SOU. CAMP. TEXTS VOL.1 NO.4 SIMCOE'S JOURNAL ROYALPROVINCIAL.COM 1777 NJ MAP ENDNOTES PUBL.HIST.
[From The Journal of American History, Vol.1, No.3, 1907] 
|This remarkable manuscript, recently rescued from oblivion, is undoubtedly the most important documentary evidence of its kind in existence. In it is revealed the tragedy of an American who for the sake of family and principle took up arms against his fellow Americans and met them in deadly conflict on the firing line. It is the story of a man who withstood the rebuffs, taunts, and insults of his closest friends, who suffered terrible privations, jeopardized his life, and was finally driven from his home to seek refuge on British soil. Withal it is one of the most intense stories of patriotism, of fidelity to family and loyalty to the Mother Country. |
When the Americans, through their misunderstandings and differences with Great Britain, proposed the stroke for Independence there were many conservative and influential men who considered the action too radical. They looked upon England as their homeland; their blood was British and there was a filial love for the British Empire. While they were willing to join in urgent appeal to the crown and to respectfully demand redress for existing grievances, they were unwilling to become a party to the proposed Declaration of Independence and stoutly refused to join any revolutionary movement. These loyalists came from every rank in society, and "being actuated by conscientious motives, command our thorough respect."
When the Revolutionists began to arm themselves for the Great Struggle many of these conservatives offered their services to the King, remained loyal through the conflict, and "suffered severely in exile when the contest was ended."
This ancient manuscript, now almost illegible, is written by one of them. It uncovers many secrets. It reveals the contentions, despairs and almost insufferable hardships of the defenders of the crown. It passes the scouting line, penetrates the ranks of the redcoats and takes one into the heart of the British Army. It is a revelation of the life of the men who fought and died for the King in trying to save the Western Continent to the British Empire.
The writer of this remarkable manuscript is one Stephen Jarvis. He was born November 6, 1756, in Danbury, Connecticut, and died in Toronto, Canada, in 1840, at the age of eighty four years.
Manuscript of Colonel Jarvis Born in 1756
Relating the remarkable experiences as a recruit in the lines of
the British army Accurate transcript from the original manuscript
which was lost for many years and has been recently recovered
My father was one of those persons called Torries. He lived in the Colony of Connecticut, his disposition was more for making a comfortable living for his family than giving his children a liberal education. My advantages were thereby confined to what was necessary for a farmer, which I followed until I was at the Age of Eighteen years, when hostilities commenced between Great Britain and her Colonies.
It cannot he expected that I should give a minute detail of every circumstance of my eventful life, as I kept no regular journal, and have to refresh my memory from public documents for the last fifty years.
Son of a Loyalist in Ranks of the American Revolutionists
TOPSome time in the month of April, 1775[1a], when the first blood was shed at Lexington, I became acquainted with a Lady to whom I paid my address, and who I afterwards married; this attachment was disapproved of by my father, who carried his displeasure to great lengths and I was tinder the necessity of visiting the Lady only by stealth. Soon after the Battle of Bunker Hill and about the time that the British Army Evacuated Boston, there was a draft of the Militia of Connecticut to garrison New York, and I was drafted as one; my father would readily have got a substitute for me, but as he had so strenuously opposed my suit, I was obstinate and declared my intentions of going as a soldier.for this declaration he took me by the arm and thrust me out of the door; during the evening, however, I went to my room and went to bed. The next day was Sunday and I kept out of sight, the next morning we were to march, a Brother of my Mother was the officer commanding[4a]. On leaving the house I passed my father and wished him "good-bye," he made me no reply, and I passed on to the house of my uncle, the place of rendezvous, but before the Troops marched my father so far relented as to come to me and after giving me a severe reproof, ordered me a horse to ride, gave me some money, and I set off. We arrived in New York the next day, and my uncle took up his quarters at Peck Slip, and took me into his house. He had a son with him, a little younger than myself, with whom I spent my time very agreeable.
Repents when He Sees Father's Displeasure and Joins British
TOPDuring my short stay in New York, which was only about a fortnight,during that time, however, the Americans broke ground on Governor's Island . My uncle was one of the officers for that duty. The British Man of War (the Asia) was lying off Staten Island[7a] at the time, and I had an inclination to get on board of her; I, therefore, went to the Island with my uncle and remained there all night, and part of the next day, when were relieved by another party, and returned to the City. Having had no rest during the night, I lay down and went to sleep. I was awoke by my Cousin; the streets were filled with soldiers, part of the American Army from Boston. The next morning the Militia was dismissed, and I returned to my family; I represented to my father that I was very sinable, that I had done wrong in espousing a Cause so repugnant to his feelings, and contrary to my own opinion also. Asked his forgiveness, and went even so far as to promise that I would give up my suit with Miss Glover, for that 443was the Lady's name. On this promise, I was again taken into favor but I only kept this promise but for a few days, as soon as I had replenished my wardrobe, I immediately set off to visit Miss Glover, and before we parted, we renewed our vows of love and constancy. My reception the next morning was everything but pleasant. I continued, however, to visit her as often as I could. After the British Army had taken New York, the Militia was again called out, and I was again drafted, but I refused to serve; about this time three Torries who had been confined in Symsbury Mines, had made their escape, and was, by the assistance of the Loyalists, inabled to join the British Army; many of the Loyalists also joined them and went with them, and among the rest myself, and this with the consent of my father, as I had been instrumental in making provision for the three men who had escaped from Prison.
Recruiting American Soldiers for Service in England's Army
TOPI left Danbury in the middle of the day, armed Capa-pie  under pretense of joining the Americans then lying at Horse Neck , and went forward to make provision for those who were to follow me at night. I passed on as far as Norwalk, where I was directed to call on certain persons, Loyalists, for advice and assistance in executing our plan. The first one I called upon informed me "that our plans were discovered, that the whole coast was guarded, and that if we proceeded we would all he taken prisoners, and advised me by all means to return home again with the best excuse I could make for doing so". I took his advice, and after refreshing myself and horse, I retraced my steps to Wilton, and called on a Mr. B____s, his house was the place of rendezvous for the whole party ;I had a wish to see what reception I would meet with as an American soldier. I, therefore, feigned myself much hurt from the fall of my horse, told him a long cock and bull story of my going to join the American Army, and said everything to excite his compassion, and to be allowed to sleep by his fire during the night; this he refused, but offered to assist me to the Public House, where I could be comfortably provided for; finding nothing would prevail, I then asked him if his name was not B____s. He with some surprise, answered Yes and what then, his wife and two fine daughters who were sitting in the room viewed each other with much uneasiness. I desired to speak to Mr. B. in private. We walked into another room; I asked him if he knew Mr. J____ of Danbury, and he replied, "that he did."
I told him I was his son, communicated to him the commission I was entrusted with, gave him the information I had received at Norwalk and the necessity there was for finding a place of safety for the three men. One of them was a Mr. McNeal. The other persons names I have forgot. Mr. B. then took me by the hand, introduced me to his wife and daughters, ordered refreshments to be got ready as soon as possible, for that I was very tired and hungry. My lameness was set aside for the night and he set about preparing a hiding place for the three men and getting sustenance for their support. I then suggested the necessity of as many of us as possibly could, should reach home before daylight, gave him the countersign, whereby he could make himself known if he met any of our party, and turn them back; sent a message to my father in what manner I should return the next day. He set off and after proceeding a few miles, stopt in a wood by the side of the road. He soon saw two men approaching, gave the countersign, which was answered. They were two young men from Danbury, he delivered my message to them; they returned home, and he returned to his house. Before his return however, 444the party had arrived to the amount of seventy persons. A man by the name of Barnum, who had been with the British, and returned for recruits conducted the party, he was no way discouraged from my information and urged me to proceed with them, this, however, I declined, he however prevailed on Mr. B. to try and overtake the two men he had turned homewards, but after he had pursued them near to Danbury, he was obliged to return without them, and he hardly reached his home before daylight. I met him afterwards a Major in the British Army. Mr. Barnum and his party pursued their route and got safe to the British.
Americans Fleeing from being Drafted by Revolutionists
TOPThe next morning, after breakfast, I took leave of this kind family, bound up my knee in a piece of old blanket, assumed my lameness, was helped on my horse, and set off for home. Many questions were asked me on my route, and many foolish answers were given as to my late disaster. Suffice it to say that when I reached home I found my father had received my message, and had a surgeon, whom he could trust to attend me. I was helped off my horse, carried into the house, my knee which he declared to be dislocated, again placed into the socket, the bandages filled with the spirits of turpentine, and in this manner I walked with crutches for ten days; this lulled all suspicion; even my mother was deceived, for she had no idea that my intentions were that of going to the British.
For the rest part of the summer I remained quietly, until the Autumn, when I again joined another party of Loyalists, and proceed to the waterside, but the vessel which we expected to take us on board not arriving, and my father hearing of the situation in which I was placed, sent a person for me and I returned home the second time. On my arrival I found my father's house filled with American soldiers, my father introduced me to the officers as returning from a visit to see my friends, and all went on very well, until the first day of January, 1777 it being New Year's day I rose very early in the morning, and in opening the door I discovered a large body of horsemen armed, with a number of prisoners, and some of them, those I had a short time before left at the Seaside. I must leave the reader to judge of my feelings for I cannot describe them.
I remained quiet during the day, but I was lead to believe that I should not continue so during the night, and therefore kept a sharp lookout; I came very nigh falling into their hands. The day had been stormy, both snow and rain, and the roads very sloppy. I had prepared a horse with intentions to ride out of town. I had set down to supper, when one of the Committee of Safety (as they were called) came in; my father urged him to take supper, this he declined, and after making some excuse for calling, he left the house. I immediately got up from the table, went to the door, the night was very dark. My brother had gone out to do an errand for one of the prisoners and as I stepped on the threshold of the door I heard him call to one of the prisoners. "Stop" said a person close by me.
Tory Boy Escapes on Horseback as Patriots Search Father's Home
TOPI gave a spring and in a moment I was on horseback in full speed down the street. I made a halt at a friend's house for a few moments, when my sister with another young lady came in, saying "Brother, the soldiers are searching the house for you." I immediately set off again and took shelter in a house where there was two British prisoners of War. One part of the house was occupied by soldiers from the Eastward going to join the Army of the 445Americans, then lying near White Plains[11a]. I remained in the quarters of the British prisoners until the soldiers were asleep. I was then conveyed to a small room in the garret with some provisions for the twenty-four hours. Here I remained until the next evening, when I met my father in the field back of the town. He had a shift of clothes for me and some money here we parted, and I set off for the house of a Brother-in-law of Miss Glover who was a Loyalist, and where I knew I should find safe quarters. The late rain had flooded the banks of the Rivers, and had overflowed the road in two places, so that I was obliged to wade to my hips in water. The weather very cold, my clothes became very stiff with ice. I could with difficulty travel; I however made out to reach a friend's house, about five miles from my father's; Here again I was encountered with another band of soldiers (strangers). I pretended as coming from the next house, and crossing a small stream on a log had tumbled into the water, and begged my friend to give me a shift of clothes.
I was taken into a small room, where there was a good fire, dried my clothes, got some refreshment, and after the soldiers had got asleep, a young man of the house conveyed me to the stable, took a horse and carried me five miles farther, to the house of Mr. Hawleys whose wife was Miss Glover's sister; the young man remained with me until after breakfast the next morning, and then returned to his father. He was the same day taken up and carried to Gaol, for what crime I never learn't, the day after my arrival, Mr. H. sent and fetched Miss Glover to his house and the pleasure I spent in her society surely can be better imagined than described. At the end of a fortnight a Mr. T____s., who had married another sister of Miss Glover's, came to take her to his house (he was a Republican and I dare not see him). He arrived in the evening, it was a moonshine night, and Miss G. pretended that it would be some time in the evening before she would be ready to set out, left him and visited me in my apartment, in this manner we kept him until a late hour, when we at last took leave of each other, and she set off with her brother Mr T. [13a]
Driven into Hiding for Refusing to Denounce the King
TOPThe next night I set off from Mr. H____'s (I dare not travel in the day) and went to Norwalk where my father had two brothers, and where his father was also living with them I remained for sometime, but hearing that there was an opportunity that probably I might have in getting over to Long Island from Stamford, I repaired thither, where my father had another brother whose four sons were already with the British, two of which had entered the Army. Here again I was disappointed no opportunity offered of getting away. It was agreed at last, as the best mode of safety, and as the smallpox was in the place, I had better get Enoculated and that his young son should also. He sent for the surgeon of the Hospital, a Doctor W. and we were Enoculated. We remained at my Uncle's until a few days before we broke out, and then was removed to the Hospital.
We both had the disease favorable, and about the first of March I ventured to pay a visit to my father's, taking the night for performing the journey. I arrived at his house about midnight, called at the windows of his bedroom, he awoke, knew my voice, and let me in. I remained with the family only two days and then for the last time I bid them good-bye for seven years, and returned again to Norwalk, from thence to Stamford, to Greenwich, and so back and fourth until the British Army[14a] made an excursion to Danbury. The day the fleet sailed up the sound I was at the 446village of Greenwich, and remained there until the British Army had marched to Danbury, and had again re-imbarked for New York.[14b] In this expedition Munson Jarvis and William Jarvis were with the British and slept at my father's house the night they were in Danbury. On the 28 of April, 1777, at night I prevailed on a person to set me across to Long Island[14c], there was a skiff and a canoe loaded with potatoes and two or three calves.
Crossing Long Island Sound in Canoe to Join the Redcoats
TOPWe set off about two o'clock at night, and got out of the river undiscovered and steered our course for Long Island. In the morning[14d] we found ourselves under the Long Island shore, the wind was strong from the Eastward our log canoe was swamped in running ashore, but no lives lost; after hard rowing, we at last reached the Harbour of Huntington, went on board the Guard Ship in the Harbour, where I was obliged to remain until report was made to the Commanding Officer at that place; I then was permitted to land, here I met with several persons I know, and I was strongly urged to join the Army. This I declined and the next day set off for New York[15a] in company with a Mr. Booth, a native of Newtown in Connecticut. On my arrival in New York I found many persons from Danbury, who were made prisoners. They informed me that after the British Army had left Danbury, the Americans had killed my father. (This was not true, they only plundered him).
