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Title: Historic Tales, Vol. 1 (of 15) - The Romance of Reality
Author: Morris, Charles, 1833-1922
Language: English
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                  Édition d'Élite

                  Historical Tales

                The Romance of Reality


                     CHARLES MORRIS

  Author of "Half-Hours with the Best American Authors,"
            "Tales from the Dramatists," etc.

                   IN FIFTEEN VOLUMES

                        Volume I



                 J.B. LIPPINCOTT COMPANY

      Copyright, 1893, by J.B. LIPPINCOTT COMPANY.
      Copyright, 1904, by J.B. LIPPINCOTT COMPANY.
      Copyright, 1908, by J.B. LIPPINCOTT COMPANY.



It has become a commonplace remark that fact is often
stranger than fiction. It may be said, as a variant of this,
that history is often more romantic than romance. The pages
of the record of man's doings are frequently illustrated by
entertaining and striking incidents, relief points in the
dull monotony of every-day events, stories fitted to rouse
the reader from languid weariness and stir anew in his veins
the pulse of interest in human life. There are many
such,--dramas on the stage of history, life scenes that are
pictures in action, tales pathetic, stirring, enlivening,
full of the element of the unusual, of the stuff the novel
and the romance are made of, yet with the advantage of being
actual fact. Incidents of this kind have proved as
attractive to writers as to readers. They have dwelt upon
them lovingly, embellished them with the charms of rhetoric
and occasionally with the inventions of fancy, until what
began as fact has often entered far into the domains of
legend and fiction. It may well be that some of the
narratives in the present work have gone through this
process. If so, it is simply indicative of the interest
they have awakened in generations of readers and writers.
But the bulk of them are fact, so far as history in general
can be called fact, it having been our design to cull from
the annals of the nations some of their more stirring and
romantic incidents, and present them as a gallery of
pictures that might serve to adorn the entrance to the
temple of history, of which this work is offered as in some
sense an illuminated ante-chamber. As such, it is hoped that
some pilgrims from the world of readers may find it a
pleasant halting-place on their way into the far-extending
aisles of the great temple beyond.


VINELAND AND THE VIKINGS                                  9
CHAMPLAIN AND THE IROQUOIS                               34
THE STORY OF THE REGICIDES                               69
HOW THE CHARTER WAS SAVED                                80
HOW FRANKLIN CAME TO PHILADELPHIA                        90
THE PERILS OF THE WILDERNESS                             98
SOME ADVENTURES OF MAJOR PUTNAM                         111
A GALLANT DEFENCE                                       128
PAUL'S REVERE'S RIDE                                    157
THE GREEN MOUNTAIN BOYS                                 172
THE BRITISH AT NEW YORK                                 180
A QUAKERESS PATRIOT                                     189
THE SIEGE OF FORT SCHUYLER                              195
ON THE TRACK OF A TRAITOR                               211
MARION, THE SWAMP-FOX                                   223
THE FATE OF THE PHILADELPHIA                            237
THE VICTIM OF A TRAITOR                                 249
THE MONITOR AND THE MERRIMAC                            275
STEALING A LOCOMOTIVE                                   285
AN ESCAPE FROM LIBBY PRISON                             298
THE SINKING OF THE ALBEMARLE                            314



WASHINGTON CROSSING THE DELAWARE.            _Frontispiece._
VIKING SHIPS AT SEA.                                     11
POND ISLAND, MOUTH OF THE KENNEBEC.                      54
THE CAVE OF THE REGICIDES.                               76
THE CHARTER OAK, HARTFORD.                               85
WASHINGTON'S HOME AT MT. VERNON.                         98
SHORE OF LAKE GEORGE.                                   118
INDIAN ATTACK AND GALLANT DEFENCE.                      128
THE OLD NORTH CHURCH, BOSTON.                           158
THE SPIRIT OF '76.                                      166
THE OLD STATE HOUSE, PHILADELPHIA.                      191
THE BENEDICT ARNOLD MANSION.                            220
THE MONITOR AND THE MERRIMAC.                           280
LIBBY PRISON, RICHMOND.                                 298
SINKING OF THE ALBEMARLE.                               319
MUIR GLACIER IN ALASKA.                                 328
A NATIVE GRASS HUT, HAWAII.                             340


The year 1000 A.D. was one of strange history. Its advent
threw the people of Europe into a state of mortal terror.
Ten centuries had passed since the birth of Christ. The
world was about to come to an end. Such was the general
belief. How it was to reach its end,--whether by fire,
water, or some other agent of ruin,--the prophets of
disaster did not say, nor did people trouble themselves to
learn. Destruction was coming upon them, that was enough to
know; how to provide against it was the one thing to be

Some hastened to the churches; others to the taverns. Here
prayers went up; there wine went down. The petitions of the
pious were matched by the ribaldry of the profligate. Some
made their wills; others wasted their wealth in revelry,
eager to get all the pleasure out of life that remained for
them. Many freely gave away their property, hoping, by
ridding themselves of the goods of this earth, to establish
a claim to the goods of Heaven, with little regard to the
fate of those whom they loaded with their discarded wealth.

It was an era of ignorance and superstition. Christendom
went insane over an idea. When the year ended, and the world
rolled on, none the worse for conflagration or deluge, green
with the spring leafage and ripe with the works of man,
dismay gave way to hope, mirth took the place of prayer,
man regained their flown wits, and those who had so
recklessly given away their wealth bethought themselves of
taking legal measures for its recovery.

Such was one of the events that made that year memorable.
There was another of a highly different character. Instead
of a world being lost, a world was found. The Old World not
only remained unharmed, but a New World was added to it, a
world beyond the seas, for this was the year in which the
foot of the European was first set upon the shores of the
trans-Atlantic continent. It is the story of this first
discovery of America that we have now to tell.

In the autumn of the year 1000, in a region far away from
fear-haunted Europe, a scene was being enacted of a very
different character from that just described. Over the
waters of unknown seas a small, strange craft boldly made
its way, manned by a crew of the hardiest and most vigorous
men, driven by a single square sail, whose coarse woollen
texture bellied deeply before the fierce ocean winds, which
seemed at times as if they would drive that deckless vessel
bodily beneath the waves.

This crew was of men to whom fear was almost unknown, the
stalwart Vikings of the North, whose oar-and sail-driven
barks now set out from the coasts of Norway and Denmark to
ravage the shores of southern Europe, now turned their prows
boldly to the west in search of unknown lands afar.

Shall we describe this craft? It was a tiny one in which to
venture upon an untravelled ocean in search of an unknown
continent,--a vessel shaped somewhat like a strung bow,
scarcely fifty feet in length, low amidships and curving
upwards to high peaks at stem and stern, both of which
converged to sharp edges. It resembled an enormous canoe
rather than aught else to which we can compare it. On the
stem was a carved and gilt dragon, the figurehead of the
ship, which glittered in the bright rays of the sun. Along
the bulwarks of the ship, fore and aft, hung rows of large
painted wooden shields, which gave an Argus-eyed aspect to
the craft. Between them was a double row of thole-pins for
the great oars, which now lay at rest in the bottom of the
boat, but by which, in calm weather, this "walker of the
seas" could be forced swiftly through the yielding element.

[Illustration: VIKING SHIPS AT SEA.]

Near the stern, on an elevated platform, stood the
commander, a man of large and powerful frame and imposing
aspect, one whose commands not the fiercest of his crew
would lightly venture to disobey. A coat of ring-mail
encircled his stalwart frame; by his side, in a
richly-embossed scabbard, hung a long sword, with hilt of
gilded bronze; on his head was a helmet that shone like pure
gold, shaped like a wolf's head, with gaping jaws and
threatening teeth. Land was in sight, an unknown coast,
peopled perhaps by warlike men. The cautious Viking leader
deemed it wise to be prepared for danger, and was armed for
possible combat.

Below him, on the rowing-benches, sat his hardy crew, their
arms--spears, axes, bows, and slings--beside them, ready
for any deed of daring they might be called upon to perform.
Their dress consisted of trousers of coarse stuff, belted at
the waist; thick woollen shirts, blue, red, or brown in
color; iron helmets, beneath which their long hair streamed
down to their shoulders; and a shoulder belt descending to
the waist and supporting their leather-covered
sword-scabbards. Heavy whiskers and moustaches added to the
fierceness of their stern faces, and many of them wore as
ornament on the forehead a band of gold.

They numbered thirty-five in all, this crew who had set out
to brave the terrors and solve the mysteries of the great
Atlantic. Their leader, Leif by name, was the son of Eirek
the Red, the discoverer of Greenland, and a Viking as fierce
as ever breathed the air of the north land. Outlawed in
Norway, where in hot blood he had killed more men than the
law could condone, Eirek had made his way to Iceland. Here
his fierce temper led him again to murder, and flight once
more became necessary. Manning a ship, he set sail boldly to
the west, and in the year 982 reached a land on which the
eye of European had never before gazed. To this he gave the
name of Greenland, with the hope, perhaps, that this
inviting name would induce others to follow him.

Such proved to be the case. Eirek returned to Iceland, told
the story of his discovery, and in 985 set sail again for
his new realm with twenty-five ships and many colonists.
Others came afterwards, among them one Biarni, a bold and
enterprising youth, for whom a great adventure was
reserved. Enveloped in fogs, and driven for days from its
course by northeasterly winds, his vessel was forced far to
the south. When at length the fog cleared away, the
distressed mariners saw land before them, a low, level,
thickly-wooded region, very different from the ice-covered
realm they had been led to expect.

"Is this the land of which we are in search?" asked the

"No," answered Biarni; "for I am told that we may look for
very large glaciers in Greenland.

"At any rate, let us land and rest."

"Not so; my father has gone with Eirek. I shall not rest
till I see him again."

And now the winds blew northward, and for seven days they
scudded before a furious gale, passing on their way a
mountainous, ice-covered island, and in the end, by great
good fortune, Biarni's vessel put into the very port where
his father had fixed his abode.

Biarni had seen, but had not set foot upon, the shores of
the New World. That was left for bolder or more enterprising
mariners to perform. About 995 he went to Norway, where the
story of his strange voyage caused great excitement among
the adventure-loving people. Above all, it stirred up the
soul of Leif, eldest son of Eirek the Red, then in Norway,
who in his soul resolved to visit and explore that strange
land which Biarni had only seen from afar.

Leif returned to Greenland with more than this idea in his
mind. When Eirek left Norway he had left a heathen land.
When Leif visited it he found it a Christian country. Or at
least he found there a Christian king, Olaf Tryggvason by
name, who desired his guest to embrace the new faith. Leif
consented without hesitation. Heathenism did not seem very
firmly fixed in the minds of those northern barbarians. He
and all his sailors were baptized, and betook themselves to
Greenland with this new faith as their most precious
freight. In this way Christianity first made its way across
the seas. And thus it further came about that the ship which
we have seen set sail for southern lands.

This ship was that of Biarni. Leif had bought it, it may be
with the fancy that it would prove fortunate in retracing
its course. Not only Leif, but his father Eirek, now an old
man, was fired with the hope of new discoveries. The aged
Viking had given Greenland, to the world; it was a natural
ambition to desire to add to his fame as a discoverer. But
on his way to the vessel his horse stumbled. Superstitious,
as all men were in that day, he looked on this as an evil

"I shall not go," he said. "It is not my destiny to discover
any other lands than that on which we now live. I shall
follow you no farther, but end my life in Greenland." And
Eirek rode back to his home.

Not so the adventurers. They boldly put out to sea, turned
the prow of their craft southward, and battled with the
waves day after day, their hearts full of hope, their eyes
on the alert for the glint of distant lands.

At length land was discovered,--a dreary country,
mountainous, icy; doubtless the inhospitable island which
Biarni had described. They landed, but only to find
themselves on a shore covered with bare, flat rocks, while
before them loomed snow-covered heights.

"This is not the land we seek," said Leif; "but we will not
do as Biarni did, who never set foot on shore. I will give
this land a name, and will call it Helluland,"--a name which
signifies the "land of broad stones."

Onward they sailed again, their hearts now filled with
ardent expectation. At length rose again the stirring cry of
"Land!" or its Norse equivalent, and as the dragon-peaked
craft glided swiftly onward there rose into view a long
coast-line, flat and covered with white sand in the
foreground, while a dense forest spread over the rising
ground in the rear.

"Markland [land of forest] let it be called," cried Leif.
"This must be the land which Biarni first saw. We will not
be like him, but will set foot on its promising shores."

They landed, but tarried not long. Soon they took ship
again, and sailed for two days out of sight of land. Then
there came into view an island, with a broad channel between
it and the mainland. Up this channel they laid their course,
and soon came to where a river poured its clear waters into
the sea. They decided to explore this stream. The boat was
lowered and the ship towed up the river, until, at a short
distance inland, it broadened into a lake. Here, at Leif's
command, the anchor was cast, and their good ship, the
pioneer in American discovery, came to rest within the
inland waters of the New World.

Not many minutes passed before the hardy mariners were on
shore, and eagerly observing the conditions of their
new-discovered realm. River and lake alike were full of
salmon, the largest they had ever seen, a fact which
agreeably settled the question of food. The climate seemed
deliciously mild, as compared with the icy shores to which
they were used. The grass was but little withered by frost,
and promised a winter supply of food for cattle. Altogether
they were so pleased with their surroundings that Leif
determined to spend the winter at that place, exploring the
land so far as he could.

For some time they dwelt under booths, passing the nights in
their leather sleeping-bags; but wood was abundant, axes and
hands skilful to wield them were at hand, and they quickly
went to work to build themselves habitations more suitable
for the coming season of cold.

No inhabitants of the land were seen. So far as yet
appeared, it might be a region on which human foot had never
before been set. But Leif was a cautious leader. He bade his
men not to separate until the houses were finished. Then he
divided them into two parties, left one to guard their homes
and their ship, and sent the other inland to explore.

"Beware, though," he said, "that you risk not too much. We
know not what perils surround us. Go not so far inland but
that you can get back by evening, and take care not to

Day after day these explorations continued, the men plunging
into the forest that surrounded them and wandering far into
its hidden recesses, each evening bringing back with them
some story of the marvels of this new land, or some sample
of its productions strange to their eyes.

An evening came in which one of the explorers failed to
return. He had either disobeyed the injunctions of Leif and
gone too far to get back by evening, or some peril of that
unknown land had befallen him. This man was of German birth,
Tyrker by name, a southerner who had for years dwelt with
Eirek and been made the foster-father of Leif, who had been
fond of him since childhood. He was a little,
wretched-looking fellow, with protruding forehead, unsteady
eyes, and tiny face, yet a man skilled in all manner of

Leif, on learning of his absence, upbraided the men bitterly
for losing him, and called on twelve of them to follow him
in search. Into the forest they went, and before long had
the good fortune to behold Tyrker returning. The little
fellow, far from showing signs of disaster, was in the
highest of spirits, his face radiant with joy.

"How now, foster-father!" cried Leif. "Why are you so late?
and why have you parted from the others?"

Tyrker was too excited to answer. He rolled his eyes wildly
and made wry faces. When words came to him, he spoke in his
native German, which none of them understood. Joy seemed to
have driven all memory of the language of the north from his
mind. It was plain that no harm had come to him. On the
contrary, he seemed to have stumbled upon some landfall of
good luck. Yet some time passed before they could bring him
out of his ecstasy into reason.

"I did not go much farther than you," he at length called
out, in their own tongue "and if I am late I have a good
excuse. I can tell you news."

"What are they?"

"I have made a grand discovery. See, I have found vines and
grapes," and he showed them his hands filled with the purple
fruit. "I was born in a land where grapes grow in plenty.
And this land bears them! Behold what I bring you!"

The memory of his childhood had driven for the time all
memory of the Norse language from his brain. Grapes he had
not seen for many years, and the sight of them made him a
child again. The others beheld the prize with little less
joy. They slept where they were that night, and in the
morning followed Tyrker to the scene of his discovery, where
he gladly pointed to the arbor-like vines, laden thickly
with wild grapes, a fruit delicious to their unaccustomed

"This is a glorious find," cried Leif. "We must take some of
this splendid fruit north. There are two kinds of work now
to be done. One day you shall gather grapes the next you
shall cut timber to freight the ship. We must show our
friends north what a country we have found. As for this
land, I have a new name for it. Let it be called Vineland,
the land of grapes and wine."

After this discovery there is little of interest to record.
The winter, which proved to be a very mild one, passed away,
and in the spring they set sail again for Greenland, their
ship laden deeply with timber, so useful a treasure in their
treeless northern home, while the long-boat was filled to
the gunwale with the grapes they had gathered and dried.

Such is the story of the first discovery of America, as told
in the sagas of the North. Leif the Lucky was the name given
the discoverer from that time forward. He made no more
visits to Vineland, for during the next winter his father
died, and he became the governing head of the Greenland

But the adventurous Northmen were not the men to rest at
ease with an untrodden continent so near at hand. Thorvald,
Leif's brother, one of the boldest of his race, determined
to see for himself the wonders of Vineland. In the spring of
1002 he set sail with thirty companions, in the pioneer ship
of American discovery, the same vessel which Biarni and Leif
had made famous in that service. Unluckily the records fail
to give us the name of this notable ship.

Steering southward, they reached in due time the lake on
whose shores Leif and his crew had passed the winter. The
buildings stood unharmed, and the new crew passed a winter
here, most of their time being spent in catching and drying
the delicious salmon which thronged river and lake. In the
spring they set sail again, and explored the coast for a
long distance to the south. How far they went we cannot
tell, for all we know of their voyage is that nearly
everywhere they found white sandy shores and a background of
unbroken forest. Like Leif, they saw no men.

Back they came to Vineland, and there passed the winter
again. Another spring came in the tender green of the young
leafage, and again they put to sea. So far fortune had
steadily befriended them. Now the reign of misfortune began.
Not far had they gone before the vessel was driven ashore by
a storm, and broke her keel on a protruding shoal. This was
not a serious disaster. A new keel was made, and the old one
planted upright in the sands of the coast.

"We will call this place Kial-ar-ness" [Keel Cape], said

On they sailed again, and came to a country of such
attractive aspect that Thorvald looked upon it with longing

"This is a fine country, and here I should like to build
myself a home," he said, little deeming in what gruesome
manner his words were to be fulfilled.

For now, for the first time in the story of these voyages,
are we told of the natives of the land,--the Skroelings, as
the Norsemen called them. Passing the cape which Thorvald
had chosen for his home, the mariners landed to explore the
shore, and on their way back to the ship saw, on the white
sands, three significant marks. They were like those made by
a boat when driven ashore. Continuing their observation,
they quickly perceived, drawn well up on the shore, three
skin-canoes turned keel upward. Dividing into three parties,
they righted these boats, and to their surprise saw that
under each three men lay concealed.

The blood-loving instinct of the Norsemen was never at fault
in a case like this. Drawing their swords, they assailed the
hidden men, and of the nine only one escaped, the other
being stretched in death upon the beach.

The mariners had made a fatal mistake. To kill none, unless
they could kill all, should have been their rule, a lesson
in practical wisdom which they were soon to learn. But,
heedless of danger and with the confidence of strength and
courage, they threw themselves upon the sands, and, being
weary and drowsy, were quickly lost in slumber.

And now came a marvel. A voice, none knew whence or of whom,
called loudly in their slumbering ears,--

"Wake, Thorvaldt! Wake all your men, if you would save your
life and theirs! Haste to your ship and fly from land with
all speed, for vengeance and death confront you."

Suddenly aroused, they sprang to their feet, looking at each
other with astounded eyes, and asking who had spoken those
words. Little time for answer remained. The woods behind
them suddenly seemed alive with fierce natives, who had been
roused to vengeful fury by the flying fugitive, and now came
on with hostile cries. The Norsemen sprang to their boats
and rowed in all haste to the ship; but before they could
make sail the surface of the bay swarmed with skin-boats,
and showers of arrows were poured upon them.

The warlike mariners in turn assailed their foes with
arrows, slings, and javelins, slaying so many of them that
the remainder were quickly put to flight. But they fled not
unrevenged. A keen-pointed arrow, flying between the ship's
side and the edge of his shield, struck Thorvald in the
armpit, wounding him so deeply that death threatened to
follow the withdrawal of the fatal dart.

"My day is come," said the dying chief. "Return home to
Greenland as quickly as you may. But as for me, you shall
carry me to the place which I said would be so pleasant to
dwell in. Doubtless truth came out of my mouth, for it may
be that I shall live there for awhile. There you shall bury
me and put crosses at my head and feet, and henceforward
that place shall be called Krossanes" [Cross Cape].

The sorrowing sailors carried out the wishes of their dying
chief, who lived but long enough to fix his eyes once more
on the place which he had chosen for his home, and then
closed them in the sleep of death. They buried him here,
placing the crosses at his head and feet as he had bidden,
and then set sail again for the booths of Leif at Vineland,
where part of their company had been left to gather grapes
in their absence. To these they told the story of what had
happened, and agreed with them that the winter should be
spent in that place, and that in the spring they should obey
Thorvald's request and set sail for Greenland. This they
did, taking on board their ship vines and an abundance of
dried grapes. Ere the year was old their good ship again
reached Eireksfjord, where Leif was told of the death of his
brother and of all that had happened to the voyagers.

The remaining story of the discoveries of the Northmen must
be told in a few words. The next to set sail for that
far-off land was Thorstein, the third son of Eirek the Red.
He failed to get there, however, but made land on the east
coast of Greenland, where he died, while his wife Gudrid
returned home. Much was this woman noted for her beauty, and
as much for her wisdom and prudence, so the sagas tell us.

In 1006 came to Greenland a noble Icelander, Thorfinn by
name. That winter he married Gudrid, and so allied himself
to the family of Eirek the Red. And quickly he took up the
business of discovery, which had been pursued so ardently by
Eirek and his sons. He sailed in 1007, with three ships, for
Vineland, where he remained three years, having many
adventures with the natives, now trading with them for furs,
now fighting with them for life. In Vineland was born a son
to Thorfinn and Gudrid, the first white child born in
America. From him--Snorri Thorfinnson he was named--came a
long line of illustrious descendants, many of whom made
their mark in the history of Iceland and Denmark, the line
ending in modern times in the famous Thorwaldsen, the
greatest sculptor of the nineteenth century.

The sagas thus picture for us the natives: "Swarthy they
were in complexion, short and savage in aspect, with ugly
hair, great eyes, and broad cheeks." In a battle between the
adventurers and these savages the warlike blood of Eirek
manifested itself in a woman of his race. For Freydis, his
daughter, when pursued and likely to be captured by the
natives, snatched up a sword which had been dropped by a
slain Greenlander, and faced them so valiantly that they
took to their heels in affright and fled precipitately to
their canoes.

One more story, and we are done. In the spring of 1010
Thorfinn sailed north with the two ships which he still had.
One of them reached Greenland in safety. The other,
commanded by Biarni Grimolfson, was driven from its course,
and, being worm-eaten, threatened to sink.

There was but one boat, and this capable of holding but half
the ship's company. Lots were cast to decide who should go
in the boat, and who stay on the sinking ship. Biarni was of
those to whom fortune proved kindly. But he was a man of
noble strain, fit for deeds of heroic fortitude and
self-sacrifice. There was on board the ship a young
Icelander, who had been put under Biarni's protection, and
who lamented bitterly his approaching fate.

"Come down into the boat," called out the noble-hearted
Viking. "I will take your place in the ship; for I see that
you are fond of life."

So the devoted chieftain mounted again into the ship, and
the youth, selfish with fear, took his place in the boat.
The end was as they had foreseen. The boat reached land,
where the men told their story. The worm-eaten ship must
have gone down in the waves, for Biarni and his comrades
were never heard of again. Thus perished one of the world's

Little remains to be told, for all besides is fragment and
conjecture. It is true that in the year 1011 Freydis and her
husband voyaged again to Vineland, though they made no new
discoveries; and it is probable that in the following
centuries other journeys were made to the same land. But as
time passed on Greenland grew colder; its icy harvest
descended farther and farther upon its shores; in the end
its colonies disappeared, and with them ended all
intercourse with the grape-laden shores of Vineland.

Just where lay this land of the vine no one to-day can tell.
Some would place it as far north as Labrador; some seek to
bring it even south of New England; the Runic records simply
tell us of a land of capes, islands, rivers, and vines. It
is to the latter, and to the story of far-reaching
forest-land, and pasturage lasting the winter through, that
we owe the general belief that the Vikings reached New
England's fertile shores, and that the ship of Biarni and
Leif, with its war-loving crews, preceded by six centuries
the Mayflower, with its peaceful and pious souls.


Hardly had it been learned that Columbus was mistaken in his
belief, and that the shores he had discovered were not those
of India and Cathay, when vigorous efforts began to find
some easy route to the rich lands of the Orient. Balboa, in
1513, crossed the continent at its narrow neck, and gazed,
with astounded eyes, upon the mighty ocean that lay
beyond,--the world's greatest sea. Magellan, in 1520, sailed
round the continent at its southern extremity, and turned
his daring prows into that world of waters of seemingly
illimitable width. But the route thus laid out was far too
long for the feeble commerce of that early day, and various
efforts were made to pass the line of the continent at some
northern point. The great rivers of North America, the
James, the Hudson, and others, were explored in the eager
hope that they might prove to be liquid canals between the
two great seas. But a more promising hope was that which
hinted that America might be circumnavigated at the north as
well as at the south, and the Pacific be reached by way of
the icy channel of the northern seas.

This hope, born so long ago, has but died out in our own
days. Much of the most thrilling literature of adventure of
the nineteenth century comes from the persistent efforts to
traverse these perilous Arctic ocean wastes. Let us go back
to the oldest of the daring navigators of this frozen sea,
the worthy knight Sir Martin Frobisher, and tell the story
of his notable efforts to discover a Northwest Passage, "the
only thing left undone," as he quaintly says, "whereby a
notable mind might become famous and fortunate."

As an interesting preface to our story we may quote from
that curious old tome, "Purchas his Pilgrimage," the
following quaintly imaginative passage,--

"How shall I admire your valor and courage, yee Marine
Worthies, beyond all names of worthinesse; that neither
dread so long either presense nor absence of the Sunne, nor
those foggie mists, tempestuous windes, cold blasts, snowes
and haile in the aire; nor the unequal Seas, where the
Tritons and Neptune's selfe would quake with chilling feare
to behold such monstrous Icie Islands, mustering themselves
in those watery plaines, where they hold a continuall civill
warre, rushing one upon another, making windes and waves
give back; nor the rigid, ragged face of the broken landes,
sometimes towering themselves to a loftie height, to see if
they can finde refuge from those snowes and colds that
continually beat them, sometimes hiding themselves under
some hollow hills or cliffes, sometimes sinking and
shrinking into valleys, looking pale with snowes and falling
in frozen and dead swounes: sometimes breaking their neckes
into the sea, rather embracing the waters' than the aires'
crueltie," and so on with the like labored fancies. "Great
God," he concludes, "to whom all names of greatnesse are
little, and lesse than nothing, let me in silence admire thy
greatnesse, that in this little heart of man (not able to
serve a Kite for a break-fast) hast placed such greatness of
spirit as the world is too little to fill."

Thus in long-winded meed of praise writes Master Samuel
Purchas. Of those bold mariners of whom he speaks our worthy
knight, Sir Martin, is one of the first and far from the

An effort had been made to discover a northwest passage to
the Pacific as early as 1527, and another nine years later;
but these were feeble attempts, which ended in failure and
disaster, and discovered nothing worthy of record. It was in
1576 that Frobisher, one of the most renowned navigators of
his day, put into effect the project he had cherished from
his youth upward, and for which he had sought aid during
fifteen weary years, that of endeavoring to solve the
ice-locked secret of the Arctic seas.

The fleet with which this daring adventure was undertaken
was a strangely insignificant one, consisting of three
vessels which were even less in size than those with which
Columbus had ventured on his great voyage. Two of these were
but of twenty tons burden each, and the third only of ten,
while the aggregate crews numbered but thirty-five men. With
this tiny squadron, less in size than a trio of
fishing-smacks, the daring adventurer set out to traverse
the northern seas and face the waves of the great Pacific,
if fortune should open to him its gates.

On the 11th of July, 1576, the southern extremity of
Greenland was sighted. It presented a more icy aspect than
that which the Norsemen had seen nearly six centuries
before. Sailing thence westward, the land of the continent
came into view, and for the first time by modern Europeans
was seen that strange race, now so well known under the name
of Eskimo. The characteristics of this people, and the
conditions of their life, are plainly described. The captain
"went on shore, and was encountered with mightie Deere,
which ranne at him, with danger of his life. Here he had
sight of the Savages, which rowed to his Shippe in Boates of
Seales Skinnes, with a Keele of wood within them. They eate
raw Flesh and Fish, or rather devoured the same: they had
long black hayre, broad faces, flat noses, tawnie of color,
or like an Olive."

His first voyage went not beyond this point. He returned
home, having lost five of his men, who were carried off by
the natives. But he brought with him that which was sure to
pave the way to future voyages. This was a piece of
glittering stone, which the ignorant goldsmiths of London
confidently declared to be ore of gold.

Frobisher's first voyage had been delayed by the great
difficulty in obtaining aid. For his new project assistance
was freely offered, Queen Elizabeth herself, moved by hope
of treasure, coming to his help with a hundred and
eighty-ton craft, the "Ayde," to which two smaller vessels
were added. These being provisioned and manned, the bold
navigator, with "a merrie wind" in his sails, set out again
for the desolate north.

His first discovery here was of the strait now known by his
name, up which he passed in a boat, with the mistaken notion
in his mind that the land bounding the strait to the south
was America, and that to the north was Asia. The natives
proved friendly, but Frobisher soon succeeded in making them
hostile. He seized some of them and attempted to drag them
to his boat, "that he might conciliate them by presents."
The Eskimos, however, did not approve of this forcible
method of conciliation, and the unwise knight reached the
boat alone, with an arrow in his leg.

But, to their great joy, the mariners found plenty of the
shining yellow stones, and stowed abundance of them on their
ships, deeming, like certain Virginian gold-seekers of a
later date, that their fortunes were now surely made. They
found also "a great dead fish, round like a porepis
[porpoise], twelve feet long, having a Horne of two yardes,
lacking two ynches, growing out of the Snout, wreathed and
straight, like a Waxe-Taper, and might be thought to be a
Sea-Unicorne. It was reserved as a Jewell by the Queens'
commandment in her Wardrobe of Robes."

A northwest wind having cleared the strait of ice, the
navigators sailed gayly forward, full of the belief that the
Pacific would soon open to their eyes. It was not long
before they were in battle with the Eskimos. They had found
European articles in some native kyacks, which they supposed
belonged to the men they had lost the year before. To
rescue or revenge these unfortunates, Frobisher attacked the
natives, who valiantly resisted, even plucking the arrows
from their bodies to use as missiles, and, when mortally
hurt, flinging themselves from the rocks into the sea. At
length they gave ground, and fled to the loftier cliffs,
leaving two of their women as trophies to the assailants.
These two, one "being olde," says the record, "the other
encombred with a yong childe, we took. The olde wretch, whom
divers of our Saylors supposed to be eyther the Divell, or a
witch, had her buskins plucked off, to see if she were
cloven-footed; and for her ougly hewe and deformitie, we let
her goe; the young woman and the childe we brought away."

This was not the last of their encounters with the Eskimos,
who, incensed against them, made every effort to entrap them
into their power. Their stratagems consisted in placing
tempting pieces of meat at points near which they lay in
ambush, and in pretending lameness to decoy the Englishmen
into pursuit. These schemes failing, they made a furious
assault upon the vessel with arrows and other missiles.

Before the strait could be fully traversed, ice had formed
so thickly that further progress was stopped, and, leaving
the hoped-for Cathay for future voyagers, the mariners
turned their prows homeward, their vessels laden with two
hundred tons of the glittering stone.

Strangely enough, an examination of this material failed to
dispel the delusion. The scientists of that day declared
that it was genuine gold-ore, and expressed their belief
that the road to China lay through Frobisher Strait. Untold
wealth, far surpassing that which the Spaniards had obtained
in Mexico and Peru, seemed ready to shower into England's
coffers. Frobisher was now given the proud honor of kissing
the queen's hand, his neck was encircled with a chain of
gold of more value than his entire two hundred tons of ore,
and, with a fleet of fifteen ships, one of them of four
hundred tons, he set sail again for the land of golden
promise. Of the things that happened to him in this voyage,
one of the most curious is thus related. "The Salamander
(one of their Shippes), being under both her Courses and
Bonets, happened to strike upon a great Whale, with her full
Stemme, with suche a blow that the Shippe stood still, and
neither stirred backward or forward. The whale thereat made
a great and hideous noyse, and casting up his body and
tayle, presently sank under water. Within two days they
found a whale dead, which they supposed was this which the
Salamander had stricken."

Other peril came to the fleet from icebergs, through the
midst of which they were driven by a tempest, but they
finally made their way into what is now known as Hudson
Strait, up which, filled with hope that the continental
limits would quickly be passed and the route to China open
before them, they sailed some sixty miles. But to their
disappointment they found that they were being turned
southward, and, instead of crossing the continent, were
descending into its heart.

Reluctantly Frobisher turned back, and, after many
buffetings from the storms, managed to bring part of his
fleet into Frobisher Bay. So much time had been lost that it
was not safe to proceed. Winter might surprise them in those
icy wilds. Therefore, shipping immense quantities of the
"fools' gold" which had led them so sadly astray, they
turned their prows once more homeward, reaching England's
shores in early October.

Meanwhile the "ore" had been found to be absolutely
worthless, the golden dreams which had roused England to
exultation had faded away, and the new ship-loads they
brought were esteemed to be hardly worth their weight as
ballast. For this disappointment the unlucky Frobisher, who
had been appointed High Admiral of all lands and waters
which he might discover, could not be held to blame. It was
not he that had pronounced the worthless pyrites gold, and
he had but obeyed orders in bringing new cargoes of this
useless rubbish to add to the weight of Albion's rock-bound
shores. But he could not obtain aid for a new voyage to the
icy north, England for the time had lost all interest in
that unpromising region, and Frobisher was forced to employ
in other directions his skill in seamanship.

With the after-career of this unsuccessful searcher for the
Northwest Passage we have no concern. It will suffice to say
that fortune attended his later ventures upon the seas, and
that he died in 1594, from a wound which he received in a
naval battle off the coast of France.


On a bright May morning in the year 1609, at the point where
the stream then known as the Rivière des Iroquois--and which
has since borne the various names of the Richelieu, the
Chambly, the St. Louis, the Sorel and the St. John--poured
the waters of an unknown interior lake into the channel of
the broad St. Lawrence, there was presented a striking
spectacle. Everywhere on the liquid surface canoes, driven
by the steady sweep of paddles wielded by naked and dusky
arms, shot to and fro. Near the shore a small shallop, on
whose deck stood a group of armed whites, had just cast
anchor, and was furling its sails. Upon the strip of open
land bordering the river, and in the woodland beyond, were
visible great numbers of savage warriors, their faces
hideously bedaubed with war-paint, their hands busy in
erecting the frail habitations of a temporary camp.

The scene was one of striking beauty, such as only the
virgin wilderness can display. The river ran between walls
of fresh green leafage, here narrowed, yonder widened into a
broad reach which was encircled by far sweeping forests. The
sun shone broadly on the animated scene, while the whites,
from the deck of their small craft, gazed with deep interest
on the strange picture before them, filled as it was with
dusky natives, some erecting their forest shelters, others
fishing in the stream, while still others were seeking the
forest depths in pursuit of game.

The scene is of interest to us for another reason. It was
the prelude to the first scene of Indian warfare which the
eyes of Europeans were to behold in the northern region of
the American continent. The Spaniards had been long
established in the south, but no English settlement had yet
been made on the shores of the New World, and the French had
but recently built a group of wooden edifices on that
precipitous height which is now crowned with the walls and
the spires of Quebec.

Not long had the whites been there before the native hunters
of the forests came to gaze with wondering eyes on those
pale-faced strangers, with their unusual attire and
surprising powers of architecture. And quickly they begged
their aid in an expedition against their powerful enemies,
the confederated nations of the Iroquois, who dwelt in a
wonderful lake-region to the south, and by their strength,
skill, and valor had made themselves the terror of the

Samuel de Champlain, an adventurous Frenchman who had
already won himself reputation by an exploration of the
Spanish domain of the West Indies, was now in authority at
Quebec, and did not hesitate to promise his aid in the
coming foray, moved, perhaps, by that thirst for discovery
and warlike spirit which burned deeply in his breast. The
Indians had told him of great lakes and mighty rivers to the
south, and doubtless the ardent wish to be the first to
traverse these unknown waters was a moving impulse in his
ready assent.

With the opening season the warriors gathered, Hurons and
Algonquins, a numerous band. They paddled to Quebec; gazed
with surprise on the strange buildings, the story of which
had already been told in their distant wigwams, and on their
no less strange inmates; feasted, smoked, and debated; and
shrank in consternation from the piercing report of the
arquebuse and the cannon's frightful roar.

Their savage hearts were filled with exultation on learning
the powers of their new allies. Surely these wonderful
strangers would deal destruction on their terrible foes.
Burning with thirst for vengeance, they made their faces
frightful with the war-paint, danced with frenzied gestures
round the blaze of their camp-fires, filled the air with
ear-piercing war-whoops, and at the word of command hastened
to their canoes and swept in hasty phalanx up the mighty
stream, accompanied by Champlain and eleven other white

Two days the war-party remained encamped at the place where
we have seen them, hunting, fishing, fasting, and
quarrelling, the latter so effectually that numbers of them
took to their canoes and paddled angrily away, scarce a
fourth of the original array being left for the march upon
the dreaded enemy.

It was no easy task which now lay before them. The journey
was long, the way difficult. Onward again swept the
diminutive squadron, the shallop outsailing the canoes, and
making its way up the Richelieu, Champlain being too ardent
with the fever of discovery to await the slow work of the
paddles. He had not, however, sailed far up that
forest-enclosed stream before unwelcome sounds came to his
ears. The roar of rushing and tumbling waters sounded
through the still air. And now, through the screen of
leaves, came a vision of snowy foam and the flash of leaping
waves. The Indians had lied to him. They had promised him an
unobstructed route to the great lake ahead, and here already
were rapids in his path.

How far did the obstruction extend? That must be learned.
Leaving the shallop, he set out with part of his men to
explore the wilds. It was no easy journey. Tangled vines,
dense thickets, swampy recesses crossed the way. Here lay
half-decayed tree-trunks; there heaps of rocks lifted their
mossy tops in the path. And ever, as they went, the roar of
the rapids followed, while through the foliage could be seen
the hurrying waters, pouring over rocks, stealing amid
drift-logs, eddying in chasms, and shooting in white lines
of foam along every open space.

