford and demand of the Assembly a redress of grievances. The second brigade had assembled under arms for that purpose, when information of the movement reached Putnam. He immediately galloped to the encampment, and, in his uncouth, but earnest manner, thus addressed them: "My brave lads, where are you going? Do you intend to desert your officers, and to invite the enemy to follow you into the country? Whose cause have you been fighting and suffering so long in? Is it not your own? Have you no property, no parents, wives, or children? You have behaved like men so far; all the world is full of your praise, and posterity will stand astonished at your deeds, but not if you spoil all at last. Don’t you consider how much the country is distressed by the war, and that your officers have not been better paid than yourselves? But we all expect better times, and that the country will do us ample justice. Let us all stand by one another, then, and fight it out like brave soldiers. Think what a shame it would be for Connecticut men to run away from their officers!" If this speech did not display the polished eloquence of Demosthenes, who made the Athenians cry out with one voice, "Let us go and fight Philip," it possessed the same spirit and produced a similar result. When Putnam concluded his short address, a loud cheer burst from the discontented regiments, and they returned to their quarters in good humor, resolved to suffer and fight still longer in the cause of liberty.
It was during Putnam’s encampment at Reading, in 1779, that the famous event occurred at West Greenwich, or Horseneck, in which the general was the principal actor. He was visiting his outposts at West Greenwich, and tarrying at the house of the late General Ebenezer Mead. Early on the morning of the 26th of March[1779.], while standing before a looking-glass, shaving, he saw the reflection of a body of "red-coats" marching up the road from the westward. He dropped his razor, buckled on his sword, and, half shaven, mounted his horse and hastened to prepare his handful of men to oppose the approaching enemy. They were a body of nearly fifteen hundred British regulars and Hessians, under Governor Tryon, who had marched from their lines in West Chester county, near King’s Bridge, the previous evening, with the intention of surprising the troops and destroying the salt-works at Horseneck Landing. A scout of thirty men, under Captain Watson, who had been sent out by Putnam, discovered the enemy in the night at New Rochelle. At daylight they had advanced to Rye Neck, and there a slight skirmish ensued between the British advanced guards and Putnam’s scouts. The latter retreated to Sawpits, on the Byram River, and thence to Horseneck, pursued by the enemy.
Putnam arranged his men (only one hundred and fifty in number) upon the brow of the hill, by the Congregational Church in the village. There he planted a battery composed of two old iron field pieces, and awaited the approach of the enemy. They moved up the road in solid column until almost within musket-shot, when detachments broke off and attempted to gain Putnam’s flanks. At the same moment the British dragoons and some infantry prepared to charge. Perceiving this, and discovering the overwhelming numbers of the enemy, Putnam ordered a retreat, after a few discharges of the field pieces and some volleys of musketry. So near was the enemy, that the retreat of the Americans became a rout. The soldiers broke and fled singly to the adjacent swamps, while the general, putting spurs to his horse, sped toward Stamford, pursued by several of the dragoons. A quarter of a mile eastward of the Congregational Church is a steep declivity on the brow of which the road turned northward, and passed, in a broad sweep, around the hill. Putnam perceived that his pursuers were gaining upon him, and, with the daring of desperation, left the road and wheeled his horse, while on a gallop, down the rocky height, making a zigzag course to the bottom, and reaching the road again in safety. The dragoons dared not follow, and, discharging their pistols at Putnam, without effect, rode back to the main army, and the general reached Stamford, five miles eastward, in safety.
Tryon plundered the inhabitants of every thing valuable, and, having destroyed a few salt-works, a small sloop and store, and damaged the houses of the Whigs, retreated to Rye the same evening[March 26, 1779.], and the next day reached King’s Bridge. As soon as Putnam arrived at Stamford, he collected some militia and a few of his fugitives, and returned to attack the enemy on his retreat. He succeeded in taking thirty-eight prisoners and in recapturing a portion of the plunder, which he restored to the inhabitants. There were about twenty Americans killed. The loss of the British in killed is not recorded.
I visited the scene of Putnam’s exploit in June[1848.], previous to my journey to Danbury and Ridgefield, and made the accompanying sketch of "Putnam’s Hill," as it is called. It is about five miles west from Stamford, on the main road to New York from Horseneck 20 Landing. This sketch is taken from the road near the residence of the late General Ebenezer Mead, looking westward. The aspect of the place has materially changed since the Revolution. The old road, as I have mentioned, made a circuit northward around the hill. The present road, seen in the engraving, passes directly over the hill, being a causeway part of the distance, and a deep cut through the rocks on the brow of the eminence. On the hill, just south of the road, and in a line with the tall tree by the causeway, stood the old Episcopal Church; and it was for the accommodation of worshipers there, who lived eastward of the hill, that a flight of seventy rude stone steps was made. These are the steps so celebrated in the popular accounts of Putnam’s exploit. They are now quite covered with earth and shrubbery, but their site is distinctly marked. I have given them more prominence than they really have, exhibiting them as they probably appeared when Putnam made his escape. Between the trees is seen the spire of the Congregational Church at Greenwich, standing upon the site of the one near which Putnam planted his battery. General Mead and others saw the descent of Putnam. He wheeled his horse from the road near the house of Dr. Mead, seen on the extreme right, and did not go down the steps at all (as popular tradition avers), except four or five of them near the bottom. As he hastened by toward Stamford, General Mead distinctly heard him cursing the British whom he had left behind. The feat was perilous, but, under the circumstances, not very extraordinary. I was told that in 1825 several of the dragoons in the escort of La Fayette to this place performed the same. Let us resume our journey.
The ride from Ridgefield to Norwalk was very pleasant. The clouds were dispersed, and the air was almost sultry. The country was rough until we entered the valley of the Norwalk River, a region of great beauty and fertility. Our road lay along that winding stream, and, as we approached Norwalk, the transition from the open country to the populous town was almost imperceptible. Venerable elms and sycamores, planted by the early settlers, shaded handsome mansions thickly strewn along the winding road. These, the tolling of a bell, and the whistle of steam betokened a village near, and in a few minutes we reined up at the principal hotel in the compact street of a busy mart. We are again upon Revolutionary ground, the scene of another of Governor Tryon’s marauding expeditions.21
FITCH’S POINT, THE LANDING-PLACE OF THE BRITISH.22
After laying Fairfield in ashes, Governor Tryon and Brigadier-general Garth, with their troops, retreated to their vessels and crossed the Sound to Huntington Bay, Long Island, whence they sailed over to Norwalk on the night of the 11th of July, 1779. The main body landed at about nine o’clock in the evening, "in the ‘Cow Pasture," a peninsula on the east side of the harbor, within a mile and a half of the bridge.23 They lay on their arms all night, awaiting the expected arrival of a company of Loyalists. At dawn they marched toward the town, and were met by a company of about fifty Continental soldiers, under Captain Stephen Betts, who were posted upon an eminence known as Grummon’s Hill, a little east of the road. A skirmish ensued, but the little band of patriots were soon obliged to flee before overwhelming numbers, leaving four of their party dead. The people, greatly alarmed, fled to Belden’s Hill, five miles distant, during the night. The Continentals and a few of the militia took post within "random cannon-shot upon the hills on the north," whence they annoyed the enemy exceedingly. Tryon halted upon Grummon’s Hill until the other division landed at Old Well, 24 on the west side of the stream. The two divisions joined, and soon drove nearly every Whig inhabitant from the village, dispersed the troops collected upon the hills, and seized one of their cannon. The destruction of property then commenced. Governor Tryon thus coolly related the circumstances in his official dispatch to Sir Henry Clinton: "After many salt-pans were destroyed, whale-boats carried on board the fleet, and the magazines, stores, and vessels set in flames, with the greater part of the dwelling-houses, the advanced corps were drawn back, and the troops retired in two columns to the place of our first debarkation, and, unassaulted, took ship, and returned to Huntington Bay."
While the village was burning, Tryon sat in a rocking-chair upon Grummon’s Hill, and viewed the scene with apparent pleasure – a puny imitator of Nero, who fiddled while Rome was blazing. It was a cruel and wanton destruction of property, and none but a small mind and spiteful heart could have conceived and consummated so foul an act. Two houses of worship (Episcopal and Congregational), eighty dwellings, eighty-seven barns, twenty-two stores, seventeen shops, four mills, and five vessels were laid in ashes in the course of a few hours, and hundreds of women and children were driven to the woods for shelter. Only six houses were spared. One of them, now (1848) occupied by Ex-governor Bissell, was saved through the exertions of a maiden lady living with Mr. Belden, the then owner. Governor Tryon had been Belden’s guest one night, several years previous, and the lady went up to Grummon’s Hill, reminded him of the fact, and asked for and received a protection for the house. Tryon sent a file of soldiers with her to guard it. When the British left, most of the resident Tories went with them. Among them was the Rev. Mr. Leamington, the Episcopalian minister. He had continued praying for the "king and all others in authority," according to the Liturgy of his Church, until the people forbade him and threatened him with violence.
About five miles westward of Norwalk, on the main road to Stamford, is a Congregational Church more than one hundred years old. Its pastor in 1781 was the Rev. Moses Mather. On Sunday, the 22d of July, the church was surrounded by a party of Tories, under Captain Frost, just as the congregation were singing the first tune. Dr Mather and the men of the congregation were taken to the banks of the Sound, thrust into boats, and conveyed across to Lloyd’s Neck, on Long Island, whence they were carried to New York and placed in the Provost Jail. Some died there. Nineteen of the twenty-five prisoners were exchanged and returned to their families. Peter St. John, one of the prisoners, wrote an account of the affair in doggerel verse. Of the Provost he says:
"I must conclude that in this place
We found the worst of Adam’s race;
Thieves, murderers, and pickpockets too,
And every thing that’s bad they’d do:
One of our men found, to his cost,
Three pounds York money he had lost;
His pockets picked, I guess before
We had been there one single hour."