This melancholy news determined me for a Military life. I therefore took the first opportunity of introducing myself to an officer, that first fell in my way. It was with a Captain Lockwood, who piloted the British Army to Danbury.[15b] I told him what I had just heard relative to the fate of my father, and my determination of entering the Service; He replied "That he was raising a Company for a Corpse that was to be commanded by a Major Starks, and that if I would join his Company, he would procure me a commission[16a], and as his company was about to march to Kingsbridge, where the Regiment to be organized, and if I would consent to act as Sergeant in his company until he could join the Regiment with my commission he would be very glad, and in the meantime he would be glad that I would assist him in making out a statement of his Company. This I assented to, and being ignorant of the consequences that would result, suffered myself to be set down as Sergeant, for the present until my commission could be procured.
American Lad under English Ensign Marching against his Countrymen
TOPThe next day the Company marched to Kingsbridge under the command of a Lieutenant Close, where we joined the rest of the Regiment[17a], but so small were our numbers, that I have no recollection who was the commanding officer; the day after our arrival at our Incampment there was an order for each Company to give in a Morning Report; of what a Morning Report was, neither Mr. Close[17b] or myself knew anything about more than we did of the Longitude, and I was sensible that I was the best scholar of the two, and being second in command, thought I was of equal rank with him, and without consulting him on the subject, I walked over to the tent of my relation, whose Regiment[17c] had taken up their ground on the left of our small (for it was a very small) Regiment to attain the information necessary to comply with the order.
My friend gave me a number of printed copies that had been given him for his guide, to witfit for duty sick on duty, etc., etc. I return to my tent, and return the whole fit for duty, although we had neither 447arms, clothing or ammunition; the result of which was that there was an order for our Regiment to parade so many men for piquet. This put me to my wits end, to parade men without arms was ridiculous, but there was no time to be lost;[18a] I therefore went from one tent to another (for some of the Companies had received arms) got a stand of arms from one Company, a sick man's arms from another, until I had completed the whole with arms and marched them off for to this parade. Behold me then, for the first time in my life, a soldier in the British Army, commanding an out piquet, in the face of the Rebel Army. One material circumstance happened during the night. I had forgot the most essential part, the Parole and Countersign, which, when the officer of the night came around to visit the piquet, and if there had not been a more attentive memory in my Corporal, I should have made a most lamentable figure. However, all things passed on very well, and in the morning I marched off my men to their tents, not a little proud of my night's duty.
British Soldiers look with Impunity on their Yankee Recruits
TOPThe same routine went on for several days, until I began to be tired of this fatigue, and I applied to Mr. Close to procure clothing, and arms for the men, stating the danger we run of being fired on as Rebels in our Country Clothes; he hem'd and har'd for some time until my patience was quite exhausted, and I said to him, "Sir, you command a Company in the British Army, you are not fit to command an English waggon." In short I said so much that if he or myself had known anything of military duty, I must have have been shot, agreeably to the Articles of War. I however soon learned better, as the secret will show.
One day as I was walking past the officers mess, (for I had already learned so much of my duty as to find I was not yet to be admitted into the society of the commissioned officers) I heard them Huzza for the Second Battalion of Queen's Rangers; I had heard much of the Regiment as a fighting corpse, and I did not much like the sound. I made up my mind, if possible, to change into the Regiment with my relations, lying along side of us, and the morning we were ordered for marching I left my tent for the purpose of making the application, and had got part of the way to my friend's tent, when, I beheld the Col. of that Regiment mount his horse and begin to belay the Sentinel[21a] at his Marque, over the head and shoulders of the man, with great violence. I looked with astonishment for a short time, marched back to my tent, and when the orders were given to march, I threw my knapsack on my back and marched, thanking my stars that I had escaped falling under the discipline of such a savage in the shape of a Colonel of a British Regiment. The Regiment marched to New York and went immediately on board ship. Here I had for the last time a sight of Captain Lockwood.
I remonstrated with him, but he replied, "That all was going on well, that he should be with the Regiment in a few days, and bring my commission with him." I had not a moment longer to spare, was hurried on hoard, we sailed, and the next morning landed at Amboy, marched out to a place called Strawberry Hill, our small Regiment was drawn up in front of the Encampment of the Queen's Rangers, the Non-Commissioners in front of the men, and a general selection took place, those fit for grenadiers, were set apart for the Grenadier Company, then the Light Infantry, then a Company was selected for a Highland Company. The officers were Captain McAlpine, Lieutenant Close, Simpson, and Ensign Shaw. (Afterwards General Shaw of 448Upper Canada)[24a] The rest of the officers were placed on half pay or joined other Regiments; After the officers by Seniority, had made a selection of the Non-Commissioned Officers, a Captain McKay[24b] came up to me, asked my name, age, etc., and if I could write. I happened to have a roll of Captain Lockwood's Company in my pocket, which I took and handed him, after examining it, he folded it up, handed it me back, called a "Sergeant Purday to show me his Tent."
Experiences of an American inside the British Lines
TOPHere all my hopes of a Commission was at an end. I was a perfect stranger to every individual around me, not a friend to advise, or ask council of, no money in my pocket, the most inexperienced, either of men or manners, of any almost in existence. Think what my feelings were at this time. I have often wondered how I survived the disappointment. I however, made up my mind that if I ever had an opportunity to meet the enemy that I would merit a Commission, and I applied myself strictly to my duty, and soon merited the notice of my officers who placed confidence in me. [24c]A few days after there was a great desertion of the Non-Commissioners, and amongst the last Sergeant Purday of our Company. From this circumstance, all the duty of the Company devolved upon me, such as making out returns for provisions, clothing, morning reports, master rolls, etc., as the other Sergeant was a drunken useless fellow, who, by the by, I recognized as once having seen him in Danbury a recruiting for the American Army.
There is one circumstance I cannot avoid mentioning, as it mortified my pride exceedingly. I had been on duty during the night, and as the duty was arduous, I came off duty very much fatigued. I called at Captain McKay's tent to have him sign some return, I did expect he would have asked me to sit down, I waited some time and then sat down. I had not sat long before Captain McKay said in a mild tone of voice, "Sergeant Jarvis, it is very improper for you to sit in the presence of your officer, without you are desired to do so." I must leave the reader to judge of my feelings at this rebuke: altho so mildly given, I arose from my seat and replied, Sir: I am a young soldier, and I am very tired, having been on duty all night. I was in hopes you would have desired me to sit down, but as you did not, I was in some measure under the necessity, but I shall know better in future; he signed the return and I returned to my tent.[24d] In a few days there was an order for marching with four days' provisions for each man. The Army marched into the country. We fell in with the enemy on our route, and a partial engagement took place, and we had one man killed; and I had a narrow escape myself. I was standing in the angle of the fence, a rifleman was in the opposite field on horseback, at the time we were forming along the fence. He dismounted, placed his rifle across his horse, fired, The ball struck direct in the angle of the fence opposite my face, and the splinters flew about my head and eyes.[24d] The Army marched to Brunswick and then returned again to our old quarters.
On the British Firing Line in the Battle of Brandywine
TOPThere was nothing of moment after this movement until we embarked for an expedition the fleet sailed, as it appeared afterwards for the Chesapeake and about the middle of August we landed at the head of Elk River, where the Army encamped for some days, and here was my first exploit. I commanded the out piquet, and at daylight in the morning a body of American horse charged my Piquet. I repulsed them and took 449one Dragoon, which I secured as well as his horse, and which I took to camp with me when relieved. I was sent with my prisoner to General Howes quarters, when the prisoner was sent to the Provost, the horse and appointments given to me, which I took back to the Regiment and which I was soon relieved of by Captain McKay taking to himself. This was an act of injustice which I did not much like but thought best to put up with it. There was little to notice after this until the action at Brandywine; The Queen's Rangers led the Division of General Kuephausen.
We came in sight of the enemy at sunrise. The first discharge of the enemy killed the horse of Major Grymes, who was leading the column, and wounded two men in the Division directly in my front, and in a few moments the Regiment became warmly engaged and several of our officers were badly wounded.[30a] None but the Rangers and Ferguson's Riflemen, were as yet engaged; the enemy retired, and there was a cessation for a short time, to reconnoiter the enemy, who had taken up their position in a wood which skirted the road that led down to the River. The Rangers were ordered to advance, and drive the enemy from that position. We marched from the right of Companys, by files, entered the wood, and drove the enemy from it, into an open field where there was a large body of the enemy formed. Major Wymes, who commanded the Rangers, ordered the Regiment to halt and cover themselves behind the trees, but the right of the Regiment was hotly engaged with the enemy, and Captain Dunlap[31a] came to Major Wymnes, and requested him to let the Regiment charge or the two Companies would be cut off. The Major then ordered the Adjutant (Ormand)[32a] who was very glad of the opportunity, to desire the troops in our rear to support him, ordered the Regiment to charge. At this instant, my pantaloons received a wound, and I don't hesitate to say that I should been very well pleased to have seen a little blood also. The enemy stood until we came near to bayonet points then gave us a volley and retired across the Brandywine. Captain Williams[32b] and Captain Murden[32c] were killed, and many of the officers were wounded in this conflict. The Brandywine on each side was skirted with wood, in which the Rangers took shelter, whilst our artillery were playing upon a half moon battery on the other side of the River which guarded the only fording place where our Army could cross. In this position we remained waiting for General Howe to commence his attack on the right flank of General Washington's main Army.
Whilst in this situation Captain Agnew was wounded, of which wound he was ever after a cripple. Several other men were also wounded by the riflemen from the other side. Captain Agnew (he was only Lieutenant at this time) had behaved very gallantly when we drove the enemy. I saw him plunge his bayonet into the fellow who had killed Captain Murden the minute before. General Howe commenced his attack late in the afternoon, and this was the signal for our Division to advance, The Fourth Regiment, led the Column, and the Queen's Rangers followed, the battery playing upon us with grape shot, which did much execution. The water took us up to our breasts, and was much stained with blood, before the battery was carried and the guns turned upon the enemy. Immediately after our Regiment had crossed, two Companies (the Grenadiers and Capt. McKay's) was ordered to move to the left and take possession of a hill which the enemy was retiring from, and wait there until further orders. From the eminence we had a most extensive view of the American Army, and we saw our brave comrades cutting them up in great style. The battle lasted until 450dark, when the enemy retreated and left us masters of the field. We were then ordered to leave our position and join our Regiment. We did so and took up our night's lodgings on the field of the battle, which was strewed with dead bodies of the enemy.
Fighting at Germantown under the Colors of the King
TOPIn this day's hard fought action, the Queen's Rangers' loss in killed and wounded were seventy-five out of two hundred fifty rank and file which composed our strength in the morning. Why the army did not the next day pursue the enemy, and bring them to action, I must leave to wiser heads than mine, to give a reason, but so it was. We remained encamped the whole of the next day, and gave the enemy an opportunity to rally his forces, get re-inforcements and take up a position to attack us, which they did, at Germantown, where our Army had encamped, sending our sick and wounded into Philadelphia. At this battle the enemy were again defeated, and left us in possession of the field. On the morning of this action, I was under a course of physic, and was ordered to remain in camp, and had not the honor of sharing in the victory of this day's battle; I was so reduced from fatigue that I was returned, unfit for duty, and was ordered to the Hospital, and the next day took my quarters at the Hospital in Philadelphia. I was not so ill but that I could walk about, and the Doctors allowed me to take a walk about the City every day. Whether they had any orders from my officers on that behalf I know not, but so it was when others had not the same indulgence. I remained in the Hospital until I thought I was able to undergo the fatigue of duty and join my Regiment.
A few days after joining the Regiment, made an excurtion into the Jerseys, as far as Hattenfield, but it was ordered that I should remain at the quarters of the Regiment, which was at Kingsonton. The next day Captain Dunlap returned to the quarters ordering every man that was able to march to join the Regiment, and myself among the rest. It was near dark when we got to the Regiment. I was most dreadfully fatigued, and lay down to rest. I had hardly time to take my refreshment before the Regiment was ordered under arms, where we remained for several hours in a storm of hail and snow, and at last ordered to retrace our steps towards Philadelphia. I had marched but a few miles before a pain attacked my limbs, to that degree, that I could with difficulty walk, and soon fell in the rear of the Regiment, expecting every minute to fall into the hands of the enemy. I had the good luck to get up with the Regiment, who had encamped at a plantation on the banks of the Delaware. More dead than alive, the ground covered with snow, I scrambled to the barn, got into a large mow of straw, covered myself up with straw, and fell asleep and did not wake until daylight in the morning. On awaking, I heard Major Simcoe[36a] (who had a short time before, and while I was in the Hospital) succeeded Major Wymes in the command of the Regiment, and some of the officers in another part of the barn, but hid from my sight. They soon left the barn, and left standing on a beam within my reach a bottle partly filled with good madeira. I soon demolished the contents and set the bottle up as before, left the barn also, and joined my Company. In the course of the day the Americans attacked us, and we had a smart brush with them, had a Sergeant (McPherson of the Grenadiers) and several men wounded. In the evening we crossed over to Kensington and took up our old quarters.[37a]
Intimate Insight Into Life In the British Army in America
TOPI had forgot to mention one circumstance, which happened at Brandywine,
451after the Regiment had crossed and was charging with enemy, Lieutenant Close found it more safe to take shelter under the walls of the battery, where he fell asleep until he was discovered by the Provost Marshal, and reported to the Regiment as killed. A party was sent out to bring him to camp, who awoke him from his slumbers. He came to the Regiment, but was obliged to leave it. He never did duty again in the Regiment. Captain McAlpine also left the Regiment for some cause, a change took place in the Companies, Captain McKay took command of the Highland Company, Captain Stephenson[37b] of the Light Infantry. After the death of Captain Williams, Lieutenant McGill[37c] was promoted to Captain (now at York, U. C.)[37d] and took command of McKay's Company. Lt. Shank[37e] Captain of Captain Murden's Company; Lt. Agnew[37f] to be Captain, but did no duty. The Regiment during the winter had severe duty once or twice every week to cover the market people coming to market, and often we had long marches and frequent skirmishes with the enemy, and took a good many prisoners during the winter. I found Captain McGill the same indulgent commanding officer as I found in Captain McKay, and I found my situation as pleasant as I could have expected, according to the discipline of the Army, and I looked forward for more favorable prospects in the future.[37g] It would be endless to enumerate the different actions which took place, but there were too many, in which the Regiment gained great applause at White Marsh, and afterwards at Parker's Bridge, at both of which places we took and killed a good many.
