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







The Hudson Highlands. – Newburgh. – The Indian Summer. – Its character. – The "Hasbrouck House" and Vicinity. – Its interior construction. – Purchased by the State. – Ceremonies at its Dedication. – Washington’s Dining-hall. – Anecdote concerning it. – Lady Washington’s Gardening. – Settlement of Newburgh. – First Settlements in Orange County. – Indian Wars. – Sufferings of the People. – Attack on Minisink. – Intemperate zeal of the Volunteers. – Unwise Decision. – Battle of Minisink. – Its Location. – The Massacre. – Brant’s Defense. – Effect of the Massacre. – Salvation of Major Wood. – Interment of the Remains of the Slain. – Monument. – Cantonment of the Army near Newburgh. – Head-quarters of the Officers. – Nicola’s Proposition to Washington. – Washington’s Letter of Rebuke to Nicola. – Patriotism of the Chief. – Discontents in the Army. – Memorial to Congress. – Resolutions of Congress respecting Claims. – The Army still dissatisfied. – Action of the Officers. – Major Armstrong. – Meeting of Officers privately called. – Anonymous Address to the Army. – Dangerous Tendency of its Recommendations. – Bold Tone of the Address. – Similar Opinions held by Hamilton. – Washington’s Counteraction. – Second anonymous Address. – Meeting called by Washington. – Major Burnet’s Recollections. – Washington’s Address to the Officers. – Washington’s Address. – Action of the Meeting of Officers. – A strong Resolution. – Record of Proceedings sent to Congress. – Washington’s Opinion of Armstrong’s Motives. – His farewell Address. – Washington’s Tour to the Northern Battle Fields. – Called to Princeton. – A Statue ordered by Congress. – General Clinton. – A very little Maiden. – Her Dignity. – Plum Point. – Fortifications there. – An Acrostic. – Redoubt on Plum Point. – Chevaux-de-frise. – Anecdote. – Head-quarters of Greene and Knox. – Ball at the Quarters of Greene and Knox. – Signatures of young Ladies. – Washington on Dancing. – The Square. – A Spy in the American Camp. – Dispatch in a silver Bullet. – Name and Fate of the Spy. – Site and probable Form of the Temple. – The Camp Ground and Vicinity. – The Temple as described by Major Burnet. – Two living Patriots. – Visit to Major Burnet. – Public Life of Major Burnet and Sergeant Knapp. – Washington’s Letter to Greene. – The Commander-in-chief’s Guard. – Its Organization, Character, and Uniform. – Its Officers. – Sergeant Knapp. – Return to Newburgh. – Departure for Fishkill. – Return of the Commander-in-chief’s Guard. – Fishkill Village. – The "Wharton House." – Enoch Crosby. – The "Spy Unmasked." – Exploits of Enoch Crosby. – Incidents of his Life. – Ancient Dutch Church. – Fishkill Village. – Escape of Crosby. – His Exploits at Teller’s Point. – A very old Man and rejected Lover. – Trinity Church. – Printing of the first Constitution of the State of New York. – Head-quarters of Baron Steuben. – Anecdote of the Baron. – The Society of Cincinnati. – Final Proceedings in the Organization of the Institution. – Plan and Name of the Society of Cincinnati. – The Constitution. – Opposition of Judge Burke and others. – Certificate of Membership of the Cincinnati. – The Design and Engraving. – Alteration of the Plate. – The Order of the Society. – The successive Presidents General. – Departure for West Point.


"By wooded bluff we steal, by leaning lawn,

By palace, village, cot, a sweet surprise
At every turn the vision breaks upon;
Till to our wondering and uplifted eyes
The Highland rocks and hills in solemn grandeur rise.

"Nor clouds in heaven, nor billows in the deep,
More graceful shapes did ever heave or roll;
Nor came such pictures to a painter’s sleep,
Nor beam’d such visions on a poet’s soul!
The pent-up flood, impatient of control,
In ages past here broke its granite bound,
Then to the sea in broad meanders stole,
While ponderous ruin strew’d the broken ground,
And these gigantic hills forever closed around."


Every place made memorable by Revolutionary events has an interest in the mind and heart of the American, and claims the homage of regard from the lover of freedom, wheresoever he may have inspired his first breath. But there are a few localities so thickly clustered with associations of deep interest, that they appear like fuglemen in the march of events which attract the historian’s notice. Prominent among these are the Highlands, upon the Hudson, from Haverstraw to Newburgh, the scenes of councils, battles, sieges, triumphs and treason, in all of which seemed to be involved for the moment, the fate of American liberty. Thitherward I journeyed at the commencement of our beautiful Indian summer, 1 the season

"When first the frost

Turns into beauty all October’s charms;
When the dread fever quits us; when the storms
Of the wild equinox, with all its wet,
Has left the land as the first deluge left it,
With a bright bow of many colors hung
Upon the forest tops,"

and rambled for a week among those ancient hills and the historic grounds adjacent. I arrived at Newburgh on the morning of the 25th of October [1848.]. The town is pleasantly situated upon the steep western bank of the Hudson, sixty miles from New York, and in the midst of some of the finest scenery in the world, enhanced in interest to the student of history by the associations which hallow it.


In the southern suburbs of the village, on the brow of the hill, stands the gray old fabric called "The Hasbrouck House," memorable as the head-quarters of Washington at the close of the Revolution. From the rickety piazza or stoop on the river front may be seen the historic grounds of Fishkill, New Windsor, Plumb Point, Pollopel’s Island, and the Beacon Hills; and through the mighty gateway in the Highlands, whose posts are Break-neck and Butter Hills, in altitude fifteen hundred feet, appear glimpses of distant West Point and the amphitheater of mountains which surround it. Let us take a peep within the venerable mansion; and as the morning sun is shining pleasantly upon the porch, we will there sit down, and glance over the pages of the old clasped volume, the vade mecum and Mentor of our journey.


The front door opens into a large square room, which was used by Washington for his public audiences, and as a dining hall. It is remarkable for the fact that it has seven doors, and only one window. Of the two doors on the left in the picture, the nearest one to the spectator was the entrance to the chief’s sitting-room; the other, to his bed-room. There is no plaster ceiling above; the heavy beams, nine inches wide and fourteen deep, completely exposed, give it a strong as well as antique appearance. Properly taken care of, this relic of the Revolution may remain another century. The timbers are sound, the walls massive, and the roof and weather-boards were well preserved.

Lady Washington was a resident of the "Hasbrouck House" during the summer of 1783, and, in gratification of her taste for gardening, a large space in front of the house was cultivated by her. Mr. Eager, the historian of Orange county, informed me that within his remembrance the brick borders of her flower-beds remained. Washington, with his lady, left there about the middle of August [1783.], to attend upon Congress, then in session at Princeton, New Jersey, leaving the portion of the Continental army then in service under the command of General Knox. The commander-in-chief did not return to Newburgh, but made his head-quarters, for a few days in November, at West Point, from whence he repaired to New York and took possession of that city on its evacuation by the British troops [November 25, 1783.].

Orange county was among the first settled portions of the State of New York. It was organized in 1683; its name was given in honor of William, prince of Orange, afterward King of England. The first permanent settlers in the county were Germans, and their original location was in the present town of Newburgh, at a place called by the Indians Quassaic, on a creek of that name, a little below the village. They obtained a patent from Queen Anne, in 1719, for twenty-one hundred and ninety acres, extending north from the Quassaic Creek, and proceeded to lay out a village which they called New Burgh or New Town. Five hundred acres were reserved as glebe land, and under favorable auspices the village of Newburgh was founded. The Germans in time became dissatisfied, sold out their patent and dispersed, some going to Pennsylvania, and others to the Mohawk country. Some English, Irish, New Englanders, and a few Huguenots from Ulster filled their places, and flourishing settlements were soon planted along the river, or upon the rich bottoms of the water-courses. They also spread interiorly, and Goshen, Minisink, Wawarsing, and other thriving towns started up in the midst of the red men. The ante-revolutionary history of this section of the state is full of stirring incidents, for the wily Indian, properly suspicious of the pale faces, was ever on the alert to do them damage; and the privations, alarms, and sufferings of those who opened the fertile bosom of the country to the sun and rain, and spread broad acres of cultivation where the deer grazed in shady solitudes, compose a web of romance wonderful indeed. And when the Revolution broke out, and the savages of the Mohawk Valley and of Western New York were let loose upon the remote settlements, the people of Orange county were intense sufferers, particularly those upon its frontier settlements, in the direction of the wilderness. The Tories and their savage associates spread terror in every direction, and in Wawarsing and vicinity many patriots and their families were the victims of ambuscade or open attack. But I will not repeat a tale of horror such as we have already considered in viewing the history of the Mohawk Valley. The atrocities committed in Orange county were but a counterpart in character and horror of the former. 4 Strong houses were barricaded and used as forts; the people went armed by day, and slept armed at night; and almost hourly murder and rapine stalked boldly abroad. It was a time of darkest misery; and not until the Indian power of the West was broken, and the Tories failed to receive their aid, was the district blessed with quiet.

The invasion of Minisink, 5 alluded to in a former chapter, was one of those prominent links in the chain of Indian and Tory depredations, that I may not pass it over with only brief mention. Here let us consider it. There were very few engaged in the battle that ensued, yet that few fought with wonderful valor, and suffered a terrible slaughter.

Count Pulaski and his legion of cavalry were stationed, during a part of the winter of 1778-9, at Minisink. In February, he was ordered to South Carolina, to join the army under Lincoln. The settlement was thus left wholly unprotected, which being perceived by Brant, the accomplished Mohawk warrior, he resolved to make a descent upon it. During the night of the 19th of July [1779.], at the head of sixty Indians, and twenty-seven Tories disguised as savages, he stole upon the little town, and before the people were aroused from their slumbers he had fired several dwellings. With no means for defense, the inhabitants sought safety in flight to the mountains, leaving their pretty village and all their worldly goods a spoil to the invaders. Their small stockade fort, a mill, and twelve houses and barns were burned, several persons were killed, some taken prisoners, the orchards and plantations were laid waste, cattle were driven away, and booty of every kind was carried to Grassy Brook, on the Delaware, a few miles above the mouth of the Lackawaxen, where the chief had left the main body of his warriors. When intelligence of this invasion reached Goshen, Doctor Tusten, colonel of the local militia, issued orders to the officers of his regiment to meet him at Minisink the next day, with as many volunteers as they could muster. The call was promptly responded to, and one hundred and forty-nine hardy men were gathered around Tusten the following morning. Many of these were principal gentlemen of the vicinity. A council was held, and it was unanimously determined to pursue the invaders. Colonel Tusten, who well knew the skill, prowess, caution, and craftiness of Brant, opposed the measure, as a hazardous undertaking with so small a force. He was overruled, and the debates of the council were cut short by Major Meeker, who mounted his horse, flourished his sword, and shouted, "Let the brave men follow me; the cowards may stay behind!" These words ignited the assembly, and the line of march was immediately formed. They traveled seventeen miles, and then encamped for the night. The next morning, Colonel Hathorn, of the Warwick militia, with a small re-enforcement, joined them. He was Tusten’s senior officer, and took the command. They resumed their march at sunrise, and at Half-way Brook came upon the Indian encampment of the previous night; the smoldering watch-fires were still smoking. The number of these fires indicated a large savage force, and the two colonels, with the more prudent of the company, advocated, in council, a return, rather than further pursuit. But excited bravado overcame prudence, and a large majority determined to pursue the Indians; the minority yielded, and the march was resumed.

A scouting party, under Captain Tyler, was sent forward upon the Indian trail. The pursuers were discovered, and a bullet from an unseen foe slew the captain. There was momentary alarm; but the volunteers pressed eagerly onward, and at nine in the morning they hovered upon the high hills overlooking the Delaware near the mouth of the Lackawaxen. The enemy were in full view below, marching in the direction of a fording-place. Hathorn determined to intercept them there, and disposed his men accordingly. The intervening hills hid the belligerents from each other. Brant had watched the movements of his pursuers, and comprehending Hathorn’s design, he wheeled his column, and thridding a deep and narrow ravine which the whites had crossed, brought his whole force in the rear of the Americans. Here he formed an ambuscade, and deliberately selected his battle ground.

The volunteers were surprised and disappointed at not finding the enemy where they expected to, and were marching back when they discovered some of the Indians. One of them, mounted on a horse stolen at Minisink, was shot by a militia-man. This was a signal for action, and the firing soon became general. It was a long and bloody conflict. The Indians were greatly superior in numbers, and a detachment of Hathorn’s troops, consisting of one third of the whole, became separated from the rest at the commencement of the engagement. Closer and closer the savages pressed upon the whites, until they were hemmed within the circumference of an acre of ground, upon a rocky hill that sloped on all sides. The ammunition of the militia was stinted, and they were careful not to fire at random and without aim. Their shots were deadly, and many a red man was slain. The conflict began at eleven o’clock [July 22, 1779.], and continued until the going down of the sun, on that long July day. At twilight the battle was yet undecided, but the ammunition of the whites being exhausted, a party of the enemy attacked and broke their hollow square at one corner. The survivors of the conflict attempted to retreat. Behind a ledge of rocks, Doctor Tusten had been dressing the wounds of the injured during the day. There were seventeen men under his care when the retreat commenced. The Indians fell upon them furiously, and all, with the Doctor, were slain. Several who attempted to escape by swimming across the Delaware were shot by the Indians; and of the whole number that went forth, only about thirty returned to relate the dreadful scenes of the day. 6 This massacre of the wounded is one of the darkest stains upon the memory of Brant, whose honor and humanity were often more conspicuous than that of his Tory allies. He made a weak defense of his conduct by asserting that he offered the Americans good treatment if they would surrender; that he warned them of the fierceness of the thirst for blood that actuated his warriors, and that he could not answer for their conduct after the first shot should be fired; and that his humane proposition was answered by a bullet from an American musket, which pierced his belt. 7

Goshen and the surrounding country was filled with the voice of mourning, for the flower of the youth and mature manhood of that region was slain. The massacre made thirty-three widows in the Presbyterian congregation at Goshen. At the recital, a shudder ran throughout the land, and gave keenness to the blade and fierceness to the torch which, a few weeks afterward, desolated the Indian paradise in the country of the Senecas and Cayugas.


