Lossing's Field Book of the Revolution, Vol. I., Chapter XXVI.







Departure from Boston. – Scenery on the Route. – Cochituate. – The Quinebaug. – Traditions of the Mashapaug. – Arrival at Norwich. – A literary Friend. – Indian History of Norwich. – Uncas and Miantonomoh. – Surrender of Miantonomoh to the English. – Unjust Decision. – Murder of Miantonomoh. – Settlement of New London. – Settlement of Norwich. – Mohegan Cemetery. – Uncas’s Monument. – Revolutionary Spirit. – Owaneko. – Norwich Liberty Tree. – Celebration under it. – Honors to John Wilkes. – Patriotic Town Meeting. – Benevolence of the People. – March of Militia to Boston. – General Huntington. – The French Officers. – Benjamin Huntington. – A precious Heir-loom. – The Road to Lebanon. – Bozrah and Fitchville. – Situation of Lebanon. – Governor Trumbull. – Character and Services of Governor Trumbull. – His Dwelling and War Office. – Settlement of Lebanon. – Lauzun. – The Alden Tavern. – General Prescott horsewhipped there. – The Williams House. – The Trumbull Vault. – Return to Norwich. – Destruction of the Yantic Falls. – Birth-place of Arnold. – Inscription upon the Trumbull Monument. – Arnold’s early Years. – Attempt to commit Murder. – A Ringleader in Mischief. – His Mother. – Scorching Acrostic. – Residence of Governor Huntington. – Unpublished Letter written by Washington. – Family Vault of Governor Huntington. – Tomb of General Jabez Huntington. – His five Sons. – The old Burying-ground. – Captain Perkins. – Old Men of Norwich. – Greenville. – Tory Hill. – Letter of General Williams. – New London. – Its Settlement. – Fortifications. – The Harbor. – Revolutionary Movements. – Forts Griswold and Trumbull. – Prizes. – Clinton’s Designs. – Arnold’s Expedition. – Naval Force of Connecticut. – Landing of the Enemy. – March toward New London. – Destruction of the Town. – Property destroyed. – "Fire Lands." – Infamy of Arnold. – Attack on Fort Griswold. – Its Defense and Capture. – Murder of Colonel Ledyard. – Cruelties at Fort Griswold. – Fanny Ledyard. – Departure of the Enemy. – Events in 1813. – Arnold’s Dispatches. – The Groton Monument. – Inscription upon it. – Ascent of its Stair-case. – View from the Top. – A retrospect. – The Pequots. – English Expedition against them. – Attack on their Fort. – Pequot Hill. – Destruction of the Fort. – Terrible Massacre. – Departure of the English. – Another Invasion. – Destruction of the Pequots. – Mrs. Anna Bailey. – Her Husband at Fort Griswold. – Her Mementoes and her Politics. – Mrs. Bailey’s Patriotism. – Landing-place of Arnold. – Bishop Seabury’s Monument. – First Printing in Connecticut.


"Day wanes; ’tis autumn’s eventide again;
And, sinking on the blue hill’s breast, the sun
Spreads the large bounty of his level blaze,
Lengthening the shades of mountains and tall trees,
And throwing blacker shadows o’er the sheet
Of the dark stream, in whose unruffled tide
Waver the bank-shrub and the graceful elm,
As the gray branches and their trembling leaves
Catch the soft whispers of the evening air."



It was in the afternoon of a warm, bright day in October, that I left Boston for Norwich and New London, upon the Thames, in Connecticut, where I purposed to pass two or three days in visiting the interesting localities in their respective neighborhoods. I journeyed upon the great Western rail-way from Boston to Worcester, forty-four miles westward, where the Norwich road branches off in the direction of Long Island Sound, and courses down the beautiful valleys of the French and Quinebaug Rivers. Every rood of the way is agreeably diversified. Hill and mountain, lake and streamlet, farm-house and village, charmed the eye with a kaleidoscope variety as our train thundered over the road at the rate of thirty miles an hour. Yet memory can fix upon only a few prominent points, and these appear to make the sum of all which the eye gazed upon. Thus I remember the sweet Lake Cochituate, whose clear waters now bless the city of Boston with limpid streams. I remember it stretching away north from the rail-way, pierced with many green headlands, and rippled by the wings of waterfowl. Thus, too, I remember the beautiful little Mashapaug, 1 lying in a bowl of the wooded hills of Killingly, sparkling in the slant rays of the evening sun as we swept by and became lost among the rugged heights and dark forests at twilight.

The Quinebaug is dotted with pretty factory villages at almost every rift in its course; and, as we halted a moment at the stations, the serried lights of the mills, and the merry laughter of troops of girls just released from labor, joyous as children bursting from school, agreeably broke the monotony of an evening ride in a close car. We reached the Shetucket Valley at about half past seven o’clock, and at eight I was pleasantly housed at the Merchants’ Hotel in Norwich, a city beautifully situated at the confluence of the Yantic and Shetucket Rivers, whose wedded waters here form the broad and navigable Thames.

Early in the morning I started in search of celebrities, and had the good fortune to meet with Edwin Williams, Esq., the widely-known author of the "Statesman’s Manual" and other standard works. Norwich is his birth-place, and was his residence during his youth, and he is as familiar with its history and topography as a husbandman is with that of his farm. With such a guide, accompanied by his intelligent little son, an earnest delver among the whys and wherefores in the mine of knowledge, I anticipated a delightful journey of a day. Nor was I disappointed; and the pleasures and profit of that day’s ramble form one of the brightest points in my interesting tour. I procured a span of horses and a barouche to convey us to Lebanon, twelve miles northward, the residence of Jonathan Trumbull, the patriot governor of Connecticut during the Revolution. While the hostler is harnessing our team, let us open the chronicles of Norwich and see what history has recorded there.

Like that of all the ancient New England towns, the Indian history of Norwich, commencing with the advent of the English in that neighborhood about 1643, is full of romance, and woos the pen to depict it; but its relation to my subject is only incidental, and I must pass it by with brief mention.

Norwich is in the midst of the ancient Mohegan country, and Mohegan was its Indian name. Uncas was the chief of the tribe when the English first settled at Hartford, and built a fort at Saybrook, at the mouth of the Connecticut River. He formed a treaty of amity with the whites; and so fair were his broad acres upon the head waters of the Pequot River, now the Thames, that the sin of covetousness soon pervaded the hearts of the Puritan settlers. Wawekus Hill, now in the center of Norwich, was a famous observatory for his warriors, for eastward of them were the powerful Narragansets, sworn enemies of the Mohegans, and governed by the brave Miantonomoh, also a friend of the white men. In the spring of 1643 the flame of war was lighted between these powerful tribes, and Miantonomoh led his warriors to an invasion of the Mohegan country. His plans were secretly laid, and he hoped to take Uncas by surprise. For this purpose six hundred of his bravest warriors were led stealthily, by night marches, toward the head waters of the Pequot. At dawn, one morning, they were discovered at the Shetucket Fords, near the mouth of the Quinebaug, by some of the vigilant Mohegan scouts upon the Wawekus. From the rocky nooks near the falls of the Yantic, a canoe, bearing a messenger with the intelligence, shot down the Thames to Shantock Point, where Uncas was strongly fortified. With three or four hundred of his best warriors he marched to meet Miantonomoh. They confronted at the Great Plains, a mile and a half below Norwich, on the west side of the Thames. A fierce conflict ensued. The advantage gained by Uncas by strategy 2 was maintained, and the Narragansets were put to flight, closely pursued by the Mohegans. Through tangled woods and over rocky ledges, across the Yantic, and over the high plain of Norwich toward the Shetucket Fords, the pursued and pursuers swept like a blast. Two swift-footed Mohegans pursued Miantonomoh with unwearied pertinacity, and finally outstripped him, he being encumbered with a heavy corselet. They impeded his progress, but did not attempt to seize him, that honor being reserved for their chief. As soon as Uncas touched Miantonomoh, the latter halted and sat down in silence. He was conducted in triumph to Shantock, where Uncas treated him with generous kindness and respect. The conflict had been brief, but thirty of the Narragansets were slain. Among the prisoners were a brother of the captive king, and two sons of Canonicus, his uncle.

Uncas, probably fearing that the Narragansets would make an attempt to recapture their chief, sent him to Hartford, and surrendered him into the custody of the English, agreeing to be governed in his future conduct toward his prisoner by their advice. Miantonomoh was imprisoned until September, when the commissioners of the United Colonies, at their meeting in Boston, after debating the question whether it would be lawful to take the life of Miantonomoh, referred his case to an ecclesiastical tribunal, composed of five of the principal ministers of the colonies. Their decision was in favor of handing him over to Uncas for execution, without torture, within the dominions of that sachem. Delighted with the verdict of his Christian allies, the equally savage Mohegan, with a few trusty followers, conducted Miantonomoh to the spot where he was captured, and, while marching unsuspicious of present danger, a brother of Uncas, at a sign from that chief, buried his hatchet in the head of the royal prisoner. Uncas cut a piece of flesh from the shoulder of the slain captive and ate it, saying, "It is very sweet; it makes my heart strong." Satisfied revenge made it sweet; and no doubt his heart felt stronger when he saw his powerful enemy lying dead at his feet. The whole transaction was base treachery and ingratitude. Miantonomoh had been the firm friend of the whites on Rhode Island, and his sentence was a flagrant offense against the principles of common justice and Christianity. He was buried where he was slain, and from these circumstances the place has since been called the Sachem’s Plain. 3

The Narragansets, burning with revenge, and led by Pessacus, a brother of Miantonomoh, invaded the Mohegan country in the spring of 1645. Plantations were laid waste, and Uncas, with his principal warriors, was driven into his strong fortress at Shantock. There he was closely besieged, but found means to send a messenger to Captain Mason, the destroyer of the Pequots, then commanding the fort at Saybrook. As in duty bound, that officer sent succor to his ally, not in men, for they were not needed, but in provisions. Thomas Leffingwell, a young man of undaunted courage, paddled a canoe up the Pequot at night, laden with many hundred weight of beef, corn, pease, &c., and deposited them safely within the fort at Shantock. This timely relief was made known to the besiegers by hoisting a piece of beef upon a pole above the ramparts of the fort. Unable to break down the fortress, the Narragansets raised the siege and returned to their own country. This invasion was repeated, and with almost fatal effect to Uncas. The English saved him, and, finally, after nearly twenty years of strife, the hatchet was buried between these tribes.