Was this the open river of which he had been told; this the
ready route to the great lake beyond? In anger and dismay,
Champlain retraced his steps, to find, when he reached the
shallop, that the canoes of the savages had come up, and now
filled the stream around it.

The disappointed adventurer did not hesitate to tell them
that they had lied to him; but he went on to say that though
they had broken their word he would keep his. In truth, the
vision of the mighty lake, with its chain of islands, its
fertile shores, and bordering forests, of which they had
told him, rose alluringly before his eyes, and with all the
ardor of the pioneer he was determined to push onward into
that realm of the unknown.

But their plans must be changed. Nine of the men were sent
back to Quebec with the shallop. Champlain, with two others,
determined to proceed in the Indian canoes. At his command
the warriors lifted their light boats from the water, and
bore them on their shoulders over the difficult portage past
the rapids, to the smooth stream above. Here, launching them
again, the paddles once more broke the placid surface of the
stream, and onward they went, still through the primeval
forest, which stretched away in an unbroken expanse of

It was a virgin solitude, unmarked by habitation, destitute
of human inmate, abundant with game; for it was the
debatable land between warring tribes, traversed only by
hostile bands, the battle-ground of Iroquois and Algonquin
hordes. None could dwell here in safety; even
hunting-parties had to be constantly prepared for war.
Through this region of blood and terror the canoes made
their way, now reduced to twenty-four in number, manned by
sixty warriors and three white allies. The advance was made
with great caution, for danger was in the air. Scouts were
sent in advance through the forests; others were thrown out
on the flanks and rear, hunting for game as they went; for
the store of pounded and parched maize which the warriors
had brought with them was to be kept for food when the
vicinity of the foe should render hunting impossible.

The scene that night, as described by Champlain was one to
be remembered. The canoes were drawn up closely, side by
side. Active life pervaded the chosen camp. Here some
gathered dry wood for their fires; there others stripped off
sheets of bark, to cover their forest wigwams; yonder the
sound of axes was followed by the roar of falling trees. The
savages had steel axes, obtained from the French, and, with
their aid, in two hours a strong defensive work, constructed
of the felled trunks, was built, a half-circle in form, with
the river at its two ends. This was the extent of their
precautions. The returning scouts reported that the forest
in advance was empty of foes. The tawny host cast themselves
in full security on the grassy soil, setting no guards, and
were soon lost in slumber, with that blind trust in fortune
which has ever been one of the weak features of Indian

They had not failed, however, to consult their oracles,
those spirits which the medicine-man was looked upon as an
adept at invoking, and whose counsel was ever diligently
sought by the superstitious natives. The conjurer crept
within his skin-covered lodge, where, crouched upon the
earth, he filled the air with inarticulate invocations to
the surrounding spirits; while outside, squatted on the
ground, the dusky auditors looked and listened with awe.
Suddenly the lodge began to rock violently, by the power of
the spirits, as the Indians deemed, though Champlain fancied
that the arm of the medicine-man was the only spirit at

"Look on the peak of the lodge," whispered the awed savages.
"You will see fire and smoke rise into the air." Champlain
looked, but saw nothing.

The medicine-man by this time had worked himself into
convulsions. He called loudly upon the spirit in an unknown
language, and was answered in squeaking tones like those of
a young puppy. This powerful spirit was deemed to be present
in the form of a stone. When the conjurer reappeared his
body streamed with perspiration, while the story he had to
tell promised an auspicious termination of the enterprise.

This was not the only performance of the warriors. There was
another of a more rational character. Bundles of sticks were
collected by the leading chief, which he stuck in the earth
in a fixed order, calling each by the name of some warrior,
the taller ones representing the chiefs. The arrangement of
the sticks indicated the plan of battle. Each warrior was to
occupy the position indicated by his special stick. The
savages gathered closely round, intently studied the plan,
then formed their ranks in accordance therewith, broke them,
reformed them, and continued the process with a skill and
alacrity that surprised and pleased their civilized

With the early morning light they again advanced, following
the ever-widening stream, in whose midst islands leagues in
extent now appeared. Beyond came broad channels and extended
reaches of widening waters, and soon the delighted explorer
found that the river had ended and that the canoes were
moving over the broad bosom of that great lake of which the
Indians had told him, and which has ever since borne his
name. It was a charming scene which thus first met the eyes
of civilized man. Far in front spread the inland sea. On
either side distant forests, clad in the fresh leafage of
June, marked the borders of the lake. Far away, over their
leafy tops, appeared lofty heights; on the left the Green
Mountains lifted their forest-clad ridges, with patches of
snow still whitening their tops; on the right rose the
clustering hills of the Adirondacks, then the
hunting-grounds of the Iroquois, and destined to remain the
game-preserves of the whites long after the axe and plough
had subdued all the remainder of that forest-clad domain.


They had reached a region destined to play a prominent part
in the coming history of America. The savages told their
interested auditors of another lake, thickly studded with
islands, beyond that on which they now were; and still
beyond a rocky portage over which they hoped to carry their
canoes, and a great river which flowed far down to the
mighty waters of the sea. If they met not the foe sooner
they would press onward to this stream, and there perhaps
surprise some town of the Mohawks, whose settlements
approached its banks. This same liquid route in later days
was to be traversed by warlike hosts both in the French and
Indian and the Revolutionary Wars, and to be signalized by
the capture of Burgoyne and his invading host, one of the
most vital events in the American struggle for liberty.

The present expedition was not to go so far. Hostile bands
were to be met before they left the sheet of water over
which their canoes now glided. Onward they went, the route
becoming hourly more dangerous. At length they changed their
mode of progress, resting in the depths of the forest all
day long, taking to the waters at twilight, and paddling
cautiously onward till the crimsoning of the eastern sky
told them that day was near at hand. Then the canoes were
drawn up in sheltered coves, and the warriors, chatting,
smoking, and sleeping, spent on the leafy lake borders the
slow-moving hours of the day.

The journey was a long one. It was the 29th of July when
they reached a point far down the lake, near the present
site of Crown Point. They had paddled all night. They hid
here all day. Champlain fell asleep on a heap of spruce
boughs, and in his slumber dreamed that he had seen the
Iroquois drowning in the lake, and that when he tried to
rescue them he had been told by his Algonquin friends to
leave them alone, as they were not worth the trouble of

The Indians believed in the power of dreams. They had beset
Champlain daily to learn if he had had any visions. When now
he told them his dream they were filled with joy. Victory
had spoken into his slumbering ear. With gladness they
re-embarked when night came on, and continued their course
down the lake.

They had not far to go. At ten o'clock, through the shadows
of the night, they beheld a number of dark objects on the
lake before them. It was a fleet of Iroquois canoes, heavier
and slower craft than those of the Algonquins, for they were
made of oak-or elm-bark, instead of the light paper-birch
used by the latter.

Each party saw the other, and recognized that they were in
the presence of foes. War-cries sounded over the shadowy
waters. The Iroquois, who preferred to do their fighting on
land and who were nearer shore, hastened to the beach and
began at once to build a barricade of logs, filling the air
of the night with yells of defiance as they worked away like
beavers. The allies meanwhile remained on the lake, their
canoes lashed together with poles, dancing with a vigor that
imperilled their frail barks, and answering the taunts and
menaces of their foes with equally vociferous abuse.

It was agreed that the battle should be deferred till
daybreak. As day approached Champlain and his two followers
armed themselves, their armor consisting of cuirass, or
breast-plate, steel coverings for the thighs, and a plumed
helmet for the head. By the side of the leader hung his
sword, and in his hand was his arquebuse, which he had
loaded with four balls. The savages of these woods were now
first to learn the destructive power of that weapon, for
which in the years to come they would themselves discard the
antiquated bow.

The Iroquois much outnumbered their foes. There were some
two hundred of them in all, tall, powerful men, the boldest
warriors of America, whose steady march excited Champlain's
admiration as he saw them filing from their barricade and
advancing through the woods. As for himself and his two
companions, they had remained concealed in the canoes, and
not even when a landing was made did the Iroquois behold the
strangely-clad allies of their hereditary enemies.

Not until they stood face to face, ready for the battle-cry,
did the Algonquin ranks open, and the white men advance
before the astonished gaze of the Iroquois. Never before had
they set eyes on such an apparition, and they stood in mute
wonder while Champlain raised his arquebuse, took aim at a
chief, and fired. The chief fell dead. A warrior by his side
fell wounded in the bushes. As the report rang through the
air a frightful yell came from the allies, and in an instant
their arrows were whizzing thickly through the ranks of
their foes. For a moment the Iroquois stood their ground and
returned arrow for arrow. But when from the two flanks of
their adversaries came new reports, and other warriors bit
the dust, their courage gave way to panic terror, and they
turned and fled in wild haste through the forest, swiftly
pursued by the triumphant Algonquins.

Several of the Iroquois were killed. A number were captured.
At night the victors camped in triumph on the field of
battle, torturing one of their captives till Champlain
begged to put him out of pain, and sent a bullet through his

Thus ended the first battle between whites and Indians on
the soil of the northern United States, in a victory for
which the French were to pay dearly in future days, at the
hands of their now vanquished foes. With the dawn of the
next day the victors began their retreat. A few days of
rapid paddling brought them to the Richelieu. Here they
separated, the Hurons and Algonquins returning to their
homes by way of the Ottowa, the Montagnais, who dwelt in the
vicinity of Quebec, accompanying Champlain to his new-built

The Iroquois, however, were not the men to be quelled by a
single defeat. In June of the ensuing year a war-party of
them advanced to the mouth of the Richelieu, and a second
fierce battle took place. As another vivid example of the
character of Indian warfare, the story of this conflict, may
be added to that already given.

On an island in the St. Lawrence near the mouth of the
Richelieu was gathered a horde of Montagnais Indians,
Champlain and others of the whites being with them. A
war-party of Algonquins was expected, and busy preparations
were being made for feast and dance, in order that they
might be received with due honor. In the midst of this
festal activity an event occurred that suddenly changed
thoughts of peace to those of war. At a distance on the
stream appeared a single canoe, approaching as rapidly as
strong arms could drive it through the water. On coming
near, its inmates called out loudly that the Algonquins were
in the forest, engaged in battle with a hundred Iroquois,
who, outnumbered, were fighting from behind a barricade of
trees which they had hastily erected.

In an instant the air was filled with deafening cries.
Tidings of battle were to the Indians like a fresh scent to
hounds of the chase: The Montagnais flew to their canoes,
and paddled with frantic haste to the opposite shore, loudly
calling on Champlain and his fellow-whites to follow. They
obeyed, crossing the stream in canoes. As the shore was
reached the warriors flung down their paddles, snatched up
their weapons, and darted into the woods with such speed
that the Frenchmen found it impossible to keep them in
sight. It was a hot and oppressive day; the air was filled
with mosquitoes,--"so thick," says Champlain, "that we could
hardly draw breath, and it was wonderful how cruelly they
persecuted us,"--their route lay through swampy soil, where
the water at places stood knee-deep; over fallen logs, wet
and slimy, and under entangling vines; their heavy armor
added to their discomfort; the air was close and heavy;
altogether it was a progress fit to make one sicken of
warfare in the wilderness. After struggling onward till
they were almost in despair, they saw two Indians in the
distance, and by vigorous shouts secured their aid as guides
to the field of battle.

An instinct seemed to guide the savages through that dense
and tangled forest. In a short time they led the laboring
whites to a point where the woodland grew thinner, and
within hearing of the wild war-whoops of the combatants.
Soon they emerged into a partial clearing, which had been
made by the axes of the Iroquois in preparing their
breastwork of defence. Champlain gazed upon the scene before
him with wondering eyes. In front was a circular barricade,
composed of trunks of trees, boughs, and matted twigs,
behind which the Iroquois stood like tigers at bay. In the
edge of the forest around were clustered their yelling foes,
screaming shrill defiance, yet afraid to attack, for they
had already been driven back with severe loss. Their hope
now lay in their white allies, and when they saw Champlain
and his men a yell arose that rent the air, and a cloud of
winged arrows was poured into the woodland fort. The
beleaguered Iroquois replied with as fierce a shout, and
with a better-aimed shower of arrows. At least Champlain had
reason to think so, for one of these stone-headed darts
split his ear, and tore a furrow through the muscles of his
neck. One of his men received a similar wound.

Furious with pain, Champlain, secure in his steel armor,
rushed to the woodland fort, followed by his men, and
discharged their arquebuses through its crevices upon the
dismayed savages within, who, wild with terror at this new
and deadly weapon, flung themselves flat upon the earth at
each report.

At each moment the scene of war grew more animated. The
assailing Indians, yelling in triumph, ran up under cover of
their large wooden shields, and began to tug at the trees of
the barricade, while other of them gathered thickly in the
bushes for the final onset. And now, from the forest depths,
came hurrying to the scene a new party of French allies,--a
boat's crew of fur-traders, who had heard the firing and
flown with warlike eagerness to take part in the fight.

The bullets of these new assailants added to the terror of
the Iroquois. They writhed and darted to and fro to escape
the leaden missiles that tore through their frail barricade.
At a signal from Champlain the allies rushed from their
leafy covert, flew to the breastwork, tore down or clambered
over the boughs, and precipitated themselves into the fort,
while the French ceased their firing and led a party of
Indians to the assault on the opposite side.

The howls of defiance, screams of pain, deafening
war-whoops, and dull sound of deadly blows were now
redoubled. Many of the Iroquois stood their ground, hewing
with tomahawks and war-clubs, and dying not unrevenged. Some
leaped the barrier and were killed by the crowd outside;
others sprang into the river and were drowned; of them all
not one escaped, and at the end of the conflict but fifteen
remained alive, prisoners in the hands of their deadly foes,
destined victims of torture and flame.

On the next day a large party of Hurons arrived, and heard
with envy the story of the fight, in which they were too
late to take part. The forest and river shore were crowded
with Indian huts. Hundreds of warriors assembled, who spent
the day in wild war-dances and songs, then loaded their
canoes and paddled away in triumph to their homes, without a
thought of following up their success and striking yet
heavier blows upon their dreaded enemy. Even Champlain, who
was versed in civilized warfare, made no attempt to lead
them to an invasion of the Iroquois realm. He did not dream
of the deadly reprisal which the now defeated race would
exact for this day of disaster.

Of the further doings of Champlain we shall relate but one
incident,--a thrilling adventure which he tells of his being
lost in the interminable woodland depths. Year after year he
continued his explorations; now voyaging far up the Ottawa;
now reaching the mighty inland sea of Lake Huron, voyaging
upon its waters, and visiting the Indian villages upon its
shores; now again battling with the Iroquois, who, this
time, drove their assailants in baffled confusion from their
fort; now joining an Indian hunting-party, and taking part
with them in their annual deer-hunt. For this they
constructed two lines of posts interlaced with boughs, each
more than half a mile long, and converging to a point where
a strong enclosure was built. The hunters drove the deer
before them into this enclosure, where others despatched
them with spears and arrows. It was during this expedition
that the incident referred to took place.

Champlain had gone into the forest with the hunters. Here he
saw a bird new to him, and whose brilliant hue and strange
shape struck him with surprise and admiration. It was, to
judge from his description, a red-headed woodpecker. Bent on
possessing this winged marvel, he pursued it, gun in hand.
From bough to bough, from tree to tree, the bird fitted
onward, leading the unthinking hunter step by step deeper
into the wilderness. Then, when he surely thought to capture
his prize, the luring wonder took wing and vanished in the
forest depths.

Disappointed, Champlain turned to seek his friends. But in
what direction should he go? The day was cloudy; he had left
his pocket-compass at the camp; the forest spread in endless
lines around him; he stood in helpless bewilderment and

All day he wandered blindly, and at nightfall found himself
still in a hopeless solitude. Weary and hungry, he lay down
at the foot of a great tree, and passed the night in broken
slumbers. The next day he wandered onward in the same blind
helplessness, reaching, in late afternoon, the waters of a
forest pond, shadowed by thick pines, and with water-fowl on
its brink. One of these he shot, kindled a fire and cooked
it, and for the first time since his misadventure tasted
food. At night there came on a cold rain, drenched by which
the blanketless wanderer was forced to seek sleep in the
open wood.

Another day of fruitless wandering succeeded; another night
of unrefreshing slumber. Paths were found in the forest, but
they had been made by other feet than those of men, and if
followed would lead him deeper into the seemingly endless
wild. Roused by the new day from his chill couch, the lost
wanderer despairingly roamed on, now almost hopeless of
escape. Yet what sound was that which reached his ear? It
was the silvery tinkle of a woodland rill, which crept
onward unseen in the depths of a bushy glen. A ray of hope
shot into his breast. This descending rivulet might lead him
to the river where the hunters lay encamped. With renewed
energy he traced its course, making his way through thicket
and glen, led ever onwards by that musical sound, till he
found himself on the borders of a small lake, within which
the waters of his forest guide were lost.

This lake, he felt, must have an outlet. He circled round
it, clambering over fallen trees and forcing his way through
thorny vines, till he saw, amid roots of alder-bushes, a
streamlet flow from the lakeside. This he hopefully
followed. Not far had he gone before a dull roar met his
ears, breaking the sullen silence of the woods. It was the
sound of falling waters. He hastened forward. The wood grew
thinner. Light appeared before him. Pushing gladly onward,
he broke through the screening bushes and found himself on
the edge of an open meadow, wild animals its only tenants,
some browsing on the grass, others lurking in bushy coverts.
Yet a more gladsome sight to his eyes was the broad river,
which here rushed along in a turbulent rapid, whose roar it
was which had come to his ear in the forest glades.

He looked about him. On the rocky river-bank was a
portage-path made by Indian feet. The place seemed familiar.
A second sweeping gaze; yes, here were points he had seen
before. He was saved. Glad at heart, he camped upon the
river-brink, kindled a fire, cooked the remains of his game,
and passed that night, at least, in dreamless sleep. With
daybreak he rose, followed the river downwards, and soon saw
the smoke of the Indian camp-fires ascending in the morning
air. In a few moments he had joined his dusky friends,
greatly to their delight. They had sought him everywhere in
vain, and now chided him gently for his careless risk,
declaring that thenceforth they would never suffer him to go
into the forest alone.


The story of a poor boy, born on the edge of the
wilderness,--"at a despicable plantation on the river of
Kennebec, and almost the farthest village of the eastern
settlement of New England,"--yet who ended his life as
governor and nobleman, is what we have to tell. It is one of
the most romantic stories in history. He was born in 1651,
being a scion of the early days of the Puritan colony. He
came of a highly prolific pioneer family,--he had twenty
brothers and five sisters,--yet none but himself of this
extensive family are heard of in history or biography.
Genius is too rare a quality to be spread through such a
flock. His father was a gunsmith. Of the children, William
was one of the youngest. After his father's death, he helped
his mother at sheep-keeping in the wilderness till he was
eighteen years of age, then there came "an unaccountable
impulse upon his mind that he was born to greater matters."
The seed of genius planted in his nature was beginning to

The story of the early life of William Phips may be told in
a few words. From sheep-tending he turned to carpentry,
becoming an expert ship-carpenter. With this trade at his
fingers' ends he went to Boston, and there first learned to
read and write, accomplishments which had not penetrated to
the Kennebec. His next step was to marry, his wife being a
widow, a Mrs. Hull, with little money but good connections.
She lifted our carpenter a step higher in the social scale.
At that time, says his biographer, "he was one tall beyond
the common set of men, and thick as well as tall, and strong
as well as thick; exceedingly robust, and able to conquer
such difficulties of diet and of travel as would have killed
most men alive. He was of a very comely though a very manly
countenance," and in character of "a most incomparable
generosity." He hated anything small or mean, was somewhat
choleric, but not given to nourish malice.


To this notable young man there soon came an adventure. He
had become a master workman, and built a ship for some
Boston merchants on the river Sheepscote, a few leagues from
his native Kennebec. The vessel was finished, and ready to
be loaded with lumber; but its first cargo proved to be very
different from that which Phips had designed. For Indians
attacked the settlement; the inhabitants, flying for their
lives, crowded on board the vessel, and Phips set sail with
a shipload of his old friends and neighbors, who could pay
him only in thanks. It is not unlikely that some of his own
brothers and sisters were among the rescued. Certainly the
extensive family of Phips must have spread somewhat widely
over the coast region of Maine.

William Phips's first adventure had proved unprofitable
except in works of charity. But he was not one to be easily
put down, having in his nature an abundance of the perilous
stuff of ambition. He was not the man to sit down and wait
for fortune to come to him. Rather, he belonged to those who
go to seek fortune. He was determined, he told his wife, to
become captain of a king's ship, and owner of a fair brick
house in the Green Lane of North Boston. It took him some
eight or nine years to make good the first of these
predictions, and then, in the year 1683, he sailed into the
harbor of Boston as captain of the "Algier Rose," a frigate
of eighteen guns and ninety-five men.

It was by the magic wand of sunken silver that our hero
achieved this success. The treasures of Peru, loaded on
Spanish ships, had not all reached the ports of Spain. Some
cargoes of silver had gone to the bottom of the Atlantic.
Phips had heard of such a wreck on the Bahamas, had sailed
thither, and had made enough money by the enterprise to pay
him for a voyage to England. While in the Bahamas he had
been told of another Spanish wreck, "wherein was lost a
mighty treasure, hitherto undiscovered." It was this that
took him to England. He had made up his mind to be the
discoverer of this sunken treasure-ship. The idea took
possession of him wholly. His hope was to interest some
wealthy persons, or the government itself, in his design.
The man must have had in him something of that
silver-tongued eloquence which makes persuasion easy, for
the royalties at Whitehall heard him with favor and support,
and he came back to New England captain of a king's ship,
with full powers to search the seas for silver.

And now we have reached the verge of the romance of the life
of William Phips. He had before him a difficult task, but he
possessed the qualities which enable men to meet and
overcome difficulty. The silver-ship was said to have been
sunk somewhere near the Bahamas; the exact spot it was not
easy to learn, for half a century had passed since its
demise. Sailing thither in the "Algier Rose," Phips set
himself to find the sunken treasure. Here and there he
dredged, using every effort to gain information, trying
every spot available, ending now in disappointment, starting
now with renewed hope, continuing with unflagging energy.
His frequent failures would have discouraged a common man,
but Phips was not a common man, and would not accept defeat.

The resolute searcher had more than the difficulties of the
sea-bottom to contend with. His men lost hope, grew weary of
unprofitable labor, and at last rose in mutiny They fancied
that they saw their way clear to an easier method of getting
silver, and marched with drawn cutlasses to the quarterdeck,
where they bade their commander to give up his useless
search and set sail for the South Seas. There they would
become pirates, and get silver without dredging or drudging.

It was a dangerous crisis. Phips stood with empty hands
before that crew of armed and reckless men. Yet choler and
courage proved stronger than sword-blades. Roused to fury,
he rushed upon the mutineers with bare hands, knocked them
down till the deck was strewn with fallen bodies, and by
sheer force of anger and fearlessness quelled the mutiny and
forced the men to return to their duty.

They were quelled, but not conquered. The daring adventurer
was to have a more dangerous encounter with these would-be
pirates. Some further time had passed in fruitless search.
The frigate lay careened beside a rock of a Bahaman island,
some eight or ten men being at work on its barnacled sides,
while the others had been allowed to go on shore. They
pretended that they wished to take a ramble in the tropical
woods. What they wished to do was to organize a more
effectual mutiny, seize the ship, leave the captain and
those who held with him on that island, and sail away as
lawless rovers of the deep.

Under the great trees of that Spanish island, moss-grown and
bowery, in a secluded spot which nature seemed to have set
aside for secret counsels, the mutinous crew perfected their
plans, and signed a round-robin compact which pledged all
present to the perilous enterprise. One man they needed to
make their project sure. They could not do without the
carpenter. He was at work on the vessel. They sent him a
message to come to them in the woods. He came, heard their
plans, affected to look on them favorably, but asked for a
half-hour to consider the matter. This they were not
disposed to grant. They must have an answer at once. The
carpenter looked about him; dark and resolute faces
surrounded him. Yet he earnestly declared he must have the
time. They vigorously declared he should not. He was
persistent, and in the end prevailed. The half-hour respite
was granted.

The carpenter then said that he must return to the vessel.
His absence from his work would look suspicious. They could
send a man with him to see that he kept faith. The
enterprise would be in danger if the captain noticed his
absence. The mutineers were not men of much intelligence or
shrewdness, and consented to his return. The carpenter, who
had at heart no thought of joining the mutineers, had gained
his point and saved the ship. In spite of the guard upon his
movements he managed to get a minute's interview with
Captain Phips, in which he told him what was afoot.

He was quickly at his post again, and under the eyes of his
guard, but he had accomplished his purpose. Captain Phips
was quick to realize the danger, and called about him those
who were still in the ship. They all agreed to stand by him.
By good fortune the gunner was among them. The energetic
captain lost no time in devising what was to be done. During
the work on the ship the provisions had been taken ashore
and placed in a tent, where several pieces of artillery were
mounted to defend them, in case the Spaniards, to whom the
island belonged, should appear. Quickly but quietly these
guns were brought back to the ship. Then they and the other
guns of the ship were loaded and brought to bear on the
tent, and the gangway which connected the ship with the land
was drawn on board. No great time had elapsed, but Captain
Phips was ready for his mutinous crew.

To avert suspicion during these preparations, the carpenter,
at the suggestion of Phips, had gone ashore, and announced
himself as ready to join the mutineers. This gave them great
satisfaction, and after a short interval to complete their
plans they issued in a body from the woods and approached
the ship. As they drew near the tent, however, they looked
at one another in surprise and dismay. The guns were gone!

"We are betrayed!" was the fearful whisper that ran round
the circle.

"Stand off, you wretches, at your peril!" cried the captain,
in stern accents.

The guns of the ship were trained upon them. They knew the
mettle of Captain Phips. In a minute more cannon-balls might
be ploughing deadly gaps through their midst. They dared not
fly; they dared not fight. Panic fear took possession of
them. They fell upon their knees in a body, begged the
captain not to fire, and vowed that they would rather live
and die with him than any man in the world. All they had
found fault with was that he would not turn pirate;
otherwise he was the man of their hearts.

The captain was stern; they were humble and beseeching. In
the end he made them deliver up their arms, and then
permitted them to come on board, a thoroughly quelled body
of mutineers. But Captain Phips knew better than to trust
these men a third time. The moment the ship was in sailing
trim he hoisted anchor and sailed for Jamaica, where he
turned the whole crew, except the few faithful ones, adrift,
and shipped another crew, smaller, but, as he hoped, more

The treasure-ship still drew him like a magnet. He had not
begun to think of giving up the search. Discouragement,
failure, mutiny, were to him but incidents. The silver was
there, somewhere, and have it he would, if perseverance
would avail. From Jamaica he sailed to Hispaniola. There his
fluent persuasiveness came again into play. He met a very
old man, Spaniard or Portuguese, who was said to know where
the ship lay, and "by the policy of his address" wormed from
him some further information about the treasure-ship. The
old man told him that it had been wrecked on a reef of
shoals a few leagues from Hispaniola, and just north of Port
de la Plata, which place got its name from the landing there
of a boat-load of sailors with plate saved from the sinking
vessel. Phips proceeded thither and searched narrowly, but
without avail. The sea held its treasures well. The charmed
spot was not to be found. The new crew, also, seemed growing
mutinous. Phips had had enough of mutiny. He hoisted sail
and made the best of his way back to England.

Here trouble and annoyance awaited him. He found powerful
enemies. Doubtless ridicule also met his projects. To plough
the bottom of the Atlantic, in search of a ship that had
gone down fifty years before, certainly seemed to yield fair
food for mirth. Yet the polite behavior, the plausible
speech, the enthusiasm and energy of the man had their
effect. He won friends among the higher nobility. The story
of the mutiny and of its bold suppression had also its
effect. A man who could attack a horde of armed mutineers
with his bare fists, a man so ready and resolute in time of
danger, so unflinchingly persevering in time of
discouragement, was the man to succeed if success were
possible. Finally, the Duke of Albemarle and some others
agreed to supply funds for the expedition, and Captain Phips
in no long time had another ship under his feet, and was
once more upon the seas.

His ship was now accompanied by a tender. He had contrived
many instruments to aid him in his search. It is said that
he invented the diving-bell. There was certainly one used by
him, but it may have been an old device, improved by his
Yankee ingenuity.

Port de la Plata was reached in due time, the year being
1684 or 1685. Here Phips had a large canoe or periago made,
fitted for eight or ten oars. It was hollowed out from the
trunk of a cotton-tree, he using "his own hands and adze" in
the work, enduring much hardship, and "lying abroad in the
woods many nights together."

The shoals where search was to be made were known by the
name of the "Boilers." They lay only two or three feet below
the surface, yet their sloping sides were so steep that,
says one author, "a ship striking on them would immediately
sink down, who could say how many fathom, into the ocean?"

The tender and the periago were anchored near these
dangerous shoals, and the work went on from them. Days
passed, still of fruitless labor. The men, as they said,
could make nothing of all their "peeping among the Boilers,"
Fortunately they had calm weather and a quiet sea, and could
all day long pursue their labors around and among the

A day came in which one of them, looking far down into the
smooth water, saw what is known as a sea-feather, one of the
attractive products of those gardens of the seas, growing
out of what seemed a rock below him. He turned to an Indian
diver, and asked him to dive down and bring it up.

"We will take it to the captain," he said. "It is tiresome
going back always empty-handed."

The diver made the leap. In a minute he was back with the
sea-feather in his hand. There were signs of excitement on
his dusky face as he climbed into the boat. He had indeed a
surprising story to tell.

"I saw great guns down there," he said.

"What? guns?" was the general cry.

"Yes, great guns, as from some ship."

"Guns!" The despondency of the crew at once changed to
ardent enthusiasm. Had they at length hit upon the spot for
which they had so long sought in vain? The Indian was told
to dive again, and see what could be found.

He did so. When he came up, their eyes were ready to start
from their heads, for he bore with him an object of infinite
promise to their wealth-craving souls. It was a lump of
silver,--a "sow," they called it,--worth some two or three
hundred pounds in money.

The search was over! The spot was found! Fortune lay within
their reach! Marking the spot with a buoy, they rowed back
to the ship, on which the captain had remained. Here they,
disposed to have some sport, declared with long faces that
the affair had better come to an end. They were wasting time
and labor; the sea had no treasure to yield.

"If we were wise, captain," said the leading speaker, "we'd
pull up stakes and sail back for merry old England. There's
nothing but failure here. As much work done in digging and
drudging at home would bring tenfold more profit."

Phips listened in silence to him and the others, looking
from face to face.

"Our disappointments have been many," he replied, in a calm
and resolute tone. "Yet I do not despair. I am determined to
wait patiently on God's providence. We will find the
treasure-ship yet, my lads. Do not lose courage."

Turning his gaze to one side as he spoke, he started
violently, and then asked, in a tone so constrained that it
seemed the voice of agony,--

"Why, what is this? Whence comes this?"

He had caught sight of the sow of silver, which they had
cunningly laid a little out of direct vision.

"It is silver, Captain Phips," said the spokesman. "We did
but jest with you. That came from the bottom of the sea. All
is well; we have found the treasure-ship."

"Then, thanks be to God, we are made!" cried the captain,
clasping his hands in fervent thankfulness.

There was no longer any lack of energy in the labor. All
hands went to work with a hearty good-ill. Curiosity to
learn what the sea had to yield wrought upon them as much as
desire for reward. Up came the silver, sow after sow. In a
short time they had brought up no less than thirty-two tons
of this precious metal, with six tons besides that were
raised and appropriated by a Captain Adderly, of Providence,
whom Phips had engaged to help him, and who took this means
of helping himself. His crew was small, but his diligence

The silver was not all in sows. Much of it was coined, and
this coined silver was, in many cases, covered with a crust,
several inches thick, of limestone-like material. It came
out in great lumps, the crust needing to be broken with iron
tools, when out would tumble whole bushels of rusty pieces
of eight, Nor was the treasure confined to silver. There
came up gold in large quantities, and also pearls and other
precious stones. The Spaniards had gleaned actively in those
days of old, when the treasures of Peru were theirs for the
taking; and the ocean, its secret hiding-place once found,
yielded generously. In short, the treasure recovered is said
to have been worth nearly three hundred thousand pounds
sterling. They did not exhaust the deposit. Their provisions
failed, and they had to leave before the work was completed.
Others who came after them were well paid for their labor.

The treasure on board, Captain Phips had new trouble. The
men, seeing "such vast litters of silver sows and pigs come
on board," were not content with ordinary sailors' pay. They
might even be tempted to seize the ship and take its rich
lading for themselves. Phips was in great apprehension. He
had not forgotten the conduct of his former crew. He did his
utmost to gain the friendship of his men, and promised them
a handsome reward for their services, even if he had to give
them all his own share.

England was reached in safety, and the kingdom electrified
by the story of Captain Phips's success. The romantic
incidents of the narrative attracted universal attention.
Phips was the hero of the hour. Some of his enemies, it is
true, did their utmost to make him a wronged hero. They
diligently sought to persuade James II., then on the throne,
to seize the whole treasure as the appanage of the crown,
and not be content with the tithe to which his prerogative
entitled him. James II. was tyrannical but not unjust. He
refused to rob the mariners. "Captain Phips," he said, "he
saw to be a person of that honesty, ability, and fidelity
that he should not want his countenance."

Phips was certainly honest,--so much so, indeed, that
little of the treasure came to him. His promises to his men
were carefully kept; his employers were paid the last penny
of their dues; in the end, out of the whole, there remained
to himself less than sixteen thousand pounds. The Duke of
Albemarle, moved by admiration for his honesty, gave him, as
a present from his wife, a gold cup of the value of nearly
one thousand pounds. As for the king, he was so pleased with
the whole conduct of the adventurer, and perhaps so charmed
by Phips's silvery speech, that he conferred on him the
honor of knighthood, and the plain Kennebec boy became Sir
William Phips, and a member of the aristocracy of England.

Every one acknowledged that the discoverer owed his success
to merit, not to luck. He was evidently a man of the highest
capacity, and might, had he chosen, have filled high places
and gained great honors in England. But America was his
native land, and he was not to be kept from its shores.

He became such a favorite at court, that one day, when King
James was particularly gracious to him, and asked him what
favor he desired, he replied that he asked nothing for
himself, but hoped that the king would restore to his native
province its lost liberties, by returning the charter of
which it had been deprived.

"Anything but that!" exclaimed James, who had no idea of
restoring liberty to mother-land or colony.

He appointed Phips, however, high sheriff of New England,
and the adventurer returned home as a man of power and
station. On his way there he visited the silver-ship again,
and succeeded in adding something of value to his fortune.
Then, sailing to Boston, he rejoined his wife after a five
years' absence, and, to complete the realization of his
predictions, immediately began to build himself a "fair
brick house in Green Lane."

We have finished our story, which was to tell how the
sheep-boy of the Kennebec rose to be high sheriff of New
England, with the privilege of writing "Sir" before his
name. His after-life was little less memorable than the part
of it told, but we have no space left to tell it in.

King James was soon driven from the throne, and King William
took his place, but Sir William Phips retained his power and
influence. In 1690 he led an army against Port Royal in
Acadia, took it, and came back to receive the plaudits of
the Bostonians. He next attempted to conquer all Canada from
the French, attacked Quebec with a strong force, but was
repulsed, largely in consequence of a storm that scattered
his ships. The Bostonians had now no plaudits for him. The
expedition had cost New England about forty thousand pounds,
and there was not a penny in the treasury. The difficulty
was overcome by the issue of treasury-notes, an expedient
which was not adopted in England till five years afterwards.
Charles Montagu, the alleged inventor of exchequer bills
doubtless owed his idea to the sharp-witted Bostonians.

The beginning of 1692 found Sir William again in England,
whence he came back to his native land as captain-general
and governor-in-chief of the colony of Massachusetts. From
sheep-boy he had risen to the title of "Your Excellency."
Phips was governor of Massachusetts during the witchcraft
delusion. The part he took in it was not a very active one;
but when, in 1693, he found that grand juries were beginning
to throw out indictments, and petit juries to return
verdicts of "Not guilty," he ended the whole mad business by
emptying the prisons, then containing about one hundred and
fifty persons committed, while over two hundred more were
accused. In 1693 Governor Phips led an expedition against
the Indians of Maine, and forced them to conclude a treaty
of peace. In 1694 he went to England, to answer certain
accusations against his conduct as governor, and here was
taken suddenly sick, and died February 18, 1695.

The noble house of Phips, thus instituted, has steadily
grown in rank and dignity since that date, bearing
successively the titles of baron, viscount, earl, until
finally, in 1838, a Phips attained the rank of marquis of
Normandy. It is a remarkable development from the life of
that poor boy, one of a family of twenty-six, whose early
life was spent in tending sheep in the wilderness of Maine.


The years 1675 and 1676 were years of terrible experience
for New England. The most dreadful of all the Indian
outbreaks of that region--that known as King Philip's
War--was raging, and hundreds of the inhabitants fell
victims to the ruthless rage of their savage foes. Whole
villages perished, their inhabitants being slain on the
spot, or carried away captive for the more cruel fate of
Indian vengeance. The province was in a state of terror, for
none knew at what moment the terrible war-whoop might sound,
and the murderous enemy be upon them with tomahawk and

Everywhere the whites were on the alert. The farmer went to
his fields with his musket as an indispensable companion.
Outlying houses were guarded like fortresses. Even places of
worship were converted into strongholds, and the people
prayed with musket in hand, and, while listening to the
exhortations of their pastors, kept keenly alive to the
sounds without, for none could tell at what moment the foe
might break in on their devotions.

In the frontier town of Hadley, Massachusetts, then on the
northwestern edge of civilization, on a day in the summer of
1676, the people were thus all gathered at the
meeting-house, engaged in divine service. It was a day of
fasting and prayer, set aside to implore God's aid to
relieve the land from the reign of terror which had come
upon it. Yet the devout villagers, in their appeal for
spiritual aid, did not forget the importance of temporal
weapons. They had brought their muskets with them, and took
part in the pious exercises with these carnal instruments of
safety within easy reach of their hands.

Their caution was well advised. In the midst of their
devotional exercises a powerful body of Indians made a
sudden onslaught upon the village. They had crept up in
their usual stealthy way, under cover of trees and bushes,
and their wild yells as they assailed the outlying houses
were the first intimation of their approach.

These alarming sounds reached the ears of the worshippers,
and quickly brought their devotional services to an end. In
an instant all thought of dependence upon the Almighty was
replaced by the instinct of dependence upon themselves.
Grasping their weapons, they hurried out, to find themselves
face to face with the armed and exultant savages, who now
crowded the village street, and whose cries of triumph
filled the air with discordant sounds.