Orange county labored much and suffered much in the cause of freedom. Newburgh and New Windsor, within it, having been the chosen quarters of Washington at different times, from December, 1780, until the conclusion of peace in 1783, and a portion of that time the chief cantonment of the American army, the county is a conspicuous point in the history of the war. At the close of 1780, the army was cantoned at three points: at Morristown, and at Pompton, in New Jersey, and at Phillipstown, in the Hudson Highlands. Washington established his head-quarters at New Windsor in December, 1780, where he remained until June, 1781, when the French, who had quartered during the winter at Newport and Lebanon, formed a junction with the Americans on the Hudson. In April, 1782, he established his head-quarters at Newburgh, two miles above the village of New Windsor, where he continued most of the time until November, 1783, when the Continental army was disbanded.

For a short time in the autumn of 1782, while the head-quarters of Washington were at Newburgh, the main portion of the army was encamped at Verplanck’s Point, in pursuance of an engagement with Rochambeau to form a junction of the American and French forces at that place, on the return of the latter from Virginia. The allies marched eastward late in autumn, when the American army crossed the Hudson at West Point, traversed the mountains, and arrived in the township of New Windsor on the 28th of November, 1782, where it was hutted for the winter. The main portion of the army was encamped in the neighborhood of Snake Hill; of this we will write presently. Washington continued his head-quarters at the stone house at Newburgh; Generals Knox and Greene, who had the immediate command of the chief forces and of the artillery, were quartered at the house of John Ellison (now Captain Charles Morton’s), in the vicinity of the main camp near Snake Hill; Gates and St. Clair, with the hospital stores, were at Edmonston’s, at The Square; La Fayette was at William Ellison’s, near by; and the Baron Steuben was at the house of Samuel Verplanck, on the Fishkill side of the river.

At Newburgh occurred one of the most painful events in the military life of Washington. For a long time the discontents among the officers and soldiers in the army respecting the arrearages of their pay and their future prospects, had been increasing, and in the spring of 1783 became alarmingly manifest. Complaints were frequently made to the commander-in-chief. Feeling the justice of these complaints, his sympathy was fully alive to the interests of his companions in arms.

Colonel Nicola, an experienced officer, and a gentleman possessed of much weight of character, was usually the medium for communicating to him, verbally, their complaints, wishes, and fears. In May, Colonel Nicola addressed a letter to Washington, the tenor of which struck harshly upon the tenderest chord in that great man’s feelings. After some general remarks on the deplorable condition of the army, and the little hope they could have of being properly rewarded by Congress, the colonel entered into a political disquisition on the different forms of government, and came to the conclusion that republics are, of all others, the least susceptible of stability, and the least capable of securing the rights, freedom, and power of individuals. He therefore inferred that America could never become prosperous under such a form of government, and that the English government was nearer perfection than any other. He then proceeded to express his opinion that such a government would be the choice of the people, after due consideration, and added, "In this case it will, I believe, be uncontroverted, that the same abilities which have led us through difficulties apparently insurmountable by human power to victory and glory – those qualities, that have merited and obtained the universal esteem and veneration of an army – would be most likely to conduct and direct us in the smoother paths of peace. Some people have so connected the idea of tyranny and monarchy as to find it very difficult to separate them. It may, therefore, be requisite to give the head of such a constitution as I propose some title apparently more moderate; but, if all other things were once adjusted, I believe strong arguments might be produced for admitting the title of KING, which I conceive would be attended with some national advantage." How amazingly Colonel Nicola, and those officers and civilians (and they, doubtless, were not a few) whom he represented, misapprehended the true character of Washington, may be readily inferred from the prompt and severe rebuke which they received from his hand. The commander-in-chief replied as follows:


"SIR, – With a mixture of great surprise and astonishment, I have read with attention the sentiments you have submitted to my perusal. Be assured, sir, no occurrence in the course of this war has given me more painful sensations than your information of there being such ideas existing in the army as you have expressed, and which I must view with abhorrence and reprehend with severity. For the present, the communication of them will rest in my own bosom, unless some further agitation of the matter shall make a disclosure necessary. I am much at a loss to conceive what part of my conduct could have given encouragement to an address which to me seems big with the greatest mischiefs that can befall my country. If I am not deceived in the knowledge of myself, you could not have found a person to whom your schemes are more disagreeable. At the same time, in justice to my own feelings, I must add, that no man possesses a more serious wish to see ample justice done to the army than I do; and, as far as my power and influence, in a constitutional way, extend, they shall be employed to the utmost of my abilities to effect it, should there be any occasion. Let me conjure you, then, if you have any regard for your country, concern for yourself or posterity, or respect for me, to banish these thoughts from your mind, and never communicate, as from yourself or any one else, a sentiment of the like nature. I am, &c." 9


In this affair the disinterested patriotism of Washington shone with its brightest luster. At the head of a victorious army; beloved and venerated by it and by the people; with personal influence unbounded, and with power in possession for consummating almost any political scheme not apparently derogatory to good government, he receives from an officer whom he greatly esteems, and who speaks for himself and others, an offer of the scepter of supreme rule and the crown of royalty! What a bribe! Yet he does not hesitate for a moment; he does not stop to revolve in his mind any ideas of advantage in the proposed scheme, but at once rebukes the author sternly but kindly, and impresses his signet of strongest disapprobation upon the proposal. History can not present a parallel.

The apprehensions which this event produced in the mind of Washington, though allayed for a while, were painfully revived a few months later. The same circumstances of present hardship and gloomy prospects that disturbed the army when Nicola addressed Washington, not only continued to exist, but reasons for discontent daily increased. After the return of the army from Verplanck’s Point, and their settlement in winter quarters in the neighborhood of Newburgh and New Windsor, the officers and soldiers had leisure to reflect upon their situation and prospects. Expecting a dissolution of the Revolutionary government when peace should be established, and a thorough reorganization of civil and military affairs, they apprehended great difficulties and losses in the adjustment of their claims, particularly those appertaining to the long arrearages of their pay. They were aware of the poverty of the treasury and the inefficiency of the existing government in commanding resources for its replenishment; a condition arising from the disposition of individual states to deny the right of Congress to ask for pecuniary aid from their respective treasuries in satisfying public creditors. This actual state of things, and no apparent security for a future adjustment of their claims, caused great excitement and uneasiness among the officers and soldiers, and in December they addressed a memorial to Congress on the subject of their grievances. 10 A committee, composed of General M‘Dougal, Colonel Ogden, and Colonel Brooks, were appointed to carry the memorial to Philadelphia, lay it before Congress, and explain its import. Congress appointed a committee, consisting of a delegate from each state, to consider the memorial. The committee reported, and, on the 25th of January [1783.], Congress passed a series of resolutions, which were not very satisfactory. In regard to present pay, the superintendent of finance was directed to make "such payment and in such measure as he shall think proper," as soon as the state of public finances would permit. In relation to arrearages and the settlement of accounts, it was resolved "that the several states be called upon to complete, without delay, the settlements with their respective lines of the army, up to the 1st day of August, 1783, and that the superintendent of finance be directed to take such measures as shall appear to him most proper for effecting the settlement from that period." Concerning security for what should be found due on such settlement, Congress declared, by resolution, that they would "make every effort in their power to obtain from the respective states substantial funds, adequate to the object of funding the whole debt of the United States, and will enter upon an immediate and full consideration of the nature of such funds, and the most likely mode of obtaining them." 11

In these resolutions, Congress, feeble in actual power and resources, made no definite promises of present relief or future justice; and when General Knox, who had been appointed by the army to correspond with their committee, reported the facts [February 8, 1783.], the discontent and dissatisfaction was quite as great as before the action of Congress. Some thought it necessary to further make known their sentiments and enforce their claims, and to this end it was deemed advisable to act with energy. A plan was arranged among a few "for assembling the officers, not in mass, but by representation; and for passing a series of resolutions, which, in the hands of their committee, and of their auxiliaries in Congress, would furnish a new and powerful lever" of operation.

Major John Armstrong, 12 General Gates’s aid-de-camp, a young officer of six-and-twenty, and possessing much ability, was chosen to write an address to the army suited to the subject; and this, with an anonymous notification of a meeting of the officers, was circulated privately. 13 The address exhibits superior talents, and was calculated to make a deep impression upon the minds of the malcontents. Referring to his personal feelings, and his sacrifices for his country, the writer plays upon the sensibilities of his readers, and prepares their minds for a relinquishment of their faith in the justice of their country, already weakened by circumstances. "Faith," he says, " has its limits as well as temper, and there are points beyond which neither can be stretched without sinking into cowardice or plunging into credulity. This, my friends, I conceive to be your situation; hurried to the verge of both, another step would ruin you forever. To be tame and unprovoked, when injuries press hard upon you, is more than weakness; but to look up for kinder usage, without one manly effort of your own, would fix your character, and show the world how richly you deserved the chains you broke." He then takes a review of the past and present – their wrongs and their complaints – their petitions and the denials of redress – and then says, "If this, then, be your treatment while the swords you wear are necessary for the defense of America, what have you to expect from peace, when your voice shall sink, and your strength dissipate by division; when those very swords, the instruments and companions of your glory, shall be taken from your sides, and no remaining mark of military distinction left but your wants, infirmities, and scars? Can you, then, consent to be the only sufferers by the Revolution, and, retiring from the field, grow old in poverty, wretchedness, and contempt? Can you consent to wade through the vile mire of dependency, and owe the miserable remnant of that life to charity, which has hitherto been spent in honor? If you can, go, and carry with you the jest of Tories and the scorn of Whigs; the ridicule, and, what is worse, the pity of the world! Go, starve, and be forgotten."

The writer now changes from appeal to advice. "I would advise you, therefore" he says, "to come to some final opinion upon what you can bear and what you will suffer. If your determination be in proportion to your wrongs, carry your appeal from the justice to the fears of government. Change the milk-and-water style of your last memorial; assume a bolder tone, decent, but lively, spirited, and determined; and suspect the man who would advise to more moderation and longer forbearance. 14 Let two or three men who can feel as well as write, be appointed to draw up your last remonstrance – for I would no longer give it the suing, soft, unsuccessful epithet of memorial." He advises them to talk boldly to Congress, and to warn that body that the slightest mark of indignity from them now would operate like the grave, to part them and the army forever; "that in any political event, the army has its alternative. If peace, that nothing shall separate you from your arms but death; if war, that, courting the auspices and inviting the direction of your illustrious leader you will retire to some unsettled country, smile in your turn, ‘and mock when their fear cometh on.’ Let it represent, also, that should they comply with the request of your late memorial, it would make you more happy, and them more respectable."

A copy of these papers was put into the hands of the commander-in-chief on the day of their circulation, and he wisely determined to guide and control the proceedings thus begun, rather than to check and discourage them by any act of severity. In general orders the next morning [March 11, 1783.], he referred to the anonymous papers and the meeting. He expressed his disapprobation of the whole proceeding as disorderly; at the same time, he requested that the general and field officers, with one officer from each company, and a proper representation of the staff of the army, should assemble at twelve o’clock on Saturday the 15th, at the New Building (at which the other meeting was called), for the purpose of hearing the report of the committee of the army to Congress. He requested the senior officer in rank (General Gates) to preside at the meeting. On the appearance of this order, the writer of the anonymous address put forth another, rather more subdued in its tone, in which he sought to convince the officers that Washington approved of the scheme, the time of meeting only being changed. The design of this interpretation the commander-in-chief took care to frustrate, by conversing personally and individually with those officers in whose good sense and integrity he had confidence. He impressed their minds with a sense of the danger that must attend any rash act at such a crisis, inculcated moderation, and exerted all his powers of argument to appease their discontent. They were thus prepared to deliberate in the proposed convention without passion, and under a deep sense of the responsibilities which rested upon them as patriots and leaders.

The meeting was held pursuant to Washington’s orders. There was a full attendance of officers, and deep solemnity pervaded the assembly when the commander-in-chief stepped forward upon the platform to read an address which he had prepared for the occasion. 15 This address, so compact in construction of language; so dignified and patriotic; so mild, yet so severe, and, withal, so vitally important in its relation to the well-being of the unfolding republic and the best interests of human freedom, I here give entire, in a foot-note, for a mere synopsis can not do it justice. 16

After reading the address, Washington retired without uttering a word, leaving the officers to deliberate without restraint. Their conference was brief; their deliberations short. They passed resolutions, by unanimous vote, thanking their chief for the course he had pursued; expressing their unabated attachment to his person and their country; declaring their unshaken confidence in the good faith of Congress, and their determination to bear with patience their grievances, until in due time they should be redressed. 17 These proceedings were signed by General Gates, as president of the meeting; and on the 18th [March, 1783.], Washington, in general orders, expressed his entire satisfaction. All the papers relating to the affair were transmitted to Congress, and entered at length upon their Journals. 18

It was in this old building at Newburgh, on the porch of which we are sitting, that Washington wrote his address to the officers, on the occasion just considered; and here, also, he penned his admirable circular letter addressed to the governors of all the states, on disbanding the army [June 8, 1783.]. This was his last official communication with these functionaries. "This letter," says Sparks, "is remarkable for its ability, the deep interest it manifests for the officers and soldiers who had fought the battles of their country, the soundness of its principles, and the wisdom of its counsels. Four great points he aims to enforce, as essential in guiding the deliberations of every public body, and as claiming the serious attention of every citizen, namely, an indissoluble union of the states; a sacred regard to public justice; the adoption of a proper military peace establishment; 19 and a pacific and friendly disposition among the people of the states which should induce them to forget local prejudices, and incline them to mutual concessions for the advantage of the community. These he calls the pillars by which alone independence and national character can be supported. On each of these topics he remarks at considerable length, with a felicity of style and cogency of reasoning in all respects worthy of the subject. No public address could have been better adapted to the state of the times; and coming from such a source, its influence on the minds of the people must have been effectual and most salutary." 20 The Legislatures that were then in session passed resolves highly commendatory of the public acts of the commander-in-chief; and he received letters from several of the governors, expressing their thanks and gratitude for his long and successful services in the cause of his country.