Dr. Mather was cruelly treated in the Provost, until his situation was made known to Mrs. Irving, mother of our distinguished writer, Washington Irving, who obtained permission to send him food and clothing. He was released at the close of the year.
The Rev. Edwin Hall, of the First Congregational Church, whose historical researches have made him familiar with localities of interest about Norwalk, kindly accompanied me as cicerone. We rode down to Gregory’s Point, from which I sketchedTryon’s landing-place, pictured on page 413. On the beautiful plain near by stood the ancient village, the first settlers having chosen the sea-washed level for their residences, in preference to the higher and rougher ground at the head of navigation, on which the present town is situated. The old village had gone into decay, and the new town was just beginning to flourish, when Tryon laid it in ruins. A little further seaward, upon a neck of land comprising Fitch’s Point and an extensive salt meadow, is the Cow Pasture, so called from the circumstance that the cows belonging to the settlers were pastured there, under the direction of the town authorities. 25
From Gregory’s Point we rode over the hills to the estate of Mr. Ebenezer Smith, and from a high hill near his house I sketched thedistant view of Compo, on page 402. From that eminence we obtained one of the most beautiful prospects of land and water imaginable. Southward was the broad mouth of the Norwalk River, with its beautiful green islands, and beyond was the heaving Sound, dotted with sails, and bounded by the wooded shores of Long Island in the distance. On the right were clustered the white houses of Norwalk, and on the left swelling Compo was stretched out, scarcely concealing the noble shade trees of Fairfield beyond.
Returning along East Avenue to the village, I stopped near the residence of Mr. Hall, and made the accompanying sketch of Grummon’s Hill. It is a high elevation, a little east of the avenue, partly covered by an orchard, and commanding a fine prospect of the village, harbor, and Sound. Tryon sat upon the summit of the hill, where the five Lombardy poplars are seen. The venerable Nathaniel Raymond, still living, when I was there (1848), near the Old Well, or West Norwalk Wharf (where he had dwelt from his birth, ninety-five years), remembers the hill being "red with the British." He was a corporal of the guard at the time, and, after securing his most valuable effects, and carrying his aged parents to a place of safety three miles distant, shouldered his musket, and was with the few soldiers whom Tryon boasted of having driven from the hills north of the town. He says it was Saturday night when Tryon landed, and, like Danbury, the town was burned on Sunday. Mr. Raymond was quite vigorous in body and mind, and Time seemed to have used him gently. I desired to visit two other ancient inhabitants, but the hour for the arrival of the mail-coach for New Haven was near, and I hastened back to the hotel, whence I left for the east between three and four o’clock in the afternoon.
The coach, a sort of tin-peddler’s wagon in form, was full, and, quite in accordance with my inclination, I took a seat with the driver. It was a genial afternoon, and all things in nature and art combined to please and edify. We reached Bridgeport, at the mouth of the Housatonic River, fourteen miles east of Norwalk, at sunset, and a more pleasing variety of beautiful scenery can nowhere be found than charmed us during that short journey. We passed through Westport (old Saugatuck), Southport, and Fairfield, lovely villages lying upon estuaries of Long Island Sound, and all replete with historic interest. Unlike most modern villages, with their rectangular streets, and exhibiting an ambitious imitation of large cities, the neat houses, embowered in shrubbery, are thinly scattered along winding avenues shaded by venerable trees, the ground on either side left undulating as the hand of Nature fashioned it. Herein consists the great beauty of the New England villages, a beauty quite too often overlooked in other states in the process of laying out towns. Nature and art have here wrought in harmony, and village and country are beautifully and healthfully blended.
THE GREEN, FAIRFIELD.
I was informed, before leaving Norwalk, that the "Buckly House," the last relic of the Revolution in Fairfield, had fallen under the stroke of public improvement, and also that no living witness of the cruelty of Governor Tryon was there. I therefore concluded to go directly through to New Haven that evening. During a detention of the coach for half an hour at the post-office, in Fairfield, I made a rough sketch of the annexed view of the village Green, which I subsequently corrected by a picture in Barber’s Historical Collections of Connecticut. The view is from the eastern side of the Green, near the spacious new hotel that fronts upon it. The jail on the left, the court-house in the center, and the church on the right were erected upon the foundations of those that were burned by the British in 1779, and in the same style of architecture. Such being the fact, the Green, from our point of view, doubtless has the same general aspect that it presented before the marauder desolated it. As the destruction of Fairfield was subsequent to the incursion of the enemy into New Haven, I shall give the record of its hard fate after noticing the movements of Tryon and his associates at the latter place.
Immediately back of Fairfield village is the celebrated swamp where the warlike Pequots made their last stand against the English, in July, 1637.26 There they were overthrown and annihilated, and the place has ever since been called the Pequot Swamp. They might have escaped had not one of their number, who loitered behind, been captured by Captain Mason, and compelled to disclose the retreat of his comrades. One hundred were made prisoners, the residue were destroyed. The fort at Mystic had previously been demolished, and they took refuge in this swamp.
We passed in sight of Greenfield Hill, near the village, renowned for its academy and church, wherein President Dwight, of Yale College, officiated as tutor and pastor for twelve years. The view from the hill is said to be exceedingly fine, and from the belfry of the church no less than seventeen houses of worship may be seen, in Fairfield and the adjacent villages. Dr. Dwight, while minister of Greenfield, wrote a poem called "Greenfield Hill." Referring to the view from the belfry, he exclaims,
"Heavens, what a matchless group of beauties rare
Southward expands! where, crown’d with yon tall oak,
Round Hill the circling land and sea o’erlooks;
Or, smoothly sloping, Grover’s beauteous rise,
Spreads its green sides and lifts its single tree,
Glad mark for seamen; or, with ruder face,
Orchards, and fields, and groves, and houses rare,
And scatter’d cedars, Mill Hill meets the eye;
Or where, beyond, with every beauty clad,
More distant heights in vernal pride ascend.
On either side a long, continued range,
In all the charms of rural nature dress’d,
Slopes gently to the main. Ere Tryon sunk
To infamy unfathom’d, through yon groves
Once glisten’d Norwalk’s white ascending spires,
And soon, if Heaven permit, shall shine again.
Here, sky-encircled, Stratford’s churches beam;
And Stratfield’s turrets greet the roving eye.
In clear, full view, with every varied charm
That forms the finish’d landscape, blending soft
In matchless union, Fairfield and Green’s Farms
Give luster to the day. Here, crown’d with pines
And skirting groves, with creeks and havens fair
Embellish’d, fed with many a beauteous stream,
Prince of the waves, and ocean’s favorite child,
Far westward fading, in confusion blue,
And eastward stretch’d beyond the human ken,
And mingled with the sky; there Longa’s Sound
The evening closed in, mild and balmy, before we reached Stratford, three miles eastward of Bridgeport, and the beautiful country through which we were passing was hidden from view. We crossed several small estuaries, and the vapor that arose from the grassy salt marshes was grateful to the nostrils. The warm land-breeze ceased at eight o’clock, and a strong wind from the ocean brought a chilling fog upon its wings, which veiled the stars, and made us welcome the sparkling lights of New Haven as we descended Milford Hill and crossed the broad salt marsh that skirts the western suburbs of the town. We arrived at the Tontine a little after nine, and supped with a keen appetite, for I had fasted since breakfast at Ridgefield at ten in the morning. It was Saturday night, and the weary journeys of the week made the privileges of the approaching day of rest appear peculiarly valuable.
"The morning dawn’d with tokens of a storm –
A ruddy cloud athwart the eastern sky
Glow’d with the omens of a tempest near;"
yet I ventured to stroll out to East Rock, two miles east-northeast of the city. Crossing the bridge at the factory owned by the late Eli Whitney, inventor of the cotton gin that bears his name, I toiled up the steep slope through the woods to the summit of the rock, nearly four hundred feet above the plain below. This rock is the southern extremity of the Mount Tom range of hills. It lies contiguous to a similar amorphous mass called West Rock, and both are composed principally of hornblende and feldspar, interspersed with quartz and iron. The oxyd of iron, by the action of rains, covers their bare and almost perpendicular fronts, and gives them their red appearance, which caused the Dutch anciently to designate the site of New Haven by the name of Red Rock. The fronts of these rocks are composed of assemblages of vast irregular columns, similar in appearance to the Palisades of the Hudson, and, like them, having great beds of debris at their bases. A view from either will repay the traveler for his labor in reaching the summit. That from the East Rock is particularly attractive, for it embraces the harbor, city, plain, and almost every point of historical interest connected with New Haven, or Quinnipiack, as the Indians called it.
"I stood upon the cliff’s extremest edge,
Winding through the plain were Mill River and the Quinnipiack, spanned by noble bridges near the city that lay stretched along the beautiful bay; and
East and West Haven, where the two divisions of the British invading force landed in 1779; Fort Hale, whence they departed; Neck Bridge, across Mill River, under which the fugitive judges of King Charles I. were concealed; and West Rock, where they "raised their Ebenezer" and dwelt in seclusion for some time, were all in full view. With a spirit fraught with reverence for the past, and with scenery hallowed by the presence of "young antiquity" spread out before us, let us sit down a moment and listen to the teachings of the chronicler.
