Lossing's Field Book of the Revolution, Vol. II., Chapter V.







Approach to Valley Forge. – "King of Prussia Tavern." – Village of Valley Forge. – Washington’s Head-quarters. – The old Flour-mill and its Associations. – Hamilton and Lee. – View from Rogers’s Observatory. – Camp at Valley Forge. – Religious Services. – Preparation of Huts. – Disposition of the American Army at Valley Forge. – The Huts and their Occupants. – Condition of the Army. – Great Sufferings. – Number of Soldiers in Camp. – Toryism displayed. – Hopefulness of Washington. – Conspiracy to deprive him of the chief Command. – Persons named as Malcontents. – Forged Letters. – Thomas Conway. – Character of the Congress of 1778. – Pretensions of Gates and Lee. – Anonymous Letters. – Conway’s Letter to Gates. – Quarrel between Gates and Wilkinson. – Board of War. – Expedition against Canada proposed. – Lafayette appointed to the Command. – Grossly Deceived. – Disclaimers of Gates and Mifflin. – Opinion of Dr. Gordon. – Conway’s Resignation. – Duel, and Repentant Letter to Washington. – Baron De Steuben. – His Arrival in America, and Appointment as Inspector General. – Biographical Sketch of Steuben. – His Aids and his Monuments. – Washington’s Efforts in behalf of his Soldiers. – Hostile Parties sent out from Philadelphia. – The Queen’s Rangers. – Advertisement for Recruits. – Expedition against Militia Posts in New Jersey. – Skirmish at Quintan’s Bridge, on Alloway’s Creek. – Expedition to Hancock’s Bridge. – Perils of the March. – Massacre at Hancock’s House. – Death of the Owner. – Return of the Marauders to Philadelphia. – Light from Europe. – Alliance with France. – Rejoicings at Valley Forge. – Lord North’s Conciliatory Bills. – Appointment of Commissioners. – Chatham’s Opposition to American Independence. – Conclusion of Pitt’s Speech. – His sudden Illness and Death. – Copley’s Picture of the Scene. – Pitt’s Funeral and Monument. – North’s conciliatory Propositions rejected. – Arrival of Commissioners. – Governor Tryon. – Letter of Commissioners to Congress. – Action of Congress concerning them, and their Mission. – Mrs. Græme. – Attempt to Bribe General Reed. – Mrs. Græme’s part in the Affair. – Memoir of General Reed. – Sir Henry Clinton Commander-in-Chief. – Condition of the American Army. – Exchange of General Lee. – Oaths of Allegiance. – Evacuation of Philadelphia by the British. – Pursuit by the Americans. – The British harassed in New Jersey. – Extent of the British Line. – Washington’s Determination to Fight. – Preparations of both Armies for Battle. – British Camp near Monmouth Court-house. – Their Movement toward Sandy Hook. – Lee ordered to attack the British. – Approach of the American advanced Corps. – Conflicting Intelligence. – Preparations for Battle. – Plan of the Action. – The British attacked by Wayne. – Oswald’s Artillery. – Wayne checked by Lee. – Strange Conduct of Lee. – Lee’s Orders misunderstood. – Retreat of two Brigades. – A general Retreat ordered by Lee. – General Maxwell. – Forward Movement of the Division under Washington. – Meeting of Washington and Lee. – Harsh Words between them. – The pursuing Britons checked. – Courage and Skill of Washington. – Lee’s Conduct, Trial, and Sentence. – The fiercest of the Battle. – Picture by Mr. Custis. – Captain Molly. – Gallant Conduct of Lee. – Forming of the second Line. – View of the Battle-ground. – Advance of Grenadiers under Monckton. – Death of Monckton. – Close of the Day and the Battle. – Retreat of Sir Henry Clinton. – Character of the Monmouth Battle. – Clinton’s Official Dispatch criticised. – The Loss. – Sufferings of the Soldiers. – Visit to the Battle-ground. – Woodhull’s Monument. – William and Gilbert Tennent. – Inscription upon Woodhull’s Monument. – Capture and Execution of Captain Huddy. – Case of Captain Asgill. – Remarkable Case of William Tennent. – His own Description of his Feelings. – Loss of his Papers. – The Pine Robbers.


"The men of seventy-six in their good arm –

Sustain’d by Heaven – reposed a manly trust;
O’er all the land was sounded war’s alarm,
And vict’ry crown’d the valor of the just.
The fire of liberty fell down from heaven,
Till from our shores the enemy was driven;
And Freedom, with the land’s redemption shod,
Her benison flung o’er every hill and plain.
Few of that band of noble men remain;
Their spirits have obey’d the call of God,
And where they rest is deem’d a hallow’d sod.
Their perils fearful – measureless their gain!
While love of home the freeman’s breast shall fill,
Their fame shall cause the freeman’s breast to thrill."


Valley Forge! How dear to the true worshiper at the shrine of Freedom is the name of Valley Forge! There, in the midst of frost and snows, disease and destitution, Liberty erected her altar; and in all the world’s history we have no record of purer devotion, holier sincerity, or more pious self-sacrifice, than was there exhibited in the camp of Washington. The courage that nerves the arm on the battle-field, and dazzles by its brilliant but evanescent flashes, pales before the steadier and more intense flame of patient endurance, the sum of the sublime heroism displayed at Valley Forge. And if there is a spot on the face of our broad land whereon Patriotism should delight to pile its highest and most venerated monument, it should be in the bosom of that little vale on the bank of the Schuylkill. Toward its "templed hills," consecrated by the presence and sufferings of those who achieved our independence, we journeyed, filled with the pleasant emotions of a pilgrim approaching the place he most adores.

We crossed the Schuylkill at Norristown, a little after sunrise, and took the road leading to Valley Forge by the way of "The King of Prussia Tavern," a half-way locality, famous for its good cheer long before the Revolution. There hung its sign, emblazoned with a figure of a noble-looking warrior on horseback, ancient enough in its appearance to warrant the belief that it creaked in the breeze when the officers of Howe refreshed themselves there with flip from the hands of old Harman de Vriest. 1 The country through which we rode is broken but fertile, every where abounding with iron. Here, also, large heaps of quarried ore flanked the road in various places, and for many furlongs the highway had a ferruginous pavement. Descending a long and steep hill, sloping northward, we came suddenly upon the little village of Valley Forge before we were aware of its proximity. It is situated in Chester county, on the west side of the Schuylkill, between six and seven miles above Norristown, in a deep, short hollow, scooped out from a low, rugged mountain, and opening upon the great valley which stretches away toward Phœnixville. A small creek runs through the little valley, turning, in its course, the water-wheel of a cotton factory, which stands upon the site of the old forge of Isaac Potts. 2


Upon the mountainous flanks of this little valley, Washington established his winter quarters in 1777-78. His own residence was at the house of Mr. Isaac Potts, a Quaker preacher. It is a substantial stone dwelling, situated near the mouth of the creek. It was occupied, when I visited it [November, 1848.], by James Jones, a member of the Society of Friends, who was then eighty-three years old. He was quite feeble; but his wife, a cheerful old lady of nearly the same age, was the reverse, and, with vigorous step, proceeded to show us the interior of the building. Washington’s room was small indeed. In the deep east window, whence he could look out upon a large portion of his camp upon the neighboring slopes, are still preserved the cavity and little trapdoor, arranged by the commander-in-chief as a private depository for his papers. It answered the purpose admirably; for even now the visitor would not suspect that the old blue sill upon which he was leaning to gaze upon the hallowed hills, might be lifted and disclose a capacious chest. Mr. Jones and his wife were not residents at Valley Forge when the Americans were encamped there, and hence they had no interesting traditions of their own experience.

Near the head-quarters of Washington were the ruins of an old flour-mill, whose clack was heard before the Revolution, nor ceased until within a few years. Immediately after the battle of Brandywine, and previous to the encampment here, the Americans had made a considerable deposit of stores at this mill. Howe sent a detachment of British troops to seize them; but Washington, anticipating this attempt, had sent Lieutenant-colonel (afterward General) Hamilton, and Captain (afterward General) Henry Lee, with a small troop of horse for the purpose of destroying these stores. Hamilton, with proper precaution, stationed two videttes upon the southern hill overlooking the valley, and also secured a flat bottomed boat on which to cross the Schuylkill, in the event of the sudden appearance of the enemy. The troops had crossed the mill-race, and were about to commence the work of demolition, when the alarm-guns of the videttes were heard, and they were seen sweeping down the hill, closely pursued by some British dragoons. Four of the American horsemen, with Hamilton, took to the boat; while Lee, with the other four, and the videttes, crossed the bridge and escaped, amid a shower of bullets from the enemy. Hamilton and his party were also fired upon, but were unharmed. Lee was fearful that his comrades, with Hamilton, were killed or made prisoners, for he heard volley after volley fired from the carbines of the enemy, while there was only an occasional response from his friends. Lee dispatched a dragoon to the commander-in-chief, describing what had occurred, and expressing his anxious fears for the safety of Hamilton and his men. While Washington was reading Lee’s letter, Hamilton rode up, and with quite as much distress depicted in his face as the former had exhibited in his note, expressed his fears that his friend Lee was cut off. Washington quieted his apprehensions by handing him Lee’s letter.


From the village we rode to the summit of the hill on the south, whereon the main portion of the American army was quartered. Upon the brow of the hill, on the spot where Washington’s marquee was planted on the day of his arrival there, 5 Mr. Charles H. Rogers, who owns the cotton factory, and much of the landed property in the vicinity, has erected an observatory, about forty feet in height. It is a very neat structure of wood, of an octagon form, with a spiral stair-case in the center, by which an ascent is made to the open gallery on the top. From that elevation is obtained a fine view of a large portion of the camping-ground. Here let us turn to the historic page and seek its instructions.

When it was decided that Whitemarsh was not a proper place for the winter encampment of the American army, Washington, as usual, requested his general officers to communicate to him in writing their sentiments respecting the most eligible site for the purpose. A council of war was held on the 30th of November [1777.], at which a wide difference of opinion prevailed as to the locality and the manner of cantoning the troops. Some proposed occupying Wilmington for the purpose; others suggested hutting them in the valley of Tredyffrin, a few miles west of the Schuylkill; and others advocated the expediency of stationing them in a line from Reading to Lancaster. So various and contradictory were the opinions and counsels, that unanimity could not be hoped for, and it was necessary for Washington to act according to his own judgment and upon his own responsibility. He decided to form an encampment at Valley Forge, where he might be near enough to the British army in Philadelphia to watch its movements, keep its foraging parties in check, and protect the country from the depredations of the enemy.

The patriot army, which left Whitemarsh on the 11th of December [1777.], reached Valley Forge on the 19th. In general orders, issued two days previously, Washington directed the preparation of huts for the comfort of the soldiers, assuring them, at the same time, "that he himself would share in the hardships and partake of every inconvenience." On the 18th the whole army engaged in religious services, according to a recommendation of Congress that it should be observed as a day of public thanksgiving and praise; and on the morning of the 19th they spread over the hills at Valley Forge, and began the work of hutting. All was activity among those who were sufficiently clad to allow them to work in the open air. Some cut down trees, others fashioned them, and in a few days the barracks, erected upon the plan of a regular city, was completed. 6 Until his soldiers were thus comfortably lodged, Washington occupied his cheerless marquee; after which he made his quarters at the house of Mr. Potts.

Near Washington’s quarters, on a gentle elevation by the river, were stationed his Body, or Life Guard, 7 under the command of Charles Gibbs, of Rhode Island. A little to the right of the guard was the brigade of General M‘Intosh; and further up the hills were the brigades of Huntington, Conway, and Maxwell. Between these and M‘Intosh’s brigade were a redoubt, and slight intrenchments; and directly in front of them was a line of abatis. Nearer the Schuylkill, and on the top of the hill, was the brigade of General Varnum, near a star redoubt. At a distance of about a mile, and forming a line from the Schuylkill to Valley Creek, was the main portion of the army, under Brigadiers Muhlenberg, Weedon, Paterson, Learned, Glover, Poor, Wayne, Scott, and Woodford, with a line of intrenchments in front. The artificers of the army were on the north side of the creek, opposite the general’s quarters; and near the cotton factory was the army bake-house. There was also an irregular line of intrenchments along the brow of the hill, on the south side of the creek. Not far southward of Rogers’s observatory was a redoubt, and near it was Knox’s artillery. The remains of this redoubt are yet very prominent in the woods on the right side of the road leading from Valley Forge to Paoli; also, the redoubt on the left wing of the encampment (now near the Reading rail-road) is well preserved, the forest protecting it from demolition.


Here, after an arduous campaign of four months, during which neither party had obtained a decided advantage, other than good winter quarters at Philadelphia on the part of the enemy, the shattered remains of the American army 9 vainly sought repose. They had marched and countermarched, day and night, in endeavoring to baffle the designs of a powerful enemy to their country and its liberties; now they were called upon, in the midst of comparative inaction, to war with enemies more insidious, implacable, and personal. Hunger and nakedness assailed that dreary winter camp with all their progeny of disease and woe. Thither, as we have seen, the soldiers came with naked and bleeding feet, and there they sat down where destitution held court, and ruled with an icy scepter. The prevalence of Toryism in the vicinity, the avaricious peculations of some unprincipled commissioners, the tardy movements of Congress in supplying provisions, and the close proximity of a powerful enemy, combined to make the procurement of provisions absolutely impracticable without a resort to force. 10 But few horses were in the camp; and such was the deficiency, in this respect, for the ordinary, as well as extraordinary occasions of the army, that the men, in many instances, cheerfully yoked themselves to vehicles of their own construction, for carrying wood and provisions when procured; while others performed the duty of pack-horses, and carried heavy burdens of fuel upon their backs. 11 As the winter advanced, their sufferings increased. On the 16th of February [1778.], Washington wrote to Governor Clinton, "For some days past there has been little less than a famine in the camp. A part of the army has been a week without any kind of flesh, and the rest three or four days. Naked and starving as they are, we can not enough admire the incomparable patience and fidelity of the soldiery, that they have not been, ere this, excited by their sufferings to a general mutiny and desertion." "The situation of the camp is such," wrote General Varnum to General Greene, on the 12th of February, "that in all human probability the army must dissolve. Many of the troops are destitute of meat, and are several days in arrears. The horses are dying for want of forage. The country in the vicinity of the camp is exhausted. There can not be a moral certainty of bettering our condition while we remain here. What consequences have we rationally to expect?" "It was with great difficulty," says Dr. Thacher (Journal, p. 126), "that men enough could be found in a condition fit to discharge the military camp duties from day to day; and for this purpose, those who were naked borrowed of those who had clothes." Unprovided with materials to raise their beds from the ground, the dampness occasioned sickness and death. "The army, indeed, was not without consolation," says Thacher, "for his excellency the commander-in-chief, whom every soldier venerates and loves, manifested a fatherly concern and fellow-feeling for their sufferings, and made every exertion in his power to remedy the evil, and to administer the much-desired relief." Yet, amid all this suffering day after day, surrounded by frost and snow (for it was a winter of great severity), patriotism was still warm and hopeful in the hearts of the soldiers, and the love of self was merged into the one holy sentiment, love of country. Although a few feeble notes of discontent were heard, 12 and symptoms of intentions to abandon the cause were visible, yet the great body of that suffering phalanx were content to wait for the budding spring, and be ready to enter anew upon the fields of strife in the cause of freedom. It was one of the most trying scenes in the life of Washington, but a cloud of doubt seldom darkened the serene atmosphere of his hopes. He knew that the cause was just and holy; and his faith and confidence in God as a defender and helper of right were as steady in their ministrations of vigor to his soul, as were the pulsations of his heart to his active limbs. 13 In perfect reliance upon Divine aid, he moved in the midst of crushed hopes, and planned brilliant schemes for the future.

While pressed with complicated cares incident to his exalted position and the condition of the army under his command, Washington was "wounded in the house of his friends." Jealous and ambitious men were conspiring to tarnish the fair fame of the commander-in-chief, to weaken the affections of the people for him, and to place the supreme military command in other hands. Among those designated at the time as the most conspicuous actors in this scheme were General Conway, a foreign officer of great pretensions, Generals Gates and Mifflin, Samuel Adams, with two or three others of the New England delegation in Congress, and one of the Virginia deputies. Whether the movement originated in personal ambition, or a sincere conviction of the necessity of making a change on account of the alleged "Fabian slowness" of Washington in his military movements, is a question of difficult solution. The measures adopted by the opponents of the chief were certainly the reverse of open, manly, generous, pure and disinterested patriotism, and deserve, as they received at the time, the unqualified reprobation of honest men. 14

It is believed that Conway was the most active man among the secret enemies of Washington. He was possessed of considerable literary abilities and military genius, and had the advantage of thirty years’ experience in the art of war. He was an Irishman by birth, but received his military education in the French service, where he was employed from his youth. He went, with many others, to the American commissioners in France to offer his services to Congress, and, encouraged by the injudicious promises of the ardent Silas Deane, he came to America with the full expectation of receiving the commission and pay of a major general. He was disappointed at the outset, for Congress gave him only the commission of a brigadier. Hoping for promotion, he joined the army under Washington at Morristown [May, 1777.]. Boastful, intriguing, presumptuous, and selfish, looking only to his personal advantage, and unprincipled in regard to the means by which his desires might be gratified, he greatly disgusted Washington, not only at the first interview, but throughout the whole campaign. When it was rumored that Conway was to be promoted by Congress to major general, Washington wrote a letter to a member of that body, remonstrating against it. This fact, coming to the ears of Conway, filled him with indignation and malice, and made him a fit instrument to be employed against the chief.