Many of the troops now went home on furlough, and Washington, having leisure, proceeded up the Hudson with Governor Clinton to visit the principal fields of military operations at the north. He passed over the battle ground at Stillwater, with Generals Schuyler and Gansevoort, and extended his journey as far northward as Ticonderoga and Crown Point, and westward to Fort Schuyler (now Rome), on the Mohawk. He returned to Newburgh after an absence of nineteen days, where he found a letter from the President of Congress requesting his attendance upon that body, then in session at Princeton, in New Jersey. While he was awaiting the convalescence of Mrs. Washington, and preparing to go, Congress conferred upon the chief the distinguished honor of voting, unanimously, that an equestrian statue of him should be executed by the best artist in Europe, under the direction of the minister of the United States at the court of Versailles, and erected at the place where the residence of Congress should be established. 21 Like other similar memorials authorized by Congress to be made in honor of their servants, this statue has never been constructed.

Upon the lawn before us, now covered with the matted and dull-green grass of autumn, Washington parted with many of his subalterns and soldiers forever, on the day [August 18, 1783.] he left the army to attend upon Congress at Princeton. It was an affecting prelude to the final parting with his official companions in arms at Fraunce’s tavern, in New York, a few months subsequently, and furnishes a noble subject for the pencil of art. The scenery is beautiful and grand, and here I would fain loiter all the day, musing upon the events which hallow the spot; but the sun has climbed high toward meridian, and I must hasten away to adjacent localities, all of which are full of interest.

I left Newburgh toward noon, and rode down to New Windsor, two miles below, along a fine sandy road upon the beach. The little village, once the rival of Newburgh, is nestled in a pleasant nook near the confluence of Chambers’s Creek with the Hudson, on the western rim of the bay. Its sheltered position and fertile acres wooed the exploring emigrants from Ireland, who were seeking a place whereon to pitch their tents on the banks of the Hudson, and here some of them sat down. Among them was Charles Clinton; and at a place called Little Britain, a few miles interior, were born his four sons; two of whom, James and George, were distinguished men of the Revolution. The former was a major general in the army, and the latter a brigadier, and Governor of New York during the contest.


New Windsor claims the distinction of being the birth-place of Governor Dewitt Clinton, a son of General James Clinton; but evidence is adduced to prove that a violent snow storm, which detained his mother at "the Fort," in Deerpark, the residence of her brother, deprived the village of the intended honor. 23 Although denied the distinction of the paternity of a great man, it can boast the residence, for a time, of one of the smallest of women, beautiful, witty, and good. The name of this "pretty, charming little creature" was Anna Brewster; her height, in womanhood, three feet; her symmetry of form perfect; her face sweet and intelligent; her mind active and pure; her extraction truly noble, for her ancestor was Elder Brewster, of the May Flower. Too little to be wooed, too wise to be won, she was loved and admired by every body. She lived a charming maiden until she was seventy-five years old, when she died [1844]. Fifty years before, a rustic poet, inspired by her charms during an evening passed in her company, portrayed her character in verse. 24 Mrs. Washington, pleased with the sprightly little maiden, invited her, on one occasion, to visit her at head-quarters while the chief was at New Windsor, 25 but she declined, believing it to be curiosity rather than respect that prompted the invitation. It was a mistake; but she had through life such a dignified self-respect, that it repelled undue familiarity, and closed all opportunities for the indulgence of prying curiosity.


From New Windsor I rode to Plum Island, or Plum Point, the fine estate of Philip A. Verplanck, Esq. At high tide, this alluvial height, which rises about one hundred and twenty feet above the Hudson, is an island, approached by a narrow causeway from the main, which bridges a rivulet, with a heavy stone arch. Murderer’s Creek washes its southwestern border, and a marsh and rivulet in close it upon the land side. Upon a broad, level table-land of some thirty-five acres in extent, stands the mansion of Mr. Verplanck, noted for the beauty and grandeur of the scenery which encompasses it. Accompanied by the proprietor, I strolled down the winding pathway to the base of the steep river bank, where, overgrown by a new forest, are well-preserved remains of a fortification, erected there partly at an early period of the war, and partly when the American army was in the vicinity. It was a redoubt, with a battery of fourteen guns, and was designed to cover strong chevaux-de-frise and other obstructions placed in the river, and extending from the flat below Murderer’s Creek to Pollopel’s Island. 27 It would also rake the river channel at the opening in the Highlands. The chevaux-de-frise were constructed under the superintendence of Captain Thomas Machin, in the summer of 1778. Had they and the strong redoubt on Plum Point been in existence a year sooner, the marauding expedition of Vaughan and Wallace, up the Hudson, could not have occurred. The remains of this battery, the old Continental road, and the cinders of the forges, extend along the river bank several hundred feet. The embrasures are also very prominent.

Mr. Verplanck pointed out the remains of the cellar of a log-house, which stood a little above the battery, and belonged to a man named M‘Evers, long before the Revolution. M‘Evers was a Scotchman, and when about to emigrate to America, he asked his servant, Mike, if he would accompany him. Mike, who was faithful, and much attached to his master, at once consented to go, saying, in illustration of the force of his love, "Indeed, gude mon, I’ll follow ye to the gates o’ hell, if ye gang there yersel’." The voyage was long and tempestuous, and instead of entering New York harbor by the Narrows, the vessel sailed through Long Island Sound and the East River. At the whirlpool called Hellgate, the ship struck upon the Hog’s Back with a terrible crash. The passengers, in affright, rushed upon deck, and none was more appalled than Mike. "What place is it?" he exclaimed. "Hellgate," was the short reply of a sailor. "God ha’ mercy on me!" groaned Mike; "I promised my master I’d follow him to the gate o’ hell, but I didna’ say I’d gang through with him!" The vessel floated off with the tide, arrived safely in New York, and Mike lived to be a gardener on Plum Point.

A pleasant ride of about three miles westward from Plum Point placed me at the residence of Charles F. Morton, Esq., a picturesque old mansion on the south side of the New Windsor road. It was built about 1735 28 by John Ellison, one of the first settlers in New Windsor. The material is stone, and its dormer windows and spacious and irregular roof give it the appearance of a large cottage in rural England. A living stream passes through a rocky glen within a few yards of it. Just below is the old mill, erected more than a hundred years ago by the first proprietor; nor has the monotonous music of its stones and hopper yet ceased.


This old mansion was the head-quarters of Generals Greene and Knox while Washington was domiciled at the Hasbrouck House in Newburgh, and it was from hence that the commander-in-chief, accompanied by those generals, after taking some refreshments, rode to the "New Building," to attend the meeting of officers convened by Washington on account of the anonymous addresses just considered. Here the accomplished Lucy Knox gave her choice soìrées, graced by the presence of Mrs. Washington, and other ladies of taste and refinement with which that region abounded; and here, if tradition is truthful, Washington opened a ball on one occasion, having for his partner Maria Colden, then one of the pretty belles of Orange county. 30

I dined with Mr. Morton in the old drawing-room, which, with the other apartments, is preserved by him, with scrupulous care, in the original style. The ceilings are high, and the wainscoting displays architectural taste. The heavy window-sashes, with their small squares of glass, remain; very few of the panes have been broken and replaced since the Revolution. On one of them, inscribed by a diamond, are the names of three young ladies of the "olden time" (Sally Janson, Gitty Winkoop, and Maria Colden), one of whom was the reputed partner of Washington at the ball. May not these names have been written on that occasion? Believing it probable, I copied the signatures, and present them here for the gratification of the curious and the sentimental.

In October, 1777, the vicinage we are now considering was the scene of much commotion. Forts Clinton and Montgomery, among the Hudson Highlands, fell beneath one heavy blow, suddenly and artfully dealt by a British force from New York, and the smitten garrisons were scattered like frightened sheep upon the mountains; not, however, until they had disputed the possession of the fortresses with the besiegers long and desperately. General James Clinton and his brother George were in command of the fortresses, and escaped up the river. At a place afterward called Washington Square, 31 about four miles west of the village of New Windsor, Governor Clinton established his head-quarters at the house of a Mrs. Falls, and there the dispersed troops were collected, preparatory to their marching for the defense of Kingston.


At about noon on the 10th of October [1777.], a horseman, apparently in great haste, approached the disordered camp. The sentinel on duty challenged him, when he replied, "I am a friend, and wish to see General Clinton." The horseman was a messenger, bearing a secret dispatch from Sir Henry Clinton to Burgoyne, the latter being then hedged round by the Americans at Saratoga. The messenger supposed the American forces in the Highlands to be utterly broken and destroyed, and having never heard of a general Clinton 33 in the patriot army, he believed himself to be among his friends. He was conducted to Clinton’s quarters, and, when ushered into his presence, he perceived his mistake. "I am lost!" he exclaimed, in a half subdued voice, and immediately cast something into his mouth and swallowed it. Suspicion was aroused, and he was arrested. Dr. Moses Higby, who was then residing near Mrs. Falls’s, was summoned. He administered to the prisoner a powerful dose of tartar emetic, which soon brought from his stomach a silver bullet of an oval form. Though closely watched, the prisoner succeeded in swallowing it a second time. He now refused the emetic, but yielded when Governor Clinton threatened to hang him upon a tree and search his stomach by the aid of the surgeon’s knife. The bullet again appeared. It was a curiously-wrought hollow sphere, fastened together in the center by a compound screw. Within it was found a piece of thin paper, on which was written the following note: 34


"Fort Montgomery, October 8, 1777.

"Nous y voici, 35 and nothing now between us and Gates. I sincerely hope this little success of ours may facilitate your operations. In answer to your letter of the 28th of September, by C. C., 36 I shall only say, I can not presume to order, or even advise, for reasons obvious. I heartily wish you success.

"Faithfully yours,




The prisoner’s guilt was clear; out of his own mouth he was condemned. Governor Clinton soon afterward marched to Esopus, or Kingston, taking the spy with him. At Hurley, a few miles from Kingston, he was tried, condemned, and hanged upon an apple-tree near the old church, while the village of Esopus was in flames, lighted by the marauding enemy. 37


Leaving Mr. Morton’s, I proceeded to visit the site of the "New Building," or Temple, as it was called, where the meeting of officers was held. It is in a field now belonging to Mr. William M‘Gill (formerly to the late Jabez Atwood), upon a commanding eminence about one hundred rods east of the road to Newburgh, and two miles northward of Morton’s. The day was foggy and drizzly, and the distant scenery was entirely hidden from view; but, on a second visit, upon a bright summer day, with some Newburgh friends, I enjoyed the magnificent prospect to be obtained from that observatory. On the southeast loomed the lofty Highlands, cleft by the Hudson; North and South Beacons, and Butter Hill, rising above their hundred lesser companions, were grouped in a picture of magnificence and beauty. Glittering in meridian sunlight were the white houses of Cornwall and Canterbury; and far up the slopes of the mountains, stretching westward to Woodcock Hill, yellow grain-fields and acres of green maize variegated the landscape. In the far distance, on the northwest, was the upper Shawangunk range, and an occasional glimpse was caught of the blue high peaks of the Catskills, sixty miles northward. Across the meadows westward we could distinctly trace the line of the old causeway, constructed while the army was encamped there; and in the groves which skirt the slopes (whither we soon afterward went) we found the remains of several huts that were built for the use of the soldiers.


The Temple was a large, temporary structure, erected by command of Washington for the several purposes of a chapel for the army, a lodge-room for the fraternity of Free-masons which existed among the officers, and for public meetings of various kinds. When erected, it was called The Temple of Virtue; when dedicated, the suffix was properly omitted, and it was named simply The Temple. The orgies held on the occasion of its dedication disrobed it of its mantle of purity. It was described to me by Major Burnet, who is still living (1851) in the neighborhood, as a structure of rough-hewn logs, oblong square in form, one story in height, a door in the middle, many windows, and a broad roof. The windows were square, unglazed, and about the size of ordinary port-holes in a man-of-war. There was a small gallery, or raised platform, at one end, for speakers and presiding officers. We traced, near an old apple-tree in Mr. M‘Gill’s field, evident lines of the foundation of the building. It must have been some eighty feet long and forty wide. On the crown of the hill northward are traces of fire-places, and there, at the beginning of the present century, a long building was standing. Some have supposed this to have been the Temple; it was only the barracks for the New England troops stationed there. In a few years those faint land-marks and that old apple-tree will be no more seen. The spot is consecrated by one of the loftiest exhibitions of true patriotism with which our Revolutionary history abounds. There love of country, and devotion to exalted principles, achieved a wonderful triumph over the seductive power of self-love and individual interest, goaded into rebellion against higher motives by the lash of apparent injustice and personal suffering. It is, indeed, a hallowed spot; and if the old stone house at Newburgh is worthy of the fostering regard of the state because it was the head-quarters of the beloved Washington, surely the site of the Temple, where he achieved his most glorious victory, deserves some monument to perpetuate the memory of its place and associations.

At Little Britain, a few miles from the Temple, and within a quarter of a mile of each other, reside two of the sons of Orange county, who loved and served Washington and their country in the War for independence. These are ROBERT BURNET and USUAL KNAPP. Of the once long list of Revolutionary pensioners in Orange county, these only remain, honored living witnesses of the prowess of those who wrestled successfully for freedom. I left the Temple field on the occasion of my first visit with the intention of seeing these patriot fathers, but missing the proper road, and the night shadows coming thickly with the fog and rain, I made my way back to Newburgh.

Kind friends afterward procured likenesses and autographs of both for me. 40 Better than this, I subsequently enjoyed the pleasure of a personal interview with Major Burnet at his residence. It was on the occasion of my second visit to the camp ground. At dark, on that sultry day [August 1, 1850.], we made our way up a green lane, flanked by venerable willows – a few cast down by a recent tornado – and sat down in the spacious hall of the old soldier’s mansion. He had just retired to his bed-room, but soon appeared, standing before us as erect and manly as if in the prime of his life, although then in his ninetieth year.