In the summer of 1637 several wealthy and influential English gentlemen arrived at Boston, preparatory to making a permanent location in wilderness America. The young colony of Massachusetts Bay regarded them with great favor, and various settlements coveted the honor of numbering them among their proprietors. But they determined to plant a distinct colony, and, having heard of the beautiful country along the Sound, from Saybrook to the Saugatuck, discovered by the English in their pursuit of the Pequots, they projected a settlement in that part of the land. In the autumn a portion of them made a journey to Connecticut, to explore the harbors and lands along the coasts, who finally decided upon the beautiful plain on the Quinnipiack for settlement, and built a log hut there.27
In the spring of 1638 the principal men of the new emigration to the colony – Rev. Mr. Davenport, Mr. Pruden, and Samuel and Theophilus Eaton – with the people of their company, sailed from Boston for Quinnipiack. They reached the haven in about a fortnight. and their first Sabbath there was the 18th of April, 1638. The people assembled under a large oak, that stood where George and College Streets intersect; and under its venerable branches the New Haven and Milford Churches were afterward formed. Designing to make a large and flourishing settlement, founded on strict justice, they purchased the land of Maumaguin, the chief sachem of that region, on honorable terms, and entered into what they called a plantation covenant with each other. They laid out their town-plat in squares, designing it for an elegant city. They prospered for more than a year without any fixed laws, and in 1639 proceeded to lay the foundation of their civil and religious polity. Theophilus Eaton was chosen governor, and Mr. Davenport gave him a serious charge before all the people, from Deut., i., 16, 17. It was decreed by the freemen that there should be a general court annually in the plantation, on the last week in October. This was ordained a court of election, in which all the officers of the colony were to be chosen. This court determined that the Word of God should be the only rule for ordering the affairs of government in that commonwealth.
This was the original fundamental Constitution of New Haven, brief in words, but powerful in principle, for the Bible was the statute book. It exhibited the same general religious aspect in its external affairs as that of the Massachusetts colony. Seven pillars of the Church were chosen, and all government was originally in the Church. The members of the Church (none others being possessed of the elective franchise) elected the governor, magistrates, and all other officers. The magistrates were merely the assistants of the governor.28 Thus the new colony, having its foundation laid upon divine laws and strong faith in man, began a glorious career; and the little settlement, ambitious of excellence, has grown to be, if not the largest, one of the most beautiful cities in the Western World. From the time of its foundation until the Revolution broke out, its history, like that of the other New England settlements, exhibits the ebbing and flowing of the tide of prosperity, under the influences of the laws of the supreme government and the pressure of Indian hostilities; sometimes burdened and cast down by the injustice of the former, and menaced with overthrow and ruin by the latter.
New Haven became famous as the "city of refuge" for three of the English regicides, or judges who condemned King Charles I. to death. They were Generals Goffe and Whalley, and Colonel Dixwell. Whalley was descended from a very ancient family, and was a relative of Oliver Cromwell. Goffe was the son of a Puritan divine, and married a daughter of Whalley. Dixwell was a wealthy country gentleman of Kent, and was a member of Parliament in 1654. On the restoration of Charles II. to the throne of his father, many of the judges were arrested; thirty were condemned to death, and ten were executed. The three above named escaped to New England. Goffe and Whalley arrived at Boston in July, 1660, and took up their residence in Cambridge. Feeling insecure there, they removed to New Haven, where their unaffected piety won for them the confidence and esteem of the people, and particularly of the minister, Mr. Davenport. Their apparent freedom from danger lasted but a few days. The proclamation of Charles, offering a large reward for their apprehension, and the news that pursuers were on the scent, reached them at the same time, and they were obliged to flee. They took shelter in a rocky cavern, on the top of West Rock, where they were supplied daily with food by their friends. They shifted their place of abode from time to time, calling each locality Ebenezer, and occasionally appeared publicly in New Haven. On one occasion they sat under the Neck Bridge, upon Mill River, when their pursuers passed over; and several times they came near falling into their hands. The people generally favored their escape, and for their lives they owed much to Mr. Davenport.29
In the autumn they left New Haven and went to Hadley. While there, eleven years afterward[1675.], King Philip’s War took place. While the people of the town were in their meeting-house, observing a fast, a body of Indians surrounded them. The continual expectation of such an event made the inhabitants always go armed to worship. They were so armed on this occasion, and sallied out to drive off the savages. At that moment there appeared in their midst a man of venerable aspect and singular costume, who placed himself at the head of the people, and, by causing them to observe strict military tactics, enabled them to disperse the assailants. The stranger then disappeared. The people believed an angel had been sent to lead them and effect a victory. The angel was General Goffe.
Colonel Dixwell was with Goffe and Whalley much of the time of their long exile. His latter years were passed in New Haven, where he called himself James Davids, Esq. He acknowledged his name and character before his death, which occurred in 1688, about a month previous to the arrest of Governor Andros in Boston. The governor was hated by the colonists, and when the news of the revolution in England, which Dixwell had predicted, reached Boston, the people seized the obnoxious chief magistrate and thrust him into prison.30
Goffe and Whalley died at Hadley, and it is supposed that their bodies were afterward secretly conveyed to New Haven. In the old burying-ground in that city, in the rear of the Center Church, are stones which bear the initials of the regicides. They are standing separate; I have grouped them for convenience. The two marked E. W. are the head and foot stones of Whalley’s grave; and the date, by an extension below the five, may read 1658 or 1678. He died about 1678. These stones are about two feet wide and high, and eight inches thick. Goffe’s, marked 80 and M. G., is only ten inches high. The M, it is supposed, is an inverted W. Dixwell’s stone, seen in front, is two and a half feet high and broad. It is a red stone; the others are a sort of dark blue stone. The reason given for inscribing only their initials on their stones is, a fear that some sycophant of royalty, "clothed with a little brief authority" in New England, might disturb their remains.31
New Haven was greatly agitated by proceedings growing out of the Stamp Act. It was among the earliest of the New England towns that echoed the voice of opposition raised by Boston against the oppression of the mother country, and the people were generally zealous in maintaining the liberty of action professed to be secured to them by disannulled charters. When Ingersoll, who was appointed stamp-master (or the agent of government to sell "stamped paper"), announced the reception of the objectionable articles, New Haven soon became in a state of actual rebellion. Ingersoll was menaced with every indignity, and even his life was proclaimed forfeit by some, if he persisted in exercising his new vocation. Finding own town too warm for him, he proceeded toward Hartford. He was met near Weathersfield[September 19, 1765.] by a deputation of about five hundred men, and, when in the town, they demanded his resignation of the office. He refused acquiescence, on the reasonable plea that he awaited the action of the General Assembly of Connecticut, whose commands in the premises he should implicitly obey. But the people would listen to no legal excuses, and he, "thinking the cause not worth dying for," yielded to the menaces of the people, and signed a paper declaring his resignation of the office. He was then forced to stand up and read it to the people. Not content with this, they made him throw up his hat, cry out "Liberty and property," and give three cheers. After dining, he was conducted to Hartford by a cavalcade of about one thousand, who surrounded the court-house, and caused him to read his resignation in the presence of the members of the Assembly.
The people were quite as much excited by joy when the news of the repeal of the noxious act reached them, in May, 1766. The fact was thus announced on the 23d of May, by a New Haven newspaper: "Last Monday morning, early, an express arrived here with the charming news, soon after which many of the inhabitants were awakened with the noise of small arms from different quarters of the town; all the bells were rung, and cannon roared the glad tidings. In the afternoon the clergy publicly returned thanks for the blessing, and a company of militia were collected, under the principal direction of Colonel [afterward General] Wooster. In the evening were illuminations, bonfires, and dances, all without any remarkable indecency or disorder. The arrival of the regular post from Boston last night has completed our joy for the wise and interesting repeal of the Stamp Act. Business will soon be transacted as usual in this loyal colony. In short, every thing in nature seems to wear a more cheerful aspect than usual – to a great majority."
In all subsequent proceedings, in opposition to the unjust acts of the British government toward the colonies, New Haven was famed for its zeal and firmness; and the people of Boston received its warmest sympathies and support in all the trials through which they had to pass, under the royal displeasure, from 1768 until 1776, when that city was purged of the enemies of freedom by the Continental army, under Washington.
New Haven was among the first of the New England towns that sent soldiers to the fields of the Revolution. The news of the skirmish at Lexington reached New Haven at about noon the next day[April 20, 1775.]. Benedict Arnold was then the captain of the Governor’s Guards. He summoned his corps and proposed starting immediately for Lexington. About forty of them consented to go. 33 Arnold requested the town authorities to furnish the company with ammunition. They refused, and the hot patriot marched his men to the house where the select-men were in session, formed a line in front, and sent in word that, if the keys of the powder-house were not delivered to him within five minutes, he would order his company to break it open and help themselves. The keys were given up, the powder was procured, and soon the volunteers were on their march through Wethersfield and Pomfret, for Cambridge. At Pomfret they were joined by General Putnam, who left his plow in the furrow, and, on arriving at Cambridge, they took possession of the elegant mansion of Governor Oliver, who had fled from the vicinity. Arnold’s corps made a fine appearance, and so correct was their discipline, that they were chosen to deliver to Governor Gage the body of a British officer who had died from wounds received at Lexington.
New Haven suffered equally with its sister towns of the sea-board during the whole war for independence, but the severest trial it endured was an invasion by a British force, under Governor Tryon of New York, and Brigadier-general Garth, in the summer of 1779. For some time the idea of a predatory war against the Americans had occupied the British commanders here. They finally decided upon the measure, and submitted their plans to the ministry at home. Wearied by fruitless endeavors to quell the rebellion, the king and his advisers readily consented to the prosecution of any scheme that promised success. Arthur Lee, the political spy abroad upon the movements of the British ministry, immediately forwarded to Governor Trumbull, of Connecticut, and the Committee for Foreign Affairs, information of the intended change in military operations. Under date of Paris, April 6th, 1779, he says, "I have received intelligence that it is determined in the British cabinet to send over immediate orders to New York for an expedition through the Sound, up Connecticut River. The enemy are to land at Wethersfield, and proceed by land to New Haven Bay, where they are to re-embark, after having plundered, burned, and destroyed all in their way." Adverse winds, and the capture of some of the papers sent by Lee, prevented the Americans from receiving timely warning.
