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Page 60. When Sir William Howe quitted the command of the army, Major Simcoe laid the following memorial before him, which he promised to support on his return to England.
To his Excellency General Sir William Howe, Commander in Chief, &c. &c.
The Memorial of the Major Commandant, Captains, and Subalterns, of His Majesty's Provincial Corps of Queen's Rangers.
"Your Memorialists, with all submission and respect, beg leave to entreat your Excellency will lay them at his Majesty's feet, humbly soliciting that he, in his gracious favour, will be pleased to establish them in the rank of the army, as has been given to the regiments now raising in Great Britain.
"The generality of the officers, who now request your Excellency's countenance, at the breaking out of the present rebellion, left their estates and settlements in Virginia, joined his Excellency Lord Dunmore, and underwent with him all the vicissitudes of service, till his junction with the army at Staten Island. The Queen's Rangers being intended for active employ, your Excellency was pleased to appoint your Memorialists, on account of their being more experienced in actual service, to supercede the generality of those who were its officers: how far your Excellency's favourable opinion of them has been justified, the subsequent behaviour of the corps in the Jersies, at the battle of Brandywine, [p262] and during a variety of fatiguing and detail services on which they have been employed in the course of the late winter, must testify.
"Attached to his Majesty and the cause of their country, from the purest motives, habituated to the fatigues of war, and ambitious of exerting themselves in it, confident that the men they command are disciplined equal to the important service of the light troops with whom they have constantly served, and conscious that, should they obtain their desired rank, their conduct will neither disgrace it as Gentlemen and as Officers; your Memorialists humbly hope that your Excellency will patronize their request, and that your intercession will induce his Majesty to look favourably on their petition, and to mark his approbation of their services by conferring on them the honour of enrolling with the army."
Page 73, line 27. Soon after, &c. &c.
Lt. Col. Simcoe had detailed his plan in readiness to lay it before Sir Henry Clinton. The mode he meant to propose to effect his junction with the Indians was, to be landed at night, privately, at a point called the Roundabouts, on the Raritan river, and to continue his march as rapidly and secretly as possible to Easton on the Delaware: at the same time a corps should proceed to Brunswick, under the pretext of foraging, but in reality to mask the design, and to cover the march from the troops which the enemy had at Elizabeth Town, their only corps in the Jersies, under General Maxwell. Lt. Col. Simcoe would have joined the Indians, probably in three days; and long before General Sullivan's expedition against them.
Page 87, line 4. Lt. Col. Simcoe received the following letter from Col. Wurmb, commanding the Yagers.
"Monsieur, -- J'enverrai apres un heure Le Major Bruschank et 200 hommes vers Phillips' house, et vers la pointe du jour le Capit: Wreden avec 100 hommes fur [p263] Courtland's Ridge, qui couvrera vôtre Gauche et nôtre droite; sitôt que vous attaquez les Chasseurs passeront le pont et marcheront sur la Hauteur de la Maison, de la Veuve Babcock. Si vous vous retirez faites les avertir par une Patrouille. J'ai l'honneur d'être, &c.
A 7 1-2 le soir.
Page 95, line 23. A general plan of defence was calculated for the whole.
The general orders were: in case of alarm, the following are to be the posts of the different companies:--
Captains M'Rae and Kerr's companies (supposed to be the right) to maintain their barrack, Capt. M'Rae's above and Capt. Kerr's below stairs.
Capt. Dunlop's company to occupy the right hand sunken fleche, Capt. Saunders the left; whichever of those companies gains its post first, to be divided and occupy both fleches, till the arrival of the other: Captain Smith's to occupy the sunken work in front of the Artillery barrack. The huzzars will be provided with arms, and are to gain the fleche on the left of Capt. Smith's, nor are they to think of their horses till ordered to get them by a field officer, or the senior officer within the second abatis, who commands the whole of the out-works and redoubt.
Captains Stevenson and Shank's companies to retreat on the heights to the one tree Hill, and to act according to emergency, retreating from if attacked, recoiling on the enemy if they retreat, and falling on their rear if they attempt to force the redoubt.
The grenadiers, the highlanders, and the piquet of cavalry, to join the light infantry at their barracks.
The guards to retreat and join the first company under arms; if attacked to keep up a galling fire.
All soldiers, whether officers' servants or others, whom their commanding officers permit to lie out of their barracks, [p264] are to have their arms with them, and to join the first party under arms that they meet. The most profound silence to be kept, and the Lt. Colonel recommends it to the officers not to fire if possible; but of the necessity they must judge themselves: whatever quarter is attacked, must be defended. The first officer that gets to his company, to march to its post. Every quarter will be fortified as soon as possible: every soldier must have his post in it: their arms must be arranged, and bayonets always fixed, and the doors barricaded; when the barracks are finished, the commanding officers must report to the Lt. Colonel, who will inspect them. The officer in the redoubt, in case from necessity or intention the regiment shall not join him, must maintain his post. If he cannot keep the platforms, he is to dismount his cannon, and bring them into his guard-house, which he is to defend, unless attacked by cannon, with his life.
The officers commanding companies will copy such orders as relate to themselves only, and inform their subalterns of them; and it is their duty to ask for an explanation of such parts as they do not perfectly understand, both in this and all other situations: -- no soldier, or non-commissioned officer, to be acquainted with these orders.
Page 117, line 3. His imprisonment, &c. &c.
Lt. Col. Simcoe had many providential escapes. Marrener prevented a boy from bayoneting him, as he lay senseless on the ground, saying "let him alone the rascal is dead enough;" and another person regretted that he had not shot him through the head, which he would have done had he known him to be a Colonel, but he thought "all Colonels wore lace." The sensations which he felt as he gradually awakened into recollection, and heard distant shouts and scattered firing, and saw what hands he had fallen into; and, when recovering more perfectly, his situation, and all his professional hopes rushed at once upon his mind, are [p265] better felt than described. He had other dangers to surmount, the populace were driven to fury by the death of Capt. Vorhees; and he was shown a letter from a field officer of the Jersey militia, in which was the following paragraph: "It was intended to bring Col. Simcoe to Captain Vorhees' grave, to show him the cruelty of his people, but I could not answer it." The soldiers, who had been taken, were with difficulty preserved by Mr. Clarkson, Mr. Morris (who bled Lt. Col. Simcoe) and other gentlemen, from assassination: and Governor Livingston, after making "a little harangue," as he termed it, to the populace, thought it necessary to give to Lt. Col. Simcoe the following written protection:
"The Governor being informed, that some people have a design to abuse and insult Lt. Colonel Simcoe, a British captive, and wounded in a skirmish that happened this day, between our militia and the British horse: though the Governor is not inclined to believe a report that would infer so great a disgrace upon the people of this state, as that of the least inclination of revenge against a wounded enemy in our power; yet to prevent the execution of any such attempt, it is his express orders to treat the said officer according to the rules of war, known and practised among all civilised nations; and as it is his desire to be carried to Brunswick, it is his further orders, that no molestation be given to him in his being carried thither, and that, while there, he be treated with that humanity which the United States of America have always observed towards their prisoners.
"Brunswick Landing, 2d Oct. 1779.
"N. B. Mr. Alexander Kellock having come with a flag, as a surgeon, to take care of Colonel Simcoe and a Serjeant, and also Edward Heifernon, his servant, are to attend him unmolested.
[p266] It would be unjust not to mention that some people of Brunswick, to whom Lt. Col. Simcoe, when Captain of grenadiers, had it in his power to be of service, remembered the protection, and in arms volunteered to assist Major Navius in preserving him from insult. It is with great pleasure Lt. Col. Simcoe has preserved the following letter, which he received from Lt. Wilson:
"Richmond, Oct. 28, 1779.
"Yesterday, and part of the day before, there was nothing but the picture of distress in every countenance; but this morning the soldiers are shouting "the father of the Rangers is alive:" in short, nothing can exceed the joy which appears in the countenance of officers and soldiers, and prayers for your speedy recovery; but none can possibly be more sincere than those of, &c.
On the 28th Lt. Col. Simcoe was removed on parole to Borden Town, to a tavern kept by Col. Hoogland of the Jersey militia, by whom he was treated with great civility. The principal people of Borden Town were very violent, in particular Messrs. Borden and Kirkbride. Lt. Col. Simcoe, in the son of the former, recollected the officer whose life, as mentioned in the 50th page, line 27, he had probably saved; and the circumstances were so well known that the fact was acknowledged; but this did not contribute to lessen the illiberal treatment he met with, and the umbrage which the inhabitants took at seeing him and Mr. Kellock walk about was such, that he soon confined himself to the house.
Col. Lee had written to offer Lt. Col. Simcoe pecuniary assistance; as Lt. Campbell, of the 74th regiment, who was on parole at Prince Town, had kindly supplied him, he had declined the acceptance of Col. Lee's civility.
There were many reports spread of Lt. Col. Simcoe's cruelties; and some rebel justices were anxious for affidavits to support them; but the direct contrary was the case; [p267] many of their party in Pennsylvania offering to give ample testimony of Lt. Col. Simcoe's humanity, and speaking most favourably of his conduct, while in that province.
On the 6th of November he received the following letter from Col. Lee:
"Monmouth, 6th Nov. 1779.
"Sir, - -- I am happy to hear by your polite reply, to an offer dictated by the feelings of man for man, that you had already been supplied in cash by the friendship of a brother officer; should you hereafter stand in need of that article, I assure myself, you will not suffer your want to continue long. From some insinuations I have heard, and from a paragraph in the last Trenton Gazette, I apprehend your local situation not the most agreeable: -- perhaps you may wish a remove; of course must address the Governor; being employed in a similar line by our respective Generals; it may not be amiss to appeal to me, should his Excellency require contradiction to the reports propagated prejudicial to your character. I am a stranger to what officer the barbarities exercised on some captured militia in Bucks county, Pennsylvania, can be truly attributed. I have never heard yourself declared as the author, and am led to believe you was not present: the unhappy sacrifice of Captain Vorhees in the late enterprise, I am told, took place after you fell.
"Your treatment of one of my dragoons, who fell into your hands last campaign, was truly generous, and then made an impression on my mind which it still retains. Anxious to prevent injustice being done to the unfortunate, I have been particular in this letter, though I please myself in presuming that it will be unnecessary. Your most obedient humble servant
"H. LEE, Jun."
Lt. Col. Simcoe made his acknowledgments to Col. Lee, and in regard to the affair at the Billet, informed him, that he planned the attack on General Lacy; but that no cruelties [p268] whatever were committed by the Queen's Rangers. On the 7th of November, Governor Livingston came to Borden Town; from his conversation Lt. Col. Simcoe had hopes of an immediate exchange: he was therefore much surprised the next evening, on the arrival of a militia party conducting Col. Billop of the Loyal militia of Staten Island, to be accosted by the Serjeant who commanded it, and informed that he was a prisoner, and must be confined, and marched the next morning to Burlington jail. Col. Hoogland with great humanity interfered, and, upon their paroles, carried Cols. Billop and Simcoe in his own light waggon to Burlington the next morning. Mr. Kellock, who accompanied them thither, returned, as he must have also been confined, which Lt. Col. Simcoe by no means would permit. Lt. Col. Simcoe, his servant and M'Gill, who had come from Staten Island, were confined, and no person was admitted to speak to them. Col. Billop was treated as the following mittimus directed, and received at the same time a letter from Boudinot, the Commissary of Prisoners.
"To the Keeper of the Common Jail for the county of Burlington. Greeting.
"You are hereby commanded to receive into your custody, the body of Col. Christopher Billop, prisoner of war, herewith delivered to you, and having put irons on his hands and feet, you are to chain him down to the floor in a close room, in the said jail; and there so detain him, giving him bread and water only for his food, until you receive further orders from me, or the commissary of Prisoners for the State of New Jersey, for the time being. Given under my hand at Elizabeth Town, this 6th day of Nov. 1779.
"ELISHA BOUDINOT, Com. Pris. New Jersey."
"Sir, -- Sorry I am that I have been put under the disagreeable necessity of a treatment towards your person that will prove so irksome to you; but retaliation is directed, and it [p269] will, I most sincerely hope, be in your power to relieve yourself from the situation by writing to New York, to procure the relaxation of the sufferings of John Lacer, and Capt. Nathaniel Randal. It seems, nothing short of retaliation will teach Britons to act like men of humanity.
"I am, sir, your most humble servant,
"ELISHA BOUDINOT, Com. S. Pris.
"Elizabeth Town, Nov. 6, 1779.
"Col. Christopher Billop, Burlington."
John Leshier had murdered a Loyalist, whom he had waylaid, and, in the room of being instantly executed as a murderer, and as he deserved, was confined in irons. Nathaniel Randal was the skipper of a vessel, being a private militia man he was not permitted his parole, which indulgence is only extended to officers. Col. Billop, who was to retaliate for these people, was a gentleman of most excellent character, and considerable property; who, in the House of Assembly, where he had a seat, had uniformly opposed those measures which led to a rupture with Great Britain; and, on the breaking out of the war, had accepted of the commission of Colonel of the Staten Island militia: so that nothing could possibly suggest to Boudinot the reflection he made on the national humanity, but that he could do it with impunity; and that it did not misbecome his birth and extraction, being the son of a low Frenchman, who kept an ale-house at Prince Town. His brother has been President of Congress.
