The Old Bell Of Independence; Or, Philadelphia In 1776
Henry C. Watson
Part 3 out of 3
general, his rescue certainly, and probably the destruction of the
party, would have been the consequence.
"The first room Major Barton entered was occupied by Mr. Pering, who
positively denied that General Prescott was in the house. He next
entered the room of his son, who was equally obstinate with his father
in denying that the general was there. Major Barton then proceeded
to other apartments, but was still disappointed in the object of
his search. Aware that longer delay might defeat the object of his
enterprise, Major Barton resorted to stratagem to facilitate his
search. Placing himself at the head of the stairway, and declaring
his resolution to secure the general dead or alive, he ordered
[Illustration: CAPTURE OF GENERAL PRESCOTT.] his soldiers to set fire
to the house. The soldiers were preparing to execute his orders, when
a voice, which Major Barton at once suspected to be the general's,
demanded 'What's the matter?' Major Barton rushed to the apartment from
whence the voice proceeded, and discovered an elderly man just rising
from his bed, and clapping his hand upon his shoulder, demanded of
him if he was General Prescott. He answered 'Yes, sir.' 'You are my
prisoner, then,' said Major Barton. 'I acknowledge that I am,' replied
the general. In a moment, General Prescott found himself, half dressed,
in the arms of the soldiers, who hurried him from the house. In the
meantime, Major Barrington, the aid to General Prescott, discovering
that the house was attacked by the rebels, as he termed them, leaped
from the window of his bed-chamber, and was immediately secured a
prisoner. General Prescott, supported by Major Barton and one of his
officers, and attended by Major Barrington and the sentinel, proceeded,
surrounded by the soldiery, to the shore. Upon seeing the five little
boats, General Prescott, who knew the position of the British shipping,
appeared much confused, and, turning to Major Barton, inquired if he
commanded the party. On being informed that he did, he expressed a hope
that no personal injury was intended him; and Major Barton assured the
general of his protection, while he remained under his control.
"The general had travelled from head-quarters to the shore in his
waistcoat, small-clothes, and slippers. A moment was now allowed him to
complete his dress, while the party were taking possession of the boats.
The general was placed in the boat with Major Barton, and they proceeded
for the main.
"They had not got far from the island, when the discharge of cannon and
three sky-rockets gave the signal of alarm. It was fortunate for the
party that the enemy on board the shipping were ignorant of the cause
of it, for they might easily have cut off their retreat. The signal
of alarm excited the apprehensions of Major Barton and his brave
associates, and redoubled their exertions to reach the point of their
destination before they could be discovered. They succeeded, and
soon after day-break landed at Warwick Neck, near the point of their
departure, after an absence of six hours and a half.
"General Prescott turned towards the island, and, observing the ships
of war, remarked to Major Barton, 'Sir, you have made a bold push
to-night.' 'We have been fortunate,' replied the hero. An express was
immediately sent forward to Major-General Spencer, at Providence,
communicating the success which had attended the enterprise. Not long
afterwards, a coach arrived, which had been despatched by General
Spencer to convey General Prescott and his aide-de-camp prisoners to
Providence. They were accompanied by Major Barton, who related to
General Spencer, on their arrival, the particulars of the enterprise,
and received from that officer the most grateful acknowledgments for the
signal services he had rendered to his country."
"I suppose Prescott paid for Lee soon afterwards?" said young Harmar.
"Yes; he was an officer of equal rank with Lee. The enemy had refused to
exchange Lee for two or three officers of an inferior grade, but they
were ready enough to take Prescott for him," replied Morton.
"It was as complete an enterprise as was ever carried through," remarked
"The poor general must have been surprised to find he was a prisoner,
when he thought himself safe among an army and fleet," observed Mrs.
"Major Barton was every inch a hero. See his skill and daring in
planning and executing the capture, and then his modesty when Prescott
said he had made a bold push--'We have been fortunate.' The reply was
worthy of the noblest of the Athenians," remarked Mr. Jackson Harmar.
"Circumstances did certainly favor the enterprise," said Smith. "In
fact, we may say its success turned upon chances, and if it had failed
and the whole party been made prisoners, Major Barton would have been
called a rash and inconsiderate officer. Success works wonders in our
estimate of deeds."