The people were confused and frightened, huddled together
with little show of order or discipline, and void of the
spirit and energy necessary to meet their threatening foe.
The Indians were on all sides, completely surrounding them.
The suddenness of the alarm and the evidence of imminent
peril robbed the villagers of their usual vigor and
readiness, signs of panic were visible, and had the Indians
attacked at that moment the people must have been hurled
back in disorderly flight, to become in great part the
victims of their foes.

It was a critical moment. Was Hadley to suffer the fate of
other frontier towns, or would the recent prayers of pastor
and people bring some divine interposition in their favor?
Yes; suddenly it seemed as if God indeed had come to their
aid; for as they stood there in a state of nerveless dread a
venerable stranger appeared in their midst, a tall, stately
personage, with long white hair, and dressed in strange,
old-fashioned garb, his countenance beaming with energy and

"Quick," he cried, "into line and order at once! The Indians
are about to charge upon you. Take heart, and prepare for
them, or they will slaughter you like sheep."

With the air of one born to command, he hastily formed the
band of villagers into military array, displaying such skill
and ardor that their temporary fright vanished, to be
succeeded by courage and confidence. Had not the Almighty
sent this venerable stranger to their aid? Should they fear
when led by God's messenger?

"Now, upon them!" cried their mysterious leader. "We must
have the advantage of the assault!"

Putting himself at their head, he led them on with an ardor
remarkable in one of his years. The savages, who had been
swarming together preparatory to an attack, beheld with
surprise this orderly rush forward of the villagers, and
shrunk from their death-dealing and regular volleys. And the
white-haired form who led their foes with such fearless
audacity struck terror to their superstitious souls, filling
them with dread and dismay.

The struggle that followed was short and decisive. Animated
by the voice and example of their leader, the small band
attacked their savage enemies with such vigor and show of
discipline that in very few minutes the Indians were in full
flight for the wilderness, leaving a considerable number of
dead upon the ground. Of the villagers only two or three had

The grateful people, when the turmoil and confusion of the
affray were over, turned to thank their venerable leader for
his invaluable aid. To their surprise he was nowhere to be
seen. He had vanished in the same mysterious manner as he
had appeared. They looked at one another in bewilderment.
What did this strange event signify? Had God really sent one
of his angels from heaven, in response to their prayers, to
rescue them from destruction? Such was the conclusion to
which some of the people came, while the most of them
believed that there was some miracle concerned in their
strange preservation.

This interesting story, which tradition has preserved in the
form here given, has a no less interesting sequel. We know,
what most of the villagers never knew, who their preserver
was, and how it happened that he came so opportunely to
their rescue. To complete our narrative we must go back
years in time, to the date of 1649, the year of the
execution of Charles I. of England.

Fifty-nine signatures had been affixed to the death-warrant
of this royal criminal. A number of the signers afterwards
paid the penalty of that day's work on the scaffold. We are
concerned here only with two of them, Generals Whalley and
Goffe, who, after the death of Cromwell and the return of
Charles II., fled for safety to New England, knowing well
what would be their fate if found in their mother-land. A
third of the regicides, Colonel Dixwell, afterwards joined
them in America, but his story is void of the romance which
surrounded that of his associates.

Whalley and Goffe reached Boston in July, 1660. The vessel
that brought them brought also tidings that Charles II. was
on the throne. The fugitives were well received. They had
stood high in the Commonwealth, brought letters of
commendation from Puritan ministers in England, and hoped to
dwell in peace in Cambridge, where they decided to fix their
residence. But the month of November brought a new story to
Boston. In the Act of Indemnity passed by Parliament the
names of Whalley and Goffe were among those left out. They
had played a part in the execution of the king, and to the
regicides no mercy was to be shown. Their estates were
confiscated; their lives declared forfeited; any man who
befriended them did so at his own peril.

These tidings produced excitement and alarm in Boston. The
Puritans of the colony were all warmly inclined towards
their endangered guests. Some would have protected them at
all hazards; others felt inclined to help them to escape; a
few thought it might be their duty to take them prisoners.

The illustrious fugitives settled this difficulty by
privately leaving Cambridge and making their way overland to
New Haven. Here they were well received. In truth, the Rev.
John Davenport, one of the founders of the colony, did not
hesitate to speak to his congregation in their behalf. We
quote from his bold and significant words, whose slightly
masked meaning his hearers failed not to understand.

"Withhold not countenance, entertainment, and protection
from the people of God,--whom men may call fools and
fanatics,--if any such come to you from other countries, as
from France or England, or any other place. Be not forgetful
to entertain strangers. Hide the outcasts, betray not him
that wandereth. Let mine outcasts dwell with thee, Moab. Be
thou a covert to them from the face of the spoiler."

Mr. Davenport was not afraid to live up to the spirit of his
words. For several weeks the regicides dwelt openly in his
house. But meanwhile a proclamation from the king had
reached Boston, ordering their arrest as traitors and
murderers. News of its arrival was quickly received at New
Haven. The fugitives, despite the sympathy of the people,
were in imminent danger. Measures must be taken for their

They left New Haven and proceeded to Milford, where they
showed themselves in public. But by night they covertly
returned, and for more than a week lay hid in Mr.
Davenport's cellar. This cellar is still in existence, and
the place in it where the fugitives are said to have hidden
may still be seen.

But their danger soon grew more imminent. Peremptory orders
came from England for their arrest. Governor Endicott felt
obliged to act decisively. He gave commission to two young
royalists who had recently come from England, empowering
them to search through Massachusetts for the fugitives.
Letters to the governors of the other colonies, requesting
aid in their purpose, were also given them.

These agents of the king at once started on their mission of
death. They had no difficulty in tracing the fugitives to
New Haven. One person went so far as to tell them that the
men they sought were secreted in Mr. Davenport's house.
Stopping at Guilford, they showed their warrant to Mr.
Leete, the deputy-governor, and demanded horses for their
journey, and aid and power to search for and apprehend the

Deputy Leete had little heart for this task. He knew very
well where the fugitives were, but managed to make such
excuses and find so many reasons for delay that the agents,
who arrived on Saturday, were detained until Sunday, and
then, as this was Puritan New England, could not get away
till Monday. Meanwhile a secret messenger was on his way to
New Haven, to warn the fugitives of their danger. On
hearing this startling news they hastily removed from their
hiding-place in Mr. Davenport's house, and were taken to a
secluded mill two miles away.

The royal messengers reached New Haven and demanded the
assistance of the authorities in their search. They failed
to get it. Every obstacle was thrown in their way. They
equally failed to find any trace of the fugitives, though
the latter did not leave the immediate vicinity of the town.
After two days at the mill they were taken to a hiding-place
at a spot called Hatchet Harbor, and soon afterwards,
finding this place too exposed, they removed to a
cavern-like covert in a heap of large stones, near the
summit of West Rock, not far from the town. Here they
remained in hiding for several months, being supplied with
food from a lonely farm-house in the neighborhood.

The royal agents, finding their search fruitless and their
efforts to get aid from the magistrates vexatiously baffled,
at length returned to Boston, where they told a bitter story
of the obstinate and pertinacious contempt of his Majesty's
orders displayed by these New Haven worthies. The chase thus
given up, the fugitives found shelter in a house in Milford,
where they dwelt in seclusion for two years.

But danger returned. The king demanded blood-revenge for his
father's death. Commissioners from England reached Boston,
armed with extraordinary powers of search. The pursuit was
renewed with greater energy than before. The fugitives,
finding the danger imminent, and fearing to bring their
protectors into trouble, returned to their cave. Here they
lay for some time in security, while the surrounding country
was being actively scoured by parties of search. On one
occasion, when out of their place of shelter, they were so
nearly overtaken that they only escaped by hiding under a
bridge. This was what is known as Neck Bridge, over Mill
River. As they sat beneath it they heard above them the
hoof-beats of their pursuers' horses on the bridge. The
sleuth-hounds of the law passed on without dreaming how
nearly their victims had been within their reach. This was
not the only narrow escape of the fugitives. Several times
they were in imminent danger of capture, yet fortune always
came to their aid.


A day arrived in which the cave ceased to serve as a safe
harbor of refuge. A party of Indians, hunting in the woods,
discovered its lurking occupants. Fearing that the savages
might betray them, to obtain the large reward offered, the
fugitives felt it necessary to seek a new place of shelter.
A promising plan was devised by their friends, who included
all the pious Puritans of the colony. Leaving the vicinity
of New Haven, and travelling by night only, the aged
regicides made their way, through many miles of forest, to
Hadley, then an outpost in the wilderness. Here the Rev.
John Russell, who ministered to the spiritual wants of the
inhabitants, gladly received and sheltered them. His house
had been lately added to, and contained many rooms and
closets. In doing this work a hiding-place had been
prepared for his expected guests. One of the closets, in the
garret, had doors opening into two chambers, while its
floor-boards were so laid that they could be slipped aside
and admit to a dark under-closet. From this there seems to
have been a passage-way to the cellar.

With this provision for their retreat, in case the house
should be searched, Mr. Russell gave harbor to the hunted
regicides, the secret of their presence being known only to
his family and one or two of the most trusty inhabitants.
The fugitives, happily for them, had no occasion to avail
themselves of the concealed closet. Their place of hiding
remained for years unsuspected. In time the rigor of the
search was given up, and for many years they remained here
in safety, their secret being remarkably well kept. It was
in 1664 that they reached Hadley. In 1676, when Colonel
Goffe so opportunely served the villagers in their
extremity, so little was it known that two strangers had
dwelt for twelve years concealed in their midst, that some
of the people, as we have said, decided that their rescuer
must be an angel from heaven, in default of other
explanation of his sudden appearance.

There is little more to say about them. General Whalley died
at Hadley, probably in the year of the Indian raid, and was
buried in the cellar of Mr. Russell's house, his secret
being kept even after his death. His bones have since been
found there. As for General Goffe, his place of exit from
this earth is a mystery. Tradition says that he left
Hadley, went "westward towards Virginia," and vanished from
human sight and knowledge. The place of his death and burial
remains unknown.

It may be said, in conclusion, that Colonel Dixwell joined
his fellow-regicides in Hadley in 1665. He had taken the
name of Davids, was not known to be in America, and was
comparatively safe. He had no reason to hide, and dwelt in a
retired part of the town, where his presence and intercourse
doubtless went far to relieve the monotony of life of his
fellows in exile. He afterwards lived many years in New
Haven, where he spent much of his time in reading,--history
being his favorite study,--in walking in the neighboring
groves, and in intercourse with the more cultivated
inhabitants, the Rev. Mr. Pierpont being his intimate
friend. He married twice while here, and at his death left a
wife and two children, who resumed his true name, which he
made known in his last illness. His descendants are well
known in New England, and the Dixwells are among the most
respected Boston families of to-day.


Not until James II. became king of England was a determined
effort made to take away the liberties of the American
colonies. All New England, up to that time, had been
virtually free, working under charters of very liberal
character, and governing itself in its own way and with its
own elected rulers. Connecticut, with whose history we are
now concerned, received its charter in 1662, from Charles
II., and went on happily and prosperously until James
ascended the throne. This bigoted tyrant, who spent his
short reign in seeking to overthrow the liberties of
England, quickly determined that America needed
disciplining, and that these much too independent colonists
ought to be made to feel the dominant authority of the king.
The New England colonies in particular, which claimed
charter rights and disdained royal governors, must be made
to yield their patents and privileges, and submit to the
rule of a governor-general, appointed by the king, with
paramount authority over the colonies.

Sir Edmund Andros, a worthy minion of a tyrant, was chosen
as the first governor-general, and arrived at Boston in
December, 1686, determined to bring these rampant colonists
to a sense of their duty as humble subjects of his royal
master. He quickly began to display autocratic authority,
with an offensiveness of manner that disgusted the citizens
as much as his acts of tyranny annoyed them. The several
colonies were peremptorily ordered to deliver up their
charters. With the response to this command we are not here
concerned, except in the case of Connecticut, which
absolutely refused.

Months passed, during which the royal representative aped
kingly manners and dignity in Boston, and Connecticut went
on undisturbed except by his wordy fulminations. But in
October of the next year he made his appearance at Hartford,
attended by a body-guard of some sixty soldiers and
officers. The Assembly was in session. Sir Edmund marched
with an important air into the chamber, and in a peremptory
tone demanded that the charter should be immediately placed
in his hands.

This demand put the members into an awkward dilemma. The
charter was in Hartford, in a place easy of access; Sir
Edmund was prepared to seize it by force if it were not
quickly surrendered; how to save this precious instrument of
liberty did not at once appear. The members temporized,
received their unwelcome visitor with every show of respect,
and entered upon a long and calm debate, with a wearisome
deliberation which the impatience of the governor-general
could not hasten or cut short.

Governor Treat, the presiding officer of the Assembly,
addressed Sir Edmund in tones of remonstrance and entreaty.
The people of America, he said, had been at the greatest
expense and had suffered the most extreme hardships in
planting the country; they had freely spent their blood and
treasure in defending it against savage natives and foreign
aggressors; and all this had been done for the honor and
glory of the motherland. He himself had endured hardships
and been environed by perils, and it would be like giving up
his life to surrender the patent and privileges so dearly
bought and so long enjoyed.

Argument of this kind was wasted on Sir Edmund. Remonstrance
and appeal were alike in vain. It was the charter he wanted,
not long-winded excuses, and he fumed and fretted while the
slow-talking members wasted the hours in what he looked upon
as useless argument.

Night had been drawing near on his entrance. Darkness
settled upon the Assembly while the debate went on. Lights
were now brought in,--the tallow candles of our colonial
forefathers,--and placed upon the table round which the
members sat. By this time Sir Edmund's impatience at their
procrastination had deepened into anger, and he demanded the
charter in so decided tones that the reluctant governor gave
orders that it should be produced. The box containing it was
brought into the chamber and laid upon the table, the cover
removed, and there before their eyes lay the precious
parchment, the charter of colonial liberty.

Still the members talked and procrastinated. But it is not
easy to restrain the hound when within sight of the game
which it has long pursued. Before the eyes of Sir Edmund lay
that pestiferous paper which had given him such annoyance.
His impatience was no longer to be restrained. In the midst
of the long-drawn-out oratory of the members he rose and
stepped towards the table to seize the object in dispute.

At that critical instant there came an unexpected diversion.
During the debate a number of the more important citizens
had entered the room, and stood near the table round which
the members sat. Suddenly, from the midst of those people, a
long cloak was deftly flung, with such sure aim that it fell
upon the circle of blazing candles, extinguishing them all,
and in a moment throwing the room into total darkness.

Confusion followed. There were quick and excited movements
within the room. Outside, the crowd which had assembled set
up a lusty cheer, and a number of them pushed into the
chamber. The members stirred uneasily in their seats. Sir
Edmund angrily exclaimed,--

"What means this, gentlemen? Is some treachery at work?
Guard the charter! Light those candles instantly!"

The attendants hastened to obey; but haste in procuring
light in those days had a different meaning than now. The
lucifer-match had not yet been dreamed of. The
flint-and-steel was a slow conception. Several minutes
elapsed before the candles again shed their feeble glow
through the room.

With the first gleam of light every eye was fixed upon the
box which had contained the charter. It was empty! The
charter was gone!

Just what Sir Edmund said on this occasion history has not
recorded. Those were days in which the most exalted persons
dealt freely in oaths, and it is to be presumed that the
infuriated governor-general used words that must have sadly
shocked the pious ears of his Puritan auditors.

But the charter had vanished, and could not be sworn back
into the box. Where it had gone probably no one knew;
certainly no one was willing to say. The members looked at
one another in blank astonishment. The lookers-on manifested
as blank an ignorance, though their faces beamed with
delight. It had disappeared as utterly as if it had sunk
into the earth, and the oaths of Sir Edmund and his efforts
to recover it proved alike in vain.

But the mystery of that night after-history has revealed,
and the story can now be told. In truth, some of those
present in the hall knew far more than they cared to tell.
In the darkness a quick-moving person had made a lane
through the throng to a neighboring window whose sash was
thrown up. Out of this he leaped to the ground below. Here
people were thickly gathered.

"Make way," he said (or may have said, for his real words
have not been preserved), "for Connecticut and liberty. I
have the charter."

The cheers redoubled. The crowd separated and let him
through. In a minute he had disappeared in the darkness

Sir Edmund meanwhile was storming like a fury in the hall;
threatening the colony with the anger of the king;
declaring that every man in the chamber should be searched;
fairly raving in his disappointment. Outside, the bold
fugitive sped swiftly along the dark and quiet streets,
ending his course at length in front of a noble and imposing
oak-tree, which stood before the house of the Honorable
Samuel Wyllys, one of the colonial magistrates.

This tree was hollow; the opening slender without, large
within. Deeply into this cavity the fugitive thrust his arm,
pushing the precious packet as far as it would go, and
covering it thickly with fine débris at the bottom of the


"So much for Sir Edmund," he said. "Let him now rob
Connecticut of the charter of its liberties, if he can."

Tradition--for it must be acknowledged that this story is
traditional, though probably true in its main
elements--tells us that this daring individual was Captain
Joseph Wadsworth, a bold and energetic militia-leader who
was yet to play another prominent part in the drama of
colonial life.

As for the Charter Oak, it long remained Hartford's most
venerated historical monument. It became in time a huge
tree, twenty-five feet in circumference near the roots. The
cavity in which the charter was hidden grew larger year by
year, until it was wide enough within to contain a child,
though the orifice leading to it gradually closed until it
was hardly large enough to admit a hand. This grand monument
to liberty survived until 1856, when tempest in its boughs
and decay in its trunk brought it in ruin to the earth.

What followed may be briefly told. The charter lost, Sir
Edmund Andros assumed control, declared the privileges
granted by it to be annulled, and issued a proclamation in
which the liberties of the colonies were replaced by the
tyranny of autocratic rule. The colonists were forced to
submit, but their submission was one of discontent and
barely-concealed revolt. Fortunately the tyranny of Sir
Edmund lasted not long. The next year the royal tyrant of
England was driven from his throne, and the chain which he
had laid upon the neck of Britannia and her colonies was
suddenly removed.

The exultation in America knew no bounds. Andros was seized
and thrown into prison in Boston, to preserve him from a
ruder fate from the mob. Early in the next year he was
shipped to England. Captain Wadsworth withdrew the charter
from the hiding-place which had safely kept its secret until
that hour, and placed it in the hands of the delighted
governor. Jurists in England had declared that it was still
in force, and the former government was at once resumed,
amid the most earnest manifestations of joy by the populace.

Yet the liberties of Connecticut were soon again to be
imperilled, and were to be save once more by the intrepid
daring of Captain Wadsworth.

It was now the year 1693. William of Orange had been for
some years on the English throne. While far more liberal
than his predecessor, his acts had somewhat limited the
former freedom of the New England colonies. He did not
attempt to appoint royal governors over these truculent
people, but on Governor Fletcher, of New York, were
conferred privileges which went far to set aside the charter
rights of the neighboring colony.

In brief, this royal governor was given full power of
command over the militia of Connecticut, an act in direct
contravention of the charter, which placed the military
control in the hands of the colonial authorities. Fletcher
pressed his claim. The governor indignantly refused to yield
his rights. The people ardently supported him.

Filled with blustering indignation, Governor Fletcher left
New York and came to Hartford, determined that his authority
should be acknowledged. He reached there on October 26,

He called upon the governor and other authorities, armed
with the royal commission, and sternly demanded that the
command of the militia should be handed over to him.

"You have played with me in this matter," he asserted. "Now
I demand an answer, immediate, and in two words, Yes or No.
And I require that the militia of Hartford shall be
instantly ordered under arms."

"As for the latter, it shall be as you wish," answered the
governor "As for the former, we deny your authority. Nor
will I, as you suggest, consent to hold command as your

The train-bands were ordered out. The demand had been
expected, and no long time elapsed before these
citizen-soldiers were assembled on the drill-ground of
Hartford,--an awkward squad, probably, if we may judge from
the train-bands of later days, but doubtless containing much
good soldierly material.

At their head stood their senior officer, Captain Wadsworth,
the same bold patriot who had so signally defeated a royal
governor six years before. He was now to add to his fame by
as signally defeating another royal governor.

When the New York potentate, accompanied by the governor and
a number of the assemblymen, and by the members of his
staff, reached the place, they found the valiant captain
walking up and down before his men, busily engaged in
putting them through their exercises.

Governor Fletcher stepped forward importantly, produced his
commission and instructions, and ordered them to be read to
the assembled troops. The person to whom he handed them
unfolded the commission, advanced to the front of the line,
and prepared to read. He did not know with whom he had to

"Beat the drums!" cried Captain Wadsworth, in a stentorian

Instantly there broke out a roar that utterly drowned the
voice of the reader.

"Silence!" exclaimed Fletcher, angrily advancing.

The drums ceased their rattling uproar. Silence once more
prevailed. The reader began again.

"Drum! drum, I say!" thundered Wadsworth.

Again such an uproar filled the air as only drum-heads
beaten by vigorous arms can make.

"Silence! silence!" cried Fletcher, furiously. The drums

"Drum! drum, I say!" roared Wadsworth. Then, turning to the
governor, and handling his sword significantly, he
continued, in resolute tones, "If I am interrupted again I
will make the sun shine through you in a minute."

This fierce threat ended the business. Governor Fletcher had
no fancy for being riddled by this truculent captain of
militia. King William's commission doubtless had its weight,
but the king was three thousand miles away across the seas,
and Captain Wadsworth and his trainbands were unpleasantly
near. Governor Fletcher deemed it unwise to try too strongly
the fiery temper of the Hartford militiaman; he and his
suite returned hastily to New York, and that was the last
that was heard of a royal commander for the militia of


To-day we may make our way from New York to Philadelphia in
a two-hour "Flyer," with palace-car accommodations.
To-morrow, perhaps, the journey will be made in ninety
minutes. Such, at least, is the nearly-realized dream of
railroad-men. A century and a half ago this journey took
considerably more time, and was made with much less comfort.
There is on record an interesting narrative of how the trip
was made in 1723, which is worth giving as a contrast to
present conditions.

The traveller was no less notable a personage than Benjamin
Franklin, who, much to the after-advantage of the Quaker
City, had run away from too severe an apprenticeship in
Boston, failed to obtain employment in New York, and learned
that work might be had in Philadelphia. The story of how he
came thither cannot be told better than in his own homely
language, so we will suffer him to speak for himself.


"Philadelphia was one hundred miles farther; I set out,
however, in a boat for Amboy, leaving my chest and things to
follow me round by sea. In crossing the bay, we met with a
squall that tore our rotten sail to pieces, prevented our
getting into the Kill, and drove us upon Long Island. In our
way a drunken Dutchman, who was a passenger too, fell
overboard; when he was sinking, I reached through the water
to his shock pate and drew him up, so that we got him in
again. His ducking sobered him a little, and he went to
sleep, taking first out of his pocket a book, which he
desired I would dry for him."

The book proved to be the "Pilgrim's Progress," in Dutch,
well printed, and with copper-plate illustrations, a fact
which greatly interested the book-loving traveller.

"On approaching the island, we found it was a place where
there could be no landing, there being a great surge on the
stony beach. So we dropped anchor, and swung out our cable
towards the shore. Some people came down to the shore, and
hallooed to us, as we did to them; but the wind was so high,
and the surge so loud, that we could not understand each
other. There were some small boats near the shore, and we
made signs, and called to them to fetch us; but they either
did not comprehend us, or it was impracticable, so they went

"Night approaching, we had no remedy but to have patience
till the wind abated, and in the mean time the boatman and
myself concluded to sleep, if we could; and so we crowded
into the hatches, where we joined the Dutchman, who was
still wet, and the spray, breaking over the head of our
boat, leaked through to us, so that we were soon almost as
wet as he. In this manner we lay all night, with very little
rest; but the wind abating the next day, we made a shift to
reach Amboy before night, having been thirty hours on the
water, without victuals, or any drink but a bottle of filthy
rum, the water we sailed on being salt."

The story seems hard to credit. The travellers had already
spent fifteen times the period it now takes to make the
complete journey, and were but fairly started; while they
had experienced almost as much hardship as though they were
wrecked mariners, cast upon a desolate coast. The remainder
of the journey was no less wearisome. The traveller thus
continues his narrative:

"In the evening I found myself very feverish, and went to
bed; but having read somewhere that cold water drunk
plentifully was good for a fever, I followed the
prescription, and sweat plentifully most of the night. My
fever left me, and in the morning, crossing the ferry, I
proceeded on my journey on foot, having fifty miles to go to
Burlington, where I was told I should find boats that would
carry me the rest of the way to Philadelphia.

"It rained very hard all the day; I was thoroughly soaked,
and by noon a good deal tired; so I stopped at a poor inn,
where I stayed all night, beginning now to wish I had never
left home. I made so miserable a figure, too, that I found,
by the questions asked me, I was suspected to be some
runaway indentured servant, and in danger of being taken up
on that suspicion. However, I proceeded next day, and in the
evening got to an inn, within eight or ten miles of
Burlington, kept by one Dr. Brown. He entered into
conversation with me while I took some refreshment, and,
finding I had read a little, became very obliging and
friendly. Our acquaintance continued all the rest of his
life. He had been, I imagine, an ambulatory quack doctor,
for there was no town in England, nor any country in Europe,
of which he could not give a very particular account. He had
some letters, and was ingenious, but he was an infidel, and
wickedly undertook, some years after, to turn the Bible into
doggerel verse, as Cotton had formerly done with Virgil. By
this means he set many facts in a ridiculous light, and
might have done mischief with weak minds if his work had
been published, but it never was.

"At his house I lay that night, and arrived the next morning
at Burlington, but had the mortification to find that the
regular boats were gone a little before, and no other
expected to go before Tuesday, this being Saturday,
wherefore I returned to an old woman in the town, of whom I
had bought some gingerbread to eat on the water, and asked
her advice. She proposed to lodge me till a passage by some
other boat occurred. I accepted her offer, being much
fatigued by travelling on foot. Understanding I was a
printer, she would have had me remain in that town and
follow my business, being ignorant what stock was necessary
to begin with. She was very hospitable, gave me a dinner of
ox-cheek with great good-will, accepting only of a pot of
ale in return; and I thought myself fixed till Tuesday
should come.

"However, walking in the evening by the side of the river, a
boat came by which I found was going towards Philadelphia,
with several people in her. They took me in, and, as there
was no wind, we rowed all the way; and about midnight, not
having yet seen the city, some of the company were confident
we must have passed it, and would row no farther; the others
knew not where we were; so we put towards the shore, got
into a creek, landed near an old fence, with the rails of
which we made a fire, the night being cold, in October, and
there we remained till daylight. Then one of the company
knew the place to be Cooper's Creek, a little above
Philadelphia, which we saw as soon as we got out of the
creek, and arrived there about eight or nine o'clock on the
Sunday morning, and landed at Market Street wharf."

The closing portion of this naïve narrative is as
interesting in its way as the opening. The idea that
Philadelphia could be passed in the darkness and not
discovered seems almost ludicrous when we consider its
present many miles of river front, and the long-drawn-out
glow of illumination which it casts across the stream.
Nothing could be more indicative of its village-like
condition at the time of Franklin's arrival, and its
enormous growth since. Nor are the incidents and conditions
of the journey less striking. The traveller, making the best
time possible to him, had been nearly five full days on the
way, and had experienced a succession of hardships which
would have thrown many men into a sick-bed at the end. It
took youth, health, and energy to accomplish the difficult
passage from New York to Philadelphia in that day; a journey
which we now make between breakfast and dinner, with
considerable time for business in the interval. Verily, the
world moves. But to return to our traveller's story.

"I have been the more particular in this description of my
journey, and shall be so of my first entry into that city,
that you may in your mind compare such unlikely beginnings
with the figure I have since made there. I was in my
working-dress, my best clothes coming round by sea. I was
dirty from my being so long in the boat. My pockets were
stuffed out with shirts and stockings, and I knew no one,
nor where to look for lodging. Fatigued with walking,
rowing, and the want of sleep, I was very hungry; and my
whole stock of cash consisted in a single dollar, and about
a shilling in copper coin, which I gave to the boatmen for
my passage. At first they refused it, on account of my
having rowed, but I insisted on their taking it. Man is
sometimes more generous when he has little money than when
he has plenty; perhaps to prevent his being thought to have
but little.

"I walked towards the top of the street, gazing about till
near Market Street, where I met a boy with bread. I had
often made a meal of dry bread, and, inquiring where he had
bought it, I went immediately to the baker's he directed me
to. I asked for biscuits, meaning such as we had at Boston;
that sort, it seems, was not made in Philadelphia. I then
asked for a three-penny loaf, and was told they had none.
Not knowing the different prices, nor the names of the
different sorts of bread, I told him to give me
three-penny-worth of any sort. He gave me, accordingly,
three great puffy rolls. I was surprised at the quantity,
but took it, and having no room in my pockets, walked off
with a roll under each arm, and eating the other.

"Thus I went up Market Street as far as Fourth Street,
passing by the door of Mr. Read, my future wife's father,
when she, standing at the door, saw me, and thought I made,
as I certainly did, a most awkward, ridiculous appearance.
Then I turned and went down Chestnut Street, and part of
Walnut Street, eating my roll all the way, and, coming
round, found myself again at Market Street wharf, near the
boat I came in, to which I went for a draught of the
river-water, and, being filled with one of my rolls, gave
the other two to a woman and her child that came down the
river in the boat with us, and were waiting to go farther.

"Thus refreshed, I walked again up the street, which by this
time had many cleanly-dressed people in it, who were all
walking the same way. I joined them, and was thereby led
into the great meeting-house of the Quakers, near the
market. I sat down among them, and, after looking round a
while and hearing nothing said, became very drowsy through
labor and want of rest the preceding night, I fell fast
asleep, and continued so till the meeting broke up, when
some one was kind enough to arouse me. This, therefore, was
the first house I was in, or slept in, in Philadelphia."

There is nothing more simple, homely, and attractive in
literature than Franklin's autobiographical account of the
first period of his life, of which we have transcribed a
portion, nor nothing more indicative of the great changes
which time has produced in the conditions of this country,
and which it produced in the life of our author. As for his
journey from New York to Philadelphia, it presents, for the
time involved, as great a series of adventures and hardships
as does Stanley's recent journey through Central Africa. And
as regards his own history, the contrast between the
Franklin of 1723 and 1783 was as great as that which has
come upon the city of his adoption. There is something
amusingly ludicrous in the picture of the great Franklin,
soiled with travel, a dollar in his pocket representing his
entire wealth, walking up Market Street with two great rolls
of bread under his arms and gnawing hungrily at a third;
while his future wife peers from her door, and laughs to
herself at this awkward youth, who looked as if he had never
set foot on city street before.

We can hardly imagine this to be the Franklin who afterwards
became the associate of the great and the admired of
nations, who argued the cause of America before the
assembled notables of England, who played a leading part in
the formation of the Constitution of the United States, and
to whom Philadelphia owes several of its most thriving and
useful institutions. Millions of people have since poured
into the City of Brotherly Love, but certainly no other
journey thither has been nearly so momentous in its
consequences as the humble one above described.


On the 31st day of October, in the year 1753, a young man,
whose name was as yet unknown outside the colony of
Virginia, though it was destined to attain world-wide fame,
set out from Williamsburg, in that colony, on a momentous
errand. It was the first step taken in a series of events
which were to end in driving the French from North America,
and placing this great realm under English control,--the
opening movement in the memorable French and Indian War. The
name of the young man was George Washington. His age was
twenty-one years. He began thus, in his earliest manhood,
that work in the service of his country which was to
continue until the end.

The enterprise before the young Virginian was one that
needed the energies of youth and the unyielding perseverance
of an indefatigable spirit. A wilderness extended far and
wide before him, partly broken in Virginia, but farther on
untouched by the hand of civilization. Much of his route lay
over rugged mountains, pathless save by the narrow and
difficult Indian trails. The whole distance to be traversed
was not less than five hundred and sixty miles, with an
equal distance to return. The season was winter. It was a
task calculated to try the powers and test the endurance of
the strongest and most energetic man.

The contest between France and England for American soil was
about to begin. Hitherto the colonists of those nations had
kept far asunder,--the French in Canada and on the great
lakes; the English on the Atlantic coast. Now the English
were feeling their way westward, the French
southward,--lines of movement which would touch each other
on the Ohio. The touch, when made, was sure to be a hostile

England had established an "Ohio Company,"--ostensibly for
trade, really for conquest. The French had built forts,--one
at Presque Isle, on Lake Erie; one on French Creek, near its
head-waters; a third at the junction of French Creek with
the Alleghany. This was a bold push inland. They had done
more than this. A party of French and Indians had made their
way as far as the point where Pittsburgh now stands. Here
they found some English traders, took them prisoners, and
conveyed them to Presque Isle. In response to this, some
French traders were seized by the Twightwee Indians, a tribe
friendly to the English, and sent to Pennsylvania. The touch
had taken place, and it was a hostile one.


Major Washington--he had been a Virginian adjutant-general,
with the rank of major, since the age of nineteen--was
chosen for the next step, that of visiting the French forts
and demanding the withdrawal of their garrisons from what
was claimed to be English territory. The mission was a
delicate one. It demanded courage, discretion, and energy.
Washington had them all. No better choice could have been
made than of this young officer of militia.

The youthful pioneer proceeded alone as far as
Fredericksburg. Here he engaged two companions, one as
French, the other as Indian, interpreter, and proceeded.
Civilization had touched the region before him, but not
subdued it. At the junction of Will's Creek with the Potomac
(now Cumberland, Maryland), he reached the extreme outpost
of civilization. Before him stretched more than four hundred
miles of unbroken wilderness. The snow-covered Alleghanies
were just in advance. The chill of the coming winter already
was making itself felt. Recent rains had swollen the
streams. They could be crossed only on log-rafts, or by the
more primitive methods of wading or swimming,--expedients
none too agreeable in freezing weather. But youth and a
lofty spirit halt not for obstacles. Washington pushed on.

At Will's Creek he added to his party. Here he was joined by
Mr. Gist, an experienced frontiersman, who knew well the
ways of the wilderness, and by four other persons, two of
them Indian traders. On November 14 the journey was resumed.
Hardships now surrounded the little party of adventurers.
Miles of rough mountain had to be climbed; streams, swollen
to their limits, to be crossed; unbroken and interminable
forests to be traversed. Day after day they pressed onward,
through difficulties that would have deterred all but the
hardiest and most vigorous of men. In ten days they had
accomplished an important section of their journey, and
reached those forks of the Ohio which were afterwards to
attain such celebrity both in war and peace,--as the site of
Fort Duquesne and of the subsequent city of Pittsburgh.

Twenty miles farther on the Indian settlement of Logstown
was reached. Here Washington called the Indian chiefs
together in conference. The leading chief was known as
Tanacharison (Half-King), an Indian patriot, who had been
much disturbed by the French and English incursions. He had
been to the French forts. What he had said to their
commanders is curious, and worthy of being quoted:

"Fathers, I am come to tell you your own speeches; what your
own mouths have declared. Fathers, you in former days set a
silver basin before us, wherein was the leg of a beaver, and
desired all the nations to come and eat of it,--to eat in
peace and plenty, and not to be churlish to one another; and
that, if any person should be found to be a disturber, I
here lay down by the edge of the dish a rod, which you must
scourge them with; and if your father should get foolish in
my old days, I desire you may use it upon me as well as
others. Now, fathers, it is you who are the disturbers in
this land, by coming and building your towns, and taking it
away unknown to us, and by force....

"Fathers, I desire you may hear me in civilness; if not, we
must handle that rod which was laid down for the use of the
obstreperous.... Fathers, both you and the English are
white; we live in a country between; therefore, the land
belongs to neither one nor the other. The Great Being above
allowed it to be a place of residence for us; so, fathers, I
desire you to withdraw, as I have done our brothers the
English: for I will keep you at arms' length. I lay this
down as a trial for both, to see which will have the
greatest regard for it, and that side we will stand by, and
make equal sharers with us. Our brothers, the English, have
heard this, and I now come to tell it to you; for I am not
afraid to discharge you off this land."

The poor Half-King was to find that he had undertaken a task
like that of discharging the wolves out of the sheep-cote.
The French heard his protest with contempt, and went on
building their forts. He thereupon turned to the English,
whom he, in the simplicity of his heart, imagined had no
purpose save that of peaceful trade. His "fathers" had
contemned him; to his "brothers" he turned in amity.

Washington told his purposes to his dusky auditors. He had
come to warn the French intruders off the Indian lands. He
desired a guide to conduct him to the French fort, one
hundred and twenty miles distant. His statement pleased the
Indians. Their English "brothers" were in sympathy with
them. They would help them to recover their lands. The
generosity of their white brothers must have seemed highly
meritorious to the simple savages. They had yet to learn
that the French and the English were the two millstones, and
they and their lands the corn to be ground between.

The Half-King, with two other chiefs (Jeskakake and White
Thunder by name), volunteered to guide the whites. A hunter
of noted skill also joined them. Once more the expedition
set out. The journey was a terrible one. Winter had set in;
rain and snow fell almost unceasingly; the forest was next
to impassable; great were their toils, severe their
hardships. On December 5 they reached the French outpost at
Venango (now Franklin), where French Creek joins the
Alleghany. Here they were met by Captain Joncaire, the
French commandant, with a promising show of civility.
Secretly, however, the astute Frenchman sought to rob
Washington of his Indians. Fortunately, the aborigines knew
the French too well to be cajoled, and were ready to
accompany Washington when he set out on his remaining
journey. Their route now led up French Creek to Fort Le
Boeuf, on the head-waters of that stream. This they reached
on the 12th, after a wearisome experience of frontier
travel. Forty-one days had passed since Washington left

The commandant here was M. de St. Pierre, an elderly man, of
courteous manners, a knight of the order of St. Louis. He
received Washington cordially, treated him with every
hospitality while in the fort, did everything except to
comply with Governor Dinwiddie's order to leave the works.

Washington's instruction were conveyed in a letter from the
governor of Virginia, which asserted that the lands of the
Ohio and its tributaries belonged to England, declared that
the French movements were encroachments, asked by whose
authority an armed force had crossed the lakes, and demanded
their speedy departure from English territory.

St. Pierre's reply was given in a sealed letter. It declared
that he was a soldier, his duty being to obey orders, not to
discuss treaties. He was there under instructions from the
governor of Canada, here he meant to stay. Such was the
purport of the communication. The tone was courteous, but in
it was no shadow of turning.

While the Frenchman was using the pen, Washington was using
his eyes. He went away with an accurate mental picture of
the fort, its form, size, construction, location, and the
details of its armament. His men counted the canoes in the
river. The fort lay about fifteen miles south of Lake Erie.
A plan of it, drawn by Washington, was sent to England.