There were two soldiers of the guards in Burlington jail, they had been taken prisoners in Pennsylvania, and confined in Fort Frederick, from whence they had made their escape; but being re-taken, were imprisoned. They had no provisions allowed them, but depended upon the precarious charity of a few friends for subsistence. Lt. Col. Simcoe represented their situation to the sheriff, which their emaciated appearance fully confirmed; in consequence, they were shortly after removed from Burlington.
[p270] Col. Lee still continued his generous attention; and to the utmost of his power supported the request which Lt. Col. Simcoe had made, to be permitted to go on parole to Staten Island, as the following letter will evince.
Monmouth, 14th Nov. 1779.
"Sir, -- I have received an answer from Gov. Livingston, to my letter of request, in your behalf. I was very particular in my address, and, although I cannot congratulate myself on its full success, I flatter myself it will lead to the completion of your wishes. The following is an extract from the Governor's letter: -- "Col. Simcoe's treatment by this state is not founded on his character. We think it our indispensable duty to retaliate the enemy's severity to some of our citizens in New York; but that such treatment should, however, happen to be exercised on a person of whom you entertain so favourable an opinion, (besides the disagreeableness of such measures at any time,) is particularly afflictive to, &c. &c. &c."
"From the above declaration I presume, that your parole may be procured, in a few days, if any expection can be held out to the executive power of the State, tending to a liberation of any one of her citizens in New York.
"Perhaps your presence with Sir Henry Clinton might affect an alteration in the measures complained of, and a system of perfect liberality might be established in future: if you will permit me to declare your determination on this point, and, if it answers my expectation, I will do myself the pleasure of waiting on the Governor in person, to attempt the full settlement of the unhappy business. I have, as yet, no reply from Mr. Boudinot, though his station does not promise much service, and therefore his opinion will be very unimportant.
I have the honour to be, &c.
H. LEE, Jun."
Lt. Col. Simcoe answered Col. Lee's letter, and in that part which referred to the liberation of Randal, or Fitzrandolph, [p271] he assured Col. Lee, "that if that person had acted without a commission, as it was reported, and his opinion was asked by Sir Henry Clinton, it would be immediately to execute him, though be, on his return from Staten Island, should suffer the same fate by a retaliation, to use the Governor's phrase."
Gov. Livingston gave the following answer to Lt. Col. Simcoe's letter, demanding to know what persons would be received in exchange for him, and requesting his parole to Staten Island.
Mount Holly, Nov. 10th, 1779.
Sir, -- I have received your letter, without date. Your confinement, and the order relative to Col. Billop, is in consequence of the advice of the Privy Council; till they rescind their resolve, I am not at liberty to deviate from it; I hope, however, that you will not be disagreeably situated, except as to the confinement. The exchange proposed for you and Col. Billop (which is Col. Reynolds, Mr. Fitzrandolph, Leshier, and Jackson, and as many other privates as will make it equal) has, I suppose, before this time reached New York. If you are not soon released, it will be the fault of the British. For my part, I heartily wish it may be effected in the speediest manner, and not only for the sake of our citizens in captivity at New York, but also from sentiments of humanity towards Col. Billop and yourself, as I am not gratified by the sufferings of any man; and I am sure the Governor does not, and fully pursuaded the Council do not harbour any personal resentment against Col. Billop. Unfortunately for that gentleman, the treatment of some of our citizens in New York, has induced this State to consider retaliation their indispensable duty, and it is his particular misfortune to be in our possesion at this melancholy juncture.
"Respecting your request of going to Staten Island on your parole, I hope your exchange will be negotiated without [p272] it; and, for that purpose, any of your letters on that subject shall be cheerfully transmitted to New York, by
"Sir, your humble servant, WILLIAM LIVINGSTON.
"P. S. In answer to Dr. Kellock's letter, desiring to attend you as Surgeon, I have acquainted him that there is no objection, provided he consents to be confined with you.
"Lt. Col. Simcoe of the Queen's Rangers."
"Sir, -- I have just now the honour of receiving your letter; I am sorry you will not permit me to go to Staten Island, to negociate mine and Col. Billop's exchange.
"I shall embrace an opportunity of writing to New York; but I must first beg to be acquainted, whether Mr. Randolph is or is not a Captain? he being styled such in M. Boudinot's letter to Col. Billop.
"I am also to beg, you will please to inform me for whom I am to retaliate, or for what I am confined? such usage being most unprecedented.
"As you are pleased to observe that no private resentment is harboured against Col. Billop, I wish to know whether there be any against me.
"I should be happy to have an early answer, and am, sir, your humble servant,
J. G. SIMCOE.
"Burlington Goal, Nov. 10th, 1779.
"P. S. I am not well acquainted with these matters, but I conceive the present proposition to be what last year Gen. Washington refused to exchange Gen. Burgoyne's army on, when made by Sir Henry Clinton; and I should be glad to know the ranks of those people, with the number of privates, necessary to complete them to Col. Billop's rank."
"Mount Holly, 11th November, 1779.
"Sir, -- I have just now received your letter of yesterday's date.
[p273] "As the particular mode of exchanging American for British prisoners will, I presume, not be insisted upon by Sir Henry Clinton, in the present case; I hope no difference about his Excellency Gen. Washington and him will retard the effect of the present proposition, and it was for that very reason, if I rightly apprehended you, that you preferred your being considered as a prisoner to this state.
"Mr. Fitzrandolph is no officer in our militia, but, nevertheless, of so respectable a character that we are universally solicitous for his release; and, though a gentleman of the strictest honour, has been treated with the greatest indignity by your superiors.
"The rest of the persons proposed for exchange, save Col. Reynolds, are also privates. As to the additional number of privates necessary to make the exchange equal in consideration of your and Col. Billop's rank, it must be determined by military usage; which it will be easy for the two Commissaries to adjust, and no reasonable cause of obstruction will, I hope, originate from that source.
"You also ask me for whom you are retaliated upon, and for what you are confined? such usage being, as you are pleased to observe, most unprecedented. Considering, sir, that the confinement of our citizens, both officers and privates, when prisoners with the enemy, has been as uniformly directed as if it had been a matter of course, it ought not to appear wonderful, should we adopt the same mode of treatment, even without any view to retaliate; the precedent being set by our adversaries without the least pretence on their part of retaliating upon us. But when such measures are ordered by us for the express and sole purpose of relieving our suffering subjects, the impartial world must approve, and humanity itself, from their tendency to procure milder treatment, in the final result, be constrained to applaud them. Superadd to this, your counteracting the express terms of your parole at Borden Town, (I would wish to believe rather from your misconstruction than determinate design [p274] to violate it,) and your having been heard to say, that whenever you should apprehend yourself in danger of being insulted by the people, you should think yourself at liberty to effect your escape, (of which danger you doubtless intended to be judge,) not to mention that your present situation is your best security against all popular violence, in case there were any grounds for such apprehension; and, I doubt not, you will, on cooler reflection, find no reason to charge the step in question with any unnecessary severity.
"To your question, whether private resentment is harboured against you? I answer, sir, that public bodies are not actuated by private resentment; but the actions of individuals of a public nature, such as cruelty to prisoners, may nevertheless properly occasion towards such individuals a line of conduct, very different from what is observed towards those of an opposite character, and this, with as little colour for complaining of personal resentment as of the civil magistrates punishing a public offender; but as no such charge has been proved, (though many have been alleged against you,) I have no reason to think that such reports have influenced this Government in the measures hitherto directed, concerning you.
"The negotiating the exchange of prisoners being, by our law, entirely committed to the Commissary, (though the Governor is authorised to superintend their treatment,) you will be pleased, sir, in your future correspondence on that subject to be referred to him; I do not mean by this to discourage you from making any necessary application, to, sir,
"your most humble servant,
"Sir, -- I must beg of you to forward the inclosed packet to Sir Henry Clinton.
"I was pleased that I had fallen into the hands of the state of New Jersey, rather than into that of the Continental army, solely from the reliance I had on the assurances [p275] you gave me, that I probably should be exchanged in a few days, naming to me Colonels Reynolds or Hendrickson, as the likely persons.
"I never heard of a Lt. Colonel's being taken from his parole, and confined in a common goal, because a private sentinel was imprisoned; and am at a loss, in such treatment, to find the meaning of retaliation.
"You cannot force yourself to believe, sir, that I ever harboured a thought of violating my parole; although the principle of honour be very imperfectly felt among common people, no man, even in that class, would break his word, or suspect that a British officer dare do it, were he not himself divested of all probity.
"I conceived at Borden Town, that I was at liberty to walk in its environs, according to military usage, for my health: Col. Hoogland, whom I consulted, was of the same opinion; I never exceeded a mile, and confined myself to my house when I found it was disagreeable. There being some difficulty in procuring a guard for my protection when at Rariton landing, I publicly told Major Navius, that if my life was attacked and I was not protected, I should think myself at liberty to escape, in the propriety of which he acquiesced: I never mentioned, sir, nor meant, in case I was insulted; many insults I have met with, which, as they deserved, I have treated with contempt. I should not have asked whether private resentment was harboured against me, had not you written, sir, that neither you or the council harboured any personal resentment against Colonel Billop; that gentleman's sufferings, and my own confinement, I must still conceive to be most severe and unprecedented. I am to observe, sir, that I never complained of personal resentment; I was far from thinking I had any reason to apprehend it; but it is my duty to obtain as explicit reasons as you choose to give, for my superiors to judge why I am treated contrary to the laws of arms and humanity.
"In regard to the newspaper, and popular fabrications of [p276] cruelty alleged against me, I should treat them with contempt, had not you been pleased to take notice of them: such imputations, sir, will not fasten on me; my character is not in the power of those who wish to injure it, and the most unexceptionable evidence is necessary to prove, that the characteristic of cowardice distinguishes my conduct. My employment gave me the cursory possession, the momentary charge of prisoners; and cruelty is contrary to my nature, my education, and my obedience to my orders. My private affairs calling me to Staten Island, my application was made to you, sir, on that consideration.
"I still trust you will intercede to obtain me that permission; and, if I do not effect my exchange, I shall return to prison with the satisfaction of having settled my private business.
"I have the honour to be, sir, &c.
"J. G. SIMCOE."
Lt. Col. Simcoe enclosed the correspondence he had held with Governor Livingston to Sir Henry Clinton in the following letter, which was open and forwarded by the Governor to New-York:
"Sir, -- Governor Livingston having promised me to forward to your Excellency my letters; I take the earliest opportunity of acquainting you with my late and present situation.
"The result of my incursion your Excellency is acquainted with, and I have only to observe, that it was neither the valour of my enemies, or the least inattention of my party, that occasioned my being made a prisoner; but it is to be attributed to the most uncommon and malicious fortune.
"My life was preserved by the eagerness with which, as I have been informed, I was plundered when in a state of insensibility, and afterwards by the humanity of Mr. Morris.
"A Capt. Vorbees was killed by the detachment in its return, after I was taken; his relations seemed to the Governor [p277] so determined to revenge his death by my destruction, that he gave me a written protection; and afterwards directed Major Navius, who treated me with great humanity, personally to prevent any injuries that might be offered to me. I was removed to Borden Town on my parole, until the 9th, when I was taken from it, and close confined in Burlington goal.
"As my commitment expressed no reason for this treatment, I wrote to Governor Livingston on the subject, and enclose to your Excellency the correspondence.
"I look upon my present situation as most particularly unfortunate.
"My private affairs called for my greatest attention, and having procured your Excellency's leave, I had great prospect of success in them.
"I trust, sir, that having obtained your recommendation near a twelve month since for promotion, you will still patronise the application you then honoured with your approbation.
"My fair fame has been struck at, and cruelty, the attribute of fear, has been imputed to me in the public prints, and industriously propagated by ignorant, designing, and cowardly people.
"My honest ambition has been most severely disappointed; and I am doomed to pass the flower of my youth in a goal with criminals, when my state of health, affected by my fall, leads to an imbecility of mind, that will not permit to me the consolations resulting from my liberal education: yet, should I even be doomed obscurely to perish in the quicksand of deceit and calumny, with which I am now surrounded, it is my duty to expect, that no further ungenerous advantage may be permitted to the adversary, who, trampling on the respect due to his own adherents, and presuming on the attention your Excellency may be inclined to pay to my situation, may think to offer, without impunity, some further insult to the British service, the liberal customs of war, and to the honour of my country.
[p278] "Of my proposed exchange you, sir, are the best judge.
"Governor Livingston observed to me, that I was the more likely to be immediately exchanged by being a prisoner of the state of New Jersey, than if I had been taken by the Continental army. I acquiesced in his opinion; not then conceiving how much the field officers, who fight under the banners of this state, are depreciated in its estimation.