Accuses General Howe of Responsibility for England's Downfall
TOPIn short we were continually engaged with the enemy more or less, and had General Howe during the winter, instead of gambling with the officers every night, to the utter ruin of many of them, attacked General Washington at the Valley Forge, where he might have done, the event of the War would have been very different, but I am only relating of those actions in which I was personally concerned. During the winter Major Simcoe was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, and a Major Ross joined the Regiment. The news of General Burgoyne's capture gave great energy to the enemy. The French also forming an alliance with the Americans, and sending troops to America put a different face on things. General Howe, after making a great display in Philadelphia, resigned the command and went home and Sir Henry Clinton took the Command in Chief, and began to make preparations for evacuating Philadelphia and marching the Army through the Jerseys up to New York, and on 18th day of June 1778, the British Army crossed the Delaware and commenced their route, the Queen's Rangers always in the rear of the line of march. I have omitted to state that before we left Philadelphia a Troop of Horse was added to the Regiment. The officers were Captain Wickham, Lieut. McKab[45a] (late of York in Upper Canada)[37a] and a Cornet Spencer[45b] from the 17th Dragoons.[45c]
Nothing of moment took place on our route until we came to Monmouth, where on the morning of the 28th of June, the Queen's Rangers met at daylight the advance army of the Americans under the command of General Lee. We had a smart brush, and Col. Simcoe was wounded. We took some prisoners and returned and joined the Army at Monmouth Court House, Sir Henry Clinton, with five thousand of his Army attacked Lee and drove him the whole day took and killed a great many of his men until we fell in with General Washington's whole Army, when we retreated, leaving our wounded in the 452enemies' hands. On commencing our retreat we had to oppose a large body of the enemy, and one of our field pieces was abandoned, and the enemy gave a shout. Lieutenant Shaw with the Highland Company wheeled about, charged the enemy, and brought off the cannon, which was ever after attached to the Regiment.
Retreating with King George's Men and Dissension in the Ranks
TOPWe continued our retreat during the whole night and came up with the main Army at Middletown, where we halted to refresh ourselves for the first time in twenty-four hours. The day of the battle was one of the hottest days I ever felt, and we lost more men by drinking cold water than were killed by the enemy. I bore the fatigue of the day very well with only having again a shot through my pantaloons, leaving the mark of the ball on the skin, or rather the powder without drawing blood. The Army continued its march, the Rangers bringing up the rear. The Army crossed over on a pontoon bridge to the lighthouse island, the Queen's Rangers embarked in flatboats and rowed up to New York and landed at Bloomingdale[51a] above New York, where we remained for some time and then crossed over to Long Island and took up our quarters at Oyster Bay. Another change had taken place in the Regiment. Major Ross had left the Regiment. Captain Armstrong[52a] promoted to the Majority, Captain McGill went to the Grenadiers and Captain Agnew got his company soon after we came to Oyster Bay.
Two of the Sergeants of the Horse (Kelly and Johnson) were convicted of plundering some of the inhabitants, was took and flogged and I was transferred from the Infantry and to the Calvary. I had for my associates a Sergeant Prior and a Sergeant McLaughlin, from this moment I became a great favorite with Col. Simcoe, as well as all the other officers, except Captain Wickham who my professed enemy, and who to find me guilty of some neglect he might try me by a Court Martial, but I had now learned my duty, and I put him to defiance, and the only way he had to annoy me was to keep my pay back. However, always having a good supply of necessaries, I did not want much money. Our duty during the winter was not very severe, the harbor afforded plenty of oysters. I became a favorite with some of the principal inhabitants, and if I some times had scanty allowance at my barracks, I knew where to go to get the best the house afforded. Here a Mr. Moffet from the 15th Regiment joined as Quarter Master, a rough, boisterous Irishman, but I knew how to humor him and we agreed very well together, I spent the winter very pleasant. Our food was for some time rather coarse, our bread oatmeal biscuit full of magots. Early in the Spring of 1779 the Regiment left Oyster Bay and took up our encampment above Kingsbridge, where we remained the greater part of the summer, making several excursions up the North River, as also to the Eastward.
Under Fire with the Enemy within Ten Miles of His Own home
TOPAt one time the 17th Dragoons and the troop of Queen's Rangers went as far as Pound Ridge, within ten miles of my father's house to surprise a Regiment of Dragoons, which we effected and made great havoc amongst them, and took a great many prisoners. I was ordered to flank the party, and in doing so I had in one instance to divide my party. There was a lagoon surrounded with bushes. I took one rout and part of my men the other. When I came in sight of them I saw them cutting and slashing at a single man with a female standing by his side. I wrode up in time to save the man from much injury. I afterwards brought him and 453his wife, for the female appeared to be so, and as he had no arms about him, I did not think proper to detain him a prisoner. I ordered him to remain in his house and left him. (I shall have reason to speak of this man again.[54a])
We returned to our quarters again at Kingsbridge. A few days after this a young man by the name of Vincent gave information that a party of the enemy were at West Chester[54b], that he had narrowly escaped being taken prisoner. Col. Simcoe with the mounted Legion, and the Rangers passed, ordering the Infantry to follow. We came up with the enemy, we were ordered to form for the charge. In the meantime as the front Division were wheeling up I saw an American Dragoon discharge his pistol; my horses head at that moment covered my body the ball entered his nostril, and into his mouth. The blood spouted a stream, and my horse sank upon his haunches. Col. Simcoe ordered me to the rear, and gave the word to charge; the enemy had taken post behind a stone wall, I mean their Infantry, and when our Troops came abreast, gave us a very galling fire, and Captain Wickham wheeled his horse about and put the whole in disorder, the sequence of which was that the enemy got off safe and we suffered severely, both in killed and wounded. We pursued the enemy afterwards, as far as Byram River[54c], and here a curious circumstance happened there was a very deep hole in the river, near the fording place, and the trumpetor of the enemy had got into it and was hanging by his horse's mane. I plunged in after him when my horse and self were several feet under water, and when I made my appearance several shots were fired at me, without effect, and the Trumpetor escaped my grasp, as there was a large body on Infantry on the top of the hill, we found it necessary to retire.
Destroying American Property with the Queen's Rangers
TOPSoon after this a large body of the Army marched towards the White Plains[11a]. I was with a division of the Cavalry, leading the Column Lord Cornwallis and Col. Simcoe came up to the front, and I heard Col. Simcoe say to his Lordship, "There is a fine young lad who knows Danbury well." From this I took it for granted we were going there, We, however, soon took a turn to the Saw Pits in Horse Neck and back again to our old quarters without falling in with any of the enemy. Soon after Col. Simcoe took the route up the North River, where we fell in with a party at a place, I think called Kingsferry[55a] when we came nigh the place I received orders to charge and I followed the enemy for some distance, and altho I did not myself take any of the enemy, I cut off the retreat of a good many, which were made prisoners.
We returned to our camp in this manner. Much of our time was taken up during the summer, and in the Autumn we were moved to Staten Island[7a], and took up our winter quarters at Richmond[55b]. Soon after our arrival at this place a quarrel ensued between Mr. Moffet, now an Ensign in the Regiment, as well as Quarter Master of the Horse, with a Lieutenant (Mr. Lawrence died in Upper Canada) Lawrence. A duel ensued and Moffet was killed. Col. Simcoe was so enraged that he would not let him be buried with the honors of war. Lieutenant Lawrence was tried by a Court Martiall and Honorably Acquitted. Soon after our arrival at Staten Island an expedition was planned for destroying a number of boats that had been built for the express purpose of landing the French Army, which the Americans were expecting to arrive daily. It was composed of the Cavalry of the Queen's Rangers, the Bucks County Volunteers, and the Jersey Ds; the Buck's 454commanded by Captain Sanford[56a], the others by Captain Stewart, all under the command of Col. Simcoe. The Infantry of the Rangers were to march into the country to cover our retreat. We landed at Perth Amboy, and we were to return by South Amboy.
The Troops were to have been landed by ten o'clock at night, for which purpose we left Richmond for Billip's Point so as to reach that place soon after dark. From some cause or other it was near daylight before we landed at Amboy, and we had to perform the whole journey almost the whole way by daylight. In passing through a small village, as the sun was rising, a few men with knapsacks came out of a house and our men took them for soldiers and commenced an attack, and this gave the alarm; we however proceeded on our route. We had a Frenchman in our Troop, who from his broken English said that we were French Cavalry after the boats to land the French Army. By this means we procured guides who conveyed us to where the boats were, and we had collected a good number on our way, all of which we made prisoners as soon as we came to the boats and began to destroy them. There were twenty-five beautiful barges all fixed upon carriages ready to be conveyed to any place where they would be wanted.
Terrific Conflict in which Officers almost Lose their Reason
TOPIn a few minutes the boats were in flames, and the wheels of the carriages cut to pieces, to the great dismay of the guides who had conducted us to them. We then proceeded to a place called Millstone, where we burnt a large quantity of forage, parolled several American officers which fell into our hands; burnt the goal and relieved several of our prisoners who had been confined in goal, and then commenced our retreat, and a hazardous one it was, for by this time the whole country was alarmed, and from every house and corpse of wood we were fired upon, and at last we fell into an ambuscade, where we lost Col. Simcoe and several of our men.
I had, a few moments before, been sent to Captain Sanford who formed our rear guard, with orders, when I heard the firing commence, and on my return I had to charge through the enemy; few of their pieces had got reloaded and I escaped unhurt. I pursued as fast as my horse would carry me to the front to make my report, hut I could see nothing of Col. Simcoe. I rode back and forth enquiring for the Colonel. At last the Surgeon said, "He is dead." Dead said I, and are we going to leave him in the hands of the enemy, and I tried to get the men to turn about for the purpose of bringing him off, but I could not succeed. My gallant Captain Wickham was riding about like a mad man, had lost his helmet and seemed to have lost his reason altogether.
By this time Captain Sanford had assumed the command, and we had got into some degree of order we had by this time reached Brunswick Plains, and the enemy had nearly surrounded us was enclosing us fast Captain Stewart, our principal guide, had received a slight wound in the hand, had got confused; our men every moment falling, and as it was announced that the road to South Amboy was our route, no person could show us the way. I had already taken charge of Captain Wickham's Division. The Surgeon got frightened, leaped off his horse, put his white handkerchief on the point of his sword, and ran towards the enemy, and a Sergeant Carhart followed him. In a few minutes we saw him returning and calling to Captain Sanford. We ordered a halt. He came up and said to Captain Sanford, "Sir, the enemy will receive the flag, but insist that you go back to the
455ground from which I left you." Pray Sir, says Captain Sanford, who ordered you to go with a flag, go back Sir to the enemy, and make your own terms. I shall have nothing to do with you." By this time we had little space to act upon. I saw the situation in which we were placed, and I sent Sergeant McLaughlin to tell Captain Sanford that if he did not allow us to charge the enemy, we should all be prisoners in ten minutes.
Cutting through the American Ranks in Reckless Onslaught
TOPThe word was given and we cut our way thro the enemy and in doing so we fell upon the road we had been seeking for and we pushed forward. In pursuing our route we fell in with two men armed; one fired and killed a Corporal Maloy, of our Troop. The man was immediately killed the other taken prisoner and ordered to run alongside the horses. I was ordered to bring up the rear. One of Captain Stewart's Dragoons had his thigh broken by a shot, and it was difficult for him to keep up with the Troops, who were making the best of their way. He was fearful of falling into the hands of the enemy and begged me not to leave him. I then put the prisoner behind him on the horse, and remained with them until our Troops were long out of sight. I then told the wounded man that I would stay with him no longer. You have got your pistol and can defend yourself if the prisoner should make any attempt to resist you, and overtake us as fast as you can. I then left them, and before I had overtaken the Troops, they had come up with the Infantry and made a halt the wounded man also soon came up, but the prisoner had made his escape. It is impossible to describe the dismay of our Troops when they found we had returned without our Colonel.
Narrow Escape from Americans and Dreary Journey to Safety
TOPOn our arrival at the place for embarking we found the boats ready. I was ordered to see all the horses on board, and I did not attempt embarking my own horse until the last boat, when he refused to leap into the boat. I gave the bridle to a sailor and jumped into the water, to urge the horse in. At that moment order was given to push off and wait for no man. The sailor dropped the bridle, took up his oar the boat rowed away leaving myself and horse standing in the water the enemy marching down to the shore. I mounted my horse with the intent to swim him after the boat, but I saw one boat yet at the shore. I rode to it, threw my saddle and bridle into the boat, and had the mortification to see the enemy take possession of the animal that had so many times carried me through great dangers and difficulties. I was happy indeed to have escaped myself. We landed at Billip's Point, and we had a dreary and melancholy night's walk to Richmond and took up our old quarters. The day after we got to Richmond, a man came from the enemy and brought intelligence that Col. Simcoe was alive, his horse having fell on him and stunted him. This was joyful news to all the Regiment. His servant McGill (died in Upper Canada a Captain in the Army) went out and took care of him while a prisoner. They confined him in goal, where Col. Billip, a Loyalist was chained to the floor. Sir Henry Clinton with a part of the Army embarked for Charlestown, as it afterwards appeared, and the Infantry of the Rangers were also in orders, and the baggage was on board but they were ordered to be re-landed, and the fleet sailed without them, and the Regiment remained at Richmond all winter. Col. Simcoe was soon exchanged, and joined the Regiment.