It was in the midst of these hostilities that the younger Winthrop and others commenced a settlement at Pequot Harbor, now New London; and in 1659 Uncas and his two sons signed a deed at Saybrook, conveying a tract of land, "lying at the head of the Great River," nine miles square, to Thomas Leffingwell and others, for a value consideration of about three hundred and fifty dollars. Leffingwell had thirty-five associates, and there founded the city of Norwich, at the head of the plain now known as the old town, or up town. It is not my province to trace the progress of settlement, but simply to note the prominent points in the colonial history of a people who were among the earliest and most ardent supporters of the Revolution. 5


It was a charming spot where the Puritan settlers founded the city of Norwich, a name given to it in honor of the English birth-place of some of them. "Birds and animals of almost every species belonging to the climate were numerous to an uncommon degree; and the hissing of snakes, as well as the howling of wolves and bears must soon have become familiar to their ears. To complete the view, it may be added, that the streams swarmed with fish and wild fowl; in the brooks and meadows were found the beaver and the otter, and through the whole scene stalked at intervals the Indian and the deer. 7 The planting of this settlement greatly pleased Uncas, but irritated the Narragansets; the former regarding it with pleasure, as the latter did with anger, as a barrier to the meditated invasions of the Mohegan country by the tribe of Miantonomoh. Uncas remained a firm friend to the whites until his death, which occurred soon after the close of King Philip’s War, probably in 1683. He died at Mohegan (Norwich), and was interred in the burial-ground of his family, situated upon the high plain just above the falls of the Yantic. The royal cemetery has been inclosed, and a granite monument erected therein to the memory of the celebrated sachem.

The first male white child born in Norwich [November 1, 1660.] was Christopher Huntington, afterward recorder of the town. The name of Huntington is intimately connected with the whole history of that settlement, and is prominent in our revolutionary annals. Several of that name were engaged in the army, and one, Samuel Huntington, was President of Congress. Indeed, the whole population seemed to be thoroughly imbued with the spirit of freedom, and from the Stamp Act era [1765.] until the close of the war for independence, almost every patriotic measure adopted was an act of the town, not of impromptu assemblages of the friends of liberty or of committees. 8 Like those of Boston, the people of Norwich had their Liberty Tree, under which public meetings were held in opposition to the Stamp Act. It was brought from the forest, and erected in the center of the open plain. Ingersoll, the stamp distributor for Connecticut, was burned in effigy upon the high hill overlooking the plain, just above the site of the old meeting-house. The repeal of the Stamp Act was celebrated, on the first anniversary of the event, on the 18th of March, 1767, with great festivity, under Liberty Tree, which was decked with standards and appropriate devices, and crowned with a Phrygian cap. A tent, or booth, was erected under it, called a pavilion. Here, almost daily, people assembled to hear news and encourage each other in the determination to resist every kind of oppression. 9

The inhabitants of Norwich entered heartily into the scheme of non-importation from Great Britain. The pledge was generally signed, and almost all were strictly faithful. On the 7th of June, 1768, an entertainment was given at Peck’s tavern, 10 to celebrate the election of John Wilkes to a seat in Parliament. Every thing was arranged in excellent taste. All the table furniture, such as plates, bowls, tureens, tumblers, and napkins, were marked "45," the number of the North Briton, Wilkes’s paper, that drew down upon his head the ire of the British government, and, consequently, as a persecuted patriot, obtained for him a seat in the House of Commons. The Tree of Liberty was decorated with new banners and devices, among which was a flag inscribed "No. 45, WILKES AND LIBERTY." Another celebration was held there in September, avowedly to ridicule the commissioners of customs at Boston; and in various ways the people manifested their defiance of British power, where it wielded instruments of oppression. The margins of their public records, for a series of years, were emblazoned with the words LIBERTY! LIBERTY! LIBERTY! Every man was a self-constituted member of the committee of vigilance, and none could drink tea, or use other proscribed articles with impunity. Some who offended were forced publicly to recant. The conduct of such persons was under the special inspection of the Sons of Liberty, of whom Captain Joseph Trumbull, eldest son of Governor Trumbull, was one of the most active.

On the 6th of June, 1774, a town meeting was held in Norwich, to take into consideration "the melancholy state of affairs." Honorable Jabez Huntington was chosen moderator; a series of resolutions, drawn up by Captain Trumbull and Samuel Huntington, were adopted, 11 and a standing committee of correspondence, composed of some of the leading patriots of the town, was appointed. 12 The people of Boston, in their distress, consequent upon the closing of the port [June 1.], received substantial testimonies of the sympathy of those of Norwich; 13 and when the rumor which went abroad that the British soldiers were massacring the people of Boston, reached Norwich, a multitude gathered around the Liberty Tree, and the next morning (Sunday) [September 3, 1774.] four hundred and sixty-four men, a large proportion of them well mounted, started for the oppressed city, under Major John Durkee. The report proved to be false; but the following year, when the skirmish at Lexington inflamed all Anglo-America, a large proportion of these same men hastened to Cambridge, and Durkee and others were in the battle of Bunker Hill. 14 A company of one hundred choice men, raised by Durkee in Norwich, marched thither under Lieutenant Joshua Huntington, and were annexed to Putnam’s brigade.


In the spring of 1776, the Continental army that left Boston for New York after the British evacuation of the former place, passed through Norwich to embark for New London. There General Washington met Governor Trumbull by appointment, and both dined together at the table of Colonel Jedediah Huntington. The dwelling of that active patriot, pictured in the engraving, is well preserved in its original character. It is in the present possession of his nieces, the daughters of Colonel Ebenezer Huntington. Its roof at different times sheltered several of the foreign officers – La Fayette, Steuben, Pulaski, the Duke de Lauzun, and the Marquis de Chastellux. While Lauzun’s legion was cantoned at Lebanon, in the winter of 1780-81, General Huntington invited that nobleman and his officers to a banquet at his house. The noble and brilliant appearance of these men when they rode into the town attracted great attention. After the dinner was over, the whole party went into the yard, now adorned with flowering shrubs, and gave three loud huzzas for liberty!

Our vehicle is at the door; let us take the reins and depart for Lebanon.

Before leaving Norwich, we called upon Jonathan G. W. Trumbull, Esq., a grandson of the patriot governor of that name, who kindly furnished us with a letter of introduction to "the oldest inhabitant" of Lebanon, Captain Hubbard Dutton. Mr. Trumbull is a lineal descendant, through his grandmother, of the Reverend John Robinson, the Puritan divine whose flock were the PILGRIM FATHERS. Among other relics, Mr. Trumbull showed us a silver cup, with a richly-wrought handle, and bearing the initials I. R., which belonged to Mr. Robinson. It is properly preserved as a most precious heir-loom.

The road to Lebanon passes through a broken but fertile country, every where thoroughly cultivated where tillage is practicable. We passed through Old Norwich and over Bean Hill, but, mistaking the Colchester road for the Lebanon turnpike, found ourselves at Fitchville, in Bozrah, nearly two miles from our most direct way. 16 The ride along the high banks of the winding Yantic, coursing in a deep bed among stately trees, was ample compensation for the loss of time, and we had no inclination to chide the road-fork that deceived us.


The gentle hills rise one above another toward Lebanon, until they are lost in a high, rolling plain, on which the old town is situated. The land throughout that region has ever been held in the highest estimation for its fertility; and around Lebanon, the focus of Connecticut patriotism and vigilance during the Revolution, cluster associations of the deepest interest. Here was the residence of Governor Trumbull, whose name and deeds are worthily associated with those of Washington, on the records of our war for independence. No man during that contest acted with more energy, or plied his talents and resources with more industry than he. During the whole war, the responsible duties and services of governor of the state rested upon him, yet he performed immense labors in other departments of the field to which he was called, notwithstanding he was more than threescore years old. His correspondence was very extensive, and he sat in council no less than one thousand days during the war. Washington never applied to him for supplies of any kind without receiving an immediate response. It is a fact worthy of record that, although Connecticut can not point to any brilliant battle field within her borders, she furnished for that war more troops and supplies than any other colony, except Massachusetts.


If the old war office of Governor Trumbull, yet standing at Lebanon, had a tongue to speak, it might tell of many a scheme elaborated there, which, in its consummation, may have been the act that turned the scale of destiny in favor of the Americans. There the illustrious owner discussed with Washington, Franklin, Rochambeau, and others, the gravest questions which then occupied the attention of two hemispheres. Such a spot is like consecrated ground, and the shoes of irreverence should never press the green-sward around it.


We dined at the upper end of the village, and then proceeded to visit the relics of the era of the revolution which remain. I have called Lebanon an old town. A portion of the tract was purchased about 1698, of Owaneko, the son of Uncas There were several tracts purchased by the whites in the vicinity, all of which were united in the year 1700. The village is situated principally upon a street thirty rods wide, and more than a mile in length. Several well-built houses erected before or about the time of the Revolution yet remain. Among them is that of Governor Trumbull. It is a substantial frame building, and is now (1849) owned by Mrs. Eunice Mason, a widow eighty years of age. We were denied the pleasure of an interview with her on account of her feeble health. The house is on the west side of the street, near the road running westward to Colchester. Sixty or seventy rods southwest from the Trumbull House is the "barrack lot," the place where Lauzun’s legion of cavalry were encamped. 19 His corps consisted of about five hundred horsemen. Rochambeau was there, with five regiments, for about three weeks, in the winter of 1780, and while he tarried Washington arrived, stayed a few days, and reviewed the French troops. A French soldier was shot for desertion, a few rods north of the "barrack lot."


Nearly opposite the Trumbull mansion is the old tavern kept during the Revolution by Captain Alden. It is famous generally as a place of rendezvous of the French officers, for drinking and playing, and more particularly as the house where General Prescott, the British officer who was captured on Rhode Island, stopped to dine, while on his way, under an escort, to Washington’s camp, and received a horsewhipping from the landlord. 20 Of the remarkable circumstances of Prescott’s capture I shall hereafter write. Mr. Wattles, the present proprietor of the old tavern, is a descendant of Captain Alden. While making the annexed sketch we were joined by Captain Dutton, the venerable citizen to whom we bore a letter of introduction, but who was absent from home when we arrived in the village. He has a distinct recollection of all the revolutionary events about Lebanon and vicinity, and could direct us to every spot made memorable by those events.


On the corner of the road leading from Lebanon to Windham is the house once occupied by William Williams, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. It has been slightly modified, but its general appearance is the same as it was during the Revolution. Its present occupant is Mr. Simeon Peckam. A biographical sketch of Mr. Williams will be found among those of the Signers, in another portion of this work, and the most prominent events of his life are also noticed in his epitaph, given on the next page.


We will pass on to the sacred inclosure containing the vault of the Trumbull family. It is in a cemetery a little eastward of the village, and near the Windham Road – a cemetery which probably contains the remains of more distinguished men of the Revolution than any other in the country. In the Trumbull tomb are the remains of two governors of Connecticut, the first commissary general of the United States, and a signer of the Declaration of Independence.

The day was waning when I finished my sketches, and bidding Lebanon and its interesting associations adieu, we returned to Norwich, stopping for a few minutes at the Sachem’s Burial-ground, on the verge of the city, to delineate the monument of Uncas, printed on page 598 {original text has "30".}.