The father of Major Burnet was a Scotchman, his mother a native of Ireland. He was a lieutenant in Captain Stevens’s company, and commanded Redoubt No. 3, at West Point, at the time of Arnold’s defection. He afterward attained to the rank of major in the service, and was one of the delegates who attended the meeting of officers at the Temple. 41 He continued in the army, under the immediate command of the chief, until the disbanding of the forces in 1783. When the Americans marched into the city of New York as the British evacuated it [November 25, 1783.], he commanded the rear guard. He told me that he remembered distinctly the dignified appearance of Washington, when, with Governor Clinton and other civil and military officers, he stood in front of an old stone house, 42 about two miles below Kingsbridge, while the troops, with uncovered heads, passed by. He saw Cunningham, the wicked provost-marshal at New York, strongly guarded by his friends, in the march to the place of embarkation, while the exasperated populace were eager to seize and punish him according to his deservings.

Major Burnet was also present when Washington finally parted with his officers at Fraunce’s 43 tavern, in New York. How could the heart do otherwise than beat quick and strong with deep feeling, while conversing face to face with one who grasped the hand of the chief on that occasion, so pathetically described by Marshall and others! The lips of the patriot quivered with emotion while speaking of that scene, and I perceived my own eye dimmed with the rheum of sympathetic sentiment. Major Burnet has seen, what few men in modem times have beheld, the living representatives of seven generations of his kindred: his great-grandfather, grandfather, father, himself, his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. 44

It was late when we said farewell to Major Burnet – too late to visit his neighbor, Mr. Knapp, who was ninety-one years of age, and quite feeble. From another I learned the principal events of his public life, and obtained his autograph, a fac-simile of which is here given, with his portrait. Mr. Knapp was born in Connecticut, in 1759. He joined the army when about eighteen years of age. His first experience in warfare was in the battle at White Plains; afterward he served under General Wooster in the skirmish at Ridgefield. 45 When La Fayette enrolled his corps of light infantry, Mr. Knapp became a member, and with them fought in the battle at Monmouth, in June, 1778. 46 He was soon afterward chosen a member of the Commander-in-chief’s Guard, and served faithfully as a sergeant therein for more than two years. He left the service in 1782, bearing the approbation of Washington. He is believed to be the only surviving member of that well-disciplined corps of the Revolution, WASHINGTON’S LIFE GUARD. 47 Although feeble in body, I was informed that his mind was quite active and clear respecting the war-scenes of his youth. He delights "to fight his battles o’er again," and is pleased when,

"With cherub smile, the prattling boy,

Who on the vet’ran’s breast reclines,
Has thrown aside the favorite toy,
And round his tender finger twines
Those scattered locks, that, with the flight
Of ninety years are snowy white;
And, as a scar arrests his view,
He cries, ‘Grandpa, what wounded you?’ "

Broad flashes of sheet lightning, and rumbling thunder, on the van of an approaching shower, made us use the whip freely when we left the dark lane of the patriot. We reached Newburgh at eleven o’clock, wearied and supperless, the tempest close upon us, but in time to escape a drenching. This, be it remembered, was on the occasion of my second visit to the camp ground in New Windsor, in the fervid summer time. Let us resume our narrative of time autumnal tour.

The mist and clouds were gone the next morning [October 25, 1848.]. At six o’clock I crossed the Hudson to Fishkill landing, and at half past seven breakfasted at the village, five miles eastward. The air was a little frosty, but as soon as the sun appeared above the hills, the warm breath and soft light of the Indian summer spread their genial influence over the face of nature, and awakened corresponding delight in the heart and mind of the traveler. The country through which the highway passes is exceedingly picturesque. It skirts the deep, rich valleys of Matteawan and Glenham, where flows a clear stream from a distant mountain lake and bubbling spring, 48 turning, in its course, many mill-wheels and thousands of spindles set up along its banks. On the south the lofty range of the eastern Highlands, rocky and abrupt near their summits, come down with gentle declivities, and mingle their rugged forms with the green undulations of the valley. Up their steep slopes, cultivated fields have crept like ivy upon some gray old tower; and there, tinted with all the glories of autumn, they seemed to hang in the soft morning sunlight like rich gobelins in the chamber of royalty.


Fishkill village lies pleasantly in the lap of a plain near the foot of the mountains, and is a place of much interest to the student of our history. Securely sheltered by high mountains from invasion from below, and surrounded by a fertile country, it was chosen as a place of safe depository for military stores; for the confinement of Tory prisoners and others captured by strategy or in partisan skirmishes upon the Neutral Ground, in West Chester; and, for a while, as the place of encampment of a portion of the Continental army, and the quiet deliberations of the state Legislature. 49 The barracks were about half a mile south of the village, extending along the line of the road, from the residence of Isaac Van Wyck, Esq., to the foot of the mountains. The head-quarters of the officers were at Mr. Van Wyck’s, then the property of a Mr. Wharton. From this circumstance it is known as "The Wharton House." The burial-place of the soldiers is at the foot of the mountains, where a road branches eastward from the turnpike.


This vicinity is the scene of many of the most thrilling events portrayed by Cooper in his "Spy; a Tale of the Neutral Ground." In the Wharton House, Enoch Crosby, the alleged reality of the novelist’s fictitious Harvey Birch, was subjected to a mock trial by the Committee of Safety, and then confined in irons in the old Dutch church in the village. Crosby engaged in the "secret service" of his country in the autumn of 1776, and eminent were his personal achievements in making revelations to his Whig friends of the movements and plans of the Tories. At that period, secret enemies were more to be feared than open foes; among these, in West Chester and the southern portions of Dutchess, Crosby mingled freely, for a long time, without incurring their distrust. While on one of his excursions, he solicited lodgings for the night at the house of a woman who proved to be a Tory. From her he learned that a company of Loyalists were forming in the neighborhood to march to New York and join the British army. He became excessively loyal, and, agreeing to enlist with them, he obtained the unbounded confidence of the captain, who revealed to him all his plans. That night, when all was quiet, Crosby left his bed stealthily, hastened to White Plains, where the Committee of Safety resided, 51 communicated the secrets of the expedition to them, and was back to his lodgings, unobserved, before daylight. At Crosby’s suggestion, a meeting of the company was held the following evening, and while in session, the house was surrounded by a band of Whigs, sent for the purpose by the Committee of Safety, and the inmates were all made prisoners. They were conveyed to Fishkill, and confined in manacles in the old stone church, one of the relics of the Revolution yet remaining. The Committee of Safety, who had come up to try them, were at the Wharton House. After an examination, the prisoners were all remanded to prison, Crosby among the rest. By apparent accident he was left alone with the committee a few minutes, and a plan of escape was devised. He effected it through a window at the northwest corner of the church, which was hidden by a willow. On reaching the ground, he divested himself of his loose manacles; and with the speed of a deer he rushed by the sentinels, and escaped unhurt to a swamp, followed by three or four bullets, fired at random in the gloom. He was made a prisoner, with Tories, twice afterward, but managed to escape.


Several British and Hessian soldiers were at one time prisoners in the old stone church. The former were captured by stratagem at Teller’s Point, near the mouth of the Croton River; the latter were stragglers, who fell in with a party of Loyalists near Yonkers, on the Neutral Ground. The British soldiers were captured by Crosby and a few men who composed part of a detachment under Colonel Van Cortlandt, then stationed on the east side of the Hudson to watch operations upon the Neutral Ground. While they were near Teller’s Point, a British sloop of war sailed up the river and cast anchor in the channel opposite. Crosby and six others proceeded to the Point, five of whom, with himself, concealed themselves in the bushes; the other, dressed in infantry uniform, paraded the beach. The officers on the vessel observed him, and eleven men were dispatched in a boat to capture him. When the Englishmen landed, the American took to his heels. Unsuspicious of danger, they followed, when Crosby and his five men, making a noise in the bushes as if half a regiment was there, rushed out and bade the enemy surrender. Deceived and alarmed, they complied without firing a shot. The next day they were prisoners in the stone church in Fishkill.

Before visiting the Wharton House, I called upon the Reverend Mr. Kip, the pastor of the old church. He kindly allowed me to examine the records of the society, which, until a late period, were made in the Dutch language. They extend back to 1730, at which time, and for many years afterward, the church at Fishkill and another at Poughkeepsie were united, with the title of "The Parish Church at Fishkill and Poughkeepsie." I could find no account of the building of the church, but there is reason to believe that it was erected about the year 1725. Mr. Kip showed me a silver tankard, belonging to the communion-service of the church, which was presented to the society by Samuel Verplanck, Esq., chiefly for the purpose of commemorating, by an inscription upon it, a resident Norwegian, who died at the extraordinary age of six score and eight years. 53


I passed half an hour at the Wharton House, and, returning to the village, sketched the old English church (now called Trinity) by the way. It stands upon the west side of the road, in the suburbs of the village, and in form is about the same as it was when it was used as an hospital for the sick, and as a meeting-place of the flying Legislature of New York, when it adjourned from White Plains to Fishkill. According to the records, the session here commenced on the 3d of September, 1776. A few years since, while digging a grave in the yard, the sexton discovered a skeleton, with bits of scarlet cloth and a brass button, the remains, doubtless, of a British soldier, who was buried in his uniform.

An interesting bibliographic fact, connected with Fishkill, was communicated to me by Gulian C. Verplanck, Esq. I have already noticed the harassing circumstances under which the first republican Constitution of the State of New York was elaborated, discussed, and adopted; 55 the Legislature retiring before the approach of British bayonets, first to Harlem, then to Kingsbridge, Yonkers, White Plains, Fishkill, and Kingston. "The Constitution of the State of New York," says Mr. Verplanck, "was printed in 1777, and was the first, as well as the most important book, ever printed in the state. The people could find but one press in their domain with which to print this work of their representatives. It was done at Fishkill, by Samuel Loudon, who had been a Whig editor and printer in the city of New York, and who had retired with his press to Fishkill, where was the chief deposit of stores, hospitals, &c., of the northern army of the United States." 56 Mr. Verplanck possesses a copy of this precious piece of American typography. They have become almost as scarce as the Sibylline Books, and quite as relatively valuable, for the principles therein embodied foreshadowed the destiny of the commonwealth. Unlike Tarquin the Proud, the possessor values it above all price.


I left the village toward noon, and, taking a more northerly route for the ferry, visited the residence of the late Judge Verplanck, situated in a beautiful, isolated spot, about a mile from the east bank of the Hudson, and two miles northeast of Fishkill landing. It is approached from the highway by a winding carriage track which traverses a broad, undulating lawn, shaded by venerable trees. The old mansion is of stone, a story and a half high, with dormer windows, and in the style of the best class of Dutch-built houses erected one hundred years ago. It was owned by Samuel Verplanck, Esq., during the Revolution. An addition, two stories high, has been erected at the north end. I sketched only the ancient edifice. This house is remarkable, in connection with my subject, as the head-quarters of the Baron Steuben when the American army was encamped in the vicinity of Newburgh [1782-1783.], 57 and also as the place wherein the celebrated Society of the Cincinnati was organized in 1783. The meeting for that purpose was held in the large square room on the north side of the passage. 58 The room is carefully preserved in its original style.

"While contemplating a final separation of the officers of the army," says Doctor Thacher, "the tenderest feelings of the heart had their afflicting operation. It was at the suggestion of General Knox, and with the acquiescence of the commander-in-chief, that an expedient was devised by which a hope was entertained that their long-cherished friendship and social intercourse might be perpetuated, and that at future periods they might annually communicate, and revive a recollection of the bonds by which they were connected." 59 Pursuant to these suggestions, the officers held a meeting. A committee, consisting of Generals Knox, Hand, and Huntington, and Captain Shaw, was appointed to revise the proposals for the institution. Another meeting was held on the 13th of May, at the quarters of Steuben (Verplanck’s), when the committee reported. A plan, in the following words, was adopted, 60 and the society was duly organized:

"It having pleased the Supreme Governor of the universe, in the disposition of human affairs, to cause the separation of the colonies of North America from the domination of Great Britain, and, after a bloody conflict of eight years, to establish them free, independent, and sovereign states, connected by alliances, founded on reciprocal advantages, with some of the greatest princes and powers of the earth:

"To perpetuate, therefore, as well the remembrance of this vast event, as the mutual friendships which have been formed under the pressure of common danger, and in many instances cemented by the blood of the parties, the officers of the American army do hereby, in the most solemn manner, associate, constitute, and combine themselves into one society of friends, to endure so long as they shall endure, or any of their eldest male posterity, and in failure thereof, the collateral branches, who may be judged worthy of becoming its supporters and members. 61

"The officers of the American army, having generally been taken from the citizens of America, possess high veneration for the character of that illustrious Roman, LUCIUS QUINTIUS CINCINNATUS, and being resolved to follow his example, by returning to their citizenship, they think they may with propriety denominate themselves the


"The following principles shall be immutable, and form the basis of the Society of the Cincinnati:

"An incessant attention to preserve inviolate those exalted rights and liberties of human nature for which they have fought and bled, and without which the high rank of a rational being is a curse instead of a blessing.

"An unalterable determination to promote and cherish, between the respective states, that unison and national honor so essentially necessary to their happiness and the future dignity of the American empire.

"To render permanent the cordial affection subsisting among the officers, this spirit will dictate brotherly kindness in all things, and particularly extend to the most substantial acts of beneficence, according to the ability of the society, toward those officers and their families who unfortunately may be under the necessity of receiving it.

"The general society will, for the sake of frequent communications, be divided into state societies, and these again into such districts as shall be directed by the state society.

"The societies of the districts to meet as often as shall be agreed on by the state society; those of the state on the 4th day of July annually, or oftener if they shall find it expedient; and the general society on the first Monday in May annually, so long as they shall deem it necessary, and afterward at least once in every three years.

"At each meeting, the principles of the institution will be fully considered, and the best measures to promote them adopted.

"The state societies will consist of all the members residing in each state respectively, and any member removing from one state to another is to be considered in all respects as belonging to the society of the state in which he shall actually reside. 62


"The state societies to have a president, vice-president, secretary, treasurer, and assistant treasurer, to be chosen annually by a majority of votes at the stated meeting.

"In order to obtain funds which may be respectable, and assist the unfortunate, each officer shall deliver to the treasurer of the state society one month’s pay, which shall remain forever to the use of the state society. The interest only of which, if necessary, to be appropriated to the relief of the unfortunate.


"The society shall have an order, by which its members shall be known and distinguished, which shall be a medal of gold, of a proper size to receive the emblems, and be suspended by a deep blue ribbon, two inches wide, edged with white, descriptive of the union of America with France."