"There is one hope near, very near to my heart, which is, that your Excellency will patronise my corps, and employ it in the same line as if I was present; its reputation would be the greatest comfort I could receive in a situation that excludes me from participating in its danger and its glory.
"Colonel Billop was confined, from his parole given to the Continental army, the same day with me; and that most respectable and amiable gentleman suffers according to the enclosed mittimus; -- I subjoin to your Excellency his parole, and M. Boudinot's letter to him on his confinement.
"For my own part, sir, I wish for no retaliation that may affect the rights which the custom of war allows to individuals of rank, in order to soften the horrors of it. I am obliged to write at intervals; or I should, before now, have sought an opportunity of transmitting an account of my situation to your Excellency, of wishing you every personal and public success you can desire, and of subscribing myself your most obedient, and most humble servant,
"J. G. SIMCOE."
In the preceding letter Lt. Col. Simcoe made the fullest display possible of his miserable situation, purposely to give greater force to his contempt of all personal consequences. At this period he had been informed, by some friends who were anxious for his safety, that if Lt. Hele, of the navy, (who was then at Philadelphia a prisoner, in order to undergo whatsoever might befal Cunningham, imprisoned for piracy in England,) should die, and he was dangerously ill, Lt. Col. Simcoe was talked of by the rebels as a proper substitute [p279] for that officer: and this information was, in some measure, confirmed by the little attention which the Governor and Council paid to the pressing application of the friends of those officers of the Jersey militia, who were prisoners in New-York, and whose exchange was reasonably supposed to depend upon that of Colonels Billop and Simcoe. A few days after these letters had been forwarded to Sir Henry Clinton, Lt. Col. Simcoe was removed from the room he had hitherto inhabited, at midnight, into that of the felons: he then determined, in case of any intelligence of Cunningham's execution arriving at Philadelphia, instantly to make his escape; and he had found means to have received the earliest notice of this event. There were many British soldiers, prisoners of war, at work in the neighbourhood; his idea was to get eight or ten of them to assemble at a given place; M'Gill had already conferred with a Serjeant of the 17th infantry, to whom the highest offers would have been held out in case of necessity. The carbines of Col. Lee's dragoons and their ammunition were in the goal; -- there was confined, a bold and daring man of the name of Bloxam; he had been the armourer of one of his Majesty's ships. M'Gill got an impression of the key of the room where Lee's arms were, and, with the aid of Bloxam, a false one was made of pewter: with this, as soon as Lt. Col. Simcoe was let out of his room, the goaler one morning entrusting M'GilI with that office, being himself indisposed, they opened the armory, saw the carbines, and that they were fit for service, and locked the door, when the key broke in it. -- These were the most anxious moments Lt. Col. Simcoe ever underwent; if the goaler had come up stairs, it is probable Bloxam or M'Gill would have been executed; and a party of Col. Lee's were every moment expected to visit the store-room; Bloxam, with great ingenuity, cut the key, so that it dropped undiscovered into the lock; and Col. Lee's people, on their arrival, found no difficulty in opening it. Another key was made, and the escape was determined on, and probably [p280] would have taken place if necessary: the plan was to surprise a party of Col. Lee's, who lay about ten miles off, and to take their horses and proceed to Sandy Hook; and this, it was hoped, might have been effected by stealth rather than violence. M'Gill offered to personate Lt. Col. Simcoe and remain behind in his bed, if it could facilitate his escape.
Lt. Col. Simcoe enclosed to Governor Livingston a letter he received from Major Andre, proposing his being admitted on his parole to New York, the same indulgence being granted the rebel Colonel Baylor to Virginia; Lt. Col. Simcoe informed the Governor that "he had received this proposal, General Sir Henry Clinton supposing that he was on his parole, and not knowing that he was treated as a criminal." To this Governor Livingston returned the following answer.
Mount Holly, Nov. 29th, 1780.
"Sir, -- I received your letter without date last night; this is the second time I have remarked that omission, what you mean by being used like a criminal, I am at a loss to determine, if you refer to your imprisonment; our own people have received similar treatment from the British in numerous instances; Mr. Fitzrandolph, one of our citizens, who is proposed to be exchanged for you and Col. Billop, is at this very time used in the same manner, and is no more a criminal than any man that is not so.
"If Sir Henry Clinton will agree to any exchange, I cannot see why he should object to the one proposed; and, considering that one of those we want to have liberated is in goal, and that the other has been chained to the floor for above four months, there is the highest reason for this State to insist upon it, if he is against all exchange whatsoever, to him, sir, you must ascribe the prolongation of your durance.
"That we consider your reputation with the British troops [p281] and your intended voyage to Europe, as two circumstances that will probably expedite the relief of our suffering citizens, you will be pleased to impute (though you may regret, as I really do myself, your personal disappointment) to my fidelity to those for whose liberty it is my duty to be anxious. Considering that they, though for many months in captivity, have never been indulged to return home on parole to procure their final release; and that we cannot conceive, how your going to New York should facilitate General Clinton's acceding to our proposal, there is no probability of the Council's adopting that measure. I am, sir, your most humble servant,
"Sir,-- I have received your letter of the 29th of November, and am to apologize to you for the unpolite, though accidental omission, of my not dating the letter which it answers.
"I conceive myself treated as a criminal; the custom of civilized nations allows a parole of honour to officers, but not to private sentinels: as such Mr. Fitzrandolph's confinement is an usual matter, therefore it does not confer any disgrace or hardship upon him, but what was incident to his employment; his station is allowed by yourself in the claim you make for mine and Col. Billop's release.
"I do conceive, sir, that when it was proposed that Col. Billop and I should be exchanged for Lt. Col. Reynolds, and as many privates as make up the difference of rank between a Colonel and a private sentinel, that neither did you or the Council seriously imagine it could be accepted of.
"I know of no officer in the British army who, consistent with his duty, could apply, or wish for, so disproportionate a mode of exchange; the proposal is ungenerous to your prisoners, nor do I conceive that your own field officers, or those whom you rank equal with them, will consider it as intended to expedite their return from captivity. My state of health and expectations of returning to Europe, I presumed [p282] might have some little weight with my enemy, if he was a generous one; it never entered into my thoughts, that these matters of mere private concern could be swollen into a public one, or becoming such, could be supposed in the least particular to influence my conduct.
"The reputation, you are pleased to observe, that I have with the British troops, I hope you will do me the justice to believe, it has been my endeavour to acquire by doing my duty to the best of my power; the principle of which is still the same, whether I am actively employed in the field, or suffering an ungenerous and unmerited confinement in prison. My going to New York would most certainly not in the least facilitate Sir Henry Clinton's acceding to a proposal, that was it in his power to agree to, it would never be in my inclination to solicit: the exchange I mentioned would, I thought, if accepted of, answer every purpose that you have held out as your intentions.
"The indulgence of my parole to New York, is what has been extended to Cols. Reynolds, Potter, &c. your prisoners.
"Agreeable to my duty I shall forward Major Andre's letter, and make application to General Washington.
I have the honour to be your most obedient humble servant,
J. G. SIMCOE.
"As soon as I can find a proper convenience I shall, by your leave, send to procure winter clothing, wine, &c. from Staten Island, if I am not permitted to go there."
Lt. Col. Simcoe had forwarded to Gov. Livingston a proposal for exchange of prisoners with the state of New Jersey, although all exchange between the British and Continental troops was totally at a stand; this proposal was formed on the usual principle of rank for rank, and kindly permitted by Sir Henry Clinton to expedite Lt. Col. Simcoe's exchange.
Lt. Col. Simcoe enclosed copies of the preceding letters [p283] to Major Andre, and observed in a letter to him, "a few evenings ago I was taken from my bed, and moved into a room which had been occupied by felons for months, and placed among their filth, and closely locked up; this was by order of Mr. Read, Secretary to the Council, and at a time when the Governor held out to me a prospect of exchange, which, till that moment, I did not suspect to be delusory."
These letters were sent unsealed, to be forwarded by Gov. Livingston.
The proposal Gov. Livingston alluded to, he knew had never been made; in pursuance of his plan Lt. Col. Simcoe addressed himself to General Washington in the following letter, preparatory to an application which he meant, in case it should pass unnoticed, to prefer to the Congress.
"To General Washington.
"Sir, -- I am induced to lay myself before you, from what I conceive to be a principle of duty, and that not merely personal.
"You may, perhaps, have heard, sir, of the uncommon fortune that threw me into the hands of the Jersey militia.
"Gov. Livingston told me I was a prisoner of the State, a distinction I never till then was acquainted with, and observed, that it was probable I should be soon exchanged as such, naming to me officers of similar rank as the likely persons.
"I was allowed my parole, was taken from it the 9th, and have ever since been confined a close prisoner in Burlington goal, with Col. Billop, who is in irons and chained to the floor, to retaliate for F. Randolph and Leshier, the latter of whom is (said to be) confined in the same manner in New-York: my mittimus hath not expressed what I am imprisoned for; but, by the tenor of Governor Livingston's letters, I suppose it is to retaliate for the former of those citizens, whom he allows to be a private soldier, and who is simply confined as such.
[p284] "Colonel Billop joins me in my application, sir, to you for redress from our unparalleled usage.
"I apply to you, sir, either as a prisoner of war, or as appealing to you from an unjustifiable stretch of power without precedent or generosity.
"I am led to consider myself as a prisoner of war under your authority, from Governor Livingston's doubts expressed to me of his having the disposal of me; from his correspondence with Gen. Robertson, published in the newspapers, where he submits Gen. Dickinson's prisoners to your disposal, and from Col. Billop, my fellow prisoner, being taken by a party of Continental troops, receiving his parole from Mr. Beaty, and living under it, till he was taken from it by a party of militia, and by M. Boudinot's order confined in Burlington goal.
"He claims the protection that was first extended to him from the Continental Commissary of prisoners.
"I hope, sir, you will make use of the power that I conceive enabled you to transfer Col. Billop to the state of New Jersey, in extending to me the rights allowed by civilized nations, and which, without a given reason, I have been deprived of.
"If, by any law I am unacquainted with, I am in the power and disposal of Governor Livingston, &c., I think myself entitled to appeal to you, sir, from the injustice used towards me, as I cannot suppose there is no application for redress in a case, which, if drawn into a precedent, must confound every distinction of rank, and will operate in a wider circle than that of the state of New Jersey.
"Governor Livingston has offered, as he has written to me, to exchange me for Lt. Col. Reynolds, and Col. Billop for as many privates as make up his rank, naming among them the people for whom Col. Billop is avowedly retaliating.
"This proposition, I conceive, it never was supposed Gen. Sir Henry Clinton could comply with.
"I hope, sir, you will do me the honour of early attending [p285] to this letter; if Col. Billop only should be claimed by those whose prisoner he unquestionably appears to be, I should look upon it as a fortunate event, though I should be doomed to wear his ignominious chains.
"I have the honour to be, sir,
"Your most obedient and humble servant.
"I beg leave to enclose to you Major Andre's letter, though Governor Livingston, to whom I addressed it, has passed it by without notice; I hope it will be the means of my obtaining my parole to New-York."
General Washington never answered this letter, but in a very few days Colonels Billop and Simcoe were exchanged; and it is to be remarked, that soon after Congress passed an act, declaring that all prisoners whatsoever, whether taken by the Continental army or militia, should be absolutely at the disposal of their Commander in Chief, General Washington, and not of the Governors of the different provinces. Col. Hendrickson, who was in the British Commissary's proposals to be exchanged for Col. Billop, and had his parole to give effect to it, arrived at Burlington on the 26th of December, and brought the following letter from Boudinot to Lt. Col. Simcoe:
"Elizabeth Town, 23d Dec. 1779.
"Sir, -- I am happy to inform you, that there is a probability of your being released from your captivity. As your disagreeable confinement was owing entirely to the like treatment of a number of our field officers, prisoners in New York, I doubt not you will endeavour to use that influence which an officer of your abilities must undoubtedly have, to prevent the necessity of my executing orders so repugnant to my feelings as a man.
"I am confident your delicacy will be extremely wounded at being called upon for security for the performance of your parole; this, I assure you, is not because your honour [p286] is at all questioned, but to follow a late cruel example in Col. Hendrickson; perhaps when Mr. Loring sees the consequence of such conduct, he may be led to adopt a practice less destructive of every personal virtue.
"I have the honour to be, &c.
M. Boudinot does not seem to have known the distinction of field officers, as none of this description were confined at New York; Mr. Loring had insisted on security from Hendrickson, because several of the American militia officers had broken their paroles. Lt. Col. Simcoe told Col. Hendrickson that it was absurd to suppose he could break his parole in passing through the Jersies to Staten Island; but that he had no objection to find surety, provided he, Colonel Hendrickson, would be bound for him. This officer went to the Governor, and Lt. Col. Simcoe was emancipated on the 27th of December from Burlington goal; he was still apprehensive of being detained, as it was reported that the person, from whom the paper money had been taken, (as related in the 113th page,) had applied to the Governor to confine him till the money was returned, he having promised to pay it at Brunswick. The promise of paying any debt, by the laws of New England, rendered the person who gave it liable for the payment; but this custom had never prevailed in the Jersies. Lt. Col. Simcoe proceeded without molestation, and arrived at Richmond on the 31st: his arrival made a little triumph, and the testimonies of friendship and affection, which he received from his officers, soldiers, and the loyalists, compensated in a moment for all the anxiety which he had undergone.