On the following morning, accompanied by Mr. Williams and his son in a light dearborn, I proceeded to visit the many points of historic interest within and around Norwich. We went to the plain and the upper town by the road that passes along the margin of the Yantic, to the once romantic falls near the mouth of that river. The natural beauties of this cascade were half hidden and defaced long ago by towering factories; but the chief spoiler was public improvement, which, with pick and powder-blast, hammer and trowel, has digged down the crown of the waterfall, and bridged it by a rail-way viaduct. A curve of a few rods might have spared the beautiful Yantic Falls; but what right has Nature to intrude her charms in the way of the footsteps of Mammon? I saw at the house of Mr. Trumbull, in Norwich, a fine picture of these romantic falls, painted by the eminent artist JOHN TRUMBULL, a son of the patriot governor, before a layer of brick or the sound of an ax had desecrated the spot. It was, indeed, a charming scene.


About half way between Norwich city and the upper town, on the right or south side of the road, was the birth-place of Benedict Arnold, depicted in the annexed engraving. The view is from the road, looking southeast. The house had had some slight additions to its size since Arnold played in its garden in petticoats and bib, yet its general appearance was the same as at that time. Several circumstances bordering upon the marvelous, and viewed with a little superstition, gave the house an unpleasant notoriety, and for many years it was untenanted, because it was haunted! by what or whom rumor never deigned to reveal. When I visited it, only two or three rooms were occupied, the others being empty and locked. The room in which Arnold was born, in the southwest corner of the second story, was occupied, and the people seemed to be familiar with the traditions respecting the boyhood of that distinguished man. Arnold was blessed with a mother (Hannah King, of Norwich), who was, says her epitaph, "A pattern of patience, piety, and virtue," but her lessons seem to have been fruitless of good effect upon the headstrong boy. 22 He was wayward, disobedient, unscrupulous, and violent – traits of character which finally worked his ruin. He even attempted murder, while a young man residing at Norwich, by shooting a youthful Frenchman, who paid court to Arnold’s sister, Hannah, by whom his love was reciprocated. Young Arnold disliked him, and finding persuasion powerless on the mind of his sister to induce her to break off her engagement with the foreigner, vowed vengeance upon him if he ever caught him in the house again. The opportunity occurred, and Arnold discharged a loaded pistol at him as he escaped from a window, fortunately without effect. The young man left the place forever, and Hannah Arnold lived the life of a maiden. Arnold and the Frenchman afterward met at Honduras. They fought a duel, in which the latter was severely wounded.

When a mere boy, Arnold’s courage was remarkable, and among his playmates he was a perfect despot. A ringleader in every mischievous sport, he often performed astonishing feats of daring. On a gala-day, he set a field-piece upright, poured powder into it, and dropped from his own hand a firebrand into the muzzle. On another occasion, at the head of a number of boys, he rolled away some valuable casks from a ship-yard at Chelsea, 23 to make a thanksgiving bonfire. An officer, sent by the owner to recover them, arrested the casks on their way. The stripling Arnold was enraged, and, taking off his coat upon the spot, dared the constable, a stout man, to fight him! Such was the boyhood of one of the most intrepid generals of our Revolution – such was the early type of the unscrupulous, violent man whose memory is black with the foulest treason. 24 We have met him in preceding pages in his glorious career as a bold patriot; we shall meet him again presently amid the scenes of his degradation.


Leaving the Arnold House, we rode to the upper town, and halted at the spacious mansion of Charles Spaulding, Esq., formerly the residence of Governor Samuel Huntington, who was also a signer of the Declaration of Independence, and President of Congress. It was considered the finest dwelling in Norwich when occupied by the governor, and now presents an excellent specimen of the architecture of that era. Surrounded by shade-trees and adorned with shrubbery, it is a summer residence to be coveted by those who love spacious rooms and a quiet location. I saw in the possession of Mrs. Spaulding an autograph letter of General Washington, written to Governor Huntington, then President of Congress. It has never been published, and as its purport is of an interesting public nature, I give a copy of it here. 25


"Head-quarters, New Windsor, 10th April, 1781.


"I beg leave to introduce to your excellency Colonel Menonville, deputy adjutant general to the French army. This gentleman, who is charged by his excellency the Count de Rochambeau with matters respecting a contract entered into by Dr. Franklin, in behalf of the United States, for the supply of a quantity of provision, will, through your excellency, lay his business generally before Congress.

"He will also, agreeably to the wishes of Count Rochambeau, make an application for some heavy iron cannon for the use of the works at Newport, which he understands were imported into New Hampshire for the use of the seventy-four gun ship now upon the stocks. The brass artillery at present in them are the artillery of siege, and must be removed should the army remove. If there are such cannon in New Hampshire, and there is no probability of their being soon wanted for the purpose for which they were intended, I think a part of them can not be better applied.

"I recommend Colonel Menonville to your excellency’s personal attention as a gentleman of peculiar merit.

"I have the honor to be, with great respect, your excellency’s most obedient and humble servant,


"His Excellency the President of Congress."



In the rear of the Huntington mansion is the cemetery of the first Congregational society of Norwich. Within it lie the remains of many of the early inhabitants of the town, and upon the steep southern slope of a hill is the family vault of Governor Huntington. It is substantially built of brick. On the front, over the entrance, is an inscribed marble tablet. 26 The tomb is somewhat dilapidated, and the ground overgrown with brambles. In the southern portion of the cemetery, separated from the others by a stone fence, is the family vault of General Jabez Huntington, 27 formerly one of the leading men of Norwich, and peculiarly honored in contributing five hardy sons to the Continental army. Jedediah was a brigadier general; Andrew was a commissary; Joshua and Ebenezer were colonels. Zachariah, the youngest, was still living with his son, Thomas M. Huntington, Esq., a few rods north of the residence of General Jedediah Huntington, pictured on page 600 {original text has "32".}. We called to see him, but indisposition prevented his receiving visitors. He was then nearly eighty-six years of age. He was drafted in the militia in 1780, but saw little of active military service. 28


General Jabez Huntington’s tomb, like that of the governor, is constructed of brick, having an inscribed marble tablet in front; 29 but, unlike the other, it was not covered with brambles, nor was there a blade of grass upon the old graves that surround it. The ground had been burned over to clear it of bushes and briers, and the ancient tomb-stones were shamefully blackened by fire. A few yards from Huntington’s tomb is the more humble grave of Diah Manning, who was a drummer in the Continental army. He was the jailer at Norwich during the French Revolution. When Boyer, afterward President of Hayti, was brought to Norwich, among other French prisoners, in 1797, he was treated with great kindness by Manning. The prisoner did not forget it, and when President of St. Domingo, he sent presents to Manning’s family.

Leaving the ancient cemetery, we returned to the city, and called upon the almost centenarian Captain Erastus Perkins, residing on Shetucket Street. He is yet living (1850), in the ninety-ninth year of his age. We found him quite strong in body and mind. Many scenes of his early years are still vivid pictures in his memory, and he was able to reproduce them with much interest. He said he distinctly remembered the circumstance of quite a large body of men going from Norwich to New Haven, in 1765, to assist in compelling Ingersoll, the stamp distributor, to resign his office. Captain Perkins went to Roxbury in 1775, and was a sutler in Colonel Huntington’s regiment at the time of the battle of Bunker Hill. He was in New York about two years ago [1848.], and pointed out the spot in Wall Street where he stood and saw Washington take the oath as President of the United States, sixty-one years before. For many years Captain Perkins was surveyor of the port of Norwich, and throughout a long life has preserved the esteem of its citizens. He is now the honored head of five generations. 30 A few friends of his youth are still living in Norwich, but most of that generation have long since departed. I was informed by Dr. W. P. Eaton that, the day before I visited Norwich, Captain Perkins and three other men were in his store, whose united ages were three hundred and fifty-seven years – an average of eighty-nine!

Toward evening we strolled up the Shetucket to Greenville, visited the extensive paper and cotton mills there, and returning, crossed, at Chelsea, to the Preston side of the river, and ascended by a winding road to the lofty summit of Tory Hill, so called from the circumstance that it was the confiscated property of a Tory of the Revolution. A magnificent prospect opens to the view from that bald, rocky pinnacle. Southward was visible the dark line of Long Island Sound; on the west, half hidden by groves, rolled the Thames; northward and eastward lay a vast amphitheater of cultivated hills, and the valleys of the Yantic, Quinebaug, and the Shetucket, and at our feet was Norwich city, in crescent form, clasping a high, rocky promontory, like the rich setting of a huge emerald, for in the midst rose the towering Wawekus, yet green with the lingering foliage of summer. A more picturesque scene than this grand observatory affords need not be sought for by the student and lover of nature. There we lingered until the sun went down behind the hills that skirt the great Mohegan Plain, and in the dim twilight we made our way back to the city. Between eight and nine o’clock in the evening I bade my kind friend Mr. Williams 31 adieu, and left Norwich, in the cars, for Allyn’s Point, seven miles below, whence I embarked for New London, eight miles further down the Thames, arriving there at ten.

New London is pleasantly situated upon a rocky slope on the right bank of the Thames, three miles from Long Island Sound, and one hundred and thirty-four miles eastward of New York city. From the high ground in the rear of the city, whereon many fine residences are built, a very extensive view of the Sound and the surrounding country is obtained. Its earliest Indian name was Nameaug; but the first English settlers, John Winthrop and others, called it Pequot, from the people who had inhabited the country on the banks of the Pequot or Thames River. By an act of the Assembly of Connecticut, in March, 1658, it was named New London, to perpetuate in America the title of the capital of England. The river was also named Thames, by the same authority and for a similar reason. The harbor is one of the best in the United States. It is commanded by forts Griswold and Trumbull, situated, the former upon its east bank, at Groton, and the latter upon the west. The fortifications are upon the sites of those of the same name which were erected there in the time of the Revolution.

New London and Norwich were intimately associated in all political matters when the controversy with Great Britain arose. The latter, included within New London county, was regarded as the chief place; while the former, being the port of entry, became the point of most importance when British fleets and armies came to subdue the Americans. From an early period the harbor of New London was a favorite resort for vessels navigating the Sound, on account of the depth of water and its sheltered position. Here the brigantines and other vessels of the famous buccaneers sometimes sought shelter from storms; and it is believed that therein lay the vessel of the notorious Captain Kidd about the time when his treasures were concealed on Gardiner’s Island, on the opposite side of the Sound. Great efforts were made by the commanders of British ships to obtain possession of the city and harbor during the Revolution, and for a long time a fleet of some thirty vessels hovered along the coast in the vicinage, chiefly in Gardiner’s Bay and the neighborhood of Fisher’s Island. But the vigilant authorities and people of Connecticut kept them at bay. From the time of the Bunker Hill battle until the town was burned by British troops [September 6, 1781.], headed by the then traitor, Benedict Arnold, a strong military force was kept there, and every attention was paid to fortifying the harbor.

