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Putnam and Rogers on Lake Champlain. Attack of the former on the French and Indians. The Saratoga and Confiance
near Fort Anne, where Putnam was taken prisoner. Major Rogers, who was also sent by Abercrombie to watch the movements of the enemy, had taken a station twelve miles distant, and Putnam and his fifty rangers composed the whole force at this point. Near the front of the ledge he constructed a parapet of stone, and placed young pine trees before it in such a natural manner that they seemed to have grown there, and completely hid the defense from observers on the water below. Fifteen of his men, disabled by sickness, were sent back to the camp at Fort Edward, and with his thirty-five he resolved to attack whatever force might appear upon the lake. Four days he anxiously awaited the appearance of the enemy, when early one evening he was gratified by the intelligence that a large fleet of canoes, filled with warriors, was leisurely approaching from South Bay. It was the time of full moon, the sky was unclouded, and from his hiding-place every movement of the Indians could be distinctly seen. Putnam called in all his sentinels, and in silence every man was stationed where his fire might be most effective. Not a musket was to be moved until orders were given by the commander. The advanced canoes had passed the parapet, when one of the soldiers hit his firelock against a stone. The sound was caught by the watchful ears of Molang and his followers. The canoes in the van halted, and the whole fleet was crowded in confusion and alarm directly beneath the ledge. A brief consultation ensued, and then they turned their prows back toward South Bay. As they wheeled the voice of Putnam shouted “Fire,” and with sure aim each bullet reached a victim. The enemy returned the fire, but without effect, and for a time the carnage produced by the Rangers was dreadful in that dense mass upon the waters. Molang soon perceived by the firing that his assailants were few, and detached a portion of his men to land below and attack the provincials in the rear. Putnam had perceived this movement, and sent a party of twelve men, under Lieutenant Durkee, who easily repulsed them when they attempted to land. About daybreak he learned that the enemy had actually debarked at a point below, and was marching to surround him. This fact, and the failure of his ammunition, warned him to retreat. Nearly half the number of the enemy perished on that fatal night, while Putnam lost but two men, who were wounded." While retreating through the thick forest, an unexpected enemy fired upon them, but wounded only one man. Putnam instantly ordered his men to charge, when his voice was recognized by the other leader, who cried out, “Hold, we are friends !” “Friends or foes,” shouted Putnam, “you deserve to perish for doing so little execution with so fair a shot.” . The party proved to be a detachment sent to cover their retreat.
It was late in the evening twilight before I finished my sketch, but our obliging waterman would not consent to row us back until we should go to his house near by and see his “pullet and chickens”—his wife and children. His dwelling was at the foot of the steep Vermont shore, completely hemmed in by rocks and water, but embowered in shrubbery. His children brought us fruit, and we were refreshed by draughts of water from a mountain spring close by, of icy coldness. The moon was shining brightly when we passed the Elbow on our return, and by its pale light we could see the ribs and other decaying timber of the British ship of war Confiance and the American ship Saratoga. The former was sunk there in 1814, and the latter, which was afterward used as a store-ship, was scuttled by some miscreants while her officers and crew were at the village participating in a Fourth of July celebration. It was about nine in the evening when we reached the hotel. There I met that distinguished and venerable divine, Rev. Mr. Pierce, of Brookline, Massachusetts, and was charmed and edified by his conversation for more than an hour.” His memory was
* These men, one a provincial, the other an Indian, were placed under an escort of two others, and sent toward the camp. They were pursued and overtaken by the Indians. The wounded men told the escort to leave them to their fate, which they did. When the savages came up, the provincial, knowing that he would be put to death, fired and killed three. He was instantly tomahawked. The Indian was kept a prisoner, and from him Putnam learned the above facts when they met some time afterward in Canada.
