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* Alarm in New Haven. Bravery of the Militia. Battle on Milford Hill. West Bridge. Death of Campbell.
mediately prepared to march upon the town. Information of the approach of the enemy having reached New Haven the previous evening, preparations had been made for defense. All, however, was confusion and alarm, and the care of families and property occupied those who otherwise might have made a successful stand against the invaders. Many of the inhabitants took refuge upon East Rock, where they remained until the departure of the enemy.
The first opposition to the invaders was made by twenty-five of the inhabitants of the town (some of whom were students of Yale College), under Captain Hillhouse, who met an advanced party of the enemy on Milford Hill. Already the West Bridge on the Milford
Road had been destroyed, some field pieces taken thither, and slight breast-works thrown up. Although there was but a handful of Americans, they were animated by such spirit, when they saw their homes and families in peril, that they drove the advancing enemy nearly back to their landing-place, and took one prisoner. The whole body of the invaders now moved forward, with strong flanking parties and two field pieces. The cannons of the Americans at West Bridge kept up such a brisk fire that the enemy dared not venture further upon that road, but moved along Milford Hill, northward to the Derby Road, to enter the town by that avenue. This movement required a circuitous march of several miles. The first attacking party of the Americans, continually augmenting, soon swelled to a hundred and fifty, and a sharp conflict ensued with the enemy's left flank, near the Milford Road. In this skirmish Major Campbell, the British adjutant, was killed. He was singled out by a militia-man concealed behind a rock, and fell, pierced by a musket-ball
CAMPBELL's Monum ENT.
* This view is from the Milford Road, eastward of West Bridge. The high ground in the distance is Milford Hill, on which is seen the road, directly over the umbrella. A little to the right of the road is the spot where Major Campbell was buried. West Bridge is about a mile and a half from the central part of New Haven.
* This rude memorial was erected in 1831, by J. W. Barber, Esq., of New Haven, the historian of that city, and author of the Historical Collections of Connecticut, as a tribute of respect for a meritorious officer. It is about a foot and a half high. The site of Campbell's grave was pointed out to Mr. Barber by the late Chauncy Alling, who saw him buried. Several Americans, who were killed at the same time, were buried near. Their remains were afterward removed. Those of Adjutant Campbell rest undisturbed.
Campbell's Grave. Entrance of the Enemy into New Haven. Dr. Daggett and his Treatment Landing of too
near his heart. He was wrapped in a blanket, and carried upon a sheep-litter to a house nearby, where he expired. He was buried in a shallow grave not far from the spot where he fell, on the summit of the high ground near the intersection of the Milford and West Haven Roads, in the southwest corner of a field known as Campbell's Lot. After the skirmish, the British pressed onward toward the Derby Road. Eye-witnesses described their appearance from points near the city as very brilliant; Milford Hill seemed all in a blaze, from the mingled effects upon the eye of scarlet uniforms and glittering arms. The Americans annoyed them exceedingly all the way to Thompson's Bridge (now Westville), on the Derby Road, and the small force at West Bridge, under Captain Phineas Bradley, hastened to that point to oppose their passage. Bradley was too late; Garth had possession of the bridge and the fording-places of the stream, and, after a sharp skirmish of ten minutes, he drove the militia before him, and marched triumphantly into the town between twelve and one o'clock. He had been piloted all the way from the landing-place by a young Tory named William Chandler, who, with his father and family, left New Haven when the enemy departed. Among those who went out to the West Bridge and beyond, to oppose the enemy, was the Rev. Dr. Daggett," then late President of Yale College, and a warm republican. Armed with a musket, he joined his friends to oppose the common enemy. Near the West Bridge he was wounded and made a prisoner, and, but for the interference of young Chandler, the Tory guide, who had been a student in the college, he would doubtless have been murdered. He was cruelly injured with bayonets, and by a severe blow across the bowels with the butt of a musket, after he had surrendered and begged for quarters.” Yet his firmness did not forsake him. While abused and cursed, he was asked whether, if released, he would again take up arms against them, and replied, “I rather believe I shall if I get an opportunity.” As soon as the boats that conveyed the first division of the enemy to shore returned, the second division, under Tryon, con------. sisting chiefly of Hessians and Tories, landed, with two pieces of cannon, on the east side of the harbor, where the light-house now stands. They marched up and attacked the little fort on Black Rock (now Fort Hale), which was defended by a feeble garrison of only nineteen men, with three - pieces of artillery. After a slight LANDING-PLACE of GENERAL Thyon. skirmish, the Americans were driven from the post. The enemy then pushed toward the town, while their shipping drew nearer and menaced the inhab
Naphtali Daggett was a native of Attleborough, Massachusetts. He graduated at Yale College in 1748, and in 1756 was appointed professor of divinity in that institution, which office he held until his death. He officiated as president of the college from 1766 until 1777, when he was succeeded by Dr. Stiles. He died November 25th, 1780, aged about sixty years.