Many projects, he found, had been in agitation to rescue him from prison; and, particularly, Lt. Wilson had, by the assistance of some loyalists of New Jersey, digested one, which appeared so likely to succeed, that nothing but the daily prospect which had been held out of his being exchanged, [p287] had prevented Major Andre, to whom it had been communicated, from adopting it; from this design, that, which is mentioned in the 135th page, partly originated.
Forty friends of Government armed themselves, and had arrived in the neighbourhood of Burlington the day after Lt. Col. Simcoe was exchanged, for the avowed purpose of rescuing him; they came near two hundred miles, and had provided horses and a proper place for his retreat. Their leader, the Prince of the woods, so called from his knowledge of them, which in America are, as it were, another element, had sprained his leg; or the rescue would have taken place, as he afterwards told Lt. Col. Simcoe, ten days before his liberation.
At the time that Lt. Col. Simcoe landed on his incursion, a packet-boat lay at Sandy Hook bound for England; she sailed the next day, when it being generally supposed that he was killed, the Commander in Chief, Sir Henry Clinton, reported his death to the Secretary of State, Lord George Germain: when Lt. Col. Simcoe was at Charles Town, the General showed him the following paragraph in a letter which he had just received from Lord George Germain, in answer to the report which had been made of his expedition and death:
"The loss of so able and gallant an officer as Colonel Simcoe is much to be lamented; but, I hope, his misfortune will not damp the spirit of the brave loyalists he so often led out with success. His last enterprise was certainly a very bold one; and I should be glad he had been in a situation to be informed, that his spirited conduct was approved of by the King."
Bloxam made his escape soon after Lt. Col. Simcoe's exchange, and, after a variety of adventures, when he got into Staten Island, that officer was gone to Charles Town. He worked in New York until his return, when he joined him that very day on which the Queen's Rangers made the advance guard of General Matthews's column in the Jersies; [p288] and, at his own request, being furnished with arms he fell in with the Queen's Rangers, and, to Lt. Col. Simcoe's great regret, was killed by a cannon shot when the corps was halted, and he was sleeping.
Lt. Col. Simcoe offered M'Gill an annuity, or to make him Quarter-master of cavalry; the latter he accepted of, as his grandfather had been a Captain in King William's army; and no man ever executed the office with greater integrity, courage and conduct.
In the charge on Brunswick Plains, Hampton, the person who is mentioned in page 115, line 23, was taken prisoner.
Marrener was taken prisoner while Lt. Col. Simcoe was at Charles Town; he was obnoxious to the magistrates of New York, and probably would not have been exchanged; but on Lt. Col. Simcoe's explaining to the Commander in Chief the obligations he was under to him, Sir Henry Clinton was pleased to let him return home on his parole.
Randal, or Fitzrandolph, was included in the exchange with Lt. Colonel Simcoe; he was soon after killed, as observed in the 148th page, and probably by the Rangers. On that day the army passed Governor Livingston's house; and Lt. Col. Simcoe, who commanded the rear guard, took the most anxious pains to preserve it from being burnt by any of the exasperated loyalists; and he happily succeeded.
Page 130, line 29. Lt. Col. Simcoe communicated his ideas to General Stirling, which, as appears by his letters in the appendix, met with his full approbation.
"3 P. M. 31st January, 1780.
"Dear Sir, -- I am favoured with yours; your ideas are great, and would be of importance if fulfilled; as I am confident of your zeal and capacity, I should be sorry to check them, therefore, if you see it clearly, should not stop it.
"I have no doubt, myself, of the rebels intending an attack; but I think they can only do it in one place, the other [p289] must be a feint. I am much of opinion that Richmond should be withdrawn, as it might fall if this does, and the addition of your regiment would be great to us here, &c., &c.'
Page 136, line 28. With the preparations detailed in the appendix.
They are sketched out in the following letter transmitted to Gen. Tryon; to which are added his approbation of the plan, and his good wishes towards the author of it, now rendered doubly valuable, as since the compilation of these memoirs death has deprived his King and country of that officer, so eminently distinguished for private virtues, and for his zeal in the public service.
"Sir, -- I beg leave to submit to you, and hope that you will communicate to his Excellency General Kniphausen, the service in which I think that the Queen's Rangers may, from their present position, be essentially employed.
"I would propose, that I should be immediately furnished with two gun-boats and twenty batteaux, a water force sufficient to transport and to cover the landing of three hundred infantry and sixty horse.
"The gun-boats should be supplied with swivels, which might occasionally be transferred to the bows of the batteaux; the small boat already here with a slide or carriage, on which the amuzette of the Queen's Rangers might be mounted; the whole should be most completely equipped, in which state I would always be attentive to preserve them.
"I would wish also, for a sloop to carry the lower frame work of three small block houses, and occasionally provisions, and other articles: she might be under the protection of the vessel stationed at Billop's point, as the batteaux would under that of Richmond redoubts.
"It would be of great service if the batteaux could be mounted on carriages, as it is but two miles and an half from Richmond to the South beach, and by such conveyance [p290] the advantage of either tide might be obtained and a movement made, with scarce a possibility of the enemy's being previously acquainted with it; though, I fear, such an operation is not at present in our power, I am not without hopes to be able to furnish the means of it from the enemy's shore.
"The block houses would be of essential service in securing an encampment, or strengthening a position on the enemy's shore; they would effectually protect a re-embarkation.
"With this force, capable of moving without the obstructions arising from the combination of different services, the delay of waiting for orders, and the want of secrecy, which necessarily attends the protecting of operations, I doubt not but I should be able to protect Staten Island; to keep the enemy in constant alarm from Sandy Hook to Newark bay; to force Mr. Washington to give up the sea coast from Middleton to Brunswick, or to protect it with Continental troops; to encourage desertion at this very critical period, when the rebel army is most seriously discontented; in short, to exemplify and improve the advantages resulting from our situation.
"Could more batteaux be spared I should be glad; the cavalry on this island (the best part of which I consider the detachment of the 17th dragoons from their superior discipline to be) being in numbers equal, and in all other respects superior, to the cavalry of Mr. Washington's army between the Delaware and Hudson's river, might from hence, without more risk than becomes the service, be of frequent and most extensive utility. Gen. Stirling highly approves of the plan; there are now at Richmond a gun-boat, and the barge I mentioned to you; the latter I should have sent round by water but had no opportunity. I do myself the honour to enclose to you the deficiencies of each, and should be glad if supplied. I could wish Major Bruen would be so good as to have the barge valued here by some person in his department, and a receipt given to the Refugees, if you [p291] think proper to have it purchased. I inclose to your Excellency the draught of the gun-boats constructed by Lt. Col. Campbell, at the Savannah; by being covered at the top they were able to pass without injury from the fire of small arms, under the boldest bluffs; the top opened occasionally for refreshment by means of the hinges, as described in the drawing. This addition made to our gun-boats would give them great security.
"If by this, or any other mode of operation, I could be of any service to my King and country, I should be most happy: the attempt, I am persuaded, will meet with your Excellency's approbation, which, as I highly value, I shall ever hope to deserve, being, with great respect,
"your Excellency's most obedient,
"and most humble servant,
"J. G. SIMCOE."
"New-York, 3d May, 1780.
"Sir, -- I received, with much satisfaction, your letter, delivered me by Capt. Beckwith. My not having the pleasure of seeing you on your departure for the southward, was a disappointment to me. It was much my desire to have testified my readiness to promote those spirited measures you proposed for his Majesty's service; and, though circumstances have deprived me of that gratification, permit me to assure you, I most sincerely wish you, in your career of glory, every honourable success your merit, spirit, and zeal, entitle you to.
I am &c., &c.,
"Lt. Col. Simcoe."
Page 145, line 13. Lt. Col. Simcoe had collected secretly through the thickets upon their flank.
It was at this moment that a guide, as it appears in the proceedings of a court-martial, in the unhappy dispute between two officers of the guards, brought an order to Lt. Col. Simcoe, "to march into the road," from which (by the [p292] extending of his line) he was distant three hundred yards; and on his replying, "he could take no orders from a guide," Gen. Matthews sent Col. Howard (now Earl Suffolk) to repeat them. This note is inserted merely to say that it was no pertinacious adherence to form; but his being occupied in the attempt to cut off a party of the enemy, which occasioned Lt. Col. Simcoe's reply to the guide, and which, if an officer had brought the order, he would at once have seen and reported to the General, whom the intervening thickets prevented from the observation of what was transacting on his left.
Page 152, line 3. Some circumstances relative to Major Andre's unfortunate attempt will be more fully detailed in the appendix.
Upon the first intimation of Major Andre's detention, Lt. Col. Simcoe, by letter, desired Lt. Col. Crosbie to inform the Commander in Chief, "that if there was any possibility of rescuing him, he and the Queen's Rangers were ready to attempt it, not doubting to succeed in whatever a similar force could effect." At the same time, he sent out persons to watch the road between Washington's camp and Philadelphia; for he reasoned, that without the concurrence of Congress that General would not proceed to extremities, and that probably he would send Major Andre to Philadelphia, in which case he might possibly be retaken upon the road thither.
Lt. Col. Simcoe wrote to Col. Lee, of whose generous temper he had personally received so many proofs, to procure an interview with him, ostensibly for the exchange of prisoners, but really to converse with him relative to Major Andre. That officer penetrated his views and returned the following answer.
"Light Camp, Oct. 2d, 1780.
"Sir, -- I will attend to the release and return of Jeremiah Owens.
[p293] "Be assured no time will be lost in the transaction of this business.
"Our personal feelings are perfectly reciprocal, and I embrace, with peculiar pleasure, the overture of a meeting.
"My expectation of moving daily, will not allow me to fix on the time at present.
"Our next station, I hope, will be opportune to both of us, when I will do myself the honour of notifying to you my readiness.
"Be pleased to accept my best wishes, and for heaven's sake omit in future your expressions of obligations conferred by me; as my knowledge of your character confirms my assurance, that a similar visit of fortune to me, will produce every possible attention from you.
"I am happy in telling you, that there is a probability of Major Andre's being restored to his country, and the customs of war being fully satisfied.
"I have the honour to be, &c.
"Since writing the foregoing, I find that Sir Henry Clinton's offers have not come up to what was expected, and that this hour is fixed for the execution of the sentence.
"How cold the friendship of those high in power!"
Lt. Col. Simcoe in his answer said: --
"I am at a loss to express myself on the latter paragraphs of your letter; I have long accustomed myself to be silent, or to speak the language of the heart. The useless murder of Major Andre would almost, was it possible, annihilate that wish which, consentaneous to the ideas of our sovereign, and the government of Great Britain, has ever operated on the officers of the British army, the wish of a reconciliation and speedy re-union with their revolted fellow subjects in America.
[p294] "Sir Henry Clinton has the warmest feelings for those under his command, and was ready to have granted for Major Andre's exchange, whatever ought to have been asked.
"Though every desire that I had formed to think, in some instances, favourably of those who could urge, or of him who could permit the murder of this most virtuous and accomplished gentleman, be now totally eradicated; I must still subscribe myself with great personal respect, sir,
"Your most obedient and obliged servant,
"J. G. SIMCOE."
There were no offers whatsoever made by Sir Henry Clinton; amongst some letters which passed on this unfortunate event, a paper was slid in without signature, but in the hand writing of Hamilton, Washington's secretary, saying, "that the only way to save Andre was to give up Arnold." Major Andre was murdered upon private not public considerations. It bore not with it the stamp of justice; for there was not an officer in the British army whose duty it would not have been, had any of the American Generals offered to quit the service of Congress, to have negotiated to receive them; so that this execution could not, by example, have prevented the repetition of the same offence.
It may appear, that from his change of dress, &c. he came under the description of a spy; but when it shall be considered "against his stipulation, intention and knowledge," he became absolutely a prisoner, and was forced to change his dress for self-preservation, it may safely be asserted, that no European general would on this pretext have had his blood upon his head. He fell a sacrifice to that which was expedient, not to that which was just: what was supposed to be useful superceded what would have been generous; and though, by imprudently carrying papers about him, he gave a colour to those, who endeavoured to separate Great Britain from America, to press for his death; [p295] yet an open and elevated mind would have found greater satisfaction in the obligations it might have laid on the army of his opponents, than in carrying into execution a useless and unnecessary vengeance.
It has been said, that not only the French party from their customary policy, but Mr. Washington's personal enemies urged him on, contrary to his inclinations, to render him unpopular if he executed Major Andre, or suspected if he pardoned him.