*Mr. Pierce was seventy-five years old. He distinctly remembered Washington's visit to Boston in 1789. The cavalcade halted near the entrance to the city, and Washington was obliged to sit on horseback two hours, while the state authorities and the selectmen decided a point of etiquette—whose province it was to
Departure from Whitehall. Sholes's Landing. Ride to the Battle-ground of Hubbardton. Picturesque Scenery
richly stored with historic learning, and our intercourse was to me a pleasant and profitable appendix to the events and studies of the day. Early the next morning we left Whitehall on the steamer Saranac, and landed at Chipman's Point, or Sholes's Landing, the port of Orwell, and the most eligible point whence to reach the battle-ground of Hubbardton. The morning was delightful, and the ride in a light wagon, accompanied by the intelligent son of Mr. Sholes, proved to be one of peculiar pleas. ure. Our route was through the pleasant little village of Orwell, five miles southeast of the landing. There we turned southward, and followed the margin of the broad ravine or valley through which the retreating Americans and pursuing British passed when St. Clair evacuated Ticonderoga. The road was made very tortuous to avoid the high ridges and deep valleys which intersect in all directions, while at the same time it gradually ascends for several miles. I never passed through a more picturesque country. The slopes and valleys were smiling with cultivation, and in every direction small lakes were sparkling in the noonday sun. Within about six miles of the battle-ground we descended into a romantic valley imbosomed in a spur of the Green Mountains. We passed several small lakes, lying one below another, over which arose rough and lofty precipices, their summits crowned with cedar, hemlock, pine, and spruce. The tall trunks of the pines, black and branchless, scathed by lightning and the tempest, arose above the surrounding forests like mighty sentinels, and added much to the wild grandeur of the scene. From the rough and narrow valley we ascended to a high, rolling table-land, well cultivated; and upon the highest part of my, this tract, surrounded on the south and east by loftier hills, the battle of Hubbardton 1777. occurred. General Fraser, whom I have already mentioned as having started after the Americans from Ticonderoga, continued his pursuit of St. Clair and his army through the day, and, learning from some Tory scouts that they were not far in advance, he ordered his men to lie that night upon their arms, to be ready to push forward at daybreak. About three in the morning his troops were put in motion, and about five o'clock his advanced scouts discovered the American sentries, who discharged their pieces and retreated to the main body of the detachment, which was left behind by St. Clair, under the command of Colonels Warner and Francis. Their place of encampment was in the southeast part of Hubbardton, Rutland county, near the Pittsford line, upon the farm of John Selleck,' not far from the place where the Baptist meeting-house now stands. The land is now owned by a son of Captain Barber, who was in the engagement. He kindly accompanied me to the spot, and pointed out the localities, according to the instructions of his patriotic father. The engraving on the opposite page represents the general view of the place of encampment and the battle-ground. When the British advanced guard discovered the Americans, they were breakfasting near a dwelling which stood close by the Baptist meeting-house, the twostory building seen in the center of the picture. The dark spot near the fence, seen between the larger trees in the foreground (I in the map of the battle), marks the remains of the cellar of the old house. The road on the right is that leading toward Ticonderoga; and the roofs of the houses, seen over the orchard on the right, mark the direction of the road lead
receive him. The selectmen carried the day. He explained to me the nature of the apparent error in the registration of the birth and christening of Dr. Franklin. The entries of both events are upon the same day, Sunday, 17th of January, 1706. An old man, who remembered the circumstance well, for it caused some gossip at the time, told him that Dr. Franklin's mother went to church and received the communion in the morning, gave birth to her son at noon, and in the afternoon the child was christened. * The first settlement in this town was in the spring of 1774, and consisted of only two families. In 1775 seven other families joined them, among whom was Mr. Selleck, and these nine constituted the whole population of the town when the battle occurred. On the day previous a party of Indians and Tories, under Captain Sherwood, came upon the inhabitants and made prisoners of two farmers named Hickock, and their families, and two young men named Keeler and Kellogg. They captured two or three others, and carried them all off to Ticonderoga, leaving their families to shift for themselves. The sorrowing wives and children made a toilsome journey over the mountains to Connecticut, whence they had emigrated. The men remained prisoners at Ticonderoga (except two who escaped) until after the surrender of Burgoyne in October, when that fortress was retaken by the Americans.—See Thompson's Gazetteer of Vermont.