Having received the ministerial instructions, Sir Henry Clinton proceeded to execute his orders. Governor Tryon was considered a very proper instrument to perform the nefarious service, and a force of twenty-six hundred men was put under his command, with Brigadier-general Garth as his lieutenant. These were placed upon two ships of war (the Camilla and Scorpion), with transports and tenders, forty-eight in number, commanded by Commodore Sir George Collier, and toward evening of the 3d of July they passed through Hell Gate into the Sound. On the 4th, while the patriots on land were celebrating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, the two commanders joined in drawing up a proclamation and an address to the inhabitants of Connecticut, inviting and urging them to return to their allegiance, and promising ample protection in person and property to those who should remain peaceably in their dwellings, excepting the civil and military officers of the rebel government. This address was sent on shore and distributed, but, before the inhabitants had time to consult upon the public good, the enemy was among them.
Collier’s fleet sailed up New Haven Bay on the night of the 4th[July, 1779.], and early the next (Monday) morning landed in two divisions, those under Tryon at East Haven, and those under Garth at West Haven. The latter landed about sunrise, and immediately prepared to march upon the town. Information of the approach of the enemy having reached New Haven the previous evening, preparations had been made for defense. All, however, was confusion and alarm, and the care of families and property occupied those who otherwise might have made a successful stand against the invaders. Many of the inhabitants took refuge upon East Rock, where they remained until the departure of the enemy.
WEST BRIDGE AND MILFORD HILL.35
The first opposition to the invaders was made by twenty-five of the inhabitants of the town (some of whom were students of Yale College), under Captain Hillhouse, who met an advanced party of the enemy on Milford Hill. Already the West Bridge on the Milford Road had been destroyed, some field pieces taken thither, and slight breast-works thrown up. Although there was but a handful of Americans, they were animated by such spirit, when they saw their homes and families in peril, that they drove the advancing enemy nearly back to their landing-place, and took one prisoner. The whole body of the invaders now moved forward, with strong flanking parties and two field pieces. The cannons of the Americans at West Bridge kept up such a brisk fire that the enemy dared not venture further upon that road, but moved along Milford Hill, northward to the Derby Road, to enter the town by that avenue. This movement required a circuitous march of several miles. The first attacking party of the Americans, continually augmenting, soon swelled to a hundred and fifty, and a sharp conflict ensued with the enemy’s left flank, near the Milford Road. In this skirmish Major Campbell, the British adjutant, was killed. He was singled out by a militia-man concealed behind a rock, and fell, pierced by a musket-ball near his heart. He was wrapped in a blanket, and carried upon a sheep-litter to a house near by, where he expired. He was buried in a shallow grave not far from the spot where he fell, on the summit of the high ground near the intersection of the Milford and West Haven Roads, in the southwest corner of a field known as Campbell’s Lot.
After the skirmish, the British pressed onward toward the Derby Road. Eye-witnesses described their appearance from points near the city as very brilliant; Milford Hill seemed all in a blaze, from the mingled effects upon the eye of scarlet uniforms and glittering arms. The Americans annoyed them exceedingly all the way to Thompson’s Bridge (now Westville), on the Derby Road, and the small force at West Bridge, under Captain Phineas Bradley, hastened to that point to oppose their passage. Bradley was too late; Garth had possession of the bridge and the fording-places of the stream, and, after a sharp skirmish of ten minutes, he drove the militia before him, and marched triumphantly into the town between twelve and one o’clock. He had been piloted all the way from the landing-place by a young Tory named William Chandler, who, with his father and family, left New Haven when the enemy departed.
Among those who went out to the West Bridge and beyond, to oppose the enemy, was the Rev. Dr. Daggett,37 then late President of Yale College, and a warm republican. Armed with a musket, he joined his friends to oppose the common enemy. Near the West Bridge he was wounded and made a prisoner, and, but for the interference of young Chandler, the Tory guide, who had been a student in the college, he would doubtless have been murdered. He was cruelly injured with bayonets, and by a severe blow across the bowels with the butt of a musket, after he had surrendered and begged for quarters. 38 Yet his firmness did not forsake him. While abused and cursed, he was asked whether, if released, he would again take up arms against them, and replied, "I rather believe I shall if I get an opportunity."
LANDING-PLACE OF GENERAL TRYON.
As soon as the boats that conveyed the first division of the enemy to shore returned, the second division, under Tryon, consisting chiefly of Hessians and Tories, landed, with two pieces of cannon, on the east side of the harbor, where the light-house now stands. They marched up and attacked the little fort on Black Rock (now Fort Hale), which was defended by a feeble garrison of only nineteen men, with three pieces of artillery. After a slight skirmish, the Americans were driven from the post. The enemy then pushed toward the town, while their shipping drew nearer and menaced the inhabitants with bombardment. At the bridge over Neck Creek (Tomlinson’s Bridge) the Americans made some resistance with a field piece, but were soon obliged to yield to superior numbers and discipline. Before night the town was completely possessed by the invaders. Throughout the remainder of the day and night the soldiery committed many excesses and crimes, plundering deserted houses, ravishing unprotected women, and murdering several citizens, among whom were the venerable Mr. Beers, and an aged and helpless man named English.
The general movements of the enemy through the day could be seen by the fugitive inhabitants on East Rock, and gloomy indeed was the night they passed there. Families were separated, for the men were generally mustering from all parts of the adjacent country to expel the enemy. Anxiously their hearts beat for kindred then in peril, and eagerly their eyes were turned toward their homes, in momentary expectation of beholding them in flames.
It was Garth’s intention to burn the town. He declared, in a note to Tryon, that the "conflagration it so richly deserved should commence as soon as he should secure the Neck Bridge." But during the night he changed his mind. Early on Sunday morning[July 7, 1779.], perceiving the militia collecting in large numbers, he called in his guards, and retreated to his boats. Part of his troops went on board the ships, and part crossed over to East Haven, where they joined Tryon’s division. Toward that point the militia now directed their attention. In the afternoon, finding himself hard pressed by the citizen soldiers that were flocking to New Haven from the adjacent country, Tryon ordered a retreat to the shipping. Several buildings and some vessels and stores were set on fire at East Haven when they left. At five o’clock the fleet weighed anchor and sailed westward, carrying away about forty of the inhabitants of the town.
The appetite of Tryon and his troops for pillage and murder was not sated when, on the afternoon of the 7th, they embarked from Fort Rock, now Fort Hale.39 Sailing down the Sound, they anchored off the village of Fairfield on the morning of the 8th. After a fog that lay upon the waters had cleared away, they landed a little eastward of Kensie’s Point, at a place called the Pines, and marched immediately to the village. Dr. Timothy Dwight has given a graphic description of the destruction of the town. "On the 7th of July, 1779," he says, "Governor Tryon, with the army I have already mentioned, sailed from New Haven to Fairfield, and the next morning disembarked upon the beach. A few militia assembled to oppose them, and, in a desultory, scattered manner, fought with great intrepidity through most of the day. They killed some, took several prisoners, and wounded more. But the expedition was so sudden and unexpected, that efforts made in this manner were necessarily fruitless. The town was plundered; a great part of the houses, together with two churches, the court-house, jail, and school-houses, were burned. The barns had just been filled with wheat and other produce. The inhabitants, therefore, were turned out into the world almost literally destitute.
"Mrs. Burr, the wife of Thaddeus Burr, Esq., high sheriff of the county, resolved to continue in the mansion-house of the family, and make an attempt to save it from conflagration. The house stood at a sufficient distance from other buildings. Mrs. Burr was adorned with all the qualities which give distinction to her sex; possessed of fine accomplishments, and a dignity of character scarcely rivaled; and probably had never known what it was to be treated with disrespect, or even with inattention. She made a personal application to Governor Tryon, in terms which, from a lady of her high respectability, could hardly have failed of a satisfactory answer from any person who claimed the title of a gentleman. The answer which she actually received was, however, rude and brutal, and spoke the want, not only of politeness and humanity, but even of vulgar civility. The house was sentenced to the flames, and was speedily set on fire. An attempt was made in the mean time, by some of the soldiery, to rob her of a valuable watch, with rich furniture; for Governor Tryon refused to protect her, as well as to preserve the house. The watch had been already conveyed out of their reach; but the house, filled with every thing which contributes either to comfort or elegance of living, was laid in ashes.
"While the town was in flames a thunder-storm overspread the heavens, just as night came on. The conflagration of near two hundred houses illumined the earth, the skirts of the clouds, and the waves of the Sound with a union of gloom and grandeur at once inexpressibly awful and magnificent. The sky speedily was hung with the deepest darkness wherever the clouds were not tinged by the melancholy luster of the flames. The thunder rolled above. Beneath, the roaring of the fires filled up the intervals with a deep and hollow sound, which seemed to be the protracted murmur of the thunder reverberated from one end of heaven to the other. Add to this convulsion of the elements, and these dreadful effects of vindictive and wanton devastation, the trembling of the earth, the sharp sound of muskets occasionally discharged, the groans here and there of the wounded and dying, and the shouts of triumph; then place before your eyes crowds of the miserable sufferers, mingled with bodies of the militia, and from the neighboring hills taking a farewell prospect of their property and their dwellings, their happiness and their hopes, and you will form a just, but imperfect, picture of the burning of Fairfield. It needed no great effort of imagination to believe that the final day had arrived, and that, amid this funereal darkness, the morning would speedily dawn to which no night would ever succeed; the graves yield up their inhabitants; and the trial commence, at which was to be finally settled the destiny of man.