The morning after his arrival he 456came down to where the Cavalry was quartered some of the officers with him he said to me, "Jarvis, come to my quarters at 12:00 o'clock." I accordingly was there at the time. He then walked out of the Fort into the open field, out of hearing of any person, and began questioning me as to all circumstances which took place after he fell. To all of his questions I gave as correct account as I possibly could, and quite to his satisfaction, and then he said, "Jarvis, how did the officers behave?" I answered, as officers ought to on such occasions. Well, but Jarvis, how did Captain Wickham behave?" Very well, said I. "Did he, Jarvis, did he?" Colonel, said I, do you think it possible that an officer of the Rangers can behave ill? He looked at me with his piercing eyes and said, "You Yankey dog, you Yankey dog." After a short pause he clapped his hand on my shoulder saying, "You are right, you are right, my good fellow. Take care of yourself, you are a brave fellow." He then dismissed me and I returned to my quarters.
Dragging Cannon Across New York Harbor on Ice In 1780
TOPAfter Mr. Moffet had obtained his Ensigney in the Regiment I was allowed to do the duty of Quarter Master, for which Mr. Moffet allowed me a shilling a day, besides my other pay, and I still continued to do that duty. My friend Wickham one day sent for me, and said, "Jarvis, if you will draw a petition to the Colonel for the appointment of QuarterMaster, I and Mr. McNab will recommend you for it." This was so extraordinary a circumstance that I hardly thought him sincere, yet I lost not a moment, and after he had done as he promised, I waited on the Colonel and presented it. He read it with great attention, for in my petition I had stated the circumstance of my joining the British Army, the loyalty of my family, and the promise and expectation made me when I first joined. After some little hesitating he said, "Jarvis, I have long had it in contemplation of giving you promotion, and I am sorry that I cannot do so now, but I have promised it to McGill[59a]. His late conduct towards me when in goal, and his long services with me, has induced me to do so, but you may rest assured that I will take the first opportunity in providing for you." This was rather a disappointment that I did not look for, but I bore it with fortitude.
Ever after this Captain Wickham appeared to be a very sincere friend, made me a companion more than any thing else, ever after so long as I remained in the Regiment. The winter of 1780 was a most severe one; the harbor of New York was even so frozen that cannon were brought from New York to Staten Island[7a] upon the ice, and during the winter a body of the enemy crossed from the Jerseys to Staten Island and invested our post. At the Narrows the cold was intense, and after remaining two nights and losing about forty men frozen to death, they returned to the Jerseys. Our Regiment from Richmond[55b] pursued them and took some prisoners. Whilst the enemy remained on the Island we were entirely cut off from any assistance from the rest of our forces, and were obliged to make such arrangements best calculated for our defence.
The enemy thought best however not to approach us. Soon after this, a plan was formed to take General Washington, who lay some distance from New York, and rather attacked from his Army so as to make the attempt practicable. The 17th Light Horse and the Cavalry of the Queen's Rangers were designed for this service, and we marched from Staten Island to New York upon the ice, and took up our quarters at the Bull's Head, which at that time was quite out of the City. The time arrived and we crossed over to Elizabethtown Point, and after marching some distance 457in the country, returned back without making any attempt, and thus the affair ended, much to my disappointment, for I had set my heart on this expedition, as I was to have taken charge of the General after he had fallen into our hands. We remained at the Bull's head for several weeks, until the harbor opened so as to return to Staten Island by water, during which time our Dragoons did much injury to the inhabitants, but I generally found out the perpetrators, and had them punished. One robbery they committed is of so singular a nature that I cannot avoid mentioning it.
With British Cavalry in the Surrender of Charlestown
TOPThey went one Sunday to some Dutch parson's house, and finding nothing that suited them, they stole a stove and carried it off, for which the Commander-in-chief made Mr. McNab, the Commanding Officer (for my friend Wickham was not with us) pay for the stove, which he did before we were allowed to join the Regiment, which we did some time in the latter month of March. Soon after our joining, I was sent for to the Colonel's quarters, when I was informed that the Regiment were going to embark; the Cavalry were to remain behind. He then asked me, "if I had any inclination to go with the Regiment." I expressed a desire to go. He said, "Well, my boy, you shall go, and you shall have a command. You shall have fourteen men; those you shall chose out of the whole Troop, and I will place Sergeant McPherson (this was the Brother of the one that was killed before we left Philadelphia) with fourteen rifle men to act in conjunction with you," and he ordered me at the same time to make out a list of the men I chose to take with me. I did so and gave it to him. He examined it and said, "You have made a very good choice; you have left out Maloy, I thought he would have been your first choice." So he would, Sir, if we should be fighting the whole time, but he will always be getting into some scrape and disgrace me and my party. How ever I found it was the wish of the Colonel and I at last consented.
We soon embarked, me with my men, saddles and appointments, and after a passage of fourteen or fifteen days, we arrived at Charlestown. We landed on James Island, crossed over above the City, and took up our quarters at the Quarter House six miles from Charlestown. I lost no time in procuring such horses as fell in my way, and had my men mounted and our business was to make patrols into the country, but we never came in contact with any of the enemy during the siege, which continued until the 12th of May. After the town surrendered, the Rangers marched into the country as far as Four Hole, when the Infantry halted and Captain Saunders, with my Cavalry, pushed considerable farther and passed for Americans, being dressed in green. At one Plantation we took a number of horses, and among the rest a very fine stud horse, which I mounted and rode for a few miles, when he at once halted and I could hardly get him along. He had not been rode for many years, and I foundered him, and was obliged to take to my former horse. There was little to excite the attention of the reader during our stay.
We took up our quarters at Dorchester for some time. The people from the back country coming in daily and taking the Oath of Allegiance, and before we left Charlestown it was again to appearance a British Colony. We soon left Charlestown and sailed for New York. During the passage I discovered there was a negro man and woman on board, and when we came to Staten Island I landed with my men and horses whilst the Regiment proceeded on and joined Colonel Kuephausen, who was 458in the Jerseys, and during the absence of the Regiment, two men, who it appeared had a claim on them for their support at least, came to me and said there was a man who wished to purchase the negroes. My answer was not to do anything without the approbation of Mr. McGill, who was the only officer then in the Garrison. They obtained his approbation, and they sold them, and the only hand I had in the matter was to divide the money between them, and I thought nothing more of the matter for some time.
British Soldiers Search for Hidden Money on American Estates
TOPDuring the forepart of the season we were incamped at Kingsbridge, at a place called Odle's Hill,[65a] where one day some of the soldiers in finding a mouse under a stone they were induced to search for more. At last they undertook to turn over a large one, and at last succeeded, when there was the greatest shout and scrabbling imaginable. There was a deposit of money to the amount of many hundreds of dollars, which was soon distributed among the soldiers according to their good fortune in collecting what came within his grasp. The money was claimed by Mr. Odle, the proprietor of the farm, but he got no satisfaction. Col. Simcoe however told him if he had any more money out of doors to bring it into the house and it should be safe. He went and pulled down a place in the stone fence, and took out a jar full of gold. the consequence of which was that he had hardly a rod of stone wall about his farm that was not examined before daylight the next morning.[65b]
We remained in this situation until the fate of Major Andre[65c] , where we were waiting until his return to take possession of the Fort at West Point, when we were removed on to Long Island, which we traversed from New York until we arrived at East Hampton. Here we remained until our Army evacuated Rhode Island, after the French Fleet had returned from that place, when the Queen's Rangers retired as far as Oyster Bay; the Cavalry remained at Satauket, under the commanding of the Commanding Officer of the 17th Dragoons. Here again I met with the most discouraging circumstances, and it was a wonder how I escaped. I had been taking orders, and, as is the custom, was proceeding to my officer's quarters to show him the orders, when, after going some distance on my way, I heard some person calling after me. I turned around and saw an officer and two men following me, and as they came up to me the Officer said, "Is this the man?" They replied "Yes," and without giving me time to reply.
Jealous English Officers Cause Court Martial of American Recruit
TOPI was ordered to the Guard House, where I remained all night. However, I was released the next morning thro the interference of my Officer. Some person had killed a hog belonging to a Colonel Floid, and these two men declared that I was the person. I applied for a Court Martial to prove my innocence, but this I did not obtain. Soon after we were ordered to join the Regiment, and as we came near the town of Oyster Bay, I was sent forward to announce their approach. As I entered the town, I was congratulated by all the Officers on my promotion. "I was not in orders," they said, "but no doubt I should be the next day, as they had seen the orders from Headquarters."
I therefore proceeded to Colonel's quarters with a delightful sensation, expecting the same congratulation from him, but alas it was quite a different reception that I met with, for after I had delivered my message, he with a stern countenance said to me, "Young man, what is this you have been doing? I understand you have been selling negroes." Indeed, Sir, I have not, I replied. Some of the men 459have, not me, I assure you Sir. His only reply was, "Go to your Troop, Sir." I obeyed. The Cavalry was camped at a village about two miles from Oyster Bay. Imagine what my feelings must have been at this moment, but I had yet a much greater mortification still. The next day there was a Court of Enquiry, a Captain and two Subalterns. I was examined; I told my story, as it happened, except how far Mr. McGill was concerned, but one of the men flatly told the Court that McGill had given them leave to sell the negroes.
I was then called again and examined as to that fact. To this I refused to answer. Whatever I have done I must be the sufferer, for I would say nothing that would in the least injure Mr. McGill. "Captain Shank, who was President of the Court, urged me to say how far the story given by the men was correct, for it might do away with the charge against myself, otherwise he feared it would be the means of my losing my promotion." I replied that I had already said what I should say, let the consequence be what it would. On this the Court broke up, and what report they made I never knew, but I rather suspect that McGill must have been examined and denied giving any such leave from what took place afterwards. The next morning after the men were assembled for the morning parade, Colonel Simcoe called me to him, and laying his head down on the neck of his horse gave me one of the most serious reprimands I believe man ever received, and told me decidely "that I had lost my promotion and his countenance forever. Go Sir and join your Troop." I returned to my duty more dead than alive. One of the Officers, I think it was Mr. McNab, was going to New York the next day, and I took the opportunity of writing my relation, a Mr. Jarvis who was in the Commissarist, and my letter gave him a true statement of the facts, enjoining him to secrecy; that he was not to divulge it until after my death for I determined the first action that gave me opportunity, either to scrifice my life or retrieve my character at all events I do not think I should long have survived. I lost my appetite, and my sleep went from me; my frame decayed, and in a few days I was a complete skeleton.
One evening after parade was dismissed, both Mr. McGill and myself were desired to attend the Colonel, and after all the officers had retired, he then taxed McGill of giving the men liberty to sell sell the negroes, which he denied. The Colonel then turned to me and said, "Jarvis, did he not give them leave?" I replied, No Sir. He gave me one of those stern looks, which spoke volumes, taking a letter from his pocket handed it to me saying, "Is not that your handwriting?" I was thunderstruck, and it was some time before I could answer. "Speak Sir, speak, is that your letter?" and "Is what you have stated true?" I then answered, Sir it is my letter, and since I must answer, the contents are true, but Sir you must give me leave to say that if I could have imagined that my friend would betrayed me the confidence that I had placed in him I would have suffered death before I wrote that letter now in my hands. "Go to your Troop," was his reply. What he said to Mr. McGill I forbear mentioning.
Defeat of Conspiracy and Promotion of American Soldier
TOPNot long after this I was one evening ruminating over my misfortunes, in a retired part of our quarters, seated upon a stone in the dusk of the evening, when I was accosted by a voice familiar to me, and embracing me round the neck at the same time, saying, "Dear Jarvis, all is well again, I am sent as a messenger of peace to you, but you must keep it secret that I give you the information. Captain McKay has sent me to say to you that your promotion will take place". I 460was so much overcome that it was some time before I could speak, and when I did, I said to McPherson, "don't sport with my wounded feelings, I have already received my sentence, and I shall not long survive it." "I tell you Jarvis I have said nothing but the truth." "Mind what I have said, don't let it be known that I gave you the good news." He then left me and returned to his Company. In a few days the Regiment again marched and crossed over to Staten Island, and took up our old quarters at Richmond[55b]. The next morning I saw my name in the orderly book as Quartermaster in Captain Saunders' Troops, with orders for embarkation.
An expedition was formed under General Leslie, of Virginia, and amongst the Troops that composed the Army was one Troop of the 17th Light Dragoons, Captain Saunders, Lieutenant Wellson, Cornet Merritt, Quartermaster Jarvis and a few men of the old Troop of the Queen's Rangers. Captain Saunders was formerly from Virginia and he went to that place for the purpose of recruiting; clothing, saddles and appointment were placed under my care for the completion of a full Troop of fifty strong. We soon sailed and Captain Saunders with the other Officers and men landed at Norfolk, and marched to that part of the country where he had formerly resided. I was ordered to remain with the baggage until further orders. Captain Saunders, after traversing the country, and procuring a number of very fine horses, took up his quarters at Kemp's Landing, to which place I was ordered with the baggage and stores. I had hardly got into good quarters before we were again ordered to march and we supposed for, a short expedition only and a Company took possession of my quarters in my absence. but was to surrender them on my return, which however never took place. We embarked for Charlestown, myself, men, stores and horses in one vessel and the Officers in another. On our leaving Norfolk Captain Saunders had plundered more horses than he was allowed to put on board. He, therefore, distributed them to his Officers and among the rest, gave me a very fine horse.