I am indebted to the kindness of Colonel Joseph Warren Scott, of New Brunswick, New Jersey, now (1850) the president of the society of that state, for the following information respecting the successive presidents general of the institution. General Washington was the first president general, and continued in office until his death, in December, 1799. ln May, 1800, General Alexander Hamilton was elected as his successor. He was killed in a duel with Aaron Burr in 1804, and, at the next general meeting, General Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, of South Carolina, was elected as his successor. He died in August, 1825. At a special meeting of the society, held at Philadelphia in November, 1826, Major-general Thomas Pinckney was elected president general. 65 At his death, Colonel Aaron Ogden, of New Jersey, was elected to fill his place. He held the office until his decease in April, 1838, when General Morgan Lewis, of New York, became his successor. General Lewis died on the 7th of May, 1844, in his ninetieth year, and the venerable Major Popham, also of New York, was elected as his successor at the general meeting in November following. Major Popham died in the summer of 1848, and, at the meeting in November of that year, General Dearborn, the present incumbent, was elected to supply the vacancy. Such is the brief history of a society over which the venerated Washington first presided.

I left the interesting mansion wherein the society was organized at noon, and reached Newburgh in time to dine and embark at half past one for West Point, eight miles below.



1 The week or ten days of warm, balmy weather in autumn, immediately preceding the advent of winter storms, when, as Irving says of Sleepy Hollow, a "drowsy, dreamy influence seems to hang over the land and pervade the very atmosphere," appears to be peculiar to the United States, and has attracted the attention of travelers and philosophers. It is called Indian summer, because it occurs at a season when the natives gathered in their crops of maize or Indian corn. The atmosphere is smoky, and so mellows the sunlight that every object wears the livery of repose, like the landscapes of Southern Italy. The cause of the warmth and other peculiarities of this season is an unexplained question. It is the season when the fallen leaves of our vast forests begin to decay. As decadence is slow combustion, may not the heat evolved in the process produce the effects noticed?

2 This view is from the northeast, comprising the north gable and east or river front. The house is substantially built of stone, and is now (1850) just one hundred years old. This remark applies only to the portion containing the large room with seven doors, and the two bed-rooms on the north of it. This portion was built in 1750. Afterward a kitchen was built on the south end, and in 1770 an addition was made to it, on the west side, of the same length and height of the old part. The dates of the first and last additions are cut in the stones of the building. The fire-place in the large room is very spacious, "in which," says Mr. Eager, "a small bullock might have been turned upon a spit." * The house has been in the possession of the Hasbrouck family (one of the oldest of the Huguenot families in the county) from the time of its erection until recently, when it was purchased by the State of New York for the purpose of preserving it as a relic of the Revolution. It is placed in charge of the trustees of the village of Newburgh, who are required to expend a certain amount in repairs, ornamenting the grounds, &c. The family residing in the house is employed for the purpose of receiving and attending visitors. The house has been thoroughly repaired since the above sketch was made, under the direction of an advisory committee for its restoration and the embellishment of the grounds. Some of the modern alterations within have been changed, and the whole appearance of the edifice is now as much like that of the era of the Revolution as it is possible to make it. Interesting ceremonies were had upon the occasion of its dedication, on the 4th of July, 1850. There was a civic and military procession. The ceremonies on the green before the house were opened with prayer by Reverend Doctor Johnson, and an address by J. J. Monell, Esq., of Newburgh. While a choir was singing the following last stanza of a beautiful ode, written by Mrs. Monell,

"With a prayer your faith expressing,

Raise our country’s flag on high;
Here, where rests a nation’s blessing,
Stars and stripes shall float for aye!
Mutely telling
Stirring tales of days gone by,"

major-general Scott, who was present, hoisted the American flag upon a lofty staff erected near. The Declaration of Independence was read by Honorable F. J. Betts, after which Honorable J. W. Edmonds pronounced an oration, marked by evidences of much historic research. Henceforth this venerated relic belongs to the people of New York; and doubtless its cabinet of Revolutionary remains, already begun, will be augmented by frequent donations, until a museum of rare interest shall be collected there.

* History of Orange County.

3 In the December number of the New York Mirror for 1834, is an interesting account of this old building, by Gulian C. Verplanck, Esq. He relates the following anecdote connected with this room, which he received from Colonel Nicholas Fish, father of the late governor of the State of New York. Just before La Fayette’s death, himself and the American minister, with several of his countrymen, were invited to dine at the house of that distinguished Frenchman, Marbois, who was the French secretary of legation here during the Revolution. At the supper hour the company were shown into a room which contrasted quite oddly with the Parisian elegance of the other apartments where they had spent the evening. A low boarded, painted ceiling, with large beams, a single small, uncurtained window, with numerous small doors, as well as the general style of the whole, gave, at first, the idea of the kitchen, or largest room of a Dutch or Belgian farm-house. On a long rough table was a repast, just as little in keeping with the refined kitchens of Paris as the room was with its architecture. It consisted of a large dish of meat, uncouth-looking pastry, and wine in decanters and bottles, accompanied by glasses and silver mugs, such as indicated other habits and tastes than those of modern Paris. "Do you know where we now are?" said the host to La Fayette and his companions. They paused for a few minutes in surprise. They had seen something like this before, but when and where? "Ah! the seven doors and one window," said La Fayette, "and the silver camp-goblets, such as the marshals of France used in my youth! We are at Washington’s head-quarters on the Hudson, fifty years ago!"

The view here given is from the west door of the dining-hall, looking out of the east door upon the Hudson, the green fields of Fishkill, and the North Beacon of the Highlands, whereon the Americans lighted watch-fires when occasion demanded it. The fire-place on the right is within the area of the room, having a heavy hewn stone for a back-log. The visitor may stand there, and look up the broad-mouthed chimney to the sky above.

4 For details of the trials of the settlers, and the atrocities committed by the Indians and Tories in this section, see a pamphlet published at Rondout, entitled "THE INDIANS; or, Narratives of Massacres, &c., in Wawarsing and its Vicinity during the American Revolution."

5 Minisink was one of the most ancient settlements in Orange county. It was in existence as a white settlement as early as 1669, when a severe battle was fought with the Indians on the 22d of July, ninety years, to a day, previous to the conflict in question. From that time until the Revolution it was often the scene of strife with the red men, and almost every dell, and rock, and ancient tree has its local tradition. The place of the ancient settlement is situated about ten miles northwest of Goshen, among the Shawangunk Mountains, between the Wallkill and the Navasink Valleys.

6 The place of conflict is about two miles from the northern bank of the Delaware, and the same distance below the Lechawachsin or Lackawaxen River. It is about three miles from the Barryville station, on the New York and Erie rail-road. The battle ground and the adjacent region continue in the same wild state as of old, and over the rocky knolls and tangled ravines where the Indians and the Goshen militia fought, wild deer roam in abundance, and a panther occasionally leaps upon its prey. The place is too rocky for cultivation, and must ever remain a wilderness. At the Mohackamack Fork (now Port Jervis, on the Delaware) was a small settlement, and a block-house, called Jersey Fort.

7 During the battle, Major Wood, of Goshen, made a masonic sign, by accident, which Brant, who was a Free-mason, perceived and heeded. Wood’s life was spared, and as a prisoner he was treated kindly, until the Mohawk chief perceived that he was not a Mason. Then, with withering scorn, Brant looked upon Wood, believing that he had obtained the masonic sign which he used, by deception. It was purely an accident on the part of Wood. When released, he hastened to become a member of the fraternity by whose instrumentality his life had been spared. The house in which Major Wood lived is yet standing (though much altered), at the foot of the hill north of the rail-way station at Goshen. The house of Roger Townsend, who was among the slain, is also standing, and well preserved. It is in the southern part of the village. The Farmers’ Hall Academy, an old brick building, two stories high, and now used for a district school-house, is an object of some interest to the visitor at Goshen, from the circumstance that there Noah Webster, our great lexicographer, once taught school. An old gentleman of the village informed me that he had often seen him at twilight on a summer’s evening in the grove on the hill northward of the rail-way station, gathering up the manuscripts which he had been preparing in a retired spot, after school hours.

8 In 1822, the citizens of Orange county collected the bones of those slain in the battle of Minisink, which had been left forty-three years upon the field of strife, and caused them to be buried near the center of the green at the foot of the main street of the village. On that occasion there was a great gathering of people, estimated at fifteen thousand in number. The cadets from West Point were there, under the command of the late General Worth, then a major. The corner-stone was laid by General Hathorn, one of the survivors of the battle, then eighty years of age. He accompanied the act with a short and feeling address. A funeral oration was pronounced by the Reverend James R. Wilson, now of Newburgh. Over these remains a marble monument was erected. It stands upon three courses of brown freestone, and a stone pavement a few feet square, designed to be surrounded by an iron railing. In consequence of neglecting to erect the railing, the monument has suffered much from the prevailing spirit of vandalism which I have already noticed. Its corners are broken, the inscriptions are mutilated, and the people of Goshen are made to feel many regrets for useless delay in giving that interesting memorial a protection. On the east side of the pedestal is the following inscription:

"ERECTED by the inhabitants of Orange county, 22d July, 1822. Sacred to the memory of their fellow-Citizens who fell at the battle of MINISINK, 22d July, 1779."

Upon the other three sides of the pedestal are the following names of the slain:

"Benjamin Tusten, colonel; Bezaleel Tyler, Samuel Jones, John Little, John Duncan, Benjamin Vail, captains; John Wood, lieutenant; Nathaniel Finch, adjutant; Ephraim Mastin, Ephraim Middaugh, ensigns; Gabriel Wisner, Esq., Stephen Mead, Mathias Terwilliger, Joshua Lockwood, Ephraim Fergerson, Roger Townsend, Samuel Knapp, James Knapp, Benjamin Bennet, William Barker, Jonathan Pierce, James Little, Joseph Norris, Gilbert Vail, Abraham Shepperd, Joel Decker, Nathan Wade, Simon Wait, ----- Tallmadge, Jacob Dunning, John Carpenter, David Barney, Jonathan Haskell, Abraham Williams, James Mosher. Isaac Ward, Baltus Nierpos, Gamaliel Bailey, Moses Thomas, Eleazer Owens, Adam EmbIer, Samuel Little, Benjamin Dunning, Samuel Reed."

9 Sparks’s Life and Writings of Washington, viii., 300, 302. Washington’s letter to Colonel Nicola is dated at Newburgh, 22d May, 1782.

10 This memorial comprehended five different articles: 1. Present pay; 2. A settlement of the accounts of the arrearages of pay, and security for what was due; 3. A commutation of the half-pay authorized by different resolutions of Congress, for an equivalent in gross; 4. A settlement of the accounts of deficiencies of rations and compensation; 5. A settlement of the accounts of deficiencies of clothing and compensation.

11 Journals of Congress, viii., 82. The remainder of the report was referred to a committee consisting of Messrs. Mann, Osgood, Fitzsimmons, Gervais, Hamilton, and Wilson.

12 John Armstrong was born at Carlisle, in Pennsylvania, on the 25th of November, 1758. He was the youngest of two sons of General John Armstrong, of Carlisle, distinguished by his services in the French and Indian war in 1756. In 1775, at the most critical period of the American Revolution, young Armstrong, then a student of Princeton College, joined the army as a volunteer in Potter’s Pennsylvania regiment. He was soon after appointed aid-de-camp by General Hugh Mercer, and remained with him till the connection was severed on the bloody field of Princeton by the death of his chief. He subsequently occupied the same position in the family of Major-general Gates, and served through the campaign which ended in the capture of Burgoyne. In 1780 he was made adjutant general of the Southern army, but falling sick of fever on the Pedee, was succeeded by Colonel Otho Williams, a short time previous to the defeat at Camden. Resuming his place as aid, he remained with General Gates till the close of the war. He was the author of the celebrated Newburgh Addresses, the object of which has been greatly misrepresented, and very generally misunderstood. They were intended to awaken in Congress and the States a sense of justice toward its creditors, particularly toward the army, then about to be disbanded without requital for its services, toils, and sufferings. General Washington, in 1797, bore testimony to the patriotic motives of the author.

Armstrong’s first civil appointments were those of Secretary of the State of Pennsylvania, and adjutant general, under Dickenson’s and Franklin’s administrations; posts which he continued to occupy till 1787, when he was chosen a member of the old Congress. In the autumn of the same year, he was appointed by Congress one of the three judges for the Western Territory; this appointment he declined, and having married, in 1789, a sister of Chancellor Livingston, of New York, removed to that state. Here he purchased a farm, and devoted himself to agricultural pursuits; and, though offered by President Washington, in 1793, the place of United States supervisor of the collection of internal revenue in the State of New York, he declined this and other invitations to public office, until, in the year 1800, he was elected United States senator by an almost unanimous vote of both houses of the Legislature. Having resigned in 1802, he was again elected in 1803, and, the year following, appointed by Mr. Jefferson minister plenipotentiary to France; which post, at a very critical period of our relations with that country, he filled with distinguished ability for more than six years, discharging incidentally the functions of a separate mission to Spain with which he was invested.

In 1812 he was appointed a brigadier general in the United States army, and commanded in the city of New York until called by Mr. Madison, in 1813, to the War Department. This office he accepted with reluctance, and with little anticipation of success to our arms. In effecting salutary changes in the army, by substituting young and able officers for the old ones who had held subordinate stations in the army of the Revolution, he made many enemies. The capture of the city of Washington in 1814 led to his retirement from office. Public opinion held him responsible for this misfortune, but, as documentary history has shown, without justice. No man took office with purer motives, or retired from it with a better claim to have faithfully discharged its duties.

General Armstrong died at his residence at Red Hook, N. Y., on the 1st of April, 1843, in the eighty-fifth year of his age. He was among the remarkable men of a remarkable generation. The productions of his pen entitle him to rank with the ablest writers of his time and country. These consist of a voluminous correspondence, diplomatic and military; a valuable treatise on agriculture, the result of some experience and much reading; and "Notices of the War of 1812," a work written with great vigor of style. The portrait of General Armstrong, printed on the preceding page, is from a painting in possession of his daughter, Mrs. William B. Astor, drawn from life by John Wesley Jarvis.