"The apology made by Governor Tryon for this Indian effort was conveyed in the following sentence: ‘The village was burned, to resent the fire of the rebels from their houses, and to mask our retreat.’ This declaration unequivocally proves that the rebels were troublesome to their invaders, and at the same time is to be considered as the best apology which they are able to make. But it contains a palpable falsehood, intended to justify conduct which admits of no excuse, and rejects with disdain every attempt at palliation. Why did this body of men land at Fairfield at all? There were here no stores, no fortress, no enemy, except such as were to be found in every village throughout the United States. It was undoubtedly the original object of the expedition to set fire to this town, and the apology was created after the work was done. It was perfectly unnecessary to mask the retreat. The townsmen, and the little collection of farmers assembled to aid them, had no power to disturb it. No British officer, no British soldier would confess that, in these circumstances, he felt the least anxiety concerning any molestation from such opposers. The next morning the troops re-embarked, and, proceeding to Green’s Farms, set fire to the church and consumed it, together with fifteen dwelling-houses, eleven barns, and several stores."40
THE BUCKLEY HOUSE.41
The Hessians who accompanied Tryon were his incendiaries. To them he intrusted the wielding of the torch, and faithfully they obeyed their master. When the people fled from the town, not expecting that their houses would be burned, they left most of their furniture behind. The distress was consequently great, for many lost every earthly possession. Among the buildings saved was that of Mr. Buckley, pictured in the engraving. Tryon made it his head-quarters. The naval officer who had charge of the British ships, and piloted them to Fairfield, was Mrs. Buckley’s brother, and he had requested Tryon to spare the house of his sister. Tryon acquiesced, and, feeling his indebtedness to her brother, the general informed Mrs. Buckley that if there was any other house she wished to save she should be gratified. After the enemy left, the enraged militia, under Captain Sturges, placed a field piece in front of the dwelling, and then sent Mrs. Buckley word that she might have two hours to clear the house, and leave it, or they would blow her to atoms. She found means to communicate a notice of her situation to General Silliman, who was about two miles distant. He immediately went to the town, and found one hundred and fifty men at the cannon. By threats and persuasion he induced them to withdraw. The next day Colonel Benjamin Tallmadge, with his regiment, arrived from White Plains, and, encamping on the smoking ruins, made Tryon’s quarters his own.42
The cruelties committed upon helpless women and children, and the wanton destruction of property, at Fairfield, were worthy only of savages, and made the name of Tryon a synonym for every thing infernal. The passions of the soldiery were excited by strong drink, and murder, pillage, and brutal violence to women were their employment throughout the night. Like similar outrages elsewhere, these awakened the strongest feelings of hatred and revenge against the common enemy, and the pen, the pulpit, and the forum sent forth their righteous denunciations. Colonel David Humphreys, the soldier-poet of the Revolution, visited the scene of destruction soon after the event, and, wrote the following elegy while on the spot:
"Ye smoking ruins, marks of hostile ire,
Large numbers of militia had collected in the neighborhood of Fairfield on the morning of the 9th, and at eight o’clock Tryon sounded a retreat to the shipping. His troops were galled very much by the militia, and it was noon before all were embarked. At three in the afternoon they weighed anchor and sailed over to Huntington, Long Island, whence they made a descent upon, and destroyed, Norwalk.
We will close the record and hasten from the mountain, for
"‘Tis Sabbath morn, and lingering on the gale
and inviting me back to the city and the open sanctuary. I arrived in time for a luncheon breakfast, and to listen to an eloquent sermon in Trinity Church on the College Green, from a stripling deacon who had just taken orders. The afternoon was warm and lowery, the rain came pattering down in the evening, and the next morning a nor’easter was piping its melancholy notes among the stately elms of the city,43 while the rain poured as if Aquarius had overturned his water-jar.
There was a lull in the storm about nine o’clock, and, accompanied by Mr. Barber, the artist-author, in a covered wagon, I visited some of the points of interest about the city. We first rode to the West Bridge on West River, near which the Americans made their first stand against General Garth, and in the midst of a heavy dash of rain made thesketch on page 423. Returning to the city, we visited the dwelling of Arnold, Neck Bridge, and the Cemetery. In the latter, a large and beautiful "city of the dead," lie many illustrious remains, among which are those of Colonel David Humphreys, one of Washington’s aids.
They lie near the southwestern part of the Cemetery, and over them stands a fine monument consisting of a granite obelisk and pedestal, about twelve feet in height. Upon two tablets of copper, inserted in the pedestal, is the following inscription, written by his friend, the author of M‘Fingal: "David Humphreys, LL. D., Acad. Scient. Philad., Mass., et Connect., et in Anglia Aquæ Solis, et Regiæ Societat. Socius. Patriæ et libertatis amore ac census, juvenis vitam reipub. integram consecravit. Patriam armis tuebatur, consiliis auxit, literis exornavit, apud exteras gentes concordia stabilivit. In bello gerendo maximi ducis Washington administer et adjutor; in exercitu patrio Chiliarchus; in republica Connecticutensi, militum evocatorum imperator; ad aulam Lusitan. et Hispan. legatus. Iberia reversus natale solum vellere vere aureo ditavit. In Historia et Poesi scriptor eximius; in artibus et scientiis excolendis, quæ vel decori vel usui inserviunt, optimus ipse et patronus et exemplar. Omnibus demum officiis expletis, cursuq; vitæ feliciter peracto, fato cessit, Die XXI. Februar., Anno Domini MDCCCXVIII.; cum annos vixisset LXV."44
In the northeast section of the Cemetery is a dark stone, neatly carved with an ornamental border, sacred to the memory of Margaret, the first wife of Benedict Arnold, who died on the 19th of June, 1775, while her husband was upon Lake Champlain. Her maiden name was Mansfield, and by her Arnold had three sons. She was thirty-one years old when she died. She is represented as a woman of the most fervent piety, exalted patriotism, gentleness of manners, and sweetness of disposition. These qualities are powerful checks upon unruly passions, particularly when exerted in the intimate relation of husband and wife. Had she lived until the close of the Revolution, far different might have been the fate of her husband, for there is little doubt that his resentments against Congress and the managers of military affairs for two years previous to his treason were fostered by his intercourse with the Tory friends of his second wife, Margaret Shippen, of Philadelphia. Indeed, the Loyalists claimed him for a friend as early as December, 1778. Charles Stewart, writing to Joseph Galloway, said, "General Arnold is in Philadelphia. It is said that he will be discharged, being thought a pert Tory. Certain it is that he associates mostly with these people."
On leaving the Cemetery, we called upon the venerable Eneas Munson, M. D., a vigorous relic of the Revolution. He is still living (January, 1850), more than eighty-six years of age. He was Dr. Thacher’s assistant in the Continental army, and was present at the siege of Yorktown and the surrender of Cornwallis, in October, 1781. He was then a surgeon in Colonel Scammell’s regiment, which, in that action, was attached to General Hamilton’s brigade. During the siege Colonel Scammell was shot by a Hessian cavalry officer, while reconnoitering a small redoubt on a point of land which had been alternately in possession of the Americans and British. It was just at twilight, and, while making careful observations, two Hessian horsemen came suddenly upon him, and presented their pistols. Perceiving that there was no chance for escape, he surrendered, saying, "Gentlemen, I am your prisoner." Either because they did not understand his words, or actuated by that want of humanity which generally characterized those mercenaries, one of them fired, and wounded the colonel mortally. He was carried to Williamsburg, and Dr. Munson was the first surgeon in attendance upon him. He died there on the 6th of October. Colonel Humphreys (to whose regiment Dr. Munson was attached after the death of Scammell) wrote the following poetic epitaph for the tomb of his friend. I do not know whether the lines were ever inscribed upon marble, or recorded by the pen of history. They were repeated to me by Dr. Munson, and I give them as a memorial of a brave and accomplished officer of the Revolution.
"What though no friend could ward thine early fall,
Nor guardian angels turn the treacherous ball;
Bless’d shade, be soothed! Thy virtues all are known –
Thy fame shall last beyond this mouldering stone,
Which conquering armies, from their toils return,
Read to thy glory while thy fate they mourn."
A drawing of the place where Scammell was killed, and a biographical sketch of that officer,are given in the notice of my visit to Yorktown.
SIGNATURE OF NATHAN BEERS AT 90.
A few doors from Dr. Munson, in the same street, lived the almost centenarian, Nathan Beers, who was paymaster in Scammell’s regiment at Yorktown. He was ninety-six years old, and completely demented; second childhood, with all its trials for the subject and his friends, was his lot; yet did I look with reverence upon that thin visage and "lack-luster eye," where once were indices of a noble mind within. A truer patriot never drew blade for his country, and, above all, he was "an honest man, the noblest work of God." For years he struggled with the misfortunes of life, and became involved in debt. At length Congress made a decision in his favor respecting a claim for a pension as paymaster in the Continental army, and arrearages amounting to some thousands of dollars were awarded him. There was enough to give him a competence in his old age, but even this reward for public services he handed over to his creditors. He has since gone to receive the final recompense of the patriot and Christian. He died on the 10th of February, 1849, aged nearly 98.
After a short visit to the Trumbull Gallery of Paintings and the Library of Yale College,46 I returned to my lodgings, and at four o’clock in the afternoon departed in the cars for Hartford.
1 This is quoted from a political poem in three cantos, by John Trumbull, LL. D., called "M‘Fingal," which gained for the author much celebrity in America and Europe. The first part of the poem was written in 1775, and published in Philadelphia, where the Continental Congress was then in session. Numerous editions appeared, and it was republished in England. It was not finished until 1782, when the whole was printed at Hartford, in three cantos. It is in the Hudibrastic strain, "and," says Griswold, "is much the best imitation of the great satire of Butler that has been written." The author was born in Waterbury, Connecticut, in 1750. So extraordinary was the development of his intellect, that he received lessons in Greek and Latin before he was six years old, and was pronounced fit to enter Yale College at the age of seven. He entered college at thirteen, and went successfully through the whole course of studies. In 1771 he and Timothy Dwight were elected tutors in Yale, and in 1773 he was admitted to the practice of the law. He went to Boston, entered the office of John Adams, and there, in the focus of Revolutionary polities, his republican principles had full play. He commenced the practice of law in New Haven toward the close of 1774. and there he wrote his "M‘Fingal." He had already acquired considerable celebrity as a poet. He removed to Hartford in 1782. Joel Barlow, Colonel David Humphries, and Timothy Dwight were among his most intimate literary friends. He was one of the "four bards with Scripture names" whom a London satirist noticed, in some verses commencing,
"David and Jonathan, Joel and Timothy,
Over the water set up the hymn of the," &c.
