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Title: Reminiscences of the Military Life and Sufferings of Col. Timothy Bigelow, Commander of the Fifteenth Regiment of the Massachusetts Line in the Continental Army, during the War of the Revolution
Author: Hersey, Charles
Language: English
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                              OF THE



                      COL. TIMOTHY BIGELOW,


                    THE WAR OF THE REVOLUTION.

                        BY CHARLES HERSEY.

                   PRINTED BY HENRY J. HOWLAND,
                         212 Main Street.

Transcriber's Note:

    Minor spelling and typographical errors have been corrected without
    note. A table of contents, though not present in the original
    publication, has been provided below:

        IX. SCOUTING.

              COL. T. BIGELOW LAWRENCE,
           I Dedicate this feeble effort.

It is written to perpetuate the memory of one of

                     and also of
               HIS COMPANIONS IN ARMS,


The writer of the following pages was dandled upon the knee of a worthy
sire, who had spent eight years of his life in the struggle for
Independence, and taught me the name of Col. Bigelow, long before I was
able to articulate his name. Many have been the times, while sitting on
my father's lap around the old hearthstone, now more than fifty years
since, that I listened to affecting reminiscences of Col. Bigelow and
others, until his voice would falter, and tears would flow down his aged
and careworn face, and then my mother and elder members of the family
would laugh, and inquire, "what is there in all of that, that should
make you weep?" but I always rejoiced with him, and wept when I saw him
weep. After the death of my father, having engaged in the active scenes
of life, those childish memories in some degree wore away, but the
happiest moments of my life have been spent in company with some old
Revolutionary Patriot, while I listened to the recital of their
sufferings and their final conquest. The first history of the American
Revolution I ever read, is found in Morse's Geography, published in
1814. This I read until I had committed the whole to memory. The next
was what may be found in Lincoln's History of Worcester, published in
1836, and from which I have taken liberal extracts. The next is the
History of the War of Independence of the United States of America,
written by Charles Botta, translated from the Italian by George
Alexander Otis, in 1821; from this also, I have taken extracts. I have
also consulted Lossing's Pictorial Field Book of the Revolution. In
neither of these histories (except Lincoln's) does the name of Col.
Bigelow occur. Therefore I have depended principally upon tradition,
coming from his own brethren in arms, and corroborated by history. It
has been exceedingly difficult to trace the course and conduct of Col.
Bigelow from any history of the war; but history, aided by tradition,
makes up the history of any man. To illustrate: I get the account of
Col. Bigelow's conduct at the battle of Monmouth, as stated in section
vii, from Mr. Solomon Parsons, which I received from his own lips more
than forty years ago, and saw in his journal; and more than thirty years
since, I heard Gen. Lafayette and Mr. Parsons refer to those scenes,[A]
the remembrance of which drew tears from each of their eyes, and also
from many of the spectators. I find that Mr. Parsons was in Lafayette's
detachment, Gen. Green's division, Gen. Glover's brigade, and Col.
Bigelow's regiment. All of this I knew forty years ago, from tradition.
From history we all know that Gen. Lafayette and Gen. Green were at that
battle, and I am happy to say this whole subject has very recently
become an item of history, which may be found on page 260 of Washburn's
History of Leicester. In this way, and from such sources, I have
gathered the facts embodied in these pages. As to the personal
appearance of Col. Bigelow, I have procured from witnesses who were as
well acquainted and familiar with him and his physiognomy, as the old
residents of this city are with our venerable friend Gov. Lincoln. Some
of them are still living. There is one man now living in this city, who
was thirty years of age when Col. Bigelow died. This man is a native of
Worcester, and knew Col. Bigelow as well as he did any man in town, and
heard him speak in the Old South Church many times, against the

These articles have appeared in the Daily Spy of this city, and at the
suggestion of several distinguished individuals who wished to see them
in a more durable form for reading and preservation, I have concluded to
present them to the public, in the following pages.


[A] Lafayette's visit, 1824.

[B] Ebenezer Moore, born 1760, Oct. 10.