In 1774 the people of New London held a town meeting, and passed strong resolutions in reference to the oppressive acts of the British Parliament. After expressing their sincere loyalty to the king, they resolved that "the cause of Boston is the common cause of all the North American colonies;" that a union of all the colonies was of the greatest importance; that they earnestly wished for, and would promote, the assembling of a general Congress; and that they would religiously observe and abide by the resolves of such a body. They also appointed a committee of correspondence for the town. 32


In 1775 the erection of two forts for the defense of the harbor of New London was begun, one upon the rocky extremity of a peninsula on the west side of the Thames, about a mile below the city, and the other upon Groton Hill, on the opposite side of the harbor. The former, when completed, was called Fort Trumbull, and the latter Fort Griswold. Several vessels of the little naval armament of Connecticut were fitted out at New London; and into that port a number of prizes captured by American cruisers were taken, and their cargoes disposed of. 34 In 1777, a frigate of thirty-six guns, ordered by the Continental Congress to be built in Connecticut, was constructed in the Thames, between New London and Norwich, under the direction of Captain Joshua Huntington. Several small armed vessels on private account sailed from this port, and greatly annoyed the enemy upon the coast, capturing their provision vessels, and injuring transports that happened to be separated from convoys. These things so irritated the British commanders here, that New London was marked for special vengeance, and Benedict Arnold was the chosen instrument to execute it.

I have already alluded to the junction of the American and French armies upon the Hudson, in the summer of 1781, and their departure for Virginia – the original design of attacking New York city having been abandoned, in consequence of the reception, by Clinton, of re-enforcements from abroad, and the intelligence that the Count de Grasse might not be expected from the West Indies in time for such an operation. 35 When Sir Henry Clinton became certain of the destination of the allied armies, and perceived that they were too far on their way for him to hope to overtake them in pursuit, he dispatched Arnold, who had just returned from a predatory expedition in Virginia, to make like demonstrations upon the New England coast. Clinton’s hoped-for result of this measure was to deter Washington from his purpose of pushing southward, or, at least, to make him weaken his army by sending back detachments for the defense of the New England frontier upon the Sound. But he failed to effect his purpose, and the expedition of Arnold was fruitful only of misery for a few inhabitants, and of abundant disgrace and contumely for the perpetrators of the outrage.


At daybreak on the morning of the 6th of September, 1781, a British fleet, under Captain Beasly, consisting of twenty-four sail, bearing a considerable land and marine force under the general command of Benedict Arnold, appeared off the harbor of New London, having left the eastern end of Long Island the evening previous. A large proportion of the land forces consisted of Tories and some Hessians, the instruments employed when any thing cruel was to be performed. 37 They landed in two divisions of about eight hundred each: one on the east or Groton side of the Thames, commanded by Lieutenant-colonel Eyre, and the other on the New London side, led by the traitor general, who debarked in the cove at Brown’s Farm, near the light-house. The militia hastened in small parties to oppose them, but were too few to produce much effect other than wounding some of the enemy on their march toward the town. The advance battery, situated about half way between Fort Trumbull and the light-house, in which were eight pieces of cannon, as well as the fort itself, was too feebly manned to offer resistance, and the troops of each evacuated, and crossed over to the stronger post of Fort Griswold, on Groton Hill. The city was thus left exposed to the enemy, whose great weapon of destruction was the torch. First, the stores upon the wharves were set on fire, and then the dwellings on Mill Cove were consumed. Nearly the whole town was laid in ashes, and several vessels were burned. 38 Many inhabitants in comfortable circumstances were now houseless and wanderers, reduced to absolute beggary. None were permitted to save their furniture, and the soldiery were allowed free scope for brutality and plunder. It is said that Arnold stood in the belfry of a church, while the town was burning, and looked upon the scene with the apparent satisfaction of a Nero. Had he been content to be a traitor merely, the extenuating circumstances that have been alleged in connection with his treason might have left a feeling of commiseration in the bosoms of the American people; but this murderous expedition against the neighbors of his childhood and youth, and the wanton destruction of a thriving town, almost in sight of the spire of the church wherein he was baptized, present an act of malice too flagrant to be overlooked even by "meek-eyed pity" or loving charity. It was his last prominent blow against his country, and was such a climax to his treachery, that Britons, who "accepted the treason, but despised the traitor," shunned him as a monster of wickedness.

When the enemy landed, alarm-guns were fired; and before noon, while the town was burning, the militia collected in large numbers. Perceiving his peril, Arnold hastily retreated to his boats, closely pursued by the armed inhabitants. Five of the enemy were killed, and about twenty wounded. The Americans lost four killed, and ten or twelve wounded, some of them mortally.

When Fort Trumbull was evacuated, Arnold sent an order to Lieutenant-colonel Eyre to take immediate possession of Fort Griswold, in order to prevent the American shipping from leaving the harbor and sailing up the river. The militia hastily collected for the defense of the fort to the number of one hundred and fifty-seven – so hastily that many of them were destitute of weapons. Colonel William Ledyard was the commander of the fortress. The enemy approached cautiously through the woods in the rear, and captured a small advanced battery. Colonel Eyre then sent Captain Beckwith, with a flag, to demand a surrender of the fort, which was peremptorily refused. 39 An assault was begun; the American flag on the southwest bastion was shot down, and an obstinate battle of about forty minutes ensued, during which the British were repulsed, and were on the point of fleeing back to their shipping. The attack was made on three sides, the fort being square, with flanks. There was a battery between the fort and the river, but the Americans could spare no men to work it. The enemy displayed great coolness and bravery in forcing the pickets, making their way into the fosse, and scaling the revetment, in the face of a severe fire from the little garrison. When a sufficient number had obtained entrance thus far, they forced their way through the feebly-manned embrasures, and decided the conflict with bayonets, after a desperate struggle with the handful of determined patriots, many of whom were armed only with pikes. The fort was surrendered unconditionally. Colonel Eyre was wounded near the works, and died within twelve hours afterward on ship-board. Major Montgomery was pierced through with a spear, in the hands of a negro, and killed as he mounted the parapet, and the command devolved upon Major Bromfield. The whole loss of the British was two commissioned officers and forty-six privates killed, and eight officers (most of whom afterward died), with one hundred and thirty-nine non-commissioned officers and privates, wounded. The Americans had not more than a dozen killed before the enemy carried the fort. When that was effected, Colonel Ledyard ordered his men to cease firing and to lay down their arms, relying upon the boasted generosity of Britons for the cessation of bloodshed. But instead of British regulars, led by honorable men, his little band was surrounded by wolf-like Tories, infernal in their malice, and cruel even to the worst savagism, and also by the hired assassins, the German Yagers. They kept up their fire and bayonet thrusts upon the unarmed patriots, and opening the gates of the fort, let in blood-thirsty men that were without, at the head of whom was Major Bromfield, a New Jersey Loyalist. "Who commands this garrison?" shouted Bromfield, as he entered. Colonel Ledyard, who was standing near, mildly replied, "I did, sir, but you do now," at the same time handing his sword to the victor. The Tory miscreant immediately murdered Ledyard by running him through the body with the weapon he had just surrendered! 40 The massacre continued in all parts of the fort, until seventy men were killed, and thirty-five mortally or dangerously wounded. 41 The enemy then plundered the fort and garrison of every thing valuable. Their appetite for slaughter not being appeased, they placed several of the wounded in a baggage-wagon, took it to the brow of the hill on which the fort stands, and sent it down with violence, intending thus to plunge the helpless sufferers into the river. The distance was about one hundred rods, the ground very rough. The jolting caused some of the wounded to expire, while the cries of agony of the survivors were heard across the river, even in the midst of the crackling noise of the burning town! The wagon was arrested in its progress by an apple-tree, and thus the sufferers remained for more than an hour, until their captors stretched them upon the beach, preparatory to embarkation. Thirty-five of them were paroled and carried into a house near by, where they passed the night in great distress, a burning thirst being their chief tormentor. Although there was a pump in a well of fine water within the fort, the wounded were not allowed a drop with which to moisten their tongues, and the first they tasted was on the following morning, when Fanny Ledyard, a niece of the murdered colonel, came, like an angel of mercy, at dawn, with wine, and water, and chocolate. She approached stealthily, for it was uncertain whether the enemy had left. Fortunately, they had sailed during the night, carrying away about forty of the inhabitants prisoners. 42 Thus ended the most ignoble and atrocious performance of the enemy during the war, and the intelligence of it nerved the strong arms of the patriots in the conflict at Yorktown, in Virginia, a few weeks later, which resulted in the capture of the British army of the South under Cornwallis.

During the war between the United States and Great Britain, from 1812 to 1815, New London was several times menaced with invasion by the enemy. In May, 1813, as Commodore Decatur, then in command of the United States, with his prize, the Macedonian, fitted out as an American frigate, was attempting to get to sea, he was chased by a British squadron under Commodore Hardy, and driven into New London, where he was blockaded for some time. On one occasion the town and neighborhood were much alarmed on account of a report that the enemy were about to bombard the place. A considerable military force was stationed there, and preparations were made to repel the invaders. The forts were well garrisoned with United States troops, and the militia turned out in great numbers. The enemy, however, did not attempt an attack, and, becoming wearied of watching Decatur, the British squadron put to sea, soon followed by our gallant commodore. Since that time no event has disturbed the repose or retarded the progress of New London. The whaling business, and other commercial pursuits, have poured wealth into its lap, and spread its pleasant dwellings over more than thrice its ancient area.


The most prominent point of attraction to the visitor at New London is the Groton Monument, on the eastern side of the Thames, which, standing upon high ground, is a conspicuous object from every point of view in the vicinity. I crossed the Thames early on the morning after my arrival [October 12, 1848.], and ascended to Fort Griswold, now a dilapidated fortress, without ordnance or garrison, its embankments breaking the regular outline of Groton Hill, now called Mount Ledyard. A little northward of the fort rises a granite monument, one hundred and twenty-seven feet high, the foundation-stone of which is one hundred and thirty feet above tide-water. It was erected in 1830, in memory of the patriots who fell in the fort in 1781. Its pedestal, twenty-six feet square, rises to the height of about twenty feet, and upon it is reared an obelisk which is twenty-two feet square at the base, and twelve feet at the top. It is ascended within by one hundred and sixty-eight stone steps; and at the top is a strong iron railing for the protection of visitors. Marble tablets with inscriptions are placed upon the pedestal. 44 The cost of its erection was eleven thousand dollars, which amount was raised by a lottery authorized by the state for that purpose.

I paid the tribute-money of a "levy," or York shilling, to a tidy little woman living in the stone building seen at the right of the monument, which procured for me the ponderous key of the structure, and, locking myself in, I ascended to the top, with the privilege of gazing and wondering there as long as I pleased. It was a toilsome journey up that winding staircase, for my muscles had scarcely forgotten a similar draught upon their energies at Breed’s Hill; but I was comforted by the teachings of the new philosophy that the spiral is the only true ascent to a superior world of light, and beauty, and expansiveness of vision; 45 and so I found it, for a most magnificent view burst upon the sight as I made the last upward revolution and stood upon the dizzy height. The broad, cultivated hills and valleys; the forests and groves slightly variegated by the pencil of recent frost; the city and river at my feet, with their busy men and numerous sails; the little villages peeping from behind the hills and woodlands in every direction, and the heaving Sound glittering in the southern horizon, were all basking in the light of the morning sun, whose radiance, from that elevation, seemed brighter than I had ever seen it. It was a charming scene for the student of nature, and yet more charming for the student of the romance of American history. At the base of the monument were the ruined fortifications where patriot blood flowed in abundance; and at a glance might be seen every locality of interest connected with the burning of New London and the massacre at Groton. Here was Fort Griswold; there were Fort Trumbull and the city; and yonder, dwindling to the stature of a chessman, was the lighthouse, by whose beacon the arch-traitor and his murderous bands were guided into the harbor.