In November, Conway, perceiving no chance for promotion, offered his resignation, and asked permission to leave the army. Congress would not accept it, although aware of Washington’s opinion of him, and the enmity that existed, but appointed him inspector general of the army, with the rank of major general. This act is evidence that there was then an influence at work in the supreme Legislature unfriendly to the commander-in-chief. It can not be denied that faction was rife in the Continental Congress, and that the purity of purpose which controlled the acts of the first great assembly was alloyed, in an alarming degree, with personal and sectional interests. 15 Instead of strengthening the hands of the commander-in-chief when they most needed extraneous aid, men of influence were found in the army, in Congress, and among citizens, base enough, or blind enough, to attempt to weaken his power and accomplish his removal, either by a forced resignation of his command, or by actual supercedure by competent authority. Already Gates and Lee, Englishmen born, and officers in other wars, had shown themselves impatient at holding subordinate stations in the army, each deeming himself superior to Washington, and each thirsting for supreme command. The victory of Gates over Burgoyne at Saratoga, and the defeats of Washington in the Jerseys and Pennsylvania, were contrasted. That contrast tended to strengthen the pretensions of the former. Inconsiderate and ardent men in Congress lent their influence in favor of investing him with the supreme command. 16 The disappointed, irritated, and talented Conway was ready to foster discontent in the public mind; and he was doubtless the willing cat’s-paw of Gates or his friends in making covert attacks upon the military character of the commander-in-chief, calculated to injure his reputation as a general and patriot. So prominently does Conway appear in the whole transaction, that it is known in history as Conway’s cabal.

The first important movement in this conspiracy was the sending of anonymous letters to the president of Congress, and to Patrick Henry, then governor of Virginia. These letters were filled with complaints, insinuations, and exaggerated statements, ascribing the misfortunes of the army to the incapacity or ill-timed policy of the commander-in-chief. Similar letters were sent to different members of Congress, and, it is believed, to the presiding officers of some of the state Legislatures. Washington was early apprised of these secret machinations, but a patriotic jealousy of the public good made him suffer in silence. "My enemies," he said, in a letter to the president of Congress, when the matter became the subject of correspondence, "take an ungenerous advantage of me. They know the delicacy of my situation, and that motives of policy deprive me of the defense I might otherwise make against their insidious attacks. They know I can not combat their insinuations, however injurious, without disclosing secrets which it is of the utmost moment to conceal."

Early in November [1777.], the affair was presented to Washington in a definite shape. When Colonel Wilkinson was on his way to Congress (then in session at York, in Pennsylvania) from Saratoga, with Gates’s dispatches, announcing the surrender of Burgoyne, he stopped at the quarters of Lord Stirling, at Reading, and in the course of conversation while there, he repeated to Major M‘Williams, Stirling’s aid-de-camp, a part of the contents of a letter which Gates had received from Conway, containing strictures on the management of the army under Washington, accompanied by reflections disparaging to the chief. 17 Lord Stirling, prompted by a sense of duty, communicated to Washington the extracts from Conway’s letter, as repeated by Wilkinson. A correspondence between Washington, Gates, and Conway followed. Gates affected to be greatly distressed, and conjured Washington to aid him in discovering the villain who had betrayed his confidence in repeating the substance of private letters. Afterward he denied the genuineness of the extract, and called it "a wicked and malicious forgery." This assertion compromised the veracity of Wilkinson, who wrote to General Washington, indignantly repelling the ungenerous accusation of Gates, and affirming that he had truly given to Lord Stirling’s aid the substance of Conway’s letter. 18 Notwithstanding Gates denied the truth of the extract, he never fortified his assertion by producing the original. This fact, and other things of like tenor, which proved the duplicity of Gates, were severely commented upon by Washington, in reply to an explanatory letter from the former. Conway’s offensive letter was afterward seen by Mr. Laurens, president of Congress, and one or two others. The words were not were accurately represented by that officer.

Among other machinery early put in motion by the enemies of Washington, through the instrumentality of a faction in Congress, was the appointment of a new Board of War [October 17, 1777.], of which Gates and Mifflin were members, the former being placed at its head. This board was invested with large powers, and, by delegated authority, assumed the control of affairs which properly belonged to the commander-in-chief, 19 or which, at least, ought to have his sanction. One of its first acts was to recommend to Congress an invasion of Canada. This expedition was planned by Gates, approved by Congress, and La Fayette was appointed to the command, without Washington being consulted. The first intimation which the commander-in-chief had of the project was in a letter from the Board of War, inclosing one to La Fayette, informing him of his appointment [January, 1778.]. No doubt this was a stroke of policy to win the marquis to the interest of the faction. They little understood the character of that young devotee of freedom. He deeply felt the disrespect manifested toward his beloved general, and immediately carried the letter to Washington. 20 He told the chief that he saw the whole scope of the artifice, and asked his advice. The commander-in-chief advised him to accept the appointment, for it was an honorable position, although he could not see how the expedition was to be accomplished. Thus encouraged, La Fayette hastened to York, 21 where Congress was in session, to receive his instructions. He was greatly flattered by Gates’s friends, and the Board of War promised him every thing necessary for the success of the expedition. The marquis soon perceived the artfully-concealed hostility to Washington; 22 and when he found that General Conway was appointed his second in command, he was convinced that the enterprise had been planned for the purpose of separating him from the general, to whom he was ardently attached. He succeeded in having the Baron De Kalb, Conway’s senior in rank, appointed to the expedition, and, of course, the baron was second, and Conway the third in command.

La Fayette hastened to Albany, where he was promised men and stores for an immediate march into Canada; but, after waiting three months, and having his patience completely exhausted by the inefficiency of the Board of War, he returned to the camp at Valley Forge [April 4, 1778.], 23 under instructions from Congress "to suspend the irruption into Canada." Thus ended an injudicious and foolish scheme, if honestly planned; a wicked and treasonable scheme, if concerted by a faction to achieve its selfish purposes. It was also the termination of the conspiracy to elevate Gates to the chief command, by seducing the affections and confidence of the people from Washington. That great man stood firm in his integrity, and viewed with calmness the storm of opposition which at one time beat against him with menaces of danger. How extensive was the disaffection toward him among the officers of the army, and in Congress, it is difficult to determine, and it is equally difficult to fix a direct charge upon any individual of actual attempts to supersede Washington. The injudicious tattling of Wilkinson too soon unmasked a portion of the proceedings, and, as in the case of the Newburgh affair, many who were disposed to join in the cabal were alarmed and kept quiet, while the leaders were disconcerted, and affected innocence. It appears clear, however, that Gates, Mifflin, and Conway were, for a long time, engaged in endeavors to effect the removal of Washington from the chief command, and for this posterity will always utter its voice of censure. Gates and Mifflin, however, each made his disclaimer of other than a patriotic design to advance the true interests of his country, and denied the charge of a desire to displace Washington. When rumors of the affair went abroad among the people and the army, the public censure was so unequivocally expressed, that each man engaged in the matter was anxious to wipe the stain from his own escutcheon. 24

The true character of Conway, so early discovered by Washington, became at length well understood by Congress. He had perceived the increasing manifestation of dislike among the officers of the army, and their open deprecation of his conduct in relation to Washington, and in an impertinent and complaining letter to the president of Congress, he intimated a wish to resign. A motion to accept his resignation was immediately carried. Conway was astonished, and proceeded to York to ask to be restored. He said it was not his intention to resign, and attempted explanations, but the current of opinion was turned strongly against him, and his request was denied. He went to Philadelphia, and was there when the British evacuated it. His abusive language and offensive manners, heightened by irritation, involved him in difficulties with the American officers, and on the 4th of July [1778.] he fought a duel with General Cadwalader. He received a wound which it was believed would prove fatal. After lying in an uncertain state for more than a fortnight, and believing his end near, Conway wrote an apologetic letter to Washington, as a reparation for the personal injuries he had inflicted. 25 But he recovered from his wound and lived many years. Deserted by his former friends, deprived of employment, and every where despised by the people, he left the country before the close of the war, and returned to France. 26

General Conway was succeeded in the office of inspector general [May 5, 1778.] by the Baron Steuben, a veteran commander and disciplinarian from the army of Frederic the Great. He had served with distinction in the Prussian armies, and had retired from public life, when, in the summer of 1777, while on his way to England to visit some acquaintances, he saw, at Paris, his old friend the Count De St. Germaine, who persuaded him to go to America and enter the service of the Continental army. The French and Spanish ministers also urged him to espouse our cause, for they knew how much we needed the advantages of thorough military discipline. He consented, but, on ascertaining from Dr. Franklin that the American commissioners had no authority to enter into explicit stipulations respecting rank and pay, he abandoned the project and returned to Germany. A few days after his arrival at Rastadt, the Baron received a letter from Beaumarchais, the financial agent between the United States and France, pressing anew the proposal of the ministers, and informing him that a vessel was about to depart from Marseilles, in which he could have a passage to America. The Count De St. Germaine assured him that satisfactory arrangements could be made. Steuben returned to Paris, and, it being represented to him that letters from Dr. Franklin to the president of Congress and to Washington would be sufficient to insure him all he might require, he consented. Ample funds for his immediate purpose was supplied by Beaumarchais, and on the 26th of Sept. the baron embarked for America. He landed at Portsmouth, in New Hampshire, on the 1st of December, whence he journeyed to York, where Congress was in session. When his papers were read, Congress adopted a complimentary resolution, accepted his services, and, at the urgent solicitation of Washington, appointed him inspector general of the army, with the rank and pay of major general. 27 He had already joined the Americans at Valley Forge as a volunteer, and, under his rigid system of discipline, a great and salutary change was soon visible in the army. His appointment was, therefore, not more complimentary to himself than useful to the Continentals. Before the breaking up of the encampment at Valley Forge and the pursuit of the enemy across West Jersey, where the battle of Monmouth occurred, the ill-disciplined army of patriots had acquired much of the skill in maneuvers and dignity of carriage and manner of the veteran soldiers of Europe. As a disciplinarian, a brave soldier, and a generous and warm-hearted friend to America, none ranked higher than the Baron Steuben; his services were invaluable. 28 Our regulars were never beaten in a fair fight after their discipline at Valley Forge.

It was at Valley Forge, while surrounded by his suffering soldiers, that Washington, in connection with his officers, devised a plan for reforming present abuses in the army, and to secure the future welfare of the soldiers. He made strong appeals to Congress on the subject, and on the 10th of January [1778.] that body appointed a committee, consisting of Messrs. Dana, Reed, Folsom, Carroll, and Gouverneur Morris, to proceed to Valley Forge. The commander-in-chief laid before the committee a memoir extending to fifty folio pages, containing the sentiments of himself and officers. This formed the basis of a report which they made to Congress, after remaining nearly three months in camp. Their report was, in the main, adopted. There was one point, however, upon which there was a difference of opinion. Washington urged the necessity, as well as equity, of insuring to the officers of the army half-pay for life. He wrote many letters to members of Congress on this point, disclaiming all personal interest (for he had repeatedly declared that he would receive no compensation for his own services), but pleading earnestly for his companions in arms. His representations were so judicious and forcible, that, after much discussion and delay, Congress adopted a plan of half-pay for life, by a small majority. The vote was afterward reconsidered, and a compromise resolution was proposed. By the final decision, the officers were to receive half-pay for the term of seven years, and a gratuity of eighty dollars was to be given to each non-commissioned officer and private who should continue in the service until the end of the war. It was only by such manifestations of a desire on the part of Congress to deal justly by the army that it was prevented from dissolution in the spring of 1778.

During the encampment of the Americans at Valley Forge and of the British in Philadelphia, the latter sent out parties, at various times, to plunder the people, and break up the feeble posts of the Republicans. Among the most active troops in these enterprises were the Queen’s Rangers, 29 commanded by Major (afterward Lieutenant-colonel) Simcoe. One of these expeditions, in which Simcoe was engaged, was sent out from Philadelphia in February [1778.]. It consisted of a detachment of about five hundred troops, under the command of Colonel Abercrombie, of the fifty-second regiment. They went to Salem, in New Jersey, by water, where they remained a few days reconnoitering, with a view of ascertaining the position of Wayne, who was then actively employed in that state in procuring horses and provisions for the American army. Wayne was compelled to exercise great vigilance and dexterity to prevent being surprised by the enemy on these occasions.

On the 17th of March another British force, mustering between twelve and fifteen hundred men, composed chiefly of Scotchmen, under the command of Colonel Charles Mawhood and his majors, Simcoe and Sims, marched into Salem, where they were joined by a large number of Tories. 30 From these Colonel Mawhood learned that about three hundred American militia, under Colonel Benjamin Holmes, were posted on the south side of Alloway’s Creek, at Quintan’s Bridge, about three miles from Salem. Mawhood determined to beat up their quarters, and, as he publicly declared, "chastise the rebels." He sent out detachments to procure horses, on which he mounted his best men. Holmes, in the mean while, was on the alert. Anticipating an attack, he placed videttes at various points to watch the movements of the enemy, while he prepared to dispute their progress at Quintan’s Bridge.


A A, the American redoubts; B, a small detachment of the enemy masking the bridge; C, Simcoe’s Rangers in Wetherby’s house; D, another detachment under Captain Saunders, in ambuscade; E, a portion of the Rangers secreted in a wood; F, a detachment of the enemy making a feigned retreat; G, the Americans after crossing the bridge; H H, sally of the British light infantry, and pursuit of the Rangers; I, flight of the Americans; O O, Alloway’s Creek. The straight double lines passing perpendicularly across the map indicate the main road to Salem.

Before daylight on the morning of the 18th [March, 1778.], Major Simcoe and his Rangers were sent out, and hidden in ambush within half a mile of the bridge. They took possession of a two story brick house occupied by a Whig, named Wetherby, and drove his family into the cellar. In that house, and in a deep ravine and tangled swamp near, Simcoe and his men were secreted. The Americans had thrown up a strong breast-work on each side of the road near Quintan’s Bridge; and when they discovered a portion of the enemy in the morning, on the opposite side of the stream, they were anxious to cross over and attack them. The prudent officers opposed the proposition as rash. Captain Smith, the senior officer present, was less cautious, and determined to push on. He led the way, and, in a confused march, they crossed the creek, neglecting the proper duties of vigilant men in examining places where an enemy might be concealed. 31 A portion of the enemy made a feigned retreat on the approach of the patriots, who were thus decoyed, unsuspicious of danger, far from the bridge. When they had advanced some yards beyond Wetherby’s house, the concealed enemy arose from their ambush, and, with shouts and the beating of drums, poured upon the Americans a destructive fire from all points. They were thrown into great confusion, and fled toward the bridge, fighting gallantly all the way in small squads. Although furiously attacked in flank and rear, they made good their retreat across the bridge, with a loss of between thirty and forty of their companions, most of whom were drowned in the creek. 32

At the moment when the Americans commenced their flight, Colonel Hand, of the Cumberland militia, who had been informed of the presence of the enemy, arrived with two pieces of cannon, and posted his men in the trenches which the Americans had left a short time before. By a well-directed fire, he checked the pursuing British, and prevented the Americans being cut to pieces. The draw of the bridge was cut away, and the pursuers were foiled. 33 Colonel Mawhood, chagrined at the failure of Simcoe to dislodge the Americans at Quintan’s Bridge, determined to attack another post at Hancock’s Bridge with his whole force. The Americans, on the night of their retreat, entered into a solemn compact, agreeing that "no British soldier should set his foot or eat bread on that side of Alloway’s Creek while there was a man left to defend the soil." They properly apprehended a great augmentation of the British force, and made preparations to meet it. Mawhood intrusted the expedition against the patriots at Hancock’s Bridge to the direction of Major Simcoe.


That officer, in secretly reconnoitering, ascended a tree, and from it made a sketch of a two story brick house near the bridge, owned by Judge Hancock, a Quaker and Loyalist, and formed therefrom a plan of attack. On the night of the 20th [March, 1778.], the British marched to Salem, and, in flat-boats, proceeded to the Delaware, and thence to Alloway’s Creek, up which they pushed until within a convenient distance from Hancock’s Bridge, when they debarked. It was a very dark night; not a star was to be seen, and heavy scuds, freighted with rain, came up from the sea. Simcoe sent the boats back to prevent the retreat of his men, and artfully concealed from them a knowledge of the dangers which awaited them. Every thing depended upon a surprise. Through marshes, some times up to their knees in water, they marched two miles before they reached the solid earth. In a wood, upon dry land. Simcoe formed his men for an attack, and then commenced his march in silence. The main body passed along the public road toward Hancock’s house, while Captain Saunders, with a small detachment, ambuscaded the dike that led to Quintan’s Bridge. Captain Dunlop was detached to the rear of Hancock’s house, in which it was supposed the American officers were quartered, with directions to force, occupy, and barricade it, as it commanded the bridge. There were several stone houses and cottages near, and detachments were arranged to attack and take possession of them. The inmates of Hancock’s house were unsuspicious of danger. Fortunately for the patriots, a large proportion of them had quitted the place the evening before, leaving only about twenty men as a garrison. The surprise was complete. While all were sleeping, the invaders approached, and simultaneously the front and back doors of the house were forced. All within perished; not even the Tory owner escaped. 35


This and the preceding map are reduced copies of those published in Simcoe’s Journal of the Operations of the Queen’s Rangers. A, is Hancock’s house; B, the bridge which the Americans had broken down; C C C, march of the Rangers through the village; D, the enemy’s advanced guard; E, Captain Dunlop detached to the rear of the house; F, Captain Saunders, to ambuscade the dike and take up its bridge; G, Lieutenant-colonel Mitchell and the 27th Regiment; H H, Alloway’s Creek.