"You are harsh. Barton calculated the chances before he entered into the
expedition--saw that they were in his favor, and then formed his plan.
I am persuaded that, had he failed, his countrymen would have done him
justice," said Wilson.
"Perhaps," replied Higgins.
JONATHAN RILEY AND FRANK LILLY.
"I say, Mr. Higgins," said old Harmar, wishing to change the subject,
"do you recollect Jonathan Riley and Frank Lilly, that were in our
"I do. I shall never forget the death of either of them," replied
Higgins. "Poor Frank used to be the butt of the regiment."
"And why shall you always remember the death of those two men?" inquired
Mr. Jackson Harmar.
"Well, from peculiar circumstances connected with them," replied
Higgins. "However, your father knew them most intimately, and he can
tell you more about them than I can."
"Come, father, we call on you for the story," said Mrs. Harmar.
"You shall have what I can recollect of it, my child. My memory won't
pass muster any more; but if there's one event that will never escape
its grasp, it is the singular death of Jonathan Riley. He was a sergeant
in our regiment.
[Illustration: RILEY GOING TO THE PLACE OF EXECUTION.]
He had served in the old French war, and, being a man of tried
courage and presence of mind, he was usually selected for dangerous and
trying situations. He was at length placed on a recruiting station, and
in a short period he enlisted a great number of men. Among his recruits
was Frank Lilly, a boy about sixteen years old, who was so weak and
small that he would not have passed muster if the array had not been
greatly in want of men. The soldiers made this boy the butt of their
ridicule, and many a joke was perpetrated at his expense. Yet there was
a spirit in the boy beyond his years. Riley was greatly attached to him;
and it was reported, on good authority, that he was the fruit of one of
Riley's love affairs with a beautiful and unfortunate girl.
"Often on our long and fatiguing marches, dying almost from want,
harassed incessantly by the enemy, did Riley carry the boy's knapsack
for miles, and many a crust for the poor wretch was saved from his
scanty allowance. But Frank Lilly's resolution was once the cause
of saving the whole detachment. The American army was encamped at
Elizabethtown. The soldiers stationed about four miles from the main
body, near the bay that separated the continent from Staten-Island,
forming an advance picket-guard, were chosen from a southern regiment,
and were continually deserting. It was a post of some danger, as the
young ambitious British officers, or experienced sergeants, often headed
parties that approached the shore in silence, during the night, and
attacked our outposts. Once they succeeded in surprising and capturing
an officer and twenty men, without the loss of a man on their part.
General Washington determined to relieve the forces near the bay,
and our regiment was the one from which the selection was made. The
arrangement of our guard, as near as I can recollect, was as follows:
"A body of two hundred and fifty men was stationed a short distance
inland. In advance of these were several outposts, consisting of an
officer and thirty men each. The sentinels were so near as to meet in
their rounds, and were relieved every two hours. It chanced one dark and
windy night, that Lilly and myself were sentinels on adjoining posts.
All the sentinels were directed to fire on the least alarm, and retreat
to the guard, where we were to make the best defence we could, until
supported by the detachment in our rear. In front of me was a strip of
woods, and the bay was so near that I could hear the dashing of the
waves. It was near midnight, and occasionally a star was to be seen
through the flying clouds. The hours passed heavily and cheerlessly
away. The wind at times roared through the adjoining woods with
astonishing violence. In a pause of the storm, as the wind died suddenly
away, and was heard only moaning at a distance, I was startled by an
unusual noise in the woods before me. Again I listened attentively, and
imagined that I heard the heavy tread of a body of men, and the rattling
of cartridge boxes. As I met Lilly, I informed him of my suspicions. All
had been quiet in the rounds, but he promised to keep a good watch, and
fire on the least alarm. We separated, and I had marched but a few rods,
when I heard the following conversation. 'Stand.' The answer was from
a speaker rapidly approaching, and in a low constrained voice. 'Stand
yourself, and you shall not be injured. If you fire, you are a dead man.
If you remain where you are, you shall not be harmed. If you move, I
will run you through.'