It is well known in this community, that one of the descendants of Col.
Bigelow is about to erect a monument to his memory within the enclosure
of our beautiful central park. Col. Timothy Bigelow Lawrence of Boston,
a great grandson of the subject of this notice, received permission from
the city government, last year, to enclose a lot of sufficient size, and
to erect such a monument as he might deem suitable and proper. It is
understood that Col. Lawrence will commence this benevolent and
patriotic work in the spring or early summer.[C] Let me suggest to him,
to the mayor and council, and to all whom it may concern, the propriety
of laying the foundation stone of this monument on the 19th day of
April, which will be the eighty-fifth anniversary of the marching of the
"minute men" from Worcester, under the command of Capt. Bigelow. It
seems to me that Worcester cannot "afford" to let this opportunity pass
without making some signal recognition of the event. Cannot the citizens
of Worcester, for the first time in eighty-five years, gather with their
families around the grave containing the last remains of her noble son?


[C] June, 1860. We are happy to say, that Col. Lawrence has the work now
in successful progress.



The name of Timothy Bigelow stands conspicuous in the history of
Worcester. As early as 1773, we find him on a committee with Wm. Young,
David Bancroft, Samuel Curtis, and Stephen Salisbury, to report upon the
grievances under which the province labored, and also upon what was then
called the "Boston Pamphlet," which had been introduced at the town
meeting in March. The writer of this article thinks that this "Boston
Pamphlet" was John Hancock's oration in commemoration of the "Bloody
Massacre" of the 5th of March, 1770. At the adjourned meeting, in May
following, this committee made an elaborate report, recommending a
committee of correspondence. The town adopted the report, and elected as
the committee, Wm. Young, Timothy Bigelow, and John Smith. In December
following, the leading whigs of the town assembled and formed a society,
which afterwards took the name of the American Political Society, and
Nathan Baldwin, Samuel Curtis, and Timothy Bigelow, were chosen a
committee to report a constitution. This society, with Timothy Bigelow
for a leader, did good service to the town and to the country. Their
last and most powerful blow was struck in town meeting, 7th of March,
1774, when the society presented a long preamble and resolutions, which
were considered by the royalists to be treasonable and revolutionary.
"When these resolutions were read," said an eye-witness of the scene to
the writer, "fear, anxiety and awful suspense, sat upon the countenance
of every man of the whig party except Timothy Bigelow, the blacksmith;
while the tories were pale with rage." After a few moments, James
Putnam, the leader of the tories, arose. Putnam was said to be "the best
lawyer in North America. His arguments were marked by strong and clear
reasoning, logical precision and arrangement, and that sound judgment
whose conclusions were presented so forcibly as to command assent." He
made such a speech against the resolutions as had never before been
heard in Worcester; and when he sat down, the same informant said that
"not a man of the whig party thought a single word could be said,--that
old Putnam, the tory, had wiped them all out." Timothy Bigelow at length
arose, without learning, without practice in public speaking, without
wealth,--the tories of Worcester had, at that day, most of the wealth
and learning,--but there he stood upon the floor of the Old South
Church, met the Goliath of the day, and vanquished him. The governor of
Massachusetts Bay, and the crown and parliament of Great Britain, were
brought to feel the effect of his sling and stone. Suffice it to say,
the resolutions were carried triumphantly. This was the first grand
public effort made by Col. Timothy Bigelow, in his part of the great
drama of the American revolution.



In August, 1774, a company of minute men were enrolled under the command
of Capt. Bigelow, and met each evening after the labors of the day, for
drill and martial exercise. Muskets were procured for their arming from
Boston. Their services were soon required for the defence of the
country. At eleven o'clock, A. M., April 19th, 1775, an express came to
town, shouting, as he passed through the street at full speed, "To arms!
to arms! the war is begun!" The bell rang out the alarm, cannons were
fired, and in a short time the minute men were paraded on the green,
under the command of Capt. Timothy Bigelow. After fervent prayer by Rev.
Mr. Maccarty, they took up the line of march. When they arrived at
Sudbury, intelligence of the retreat of the enemy met them, and a second
company of minute men from Worcester, under command of Capt. Benjamin
Flagg, overtook them, when both moved on to Cambridge.