In 1800 Trumbull was elected a member of the Legislature, and, the year following, a Judge of the Superior Court. He was Judge of the Supreme Court of Errors from 1808 to 1819. His poems were collected and published in 1820, and in 1825 he removed to Detroit, where he died in 1831, in the 81st year of his age.
2 This view is from the top of a high hill northeast of the dwelling of Mr. Ebenezer Smith, near Norwalk. Its long sand-bar is seen stretching into the Sound on the right, and over the lowest extremity of the point the shade trees of Fairfield are visible. The water on the left is the mouth of the Saugatuck River, and that in the distance, on the right, is Long Island Sound.
3 The people of this region were extremely patriotic, and never hesitated a moment when their country called. Before actual hostilities commenced (March, 1775), a company of one hundred men was enlisted in Danbury, for the colonial service, and joined a regiment of Connecticut troops, under Colonel Waterbury. They were engaged in active service until Montgomery reached Montreal, in December, when they returned home without the loss of a single man. The last survivor, David Weed, died in Danbury, June 13th, 1842, aged ninety-four years. When this little band of one hundred men left for Lake Champlain, their friends regarded them as lost. When they all returned, many of those very friends were in their graves, swept away by a prevalent dysentery.
4 At this place the enemy was brought to a halt by a single resolute American named Luther Holcomb. Wishing to give the people of Danbury as much time as possible to escape, or prepare for resistance, he rode to the brow of a hill over which the invaders were about to march, and, waving his hat, and turning, as if to address an army behind him, exclaimed, "Halt the whole universe! break off into kingdoms!" It was a mighty host whose obedience he evoked. Tryon was alarmed. He caused his army to halt, and, arranging his cannon so as to bear upon the supposed opponents, sent out flanking parties to reconnoiter. Finding himself in danger of being surrounded, Holcomb put spurs to his horse and retreated to Danbury.
5 On hearing of the approach of the enemy, Colonel Cook sent to General Silliman for arms and ammunition. The messenger was Lambert Lockwood, who, coming suddenly upon the British troops near Reading Church, was made a prisoner. Tryon recognized him as a young man who had given him aid when his carriage broke down while passing through Norwalk. On that account he took Lockwood under his protection, but, in his hasty retreat from Danbury, left him to take care of himself. Tryon was writing a protection for him when he was informed that the Americans were coming. The governor dropped his pen and seized his sword, and the protection remained unwritten.
6 When the British approached, a citizen named Hamilton resolved to save a piece of cloth which was at a clothier’s at the lower end of the village. He had just mounted his horse with the cloth, and fastened one end to the saddle, when the British advanced guard appeared. Three light horsemen started in pursuit of Hamilton, whose horse was less fleet than theirs. Drawing near to him, one of the troopers exclaimed, "Stop, old daddy, stop! We’ll have you." "Not yet," said Hamilton, and at that moment his roll of cloth unfurled, and, fluttering like a streamer behind him, so frightened the troopers’ horses that the old man got several rods the start. The chase continued through the town to the bridge at the upper end. Several times the troopers would attempt to strike, but the cloth was always in the way. The pursuit was finally abandoned, and the old man escaped.
7 This house is on the south bank of Still River, at the north end of the main street. It was built by Benjamin Knapp, in 1770, and was owned by him at the time of the invasion. His birth-place is also standing, on the north side of the river. They were among the few houses not burned. At the bridge seen on the right the British planted a cannon, and kept a strong guard there until their departure. This house is now (1848) owned by Noah Knapp.
8 Joshua Porter, Eleazer Starr, ----- Adams, and a negro.
9 Robbins’s Century Sermon.
10 This is quoted from the Columbiad, a long epic – the American Revolution its theme. The author was one of the poets of the Revolution whose writings have outlived them. Dwight, Trumbull, Humphries, Hopkins, and a few other men of literary reputation in Connecticut, were his friends and associates. He was a native of Reading, Connecticut, where he was born in 1755. He was the youngest in a family of ten. He graduated at Yale College in 1778. He recited an original poem on taking his bachelor’s degree, but it possesses little merit. Four of his brothers were in the Continental army, and during his collegiate vacation he went to the field as chaplain. He was in the battle at White Plains, and displayed good courage in several minor engagements. He married the daughter of the Hon. Abraham Baldwin, of New Haven, and in 1783 removed to Westford, where he commenced the publication of the "Mercury." He was admitted to the bar in 1785, and the same year, at the request of several Congregational ministers, prepared and published an enlarged and improved edition of Watts’s version of the Psalms, and added to them a collection of hymns, several of them his own. His "Vision of Columbus" was published in 1787. It was dedicated to the unfortunate Louis XVI. In London and Paris it was reprinted, and received considerable applause. He was engaged, with the literary friends just named, in publishing a satirical poem called the Anarchiad, which had considerable influence. In 1791 he published in London his "Advice to the Privileged Orders," and, the following year, The Conspiracy of the Kings. He had some correspondence with the French National Assembly, and, on going to Paris, was honored by the gift of citizenship, and made France his home. His time was devoted chiefly to commercial pursuits, by which he amassed a fortune. He traveled some on the Continent, and in Piedmont wrote a poem called "Hasty Pudding," the most popular of his writings. Returning to Paris in 1795, he was appointed by Washington consul at Algiers, with power to negotiate a treaty of commerce with the dey, and with Tunis and Tripoli. After an absence of seventeen years, he returned to the United States, and built a splendid mansion on the bank of the Potomac, near Washington, known afterward as "Kalorama." The Columbiad, the original Vision of Columbus greatly altered, was published in 1808, in a splendid quarto, richly illustrated. Its merits have been variously estimated, some regarding it as a fit companion of the Iliad, Æneid, and Paradise Lost, and others allowing it only a small share of merit. Mr. Barlow had prepared to write a history of the United States, in 1811, when the design was frustrated by his being appointed minister plenipotentiary to the French government. In the autumn of 1812 he was invited by the Duke of Bassano to a conference with Napoleon at Wilna, in Poland. He traveled thitherward without halting to rest. The fatigue and exposure brought on an inflammation of the lungs, which caused his death, at an obscure village near Cracow named Zarnowica, on the 2d of December, in the fifty-fourth year of his age. He has been charged with abjuration of Christianity, but the accusation rests solely upon inferences. In private life he was pure and greatly beloved, and his public career was without spot or blemish. – Allen’s Biographical Dictionary; Griswold’s American Poets.
11 This small sect derives its name from its founder, Robert Sandeman, a native of Perth, in Scotland. He came to America in 1764, and in Boston and Danbury organized societies in accordance with his peculiar religious notions. His doctrines were similar to those of Calvin, and his distinguishing tenet was, that "faith was a mere intellectual belief – a bare belief of the bare truth." Like other founders of sects, he claimed to belong to the only true Church. His followers meet on the Sabbath and Thursday afternoons of each week, and, seated around a large circular table, each with a copy of the Scriptures, the men read and comment on them as they are moved by desire. The females are silent. The attending congregation not members are mere spectators, and the worshipers seem not to notice their presence. They have prayer and singing, after which they go to the house of one of the members, and partake of a feast of love. Their morals are of the purest kind, and their influence in society is exceedingly salutary. The two divisions are known as the Baptist Sandemanians and the Osbornites. The former practice baptism, the latter do not. Of late years none have joined them, and death is reducing their number. There are a few in England. Mr. Sandeman died at Danbury in 1771, aged fifty-three years. His grave is marked by a handsome marble slab, bearing his name and an epitaph.
12 On the 17th of June, 1777, the Continental Congress adopted a resolution, "That a monument be erected to the memory of General Wooster, with the following inscription: ‘In honor of David Wooster, brigadier general in the army of the United States. In defending the liberties of America, and bravely repelling an inroad of the British forces to Danbury, in Connecticut, he received a mortal wound on the 27th day of April, 1777, and died on the 2d day of May following. The Congress of the United States, as an acknowledgment of his merit and services, have caused this monument to be erected.’ " Resolved, "That the executive power of the state of Connecticut be requested to carry the foregoing resolution into execution, and that five hundred dollars be allowed for that purpose." – Journals of Congress, iii., 197.
It has been erroneously asserted that the money was subsequently put into the hands of General Wooster’s son, and that it was squandered. This is not true, as the Journals of Congress will show. A bill for the purpose passed the House of Representatives in 1822, but, in consequence of the numerous similar petitions that were presented after the passage of the resolution by the Lower House, the Senate did not concur. Ezra Foote, Esq., a citizen of Danbury, aged eighty-four years, informed me that he could so nearly identify the grave of Wooster as to pronounce it with certainty to be one of two graves, situated, as I ascertained by measurement, twenty feet northeast of the grave of Sandeman. General Wooster was not in the Continental service at the time of his death. Conceiving himself neglected, he had resigned, and was appointed the first major general of militia in his native state.
13 The tract of land called Ridgefield was named by the Indians Candatowa, which signifies high ground. On some of the hills near the village Long Island and the Sound may be seen for a distance of forty miles. Twenty-five of the inhabitants of Norwalk purchased the ground of Catoonah, the chief sachem, in 1708, and the first settlement was made the following year.