At sea we had very boisterous weather, our vessel sprang a leak never so crazy a vessel went to sea. To save our lives, I threw thirty fine horses overboard, but saved every Officer a horse. With great difficulty we got safe into port; every person was down working at the pumps, and had it not been for a fortunate circumstance of having several green ox hides on board, which we cut up in strips, and the Captain lashing himself over-board and nailing the strips over the seams of the vessel, by which means with great exertion we could keep the water under, we would have been lost. We arrived safe at Charlestown, when Captain Saunders with what men he had was ordered to Georgetown. I was ordered to remain with the Stores, set the sailors at work making new clothing for recruits and also to recruit, but left no money with me to recruit with. The consequence was, I never recruited a man for him whilst I remained in the Troop. He also took the horse from me, with a promise to give me another when I joined him again, but as that was not the case I lost my horse. About the time that Captain Saunders went to Georgetown, a party of Americans dashed into the town, and made Colonel Campbell of the King's American Regiment, who quartered outside the Garrison, a prisoner, and paroled him, and retired without any other person falling into their hands. There was at the time a Captain Campbell who was recruiting a Troop of Dragoons at Georgetown, and who brought the news of Colonel Campbell's capture to Charlestown. He wished to remain at Charlestown in some business.
461He procured an order for me to proceed to Georgetown, with the orders vesting Captain Saunders with the Command of the Garrison, and giving Major Grant[71a] of the King's Americans leave of absence. Captain Campbell kept one horse, and sent his servant with one as a guide. I proceeded on and met an escort at the Santee, who conducted me to Georgetown, where I delivered my dispatches to Captain Saunders, and the next morning returned in company with Colonel Campbell and Major Grant under an escort as far as the Santee on our return. After our arrival at Charlestown, Major Grant made me a present of a little horse, of little value, which I afterwards exchanged with a Hessian Officer for a very smart white pony. This enabled me to ride about the country and amuse myself, overseeing my squad of Tailors at work, and at the same time instructing them in the carbine exercise.
Experiences In Charge of Uniforms of King's Fighters
TOPSoon after this Captain Campbell made another visit to Charlestown, and was to take back with him several suits of clothing, saddles and appointments for some recruit Captain Saunders had obtained. They were to go part of the way by water, and I had them put on board for that purpose, and called on Captain Campbell to sign a voucher for them. He flew in a violent passion, swore bitterly that he would do no such thing. You won't Sir was my only reply, I shall order them on shore again, and left him for that purpose, but when the men came on shore, and before the things were landed, Captain Campbell came down to the shore in company with some of the Officers of the 71st Regiment. and I heard Captain Campbell say to them that there was the most obstinate fellow (meaning me) he ever saw in his life, and mentioned the circumstance. One of the gentlemen replied in these words, "I'll tell you what Campbell, the young gentleman knows his duty. Suppose on the way, those appointments, etc. should fall into the hands of the enemy, and he should be called upon for a statement of the stores in his charge, and he could procure no vouchers, the consequence would be that he would be broke and dismissed the service."
After some explanation and a promise to indemnify me in case they should be lost and to get Captain Saunders' certificate and send me, I ordered them on board the vessel again, and I soon received Captain Saunders' certificate of his receiving them, and all was well. A short time after this I was one day taking my usual ride, I fell in with a Major Fraser (he had formerly belonged to the Rangers) who after the usual salutations said, "Jarvis, I am glad to fall in with you. I have been wishing to see you for some days." I wish I had known it Major, I hope it was nothing disagreeable, for of late I have only got out on one difficulty to fall into another." "No, I assure you," he said. "It was on a subject I hope much to your advantage." I am happy to hear it I replied, as I have been a useless animal for this some time past, and I should like for some employment for the good of the service than I am now engaged in. He then said, "Captain Campbell has been speaking with me, and requested me to solicit you to accept a Lieutenancy in his Troop."
Commanding Cavalry and procuring Sheep for British Soldiers
TOPThis was a matter so unexpected that I could hardly think him in earnest, and then mentioned the circumstance which happened at our last interview. "Perhaps that is the very cause why he is so desirous for you to join him." After some enquiry on what establishment his Troop was raised, and his advice how he thought I should act on a matter 462of such consequence, he "advised me to write to my Commanding Officer, who no doubt would give me such advice as would be acceptable to me, and if he gives you leave, I advise you by all means to accept of Captain Campbell's offer. I wrote to Captain Saunders, received a favorable answer, called on Captain Campbell, who went with me to the Inspector General's office, had my warrant made out and put in General orders until the Commander-in-Chief should signify his pleasure, to whom a recommendation was sent, and which was by him confirmed. Captain Campbell furnished me with plenty of money, and I earnestly set about recruiting, and in a short time we mustered twenty-six Dragoons with which number we were ordered to take the field, after procuring horses and appointments. This was at the time that Lord Rawden fought the Americans and defeated them at Camden[74a], and the first service I performed was to escort Colonel Balfour[74b] to the Santee where we met Lord Rawden.
After having an interview with his and after having an interview with his Lordship, we returned to Charlestown and his Lordship, after disposing of his sick and wounded, proceeded with the Army to relieve our post at Ninety-Six which was closely beseiged by the Americans. In the meantime, a re-inforcement of three Regiments arrived from England, the 3rd, 19th and 30th Regiments. The 19th Regiment, Captain Saunders' Troop, which had been removed from Georgetown, and Captain Campbell's Troop were ordered to Monks' Corner to relieve the Garrison there, who went on to join Lord Rawden. At this point the Commissary, who wished to join his Lordship, invested me as Commissary, and gave me possession of the Stores, and for some time I was both Commissary and Commanding Officer of the Cavalry, and during that period I marched into the country and procured a large drove of beefs and sheep for the Army, which so pleased General Coats who commanded, that he urged me strongly to take a commission in his Regiment, but for sundry motives, not worth mentioning here, I declined. I continued for some weeks to perform this double duty, but found too fatiguing to discharge both. I wrote to the Commissary General to send a person to relieve me. At this time we were re-inforced with the South Carolina Regiment, who for their gallant conduct at Camden, were made Cavalry. This re-inforcement made the Cavalry of great consequence at this post, and we had soon an opportunity to try our mettle.
Scouting with Redcoat Dragoons on Trail of Americans
TOPGeneral Coats had received intelligence that the enemy intended an attack upon our position at two places at the same time, and in a very short period. I was sent for by the General, who directed me to take four Dragoons and a few Militia and proceed on the road that lead to Charlestown, and go until I should fall in with the enemy, if they were between Monks' Corner and Goose Creek. I set off a little before sunset in a heavy shower of rain, and before I had proceeded far found that my Militia men had left me, and I was reduced to my four Dragoons, but as my object was intelligence more than fighting I proceeded on. I soon discovered six or eight men advancing towards me, and when they came to a certain distance, challenged me. I said a friend. "What friend?" To the King. At this declaration one of them dismounted and placed his rifle across his horse. I charged. his rifle missed fire. He mounted and with his comrades clashed into the woods. I soon came up with him, and by a well directed stroke laid him in the dust. I ordered my man to secure him, and push forward after the rest. I had nearly overtaken another, when my 463horse, unfortunately, got entangled in a grape vine, and the man escaped; as the day was so far spent, I could not see to pursue the enemy any further.
I set to camp with my prisoner, and gave him up to the General. He confirmed the information before received. It was my turn for duty that night, and my orders were to patrol on the road leading to the Santee, and I did so, but discovered none of the enemy during the night, but in the morning about sunrise I discovered that a large body of men had approached near the Garrison, and had taken off the road to gain our right flank. I galloped back as fast as I could but before I reached the Camp the enemy had drove in our Sentinels, and were destroying the bridge to prevent our retreat on that route, and then they retraced their steps and took up their position on the road that lead to the Santee. We remained idle during the fore part of the day, but hearing that the American Horse were at a plantation, and their horses were running loose about the field, Major Fraser, of the South Carolina Dragoons, was ordered with the whole Cavalry to proceed and reconnoiter the Troop. I commanded (for Captain Campbell was absent) led, except the advance guard commanded by an Officer. We soon came in sight of the enemy and charged. The Officer with the advance his horse fell and threw his rider I said to Major Fraser, I'll take charge of the advance, did not wait to hear any reply, but set off. I rode a very fleet horse and soon gained the advance, and pressed hard on the enemy, who left the road and took the woods. I soon came up with one, and my Corporal on the other side, and we both made a blow at the same time and gave the fellow his quarters. I heard a shout in my rear, looked round, and found myself in the rear of a large body of the enemy. In wheeling my horse round I broke my stirrup leather and came to the ground.
Encounter with Revolutionists and a Flag of Truce
TOPHowever I recovered my seat and then pressed to regain the front of the enemy, or I must be taken prisoner, and I was indebted to the fleetness of my horse for my escape. I had nearly gained the front of the enemy before they discovered me, and they called me to surrender; not yet, thinks I, a little more running first. I found I gained fast upon our Troops, who were retreating in good order. I recovered the roads a few rods in front of the enemy. They fired several shots after me without injury. We met our Infantry with a piece of ordnance. We wheeled about and checked the enemy, and then retired to Camp. By this time our piquet at the bridge leading to Charlestown were attacked, and I was ordered to direct Captain Bell, who commanded, to retire, which he did with no other loss than one of his Officers slightly wounded in the arm, which he was very fond of carrying in a sling for a long time after. We remained until night, when we burned our stores, and commenced our retreat through a bye road that the enemy had no knowledge of. During the night the Troops got separated, and the waggons which were heavily loaded broke down one after the other. Captain Campbell, Paymaster of the 19th Regiment, with the Military chest fell into the enemys hands, with all the heavy baggage of the Regiment. We proceeded on until daylight, when we took up a position at a plantation flanked by a navigable stream, over which there was a bridge which we passed, and placed a piece of cannon to guard the bridge. The Cavalry had unbridled their horses at the plantation, and the Infantry began to cook their breakfast. The enemy charged over the bridge and cut the sentry at the cannon down, and then dashed into the wood. The 19th fell in, some without their coats; great confusion ensued, and they began to 464give ground. The Cavalry mounted and really forced them to face the enemy. Major Fraser then had some consultation with General Coats, took advantage of a high field of corn, and set off and left the 19th to their fate, and pushed for Charlestown, got a re-inforcement and returned to look after the 19th Regiment, who after we left them General Coats drew up his men in the open field, and waited for the enemy, who came on and were repulsed several times, and at last retreated over the bridge, and sent a flag of truce for leave to bury their dead. Had the Cavalry been with the General, on the retreat of the enemy, we might no doubt have made a glorious day of it, but so it was they lost all their baggage, but had gained their credit, which in some measure they had tarnished in the morning. I had made up my mind that they would all have been taken prisoners.
A Loyalist and a Patriot in Death Duel on Battlefield
TOPWe all marched to Charlestown and in a few days Captain Campbell's Troop were drafted into the South Carolina Regiment, but before this took place, the Regiment had taken a Colonel Haines who was executed as a traitor. Captain Saunders also with his and Captain Campbell's Troop made an excursion into the country and attacked a body of the enemy at Snipe's Plantation we approached the place at sunrise in the morning, found the gate leading to the house secured with a large ox chain, and the fences each side made very strong, which it took some time to demolish under a heavy fire from the enemy. We at last succeeded, and the enemy retreated back into a large rice field, where they were over taken and very few of them escaped with their lives, and only one man taken prisoner, who was so shamefully mangled that we could not bring him away one of the enemy, who had nearly gained a wood, discovered that no person was following him but myself, waited for me, and when I had got at a certain distance, levelled his rifle. I expected at least he would have killed my horse. To turn from him was to me certain death. I therefore dashed towards him. He fired and missed me and my horse and before he could raise his rifle he was a dead man. We returned to our quarters with a few horses which we had taken. We were now stationed at Dorchester, twenty miles. from Charlestown, with some Troops of Infantry. Captain Campbell's Troop now became a part of the South Carolina Regiment and we with some Hessian Troops and the 30th Regiment formed a body of Troops for an expedition towards Georgia.
|The remaining pages of this remarkable manuscript reveal an astonishing story of conditions in the British Army, and relate many incidents hitherto unknown to American history. The experiences of Colonel Jarvis of Connecticut as a fighter in the King's ranks against his own countrymen, for the sake of his father's principles and his own, is one of the most important documents of the period. Its closing pages will be recorded in another chapter. |
[From The Journal of American History, Vol.1, No.4, 1907] [80a]
|There are many interesting anecdotes told of the Americans who, while devoted to their country, were opposed to the Declaration of Independence, and believed that this country could not exist without the protection of the British Crown. It was the first great political problem in America, and divided many families. The Jarvis family in New England differed in their opinions but their sense of justice and loyalty to kin as well as country was such that they did not allow it to disrupt their domestic harmony. |
Colonel Stephen Jarvis, whose remarkable life story has recently been discovered in manuscript, and is being presented in these pages, disagreed with some of his relatives as to the holiness of the American Revolution. After seven years' service in the King's army, he preferred not to remain in the new Republic, and removed to Canada. The colonel frequently visited his relatives in the United States and good-naturedly taunted them on being "rebels." While the guest of his cousin, Noah Jarvis, he arose early one morning and began his good-natured banter.
"Colonel," interrupted Noah, who was almost an idolater of Washington, "do you ever take a morning 'bitter'?"
"No," replied the colonel, "not as a regular thing, but on this particular occasion I shall be gratified to join my esteemed cousin in a friendly libation."
Noah led him into the parlor. Hanging between the windows, in the place of honor on the wall, elegantly framed and in large, bold letters, was the Declaration of Independence. Pointing his finger at it he chuckled: "There, my royal cousin, I think is a dram bitter enough for you!"
The colonel looked at it and then retorted: "You rebel!"
Colonel Jarvis' manuscript, as stated in the introductory to the first installment, is the remarkable story of an American in the British ranks during the American Revolution and is probably the most important documentary evidence of its kind in existence. The first part was presented in the preceding issue of this journal and covered the first years of the Revolution, leaving Jarvis near Charleston (which he frequently writes Charlestown), South Carolina. The great story is concluded in these pages, just as he told it, preserving his quaint orthography.
728We proceeded as far as the Combahee (South Carolina) River. This was a foraging party to procure rice, etc., for the hospitals, and after completing the object intended we commenced our march back and we halted at Colonel Haines' Plantation the night after he was brought home and buried in his garden. I saw his grave. In the afternoon of the next day we left his plantation, and as we had got intelligence that General Marion was collecting a body of Troops to give us annoyance on our route, the order of march was changed, the Infantry and Artillery in front, and the Cavalry in the rear. We marched in this order until we came to a long swamp, a mile or so from Parker's Ferry, when we heard some few shots in front, and Major Fraser ordered the Cavalry to advance, and seeing some Troops at a long distance off, and supposing them to be the enemy, charged over this long causeway and fell into an ambuscade, laid by the enemy, and we received the most galling fire ever Troops experienced.