The writer cannot forbear to mention a few of the names of these
soldiers of freedom. Most of them have descendants now living, and
living on the same farms that their illustrious sires or grandsires
left, when they started with Captains Bigelow and Flagg, to repel the
enemy at Lexington. Eli Chapin was the father of Mrs. Jonathan Flagg and
Mrs. Capt. Campbell; Wm. Trowbridge was the father of Mrs. Lewis Chapin;
Jonathan Stone, grandfather of Emory Stone, Esq., who now owns and
occupies the same estate; Asa Ward, grandfather of Wm. Ward; Simon
Gates, father of David R., who now lives on and owns the same estate;
David Richards was in Capt. Flagg's company, but after he returned,
concluding there was going to be "hot work," to use his own words forty
years afterwards, he turned over to the tories. The organization of the
army was immediately made at Cambridge, and Timothy Bigelow was
appointed Major in Colonel Jonathan Ward's regiment. In the autumn of
1775, Major Bigelow volunteered his services, with his men from
Worcester, in that expedition against Quebec, alike memorable for its
boldness of conception, the chivalrous daring of its execution, and its
melancholy failure. During their march from Cambridge to Quebec, Major
Bigelow and his noble band endured severe hardships, reduced by hunger
to the necessity of eating their camp dogs, and in their last extremity,
cutting their boots and shoes from their feet to sustain life. Had that
winter march through the wilderness been the exploit of a Grecian
phalanx or Roman legion, the narrative of suffering and danger would
have been long since celebrated in song and story.

One of the three divisions, penetrating through the forest by the route
of the Kennebec, was commanded by Major Bigelow; and during a day's halt
of the troops on this memorable march, Major Bigelow ascended a rugged
height about forty miles northwest from Norridgewock, for the purpose of
observation. This eminence still bears the name of Mount Bigelow. In the
attack on Quebec, on the night of the 31st of December, Major Bigelow
was taken prisoner, with those of his men who were not killed, and
remained in captivity until the summer of 1776.



We left Major Bigelow a prisoner of war. Whether he was confined in
Canada, transported to Halifax, or placed aboard an English prison ship,
does not appear on the record. But tradition has it, that he went aboard
one of those tory vessels, so noted in the history of George the Third.
The severe treatment and cruelty he received here, did not cool his
ardor. His motto was, "I have not begun to fight yet." An exchange
having been effected in the summer of 1776, after an imprisonment of
seven months, he returned and was immediately called into the service
with the rank of lieutenant colonel; and the next February, he was
appointed colonel of the fifteenth regiment of the Massachusetts line in
the continental army. His regiment was composed principally of men from
Worcester, though there were some from Leicester, Auburn, Paxton and
Holden, and a braver band never took the field, or mustered for battle.
High character for courage and discipline, early acquired, was
maintained unsullied to the close of their service. His troops being
drilled, Col. Bigelow marched to join the northern army, under the
command of Gen. Gates, and arrived in season to join the main army at
Saratoga, and to assist in the capture of Gen. Burgoyne.

At this scene of blood and carnage, Col. Bigelow, with his regiment from
Worcester, behaved with uncommon gallantry. It was said by our
informant, who was on the spot at the time, that the 15th regiment,
under the command of Col. Bigelow, was the most efficient of any on the

Col. Bigelow was of fine personal appearance; his figure was tall and
commanding; his bearing was erect and martial, and his step was said to
have been one of the most graceful in the army. With taste for military
life, he was deeply skilled in the science of war, and the troops under
his command and instruction exhibited the highest degree of discipline.
Col. Bigelow possessed a vigorous intellect, an ardent temperament, and
a warm and generous heart.