14 David Wooster was born in Stratford, Connecticut, on the 2d of March, 1710. He graduated at Yale College in 1738, and the following year, when the Spanish war broke out, was made a lieutenant, and soon afterward was promoted to the captaincy of the vessel built and armed by the colony as a guarda costa, or coast guard. In 1740 he married the daughter of Rev. Thomas Clapp, president of Yale College. He was a captain in Colonel Burr’s regiment, which went on the expedition to Louisburg in 1745, from which place he went to Europe, in command of a cartel ship. He was not permitted to land in France, but in England he was received with distinguished honor. He was presented to the king, and became a favorite at court. He was made a captain in the regular service, under Sir William Pepperel, and his likeness (from which our engraving was copied) was published in the periodical magazines of that day. He was first a colonel and then a brigadier in the French and Indian or Seven Years’ War that ended in 1763. He espoused the patriot cause, and was one of the principal conspirators against Ticonderoga in 1775, which resulted in its capture by the provincials under Allen and Arnold. When the Continental army was organized, Wooster was appointed one of the eight brigadiers, third in rank. He was in Canada in 1776, where he had the chief command for a while. Returning to Connecticut, he was appointed the first major general of the militia of his state. In that capacity he was actively employed when Tryon’s invasion occurred. He hastened to the field, was fatally wounded, carried to Danbury, and expired on the 2d of May, at the age of sixty-seven years. On the 27th of April, 1854, the corner-stone of a monument to be erected over the obscure grave of the long-neglected Wooster was laid. When search was made for his grave, it was identified by unmistakable evidences. With a skeleton was found some matted wire (the remains of epaulets), a portion of a plume, and a leaden bullet. The latter was a smooth, English bullet, larger than those used by the Americans. These were satisfactory evidence that the right grave had been opened. That bullet undoubtedly gave the death-wound to the patriot. * The bones were re-interred, with imposing ceremonies. The Honorable Henry C. Deming was the Orator on the occasion.
* Colonel David Dimon, one of Wooster’s subordinate officers at that time (mentioned on page 403), was a native of Fairfield, Connecticut, and was a brave and useful officer. He was one of the volunteers who captured British stores at Turtle Bay, New York, and one of Montgomery’s staff in the expedition to Canada in 1775. He was active in the capture of St. John on the Sorel, and Fort Chambly, after which he returned to Connecticut on public business, and was not with the army in its defeat at Quebec. Colonel Dimon continued in active service until after Tryon’s expedition to Danbury. He had the command at the barricades in Ridgefield, and pursued the British to Compo. A fever, produced by exposure in the service, caused his death in September following, when in the 36th year of his age.
15 This view is at the north end of the main street. It was taken from the spot where, tradition asserts, Arnold’s horse was killed, which is on the west side of the street, near a maple-tree, about one hundred yards southwest of the house of Samuel Stebbins, Esq., seen on the right in the picture. While making this sketch an old man (whose name I forgot to ask) came along, and informed me that on the day after the battle himself and some other boys skinned Arnold’s horse, and discovered nine bullet-holes in his hide. The escape of the rider seemed miraculous.
16 The bridge where the engagement took place was at the head of navigation in the Saugatuck, nearly three miles from the sea. There is now a bridge upon the site, within the pleasant village of Westport (formerly called Saugatuck), which, at the time of the battle, contained only five houses. Seven or eight men were killed near the present Congregational Church in Westport. The smooth and really beautiful elevation of Compo is about two and a half miles south of the village, and commands a fine view of the Sound and of the distant shores of Long Island.
17 Journals of Congress, iii., 158.
18 Ridgefield is situated upon a high, rolling plain, and contains about sixty houses, on one street, within a mile. Like Danbury, it is beautifully shaded with elms and sycamores.
19 The township derived its name from Colonel John Read, one of its most prominent settlers. His monument is in a small burying-ground a little west of the town-house. He died in 1786, aged eighty-five years. – Barber’s Historical Collections of Connecticut.
20 This name was given to the peninsula extending into the Sound at Greenwich, from the circumstance that many horses used to be pastured upon it.
21 Norwalk is situated near Long Island Sound, not far from the mouth of the Norwalk River (a small stream), and about forty-eight miles northeast from New York. It was among the earliest settlements in Connecticut, having been purchased of the natives in 1640. The bounds of the east tract, sold to Roger Ludlow, as described in the ancient records, were "from Norwalk River to Sawhatuc [Saugatuck] River, from sea, Indian one day walk in the country" – that is, one day’s north walk into the country; hence the name of Norwalk. The articles given to the Indians for the tract were "eight fathoms wampum, six coats, ten hatchets, ten hoes, ten knives, ten scizers, ten juseharps, ten fathom tobaco, three kettles of six hands about, and ten looking-glasses." The articles given for the tract on the west side of the river, between it and Five Mile River, sold to Captain Patrick, were "of wampum ten fathoms, hatchets three, howes three, when ships come; six glasses, twelve tobacke pipes, three knives, ten drills, ten needles."—Barber’s Historical Collections; Hall’s Historical Records of Norwalk.
22 This view is from the west side of Gregory’s Point, looking north-northwest. The promontory toward the left, covered with dark trees, is called Fort Point. There was an Indian fortification when the first settlers arrived at Norwalk. Further to the left, on the extreme edge of the picture, is seen one end of the rail-road bridge, which crosses Norwalk River. The New York and New Haven Rail-road was then in progress of construction. The point derives its name from its former proprietor, Governor Thomas Fitch. whose residence was Norwalk. He was Governor of the colony of Connecticut, and his name is among the beloved of his generation. He died July 18th, 1774, in the seventy-fifth year of his age.
23 Tryon’s official dispatch.
24 This place is situated a little more than a mile from the center of the village of Norwalk. It received its name from an old well from which, in ancient times, vessels engaged in the West Indian trade took their supplies of water – Barber.
25 The old records of the town, quoted by Mr. Hall, exhibit many curious features in the municipal regulations adopted by the early settlers. In 1665 it is recorded that "Walter Hait has undertaken to beat the drumm for meeting when all occasions required, for which he is to have 10s. Also, Thomas Benedict has undertaken to have the meeting-house swept for the yeere ensuing; he is to have 20s." Again: "At a town meeting in Norwalk, March the 20th, 1667, it was voted and ordered that it shall be left to the townsmen from yere to yere to appoint a time or day, at or before the 10th day of March, for the securing of the fences on both sides, and that they shall give notis to all the inhabitants the night before, and the drumb to be beten in the morning, which shall be accounted a sufficient warning for every man to secure his fence, or else to bear his own damages." Again: "At the same meeting (October 17th, 1667), voted and ordered that, after the field is cleared, the townsmen shall hier Steven Beckwith, or some other man, to fetch the cows out of the neck [the Cow Pasture]; and he that shall be hiered shall give warning by sounding a horne about twelve of the clock, that he that is to accompany him is to repaire to him."
26 The Pequots, or Pequods, were a formidable tribe of Indians, having at least seven hundred warriors. Their principal settlements were on a hill in Groton, Connecticut. They were a terror to other tribes, and became a great annoyance to the Connecticut and Massachusetts settlements. Governor Endicott, of the former province, had tried to treat with them, but in vain, and their bold defiance of the whites increased. Early in 1637 they attacked the small English fort at Saybrook, murdered several women of Weathersfield, and carried away two girls into captivity. The colonists mustered all their able men, and, being joined by portions of the Mohegans, Narragansets, and Niantic tribes, fell upon the Pequots in their retreat upon the Mystic River. A warm battle ensued, and the Pequots were beaten. They fought desperately, but were finally driven westward, and took shelter in the swamp near Fairfield. Sassacus, their chief, escaped to the Mohawks, by whom he was afterward murdered. The Indian name of Fairfield was Unguowa. Mr. Ludlow, who accompanied the English troops, and was afterward Deputy-governor of the colony of Connecticut, pleased with the country in the neighborhood of the Sasco Swamp, began, with others, a plantation there, and called it their fair field. Hence its name.
27 This was upon the corner of the present Church and George Streets, New Haven. – Barber.
28 Trumbull’s History of Connecticut; Barber’s History of New Haven.
29 About the time when the pursuers were expected at New Haven, Mr. Davenport preached publicly from the text, "Take counsel, execute judgment; make thy shadow as the night in the midst of the noon-day; hide the outcasts; betray not him that wandereth. Let mine outcasts dwell with thee, Moab; be thou a covert to them from the face of the spoilers." Isaiah, xvi., 3, 4. The sermon had the effect to put the whole town upon their guard, and made the people resolve on concealment of the "outcasts." The following anecdote is related of Goffe, while he was in Boston: A fencing-master erected a stage, and upon it he walked several days, defying any one to a combat with swords. Goffe wrapped a huge cheese in a napkin for a shield, and, arming himself with a mop filled with dirty water from a pool, mounted the stage and accepted the challenge. The fencing-master attempted to drive him off but Goffe skillfully received the thrusts of his sword into the cheese. At the third lunge of his antagonist, Goffe held the sword fast in his soft shield long enough to smear the face of the fencing-master with the filthy mop. Enraged, the challenger caught up a broad-sword, when Goffe exclaimed, with a firm voice, "Stop, sir; hitherto, you see, I have only played with you, and not attempted to harm you; but if you come at me now with the broad-sword, know that I will certainly take your life." Goffe’s firmness alarmed the fencing-master, who exclaimed, "Who can you be? You must be either Goffe, Whalley, or the devil, for there was no other man in England could beat me."
30 Stiles’s History of the Regicides; Barber’s History of New Haven.
31 A lineal descendant of Colonel Dixwell asked and received permission of the authorities of New Haven to disinter the remains of his ancestor, and bury them beneath a monument which he proposed to erect to his memory, on College Green, in the rear of the Center Church. They were accordingly removed in November, 1849, and a neat monument, surrounded by an iron railing, is erected there.