View of the Battle-ground. The Battle. Retreat and Surrender of Colonel Hale. His reasonable Excuse.
ing down to the valley toward Castleton. The large boulder in front is famed by local tra
dition as the observatory of the first man of the British van who discovered the Americans; and it is related that he was shot by a sentinel before he could leap down. The range of hills in the distance are the Pittsford Mountains, over which a portion of the Americans fled toward Rutland. A small branch of a tributary of Castleton Creek runs through the intervale between the meeting-house and the hills beyond. The hottest of the fight occurred upon the slope between the large tree and the meeting-house. It was covered with ripe grain when I visited it, and August the achievements of the tiller gathering his sheaves seemed more truly great than all 1*. the honors and renown which wholesale slaughter ever procured for a warrior chieftain. It was an excessively hot morning in July when the battle of Hubbardton com- July 7. menced. The American force consisted of the three regiments of Warner, Francis, 1777. and Hale, and such stragglers from the main army then at Castleton (six miles in advance) as had been picked up on the way. The Americans were about thirteen hundred strong, and the British, under Fraser, about eight hundred. Reidesel and his Germans were still in the rear, but, expecting his arrival every moment, Fraser began the attack at seven in the morning, fearing that the Americans might escape if he delayed. The charge of the enemy was well received, and the battle raged furiously. Had Warner been well sustained by the militia regiment under Colonel Hale, he might have secured a victory; but that officer, with his troops, fled toward Castleton, hoping to join the main army there under St. Clair, leaving the commander with only seven hundred men to oppose the enemy. On the way, Hale and his men fell in with an inconsiderable party of British soldiers, to whom they surrendered, without offering any resistance, although the numbers were about equal." They
Thir Bartle-Graound or Hubbardtux.
* Colonel Hale has been severely censured for this act of apparent cowardice, but when every circumstance is taken into account, there is much to induce a mitigation of blame. Himself and a large portion of his men were in feeble health, and quite unfit for active service, and his movement was one of precau tion rather than of cowardly alarm. Rivals, soon after he surrendered, circulated reports unfavorable to his reputation. On hearing of them, he wrote to General Washington, asking him to obtain his exchange, that he might vindicate his character by a court-martial; but before this could be accomplished he died, while a prisoner on Long Island, in September, 1780.
Battle of Hubbardton. Defeat of the Americans. Death of Colonel Francis.
were well stationed upon the brow of the hill, but so sudden and unexpected was the attack, that no other breast-works could - o - ed, his
long time the conflict o Øm. was severe, for Reide- or `-- s/ners flying. sel still did not make his “s M The firing appearance. The British * reaching his ‘grenadiers occupied the % / ears, he had Castleton road, and pre- so pressed on as
rapidly as the rough forest road would allow. His Chasseurs, under Major Barner, were immediately brought into action in support of Fraser's left flank. At of that moment the whole of British line made a bayonet % charge upon the Americans with o terrible effect. The latter, supposing that the Germans in full force were coming upon them, broke and fled with great his com- /* precipitation, some over the Pittsford Mountains panions so toward Rutland, and others down the valley toward Castleton." appear- The Americans lost three hundred and twenty-four in killed, wounded, and prisoners. The brave Colonel Francis was slain while gallantly fighting at the head of his regiment, and twelve officers were made prisoners. The British loss was one hundred and eighty-three, among whom were Major Pratt and about twenty inferior officers." The British also captured about two hundred stand of arms. When General St. Clair heard the firing at Hubbardton, he attempted to send a force to the relief of Warner, but the militia absolutely refused to go, and the regulars and others were too far on their way to Fort Edward to be recalled. St. Clair had just learned, too, that Burgoyne was at Skenesborough, and he hastened forward to join General Schuyler, which he did on the 12th, with his troops worm down by fatigue and lack of provisions. The loss to the Americans by the evacuation of these posts on the lake was one hundred and twenty-eight pieces of cannon and a considerable quantity of ammu
vented the Americans
Explanation of THE MAP-A, advanced corps of General Fraser, attacked at B; C, position of the corps while it was forming; D, Earl of Balcarras detached to cover the right wing; E, the van-guard and Brunswick company of Chasseurs coming up with General Reidesel; F, position of the Americans after Reidesel arrived. The lines extending downward show the course of the retreat of the Americans over the Pittsford Mountains. H, position of the British after the action; I, house where the wounded were carried, mentioned in the description of the picture on page 144; O, position of the Americans previous to the action. This map is a reduced copy of one drawn by P. Gerlach, Burgoyne's deputy quartermaster general.
* Many of the Americans, in their precipitate retreat, threw away their muskets to rid themselves of the encumbrance. Some have been found, within a few years, in the woods on the line of the retreat. One of them, of American manufacture, is in my possession, and dated 1774. The bayonet is fixed, the flint is in the lock, and the powder and ball are still in the barrel.