At the time fixed for their return, Washington found the
snow falling so fast that he decided to make his journey to
Venango by canoe, the horses, which they had used in the
outward journey, being forwarded through the forest with
their baggage. St. Pierre was civil to the last. He was as
hospitable as polite. The canoe was plentifully stocked with
provisions and liquors. But secretly artifices were
practised to lure away the Indians. The Half-King was a man
whose friendship was worth bidding for. Promises were made,
present were given, the Indians were offered every advantage
of friendship and trade.

But the Half-King was not to be placated by fine words. He
knew the French. Delay was occasioned, however, of which
Washington complained, and hinted at the cause.

"You are certainly mistaken, Major Washington," declared the
polite Frenchman. "Nothing of the kind has come to my
knowledge. I really cannot tell why the Indians delay. They
are naturally inclined to procrastinate, you know.
Certainly, everything shall be done on my part to get you
off in good time."

Finally, the Indians proving immovable in their decision,
the party got off. The journey before them was no pleasure
one, even with the advantage of a water-route, and a canoe
as a vehicle of travel. Rocks and drifting trees obstructed
the channel. Here were shallows; there, dangerous currents.
The passage was slow and wearisome, and not without its

"Many times," says Washington, "all hands were obliged to
get out, and remain in the water half an hour or more in
getting over the shoals. At one place the ice had lodged and
made it impassable by water, and we were obliged to carry
our canoe across a neck of land a quarter of a mile over."

In six days they reached Venango, having journeyed one
hundred and thirty miles by the course of the stream. The
horses had preceded them, but had reached the fort in so
pitiable a condition as to render them hardly fit to carry
the baggage and provisions. Washington, Mr. Gist, and Mr.
Vanbraam, the French interpreter, clad in Indian walking
costume, proceeded on foot, the horses following with their
drivers. After three days' journey the poor animals had
become so feeble, the snow so deep, the cold so severe, that
Washington and Gist determined to push forward alone,
leaving Mr. Vanbraam as leader of the remainder of the

Gun in hand, and knapsack--containing his food and
papers--on back, the intrepid explorer pushed forward with
his companion, who was similarly equipped. Leaving the path
they had been following, they struck into a straight trail
through the woods, purposing to reach the Alleghany a few
miles above the Ohio.

The journey proved an adventurous one. They met an Indian,
who agreed to go with them and show them the nearest way.
Ten or twelve miles were traversed, at the end of which
Washington grew very foot-sore and weary. The Indian had
carried his knapsack, and now wished to relieve him of his
gun. This Washington refused, whereupon the savage grew
surly. He pressed them to keep on, however, saying that
there were Ottawa Indians in the forest, who might discover
and scalp them if they lay out at night. By going on they
would reach his cabin and be safe.

They advanced several miles farther. Then the Indian, who
had fallen behind them, suddenly stopped. On looking back
they perceived that he had raised his gun, and was aiming at
them. The next instant the piece was discharged.

"Are you shot?" cried Washington.

"No," answered Gist.

"After this fellow, then."

The Indian had run to the shelter of a large white oak,
behind which he was loading as fast as possible. The others
were quickly upon him, Gist with his gun at his shoulder.

"Do not shoot," said Washington. "We had best not kill the
man, but we must take care of him."

The savage was permitted to finish his loading, even to
putting in a ball, but his companions took good heed to give
him no further opportunity to play the traitor. At a little
run which they soon reached they bade the Indian to make a
fire, on pretence that they would sleep there. They had no
such intention, however.

"As you will not have him killed," said Gist, "we must get
him away, and then we must travel all night."

Gist turned to the Indian. "I suppose you were lost, and
fired your gun," he said, with a transparent affectation of

"I know the way to my cabin," replied the Indian "It is not
far away."

"Well, then, do you go home. We are tired, but will follow
your track in the morning. Here is a cake of bread for you,
and you must give us meat in the morning."

The savage was glad enough to get away. Gist followed and
listened, that he might not steal back on them. Then they
went half a mile farther, where they made a fire, set their
compass, and, after a short period of rest, took to the
route again and travelled all night.

The next night they reached the Alleghany. Here they were
destined to experience a dangerous adventure. They had
expected to cross on the ice, but the river proved to be
frozen only for a short distance from the shores. That night
they slept with the snow for a bed, their blankets for a
covering. When dawn appeared the same dubious prospect
confronted them. The current of the river still swept past,
loaded with broken ice.

"There is nothing for it but a raft," said Washington. "And
we have but one hatchet to aid us in making it. Let us to

To work they fell, but it was sunset before the raft was
completed. Not caring to spend another night where they
were, they launched the raft and pushed from shore. It
proved a perilous journey. Before the stream was half
crossed they were so jammed in the floating ice that it
seemed every moment as if their frail support would sink,
and they perish in the swift current. Washington tried with
his setting-pole to stop the raft and let the ice run by.
His effort ended unfortunately. Such was the strength of the
current that the ice was driven against the pole with a
violence that swept him from his feet and hurled him into
water ten feet deep. Only that chance which seems the work
of destiny saved him. He fell near enough to the raft to
seize one of its logs, and after a sharp scramble was up
again, though dripping with icy water. They continued their
efforts, but failed to reach either shore, and in the end
they were obliged to spring from their weak support to an
island, past which the current was sweeping the raft.

The escape was almost like the proverbial one "from the
frying-pan to the fire." The island was destitute of
shelter. As the night advanced the air grew colder, and the
adventurers suffered severely. Mr. Gist had his hands and
feet frozen,--a disaster which Washington, despite his
wetting, fortunately escaped. The morning dawned at length.
Hope returned to their hearts. The cold of the night had
done one service, it had frozen the water between the island
and the eastern bank of the stream. The ice bore their
weight. They crossed in safety, and the same day reached a
trading-post, recently formed, near the ground subsequently
to be celebrated as that of Braddock's defeat.

Here they rested two or three days, Gist recovering from the
effects of his freezing, Washington improving the
opportunity to pay a visit to Queen Aliquippa, an Indian
princess, whose palace--if we may venture to call it so--was
near by. The royal lady had been angry that he had neglected
her on his way out. This visit, an apology, and a present
healed her wounded feelings, and disposed her to a gracious

Nothing could be learned of Vanbraam and the remainder of
the party. Washington could not wait for them. He hurried
forward with Gist, crossed the Alleghanies to Will's Creek,
and, leaving his companion there, hastened onward to
Williamsburg, anxious to put his despatches in Governor
Dinwiddie's hands. He reached there on January 16, having
been absent eleven weeks, during which he had traversed a
distance of eleven hundred miles.

What followed is matter of common history. Dinwiddie was
incensed at St. Pierre's letter. The French had come to
stay; that was plain. If the English wanted a footing in the
land they must be on the alert. A party was quickly sent to
the Ohio forks to build a fort, Washington having suggested
this as a suitable plan. But hardly was this fort begun
before it was captured by the French, who hastened to erect
one for themselves on the spot.

Washington, advancing with a supporting force, met a French
detachment in the woods, which he attacked and defeated. It
was the opening contest of the French and Indian War.

As for Fort Duquesne, which the French had built, it gave
rise to the most disastrous event of the war, the defeat of
General Braddock and his army, on their march to capture it.
It continued in French hands till near the end of the war,
its final capture by Washington being nearly the closing
event in the contest which wrested from the hands of the
French all their possessions on the American continent.


The vicinity of the mountain-girdled, island-dotted,
tourist-inviting Lake George has perhaps been the scene of
more of the romance of war than any other locality that
could be named. Fort Ticonderoga, on the ridge between that
beautiful sheet of water and Lake Champlain, is a point
vital with stirring memories, among which the striking
exploit of Ethan Allen and his Green Mountain boys is of
imperishable interest. Fort William Henry, at the lower end
of Lake George, is memorable as the locality of one of the
most nerve-shaking examples of Indian treachery and
barbarity, a scene which Cooper's fruitful pen has brought
well within the kingdom of romance. The history of the whole
vicinity, in short, is laden with picturesque incident, and
the details of fact never approached those of romantic
fiction more closely than in the annals of this interesting

Israel Putnam, best known to us as one of the most daring
heroes of the Revolution, began here his career, in the
French and Indian War, as scout and ranger, and of no
American frontiersman can a more exciting series of
adventures be told. Some of these adventures it is our
purpose here to give.

After the Fort William Henry massacre, the American forces
were concentrated in Fort Edward, on the head-waters of the
Hudson; Putnam, with his corps of Rangers, occupying an
outpost station, on a small island near the fort. Fearing a
hostile visit from the victorious French, the commander,
General Lyman, made all haste to strengthen his defences,
sending a party of a hundred and fifty men into the
neighboring forest to cut timber for that purpose. Captain
Little, with fifty British regulars, was deputized to
protect these men at their labors. This supporting party was
posted on a narrow ridge leading to the fort, with a morass
on one side, a creek on the other, and the forest in front.

One morning, at daybreak, a sentinel who stood on the edge
of the morass, overlooking the dense thicket which filled
its depths, was surprised at what seemed to him, in the hazy
light, a flight of strange birds coming from the leafy
hollow. One after another of these winged objects passed
over his head. After he had observed them a moment or two,
he saw one of them strike a neighboring tree, and cling
quivering to its trunk. A glance was enough for the drowsy
sentinel. He was suddenly wide awake, and his musket and
voice rang instant alarm, for the bird which he had seen was
a winged Indian arrow. He had been made a target for
ambushed savages, eager to pick him off without alarming the
party which he guarded.

A large force of Indians had crept into the morass during
the night, with the hope of cutting off the laborers and the
party of support. The sentinel's alarm shot unmasked them.
Whooping like discovered fiends, they flew from their
covert upon the unarmed laborers, shot and tomahawked those
within reach, and sent the others in panic flight to the
fort. Captain Little and his band flew to the rescue, and
checked the pursuit of the savages by hasty volleys, but
soon found themselves so pressed by superior numbers that
the whole party was in danger of being surrounded and slain.

In this extremity Captain Little sent a messenger to General
Lyman, imploring instant aid. He failed to obtain it. The
over-cautious commander, filled with the idea that the whole
French and Indian army was at hand, drew in his outposts
with nervous haste, shut the gates of the fort, and left the
little band to its fate.

Fortunately, the volleys of musketry had reached the ears of
Major Putnam, on his island outpost. Immediately afterwards
his scouts brought him word that Captain Little was
surrounded by Indians, and in imminent danger of
destruction. Without an instant's hesitation the brave
Putnam plunged into the water, shouting to his men to follow
him, and waded to the shore. This reached, they dashed
hastily towards the scene of the contest. Their route led
them past the walls of the fort, on whose parapets stood the
alarmed commander.

"Halt!" cried General Lyman. "Come into the fort. The enemy
is in overwhelming force. We can spare no more men."

To these words, or similar ones, spoken by General Lyman,
Putnam returned a vague reply, intended for an apology, but
having more the tone of a defiance. Discipline and military
authority must stand aside when brave men were struggling
with ruthless savages. Without waiting to hear the general's
response to his apology, the gallant partisan dashed on, and
in a minute or two more had joined the party of regulars,
who were holding their ground with difficulty.

"On them!" cried Putnam. "They will shoot us down here!
Forward! We must rout them out from their ambush!"

His words found a responsive echo in every heart. With loud
shouts the whole party charged impetuously into the morass,
and in a minute were face to face with the concealed
savages. This sudden onslaught threw the Indians into a
panic. They broke and fled in every direction, hotly pursued
by their revengeful foes, numbers of them being killed in
the flight. The chase was not given up until it had extended
miles into the forest.

Triumphantly then the victors returned to the fort, Putnam
alone among them expecting reprimand. He had never before
disobeyed the orders of his superior. He well knew the
rigidity of military discipline and its necessity. Possibly
General Lyman might not be content with a simple reprimand,
but might order a court-martial. Putnam entered the fort,
not fully at ease in his mind.

As it proved, he had no occasion for anxiety. The general
recognized that alarm had led him too far. He welcomed the
whole party with hearty commendation, and chose quite to
forget the fact that Major Putnam was guilty of a flagrant
disregard of orders, in view of the fact, of more immediate
importance to himself, that his daring subaltern had saved
him from public reprobation for exposing a brave party to

It was not long after this scene that Putnam took the
leading part in another memorable affair, in which his
promptitude, energy, and decision have become historical.
The barracks within the fort took fire. Twelve feet from
them stood the magazine, containing three hundred barrels of
powder. The fort and its defenders were in imminent danger
of being blown to atoms. Putnam, who still occupied his
island outpost, saw the smoke and flames rising, and
hastened with all speed to the fort. When he reached there
the barracks appeared to be doomed, and the flames were
rapidly approaching the magazine. As for the garrison, it
was almost in a state of panic, and next to nothing was
being done to avert the danger.

A glance was sufficient for the prompt and energetic mind of
the daring ranger. In a minute's time he had organized a
line of soldiers, leading through a postern-gate to the
river, and each one bearing a bucket. The energetic major
mounted a ladder, received the water as it came, and poured
it into the flaming building. The heat was intense, the
smoke suffocating; so near were the flames that a pair of
thick mittens were quickly burned from his hands. Calling
for another pair, he dipped them into the water and
continued his work.

"Come down!" cried Colonel Haviland. "It is too dangerous
there. We must try other means."

"There are no means but to fight the enemy inch by inch,"
replied Putnam. "A moment's yielding on our part may prove

His cool trepidity gave new courage to the colonel, who
exclaimed, as he urged the others to renewed exertions,--

"If we must be blown up, we will all go together."

Despite Putnam's heroic efforts, the flames spread. Soon the
whole barracks were enveloped, and lurid tongues of fire
began to shoot out alarmingly towards the magazine. Putnam
now descended, took his station between the two buildings,
and continued his active service, his energy and audacity
giving new life and activity to officers and men. The
outside planks of the magazine caught. They were consumed.
Only a thin timber partition remained between the flames and
fifteen tons of powder. This, too, was charred and smoking.
Destruction seemed inevitable. The consternation was

But there, in the scorching heat of the flames, covered with
falling cinders, threatened with instant death, stood the
undaunted Putnam, still pouring water on the smoking
timbers, still calling to the men to keep steadily to their
work. And thus he continued till the rafters of the barracks
fell in, the heat decreased, and the safety of the magazine
was insured.

For an hour and a half he had fought the flames. His hands,
face, almost his whole body, were scorched and blistered.
When he pulled off his second pair of mittens the skin came
with them. Several weeks passed before he recovered from the
effects of his hard battle with fire. But he had the reward
of success, and the earnest thanks and kind attentions of
officers and men alike, who felt that to him alone they owed
the safety of the fort, and the escape of many, if not all,
of the garrison from destruction.

Among Putnam's many adventures, there are two others which
have often been told, but are worthy of repetition. On one
occasion he was surprised by a large party of Indians, when
with a few men in a boat at the head of the rapids of the
Hudson, at Fort Miller. It was a frightfully perilous
situation. To stay where he was, was to be slaughtered; to
attempt crossing the stream would bring him under the Indian
fire; to go down the falls promised instant death. Which
expedient should he adopt? He chose the latter, preferring
to risk death from water rather than from tomahawk or

The boat was pushed from the shore and exposed to the full
force of the current. In a minute or two it had swept beyond
the range of the Indian weapons. But death seemed
inevitable. The water rushed on in foaming torrents,
whirling round rocks, sweeping over shelves, pouring down in
abrupt falls, shooting onward with the wildest fury. It
seemed as if only a miracle could save the voyagers.

Yet with unyielding coolness Putnam grasped the helm; while
his keen eye scanned the peril ahead, his quick hand met
every danger as it came. Incessantly the course of the boat
was changed, to avoid the protruding rocks. Here it was
tossed on the billows, there it shot down inclined reaches,
now it seemed plunging into a boiling eddy, now it whirled
round a threatening obstacle; like a leaf in the tempest it
was borne onward, and at length, to the amazement of its
inmates themselves, and the astoundment of the Indians, it
floated safely on the smooth waters below, after a passage
of perils such as have rarely been dared. The savages gave
up the chase. A man who could safely run those rapids seemed
to them to bear a charmed life.

[Illustration: SHORE OF LAKE GEORGE.]

The other story mentioned is one indicative of Putnam's wit
and readiness. The army was now encamped in the forest, in a
locality to the eastward of Lake George. While here, the
Indians prowled through the woods around it, committing
depredations here and there, picking off sentinels, and
doing other mischief. They seemed to have impunity in this
work, and defied the utmost efforts at discovery. One
outpost in particular was the seat of a dread mystery. Night
after night the sentinel at this post disappeared, and was
not heard of again. Some of the bravest men of the army were
selected to occupy the post, with orders, if they should
hear any noise, to call out "Who goes there?" three times,
and if no answer came, to fire. Yet the mysterious
disappearances continued, until the men refused to accept
so dangerous a post. The commander was about to draw a
sentinel by lot, when Major Putnam solved the difficulty by
offering to stand guard for the coming night. The puzzled
commander promptly accepted his offer, instructing him, as
he had done the others,--

"If you hear any sound from without the lines, you will call
'Who goes there?' three times, and then, if no answer be
given, fire."

Putnam promised to obey, and marched to his post. Here he
examined the surrounding locality with the utmost care,
fixed in his mind the position of every point in the
neighborhood, saw that his musket was in good order, and
began his monotonous tramp, backward and forward.

For several hours all remained silent, save for the ordinary
noises of the woodland. At length, near midnight, a slight
rustling sound met his keen ears. He listened intently. Some
animal appeared to be stealthily approaching. Then there
came a crackling sound, as of a hog munching acorns.
Putnam's previous observation of the locality enabled him to
judge very closely the position of this creature, and he was
too familiar with Indian artifices, and too sensible of the
danger of his position, to let even a hog pass unchallenged.
Raising his musket to his shoulder, and taking deliberate
aim at the spot indicated, he called out, in strict
obedience to orders, "Who goes there? three times," and
instantly pulled the trigger.

A loud groaning and struggling noise followed. Putnam
quickly reloaded and ran forward to the spot. Here he found
what seemed a large bear, struggling in the agony of death.
But a moment's observation showed the wide-awake sentinel
that the seeming bear was really a gigantic Indian, enclosed
in a bear-skin, in which, disguised, he had been able to
approach and shoot the preceding sentinels. Putnam had
solved the mystery of the solitary post. The sentinels on
that outpost ceased, from that moment, to be disturbed.

Numerous other adventures of Major Putnam, and encounters
with the Indians and the French rangers, might be recounted,
but we must content ourselves with the narrative of one
which ended in the captivity of our hero, and his very
narrow escape from death in more than one form. As an
illustration of the barbarity of Indian warfare it cannot
but prove of interest.

It was the month of August, 1758. A train of baggage-wagons
had been cut off by the enemy's rangers. Majors Putnam and
Rogers, with eight hundred men, were despatched to intercept
the foe, retake the spoils, and punish them for their
daring. The effort proved fruitless. The enemy had taken to
their canoes and escaped before their pursuers could
overtake them.

Failing in this expedition, they camped out on Wood Creek
and South Bay, with the hope of cutting off some straggling
party of the enemy. Here they were discovered by French
scouts, and, having reason to fear an attack in force, it
was deemed most prudent to return to head-quarters at Fort

The route proved difficult. It lay through dense forest,
impeded by fallen trees and thick undergrowth. They were
obliged to advance in Indian file, cutting a path as they
went. When night came they encamped on the bank of Clear
River. The next morning, while the others were preparing to
resume the march, Major Rogers, with a foolhardy imprudence
that was little less than criminal in their situation,
amused himself by a trial of skill with a British officer in
firing at a mark.

The result was almost fatal. Molang, the celebrated French
partisan, had hastily left Ticonderoga with five hundred
men, on hearing of the presence of this scouting party of
provincials, and was now near at hand. The sound of the
muskets gave him exact information as to the position of
their camp. Hastening forward, he laid an ambuscade on the
line of march of his foes, and awaited their approach.

Onward through the thicket came the unsuspecting
provincials. They had advanced a mile, and were on the point
of emerging from the dense growth into the more open forest,
when yells broke from the bushes on both sides of their
path, and a shower of bullets was poured into the advance

Putnam, who led the van, quickly bade his men to return the
fire, and passed the word back for the other divisions to
hasten up. The fight soon became a hand-to-hand one. The
creek was close by, but it could not be crossed in the face
of the enemy, and Putnam bade his men to hold their ground.
A sharp fight ensued, now in the open, now from behind
trees, in Indian fashion. Putnam had discharged his piece
several times, and once more pulled trigger, with the muzzle
against the breast of a powerful Indian. His piece missed
fire. Instantly the warrior dashed forward, tomahawk in
hand, and by threat of death compelled his antagonist to
surrender. Putnam was immediately disarmed and bound to a
tree, and his captor returned to the fight.

The battle continued, one party after the other being forced
back. In the end, the movements of the struggling foes were
such as to bring the tree to which Putnam was bound directly
between their lines. He was like a target for both parties.
Balls flew past him from either side. Many of them struck
the tree, while his coat was pierced by more than one
bullet. So obstinate was the contest that for an hour the
battle raged about him, his peril continuing extreme. Nor
was this his only danger. During the heat of the conflict a
young Indian hurled a tomahawk several times at his head,
out of mischief more than malice, but with such skilful aim
that the keen weapon more than once grazed his skin and
buried its edge in the tree beside his head. With still
greater malice, a French officer of low grade levelled his
musket at the prisoner's breast and attempted to discharge
it. Fortunately for Putnam it missed fire. The prisoner
vainly solicited more merciful treatment. The heartless
villain thrust the muzzle of his gun violently against the
captive's ribs, and in the end gave him a painful blow on
the jaw with the butt-end of his piece.

The battle ended at length in the triumph of the
provincials. They drove the French from the field. But they
failed to rescue Putnam. Before retiring, the Indian who had
made him captive untied him, and forced him to accompany the
retreating party. When a safe distance had been reached, the
prisoner was deprived of his coat, vest, shoes, and
stockings, his shoulders were loaded with the packs of the
wounded, and his wrists were tied behind him as tightly as
they could be drawn. In this painful condition he was forced
to walk for miles through the woodland paths, until the
party halted to rest.

By this time his hands were so swollen from the tightness of
the cord that the pain was unbearable, while his feet bled
freely from their many scratches. Exhausted with his burden
and wild with torment, he asked the interpreter to beg the
Indians either to loose his hands or knock him on the head,
and end his torture at once. His appeal was heard by a
French officer, who immediately order his hands to be
unbound and some of his burden to be removed. Shortly
afterwards the Indian who had captured him, and who had been
absent with the wounded, came up and expressed great
indignation at his treatment. He gave him a pair of
moccasins, and seemed kindly disposed towards him.

Unfortunately for the captive, this kindly savage was
obliged to resume his duty with the wounded, leaving Putnam
with the other Indians, some two hundred in number, who
marched in advance of the French contingent of the party
towards the selected camping-place. On the way their
barbarity to their helpless prisoner continued, culminating
in a blow with a tomahawk, which made a deep wound in his
left cheek.

This cruel treatment was but preliminary to a more fatal
purpose. It was their intention to burn their captive alive.
No sooner had they reached their camping-ground than they
led him into the forest depths, stripped him of his clothes,
bound him to a tree, and heaped dry fuel in a circle round
him. While thus engaged they filled the air with the most
fearful sounds to which their throats could give vent, a
pandemonium of ear-piercing yells and screams. The pile
prepared, it was set on fire. The flames spread rapidly
through the dry brush. But by a chance that seemed
providential, at that moment a sudden shower sent its
rain-drops through the foliage, extinguished the increasing
fire, and dampened the fuel.

No sooner was the rain over than the yelling savages applied
their torches again to the funeral pile of their living
victim. The dampness checked their efforts for a time, but
at length the flames caught, and a crimson glow slowly made
its way round the circle of fuel. The captive soon felt the
scorching heat. He was tied in such a way that he could move
his body, and he involuntarily shifted his position to
escape the pain,--an evidence of nervousness that afforded
the highest delight to his tormentors, who expressed their
exultation in yells, dances, and wild gesticulations. The
last hour of the brave soldier seemed at hand. He strove to
bring resolution to his aid, and to fix his thoughts on a
happier state of existence beyond this earth, the
contemplation of which might aid him to bear without
flinching, a short period of excruciating pain.

At this critical moment, when death in its most horrid form
stared him in the face, relief came. A French officer, who
had been told of what was in progress, suddenly bounded
through the savage band, kicked the blazing brands to right
and left, and with a stroke of his knife released the
imperilled captive. It was Molang himself. An Indian who
retained some instincts of humanity had informed him of what
was on foot. The French commander reprimanded his barbarian
associates severely, and led the prisoner away, keeping him
by his side until he was able to transfer him to the care of
the gigantic Indian who had captured him.

This savage seemed to regard him with feelings of kindness.
He offered him some biscuits, but finding that the wound in
his cheek and the blow he had received on the jaw prevented
him from chewing, he soaked them in water till they could be
swallowed easily. Yet, despite his kindness, he took
extraordinary care that his prisoner should not escape. When
the camp was made, he forced the captive to lie on the
ground, stretched each arm at full length, and bound it to a
young tree, and fastened his legs in the same manner. Then a
number of long and slender poles were cut and laid across
his body from head to foot, on the ends of which lay several
of the Indians.

Under such circumstances escape could not even be thought
of, nor was a moment's comfort possible. The night seemed
infinitely extended, the only relief that came to the
prisoner, as he himself relates, being the reflection of
what a ludicrous subject the group, of which he was the
central figure, would have made for a painter.

The next day he was given a blanket and moccasins, and
allowed to march without being loaded with packs. A little
bear's meat was furnished him, whose juice he was able to
suck. At night the party reached Ticonderoga, where he was
placed in charge of a French guard, and his sufferings came
to an end. The savages manifested their chagrin at his
escape by insulting grimaces and threatening gestures, but
were not allowed to offer him any further indignity or
violence. After an examination by the Marquis de Montcalm,
who was in command at Ticonderoga, he was sent to Montreal,
under charge of a French officer, who treated him in a
humane manner.

Major Putnam was a frightful object on reaching Montreal,
the little clothing allowed him being miserably dirty and
ragged, his beard and hair dishevelled, his legs torn by
thorns and briers, his face gashed, blood-stained, and
swollen. Colonel Schuyler, a prisoner there, beheld his
plight with deep commiseration, supplied him with clothing
and money, and did his utmost to alleviate his condition.

When shortly afterwards an exchange of prisoners was being
made, in which Colonel Schuyler was to be included, he,
fearing that Putnam would be indefinitely held should his
importance as a partisan leader become known, used a skilful
artifice to obtain his release. Speaking to the governor
with great politeness and seeming indifference of purpose,
he remarked,--

"There is an old man here who is a provincial major. He is
very desirous to be at home with his wife and children. He
can do no good here, nor anywhere else. I believe your
excellency had better keep some of the young men, who have
no wives or children to care for, and let this old fellow go
home with me."

His artifice was effective. Putnam was released, and left
Montreal in company with his generous friend. He took
further part in the war, at the end of which, at the Indian
village of Cochuawaga, near Montreal, he met again the
Indian whose prisoner he had been. The kindly savage was
delighted to see him again, and entertained him with all the
friendship and hospitality at his command. At a later date,
when Putnam took part in the Pontiac war, he met again this
old chief, who was now an ally of the English, and who
marched side by side with his former prisoner to do battle
with the ancient enemies of his tribe.


The relations between the Indians and the European colonists
of America were, during nearly the whole colonial and much
of the subsequent period, what we now suggestively entitle
"strained." There were incessant aggressions of the
colonists, incessant reprisals by the aborigines, while the
warring whites of America never hesitated to use these
savage auxiliaries in their struggles for territory and
power. The history of this country is filled with details of
Indian assaults on forts and settlements, ambushes,
massacres, torturings, and acts of duplicity and ferocity
innumerable. Yet every instance of Indian hostility has
ended in the triumph of the whites, the advance of the army
of colonization a step further, and the gradual subjugation
of American savagery, animate and inanimate, to the
beneficent influences of civilization.

These Indian doings are frequently sickening in their
details. The story of America cannot be told without them.
Yet they are of one family, and largely of one species, and
an example or two will serve for the whole. In our next tale
the story of an Indian assault on the Daniel Boone
stronghold in Kentucky will be told. We purpose now to give
the interesting details of an attack on Fort Henry, a small
frontier work near where Wheeling now stands.

This attack was the work of Simon Girty, one of the most
detestable characters that the drama of American history
ever brought upon the stage. He was the offspring of crime,
his parents being irredeemably besotted and vicious. Of
their four sons, two, who were taken prisoner by the Indian
at Braddock's defeat, developed into monsters of wickedness.
James was adopted by the Delawares, and became the fiercest
savage of the tribe. Simon grew into a great hunter among
the Senecas,--unfortunately a hunter of helpless human
beings as much as of game,--and for twenty years his name
was a terror in every white household of the Ohio country.
He is spoken of as honest. It was his one virtue, the sole
redeeming leaven in a life of vice, savagery, and cruelty.


In the summer of 1777 this evil product of frontier life
collected a force of four hundred Indians for an assault on
the white. His place of rendezvous was Sandusky; his
ostensible purpose to cross the Ohio and attack the Kentucky
frontier settlements. On reaching the river, however, he
suddenly turned up its course, and made all haste towards
Fort Henry, then garrisoned by Colonel Sheppard, with about
forty men.

The movements of Girty were known, and alarm as to their
purpose was widely felt. Sheppard had his scouts out, but
the shrewd renegade managed to deceive them, and to appear
before Fort Henry almost unannounced. Happily, the coming of
this storm of savagery was discovered in time enough to
permit the inhabitants of Wheeling, then composed of some
twenty-five log huts, to fly for refuge to the fort.

A reconnoitring party had been sent out under Captain Mason.
These were ambushed by the cunning leader of the Indians,
and more than half of them fell victims to the rifle and the
tomahawk. Their perilous position being perceived, a party
of twelve more, under Captain Ogle, sallied to their rescue.
They found themselves overwhelmingly outnumbered, and eight
of the twelve fell. These untowards events frightfully
reduced the garrison. Of the original forty only twelve
remained, some of them little more than boys. Within the
fort were this little garrison and the women and children of
the settlement. Outside raged four hundred savage warriors,
under a skilful commander. It seemed absolute madness to
attempt a defence. Yet Colonel Sheppard was not one of the
men who lightly surrender. Death by the rifle was, in his
view, better than death at the stake. With him were two men,
Ebenezer and Silas Zane, of his own calibre, while the whole
garrison was made up of hearts of oak.

As for the women in the fort, though they were of little use
in the fight, they could lend their aid in casting bullets,
making cartridges, and loading rifles. Among them was one,
Elizabeth Zane, sister of the two men named, who was to
perform a far more important service. She had just returned
from school in Philadelphia, knew little of the horrors of
border warfare, but had in her the same indomitable spirit
that distinguished her brothers. A woman she was of heroic
mould, as the events will prove.

It was in the early morning of September 26 that Girty
appeared before the fort. A brief period sufficed, in the
manner related, to reduce the garrison to a mere handful.
Sure now of success, Girty advanced towards the palisades
with a white flag, and demanded an unconditional surrender.

Colonel Sheppard was ready with his answer. He had already
felt the pulse of his men, and found that it beat with the
same high spirit as his own. He mounted upon the ramparts,
stern and inflexible, and hurled back his reply,--

"This fort shall never be surrendered to _you_, nor to any
other man, while there is an American left to defend it."

"Are you mad, man?" cried Girty. "Do you know our force? Do
you know your own? Resistance is folly."

"I know _you_, Simon Girty. That is enough to know. You have
my answer."

In a rage, Girty hurled back a volley of dark threats, then
turned away, and ordered an instant attack. Unluckily for
the garrison, some of the deserted log-huts were
sufficiently near to shelter the Indians, and enable them to
assault the fort under cover. They swarmed into these
houses, and for six hours kept up an incessant fire on the
works, wasting their bullets, as it proved, for none of them
did harm to fort or man. As for the defenders, they had no
ammunition to waste. But most of them were sharp-shooters,
and they took good care that every bullet should tell.
Nearly every report from behind the walls told a story of
wound or death. As good fortune willed, the savages had no
artillery, and were little disposed to hazard their dusky
skins in an assault in force on the well-defended walls.

At midday the attack temporarily ceased. The Indians
withdrew to the base of Wheeling Hill, and the uproar of
yells and musketry was replaced by a short season of quiet.
It was a fortunate reprieve for the whites. Their powder was
almost exhausted. Had the assault continued for an hour
longer their rifles must have ceased to reply.

What was to be done? The Indians had withdrawn only for rest
and food. They would soon be at their threatening work
again. Answer to them could not long be continued. When the
fire from the fort ceased all would be over. The exultant
savages would swarm over the undefended walls, and torture
and outrage be the lot of all who were not fortunate enough
to die in the assault.

Ebenezer Zane looked wistfully at his house, sixty yards

"There is a keg of powder within those walls," he said. "If
we only had it here it might mean the difference between
safety and death."

"A keg of powder!" cried Colonel Sheppard. "We must have it,
whatever the danger!" He looked out. The Indians were within
easy gunshot. Whoever went for the powder ran the most
imminent risk of death. The appearance of a man outside the
gates would be the signal for a fierce fusillade. "But we
must have it," he repeated. "And we can spare but one man
for the task. Who shall it be? I cannot _order_ any one to
such a duty. What man is ready to _volunteer_?"

Every man, apparently; they all thronged forward, each eager
for the perilous effort. They struggled, indeed, so long for
the honor that there was danger of the Indians returning to
the assault before the powder was obtained.

At this interval a woman stepped forward. It was Elizabeth
Zane. The fire of a noble purpose shone on her earnest face.

"But one man can be spared to go, you say, Colonel
Sheppard," she remarked. "In my opinion no man can be spared
to go. Let me go for the powder. My life is of much less
importance to the garrison than that of a man."

Colonel Sheppard looked at her with eyes of admiration, and
then peremptorily refused her request. This was work for
men, he said, not for women. She should not sacrifice

It was every one's duty to do their share, she replied. All
were alike in danger. The walls were not half manned. If she
fell, the gap would be small; if a man fell, it would be

So earnest were her solicitations, and so potent her
arguments, that Colonel Sheppard finally yielded a reluctant
consent. It was given none too soon. There was little time
to spare. The gate was opened and the brave woman walked
fearlessly out.

She had not gone a step beyond the shelter of the fort
before the Indians perceived her. Yet the suddenness of her
appearance seemed to paralyze them. They stood and watched
her movements, as she walked swiftly but steadily over the
space leading to her brothers' house, but not a gun was
lifted nor a voice was raised. So far the expedient of
sending a woman had proved unexpectedly successful. The
savages gazed at her in blank amazement, wondering at her

She entered the house. An anxious minute or two passed. The
Indians still had not stirred. The eyes of the garrison were
fixed with feverish anxiety on the door of that small hut.
Then they were relieved by the reappearance of the devoted
girl, now clasping the precious keg of powder in her arms.

It was no time now to walk. As rapidly as she could run,
with the weight in her arms, she sped over the open space.
Speed was needed. The Indians had suddenly come to a
realizing sense of the woman's purpose, and a volley of
bullets swept the space over which she fled.

Not one touched her. In a minute she had reached the fort. A
shout of enthusiastic welcome went up. As the gate closed
behind her, and she let fall the valuable prize from her
unnerved arms, every hand was stretched to grasp hers, and a
chorus of praise and congratulation filled the air.

"We have a heroine among us; we will all be heroes, and
conquer or die," was the universal thought.

It was a true one; Elizabeth Zane's was one of those rare
souls which seem sent on earth to make man proud of his

At half-past two the assailants returned to the attack,
availing themselves, as before, of the cover of the huts.
After a period spent in musketry, they made an assault in
force on the gate of the fort. They were met by the
concentrated fire of the garrison. Six of them fell. The
others fled back to their shelter.

Until dark the fusillade continued. After darkness had
fallen the assailants tried a new device. Lacking artillery,
they attempted to convert a hollow maple log into a cannon.
They bound this as firmly as possible with chains, then,
with a ludicrous ignorance of what they were about, they
loaded it to its muzzle with stones, pieces of iron, and
other missiles. This done, they conveyed the impromptu
cannon to a point within sixty yards of the fort, and
attempted to discharge it against the gates.

The result was what might have been anticipated. The log
burst into a thousand pieces, and sent splinters and
projectiles hurtling among the curious crowd of dusky
warriors. Several of them were killed, others were wounded,
but the gates remained unharmed. This was more than the
savages had counted on, and they ceased the assault for the
night, no little discouraged by their lack of success.

Meanwhile tidings of what Girty and his horde were about had
spread through the settlements, and relief parties were
hastily formed. At four o'clock in the morning fourteen men
arrived, under command of Colonel Swearingen, and fought
their way into the fort without losing a man. At dawn a
party of forty mounted men made their appearance, Major
McCullough at their head. The men managed to enter the fort
in safety, but the gallant major, being unluckily separated
from his band, was left alone outside.

His was a terribly critical situation. Fortunately, the
Indians knew him for one of their most daring and skillful
enemies, and hated him intensely. Fortunately, we say, for
to that he owed his life. They could easily have killed him,
but not a man of them would fire. Such a foeman must not die
so easily; he must end his life in flame and torture. Such
was their unspoken argument, and they dashed after him with
yells of exultation, satisfied that they had one of their
chief foes safely in their hands.

It seemed so, indeed. The major was well mounted, but the
swift Indian runners managed to surround him on three sides,
and force him towards the river bluffs, from which escape
seemed impossible.

With redoubled shouts they closed in upon him. The major,
somewhat ignorant of the situation, pushed onward till he
suddenly found himself on the brow of a precipice which
descended at an almost vertical inclination for a hundred
and fifty feet. Here was a frightful dilemma. To right and
left the Indian runners could be seen, their lines extending
to the verge of the cliff. What was to be done? surrender
to the Indians, attempt to dash through their line, or leap
the cliff? Each way promised death. But death by fall was
preferable to death by torture. And a forlorn hope of life
remained. The horse was a powerful one, and might make the
descent in safety. Gathering his reins tightly in his right
hand, while his left grasped his rifle, McCullough spurred
the noble animal forward, and in an instant was over the
brow of the cliff, and falling rather than dashing down its
steep declivity.

By unlooked-for good fortune the foot of the bluff was
reached in safety. Into the creek dashed horse and man, and
in a minute or two the daring fugitive was across and safe
from his savage pursuers.

The Indians returned disappointed to the vicinity of the
fort. Here they found that their leader had decided on
abandoning the assault. The reinforcements received, and the
probability that others were on the way, discouraged the
renegade, and Girty led his horde of savages away, first
doing all the harm in his power by burning the houses of the
settlement, and killing about three hundred cattle belonging
to the settlers.