A patrol of seven men, who had been sent down the creek, were surprised, and all but one killed. The British, after committing some depredations in the neighborhood, returned to the mouth of Alloway’s Creek and sailed for Philadelphia. 36 The affair at Hancock’s Bridge was unmitigated murder. Some who were massacred were not fighting men; no resistance was made, and yet those who begged for quarters were inhumanly slain. The chief perpetrators were unprincipled Tories – the blood-hounds of the Revolution.

A ray of light from France beamed upon the American army while it was encamped at Valley Forge. It was preceded by a faint gleam from England, and a glimmer upon our own shores. That ray was the intelligence that France had acknowledged the independence of the colonies, and entered into a treaty of amity with them; 37 that gleam was the arrival of Lord North’s conciliatory bills; that glimmer was the advent and first procedures of commissioners bearing the olive branch of reconciliation. The first event has been already noticed; 38 the two latter have also been referred to, and have an intimate relation to each other.

The position assumed by France toward the revolted colonies greatly embarrassed the British ministry, and the sagacious Lord North was obliged to stoop from his haughty stilts and talk of concessions, contending, at the same time, that these concessions "ought not to be considered as the tardy result of defeat or weakness." He produced a conciliatory plan on the 17th of February [1778.], eleven days after the treaty between France and the United States had been signed. It was contained in two bills, one "for declaring the intentions of the Parliament of Great Britain concerning the exercise of the right of imposing taxes within his majesty’s colonies in North America;" the other, "to enable his majesty to appoint commissioners, with sufficient powers to treat, consult, and agree upon the means of quieting the disorders now subsisting in certain of the colonies, plantations, and provinces of North America." By the first bill he designed to quiet the minds of the Americans in regard to taxation; by the second, he intended to grant the royal commissioners more ample powers than those formerly intrusted to Lord Howe and his brother. 39 He proposed to allow them to treat with Congress as if it were a legal body, and competent to bind all the states by its acts and negotiations; to treat with the conventions or provincial Congresses; with individuals in their actual civil and military capacities, without any cavil in addressing them according to the rank held under Congress; 40 to suspend hostilities; intermit the operation of laws; grant pardons, immunities, and rewards; restore charters and constitutions, and nominate governors, judges, magistrates, &c., until the king’s pleasure should be known. It was also proposed that a renunciation of the independence of the colonies should not be insisted upon, nor debated, until a definitive treaty had received final ratification by the king and Parliament. The commissioners were to be instructed to negotiate for a reasonable and moderate contribution toward the common defense of the empire, when reunited; but this was not to be insisted upon as a sine qua non. Such is an outline of North’s conciliatory plan, which, if it had been presented two years before, would probably have been accepted by the Americans.


These bills met with great opposition in Parliament, and excited a long and stormy debate. The question assumed the distinct form of a proposition to dismember the British empire, by allowing the American colonies to withdraw as independent states. This proposition was affirmatively supported as the only sure means of detaching the colonies from France, the ancient enemy of England. The Earl of Chatham (William Pitt) vehemently opposed it. Though a warm friend of the Americans, he could not bear the thought of their separation from the mother country, and, with all the strength of his eloquence, he denounced the proposition. On the 7th of April [1778.], the debates on the question ran high, and Chatham became greatly excited. Sickness and age had broken his physical strength, but the fire of his intellect burned as clear as ever. He came into the House of Lords, that day, wrapped in flannel, and leaning upon two friends; and when he arose to speak, at the conclusion of a speech by Lord Weymouth, he leaned upon crutches. "I thank God," he said, with a trembling voice, "that I have been enabled to come here this day to perform my duty, and to speak on a subject which has so deeply impressed my mind. I am old and infirm; I have one foot, more than one foot, in the grave; I am risen from my bed to stand up in the cause of my country; perhaps never again to speak in this House." A deep and solemn silence pervaded the assembly as he uttered these words; gradually his voice assumed its wonted strength and harmony, and with all the power and beauty of the oratory of his best days, he addressed the House. "My lords," he continued, "I rejoice that the grave has not closed upon me; that I am still alive to lift up my voice against the dismemberment of this ancient and most noble monarchy. Pressed down as I am by the hand of infirmity, I am little able to assist my country in this most perilous juncture; but, my lords, while I have sense and memory, I will never consent to deprive the royal offspring of the house of Brunswick, the heirs of the Princess Sophia, of their fairest inheritance. Where is the man that will dare to advise such a measure? My lords, his majesty succeeded to an empire as great in extent as its reputation was unsullied. Shall we tarnish the luster of this nation by an ignominious surrender of its rights and fairest possessions? Shall this great kingdom, that has survived, whole and entire, the Danish depredations, the Scottish inroads, and the Norman conquest – that has stood the threatened invasion of the Spanish Armada – now fall prostrate before the house of Bourbon? Surely, my lords, this nation is no longer what it was! Shall a people that, fifteen years ago, were the terror of the world, now stoop so low as to tell their ancient, inveterate enemy, ‘Take all we have, only give us peace?’ It is impossible! I wage war with no man or set of men. I wish for none of their employments; nor would I co-operate with men who still persist in unretracted error; who, instead of acting on a firm, decisive line of conduct, halt between two opinions, where there is no middle path. In God’s name, if it is absolutely necessary to declare either for peace or war, and the former can not be preserved with honor, why is not the latter commenced without hesitation? I am not, I confess, well informed of the resources of this kingdom; but I trust it has still sufficient to maintain its just rights, though I know them not. But, my lords, any state is better than despair. Let us, at least, make one effort; and if we must fall, let us fall like men!" As Chatham sat down, his brother-in-law, Lord Temple, said to him, "You forgot to mention what we talked of; shall I get up?" "No, no," replied Chatham, "I will do it by-and-by." The Duke of Richmond then arose, and replied to Chatham. When he sat down, the great orator attempted to rise, but the violence of his indignation overcame him, and he swooned. He was caught in friendly arms, and the whole House, in great agitation, crowded around him with anxious solicitude. 42 He was conveyed to the house of a friend in Downing Street, and the following day he was carried home to his country seat at Hayes. That speech was, indeed, his last, for, in a little more than a month afterward, he expired. Parliament voted him a public funeral and a monument [May 11, 1778.]; and, after settling upon his family an annuity of twenty thousand dollars a year, a grant was made of one hundred thousand dollars to pay off his lordship’s debts. The last words of the great orator were agreeable to the royal ears, and the king was pleased to bestow his bounty when "the trumpet of sedition" 43 was silenced.

The conciliatory bills arrived in America about the middle of April. Governor Tryon, of New York, caused them to be printed and extensively circulated. As they did not positively propose the independence of the colonies as a basis of negotiation, they were regarded by the patriots with suspicion, and were denominated the "deceptionary bills." "Nothing short of independence, it appears to me, will do," Washington wrote. "A peace on other terms would, if I may be allowed the expression, be a peace of war." Congress entertained the same sentiments. As soon as draughts of the bills were received by that body, they were referred to a committee. When they reported [April 22, 1778.], some discussion arose, but it was unanimously resolved that the terms offered were totally inadequate, and that no advances on the part of the British government for a peace would be met, unless, as a preliminary step, they either withdrew their armies and fleets, or acknowledged, unequivocally, the independence of the United States. 44 This report, and other resolutions adopted on the following day, were printed with the "deceptionary bills," and circulated throughout the country. 45

The king’s ship of war Trident arrived in the Delaware on the 4th of June, having on board three commissioners, appointed under the provisions of North’s conciliatory bills These commissioners were the Earl of Carlisle, George Johnstone, formerly governor of West Florida, 46 and William Eden, a brother of Sir Robert Eden, the governor of Maryland from 1769 until the Revolution. They were accompanied by the celebrated Adam Ferguson, professor of Moral Philosophy in the University of Edinburgh, as secretary. General Howe was directed to join the commissioners, but, as he had returned home, Sir Henry Clinton took his place. That officer wrote to Washington, requesting a passport for Dr. Ferguson to proceed to Congress at York, with dispatches. The request was declined on the ground that the matter was wholly of a civil nature, and the letter was forwarded to Congress. The commissioners then sent their papers, by a flag, directly to the president. Among these was an address to that body. The president was desired to read it immediately. When he came to a part containing strong expressions of disrespect for the King of France, he was interrupted. The House, after some debate, directed him to read no further, but to seal the papers. The subject was resumed in debate two days afterward, when a reply was ordered to be returned to the commissioners, signed by the president, the substance of which was in accordance with the former proceedings in relation to North’s bills. They were informed that no reconciliation could possibly be effected on the proffered terms, but, when the king should manifest a sincere desire for peace, "by an explicit acknowledgment of the independence of the states, or the withdrawing of his fleets and armies, Congress would be ready to enter into a treaty therefor." It was not in the power of the commissioners to accede to either of these propositions, nor was it the intention of Parliament to grant them. 47


The proceedings of Congress previous to the arrival of the commissioners 49 had effectually barred the door to negotiations. The commissioners remained in the country until October, and made various attempts by art, and by official intercourse, to gain their object. They failed, however, and finally returned to England. Just previous to their departure, they issued a long manifesto and proclamation to Congress, to the state Legislatures, and to all the inhabitants of the States, in which they briefly recapitulated the steps they had taken to accomplish a reconciliation; denounced the rebels, and warned the people of the total and material change which was to take place in the future conduct of hostilities. Should they still persist in refusing obedience, they were menaced with all the extremes of war. Packages of these manifestoes, with one printed on vellum, and signed by Clinton, Carlisle, and Eden, were made up to be sent to Congress and the several states by a flag. Congress declared that the agents employed to distribute them were not entitled to the protection of a flag, and recommended the several states to seize and imprison them. Congress also published a manifesto, which, after charging the commissioners with mean attempts to bribe members of its body and other persons; with deceit and servility of adulation, they concluded by solemnly declaring, "If our enemies presume to execute their threats, or persist in their present career of barbarity, we will take such exemplary vengeance as shall deter others from like conduct. We appeal to that God who searcheth the hearts of men for the rectitude of our intentions; and in his holy presence declare, that, as we are not moved by any light and hasty suggestions of anger or revenge, so, through every possible change of fortune, we will adhere to this our determination."

The American army remained encamped at Valley Forge until the 18th of June [1778.], when intelligence reached them that the enemy had evacuated Philadelphia and crossed the Delaware into New Jersey. Sir Henry Clinton had succeeded Sir William Howe as generalissimo, and took command of the British army on the 11th of May. In the instructions to Clinton as Howe’s successor, the ministry ordered him to evacuate Philadelphia. He had resolved to do so as early as the 23d of May, and to proceed by water to New York. Fearing he might be delayed by head winds, and that Washington would push forward to and capture New York city, he changed his plan and determined to proceed by land. In the mean while, Washington, informed of the evident intention of the enemy to evacuate Philadelphia, placed his army in a condition to march immediately at the beating of the drum. His condition was very much changed for the better. Major-general Charles Lee had been exchanged for Prescott, and was now in camp, and reinstated in his old command as second general officer of the army. 50 The troops fit for service numbered about fifteen thousand; and the warmth and comforts of pleasant summer time, co-operating with the good news from France, made the soldiers cheerful and hopeful. 51

Sir Henry Clinton made his preparations for evacuation with so much adroitness, that Washington was not certified of his destination until he had actually crossed the Delaware. Suspecting, however, that he would take a land route for New York, the commander-in-chief had dispatched Maxwell’s brigade to co-operate with General Dickinson and the New Jersey militia in retarding the march of the enemy. It was a little before dawn on the morning of the 18th of June [1778.], when the British army left the city, and commenced crossing the Delaware at Gloucester Point. 52 At ten o’clock the rear-guard landed; and toward evening that motley host of British regulars and Loyalists, Hessians, and a crowd of camp-followers, were encamped around Haddonfield, on the south side of Cooper’s Creek, five miles southeast of Camden.

When intelligence of the evacuation reached Washington, he broke up his encampment at Valley Forge, and, with almost his whole army, pushed forward in pursuit. General Arnold, whose wound would not allow him to engage in active service, took possession of Philadelphia with a small detachment, while the main army marched rapidly toward the Delaware. The admirable arrangements of the quarter-master general’s department, under the able management of General Greene, enabled the army to move with facility. The divisions of Greene and Wayne first crossed the Delaware at Coryell’s Ferry [June 20, 1778.], a short distance above the place where Washington passed to the attack of the Hessians at Trenton eighteen months previously; and these were followed by the chief and the remainder of the army on the two following days. Colonel Morgan was sent with six hundred men to re-enforce Maxwell. The army halted at Hopewell, within five miles of Trenton and there Washington called another council of war [June 24.]. 53 The tardy movements of Clinton induced the belief that he was maneuvering to entice the Americans into a general action. "Will it be advisable to hazard a general engagement?" was the question which the chief proposed to the council. The decision was a negative; but it was recommended to send detachments to harass the enemy on their march. General Lee was opposed to this measure, and objected to any interference whatever with the enemy. Pursuant to the recommendation of the council, Washington ordered Morgan’s corps to gain the rear of the enemy’s right flank, Maxwell’s brigade to hang on their left, and Brigadier-general Scott, 54 with about fifteen hundred chosen men, to annoy them on the rear and flanks. To these were added the New Jersey militia under General Dickinson, and a party of volunteers from Pennsylvania under Cadwallader.

Sir Henry Clinton intended to march from Haddonfield directly to Brunswick, and embark his troops on the Raritan River. He moved on slowly, by the way of Mount Holly, 55 to Crosswicks and Allentown. There being but a single road, his long train of baggage-wagons and bat-horses, together with his troops, made a line nearly twelve miles in extent. He was obliged to build bridges and causeways over the streams and marshes, and his progress, consequently, was very tardy. When at Allentown, perceiving Washington almost on his front, Clinton changed his course, rather than risk a general action with all his encumbrances. Turning to the right, he took the road leading to Monmouth court-house and Sandy Hook, with the determination of embarking his troops at the latter place. The American army had now [June 25.] reached Kingston, on the Millstone River. General Lee was still strongly opposed to any interference with the movements of the enemy, and, being next in command to Washington, his opinions had considerable weight with the other officers. Yet six general officers were in favor of continued annoyances by detachments, and three of them (Greene, La Fayette, and Wayne) declared in favor of a general action. Washington was at first embarrassed by these divided opinions; but, relying upon his own judgment, which was strongly in favor of an engagement, he asked no further advice, but proceeded to make arrangements for a battle. He immediately ordered a detachment of one thousand men, under General Wayne, to join the troops nearest the enemy; gave General La Fayette the command of all the advanced parties, amounting to almost four thousand men, including the militia, 56 and moved forward with the main body to Cranberry [June 26, 1778.]. The weather was intensely hot, which circumstance, in connection with a heavy storm that commenced about nine in the morning, made it impossible to resume the march without injury to the troops.

Early on the morning of the 27th, La Fayette, with the advanced forces, proceeded to Englishtown, a hamlet about five miles westward of Monmouth court-house. Sir Henry Clinton was advised of the movements of the Americans, and, properly apprehending an attack upon his flanks and rear, changed the disposition of his line. He placed the baggage train in front, and his best troops, consisting of the grenadiers, light infantry, and chasseurs of the line, in the rear. The baggage of the whole army (in which term were included the bat-horses and wheel-carriages of every department) was placed under the charge of General Knyphausen. With his army thus arranged, Clinton encamped in a strong position near Monmouth court-house, secured on nearly all sides by woods and marshy grounds. His line extended, on the right, about a mile and a half beyond the court-house to the parting of the roads leading to Shrewsbury and Middletown, and on the left, along the road from Monmouth to Allentown, about three miles.

The alteration in the disposition of his line of march made by Sir Henry Clinton, obliged Washington to increase the number of his advanced corps, and accordingly he sent Major-general Lee with two brigades to join La Fayette at Englishtown, and, as senior officer, to take command of the whole division designed for making the first attack. The main army marched the same day [June 27.], and encamped within three miles of Englishtown; Morgan’s corps was left hovering on the British right; and about seven hundred militia, under Dickinson, menaced their left. Washington foresaw the increased strength the enemy would gain by reaching the heights of Middletown, which were about three miles in advance. To prevent them obtaining that advantage, he determined to attack their rear the moment they should attempt to move. For this purpose he ordered General Lee to make the necessary disposition, and to keep his troops in readiness to move at the shortest notice. Sir Henry Clinton, perceiving that an immediate action was inevitable, made preparations accordingly. The night of the 27th was one of great anxiety to both parties.

The 28th of June, 1778, a day memorable in the annals of the Revolution, was the Christian Sabbath. The sky was cloudless over the plains of Monmouth when the morning dawned, and the sun came up with all the fervor of the summer solstice. It was the sultriest day of the year; not a zephyr moved the leaves; nature smiled in her beautiful garments of flowers and foliage, and the birds carolled with delight, in the fullness of love and harmony. Man alone was the discordant note in the universal melody. He alone, the proud "lord of creation," claiming for his race the sole mundane possession of the Divine image, disturbed the chaste worship of the hour, which ascended audibly from the groves, the streams, the meadows, and the woodlands. On that calm Sabbath morning, in the midst of paradisal beauty, twenty thousand men girded on the implements of hellish war to maim and destroy each other – to sully the green grass and fragrant flowers with human blood

At about one o’clock in the morning [June 28.], Lee sent an order to General Dickinson to detach several hundred men as near the British lines as possible, as a corps of observation. Colonel Morgan was also directed to approach near enough to attack them on their first movement. Orders were likewise given to the other divisions of the advanced forces to make immediate preparations to march; and, before daylight, Colonel Grayson, 57 with his regiment, leading the brigades of Scott and Varnum, was in the saddle, and moving slowly in the direction of Monmouth court-house.