"Scarcely had he spoken, when I saw the flash, and heard the report of
Lilly's gun. I saw a black mass rapidly advancing, at which I fired, and
with all the sentinels retreated to the guard, consisting of thirty men,
commanded by an ensign. An old barn had served them for a guard-house,
and they barely had time to turn out, and parade in the road, as the
British were getting over a fence within six rods of us, to the number
of eighty, as we supposed. We fired upon them, and retreated in good
order towards the detachment in the rear. The enemy, disappointed of
their expected prey, pushed us hard, but we were soon reinforced, and
they, in their turn, were compelled to retreat, and we followed them
at their heels to the boats. We found the next morning that poor Frank
Lilly, after discharging his musket, was followed so close by the enemy
that he was unable to get over a fence, and he was run through with
a bayonet. It was apparent, however, that there had been a violent
struggle; for in front of his post was a British non-commissioned
officer, one of the best formed men I ever saw, shot directly through
the body. He died in great agonies, as the ground was torn up with his
hands, and he had literally bitten the dust. We discovered long traces
of blood, but never knew the extent of the enemy's loss. Poor Riley
took Lilly's death so much to heart that he never afterwards was the man
he previously had been. He became indifferent, and neglected his duty.
There was something remarkable in the manner of his death. He was
tried for his life, and sentenced to be shot. During the trial and
subsequently, he discovered an indifference truly astonishing. On the
day of his execution, the fatal cap was drawn over his eyes, and he was
caused to kneel in front of the whole army. Twelve men were detailed for
the purpose of executing him, but a pardon had been granted, unknown to
Riley, in consequence of his age and services; they had no cartridges.
The word 'ready' was given, and the cocking of guns could be distinctly
heard. At the word 'fire,' Riley fell dead upon his face, when not a gun
had been discharged."
"That was a remarkable death; but there have been many instances of
a similar kind. The dread of death has been sufficient to produce it
without a mortal blow," remarked Wilson.
"But I cannot believe that Riley ever felt a dread of death. He was
always as reckless of his own life as if it was not of the value of a
pin's head. No; it was not the dread of death," replied old Harmar.
"It may have been the belief that death was certainly about to visit
him. Imagination may produce effects quite as wonderful," observed Mr.
"It's a waste of time and thought to speculate on such things," said
Smith. "But I'm inclined to believe, with young Mr. Harmar, that it was
the result of imagination. A man hearing the word 'fire,' in such a
case, would feel sure of death, and then his faculties would sink into
the expected state."
"I guess Riley's heart must have been almost broken at the death of poor
Frank Lilly," said Mrs. Harmar.
"Yes; he felt it deeper than most of us thought, and as I said, became
perfectly indifferent whether his duty was performed or not," replied
old Harmar. "The whole story of Riley and Lilly, including the account
of the love affair, was a sad bit of romance."
THE MASSACRE OF WYOMING.
"The people of Pennsylvania," observed Morton, "suffered more from the
tories and Indians than they did from the British. Philadelphia and
its vicinity were the only parts which any considerable British force
visited; but look at the depredations of the tories and Indians on
the northern and western frontiers, and at the massacre at Wyoming
"Ay, there were suffering and horror enough experienced in that valley
alone, to match those of any other event in our history. It was a time
of blood and desolation," remarked Mr. Jackson Harmar.
"I was intimately acquainted with several families residing in the
valley at the time of the massacre," said Morton; "and one man, who
was taken prisoner after seeing his whole family slaughtered, and who
afterwards escaped from the bloody band, narrated the whole affair to
"There is considerable dispute in regard to the circumstances attending
the massacre. It seems impossible to get at the precise truth," observed
Mrs. Harmar. "It's my opinion, the horrors of the event have been
greatly exaggerated," added Smith.
"I do not think they could be exaggerated," replied Morton. "If you
desire it, I will relate the circumstances as they were narrated to me.
I can vouch for the strict regard to truth that has ever distinguished
Of course, the company signified their desire to hear the account, and
thereupon Morton began as follows.