The defence of Fort Henry was one of the most striking for
the courage displayed, and the success of the defenders, of
the many gallant contests with the Indian foe of that age of
stirring deeds. Aside from those killed in ambush, not a man
of the garrison had lost his life. Of the assailants, from
sixty to one hundred fell. Simon Girty and his Indians had
received a lesson they would not soon forget.


The region of Kentucky, that "dark and bloody ground" of
Indian warfare, lay long unknown to the whites. No Indians
even dwelt there, though it was a land of marvellous beauty
and wonderful fertility. For its forests and plains so
abounded with game that it was used by various tribes as a
hunting-ground, and here the savage warriors so often met in
hostile array, and waged such deadly war, that not the most
daring of them ventured to make it their home. And the name
which they gave it was destined to retain its sombre
significance for the whites, when they should invade the
perilous Kentuckian wilds, and build their habitations in
this land of dread.

In 1767 John Finley, a courageous Indian trader, pushed far
into its depths, and returned with thrilling stories of his
adventures and tempting descriptions of the beauty and
fertility of the land. These he told to Daniel Boone, an
adventure-loving Pennsylvanian, who had made his way to
North Carolina, and built himself a home in the virgin
forest at the head-waters of the Yadkin. Here, with his
wife, his rifle, and his growing family, he enjoyed his
frontier life with the greatest zest, until the increasing
numbers of new settlers and the alluring narrative of
Finley induced him to leave his home and seek again the
untrodden wilds.

On the 1st of May, 1769, Finley, Boone, and three others
struck boldly into the broad backbone of mountain-land which
lay between their old home and the new land of promise. They
set out on their dangerous journey amid the tears of their
families, who deemed that destruction awaited them, and
vainly besought them to abandon the enterprise. Forward, for
days and weeks, pushed the hardy pioneers, their rifles
providing them with game, their eyes on the alert against
savages, until, after what seemed months of toil, the
mountains were passed and the fertile plains and extended
forests of Kentucky lay before them.

"We found everywhere" says Boone, "abundance of wild beasts
of all sorts, through this vast forest. The buffalo were
more frequent than I have seen cattle in the settlements,
browsing on the leaves of the cane, or cropping the herbage
of these extensive plains, fearless, because ignorant of the
violence of man. In this forest, the habitation of beasts of
every kind natural to America, we practised hunting with
great success until the 22d day of December following."

On that day Boone and another were taken prisoner by a party
of Indians. Seven days they were held, uncertain as to their
fate, but at length, by a skilful artifice, they escaped and
made their way back to their camp, only to find it deserted,
those whom they had left there having returned to North
Carolina. Other adventurers soon joined them, however,
Boone's brother among them, and the remainder of the winter
was passed in safety.

As regards the immediately succeeding events, it will
suffice to say that Squire Boone, as Daniel's brother was
called, returned to the settlements in the spring for
supplies, the others having gone before, so that the daring
hunter was left alone in that vast wilderness. Even his dog
had deserted him, and the absolute solitude of nature
surrounded him.

The movements we have described had not passed unknown to
the Indians, and only the most extraordinary caution saved
the solitary hunter from his dusky foes. He changed his camp
every night, never sleeping twice in the same place. Often
he found that it had been visited by Indians in his absence.
Once a party of savages pursued him for many miles, until,
by speed and skill, he threw them from his trail. Many and
perilous were his adventures during his three months of
lonely life in the woods and canebrakes of that fear-haunted
land. Prowling wolves troubled him by night, prowling
savages by day, yet fear never entered his bold heart, and
cheerfulness never fled from his mind. He was the true
pioneer, despising peril and proof against loneliness. At
length his brother joined him, with horses and supplies, and
the two adventurers passed another winter in the wilderness.

Several efforts were made in the ensuing years to people the
country, but numbers of the settlers were slain by the
Indians, whose hostility made the task so perilous that a
permanent settlement was not made till 1775. The place then
settled--a fine location on the Kentucky River--was called,
in honor of its founder, Boonesborough. Here a small fort
was built, to which the adventurer now brought his family,
being determined to make it his place of abode, despite his
dusky foes. "My wife and daughter," he says, "were the first
white women that ever stood on the banks of Kentucky River."

It was a dangerous step they had taken. The savages, furious
at this invasion of their hunting-grounds, were ever on the
alert against their pale-faced foes. In the following spring
Boone's daughter, with two other girls, who had
thoughtlessly left the fort to gather flowers, were seized
by ambushed Indians and hurried away into the forest depths.

Their loss was soon learned, and the distracted parents,
with seven companions, were quickly in pursuit through the
far-reaching forest. For two days, with the skill of trained
scouts, they followed the trail which the girls, true
hunters' daughters, managed to mark by shreds of their
clothing which they tore off and dropped by the way.

The rapid pursuers at length came within sight of the camp
of the Indians. Here they waited till darkness descended,
approaching as closely as was safe. The two fathers, Boone
and Calloway, now volunteered to attempt a rescue under
cover of the night, and crept, with the acumen of practised
frontiersmen, towards the Indian halting-place. Unluckily
for them they were discovered and captured by the Indians,
who dragged them exultingly to their camp. Here a council
was quickly held, and the captives condemned to suffer the
dreadful fate of savage reprisal,--death by torture and

Morning had but fairly dawned when speedy preparations were
made by the savages for their deadly work. They had no time
to waste, for they knew not how many pursuers might be on
their trail. The captives were securely bound to trees,
before the eyes of their distracted daughters, and fagots
hastily gathered for the fell purpose of their foes.

But while they were thus busied, the companions of Boone and
Calloway had not been idle. Troubled by the non-return of
the rescuers, the woodsmen crept up with the first dawn of
day, saw the bloody work designed, and poured in a sudden
storm of bullets on the savages, several of whom were
stretched bleeding upon the ground. Then, with shouts of
exultation, the ambushed whites burst from their covert,
dashed into the camp before the savages could wreak their
vengeance on their prisoners, and with renewed rifle-shots
sent them away in panic flight. A knife-stroke or two
released the captives, and the party returned in triumph to
the fort.

The example of Boone and his companions in making their
homes on Kentucky soil was soon followed by others, and
within a year or two a number of settlements had been made,
at various promising localities. The Indians did not view
with equanimity this invasion of their hunting-grounds.
Their old battles with each other were now replaced by
persistent hostility to the whites, and they lurked
everywhere around the feeble settlements, seizing
stragglers, destroying cattle, and in every way annoying the
daring pioneers.

In April, 1777, a party of a hundred of them fiercely
attacked Boonesborough, but were driven off by the rifles of
the settlers. In July they came again, now doubled in
numbers, and for two days assailed the fort, but with the
same ill-success as before. Similar attacks were made on the
other settlements, and a state of almost incessant warfare
prevailed, in which Boone showed such valor and activity
that he became the terror of his savage foes, who, in
compliment to his daring, christened him "The Great
Long-Knife." On one occasion when two Indian warriors
assailed him in the woods he manoeuvred so skilfully as to
draw the fire of both, and then slew the pair of them, the
one with his rifle, the other, in hand-to-hand fight, with
his deadly hunting-knife.

But the bold pioneer was destined soon to pass through an
experience such as few men have safely endured. It was now
February, 1778. For three years the settlers had defied
their foes, Boone, in despite of them, hesitating not to
traverse the forest alone, with rifle and hunting-knife, in
pursuit of game. In one of these perilous excursions he
suddenly found himself surrounded by a party of a hundred
Shawnese warriors, who were on their way to attack his own
fort. He fled, but was overtaken and secured. Soon after,
the savages fell in with a large party of whites who were
making salt at the Salt Lick springs, and captured them all,
twenty-seven in number.

Exulting in their success, the warriors gave up their
original project, and hastened northward with their
prisoners. Fortunately for the latter, the Revolutionary War
was now in full progress, and the Indians deemed it more
advantageous to themselves to sell their prisoners than to
torture them. They, therefore, took them to Detroit, where
all were ransomed by the British except Boone. The governor
offered a large sum for his release, but the savages would
not listen to the bribe. They knew the value of the man they
held, and were determined that their illustrious captive
should not escape again to give them trouble in field and

Leaving Detroit, they took him to Chillicothe, on the Little
Miami River, the chief town of the tribe. Here a grand
council was held as to what should be done with him. Boone's
fate trembled in the balance. The stake seemed his destined
doom. Fortunately, an old woman, of the family of Blackfish,
one of their most distinguished chiefs, having lost a son in
battle, claimed the captive as her adopted son. Such a claim
could not be set aside. It was a legal right in the tribe,
and the chiefs could not but yield. They were proud, indeed,
to have such a mighty hunter as one of themselves, and the
man for whose blood they had been hungering was now treated
with the utmost kindness and respect.

The ceremony of adoption into the tribe was a painful one,
which Boone had to endure. Part of it consisted in plucking
out all the hairs of his head with the exception of the
scalp-lock, of three or four inches diameter. But the shrewd
captive bore his inflictions with equanimity, and appeared
perfectly contented with his lot. The new son of the tribe,
with his scalp-lock, painted face, and Indian dress, and his
skin deeply embrowned by constant exposure to the air, could
hardly be distinguished from one of themselves, while his
seeming satisfaction with his new life was well adapted to
throw the Indians off their guard. His skill in all manly
exercises and in the use of arms was particularly admired by
his new associates, though, as Boone says, he "was careful
not to exceed many of them in shooting, for no people are
more envious than they in this sport."

His wary captors, however, were not easily to be deceived.
Seemingly, Boone was left free to go where he would, but
secretly he was watched, and precautions taken to prevent
his escape. He was permitted to go out alone to hunt, but
the Indians always carefully counted his balls and measured
his charges of powder, determined that he should have none
to aid him to procure food in a long flight. Shrewd as they
were, however, Boone was more than their match. In his
hunting expeditions he cut his balls in half, and used very
small charges of powder, so that he was enabled to bring
back game while gradually secreting a store of ammunition.

And thus the days and weeks went on, while Daniel Boone
remained, to all outward appearance, a contented Shawnee
warrior. But at length came a time when flight grew
imperative. He had been taken to the salt-licks with a party
of Indians to aid them in making salt. On returning to
Chillicothe he was alarmed to see the former peaceful aspect
of the village changed to one of threatened war. A band of
four hundred and fifty warriors had been collected for a
hostile foray, and to his horror he learned that
Boonesborough was the destined point of attack.

In this fort were his wife and children. In the present
state of security of the inmates they might easily be taken
by surprise. He alone could warn them of their danger, and
to this end he must escape from his watchful foes.

Boone was not the man to let the anxiety that tore his heart
appear on his face. To all seeming he was careless and
indifferent, looking on with smiling face at their
war-dances, and hesitating not to give them advice in
warlike matters. He knew their language sufficiently to
understand all they said, but from the moment of his
captivity had pretended to be entirely ignorant of it,
talking to them only in the jargon which then formed the
medium of communication between the red men and the whites,
and listening with impassive countenance to the most
fear-inspiring plans. They, therefore, talked freely before
him, not for a moment dreaming that their astute prisoner
had solved the problem of their destination. As for Boone,
he appeared to enter with whole-souled ardor into their
project and to be as eager as themselves for its success,
seeming so fully in sympathy with them, and so content with
his lot, that they absorbed in their enterprise, became less
vigilant than usual in watching his movements.

The time for the expedition was at hand. Whatever the
result, he must dare the peril of flight. The distance to be
traversed was one hundred and sixty miles. As soon as his
flight should become known, he was well aware that a host of
Indian scouts, thoroughly prepared for pursuit and full of
revengeful fury, would be on his track. And there would be
no further safety for him if captured. Death, by the most
cruel tortures the infuriated savages could devise, was sure
to be his fate.

All this Boone knew, but it did not shake his resolute soul.
His family and friends were in deadly peril; he alone could
save them; his own danger was not to be thought of in this
emergency. On the morning of June 16 he rose very early for
his usual hunt. Taking the ammunition doled out to him by
his Indian guards, he added to it that which he had secreted
in the woods, and was ready for the desperate enterprise
which he designed.

Boone was now forty-three years of age, a man of giant frame
and iron muscles, possessed of great powers of endurance, a
master of all the arts of woodcraft, and one of the most
skilful riflemen in the Western wilds. Keen on the trail,
swift of foot, and valorous in action as were the Indian
braves, there was no warrior of the tribe the equal in
these particulars of the practised hunter who now meditated

On the selected morning the daring woodsman did not waste a
moment. No sooner had he lost sight of the village than he
headed southward at his utmost speed. He could count on but
an hour or two to gain a start on his wary foes. He well
knew that when the hour of his usual return had passed
without his appearance, a host of scouts would follow in
swift pursuit. Such was the case, as he afterwards learned.
No sooner had the Indians discovered the fact of his flight
than an intense commotion reigned among them, and a large
number of their swiftest runners and best hunters were put
upon his trail.

By this time, however, he had gained a considerable start,
and was pushing forward with all speed taking the usual
precautions as he went to avoid making a plain trail, but
losing no time in his flight. He dared not use his
rifle,--quick ears might be within hearing of its sound. He
dared not kindle a fire to cook game, even if he had killed
it,--sharp eyes might be within sight of its smoke. He had
secured a few cuts of dried venison, and with this as his
only food he pushed on by day and night, hardly taking time
to sleep, making his way through forest and swamp, and
across many streams which were swollen by recent rains. And
on his track, like blood-hounds on the scent of their
victims, came the furious pursuers now losing his trail,
now recovering it; and, as they went, spreading out over a
wide space, and pushing steadily southward over the general
route which they felt sure he would pursue.

At length the weary fugitive reached the banks of the Ohio
River. As yet he had not seen a foe. As yet he had not fired
a gun. He must put that great stream, now swollen to a
half-mile in width by the late rains, between him and his
foes ere he could dare for a moment to relax his vigilance.

Unluckily, expert as he was in woodcraft, Boone was a poor
swimmer. His skill in the water would never carry him across
that rushing stream. How to get across had for hours been to
him a matter of deep anxiety. Fortunately, on reaching its
banks, he found an old canoe, which had drifted among the
bushes of the shore, and stranded there, being full of water
from a large hole in its bottom.

The skilled hunter was not long in emptying the canoe and
closing the hole. Then, improvising a paddle, he launched
his leaky craft upon the stream, and succeeded in reaching
the southern shore in safety. Now, for the first time, did
he feel sufficiently safe to fire a shot and to kindle a
fire. He brought down a wild turkey which, seasoned with
hunger, made him the most delicious repast he had ever
tasted. It was the only regular meal in which he indulged in
his flight. Safety was not yet assured. Some of his pursuers
might be already across the river. Onward he dashed, with
unflagging energy, and at length reached the fort, after
five days of incessant travel through the untrodden wilds.

He was like a dead man returned to life. The people at the
fort looked at him with staring eyes. They had long given
him up for lost, and he learned, much to his grief, that his
wife and children had returned to their old home in North
Carolina. Just now, however, there was no time for sorrow,
and little time for greeting. The fort had been neglected,
and was in bad condition. The foe might even then be near at
hand. There was not a moment to spare. He put the men
energetically to work, and quickly had the neglected
defences repaired. Then determined to strike terror into the
foe, he led a party of men swiftly to and across the Ohio,
met a party of thirty savages near the Indian town of Paint
Creek, and attacked them so fiercely that they were put to

This foray greatly alarmed the Indians. It put courage into
the hearts of the garrison. After an absence of seven days
and a journey of a hundred and fifty miles, Boone and his
little party returned, in fear lest the Chillicothe warriors
might reach the fort during his absence.

It was not, however, until August that the Indians appeared.
They were four hundred and forty-four in number, led by
Captain Duquesne and other French officers, and with French
and British colors flying. There were but fifty men in the
fort. The situation seemed a desperate one, but under
Boone's command the settlers were resolute, and to the
summons to surrender, the daring commander returned the
bold reply, "We are determined to defend our fort while a
man of us lives."

The next proposition of Duquesne was that nine of the
garrison should come out and treat with him. If they could
come to terms he would peacefully retire. The veteran
pioneer well knew what peril lurked in this specious
promise, and how little safety they would have in trusting
their Indian foes. But, moved by his bold heart and daring
love of adventure, he assented to the dangerous proposition,
though not without taking precautions for safety. He
selected nine of the strongest and most active of his men,
appointed the place of meeting in front of the fort, at one
hundred and twenty feet from the walls, and stationed the
riflemen of the garrison so as to cover the spot with their
guns, in case of treachery.

These precautions taken, Boone led his party out, and was
met by Duquesne and his brother officers. The terms proposed
were liberal enough, but the astute frontiersman knew very
well that the Indians would never assent to them. As the
conference proceeded, the Indian chiefs drew near, and
Blackfish, Boone's adopted father, professed the utmost
friendship, and suggested that the treaty should be
concluded in the Indian manner, by shaking hands.

The artifice was too shallow to deceive the silliest of the
garrison. It was Blackfish's purpose to have two savages
seize each of the whites, drag them away as prisoners, and
then by threats of torture compel their comrades to
surrender the fort. Boone, however, did not hesitate to
assent to the proposition. He wished to unmask his wily
foes. That done, he trusted to the strength of himself and
his fellows, and the bullets of his riflemen, to bring his
party in safety back to the fort.

It proved as he expected. No sooner had they yielded their
hands to the Indians than a desperate attempt was made to
drag them away. The surrounding Indians rushed to the aid of
their fellows. From behind stumps and trees, a shower of
bullets was poured upon the fort. But the alert pioneers
were not taken by surprise. From the rifles of the garrison
bullets were poured back. Boone easily shook off his
assailant, and his companions did the same. Back to the fort
they fled, bullets pattering after them, while the keen
marksmen of the fort sent back their sharp response. In a
few seconds the imperilled nine were behind the heavy gates,
only one of their number, Boone's brother, being wounded.
They had escaped a peril from which, for the moment, rescue
seemed hopeless.

Baffled in their treachery, the assailants now made a fierce
assault on the fort, upon which they kept up an incessant
fire for nine days and nights, giving the beleaguered
garrison scarcely a moment for rest. Hidden behind rocks and
trees, they poured in their bullets in a manner far more
brisk than effectual. The garrison but feebly responded to
this incessant fusillade, feeling it necessary to husband
their ammunition. But, unlike the fire of their foes, every
shot of theirs told.

During this interval the assailants began to undermine the
fort, beginning their tunnel at the river-bank. But the clay
they threw out discolored the water and revealed their
project, and the garrison at once began to countermine, by
cutting a trench across the line of their projected passage.
The enemy, in their turn, discovered this and gave up the
attempt. Another of their efforts was to set fire to the
fort by means of flaming arrows. This proved temporarily
successful, the dry timbers of the roof bursting into
flames. But one of the young men of the fort daringly sprang
upon the roof, extinguished the fire, and returned unharmed,
although bullets had fallen like hailstones around him.

At length, thoroughly discouraged, the enemy raised the
siege and departed, having succeeded only in killing two and
wounding four of the garrison, while their dead numbered
thirty-seven, and their wounded a large number. One of these
dead was a negro, who had deserted from the fort and joined
the Indians, and whom Boone brought down with a bullet from
the remarkable distance, for the rifles of that day, of five
hundred and twenty-five feet. After the enemy had gone there
were "picked up," says Boone, "one hundred and twenty-five
pounds' weight of bullets, besides what stuck in the logs of
the fort, which certainly is a great proof of their
industry," whatever may be said of their marksmanship.

The remainder of Daniel Boone's life we can give but in
outline. After the repulse of the enemy he returned to the
Yadkin for his family, and brought them again to his chosen
land. He came back to find an Indian war raging along the
whole frontier, in which he was called to play an active
part, and on more than one occasion owed his life to his
strength, endurance, and sagacity. This warfare continued
for a number of years, the Indians being generally
successful, and large numbers of soldiers falling before
their savage onsets. At length the conduct of the war was
intrusted to "Mad Anthony" Wayne, whose skill, rapidity, and
decision soon brought it to an end, and forced the tribes to
conclude a treaty of peace.

Thenceforward Kentucky was undisturbed by Indian forays, and
its settlement went forward with rapidity. The intrepid
Boone had by no means passed through the fire of war
unharmed. He tells us, "Two darling sons and a brother have
I lost by savage hands, which have also taken from me forty
valuable horses and abundance of cattle. Many dark and
sleepless nights have I been a companion for owls, separated
from the cheerful society of men, scorched by the summers'
sun, and pinched by the winter's cold, an instrument
ordained to settle the wilderness."

One wilderness settled, the hardy veteran pined for more.
Population in Kentucky was getting far too thick for his
ideas of comfort. His spirit craved the solitude of the
unsettled forest, and in 1802 he again pulled up stakes and
plunged into the depths of the Western woods. "Too much
crowded," he declared; "too much crowded. I want more

His first abiding place was on the Great Kanawha, where he
remained for several years. Then, as the vanguard of the
army of immigrants pressed upon his chosen home, he struck
camp again, and started westward with wife and children,
driving his cattle before him, in search of a "promised
land" of few men and abundant game. He settled now beyond
the Mississippi, about fifty miles west of St. Louis. Here
he dwelt for years, hunting, trapping, and enjoying life in
his own wild way.

Years went by, and once more the emigrant army pressed upon
the solitude-loving pioneer, but he was now too old for
further flight. Eighty years lay upon his frosted brow, yet
with little diminished activity he pursued his old mode of
life, being often absent from home for weeks on hunting
expeditions. Audubon, the famous ornithologist, met him in
one of these forays, and thus pictures him: "The stature and
general appearance of this wanderer of the Western forests,"
he says, "approached the gigantic. His chest was broad and
prominent; his muscular powers displayed themselves in every
limb; his countenance gave indication of his great courage,
enterprise, and perseverance, and, whenever he spoke, the
very motion of his lips brought the impression that whatever
he uttered could not be otherwise than strictly true."

Mr. Irving tells a similar story of him in his eighty-fifth
year. He was then visited by the Astor overland expedition
to the Columbia. "He had but recently returned from a
hunting and trapping expedition," says the historian, "and
had brought nearly sixty beaver skins as trophies of his
skill. The old man was still erect in form, strong in limb,
and unflinching in spirit; and as he stood on the river bank
watching the departure of an expedition destined to traverse
the wilderness to the very shores of the Pacific, very
probably felt a throb of his old pioneer spirit, impelling
him to shoulder his rifle and join the adventurous band."

Seven years afterwards he joined another band, that of the
heroes who have gone to their rest. To his last year he
carried the rifle and sought the depths of the wood. At
last, in 1818, with no disease but old age, he laid down his
life, after a most adventurous career, in which he had won
himself imperishable fame as the most daring, skilful, and
successful of that pioneer band who have dared the perils of
the wilderness and surpassed the savage tenants of the
forest in their own chosen arts.


It was night at Boston, the birthnight of one of the leading
events in the history of the world. The weather was balmy
and clear. Most of the good citizens of the town were at
their homes; many of them doubtless in their beds; for early
hours were kept in those early days of our country's
history. Yet many were abroad, and from certain streets of
the town arose unwonted sounds, the steady tread of marching
feet, the occasional click of steel, the rattle of
accoutrements. Those who were within view of Boston Common
at a late hour of that evening of April 18, 1775, beheld an
unusual sight, that of serried ranks of armed men, who had
quietly marched thither from their quarters throughout the
town, as the starting-point for some secret and mysterious

At the same hour, in a shaded recess of the suburb of
Charlestown, stood a strongly-built and keen-eyed man, with
his hand on the bridle of an impatiently waiting horse, his
eyes fixed on a distant spire that rose like a shadow
through the gloom of the night. Paul Revere was the name of
this expectant patriot. He had just before crossed the
Charles River in a small boat, rowing needfully through the
darkness, for his route lay under the guns of a British
man-of-war, the "Somerset," on whose deck, doubtless were
watchful eyes on the lookout for midnight prowlers.
Fortunately, the dark shadows which lay upon the water hid
the solitary rower from view, and he reached the opposite
shore unobserved. Here a swift horse had been provided for
him, and he was bidden to be keenly on the alert, as a force
of mounted British officers were on the road which he might
soon have to take.


And still the night moved on in its slow and silent course,
while slumber locked the eyes of most of the worthy people
of Boston town, and few of the patriots were afoot. But
among these was the ardent man who stood with his eyes
impatiently fixed on the lofty spire of the Old North
Church, and in the town itself others heedfully watched the
secret movements of the British troops.

Suddenly a double gleam flashed from the far-off spire. Two
lighted candles had been placed in the belfry window of the
church, and their feeble glimmer sped swiftly through the
intervening air and fell upon the eyes of the expectant
messenger. No sooner had the light met his gaze than Paul
Revere, with a glad cry of relief, sprang to his saddle,
gave his uneasy horse the rein, and dashed away at a
swinging pace, the hoof-beats of his horse sounding like the
hammer-strokes of fate as he bore away on his vital errand.

A minute or two brought him past Charlestown Neck. But not
many steps had he taken on his onward course before peril to
his enterprise suddenly confronted him. Two British officers
appeared in the road.

"Who goes there? Halt!" was their stern command.

Paul Revere looked at them. They were mounted and armed.
Should he attempt to dash past them? It was too risky and
his errand too important. But there was another road near
by, whose entrance he had just passed. With a quick jerk at
the rein he turned his horse, and in an instant was flying
back at racing speed.

"Halt, or we will fire!" cried the officers, spurring their
horses to swift pursuit.

Heedless of this command the bold rider drove headlong back,
his horse quickly proving his mettle by distancing those of
his pursuers. A few minutes brought him to the entrance to
the Medford Road. Into this he sharply wheeled, and was
quickly away again towards his distant goal. Meanwhile one
of the officers, finding himself distanced, turned his horse
into the fields lying between the two roads, with the
purpose of riding across and cutting off the flight of the
fugitive. He had not taken many steps, however, before he
found his horse floundering in a clay-pit, while Revere on
the opposite road shot past, with a ringing shout of triumph
as he went.

Leaving him for the present to his journey, we must return
to the streets of Boston, and learn the secret of this
midnight ride.

For several years previous to 1775 Boston had been in the
hands of British troops,--of a foreign foe, we may almost
say, for they treated it as though it were a captured town.
Many collisions had occurred between the troops and the
citizens, the rebellious feeling growing with every hour of
occupation, until now the spirit of rebellion, like a
contagious fever, had spread far beyond its point of origin,
and affected townsmen and farmers widely throughout the
colonies. In all New England hostility to British rule had
become rampant, minute-men (men pledged to spring to arms at
a minute's notice) were everywhere gathering and drilling,
and here and there depots of arms and ammunition had hastily
been formed. Peace still prevailed, but war was in the air.

Boston itself aided in supplying these warlike stores. Under
the very eyes of the British guards cannon-balls and muskets
were carried out in carts, covered by loads of manure.
Market-women conveyed powder from the city in their
panniers, and candle-boxes served as secret receptacles for
cartridges. Depots of these munitions were made near Boston.
In the preceding February the troops had sought to seize one
of these at Salem, but were forced to halt at Salem bridge
by a strong body of the people, led by Colonel Pickering.
Finding themselves outnumbered, they turned and marched
back, no shot being fired and no harm done.

Another depot of stores had now been made at Concord, about
nineteen miles away, and this General Gage had determined to
destroy, even if blood were shed in so doing. Rebellion, in
his opinion, was gaining too great a head; it must be put
down by the strong arm of force; the time for mild measures
was past.

Yet he was not eager to rouse the colonists to hostility. It
was his purpose to surprise the patriots and capture the
stores before a party could be gathered to their defence.
This was the meaning of the stealthy midnight movement of
the troops. But the patriot leaders in Boston were too
watchful to be easily deceived; they had their means of
obtaining information, and the profound secret of the
British general was known to them before the evening had far

About nine o'clock Lord Percy, one of the British officers,
crossed the Common, and in doing so noticed a group of
persons in eager chat. He joined these, curious to learn the
subject of their conversation. The first words he heard
filled him with alarm.

"The British troops will miss their aim," said a garrulous

"What aim?" asked Percy.

"The cannon at Concord," was the reply.

Percy, who was in Gage's confidence, hastened to the
head-quarters of the commanding general and informed him of
what he had overheard. Gage, startled to learn that his
guarded secret was already town's talk, at once set guards
on all the avenues leading from the town, with orders to
arrest every person who should attempt to leave, while the
squad of officers of whom we have spoken were sent forward
to patrol the roads.

But the patriots were too keen-witted to be so easily
checked in their plans. Samuel Adams and John Hancock, the
patriot leaders, fearing arrest, had left town, and were
then at Lexington at the house of the Rev. Jonas Clarke.
Paul Revere had been sent to Charlestown by the patriotic
Dr. Warren, with orders to take to the road the moment the
signal lights in the belfry of the old North Church should
appear. These lights would indicate that the troops were on
the road. We have seen how promptly he obeyed, and how
narrowly he escaped capture by General Gages' guards.

On he went, mile by mile, rattling down the Medford Road. At
every wayside house he stopped, knocked furiously at the
door, and, as the startled inmates came hastily to the
windows, shouted, "Up! up! the regulars are coming!" and
before his sleepy auditors could fairly grasp his meaning,
was away again.

It was about midnight when the British troops left Boston,
on their supposed secret march. At a little after the same
hour the rattling sound of hoofs broke the quiet of the
dusky streets of Lexington, thirteen miles away.

Around the house of the Rev. Mr. Clarke eight minute-men had
been stationed as a guard, to protect the patriot leaders
within. They started hastily to their feet as the messenger
rode up at headlong speed.

"Rouse the house!" cried Revere.

"That we will not," answered the guards. "Orders have been
given not to disturb the people within by noise."

"Noise!" exclaimed Revere; "you'll have noise enough before
long; the regulars are coming!"

At these startling tidings the guards suffered him to
approach and knock at the door. The next minute a window was
thrown up and Mr. Clarke looked out.

"Who is there?" he demanded.

"I wish to see Mr. Hancock," was the reply.

"I cannot admit strangers to my house at night without
knowing who they are."

Another window opened as he spoke. It was that of John
Hancock, who had heard and recognized the messenger's voice.
He knew him well.

"Come in, Revere," he cried; "we are not afraid of you."

The door was opened and Revere admitted, to tell his
alarming tale, and bid the patriot leaders to flee from that
place of danger. His story was quickly confirmed, for
shortly afterwards another messenger, William Dawes by name,
rode up. He had left Boston at the same time as Revere, but
by a different route. Adams was by this time aroused and had
joined his friend, and the two patriot leaders, feeling
assured that their capture was one of the purposes of the
expedition, hastily prepared for retreat to safer quarters.
While they did so, Revere and Dawes, now joining company,
mounted again, and once more took to the road, on their
midnight mission of warning and alarm.

Away they went again, with thunder of hoofs and rattle of
harness, while as they left the streets of Lexington behind
them a hasty stir succeeded the late silence of that quiet
village. From every house men rushed to learn the news; from
every window women's heads were thrust; some armed minute-men
began to gather, and by two o'clock a hundred and thirty of
these were gathered upon the meeting-house green. But no foe
appeared, and the air was chilly at this hour of the night,
so that, after the roll had been called, they were
dismissed, with orders to be ready to assemble at beat of

Meanwhile, Revere and his companion had pushed on towards
Concord, six miles beyond. On the road they met Dr. Samuel
Prescott, a resident of that town, on his way home from a
visit to Lexington. The three rode on together, the
messengers telling their startling story to their new

It was a fortunate meeting, as events fell out, for, as they
pushed onward, Paul Revere somewhat in advance, the group of
British officers of whom he had been told suddenly appeared
in the road before him. Before he could make a movement to
escape they were around him, and strong hands were upon his
shoulders. The gallant scout was a prisoner in British

Dawes, who had been closely behind him, suffered the same
fate. Not so Prescott, who had been left a short distance
behind by the ardent messengers. He sprang over the
road-side wall before the officers could reach him, and
hastened away through the fields towards Concord, bearing
thither the story he had so opportunely learned.

The officers had already in their custody three Lexington
men, who, in order to convey the news, had taken to the road
while Revere and Dawes were closeted with the patriot
leaders at Mr Clarke's. Riding back with their prisoners to
a house near by, they questioned them at point of pistol as
to their purpose.

Revere at first gave evasive answers to their questions. But
at length, with a show of exultation, he said,--

"Gentlemen, you have missed your aim."

"What aim?" they asked.

"I came from Boston an hour after your troops left it,"
answered Revere. "And if I had not known that messengers
were out in time enough to carry the news for fifty miles,
you would not have stopped me without a shot."

The officers, startled by this confident assertion,
continued their questions; but now, from a distance, the
clang of a bell was heard. The Lexington men cried out at

"The bells are ringing! The towns are alarmed! You are all
dead men!"

This assertion, which the sound of the bells appeared to
confirm, alarmed the officers. If the people should rise,
their position would be a dangerous one. They must make
their way back. But, as a measure of precaution, they took
Revere's horse and cut the girths and bridles of the others.
This done, they rode away at full speed, leaving their late
captives on foot in the road. But this the two messengers
little heeded, as they knew that their tidings had gone on
in safe hands.

While all this was taking place, indeed, Prescott had
regained the road, and was pressing onward at speed. He
reached Concord about two o'clock in the morning, and
immediately gave the alarm. As quickly as possible the bells
were set ringing, and from all sides people, roused by the
midnight alarum, thronged towards the centre square. As soon
as the startling news was heard active measures were taken
to remove the stores. All the men, and a fair share of the
women, gave their aid, carrying ammunition, muskets,
cartridges, and other munitions hastily to the nearest
woods. Some of the cannon were buried in trenches, over
which a farmer rapidly ran his plough, to give it the aspect
of a newly-ploughed field. The militia gathered in all haste
from neighboring villages, and at early day a large body of
them were assembled, while the bulk of the precious stores
had vanished.

[Illustration: THE SPIRIT OF '76.]

Meanwhile, momentous events were taking place at Lexington.
The first shots of the American Revolution had been fired;
the first blood had been shed. It was about four o'clock
when the marching troops came within sight of the town.
Until now they had supposed that their secret was safe, and
that they would take the patriots off their guard. But the
sound of bells, clashing through the morning air, told a
different tale. In some way the people had been aroused.
Colonel Smith halted his men, sent a messenger to Boston for
re-enforcements, and ordered Major Pitcairn, with six
companies, to press on to Concord with all haste and secure
the bridges.

News that the troops were at hand quickly reached Lexington.
The drums were beaten, the minute-men gathered, and as the
coming morning showed its first gray tinge in the east, it
gave light to a new spectacle on Lexington green, that of a
force of about a hundred armed militiamen facing five or six
times their number of scarlet-coated British troops.

It was a critical moment. Neither party wished to fire. Both
knew well what the first shot involved. But the moment of
prudence did not last. Pitcairn galloped forward, sword in
hand, followed quickly by his men, and shouted in ringing

"Disperse, you villains! Lay down your arms, you rebels, and

The patriots did not obey. Not a man of them moved from his
ranks. Not a face blanched. Pitcairn galloped back and bade
his men surround the rebels in arms. At this instant some
shots came from the British line. They were instantly
answered from the American ranks. Pitcairn drew his pistol
and discharged it.

"Fire!" he cried to his troops.

Instantly a fusillade of musketry rang out upon the morning
air, four of the patriots fell dead, and the other, moved by
sudden panic, fled. As they retreated another volley was
fired, and more men fell. The others hid behind stone walls
and buildings and returned the fire, wounding three of the
soldiers and Pitcairn's horse.

Such was the opening contest of the American Revolution.
Those shots were the signal of a tempest of war which was
destined to end in the establishment of one of the greatest
nations known to human history. As for the men who lay dead
upon Lexington green, the first victims of a great cause,
they would be amply revenged before their assailants set
foot again on Boston streets.

The troops, elated with their temporary success, now pushed
on briskly towards Concord, hoping to be in time to seize
the stores. They reached there about seven o'clock, but only
to find that they were too late, and that most of the
material of war had disappeared. They did what damage they
could, knocked open about sixty barrels of flour which they
found, injured three cannon, threw some five hundred pounds
of balls into wells and the mill-pond, and set fire to the
court-house. A Mrs. Moulton put out the flames before they
had done much harm.

The time taken in these exercises was destined to be fatal
to many of those indulging in them. Militia were now
gathering in haste from all the neighboring towns. The
Concord force had withdrawn for re-enforcements, but about
ten o'clock, being now some four hundred strong, the militia
advanced and attacked the enemy on guard at North Bridge. A
sharp contest ensued. Captain Isaac Davis and one of his men
fell dead. Three of the British were killed, and several
wounded and captured. The bridge was taken.

Colonel Smith was in a quandary. Should he stand his ground,
or retreat before these despised provincials? Should veteran
British troops fly before countrymen who had never fired gun
before at anything larger than a rabbit? But these despised
countrymen were gathering in hordes. On every side they
could be seen hasting forward, musket or rifle in hand.
Prudence just then seemed the better part of valor. About
twelve o'clock Colonel Smith reluctantly gave the order to

It began as an orderly march; it ended as a disorderly
flight. The story of Lexington had already spread far and
wide and, full of revengeful fury, the minute-men hastened
to the scene. Reaching the line of retreat, they hid behind
houses, barns, and road-side walls, and poured a galling
fire upon the troops, some of whom at every moment fell
dead. During that dreadful six miles' march to Lexington,
the helpless troops ran the gantlet of the most destructive
storm of bullets they had ever encountered. On Lexington
battle-green several of them fell. It is doubtful if a man
of them would have reached Boston alive but for the cautious
demand for re-enforcements which Colonel Smith had sent back
in the early morning.

Lord Percy, with about nine hundred men, left Boston about
nine o'clock in the morning of the 19th, and a short time
after two in the afternoon reached the vicinity of
Lexington. He was barely in time to rescue the exhausted
troops of Colonel Smith. So worn out were they with fatigue
that they were obliged to fling themselves on the ground for
rest, their tongues hanging from their mouths through
drought and weariness.

Little time could be given them for rest. The woods swarmed
with militiamen, who scarcely could be kept back by the
hollow square and planted cannon of Lord Percy's troops. In
a short time the march was resumed. The troops had burned
several houses at Lexington, a vandalism which added to the
fury of the provincials. As they proceeded, the infuriated
soldiers committed other acts of atrocity, particularly in
West Cambridge, where houses were plundered and several
unoffending persons murdered.

But for all this they paid dearly. The militia pursued them
almost to the very streets of Boston, pouring in a hot fire
at every available point. On nearing Charlestown the
situation of the British troops became critical, for their
ammunition was nearly exhausted, and a strong force was
marching upon them from several points. Fortunately for
them, they succeeded in reaching Charlestown before they
could be cut off, and here the pursuit ended as no longer
available. The British loss in killed, wounded, and missing
in that dreadful march had been nearly three hundred; that
of the Americans was about one hundred in all.