* “I was insulted,” says the doctor, in his account preserved in MS. in the office of the Secretary of State, at Hartford, “in the most shocking manner by the ruffian soldiers, many of which came at me with fixed bayonets, and swore they would kill me on the spot. They drove me with the main body a hasty march of five miles or more. They damned me, those that took me, because they spared my life. Thus, amid a thousand insults, my infernal drivers hastened me along, faster than my strength would admit in the extreme heat of the day, weakened as I was by my wounds and the loss of blood, which, at a moderate computation, could not be less than one quart. And when I failed, in some degree, through faintness, he would strike me on the back with a heavy walking-staff, and kick me behind with his foot. At length, by the supporting power of God, I arrived at the Green, New Haven. But my life was almost spent, the world around me several times appearing as dark as midnight. I obtained leave of an officer to be carried into the Widow Lyman's and laid upon a bed, where I lay the rest of the day and succeeding night, in such acute and excruciating pain as I never felt before.”
Conduct of the Enemy. People on East Rock. Evacuation by the British. Destruction of Fairfield.
itants with bombardment. At the bridge over Neck Creek (Tomlinson's Bridge) the Americans made some resistance with a field piece, but were soon obliged to yield to superior numbers and discipline. Before night the town was completely possessed by the invaders. Throughout the remainder of the day and night the soldiery committed many excesses and crimes, plundering deserted houses, ravishing unprotected women, and murdering several citizens, among whom were the venerable Mr. Beers, and an aged and helpless man named English. The general movements of the enemy through the day could be seen by the fugitive inhabitants on East Rock, and gloomy indeed was the night they passed there. Families were separated, for the men were generally mustering from all parts of the adjacent country to expel the enemy. Anxiously their hearts beat for kindred then in peril, and eagerly their eyes were turned toward their homes, in momentary expectation of beholding them in flames. It was Garth's intention to burn the town. He declared, in a note to Tryon, that the “conflagration it so richly deserved should commence as soon as he should secure the Neck Bridge.” But during the night he changed his mind. Early on Sunday morning," . July 7, perceiving the militia collecting in large numbers, he called in his guards, and re- * treated to his boats. Part of his troops went on board the ships, and part crossed over to East Haven, where they joined Tryon's division. Toward that point the militia now directed their attention. In the afternoon, finding himself hard pressed by the citizen soldiers that were flocking to New Haven from the adjacent country, Tryon ordered a retreat to the shipping. Several buildings and some vessels and stores were set on fire at East Haven when they left. At five o'clock the fleet weighed anchor and sailed westward, carrying away about forty of the inhabitants of the town. The appetite of Tryon and his troops for pillage and murder was not sated when, on the afternoon of the 7th, they embarked from Fort Rock, now Fort Hale.' Sailing down the Sound, they anchored off the village of Fairfield on the morning of the 8th. After a fog that lay upon the waters had cleared away, they landed a little eastward of Kensie's Point, at a place called the Pines, and marched immediately to the village. Dr. Timothy Dwight has given a graphic description of the destruction of the town. “On the 7th of July, 1779,” he says, “Governor Tryon, with the army I have already mentioned, sailed from New Haven to Fairfield, and the next morning disembarked upon the beach. A few militia assembled to oppose them, and, in a desultory, scattered manner, fought with great intrepidity through most of the day. They killed some, took several prisoners, and wounded more. But the expedition was so sudden and unexpected, that efforts made in this manner were necessarily fruitless. The town was plundered; a great part of the houses, together with two churches, the court-house, jail, and school-houses, were burned. The barns had just been filled with wheat and other produce. The inhabitants, therefore, were turned out into the world almost literally destitute. “Mrs. Burr, the wife of Thaddeus Burr, Esq., high sheriff of the county, resolved to continue in the mansion-house of the family, and make an attempt to save it from conflagration. The house stood at a sufficient distance from other buildings. Mrs. Burr was adormed with all the qualities which give distinction to her sex; possessed of fine accomplishments, and a dignity of character scarcely rivaled; and probably had never known what it was to be treated with disrespect, or even with inattention. She made a personal application to Governor Tryon, in terms which, from a lady of her high respectability, could hardly have failed of a satisfactory answer from any person who claimed the title of a gentleman. The answer which she actually received was, however, rude and brutal, and spoke the want, not only of politeness and humanity, but even of vulgar civility. The house was sentenced to the flames, and was speedily set on fire. An attempt was made in the mean time, by some
* Fort Hale is situated upon an insulated rock, two miles from the end of Long Wharf, New Haven. It was named in honor of Captain Nathan Hale, one of the early Revolutionary martyrs. The Americans had a battery of three guns upon this point, which greatly annoyed the enemy when landing.