13 This notice was circulated on the 10th of March, 1783. It was in manuscript, as well as the anonymous address that followed. The originals were carried by a major, who was a deputy inspector under Baron Steuben, to the office of Barber, the adjutant general, where, every morning, aids-de-camp, majors of brigades, and adjutants of regiments were assembled, all of whom, who chose to do so, took copies and circulated them. Among the transcribers was the adjutant of the commander-in-chiefs guard, who probably furnished him with the copies that were transmitted to Congress. The following is a copy of the anonymous notification:

"A meeting of the field officers is requested at the Public Building on Tuesday next at eleven o’clock. A commissioned officer from each company is expected, and a delegate from the medical staff. The object of this convention is to consider the late letter of our representatives in Philadelphia, and what measures (if any) should be adopted to obtain that redress of grievances which they seem to have solicited in vain."

14 This sentence, particularly alluded to by Washington in his address to the officers, was the one which drew down upon the head of the writer the fiercest anathemas of public opinion, and he alone has been held responsible for the suggestion that the army should use its power to intimidate Congress. Such a conclusion is unwarrantable. It is not likely that a young man of twenty-six, acting in the capacity of aid, should, without the promptings of men of greater experience who surrounded him, propose so bold a measure. It is well known, too, that many officers, whose patriotism was never suspected, were privy to the preparation of the address, and suggested many of its sentiments; and there can be no reasonable doubt that General Gates was a prominent actor. Nor was the idea confined to that particular time and place. General Hamilton, one of the purest patriots of the Revolution, wrote to Washington from Philadelphia, a month before (February 7, 1783), on the subject of the grievances of the army, in which he held similar language. After referring to the deplorable condition of the finances, the prevailing opinion in the army "that the disposition to recompense their services will cease with the necessity for them," and lamenting "that appearances afford too much ground for their distrust," he held the following language: "It becomes a serious inquiry, What is the true line of policy? The claims of the army, urged with moderation but with firmness, may operate on those weak minds which are influenced by their apprehensions more than by their judgments, so as to produce a concurrence in the measures which the exigencies of affairs demand. They may add weight to the applications of Congress to the several states. So far, a useful turn may be given to them." * What was this but "carrying their appeal from the justice to the fears of government?" Hamilton further remarked, that the difficulty would be "to keep a complaining and suffering army within the bounds of moderation;" and advised Washington not to discountenance their endeavors to procure redress, but, "by the intervention of confidential and prudent persons, to take the direction of them." Hamilton was at that time a member of Congress. In a letter to him, written on the 12th of March, Washington remarked that all was tranquillity in the camp until after the arrival from Philadelphia of "a certain gentleman" (General Walter Stewart), and intimated that the discontents in the army were made active by members of Congress, who wished to see the delinquent states thus forced to do justice. Hamilton, in reply, admitted that he had urged the propriety "of uniting the influence of the public creditors" (of whom the soldiers were the most meritorious) "and the army, to prevail upon the states to enter into their views." But, while Hamilton held these views, he deprecated the idea of the army turning its power against the civil government. "There would be no chance of success," he said, "without having recourse to means that would reverse our Revolution."

* See the Life of Hamilton, by his son, John C. Hamilton, ii., 47.

Ibid., ii., 71.

Ibid., ii., 158.

15 Major Robert Burnet, of Little Britain, Orange county, who was one of the officers present, informed me that the most profound silence pervaded the assembly when Washington arose to read his address. As he put on his spectacles, * he said, "You see, gentlemen, that I have not only grown gray but blind in your service." This simple remark, under such circumstances, had a powerful effect upon the assemblage. Humphreys, in his Life of Putnam, mentions this circumstance; so, also, does Mr. Hamilton, in the Life of his father.

* It is said that the identical spectacles used by Washington during the Revolution are now (1850) in the possession of an aged lady, named Marsh, who resides in Detroit, Michigan. They came to her from a deceased relative, who exchanged spectacles with the general. "They are of a heavy silver frame," says the Detroit Advertiser, "with very large, round glasses, and apparently constructed after the style we have been accustomed to see, in the books, upon the nose of Red Riding Hood’s grandmother."

16 "GENTLEMEN, – By an anonymous summons, an attempt has been made to convene you together; how inconsistent with the rules of propriety, how unmilitary, and how subversive of all order and discipline, let the good sense of the army decide. In the moment of this summons, another anonymous production was sent into circulation, addressed more to the feelings and passions than to the reason and judgment of the army. The author of the piece is entitled to much credit for the goodness of his pen, and I could wish he had as much credit for the rectitude of his heart; for, as men see through different optics, and are induced by the reflecting faculties of the mind to use different means to attain the same end, the author of the address should have had more charity than to mark for suspicion the man who should recommend moderation and longer forbearance; or, in other words, who should not think as he thinks, and act as he advises.

"But he had another plan in view, in which candor and liberality of sentiment, regard to justice, and love of country have no part; and he was right to insinuate the darkest suspicion to effect the blackest design. That the address is drawn with great art, and is designed to answer the most insidious purposes; that it is calculated to impress the mind with an idea of premeditated injustice in the sovereign power of the United States, and rouse all those resentments which must unavoidably flow from such a belief; that the secret mover of this scheme, whoever he may be, intended to take advantage of the passions while they were warmed by the recollection of past distresses, without giving time for cool, deliberate thinking, and that composure of mind which is so necessary to give dignity and stability to measures, is rendered too obvious, by the mode of conducting the business, to need other proofs than a reference to the proceedings.

"Thus much, gentlemen, I have thought it incumbent on me to observe to you, to show upon what principles I opposed the irregular and hasty meeting which was proposed to have been held on Tuesday last, and not because I wanted a disposition to give you every opportunity, consistent with your own honor and the dignity of the army, to make known your grievances. If my conduct heretofore has not evinced to you that I have been a faithful friend to the army, my declaration of it at this time would be equally unavailing and improper. But, as I was among the first who embarked in the cause of our common country; as I have never left your side one moment, but when called from you on public duty; as I have been the constant companion and witness of your distresses, and not among the last to feel and acknowledge your merits; as I have ever considered my own military reputation as inseparably connected with that of the army; as my heart has ever expanded with joy when I have heard its praises, and my indignation has arisen when the mouth of detraction has been opened against it, it can scarcely be supposed, at this last stage of the war, that I am indifferent to its interests. But how are they to be promoted? The way is plain, says the anonymous addresser. "If war continues, remove into the unsettled country; there establish yourselves, and leave an ungrateful country to defend itself." But who are they to defend? Our wives, our children, our farms, and other property which we leave behind us? or, in this state of hostile separation, are we to take the two first (the latter can not be removed); to perish in a wilderness, with hunger, cold, and nakedness?

"If peace takes place, never sheathe your swords," says he, "until you have obtained full and ample justice." This dreadful alternative of either deserting our country in the extremest hour of her distress, or turning our arms against it – which is the apparent object – unless Congress can be compelled into instant compliance, has something so shocking in it, that humanity revolts at the idea. My God! what can this writer have in view by recommending such measures? Can he be a friend to the army? Can he be a friend to this country? Rather, is he not an insidious foe? some emissary, perhaps, from New York, plotting the ruin of both, by sowing the seeds of discord and separation between the civil and military powers of the Continent? And what a compliment does he pay to our understandings, when he recommends measures, in either alternative, impracticable in their nature?

"But, here, gentlemen, I will drop the curtain, because it would be as imprudent in me to assign my reasons for this opinion, as it would be insulting to your conception to suppose you stood in need of them. A moment’s reflection will convince every dispassionate mind of the physical impossibility of carrying either proposal into execution. There might, gentlemen, be an impropriety in my taking notice, in this address to you, of an anonymous production; but the manner in which that performance has been introduced to the army, the effect it was intended to have, together with some other circumstances, will amply justify my observations on the tendency of that writing.

"With respect to the advice given by the author, to suspect the man who shall recommend moderate measures and longer forbearance, I spurn it, as every man, who regards that liberty and reveres that justice for which we contend, undoubtedly must; for, if men are to be precluded from offering their sentiments on a matter which may involve the most serious and alarming consequences that can invite the consideration of mankind, reason is of no use to us. The freedom of speech may be taken away, and dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep, to the slaughter. I can not, in justice to my own belief, and what I have great reason to conceive is the intention of Congress, conclude this address, without giving it as my decided opinion that that honorable body entertains exalted sentiments of the services of the army, and, from a full conviction of its merits and sufferings, will do it complete justice; that their endeavors to discover and establish funds for this purpose have been unwearied, and will not cease till they have succeeded, I have not a doubt. But, like all other large bodies, where there is a variety of different interests to reconcile, their determinations are slow. Why, then, should we distrust them, and, in consequence of that distrust, adopt measures which may cast a shade over that glory which has been so justly acquired, and tarnish the reputation of an army which it celebrated through all Europe for its fortitude and patriotism? And for what is this done? To bring the object we seek nearer? No; most certainly, in my opinion, it will cast it at a greater distance. For myself (and I take no merit in giving the assurance, being induced to it from principles of gratitude, veracity, and justice, a grateful sense of the confidence you have ever placed in me), a recollection of the cheerful assistance and prompt obedience I have experienced from you under every vicissitude of fortune, and the sincere affection I feel for an army I have so long had the honor to command, will oblige me to declare, in this public and solemn manner, that in the attainment of complete justice for all your toils and dangers, and in the gratification of every wish, so far as may be done consistently with the great duty I owe my country, and those powers we are bound to respect, you may freely command my services to the utmost extent of my abilities.

"While I give you these assurances, and pledge myself in the most unequivocal manner to exert whatever ability I am possessed of in your favor, let me entreat you, gentlemen, on your part, not to take any measures, which, viewed in the calm light of reason, will lessen the dignity and sully the glory you have hitherto maintained. Let me request you to rely on the plighted faith of your country, and place a full confidence in the purity of the intentions of Congress, that, previous to your dissolution as an army, they will cause all your accounts to be fairly liquidated, as directed in the resolutions which were published to you two days ago, and that they will adopt the most effectual measures in their power to render ample justice to you for your faithful and meritorious services. And let me conjure you, in the name of our common country, as you value your own sacred honor, as you respect the rights of humanity, and as you regard the military and national character of America, to express your utmost, horror and detestation of the man who wishes, under any specious pretenses, to overturn the liberties of our country, and who wickedly attempts to open the flood-gates of civil discord, and deluge our rising empire in blood.

"By thus determining and thus acting, you will pursue the plain and direct road to the attainment of your wishes; you will defeat the insidious designs of our enemies, who are compelled to resort from open force to secret artifice; you will give one more distinguished proof of unexampled patriotism and patient virtue rising superior to the pressure of the most complicated sufferings; and you will, by the dignity of your conduct, afford occasion for posterity to say, when speaking of the glorious example you have exhibited to mankind, ‘Had this day been wanting, the world had never seen the last stage of perfection to which human nature is capable of attaining.’ – Journals of Congress, viii., 180-183.

17 One of the resolutions is expressed in the following strong language:

"Resolved unanimously, That the officers of the American army view with abhorrence and reject with disdain the infamous propositions contained in a late anonymous address to the officers of the army, and resent with indignation the secret attempts of some unknown persons to collect the officers together in a manner totally subversive of all discipline and good order."

At that time the author of the anonymous addresses was unknown except to a few; and for forty years there was no certainty in the public mind that Major Armstrong was the writer. That he was generally suspected of being the author, among those who were acquainted with his abilities, is evident from a letter to him written by Colonel Timothy Pickering, in after years, in which he says, that so certain was he, at the time, of the identity of the author, that he endorsed the copy of the address which he received, "Written by Major John Armstrong, Jr." An article appeared in the January number of the United States Magazine for 1823, in which the author, understood to be General Armstrong, avowed himself the writer of the Newburgh Addresses. The article in question contains a history of the event we have been just considering, and defends the course of the writer on that occasion with the plea that apparent urgent necessity justified the act. Subsequent events proved the writer to be mistaken in his views, and his proposition to he highly dangerous to the common good. General Armstrong has, consequently, been greatly censured, and his patriotism has been questioned by writers and speakers who have judged him by results instead of by the circumstances in which he was placed. I can see no reason to doubt the purity of his motives and the sincerity of his patriotism. Other men, as we have noticed in a preceding note, who were far above suspicion, held similar views. Unfortunately for his reputation, in this particular, he was the aid-de-camp and confident of Gates, whose ambition had made him a plotter against Washington. In fact, the commander-in-chief plainly alluded to Gates, when, writing to Hamilton concerning the scheme, he said that some believed it to be "the illegitimate offspring of a person in the army."

It appears that the first president was made acquainted with the authorship of these addresses toward the close of his second administration, some fourteen years after they were penned. His estimate of the motives of the writer may be understood by the following letter, addressed to Armstrong:


"Philadelphia, February 23d, 1797.

"Sir, – Believing that there may be times and occasions on which my opinion of the anonymous letters and the author, as delivered to the army in the year 1783, may be turned to some personal and malignant purpose, I do hereby declare, that I did not, at the time of writing my address, regard you as the author of said letters; and further, that I have since had sufficient reason for believing that the object of the author was just, honorable, and friendly to the country, though the means suggested by him were certainly liable to much misunderstanding and abuse.

"I am, sir, with great regard, your most obedient servant,



18 Journals of Congress, vol. viii.

19 Washington proposed the establishment of a military academy at West Point as early as April, 1783. His proposition will be hereafter noticed.

20 Sparks’s Life and Writings of Washington, i., 395.

21 The following is a description of the proposed statue, as given in the resolution of Congress adopted on the 7th of August, 1783:

"Resolved, That the statue be of bronze: the general to be represented in a Roman dress, holding a truncheon in his right hand, and his head encircled with a laurel wreath. The statue to be supported by a marble pedestal, on which are to be represented, in basso relievo, the following principal events of the war, in which General Washington commanded in person, viz., the evacuation of Boston; the capture of the Hessians at Trenton; the battle of Princeton; the action of Monmouth; and the surrender of York. On the upper part of the front of the pedestal to be engraved as follows: The United States in Congress assembled, ordered this statue to be erected in the year of our Lord 1783, in honor of George Washington, the illustrious commander-in-chief of the armies of the United States of America, during the war which vindicated and secured their liberty, sovereignty, and independence."