It was a day mighty in history, the birthday of the
American Revolution; the opening event in the history of the
United States of America, which has since grown to so
enormous stature, and is perhaps destined to become the
greatest nation upon the face of the earth. That midnight
ride of Paul Revere was one of the turning-points in the
history of mankind.


Down from the green hills of Vermont came in all haste a
company of hardy mountaineers, at their head a large-framed,
strong-limbed, keen-eyed frontiersman, all dressed in the
homespun of their native hills, but all with rifles in their
hands, a weapon which none in the land knew better how to
use. The tidings of stirring events at Boston, spreading
rapidly through New England, had reached their ears. The
people of America had been attacked by English troops, blood
had been shed at Lexington and Concord, war was begun, a
struggle for independence was at hand. Everywhere the
colonists, fiery with indignation, were seizing their arms
and preparing to fight for their rights. The tocsin had
rung. It was time for all patriots to be up and alert.

On the divide between Lakes George and Champlain stood a
famous fort, time-honored old Ticonderoga, which had played
so prominent a part in the French and Indian War. It was
feebly garrisoned by English troops, and was well supplied
with munitions of war. These munitions were, just then, of
more importance than men to the patriot cause. The instant
the news of Lexington reached the ears of the mountaineers
of Vermont, axes were dropped, ploughs abandoned, rifles
seized, and "Ticonderoga" was the cry. Ethan Allen, a leader
in the struggle which had for several years been maintained
between the settlers of that region and the colony of New
York, and a man of vigor and decision, lost no time in
calling his neighbors to arms, and the Green Mountain boys
were quickly in the field.


Prompt as they had been, they were none too soon. Others of
the patriots had their eyes on the same tempting prize.
Other leaders were eagerly preparing to obtain commissions
and raise men for the expedition. One of the first of these
was Benedict Arnold, who had been made colonel for the
purpose by the governor of Massachusetts, and hastened to
the western part of the colony to raise men and take command
of the enterprise.

He found men ready for the work, Green Mountain men, with
the stalwart Ethan Allen at their head, but men by no means
disposed to put themselves under any other commander than
the sturdy leader of their choice.

Only a year or two before Allen, as their colonel, had led
these hardy mountaineers against the settlers from New York
who had attempted to seize their claims, and driven out the
interlopers at sword's point. The courts at Albany had
decided that the Green Mountain region was part of the
colony of New York. Against this decision Allen had stirred
the settlers to armed resistance, thundering out against the
fulminations of the lawyers the opposite quotation from
Scripture, "The Lord is the God of the hills, but He is not
the God of the valleys," and rousing the men of the hills
to fight what he affirmed to be God's battle for the right.
In 1774, Governor Tryon, of New York, offered a reward of
one hundred and fifty pounds for the capture of Allen. The
insurgent mountaineers retorted by offering an equal reward
for the capture of Governor Tryon. Neither reward had been
earned, a year more had elapsed, and Ethan Allen, at the
head of his Green Mountain boys, was in motion in a greater
cause, to defend, not Vermont against New York, but America
against England.

But, before proceeding, we must go back and bring up events
to the point we have reached. The means for the expedition
of the Green Mountain boys came from Connecticut, whence a
sum of three hundred pounds had been sent in the hands of
trusty agents to Allen and his followers. They were found to
be more than ready, and the Connecticut agents started in
advance towards the fort, leaving the armed band to follow.
One of them, Noah Phelps by name, volunteered to enter the
fort and obtain exact information as to its condition. He
disguised himself and entered the fort as a countryman,
pretending that he wanted to be shaved. While hunting for
the barber he kept his eyes open and used his tongue freely,
asking questions like an innocent rustic, until he had
learned the exact condition of affairs, and came out with a
clean face and a full mind.

Allen was now rapidly approaching, and, lest news of his
movement should reach the fort, men were sent out on all
the roads leading thither, to intercept passers. On the 8th
of May all was ready. Allen, with one hundred and forty men,
was to go to the lake by way of Shoreham, opposite the fort.
Thirty men, under Captain Herrick, were to advance to
Skenesborough, capture Major Skene, seize boats, and drop
down the lake to join Allen.

All was in readiness for the completion of the work, when an
officer, attended by a single servant, came suddenly from
the woods and hurried to the camp. It was Benedict Arnold,
who had heard of what was afoot, and had hastened forward to
claim command of the mountaineers.

It was near nightfall. The advance party of Allen's men was
at Hand's Cove, on the eastern side of the lake, preparing
to cross. Arnold joined them and crossed with them, but on
reaching the other side of the lake claimed the command.
Allen angrily refused. The debate waxed hot; Arnold had the
commission; Allen had the men: the best of the situation lay
with the latter. He was about to settle the difficulty by
ordering Arnold under guard, when one of his friends,
fearing danger to the enterprise from the controversy,
suggested that the two men should march side by side. This
compromise was accepted and the dispute ended.

By this time day was about to break. Eighty-three men had
landed, and the boats had returned for the rest. But there
was evidently no time to lose if the fort was to be
surprised. They must move at once, without waiting for the
remainder of the party. A farmer's boy of the vicinity, who
was familiar with the fort, offered to act as guide, and in
a few minutes more the advance was begun, the two leaders at
the head, Allen in command, Arnold as a volunteer.

The stockade was reached. A wicket stood open. Through this
Allen charged followed by his men. A sentry posted there
took aim, but his piece missed fire, and he ran back
shouting the alarm. At his heels came the two leaders, at
full speed, their men crowding after, till, before a man of
the garrison appeared, the fort was fairly won.

Allen at once arranged his men so as to face each of the
barracks. It was so early that most of those within were
still asleep, and the fort was captured without the
commander becoming aware that any thing unusual was going
on. His whole command was less than fifty men, and
resistance would have been useless with double their number
of stalwart mountaineers on the parade-ground.

Allen forced one of the sentries who had been captured to
show him the way to the quarters of Captain Delaplace, the
commander. Reaching the chamber of the latter, the militia
leader called on him in a stentorian voice to surrender.
Delaplace sprang out of bed, and, half dressed, appeared
with an alarmed and surprised face at the door.

"By whose authority?" he demanded, not yet alive to the

"In the name of the great Jehovah and the Continental
Congress!" roared out the Green Mountaineer.

Here was a demand which backed as it was by a drawn sword
and the sound of shouts of triumph outside, it would have
been madness to resist. The fort was surrendered with
scarcely a shot fired or a blow exchanged, and its large
stores of cannon and ammunition, then sorely needed by the
colonists besieging Boston, fell into American hands. The
stores and military material captured included a hundred and
twenty pieces of cannon, with a considerable number of small
arms and other munitions of high value to the patriot cause.

While these events were taking place, Colonel Seth Warner
was bringing the rear-guard across the lake, and was
immediately sent with a hundred men to take possession of
the fort at Crown Point, in which were only a sergeant and
twelve men. This was done without difficulty, and a hundred
more cannon captured.

The dispute between Arnold and Allen was now renewed,
Massachusetts supporting the one, Connecticut the other.
While it was being settled, the two joined in an expedition
together, with the purpose of gaining full possession of
Lake Champlain, and seizing the town of St. Johns, at its
head. This failed, reinforcements having been sent from
Montreal, and the adventurers returned to Ticonderoga,
contenting themselves for the time being with their signal
success in that quarter, and the fame on which they counted
from their daring exploit.

The after-career of Ethan Allen was an interesting one, and
worthy of being briefly sketched. Having taken Ticonderoga,
he grew warm with the desire to take Canada, and, on
September 25, 1775, made a rash assault on Montreal with an
inadequate body of men. The support he hoped for was not
forthcoming, and he and his little band were taken, Allen,
soon after, being sent in chains to England.

Here he attracted much attention, his striking form, his
ardent patriotism, his defiance of the English, even in
captivity, and certain eccentricities of his manner and
character interesting some and angering others of those with
whom he had intercourse.

Afterwards he was sent back to America and held prisoner at
Halifax and New York, in jails and prison-ships, being most
of the time harshly treated and kept heavily ironed. He was
released in 1778.

A fellow-prisoner, Alexander Graydon, has left in his
memoirs a sketch of Allen, which gives us an excellent idea
of the man. "His figure was that of a robust, large-framed
man worn down by confinement and hard fare.... His style was
a singular compound of local barbarisms, scriptural phrases,
and Oriental wildness.... Notwithstanding that Allen might
have had something of the insubordinate, lawless, frontier
spirit in his composition, he appeared to me to be a man of
generosity and honor."

Among the eccentricities of the man was a disbelief in
Christianity,--much more of an anomaly in that day than at
present,--and a belief in the transmigration of souls, it
being one of his fancies that, after death, his spiritual
part was to return to this world in the form of a large
white horse.

On his release he did not join the army. Vermont had
declared itself an independent State in 1777, and sought
admittance to the Confederation. This New York opposed.
Allen took up the cause, visited Congress on the subject,
but found its members not inclined to offend the powerful
State of New York. There was danger of civil war in the
midst of the war for independence, and the English leaders,
seeing the state of affairs, tried to persuade Allen and the
other Green Mountain leaders to declare for the authority of
the king. They evidently did not know Ethan Allen. He was
far too sound a patriot to entertain for a moment such a
thought. The letters received by him he sent in 1782 to
Congress, and when the war ended Vermont was a part of the
Union, though not admitted as a State till 1791. Allen was
then dead, having been carried away suddenly by apoplexy in


Before the days of dynamite and the other powerful
explosives which enable modern man to set at naught the most
rigid conditions of nature, warfare with the torpedo was
little thought of, gunpowder being a comparatively innocent
agent for this purpose. In the second period of the
Revolutionary War, when the British fleet had left Boston
and appeared in the harbor of New York, preparatory to an
attack on the latter city, the only methods devised by the
Americans for protection of the Hudson were sunken hulks in
the stream, _chevaux-de-frise_, composed of anchored logs,
and fire-ships prepared to float down on the foe. All these
proved of no avail. The current loosened the anchored logs,
so that they proved useless; the fire-ships did no damage;
and the batteries on shore were not able to hinder certain
ships of the enemy from running the gantlet of the city, and
ascending the Hudson to Tappan Sea, forty miles above. All
the service done by the fire-ships was to alarm the captains
of these bold cruisers, and induce them to run down the
river again, and rejoin the fleet at the Narrows.

It was at this juncture that an interesting event took
place, the first instance on record of the use of a
torpedo-vessel in warfare. A Connecticut officer named
Bushnell, an ingenious mechanician, had invented during his
college-life an oddly-conceived machine for submarine
explosion, to which he gave the appropriate name of "The
American Turtle." He had the model with him in camp. A
report of the existence of this contrivance reached General
Putnam, then in command at New York. He sent for Bushnell,
talked the matter over with him, examined the model, and was
so pleased with it that he gave the inventor an order to
construct a working-machine, supplying funds for this

Bushnell lost no time. In ten days the machine was ready. It
was a peculiar-looking affair, justifying its name by its
resemblance to a large ocean-turtle. In the head, or front
portion, was an air-tight apartment, with a narrow entrance.
It was claimed to be capable of containing fresh air enough
to support life for half an hour. The bottom of the machine
was ballasted with lead. Motion was obtained from an oar,
adapted for rowing backward or forward, while a rudder under
control of the operator served for steering purposes. In the
bottom was a valved aperture, into which water could be
admitted when it was desired to sink the machine; while the
water could be ejected by two brass pumps when the operator
wished to rise again.

The torpedo arrangement consisted of two pieces of oak
timber, hollowed out and filled with powder, the space
containing a clock-work arrangement that could be set to run
any time desired, and a contrivance for exploding the powder
when the time expired. This torpedo was fixed in the rear of
the vessel, and was provided with a strong screw, that
could be turned by the operator, so as to fasten it under
the bottom of a ship or in other desired location. So far as
appeared, the contrivance was not unpromising. It failed in
its purpose, but solely, if the word of the operator may be
taken, from the absence of an indispensable article of
supply. What this was will appear in the sequel.

Captain Bushnell's brother had volunteered for the perilous
enterprise. A sudden sickness prevented him, and his place
was taken by a venturesome New London sergeant named Abijah
Shipman, or, as rechristened by his companions, "Long Bige."
He was an amphibious chap, half sailor, half soldier, long,
thin, and bony, and not wanting in Yankee humor. He had
courage enough to undertake any enterprise, if he could only
be primed with rum and tobacco, articles which he deemed the
leading necessaries of life.

It was an early hour of a July morning. The sun had not
appeared on the eastern horizon. By a wharf-side on the
Hudson floated the strange marine monster whose powers were
about to be tested. On the shore stood Putnam and many other
officers. In their midst was Abijah Shipman, ready to start
on his dangerous enterprise. It was proposed to tow the
nondescript affair into the stream, set it adrift on the
tide, and trust to Abijah's skill to bring it under the
bottom of the "Eagle," Admiral Howe's flag-ship, which had
been chosen for the victim. If the magazine could be
attached to the bottom of this vessel, she must surely be
destroyed. But certainly the chances seemed greatly against
its being thus attached.

Everything was ready. Abijah stepped on board his craft,
entered the air-tight chamber, closed the cover, and was
about to screw it down, when suddenly it flew open again,
and his head emerged.

"Thunder and marlinspikes!" he exclaimed, "who's got a cud
of tobacco? This old cud won't last, anyhow." And he threw
away the worn-out lump on which he had been chewing.

A laugh followed his appeal. Such of the officers as used
the weed felt hastily in their pockets. They were empty of
the indispensable article. There was no hope for Abijah;
daylight was at hand, time was precious, he must sail short
of supplies.

"You see how it is, my brave fellow," said Putnam. "We
Continental officers are too poor to raise even a tobacco
plug. Push off. To-morrow, after you have sent the 'Eagle'
on its last flight, some of our Southern officers shall
order you a full keg of old Virginia weed."

"It's too bad," muttered Abijah, dejectedly. "And mind you,
general, if the old 'Turtle' doesn't do her duty, it's all
'long of me goin' to sea without tobacco."

Down went Abijah's head, the cover was tightly screwed into
place, and the machine was towed out into the channel and
cast loose. Away it floated towards the British fleet, which
lay well up in the Narrows. The officers made their way to
the Battery, where they waited in much suspense the result
of the enterprise.

An hour slowly moved by. Morning broke. The rim of the sun
lifted over the distant waters. Yet the "Eagle" still rode
unharmed. Something surely had happened. The torpedo had
failed. Possibly the venturesome Abijah was reposing in his
stranded machine on the bottom of the bay. Putnam anxiously
swept the waters in the vicinity of the "Eagle" with his
glass. Suddenly he exclaimed, "There he is!" The top of the
"Turtle" had just emerged, in a little bay a short distance
to the left of Howe's flag-ship.

It was seen as quickly by the sentinels on the "Eagle," who
fired at the strange aquatic monster with such good aim that
Abijah popped under the water as hastily as he had emerged
from it. On board the "Eagle" confusion evidently prevailed.
This strange contrivance had apparently filled the mariners
with alarm. There were signs of a hasty effort to get under
weigh, and wings were added to this haste when a violent
explosion took place in the immediate vicinity of the fleet,
hurling up great volumes of water into the air. The machine
had been set to run an hour, and had duly gone off at its
proper time, but, for some reason yet to be explained, not
under the "Eagle." The whole fleet was not long in getting
up its anchors, setting sail, and scurrying down the bay to
a safer abiding-place below. And here they lay until the day
of the battle of Long Island, not venturing again within
reach of that naval nondescript.

As for the "Turtle," boats at once set out to Abijah's
relief and he was taken off in the vicinity of Governor's
Island. On landing and being questioned, he gave, in his own
odd way, the reasons of his failure.

"Just as I said, gen'ral," he remarked "it all failed for
the want of that cud of tobacco. You see, I am narvous
without tobacco. I got under the 'Eagle's' bottom, but
somehow the screw struck the iron bar that passes from the
rudder pintle, and wouldn't hold on anyhow I could fix it.
Just then I let go the oar to feel for a cud, to steady my
narves, and I hadn't any. The tide swept me under her
counter, and away I slipped top o' water. I couldn't manage
to get back, so I pulled the lock and let the thunder-box
slide. That's what comes of sailin' short of supplies. Say,
can't you raise a cud among you _now_?"

There is another interesting story to tell, in connection
with the British occupation of New York, which may be fitly
given here. The battle of Long Island had been fought. The
American forces had been safely withdrawn. Washington had
moved the main body of his army, with the bulk of the
stores, from the city, leaving General Putnam behind, in
command of the rear-guard.

Putnam's position was a perilous one. The configuration of
Manhattan Island is such that the British could land a force
from the East River, throw it across the narrow width of the
island, and cut off retreat from below. The only trust lay
in the shore batteries, and they proved useless.

A British landing was made at Kip's Bay, about three miles
above the city, where were works strong enough to have kept
off the enemy for a long time, had they been well defended.
As it was, the garrison fled in a panic, on the bare
appearance of the British transports. At the same time three
ships of war moved up the Hudson to Bloomingdale, and
attacked the works there.

The flight of the Kip's Bay garrison left Putnam in the most
imminent peril. He had about three thousand men, and a
dangerous incumbrance of women, children, camp-followers,
and baggage. The weather was very hot, the roads were
narrow; everything tended to make the retreat difficult and
perilous. The instant he heard of the unlooked-for cowardice
of the Kip's Bay garrison and the landing of the enemy, he
put his men in motion, and strained every nerve to push them
past the point of danger before his channel of escape should
be closed.

Safety seemed a forlorn hope. The British had landed in
force above him. A rapid march would quickly bring them to
the Hudson. The avenue of exit would be closed. The danger
of capture was extreme. It was averted by one of those
striking incidents of which so many give interest to the
history of war. In this case it was a woman whose coolness
and quick wit proved the salvation of Putnam's imperilled

Sir Henry Clinton, having fairly landed his men at Kip's
Bay, put them quickly into motion to cut off Putnam's
retreat. In his march for this object, his route lay along
the eastern side of Murray Hill, where was the residence of
Mrs. Murray, mother of Lindley Murray, the grammarian, and a
most worthy old Quaker lady. Putnam had sent her word, some
time before, of his perilous situation, begging her, if
possible, to detain General Clinton, by entertaining him and
his officers. If their march could be hindered for an hour
it would be an invaluable service.

The patriotic old lady was quick to respond. Many of the
British officers knew her, and when she appeared, with a
welcoming smile, at her door, and cordially invited them to
step in and take a friendly glass of wine, the offer was too
tempting to be refused. Exhausted with the heat and with the
labor of disembarking, they were only too glad to halt their
columns for a short rest, and follow her into her
comfortable dining-room. Here Mrs. Murray and the ladies of
her family exerted themselves to entertain their guests. The
wine proved excellent. The society and conversation of the
ladies were a delightful change from the duties of the camp.
The minutes became an hour before the guests dreamed of the
flight of time.

At length a negro servant, who had been on the lookout from
the housetop, entered the room, made a significant sign to
his mistress, and at once withdrew. Mrs. Murray now rose,
and with a meaning smile turned to her titled guest.

"Will you be kind enough to come with me, Sir Henry?" she
asked. "I have something of great interest to show you."

"With pleasure," he replied, rising with alacrity, and
following her from the room.

She led the way to the lookout in the upper story, and
pointed to the northern side of the hill, where could be
seen the American flag, proudly waving over the ranks of the
retiring army. They were marching in close array into the
open plain of Bloomingdale.

"How do you like the prospect, Sir Henry?" she calmly
inquired. "We consider the view from this side an admirable

What Sir Henry replied, history has not recorded. No doubt
it lacked the quality of politeness. Down the stairs he
rushed, calling to his officers as he passed, leaped upon
his horse, and could scarcely find words in his nervous
haste to give orders for pursuit.

He was too late. The gap was closed; but nothing, except
such baggage and stores as could not be moved, remained in
the trap which, if sprung an hour earlier, would have caught
an army.

Only for Mrs. Murray's inestimable service, Putnam and his
men would probably have become prisoners of war. Her name
lives in history among those of the many heroines who so
ably played their part in the drama of American liberty, and
who should hold high rank among the makers of the American


In Philadelphia, on Second Street below Spruce, formerly
stood an antiquated mansion, known by the name of "Loxley's
House," it having been originally the residence of
Lieutenant Loxley, who served in the artillery under
Braddock, and took part in his celebrated defeat. During the
Revolution this house was the scene of an interesting
historical incident, which is well worth relating.

At that time it was occupied by a Quaker named Darrah, or
perhaps we should say by his wife Lydia, who seems to have
been the ruling spirit of the house. During the British
occupation of Philadelphia, when patriots and royalists
alike had to open their mansions to their none too welcome
guests, the Darrah mansion was used as the quarters of the
British adjutant-general. In that day it was somewhat "out
of town," and was frequently the scene of private
conferences of the higher officers, as being somewhat

On one chill and snowy day, the 2d of December, 1777, the
adjutant-general appeared at the house and bade Mrs. Darrah
to prepare the upper back room for a meeting of his friends,
which would take place that night.

"They may stay late," he said, and added, emphatically, "be
sure, Lydia, that your family are all in bed at an early
hour. When our guests are ready to leave the house I will
give you notice, that you may let us out and extinguish the
fire and candles."

Mrs. Darrah obeyed. Yet she was so struck by the mystery
with which he seemed inclined to surround the projected
meeting, that she made up her mind to learn, if possible,
what very secret business was afoot. She obeyed his orders
literally, saw that her people were early in bed, and, after
receiving the officers, retired herself to her room, but not
to sleep. This conference might presage some peril to the
American cause. If so, she wished to know it.

When she deemed the proper time had come, she removed her
shoes, and in stocking feet stole softly along the passage
to the door of the apartment where the officers were in
consultation. Here the key-hole served the purpose to which
that useful opening has so often been put, and enabled her
to hear tidings of vital interest. For some time only a
murmur of voices reaches her ears. Then silence fell,
followed by one of the officers reading in a clear tone. She
listened intently, for the document was of absorbing
interest. It was an order from Sir William Howe, arranging
for a secret attack on Washington's camp at Whitemarsh. The
troops were to leave the city on the night of the 4th under
cover of the darkness, and surprise the rebels before

The fair eavesdropper had heard enough. Rarely had key-hole
listener been so well rewarded. She glided back to her room,
and threw herself on her bed. She was none too soon. In a
few minutes afterwards steps were heard in the passage and
then came a rap upon her door. The fair conspirator was not
to be taken unawares; she feigned not to hear. The rap was
repeated a second and a third time. Then the shrewd woman
affected to awake, answered in a sleepy tone, and, learning
that the adjutant-general and his friends were ready to
leave, arose and saw them out.


Lydia Darrah slept no more that night. The secret she had
learned banished slumber. What was to be done? This thought
filled her mind the night long. Washington must be warned;
but how? Should she trust her husband, or some other member
of her family? No, they were all leaky vessels; she would
trust herself alone. Before morning she had devised a plan
of action, and for the first time since learning that
eventful news the anxious woman gave her mind a moment's

At early dawn she was astir. Flour was needed for the
household. She woke her husband and told him of this, saying
that she must make an early journey to Frankford to supply
the needed stores. This was a matter of ordinary occurrence
in those days, the people of Philadelphia being largely
dependent upon the Frankford mills for their flour, and
being obliged to go for it themselves. The idea of
house-to-house delivery had not yet been born. Mr. Darrah
advised that she should take the maid with her, but she
declined. The maid could not be spared from her household
duties, she said.

It was a cold December morning. The snow of the day before
had left several inches of its white covering upon the
ground. It was no very pleasant journey which lay before
Mrs. Darrah. Frankford was some five miles away, and she was
obliged to traverse this distance afoot, and return over the
same route with her load of flour. Certainly comfort was not
the ruling consideration in those days of our forefathers. A
ten-mile walk through the snow for a bag of flour would be
an unmentionable hardship to a nineteenth-century housewife.

On foot, and bag in hand, Mrs. Darrah started on her journey
through the almost untrodden snow, stopping at General
Howe's head-quarters, on Market Street near Sixth, to obtain
the requisite passport to leave the city. It was still early
in the day when the devoted woman reached the mills. The
British outposts did not extend to this point; those of the
Americans were not far beyond. Leaving her bag at the mill
to be filled, Mrs. Darrah, full of her vital mission, pushed
on through the wintry air, ready to incur any danger or
discomfort if thereby she could convey to the patriot army
the important information which she had so opportunely

Fortunately, she had not far to go. At a short distance out
she met Lieutenant-Colonel Craig, who had been sent out by
Washington on a scouting expedition in search of
information. She told him her story begged him to hasten to
Washington with the momentous tidings and not to reveal her
name and hurried back to the mill. Here she shouldered the
bag of flour, and trudged her five miles home, reaching
there in as reasonably short a time as could have been

Night came. The next day passed. They were a night and day
of anxious suspense for Lydia Darrah. From her window, when
night had again fallen, she watched anxiously for movements
of the British troops. Ah! there at length they go, long
lines of them, marching steadily through the darkness, but
as noiselessly as possible. It was not advisable to alarm
the city. Patriot scouts might be abroad.

When morning dawned the restless woman was on the watch
again. The roll of a drum came to her ears from a distance.
Soon afterwards troops appeared, weary and discontented
warriors, marching back. They had had their night's journey
in vain. Instead of finding the Americans off their guard
and an easy prey, they had found them wide awake, and ready
to give them the hottest kind of a reception. After
manoeuvring about their lines for a vulnerable point, and
finding none, the doughty British warriors turned on their
track and marched disconsolately homeward, having had their
labor for their pains.

The army authorities were all at sea. How had this
information got afoot? Had it come from the Darrah house?
Possibly, for there the conference had been held. The
adjutant-general hastened to his quarters, summoned the fair
Quakeress to his room, and after locking the door against
intrusion, turned to her with a stern and doubting face.

"Were any of your family up, Lydia," he asked, "on the night
when I had visitors here?"

"No," she replied; "they all retired at eight o'clock."

This was quite true so far as retiring went. Nothing was
said about a subsequent rising.

"It is very strange," he remarked, musingly. "You, I know,
were asleep, for I knocked at your door three times before
you heard me; yet it is certain that we were betrayed. I am
altogether at a loss to conceive who could have given
Washington information of our intended attack. But on
arriving near his camp we found him ready, with troops under
arms and cannon planted, prepared at all points to receive
us. We have been compelled to turn on our heels, and march
back home again, like a parcel of fools."

As may well be surmised, the patriotic Lydia kept her own
counsel, and not until the British had left Philadelphia was
the important secret of that signal failure made known.


All was terror in the valley of the Mohawk, for its fertile
fields and happy homes were threatened with the horrors of
Indian warfare. All New York State, indeed, was in danger.
The hopes of American liberty were in danger. The deadliest
peril threatened the patriotic cause; for General Burgoyne,
with an army of more than seven thousand men, was encamped
at St. John's, at the foot of Lake Champlain, prepared to
sweep down that lake and Lake George, march to the valley of
the upper Hudson, driving the feeble colonial forces from
his path, and by joining with a force sent up the Hudson
from New York City, cut off New England from the remaining
colonies and hold this hot-bed of rebellion at his mercy. It
was a well-devised and threatening scheme. How disastrously
for the royalists it ended all readers of history know. With
this great enterprise, however, we are not here concerned,
but with a side issue of Burgoyne's march whose romantic
incidents fit it for our pages.

On the Mohawk River, at the head of boat-navigation, stood a
fort, built in 1758, and named Fort Stanwix; repaired in
1776, and named Fort Schuyler. The possession of this fort
was important to General Burgoyne's plan. Its defence was of
vital moment to the inhabitants of the Mohawk Valley.
Interest for the time being centred round this outpost of
the then almost unbroken wilderness.

On one side Lieutenant-Colonel St. Leger was despatched, at
the head of seven hundred rangers, to sail up the St.
Lawrence and Lake Ontario to Oswego, and from that point to
march southward, rousing and gathering the Indians as he
went, capture Fort Schuyler, sweep the valley of the Mohawk
with the aid of his savage allies, and join Burgoyne at
Albany when his triumphant march should have reached that

On the other side no small degree of haste and consternation
prevailed. Colonel Gansevoort had been placed in command at
the fort with a garrison of seven hundred and fifty men. But
he found it in a state of perilous dilapidation. Originally
a strong square fortification, with bomb-proof bastions,
glacis, covered way, and ditch outside the ramparts, it had
been allowed to fall into decay, and strenuous efforts were
needed to bring it into condition for defence.

Meanwhile, news of the coming danger had spread widely
throughout the Mohawk Valley, and everywhere the most lively
alarm prevailed. An Oneida Indian brought the news to the
fort, and from there it made its way rapidly through the
valley. Consternation was wide-spread. It was too late to
look for aid to a distance. The people were in too great a
panic to trust to themselves. That the rotten timbers of the
old fort could resist assault seemed very doubtful. If they
went down, and Brant with his Indians swept the valley, for
what horrors might they not look? It is not surprising
that, for the time, fear drove valor from almost every heart
in the imperilled region.

Up Lake Oneida came the enemy, now seventeen hundred strong,
St. Leger with his rangers having been joined by Johnson,
Butler, and Brant with their Tories and Indians. Every tribe
of the Iroquois had joined the invaders with the exception
of the Oneidas, who remained faithful to the colonists.

On the 2d of August, 1777, Brent with his savage followers
reached and invested the fort, the plumed and moccasined foe
suddenly breaking from the forest, and with their wild
war-whoops seeking to intimidate the beleaguered garrison.
On the next day came St. Leger with his whole force. On the
4th the siege commenced. Bombs were planted and threw their
shells into the fort; the Indians, concealed behind bushes
and trees, picked off with their arrows the men who were
diligently employed in strengthening the parapets; and
during the evening the savages, spreading through the woods,
sought, by frightful yells, to drive all courage from the
hearts of the defenders.

Meanwhile, aid was approaching. The valor of the patriots,
which fled at the first threat of danger, had returned. The
enemy was now almost at their doors; their helpless families
might soon be at the mercy of the ruthless savages; when
General Herkimer, a valiant veteran, called for recruits,
armed men flocked in numbers to his standard. He was
quickly at the head of more than eight hundred men. He sent
a messenger to the fort, telling Gansevoort of his approach,
and bidding him to discharge three signal-guns to show that
the tidings had reached him. His small army was called to a
halt within hearing of the guns of the fort, as he deemed it
the part of prudence to await the signal before advancing on
the foe.

Unfortunately for the brave Herkimer, his men, lately
over-timid, were now over-bold. His officers demanded to be
led at once to the fort. Two of them, Cox and Paris by name,
were impertinent in their demands, charging the veteran with

"I am placed over you as a father and guardian," answered
Herkimer, calmly, "and shall not lead you into difficulties,
from which I may not be able to extricate you."

But their importunities and taunts continued, and at length
the brave old man, angered by their insults, gave the word
"March on!" He continued, "You, who want to fight so badly
now, will be the first to run when you smell burnt powder."

On they marched, in tumultuous haste, and with the lack of
discipline of untrained militia. It was now August 6, two
days after the beginning of the siege. Indian scouts lurked
everywhere in the forest, and the movements of the patriot
army were closely watched. St. Leger was informed of their
near approach, and at once took steps to intercept their

Heedless of this, and of the cautious words of their
commander, the vanguard pressed hastily on, winding along
the road, and at length entering a deep curving ravine, over
whose marshy bottom the road way was carried by a causeway
of earth and logs. The borders of the ravine were heavily
timbered, while a thick growth of underwood masked its
sloping sides.

Utterly without precaution, the militia pushed forward into
this doubtful passage, until the whole body, with the
exception of the rear-guard, had entered it. Behind them
came the baggage-wagons. All was silent, unnaturally silent,
for not even the chirp of a squirrel nor the rustle of a
prowling ground-animal broke the stillness. The fort was not
far distant. The hurrying provincials hoped soon to join
their beleaguered friends.

Suddenly, from the wooded hill to the west, around which the
ravine curved in a semicircle, rose a frightful sound,--the
Indian war-whoop from hundreds of savage throats. Hardly had
it fallen on the startled ears of the patriots when the
sharp crack of musketry followed, and leaden missiles were
hurled into the crowded ranks. Arrows accompanied them, and
spears and tomahawks came hurtling through the air hurled
with deadly aim.

The patriot army had fallen into a dangerous ambuscade.
Herkimer's prediction was fulfilled. The rear-guard, on
hearing the warlike sounds in front, turned in panic flight,
leaving their comrades to their fate. No one can regret to
hear that they were pursued by the Indians, and suffered
more than if they had stood their ground.

As for the remainder of the force, flight was impossible.
They had entered a trap. It was fight or fall. Bullets,
arrows, war-axes hurtled through their ranks. Frightful
yells still filled the air. Many fell where they stood.
Herkimer was severely wounded, his horse being killed and
his own leg shattered. But, with a composure and cool
courage that have rarely been emulated, he ordered the
saddle to be taken from his horse and placed against a large
beech-tree near by. Here seated, with his men falling and
the bullets of the enemy whistling perilously near, he
steadily gave his orders while many of those who had called
him coward were in full flight. During the heat of the
action he took his tinder box from his pocket, calmly
lighted his pipe, and sat smoking as composedly as though by
his own fireside. A striking spectacle, that old man,
sitting in the midst of hottest battle, with the life blood
oozing from his shattered leg, smoking and giving his orders
with the quiet composure of one on dress-parade! It is one
of the most imposing pictures in the portrait-gallery of
American history.

The battle went on. If it was to be fight or fall, the brave
frontiersmen decided it should be fight. Great confusion
reigned at first, but courage soon returned, and though men
fell in numbers, the survivors stood their ground like
veterans. For nearly an hour the fierce affray continued.
The enemy surrounded the provincials on all sides, and were
pressing step by step closer. The whole force might have
been slain or captured, but for a wise suggestion of one of
their number and an admirable change in their line of
battle. Each small group was formed into a circle, and thus
they met the enemy at all points. This greatly increased
their defensive powers. So destructive now became their fire
that the British soldiers rushed upon them in rage, seeking
to break their line by a bayonet charge. They were boldly
met, and a hand-to-hand death-struggle began.

At this moment a heavy thunder-peal broke from the darkening
skies. Down poured the rain in drenching showers. Lightning
filled the air. Crash after crash of thunder rolled through
the sky. Checked in their blood-thirst by the fury of the
elements, the combatants hastily separated and ran for the
shelter of the trees, vanquished by water where fire had
failed to overcome their rage.

The affair so far had not been unlike that of Braddock's
defeat, some twenty years before. But these were American
militia, not British regulars, frontiersmen who knew too
much of Indian fighting to stand in their ranks and be shot
down. They had long since taken to the trees, and fought the
savages in their own way. To this, perhaps, may be ascribed
the difference in result from that of the Braddock fight.

After the rain, the patriots gained better ground and
adopted new and useful tactics. Before, when the Indians
noticed a shot from behind a tree, they would rush forward
and tomahawk the unlucky provincial before he could reload.
But now two men were placed behind each tree, so that when
the whooping savage sprang forward with his tomahawk a
second bullet was ready to welcome him. The fire from the
American side now grew so destructive that the Indians began
to give way.

A body of Johnson's Greens came up to their support. These
were mostly loyalist refugees from the Mohawk Valley, to
whom the patriot militia bore the bitterest enmity.
Recognizing them, the maddened provincials leaped upon them
with tiger-like rage, and a hand-to-hand contest began, in
which knives and bayonets took the place of bullets, and the
contest grew brutally ferocious.

At this moment a firing was heard in the direction of the
fort. New hope sprung into the hearts of the patriots. Was
aid coming to them from the garrison? It seemed so, indeed,
for soon a body of men in Continental uniform came marching
briskly towards them. It was a ruse on the part of the enemy
which might have proved fatal. These men were Johnson
Green's disguised as Continentals. A chance revealed their
character. One of the patriots seeing an acquaintance among
them, ran up to shake hands with him. He was seized and
dragged into their ranks. Captain Gardenier, perceiving
this, sprang forward, spear in hand, and released his man;
but found himself in a moment engaged in a fierce combat, in
which he killed two of his antagonists and wounded another,
but was himself seriously hurt.

"For God's sake, captain," cried some of the militia, "you
are killing our own men!"

"They are not our own men, they are Tories!" yelled back
the captain. "Fire away!"

Fire they did, and with such deadly effect that numbers of
the disguised Tories fell, and nearly as many Indians. In an
instant the battle was violently raging again, with roar of
rifles, clash of steel, yells of combatants, and the wild
war-whoops of the savages.

But the Indians by this time had enough of it. The stubborn
defence of the provincials had sadly thinned their ranks,
and seeing the Tories falling back, they raised their cry of
retreat, "Oonah! Oonah!" and at once broke and fled. The
Tories and regulars, dismayed by their flight, quickly
followed, the bullets of the provincials adding wings to
their speed.

Thus ended one of the hottest and most deadly, for the
numbers engaged, of the battles of the Revolution. Of the
provincials, less than half of them ever saw their homes
again. The loss of the enemy was probably still heavier.
General Herkimer died ten days after the battle. The
militia, despite the well-laid ambuscade into which they had
marched, were the victors, but they had been so severely
handled that they were unable to accomplish their design,
the relief of the fort.

As for the garrison, they had not been idle during the
battle. The sound of the combat had been borne to their
ears, and immediately after the cessation of the rain
Colonel Willett made a sally from the fort, at the head of
two hundred and fifty men. The camp of the enemy had been
depleted for the battle, and the sortie proved highly
successful. The remnants of Johnson's regiment were soon
driven from their camp. The Indian encampment beyond was
demolished, its savage guards flying in terror from "the
Devil," by which expressive name they called Colonel
Willett. Wagons were hurried from the fort, camp equipage,
British flags, papers, and the effects of the officers
loaded into them, and twenty-one loads of this useful spoil
triumphantly carried off. As the victorious force was
returning, Colonel St. Leger appeared, with a strong body of
men, across the river, just in time to be saluted by a
shower of bullets, the provincials then retiring, without
the loss of a man. The setting sun that day cast its last
rays on five British standards, displayed from the walls of
the fort, with the stars and stripes floating proudly above
them. The day had ended triumphantly for the provincials,
though it proved unsuccessful in its main object; for the
fort was still invested, and the rescuing force were in no
condition to come to its aid.

The investment, indeed, was so close that the garrison knew
nothing of the result of the battle. St. Leger took
advantage of this, and sent a white flag to the fort with
false information, declaring that the relief-party had been
annihilated, that Burgoyne had reached and captured Albany,
and that, unless the fort was surrendered, he could not much
longer restrain the Indians from devastating the valley
settlements with fire and tomahawk.

This story Gansevoort did not half believe, and answered
the messenger with words of severe reprobation for his
threat of an Indian foray.