"Wyoming, besides being a frontier settlement during the course of the
Revolutionary war, and therefore constantly exposed to the inroads of
the savages, had furnished two full companies, and about sixty recruits
more, for the main army--all which were annexed to the Connecticut line,
and armed at their own expense. They amounted, in the whole, to two
hundred and thirty men. While thus weakened and unguarded, they were
invaded by an army from Niagara, in the British service, composed of
regulars, tories, and Indians; of which the Indians composed the greater
"The Indians, in the spring of 1777, began to be troublesome. Their
numbers were frequently augmented by the arrival of new parties; and it
was from the cattle, hogs, and other plunder taken from the inhabitants,
that they furnished themselves with provisions. Some of the inhabitants
were killed by them, and others captured; and they destroyed much
property. At length they became very formidable.
"The inhabitants had erected several small forts, but the principal one
was Forty Fort, in Kingston, on the west side of the river, a small
distance above Wyoming Falls. To this the settlers had chiefly resorted.
They had sent agents to the continental army to acquaint them with their
distressed situation; in consequence of which, Captain Spaulding, with
about sixty or seventy men, was dispatched to their assistance. This
detachment was, at the time of the massacre, about forty miles distant.
The garrison had been apprised of their march from Lancaster, but not of
"The people in the garrison grew uneasy, under the insults of the
invaders. The militia were placed under officers taken from themselves,
and the whole body was commanded by Colonel Zebulon Butler, of the
continental army. Colonel Dennison, of the militia, was second in
command. There was a fortification about three miles above Forty Fort,
called Wintermoot's Fort. This was in the possession of tories. They
surrendered at the approach of the enemy, without opposition, and gave
them aid; some of them entering fully into their interests. Wintermoot's
Fort instantly became the headquarters of the expedition from Canada;
and was commanded by Colonel John Butler, a British officer, and
commander of a party of rangers. The second in command was Colonel
Brandt, a natural son of Sir William Johnson, by an Indian woman. Some
communications by flag had taken place between the hostile parties
previous to the battle, with propositions of compromise. The Canadians
insisted on an unqualified submission to Great Britain; but this the
garrison peremptorily refused, and nothing was effected. The reciprocal
bearers of flags represented the army of the invaders as double the
garrison in number, and still more superior in the quality of their
"It was debated in the garrison, whether it would be a point of prudence
to hazard a sally. An officer, who had been at the enemy's camp with a
flag, opposed it, as did also Colonel Dennison and several others, and
Colonel Butler rather declined it; but, among others who were in favor
of it, a certain captain, (who never lived to lament his temerity,)
urged it with so much vehemence, that the commandant consented. A Mr.
Ingersol, then in the garrison with a flag from the enemy, had been some
time their captive, and was intimately acquainted with their strength.
He did his utmost to deter them from the rash attempt, but all in vain;
and, when he saw them turn out and parade, could no longer refrain from
"The third day of July, in the year 1778, was the fatal day that deluged
in blood the plains of Wyoming! The garrison marched off in a solid
column, and met with no material obstruction till they reached the
enemy's camp, about three miles above Forty Fort. Here they had the
Susquehanna on the right, and a thick swamp on the left; and, perceiving
that the enemy extended from the one to the other, ready to receive
them, they displayed column, which threw them into a similar position.
Colonel Zebulon Butler commanded the right, and was opposed by Colonel
John Butler, on the enemy's left. Colonel Dennison commanded on the
left, and was opposed by Colonel Brandt, on the enemy's right. The
action commenced at about forty rods distance. The air being heavy, the
smoke obstructed their sight; and, after the first discharge, they could
only direct their aim by the flash of the enemy's guns. Little execution
was done till after several discharges. Brandt marched a party into the
swamp, and flanked the militia. The enemy, now firing from under cover
of the thicket, greatly annoyed that wing. The militia dropped down
very fast, and at length began to give way, one after another, in rapid
succession, till the rout became general. The fugitives were closely
pursued by the Indians, who, besides their rifles and tomahawks, were
provided with long spears, which they threw with great dexterity, and
seldom missed their object--the practice of throwing the tomahawk and
spear, and of taking aim, being the principal exercises to which an
Indian warrior is trained.