22 A biographical sketch of General Clinton may be found on page 272, ante, and also a brief notice of his father on page 255.

23 See Eager’s History of Orange County, page 630.

24 His poetic effort produced the following


"A pretty, charming little creature,
Neat and complete in every feature,
Now at New Windsor may be seen,
All beauteous in her air and mien.
Birth and power, wealth and fame,
Rise not to view when her we name:
Every virtue in her shine,
Wisely nice, but not o’er fine.
She has a soul that’s great, ’tis said,
Though small’s the body of this maid:
E’en though the casket is but small,
Reason proclaims the jewel’s all."
October 8, 1794.

25 Washington established his head-quarters at New Windsor village, first on the 23d of June, 1779, and again toward the close of 1780, where he remained till the summer of 1781. He lived at a plain Dutch house, long since decayed and demolished. In that humble tenement Lady Washington entertained the most distinguished officers and their ladies, as well as the more obscure who sought her friendship. On leaving New Windsor in June, 1781, Washington established his quarters, for a short time, at Peekskill.

26 This view is from the interior of the redoubt looking eastward upon the river. In the distance is seen Pollopel’s Island, near the upper entrance to the Highlands, beyond which rise the lofty Beacon Hills, whereon alarm-fires often gleamed during the war.

27 According to a survey made by Henry Wisner and Gilbert Livingston in the autumn of 1776, the channel of the river, wherein these chevaux-de-frise were placed, was about fifty feet deep, and eighty chains, or about five thousand two hundred and eighty feet broad. The channel east of Pollopel’s Island was not deep enough for the passage of ships of war.

28 One of the fire-places has a cast-iron back, on which, in raised letters, is the date 1734.

29 This view is from the turnpike road, looking southeast. The water in front is a mill-pond, over the dam of which passes a foot-bridge. The mill is hidden by the trees in the ravine below. This side was originally the rear of the house, the old Goshen road passing upon the other side. The old front is a story and a half high. Captain Morton, the proprietor, is a son of the late General Jacob Morton, of New York city.

30 I was informed by the venerable Mrs. Hamilton that Washington never danced. He often attended balls by invitation, and sometimes walked the figures, but she never saw him attempt to dance. Probably no lady of that day, if we except Mrs. Knox, was more often at parties and social gatherings with Washington than Mrs. Hamilton.

It may not be inappropriate here to give a copy of a letter on the subject of dancing, written by Washington a short time before his death. It was in reply to an invitation from a committee of gentlemen of Alexandria to attend the dancing assemblies at that place. I copied it from the original in the Alexandria Museum.


"To Messrs. Jonathan Swift, George Deneale, William Newton, Robert Young, Charles Alexander, Jr., James H. Hoole, Managers.

"Mount Vernon, 12th November, 1799.

"GENTLEMEN, – Mrs. Washington and myself have been honored with your polite invitation to the assemblies of Alexandria this winter, and thank you for this mark of your attention. But, alas! our dancing days are no more. We wish, however, all those who have a relish for so agreeable and innocent an amusement all the pleasure the season will afford them; and I am, gentlemen,

"Your most obedient and obliged humble servant,



31 "The Square" is a small district of country, and so called from the fact that the public roads ran in such a direction as to form a diamond-shaped inclosure, as seen in the diagram, in which a is the road to Newburgh; b, to Goshen; c, to Little Britain; and d, to New Windsor. 1 denotes the house of Mrs. Falls; 2, the quarters of St. Clair and Gates; * and, 3, the quarters of La Fayette.

* There are two ancient houses at this angle of "The Square," but I could not ascertain which was occupied by those officers. It is probable, however, that the one on the northwest side of the road, which is supposed to have been Edmonston’s, was the one.

32 This house, now (1850) owned by Mr. Samuel Moore, is a frame building, and stands on the right side of the New Windsor road, at the southeastern angle of "The Square." It is surrounded by locust and large balm-of-Gilead trees. There Major Armstrong wrote the famous Newburgh Addresses, and there those in the secret held their private conferences.

33 The British officers in this country adhered pertinaciously to the resolution of not dignifying the rebel officers with their assumed titles. They were called Mr. Washington, Mr. Clinton, Mr. Greene, &c. It is amusing to look over the Tory newspapers of the day, particularly Rivington’s Gazette, and observe the flippant and attempted witty manner in which the American generalissimo was styled Mister Washington.

34 Letter of Governor Clinton to the Council of Safety, dated "Head-quarters, Mrs. Falls’s, 11th October, 1777."

35 "Here we are." I copied this note from a transcript in the handwriting of Governor Clinton, which is among the manuscripts of General Gates in the library of the New York Historical Society. It is endorsed "Sir Henry Clinton to J. Burgoyne, 8th of October, 1777, found in a silver bullet." That identical bullet was, a few years ago, in the possession of the late General James Tallmadge, executor of the will of Governor George Clinton. It is now the property of one of Clinton’s descendants.

36 Captain Campbell. See page 79, vol. i.

37 The name of the spy was Daniel Taylor. He was a sergeant in the British service. The father of the late Judge Woodward, of the Supreme Court of the State of New York, acted as judge-advocate on the occasion. On page 389, ante, I have alluded to this occurrence, and remarked that Kingston was the place of the execution of the spy. Hurley was then included in the township of Kingston.

38 This view is from the site of the Temple, looking southeast. In the distance is seen the opening of the Highlands into Newburgh Bay. On the right is Butter Hill, and near it is the village of Cornwall. The form and appearance of the Temple was drawn from the description given by Major Burnet; and doubtless has a general resemblance to the original.

39 This is from a painting by Tice, in my possession. The land on which the encampment on the west side of the meadow was, is now owned chiefly by Gilbert Tompkins and Nathaniel Moore. This view is from the land of Mr. Tompkins, looking east-southeast. On the slopes seen in the foreground, and on the margin of the meadow beyond, Van Cortlandt’s New York regiment, and the Maryland and Virginia troops were encamped. On the east side of the meadow, upon the most distant elevation in the middle ground, the New England troops were stationed. On the slope toward the right of that elevation stood the Temple. In the distance is seen the upper entrance of the Hudson into the Highlands. The meadow was formerly called Beaver Dam Swamp, from the circumstance that beavers constructed dams at the lower extremity, causing the waters to overflow the low grounds. The Americans built a causeway across, and a stone dike, or levee, on the west side, to protect their parade. I saw the remains of this causeway; its site is marked by the light line across the flat.

About a quarter of a mile north of the site of the Temple is an ancient stone house, seen in the picture, the only dwelling near in the time of the war. It was built by Samuel P. Brewster in 1768, as appears from an inscribed stone in the front wall. It was owned by a Mr. Moore. Its present occupant is Francis Weyant.

40 am indebted to Mr. Charles U. Cushman, of Newburgh, for a daguerreotype, from life, of Major Burnet; from which the picture above was copied. The likeness of Mr. Knapp is from an excellent painting of the almost centenarian’s head, by Mr. Charles W. Tice, an accomplished self-taught artist of Newburgh, who kindly furnished me with a copy for my use.

41 Washington, in a letter to General Greene, dated "Newburgh, 6th February, 1782," refers to Mr. Burnet as follows: "I intended to write you a long letter on sundry matters; but Major Burnet came unexpectedly at a time when I was preparing for the celebration of the day, and was just going to a review of the troops previous to the feu de joie. * As he is impatient, from an apprehension that the sleighing may fail, and as he can give you the occurrences of this quarter more in detail than I have time to do, I will refer you to him."

* The anniversary of the signing of the treaty of alliance between the United States and France is here alluded to.

42 This stone house is yet standing. A drawing of it may be found in another part of this work. It has other interesting reminiscences. TRANSCRIBER’S NOTE – I have not been able to identify the drawing referred to above. WDC, 05/18/2001.

43 This tavern, now (1850) the Broad Street Hotel, is well preserved. It stands on the corner of Broad and Pearl Streets. A drawing of it may be found on page 633, vol. ii.

44 Died Dec. 1, 1854, aged 92 years and 9 months.

45 See page 408.

46 Many of the muskets which belonged to that corps are now preserved in the Relic Room of the Head-quarters at Newburgh. La Fayette purchased them with his own money in France, and presented them to his favorite corps.

47 The Commander-in-chief’s Guard, commonly called The Life Guard, was a distinct corps of superior men, attached to the person of the commander-in-chief but never spared in battle. It was organized in 1776, soon after the siege of Boston, while the American army was encamped upon York or Manhattan Island, near the city of New York. It consisted of a major’s command – one hundred and eighty men. Caleb Gibbs, of Rhode Island, was its first chief, and bore the title of captain commandant. He held that office until the close of 1779, when he was succeeded by William Colfax, one of his lieutenants. Gibbs’s lieutenants were Henry P. Livingston, of New York, William Colfax, of New Jersey, and Benjamin Goymes, of Virginia.


Colonel Nicholas, of Virginia, was a lieutenant under Colfax. The latter officer remained in command of the corps until the disbanding of the army in 1783. The terms of enlistment into the Guard were the same as those into any other corps of the regular army, except in the matter of qualification. They were selected with special reference to their physical, moral, and intellectual character; and it was considered a mark of peculiar distinction to belong to the Commander-in-chief’s Guard. From George W. P. Custis, Esq., of Arlington House, Virginia, I learned many particulars respecting this corps. Mr. Custis is a grandson of Lady Washington, and the adopted son of the general. He was acquainted with several of the officers and privates of the Guard, distinctly remembers their uniform, and is familiar with their history. He owns a flag which once belonged to the Guard. It is now in the museum at Alexandria, on the Potomac, where I sketched the annexed representation of it.


The flag is white silk, on which the device is neatly painted. One of the Guard is seen holding a horse, and is in the act of receiving a flag from the Genius of Liberty, who is personified as a woman leaning upon the Union shield, near which is the American eagle. The motto of the corps, "CONQUER OR DIE," is upon a ribbon. The uniform of the Guard consisted of a blue coat with white facings, white waistcoat and breeches, black half gaiters, a cocked hat with a blue and white feather. They carried muskets, and occasionally side arms.

The corps varied in numbers at different periods. At first it consisted of one hundred and eighty men. During the winter of 1779-80, when the American army under Washington was cantoned at Morristown in close proximity to the enemy, it was increased to two hundred and fifty. In the spring it was reduced to its original number; and in 1783, the last year of service, it consisted of only sixty-four non-commissioned officers and privates. Care was always taken to have all the states, from which the Continental army was supplied with troops, represented in this corps.

Peter Force, Esq., of Washington City, kindly allowed me to copy the names of the Guard, contained in an original Return in his possession, bearing the date of March 2, 1783. It is signed by Colfax, and on the back is an endorsement in the handwriting of Washington, a fac simile of which is given on the next page {See above.}. I found in the archives of the State Department another Return, dated June 4th, 1783. It is one of the last Returns made to the commander-in-chief, for the army was disbanded soon afterward. The roll is precisely the same as that in possession of Mr. Force, with the exception of the omission of the names of John Dent, corporal, and Samuel Wortman, private, in the June Return. Dennis Moriarty, who was a corporal in March, appears as a private in June. The latter Return is signed by Colfax, with his certification that "The above list includes the whole of the Guard." It is endorsed, "Return of the non-commissioned officers and privates in the Commander-in-chiefs Guard, who are engaged to serve during the war."

I have been thus particular respecting this corps, because history is almost silent upon the subject, and because the living witnesses, now almost extinct, will take with them the unwritten records of the Guard into the oblivion of the grave.

* I copied these signatures from the original oaths of allegiance, signed at Valley Forge, in the spring of 1778, by each officer of the Continental army, and of the militia then in service there. These oaths are carefully preserved in the archives of the State Department at Washington City.

The following are the names of the non-commissioned officers and privates, from the various states, who constituted the Commander-in-chief’s Guard on the 4th of June, 1783:

NEW HAMPSHIRE. – Ebenezer Carlton and Samuel Smith, privates.

MASSACHUSETTS. – John Phillips, sergeant; John Herrick, corporal; Isaac Manning, fifer; Joseph Vinal, John Barton, Joel Crosby, privates.

RHODE ISLAND. – Davis Brown, sergeant; Randall Smith, Reuben Thompson, William Tanner, Solomon Daley, privates.

CONNECTICUT. – Elihu Hancock, corporal; Diah Manning (see notice of him on page 607), drum major; Jared Goodrich and Frederic Park, fifers; Peter Holt, Jedediah Brown, Levi Dean, James Dady, Henry Wakelee, Elijah Lawrence, privates.

NEW YORK. – John Robinson, Jacob Schriver, Edward Wiley, John Cole, privates.

NEW JERSEY. – Jonathan Moore, Benjamin Eaton, Stephen Hetfield, Lewis Campbell, Samuel Bailey, William Martin, Laban Landor, Robert Blair, Benjamin Bonnel, privates; John Fenton, drummer.

PENNSYLVANIA. – William Hunter and John Arnold, sergeants; Enoch Wills, corporal; Cornelius Wilson, drummer; Charles Dougherty, William Karnahan, Robert Findley, John Dowthar, John Patton, Hugh Cull, James Hughes, John Finch, Dennis Moriarty, John Montgomery, Daniel Hymer, Thomas Forrest, William Kennessey, Adam Foutz, George Fisher, privates.

MARYLAND. – Edward Weed, Jeremiah Driskel, Thomas Gillen, privates.

VIRGINIA. – Reaps Mitchell, sergeant; Lewis Flemister, William Coram, William Pace, Joseph Timberlake, privates.

48 The chief sources of this beautiful stream are Whaley’s Pond, situated high among the broken hills of the eastern Highlands, on the borders of Pawlings, and a spring at the foot of the mountains in the Clove in Beekman.

49 The Marquis de Chastellux, who visited Fishkill in the autumn of 1780, says, in his interesting narrative, "This town, in which there are not more than fifty houses in the space of two miles, has been long the principal depôt of the American army. It is there they have placed their magazines, their hospitals, their work-shops, &c.; but all these form a town of themselves, composed of handsome large barracks, built in the wood at the foot of the mountains; for the Americans, like the Romans in many respects, have hardly any other winter quarters than wooden towns or barricaded camps, which may be compared to the hiemalia of the Romans." – Travels in North America, i., 54.