An American Fighting His Brothers for Conscience' Sake
TOPWe only saw the flash of the pieces the enemy was so complete hid from our view, and we had only to push forward men and horses falling before and behind. We lost one hundred twenty-five killed and a great many wounded, and the enemy retired without the loss of a man. All our Artillery were killed or wounded before they could bring their guns to bear upon the enemy we halted at Parker's Ferry that night, dropped our wounded, and the next morning collected our dead and buried them, and then proceeded on our route until we reached Dorchester without any molestation from the enemy.
The day after our arrival at Dorchester, Major Fraser went to Charleston, South Carolina, to make a report of our sad disaster, and he returned at midnight with the news of the battle at the Eretan Springs, and we were ordered immediately to mount and march. We passed Monks' Corner during the day, and after marching all night came up with the Army, where they had made a halt after burrying their dead at the Eretans. The Army retired as far as Monks' corner for some time sending out patrols far beyond the Eretans. The Americans, after the British retired from the field of battle, came and buried their dead and then retired to invest one other outpost, but our people had abandoned it, and joined the Army, which became so reduced that we were obliged to retreat, and in moving from Monks' Corner and crossing Goose Creek we took the route to Dorchester, and encamped at Sir James Wright's Plantation, a few miles this side of Dorchester. We had a few Militia quartered in Dorcester. We had hardy taken up our ground before some of our Militia from Dorchester came running into Camp, some of them much wounded. A large body of the enemy had charged into Dorchester and surprised the Militia and retired again some miles from Dorchester.
Waging the Revolution in the States of the South
TOPThe Cavalry was ordered to march, and we proceeded to Dorchester. I was ordered with two Dragoons and a few Militia forward in order to decoy the enemy, and bring them on, whilst Major Fraser, with the Cavalry well disposed for an attack, kept some distance in my rear. The Americans, 729who were ignorant of our Army being in that neighborhood, had the same design with myself, and made several feint charges, and then retired until they had drawn me a sufficient distance to make a successful charge. They had a body of Infantry in their rear. They at last charged me in earnest. I retreated and made the signal to Major Fraser. He advanced and met the enemy, who pulled up their horses within a very short distance, when Major Fraser gave the word and we dashed in among them, and slashing work we made great havoc amongst them, cutting them down and taking many prisoners an Officer in his retreat took a foot-path that foot-passengers use in that hot country, and there is a row of trees between that and the main road. I pursued this Officer and had got so near as to touch his horse with the point of my sword. I saw their Infantry with trailed arms endeavoring to flank us. I wheeled about and called to Major Fraser, giving him this information, who ordered the Troops to retire, which we did with the loss of only one man, he, poor fellow, was hung the next morning as a deserter from their Army. As we had no Infantry to support us, we were obliged to retire, which we did with a good many prisoners how many we killed is uncertain certainly several.
Cavalry Charge against Fellow Countrymen as "Enemies"
TOPThe next day the Army retired below the Quarter House, and this was our outpost. In a short time after this a Captain Armstrong of the American Army, took a Captain Keen of ours with his whole Patrol. This gave him a degree of temerity, and caused him to fall into our hands. He one day drove in our Sentinels at our out piquet. Major Coffin, who had been attached to our Regiment, with his mounted Infantry of the York Volunteers, was on this day our Commanding Officer we pursued the enemy for some time on the Dorchester road, but not falling in with them, we crossed the country over the road leading to Goose Creek. The Troops commanded by Captain Campbell was in the rear, and observing some Troops following our track, and dressed in dark jackets, like those of the York Volunteers, I rode forward and asked Major Coffin if he had detached any of his Troops from the squadron. He replied, "No." Then Sir it is the enemy, and they are close by in our rear. We wheeled about and this brought Captain Campbell's Troop in front of the squadron. The enemy formed and for a few seconds seemed disposed to give battle, but soon wheeled and fled. We pursued them in full charge; we had them between us and Charleston, on a fine level road that would admit of about eight horses abreast. We charged the best horse foremost, and I soon led the charge, no horse could run with mine.
"If You Touch this Prisoner I'll Blow Your Brains Out!"
TOPIn the distance of about a mile the Commanding Officer of the enemy's (Armstrong) horse plunging into a stone in the middle of the road fell and threw his rider over his head. I had hold of him in an instant, he asked quarters; I gave it him, and asked his name. He said, "Armstrong." Give me your hand Captain Armstrong, I'll protect you, and took him back to the rear. Some of our men made a blow at him, and one came near taking off his scalp. I drew my pistol and said, "If you touch the prisoner I'll blow your brains out." I took him and delivered him to the Officer of the rear guard, and reported him to Major Coffin, and then again pursued the enemy, and soon gained the head of our Troops. By this time the enemy had taken the woods and endeavored 730to gain the road to Dorchester, separating themselves as much as possible from each other. I saw two Dragoons at some distance in front, and I said to Captain Campbell, "Now, Sir, if your horse can run with mine, and he holds his speed, we will take those two fellows," and we set off in full speed, and I soon left him in the rear, and did not halt until I had taken one of the two. The others made their escape, and here we gave up the chase, and returned to Camp with our prisoners. I think altogether eight, and one was killed by an Officer, whose name was Walker of the New York Volunteers, after he had been make prisoner by one of our Regiment, and gave in charge to his servant. We proceeded to our station and took Captain Armstrong to our mess for refreshment by the time we had arrived at our quarters, the enemy had escaped had reached their encampment, for at this time the Armies were not a great distance apart, and the American Officers in making their report to their Commanding Officer, represented that Captain Armstrong, when he fell into our hands was treated in the most cruel manner, and described the Officer so very distinctly that Captain Keen of ours, then a prisoner and dining at the table, knew it was me who they had described and who said, "he was sure there must be some mistake as he knew the Officer they had described was too much of a soldier and a man of honor to be guilty of so base a transaction." They still persisted that they saw it, and vouched for the truth of their assertion. The result was that a flag of truce was dispatched immediately to enquire of Captain Armstrong himself the truth of their assertion, and this flag and a letter to Captain Armstrong was handed to him before we had dined, and as he read the contents smiled, which induced us, or some of us to ask if he was so soon to be exchanged. "Not such good luck, but as it is in some measure concerning the officer who took me prisoner, I will read the communication," which was similar as above stated, and to which he sent the following answer, which he read before he closed his letter. "Sir, it has become my misfortune this day to become a prisoner to the British arms, and I am indebted to the Officer who made me prisoner for my life, and I am not a little astonished that those gentlemen should have presumed to have given you any correct information, as they were so far out of the line of their duty as to know anything of the circumstance."
Exchanging Captured Officers under a Flag of Truce
TOPIn a short time there was an exchange between Captain Keen and Captain Armstrong and they returned each to their respective Armies. Captain Keen's account of the matter after Captain Armstrong's letter was read in the American Camp, I shall forbear to mention, and I regret being obliged to say so much of myself in relating this transaction. The next time our Regiment was engaged, Captain Campbell was killed, and it was said purposely threw away his life in this action. I was not with the Regiment. I was detached on James Island with a Troop of Dragoons, under the command of Major Craig. (Afterwards Sir James Craig.)
After I again joined the Regiment, we had another brush with the Americans at Monks' Corner, where we got completely defeated . It was an attempt to surprise a party at this post, but they got intelligence of our approach, and gave us a complete drubbing. We lost one Captain killed, one Captain, two Subalterns and several men wounded, without injuring a single man of the enemy. They had so completely fortified themselves that having no Infantry with us we could not approach them and had to receive their fire without being able to return it, and we returned to our encampment not 731very well satisfied with our defeat, altho no disgrace to either Officer or soldier.
Plundering Rich Plantations in the Southern States
TOPAbout this time a Colonel Thompson (afterwards Count Rumford) arrived from England on his way to join his Regiment at New York. He was ordered to take command of the whole Cavalry, and we had one severe brush with the enemy under his command. We surprised a party in the evening, killed and took a good many prisoners, and the next morning fell in with another large body of the enemy, which we defeated, and drove many of them into the Santee, where both men and horses were drowned. We returned to Camp with (I think) upwards of seventy prisoners. I do not again recollect of being engaged with the enemy during the war. We did indeed after make excursions into the country for the purpose of plundering the plantations of those rich planters, who, after Charleston fell into our hands, had received their Oath of Allegiance, and again had joined the American Army.
Difficulties of British Soldiers in Getting their Pay
TOPOur Regiment had been now nearly a year on actual service without receiving any pay, and those of Captain Campbell's Troop had not received all their bounty, and consequently it fell to my lot to make out the Abstract of the Troop, receive the money and settle with the men, some of which were much in my dept for necessaries found them, as Captain Campbell in his lifetime imposed that duty on me. Major Fraser, who was a knowing chap, was sensible that from death and other casualties, there would be a good deal of pukings (an Army phrase) and he was resolved to take that himself, and had given orders to Paymaster Hatton to pay Officers commanding Troops agreeable to their present strength only. Hatton and myself were on the best footing and he gave me this information, contrary to the directions he had received from Major Fraser. I only requested of Hatton to let me know when he went to the pay office for the money, and not to go when I was on duty, so as not to be able to attend him immediately on his return with the money. This he did, and immediately on his arrival, and before the Major got intelligence of it I had my Abstract ready and as Commanding Officer and Paymaster of the Troop demanded the amount of the whole Abstract, and as he knew it was my right, paid me the whole amount, which I took and secured in my trunk. I soon had a visit from the Major, but as he found I was as old a soldier as himself, and knew how far I could resist a claim that would not expose me to Military control, he left me to my repose and contented himself in duping the rest of the Officers in what was their right, and robbing them of about 800 pounds. We were not so good friends after, altho he did not show any great resentment.
Gambling and Dissipation in the King's Ranks in America
TOPI should be glad that I could throw a veil over the rest of my Military career, but justice demands that I should give a minute detail of all my future transactions. Know then, that I fell into all kinds of dissipation, gambling the most prominent, and I continued in that dissipated course of life as long as my money lasted, which amounted to upwards of three hundred guineas. I was left at the close of the war as destituted of money as when I entered the Army, except my half pay, at the reduction of the Regiment in 1783. Towards the end of 1782 the South Carolina, the North Carolina and Georgia Regiments were ordered to Saint Augustine in East Florida to garrison that place and to release a Battalion of the 60th Regiment, 732and soon after our arrival I, as the eldest subaltern of our Regiment, and as our Regiment was first for a Command, I was ordered by General McArthur to take possession of a small fort twenty miles from St. Augustine, and to defend it to the last moment if I should be attacked by the Spaniards, as was expected at that time. I took three pieces of ordinance with me, with Artillery men sufficient to man them, with the assistance of the soldiers of the Regiment, which amounted to twenty-five rank and file, two officers, who were prisoners on parole, a Lieutenant Cornwell of our Regiment, and a Lieutenant Campbell (afterwards Fort Major at Niagara) went with me as companions. I found some difficulty in mounting my cannon for the want of spars, and finding two old masts on the shore, I made use of them, and mounted my cannon, and finding they were private property I returned them to the place I found them, and remained satisfied that I had done nothing wrong. The two gentlemen remained with me for a fortnight, and we spend the time very agreeably until one morning in our sporting Lieutenant Campbell received a wound from a fish called Simgarie, something like a turtle, except a long tail, the end of which is barbed, and you often find many of these at low water. Mr. Campbell placed his foot on one of them, when he received a wound in the ankle bone from a stroke of this fish, and the barb remained in his ankle, by which he was a long time confined.
Warriors Fishing in Florida while Revolution waged in North
TOPI remained at this post for a month, when I was relieved and joined my Regiment, at St. Augustine, where the morning after my arrival I had a visit from the Sheriff in an action of damages for taking the spars as above related. The Owner, however, did not think proper to pursue his action and I heard nothing of it afterwards. During the rest of my stay in this garrison our duty was light, and balls, plays and gallanting the ladies took up the greatest part of my time, for I had to live very economically to refund the money I had spent belonging to the soldiers in gambling. This I succeeded in doing, but it left me moneyless at the close of the war. In the month of April, 1783, peace was declared, at St. Augustine, and I obtained a leave of absence and sailed for New York, where I arrived on the 9th of May, and made application to Commander-in-Chief (now Lord Dorchester) to visit my friends in Danbury, and to fulfill my engagement with Miss Glover, which had been unavoidably prevented for the last seven years. His Lordship refused me leave until I could obtain permission from the American government, as some of our Officers had gone into the country, and had been very injuriously treated. I, therefore, wrote to my Father, who made application, and obtained a permit for me, which was signed by all the respectable inhabitants of Danbury, and one of my Brothers came to New York for the purpose of accompanying me back. Our meeting was such as you may conceive between Brothers who had been separated for so many years. We left New York and arrived at my Father's on the 20th of April, 1783, Danbury, Connecticut. It is impossible to describe my feelings on again embracing those who had always been so dear to me. Immediately on my arrival, my Father sent for Miss Glover, who happened to be in town.