General Knyphausen, with the first division of the British troops, among which was the chief body of the Hessians, and the Pennsylvania and Maryland Loyalists, moved forward at daybreak. Sir Henry Clinton, with the other division, consisting of the flower of his army, 58 did not follow until eight o’clock. Dickinson observed the earliest movement, and sent an express to Lee, and to the commander-in-chief, the moment Knyphausen began his march. Washington immediately put the army in motion, and sent orders to General Lee to press forward and attack the enemy, unless there should be very powerful reasons to the contrary. This discretionary clause in the orders eventuated in trouble. Lee advanced immediately with the brigades of Wayne and Maxwell, and sent an order to Grayson to press forward and attack the pickets of the enemy as speedily as possible, while he himself pushed forward to overtake and support him. Grayson, with the two brigades, had passed the Freehold meeting-house, two miles and a half from Monmouth, when he received the order. Lee’s aid, who bore it, gave it as his opinion that he had better halt, for he had learned on the way that the main body of the British were moving to attack the Americans. This information was erroneous, but it caused Grayson to tarry. General Dickinson, who was posted on a height on the eastern side of a morass, near s in the plan, received the same intelligence, and communicated it to Lee, through the aid, on his return. Lee conformed to the reports, and, after posting two regiments of militia upon a hill southeast of the meeting-house, to secure a particular road, he pushed forward, with his staff, across the morass, at a narrow causeway near the parsonage indicated by an oblong upon the stream toward the left of the plan), and joined Dickinson upon the height. There conflicting intelligence was brought to him. At one moment it was asserted that the enemy had moved off with precipitation, leaving only a covering party behind; at another, that the whole army was filing off to the right and left to attack the Americans. While he was endeavoring to obtain reliable information on which to predicate orders, La Fayette arrived at the head of the main body of the advanced corps.


EXPLANATION OF THE Plan. – a a, position occupied by the British army the night before the battle. b, British detachment moving toward Monmouth. c c, British batteries. d d, Colonel Oswald’s American batteries. e, American troops formed near the court-house. f, first position taken by General Lee in his retreat. g, attack of a party of the British in the woods. h h, positions taken by General Lee. i, a British detachment. k, last position of the retreating troops on the west side of the marsh. m, army formed by General Washington after he met Lee retreating. n, British detachment. o. American battery. p, place of the principal action near the parsonage. r, first position of the British after the action. s, second position. t, place where the British passed the night after the battle. 1, the spot where Washington met Lee retreating. 2, a hedgerow. 3, the Freehold meeting-house, yet standing. A, Maxwell’s brigade; B, Wayne’s; C, Varnum’s; D, Scott’s. E and F, Jackson’s and Grayson’s regiments. G, Carr’s house. H, I, and J, the brigades of Maxwell and Scott, with the regiments of Grayson and Jackson, marching to the attack. K and L, Greene and Varnum. M, Lord Stirling. N, La Fayette; and O, Greene, with Washington. Lee’s march toward Monmouth court-house, the present village of Freehold, was north of the old road to Englishtown. The present road from Freehold to the meeting-house varies from the old one in some places, and is very nearly on a line with Lee’s retreat.

Having satisfied himself that no important force of the enemy was upon either flank, Lee determined to march on. His whole command now amounted to about four thousand troops, exclusive of Morgan’s corps and the Jersey militia. The broken country was heavily wooded to the verge of the plain of Monmouth. Under cover of the forest, Lee pressed forward until near the open fields, when he formed a portion of his line for action, and, with Wayne and others, rode forward to reconnoiter. From observations and intelligence, he concluded that the column of the British army which he saw deploying on the left were only a covering party of about two thousand men; and entertaining hopes that he might succeed in cutting them off from the main army, he maneuvered accordingly. Wayne was detached, with seven hundred men and two pieces of artillery, to attack the covering party in the rear; not, however, with sufficient vigor to cause them to retreat to the main body. Meanwhile Lee, with a stronger force, endeavored, by a short road leading to the left, to gain the front of the party. Small detachments were concealed in the woods, at different points on the enemy’s flanks, to annoy them.

At about nine o’clock in the morning, just as Wayne was prepared to make a descent upon the enemy, a party of American light horse, advancing on the right, observed the Queen’s Dragoons upon an eminence in the edge of a wood, parading as if they intended to make an attack. Lee ordered his light horse to allow the dragoons to approach as near as could be done with safety, and then to retreat to where Wayne was posted, and let him receive them. The maneuver was partially successful; the dragoons followed the retreating light horse, until fired upon by a party under Colonel Butler, ambushed in the edge of a wood, when they wheeled, and galloped off toward the main column. Wayne ordered Colonel Oswald to bring his two pieces of artillery to bear upon them, and then pushed forward himself, with his whole force, to charge the enemy with bayonets. 59 Colonel Oswald 60 crossed a morass, planted his guns on a small eminence (d), and opened a cannonade at the same time. Wayne was prosecuting his attack with vigor, and with every prospect of full success, when he received an order from Lee to make only a feigned attack, and not push on too precipitately, as that would subvert his plan of cutting off the covering party. Wayne was disappointed, chagrined, irritated; he felt that his commander had plucked the palm of sure victory from his hand; but, like a true soldier, he instantly obeyed, and withheld his troops, hoping that Lee would himself recover what his untimely order had lost. In this, too, the brave Wayne was disappointed; for only a portion of the troops on the right, under Lee, issued out of the wood in small detachments, about a mile below the courthouse, and within cannon-shot of the royal forces. At that instant Sir Henry Clinton was informed that the Americans were marching in force on both his flanks, with the evident design of capturing his baggage, then making a line of several miles in the direction of Middletown. To avert the blow, he changed the front of his army by facing about, and prepared to attack Wayne with so much vigor, that the Americans on his flanks would be obliged to fly to the succor of that officer. This movement was speedily made by Clinton, and a large body of cavalry soon approached cautiously toward the right of Lee’s troops. La Fayette perceiving this, and believing it to be a good opportunity to gain the rear of the division of the enemy marching against them, rode quickly up to Lee, and asked permission to make the attempt. "Sir," replied Lee, "you do not know British soldiers; we can not stand against them; we shall certainly be driven back at first, and we must be cautious." La Fayette replied, "It may be so, general; but British soldiers have been beaten, and they may be again; at any rate, I am disposed to make the trial." 61 Lee so far complied as to order the marquis to wheel his column by his right, and gain and attack the enemy’s left.

At the same time, he weakened Wayne’s detachment on the left, by ordering the regiments of Wesson, Stewart, and Livingston to the support of the right. He then rode toward Oswald’s battery to reconnoiter. At that moment, to his great astonishment, as he said, Lee saw a large portion of the British army marching back on the Middletown road toward the court-house. Apparently disconcerted, he immediately ordered his right to fall back. The brigades of Scott and Maxwell, 62 on the left, were already moving forward and approaching the right of the royal forces, who were pressing steadily on in solid phalanx toward the position occupied by Lee, with the apparent design of gaining Wayne’s rear and attacking the American right at the same moment. General Scott had left the wood, crossed a morass, and was forming for action on the plain, and Maxwell was preparing to do the same, when Lee ordered the former to re-enter the wood, arrange his column there, and wait for further directions. Perceiving the retrograde movement on the right, and perhaps mistaking the spirit of Lee’s order, Scott recrossed the morass, and retreated through the woods toward the Freehold meeting-house, followed by Maxwell. As soon as intelligence of this movement reached Lee, he sent an order to La Fayette to fall back to the court-house. The marquis obeyed, but with reluctance. As he approached the courthouse, he learned, with surprise and deep mortification, that a general retreat had begun on the right, under the immediate command of Lee, and he was obliged to follow. The British pursued them as far as the court-house, where they halted, while the Americans pressed onward across the morass above Carr’s house (G) to the broken eminences called the heights of Freehold, where they also halted. The heat was intense, and both parties suffered terribly from thirst and fatigue. In many places they sunk ankle-deep in the loose, sandy soil. Their rest was of short duration. The royal troops pressed forward; and Lee, instead of making a bold stand in his advantageous position, resumed his retreat toward the Freehold meeting-house. A panic seized the Republican troops, and over the broken country they fled precipitately and in great confusion, a large portion of them pressing toward the causeway over a broad morass, 63 where many perished; while others, overpowered by the heat, fell upon the earth, and were trampled to death in the sand by those pressing on behind them. In the first retreat, a desultory cannonade had been kept up by both parties; but now nothing was heard but a few musket-shots and the loud shouts of the pursuing enemy.

While these maneuvers in the vicinity of Monmouth court-house were occurring, Washington, with the reserve, was pressing forward to the support of Lee. When the latter made the discovery that a large covering party was in the rear of the royal army, and formed his plan to cut them off, he sent a messenger to the commander-in-chief, assuring him that success must follow. On the reception of this intelligence, Washington ordered the right wing, under General Greene, to march to the right, "by the new church," or Freehold meeting-house, to prevent the turning of that flank by the enemy, and to fall into the Monmouth road a small distance in the rear of the court-house," while he prepared to follow, with the left wing, directly in Lee’s rear, to support him. To facilitate the march of the men, and to contribute to their comfort on that sultry morning, they were ordered to disencumber themselves of their packs and blankets. Many laid aside their coats, and, thus relieved, prepared for battle.


While the chief was making this disposition near the Freehold meeting-house, a countryman, mounted on a fleet horse, came in hot haste from the direction of the contending forces. He brought the astounding intelligence that the Continental troops were retreating, with the enemy in close pursuit. The commander-in-chief could not credit the report, for he had heard only a few cannon-peals in the direction of the court-house, and he did not conceive it possible that Lee would retreat without first giving battle. He spurred forward, and, when about half way between the meeting-house and the morass, he met the head of the first retreating column. He was greatly alarmed on finding the advanced corps falling back upon the main army without notice, thereby endangering the order of the whole. Giving a hasty order to the commander of the first retreating division to halt upon an eminence, Washington, with his staff, pushed across the causeway to the rear of the flying column, where he met Lee (1) at the head of the second division of the retreating forces. The commander-in-chief was fearfully aroused by the conduct of that officer, and, as he rode up to Lee, he exclaimed, in words of bitter anger and tone of withering rebuke, "Sir, I desire to know what is the reason, and whence arises this disorder and confusion!" Stung, not so much by these words as by the manner of Washington, Lee retorted harshly, and a few angry words passed between them. It was no time to dispute, for the enemy was within fifteen minutes’ march of them. Wheeling his horse, Washington hastened to Ramsay and Stewart, in the rear, rallied a large portion of their regiments, and ordered Oswald, with his two pieces of cannon, to take post upon an eminence. By a well-directed fire from his battery, Oswald checked the pursuing enemy. The presence of the chief inspired the fugitives with courage, and within ten minutes after he appeared, the retreat was suspended, the troops rallied, and soon order appeared in the midst of the utmost confusion. Stewart and Ramsay formed under cover of a wood, and co-operated with Oswald in keeping the enemy at bay. While the British grenadiers were pouring their destructive volleys upon the broken ranks of the Americans, the voice of Washington seemed omnipotent with the inspiration of courage; it was a voice of faith to the despairing soldiers. Fearlessly he rode in the face of the iron storm, and gave his orders. The whole patriot army, which, half an hour before, seemed on the verge of destruction, panic-stricken and without order, was now drawn up in battle array, and prepared to meet the enemy with a bold and well-arranged front. This effected, Washington rode back to Lee, and, pointing to the rallied troops, said, "Will you, sir, command in that place?" "I will," eagerly exclaimed Lee. "Then," said Washington, "I expect you to check the enemy immediately." "Your command shall be obeyed," replied Lee; "and I will not be the first to leave the field." 65

Back to the main army Washington now hurried, and with wondrous expedition formed their confused ranks into battle order on the eminences on the western side of the morass. Lord Stirling was placed in command of the left wing; while General Greene, on receiving intelligence of Lee’s retreat, had marched back, and now took an advantageous position on the right of Stirling.

General Lee displayed all his skill and courage in obedience to the chief’s order to "check the enemy." A warm cannonade had commenced between the American and British artillery on the right of Stewart and Ramsay when Washington recrossed the morass to form the main army, while the royal light horse charged furiously upon the right of Lee’s division. At that moment Hamilton rode up to the Chief and said, "I will stay with you, my dear general, and die with you. Let us all die rather than retreat." But the enemy pressed so closely upon them with an overwhelming force, that the Americans were obliged to give way. As they emerged from the woods, the belligerents seemed completely intermingled.


From a Painting by George Washington Parke Custis, Esq.

The enemy next attacked Livingston’s regiment and Varnum’s brigade, which lined a hedgerow [2] that stretched across the open field in front of the causeway over the morass. Here the conflict raged severely for some time. Some American artillery took post on an eminence in rear of the fence, and played with power; 67 but the British cavalry, and a large body of infantry, skillful in the use of the bayonet, charging simultaneously upon the Americans, broke their ranks. Lee immediately ordered Varnum and Livingston, together with the artillery, to retreat across the morass, while Colonel Ogden, with his men drawn up in a wood near the causeway, gallantly covered the whole as they crossed. Lee was the last to leave the field, and brought off Ogden’s corps, the rear of the retreating troops, in admirable order. Instantly forming them in line upon the slope on the western side of the morass, he rode to Washington, and said, "Sir, here are my troops; how is it your pleasure that I should dispose of them?" The poor fellows had thus far borne the whole brunt of the battles and retreats of the day; Washington, therefore, ordered him to arrange them in the rear of Englishtown, while he prepared to engage the enemy himself with the fresh troops of the second and main division of the army.


The action now became general. The second line of the main army was speedily formed in the wood which covered the eminence on the western side of the morass; the left commanded by Lord Stirling, the right by General Greene, and the center by Washington himself. Wayne, with an advanced corps, was stationed upon an eminence, in an orchard, a few rods south of the parsonage, while a park of artillery was placed in battery on Comb’s Hill, beyond a marsh, on his right. This battery commanded the height on which the enemy was stationed, and did great service. The British, finding themselves warmly opposed in front, attempted to turn the American left flank, but were repulsed. They also moved toward the American right, but, being enfiladed by a severe cannonade from a battery under Knox, upon a commanding piece of ground occupied by General Greene, they fell back. Wayne, in the mean time, kept up a brisk fire upon the British center from his position in the orchard, and repeatedly repulsed the royal grenadiers, who several times crossed the hedgerow (2) and advanced upon him. Colonel Monckton, their commander, perceiving that success depended upon driving Wayne from his position, harangued his men, 69 and, forming them in solid column, advanced to the charge with all the regularity of a corps on parade. 70 Wayne’s troops were partially sheltered by a barn, situated very near the one now standing a few rods from the parsonage. He ordered them to reserve their fire until the enemy should approach very near, and then, with sure aim, pick out the officers. Silently the British advanced until within a few rods of the Americans, when Monckton, waving his sword, with a shout, ordered his grenadiers to the charge. At the same moment Wayne gave a signal; a terrible volley poured destruction upon the assailants, and almost every British officer fell. Among them was their brave leader, Colonel Monckton. 71 Over his body the warriors fought desperately, hand to hand, until the Americans secured it, and carried it to their rear. Hotly the conflict raged, not only at the center of the enemy’s line, but at various other points. Wayne finally repulsed the grenadiers; and the whole British army soon gave way, and fell back to the heights (t) above Carr’s house (3), occupied by General Lee in the morning. It was a strong position, flanked by thick woods and morasses, with only a narrow way of approach on their front.

It was now almost sunset, yet Washington resolved to follow up his advantage, and attack them in their new and strong position. For that purpose, he ordered General Poor, with his own and the Carolina brigade, to move round to their right; General Woodford 72 to gain their left, and the artillery to gall them in front. There were so many impediments, owing to the broken character of the ground, that twilight came on before a proper disposition for battle could be made, and the attack was postponed until morning. The army reposed that night upon their arms upon the battle-field, ready to spring upon their prey at the first gleam of light. Wrapped in his cloak, the chief, overpowered with fatigue, slumbered, with his suite, beneath a broad oak, around which many of the slain slept their last sleep. He felt certain of victory when his troops, refreshed, should rise to battle; but the morning light brought disappointment. At midnight, under cover of darkness, 73 Sir Henry Clinton put his weary host in motion. With silent steps, column after column left the camp and hurried toward Sandy Hook. So secret was the movement, and so deep the sleep of the patriots, that the troops of Poor, lying close by the enemy, were ignorant of their departure, until, at dawn, they saw the deserted camp of the enemy. They had been gone more than three hours. Washington, considering the distance they had gained, the fatigue of his men, the extreme heat of the weather, and the deep, sandy country, with but little water, deemed pursuit fruitless, and Sir Henry Clinton escaped. Washington marched with his army to Brunswick, and thence to the Hudson River, which he crossed at King’s Ferry, and encamped near White Plains, in West Chester county. The Jersey brigade and Morgan’s corps were left to hover on the enemy’s rear, but they performed no essential service. The British army reached Sandy Hook on the 30th [June, 1778.], where Lord Howe’s fleet, having come round from the Delaware, was in readiness to convey them to New York. 74

The battle of Monmouth was one of the most severely contested during the war. Remarkable skill and bravery were displayed on both sides, after the shameful retreat of Lee; and the events of the day were highly creditable to the military genius of both commanders. Victory for the Americans was twice denied them during the day, first by the retreat of Lee in the morning, and, secondly, by the unaccountable detention of Morgan and his brave riflemen at a distance from the field. For hours the latter was at Richmond Mills, three miles below Monmouth court-house, awaiting orders, in an agony of desire to engage in the battle, for he was within sound of its fearful tumult. To and fro he strode, uncertain what course to pursue, and, like a hound in the leash, panting to be away to action. Why he was not allowed to participate in the conflict, we have no means of determining. It appears probable that, had he fallen upon the British rear, with his fresh troops, at the close of the day, Sir Henry Clinton and his army might have shared the fate of the British at Saratoga.