In the length of the war, for what one generous action has Mr. Washington been celebrated? what honourable sentiment ever fell from his lips which can invalidate the belief, that surrounded with difficulties and ignorant in whom to confide, he meanly sheltered himself under the opinions of his officers and the Congress, in perpetrating his own previous determination? and, in perfect conformity to his interested ambition, which crowned with success beyond human calculation in 1783, to use his own expression, "bid a last farewell to the cares of office, and all the employments of public life," to resume them at this moment (1787) as President of the American Convention? Had Sir Henry Clinton, whose whole behaviour in his public disappointment, and most afflicting of private situations, united the sensibility of the Friend, with the magnanimity of the General, had he possessed a particle of the malignity which, in this transaction, was exhibited by the American, many of the principal inhabitants of Carolina then in confinement, on the clearest proof for the violation of the law of nations, would have been adjudged to the death they had merited.
The papers which Congress published, relative to Major Andre's death, will remain an eternal monument of the principles of that heroic officer; and, when fortune shall no longer gloss over her fading panegyric, will enable posterity to pass judgment on the character of Washington.
[p296] Page 153, line 11. At this time Lt. Col. Simcoe recapitulated some of his ideas (relative to seizing Billing's Port) by the letter which is in the appendix.
"The present system of war seems to aim principally at striking at the resources of the rebels, and in consequence by incapacitating them from remitting the produce of their country to foreign markets, to render them a burden to the powers of Europe who are confederate with them against Great Britain.
"A post on the Delaware would be of utility to this end; and the situation of Billing's Port, peculiarly adapted for this purpose, strikes me so forcibly that I trust your Excellency will pardon my particularizing some of its features, and a few of its many advantages.
"The ground is an entire flat; it is not commanded; the rebels had begun a large work there, which they left unfinished when Sir William Howe took possession of Philadelphia. On our evacuation of that city Mr. Mifflin pointed out to them the necessity of resuming and completing the fortification; the opening of the chevaux du frize is made close under the bold bluff, which terminates the terre-plein towards the water: this, 'with the other chevaux du frize above, would be turned much to our advantage. A sufficient water force to prevent any shipping or gallies from commanding the river above, and which in some respect should be moveable, would be requisite: perhaps a transport or two on the establishment of the Margery, a transport of the garrison armed with cannonades, a few gallies and gun-boats, would accomplish every wished for end.
"The work to be erected should be calculated at least for three hundred regular troops to defend, to which should he added three hundred light troops, habituated to make incursions, &c. &c.
"It seems probable that an expedition will sooner or later be formed for Virginia; the troops intended for this service [p297] might be landed, fortify, and leave a garrison at Billing's Port in a few days, carrying with them frame works for bomb proofs, &c. from New York, which might be given out to be intended for Portsmouth, or some post in Virginia. The advantages resulting from the possession of this port, would be an entire stop of the trade of the Delaware, probably the driving the Congress from Philadelphia, or by a very little exertion of policy, being in early possession of their most secret resolutions and intentions; it would encourage desertion, particularly that of the ship-builders in Philadelphia.
"To besiege this garrison while the river is open will be a matter of great difficulty; the road from Staten Island to Trenton being so much nearer than a retreat from Billing's Port to that pass, and the Delaware being almost every where too wide for a bridge of boats, or for batteries raised upon each shore effectually to command a retreat. The place might be invested by the Jersey militia; they are not numerous, or to be feared, and would soon be disarmed by a proper mixture of conciliatory and vigorous measures.
"The officer commanding the port should, if it could be contrived, have the command also of the water forces; at least not a boat should be permitted to land without his concurrence. The garrison should purchase what fresh provisions might be allowed them, and should never be placed in a situation to commit unmilitary depredations.
"I doubt not but that a thousand advantages and disadvantages resulting from this post must strike your Excellency's comprehensive views, which do not appear to my partial one. If, at any future time, although I am not willing to be wedded to a redoubt, your Excellency should seize on this post, I should be very ready to stake on its defence, or its loss from the most inevitable reasons, every hope that I have of military preferment, and of being esteemed a faithful and honourable servant of my King and Country."
[p298] It is probable that had not circumstances prevented Sir Henry Clinton from pursuing the plan of operations which he had intended, in the course of them Billing's Port would have attracted his attention.
Page 181, line 20. Capt. Stevenson's humanity was alarmed, and the letters, which are in the appendix, passed between Lt. Col. Simcoe and Col. Parker: they prevented all further bad consequences.
"Portsmouth, Sunday, March 4, 1781.
"Sir,-- I do myself the honour of enclosing to you Captain Stevenson's justification of Mr. Gregory in your service; and am to assure you, what the ties of humanity summon me to declare, that Capt. Stevenson mentioned to me, some hours before it was known that the gun-boat was taken, the fictitious letter you found among his papers; at a distance the matter appeared in a ludicrous light; as it may otherwise probably lead to serious consequences, I solemnly confirm the truth of Capt. Stevenson's explanation of the affair; and add, upon the sacred honour of a soldier and a gentleman, that I have no reason to believe or suspect that Mr. Gregory is otherwise than a firm adherent of the French King, and of the Congress.
"I have the honour to be, sir, &c.,
"J. G. SIMCOE."
"To Col. Parker."
"Sir,-- The honour of a soldier I ever hold sacred, and am happy that you are called on by motives of humanity to acquit General Gregory. As to my own opinion, I believe you: but as the management of this delicate matter is left to my superiors, I have forwarded the letter you honoured me with to Baron Steuben, who I trust will view it in the same manner I do.
"I have the honour to be, sir, &c.,
"J. PARKER, Col."
Page 192, line 13. General Phillips asked Lt. Col. Simcoe, when he waited upon him to make his report, how many men it would require to defend York Town?
This conversation is dwelt upon in the journal in order to set in its proper light a passage in a letter from Sir Henry Clinton to Lord Cornwallis -- "I confess I could not conceive you would require above four thousand in a station where General Arnold had represented to me, (upon report of Colonel Simcoe,) that two thousand men would be amply sufficient."
General Arnold was second in command, so that no particular report was made to him; but he was present at the conversation which passed between Lt. Col. Simcoe and General Phillips.
Page 210, line 25. Lt. Col. Simcoe, while at Westover, received a letter from General Lee.
"March 3d, 1781.
"Dear Sir, -- From the liberality of mind which you are universally allowed to be blessed with, I have little doubt but that what I am about to offer to your consideration will be favourably received -- but I must first premise that, whatsoever some flaming zealots in the British army may insist to the contrary, it is very possible that several who embarked on this side in the present contest were very good Englishmen, and I can venture to assert that I am one of this stamp -- for I considered, that had the Ministry succeeded in their scheme of establishing the principle of taxing America without her consent, the liberties of Great Britain would that instant have been annihilated in effect, though the form might have remained. For as the pecuniary influence of the Crown was already enormously too great, so prodigious an additional weight thrown into the preponderating scale must sink to utter ruin every part of the Empire -- on the other hand I will venture to assert, notwithstanding all that some of the flaming fanatics on this side may please to [p300] assume, that it is the interest of every good American that Great Britain should ever be a great, powerful, and opulent nation -- but the measure she ought to pursue, in my idea, to obtain and secure this power, opulence, and greatness, I cannot at present with propriety explain; but I can with propriety point out some which she ought not to pursue. For instance, her Generals and Commanders ought not to suffer, or connive at by impunity, the little dirty piratical plundering of individuals -- such proceedings can only tend to widen the breach already, to the misfortune of both parties, much too wide, by souring men's minds into a state of irreconcilable resentment: in short, it is diametrically repugnant, not only to the honour, but to the true interest and policy of Great Britain, abstracted from all considerations of the cruelty and inhumanity towards very worthy families. But to be just, I really believe that most, if not all of these flagitious scandalous acts are committed unknown to the English General and Commodore, as from the air and garb of the robbers they have not the appearance of being legally commissioned. This, my dear sir, is the main purpose of my letter, which I write as a good Englishman, as a good American, and as a gentleman addressing himself to another of whom he has a very high opinion; and I have no doubt but that you will exert all your power and influence to punish and put an end to such abominable practices.
"I have nothing to add, but to entreat that whatever letters I may send in you will convey safely to my relations. There is indeed one other favour I request; which is, that you will by the first opportunity assure Sir Henry Clinton, General Robinson, and General Leslie, of my personal respect and esteem, and I beg you will remember me kindly to General Phillips: -- But above all, I entreat you will believe me to be, most sincerely your's,
[p301] Page 222, line 5. In the middle of the day a patrole from Lt. Col. Tarleton, who was on the opposite side of the Rivana, communicated with him.
In Col. Tarleton's history of the campaigns in the southern Provinces, published since the completion of this Journal, there is the following paragraph:
"If the distance would have allowed Lt. Col. Simcoe to send a small party of huzzars to inform the corps at Charlotteville of the flight of the Americans, Lt. Col. Tarleton might have been in time to harrass Baron Steuben's progress, whilst Lt. Col. Simcoe would have pressed him in the rear; and a combination of this sort would, in all probability, have ruined that body of new levies: but the distance of thirty-five miles in an enemy's country, and the uncertainty of Tarleton's success, perhaps represented such a co-operation as too speculative and precarious."
It appears that Lt. Col. Tarleton marched from Charlotteville towards the Point of Fork nearly at the time that Lt. Col. Simcoe arrived there; had that officer sent a patrole to Lt. Col. Tarleton, the whole of the intelligence it could have conveyed to him would have been, that the Baron Steuben, with a far more considerable force than had been apprehended, had crossed a rapid, broad, unfordable river, was in possession of all the boats, and encamped upon its banks: but Lt. Col. Simcoe most assuredly could not have ordered Lt. Col. Tarleton immediately to join him, to pursue the Baron with any probability of success; and, without an absolute certainty, he could not have taken the liberty of breaking through Earl Cornwallis's express orders of rejoining him, without delay, at Goochland Court-house, and of marching away with all his light troops to a considerable distance. But there was a total impossibility of passing the river; it was not fordable for many miles, and the combination, Lt. Col. Tarleton talks of, was absolutely impracticable. [p302] He observes, that the distance from Charlotteville was thirty-five miles, which would have been too great had the river been fordable; but the uncertainty of his success could be no impediment as, at any rate, there was no enemy to oppose him, and his march was easily to be traced; nor could these reasons "represent such co-operation as speculative and precarious," at least to Lt. Col. Simcoe, as the idea never once entered his mind, and he was much surprised when he saw it in Lt. Col. Tarleton's campaigns, as till then he never had heard it suggested.
Page 236, line 10. It was reported, and not without probability, that a patrole of the enemy met with this party on the road, where it was natural to expect Lord Cornwallis's army, and took it for his advance guard, and that this belief prevented them from renewing the attack.
In Lt. Col. Tarleton's history is the following passage: "The movement of Lt. Col. Tarleton from his advance post in the morning was a favourable incident for the Americans; for if the legion foraging party under Capt. Ogilvie, who accidentally approached the flank of the riflemen, could produce hesitation and astonishment, the charge of the whole cavalry, must have considerably assisted Lt. Col. Simcoe, whose judicious conduct obliged Col. Butler to fall back upon Gen. Wayne, before the arrival of the infantry from Williamsburg, or the dragoons from Burrel's; the loss in this affair was nearly equal, except that the British took some prisoners."
It is not to be doubted, but that Lt. Col. Simcoe would have been happy to have been assisted by Lt. Col. Tarleton and his cavalry, and would have employed him to the best of his power; but the ground was such that the cavalry could not have been properly risked in an attack, otherwise than what Capt. Shank accomplished, or adventured in the pursuit, as the enemy fled through thick woods which led to a ravine, beyond which M. Fayette's army drew up in force.
[p303] The approach of Capt. Ogilvie was not of the least service to the Rangers, as it was at too great a distance to assist their attack; nor could any movement from Williamsburg have been in time sufficient to have preserved the troops under Lt. Col. Simcoe, who owed their preservation as much to their own exertions as if there had not been another British soldier in Virginia. Upon the first repulse of the enemy, it was Lt. Col. Simcoe's business to retire, and this he instantly effected.
Capt. Ewald, who since the war has published some military observations in Germany, has proposed to those who may be in similar circumstances, Lt. Col. Simcoe's conduct as a proper example; he affirms, that had he pursued he would have been cut off.
Infantry might have been of service in following the enemy through the wood, to the brink of the ravine.
Page 248, line 24. The climate, the sickly state and condition of the corps, as more fully detailed in the appendix.
Lt. Col. Simcoe had represented this to Sir Henry Clinton, in the following letter:
"I do myself the honour of writing to your Excellency by the present opportunity, and of making such representation of the Queen's Rangers as I think to be my indispensable duty. The infantry are much reduced in numbers by desertion, the consequence of their composition, opportunities, unremitting fatigues, and by death; while those remaining are much shattered in point of constitution: the cavalry are admirably mounted, but more than half are without accoutrements, or any arms, but such as we have taken from an ill-appointed enemy. The arms and accoutrements, which I apprehend had been intended for Capt. Cooke's troop, were sent by the Inspector to Lord Cornwallis, who gave them to the legion, for whom he had made the application. In this situation, without time to discipline, and without proper [p304] arms, I am obliged to trust more to fortune than I have ever found necessary, and that against an enemy who is improving every day.