We left Col. Bigelow with the American army, under the command of Gen.
Gates, on the banks of the Hudson, exulting over the capture of Burgoyne
and the flower of the British army. The next we hear of him, he, with
his regiment, together with Col. Morgan's celebrated rifle corps and one
or two other regiments, are ordered to march to the relief of the army
in Pennsylvania, under the command of Gen. Washington. This campaign in
Pennsylvania was very disastrous to the American army. Being poorly
clothed, and more poorly fed, they were not in condition to meet the
tried veterans of the English army. It was said of this reinforcement
from Gen. Gates' army, that they were men of approved courage, and
flushed with recent victory, but squalid in their appearance, from
fatigue and want of necessaries. But when Col. Bigelow led his regiment
into line with the main army at White Marsh, a small place about
fourteen miles from Philadelphia, he was recognized by the
commander-in-chief, as the very identical Capt. Bigelow whom he had seen
at Cambridge with a company of minute men from Worcester; and while
Washington held Col. Bigelow by the hand to introduce him to his brother
officers, he said, "This, gentlemen officers, is Col. Bigelow, and the
15th regiment of the Massachusetts line under his command. This,
gentlemen, is the man who vanquished the former royalists in his own
native town. He marched the first company of minute men from Worcester
at the alarm from Lexington. He shared largely in the sufferings of the
campaign against Quebec, and was taken prisoner there. After his
exchange he raised a regiment in his own neighborhood, and joining the
northern army under Gen. Gates, participated in the struggle with
Burgoyne, and shares largely in the honor of that victory."

It was said by an eye-witness, that "this was an exceedingly interesting
and affecting event, and could not fail to satisfy every one of the high
estimation in which the commander-in-chief held Col. Bigelow."

The American army was now watching the movements of Sir William Howe,
commander of the British army, who soon landed his troops at the head of
Elk river, in two columns, the right commanded by Gen. Knyphausen, the
left by Lord Cornwallis. After several skirmishes, the two armies met
upon the banks of the Brandywine. In this battle, the Americans were
unsuccessful, and soon after the British army took possession of
Philadelphia, and the American army took their position at Germantown,
which is six miles northwest from Philadelphia. Here again the Americans
are repulsed, and each army retires to winter quarters, the British to
Philadelphia, the American to Valley Forge.



Valley Forge is on the west side of the Schuylkill, twenty miles from
Philadelphia, and this is where Col. Bigelow spent the winter of
1777-78, with his regiment, and here is where the soldiers of freedom
suffered most intensely. The British general had derived no other fruit
from all his recent victories, than of having procured excellent winter
quarters for his army in Philadelphia. Here they spent the winter within
the splendid mansions of that city, feasting upon the best the country
afforded; while the American army were suffering in their mud huts, half
clothed, with famine staring them in the face. Many of the soldiers were
seen to drop dead with cold and hunger; others had their bare feet cut
by the ice, and left their tracks in blood. The American army exhibited
in their quarters at Valley Forge such examples of constancy and
resignation, as were never paralleled before. In such pressing danger of
famine and the dissolution of the army, mutiny appeared almost
inevitable. At this alarming crisis, Col. Bigelow had a party of
officers and soldiers convene at his headquarters one evening,--such a
party as we should call in these days a surprise party,--when the
subject of abandoning the cause was fully discussed. Col. Bigelow heard
all that was to be said on the subject. Some of his men argued that
Congress could not clothe or feed them, and they did not feel it to be
their duty to abandon their families and homes, to starve in that cold
climate. When all had been said by as many as wished to express their
minds, Col. Bigelow arose and said:--"Gentlemen, I have heard all the
remarks of discontent offered here this evening, but as for me, I have
long since come to the conclusion, to stand by the American cause, come
what will. I have enlisted for life. I have cheerfully left my home and
family. All the friends I have, are the friends of my country. I expect
to suffer with hunger, with cold, and with fatigue, and, if need be, I
expect to lay down my life for the liberty of these colonies." Such
remarks as these could not fail of having the desired effect.

About this time a large herd of cattle was driven into the camp from New
Jersey and Connecticut. Worcester had sent Col. Bigelow's regiment
sixty-two sets of shirts, shoes and stockings, as their proportion for
the army. Other towns did their part. Worcester sent £78 in lawful
money, which was taken up at the Old South church after divine service.
Now the Marquis de la Fayette, with his money and with the French
troops, had arrived; now Count D'Estaing, with his powerful fleet, were
in the American waters; now Gen. Gates, with the remainder of the
northern army, had arrived to join the army of Washington. Spring comes;
and the day that the English abandon Philadelphia, the American army
leaves Valley Forge, to watch their movements. They cross the Delaware
at Coryell's Ferry, and take post at Hopewell; they do not venture to
cross the Raritan. The English reach Allentown; Gen. Lee occupies
Englishtown; Washington encamped at Cranberry; Morgan and Col. Bigelow
are harassing the right flank of the English. The British, now upon the
heights of Freehold, pass all their baggage to the hills of Middletown
for safety, and then comes the battle of Monmouth.