Soldier's Joy when the War is Over Going Home
TOPI shall leave the reader to judge of the extacy and the joy that filled our breasts. Immediately preparation were set on foot for our marriage. We were to have been united at the altar of an Episcopal Church, by a 733clergyman of that Church, an Uncle of my Mother's , but in this we were disappointed, for the next day all our happiness was marred. The day after my arrival an old servant of my Father's, who in my youth had labored in the fields with me (he was a warmhearted Irishman) his name was Wilson; he came to inform me that a body of men were coming to mob me, and urged me to be on my guard. I treated this information lightly, but soon after an American soldier requested to see me and gave the same account. This alarmed me a little, and I began to think of the best mode of defending myself. At this moment another person announced himself as the Brother of a Lieutenant Hunt of our Army, and wished me to convey a letter to his Brother of my return to New York. Nothing could be more pleasing to me; Lieutenant Hunt was a particular friend of mine. We had fought in the same field together, and we had spent many pleasant hours with each other. I was all politeness to this stranger, shook him cordially by the hand, asked him to take a glass of wine (we had dined). He then asked me if I did not remember him. I answered in the negative. He said that he had been my prisoner; I asked him where. He said at Pound Ridge at such a time and place. I replied, yes, I remember, I came up at a critical moment. "Yes, you no doubt saved my life, but your men had robbed him of his baggage, and I expect you to pay me for it." Oh, your most obedient, I find your relationship to my friend Lieutenant Hunt (which you say is your name) amounts only to the price of your baggage. Good-bye to you Sir, I am much engaged, you will excuse me, and left the room, and returned to mine above stairs, and began to prepare for action. Whilst I was engaged with Hunt, my Father had walked out into the street. It was a day of muster day with the Militia, who were just dismissed. My Father soon returned, much agitated, and said, "Son, they are really coming and God knows what will be the result." I then desired every person to leave the room. Miss Glover, good-bye, I can die in no place more honorably than this you shall see that I can die bravely; I have lived honorably and I will die gloriously; remember me to my Brother Officers. I thrust them all out of the room and shut the door.
Home-coming of American who Fought in the British Lines.
TOPIn a moment the house was filled with armed men, who demanded to see me. They said, "they did not intend injurying me," but I must "show myself." This was joy to my family, and one of my sisters ran to my room (now Mrs. Hitchcock) desiring me to come down. I desired her to retire and leave me during this bustle and confusion my Brother had informed a Colonel Jamison (he had a squadron of Dragoons under his command) of the perilous situation in which I was placed, but in the meantime I had complied with the request of my family and went down amongst the assembled mob, some of which spoke in mild and peacable language; others in a very threatening and hostile manner. I however showed a determined and resolute spirit and replied to their demands, that from their declaration I had placed myself in their hands, and that I was now in their power, and if they presumed to injure me that a tenfold retaliation would be made on some of their friends who were then in New York enjoying the protection of the British Army, and pursueing their private business agreeable to the Treaty of Peace, and under the Treaty I demanded the same protection from them. By this time colonel Jamison had sent a Sargeant and twelve Dragoons with orders to protect me from every insult.
734 Loyalist Mobbed by Townsmen on Night of His Wedding
TOPThis circumstance rather checked their hostile disposition, and the authority arriving, I was under no apprehension of immediate danger, yet nothing would satisfy them but an immediate departure from the town, and if I remained during the night I must abide the consequence. The greatest part of the rabble left the house, yet there was several who seemed determined to watch my movements, as if determined to do me some injury. It was at last proposed to my Father that the best mode to quell the mob would be to have our marriage take place that evening, and after some urgency with Miss Glover, she at last consented. A clergyman was sent for, we retired to a room with a select party of our friends, and we were united, after which the mob dispersed and had left us (with our guard of honor) to our night's repose. In the morning however I was again disturbed by a visit from the Sheriff. Hunt had procured a warrant against me for the price of his portmanteau, and the Sheriff had made a forcible entry into my bedchamber. I met him with such a determined and threatening attitude that in his retreat he tumbled from the head of the staircase to the bottom. He then selected a posse and surrounded the house. My guard had after daylight, returned to their quarters, but were ordered again to return but they again assumed their station inside the house at a proper time for rising. I made my appearance at the window of my bedchamber, spoke to the persons outside, who seemed to look rather ill-natured. I threw them a dollar, desired they would get something to drink the Bride's health, which they did, and before they had finished the bottle I had won them all to my side.
Quelling Irate Patriots by Drinking Health to Bride
TOP"I was a dd cleaver fellow; I had got one of the best of women for a wife in the world; that I was deserving of her, and that they would defend us as long as they had a drop of blood in their veins." Mr. Sheriff seeing this, retired and left me in peace, and we sat comfortably down to our breakfast; soon, however, the mob began to collect in the lower part of the street, and it was advisable that I should leave the place. I, therefore, exchanged my uniform coat for one of my Brother's, stepped out of the back door, crossed the field, where my Brother met me with a horse, which I mounted and rode out of town, and proceeded to the house where I had parted from Miss Glover seven years before, and where she joined me the next day. I remained here but a short time, and then returned to New York, and made my report in writing to his Aid-de-Camp.
Assaults Upon British Sympathizers in First Days of Republic
TOPSoon after this a party of friends from Stamford, Connecticut, and a few in New York, agreed to meet on one of the Islands between those places and spend the day. It consisted of ladies and gentlemen from both places, and myself among the number. We were conveyed in one of our whale boats commanded by a Captain Hubbell; we met our friends, and after spending the day, we were prevailed on to go to Stamford for the night, assuring us that we should not be molested, but in the morning a mob collected, fell upon our boat's crew, beat them unmercifully, and threatened us also, and particularly Mr. William Jarvis (late Secretary of Upper Canada) who was a native of that place. As I was a stranger to them I took the task of appeasing their wrath, and to allow us to go off peaceably, as it was the fault of the people of the place that we had visited them, and particularly as the ladies were much alarmed, and one of them in fits. Our crew had fell down to the mouth of the harbor 735and we were obliged to walk, and in many places to carry the ladies in our arms, sometimes in mud and water up to our knees. Soon after we had left the town, they found out that my name was Jarvis also, and Cousin to the other Jarvis, and they swore vengeance at me and set off after us. We saw them coming; we placed the ladies on a dry piece of ground, and prepared for battle. There were five gentlemen of us, Captain Hubbell, two British Officers besides my Cousin and myself. We drew up in battle array and waited the attack. They came within about one hundred yards, when their hearts failed them and they retired. We gained our boat and after being out all night reached New York the next morning at sunrise, but we took care not to let this be known at Headquarters.
An American Soldier's Farewell to his Comrades off for England
TOPIn a few weeks after this my wife joined me, and I got quarters in a house at Brushwick, where we remained for about three weeks. I applied for my rations, but as that was contrary to the established rules of the Army, and not receiving any letters from the Paymaster of the Regiment as to how I should draw on him for my pay, I made up my mind to join my Regiment. My wife wished me to take her with me, but I had witnessed too much distress of other Officer's wives, and however painful it was to again be separated, I positively refused. I wrote to my Father, who came down to New York and took her home under his care, and I embarked for St. Augustine. Had I remained one week longer I might have saved myself the trouble and expense of a very long and boisterous voyage, as a gentleman arrived at New York with my despatches necessary for every purpose which was contemplated on my leaving the Regiment. After a passage of five weeks, and the whole time a gale of wind I had only to encounter the danger of the sea I was the only passenger on board. The Master was a very pleasant fellow and the ship was well found, and we weathered the gale, and at last got safe on shore, and when I landed the fleet was in sight to take the Troops on board, as by the Treaty of Peace, St. Augustine was to be given up to the Spaniards. Every preparation was now making for our departure, and about the beginning of October we sailed for Halifax in Nova Scotia, where we arrived after a passage of fifteen days; boisterous weather the whole passage. Here the Regiment was disbanded and their place of destination for the Regiment was Country Harbour, to the Eastward of Halifax, somewhere in the Girt of Canso. Here I took leave of a set of as brave fellows as ever existed, which I had led in many hard fought battles, and who were as much attached to me as children to their Father. So much so when I left them they carried me in their arms to the vessel in which I took my passage for New York.
A British Adherent's Interview With Washington after the War
TOPI arrived at Sandy Hook the day the British Army left New York. The question with me was, shall I, or shall I not proceed; or shall I go back to Halifax? At last I determined to proceed; I must go some time and the sooner the better. So I proceeded to the City and made my appearance at General Washington's Headquarters, and reported myself to General Hamilton. I was directed to call the next morning at nine o'clock. I then began to look out for some of my old acquaintances, but none could I find. All were gone. I at last however fell in with two ladies of my acquaintance, one of them a relation, and after I had engaged quarters for the night, I went and spent the evening with them, and returned to the lodging house, where I found a whole room of merchants 736and other persons from the country. I took a chair and sat down amongst them. They were commenting on the late war, the conduct of their several Generals, and frequently referred to me. I gave my opinion candidly, which by their reply did not accord with their sentiments. I soon called for a servant to light me to bed, and in leaving the room I said, "Gentlemen, I believe you have mistaken my character, I am a British Officer instead of an American!! Goodnight," and left the room and retired to my chamber; there were two beds and I made choice of one, and went to bed. I had not fallen asleep when the door opened and two men in earnest conversation entered, one saying to the other, "dn the fellow, how he twiged us; who the devil thought him a British Officer; how he got into all our secrets." "Hush!" said the other, pointing to my uniform at the head of my bed. They blew out the candle and went to bed in the dark never spoke again to my hearing during the night, and in the morning left the room before I was awake I never saw them after. The next morning at the hour stated I made my appearance, and was introduced to the Great General Washington. He asked me many questions and returned mine with great civility. I asked him for a passport to go into the country. This he refused, having the day before given up his command, but gave me advice how to proceed I made my bow and retired.
Strong Feeling of Animosity against those who Opposed Independence
TOPAfter a day or two residence in New York, where I was saluted by the soldiers as some General Officer of theirs, and supplying myself with a stock of tea and sugar for the winter, I left New York and proceeded into the country, and at Reading in Connecticut I found my wife, who had been on a visit at my Brother's for some time. I found her "as women wish to be who love their Lord." After a short stay, we went to Danbury, where I took up my quarters for the winter. Early in the spring I was again threatened. I took horse and rode to Middletown to see my Uncle, the late Bishop of Connecticut, where I remained for a few days and then returned, but kept myself rather confined. I paid a visit with my Mother to a Brother of hers, a Clergyman of the Presbyterian persuasion. Here we stayed for some time and then returned. I was discovered returning to my Father's and in the evening I got an order sent me in writing to depart or abide the consequence. A few days afterwards a Cousin, also a British Officer, came to pay a visit at my Father's and he was imprudent to appear in his full uniform. We walked out to see a Sister of mine, and after dinner he took his departure. That night my Father's house was attacked, and forcibly entered. I rose from my bed, got my drawers and one stocking on, when I heard the front door give way. I took my pistols and took my stand in the middle of the floor, determined to kill the first man that should approach us. My Father begged of me to flee. I had no time to lose. I flew from one room to another, found all the windows guarded. They had entered the house. They met my Father, knocked him down, flew to my bedroom, turned my wife out of bed, and much injured her. I had no place left but the cellar for safety; to this I fled. My Father recovered his feet, and ran into the Street, he one way and my Sister another, calling out Murder!! Soon the town was alarmed and relief obtained. The Magistrates and others assembled, and after remaining some time in the cellar, the mob dispersed, and I was relieved from my unpleasant situation. My Mother and Wife suffered much in defending the cellar door before relief arrived. They were black and blue from the blows they received. I dressed myself and went to a friend's 737house and went to bed. I was much indebted to a Major Lawrence for my safety. He came armed, brought some others with him, and he had the influence to draw off the mob, and afterwards would not go to his house until he found where I had returned to, and having heard where I had spent the evening, he repaired to the house and found me in a comfortable repose he then left me. I remained there the whole day, and the next night slept at a neighbor's house a few doors from my Father, and the evening following moved out of town, and took lodgings once more at the place where I fled to the year before, and here I remained until after my wife was confined with her first child, now Mrs. Phillips. It was several months before my wife recovered in consequence of the injury sustained by the mob. She came very near losing her life during her illness.
Encounters with Revengeful Countrymen after Close of War
TOPI used frequently to ride over to my Father's in the night and ride back the next evening after dark, and one evening returning I had an opportunity of revenging myself on one of those fellows who had, during the war, abused my Father. I rode alongside of him and with a good hunting whip lashed him every step to his door, and then rode on. He never knew who was the person, neither did I mention it until twenty years after, when I paid a visit to Danbury, and passing through the street saw him and mentioned the circumstance to my Brother. As soon as my wife had so far recovered as to be removed, I took her to my Father's house, where I left her and set off for Long Island. Landed at Cold Spring, where I waited for some days for the arrival of a vessel from New York for St. John, New Brunswick, on board of which I took passage. We put in to Annapolis to land a Mr. Young and his family; stayed two days and then sailed over to St. John, where the Loyalists had already thickly hutted themselves, and here I met with many of my old acquaintances which I had left at Charleston when I left there for St. Augustine, and here again I met the Officers of the Queen's Rangers, who were about to take up their land above Fredericton, eighty miles up the St. John River, to which place I repaired the first opportunity, which was by a boat belonging to Captain Whillock, of the Rangers, who had taken up his residence at Gage Town, thirty miles below Fredericton, from this I travelled by land most of the way in company with a Mr. Simmons from Staten Island. On our arrival at Fredericton we put up at a small Inn, kept by one Betts, and in the evening two officers came in and remained until a late hour. Mr. Simmons and myself ordered supper and something to drink. We had some moose stake which we found very palatable, and went to bed. The next morning the landlord presented us with a bill, charging us with the supper for the two others, besides all that was drunk, and gave a reason that we had ordered supper and called for spirits, etc. which was drunk. We paid the bill and left his house; before leaving St. John a Lieutenant Hoyt, one of my old Carolina acquaintances, had given me the keys to his house, and desired me to take possession, and remain there until his arrival. I did so, and in a day or two he arrived; with him I stayed until I left Fredericton. I then set about procuring a town lot, and engaged a person to build me a house, and have it ready against the next spring. I then returned to St. John where I remained for some time, and whilst there assisted my relation Mr. Jarvis (who had a hardware store) until my departure. In the meantime, I drew for the first time my half-pay bill, which I got cashed, allowing a discount, of I think, nine per cent. As this was the first period, the merchants were loth to pay cash for half-pay bills.