Let us turn back two centuries, and what do we behold from this lofty observatory? The Thames is flowing in the midst of an unbroken forest, its bosom rippled only by the zephyr, the waterfowl, or the bark canoe. Here and there above the tree tops curls of blue smoke arise from the wigwams of the savages, and a savory smell of venison and fish comes up from the Groton shore. Around us spreads the broad fair land known as the Pequot country, extending from the Nahantic, on the west, to the dominion of the Narragansets – the Rhode Island line – on the east, and northward it interlocks with that of the Mohegans, where Uncas, the rebel sachem, afterward bore rule. 46 On yonder hill, a little southeast from our point of view, crowned with the stately oak and thick-leaved maple, is the royal residence of Sassacus, the prince of the Pequots. Haughty and insolent, he scorns every overture of friendship from the whites, and looks with contempt upon the rebellious doings of Uncas. Near by is his strong fort upon the Mystic River, and around him stand seven hundred warriors ready to do his bidding. The English are but a handful, what has he to fear? Much, very much!

It is the season of flowers [May, 1637.]. The white sails of vessels flutter in Narraganset Bay (now the harbor of Newport), and Captain Mason and seventy-seven well-armed men kneel upon their decks in devotion, for it is the morning of the Christian Sabbath. On Tuesday they land. Miantonomoh, the chief sachem, gives them audience, and a free passport through his country. Nor is this all; with two hundred of his tribe, Miantonomoh joins the English on their march of forty miles through the wilderness toward the Mystic River; and the brave Niantics and the rebellious Mohegans, led by Uncas, swell the ranks, until five hundred savage "bowmen and spearmen" are in the train of Captain Mason.

It is a clear moonlight night. Sheltered by huge rocks on the shore of the Mystic sleeps the little invading army, 47 while the unsuspecting Pequots in their fort near by are dancing and singing, filled with joy, because they have seen the pinnaces of the English sail by without stopping to do them harm, and believe that the Pale-faces dare not come nigh them. Little do they think that the tiger is already crouching to spring upon his prey! On that high hill, upon the right, is the Pequot fort. 48 It is early dawn, and the little army is pressing on silently up the wooded slope. The Narragansets and Niantics, seized with fear, are lagging, while the eager English and Mohegans rush up to the attack. 49 All but a sentinel are in a deep sleep. Too late he cries, "Owanux! Owanux!" "Englishmen! Englishmen!" The mounds are scaled; the entrance is forced; the palisades are broken down; the mattings of the wigwams and the dry bushes and logs of the fort are set on fire, and seven hundred men, women, and children, perish in the flames or by the sword! It is a dreadful sight, this slaughter of the strong, the beautiful, and the innocent; and yet, hear the commander of the assailants impiously exclaiming, "God is above us! He laughs his enemies and the enemies of the English to scorn, making them as a fiery oven. Thus does the Lord judge among the heathen, filling the place with dead bodies!" 50

From the other fort near the Pequot (Thames), where dwells Sassacus, three hundred warriors approach with horrid yells and bent bows. But the English are too skillful, and too strongly armed with pike, and gun, and metal corselet, for those bare-limbed warriors, and they are scattered like chaff by the whirlwind of destruction. The English make their way to Groton; and yonder, just in time to receive them, before the remnant of the Pequots can rally and fall upon them, come their vessels around the remote headland. With a fair breeze, many of the English sail for Saybrook, making the air vocal with hymns of praise and thanksgiving. Others, with the Narragansets, march through the wilderness to the Connecticut River, and then, in happy reunion, warriors, soldiers, ministers, and magistrates join in a festival of triumph! 51

Stately and sullen sits Sassacus in his wigwam on yonder hill, as the remnant of his warriors gather around him and relate the sad fortunes of the day. They charge the whole terrible event to his haughtiness and misconduct, and tearing their hair, and stamping on the ground, menace him and his with destruction. But hark! the blast of a trumpet startles them; from the head waters of the Mystic come two hundred armed settlers from Massachusetts and Plymouth to seal the doom of the Pequots. Despair takes possession of Sassacus and his followers, and burning their wigwams and destroying their fort, they flee across the Pequot River westward, pursued by the English. What terrible destruction is wrought by the new invaders! Throughout the beautiful country bordering on the Sound wigwams and corn-fields are destroyed, and helpless men, women, and children are put to the sword. With Sassacus at their head, the doomed Pequots fly like deer pursued by hounds, and take shelter in Sasco Swamp, near Fairfield, where they all surrender to the English, except the chief and a few men who escape to the Mohawks. The final blow is struck which annihilated the once powerful Pequots, and the great Sassacus, the last of his royal race in power except Uncas, falls by the hand of an assassin, among the people who opened their protecting arms to receive him. 52

The dark vision of cruelty melts away; smiling fields, and laden orchards, and busy towns, the products of a more enlightened and peaceful Christianity than that of two centuries back, are around me. Russet corn-fields cover the hill – the royal seat of Sassacus – and in the bright harbor where the little English pinnaces, filled with bloody men, were just anchored, spreads many a sail of peaceful commerce. The sun is near the meridian; let us descend to the earth.


From the monument, after sketching the picture on page 614 {original text has "46".}, I returned to the village of Groton, on the river bank, and visited the patriarch-ess of the place, Mrs. Anna Bailey, familiarly known as "Mother Bailey." Her husband, Captain Elijah Bailey, who died a few weeks previous to my visit, was appointed postmaster of the place by President Jefferson, and held the office until his death, a lapse of forty years. He was a lad about seventeen years old when New London was burned, and was in Fort Griswold just previous to the attack of Colonel Eyre. Young Bailey and a man named Williams were ordered by Ledyard to man a gun at the advanced redoubt, a little southeast of the fort. They were directed, in the event of not being able to maintain their ground, to retreat to the fort. They soon found it necessary to abandon their piece. Williams fled to the fort and got within; but young Bailey, stopping to spike the gun, lost so much time, that when he knocked at the gate it was close barred, for the enemy were near. He leaped over the fence into a corn-field, and there lay concealed until the battle and massacre in the fort ended. "He was courting me at that very time, boy as he was," said Mrs. Bailey, who related this circumstance to me. She was then a girl six weeks older than her lover, and remembers every event of the "terrible day." I was agreeably surprised on being introduced to Mrs. Bailey, expecting to find a common, decrepit old woman. She sat reading her Bible, and received me with a quiet ease of manner, and a pleasant countenance, where, amid the wrinkles of old age, were lingering traces of youthful beauty. I had been forewarned that, if I wished to find any favor in her sight, I must not exhibit the least hue of Whiggery in politics – a subject which engrosses much of her thoughts and conversation. Her husband had been a Democrat of the old Jefferson school; and she possessed locks of hair, white, sandy, and grizzled, from the heads of Presidents Jackson and Van Buren, and of Colonel Richard M. Johnson, all of whom had honored her house by personal visits. With such precious mementoes, how could she be other than a Democrat? Almost the first words she uttered on my entrance were, "What are Cass’s prospects in New York ?" Forewarned, forearmed, I summoned to the support of my conscience all the possibilities in his favor, and told her that Mr. Cass would doubtless be elected President – at any rate, he ought to be. These words unlocked her kind feelings, and I passed an hour very agreeably with her. Her mind was active, and she related, in an interesting manner, many reminiscences of her youth and womanhood, among which was the following, in which she was the chief heroine. When the British squadron which drove Decatur into the harbor of New London, in 1813, menaced the town with bombardment, the military force that manned the forts were deficient in flannel for cannon cartridges. All that could be found in New London was sent to the forts, and a Mr. Latham, a neighbor of Mrs. Bailey, came to her at Groton seeking for more. She started out and collected all the little petticoats of children that she could find in town. "This is not half enough," said Latham, on her return. "You shall have mine too," said Mrs. B., as she cut with her scissors the string that fastened it, and taking it off, gave it to Latham. He was satisfied, and hastening to Fort Trumbull, that patriotic contribution was soon made into cartridges. "It was a heavy new one, but I didn’t care for that," said the old lady, while her blue eyes sparkled at the recollection. "All I wanted was to see it go through the Englishmen’s insides!" Some of Decatur’s men declared that it was a shame to cut that petticoat into cartridge patterns; they would rather see it fluttering at the mast-head of the United States or Macedonian, as an ensign under which to fight upon the broad ocean! This and other circumstances make Mrs. Bailey a woman of history; and, pleading that excuse, I am sure, if she shall be living when this page shall appear, that she will pardon the liberty I have taken. I told her that the sketch of her which she allowed me to take was intended for publication.


I recrossed the Thames to New London, and after an early dinner rode down to the lighthouse, near which Arnold landed, and made the drawing printed on page 611 {original text has "43".}. Returning along the beach, I sketched the outlines of Fort Trumbull and vicinity, seen on page 610 {original text has "42".}, and toward evening strolled through the two principal burial-grounds of the city. In the ancient one, situated in the north part of the town, lie the remains of many of the first settlers. In the other, lying upon a high slope, westward of the center of the city, is a plain monument of Bishop Seabury, whose name is conspicuous in our Revolutionary annals as that of an unwavering Loyalist. I shall have occasion to notice his abduction from West Chester county, and imprisonment in Connecticut, as well as his general biography, when I write of the events at White Plains.

We will now bid adieu to New London, not forgetting, however, in our parting words, to note the fact so honorable to its name and character, that the first printing-press in Connecticut was established there, according to Barber, forty-five years before printing was executed in any other place in the colony. Thomas Short, who settled in New London in 1709, was the printer, and from his press was issued The Saybrook Platform, 55 in 1710, said to be the first book printed in the province. Short died in 1711, and there being no printer in the colony, the Assembly procured Timothy Green, a descendant of Samuel Green, of Cambridge, the first printer in America, to settle at New London. Samuel Green, the publisher of the "Connecticut Gazetteer" until 1840, the oldest newspaper in the state, is a descendant of this colonial printer.

Business demanding my presence at home, I left New London at ten in the evening, in the "Knickerbocker," and arrived in New York at nine the following morning.