"My duty therefore leads me to hope, that, as we have been already embarked for New York, that your Excellency, should any troops be ordered there, will be pleased to direct the Queen's Rangers to he sent among the first, with, or if that cannot be done, without their horses; as that is the only place where the corps can be recruited. Your Excellency will, I am sure, be confident, that no private view dictates this application; and believe, that all climates and services, where I can be useful, are indifferent to me."
Lt. Col. Simcoe had been directed by the Commander in Chief to communicate with him, and to give him such information from time to time as he thought might be for the good of the service, while he was under the command of Gen. Arnold; and he had always most strongly represented the great importance of possessing a small naval force on the Carratuck inlet, both to secure a retreat and to connect the operations of Virginia with those of Carolina: he had been an eye-witness, that the naval force stationed in the Chesapeake bay, by no means blocked it up, or prevented the enemy's vessels from going in or out at their pleasure. In this letter he added: --
"I take this opportunity of enclosing to your Excellency two sketches, taken amongst the papers of the Marquis de la Fayette. The road from Philadelphia to Kent island is accurately delineated; and, should your Excellency, as I hope, visit Philadelphia in your way to this colony, points out the facility of crossing the isthmus, and the consequence of Kent Island, where I have long thought a post would be of great effect, to give an asylum to the distressed friends of government, and by the station of a few cruisers effectually to block up the Chesapeake, which cannot or has not hitherto been done."
[p305] It was natural for Lt. Col. Simcoe to fix his mind on those operations, which he had reason to expect would be undertaken on the upper part of the Chesapeake; the country of the associated loyalists.
This wish to return to New York was considerably strengthened by the belief, that the sea voyage would greatly amend the health of the soldiers, and by his hopes that they might be of public utility in their convalescent state, if the General and Admiral would have consented to have entrusted his friend, Capt. Thomas Graves and himself, with a flying squadron, to have carried on that mode of war which would have been severely felt by the enemy; the keeping their coasts in constant alarm, from Boston to Virginia, and the following and destroying their shipping in their innumerable smaller harbours. The fatal event at York Town terminated these views, and Lt. Col. Simcoe's services. His friend, Capt. Thomas Graves, was more fortunate: he was appointed to the frigate La Magicienne, which he manned at a considerable private expense; but with a disinterested spirit truly becoming the British officer, declined taking possession of her, while in the command of a line of battle ship, he thought he could be more useful to his country, and that honourable service was to be met with in the West Indies or America: and when he accepted of the frigate, being employed on convoys, he fell in with the Sybil French frigate of superior force to himself, doubly manned, and commanded by an officer of distinguished character. Their engagement was rendered memorable by their being locked close to each other for near two hours, with every sail set, by the carnage on board the British ship, exceeding what in similar numbers is to be met with in the annals of the late war, and by the circumstance, that when Capt. Graves had silenced the fire of his opponent, the masts of the La Magicienne fell overboard and fortune deprived him of his prize and of all, but the glory of having deserved it.
[p306] Page 250, line 17. Earl Cornwallis in a conversation with Lt. Col. Simcoe asked him, "whether he thought he could escape with the cavalry?" he answered his Lordship,"without the smallest doubt."
The great outline which Lt. Col. Simcoe laid down as the means by which he could escape, was to march straight up the country till such time as he had arrived parallel to the fords of the Susquehanna; leaving it uncertain whether he meant to proceed to Carolina or Pennsylvania; be then would have crossed towards the Susquehanna, directing his march so as to endeavour to release the Convention army, or to impress the enemy with a belief that such was his intention, if it should appear impracticable: when, being above the fords of the Delaware, he would have passed that river, and proceeded towards Staten Island or New York; by that route which would have been most feasible.
For some time previous to Earl Cornwallis's question, Lt. Col. Simcoe had formed the idea of escaping with his cavalry, and such men as could have been mounted, in short the whole of his corps; and he had acquired a most perfect knowledge of the different fords, and formed for himself a regular plan. Capt. Ewald saw him one day looking over Xenophon, and immediately said, "My Colonel, you are going to retreat; for God's sake do not leave the Yagers behind you." Those who are not acquainted with the American country and its internal situation, would look upon such an attempt as chimerical; but a consideration of circumstances might alter their opinion. The whole of the enemy's force was concentrated at York Town; their cavalry consisted of the Duke of Lauzun's legion, ill-mounted, few in numbers, and unacquainted with the country and the genius of the war; no serious interruption or pursuit could be expected from them; such a corps as four or five hundred men were exactly calculated for the attempt. A single plantation would have furnished them with sufficient provisions and forage; the rapidity of their march would prevent [p307] any determined opposition; and, as the party proceeded, horses could be accumulated to remount those which might be disabled.
The country was sufficiently loyal to give the best intelligence; much could have been procured by means of the negroes, and these people, if properly managed, might have been of infinite service as auxiliaries; they are brave, excellent horsemen, masters of the sword, capable of fatigue and exertion in the hottest weather, and would have been tremendous in a pursuit.
The composition of the Queen's Rangers suited it for any enterprise; the huzzars had been practised in swimming their horses, and the native Americans and emigrants were expert in whatever might facilitate the passage of rivers, or prevent an enemy from effecting it. There were no troops between New York and Virginia, and if the militia were called out to guard the principal fords (as was reported) it was with a view to stop an army, and not a light corps, whose march would be directed far above the line they were destined to occupy, and to points with which they were unacquainted.
Page 254, line 7. His Lordship was pleased to express himself favourably in regard to the scheme, but said he could not permit it to be undertaken, for that the whole of the army must share one fate.
The Rangers, from their many voyages, on board of half-manned transports, and from their officers encouraging them to assist in the working of the vessels, were become so ready and expert at sea, that in a periodical production which stated the number of the troops taken at York Town, it was not surprising that the Queen's Rangers were remarked as, all sailors. Upon Capt. Palmer's success, Lt. Col. Simcoe had taken the liberty of suggesting, "that by fitting out all the small craft as fire vessels, and driving the French ships from the [p308] river in the night, two thousand men, which the boats would carry, might escape to the Maryland shore:" his Lordship replied, "he saw no daylight in that mode of escape." The duty and consequent principles of a subordinate officer and a commander in chief are as different and distinct as limited views and universal ones can possibly make them: the inferior officer has only to perform any service he may be ordered on, and to be ready for those which are most hazardous, while the commander in chief weighs the propriety of any measure, sees it in all its lights and relations, and determines accordingly; and the greater alacrity which his troops show to execute his designs, the more valuable they become; and cannot fail strongly to interest a noble mind in their preservation: And this principle Earl Cornwallis, when he surrendered York Town to the prodigious superiority of force combined against him, generously expressed in the following terms: "Our numbers had been diminished by the enemy's fire; but particularly by sickness, and the strength and spirits of those in the works were much exhausted by the fatigue of constant watching and unremitting duty. Under all these circumstances, I thought it would have been wanton and inhuman to the last degree, to sacrifice the lives of this small body of gallant soldiers, who had ever behaved with so much fidelity and courage, by exposing them to an assault, which, from the numbers and precautions of the enemy, could not fail to succeed."
Page 258, line 18. Lt. Col. Simcoe, whose exchange Government had procured from Dr. Franklin.
Lieut. Col. Simcoe has always thought himself under the highest obligations to his Majesty's Ministers for this mark of attention; the terms on which he was exchanged are here inserted, verbatim, from Dr. Franklin's discharge: "Being informed by William Hodgson, Esq. Chairman of the Committee of Subscribers for the relief of American Prisoners [p309] in England, of the benevolent and humane treatment lately received by the said prisoners in consequence of orders from the present British Ministers; and that the said Ministers earnestly desire, that Lt. Col. Simcoe, a prisoner on parole to the United States of America, should be released from his said parole; and being further of opinion, that meeting the British Government in acts of benevolence, is agreeable to the disposition and intention of the Congress: I do hereby, as far as in my power may lie, absolve the parole of the said Lt. Col. Simcoe; but on this condition, that an order be obtained for the discharge of some officer of equal rank, who being a prisoner to the English in America, shall be named by the Congress, or by Gen. Washington for that purpose, and that three copies of such order be transmitted to me. Given at Passy, this 14th of January, 1783.
"Minister Plenipotentiary from the United States of
America at the Court of France."
This seems a proper place to relate, that Captain Agnew of the Queen's Rangers, who had been so severely wounded at the battle of Brandywine, as to render him unable to undergo the duties of the corps in the field, had embarked for Virginia, of which he was a native at the time General Leslie went to that province; -- his father, Mr. Agnew, Chaplain of the Queen's Rangers, Captains Parker and Blair, loyalists, who had joined Earl Dunmore on the first revolt of Virginia, and other gentlemen, sailed on the same expedition. They followed the movements of Gen. Leslie into Carolina; and, Gen. Arnold having taken possession of Portsmouth, were returning to that place on board of the Romulus, when that ship was captured by a French squadron.
The following letters will explain their consequent situation; and exemplify some of those acts of benevolence agreeable to the intention and disposition of the Congress, as mentioned by Dr. Franklin in his preceding letter:
[p310] "Dear Sir, -- Fortune, I trust, at last has put it in my power to inform you of our unhappy and wretched captivity. You may remember Gen. Washington's visit to the French fleet; it is from that period I date the commencement of our misfortunes last spring; when, being informed of the prisoners taken in the Romulus, a distinction was made between the gentlemen of the ship, and the officers passengers for the army in Virginia, viz. Captains James Parker, Blair, Agnew, my father, and Mr. Cramond. Some of the above gentlemen were formerly his old acquaintances. From the knowledge these gentlemen had of the colony, and the French and American operations being so soon to take place there, Mr. Washington's conduct can be easily accounted for; as a demand was soon after made of us, which we were informed of by Congress. The French, either thinking it improper to give up their prisoners to the Americans, or having other views relative to us, refused the demand; but at the same time consented to treat us in the manner I am to inform you of. We were immediately separated from our friends, and embarked on board the frigate La Hermione, (as we understood,) for France; having a letter from the Major d'Escadre, informing us we should be sent to France. The Hermione, on the contrary, was bound to Boston, where we soon after arrived, and were re-embarked on board La Concorde, still thinking ourselves on our way to France; but, to our great surprise, soon learnt that the ship was for St. Domingo, and that we were to be confined there. We arrived the 6th of July; a room in the common prison was prepared for us; but, by the humanity of the Captain of the La Concorde, we were prevented going to the prison, and were shut up in an hospital, in hot cells, near four months. As the French and American operations took place in Virginia, so the time of our deliverance approached; and we were (to fulfil the Major's letter) embarked on board of different ships, armed en Flute, for France, the 23d of October. Our passage was dismal. L'Union, a 64 gun [p311] ship, on board of which was Capt. Parker, foundered at sea, the crew being happily saved. La Sensible, in which was Mr. Blair, has never been heard of since; the ship, on board of which were my father and myself, having lost the use of her rudder in a storm, lay a wreck twenty-four hours. However, sir, we have escaped all, to be more barbarously treated in France. The 6th of December we arrived at Brest; we were landed, and immediately carried to a place of confinement, where we found two officers of the 86th, of the Tobago capitulation. Brest not being a place for keeping prisoners, and the Commandant, probably not knowing of Mr. Blair's absence, sent the next morning an order to conduct the five officers from St. Domingo to Dinant Castle. The order being indiscriminate, and the two Tobago gentlemen coming in the same fleet, they were instantly taken and carried off with Capt. Parker, my father, and self, to Dinant. Whether this is a mistake at Brest, or not, I cannot know; for, as the original reason for treating us five with such severity cannot now exist, and having heard we were regarded as hostages for French officers, that were, or had been, in the hands of Admiral Arbuthnot, our present misfortunes may arise from other causes than the primitive, as we are now actually regarded as prisoners of state to France: the above, whether intentional or accidental, had one happy tendency, which is that Mr. Cramond I hope, is, in England. We were put into a large vault or dungeon in Dinant Castle, where we remained in the most wretched situation, until we found means to acquaint the Commandant of Bretagne of our situation, who has been humane enough, for such I must call it, to remove us to St. Maloes Castle, where we now are, shut close up as prisoners of state; having seen the orders sent to the Count De Guion for that purpose. I am afraid there is some secret reason for our treatment, that I cannot divine; for no nation, I believe, admires the virtue of loyalty and firmness more than the French. I am indebted to stratagem for the conveyance [p312] of this; by the same means, I have written to the Minister, being deprived of pen, ink, and paper, and probably may not have another chance; I trust, should my letter to Lord George Germain miscarry, that Col. Simcoe will use those means his judgment will best point out to inform our friends at home of our situation.