738 Loyalists flee to Canada to Escape Taunts and Assaults
TOPMr. Jarvis and his Brother Samuel had a vessel going to New York, and after purchasing a few quintals of codfish I embarked on board of this vessel and sailed, and in passing through Long Island the vessel came to anchor, and landed me and my baggage at Stamford. We had made a short stay at Rhode Island on our way. I landed early in the morning, and after breakfast hired a horse and set off to find my wife. I had got in a short distance of my Brother's when my horse fell and broke his shoulder blade. I took off my saddle and bridle after turning him into a field by the permission of the Owner; took my saddle on my back until I could procure another horse, then rode to my Brother's, changed horses with him and rode on to Newtown, where I had the happiness of finding both wife and daughter in good health. After visiting our friends at Newtown, and paying a short visit at Danbury, I took up my winter quarters at my Brother's in Reading. Here I was very politely visited by all the most respectable people on the place, and amused myself by riding about the country during the winter when I could leave home. In the Autumn both myself, wife and young infant were nearly blind with inflammation in our eyes for a long time, which made our situation exceedingly unpleasant, having no servants to attend us. In this manner we worried through the winter, and when the spring commenced began to make preparations for removing to New Brunswick, and about the 1st of May embarked on board a vessel called the Sholdram, with several other families for the same place. Some of the passengers made it very unpleasant, but as this is not very interesting to the reader, I shall avoid mentioning them, and confine myself to such matters as concern myself and family. On the 15th of June, 1785, I landed at Fredericton with a wife, one child and a guinea only in my pocket, with one year's half-pay to draw for, and with this I had provided for our future existence. Government allowed the soldiers and refugees three years' rations, and even with the bounty many families suffered greatly for the want of provisions, and had not the forests abounded with moose, many families would have perished. I took with me from St. John a small assortment of goods advanced me by my friend Mr. Jarvis, with which I commenced business, and with this small supply I arrived at Fredericton, but found that the timber of which my house was to have been built was still growing. This put us to great inconvenience, and I was obliged to hire a small hovel, for which I gave ten pounds rent, but here we found it impossible to remain, for the proprietor had during the preceeding winter made a ceiling of slabs and bark overlaid with plaster or mortar or clay, and which he had disturbed in the spring so that every wind that blew our floor was covered with dirt. In this situation we were obliged to live for several weeks before I could possibly find another place to shelter us from the heat. The only difference in the two houses was that we could eat our food without quite so much dirt as in our first habitation. I commenced building, and in October we got into our new house, and thought ourselves as happy as princes.
Life of Exiled Americans under Flag of British Empire
TOPNothing of any particular interest happened for many years. I went on a progressive way, building and adding to my convenience. I was of an ambitious disposition and fond of Military life, and held during the time I remained in the Providence, from the year 1785 until the year 1809, the following commissions in the Militia, viz., Captain, Major, Major of Brigade, 739Deputy Adjutant General, and Lieutenant Colonel, independent of the office of Postmaster, and for sixteen years the great part of the summer was employed in disciplining the Militia of the county, without any other remuneration than the thanks of the governor, with great promises, but his leaving the Province all those expectations failed, and altho I made a good deal of money and acquired some considerable property, I left the Province with the loss of about ï¿½3,000, and only brought to Upper Canada[37a] a little upwards of Seven Hundred Pounds, with a family of a wife and six children. About the year 1807 an action took place between one of our ships of war and the American ship Chesapeake, and it appeared to me that war would ensue between the two Governments, and I offered my services in case the Militia should be called into actual service, which offer was thankfully accepted, but when it was found necessary to embody the Militia, the command was given to another person. This so far excited my resentment that I immediately made up my mind to quit the Province, and made a visit to Upper Canada. I was well received by the Governor and such promises held out to me that I returned to New Brunswick and commenced closing my accounts and settling my affairs in order for removal the next spring. It was with some difficulty that I could prevail upon my family to consent to emigrate, but after some negotiations between the Secretary of the Province and myself, at the directions of the Lieutenant Governor (Gore) they at last consented and we left Fredericton on the 30th of June, 1809.
We traversed the waters of the St. John in birch canoes, lying on the beach where there were no inhabitants, much disturbed with gnats and mosquitoes at night, and crossing the portage from the waters of St. John to the St. Lawrence, thirty-six miles, most up to our knees, and black flies to annoy us. We at last encountered all our difficulties, and reached Quebec all in good health, except one daughter who had become the wife of Major Maule of the 104 Regiment, whom I had left behind; after remaining a week, we proceeded to Montreal where we remained one week longer, providing ourselves with such necessaries as would be necessary for commencing housekeeping. We again set off in a battcase for Kingston. We were fourteen days on our passage to Kingston. I applied to the Quarter Master General and was ordered a passage in one of his Majesty's armed vessels, and arrived at New York on the 28th of August, and took possession of a house which had already been purchased for me, and began to make ourselves comfortable. I engaged a public office at ï¿½100 per annum until I could look about, and get a location of land, for myself 1200 acres, and for my son, the only one of age, 400, on which he began to improve. The purchase of my house and furniture and the payment of fees for our land had exhausted all my ready money, and I had only my ï¿½100 and my half-pay for the support of my family until the Americans declared war against the British Government and invaded Canada.
Experiences during the Second War with England in 1812
TOPThere was a young man by the name of Thomas (I dined with him in New York in August 1830) who had been at York for two or three years as a merchant, and who wished to accept of General Brock's proclamation and return to the States. I was recommended to him as a fit person to take charge of his property, for which he was to allow me ï¿½125 pounds out of the proceeds, and with which and the other commission business I was enabled to support my family comfortably during the war. I was again appointed Adjutant General of the Militia, and 740was employed as such until York was taken by the enemy. My two sons were also in the service, one a volunteer in the 49th and the other at the head of the Waggon Department. The volunteer was taken prisoner at the battle of Queenstown, where General Brock fell. My son was exchanged in a few days and soon after obtained his commission in the 8th Regiment, in which he served during the war. Went home with the Regiment and was reduced to half-pay. He was afterward placed on full pay as a Lieutenant in the 104th Regiment, which he joined at Quebec, and again reduced at half-pay. He is now a lawyer and settled at Cornwall.
Last Days of American who Never became Reconciled to Independence
TOPAfter York was taken and myself a prisoner, I was dismissed from my Military duty and applied myself to business as a Commission Broker, and in this I succeeded very well, and had I continued in that business only I should have done very well, but finding myself in possession of ï¿½500 in money, I was advised to go to Montreal and open correspondence and commence business on my own account, and if the war had continued I should have done well. I had obtained a credit for any amount that should order. The Peace of 1815 left a very large supply of goods on hand, and the depreciation was of such extent that I was obliged to sell my house and all my real property to get out of debt, and at the close of war I was reduced to my half-pay only for the support of my large family. At the departure of Governor Gore from the Province, Colonel Smith, an old friend of mine came to the administration of the Government, and the Registry of the Home District becoming vacant, he gave me the commission. This augmented my income to ï¿½150 per year, and my youngest son got into the Secretary's Office at ï¿½100 and afterwards at ï¿½150 per annum, which added together a little more than ï¿½300 per annum. He purchased a town lot and built a comfortable house and we lived together until the year 1825, when his health became very alarming, and it became necessary that he should change a mode of life. I, therefore, consented to resign my office in his favor, but this was objected to, and he afterwards made a proposal to the Sheriff to exchange the Sheriffry for the Registry, which was acceeded to by the Governor.
I resigned my office, and my son is the High Sheriff. My Daughter has lately married to a worthy Clergyman with a large family. My youngest Daughter is now with her Sister Maule in France. Her Brother, the Sheriff, allows her the same yearly that she had from myself. He is also married and very comfortably settled. I am reduced to half-pay, and now spend my time moving about from one child's house to another. Am blessed so far with a strong constitution and good health, and I hope making preparations for another and better world.
There my fair friend, I have given you a rough sketch of an eventful life, and in doing so I have confined myself to such matter as immediately concerns myself. I might relate many circumstances which were very interesting to myself, but in which you would take no interest, and I fear your patience will be exhausted before you get through these pages. Such as they are, they are much at your service, with this information that they are confined to your own family, and as it is wrote without glasses, and considering my advanced age, you will pardon all its defects.
Unless otherwise noted, added by John Robertson
1. A transcription of the Volume One, No. 3 has been online for some time at http://www.ls.net/~newriver/misc/jarvis1.htm. This version is limited to the first half of the document, seems to be incompletely edited from an OCR-scan and is missing some pages. It is acknowledged that this effort by some unknown person has served to bring attention to the existence of the narrative and was useful in the preparation of this complete version by comparision and correction based on photocopies of the actual 1907 magazine article, obtained from the Library of Congress by Sherri Bower.
1a. Jarvis was born in 1756 indicating that he was 19, but he states that he was 18 years old.
2. 2 August 1775.
3. 17 March 1776.
4. American rebel militia. It may be noted that his maternal uncle is its commander.
4a. Identified by TSJ as Major Starr.
5. The modern location of street named Peck Slip is found here. Governor's Island may be seen immediately southwest.
6. TopoZone map of Governor's Island (40ï¿½41'20"N, 74ï¿½01'08"W) is found : here.
7. HMS Asia, 74 guns, Captain George Vandeput.
|24 August 1775: The Asia sent a barge to investigate the activity seen in the dismantling of Battery Park; the battery crew fired on the barge, killing a seaman; the Asia fired on the battery in retaliation. |
|1776: Silas Talbot, using a fireship set fire to the Asia, but other British ships in the vicinity assisted in putting out the fire. |
|12 February 1776: Edmund Fanning was forced to go aboard the Asia after being driven from his home. |
|September 1776: The Asia was the first ship to be the target of a submarine attack, while in New York. |
7a. Staten Island, Richmond County NY.
8. 15 September 1776.
9. Modern name is Simsbury, Hartford County CT.
Topozone map of Simsbury Mines (41ï¿½52'30"N , 72ï¿½48'0"W) is found here. Minerals found there are currently listed as bornite, chalcocite, chalcopyrite and malachite.
10. cap-a-pie, as armed cap-a-pie (head to foot) for battle. Pronounced "cap uh pee".
11. Modern name of Horse Neck is Greenwich.
11a. White Plains, Westchester County NY.
12. Gaol: jail. Pronounced "jail".
13. Republican: One favoring independence from Britain. Syn.: rebel, patriot, American, whig.
13a. Talman, ed. Loyalist Narratives from Upper Canada adds "when I took my leave of her, and never saw her again for Seven Years."
14. It would have been called Horse Neck at the time of the account. By the time the memoir was written, it would have been re-named Greenwich.
14a. Loyalist Narratives from Upper Canada adds "under the command of General Tryon"
14b. Talman, ed. Loyalist Narratives from Upper Canada adds "At Danbury there was a large magazine of provisions, and other war like stores, which was destroyed by the British, and part of Danbury was burnt."
14c. Talman, ed. Loyalist Narratives from Upper Canada adds "for two dollars"
14d. Talman, ed. Loyalist Narratives from Upper Canada adds "about ten o'clock"
15. TopoZone map of Huntington Harbor (40ï¿½53'49"N, 73ï¿½25'33"W) may be found here. In passing, it may be noted that Huntington NY is where James Wemyss is believed to have lived out his last years.
15a. Talman, ed. Loyalist Narratives from Upper Canada adds "with the sum of five Dollars in my pocket only,"
15b. Henry Deming's "Life of General Wooster, an oration given in 1854, said the British came to Danbury "guided by two imps, Stephen Jarvis and Eli Benedict, by name, born in Danbury, under a malignant star." One must wonder if this was a different Stephen Jarvis, or the same, retroactively written into the story.
16. Major William Stark of New Hampshire Volunteers. See RoyalProvincial.com.
Per Don Jensen, banner1780 Major William Stark was older brother of John Stark of Bennington, Vermont fame. Both men served in Rogers Rangers of the French and Indian War. Also, see Loyalist Muster Rolls New Hampshire Volunteers from The On-Line Institute for Advanced Loyalist Studies
16a. Talman, ed. Loyalist Narratives from Upper Canada adds "He engaged to procure me an Ensigncy in his company,..."
17. TopoZone map of Kings Bridge (40ï¿½52.3172'N, 73ï¿½54.5281'W) may be found here.
17a. Talman, ed. Loyalist Narratives from Upper Canada adds "called Stark's Corps,..." Also, see note 16.
17b. Abraham Close, per Don Jensen, banner1780 based on muster rolls included in Volume 2 Loyalists in the Southern Campaign of the Revolutionary War by Murtie June Clark (Queens Ranger Section).
17c. Talman, ed. Loyalist Narratives from Upper Canada adds "[The Queen's Rangers]"
18. Piquet: A small guard post with about 12 men or less. See "British Colonial Military Terms and Soldier Slang"
18a. Talman, ed. Loyalist Narratives from Upper Canada adds "and applied to my commanding officer from whom I got no information."
19. Parole was the challenge as might be given by a sentry. The countersign was the designated correct answer, which presumably would not have been known by an enemy. It was common for terms to be used which had symbolic meaning to the soldiers who would use them.
This incident is not shown in Talman, ed. Loyalist Narratives from Upper Canada
20. Articles of War. Rules governing the discipline of military forces. That for the navy would have differed somewhat.
21. From The Loyal Americans: The Military Rï¿½le of the Loyalist Provincial Corps and Their Settlement in British North America, 1775-1784: by Wallace Brown:
No Loyalist corps was more celebrated than the Queen's Rangers. Colonel Robert Rogers, who commanded the famous Rogers' Rangers during the Seven Years' War, recruited the regiment in 1776 mainly in New York and Connecticut (later the Queen's Own Loyal Virginia Regiment joined the unit). In 1777, despite many casualties, the Queen's Rangers helped defeat Washington at Brandywine Creek. After Brandywine, Lieutenant Colonel John Graves Simcoe assumed command, and the regiment distinguished itself throughout the southern campaigns in 1780 and 1781.
Talman, ed. Loyalist Narratives from Upper Canada describes at one point Shaw commanding a group including Sgt. McPherson, a corporal and 12 men equipped with swords and rifles to act in concert with Capt. Wickham's Huzzars.