The hottest of the conflict occurred near the spot where Monckton fell. Very few of the Americans were killed on the west side of the morass, but many were slain in the field with Monckton, and lay among the slaughtered grenadiers of the enemy. The Americans lost, in killed, six officers, and sixty-one non-commissioned officers and privates. The wounded were twenty-four officers, and one hundred and thirty-six non-commissioned officers and privates, in all two hundred and twenty-eight. The missing amounted to one hundred and thirty; but many of them, having dropped down through fatigue, soon joined the army. 75 Among the slain were Lieutenant-colonel Bonner, of Pennsylvania, and Major Dickinson, of Virginia. The British left four officers, and two hundred and forty-five non-commissioned officers and privates on the field. They buried some, and took many of their wounded with them. Fifty-nine of their soldiers perished by the heat, without receiving a wound; they lay under trees, and by rivulets, whither they had crawled for shade and water. But why dwell upon the sad and sickening scene of time battle-field with the dead and dying upon it? We have considered the dreadful events of the day; let us for a moment, before returning to Valley Forge from our long digression, glance at the ground now covered with the results of the peaceful tiller’s conquests.


I visited the battle-ground of Monmouth toward the close of September, 1850, and had the good fortune to be favored with the company of Doctor John Woodhull, of Freehold, in my ramble over that interesting locality. Doctor Woodhull is the son of the beloved minister of that name who succeeded William Tennent in the pastoral care of the congregation that worshiped in the Freehold meeting-house, and who, for forty-six consecutive years, preached and prayed in that venerated chapel. Doctor Woodhull was born in the parsonage yet upon the battle-ground, and is so familiar with every locality and event connected with the conflict, that I felt as if traversing the battle-field with an actor in the scene. Dark clouds rolled up menacingly from the southwest when we left Freehold and rode out to the meeting-house; and while sketching the old fane, pictured on page 153, heavy peals of thunder from a cloud that rapidly approached broke over the country. I had scarcely finished my outline when the heavy drops came down, and we were obliged to take shelter in the church. Resting my port-folio upon the high back of a pew, I sketched, from the open door, the annexed picture of a neat monument erected to the memory of the reverend pastor just mentioned. Almost beneath the spot where I stood, under the middle aisle of the church, rest the remains of the Reverend William Tennent, who was pastor of that flock for forty-three years. 77 On the right of the pulpit is a commemorative tablet, with a brief inscription. 78 Mr. Tennent was one of the most faithful ministers of his day; and his name is widely known in connection with curious physiological and psychological phenomena, of which he was the subject. For three days he remained in a cataleptic state, commonly called a trance, or apparent death of the body while the interior life is active. He had applied himself closely to theological studies, until his health suddenly gave way. He became emaciated, his life was despaired of, and, one morning, while conversing with his brother, in Latin, on the state of his soul, he fainted, and seemed to expire. He was laid out, and preparations were made for his funeral. His physician, who was absent, was much grieved on his return. His skill detected symptoms of life, and he desired a postponement of burial. The body was cold and stiff; there were no signs of life to the common apprehension, and his brother insisted that he should be buried. But the entreaties of the physician prevailed; the funeral was postponed. On the third day after his apparent death, the people were assembled to bury him. The doctor, who had been at his side from the beginning, still insisted upon applying restoratives. The hour appointed for the burial arrived, and the brother of Tennent impatiently demanded that the funeral ceremonies should be performed. At that moment, to the alarm of all present, Mr. Tennent opened his eyes, gave a dreadful groan, and relapsed again into apparent lifelessness. This movement was twice repeated after an interval of an hour, when life permanently remained, and the patient slowly recovered. 79 Absolute forgetfulness of all knowledge marked his return to consciousness. He was totally ignorant of every transaction of his life previous to his sickness. He had to be taught reading, writing, and all things, as if he was a new-born child. At length he felt a sudden shock in his head, and from that moment his recollection was by degrees restored. These circumstances made a profound impression on the public mind, and became the theme of philosophical speculation and inquiry.

When the storm abated we left the church and proceeded to the battle-ground. The old parsonage is in the present possession of Mr. William T. Sutphen, who has allowed the parlor and study of Tennent and Woodhull to be used as a depository of grain and of agricultural implements! The careless neglect which permits a mansion so hallowed by religion and patriotic events to fall into utter ruin, is actual desecration, and much to be reprehended and deplored. The windows are destroyed; the roof is falling into the chambers; and in a few years not a vestige will be left of that venerable memento of the field of Monmouth.

We visited the spot where Monckton fell; the place of the causeway across the morass (now a small bridge upon the main road); and, after taking a general view of the whole ground of conflict, and sketching the picture on page 156 {original text has "362".}, returned to Freehold in time to dine, and take the stage for the station at Jamesburg, on my way home. It had been to me a day of rarest interest and pleasure, notwithstanding the inclement weather; for no battle-field in our country has stronger claims to the reverence of the American heart than that of the plains of Monmouth.

The men and women of the Revolution, but a few years since numerous in the neighborhood of Freehold, have passed away, but the narrative of their trials during the war have left abiding records of patriotism upon the hearts of their descendants. I listened to many tales concerning the "Pine Robbers" 80 and other Tory desperadoes of the time, who kept the people of Monmouth county in a state of continual alarm. Many noble deeds of daring were achieved by the tillers of the soil, and their mothers, wives, and sisters; and while the field of Monmouth attested the bravery and endurance of American soldiers, the inhabitants, whose households were disturbed on that Sabbath morning by the bugle and the cannon-peal, exhibited, in their daily course, the loftiest patriotism and manly courage. We will leave the task of recording the acts of their heroism to the pen of the local historian, and, hastening back to Valley Forge, resume the reins and depart for Paoli, for the short November day is fast waning.



1 In the Pennsylvania Journal, 1761, there is a notification that Jacob Colman intended to run a stage, with an awning, three times a week, "from the King of Prussia Inn, to the George Inn, southwest corner of Second and Arch Streets, Philadelphia." Ritter’s tavern, in Germantown, was called "The King of Prussia Inn," according to Watson, the annalist, from the following circumstance: Toward the close of the last century, Gilbert Stuart, the eminent portrait painter, resided in Germantown. In one of his eccentric moods, he executed a fine painting of the King of Prussia, on horseback, and presented it to Ritter for a sign, stipulating that the name of the painter should not be divulged. It hung there for several years, the admiration of all, until the letters "The King of Prussia Inn" were painted over it. The sign afterward came into the possession of Mr. Watson, who cherished it as a valuable memento of the genius and character of the great painter.

2 The Potts family, located in this vicinity, were extensive manufacturers of iron. Isaac Potts established a forge upon the creek which here enters into the Schuylkill, and from that circumstance the place obtained the name of Valley Forge.

3 This view is from the Reading rail-road, looking east, and includes a portion of the range of hills in the rear whereon the Americans were encamped. The main building was erected in 1770; the wing is more modern, and occupies the place of the log addition mentioned by Mrs. Washington, in a letter to Mercy Warren, written in March, 1778: "The general’s apartment," she wrote, "is very small; he has had a log cabin built to dine in, which has made our quarters much more tolerable than they were at first."

4 This view is from the field, looking north. On the left is seen the winding Schuylkill, and the rolling country beyond; and on the right, the distant hills of Montgomery county.

5 See map on page 128.

6 Washington gave explicit directions for constructing the huts. He ordered the colonels or commanding officers of regiments to cause their men to be divided into parties of twelve, and to see that each party had its proportion of tools, and commence a hut for that number; and as an encouragement to industry and art, the general promised to reward the party, in each regiment, which finished its hut in the quickest and most workman-like manner, with a present of twelve dollars. He also offered a reward of one hundred dollars to the officer or soldier who should substitute a covering for the huts, cheaper, and more quickly made, than boards. The following were the dimensions and style of the huts, as given in Washington’s Orderly Book, quoted by Sparks, v., 525: "Fourteen feet by sixteen each; the sides, ends, and roofs made with logs; the roofs made tight with split slabs, or some other way; the sides made tight with clay; a fireplace made of wood, and secured with clay on the inside, eighteen inches thick; this fire-place to be in the rear of the hut; the door to be in the end next the street; the doors to be made of split oak slabs, unless boards can be procured; the side walls to be six feet and a half high. The officers’ huts are to form a line in the rear of the troops, one hut to be allowed to each general officer; one to the staff of each brigade; one to the field officer of each regiment; one to the staff of each regiment; one to the commissioned officers of two companies; and one to every twelve non-commissioned officers and soldiers."

7 See page 688, vol. i.

8 This shows the present appearance of the embankments. They are quite overgrown with chestnut-trees of considerable size, and shrubbery. The redoubt was nearly an oblong square, with a division in the center. Its location is on the Paoli road, about half a mile from its junction with the highway leading from Norristown to Valley Forge.

9 The whole number of men in the field was eleven thousand and ninety-eight, when the encampment commenced. Of this number, two thousand eight hundred and ninety-eight were unfit for duty. The British army numbered thirty-three thousand seven hundred and fifty-six, of which nineteen thousand five hundred and thirty, composed of Britons, Germans, and provincials, were in Philadelphia.

10 Washington reluctantly used the power given him by a resolution of Congress, adopted a few weeks previously. Necessity compelled him to. He issued a proclamation, in which he required all the farmers within seventy miles of Valley Forge to thresh out one half of their grain by the 1st of February, and the remainder by the 1st of March, under the penalty of having the whole seized as straw. Many farmers refused to comply. They defended their grain and cattle with fire-arms, and, in some instances, burned what they could not defend. It must be remembered that nearly all the farmers in the vicinity of Valley Forge were disaffected toward the American cause. From these the resolution of Congress * empowered Washington to demand supplies. It must also be remembered that a fair price was to be paid for all supplies brought in, and therefore the non-compliance of those who resisted was from opposition to the cause.

* November 14, 1777, Journals, iii., 395.

11 Mrs. Warren’s History of the Revolution, i., 389.

12 Thacher relates that a foreign officer of distinction said "that, at one time, he was walking with General Washington among the huts, when he heard many voices echoing through the open crevices between the logs, ‘No pay, no clothes, no provisions, no rum!’ And when a miserable wretch was seen flitting from one hut to another, his nakedness was only covered by a dirty blanket." Then that officer despaired of independence for America.

13 Isaac Potts, at whose house Washington was quartered, relates that one day, while the Americans were encamped at Valley Forge, he strolled up the creek, when, not far from his dam, he heard a solemn voice. He walked quietly in the direction of it, and saw Washington’s horse tied to a sapling. In a thicket near by was the beloved chief upon his knees in prayer, his cheeks suffused with tears. Like Moses at the Bush, Isaac felt that he was upon holy ground, and withdrew unobserved. He was much agitated, and, on entering the room where his wife was, he burst into tears. On her inquiring the cause, he informed her of what he had seen, and added, "If there is any one on this earth whom the Lord will listen to, it is George Washington; and I feel a presentiment that under such a commander there can be no doubt of our eventually establishing our independence, and that God in his providence has willed it so."

"Oh! who shall know the might

Of the words he utter’d there?
The fate of nations there was turn’d
By the fervor of his prayer.

"But wouldst thou know his name,
Who wandered there alone?
Go, read enroll’d in Heaven’s archives,
The prayer of WASHINGTON!" – J. L. CHESTER.

14 The enemies of Washington and of the country attempted to injure both, at this time, by publishing a pamphlet in London, entitled "Letters from General Washington to several of his Friends in the year 1776, &c." These letters, which contained sentiments totally at variance with the conduct of the chief, it was reported were found in a portmanteau belonging to the general, in the possession of his servant Billy, who was left behind sick at Fort Lee when the Americans evacuated it. They purported to be draughts of letters to Mrs. Washington, Mr. Lund Washington, and to Mr. Custis. They were reprinted in New York, in handbills and pamphlet form, and widely circulated. The author of these spurious letters was never publicly known. They were evidently written by a person acquainted with the affairs of Washington. Conway, who was known to have written several anonymous letters in disparagement of Washington, some of which were signed De Lisle, was suspected of the authorship when his nefarious conduct became known. These letters were reproduced, many years afterward, for the vile purposes of political chicanery. Then, for the first time, Washington publicly pronounced them a forgery.

15 General Hamilton, in a letter to Governor Clinton, written on the 13th of February, 1778, said, "America once had a representation that would do honor to any age or nation. The present falling off is very alarming and dangerous. What is the cause? and how is it to be remedied? are questions that the welfare of these states requires should be well attended to. The great men who composed our first council – are they dead, have they deserted the cause, or what has become of them? Very few are dead, and still fewer have deserted the cause; they are all, except the few who still remain in Congress, either in the field, or in the civil offices of their respective states; far the greater part are engaged in the latter. The only remedy, then, is to take them out of these employments, and return them to the place where their presence is infinitely more important."

16 Mrs. Mercy Warren, who was the warm personal friend of Samuel Adams, apologizes for his being found in bad company in this affair by saying that, "Zealous and ardent in his defense of his injured country, he was startled at every thing that seemed to retard the operations of the war, or impede the success of the Revolution; a revolution for which posterity is as much indebted to the talent and exertions of Mr. Adams as to those of any one in the United States." History of the Revolution, i., 39.

Mrs. Warren further says that "Adams never harbored a feeling of disaffection toward the person of Washington; on the contrary, he esteemed and respected his character, and loved him as a man."

17 One of Conway’s expressions was, "Heaven has been determined to save your country, or a weak general and bad counselors would have ruined it."

18 Gates, in a letter to Washington, charged Wilkinson with deceit and prevarication, and of meanly attempting to fix suspicions on Lieutenant-colonel Troup, one of Gates’s aids-de-camp. This charge drew from Wilkinson a letter to Washington, in which he thanked the general for exposing to him Gates’s letters, "which," he said, "unmask his artifices and efforts to ruin me." Wilkinson said, in his letter, "Although General Gates has pledged his word, it is a wicked and malicious forgery. I will stake my reputation, if the genuine letter is produced, that words to the same effect will appear." A quarrel between Gates and Wilkinson grew out of this matter, which resulted in the latter challenging the former to fight a duel. They met, when, it is said, Gates burst into tears, declaring he would as soon think of shooting his own son. Opinions are various concerning the quality of Gates’s heart which controlled his actions on that occasion.

No doubt Wilkinson was acquainted with the secrets of the conspiracy against Washington, and that his object in making known the contents of Conway’s letter was to sound Lord Stirling, through his aid, respecting his opinion of the ability of Washington to perform the duties of his station. Wilkinson’s want of prudence was the match that fired the train of the cabal and produced premature explosion. Gates and Wilkinson doubtless told the truth of each other.

19 See Journals of Congress, iii., 351. The new Board of War consisted, at first, of three persons, namely, General Mifflin, Colonel Timothy Pickering, and Colonel Robert H. Harrison. On the 17th of November, Mr. Dana and J. B. Smith were made additional members. On the 27th of the same month, General Gates, Joseph Trumbull, and Richard Peters were elected commissioners for the Board of War. General Gates was chosen president of the Board. On the appointment of Gates to this important office, Congress instructed its presiding officer to inform him of their action, and express their high sense of his abilities and peculiar fitness to discharge the duties of that important office, upon the right execution of which the success of the American cause "eminently depended." – Journals, iii., 423.

20 This was not the first time that Congress had allowed Washington to be treated with disrespect. It will be remembered that, in October previous, Gates sent his dispatches from Saratoga direct to Congress, instead of transmitting them to the commander-in-chief, and that Congress never uttered a word of disapproval of the act. See page 84, vol. i.

21 York is situated on the Codorus Creek, eleven miles from the Susquehanna. It is a thriving village, surrounded by a fertile and well-cultivated lime-stone region. Congress was in session here from September, 1777, until July, 1778. Its sittings were in the old court-house, which stood in the center of the public square, and was demolished in 1841. In the cemetery of the German Reformed church is the grave of Philip Livingston, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, who died at York, on the 11th of June, 1778, while Congress was in session there. A handsome white marble monument, surmounted with an urn, is placed over his grave. See page 663.

22 Sparks relates that, when La Fayette arrived at York, he found Gates at table, surrounded by his friends. The marquis was greeted with great cordiality, and accepted an invitation to join them at table. The wine passed round, and several toasts were drank. Determined to let his sentiments be known at the outset, he called to the company as they were about to rise, and observed that one toast had been omitted, which he would propose. The glasses were filled, and he gave, "The Commander-in-chief of the American Armies." The coolness with which it was received confirmed La Fayette in his suspicions.

23 La Fayette was grossly deceived by those connected with the faction and those controlling public affairs. He was promised 3000 men. He wrote to Washington from Albany, and said, "I don’t believe I can find, in all, 1200 men fit for duty, and the greatest part of these are naked, even for a summer campaign. I was to find General Stark, with a large body; and, indeed, General Gates told me, ‘General Stark will have burned the fleet before your arrival.’ Well, the first letter I receive in Albany is from General Stark, who wishes to know what number of men, from where, what time, and for what rendezvous I desire him to raise?" Again he wrote, "I fancy the actual scheme is to have me out of this part of the continent, and General Conway as chief, under the immediate direction of Gates."