The battle of Monmouth, so called by the Americans, was fought in
Freehold, Monmouth county, N. J., situated thirty-five miles southeast
from Trenton. The commander-in-chief had detached two brigades to the
support of Gen. Wayne, who had been sent on as a vanguard, and had
already come up with the British rear. These two brigades were commanded
by Gens. Lee and Lafayette. At this time Col. Bigelow was under the
command of Gen. Lafayette. This vanguard of the American army had so
severely galled the rear of the British, that Gen. Clinton resolved to
wheel his whole army and put the Americans to flight at the point of the
bayonet. For a short time the conflict was severe. At length Gen. Lee
gave way, for which he was afterwards court-martialed and suspended for
one year. The light horse, also, of Lafayette's brigade, gave way, and
nothing of that celebrated vanguard but Col. Bigelow's regiment, with
two or three other regiments, remained. It was said that if Gen. Lee had
stood his ground, as he might have done, a decisive victory would have
been gained. Col. Bigelow's regiment was the last to quit the field.

It was said by one of Col. Bigelow's men, who was an intimate
acquaintance of the writer of this article, and who was wounded at that
time, that, at the time he fell, Col. Bigelow seized his musket from
him, and fought more like a tiger than like a man. This man was Mr.
Solomon Parsons, whose son now occupies and owns the same farm on which
his father died, on Apricot street, in this city. Col. Bigelow with his
regiment had to retire, but was soon met by Washington, with the main
army, who was moving up to the rescue. After the troops of Lee and
Lafayette had been rallied, the whole army turned upon the enemy, and
then came the tug of war, for "Greek met Greek." The English, flushed
with the advantages they had got, and the Americans under the command of
their own beloved Washington, many of whom had never fought before by
his side, were determined to retake the field, or die in the attempt.
The conflict was now terrible indeed, and in the midst of flame, and
smoke, and metal hail, Bigelow was conspicuous. The English were
repulsed and driven to the woods. The Americans retake the field; night
comes on; the whole American army rest on their arms through the night,
that they may renew the attack with the dawn of day; day comes on, and
the British army has fled, as one of their officers said by moonlight,
but it so happened that the moon set that night at 10 o'clock, being but
four days old.

Such was the issue of the battle of Freehold, or of Monmouth, as the
Americans call it. We have now traced the military history of Col.
Bigelow from April 19, 1775, to June 28, 1778.



The history of Col. Bigelow is so interwoven with that of the
Revolution, that it is difficult to separate the two. We shall
therefore, give in this chapter a short account of the bloody butchery
of the inhabitants of that beautiful little colony at Wyoming, and what
Col. Bigelow thought of that demoniac cruelty, the bare remembrance of
which makes us shudder. Wilkesbarre is the shire town of Luzerne county,
Pa. It is situated in the Wyoming valley, one hundred and fourteen miles
northeast from Harrisburg, and one hundred and twenty northwest from
Philadelphia. This place was settled by emigrants from Connecticut in
1773, under the auspices of one Col. Durkee, who gave it the compound
name it bears in honor of two eminent and zealous advocates of the
American cause in the British parliament, Wilkes and Barre. Wyoming
contained eight townships, each containing a square of five miles,
beautifully situated on both sides of the Susquehanna. Wilkesbarre is
one of those towns. The inhabitants of this beautiful valley were much
engaged in their country's cause, and nearly one thousand of their
young men had joined the army, and were absent from home. Most of those
remaining at home were tories, although these were not so numerous as
the friends of liberty. Yet they formed an alliance with the Indians,
and the first of July there appeared before the fort at Wilkesbarre
about sixteen hundred armed men, two-thirds of which were tories and
one-third Indians. The colony of Wyoming could muster only about five
hundred men. In this condition, the tories and Indians fell upon them,
and put them nearly all to death; only about sixty escaped. Never was a
rout so deplorable; never was a massacre accompanied with so many
horrors. The barbarians took the men, women and children promiscuously
into houses and barracks, and set fire to them and consumed them all,
listening, delighted, to hear the moans and shrieks of the expiring