"Suffer me, Col. Simcoe, to recommend to your humane and tender sensibility an aged and beloved parent: that, should she stand in need of your kind attention or advice, she may always have it in her power to have recourse to a friend! -- But oh God! who knows, perhaps she at this moment, from an independent affluence, is reduced, by the vicissitudes of the times, to penury! -- My heart, afflicted with the misfortunes of our family, can no more --
"St. Maloes Castle, 26th Feb. 1782."
"Caen, 20th August, 1782.
"My Dear Colonel, -- Apprehensive my letters do not reach you, as I have never had the honour of hearing from you since in France, and now having a private opportunity, I send you in part duplicates of those letters which I have wrote you, and which will best tend to inform you of our situation. Your being in England is a circumstance the most happy for us, being convinced at last we have a friend. I hope this will not be subjected to any inspection, and consequently shall endeavour to be as particular to you as possible, relative to our present situation.
"It is to the Duke of Harcourt, Governor of the province of Normandy, we are indebted for our parole here, and the present indulgences we enjoy; hearing of our situation in the castle of St. Maloes, the victims of policy, he most readily interested himself with the Minister in our behalf, and through his remarkable attention and politeness has much alleviated our misfortunes. He has not been less assiduous in endeavouring to exchange us; but alas! his [p313] powers are not equal to his good inclination. Le Marquis de Castries has referred him to the American Minister, and has informed him it was at the instance of America we were detained in France. I have the honour of transmitting to you the letter of Mr. Franklin in answer to the Marquis de Castries on this subject.
"Passy, 2d April, 1782.
"I have received the letter your Excellency did me the honour of writing to me, relating to Messrs. Agnew, father and son, and Capt. Parker, Englishmen, prisoners taken in America, and brought to France. I know nothing of those persons, or of the circumstances that might induce the Delegates of Virginia to desire their detention, no account of them from that state being come to my hands, nor have I received any orders or instructions from the Congress concerning them. I therefore cannot properly make any opposition to their being permitted to reside at Caen on their parole of honour, or to their being exchanged in pursuance of the cartel, as his Majesty in his wisdom shall think proper. I am, sir, &c.,
"Signed, "BENJAMIN FRANKLIN."
"From this letter we readily concluded that every obstacle was removed; and in consequence the Duke of Harcourt wrote to M. de Castries requesting our exchange, that we might, as British officers, benefit ourselves of the cartel established between the two nations for that express purpose.
"The Duke has shown me the answer of M. de Castries to this last letter, and from which it appears determined to keep us in France. He tells him, "Qu'il ne lui est pas possible d'y condescendre, parceque M. de la Luzerne a mandé à M. de Rochambault que le Congrés desiroit qu'ils ne fussent pas échangés, comme étant des Torries dangereux dans le Sud, ¢u ils servoient trop bien leur Patrie."
"Such is our situation at present, my dear Colonel; nor have we a hope of relief, but in our country, and your kind [p314] endeavours; if we are not demanded, here we remain during the war! Heavens! what a succession of melancholy vicissitudes! I have an aged parent at New York, who, totally dependent on the endeavours of her husband and an only son, perhaps, from a genteel affluence, at this moment is reduced to want! Oh God! what do I say? perhaps she is no more! Such are the misfortunes attendant on civil war; and shall we, my dear Colonel, who have sacrificed all but a natural and unalienable allegiance, shall we not find friends who dare reclaim us? who dare insist on our exchange? For what is there a cartel between the two nations? Are we not British officers? Are we not French prisoners? I ever apprehended that the meanest servant was entitled to the protection of the state he served; and shall France, at the instance of America, shut up his Majesty's subjects in her dungeons and castles with impunity? No! should this happily reach you, I trust such measures will be adopted as to effect our exchange agreeable to the cartel. Surely there are French officers enough in England.
Lord George Germain had applied to the French Ministry for the release of these officers, previous to the arrival of Lt. Col. Simcoe in England, but with little effect; application was made to the succeeding Secretaries of State. On the approach of peace they were exchanged: it is most probable had the war continued they would have remained prisoners; so faithfully did the Ministers of France serve the American Congress, and maintain the character which that kingdom has acquired for ages, of trampling upon every tie of humanity which interferes with her policy!
The Duke de Lauzun politely offered to procure Lt. Col. Simcoe a passage in the frigate he was to proceed with to France: he received many civilities from the American officers to whom he had been opposed, and Col. Lee, by visiting him, afforded him an opportunity of personally acknowledging [p315] the obligation he had been under to that officer. General O'Hara had kindly interested himself in explaining to Earl Cornwallis how necessary it was for him immediately to proceed to New York; and Baron Steuben desired to procure, through Gen. Washington, a passage for him in the French frigate ready to sail for Europe. Lt. Col. Simcoe had asked Lt. Spencer to acknowledge his sense of the Baron's civilities, and in some trifling points to request his interference; that officer had a long conversation with Baron Steuben, who told him that he had heard of Lt. Col. Tarleton's march to Charlotteville, but not of Lt. Col. Simcoe's to the Point of Fork, and that he took his corps for Earl Cornwallis's army. Lt. Col. Simcoe has often had occasion to mention some of the many instances of Lt. Spencer's military talents; and the following anecdote will evince the heroic spirit with which he was animated, and on that account be acceptable to the readers of this journal.
At the conclusion of the American war, and previous to the evacuation of New York by the King's troops, Lieut. Spencer of the Queen's Rangers, (who was then at Philadelphia,) received a letter from Major Hanger of the British legion, informing him, that Lieut. H. Paymaster of that regiment had absconded; that he had taken with him five standards which that regiment had in different actions seized from the enemy, and that he was supposed to be in Philadelphia. The Major was pleased to pass some compliments on Lt. Spencer, expressive of the idea he entertained of his integrity and zeal for the service, he desired him to go to Mr. H. well armed, and to force him at any rate to deliver up the trophies: indeed he said " I am at ease; for I am sure nothing but the loss of your life in the attempt, can prevent you getting them."
At seven in the evening Lt. Spencer received the Major's letter; without losing a moment he put a pair of pistols in his pockets, went to the sign of the Indian Queen, where he learnt Mr. H. quartered, enquired for his room, and was [p316] told by one of the servants that he lodged in such a number, and was at home; he went up, but Mr. H. was not there; he took the liberty however of opening a small trunk he saw in the room; he found the standards, took off his coat, waistcoat and shirt, wrapped them round his body, slit up his waistcoat behind, that he might button it, &c. came out of the house and went to the inn, from which the vehicle set off for New York, which it did that night at 8 o'clock; and the next day he delivered the standards to the Major in New York, who received them with singular marks of joy and proper acknowledgments.
On his road to New York, at Brunswick, Lt. Spencer was insulted by some of the inhabitants; they knew him by his uniform to be one of the cavalry of the Queen's Rangers; of course concluded that he was one of those who had attended Lt. Col. Simcoe in his alert at the time that gentleman was taken prisoner. A singular dislike of the Queen's Rangers had been occasioned by the frequent incursions that corps had made into the Jersies, and particularly by the death of Capt. Vorhees, who was killed on the return of the party under the command of Lt. Col. Simcoe: he was an inhabitant of Brunswick, and was to have been married the day after, if his death had not happened.
The populace assembled (during dinner) round the house, hissing and hooting; and had it not been for the interposition of some American officers, passengers in the same waggon, it is likely they might have proceeded to violent measures had they laid hands on Mr. Spencer, and found the colours as described in his possession: those, only, who are acquainted with the vindictive spirit of the Jersey people can know the fatal consequences.
Lt. Spencer returned immediately to Philadelphia on purpose to give Mr. H. every satisfaction he might require; Mr. H. waited on him and desired immediate redress; Mr. S. expostulated with him on the impropriety of his conduct; the hour was appointed for the meeting, but Mr. H. cooled, was sorry for what he had done, and here the matter ended.
[p317] The following letters will conclude this appendix; they were sent to Lt. Col. Simcoe soon after the preliminaries of the peace were divulged in America. The former was written by one of the principal of the associated loyalists on the upper parts of the Chesapeake, and transmitted to Lt. Col. Simcoe by Mr. C. Sowers, a loyalist of Pennsylvania. It is more easy for the reader to imagine than it is for him to describe the pleasure he has received from these honourable testimonies.
"I have the honour in behalf of the deputies of the associated loyalists in Pennsylvania, Maryland, and the lower counties on Delaware, by their particular direction, and being fully authorised by them for that purpose, now to express to you the high sense they entertain of your political and military conduct during the late rebellion in America. They are at a loss whether most to admire your activity and gallantry in the field, or your generous and affectionate attachment to his Majesty's loyal subjects in America, and your unwearied exertions as well to promote their true interest, as to preserve and protect their property.
"As they have with pleasure and satisfaction had frequent opportunities of seeing your arms crowned with success, so have they as often experienced the marks of your favour, attention and protection; these acts have endeared you to them, and claim their warmest gratitude.
"Your particular countenance to and zeal for the associated loyalists, and your ready concurrence in the measures proposed for their relief, and kind solicitations in their behalf, have made an impression on their minds, words cannot express and time only can erase; and they have exceedingly to regret that the opportunity was not afforded them of evincing to the world, under your command, the sincerity of their professions and their attachment to their sovereign.
"They would deem themselves culpable if they did not take this opportunity to mention that your abhorrence of the [p318] pillage that too generally took place in this country, and the success that attended your vigilant exertions to prevent it, have marked your character, and insured to you the esteem of all orders and ranks of good men.
"Your sudden and unexpected departure from America prevented their paying this tribute of respect to you personally, which they entreat you now to accept, and that you will be assured that under all changes and circumstances your name will be dear to them, and that their wishes and prayers will always be for your prosperity and happiness."
"Huntingdon, July 1st, 1783.
"When we reflect on your military conduct in the course of this war, we, in common with others acquainted with its occurrences, cannot withhold our admiration and respect. But, when you rise to our minds in the relation in which you stand with us, and we view you as our leader and companion, who not only has pointed out to us the road to military reputation, but has shared in common with us its dangers and hardships; when we find, that the whole tenor of your conduct demonstrates the most friendly disposition and attachment to our interests, which, in a particular manner, you have evinced by your unremitted assiduity and zeal, in making known and preferring our pretensions to our Sovereign, which has obtained for us the most gracious marks of his approbation, and the most honourable reward for our services: when these things recur to us, we feel our hearts warmed with the generous glow of gratitude and affection.
"We cannot omit observing, with very particular satisfaction, that in the establishment of the corps the whole of the officers are included, and in the ranks they respectively bore.
"Wishing you every success in your public pursuits, and the most perfect domestic happiness, we have the honour to be, with the greatest regard, and most perfect esteem,
"Yours, &c. &c."
"Signed on behalf of the officers
"of the regiment by
"R. ARMSTRONG, Major,
"JOHN SAUNDERS, Captain."
Page 18. The Queen's Rangers, &c. &c.
Before the command of the Rangers was given to the author, the corps had distinguished itself in the service, and had attracted the attention of the Commander in Chief. In the Pennsylvania Ledger, newspaper, of December 3d, 1777, was printed the following notice: --
"No regiment in the army has gained more honour this campaign than Major Wemys's (or the Queen's) Rangers; they have been engaged in every principal service, and behaved nobly; indeed most of the officers have been wounded since we took the field in Pennsylvania. General Kniphausen, after the action of the 11th of September, at Brandywine, despatched an aid-de-camp to General Howe with an account of it: what he said concerning it was short, but to the purpose. Tell the General (says he) I must be silent as to the behaviour of the Rangers, for I even want words to express my own astonishment to give him an idea of it. The 13th the following appeared in orders: 'The Commander in Chief desires to convey to the officers and men of the Queen's Rangers his approbation and acknowledgment for their spirited and gallant behaviour in the engagement of the 11th instant, and to assure them how well he is satisfied with their distinguished conduct on that day. His Excellency only regrets their having suffered so much in the gallant execution of their duty.' "
Page 103. Captain Saunders, patrolling towards Byram Bridge, &c. &c.
The New York Commercial Advertiser of October 13th, 1843, contained an article from which an extract may properly [p320] be here introduced. After quoting the paragraph on the 103d page, the writer goes on: "Whether the imputation upon the honour of Colonel Thomas, involved in this paragraph, is true or not, we cannot positively decide. Col. Simcoe, from the bitterness of his prejudices against the Whigs, would of course be disposed to present the case in its worst aspect. It is but just, however, to Col. S. to admit that we have discovered a piece of testimony going directly to maintain what he has said in relation to the violation of his parole by Col. Thomas.
"In rumaging one of our drawers of old manuscript collections, on Wednesday, we found a couple of sheets of very interesting reminiscences connected with the war of the revolution, in New York and its vicinity. Among other matters of curious import, it contains a particular account of the capture of Col. Thomas, of his detention on Long Island, and of his most extraordinary escape; admitting, withal, that he did violate his parole. The good woman to whom he was in the main indebted for his safety, had probably taken a lesson from the Jewish 'wench' who, under equally emergent circumstances, concealed the messengers conveying to David the state of affairs in Jerusalem, when the unhappy monarch was flying before the legions of his treacherous son.