1 This sheet of water is now known by the unpoetical name of Alexander’s Lake, from the circumstance that a Scotchman, named Neil Alexander, settled there, and owned all the lands in the vicinity in the year 1720. The Indians, who called it Mashapaug, had a curious tradition respecting the origin of the lake. I quote from Barber’s Historical Collections of Connecticut, p. 431: "In ancient times, when the red men of this quarter had long enjoyed prosperity, that is, when they had found plenty of game in the woods and fish in the ponds and rivers, they at length fixed the time for a general powwow – a sort of festival for eating. drinking, smoking, singing, and dancing. The spot chosen for this purpose was a sandy hill, or mountain, covered with tall pines, occupying the situation where the lake now lies. The powwow lasted four days in succession, and was to continue longer, had not the Great Spirit, enraged at the licentiousness that prevailed there, resolved to punish them. Accordingly, while the red people, in immense numbers, were capering about on the summit of the mountain, it suddenly gave way beneath them and sunk to a great depth, when the waters from below rushed up and covered them all, except one good old squaw, who occupied the peak which now bears the name of Loon’s Island. Whether the tradition is entitled to credit or not, we will do it justice by affirming that in a clear day, when there is no wind, and the surface of the lake is smooth, the huge trunks and leafless branches of gigantic pines may be occasionally seen in the deepest part of the water, some of them reaching almost to the surface, in such huge and fantastic forms as to cause the beholder to startle!

2 When Uncas saw the superior number of Miantonomoh’s warriors, he sent a messenger to that chief to say, in the name of Uncas, "Let us two fight single-handed. If you kill me, my men shall be yours; if I kill you, your men shall be mine." Miantonomoh, suspecting treachery, disdainfully rejected the proposition. Uncas then fell on his face, a signal previously agreed upon with his warriors, who, with bent bows, rushed upon the Narragansets, who were carelessly awaiting the result of the conference, and thus put them to flight.

3 The spot where Miantonomoh was buried is a little northward of the village of Greenville, on the west bank of the Shetucket, and about a mile and a half from Norwich. A pile of stones was placed upon his grave, and for many years a portion of his tribe came, in the season of flowers, and mourned over his remains, each one adding a stone to the tumulus. At length their visits ceased, and the voice of tradition being seldom heard at that isolated spot, the proprietor of the land, ignorant of the fact that the pile of stones was sepulchral and sacred to patriotism, used them in the construction of the foundation of a barn. On the 4th of July, 1841, the people of Greenville celebrated, by a festival, the erection of a monument to Miantonomoh, on the spot where he was slain. It is a block of granite eight feet high, and about five feet square at the base, bearing the inscription


I did not visit the spot, but, from description, I think the initial letter I, at the beginning of this chapter {see immediately below}, is a fair representation of it.

4 Owaneko was a bold warrior in his youth, and was distinguished in King Philip’s War. In maturity, having lost the stimulus of war, "he used to wander about with his blanket, metonep, and sandals, his gun, and his squaw," says Miss Caulkins, "to beg in the neighboring towns, quartering himself in the kitchens and outhouses of his white friends, and presenting to strangers, or those who could not well understand his imperfect English, a brief, which had been written for him by Mr. Richard Bushnell. It was as follows:

" ‘Oneco king, his queen doth bring

To beg a little food;
As they go along their friends among
To try how kind, how good.
Some pork, come beef, for their relief;
And if you can’t spare bread.
She’ll thank you for your pudding, as they go a gooding,
And carry It on her head.’ "

5 The reader is referred to a well-written volume of 360 pages, A History of Norwich, Connecticut, from its Settlement in 1660, to January, 1845: by Miss F. M. Caulkins. It is carefully compiled from the town records, old newspapers, and well-authenticated traditions, many of the latter being derived from then living witnesses of the scenes of the Revolution. I am indebted to this valuable little work for much interesting matter connected with Norwich.

6 This monument is on the south side of Prospect Street, and stands within a shaded inclosure surrounded by a hedge of prim, upon the estate of Judge Goddard. The obelisk is a single block of granite, and, with the pedestal, is about twenty feet high. The monument was erected by the citizens of Norwich. The foundation-stone was laid by President Jackson, while visiting Norwich during his Eastern tour in 1832. Several small tomb-stones of those of the royal line of Uncas are within the inclosure. The name has now become extinct, the last Uncas having been buried there about the beginning of the present century. A descendant of Uncas, named Mazeon, was buried there in 1827, on which occasion the wife of Judge Goddard (he being absent) invited the remnant of the Mohegan tribe, then numbering about sixty, to partake of a cold collation.

7 Miss Caulkins, page 40.

8 On the 7th of April, 1765, on the receipt of intelligence of the passage of the Stamp Act, the people, in town-meeting assembled, voted unanimously "that the town clerk shall proceed in his office as usual, and the town will save him harmless from all damage that he may sustain thereby."

9 Miss Caulkins, page 208.

10 This building, though somewhat altered, is yet standing on one side of the green in the upper town, not far from the court-house. Belah Peck, Esq., son of the proprietor of the house at that time, and then a half-grown boy, was yet living. I met him upon the road, when returning from Lebanon, sitting in his wagon as erect as most men at seventy. He died toward the close of 1850, in the ninety-fifth year of his age.

11 One of these resolutions, looking favorably to a general Congress, was as follows: "That we will, to the utmost of our abilities, assert and defend the liberties and immunities of British America; and that we will co-operate with our other brethren, in this and the other colonies, in such reasonable measures as shall, in general Congress or otherwise, be judged most proper to release us from burdens we now feel, and secure us from greater evils we fear will follow from the principles adopted by the British Parliament respecting the town of Boston." This was one of the earliest movements in the colonies favorable to a general Congress.

12 The committee consisted of Captain Jedediah Huntington, C. Leffingwell, Dr. Theophilus Rogers, Captain William Hubbard, and Captain Joseph Trumbull. Captain Huntington was afterward aid to General Washington, and brigadier general in the Continental army. Captain Trumbull was made a commissary in the army.

13 The inhabitants of Norwich sent cash, wheat, corn, and a flock of three hundred and ninety sheep, for the relief of the suffering poor of Boston. This liberality was greatly applauded in the public prints of the day. A further instance of the liberal devotion of the people of Norwich to the cause may be mentioned. The Connecticut Gazette for January, 1778, published at New London, says, "On the last Sabbath of December, 1777, a contribution was taken up in the several parishes of Norwich for the benefit of the officers and soldiers who belonged to said town, when they collected 386 pairs of stockings, 227 pairs of shoes, 118 shirts, 78 jackets, 48 pairs of overalls, 208 pairs of mittens, 11 buff caps, 15 pairs of breeches, 9 coats, 22 rifle frocks, 19 handkerchiefs, and £258 17s. 8d. [about $1295], which was forwarded to the army. Also collected a quantity of pork, cheese, wheat, rye, Indian corn, sugar, rice, flax, wood, &c., &c., to be distributed to the needy families of the officers and soldiers. The whole amounted to the sum of £1400," or about $7000.

14 This was the Colonel Durkee engaged in affairs at Wyoming, and known as "the bold Bean Hiller" See note, page 345.

15 This pleasant mansion is situated in Old Norwich, or "up town," a few rods eastward of that of Governor Huntington. The original owner, Jedediah Huntington, was one of five sons of General Jabez Huntington, who were in the Continental army at different times during the war. He was born at Norwich, August 15, 1745, and graduated at Harvard College in 1763. The address which he delivered upon that occasion was "the first English oration ever heard upon the commencement boards" of that institution. When opposition to British rule began, young Huntington was aroused, and at once espoused the cause of the colonists. He was an active Son of Liberty, and was one of the earliest captains of militia in his native town. He raised a regiment, and with it joined the Continental army in 1775. In 1777, Congress commissioned him a brigadier, which office he held until the close of the war. Washington highly esteemed him, and appointed him collector of the port of New London in 1789. He resided there until his death, which occurred on the 25th of September, 1818. His first wife was daughter of Governor Trumbull. She died at Dedham, while her husband was on his way to Cambridge, in 1775. His second wife was sister to the late Bishop Moore of Virginia. She died in 1831.

Benjamin Huntington, of another family, was the first mayor of Norwich, and was a representative in the Continental Congress from 1784 to 1787 inclusive; also during Washington’s administration. His son Benjamin married a daughter of General Jedediah Huntington, who became the mother of Huntington, our distinguished artist. He was at one time one of the most eminent of New York brokers. He died on the 3d of August, 1850, at the age of seventy-three years.

16 The origin of this name is a little amusing. A plain man, who lived where Fitchville now is, was not remarkable for quoting Scripture correctly. On one occasion, in quoting the passage from Isaiah, "Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah," &c., he stated that the Prophet Bozrah said thus and so. He was afterward called the Prophet, and the place of his residence Bozrah. When the town was incorporated, that name was given to it. – Barber, 302.

17 Jonathan Trumbull was born at Lebanon, Connecticut, on the 10th of June (0. S.), 1710. He graduated at Harvard in 1727, and commenced the study of theology with the Reverend Solomon Williams, of Lebanon. The death of an elder brother, who was engaged in a mercantile business with his father at Lebanon, caused him to become a merchant instead of a clergyman. At the age of twenty-three he was elected a member of the Connecticut Assembly, where his business capacities raised him rapidly in public estimation. He was elected lieutenant governor of the colony in 1766, and by virtue of that office became chief justice of the Superior Court. His first bold step in opposition to Great Britain was in refusing to take the oath enjoined in 1768, which was an almost unconditional submission to all the power claimed by Parliament; nor would he be present when others, more timorous than he, took it. Because of his firmness he was chosen governor of the colony in 1769, and he has the proud distinction of being the only colonial governor at the commencement of the Revolution who espoused the cause of the colonies. He was considered the whig leader in New England while the Adamses and Hancock were legislating in the Continental Congress; and during the whole contest no man was more implicitly relied upon as a firm, consistent, and active friend of liberty than Governor Trumbull. "General Washington relied on him," says Sparks, "as one of his main pillars of support." In 1783, when peace for the colonies returned, Governor Trumbull, then seventy-three years old, declined a re-election to the office of governor, which he had held fourteen consecutive years. He retired from public life, but did not live long to enjoy the quiet he so much coveted in the bosom of his family. He was seized with a malignant fever in August, 1785, and on the 17th of that month died. His son was afterward Governor of Connecticut, and in 1849 his grandson filled that responsible office.

The Marquis de Chastellux, who came to America with Rochambeau in 1780, has left behind him a charming, life-like description of his sojourn here. He thus pleasantly alludes to Governor Trumbull. "I have already painted Governor Trumbull. At present you have only to represent to yourself this little old man, in the antique dress of the first settlers in this colony, approaching a table surrounded by twenty huzzar officers, and, without either disconcerting himself or losing any thing of his formal stiffness, pronouncing, in a loud voice, a long prayer in the form of a benedicite. Let it not be imagined that he excites the laughter of his auditors; they are too well trained; you must, on the contrary, figure to yourself twenty Amens, issuing at once from the midst of forty mustaches, and you will have some idea of the little scene." – Travels, i., 458.

18 This was the building in which Governor Trumbull transacted his public business. It formerly stood near his dwelling, but is now several rods northwest of it, on the same side of the Common. For many years it was occupied as a post-office. This sketch was taken from the open field in the rear, looking north.