Dwight's Account of the Destruction of Fairfield. Tryon's Apology. Extent of the Destruction. The Buckley House
of the soldiery, to rob her of a valuable watch, with rich furniture; for Governor Tryon refused to protect her, as well as to preserve the house. The watch had been already conveyed out of their reach; but the house, filled with everything which contributes either to comfort or elegance of living, was laid in ashes. “While the town was in flames a thunder-storm overspread the heavens, just as night came on. The conflagration of near two hundred houses illumined the earth, the skirts of the clouds, and the waves of the Sound with a union of gloom and grandeur at once inexpressibly awful and magnificent. The sky speedily was hung with the deepest darkness wherever the clouds were not tinged by the melancholy luster of the flames. The thunder rolled above. Beneath, the roaring of the fires filled up the intervals with a deep and hollow sound, which seemed to be the protracted murmur of the thunder reverberated from one end of heaven to the other. Add to this convulsion of the elements, and these dreadful ef. fects of vindictive and wanton devastation, the trembling of the earth, the sharp sound of muskets occasionally discharged, the groans here and there of the wounded and dying, and the shouts of triumph; then place before your eyes crowds of the miserable sufferers, mingled with bodies of the militia, and from the neighboring hills taking a farewell prospect of their property and their dwellings, their happiness and their hopes, and you will form a just, but imperfect, pictóre of the burning of Fairfield. It needed no great effort of imagination to believe that the final day had arrived, and that, amid this funereal darkness, the morning would speedily dawn to which no night would ever succeed; the graves yield up their inhabitants; and the trial commence, at which was to be finally settled the destiny of man. “The apology made by Governor Tryon for this Indian effort was conveyed in the following sentence: “The village was burned, to resent the fire of the rebels from their houses, and to mask our retreat.” This declaration unequivocally proves that the rebels were troublesome to their invaders, and at the same time is to be considered as the best apology which they are able to make. But it contains a palpable falsehood, intended to justify conduct which admits of no excuse, and rejects with disdain every attempt at palliation. Why did this body of men land at Fairfield at all 2 There were here no stores, no fortress, no enemy, except such as were to be found in every village throughout the United States. It was undoubtedly the original object of the expedition to set fire to this town, and the apology was created after the work was done. It was perfectly unnecessary to mask the retreat. The townsmen, and the ". collection of farmers assembled to aid them, had no power to disturb it. No British officer, no British soldier would confess that, in these circumstances, he felt the least anxiety concerning any molestation from such opposers. The next morning the troops re-embarked, and, proceeding to Green's Farms, set fire to the church and consumed it, together with fifteen dwelling-houses, eleven barns, and several stores.” The Hessians who accompanied Tryon were his incendiaries. To them he intrusted the wielding of the torch, and faithfully they obeyed their master. When the people fled from the town, not expecting that their houses would be burned, they left most of their furniture behind. The distress was consequently great, for many lost every earthly possession. Among the buildings saved was that
THE Buckley House.”
* Dwight's Travels in New England, iii., 512. According to a document in the office of the Secretary of State of Connecticut, the number of buildings destroyed was ninety-seven dwellings, sixty-seven barns, forty-eight stores, two school-houses, one county-house, two meeting-houses, and one Episcopal Church.
* This building stood upon the eastern side of the Green, fronting the church. It was demolished three or four years ago, having stood more than a century and a half. The engraving is a copy, by permission of the author, from Barber's Historical Collections of Connecticut, page 353. Tryon lodged in the upper room on the right of the main building.
Treatment of Mrs. Buckley. Interference of General Silliman. Humphreys's Elegy on the Burning of Fairfield
of Mr. Buckley, pictured in the engraving. Tryon made it his head-quarters. The naval officer who had charge of the British ships, and piloted them to Fairfield, was Mrs. Buckley's brother, and he had requested Tryon to spare the house of his sister. Tryon acquiesced, and, feeling his indebtedness to her brother, the general informed Mrs. Buckley that if there was any other house she wished to save she should be gratified. After the enemy left, the enraged militia, under Captain Sturges, placed a field piece in front of the dwelling, and then sent Mrs. Buckley word that she might have two hours to clear the house, and leave it, or they would blow her to atoms. She found means to communicate a notice of her situation to General Silliman, who was about two miles distant. He immediately went to the town, and found one hundred and fifty men at the cannon. By threats and persuasion he induced them to withdraw. The next day Colonel Benjamin Tallmadge, with his regiment, arrived from White Plains, and, encamping on the smoking ruins, made Tryon's quarters his own.”
The cruelties committed upon helpless women and children, and the wanton destruction of property, at Fairfield, were worthy only of savages, and made the name of Tryon a synonym for every thing infernal. The passions of the soldiery were excited by strong drink, and murder, pillage, and brutal violence to women were their employment throughout the night. Like similar outrages elsewhere, these awakened the strongest feelings of hatred and revenge against the common enemy, and the pen, the pulpit, and the forum sent forth their righteous denunciations. Colonel David Humphreys, the soldier-poet of the Revolution, visited the scene of destruction soon after the event, and wrote the following elegy while on the spot: *
“Ye smoking ruins, marks of hostile ire,
* Mrs. Buckley was not a friend of the enemy. According to her testimony, under oath, she was badly treated by the soldiery, notwithstanding she had a protection from General Garth, the second in command. They plundered her house, stripped her buckles from her shoes, tore a ring from her finger, and fired the house five times before leaving it.—See Hinman's Historical Collections, p. 620.