"We regret that we have forgotten to whom we are indebted for this manuscript. If we do not mistake, however, it was handed to us two or three years since, by an elderly gentleman from Long Island. Be that as it may, it comes in very opportunely in connection with the revolutionary recollections revived by the narrative of Col. Simcoe."
* * * * * * "Whenever the British army took possession of Long Island, the inhabitants were ordered to appear at Gen. Howe's head quarters, to take the oath of [p321] allegiance. Many attended and were sworn, who received a certificate of protection, for which they had to pay a douceur. They were then ordered to wear a red band or rag in their hat, as a badge of protection. Whenever it was discovered that a red badge afforded safety and protection to the person who wore it, every white man and negro, with all the boys in the country, mounted a red rag in their hats, which soon caused the abandonment of this badge of slavery. In the year '77, when the Americans had captured many Hessian and British prisoners, and could retaliate on them, for the cruelties which the Americans suffered, the British then relaxed in their severity towards the prisoners of the American army -- the officers were removed from the prisons, and parolled to four of the towns of King's county, viz, to Flatbush, Flatlands, New Utrecht and Gravesend, where they were billeted on the inhabitants. After the prisoner officers were quartered in those towns, the inhabitants enjoyed peace, preserved the produce of their labour, and became rich; they also received payment for the board of the officers; which many of them never deserved, for the contempt with which the prisoners were treated. The prisoners were strictly forbidden to cross the ridge of hills, or to go to New York; either was deemed a breach of parole. Several broke their parole undiscovered, but several were discovered and remanded to prison. Major Bowne sprang from the custody of the officer who was conducting him to New York, and escaped. Col. Thomas, of West Chester, also escaped from the officer; his case, however, was marked with extreme difficulty, but he succeeded to clear the British in the end.
"This officer was surprised in his own house, in West Chester, at day break, by a detachment of dragoons. He had gone to his house in the evening, a spy brought the intelligence to the British post, and a detachment of horse was immediately sent to seize him. His house was surrounded before he knew it, when he took his musket and shot a dragoon [p322] at his door; he ran up stairs, stepped on a piazza, and sprang over the enemy who were below it; leaped a fence and ran for a piece of woods. Thus the bird would have flown; but one of the officers, who had a fleet horse, leaped the fence and took Thomas, by laying the flat of his sword gently on his head, when Thomas surrendered and was pa-rolled on Long Island.
"After he had broken his parole, and escaped from the officer, he returned to New Lotts, where he remained in the woods secretly for several days, and received provisions from his fellow officers, until he got an opportunity to go to New York, where he joined a party of wood-cutters. Thomas was in disguise, and had permitted his beard to grow. The British knew he was in New York, and were searching for him with a negro who knew him well. They came to the house where he was with the wood-cutters. Thomas saw them from a window, when they came to the door, and went in bed; when his face was uncovered, the negro saw him and said, that is not Thomas.
"He then communicated his situation to Mr. John Franklyn, who provided a place for him in the house of a faithful widow. The British suspected that he was concealed in this house, and a party was sent there also to search for him; the widow was apprised of their coming, took Thomas down into the cellar, turned a hogshead over him, and then threw half a bushel of salt on the head of the tub, and left him. The house and cellar were searched, and Thomas escaped by the widow's stratagem. John Franklyn, Henry Ryker, and another person of New York known by No. one, kept a canoe concealed in the barn of No. one, near Greenwich, on the North river; when a favourable opportunity occurred, Franklyn removed Thomas from the widow's house, and No. one conveyed him across the North river to Fort Lee, when he was safe; thus Col. Thomas miraculously escaped."
[p323] Pages 109 to 119. Lt. Col. Simcoe had information that fifty flat-boats, upon carriages, &c. &c.
The affair narrated in the Journal is told in Lee's Memoirs of the War, &c. pages 192, 193, of the second edition. Lee's account of the expedition, written in his usual happy manner, is preceded by a handsome compliment to Lieut. Col. Simcoe. The praise awarded to the British officer deserves consideration, coming from the distinguished rebel and gallant young soldier commanding the American Legion, which was a corps similar in most points to Simcoe's, and which, in the defence of the cause of independence, no less distinguished itself.
"This officer commanded a legionary corps called the Queen's Rangers, and had during the war signalised himself upon various occasions. He was a man of letters, and like the Romans and Grecians, cultivated science amid the turmoil of camp. He was enterprising, resolute, and persevering; weighing well his project before entered upon, and promptly seizing every advantage which offered in the course of execution. General Washington expecting a French fleet upon our coast in 1779-80, and desirous of being thoroughly prepared for moving upon New York, in case the combined force should warrant it, had made ready a number of boats, which were placed at Middlebrook, a small village up the Raritan river, above Brunswick. Sir Henry Clinton being informed of this preparation, determined to destroy the boats. The enterprise was committed to Lt. Col. Simcoe. He crossed from New York to Elizabeth-town Point with his cavalry, and setting out after night, he reached Middlebrook undiscovered and unexpected. Having executed his object, he baffled all our efforts to intercept him on his return, by taking a circuitous route. Instead of turning towards Perth Amboy, which was supposed to be the most probable course, keeping the Raritan on his right, [p324] he passed that river, taking the direction towards Monmouth county, leaving Brunswick some miles to his left. Here was stationed a body of militia, who being apprised (it being now day) of the enemy's proximity, made a daring effort to stop him, but failed in the attempt. Simcoe, bringing up the rear, had his horse killed, by which accident he was made prisoner. The cavalry, deprived of their leader, continued to press forward under the second in command, still holding the route to English town. As soon as the militia at Brunswick moved upon the enemy, an express was despatched to Lt. Col. Lee, then posted in the neighbourhood of English town, waiting for the expected arrival of the French fleet, advising him of this extraordinary adventure.
"The legion cavalry instantly advanced towards the British horse; but notwithstanding the utmost diligence was used to gain the road leading to South Amboy (which now was plainly the object) before the enemy could reach it, the American cavalry did not effect it. Nevertheless the pursuit was continued, and the legion horse came up with the rear soon after a body of infantry sent over to South Amboy from Staten Island by Sir Henry Clinton to meet Simcoe, had joined, and gave safety to the harrassed and successful foe.
"This enterprise was considered, by both armies, among the handsomest exploits of the war. Simcoe executed completely his object, then deemed very important; and traversed the country, from Elizabethtown Point to South Amboy, fifty-five miles, in the course of the night and morning; passing through a most hostile region of armed citizens; necessarily skirting Brunswick, a military station; proceeding not more than eight or nine miles from the legion of Lee, his last point of danger, and which became increased from the debilitated condition to which his troops were reduced by previous fatigue. What is very extraordinary, Lt. Col. Simcoe being obliged to feed once in the course of the night, stopped at a depot of forage collected for the Continental [p325] army, assumed the character of Lee's cavalry, waked up the commissary about midnight, drew the customary allowance of forage, and gave the usual vouchers, signing the name of the legion Quarter-master, without being discovered by the American forage commissary or his assistants. The dress of both corps was the same, green coatees and leather breeches; yet the success of the stratagem is astonishing."
Page 158. General Arnold.
Extract from Dunlap's History of New York. Vol. II. p. 201.
"It appears strange, that Sir Henry Clinton should entrust a traitor with the lives and liberty of armies as he did. But I have been assured by a gentleman of the most unblemished character, now far advanced in years, that when Arnold departed from New York in the command of the army with which he committed depredations in the Chesapeake, 'a dormant commission' was given to Colonels Dundas and Simcoe, jointly, by Sir Henry Clinton, authorising them, if they suspected Arnold of sinister intent, to supercede him, and put him in arrest. This proves that Clinton did not trust him, and we may reasonably suppose that such a watch was set upon his conduct on other occasions.
"The gentleman who communicated this fact to me, was in his youth a confidential clerk in Sir Henry Clinton's office, and copied and delivered the dormant commission as directed. This explains a passage in Clinton's letter to his government, in which be says, 'this detachment is under the command of General Arnold, with whom I have thought it right to send Colonels Dundas and Simcoe, as being officers of experience, and much in my confidence.'"
Page 237. M. Fayette, in his public letters, &c. &c.
Extract from Washington's Writings, edited by Jared Sparks. Vol. VIII. pp. 100, 101 -- note.
[p326] "A retreat had been recently commenced by Lord Cornwallis, after pursuing Lafayette to the interior of Virginia. Lafayette said:
"'The enemy have been So kind as to retire before us. Twice I gave them a chance of fighting, (taking care not to engage farther than I pleased,) but they continued their retrograde motion. Our number is, I think, exaggerated to them, and our seeming boldness confirms the opinion. I thought at first that Lord Cornwallis wanted to get me down as low as possible, and use the cavalry to advantage. But it appears he does not as yet come out, and our position will admit of partial affairs. His Lordship had (exclusive of the riflemen from Portsmouth, said to be six hundred,) four thousand men, eight hundred of whom were dragoons or mounted infantry. Our force is about equal to his; but only fifteen hundred are regulars, and fifty dragoons. Our little action marks the retreat of the enemy. From the place, at which they first began to retreat, to Williamsburg, is upwards of one hundred miles. His Lordship has done us no harm of any consequence. He has lost a very large part of his former conquests, and has not made any in this state. Gen. Greene demanded of me only to hold my ground in Virginia; but the movements of Lord Cornwallis may answer better purposes than that in the military line.' -- Lafayette's MS. Letter, June 28th.
"In the following letter to the Governor of Virginia of the same date, Lafayette gives an account of the recent action:
"'Colonel Simcoe was so lucky as to avoid a part of the stroke; but, although the whole of the light corps could not arrive in time, some of them did. Major Macpherson having taken up fifty light infantry behind fifty dragoons, overtook Simcoe, and, regardless of numbers, made an immediate charge. He was supported by the riflemen, who behaved most gallantly and did great execution. The alarm-guns were fired at Williamsburg (only six miles distant from the field.) A detachment just then going to Gloucester was [p327] recalled, and the whole British army came out to save Simcoe. They retired next morning, when our army got within striking distance.
"'Our loss is two captains, two lieutenants, ten privates wounded; two lieutenants, one sergeant, six privates killed; one lieutenant, twelve privates, whose fate is not known; one sergeant taken. The enemy had about sixty killed, among whom are several officers, and about one hundred wounded. They acknowledge the action was smart, and Lord Cornwallis was heard to express himself vehemently upon the disproportion between his and our killed, which must be attributed to the great skill of our riflemen. This little success has given great satisfaction to the troops, and increased their ardour. I have put all the riflemen under Campbell. To-morrow I intend to reconnoitre a position below Byrd's Ordinary. Your return to Richmond, and this little affair, will particularly mark his Lordship's retreat, and the recovery of every part of the state not under naval protection.' -- MS. Letter, June 28th."
Page 254. The capitulation at York Town.
Extract from "the general return of officers and privates surrendered prisoners of war, the 19th of October, 1781, to the allied army, under the command of General Washington, taken from the original muster rolls:" --
Queen's Rangers -- 1 lieutenant-colonel, 1 major, 10 captains, 15 lieutenants, 11 cornets, 3 quarter-masters, 2 surgeons, 24 sergeants, 5 trumpeters, 248 rank and file -- total 320.
Page xii. of Memoir of the Author.
The reader will find in Stone's Life of Joseph Brant, (or Thayendanegea,) the Indian Chieftain, considerable discussion of Governor Simcoe's measures while in Upper Canada. There appears to have been an intimate friendship between the Chief and the Governor, the latter bringing from England [p328] a letter of introduction to the former from the Duke of Northumberland. The annexed extract is from the book referred to, Vol. II. p. 337:
"The following is the letter, which the character of the parties and the circumstances of the case render worthy of preservation:
"'Northumberland House, Sept. 3d, 1791.
"'My Dear Joseph,
"'Colonel Simcoe, who is going out Governor of Upper Canada, is kind enough to promise to deliver this to you, with a brace of pistols which I desire you will keep for my sake. I must particularly recommend the Colonel to you and the nation. He is a most intimate friend of mine, and is possessed of every good quality which can recommend him to your friendship. He is brave, humane, sensible, and honest. You may safely rely upon whatever he says, for he will not deceive you. He loves and honours the Indians, whose noble sentiments so perfectly correspond with his own. He wishes to live upon the best terms with them, and, as Governor, will have it in his power to be of much service to them. In short, he is worthy to be a Mohawk. Love him at first for my sake, and you will soon come to love him for his own.
"'I was very glad to hear that you had received the rifle safe which I sent you, and hope it has proved useful to you. I preserve with great care your picture, which is hung up in the Duchess's own room.
"'Continue to me your friendship and esteem, and believe me ever to be, with the greatest truth,
"'Your affectionate friend and brother,
"'CAPTAIN JOSEPH BRANT, Thayendanegea."'
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