19 The Duke de Lauzun was an accomplished, but exceedingly voluptuous and unprincipled man. His personal beauty, talents, wit, wealth, and bravery were passports to the friendship of men who abhorred his profligacy. Why he espoused the cause of the Americans it is not easy to determine, unless, surfeited with sensual indulgences, he was desirous of engaging in new excitements, where he might regain the waning vigor of his body. His conduct here made him very popular. After his return to Europe he became acquainted with Talleyrand, and accompanied him on a mission to England in 1792. There one of his familiar associates was the Prince of Wales, afterward George IV. On the death of his uncle, the Duke de Biron, Lauzun succeeded to the title. He became involved in the stormy movements of the French Revolution, and being found guilty of secretly favoring the Vendeans, was executed on the 31st of December, 1793. Two officers in his regiment in America, named Dillon, brothers, also suffered death by the guillotine.

20 While at table, Mrs. Alden brought on a dish of succotash (boiled beans and corn), a dish much valued in America. Prescott, unused to such food, exclaimed indignantly, "What! do you treat me with the food of hogs?" and taking the dish from the table, strewed the contents over the floor. Captain Alden, being informed of this, soon entered with a horsewhip, and flogged the general severely. After Prescott was exchanged and restored to his command on Rhode Island, the inhabitants of Newport deputed William Rotch, Dr. Tupper, and Timothy Folger to negotiate some concerns with him in behalf of the town. They were for some time refused admittance to his presence, but the doctor and Folger finally entered the room. Prescott stormed with great violence, until Folger was compelled to withdraw. After the doctor had announced his business, and Prescott had become calm, the general said, "Was not my treatment to Folger very uncivil?" "Yes," replied the doctor. "Then," said Prescott, "I will tell you the reason; he looked so much like a d----d Connecticut man that horsewhipped me, that I could not endure his presence." – Thatcher’s Journal, p. 175.

21 The marble monument standing in front of the tomb is in memory of William Williams, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, and bears the following inscription: "The remains of the Honorable WILLIAM WILLIAMS are deposited in this tomb. Born April 8th, 1731; died the 2d of August, 1811, in the 81st year of his age. A man eminent for his virtues and piety. For more than 50 years he was constantly employed in public life, and served in many of the most important offices in the gift of his fellow-citizens. During the whole period of the Revolutionary war, he was a firm, steady, and ardent friend of his country, and in the darkest times risked his life and wealth in her defense. In 1776 and 1777 he was a member of the American Congress, and as such signed the Declaration of Independence. His public and private virtues, his piety and benevolence, will long endear his memory to his surviving friends; above all, he was a sincere Christian, and in his last moments placed his hope, with an humble confidence, in his Redeemer. He had the inexpressible satisfaction to look back upon a long, honorable, and well-spent life."

On the pedestal upon the top of the tomb are the following inscriptions: "Sacred to the memory of Jonathan Trumbull, Esq., who, unaided by birth or powerful connections, but blessed with a noble and virtuous mind, arrived to the highest station in government. His patriotism and firmness during 50 years’ employment in public life, and particularly in the very important part he acted in the American Revolution, as Governor of Connecticut, the faithful page of history will record. Full of years and honors, rich in benevolence, and firm in the faith and hopes of Christianity, he died, August 9, 1785, Ætates 75."

"Sacred to the memory of Madam Faith Trumbull, * the amiable lady of Governor Trumbull, born at Duxbury, Mass., A. D. 1718. Happy and beloved in her connubial state, she lived a virtuous, charitable, and Christian life at Lebanon, in Connecticut, and died lamented by numerous friends A. D. 1780, aged 62 years."

"Sacred to the memory of Joseph Trumbull, eldest son of Governor Trumbull, and first commissary general of the United States of America; a service to whose perpetual cares and fatigues he fell a sacrifice A. D. 1778, aged 42 years. Full soon, indeed! may his person, his virtues, and even his extensive benevolence be forgotten by his friends and fellow-men. But blessed be God! for the Hope that in his presence he shall be remembered forever."

"To the memory of Jonathan Trumbull, Esq., late Governor of the State of Connecticut. He was born March 26th, 1740, and died August 7th, 1809, aged 69 years. His remains were deposited with those of his father."

* Her maiden name was Robinson, and she was a lineal descendant of the Reverend Mr. Robinson, pastor at Leyden of many of the Pilgrim Fathers.

Son of the first governor

22 Miss Caulkins publishes the following letter from Mrs. Arnold to Benedict, while he was at school in Canterbury. It exhibits the character of his mother in strong contrast with his own in after life.


"Norwich, April 12, 1754.

"DEAR CHILD, – I received yours of the 1st instant, and was glad to hear that you was well. Pray, my dear, let your first concern be to make your peace with God, as it is of all concerns of the greatest importance. Keep a steady watch over your thoughts, words, and actions. Be dutiful to superiors, obliging to equals, and affable to inferiors, if any such there be. Always choose that your companions be your betters, that by their good examples you may learn.

"From your affectionate mother,


"P.S. – I have sent you 50s. Use it prudently, as you are accountable to God and your father. Your father and aunt join with me in love and service to Mr. Cogswell and lady, and yourself. Your sister is from home."


23 Chelsea is the old port of Norwich. The houses cluster chiefly at the mouth of the Shetucket.

24 Oliver Arnold, a cousin of Benedict, and also a resident of Norwich, was the reputed author of the following scorching acrostic, written after the treason of his kinsman. It is bad poetry and worse sentiment.

"Born for a curse to virtue and mankind,
Earth’s broadest realm ne’er knew so black a mind.
Night’s sable veil your crimes can never hide,
Each one so great, ’twould glut historic tide.
Defunct, your cursed memory will live,
In all the glare that infamy can give.
Curses of ages will attend your name,
Traitors alone will glory in your shame.

"Almighty vengeance sternly waits to roll
Rivers of sulphur on your treacherous soul;
Nature looks shuddering back with conscious dread
On such a tarnlsh’d blot as she has made.
Let hell receive you riveted in chains.
Doom’d to the hottest focus of its flames!"

The author of the above had a peculiar talent for making extempore verses. Joel Barlow once met him in a book-store in New Haven, and asked him for a specimen of his talent. Arnold immediately repeated the following:

"You’ve proved yourself a sinful cre’tur;
You’ve murder’d Watts and spoil’d the meter;
You’ve tried the Word of God to alter,
And for your pains deserve a halter."

To understand the witty sarcasm of these lines, it must be remembered that Barlow, at that time, was enjoying much notoriety by a publication of a revised and altered edition of Watts’s Psalms and Hymns.

25 The only letter written by Washington at this date, and published in his "Life and Writings" by Sparks, was addressed to the Count de Rochambeau, on the subject of an expedition to Penobscot. See Sparks, viii., 8.

26 The following is a copy of the inscription: "SAMUEL HUNTINGTON, Esq., Governor of Connecticut, having served his fellow-citizens in various important offices, died the 5th day of January, A. D. 1796, in the 65th year of his age."

His consort, Mrs. Martha Huntington, died June 4th, A. D. 1794, in the 57th year of her age."

A portrait and biographical sketch of Governor Huntington will be found among those of the signers of a Declaration of Independence, in another part of this work.

27 Jabez Huntington was born in Norwich, in 1719. He graduated at Yale College in 1741, and soon afterward entered into mercantile business. At one time himself and sons owned and fitted out at the port of Norwich twenty vessels for the West India trade. In 1750 he was elected a member of the Connecticut Assembly, was speaker for several years, and also a member of the Council. He lost nearly half his property by the capture of his vessels when the Revolution broke out. He was an ardent patriot, a very active member of the Council of Safety, and held the office of major general in the militia. He died at Norwich in 1786.

28 General Zachariah Huntington is no more. He died in June, 1850, at the age of eighty-eight. Thus one after another of those whom I visited has since gone to rest in the grave.

29 The following is a copy of the inscription: "The family tomb of the Honorable Jabez Huntington. Esq., who died October 5, 1786, aged 67 years."

30 It is a rather singular fact that Captain Perkins and his wife were both born on Sunday. Their first child was born on Sunday. They had one born on every day of the week – the first on Sunday morning, and the last on Saturday evening; and the head of each of the five generations of which he is the eldest was born on Sunday.

31 Mr. Edwin Williams, and his elder brother, Mr. Joseph Williams, of Norwich, are sons of General Joseph Williams, who, though a young man, was an active patriot during the Revolutionary war. He was a merchant, and, in connection with his partner, William Coit, whose daughter he married, was engaged in fitting out armed vessels from Norwich and New London. In one of these be made a voyage to the West Indies. The vessel was pursued by a British armed ship, and an action ensued in which the American vessel was the winner. General Williams spent much of the latter portion of his life in organizing and disciplining the militia of New London county; and until his death he was extensively engaged as a shipping and importing merchant. He died in October, 1800, aged forty-seven years.

Mrs. Russell Hubbard, of Norwich, daughter of General Williams, permitted me to have a copy of a letter of his, written in 1776, from near New York, to his business partner, Mr. Coit. Young Williams had accompanied the Connecticut Continental troops to New York, taking with him a supply of articles adapted to the use of the army. He was then only twenty-three years of age. The letter is interesting, as exhibiting a feature in the business life of the day, and the perfect coolness with which trade was carried on in the midst of the most imminent peril. The letter is written on the blank leaf of an account book.


"New York, seven miles from the city, September 8, 1776.


"Ever since I wrote you by Mr. Walden we have been in confusion. The enemy opened two batteries opposite to our fort at Hell Gate last Saturday evening, and began cannonading and bombarding early on Sunday morning. They fired several shot into the house where we kept our store. We thought it prudent to move a little back, which we have done, but have not got clear of their shot; they are flying about us continually. We have about £140 in value on hand, besides money that I have purchased since I came here with what was on hand before.

"The enemy are now landing on the island between Hell Gate and the main, and ’tis supposed they mean to make a push for Kingsbridge, and cut us off from the main; but I believe they can not do it, as we are prepared for them at Kingsbridge; but I make no doubt we shall soon have an engagement.

"Colonel Sergeant, Dr. Hamans, and I, have sent what money we have to West Chester by Dr. Hamans’s boy. I have sent about £150. It will not do to move our stores till the regiment is obliged to go, as they can not do without some necessaries here.

"I shall send Isaac * out to-day. If we are taken or killed, you can send for the money I have sent out. I would not have this stop your sending the goods I wrote for, as far as it will do to come by water.

"From your humble servant,


"P.S. – Commandant Serjeant tells me he has just received intelligence that our Congress has appointed a committee to wait on Lord Howe."


* He was a brother of the writer of the letter, and was then about fifteen years old. He served his country during a greater portion of the war, and was finally captured by the English and pressed Into their naval service, in which he lost a leg. So great was his hatred of the English, that he engaged in the French marine service during the French Revolution, in consequence of which he was tried for violating the United States laws of neutrality, was found guilty, and fined and imprisoned. He died at Preston, when about eighty years of age. General Williams had two other brothers In the Continental army – Frederic, who died or was killed in New York in 1776, and was buried in St. Paul’s church-yard; and Benjamin, who lost his life in the Jersey prison-ship, in 1781, at the age of twenty-three.