24 Dr. Gordon says (ii., 308), "When General Gates’s letters were examined by me at his seat in Virginia, the latter end of 1781, there was not a single paragraph to be met with that contained any intimation of his being concerned in any such plan" [the removal of Washington]. Of course, a judicious man would not preserve any such tangible evidence of his guilt for more than three years after the matter had been exposed. General Gates, in a letter to a friend, dated at York, April 4th, 1778, said, "For my part, I solemnly declare I never was engaged in any plan or plot for the removal of General Washington, nor do I believe any such plot ever existed." Mifflin also wrote, about that time, "I never desired to have any person whomsoever take the command of the American army from him [Washington], nor have I said or done any thing of or respecting him which the public service did not require," &c. Botta, after weighing the evidence against the designated leaders of the intrigue, draws therefrom the inevitable conclusion of their guilt, and says, "The leaders of this combination, very little concerned for the public good, were immoderately so for their own, and that the aim of all their efforts was to advance themselves and their friends at the expense of others." – Otis’s Botta, ii., 64. It may be well to remember that Gordon and Gates were intimate friends. I find among Gates’s papers, in the New York Historical Society, several letters from Dr. Gordon to the general, some of which are commenced with the familiar terms, "Dear Horatio." I do not discredit the assertion of Dr. Gordon, but mention the fact of his intimacy with Gates as a reason why he was unwilling to believe his friend guilty of such dishonorable conduct.

25 The following is a copy of Conway’s letter:


"Philadelphia, 23d July, 1778.

SIR – I find myself just able to hold the pen during a few minutes, and take this opportunity of expressing my sincere grief for having done, written, or said any thing disagreeable to your excellency. My career will soon be over; therefore, justice and truth prompt me to declare my last sentiments. You are, in my eyes, the great and good man. May you long enjoy the love, veneration, and esteem of these States, whose Liberties you have asserted by your virtues I am, with the greatest respect, &c.,



26 See Sparks’s Life and Writings of Washington, Appendix. vol. v.

27 Journals of Congress, iv., 187.

28 Frederic William Augustus, Baron de Steuben, after leaving the Prussian army, where he was aid-de-camp of Frederic the Great, entered the service of Prince Charles of Baden, under whom he held the rank of lieutenant general, and was also a canon of the Church. He was made grand marshal of the court of the Prince of Hohenzollern-Heckingen, and by the Prince Margrave, of Baden, was appointed knight of the order of Fidelity. The King of Sardinia made him brilliant offers, and the Emperor of Austria sought to secure his services. His income was nearly three thousand dollars a year. He left these offices, emoluments, and honors, and came to America to fight as a volunteer in the armies battling for freedom. He joined the Continental army at Valley Forge as a volunteer, and in that capacity (though holding the office of inspector general) was in the action on the field of Monmouth. He was engaged in various important services, wherein we shall hereafter meet him, and finally commanded in the trenches at Yorktown, where the last great battle of the Revolution was fought. At the close of the war, the State of New Jersey gave him a small farm, and the Legislature of New York presented him with 16,000 acres of wild land in Oneida county. The general government also granted him a pension of $2500.


He built himself a log house at Steubenville, New York, gave a tenth part of his land to his aids (North, Popham, and Walker) and his servants, and parceled out the rest to twenty or thirty tenants. He resided in the country in summer, and in New York city in winter. He died of apoplexy or paralysis, at Steubenville, on the 28th of November, 1795, aged sixty-four years. Neither of his aids comforted his last moments. His neighbors buried him in his garden. Afterward, agreeably to his desire, he was wrapped in his cloak, placed in a plain coffin, and buried in a lonely spot in the woods, about a quarter of a mile above his log hut. His aid, Colonel Walker, inclosed the spot; and when a road was made to pass over his resting-place, his remains were removed, and buried in another grave, in the town of Steuben, about seven miles northwest of Trenton Falls.


In 1826, a monument was erected over him by private subscription, with this brief inscription upon it: MAJOR-GENERAL FREDERIC WILLIAM AUGUSTUS, BARON DE STEUBEN.


General North, another of his aids, who greatly loved the baron, caused a neat mural monument to be erected to his memory, upon the walls of the Reformed German Church, then situated in Nassau Street, between John Street and Maiden Lane, in New York city. When a Baptist society, under the charge of the Rev. Mr. Somers, subsequently commenced worshiping in that church, they courteously allowed the monument to be taken down and carried to the new church of the Germans in Forsyth Street. There I found it in separate pieces, lying among rubbish, in a small lumber-room of the church, disfigured and mutilated. I sketched its parts, and in the annexed figure give a representation of it as it originally appeared. The slab, of obelisk form, and the square frame, are of bluish, clouded marble; the square slab with the inscription, and the two urns, are of white marble. The lower urn has upon it a representation of the order of Fidelity (seen on the breast of the portrait on page 135), which Frederic the Great presented to the baron. The following is the inscription, from the pen of General North:

"Sacred to the memory of FREDERIC WILLIAM AUGUSTUS, BARON DE STEUBEN, a German; Knight of the Order of Fidelity; Aid-de-camp of Frederic the Great, King of Prussia; Major General and Inspector General in the Revolutionary War; esteemed, respected, and supported by Washington. He gave military skill and discipline to the citizen soldiers who, fulfilling the decrees of Heaven, achieved the independence of the United States. The highly-polished manners of the baron were graced by the most noble feelings of the heart. His hand, open as day for melting charity, closed only in the strong grasp of death. This memorial is inscribed by an American, who had the honor to be his aid-de-camp, the happiness to be his friend. Ob. 1795."

Thacher and others have left on record many examples of the excellent character of the Baron Steuben, among the attributes of which, kindness and generosity were the most conspicuous. He was always cheerful, and possessed ready wit. At Yorktown, a shell fell near him. To avoid its effects, he leaped into a trench, followed by General Wayne, who fell upon him. The baron, on perceiving that it was his brigadier, said, "I always knew you was a brave general, but I did not know you were so perfect in every point of duty; you cover your general’s retreat in the best manner possible." At the house of the mother of Chancellor Livingston, the baron was introduced to a Miss Sheaf. "I am very happy," he said, "in the honor of being presented to you, mademoiselle, though I see it is at an infinite risk; I have from my youth been cautioned to guard myself against mischief, but I had no idea that her attractions were so powerful."

* This sketch is from a drawing made by the Rev. John Taylor, a missionary in the Mohawk and Black River countries in 1802, and published in the third volume of O’Callaghan’s Documentary History of New York. Of Steuben and his grave Mr. Taylor wrote: ‘He lies in a swamp, under a hemlock, with a bier standing over the grave, and a few rough boards nailed to some trees to keep the cattle off. Alas! what is man, that the great Baron Steuben should be suffered to lie in such a place, and without a decent monument.

Very little remains on record of the military life of General North during the Revolution, except the fact that he was Steuben’s aid. When, in 1798, John Sloss Hobart resigned his seat in the Senate of the United States, Governor Jay appointed General North to succeed him. He was then a resident of Duanesburgh, New York, was a conspicuous Federalist, and had been twice speaker of the New York Assembly. General North passed the latter years of his life in New London, Connecticut, but died in the city of New York on the 4th of January, 1836.

29 The Queen’s Rangers were a corps of native American Loyalists, raised chiefly in Connecticut and in the vicinity of New York, by Colonel Rogers. At one time they mustered about 400 men, and, as their name implies, were intended for very active service. They were quite reduced in numbers when, in the autumn of 1777, they were placed under the command of Major Simcoe, a young and active officer of the British army. His zeal and military skill soon made his corps a model of order, discipline, and bravery. * He received the commission of lieutenant colonel. We shall meet him several times hereafter.

* The following advertisement appeared in Rivington’s Royal Gazette, printed in New York:


have now an opportunity of distinguishing themselves by joining
commanded by
Lieutenant-colonel Simcoe.

Any spirited young man will receive every encouragement, be immediately mounted on an elegant horse, and furnished with clothing, accouterments, &c., to the amount of forty guineas, by applying to Cornet Spencer, at his quarters, No. 133 Water Street, or his rendezvous, Hewett’s Tavern, near the Coffee-house, and the Defeat of Brandywine, on Golden Hill.

Whoever brings a recruit shall instantly receive two guineas.



30 In order to distinguish the Tories from the British regulars, they were dressed in a uniform of green; the coats were faced with white, and they wore cocked hats, with broad white binding around them. – See Johnson’s History of Salem.

31 The enemy, who were stationed in Wetherby’s house, suspecting the Americans might be vigilant, were prepared to seize the first man who should attempt to enter the building, and Lieutenant M‘Kay stood behind the door with a bayonet prepared to perform that duty.

32 Captain Smith had his cue shot away during the skirmish, and was grazed by a bullet in his loins. His horse received two bullets, but carried his rider safe over the bridge, when he fell dead under him.

33 A militia-man named Andrew Bacon cut away the draw of the bridge with an ax while the British were firing volleys at him. He succeeded in his task, but received a wound which made him a cripple for life.

34 This is a view of an old brick dwelling in the little village of Hancock’s Bridge, upon Alloway’s Creek. It stands a few yards from the bridge over the creek, and is known as Baker’s tavern. The picture here given is copied from one in the Historical Collections of New Jersey.

35 Simcoe supposed Judge Hancock was absent. He says (Journal, page 52), "Some very unfortunate circumstances happened here. Among the killed was a friend to government, then a prisoner with the rebels, old Hancock, the owner of this house, and his brother. Major Simcoe had made particular inquiry, and was informed that he did not live at home since the rebels had occupied the bridge. The information was partly true. He was not there in the daytime, but unfortunately returned home at night. Events like these are the real miseries of war."

36 Johnson’s History of Salem; Simcoe’s Journal.

37 Intelligence of this event reached the camp on the 1st of May, and on the 7th Washington issued the following general order:


"It having pleased the Almighty Ruler of the universe to defend the cause of the United American States, and finally to raise us up a powerful friend among the princes of the earth, to establish our liberty and independence upon a lasting foundation, it becomes us to set apart a day for gratefully acknowledging the divine goodness, and celebrating the important event, which we owe to his divine interposition. The several brigades are to be assembled for this purpose at nine o’clock to-morrow morning, when their chaplains will communicate the intelligence contained in the postscript of the Pennsylvania Gazette of the 2d instant, and offer up a thanksgiving, and deliver a discourse suitable to the occasion. At half past ten o’clock a cannon will be fired, which is to be a signal for the men to be under arms; the brigade inspectors will then inspect their dress and arms, and form the battalions according to the instructions given them, and announce to the commanding officers of the brigade that the battalions are formed.

"The commanders of brigades will then appoint the field officer to the battalions, after which each battalion will be ordered to load and ground their arms. At half past eleven a second cannon will be fired as a signal for the march; upon which the several brigades will begin their march by wheeling to the right by platoons, and proceed by the nearest way to the left of their ground by the new position. This will be pointed out by the brigade inspectors. A third signal will then be given, on which there will be a discharge of thirteen cannon; after which a running fire of the infantry will begin on the right of Woodford’s, and continue throughout the front line; it will then be taken up on the left of the second line, and continue to the right. Upon a signal given, the whole army will huzza, Long live the King of France! The artillery then begins again, and fires thirteen rounds; this will be succeeded by a second general discharge of the musketry in a running fire, and huzza, Long live the friendly European Powers! The last discharge of thirteen pieces of artillery will be given, followed by a general running fire, and huzza, The American States!"


Washington, with his lady, and suite, Lord Stirling and his lady, with other general officers and ladies, attended the religious services of the Jersey brigade, when the Rev. Mr. Hunter delivered a discourse. Afterward all the officers of the army assembled, and partook of a collation provided by the commander-in-chief. When he took his leave, there was universal huzzaing, Long live General Washington! The huzzas continued until the general had proceeded a quarter of a mile, and a thousand hats were tossed in the air. Washington, with his retinue, turned round and huzzaed several times.

38 See p. 86, vol. i.

39 In 1776, Lord Howe and his brother were authorized to treat with the rebellious colonies for reconciliation, but upon a basis not to be thought of for a moment with favor by the Americans. It was absolute submission to the crown, as a condition of royal pardon! This commission will be noticed hereafter.

40 The former commissioners addressed the commander-in-chief "Mr. Washington," and refused to treat with Franklin, Adams, and Rutledge, as members of Congress, for the legality of that body was denied.

41 William Pitt, the first Earl of Chatham, was born on the 5th of November, 1708. He was educated at Eton, and entered Trinity College, Oxford, in 1726. He left that institution for a military profession, which he entered with the rank of cornet. He was elected a member of Parliament for Old Sarum in 1735, and soon became distinguished for his eloquence and extensive information. He was in the ranks of the opposition against Walpole, and, for his good service against that minister, Walpole’s inveterate enemy, the Duchess of Marlborough, left Pitt, in her will, fifty thousand dollars. From 1746 until 1755, he was treasurer of Ireland, paymaster of the army, and privy counselor. He was made secretary of state in 1756, and had the direction of the war bureau during a late portion of the progress of the Seven Years’ war. He retired from office on the accession of George III., but continued in Parliament. In 1766 he was created Earl Chatham, and occupied the privy seal in the administration. This office he resigned in 1768; and from that period until his death, an hereditary gout kept him much at home and undermined his constitution. He was struck down with apoplexy upon the floor of the House of Lords on the 7th of April, 1778, and died on the 11th of May following, at the age of 70. * "His disposition," says Brougham, "was exceedingly affectionate. The pride, bordering upon insolence, in which he showed himself incased to the world, fell naturally from him, and without any effort to put it off, as he crossed the threshold of his own door. To all his family he was civil, kindly, and gentle. His pursuits were of a nature that showed how much he loved to unbend himself. He delighted in poetry and other light reading; was fond of music; loved the country; took peculiar pleasure in gardening; and had even an extremely happy taste in laying out grounds."

* Parliament voted him a funeral and a monument. The pall-bearers on the occasion of his burial were EDMUND BURKE, Sir GEORGE SAVILLE, JOHN DUNNING, Esq., and Right Hon. THOMAS TOWNSHEND. He was buried about twenty yards from the north entrance of Westminster Abbey. His monument is composed of six figures, representing Lord Chatham, Prudence, Fortitude, Britannia, Earth, and Ocean. The statue of Chatham Is represented in the engraving. The inscription upon the monument is as follows: "Erected by the King and Parliament, as a Testimony to the Virtues and Ability of WILLIAM PITT, Earl of CHATHAM, during whose administration Divine Providence exalted Great Britain to a Height of Prosperity and Glory unknown to any former Age."

42 John Singleton Copley, the eminent American artist, painted a representation of this scene for the House of Lords. In a note on page 496 of the first volume of this work, I have placed Copley among the early refugee Loyalists. History and fair inference have assigned him that position, partly on account of his marriage relation with a family of Loyalists, and partly because he was one of the addressers of Hutchinson, left the country with him, and was intimate with him in London. Sabine places him among the Loyalists, and his biographers generally have given him that character. Since the publication of that volume, I have been informed that the late John Quincy Adams, who knew Copley and his sentiments intimately, denied that he was a Loyalist; on the contrary, he averred that he was a Whig in sentiment during the whole controversy, and adduced, among other evidence, the fact, that when commissioned to make two paintings, one for the House of Lords and the other for the House of Commons, he chose as a subject for the former, The Death of Chatham, and for the latter, Charles the First in Parliament. The scene of the last picture is at the moment when the speaker uttered to the king the republican sentiment, "I have no eyes to see, no ears to hear, no mouth to speak, but as Parliament directs;" implying entire subserviency to the popular will. Mr. Adams said Copley went to England, not as a fugitive, but entirely on account of his profession, which disturbances in Boston had almost destroyed.

43 The King was applied to by Lord North, before Chatham’s death, to make some provision for his family. In a sharp letter his majesty said, "When decrepitude or death puts an end to him as a trumpet of sedition, I shall make no difficulty in placing the second son’s name instead of the father’s, and making up the pension £3000. – Brougham’s Statesmen of the Times of George III.

44 Journals of Congress, iv., 164.

45 Governor Tryon inclosed copies of these bills to General Washington, with a request that he would aid in circulating them! Washington sent them to Congress, and after that body had passed its resolves on the subject, the chief forwarded printed copies to Tryon, and politely requested him to have them circulated among those persons for whom they were intended. One of the resolutions recommended the Legislatures of the several states, or any executive authority possessing the power, to issue proclamations offering pardon to those who had taken up arms against the continental government, and who should surrender themselves, and return to the state to which they belonged, before the 10th of June. This resolution was adopted on the 23d of April. – Journals, iv., 168. This was an excellent retort upon Governor Tryon. It is difficult, as Washington remarked in a letter to Governor Livingston, in viewing the conduct of Tryon on this occasion, "which to admire most, his impertinence or his folly."

46 According to M‘Gregor, James M‘Pherson, the translator of Ossian’s Poems, went to Florida with Governor Johnston in 1770, as surveyor general, and took the original Gaelic manuscripts with him. Many of them were lost there, and were never recovered.