32 Arnold lived in Water Street, near the ship-yard. The house is still standing (1848), on the left side of the street going toward the water. It is a handsome frame building, embowered in shrubbery. In the garret of the house the sign was found recently which hung over the door of Arnold’s store, in Water Street. It was black, with white letters, and painted precisely alike on both sides. It was lettered
B, ARNOLD, DRUGGIST,
The Latin motto may be rendered, For himself – for the whole, or for all. Arnold combined the selling of drugs and books in New Haven from 1763 to 1767.
33 Among the members of the company who went with Arnold were Mr. Earl, a portrait painter, and Amos Doolittle, an engraver. Mr. Earl made four drawings of Lexington and Concord, which were afterward engraved by Mr. Doolittle. The plates were twelve by eighteen inches in size, and were executed with great dispatch, for in the Connecticut Journal of December 13th, 1775, is the following advertisement:
"THIS DAY PUBLISHED,
"And to be sold at the store of Mr. James Lockwood, near the college in New Haven, four different views of the battles of Lexington, Concord, &c., on the 19th of April, 1775.
"Plate I., the battle of Lexington.
"Plate II., a view of the town of Concord, with the ministerial troops destroying the stores.
"Plate III., the battle at the North Bridge, in Concord.
"Plate IV., the south part of Lexington, when the first detachment was joined by Lord Percy.
"The above four plates are neatly engraven on copper, from original paintings taken on the spot.
"Price, six shillings per set for plain ones, or eight shillings colored."
The engraving of the first of the above-named plates was Mr. Doolittle’s earliest effort in that branch of art; and it is not a little singular that his last day’s labor with the burin was bestowed upon a reduced copy of the same picture, for Barber’s History of New Haven. executed in 1832. Acopy of this print will be found on page 524.
34 This is a view of the spot where Garth landed, in Orange, formerly West Haven. It is between three and four miles below New Haven, on the western side of the harbor entrance, and is a place of considerable resort in summer for the people of the city.
35 This view is from the Milford Road, eastward of West Bridge. The high ground in the distance is Milford Hill, on which is seen the road, directly over the umbrella. A little to the right of the road is the spot where Major Campbell was buried. West Bridge is about a mile and a half from the central part of New Haven.
36 This rude memorial was erected in 1831, by J. W. Barber, Esq., of New Haven, the historian of that city, and author of the Historical Collections of Connecticut, as a tribute of respect for a meritorious officer. It is about a foot and a half high. The site of Campbell’s grave was pointed out to Mr. Barber by the late Chauncy Alling, who saw him buried. Several Americans, who were killed at the same time, were buried near. Their remains were afterward removed. Those of Adjutant Campbell rest undisturbed.
37 Naphtali Daggett was a native of Attleborough, Massachusetts. He graduated at Yale College in 1748, and in 1756 was appointed professor of divinity in that institution, which office he held until his death. He officiated as president of the college from 1766 until 1777, when he was succeeded by Dr. Stiles. He died November 25th, 1780, aged about sixty years.
38 "I was insulted," says the doctor, in his account preserved in MS. in the office of the Secretary of State, at Hartford, "in the most shocking manner by the ruffian soldiers, many of which came at me with fixed bayonets, and swore they would kill me on the spot. They drove me with the main body a hasty march of five miles or more. They damned me, those that took me, because they spared my life. Thus, amid a thousand insults, my infernal drivers hastened me along, faster than my strength would admit in the extreme heat of the day, weakened as I was by my wounds and the loss of blood, which, at a moderate computation, could not be less than one quart. And when I failed, in some degree, through faintness, he would strike me on the back with a heavy walking-staff, and kick me behind with his foot. At length, by the supporting power of God, I arrived at the Green, New Haven. But my life was almost spent, the world around me several times appearing as dark as midnight. I obtained leave of an officer to be carried into the Widow Lyman’s and laid upon a bed, where I lay the rest of the day and succeeding night, in such acute and excruciating pain as I never felt before."
39 Fort Hale is situated upon an insulated rock, two miles from the end of Long Wharf, New Haven. It was named in honor of Captain Nathan Hale, one of the early Revolutionary martyrs. The Americans had a battery of three guns upon this point, which greatly annoyed the enemy when landing.
40 Dwight’s Travels in New England, iii., 512. According to a document in the office of the Secretary of State of Connecticut, the number of buildings destroyed was ninety-seven dwellings, sixty-seven barns, forty-eight stores, two school-houses, one county-house, two meeting-houses, and one Episcopal Church.
41 This building stood upon the eastern side of the Green, fronting the church. It was demolished three or four years ago, having stood more than a century and a half. The engraving is a copy, by permission of the author, from Barber’s Historical Collections of Connecticut, page 353. Tryon lodged in the upper room on the right of the main building.
42 Mrs. Buckley was not a friend of the enemy. According to her testimony, under oath, she was badly treated by the soldiery, notwithstanding she had a protection from General Garth, the second in command. They plundered her house, stripped her buckles from her shoes, tore a ring from her finger, and fired the house five times before leaving it. – See Hinman’s Historical Collections, p. 620.
43 The fine elms which shade the public square and vicinity were planted by the Rev. David Austin and Hon. James Hillhouse. They are the pride of New Haven, and have conferred upon it the title of The city of Elms.
44 Mr. Barber gives the following translation: "David Humphreys, doctor of laws, member of the Academy of Sciences of Philadelphia, Massachusetts, and Connecticut, of the Bath [Agricultural Society] and of the Royal Society of London. Fired with the love of country and of liberty, he consecrated his youth wholly to the service of the republic, which he defended by his arms, aided by his counsels, adorned by his learning, and preserved in harmony with foreign nations. In the field he was the companion and aid of the great Washington, a colonel in the army of his country, and commander of the veteran volunteers of Connecticut. He went embassador to the courts of Portugal and Spain, and, returning, enriched his native land with the true golden fleece.* He was a distinguished historian and poet; a model and a patron of science, and of the ornamental and useful arts. After a full discharge of every duty, and a life well spent, he died on the 21st day of February, 1818, aged sixty-five years." To complete the brief biography given in this inscription, I will add that Colonel Humphreys was born in Derby, Connecticut, in 1753, and graduated at Yale College in 1771. He soon afterward went to reside with Colonel Phillips, of Phillips’s Manor, New York. He joined the Continental army, and in 1778 was one of General Putnam’s aids, with the rank of major. Washington appointed him his aid in 1780, and he remained in the military family of the chief until the close of the war. For his valor at Yorktown, Congress honored him with a sword. He accompanied Jefferson to Paris, as secretary of legation, in 1784. Kosciusko accompanied them. He was a member of the Legislature of Connecticut in 1786, and about that time he, Barlow, and Hopkins wrote the Anarchiad. From 1788 until he was appointed minister to Portugal, in 1790, he resided with Washington at Mount Vernon. He was appointed minister plenipotentiary to Spain in 1794; married the daughter of a wealthy English gentleman at Lisbon in 1797; returned in 1801, and for ten years devoted his time to agriculture. In 1812 he took the command of the militia of Connecticut. His death was sudden, caused by an organic disease of the heart. His literary attainments were considerable. Besides several poems, he wrote some political pamphlets; and in 1788, while at Mount Vernon, completed a life of Putnam, a large portion of the material of which he received from the lips of the veteran.
* This is an allusion to the fact that Colonel Humphreys was the man who introduced merino sheep into the United States. He sent over from Spain a flock of one hundred in 1801.
45 This portrait is from a Daguerreotype kindly lent me by Dr. Munson, with permission to copy it.
46 Yale College, aside from its intrinsic worth as a seminary of learning, is remarkable for the great number of the leading men of the Revolution who were educated within its walls. That warm and consistent patriot, President Daggett, gave a political tone to the establishment favorable to the republican cause, and it was regarded as the nursery of Whig principles during the Revolution. When New Haven was invaded by Tryon, Yale College was marked for special vengeance, but, as we have seen, the invaders retreated hastily without burning the town. There were very few among the students, during our war for independence, who were imbued with Tory principles, and they were generally, if known, rather harshly dealt with.
One instance may suffice to show the spirit of the times. In June, 1775, a student named Abiather Camp was reported unfriendly to Congress. A committee of investigation was appointed, who wrote a very polite note to the young gentleman, setting forth the charges made against him, and demanding an explicit denial, if the report was untrue. The young scape-grace returned the following answer:
"New Haven, June 13, 1775.
"To the Honorable and Respectable Gentlemen of the Committee now residing in Yale College:
"May it please your honors, ham – ham – ham.
"Finis cumsistula, popularum gig –
A man without a head has no need of a wig.
The insulted committee resolved to advertise Camp as an enemy to his country, and to treat him with all possible scorn and neglect. Such advertisement was posted upon the hall door. He braved public opinion until October, when he recanted, and publicly asked pardon for his offenses.
Yale College was founded by ten principal ministers in the colony, who met for the purpose, at New Haven, in 1700. Each brought a number of books at their next meeting in 1701, and, presenting them to the society, said, "I give these books for the founding of a college in the colony." A proposition to found a college had been named fifty years before. The first commencement was held at Saybrook, in 1702. In 1717 the first college building was erected in New Haven. It was seventy feet long and twenty-two wide. From time to time several liberal endowments have been made to the institution, the earliest and most munificent of which was from Elihu Yale, in whose honor the college was named. Among its distinguished benefactors were Sir Isaac Newton, Dean Berkley, Bishop Burnet, Halley, Edwards, &c. The present imposing pile was commenced in 1750. Additions have been made at different times, and it now consists of four spacious edifices, each four stories high, one hundred and four by forty feet on the ground; a chapel, lyceum, atheneum, chemical laboratory, dining-hall, and a dwelling-house for the president.
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