The conference of this committee with Lord Howe was held on the 11th of September, 1776, at the house of Colonel Billop, yet standing at the southwest end of Staten Island. A drawing of the building will be found on page 609, vol. ii.

32 This committee consisted of Richard Law, Gurdon Salstonstall, Nathaniel Shaw, Jr., Samuel H. Parsons, and Guy Richards. The little village of Groton, opposite, also held a town meeting the week previous, and, after passing similar resolutions, appointed a committee of correspondence. – See Hinman’s Historical Collections, p. 52-56.

33 This little sketch shows the relative position of the forts. Fort Trumbull is seen on the left of the picture, and Fort Griswold, with the Groton Monument, is on the extreme right.

34 The following are the names of the war-vessels in the service of the State of Connecticut during the Revolution: Brigs Minerva, American, Silliman; ship Oliver Cromwell; frigates Trumbull, Bourbon; schooners Spy, Defense; sloops Dolphin, Mifflin, Resistance, Schuyler, Stark, Young Cromwell, Confederacy, Count de Grasse, Tiger, Alliance, Phœnix; and row-galleys Shark, Whiting, Crane, The Guilford, New Defense, Putnam, and Revenge.

35 See page 436, vol. i.

36 This sketch is from the west side of the cove in which the troops under Arnold landed. In the distance, on the extreme right, is the point where the division under Eyre debarked, and near the center is seen the monument on Groton Hill, near Fort Griswold. The shores of the cove are sandy, but the projections which form them are bold promontories of granite rock.

37 The division under Arnold consisted of the 38th regiment of regulars, the Loyal Americans, the American Legion, refugees, and a detachment of fifty Yagers. Colonel Eyre’s was composed of the 40th and 54th regiments, the third battalion of Jersey volunteers, and a detachment of Yagers and artillery.

38 The buildings burned in this expedition were 65 dwelling-houses containing 97 families, 31 stores, 18 shops, 20 barns, and 9 public and other buildings, among which were the court-house, jail, and church; in all 143. Fifteen vessels with the effects of the inhabitants escaped up the river. The value of property destroyed was estimated at $485,980. This was the estimate of the committee which was appointed by the General Assembly of Connecticut, after the war, to ascertain the amount of loss sustained by the several towns in the state by conflagrations during the predatory inroads of the enemy. In 1793, the Assembly granted to the sufferers five hundred acres of land, lying within the precincts of the Western Reserve, in Ohio, and now included in the counties of Huron and Erie, and a small part of Ottawa. This tract is known as the "Fire Lands." I have noticed on page 371, vol. i., the settlement, by commissioners, who met at Trenton in 1782, of the question of jurisdiction over the Valley of Wyoming, and that it was decided in favor of Pennsylvania. Although Connecticut acquiesced in that decision, that state still claimed a right to the country westward of Pennsylvania, in extent north and south equal to its own limits in that direction and indefinitely westward, according to the letter of its charter. Connecticut, however, waived this claim. by a sort of compromise, in 1786, by ceding to the United States all the lands thus included within its charter limits westward of Pennsylvania, except the reservation of a tract one hundred and twenty miles in length, adjoining that state. This tract was called the Western Reserve. After giving the half million of acres to the sufferers of Danbury, Fairfield, Norwalk, New Haven, and New London, the remainder was sold in 1795, and the proceeds were used as a school fund, for the support of schools in the state. Congress confirmed the title of Connecticut to the Reserve in 1800. It now forms a part of the State of Ohio, and is settled chiefly by New England people.

39 There were several hundreds of the people collected in the vicinity, and an officer had been sent out to obtain re-enforcements. Upon these Colonel Ledyard relied; but the officer became intoxicated, and the expected aid did not arrive.

40 Colonel Ledyard was a cousin of John Ledyard, the celebrated traveler, who was a native of Groton His niece, Fanny, mentioned in the text, was from Southold, Long Island, and was then on a visit at the house of her uncle. The vest worn by Colonel L. on that occasion (as I have already noticed) is preserved in the cabinet of the Connecticut Historical Society.

41 Arnold, in his dispatch to Sir Henry Clinton, gave the impression that the killed were victims of honorable strife. Of course he knew better, for his dispatch was written two days after the event, and every circumstance must have been known by him. Hear him: "I have inclosed a return of the killed and wounded, by which your excellency will observe that our loss, though very considerable, is short of the enemy’s, who lost most of their officers, among whom was their commander, Colonel Ledyard. Eighty-five men were found dead in Fort Griswold, and sixty wounded, most of them mortally. Their loss on the opposite side (New London) must have been considerable, but can not be ascertained."

42 See Arnold’s Dispatch to Sir H. Clinton; Gordon, iii., 249; Sparks’s Life of Arnold; The Connecticut Journal, 1781; Narrative of Stephen Hempstead. Mr. Hempstead was a soldier in the garrison at the time of the massacre, and was one of the wounded who were sent down the declivity in the baggage-wagon, suffered during the night, and experienced the loving kindness of Fanny Ledyard in the morning. His narrative was communicated to the Missouri Republican in 1826, at which time he was a resident of that state. Mr. Hempstead was a native of New London, and entered the army in 1775. He was at Dorchester during the siege of Boston, was in the battle of Long Island, and also in the engagement on Harlem Heights, where he had two of his ribs broken by a grape-shot.

43 This is a view from the southwest angle of old Fort Griswold, looking northeast. The embankments of the fort are seen in the foreground; near the figure is the well, the same mentioned by Mr. Hempstead in his narrative; and just beyond this is the old entrance, or sally-port, through which the enemy, under Bromfield, entered the fort.

44 Over the entrance of the monument is the following inscription:


This Monument
was erected under the patronage of the State of Connecticut, A. D. 1830,
and in the 55th year of the Independence of the U. S. A.,
In memory of the brave Patriots
who fell in the massacre at Fort Griswold, near this spot,
on the 6th of September, A. D. 1781,
when the British under the command of
the traitor Benedict Arnold,
burned the towns of New London and Groton, and spread
desolation and woe throughout this region.


On the south side of the pedestal, toward the fort, on a large tablet, are the names of the eighty-five persons who were killed in the fort, over which is the following:

"Zebulon and Naphtali were a people that jeoparded their lives until the death in the high places of the field. – Judges, 5 chap., 18 verse."

45 See Swedenborg’s Views of the Spiritual World, and Revelations of Davis, the clairvoyant.

46 Uncas was of the royal blood of the Pequots, and a petty sachem under Sassacus. When the English first settled in Connecticut, he was in open rebellion against his prince. To save himself and be revenged on his adversary, he sought and obtained the alliance of the English, and when the Pequot nation was destroyed, Uncas became the powerful chief of that tribe of Pequots called the Mohegans, from the circumstance of their inhabiting the place called Mohegan, now Norwich.

The Pequot country comprised the present towns of Waterford, New London, and Montville, on the west side of the Thames, and Groton, Stonington, and North Stonington, on the east of that river. Windham, and a part of Tolland county, on the north, was the Mohegan country.

47 These are called Porter’s Rocks, and are situated near Portersville, on the west side of the Mystic. They are on the shore, about half a mile south of the residence of Daniel Eldridge. – See Barber’s Hist. Coll. of Conn., p. 313.

48 This hill, eight miles northeast from New London, is known at the present day by the name of Pequot Hill. It is a spot of much interest, aside from the commanding view obtained from its summit, as the place where the first regular conflict between the English and the natives of New England took place. Such was the terror which this event infused into the minds of the Indian tribes, that for nearly forty years they refrained from open war with the whites, and the colonies prospered.

49 Sassacus was the terror of the New England coast tribes. A belief that he was in the fort on Pequot Hill was the cause of the fear which seized the Narragansets. "Sassacus is in the fort! Sassacus is all one god!" said Miantonomoh; "nobody can kill him."

50 See Captain Mason’s Brief History of the Pequot War, published in Boston in 1738, from which the principal facts in this narrative are drawn. It makes one shudder to read the blasphemous allusions to the interposition of God in favor of the English which this narrative contains, as if

"The poor indian, whose untutor’d mind
Sees God in clouds or hears him in the wind,"

was not an object of the care and love of the Deity. Happily, the time is rapidly passing by when men believe that they are doing God service by slaughtering, maiming, or in the least injuring with vengeful feelings any of his creatures.

51 The English lost only two men killed and sixteen wounded, while the Indians lost nearly six hundred men and seventy wigwams.

52 The ostensible cause of this destructive war upon the Pequots was the fact that in March of that year, Sassacus, jealous of the English, had sent an expedition against the fort at Saybrook. The fort was attacked, and three soldiers were killed. In April they murdered several men and women at Wethersfield, carried away two girls, and destroyed twenty cows. The English, urged by fear and interest, resolved to chastise them, and terrible indeed was the infliction. "There did not remain a sannup or a squaw, a warrior or a child of the Pequot name. A nation had disappeared in a day!" The Mohegans, under Uncas, then became the most powerful tribe in that region, and soon afterward, as we have seen, they and the Narragansets, who assisted in the destruction of the Pequots, began a series of long and cruel wars against each other.

53 While making this sketch, I remarked to Mrs. Bailey (and with sincerity, too) that I saw in her features evidence that Captain Bailey was a man of good taste. She immediately comprehended my meaning and the compliment, and replied, with a coquettish smile, "I was never ashamed of my face, and never mean to be." She lived happily with her husband for seventy years. Since the above was put in type, she has died. Her clothes took fire, and she was burned to death on the 10th of January, 1851, aged about 89.

54 The following is the inscription upon the slab: "Here lieth the body of SAMUEL SEABURY, D. D., bishop of Connecticut and Rhode Island, who departed from this transitory scene February 25th, Anno Domini 1796, in the 68th year of his age, and the 12th of his Episcopal consecration.

"Ingenuous without pride, learned without pedantry, good without severity, he was duly qualified to discharge the duties of the Christian and the bishop. In the pulpit he enforced religion; in his conduct he exemplified it. The poor he assisted with his charity; the ignorant he blessed with his instruction. The friend of men, he ever designed their good; the enemy of vice, he ever opposed it. Christian! dost thou aspire to happiness? Seabury has shown the way that leads to it."

55 This was a Confession of Faith or Articles of Religion arranged in 1708. Yale College was first established at Saybrook, and fifteen commencements were held there. To educate young men of talents and piety for the ministry was the leading design of the institution. The founders, desirous that the Churches should have a public standard or Confession of Faith, according to which the instruction of the college should be conducted, such articles were arranged and adopted after the commencement at Saybrook in 1708, and from that circumstance were called the Saybrook Platform. The standards of faith of the Congregational and Presbyterian Churches are substantially the same as the Saybrook Platform.



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