"After you get out of this fort," he concluded, "you may
turn around and look at its outside, but never expect to
come in again, unless as a prisoner. Before I would consent
to deliver this garrison to such a murdering set as your
army, by your own account, consists of, I would suffer my
body to be filled with splinters and set on fire, as you
know has at times been practised by such hordes of women-and
children-killers as belong to your army."

After such a message there was no longer question of
surrender, and the siege was strongly pushed. The enemy,
finding that their guns had little effect on the sod-work of
the fort, began a series of approaches by sapping and
mining. Colonel Gansevoort, on his part, took an important
step. Fearing that his stock of food and ammunition might
give out, he determined to send a message to General
Schuyler, asking for succor.

Colonel Willet volunteered for this service, Lieutenant
Stockwell joining him. The night chosen was a dark and
stormy one. Shower followed shower. The sentinels of the
enemy were not likely to be on the alert. Leaving the fort
at the sally-port at ten o'clock, the two messengers crept
on hands and knees along a morass till they reached the
river. This they crossed on a log, and entered a dense wood
which lay beyond. No sentinel had seen them. But they lost
their way in the darkness, and straggled on blindly until
the barking of a dog told them that they were near an Indian

Progress was now dangerous. Advance or retreat alike might
throw them into the hands of the savage foe. For several
hours they stood still, in a most annoying and perilous
situation. The night passed; dawn was at hand; fortunately
now the clouds broke the morning-star shone in the east, and
with this as a guide they resumed their journey. Their
expedition was still a dangerous one. The enemy might strike
their trail in the morning light. To break this they now and
then walked in the bed of a stream. They had set out on the
night of the 10th. All day of the 11th they pushed on, with
a small store of crackers and cheese as their only food.
Another night and day passed. On the afternoon of the 12th,
nearly worn out with hardship, they reached the settlement
of the German Flats. Here horses were procured, and they
rode at full speed to General Schuyler's head-quarters at

Schuyler had already heard of Herkimer's failure, and was
laying plans for the relief of the fort. His purpose was
opposed by many of his officers, who were filled with fear
of the coming of Burgoyne. Schuyler was pacing the floor in
anxious thought when he heard the low remark,--

"He means to weaken the army."

Schuyler turned towards the speaker, so angry that he bit
into pieces a pipe he was smoking, and exclaimed,--

"Gentlemen, I shall take the responsibility; where is the
brigadier that will take command of the relief? I shall beat
up for volunteers to-morrow."

General Arnold, one of the boldest and most impulsive men in
the army, immediately asked for the command. The next
morning the drums beat, and before noon eight hundred
volunteers were enrolled. Arnold at once advanced, but,
feeling that his force was too weak, stopped at Fort Dayton
till reinforcements could reach him.

And now occurred one of the most striking events in the
history of the war, that of the defeat of an invading army
by stratagem without sight of soldier or musket. It is to be
told from two points of view, that of the garrison, and that
of the army of relief. As regards the garrison, its
situation was becoming critical. St. Leger's parallels were
approaching the fort. The store of provisions was running
low. Many of the garrison began to hint at surrender,
fearing massacre by the Indians should the fort be taken by
assault. Gansevoort, despairing of further successful
resistance, had decided upon a desperate attempt to cut
through the enemy's lines. Suddenly, on the 22d, there came
a sudden lull in the siege. The guns ceased their fire;
quick and confused movements could be seen; there were signs
of flight. Away went the besiegers, Indians and whites
alike, in panic disarray, and with such haste that their
tents, artillery, and camp equipage were left behind. The
astonished garrison sallied forth to find not a foeman in
the field, yet not a sign to show what mysterious influence
had caused this headlong flight. It was not from the face
of an enemy, for no enemy was visible, and the mystery was
too deep for the garrison to fathom.

To learn the cause of this strange event we must return to
Arnold and his stratagem. He had, on learning the peril of
the fort, been about to advance despite the smallness of his
force, when an opportunity occurred to send terror in
advance of his march. There were in his hands several Tory
prisoners, among them an ignorant, coarse, half-idiotic
fellow named Hon-Yost Schuyler, who had been condemned to
death for treason. His mother pleaded for his life, casting
herself on her knees before Arnold, and imploring for her
son with tears and entreaties. She found him at first
inexorable, but he changed his tone and appeared to soften
as a fortunate idea came to his mind.

Her son's life should be spared, but upon conditions. These
were, that he should go to Fort Schuyler and, by stories of
the immense force upon the march, endeavor to alarm St.
Leger. Hon-Yost readily consented, leaving his brother as a
hostage in Arnold's hands.

The seemingly foolish fellow was far from being an idiot.
Before leaving the camp he had several bullet-holes shot
through his coat. He arranged also with a friendly Oneida
Indian to follow and confirm his tale. Thus prepared, he set
out for St. Leger's camp. Reaching it, he ran breathlessly
among the Indians, seemingly in a state of terror. Many of
the savages knew him, and he was eagerly questioned as to
what had happened.

The Americans were coming, he replied; numbers of them,
hosts of them; he had barely escaped with his life; he had
been riddled with bullets. He pointed to his coat in
evidence. How many were there? he was asked. Hon-Yost, in
reply, shook his head mysteriously, and pointed to the
leaves on the trees.

His seeming alarm communicated itself to the Indians. They
had been severely dealt with at Oriskany. The present siege
dragged on. They were dissatisfied. While the chiefs debated
and talked of flight, the Oneida appeared with several
others of his tribe whom he had picked up on the way. These
told the same story. A bird had brought them the news. The
valley was swarming with soldiers. The army of Burgoyne had
been cut to pieces, said one. Arnold had three thousand men,
said another. Others pointed to the leaves, as Hon-Yost had
done, and meaningly shook their heads.

The panic spread among the Indians. St. Leger stormed at
them; Johnson pleaded with them; but all in vain. Drink was
offered them, but they refused it. "The pow-wow said we must
go," was their answer to every remonstrance, and go they

"You said there would be no fighting for us Indians," said a
chief. "We might go down and smoke our pipes. But many of
our warriors have been killed, and you mean to sacrifice us

Oaths and persuasions proved alike useless. The council
broke up and the Indians took to flight. Their panic
communicated itself to the whites. Dropping everything but
their muskets, they fled in terror for their boats on Oneida
Lake, with such haste that many of them threw away arms and
knapsacks in their mad flight.

The Indians, who had started the panic, grew merry on seeing
the wild terror of their late allies. They ran behind them,
shouting, "They are coming, they are coming!" and thus added
wings to their flight. They robbed, stripped, and even
killed many of them, plundered them of their boats, and
proved a more formidable foe than the enemy from whom they

Half-starved and empty-handed, the whites hurried to Oswego
and took boat on the lake for Montreal, while their Indian
allies, who had proved of more harm than good, went merrily
home to their villages, looking upon the flight as a
stupendous joke.

When Arnold, hearing of what had happened, hurried to the
fort, the enemy had utterly vanished, except a few whom
Gansevoort's men had brought in as prisoners. Hon-Yost soon
came back, having taken the first opportunity to slip away
from the flying horde. He had amply won his pardon.

Thus ended the siege of Fort Schuyler; in its way,
considering the numbers engaged, the most desperate and
bloody struggle of the Revolution, and of the greatest
utility as an aid to the subsequent defeat of Burgoyne. As
regards its singular termination, it is without parallel in
the history of American wars. Hon-Yost had proved himself
the most surprising idiot on record.


While Major André was dying the death of a spy, General
Arnold, his tempter and betrayer, was living the life of a
cherished traitor, in the midst of the British army at New
York. This was a state of affairs far from satisfactory to
the American authorities. The tool had suffered; the schemer
had escaped. Could Arnold be captured, and made to pay the
penalty of his treason, it would be a sharp lesson of
retribution to any who might feel disposed to follow his
base example.

Washington had his secret correspondents in New York, and
from them had learned that Arnold was living in quarters
adjoining those of Sir Henry Clinton, at but a short
distance from the river, and apparently with no thought of
or precaution against danger. It might be possible to seize
him and carry him away bodily from the midst of his new

Sending for Major Henry Lee, a brave and shrewd cavalry
leader, Washington broached to him this important matter,
and submitted a plan of action which seemed to him to
promise success.

"It is a delicate and dangerous project," he said. "Much
depends on our finding an agent fit for such hazardous work.
You may have the man in your corps. Whoever volunteers for
this duty will lay me under the greatest personal
obligation, and may expect an ample reward. But no time is
to be lost. He must proceed, if possible, to-night."

"Not only courage and daring, but very peculiar talent, are
needed for such an enterprise," said Lee. "I have plenty of
brave men, but can think of only one whom I can recommend
for such a duty as this. His name is John Champe; his rank,
sergeant-major, but there is one serious obstacle in the
way,--he must appear to desert, and I fear that Champe has
too high a sense of military honor for that."

"Try him," said Washington. "The service he will do to his
country far outweighs anything he can do in the ranks. Rumor
says that other officers of high rank are ready to follow
Arnold's example. If we can punish this traitor, he will
have no imitators."

"I can try," answered Lee. "I may succeed. Champe is not
without ambition, and the object to be attained is a great
one. I may safely promise him the promotion which he
ardently desires."

"That will be but part of his reward," said Washington.

Lee sent for Champe. There entered in response a young man,
large and muscular of build, saturnine of countenance; a
grave, thoughtful, silent person, safe to trust with a
secret, for his words were few, his sense of honor high. In
all the army there was not his superior in courage and
persistence in anything he should undertake.

It was no agreeable surprise to the worthy fellow to learn
what he was desired to do. The plan was an admirable one,
he admitted, it promised the best results. He did not care
for peril, and was ready to venture on anything that would
not involve his honor; but to desert from his corps, to win
the scorn and detestation of his fellows, to seem to play
the traitor to his country,--these were serious obstacles.
He begged to be excused.

Lee combated his objections. Success promised honor to
himself and to his corps, the gratitude of his country, the
greatest service to his beloved commander-in-chief.
Desertion, for such a purpose, carried with it no dishonor,
and any stain upon his character would vanish when the truth
became known. The conference was a long one; in the end
Lee's arguments proved efficacious; Champe yielded, and
promised to undertake the mission.

The necessary instructions had already been prepared by
Washington himself. The chosen agent was to deliver letters
to two persons in New York, who were in Washington's
confidence, and who would lend him their assistance. He was
to use his own judgment in procuring aid for the capture of
Arnold, and to lay such plans as circumstances should
suggest; and he was strictly enjoined not to kill the
traitor under any circumstances.

All this settled, the question of the difficulties in the
way arose. Between the American camp and the British outpost
were many pickets and patrols. Parties of marauding
patriots, like those that had seized André, might be in the
way. Against these Lee could offer no aid. The desertion
must seem a real one. All he could do would be to delay
pursuit. For the rest, Champe must trust to his own skill
and daring.

Eleven o'clock was the hour fixed. At that hour the worthy
sergeant, taking his cloak, valise, and orderly-book, and
with three guineas in his pocket, which Lee had given him,
secretly mounted his horse and slipped quietly from the

Lee immediately went to bed, and seemingly to sleep, though
he had never been more wide awake. A half-hour passed. Then
a heavy tread was heard outside the major's quarters, and a
loud knock came upon his door. It was some time before he
could be aroused.

"Who is there?" he asked, in sleepy tones.

"It is I, Captain Carnes," was the reply. "I am here for
orders. One of our patrols has just fallen in with a
dragoon, who put spurs to his horse on being challenged, and
fled at full speed. He is a deserter, and must be pursued."

Lee still seemed half asleep. He questioned the officer in a
drowsy way, affecting not to understand him. When at length
the captain's purpose was made clear to his seemingly drowsy
wits, Lee ridiculed the idea that one of his men had
deserted. Such a thing had happened but once during the
whole war. He could not believe it possible.

"It has happened now," persisted Captain Carnes. "The fellow
is a deserter, and must be pursued."

Lee still affected incredulity, and was with difficulty
brought to order that the whole squadron should be
mustered, to see if any of them were missing. This done,
there was no longer room for doubt or delay. Champe, the
sergeant-major, was gone, and with him his arms, baggage,
and orderly-book.

Captain Carnes ordered that pursuit should be made at once.
Here, too, Lee made such delay as he could without arousing
suspicion; and when the pursuing party was ready he changed
its command, giving it to Lieutenant Middleton, a
tender-hearted young man, whom he could trust to treat
Champe mercifully if he should be overtaken. These various
delays had the desired effect. By the time the party
started, Champe had been an hour on the road.

It was past twelve o'clock of a starry night when Middleton
and his men took to horse, and galloped away on the track of
the deserter. It was a plain track, unluckily; a trail that
a child might have followed. There had been a shower at
sunset, sharp enough to wash out all previous hoof-marks
from the road. The footprints of a single horse were all
that now appeared. In addition to this, the horse-shoes of
Lee's legion had a private mark, by which they could be
readily recognized. There could be no question; those foot
prints were made by the horse of the deserter.

Here was a contingency unlooked for by Lee. The pursuit
could be pushed on at full speed. At every fork or
cross-road a trooper sprang quickly from his horse and
examined the trail. It needed but a glance to discover what
road had been taken. On they went, with scarce a moment's
loss of time, and with sure knowledge that they were on the
fugitive's track.

At sunrise the pursuing party found themselves at the top of
a ridge in the road, near the "Three Pigeons," a road-side
tavern several miles north of the village of Bergen. Looking
ahead, their eyes fell on the form of the deserter. He was
but half a mile in advance. They had gained on him greatly
during the night.

At the same moment Champe perceived them. Both parties
spurred their horses to greater speed, and away went
fugitive and pursuers at a rattling pace. The roads in that
vicinity were well known to them all. There was a short cut
through the woods from near the Three Pigeons to the bridge
below Bergen. Middleton sent part of his men by this route
to cut off the fugitive, while he followed the main road
with the rest. He felt sure now that he had the deserter,
for he could not reach the British outposts without crossing
the bridge.

On they went. No long time elapsed before the two divisions
met at the bridge. But Champe was not between them. The trap
had been sprung, but had failed to catch its game. He had in
some strange manner disappeared. What was to be done? How
had he eluded them?

Middleton rode hastily back to Bergen, and inquired if a
dragoon had passed through the village that morning.

"Yes; and not long ago."

"Which way did he go?"

"That we cannot say. No one took notice."

Middleton examined the road. Other horses had been out that
morning, and the Lee corps footprint was no longer to be
seen. But at a short distance from the village the trail
again became legible and the pursuit was resumed. In a few
minutes Champe was discovered. He had reached a point near
the water's edge, and was making signals to certain British
galleys which lay in the stream.

The truth was that the fugitive knew of the short cut quite
as well as his pursuers, and had shrewdly judged that they
would take it, and endeavor to cut him off before he could
reach the enemy's lines at Paulus Hook. He knew, besides,
that two of the king's galleys lay in the bay, a mile from
Bergen, and in front of the small settlement of Communipaw.
Hither he directed his course, lashing his valise, as he
went, upon his back.

Champe now found himself in imminent peril of capture. There
had been no response from the galleys to his signals. The
pursuers were close at hand, and pushing forward with shouts
of triumph. Soon they were but a few hundred yards away.
There was but one hope left. Champe sprang from his horse,
flung away the scabbard of his sword, and with the naked
blade in his hand ran across the marshy ground before him,
leaped into the waters of the bay, and swam lustily for the
galleys, calling loudly for help.

A boat had just before left the side of the nearest galley.
As the pursuers reined up their horses by the side of the
marsh, the fugitive was hauled in and was swiftly rowed back
to the ship. Middleton, disappointed in his main object,
took the horse, cloak, and scabbard of the fugitive and
returned with them to camp.

"He has not been killed?" asked Lee, hastily, on seeing
these articles.

"No; the rascal gave us the slip. He is safely on a British
galley, and this is all we have to show."

A few days afterwards Lee received a letter from Champe, in
a disguised hand and without signature, transmitted through
a secret channel which had been arranged, telling of his
success up to this point, and what he proposed to do.

As it appeared, the seeming deserter had been well received
in New York. The sharpness of the pursuit and the
orderly-book which he bore seemed satisfactory proofs of his
sincerity of purpose. The captain of the galley sent him to
New York, with a letter to Sir Henry Clinton.

Clinton was glad to see him. For a deserter to come to him
from a legion so faithful to the rebel cause as that of
Major Lee seemed an evidence that the American side was
rapidly weakening. He questioned Champe closely. The
taciturn deserter answered him briefly, but with such a show
of sincerity as to win his confidence. The interview ended
in Clinton's giving him a couple of guineas, and bidding him
to call on General Arnold, who was forming a corps of
loyalists and deserters, and who would be glad to have his
name on his rolls. This suggestion hit Champe's views
exactly. It was what had been calculated upon by Washington
in advance. The seeming deserter called upon Arnold, who
received him courteously, and gave him quarters among his
recruiting sergeants. He asked him to join his legion, but
Champe declined, saying that if caught by the rebels in this
corps he was sure to be hanged.

A few days sufficed the secret agent to lay his plans. He
delivered the letters which had been given him, and made
arrangements with one of the parties written to for aid in
the proposed abduction of Arnold. This done, he went to
Arnold, told him that he had changed his mind, and agreed to
enlist in his legion. His purpose now was to gain free
intercourse with him, that he might learn all that was
possible about his habits.

Arnold's quarters were at No. 3 Broadway. Back of the house
was a garden, which extended towards the water's edge.
Champe soon learned that it was Arnold's habit to seek his
quarters about midnight, and that before going to bed he
always visited the garden. Adjoining this garden was a dark
alley, which led to the street. In short, all the
surroundings and circumstances were adapted to the design,
and seemed to promise success.

The plan was well laid. Two patriotic accomplices were
found. One of them was to have a boat in readiness by the
river-side. On the night fixed upon they were to conceal
themselves in Arnold's garden at midnight, seize and gag
him when he came out for his nightly walk, and take him by
way of the alley, and of unfrequented streets in the
vicinity, to the adjoining river-side. In case of meeting
any one and being questioned, it was arranged that they
should profess to be carrying a drunken soldier to the
guard-house. Once in the boat, Hoboken could quickly be
reached. Here assistance from Lee's corps had been arranged


The plot was a promising one. Champe prepared for it by
removing some of the palings between the garden and the
alley. These he replaced in such a way that they could be
taken out again without noise. All being arranged, he wrote
to Lee, and told him that on the third night from that date,
if all went well, the traitor would be delivered upon the
Jersey shore. He must be present, at an appointed place in
the woods at Hoboken, to receive him.

This information gave Lee the greatest satisfaction. On the
night in question he left camp with a small party, taking
with him three led horses, for the prisoner and his captors,
and at midnight sought the appointed spot. Here he waited
with slowly declining hope. Hour after hour passed; the gray
light of dawn appeared in the east; the sun rose over the
waters; yet Champe and his prisoner failed to appear. Deeply
disappointed, Lee led his party back to camp.

The cause of the failure may be told in a few words. It was
a simple one. The merest chance saved Arnold from the fate
which he so richly merited. This was, that on the very day
which Champe had fixed for the execution of his plot, Arnold
changed his quarters, his purpose being to attend to the
embarkation of an expedition to the south, which was to be
under his command.

In a few days Lee received a letter from his agent, telling
the cause of failure, and saying that, at present, success
was hopeless. In fact, Champe found himself unexpectedly in
an awkward situation. Arnold's American legion was to form
part of this expedition. Champe had enlisted in it. He was
caught in a trap of his own setting. Instead of crossing the
Hudson that night, with Arnold as his prisoner, he found
himself on board a British transport, with Arnold as his
commander. He was in for the war on the British side; forced
to face his fellow-countrymen in the field.

We need not tell the story of Arnold's expedition to
Virginia, with the brutal incidents which history relates
concerning it. It will suffice to say that Champe formed
part of it, all his efforts to desert proving fruitless. It
may safely be said that no bullet from his musket reached
the American ranks, but he was forced to brave death from
the hands of those with whom alone he was in sympathy.

Not until Arnold's corps had joined Cornwallis at Petersburg
did its unwilling recruit succeed in escaping. Taking to the
mountains he made his way into North Carolina, and was not
long in finding himself among friends. His old corps was in
that State, taking part in the pursuit of Lord Rawdon. It
had just passed the Congaree in this pursuit when, greatly
to the surprise of his old comrades, the deserter appeared
in their ranks. Their surprise was redoubled when they saw
Major Lee receive him with the utmost cordiality. A few
minutes sufficed to change their surprise to admiration.
There was no longer occasion for secrecy. Champe's story was
told, and was received with the utmost enthusiasm by his old
comrades. So this was the man they had pursued so closely,
this man who had been seeking to put the arch-traitor within
their hands! John Champe they declared, was a comrade to be
proud of, and his promotion to a higher rank was the plain
duty of the military authorities.

Washington knew too well, however, what would be the fate of
his late agent, if taken by the enemy, to subject him to
this peril. He would have been immediately hanged. Champe
was, therefore, discharged from the service, after having
been richly rewarded by the commander-in-chief. When
Washington, seventeen years afterwards, was preparing
against a threatened war with the French, he sent to Lee for
information about Champe, whom he desired to make a captain
of infantry. He was too late. The gallant sergeant-major had
joined a higher corps. He had enlisted in the grand army of
the dead.


Our story takes us back to the summer of 1780, a summer of
war, suffering, and outrage in the States of the South.
General Gates, at the head of the army of the South, was
marching towards Camden, South Carolina, filled with
inflated hopes of meeting and defeating Cornwallis. How this
hopeful general was himself defeated, and how, in
consequence, the whole country south of Virginia fell under
British control, history relates; we are not here concerned
with it.

Gates's army had crossed the Pedee River and was pushing
southward. During its march a circumstance occurred which
gave great amusement to the trim soldiery. There joined the
army a volunteer detachment of about twenty men, such a
heterogeneous and woe-begone corps that Falstaff himself
might have hesitated before enlisting them. They were a
mosaic of whites and blacks, men and boys, their clothes
tatters, their equipments burlesques on military array,
their horses--for they were all mounted--parodies on the
noble war-charger. At the head of this motley array was a
small-sized, thin-faced, modest-looking man, his uniform
superior to that of his men, but no model of neatness, yet
with a flashing spirit in his eye that admonished the amused
soldiers not to laugh at his men in his presence. Behind his
back they laughed enough. The Pedee volunteers were a
source of ridicule to the well-clad Continentals that might
have caused trouble had not the officers used every effort
to repress it.

As for Gates, he offered no welcome to this ragged squad.
The leader modestly offered him some advice about the
military condition of the South, but the general in command
was clothed in too dense an armor of conceit to be open to
advice from any quarter, certainly not from the leader of
such a Falstaffian company, and he was glad enough to get
rid of him by sending him on a scouting expedition in
advance of the army, to watch the enemy and report his

This service precisely suited him to whom it was given, for
this small, non-intrusive personage was no less a man than
Francis Marion, then but little known, but destined to
become the Robin Hood of partisan warriors, the celebrated
"Swamp-Fox" of historical romance and romantic history.

Marion had appeared with the title of colonel. He left the
army with the rank of general. Governor Rutledge, who was
present, knew him and his worth, gave him a brigadier's
commission, and authorized him to enlist a brigade for
guerilla work in the swamps and forests of the State.

Thus raised in rank, Marion marched away with his motley
crew of followers, they doubtless greatly elevated in
dignity to feel that they had a general at their head. The
army indulged in a broad laugh, after they had gone, at
Marion's miniature brigade of scarecrows. They laughed at
the wrong man, for after their proud array was broken and
scattered to the winds, and the region they had marched to
relieve had become the prey of the enemy, that modest
partisan alone was to keep alive the fire of liberty in
South Carolina, and so annoy the victors that in the end
they hardly dared show their faces out of the forts. The
Swamp-Fox was to pave the way for the reconquest of the
South by the brave General Greene.

No long time elapsed before Marion increased his
disreputable score to a brigade of more respectable
proportions, with which he struck such quick and telling
blows from all sides on the British and Tories, that no nest
of hornets could have more dismayed a marauding party of
boys. The swamps of the Pedee were his head-quarters. In
their interminable and thicket-hidden depths he found
hiding-places in abundance, and from them he made rapid
darts, north, south, east, and west, making his presence
felt wherever he appeared, and flying back to shelter before
his pursuers could overtake him. His corps was constantly
changing, now swelling, now shrinking, now little larger
than his original ragged score, now grown to a company of a
hundred or more in dimensions. It was always small. The
swamps could not furnish shelter and food for any large body
of men.

Marion's head-quarters were at Snow's Island, at the point
where Lynch's Creek joins the Pedee River. This was a region
of high river-swamp, thickly forested, and abundantly
supplied with game. The camp was on dry land, but around it
spread broad reaches of wet thicket and canebrake, whose
paths were known only to the partisans, and their secrets
sedulously preserved. As regards the mode of life here of
Marion and his men, there is an anecdote which will picture
it better than pages of description.

A young British officer was sent from Georgetown to treat
with Marion for an exchange of prisoners. The Swamp-Fox
fully approved of the interview, being ready enough to rid
himself of his captives, who were a burden on his hands. But
he was too shrewd to lay bare the ways that led to his camp.
The officer was blindfolded, and led by devious paths
through canebrake, thicket, and forest to the hidden camp.
On the removal of the bandage from his eyes he looked about
him with admiration and surprise. He found himself in a
scene worthy of Robin Hood's woodland band. Above him spread
the boughs of magnificent trees, laden with drooping moss,
and hardly letting a ray of sunlight through their crowding
foliage. Around him rose their massive trunks, like the
columns of some vast cathedral. On the grassy or moss-clad
ground sat or lay groups of hardy-looking men, no two of
them dressed alike, and with none of the neat appearance of
uniformed soldiers. More remote were their horses, cropping
the short herbage in equine contentment. It looked like a
camp of forest outlaws, jovial tenants of the merry

The surprise of the officer was not lessened when his eyes
fell on Marion, whom he had never seen before. It may be
that he expected to gaze on a burly giant. As it was, he
could scarcely believe that this diminutive, quiet-looking
man, and this handful of ill-dressed and lounging followers,
were the celebrated band who had thrown the whole British
power in the South into alarm.

Marion addressed him, and a conference ensued in which their
business was quickly arranged to their mutual satisfaction.

"And now, my dear sir," said Marion, "I should be glad to
have you dine with me. You have fasted during your journey,
and will be the better for a woodland repast."

"With pleasure," replied the officer. "It will be a new and
pleasant experience."

He looked around him. Where was the dining-room? where, at
least, the table, on which their mid-day repast was to be
spread? Where were the dishes and the other paraphernalia
which civilization demands as the essentials of a modern
dinner?--Where? His eyes found no answer to this mental
question. Marion looked at him with a smile.

"We dine here in simple style, captain," he remarked. "Pray
be seated."

He took his seat on a mossy log, and pointed to an opposite
one for the officer. A minute or two afterwards the camp
purveyor made his appearance, bearing a large piece of bark,
on which smoked some roasted sweet potatoes. They came from
a fire of brushwood blazing at a distance.

"Help yourself, captain," said Marion, taking a swollen and
brown-coated potato from the impromptu platter, breaking it
in half, and beginning to eat with a forest appetite.

The officer looked at the viands and at his host with eyes
of wonder.

"Surely, general," he exclaimed, "this cannot be your
ordinary fare?"

"Indeed it is," said Marion. "And we are fortunate, on this
occasion, having company to entertain, to have more than our
usual allowance."

The officer had little more to say. He helped himself to the
rural viands, which he ate with thought for salt. On
returning to Georgetown he gave in his report, and then
tendered his commission to his superior officer, saying that
a people who could fight on roots for fare could not be, and
ought not to be, subdued, and that he, for one, would not
serve against them.

Of the exploits of Marion we can but speak briefly; they
were too many to be given in detail. His blows were so
sharply dealt, in such quick succession, and at such remote
points, that his foes were puzzled, and could hardly believe
that a single band was giving them all this trouble. Their
annoyance culminated in their sending one of their best
cavalry leaders, Colonel Wemyss, to surprise and crush the
Swamp-Fox, then far from his hiding-place. Wemyss got on
Marion's trail, and pursued him with impetuous haste. But
the wary patriot was not to be easily surprised, nor would
he fight where he had no chance to win. Northward he
swiftly made his way, through swamps and across deep
streams, into North Carolina. Wemyss lost his trail, found
it, lost it again, and finally, discouraged and revengeful,
turned back and desolated the country from which he had
driven its active defender, and which was looked on as the
hot-bed of rebellion.

Marion, who had but sixty men in his band, halted the moment
pursuit ceased, sent out scouts for information, and in a
very short time was back in the desolated district. The
people rushed, with horse and rifle, to his ranks. Swiftly
he sped to the Black Mingo, below Georgetown, and here fell
at midnight on a large body of Tories, with such vigor and
success that the foe were almost annihilated, while Marion
lost but a single man.

The devoted band now had a short period of rest, the British
being discouraged and depressed. Then Tarleton, the
celebrated hard-riding marauder, took upon himself the
difficult task of crushing the Swamp-Fox. He scoured the
country, spreading ruin as he went, but all his skill and
impetuosity were useless in the effort to overtake Marion.
The patriot leader was not even to be driven from his chosen
region of operations, and he managed to give his pursuer
some unwelcome reminders of his presence. At times Tarleton
would be within a few miles of him, and full of hope of
overtaking him before the next day's dawn. But, while he was
thus lulled to security, Marion would be watching him from
the shadows of some dark morass, and at midnight the British
rear or flank would feel the sharp bite of the Swamp-Fox's
teeth. In the end, Tarleton withdrew discomfited from the
pursuit, with more hard words against this fellow, who
"would not fight like a gentleman or a Christian," than he
had ever been able to give him hard blows.

Tarleton withdrawn, Marion resumed all his old activity, his
audacity reaching the extent of making an attack on the
British garrison at Georgetown. This was performed in
conjunction with Major Lee, who had been sent by General
Greene to Marion's aid. Lee had no little trouble to find
him. The active partisan was so constantly moving about, now
in deep swamps, now far from his lurking-places, that friend
and foe alike were puzzled to trace his movements. They met
at last, however, and made a midnight attack on Georgetown,
unsuccessful, as it proved, yet sufficient to redouble the
alarm of the enemy.

In the spring of 1781 we find Colonel Watson, with a force
of five hundred men, engaged in the difficult task of
"crushing Marion." He found him,--unlike the
predecessors,--but, as it proved, to his own cost. Marion
was now at Snow's Island, whence he emerged to strike a
quick succession of heavy blows at such different points
that he appeared to be ubiquitous. His force met that of
Watson unexpectedly, and a fight ensued. Watson had the
advantage of field-pieces, and Marion was obliged to fall
back. Reaching a bridge over the Black River, he checked
his pursuers with telling volleys long enough to burn the
bridge. Then a peculiar contest took place. The two forces
marched down the stream, one on each side, for ten miles,
skirmishing across the water all the way. Darkness ended the
fight. The two camps were pitched near together. For ten
days Watson remained there, not able to get at Marion, and
so annoyed by the constant raids of his active foe that in
the end he made a midnight flight to escape destruction in
detail. Marion pursued, and did him no small damage in the
flight. Watson's only solace was the remark, already quoted,
that his troublesome foe would not "fight like a gentleman
or a Christian."

Major Lee tells an amusing story of an incident that
happened to himself, on his march in search of Marion. He
had encamped for the night on Drowning Creek, a branch of
the Pedee. As morning approached, word was brought to the
officer of the day that noises were heard in front of the
pickets, in the direction of the creek. They seemed like the
stealthy movements of men. Now a sentinel fired, the bugles
sounded for the horse patrols to come in, and the whole
force was quickly got ready for the coming enemy. But no
enemy appeared. Soon after another sentinel fired, and word
came that an unseen foe was moving in the swamp. The troops
faced in this direction, and waited anxiously for the coming
of dawn. Suddenly the line of sentinels in their rear fire
in succession. The enemy had undoubtedly gained the road
behind them, and were marching on them from that direction.
The line again faced round. Lee went along it, telling his
men that there was nothing left but to fight, and bidding
them to sustain the high reputation which they had long
since won. The cavalry were ordered not to pursue a flying
force, for the country was well suited for concealment, and
they might be tempted into an ambuscade.

When day broke the whole column advanced with great caution,
infantry in front, baggage in centre, cavalry in rear. Where
was the foe? None appeared. The van officer carefully
examined the road for an enemy's trail. To his surprise and
amusement, he found only the tracks of a large pack of

These animals had been attempting to pass the camp at point
after point, turned from each point by the fire of the
sentinels, and trying the line on all sides. Great merriment
followed, in which pickets, patrols, and the officer of the
day were made the butt of the ridicule of the whole force.

We shall close with one interesting story in which Marion
played the leading part, but which is distinguished by an
example of womanly patriotism worthy of the highest praise.
The mansion of Mrs. Rebecca Motte, a rich widow of South
Carolina, had been taken possession of by the British
authorities, she being obliged to take up her residence in a
farm-house on her lands. The large mansion was converted
into a fort, and surrounded by a deep ditch and a high
parapet. A garrison of one hundred and fifty men, under
Captain McPherson, was stationed here, the place being
re-named Fort Motte.

This stronghold was attacked, in May, 1781, by Marion and
Lee, then in conjunction. Lee took position at the
farm-house, and posted his men on the declivity of the plain
on which the fort stood. Marion cast up a mound, placed on
it the six-pounder they had brought with them, and prepared
to assail the parapet while Lee made his approaches.
McPherson had no artillery.

Their approaches were made by a trench from an adjacent
ravine. In a few days they were near enough to be justified
in demanding a surrender. McPherson refused. The same
evening word reached the Americans that Lord Rawdon was
approaching. On the following night the light of his
camp-fires could be seen on the neighboring hills of the
Santee. The garrison saw them as well as the assailants, and
were filled with renewed hope.

What was to be done? The besiegers must succeed quickly or
retreat. Lee was not long in devising an expedient. The
mansion of Mrs. Motte was shingled and the shingles very
dry. There had been no rain for several days, and the sun
had poured its rays warmly upon them. They might be set on
fire. Lee suggested this to Mrs. Motte, with much dread as
to how she would receive it. Her acquiescence was so
cheerful that his mind was relieved. The patriotic woman
expressed herself as ready to make any sacrifice for her

Lee told his plan to Marion, who warmly approved it. It was
proposed to do the work by means of arrows carrying flaming
combustibles. As it proved, however, the only bows and
arrows they could find in the camp were very inferior

"They will never do," said Mrs. Motte. "I can provide you
with much better. I have in the house an excellent bow and a
bundle of arrows, which came from the East Indies. They are
at your service."

She hastened from the room, and quickly returned with the
weapons, which she handed to Lee as cheerfully as though she
looked for some special benefit to herself from their use.
Word was sent to McPherson of what was intended, and that
Rawdon had not yet crossed the Santee. Immediate surrender
would save many lives. The bold commandant still refused.

At midday, from the shelter of the ditch, Nathan Savage, one
of Marion's men, shot several flaming arrows at the roof.
Two of them struck the dry shingles. Almost instantly these
were in a flame. The fire crept along the roof. Soldiers
were sent up to extinguish it, but a shot or two from the
field-piece drove them down.

There was no longer hope for McPherson. He must surrender,
or have his men burned in the fort, or decimated if they
should leave it. He hung out the white flag of surrender.
The firing ceased; the flames were extinguished; at one
o'clock the garrison yielded themselves prisoners. An hour
afterwards the victorious and the captive officers were
seated at an ample repast at Mrs. Motte's table, presided
over by that lady with as much urbanity and grace as though
these guests were her especial friends. Since that day Mrs.
Motte has been classed among the most patriotic heroines of
the Revolution.

This is, perhaps, enough in prose, but the fame of Marion
and his men has been fitly enshrined in poetry, and it will
not be amiss to quote a verse or two, in conclusion, from
Bryant's stirring poem entitled "Song of Marion's Men."

    Our band is few, but true and tried
      Our leader frank and bold:
    The British soldier trembles
      When Marion's name is told.
    Our fortress is the good greenwood,
      Our tent the cypress-tree;
    We know the forest round us,
      As seamen know the sea.
    We know its walls of thorny vines,
      Its glades of reedy grass;
    Its safe and silent islands
      Within the dark morass.

    Well knows the fair and friendly moon
      The band that Marion leads,--
    The glitter of their rifles,
      The scampering of their steeds.
    'Tis life to guide the fiery barb
      Across the moonlit plain;
    'Tis life to feel the night wind
      That lifts his tossing mane.
    A moment in the British camp,--
      A moment,--and away
    Back to the pathless forest
      Before the peep of day.

    Grave men there are by broad Santee,
      Grave men with hoary hairs;
    Their hearts are all with Marion,
      For Marion are their prayers.
    And lovely ladies greet our band
      With kindliest welcoming,
    With smiles like those of summer,
      And tears like those of spring.
    For them we wear these trusty arms,
      And lay them down no more
    Till we have driven the Briton
      Forever from our shore.


It was a mild evening on the Mediterranean, the wind light,
the sea smooth, the temperature--though the season was that
of midwinter--summer-like in its geniality. Into the harbor
of Tripoli slowly glided a small, two-masted vessel, all her
sails set and moderately well filled by the wind, yet moving
with the tardiness of a very slow sailer. A broad bay lay
before her, its surface silvered by the young moon whose
crescent glowed in the western sky. Far inward could be
dimly seen the masts and hull of a large vessel, its furled
sails white in the moonlight. Beyond it were visible distant
lights, and a white lustre as of minaret tops touched by the
moonbeams. These were the lights and spires of Tripoli, a
Moorish town then best known as a haunt and stronghold of
the pirates of the Mediterranean. All was silence, all
seemingly peace. The vessel--the ketch, to give it its
nautical name--moved onward with what seemed exasperating
slowness, scarcely ruffling the polished waters of the bay.
The hours passed on. The miles lagged tardily behind. The
wind fell. The time crept towards midnight. The only life
visible in the wide landscape was that of the gliding ketch.

But any one who could have gained a bird's-eye view of the
vessel would have seen sufficient to excite his distrust of
that innocent-seeming craft. From the water-side only ten or
twelve men could be seen, but on looking downward the decks
would have been perceived to be crowded with men, lying down
so as to be hidden behind the bulwarks and other objects
upon the deck, and so thick that the sailors who were
working the vessel had barely room to move.

This appeared suspicious. Not less suspicious was the fact
that the water behind the vessel was ruffled by dragging
objects of various kinds, which seemed to have something to
do with her slowness of motion. As the wind grew lighter,
and the speed of the vessel fell until it was moving at
barely a two-knots' rate, these objects were drawn in, and
proved to be buckets, spars, and other drags which had been
towed astern to reduce the vessel's speed. Her tardiness of
motion was evidently the work of design.