The crops of every description were consigned to the flames. The
habitations, granaries, and other constructions--the fruit of years of
human industry--sunk in ruin, under the destructive strokes of those
cannibals. Their fury was also wreaked upon the very beasts. They cut
out the tongues of the horses and cattle, and left them to wander in the
midst of those fields, lately so luxuriant, but now in desolation, to
undergo the torments of a lingering death. Capt. Bedlock was stripped
naked, and stuck full of pine splinters and set on fire. Captains Ransom
and Durgee were thrown alive into the fire. One of the tories, whose
mother had married a second husband, butchered her with his own hand,
and then massacred his father-in-law, his own sisters, and their infants
in the cradle. Another killed his own father, and exterminated all his
family. A third imbued his hands in the blood of his brothers, his
sisters, his brother-in-law, and his father-in-law. Other atrocities, if
possible still more abominable, we leave in silence. The tories appeared
to vie with and even to surpass the savages in barbarity. Such men as
these, Col. Bigelow had to contend with in Worcester, in 1774, and upon
hearing of this bloody massacre, it was said that Col. Bigelow was
filled with horror and indignation, and swore eternal vengeance and
condign punishment upon all the tories. Col. Bigelow at this time was
at his post in Rhode Island, and on hearing of this bloody tragedy, it
was said by the same informant, that he walked his room for one hour
without speaking. At length he exclaimed, "Our worst enemies are those
of our own household."



After the British evacuated Rhode Island, Col. Bigelow moves on with his
regiment, and the next we hear of him he is at "Verplank's Point." The
American army was at this time very much divided. The great object of
the commander-in-chief was to annoy the British forces as much as
possible, and we think that it is not saying too much of Col. Bigelow,
that no Colonel in the whole American army was better qualified for that
service. His whole life had been and was at this time, devoted to his
country's cause. He had left Worcester and all its pleasant
associations, with a determination to free the colonies from the mother
country, or die in the attempt. He seemed to feel that the whole
responsibility of the struggle rested on him. Always ready to obey
orders from superior officers cheerfully, and never wanting in energy to
execute them. The deep snows of Quebec had not cooled his ardor. The
fetid stench of an English prison ship could not abate his love of
liberty and country. The blood and carnage of Saratoga and of Monmouth
had given him confidence. The blood-stained soil of Valley Forge had
inured him to hardships to which others would have yielded.

The news of the bloody butchery at Wyoming had aroused his iron nerve to
its utmost tension against tories, and in this condition he was ordered
with his regiment to Robinson's Farms, N. J. Here he breaks up a "nest"
of tories, who were supplying the English with hay, grain and other
things necessary for their army. An anecdote of this bloodless battle
was related to the writer by one of Col. Bigelow's men, who was present
at the time. The English had sent a company of men to guard their teams
while removing some hay they were receiving from their friends the
tories, when Col. Bigelow came up with his regiment, and ordered them to
disperse. The tories were insolent; the English captain refused to go
until the hay went with them. Upon this Col. Bigelow ordered a part of
his men to fire upon them. At this moment, one of Col. Bigelow's men,
from Worcester, who had just joined the regiment, and, we are sorry to
say, was a coward, exclaimed at the top of his voice, "In the name of
God, why don't Col. Bigelow order us to retreat?" This man in after life
received a pension from government, and died respected a few years since
in this city. His children are now living here, and therefore we shall
not call his name. He was always afraid of gunpowder. The English were
also frightened and fled, leaving the hay on the hands of Col. Bigelow,
who, having no use for it, returned it to its tory owner, on the express
condition that he should not sell it to the British.