47 Sparks’s Washington, v., 397.

48 These I copied from an original manifesto of the commissioners, dated October 3d, 1778, and preserved in the office of the secretary of state of Connecticut. The name of Johnstone is not attached to the manifesto. His openly corrupt proceedings caused Congress to declare that no intercourse should be had with him. Johnstone endeavored to gain by flattery what the nature of his commission denied him. Finding no door open for negotiation with Congress, he determined to attempt to win over influential members to a favorable consideration of the propositions of the ministers. For this purpose he employed an American lady, the daughter of Doctor Thomas Græme of Pennsylvania, then the wife of Hugh Ferguson, a relative of the secretary of the commissioners. Her husband being in the British service, she was much in the company of Loyalists. She was a woman of superior attainments, and, although the wife of an enemy to the country, she maintained the confidence and respect of leading patriots. Johnstone made his residence at the house of Charles Stedman (one of Cornwallis’s officers, and an historian of the war), where Mrs. Ferguson often visited. Johnstone spoke to her warmly in favor of American interests, and she believed him to be a true friend of their country. He expressed a strong desire to stop the effusion of blood, and a belief that, if a proper representation could be made to leading men in Congress, a reconciliation might yet he effected. As he was not permitted to pass the lines himself, Johnstone desired Mrs. Ferguson to say to General Joseph Reed, that, provided he could, conformably to his conscience and views of things, exert his influence to settle the dispute, he might command ten thousand guineas and the best post in government. Mrs. Ferguson suggested that such a proposition would be considered as a bribe by Mr. Reed, but Johnstone disclaimed the idea. Convinced of his sincerity and good-will, as she alleged, she sought and obtained an interview with General Reed in Philadelphia, three days after the British had evacuated that city. She repeated to him her conversation with Johnstone, when Reed, filled with indignation, replied, "I am not worth purchasing, but, such as I am, the King of Great Britain is not rich enough to do it!" General Reed had received a communication from Johnstone just before leaving Valley Forge. The written and verbal communications of the commissioner he now laid before Congress, and that body declared all further correspondence with Johnstone to be terminated. The fact soon went abroad. The reply of Reed went from mouth to mouth, and the people looked with ineffable contempt upon the commissioners. * Poor Mrs. Ferguson, whose motives seem to have been pure, was violently assailed. Unfortunately, she had been the bearer, a few months before, of an offensive letter from the Reverend Mr. Duché (see page 62) to General Washington and she was denounced as a British emissary. She lived, however, to see all these suspicions dissipated. – See Gordon’s American Revolution, ii., 378; Life and Correspondence of President Reed, i., 381 Mrs. Ellett’s Women of the Revolution, i., 196.

* Joseph Reed was born in New Jersey, August 27, 1741, and graduated at Princeton in 1757. He studied law with Richard Stockton; also at the Temple, in London. He was one of the committee of correspondence in Philadelphia in 1774, where he look up his residence after his return from England. He was president of the first popular convention in Pennsylvania. He accompanied Washington as his aid and secretary when he went to Cambridge in 1775, and remained with him during the campaign. In 1776 he was appointed adjutant general of the American army, and proved an active and brave officer. In the spring of 1777 he was appointed a general officer in the cavalry, but declined the station. He remained attached to the army, and was in the battle at Germantown in the autumn of that year. He was chosen a member of Congress toward the close of 1777. He was a member of that body in 1778, when the commissioners arrived from England, and, as we have noticed in the text, was approached with honeyed words, and promises of wealth and rank if he would favor the views of the government agents. His noble reply was given, and, abashed, the commissioners sought other and more pliable instruments for their use. General Reed was chosen president of Pennsylvania in 1778, and continued in that office until October, 1781, when he resumed his practice of the law. He ever retained the confidence and highest esteem of Washington and the best patriots of the Revolution; and when the cloud of party rancor passed away, all men beheld in Joseph Reed a patriot and an honest man. In 1784, he visited England for his health, but without beneficial results. He died on the 4th of March, 1755. at the age of forty-two. His wife was Esther de Berdt, the leader in the patriotic efforts of the ladies of Philadelphia to extend comfort to the suffering army, mentioned in a preceding chapter. George W. Reed, the youngest son of General R., commanded the Vixen in 1812, and died while a prisoner in Jamaica.

A few days after the death of General Reed, Philip Freneau wrote a brief monody, in which the following lines occur.

"No single art engaged his manly mind,
In every scene his active genius shined.
Nature in him, in honor to our age,
At once composed the soldier and the sage.
Firm to his purpose, vigilant and bold,
Detesting traitors, and despising gold,
He scorn’d all bribes from Britain’s hostile throne,
For all his country’s wrongs were thrice his own"

Trumbull, in his M‘Fingall, thus alludes to the participation of Mrs. Ferguson in Johnstone’s efforts at bribery:

"Behold, at Britain’s utmost shifts
Comes Johnstone, loaded with like gifts,
To venture through the Whiggish tribe,
To cuddle, wheedle, coax, and bribe;
And call, to aid his desp’rate mission,
His petticoated politician:
While Venus, join’d to act the farce,
Strolls forth embassadress of Mars.
In vain he strives; for, while he lingers,
These mastiffs bite his off’ring fingers;
Nor buys for George and realms infernal
One spaniel but the mongrel Arnold."

49 It is worthy of note, that these proceedings of Congress took place ten days before the arrival of the intelligence that France had acknowledged the independence of the United States; that event, therefore, had no influence on the mind of Congress.

50 Washington was directed, by a resolution of Congress, to administer the oath of allegiance to the officers of the army before leaving Valley Forge. The oath was administered to several at one time, each officer placing his hand upon the Bible. Just as the commander-in-chief began to repeat the oath, General Lee withdrew his hand. This movement was repeated, to the astonishment of all. Washington inquired the cause of his strange conduct, when Lee replied, "As to King George, I am ready enough to absolve myself from all allegiance to him; but I have some scruples about the Prince of Wales," Even the grave Washington was obliged to join in the laughter which followed this odd reply. Lee eventually took the oath with the rest, and subscribed his name.

In the archives of the State Department at Washington City, the original oaths of allegiance, signed by all the officers of the army at Valley Forge, are well preserved, and present an interesting collection of autographs. The oath was printed on a slip of paper, with blanks, in which the name and rank of the officer was written, with his signature at bottom. I observed that Generals Lord Stirling, Knox, and Greene administered the principal portion of the oaths. The following is a fac simile of Lord Stirling’s oath, administered by Washington:

51 Of these, 11,800 were at Valley Forge, which comprehended the sick and those who might be called into action on an emergency. There was a detachment at Wilmington of 1400; and on the Hudson River there were 1800. At a council of war held on the 18th of May, it was thought reasonable to anticipate that, when all the re-enforcements were brought in, the whole army, fit for duty, would amount to about 20,000 men.

52 Gloucester Point is on the Jersey side of the Delaware, three miles below Camden and Philadelphia.

53 A council of war was held on the 17th, the day before the Americans left Valley Forge, and among other questions proposed was, "If the enemy march through Jersey, will it be prudent to attack them on the way, or more eligible to proceed to the North River in the most direct and convenient manner, to secure the important communication between the Eastern and Southern States?" Nearly all the officers were opposed to an attack, on account of the inequality of force, but some thought it should depend on circumstances. Washington was desirous of attacking the enemy, but was obliged to yield to the force of circumstances.

54 Charles Scott was a native of Cumberland county, in Virginia. He raised the first company of volunteers in that state, south of the James River, that actually entered into the Continental service. So much was he appreciated, that, in 1777, the shire-town of Powhatan county was named in honor of him. Congress appointed him a brigadier in the Continental army on the 1st of April, 1777. He served with distinction during the war, and at its termination he went to Kentucky. He settled in Woodford county, in that state, in 1785. He was with St. Clair at his defeat in 1791; and in 1794 he commanded a portion of Wayne’s army at the battle of the Fallen Timber. He was governor of Kentucky from 1808 to 1812. He died on the 22d of October, 1820, aged seventy-four years.

55 Mount Holly is the seat of justice for Burlington county. It is situated on the north branch of the Rancocus Creek, about nineteen miles from Trenton. During the war, a Whig, named William Denning, who afterward resided in Mount Holly, constructed a wrought-iron cannon. It was made of iron staves, hooped like a barrel with the same material. There were four layers of staves, firmly bound together, and then bored and breeched like other cannons. He finished one in Middlesex, Pennsylvania, and began another in Mount Holly. The former was captured at the battle of Brandywine, and is now in the Tower of London: the latter was placed in the Philadelphia arsenal. Denning died a few years since, at the age of ninety-four.

56 This force properly fell under the command of General Lee. As he was totally opposed to the movement, it placed him in an unpleasant situation. This embarrassment was mentioned to Washington by La Fayette, who offered to take command of that division. Washington agreed to give it to La Fayette, if General Lee would consent to the arrangement. That officer readily consented, and La Fayette was placed in command. Lee afterward changed his mind, and applied to Washington to be reinstated. He could not, with justice or propriety, recall the orders given to La Fayette; and the commander-in-chief endeavored to preserve harmony by giving Lee the command of two brigades, with orders to join the advanced detachments, when, of course, his rank would entitle him to the command of the whole. He ordered Lee to give La Fayette notice of his approach, and to offer him all the assistance in his power for prosecuting any enterprise he might have already undertaken. Washington wrote, also, to La Fayette, explaining the dilemma, and counting upon his cheerful acquiescence.

57 William Grayson was a native of Prince William county, in Virginia. He was appointed one of the commissioners to treat with Sir William Howe respecting prisoners, while the army was at Valley Forge. In the battle of Monmouth he commanded a regiment in the advanced corps, and behaved with valor. At the close of the war he returned to his native state, and was elected a representative in Congress in 1784. In 1788 he was a member of the Virginia Convention, called for the purpose of considering the Constitution of the United States. With Patrick Henry he opposed the ratification of that instrument. He was appointed one of the first senators from Virginia in 1789, with Richard Henry Lee. He died at Dumfries, while on his way to Congress, on the 12th of March, 1790.

58 It was composed of the thirty-fourth and fifth brigades of British, two battalions of British grenadiers, the Hessian grenadiers, a battalion of light infantry, the Guards, and the sixteenth regiment of light dragoons.

59 This first attack occurred in the vicinity of Brier Hill, about three fourths of a mile east of the courthouse.

60 Eleazer Oswald was a native of Massachusetts. and was among the earliest of the active patriots of the Revolution. He exhibited great bravery at the siege of Quebec, at the close of 1775, where he commanded the forlorn hope after Arnold was wounded. In 1777 he was commissioned a lieutenant colonel in Lamb’s regiment of artillery, and soon afterward distinguished himself, with Arnold, at Compo, at the head of recruits raised in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. He was with Putnam when Forts Clinton and Montgomery were taken in 1777, and anxiously entreated his general to allow him to go to the relief of the forts, where his friend Lamb commanded the artillery. For his bravery at the battle of Monmouth, he was highly commended by Generals Knox and Lee. Being outranked soon after this engagement, he resigned his commission and left the service. He entered into the printing and publishing business at Philadelphia, was appointed public printer, and was a resident there at the time of Arnold’s defection. Upon constitutional questions he was an opponent of General Hamilton, and in 1789 challenged that gentleman to fight a duel. Their friends adjusted the matter, and the meeting was prevented. In 1793, being in England on business, he went to the Continent, joined the French army, commanded a regiment of artillery, and was at the battle of Mons, or Jemappe. He fell a victim to the yellow fever which desolated New York in 1795, and was buried in St. Paul’s church-yard on the 2d of October of that year. – See Leake’s Life and Times of General Lamb.

61 The conduct of Lee throughout the day was very strange, and gives a coloring of truth to the conjecture that the thorn of envy was still rankling in his bosom, and that he preferred seeing the Americans disgraced by a defeat, rather than Washington honored by a victory. La Fayette, who had watched with the eye of ardent affection the progress and termination of the conspiracy against Washington a few months previously, in which the name of Lee was prominent as his proposed successor, was properly suspicious. Soon after his application to Lee for permission to attempt to gain the enemy’s rear, one of Washington’s aids arrived for information; and La Fayette took the occasion to inform his excellency, through the aid, that his presence upon the ground was of the utmost importance. He felt convinced that Lee’s movements were governed either by cowardice or treachery, and he was anxious to have Washington controlling the movements of the day.

62 William Maxwell was a native of Ireland. He joined the army at the commencement of the war. In 1776 he was appointed colonel, and raised a battalion of infantry in New Jersey. He was with General Schuyler on Lake Champlain, and in October, 1776, was appointed a brigadier in the Continental army. After the battle at Trenton, he was engaged in harassing the enemy; and during the winter and spring of 1777 was stationed near the enemy’s lines at Elizabethtown. In the autumn of that year he was engaged in the battles at the Brandywine and Germantown, and during the succeeding winter he was with the suffering army at Valley Forge. He was active in pursuit of Clinton across New Jersey the following summer, and sustained an important part in the battle at Monmouth. After that engagement, he was left, with Morgan, to annoy the enemy’s rear in their retreat toward Sandy Hook. He was again near Elizabethtown during the winter and spring of 1780, and in June was engaged in the action at Springfield. In August he resigned his commission and quitted the service. He was highly esteemed by Washington, who, on transmitting his resignation to Congress, said, "I believe him to be an honest man, a warm friend to his country, and firmly attached to its interests." He died in November, 1798.

63 This causeway, alluded to before, was near the parsonage, which is still standing, though greatly decayed, and known as "Tennent’s House." The morass, which was then a deep quagmire, and thickly covered with bushes, is now mostly fine meadow land, coursed by a clear streamlet, spanned by a small bridge where the highway between Freehold and Englishtown, by way of the meeting-house, crosses.

64 This view is from the green, outside of the church-yard, near the school-house. The church is situated a short distance from the road leading from Freehold to Englishtown, and about midway between those places. It was erected in 1752, on the site of a former one, which was much smaller; hence it was called the new church. * It is of wood, shingled, and painted white; at present a very dingy color. For a century and a half, God has been worshiped on that spot. There Whitefield, Brainerd, the Tennents, and Woodhull preached and prayed. It has been asserted that bullet-marks, made during the battle in 1778, are visible upon the church. Such is not the fact, for it is a mile and a half distant from the parsonage, where the hottest of the battle occurred. At the church, and upon its roof and steeple, many were gathered in anxious suspense to witness the battle. A spent cannon-ball came bounding toward the church during the action, struck a man who sat upon a small grave-stone, and so wounded him that he died within an hour. He was carried into the church, and placed in the first pew on the right of the middle door, where he expired. Traces of his blood were upon the floor for nearly fifty years. The stone on which he sat is still there, not far from the grave of Colonel Monkton. Its top was broken by the ball, and for more than seventy years the fracture was left untouched. Lately some vandal hand has broken a "relic" from it, and quite destroyed the moss-covered wound it first received. The obelisk seen on the right of the picture is over the grave of the Reverend Robert Roy. The other ornamental monument is over that of the Reverend Mr. Woodhull.

* See Washington’s letter to the president of Congress, July 1, 1778.

65 It was evident that after the first vent of his indignation on seeing Lee making a shameful retreat before the enemy, Washington was willing to overlook the act, and forget and forgive Lee’s harsh words spoken in anger. Had the latter been actuated by the same noble and generous spirit, all would have been well. But the rebuke of the commander-in-chief struck deep into his pride, and he could not rest satisfied with the retort he had given to his general. On the day after the battle he wrote a letter to Washington, in which he demanded an apology, or its equivalent, for his remarks on the battle-field. Washington replied that he conceived his letter to be expressed in terms highly improper, and asserted his conviction that the words which he used when he met him retreating were warranted by the circumstances. He charged Lee with a breach of orders, and misbehavior before the enemy, in not attacking them, and in making an "unnecessary, disorderly, and shameful retreat." Lee wrote an insulting reply. "You can not afford me," he said, "greater pleasure than in giving me the opportunity of showing to America the sufficiency of her respective servants. I trust that temporary power of office, and the tinsel dignity attending it, will not be able, by all the mists they can raise, to obfuscate the bright rays of truth." In a second letter, dated the 30th of June (two days after the battle), Lee demanded a court of inquiry immediately, accompanying that demand with offensive remarks. Washington immediately sent Colonel Scammel, the adjutant general, to put Lee under arrest, on the following charges

"First: Disobedience of orders in not attacking the enemy on the 28th of June, agreeably to repeated instructions.

"Secondly: Misbehavior before the enemy on the same day, by making an unnecessary, disorderly, and shameful retreat.

"Thirdly: Disrespect to the commander-in-chief, in two letters, dated the 1st of July and the 28th of June." *

The court martial was convened on the 4th of July, at Brunswick, consisting of one major general (Lord Stirling, who was president), four brigadiers, and eight colonels. The court sat from time to time, until the 12th of August, when they declared their opinion that General Lee was guilty of all the charges, and sentenced him to be suspended from any command in the armies of the United States for the term of twelve months. The testimony on the trial exhibits a minute detail of the operations in the battle of Monmouth. Congress approved the sentence of the court martial on the 5th of December, by a vote of thirteen in the affirmative and seven in the negative, and ordered the proceedings to be published. – See Sparks’s Washington, v., 552; Journals of Congress, iv., 501.

* These were both erroneously dated. Lee’s letters were written on the 29th and 30th of June.

66 This outline sketch is from a copy of the picture at Arlington House (the seat of Mr. Custis), which I made, by permission, in November, 1850. As it exhibits none of the horrid scenes of slaughter which generally characterize battle-pieces, I have not hesitated to introduce it, for the purpose of giving a specimen of pictorial composition upon an interesting historical subject from the pencil of the adopted son, and the only surviving executor of the will of the great Washington. The engraving was executed by Dr. Alexander Anderson, the pioneer wood-engraver in America, at the age of seventy-seven years. Both painter and engraver have passed several years beyond the age allotted to man. Since I made this copy, Mr. Custis has completed four other historical pictures – Germantown, Trenton, Princeton, and Yorktown, and thus has perpetuated on canvas the memory of the principal battles in which his illustrious foster-father was engaged.