"It was impossible for men thus flying and thus pursued to rally, nor
had they a moment's time even to load their pieces, while death was
close upon every man's heel. And, besides, many of them had no other
weapon but a rusty musket. Flight was their only hope; and the Indians,
being most accustomed to running, if they could not run the fastest,
could, however, out-wind them. The carnage at once became general, and
three-fourths of the militia were killed.
"According to the account of some who were present, the number
that sallied out was five hundred, and of those who escaped the
scalping-knife two hundred. Others assert that the sortie consisted of
but three hundred, and those who escaped were less than one hundred.
The probability is that, between the confusion, carnage, and panic of
the day, the accounts are all incorrect. But, by every account, about
three hundred able-bodied men, amounting to more than half the
settlement, were slain on that dismal day.
"The fugitives fled in every direction. Some saved themselves by fair
running; some, by hiding till the darkness covered their retreat; and
many by swimming the river, &c. Particular details of all individual
escapes cannot be given; nor would they, perhaps, be entertaining, and I
shall, therefore, pass them over. Some few of the enemy were killed
in the pursuit; their total loss was never ascertained, but we are to
presume that it was small.
"Forty Fort was immediately evacuated. Some few of the inhabitants took
British protections, and remained on their premises. The signal for a
house under protection was a white cloth hung up near the door, and for
a man, a white rag round the crown of his hat.
"Those of the militia who escaped from the battle, hastened toward the
Delaware, and, on their way through the swamp, met Captain Spaulding's
detachment, who, on being informed of the strength of the enemy and
deplorable condition of the settlement, judged it prudent to turn about
and retire to the settlement on the Delaware.
"The road through the swamp was thronged with women and children,
heavy-hearted and panic-struck; destitute of all the comforts of life,
travelling day and night, and in continual dread of the tomahawk and
scalping-knife! The whole country, and all the property in it, was
abandoned to the savages, save only by the few who had taken British
"Colonel Nathan Dennison, who succeeded to the command after Butler
escaped, seeing the impossibility of an effectual defence, went with
a flag to Colonel John Butler, to know what terms he would grant on a
surrender; to which application Butler answered, with more than savage
phlegm, in two short words, '_The hatchet_.' Dennison, having defended
the fort till most of the garrison were killed or disabled, was
compelled to surrender at discretion. Some of the unhappy persons in the
fort were carried away alive; but the barbarous conquerors, to save
the trouble of murder in detail, shut up the rest promiscuously in
the houses and barracks, which they set on fire, enjoying the savage
pleasure of beholding the whole consumed in one general blaze.
"They then crossed the river to the only remaining fort, Wilkesborough,
which, in hopes of mercy, surrendered without demanding any conditions.
They found about seventy continental soldiers, who had been engaged
merely for the defence of the frontiers, whom they butchered with every
circumstance of horrid cruelty. The remainder of the men, with the women
and children, were shut up, as before, in the houses, which being set on
fire, they perished altogether in the flames.
"A general scene of devastation was now spread through all the
townships. Fire, sword, and the other different instruments of
destruction, alternately triumphed. The settlements of the tories
alone generally escaped, and appeared as islands in the midst of the
surrounding ruin. The merciless ravagers, having destroyed the main
objects of their cruelty, directed their animosity to every part of
living nature belonging to them--shooting and destroying some of their
cattle, and cutting out the tongues of others, leaving them still alive
to prolong their agonies.
"The following are a few of the more singular circumstances of the
barbarity practised in the attack upon Wyoming. Captain Bedlock, who had
been taken prisoner, being stripped naked, had his body stuck full of
splinters of pine-knots, and then a heap of the same piled around him;
the whole was then set on fire, and his two companions, Captains Ranson
and Durgee, thrown alive into the flames and held down with pitchforks.