The war-sword of Washington, carefully preserved in a glass case in the National Museum at Washington City, was manufactured by J. Bailey, in Fishkill, and bears his name. His shop was yet in existence when I was there, but used as a stable. It was demolished in 1849. A drawing of the sword, and of the staff which Franklin bequeathed to Washington, may be found in another part of this work.

50 This picture is from a sketch from life by Captain H. L. Barnum, the author of a small, thin volume, entitled The Spy Unmasked, dedicated to James Fennimore Cooper, Esq. It contains the memoirs of Enoch Crosby, who, the author asserts, was the original of Mr. Cooper’s "Harvey Birch." The narratives were taken from Crosby’s own lips, in short-hand, by Captain Barnum. Attempts have been made to cast discredit upon the work; but Doctor White, of Fishkill, who kindly accompanied me to the localities in that vicinity, assured me that his father, an aged man still living, was well acquainted with Crosby, and says the narrative of Barnum is substantially correct. Enoch Crosby was a native of Harwich, Barnstable county, in Massachusetts, where he was born on the 4th of January, 1750. During his infancy his parents went to the State of New York, and settled in Southeast, in Dutchess (now Putnam) county. In the midst of the noble and picturesque scenery of that region his childhood was passed. He learned the trade of a shoemaker. When the Revolution broke out, he laid aside his lapstone and last, and shouldered a musket. He was then residing at Danbury, and was one of the hundred men before mentioned {Note that the number of men is given as four hundred in Chapter VII.}, who, in 1775, marched to Lake Champlain, and were engaged in the battles in that quarter until Quebec was stormed. After his return, Crosby remained quiet for a while, and then became engaged in the "secret service." He caused many Tory companies to fall into the hands of the Whigs, and on such occasions he was usually captured, suffered imprisonment, but was generally allowed to escape. At length his successful exits from durance excited the suspicion of the Tories, and Crosby, deeming it unsafe to mingle with them longer, joined the detachment of the Continental army under Heath, then stationed in the Highlands. When his term of service expired, he returned to Southeast, where he cultivated a small farm, until his death in 1834. Captain Barnum asserts that the plan of Cooper’s Spy was conceived at the house of John Jay, at Bedford, in West Chester county. Mr. Jay was one of the Committee of Safety who employed Crosby, and was necessarily acquainted with his exploits. Crosby was a witness at a court in New York city in 1827, and was recognized by an old gentleman, who introduced him to the audience as the original of "Harvey Birch." * The fact became noised abroad. The Spy, dramatized, was then in course of performance at one of the theaters; Crosby was invited to attend; his acceptance was announced; and that evening a crowded audience greeted the old soldier. Our gifted countrywoman, Miss Anne C. Lynch, has written thus doubtingly,


"I know not if thy noble worth

My country’s annals claim,
For in her brief, bright history,
I have not read thy name.

"I know not if thou e’er didst live,
Save in the vivid thought
Of him who chronicled thy life
With silent suffering fraught.

"Yet in the history I see
Full many a great soul’s lot,
Who joins the martyr army’s ranks,
That the world knoweth not."

* In a monthly historical work, published at Concord, New Hampshire, in 1823, by Jacob B. Moore, Esq., late librarian of the New York Historical Society, is a brief biographical sketch of David Gray, who was a "spy" of the "Neutral Ground." The writer says, "The incidents of his life correspond in many particulars with the character of Harvey Birch, in the popular novel of the ‘Spy.’ " This was written six years before the publication of "The Spy Unmasked."

51 The Committee of Safety then consisted of Messrs. Jay, Platt, Duer, and Sackett, distinguished patriots during the Revolution.

52 This is from a pencil sketch by Miss Newlin, taken from the yard, looking southwest, the same point of view from whence I made a drawing, less pleasing to myself than the one kindly furnished me by the fair artist. The church is built of rough-hewn stone, stuccoed on three sides.

53 The following is a copy of the inscription: "Presented by Samuel Verplanck, Esq., to the First Reformed Dutch Church in the town of Fishkill, to commemorate Mr. Englebert Huff, by birth a Norwegian, in his lifetime attached to the life guards of the Prince of Orange, afterward King William III. of England. He resided for a number of years in this country, and died, with unblemished reputation, at Fishkill, 21st of March 1765, aged 128 years."

It is related of Huff, that when he was a hundred and twenty years old he made love to a pretty girl of twenty. She already had an accepted lover of her own age, and of course rejected the suit of the Nestor. The old suitor was indignant at the refusal. He thought he had the best right to claim the heart and hand of the maiden, for he had a hundred years more experience than "the foolish boy," and knew better how to treat a wife than the interfering stripling.

54 This picture is also from a pencil sketch by Miss Newlin.

55 See page 387, this volume.

56 I have a public document, printed there by Loudon, in 1776.

57 An anecdote illustrative of Steuben’s generous character is related, the scene of which was at Newburgh, at the time of the disbanding of the army. Colonel Cochrane, whom I have mentioned in a former chapter, was standing in the street, penniless, when Steuben tried to comfort him by saying that better times would come. "For myself," said the brave officer, "I can stand it; but my wife and daughters are in the garret of that wretched tavern, and I have nowhere to carry them, nor even money to remove them." The baron’s generous heart was touched, and, though poor himself, he hastened to the family of Cochrane, poured the whole contents of his purse upon the table, and left as suddenly as he had entered. As he was walking toward the wharf, a wounded negro soldier came up to him, bitterly lamenting that he had no means with which to get to New York. The baron borrowed a dollar, and handing it to the negro, hailed a sloop and put him on board. "God Almighty bless you, baron!" said the negro, as his benefactor walked away. Many similar acts hallow the memory of the Baron Steuben.

58 The following record of the proceedings at the final meeting of the convention I copied from the original manuscript in the possession of Peter Force, Esq., of Washington City, and print it here as an interesting scrap in the history of the closing scenes of the Revolution.


"Cantonment of the American Army, 19th June, 1783.

"At a meeting of the general officers, and the gentlemen delegated by the respective regiments, as a convention for establishing the Society of the Cincinnati, held by the request of the president, at which were present Major-general Baron de Steuben, president; Major-general Howe, Major-general Knox, Brigadier-general Paterson, Brigadier-general Hand, Brigadier-general Huntington, Brigadier-general Putnam, Colonel Webb, Lieutenant-colonel Huntington, Major Pettengill, Lieutenant Whiting, Colonel H. Jackson, Captain Shaw, Lieutenant-colonel Hull, Lieutenant-colonel Maxwell, and Colonel Cortlandt, General Baron de Steuben acquainted the convention that he had, agreeably to their request at the last meeting, transmitted to his excellency the Chevalier de la Luzerne, minister plenipotentiary from the court of France, a copy of the institution of the Society of the Cincinnati, with their vote respecting his excellency and the other characters therein mentioned, and that his excellency had returned an answer declaring his acceptance of the same, and expressing the grateful sense he entertains of the honor conferred on himself and the other gentlemen of the French nation by this act of the convention.

"Resolved, That the letter of the Chevalier de Ia Luzerne be recorded in the proceedings of this day, and deposited in the archives of the society, as a testimony of the high sense this convention entertain of the honor done to the society by his becoming a member thereof.

(Here follows the letter.)

"The baron having also communicated a letter from Major l’Enfant, inclosing a design for the medal and order containing the emblems of the institution,

"Resolved, That the bald eagle, carrying the emblems on its breast, be established as the order of the society, and that the ideas of Major l’Enfant respecting it and the manner of its being worn by the members, as expressed in his letter, hereto annexed, be adopted. That the order be of the same size, and in every other respect conformable to the said design, which for that purpose is certified by the Baron de Steuben, president of this convention, and to be deposited in the archives of the society, as the original from which all copies are to be made. Also that silver medals, not exceeding the size of a Spanish milled dollar, with the emblems, as designed by Major l’Enfant and certified by the president, be given to each and every member of the society, together with a diploma, on parchment, whereon shall be impressed the exact figures of the order and medal, as above mentioned, any thing in the original institution respecting gold medals to the contrary notwithstanding.

(Here follows Major l’Enfant’s letter.)

"Resolved, That the thanks of this convention be transmitted by the president to Major l’Enfant for his care and ingenuity in preparing the aforementioned designs, and that he be acquainted that they cheerfully embrace his offer of assistance, and request a continuance of his attention in carrying the designs into execution, for which purpose the president is desired to correspond with him.

"Resolved, That his excellency the commander-in-chief be requested to officiate as president general, until the first general meeting, to be held in May next.

"That a treasurer general and a secretary general be balloted for, to officiate in like manner.

"The ballots being taken, Major-general M‘Dougall was elected treasurer general, and Major-general Knox secretary general, who are hereby requested to accept said appointments.

"Resolved, That all the proceedings of this convention, including the institution of the society, be recorded from the original papers in his possession by Captain Shaw, who at the first meeting was requested to act as secretary, and that the same, signed by the president and secretary, together with the original papers, be given into the hands of Major-general Knox, secretary general to the society, and that Captain North, aid-de-camp to the Baron de Steuben, and acting secretary to him as president, sign the said records.

"The dissolution of a very considerable part of the army, since the last meeting of this convention, having rendered the attendance of some of its members impracticable, and the necessity for some temporary arrangements, previous to the first meeting of the general society, being so strikingly obvious, the convention found itself constrained to make those before mentioned, which they have done with the utmost diffidence of themselves, and relying entirely on the candor of their constituents to make allowance for the measure.

"The principal objects of its appointment being thus accomplished, the members of this convention think fit to dissolve the same, and it is hereby dissolved accordingly.

"STEUBEN, Major General, President."


59 Military Journal, p. 317.

60 This document, according to Colonel Timothy Pickering, was drawn up by Captain Shaw, who was the secretary of the committee.

61 This clause gave considerable alarm to the more rigid Whigs, because of the recognition of the right of primogeniture in membership succession. Judge Ædanus Burke, of South Carolina, attacked it with much vehemence, as an incipient order of nobility, and an attempt to establish the pretensions of the military to rank above the mass of citizens. The objection was groundless, for no civil, military, political, or social prerogative was claimed. On the other hand, the King of Sweden (Gustavus Adolphus III.) declined permitting the few officers in the French army who were his subjects to wear the order of the Cincinnati, on the ground that the institution had a republican tendency not suited to his government. On this subject, Washington, in a letter to Rochambeau, written in August, 1784, said, "Considering how recently the King of Sweden has changed the form of the government of that country, it is not so much to be wondered at that his fears should get the better of his liberality as to any thing which might have the semblance of republicanism; but when it is further considered how few of his nation had, or could have, a right to the order, I think he might have suffered his complaisance to have overcome them," – See Sparks’s Life and Writings of Washington, ix., 56.

62 This clause is omitted by Dr. Thacher and others. I find it in a manuscript copy of the Constitution of the society, and records of the proceedings at its formation, among the papers of Colonel Richard Varick, in the handwriting of General William North.

63 This engraving is a fac simile of a certificate, about one fourth the size of the original, which is thirteen inches and a half in breadth, and twenty inches in length. The originals are printed on fine vellum. The plate was engraved in France by J. J. le Veau, from a drawing by Aug. le Belle. I am indebted to the late James G. Wilson, son of Ensign Wilson, named in the certificate, for the use of the original in making this copy. The former was engraved on copper; this is engraved on wood. The design represents American liberty as a strong man armed, bearing in one hand the Union flag, and in the other a naked sword. Beneath his feet are British flags, and a broken spear, shield, and chain. Hovering by his side is the eagle, our national emblem, from whose talons the lightning of destruction is flashing upon the British lion. Britannia, with the crown falling from her head, is hastening toward a boat to escape to a fleet, which denotes the departure of British power from our shores. Upon a cloud, on the right, is an angel blowing a trumpet, from which flutters a loose scroll. Upon the scroll are the sentences Palam nuntiata libertatis, * A. D. 1776. Fædus sociale cum Gallia, A. D. 1778. Pax: libertas parta, A. D. 1783: "Independence declared, A. D. 1776. Treaty of alliance with France declared, A. D. 1778. Peace! independence obtained, A. D. 1783."

Upon the medallion on the right is a device representing Cincinnatus at his plow, a ship on the sea, and a walled town in the distance. Over his head is a flying angel, holding a ribbon inscribed Virtutis præmium "Reward of virtue." Below is a heart, with the words Esto perpetua: "Be thou perpetual." Upon the rim is the legend, Societas Cincinnatorum Instituta A. D. MDCCLXXXIII.: "Society of the Cincinnati, instituted 1783." The device upon the medallion on the left is Cincinnatus with his family, near his house. He is receiving a sword and shield from three senators; an army is seen in the distance. Upon the rim are the words Omnia relinquit servare rempublicam: "He abandons every thing to serve his Country" (referring to Cincinnatus).

* There is a fact connected with this sentence worthy of notice. In the earlier impressions from the plate, taken previous to the year 1785, the sentence Is Palam nuntiata libertas, not libertatis. Some person, who doubtless supposed the original word to be incorrect, caused the letters t i s to be crowded into the space occupied by the final s in libertas. I have the authority of one of our most learned Latin critics, to whom the question was submitted, for saying that the original word was correct, and that the alteration renders the sentence ungrammatical and totally incorrect, thereby destroying its meaning. Do any of our historical antiquaries know by whose authority the alteration was made?

64 This was drawn from an original in the possession of Edward Phalon, Esq., of New York. The engraving is the exact size of the original. The leaves of the sprigs of laurel are of gold, and green enamel; the head and tail of the eagle gold, and white enamel; and the sky in the center device blue enamel. The device and motto are the same as upon the medallion on the right of the certificate.

65 "At that meeting," says Colonel Scott, in a letter to me dated July 9, 1850, "delegates attended from Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, and South Carolina. Colonel Ogden and myself were delegates from New Jersey. At that meeting it was ascertained that all the officers of the society but one had departed this life. The survivor was Major Jackson, of Pennsylvania. These communications were given and received in sadness, and a respectful and affectionate notice was taken of those who had left us forever."



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