In the picture here given, the chief is seen most prominently on his white charger, with his general officers. Washington and Greene are in front; Knox on the right, upon the most prominent horse; and behind them are Hamilton, Cadwallader, &c. On the left is seen the group of artillery, with "Captain Molly" at the gun. In the distance is seen a portion of the British army, and Colonel Monckton falling from his horse. On the right, in the foreground, lying by a cannon, is Dickinson, of Virginia; and on the left, by a drum, Bonner, of Pennsylvania. In the center is a wounded rifleman.

67 It was during this part of the action that Molly, the wife of a cannonier, is said to have displayed great courage and presence of mind. We have already noticed her bravery in firing the last gun at Fort Clinton. (See p. 732, vol. i.) She was a sturdy young camp-follower, only twenty-two years old, and, in devotion to her husband, she illustrated the character of her countrywomen of the Emerald Isle. In the action in question, while her husband was managing one of the field-pieces, she constantly brought him water from a spring near by. A shot from the enemy killed him at his post; and the officer in command, having no one competent to fill his place, ordered the piece to be withdrawn. Molly saw her husband fall as she came from the spring, and also heard the order. She dropped her bucket, seized the rammer, and vowed that she would fill the place of her husband at the gun, and avenge his death. She performed the duty with skill and courage which attracted the attention of all who saw her. On the following morning, covered with dirt and blood, General Greene presented her to Washington, who, admiring her bravery, conferred upon her the commission of sergeant. By his recommendation, her name was placed upon the list of half-pay officers for life. She left the army soon after the battle of Monmouth, and, as we have before observed died near Fort Montgomery, among the Hudson Highlands. She usually went by the name of Captain Molly. The venerable widow of General Hamilton, who died in 1854, told me she had often seen Captain Molly. She described her as a stout, red-haired, freckled-face young Irish woman, with a handsome, piercing eye. The French officers, charmed by the story of her bravery, made her many presents. She would sometimes pass along the French lines with her cocked hat, and get it almost filled with crowns.

68 This view is from the orchard, upon the site of Wayne’s position when Monckton fell. The old house on the left is the ancient parsonage, occupied, at the time of the battle, by a man named Freeman. Beyond the house, extending right and left, is the place of the morass, now fine meadow land, with a clear stream running through it; and in the extreme distance are seen the slopes and elevations whereon the second division of the American army, under Washington, was drawn up. Upon the rising ground on the extreme right, the British grenadiers were stationed; and the two figures in the open field, about fifty yards distant from our point of view, denote the spot where Monckton was killed.

69 The belligerents were separated by only a few rods in distance, and that an open field. The patriots near the parsonage, and those with Wayne, at the barn, and in the orchard, distinctly heard the voice of Monckton when haranguing his men.

70 It is said that the grenadiers marched with so much precision, that a ball from Comb’s Hill, enfilading a platoon. disarmed every man.

71 Colonel Monckton was a gallant officer. He was a lieutenant colonel in the battle of Long Island, when he was shot through the body, but recovered. He was interred, on the day after the battle of Monmouth, in the burial-ground of the Freehold meeting-house, about six feet from the west end of the building, upon a stone of which his name is rudely cut. The only monument that marks the grave of that gallant officer is a plain board, painted red, on which is drawn, in black letters, the inscription seen in the picture. This board was prepared and set up a few years ago by a worthy Scotch schoolmaster, named Wilson, who taught the young people in the school-house upon the green, near the old meeting-house.

72 William Woodford was a native of Caroline county, in Virginia. He early distinguished himself in the French and Indian wars. When the Virginia troops assembled at Williamsburg in 1775, in consequence of the hostile attitude assumed by Lord Dunmore, Woodford was appointed colonel of the second regiment. Patrick Henry was colonel of the first regiment. In the battle at Great Bridge, on the Elizabeth River, in December, 1775, he was distinguished for his bravery. Congress promoted him to brigadier, and placed him in command of the first Virginia brigade. He was in the battles of Brandywine (in which he was wounded) and Monmouth, and was made a prisoner at Charleston, in South Carolina, during the siege in 1780. He was taken to New York by the British, where he died on the 13th of November of that year, in the forty-sixth year of his age.

73 Sir Henry Clinton, in his official dispatch to Lord George Germaine, wrote, "Having reposed the troops until ten at night to avoid the excessive heat of the day, I took advantage of the moonlight to rejoin General Knyphausen, who had advanced to Nut Swamp, near Middletown." This assertion was the cause of much merriment in America, for it was known that the event took place about the time of new moon. Poor Will’s Almanac, printed at Philadelphia by Joseph Cruikshank, indicates the occurrence of the new moon on the 24th of June, and that on the night of the battle being only four days old, it set at fifty-five minutes past ten. Trumbull, in his M‘Fingal, alluding to this, says,

"He forms his camp with great parade,
While evening spreads the world in shade,
Then still, like some endanger’d spark,
Steals off on tiptoe in the dark;
Yet writes his king in boasting tone,
How grand he march’d by light of moon!
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Go on, great general, nor regard
The scoffs of every scribbling bard,
"Who sings how gods, that fearful night,
Aided by miracle your flight;
As once they used in Homer’s day,
To help weak heroes run away;
Tells how the hours, at this sad trial,
Went back, as erst on Ahaz’ dial,
While British Joshua stay’d the moon
On Monmouth’s plain for Ajalon.
Heed not their sneers or gibes so arch,
Because she set before you march."

74 Ramsay; Gordon; Marshall; Sparks; D’Auberteuil; Stedman, &c.

75 The enemy suffered more from the heat than the Americans, on account of their woolen uniform, and being encumbered with their knapsacks, while the Americans were half disrobed. The Americans buried the slain which were found on the battle-field in shallow graves. In their retreat, the British left many of their wounded, with surgeons and nurses, in the houses at Freehold, and every room in the court-house was filled with the maimed and dying on the morning after the battle. A pit was dug on the site of the present residence of Dr. Throckmorton, of Freehold, wherein the wounded were thrown and buried as fast as they expired.

It is said that nearly six hundred young men of Clinton’s army, who had formed tender attachments during the winter cantonment in Philadelphia, deserted during the march through New Jersey, and returned to that city.

76 This monument stands on the south side of the church. It is of white marble, about eight feet in height. The following is the inscription upon it: "Sacred to the memory of the Reverend John Woodhull, D. D., who died Nov. 22d, 1824, aged 80 years. An able, faithful, and beloved minister of Jesus Christ. He preached the Gospel 56 years. He was settled first in Leacock, in Pennsylvania, and in 1779 removed to this congregation, which he served as pastor, with great diligence and success, for 45 years. Eminent as an instructor of youth, zealous for the glory of God, fervent and active in the discharge of all public and private duties, the labors of a long life have ended in a large reward."

Reverend Dr. Woodhull was one of the most active patriots of his day, and his zeal in the cause of his country was largely infused into his congregation. On one occasion, while a pastor in Pennsylvania, every man in his parish went out to oppose the enemy, except one feeble old invalid, who bade them God speed. The zealous pastor went with them as chaplain.


Dr. Woodhull preached the funeral sermon on the occasion of the burial of Captain Huddy, at Freehold, in the spring of 1782, from the piazza of the hotel now kept by Mr. Higgins. Captain Huddy lived in the central part of Colt’s Neck, about five miles from Freehold. He was an ardent Whig, and by his activity and courage became a terror to the Tories. In the summer of 1780, a mulatto, named Titus, and about sixty refugees, attacked Huddy’s house, in the evening. The only inmates were Huddy and Lucretia Emmons (afterward Mrs. Chambers), a servant girl about twenty years of age. There were several guns in the house; these Lucretia loaded, while Huddy fired them from different windows. Titus and some others were wounded. They set fire to the house, when Huddy surrendered, and the flames were extinguished. The prisoners were taken on board of a boat near Black Point. Just as it was pushed off from the shore, Huddy leaped into the water, and escaped under fire of some militia who were in pursuit of the Tories. In the spring of 1782, Huddy commanded a block-house, situated a short distance north of the bridge at the village of Tom’s River. It was attacked by some refugees from New York, and his ammunition giving out, Huddy was obliged to surrender. Himself and companions were taken to New York, and afterward back to Sandy Hook, and placed, heavily ironed, on board a guard-ship. On the 12th of April, sixteen refugees, under Captain Lippincott, took Huddy to Gravelly Point, on the shore at the foot of the Navesink Hills, near the light-houses, and hung him upon a gallows made of three rails. He met his fate with composure. Upon the barrel on which he stood for execution, he wrote his will with an unfaltering hand. His murderers falsely charged him with being concerned in the death of a desperate Tory, named Philip White, which occurred while Huddy was a prisoner in New York. To the breast of Huddy, the infamous Lippincott affixed the following label: "We, the refugees, having long with grief beheld the cruel murders of our brethren, and finding nothing but such measures daily carrying into execution; we therefore determine not to suffer, without taking vengeance for the numerous cruelties; and thus begin, having made use of Captain Huddy as the first object to present to your view; and further determine to hang man for man, while there is a refugee existing.


Huddy’s body was carried to Freehold, and buried with the honors of war. His death excited the greatest indignation throughout the country. Dr. Woodhull earnestly entreated Washington to retaliate, in order that such inhuman murders might he prevented. The commander-in-chief acquiesced, but, instead of executing a British officer at once, he wrote to Sir Henry Clinton, assuring him that, unless the murderers of Huddy were given up, he should proceed to retaliate. Clinton refused compliance and Captain Asgill, a young British officer (son of Sir Charles Asgill), who was a prisoner, was designated, by lot, for execution. In the mean while, Lippincott was tried by a court martial; and it appeared, in testimony, that Governor Franklin, president of the Board of Associated Loyalists, had given that officer verbal orders to hang Huddy. Lippincott was acquitted. Sir Guy Carleton, who had succeeded Sir Henry Clinton, in a letter to Washington, reprobated the death of Huddy, and acquainted him that he had broken up the Board of Associated Loyalists. Washington had mercifully postponed the execution of young Asgill, and, in the mean time, had received a pathetic letter from Lady Asgill, his mother, and an intercessory one from Count De Vergennes, the French minister. He sent these letters to Congress, and, on the 5th of November, 1782, that body resolved, "That the commander-in-chief be, and hereby is, directed to set Captain Asgill at liberty." The tenderest sympathies of Washington had been awakened in the young man’s behalf, and he had resolved to do all in his power, consistent with duty, to save him; and yet the unfair compiler of the Pictorial History of England (v., 489) accuses Washington of foul dishonor, and expresses his belief that, "as at the crisis when he put Major Andrè to death, and refused him the last sad consolation he asked for, he was now rendered gloomy and irascible by the constant and degrading troubles and mortifications in which he was involved." Nothing can be more unjust than this sentence.

In a humorous poem, entitled Rivington’s Reflections, Philip Freneau thus alludes to the case of Asgill. He makes Rivington (the Tory printer in New York) say,

"I’ll petition the rebels (if York is forsaken)
For a place in their Zion which ne’er shall be shaken.
I am sure they’ll be clever; it seems their whole study;
They hung not young Asgill for old Captain Huddy.
And it must be a truth that admits no denying –
If they spare us for murder they’ll spare us for lying."

77 Mr. Tennent’s brother, Gilbert, was also an eminent preacher. Garden, in his Revolutionary Anecdotes, relates the following circumstance: "When the American army entered Philadelphia in June, 1778, after the evacuation by the British troops, we were hard pressed for ammunition. We caused the whole city to be ransacked in search of cartridge-paper. At length I thought of the garrets, &c., of old printing-offices. In that once occupied as a lumber-room by Dr. Franklin, when a printer, a vast collection was discovered. Among the mass was more than a cart-body load of sermons on defensive war, preached by a famous Gilbert Tennent, during the old British and French war, to rouse the colonies to indispensable exertion. These appropriate manifestoes were instantly employed as cases for musket-cartridges, rapidly sent to the army, came most opportunely, and were fired away at the battle of Monmouth against our retiring foe."

78 The following is a copy of the inscription: "Sacred to the memory of the Reverend William Tennent, pastor of the first Presbyterian church in Freehold, who departed this life the 8th of March, 1777, aged 71 years and 9 months. He was pastor of said church 43 years and 6 months. FAITHFUL AND BELOVED."

79 Mr. Tennent has left on record the following graphic account of his feelings while his body was in a state of catalepsy:

"While I was conversing with my brother on the state of my soul, and the fears I had entertained for my future welfare, I found myself, in an instant, in another state of existence, under the direction of a Superior Being, who ordered me to follow him. I was accordingly wafted along, I know not how, till I beheld at a distance an ineffable glory, the impression of which on my mind it is impossible to communicate to mortal man. I immediately reflected on my happy change, and thought, Well, blessed be God! I am safe at last, notwithstanding all my fears. I saw an innumerable host of happy beings surrounding the inexpressible glory, in acts of adoration and joyous worship; but I did not see any bodily shape or representation in the glorious appearance. I heard things unutterable. I heard their songs and hallelujahs of thanksgiving and praise, with unspeakable rapture. I felt joy unutterable and full of glory. I then applied to my conductor, and requested leave to join the happy throng; on which he tapped me on the shoulder, and said. ‘You must return to the earth.’ This seemed like a sword through my heart. In an instant I recollect to have seen my brother standing before me disputing with the doctor. The three days during which I had appeared lifeless seemed to me not more than ten or twenty minutes. The idea of returning to this world of sorrow and trouble gave me such a shock, that I fainted repeatedly." – Life of William Tennent, by Elias Boudinot, LL. D.

Mr. Tennent said that, for three years, the ravishing sounds he had heard and the words that were uttered were not out of his ears. He was often importuned to tell what words were uttered, but declined, saying, "You will know them, with many other particulars, hereafter, as you will find the whole among my papers." Boudinot was with the army when Tennent died, and, before he could reach his house, the family, with all his effects, had gone with a son to South Carolina. He was taken sick about fifty miles from Charleston, and died among strangers. Although Boudinot was the executor of both father and son, he never discovered any trace of Tennent’s papers.

80 The Pine Robbers were a band of marauding Tories, who infested the large districts of pine woods in the lower part of Monmouth county, whence they made predatory excursions among the Whigs of the neighboring country. They burrowed caves in the sand-hills for places of shelter and retreat, on the borders of swamps, and, covering them with brush, effectually concealed them. From these dens they sallied forth at midnight to burn, plunder, and murder. Nor were the people safe in the daytime, for the scoundrels would often issue from their hiding-places, and fall upon the farmer in his field. The people were obliged to carry muskets while at their work, and their families were kept in a state of continual terror.

Of these depredators, the most prominent were Fenton, Fagan, Williams, Debow, West, and Carter. Fenton was the arch-fiend of the pandemonium of the Pines. He was a blacksmith of Freehold, large and muscular. He early took to the business of the Tories, and began his career of villainy by robbery. He plundered a tailor’s shop in Freehold township. Already a committee of vigilance was organized. They sent Fenton word that, if he did not return the plunder, he should be hunted and shot. Intimidated, he sent back the clothing, with the following savage note appended:

"I have returned your damned rags. In a short time I am coming to burn your barns and houses, and roast you all like a pack of kittens!"

Fenton soon proceeded to put his threat into execution. One summer night, at the head of a gang of desperadoes, he attacked the dwelling of an aged man near Imlaytown, named Farr. Himself, wife, and daughter composed the family. They barricaded the door, and kept the scoundrels at bay for a while. Fenton finally broke in a portion of the door, and, firing through the opening, broke the leg of the old man with a musket-ball. They forced an entrance at last, murdered the wife, and then dispatched the helpless old man. The daughter, badly wounded, escaped, and the miscreants, becoming alarmed, fled without taking any plunder with them. Fenton was afterward shot by a young soldier of Lee’s legion, then lying at Monmouth court-house. The robber had plundered and beaten a young man while on his way from a mill. He gave information to Lee, who detailed a sergeant and two soldiers to capture or destroy the villain. The young man, and the sergeant disguised as a countryman, took a seat in a wagon, while the two soldiers, armed, were concealed under some straw in the bottom of the vehicle, and proceeded toward the mill, expecting to meet Fenton on the road. From a low groggery among the Pines the robber came out, with a pistol, and commanded them to halt. He then inquired if they had brandy, to which an affirmative was given, and a bottle handed to him. While drinking, one of the soldiers, at a signal from the sergeant, arose, and shot the villain through the head. His body was thrown into the wagon, and conveyed in triumph to Freehold.

Fagan and West were also shot by the exasperated people. The body of the latter was suspended in chains, with hoop-iron bands around it, upon a chestnut by the road-side, about a mile from Freehold, on the way to Colt’s Neck, where it was left to be destroyed by carrion birds.

The sufferings of the people from these marauders made such a deep impression, that the lapse of years could not efface it from the hearts of those who felt their scourge, and even the third generation of the families of Tories were objects of hate to some of the surviving sufferers. An old lady, ninety years of age, with whom I conversed at Boundbrook, became greatly excited while talking of what her family endured from the Pine Robbers and other Tories, and spoke indignantly of one or two families in Monmouth county who were descendants of Loyalists. Philip Freneau, from whose poems I have frequently quoted, was a native of this county He was graduated at Princeton College in 1771. His poems, written chiefly during the Revolution and immediately after, were vigorous, and sometimes beautiful. He was found dead in a bog, in which he was mired, near Freehold, on the 18th of December, 1832, and was buried in that village. See page 659.



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