The returned tories, who had at different times abandoned the
settlement in order to join in those savage expeditions, were the most
distinguished for their cruelty: in this they resembled the tories that
joined the British forces. One of these Wyoming tories, whose mother had
married a second husband, butchered with his own hands both her, his
father-in-law, his own sisters, and their infant children. Another, who
during his absence had sent home several threats against the life of his
father, now not only realized them in person, but was himself, with his
own hands, the exterminator of his whole family, mothers, brothers, and
sisters, and mingled their blood in one common carnage with that of
the aged husband and father. The broken parts and scattered relics of
families, consisting mostly of women and children who had escaped to the
woods during the different scenes of this devastation, suffered little
less than their friends, who had perished in the ruins of their houses.
Dispersed, and wandering in the forests as chance and fear directed,
without provision or covering, they had a long tract of country to
traverse, and many, without doubt, perished in the woods."
"Such deeds make the blood curdle in my veins," observed Mrs. Harmar.
"It is said that the cruelty of Colonel John Butler at Wyoming has been
greatly exaggerated," remarked Mr. Jackson Harmar. "His son, Walter
Butler, was certainly a savage, and the bloody deeds he committed have
been frequently attributed to his father. But I think history should
set the matter right, nor found its assertions upon the stories of the
"That's well thought of you, Mr. Harmar, but it's my opinion that
historians cannot find any evidence of the humanity of John Butler. As I
said before, I firmly believe the story of my friend. If John Butler did
not butcher the men who asked for quarter, he looked quietly on while
the red men did it, and therefore he is just as criminal, in my eyes, as
if he had handled the tomahawk," said Morton, emphatically.
"Colonel Zebulon Butler, with his family, escaped from the fort before
the massacre, I believe?" observed Higgins, inquisitively.
"Yes; and in that I think he betrayed his trust. A commander should
either conquer or die with his men," replied Morton.
"But when slaughter is certain, I think every man is justified in doing
all that he can to save himself," said old Harmar.
"That is selfish. If slaughter was certain, would it not have been more
honorable to remain, and make the enemy pay life for life, than it would
be to steal away and leave women and children to fall without revenge?"
"But would it be wise?" asked old Harmar, interrogatively.
"Whatever is honorable is wise," replied Wilson.
STORY OF THE DAUPHIN'S BIRTHDAY.
"Mr. Mortan, what do you think was the most interesting scene you saw
during the war?" enquired Mr. Jackson Harraar.
"Well, that's a question it requires some thinking to answer," replied
Morton. "Leaving battle scenes out of view, I think the celebration of
the Dauphin's birth-day, in May, 1782, was one of the most interesting
events I have ever witnessed."
"It was a great celebration," observed Higgins.
"You see," began Morton, "our army was then encamped on the high grounds
on both sides of the Hudson. The camp on the west side of the river was
called New Boston, because the huts had been put up by the Massachusetts
troops. The head-quarters of General Washington were at West Point.
As our Congress had entered into an alliance with the king of France,
General Washington thought it proper to seize every occasion of doing
honor to our allies; and when the French were thrown into all sorts of
rejoicing by the birth of an heir to the throne, he decided that we
should celebrate the same event. The thirty-first of May was fixed upon
for the celebration. Great preparations were made for the festival. In
General Washington's orders, invitations were given to all the
officers in the army, and they were requested to invite any friend or
acquaintance they might have in the country to join them. A romantic,
open plain near West Point was chosen for the building of the great
bower under which the company were to meet and partake of a grand feast.
A French engineer, named Villefranche, was employed, with one thousand
men, ten days in completing it, and, when completed, it was one of the
most beautiful edifices I have ever seen. It was composed entirely of
the material which the trees in the neighborhood afforded, and was about
six hundred feet long and thirty wide. The roof was supported by a grand
colonnade of one hundred and eighteen pillars made of the trunks of
trees. The roof and walls were made of the boughs and branches of trees,
curiously interwoven, while the ends were left open. On the inside,
every pillar was enriched with muskets and bayonets, which were arranged
in a fanciful manner; and the whole interior was decorated with
evergreens, French and American colors, and various emblems and mottoes.