* The statements concerning the loss in this battle are various and contradictory. Some accounts say that nearly six hundred, who were wounded, crawled off into the woods and died; and others, again, put the American loss down at less than three hundred. There is a preponderance of testimony in favor of the number I have given, and it is, doubtless, near the truth.
General Schuyler's Forces at Fort Edward. Return to Lake Champlain. An old Soldier. Mount independence
nition and stores. In every respect the event was disastrous, and, as we have seen, produced much discontent in the army and disappointment throughout the country. General Schuyler summoned the fragments of the broken armies to his camp at Fort Ed. ward. All united, numbered only four thousand four hundred men, and this was the whole effective force opposed to the southward progress of Burgoyne. Nearly one half of these deserted, not to the enemy, but to their homes, before the end of the month. Yet the general neither despaired nor remained idle. He kept his men busily engaged in destroying bridges, felling trees, digging deep trenches, and making other obstructions in the forest paths from Fort Anne to Fort Edward, to delay the progress of the enemy; and this labor resulted in greatly impeding Burgoyne's march, and in delaying his arrival upon the Hudson. The subsequent events connected with these two armies, excepting the battle of Bennington and the expedition of St. Leger, have already been noticed in detail. The latter will be considered in their proper order. I lingered upon the battle-ground in Hubbardton as long as time would allow, for the view from that lofty table-land is both beautiful and grand, particularly in the direction of Castleton, on the southwest. A broad valley, bounded on either side by ranges of high hills, cultivated to their summits, and diversified by rich intervales covered with ripe harvests and dark green corn, spread out below us, a lovely picture of peace and prosperity. The view at its further extremity is bounded by the high hills near the Hudson, and on the left some of the higher summits were dark with spruce and cedar trees. We returned to Sholes's by the way of Hyde's, in Sudbury, where we dined. As usual, every delicacy of the season was upon his table. Indeed, “a table equal to Hyde's" has become a proverbial expression of praise among tourists, for it is his justifiable boast that he spreads the choicest repasts that are given between Montreal and New Orleans. His beautifully embowered mansion is near the base of the Green Mountains, by the margin of a charming lake, on the borders of a rich valley, about twelve miles east of Lake Champlain, and a more delightful summer retreat can not well be imagined. Our route thither was over a rough mountain road. Among the rugged hills we met a venerable, white-haired man leaning upon two canes, and greatly bowed by the weight of years. I accosted him with reverence, and, in answer to my inquiry whether he was a soldier of the Revolution, he informed me that he was with General Sullivan on Rhode Island, and was on duty in the fort on Butt's Hill at the time of the engagement there on the 29th of August, 1778, known as the battle of Quaker Hill, We arrived at Sholes's between five and six o'clock in the evening. Our excellent host and his neighbor and friend, living at the foot of Mount Independence, anticipating my wishes, had a skiff in readiness to convey us across the bay to visit that memorable spot. Although I had ridden forty miles during the day, and storm-clouds had been gathering thick and fast for two hours, and now threatened a speedy down-pouring, I was too anxious for the visit to allow fatigue or rain to thwart my purpose. Accompanied by my companion and another young lady, the daughter of Mr. S., we pushed across the bay—five of us in a light skiff, and the wind rising—to the foot of Mount Independence, on its steep southern side. We ascended by the old road constructed in 1776. The top of the summit is flat tableland, and afforded a very eligible site for strong military works. It was first occupied by the Americans early in 1776, when they commenced the erection of batteries, barracks, and houses, with the view of making it a place of general rendezvous, and a recruiting station for the army of the north." It was heavily timbered when they took possession of it, but almost all the trees were felled for building purposes and for fuel. A second growth of tim
Mount Independence is situated in the southwest corner of Orwell, in Vermont, one mile north of Sholes's Landing, and contains about two hundred and fifty acres of land, some of which is arable. The troops stationed there in 1776 received the news of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, by the Contimental Congress, with the most extravagant demonstrations of joy. It was just after the reveille, on the morning of the 18th of July, that a courier arrived with the glad tidings; and, by a general order, a gala day for the soldiers ensued. At sunset they fired a salute of thirteen guns, in honor of the confederation, and named the place on which they were encamped Mount Independence, in commemoration of the event.