Colonel Bigelow is now ordered to Peekskill. This is a town on the
Hudson, forty-six miles north of New York, and one hundred and six miles
south of Albany. Here he frightened the tories, and drove the British
down the river to New York. Col. Bigelow is again at Verplank's, and
Stony Point, guarding the pass called King's Ferry. Gen. Clinton moves
upon them with the British army, and Commodore Collier with the British
squadron ascends the river; the British storm the fort named the Fort of
Lafayette, at Verplank's; the fortress had to surrender, but not until
Col. Bigelow showed them the points of his bayonets. It was said of this
conflict, that Col. Bigelow ordered his men to draw their charge and
approach the enemy with fixed bayonets, while he himself laid aside his
sword and took a musket from a sick soldier, and with it fought more
like a tiger than a man. This fort, being overpowered by the enemy, at
length gave way and surrendered at discretion. The policy of the English
is now to resume the war of devastation, and the army is ordered into
South Carolina. Gen. Gates is ordered to the command of the southern



Gen. Gates takes the command of the southern army. The British at this
time had almost undisputed possession of South Carolina, Georgia and
North Carolina. In this condition Gates resolved to risk a general
battle with Lord Cornwallis, and for which he was severely blamed. He
lost the battle, hence the blame. If, on the other hand, he had gained
it, he would have gained another laurel to place by the side of the one
gained at Saratoga. At this battle, Gen. Gates lost more than two
thousand men, and among them three valuable officers. Gen. Gregory was
killed, and Baron de Kalb and Gen. Rutherford of Carolina were taken
prisoners. This was the result of the battle at Camden. At this time,
Col. Bigelow was watching the movements of the British troops in New
York, Connecticut and Rhode Island. In this stage of the narrative, the
writer cannot refrain from a passing tribute of respect to the memory of
those patriotic women of South Carolina, who displayed so ardent, so
rare a love of country, that scarcely could there be found in ancient or
modern history an instance more worthy to excite surprise and
admiration. They repaired on board ships, they descended into dungeons
where their husbands, children or friends were in confinement. They
carried them consolation and encouragement. "Summon your magnanimity,"
they said, "yield not to the fury of tyrants; hesitate not to prefer
prisons to infamy, death to servitude. America has fixed her eyes on her
beloved defenders; you will reap, doubt it not, the fruit of your
sufferings; they will produce liberty, that parent of all blessing; they
will shelter her forever from the assaults of British banditti; you are
the martyrs of a cause the most grateful to Heaven, and sacred to man."
By such words these generous women mitigated the miseries of the unhappy
prisoners. Exasperated at their constancy, the English condemned the
most zealous of them to banishment and confiscation. In bidding a last
farewell to their fathers, their children, their brothers, their
husbands, these heroines, far from betraying the least mark of
weakness, which in men might have been excused, exhorted them to arm
themselves with intrepidity. They conjured them not to allow fortune to
vanquish them, nor to suffer the love they bore their families to render
them unmindful of all they owed their country. A supernatural alacrity
seemed to animate them, when they accompanied their husbands into
distant countries, and even when they immured themselves with them in
the fetid ships into which they were inhumanly crowded. Reduced to the
most frightful indigence, they were seen to beg bread for themselves and
families. Among those who were nurtured in the lap of opulence, many
passed suddenly from the most delicate and the most elegant style of
living, to the rudest toils, and to the humblest services. But
humiliation could not triumph over their resolution and cheerfulness;
their example was a support to their companions in misfortune. To this
heroism of the women of Carolina it is principally to be imputed, that
the love, and even the name of liberty, were not totally extinguished in
the southern provinces. Col. Bigelow, hearing of the loss of Gates'
army, and the appointment of Gen. Green to the command of the southern
department, solicited and received orders from the commander-in-chief to
move on with his regiment to join Green; but did not arrive in season to
participate in the battles of Hobkirk and of Eutaw Springs, which closed
the campaign in the south.



Yorktown is a port of entry in Virginia, 70 miles E. S. E. from
Richmond, on the south side of York river, opposite Gloucester. The
British army from the South had encamped at this place and fortified it.
Col. Bigelow had arrived with his regiment to join Gen. Green. Col.
Bigelow is now in Gen. Lafayette's detachment. Lafayette's second
officer is Col. Hamilton, aid-de-camp of the commander-in-chief, a young
man of the highest expectations, and accompanied by Col. Laurens, son
of the former President of Congress.