"On the day of the festival, the whole army was paraded on the hills
on both side of the river, and it was a grand view. For several miles
around, as far as the eye could reach, lines of men, glittering in their
accoutrements, appeared. The officers were in front, or among their
respective commands, and their waving plumes seemed like floating
foam on the waves. At the signal--the firing of three cannon--all the
regimental officers left their commands and proceeded to the building
to join in the festivities there prepared by order of the
"At five o'clock, dinner being on the table, an interesting procession
moved from the quarters of Major-General M'Dougall, through a line
formed by Colonel Grain's regiment of artillery. In front, walked
the noble commander-in-chief, his countenance expressive of unusual
cheerfulness, and his stately form moving with characteristic grace and
dignity. He was accompanied by his lady, and his suite followed him.
Then came all the principal officers of the army with their ladies,
Governor Clinton and lady, and various distinguished characters from
the States of New York and New Jersey. The procession moved to the vast
bower, where more than five hundred guests were assembled. The banquet
was magnificently prepared, and bands of music added melody to the other
charms of the scene--thus feasting and satisfying the eye, the ear, and
the palate. The cloth being removed, thirteen appropriate toasts were
drank, each being announced by the firing of thirteen cannon and the
playing of appropriate music by the bands in attendance. The company
retired from the table at seven o'clock, and the regimental officers
rejoined their respective commands. In the evening, the arbor was
brilliantly illuminated. The numerous lights, gleaming among the boughs
and leaves of the trees that composed the roof and the walls, presented
the appearance of myriads of glowworms or of thousands of stars
glittering in the night. When the officers had rejoined their different
regiments, thirteen cannon were again fired, as a prelude to the general
feu-de-joie which immediately succeeded. Three times was it repeated,
and the reverberations sounded among the hills with tremendous effect,
darkness adding grandeur to the scene, as the flashing of the musketry
of the army broke upon it like sheeted lightning. The feu-de-joie was
immediately followed by three shouts of acclamation and benediction for
the dauphin, given by the whole army as with one voice. At half-past
eleven o'clock the celebration was concluded by an exhibition of
fireworks, ingeniously constructed of various figures. There was a ball
given during the evening in the arbor, at which General Washington,
with Mrs. Knox for a partner, led the dance. Thus ended the general
"There," remarked Mrs. Harmar, "that has interested me much more than
all the horrible stories that have been told to-day. How I should have
liked to be there!"
"It was a sight such as all men are not permitted to see," said Morton.
"It was grand--it was sublime!" exclaimed Mr. Jackson Harmar. "A scene
worthy of any pen or any pencil!" As Mr. Jackson Harmar seized all such
opportunities for exercising his literary propensities, it was most
probable that he considered that the pen alone could do justice to the
scene, and that _his_ pen was destined to immortalize it.
The bell now rang for tea, and the party adjourned to the tea-table,
where, however, the conversation turned upon matters foreign to the
Revolution. Mrs. Harmar would introduce household concerns when her
husband began to allude to the war, and the children, especially Thomas
Jefferson Harmar, would play around the old veterans, asking them
trifling questions, until the meal was finished, and then Morton,
Higgins, Smith, and Wilson prepared to return to their respective
residences. Morton lived in the interior of Pennsylvania, and was
stopping with a near relative during his visit to the city. The other
three resided in New Jersey, and were putting up at the same house--that
of a friend of Higgins'. Old Harmar shook hands with his old camp
associates, wishing them many days of health and happiness to come, and
trusting that they might meet again before death should claim them. The
veterans kissed the children, and Morton gave Thomas Jefferson Harmar a
bullet from Bunker's Hill, telling him to learn what his countrymen had
fought and bled for, and to act like them on a like occasion, if any
such should ever occur, which he earnestly hoped would never be the
case. Mr. Jackson Harmar procured a carriage, and the veterans being
soon comfortably seated, he accompanied them to their respective
residences. On bidding him farewell, the aged patriots thanked him
for his kindness, which Mr. Jackson Harmar returned with an elaborate
panegyric on the men of the Revolution, and the duty of his generation
to treat them with the highest veneration and respect. The public either
suffered from or were benefited by the interview between Mr. Jackson
Harmar and the veteran patriots, for the press soon teemed with stirring
poetical appeals to the people to hold their liberties dearer than
life, on account of the blood that they had cost. A large volume also
appeared, entitled "Legends of the Times that tried Men's Souls,"
beginning with the history of the "Old State-House Bell."
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