Another detachment was commanded by the Baron de Viomesnit, the Count
Charles de Damas, and the Count de Deux-Ponts. The commanders addressed
their soldiers a short exhortation to inflame their courage; they
represented that this last effort would bring them to the close of their
glorious toils. The attack was extremely impetuous. Gen. Lafayette is
ordered to attack the right redoubt, while the Baron de Viomesnit is to
attack the left. This was done at the point of the bayonet. Suffice it
to say, that both redoubts were carried. One of Col. Bigelow's men, on
being inquired of by the writer where his Colonel was at this time,
answered, "Why, old Col. Tim _was everywhere all the time_, and you
would thought if you had been there, that there was nobody else in the
struggle but Col. Bigelow and his regiment." Before the morning of the
19th, those redoubts were all repaired and manned by the allies.

Now comes the celebrated 19th day of October, 1781. The day began to
appear, the allies open a tremendous fire from all their batteries; the
bombs showered copiously, the French fleet, under the command of Count
De Grasse, are opening a most deadly fire from the harbor. Lord
Cornwallis sends in a flag to General Washington, proposing a cessation
of arms for twenty-four hours. Washington would not consent to it, and
would grant but two hours, and during this interval he should expect the
propositions of the British commander. The proposition is made and
accepted. The British flotilla, consisting of two frigates, the
Guadaloupe and Fowey, besides about twenty transports (twenty others had
been burnt during the siege), one hundred and sixty pieces of field
artillery, mostly brass, with eight mortars, more than seven thousand
prisoners, exclusive of seamen, five hundred and fifty slain, including
one officer (Major Cochrane), were surrendered into the hands of the
armies of France and America, whose loss was about four hundred and
fifty in killed and wounded.

At the news of so glorious, so important a victory, transports of
exultation broke out from one extremity of America to the other. Nobody
dared longer to doubt of independence. A poet in Col. Bigelow's
regiment, made a short song commemorative of this event, in which
occurred these lines,

    "Count DeGrasse he lies in the harbor,
    And Washington is on shore."

A wag in Worcester, after they had returned, changed it so as to make it
read thus:

    "Count DeGrasse he lies in the harbor,
    And Bigelow is on shore."

Such was the end of the campaign of Virginia, which was well nigh being
that of the American war. This laid the foundation of a general peace.
Thus ended a long and arduous conflict, in which Great Britain expended
an hundred million of money, with an hundred thousand lives, and won
nothing. The United States endured great cruelty and distress from their
enemies, lost many lives and much treasure, but finally delivered
themselves from a foreign dominion, and gained a rank among the nations
of the earth.



After the surrender of Yorktown, the American army divide. Part of the
troops return to the banks of the Hudson, to watch the motions of
Clinton, who had still a large force at New York. The rest were sent to
South Carolina, to reinforce General Green, and confirm the authority of
Congress in those provinces.

Col. Bigelow and his regiment were among those that returned to the
Hudson. The Marquis de la Fayette embarked about the same time for
Europe, bearing with him the affection of the whole American people. In
a few months, Gen. Green had driven the British from the southern
colonies, and they retire to New York, to join the main army.

Col. Bigelow is ordered to leave West Point, where he was stationed, and
proceed to Rhode Island.

The next Spring, 1782, Sir Guy Carlton arrived in America and took
command of the British army at New York. Immediately after his arrival,
he acquainted General Washington and Congress, that negotiations for a
peace had been commenced at Paris. On the 30th of November, of that
year, the provisional articles of peace were signed.

Col. Bigelow returned to Worcester, but was very soon stationed at West
Point, for what purpose the writer could never ascertain. Afterwards he
was assigned to the command of the national arsenal at Springfield.
After his term of service was out there, he returned again to Worcester,
with a frame physically impaired by long hardship, toil and exposure,
with blighted worldly prospects, with the remains of private
property--considerable at the outset--seriously diminished by the many
sacrifices of his martial career.

In 1780, Col. Bigelow with others obtained a grant of 23040 acres of
land in Vermont, and founded a town on which was bestowed the name of
Montpelier, now the capital of the State. A severe domestic affliction
in 1787, the loss of his second son, Andrew, uniting with other
disappointments, depressed his energy, and cast over his mind a gloom,
presaging the approaching night of premature old age. He died March
31st, 1790, in the 51st year of his age.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Reminiscences of the Military Life and Sufferings of Col. Timothy Bigelow, Commander of the Fifteenth Regiment of the Massachusetts Line in the Continental Army, during the War of the Revolution" ***

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