It was now about ten o'clock. The moon hovered on the
western horizon, near its hour of setting. The wind was
nearly east, and favorable to the vessel's course, but was
growing lighter every moment. The speed of the ketch
diminished until it seemed almost to have come to rest. It
had now reached the eastern entrance to the bay, the passage
here being narrowed by rocks on the one hand and a shoal on
the other. Through this passage it stole onward like a
ghost, for nearly an hour, all around being tranquil,
nothing anywhere to arouse distrust. The craft seemed a
coaster delayed by the light winds in making harbor.

The gliding ketch had now come so near to the large vessel
in front, that the latter had lost its dimness of outline
and was much more plainly visible. It was evidently no
Moorish craft, its large hull, its lofty masts, its tracery
of spars and rigging being rather those of an English or
American frigate than a product of Tripolitan dock-yards.
Its great bulk and sweeping spars arose in striking contrast
to the low-decked vessels which could be seen here and there
huddled about the inner sides of the harbor.

A half-hour more passed. The ketch was now close aboard the
frigate-like craft, steering directly towards it. Despite
the seeming security of the harbor, there were sentries
posted on the frigate and officers moving about its deck.
From one of these now came a loud hail in the Tripolitan

"What craft is that?"

"The Mastico, from Malta," came the answer, in the same

"Keep off. Do you want to run afoul of us?"

"We would like to ride beside you for the night," came the
answer. "We have lost our anchors in a gale."

The conversation continued, in the Tripolitan language, as
the ketch crept slowly up, an officer of the frigate and the
pilot of the smaller vessel being the spokesmen. A number of
Moorish sailors were looking with mild curiosity over the
frigate's rails, without a moment's suspicion that anything
was wrong. The moon still dimly lit up the waters of the
bay, but not with light enough to make any object very

As the ketch came close a boat was lowered with a line, and
was rowed towards the frigate, to whose fore-chains the end
was made fast. At the same time the officer of the large
vessel, willing to aid the seemingly disabled coaster,
ordered some of his men to lower a boat and take a line from
the stern to the ketch. As the boat of the latter returned,
it met the frigate's boat, took the line from the hands of
its crew, and passed it in to the smaller vessel.

The ketch was now fast to the frigate bow and stern. The
lines were passed to the men lying on the deck, none of whom
were visible from the frigate's rail, and were slowly passed
from hand to hand by the men, the coaster thus being
cautiously drawn closer to the obliging Moorish craft.

All this took time. Foot by foot the ketch drew nearer, her
motion being almost imperceptible. The Moors looked lazily
over their bulwark, fancying that it was but the set of the
current that was bringing the vessels together. But suddenly
there was a change. The officer of the frigate had
discovered that the ketch was still provided with anchors,
despite the story that her anchors had been lost in a gale.

"What is this?" he cried, sternly. "You have your anchors!
You have lied to me! Keep off! Cut those fasts there!"

A moment afterwards the cry of "Amerikanos!" was raised in
the ship, and a number of the night-watch drew their knives
and hastened fore and aft to cut the fasts.

The crew of the Mastico--or the Intrepid, to give it its
proper name--were still more alert. At the first signal of
alarm, their cautious pull on the ropes was changed to a
vigorous effort which sent the ketch surging through the
water to the side of the frigate, where she was instantly
secured by grappling-irons, hurled by strong hands.

Up to this moment not a movement or whisper had betrayed the
presence of the men crouched on the deck. The ten or twelve
who were visible seemed to constitute the whole crew of the
craft. But now there came a sudden change. The stirring cry
of "Boarders away!" was raised in stentorian tones, and in
an instant the deck of the Intrepid seemed alive. The
astonished Moors gazed with startled eyes at a dense crowd
of men who had appeared as suddenly as if they had come from
the air.

The order to board had been given by an officer who sprang
at the same moment for the frigate's chain-plates. Two
active young men followed him, and in an instant the whole
crew were at their heels, some boarding the frigate by the
ports, others over the rail, swarming upon her deck like so
many bees, while the Moors fell back in panic fright.

The surprise was perfect. The men on the frigate's deck ran
to the starboard side as their assailants poured in on the
larboard, and constant plunges into the water told that they
were hastily leaping overboard in their fright. Hardly a
blow had been struck. The deck was cleared in almost a
minute after the order to board. The only struggle took
place below, but this lasted little longer. In less than ten
minutes from the time of boarding all resistance was at an
end, and the craft was an undisputed prize to the Intrepid's

And now to learn the meaning of this midnight assault. The
vessel which had been so skilfully captured was the frigate
Philadelphia, of the American navy, which had fallen into
the hands of the Tripolitans some time before. For years the
Moorish powers of Africa had been preying upon the commerce
of the Mediterranean, until the weaker nations of Europe
were obliged to pay an annual tribute for the security of
their commerce. The United States did the same for some
time, but the thing grew so annoying that war was at length
declared against Tripoli, the boldest of these piratical
powers. In 1803 Commodore Preble was sent with a fleet to
the Mediterranean. He forced Morocco to respect American
commerce, and then proceeded to Tripoli, outside whose
harbor his fleet congregated, with a view of blockading the

On October 31 Captain Bainbridge of the Philadelphia, while
cruising about, saw a vessel in shore and to windward,
standing for Tripoli. Sail was made to cut her off. The
chase continued for several hours, the lead being kept
constantly going to avoid danger of shoals. When about a
league distant from Tripoli it became evident that the
fugitive craft could not be overtaken, and the frigate wore
round to haul off into deeper waters. But, to the alarm of
the officers, they found the water in their front rapidly
shoaling, it having quickly decreased in depth from eight to
six and a half fathoms. A hasty effort was now made to wear
the ship, but it was too late; the next instant she struck
on a reef, with such force that she was lifted on it between
five and six feet.

This was an appalling accident. No other cruiser was near.
The enemy was close at hand. Gunboats were visible near the
town. The moment it was discovered that the frigate was in
trouble these dogs of war would be out. Captain Bainbridge
gave orders to lighten the ship with all speed. All but a
few of her guns were thrown overboard. The anchors were cut
from the bows. The water-casks in the hold were started, and
the water pumped out. All heavy articles were thrown
overboard, and finally the foremast was cut away. But all
proved in vain. The ship still lay immovable on the rocks.
The gunboats of the enemy now surrounded her, and were
growing bolder every minute. There was nothing for it but
surrender. Resistance could only end in the death of all on

But before hauling down his flag, Captain Bainbridge had the
magazine drowned, holes bored in the ship's bottom, the
pumps choked, and every measure taken to insure her sinking.
Then the colors were lowered and the gunboats took
possession, three hundred and fifteen prisoners being
captured. The officers were well treated by the bashaw of
Tripoli, but an enormous ransom was demanded for them, and
all signs of an inclination to peace disappeared.

Captain Bainbridge's efforts to sink the Philadelphia proved
ineffectual. During a high wind the prize was got off the
reef, her leaks stopped, and she taken in triumph to the
city. Her guns, anchors, and other articles were raised from
the reef, the ship was moored about a quarter of a mile from
the bashaw's castle, and her injuries repaired, it being the
intention to fit her for sea as a Tripolitan cruiser.

These were the events that preceded the daring attempt we
have detailed. Lieutenant Stephen Decatur had volunteered to
make an effort to destroy the vessel, with the aid of a
recently-captured ketch, called the Mastico. This, renamed
the Intrepid, manned with a crew of seventy-six men, had
entered the harbor on the evening of February 3, 1804. What
followed, to the capture of the frigate, has been told. The
succeeding events remain to be detailed.

Doubtless Lieutenant Decatur would have attempted to carry
off the prize had it been possible. His orders, however,
were to destroy it, and the fact that there was not a sail
bent or a yard crossed left him no alternative. The command
was, therefore, at once given to pass up the combustibles
from the ketch. There was no time to be lost. The swimming
fugitives would quickly be in the town and the alarm given.
Every moment now was of value, for the place where they were
was commanded by the guns of the forts and of several armed
vessels anchored at no great distance, and they might look
for an assault the instant their character was determined.

With all haste, then, officers and men went to work. They
had been divided into squads, each with its own duty to
perform, and they acted with the utmost promptitude and
disciplined exactness. The men who descended with
combustibles to the cockpit and after-store-rooms had need
to haste, for fires were lighted over their heads before
they were through with their task. So rapidly did the flames
catch and spread that some of those on board had to make
their escape from between-decks by the forward ladders, the
after-part of the ship being already filled with smoke.

In twenty minutes from the time the Americans had taken
possession of the ship they were driven out of her by
flames, so rapidly had they spread. The vessel had become so
dry under those tropical suns that she burned like pine. By
the time the party which had been engaged in the store-rooms
reached the deck, most of the others were on board the
Intrepid. They joined them, and the order to cast off was
given. It was not an instant too soon, for the daring party
were just then in the most risky situation they had been in
that night.

The fire, in fact, had spread with such unexpected rapidity
that flames were already shooting from the port-holes. The
head fast was cast off, and the ketch fell astern. But the
stern fast became jammed and the boom foul, while the
ammunition of the party, covered only with a tarpaulin, was
within easy reach of the increasing flames.

There was no time to look for an axe, and the rope was
severed with swords-blows, while a vigorous shove sent the
Intrepid clear of the frigate and free from the danger which
had threatened her. As she swung clear, the flames reached
the rigging, up which they shot in hissing lines, the ropes
being saturated with tar which had oozed out through the
heat of the sun.

The Intrepid did not depend on her sails alone for escape.
She was provided with sweeps, and these were now got out and
manned with haste, a few vigorous strokes sending the vessel
safely away from the flaming frigate. This done, the crew,
as with one impulse, dropped their oars and gave three
rousing cheers for their signal victory.

Their shouts of triumph appeared to rouse the Moors from
their lethargy. So rapid and unlooked-for had been the
affair, that the vessel was in full flame before the town
and the harbor were awake to the situation. There were
batteries on shore, and two corsairs and a galley were
anchored at no great distance from the Philadelphia, and
from these now the boom of cannon began. But their fire was
too hasty and nervous to do much harm, and the men of the
Intrepid seized their sweeps again and bowled merrily down
the harbor, their progress aided by a light breeze in their

The spectacle that followed is described as of a beauty that
approached sublimity. The ship, aflame from hull to peak,
presented a magnificent appearance, the entire bay was
illuminated, and the flash and roar of cannon were constant,
the guns of the Philadelphia going off as they became
heated, and adding to the uproar. She lay so that one of her
broadsides was directed towards the town, thus returning the
enemy's fire, while the other sent its balls far out into
the harbor. "The most singular effect of the conflagration
was on board the ship, for the flames, having run up the
rigging and masts, collected under the tops, and fell over,
giving the whole the appearance of glowing columns and fiery

The Intrepid moved on down the harbor, none the worse for
the cannon-balls that were sent after her, and continued her
course until she reached her consort, the Siren, which
awaited her outside the harbor. Joining company, they
proceeded to Syracuse, where the fleet then lay.

The exploit we have here described was one of the most
notable in the annals of the American navy. It was one that
needed the utmost daring combined with the most exact
attention to details, and in both these respects there was
nothing wanting to insure the success of the enterprise. The
hour was well chosen, as that in which the foe would most
likely be off their guard, and to this we must ascribe the
slowness of their assault on the Americans and the
uncertainty of their aim. The mode of approach to the
frigate, the skill with which the ketch was laid alongside
without exciting suspicion, and the rapidity and
completeness with which the destruction of the prize was
prepared for, were all worthy of high commendation. As for
the boldness of the enterprise, one has but to consider what
would have been the fate of the Americans had the attack
failed. Directly under the frigate's guns, and in a harbor
filled with gunboats and armed cruisers and surrounded by
forts and batteries, escape would have been impossible, and
every man in the Intrepid must have perished. The greatest
courage, coolness, and self-possession, and the most exact
discipline, alone could have yielded success in the daring
project, and these qualities seem to have been possessed in
a high degree.

The success of this exploit gave Lieutenant Decatur a
reputation for gallantry which had its share in his
subsequent elevation to the highest rank in the navy. The
country generally applauded the feat, and the navy long
considered it one of its most brilliant achievements, it
being deemed a high honor among sailors and officers to have
been one of the Intrepid's crew. The writer of these pages
may add that it is to him a matter of some interest that the
first man to reach the deck of the Philadelphia on that
memorable night was a namesake of his own, Midshipman
Charles Morris. For the credit of the name he is also glad
to say that Mr. Morris in time become a commodore in the
navy, and attained a high reputation as an officer both in
war and peace.


On the Ohio River, fourteen miles below Marietta, lies a
beautiful island, which became, in the early part of this
century, the scene of a singular romance. At that time it
was a wild and forest-clad domain, except for a few acres of
clearing near its upper extremity, on which stood a large
and handsome mansion, with spacious out-buildings and
surrounding grounds which were laid out with the finest
taste. The great elms and gigantic sycamore of the West gave
grandeur to the surrounding woodland, and afforded shelter
to grazing flocks and herds. Huge water-willows dipped their
drooping branches into the waves of the Ohio as they ran
swiftly by. In front of the mansion were several acres of
well-kept lawn. In its rear were two acres of flower-garden,
planted with native and exotic shrubs. Vine-covered arbors
and grottos rose here and there. On one side of the house
was the kitchen garden, stocked with choice fruit-trees.
Through the forest-trees an opening had been cut, which
afforded an attractive view of the river for several miles
of its course. On the whole, it was a paradise in the
wilderness, a remarkable scene for that outlying region, for
not far from the mansion still stood a large block-house,
which had, not many years before, been used as a place of
refuge in the desolating Indian wars.

Here dwelt Harman Blennerhasset and his lovely wife; he a
man of scientific attainments, she a woman of fine education
and charming manners. He was of Irish origin, wealthy, amply
educated, with friends among the highest nobility. But he
had imbibed republican principles, and failed to find
himself comfortable in royalist society. He had therefore
sought America, heard of the beautiful islands of the Ohio,
and built himself a home on one of the most charming of them

We have described the exterior of the mansion. Interiorly it
was richly ornamented and splendidly furnished. The
drawing-room was of noble proportions and admirable
adornment. The library was well filled with choice books.
The proprietor was fond of chemistry, and had an excellent
laboratory; he enjoyed astronomy, and possessed a powerful
telescope; he had a passion for music, had composed many
airs, and played well on several instruments. He was, in his
way, a universal genius, courteous in manners, benevolent in
disposition, yet of that genial and unsuspicious nature
which laid him open to the wiles of those shrewd enough to
make use of his weak points.

Mrs. Blennerhasset loved society, and was none too well
pleased that her husband should bury himself and her in the
wilderness, and waste his fine powers on undeveloped nature.
Such guests of culture as could be obtained were hospitably
welcomed at their island mansion. Few boats passed up and
down the river without stopping at the island, and cultured
and noble persons from England and France not infrequently
found their way to the far-off home of the Blennerhassets.

Yet, withal, the intervals between the visits of cultivated
guests were long. Ohio was rapidly filling up with
population, but culture was a rare exotic in that pioneer
region, and the inmates of the Blennerhasset mansion must
have greatly lacked visits from their own social equals.

One day in the spring of 1805 a traveller landed on the
island, as if merely lured thither by the beauty of the
grounds as seen from the river. Mr. Blennerhasset was in his
study, whither a servant came to tell him that a gentlemanly
stranger had landed, and was observing the lawn. The servant
was at once bidden to invite the stranger, in his master's
name, to enter the house. The traveller courteously
declined. He could not think of intruding, begged to be
excused for landing on the grounds, and sent in his card.
Mr. Blennerhasset read the card, and his eyes lighted up
with interest, for what he saw was the name of a former
Vice-President of the United States. He at once hastened to
the lawn, and with polite insistence declared that Mr. Burr
must enter and partake of the hospitality of his house.

It was like inviting Satan into Eden. Aaron Burr, for it was
he, readily complied. He had made the journey thither for
that sole purpose. The story of Mr. Blennerhasset's wealth
had reached the East, and the astute schemer hoped to enlist
his aid in certain questionable projects he then

But no hint of an ulterior purpose was suffered to appear.
Burr was noted for the fascination of his manners, and his
host and hostess were charmed with him. He was unusually
well informed, eloquent in speech, familiar with all social
arts, and could mask the deepest designs with the most
artless affectation of simplicity. All the secrets of
American political movements were familiar to him, and he
conversed fluently of the prospects of war with Spain, the
ease with which the Mexicans might throw off their foreign
yoke, and the possibilities of splendid pecuniary results
from land speculations within the Spanish territory on the
Red River.

This seed sown, the arch deceiver went his way. His first
step had been taken. Blennerhasset was patriotically devoted
to the United States, but the grand scheme which had been
portrayed to him seemed to have nothing to do with questions
of state. It was a land speculation open to private wealth.

Burr kept his interest alive by letters. The Blennerhassets
spent the next winter in New York and Philadelphia, and
there met Aaron Burr again. Not unlikely they came with that
purpose, for the hopes of new wealth, easily to be made,
were alluring and exciting. During that winter it is
probable that a sort of land-speculation partnership was
formed. Very rich lands lay on the Washita River, within
Spanish territory, said Burr, which could be bought for a
small sum. Then, by encouraging immigration thither, they
might be sold at enormous profit.

This was the Burr scheme as Blennerhasset heard it. The
dupe did not dream of the treasonable projects resting
within the mind of his dangerous associate. These were, to
provoke revolt of the people of Mexico and the northern
Spanish provinces, annex the western United States region,
and establish a great empire, in which Burr should be the
leading potentate.

Mr. Blennerhasset, once enlisted in the land-speculation
project, supplied the funds to buy the lands on the Washita,
and engaged in operations on a large scale for sending
settlers to the purchased domain. Colonel Burr came to
Marietta and took an active part in these operations.
Fifteen large flat-boats were built to convey the
immigrants, their furniture, and such arms as they might
need for repelling Indians. Five hundred men were fixed as
the number for the first colony, and this number Burr
succeeded in enlisting. Each was to have one hundred acres
of land. This was not in itself any great inducement where
land was so plentiful as in Ohio. But Burr did not hesitate
to hint at future possibilities. The lands to be colonized
had been peacefully purchased. But the Mexicans were eager
to throw off the Spanish yoke; war between the United States
and Spain might break out at any minute; Mexico would be
invaded by an army, set free, and the new pioneers would
have splendid opportunities in the formation of a new and
great republic of the West and South. Burr went further than
this. He had articles inserted in a Marietta newspaper,
signed by an assumed name, in which was advocated the
secession of the States west of the Alleghanies. These
articles were strongly replied to by a writer who signed
himself "Regulus," and with whose views the community at
large sympathized. His articles were copied by Eastern
papers. They spoke of the armed expedition which Colonel
Burr was preparing, and declared that its purpose was the
invasion of Mexico. Jefferson, then in the Presidential
chair, knew Burr too well to ignore these warnings. He sent
a secret agent to Marietta to discover what was going on,
and at the same time asked the governor of Ohio to seize the
boats and suppress the expedition.

Mr. Blennerhasset assured the secret agent, Mr. Graham, that
no thought was entertained of invading Mexico. The project,
he said, was an eminently peaceful one. But the public was
of a different opinion. Rumor, once started, grew with its
usual rapidity. Burr was organizing an army to seize New
Orleans, rob the banks, capture the artillery, and set up an
empire or republic of his own in the valley of the lower
Mississippi. Blennerhasset was his accomplice, and as deep
in the scheme as himself. The Ohio Legislature, roused to
energetic action by the rumors which were everywhere afloat,
passed an act that all armed expeditions should be
suppressed, and empowered the governor to call out the
militia, seize Burr's boats, and hold the crews for trial.

Public attention had been earnestly and hostilely directed
to the questionable project, and Burr's hopes were at an
end. The militia were mustered at Marietta, a six-pounder
was planted on the river-bank, orders were given to stop and
examine all descending boats, and sentries were placed to
watch the stream by day and night.

While these events were proceeding, Mr. Blennerhasset had
gone to the Muskingum, to superintend the departure of the
boats that were to start from that stream. While there the
boats were seized by order of the governor. The suspicions
of the people and government were for the first time made
clear to him. Greatly disturbed, and disposed to abandon the
whole project, costly as it had been to him, he hastened
back to his island home. There he found a flotilla of four
boats, with a crew of about thirty men, which had passed
Marietta before the mustering of the militia. They were
commanded by a Mr. Tyler.

Mr. Blennerhasset's judgment was in favor of abandoning the
scheme. Mrs. Blennerhasset, who was very ambitious, argued
strongly on the other side. She was eager to see her husband
assume a position fitting to his great talents. Mr. Tyler
joined her in her arguments. Blennerhasset gave way. It was
a fatal compliance, one destined to destroy his happiness
and peace for the remainder of his life, and to expose his
wife to the most frightful scenes of outrage and barbarity.

The frontier contained hosts of lawless men, men to whom
loyalty meant license. Three days after the conversation
described, word was brought to the island that a party of
the Wood County militia, made up of the lowest and most
brutal men in the community, would land on the island that
very night, seize the boats, arrest all the men they found,
and probably burn the house.

The danger was imminent. Blennerhasset and all the men with
him took to the boats to escape arrest and possibly murder
from these exasperated frontiersmen. Mrs. Blennerhasset and
her children were left in the mansion, with the expectation
that their presence would restrain the brutality of the
militia, and preserve the house and its valuable contents
from destruction. It proved a fallacious hope. Colonel
Phelps, the commander of the militia, pursued Blennerhasset.
In his absence his men behaved like savages. They took
possession of the house, became brutally drunk from the
liquors they found in the cellar, rioted through its
elegantly furnished rooms, burned its fences for bonfires,
and for seven days made life a pandemonium of horrors for
the helpless woman and frightened children who had been left
in their midst.

The experience of those seven days was frightful. There was
no escape. Mrs. Blennerhasset was compelled to witness the
ruthless destruction of all she held most dear, and to
listen to the brutal ribaldry and insults of the rioting
savages. Not until the end of the time named did relief
come. Then Mr. Putnam, a friend from the neighboring town of
Belpré, ventured on the island. He provided a boat in which
the unhappy lady was enabled to save a few articles of
furniture and some choice books. In this boat, with her two
sons, six and eight years old, and with two young men from
Belpré, she started down the river to join her husband. Two
or three negro servants accompanied her.

It was a journey of great hardships. The weather was cold,
the river filled with floating ice, the boat devoid of any
comforts. A rude cabin, open in the front, afforded the only
shelter from wind and rain. Half frozen in her flight, the
poor woman made her way down the stream, and at length
joined her husband at the mouth of the Cumberland River,
which he had reached with his companions, having distanced
pursuit. Their flight was continued down the Mississippi as
far as Natchez.

No sooner had Mrs. Blennerhasset left the island than the
slight restraint which her presence had exercised upon the
militia disappeared. The mansion was ransacked. Whatever
they did not care to carry away was destroyed. Books,
pictures, rich furniture were used to feed bonfires. Doors
were torn from their hinges, windows dashed in, costly
mirrors broken with hammers. Destruction swept the island,
all its improvements being ruthlessly destroyed. For months
the mansion stood, an eyesore of desolation, until some
hand, moved by the last impulse of savagery, set it on fire,
and it was burned to the ground.

What followed may be briefly told. So great was the
indignation against Burr that he was forced to abandon his
project. His adherents were left in destitution. Some of
them were a thousand miles and more from their homes, and
were forced to make their way back as they best could. Burr
and Blennerhasset were both arrested for treason. The latter
escaped. There was no criminating evidence against him. As
for Burr, he had been far too shrewd to leave himself open
to the hand of the law. His trial resulted in an acquittal.
Though no doubt was felt of his guilt, no evidence could be
found to establish it. He was perforce set free.

If he had done nothing more, he had, by his detestable arts,
broken up one of the happiest homes in America, and ruined
his guileless victim.

Blennerhasset bought a cotton plantation at Natchez. His
wife, who had the energy he lacked, managed it. They dwelt
there for ten years, favorites with the neighboring
planters. Then came war with England, and the plantation
ceased to afford them a living. The ruined man returned to
his native land, utterly worn out and discouraged, and died
there in poverty in 1831.

Mrs. Blennerhasset became a charge on the charity of her
friends. After several years she returned to the United
States, where she sought to obtain remuneration from
Congress for her destroyed property. She would probably have
succeeded but for her sudden death. She was buried at the
expense of a society of Irish ladies in the city of New
York. And thus ended the career of two of the victims of
Aaron Burr. They had listened to the siren voice of the
tempter, and ruin and despair were their rewards.


The year 1832 is only sixty years ago in time, yet since
then there has been a striking development of conveniences,
rapidity of travel, and arrangements for the diffusion of
intelligence. People then still travelled in great part by
aid of horses, the railroad having just begun its marvellous
career. News, which now fly over continents and under oceans
at lightning speed, then jogged on at stage-coach rates of
progress, creeping where they now fly. On the ocean, steam
was beginning to battle with wind and wave, but the ocean
racer was yet a far-off dream, and mariners still put their
trust in sails much more than in the new-born contrivances
which were preparing to revolutionize travel. But the wand
of the enchanter had been waved; steam had come, and with it
the new era of progress had dawned. And another great agent
in the development of civilization was about to come.
Electricity, which during all previous time had laughed at
bonds, was soon to become man's slave, and to be made his
purveyor of news. It is the story of this chaining of the
lightning, and forcing it to become the swift conveyer of
man's sayings and doings, that we have here to tell.

In the far remote period named--if we measure time by
deeds, not by years--a packet-ship, the Sully, was making
its deliberate way across the Atlantic from Havre to New
York. Its passenger list was not large,--the ocean had not
yet become a busy highway of the continents,--but among them
were some persons in whom we are interested. One of these
was a Boston doctor, Charles T. Jackson by name. A second
was a New York artist, named Samuel F.B. Morse. The
last-named gentleman had been a student at Yale, where he
became greatly interested in chemistry and some other
sciences. He had studied the art of painting under Benjamin
West in London, had practised it in New York, had long been
president of the National Academy of the Arts of Design; and
was now on his way home after a second period of residence
in Europe as a student of art.

An interesting conversation took place one day in the cabin
of the Sully. Dr. Jackson spoke of Ampère's experiments with
the electro-magnet; of how Franklin had sent electricity
through several miles of wire, finding no loss of time
between the touch at one end and the spark at the other; and
how, in a recent experiment at Paris, a great length of wire
had been carried in circles around the walls of a large
apartment, an electro-magnet connected with one end, and an
electric current manifested at the other, having passed
through the wire so quickly as to seem instantaneous. Mr.
Morse's taste for science had not died out during his years
of devotion to art. He listened with the most earnest
attention to the doctor's narrative, and while he did so a
large and promising idea came into being in his brain.

"Why," he exclaimed, with much ardor of manner, "if that is
so, and the presence of electricity can be made visible in
any desired part of the circuit, I see no reason why
intelligence should not be transmitted instantaneously by

"How convenient it would be if we could send news in that
manner!" chimed in one of the passengers.

"Why can't we?" exclaimed Morse.

Why not, indeed? The idea probably died in the minds of most
of the persons present within five minutes. But Samuel Morse
was not one of the men who let ideas die. This one haunted
him day and night. He thought of it and dreamed of it. In
those days of deliberate travel time hung heavily on the
hands of transatlantic passengers, despite the partial
diversions of eating and sleeping. The ocean grew
monotonous, the vessel monotonous, the passengers
monotonous, everything monotonous except that idea, and that
grew and spread till its fibres filled every nook and cranny
of the inventive brain that had taken it in to bed and

Morse had abundance of the native Yankee faculty of
invention. To do, had been plain enough from the start. How
to do, was the question to be solved. But before the Sully
steamed into New York harbor the solution had been reached.
In the mind of the inventor, and in graphic words and
drawings on paper, were laid down the leading features of
that telegraphic method which is used to-day in the great
majority of the telegraph lines of the world.

An alphabet of dots and marks, a revolving ribbon of paper
to receive this alphabet, a method of enclosing the wires in
tubes which were to be buried underground, were the leading
features of the device as first thought of. The last
conception was quickly followed by that of supporting the
wires in the air, but Morse clung to his original fancy for
burying them,--a fancy which, it may here be said, is coming
again into vogue in these latter days, so far as cities are

It is not meant to be implied that the idea of sending news
by electricity was original with Morse. Others had had it
before him. More than half a century before, Dr. Franklin
and some friends had stretched a wire across the Schuylkill
River and killed a turkey on the other side by electricity.
As they ate this turkey, it is quite possible that they
imbibed with it the idea of making this marvellous agent do
other work than killing fowl for dinner, and from that time
on it is likely that many had speculated on the possibility
of sending intelligence by wire. Some experiments had been
made, and with a certain degree of success, but time still
waited for the hour and the man, and the hour and the man
met in that fertile October day in the cabin of the Sully.

"If it can go ten miles without stopping, I can make it go
round the world," said Morse to his fellow-passengers, his
imagination expanding in the ardor of his new idea.

"Well, captain," he said, with a laugh, on leaving the ship,
"should you hear of the telegraph one of these days as the
wonder of the world, remember that the discovery was made on
board the good ship Sully."

The inventor, indeed, was possessed with his new
conceptions, mad with an idea, as we may say, and glad to
set foot once more on shore, that he might put his plans in

This proved no easy task. He was none too well provided with
funds, and the need of making a living was the first
necessity that presented itself to him. He experimented as
much as he was able, but three years passed before his
efforts yielded a satisfactory result. Then, with a circuit
of seventeen hundred feet of wire, and a wooden clock,
adapted by himself to suit his purpose, he managed to send a
message from end to end of this wire. It was not very
legible. He could make some sense of it. His friends could
not. But all were much interested in the experiment. Many
persons witnessed these results, as shown in a large room of
the New York University, in 1837. They seemed wonderful;
much was said about them; but nobody seemed to believe that
the apparatus was more than a curious and unprofitable toy,
and capitalists buttoned their pockets when the question of
backing up this wild inventor's fancy with money was

But by this time Mr. Morse was a complete captive to his
idea. Body and soul he was its slave. The question of daily
fare became secondary; that of driving his idea over and
through all obstacles became primary. His business as an
artist was neglected. He fell into want, into almost abject
poverty. For twenty-four hours he went without food. But not
for a moment did he lose faith in his invention, or remit
his efforts to find a capitalist with sufficient confidence
in him to risk his money in it.

Failing with the private rich, he tried to obtain public
support, went to Washington in 1838, exhibited his apparatus
to interested congressmen, and petitioned for enough money
from the public purse to build a line from Baltimore to
Washington,--forty miles only. It is traditionally slow work
in getting a bill through Congress. Weary with waiting,
Morse went to Europe, to try his new seed in that old soil.
It failed to germinate abroad as it had at home. Men with
money acknowledged that the idea was a scientific success,
but could not believe that it might be made a business

"What would people care for instantaneous news?" they said.
"Some might, it is true, but the great mass would be content
to wait for their news in the good old way. To lay miles of
wire in the earth is to bury a large treasure in money. We
cannot see our way clear to getting it back again out of the
pockets of the public. Your wires work, Mr. Morse, but, from
a business point of view, there's more cost than profit in
the idea."

It may be that these exact words were not spoken, but the
answer of Europe was near enough to this to send the
inventor home disappointed. He began again his weary waiting
on the slowly-revolving wheels of the congressional

March 3, 1843, came. It was the last day of the session.
With the stroke of midnight on that day the existing
Congress would die, and a new one be born, with which the
weary work of the education of congressmen would have to be
gone over again. The inventor had been given half a loaf.
His bill had been passed, on February 23, in the House. All
day of March 3 he hung about the Senate chamber petitioning,
where possible, for the other half of his loaf, faintly
hoping that in the last will and testament of the expiring
Congress some small legacy might be left for him.

Evening came. The clock-hands circled rapidly round.
Pressure of bills and confusion of legislation grew greater
minute by minute. The floodgates of the deluge are lifted
upon Congress in its last hours, and business pours onward
in such an overwhelming fashion that small private
petitioners can scarcely hope that the doors of the ark of
safety will be opened to their petty claims. Morse hung
about the chamber until the midnight hour was almost ready
to strike. Every moment confusion seemed to grow "worse
confounded." The work of a month of easy-going legislation
was being compressed into an hour of haste and excitement.
The inventor at last left the Capitol, a saddened and
disappointed man, and made his way home, the last shreds of
hope seeming to drop from him as he went. He was almost
ready to give up the fight, and devote himself for the
future solely to brush and pencil.

He slept but poorly that night, and rose the next morning
still depressed and gloomy. He appeared at the
breakfast-table with a face from which the very color of
ambition seemed to have been washed out. As he entered the
room he was met by a young lady, Miss Annie G. Ellsworth,
daughter of the Commissioner of Patents. The smile on her
beaming face was in striking contrast to the gloom on his
downcast countenance.

"I have come to congratulate you, Mr. Morse," she said,

"For what, my dear friend?"

"For the passage of your bill."

"What!" he gazed at her amazement. Could she be attempting a
foolish and cruel jest? "The passage of my bill!" he

"Yes. Do you not know of it?"


"Then you came home too early last night. And I am happy in
being the first to bring you the good news. Congress has
granted your claim."

It was true: he had been remembered in the will of the
expiring Congress. In the last hour of the Senate, amid the
roar of the deluge of public business, his small demand had
floated into sight, and thirty thousand dollars had been
voted him for the construction of an experimental telegraph

"You have given me new life, Miss Ellsworth," he said. "As
a reward for your good tidings I promise you that when my
telegraph line is completed, you shall have the honor of
choosing the first message to be sent over it."

The inventor was highly elated, and not without reason.
Since the morning of the conversation on the ship Sully,
eleven and a half years had passed. They had been years of
such struggle against poverty and discouragement as only a
man who is the slave of an idea has the hardihood to endure.
The annals of invention contain many such instances; more,
perhaps, than can be found in any other channel of human

To complete our story we have to bring another inventor upon
the stage. This was Ezra Cornell, memorable to-day as the
founder of Cornell University, a man at that time unknown,
but filled with inventive ideas, and ready to undertake any
task that might offer itself, from digging a well to boring
a mountain tunnel. One day Mr. Cornell, who was at that time
occupying the humble position of traveling agent for a
patent plough, called at the office of an agricultural
newspaper in Portland, Maine. He found the editor on his
knees, a piece of chalk in his hand, and parts of a plough
by his side, making drawings on the floor, and trying to
explain something to a plough-maker beside him. The editor
looked up at his visitor, and an expression of relief
replaced the perplexity on his face.

"Cornell," he cried, "you're the very man I want to see. I
want a scraper made, and I can't make Robinson here see
into my idea. You can understand it, and make it for me,

"What is your scraper to do?" asked Cornell.

Mr. Smith, the editor, rose from his knees and explained. A
line of telegraph was to be built from Baltimore to
Washington. Congress had granted the money. He had taken the
contract from Professor Morse to lay the tube in which the
wire was to be placed. He had made a bad bargain, he feared.
The job was going to cost more than he had calculated, on.
He was trying to invent something that would dig the ditch,
and fill in the dirt again after the pipe was laid. Cornell
listened to him, questioned him, found out the size of the
pipe and the depth of the ditch, then sat down and passed
some minutes in hard thinking. Finally he said,--

"You are on the wrong tack. You don't want either a ditch or
a scraper."

He took a pencil and in a few minutes outlined a machine,
which he said would cut a trench two feet deep, lay the pipe
at its bottom, and cover the earth in behind it. The motive
power need be only a team of oxen or mules. These creatures
had but to trudge slowly onward. The machine would do its
work faithfully behind them.

"Come, come, this is impossible!" cried editor Smith.

"I'll wager my head it can be done, and I can do it,"
replied inventor Cornell.

He laid a large premium on his confidence in his idea,
promising that if his machine would not work he would ask
no money for it. But if it succeeded, he was to be well
paid. Smith agreed to these terms, and Cornell went to work.

In ten days the machine was built and ready for trial. A
yoke of oxen was attached to it, three men managed it, and
in the first five minutes it had laid one hundred feet of
pipe and covered it with earth. It was a decided success.
Mr. Smith had contracted to lay the pipe for one hundred
dollars a mile. A short calculation proved to him that, with
the aid of Ezra Cornell's machine, ninety dollars of this
would be profit.

But the shrewd editor did not feel like risking Cornell's
machine in any hands but those of the inventor. He made him
a profitable offer if he would go to Baltimore and take
charge of the job himself. It would pay better than selling
patent ploughs. Cornell agreed to go.

Reaching Baltimore, he met Professor Morse. They had never
met before. Their future lives were to be closely
associated. In the conversation that ensued Morse explained
what he proposed to do. An electric wire might either be
laid underground or carried through the air. He had decided
on the underground system, the wire being coated by an
insulating compound and drawn through a pipe.

Cornell questioned him closely, got a clear idea of the
scheme, saw the pipe that was to be used, and expressed
doubts of its working.

"It will work, for it has worked," said Morse. "While I have
been fighting Congress, inventors in Europe have been
experimenting with the telegraphic idea. Short lines have
been laid in England and elsewhere, in which the wire is
carried in buried pipes. They had been successful. What can
be done in Europe can be done in America."

What Morse said was a fact. While he had been pushing his
telegraph conception in America it had been tried
successfully in Europe. But the system adopted there, of
vibrating needle signals, was so greatly inferior to the
Morse system, that it was destined in the future to be
almost or quite set aside by the latter. To-day the Morse
system and alphabet are used in much the greater number of
the telegraph offices of the world.

But to return to our story. Cornell went to work, and the
pipe, with its interior wire, was laid with much rapidity.
Not many days had elapsed before ten miles were underground,
the pipe being neatly covered as laid. It reached from
Baltimore nearly to the Relay House. Here it stopped, for
something had gone wrong. Morse tested his wire. It would
not work. No trace of an electric current could be got
through it. The insulation was evidently imperfect. What was
to be done? He would be charged with wasting the public
money on an impracticable experiment. Yet if he stopped he
might expect a roar of newspaper disapprobation of his whole
scheme. He was in a serious dilemma. How should he escape?

He sought Cornell, and told him of the failure of his
experiments. The work must be stopped. He must try other
kinds of pipe and new methods of insulation. But if the
public should suspect failure there would be vials of wrath
poured on their devoted heads.

"The public shall not suspect failure. Leave it to me," said

He turned to his men. The machine was slowly moving forward,
drawn by a team of eight mules, depositing pipe as it went.
A section had just been laid. Night was at hand.

"Hurry up, boys," cried Cornell, cheerily. "We must lay
another length before we quit."

He grasped the handles of his plough-like machine; the
drivers stirred up the mules to a lively pace; the
contrivance went merrily forward. But the cunning pilot knew
what he was about. He steered the buried point of the
machine against a rock that just protruded from the earth.
In an instant there was a shock, a sound of rending wood and
iron, a noise of shouting and trampling; and then the line
of mules came to a halt. But behind them were only the ruins
of a machine. That moment's work had converted the
pipe-laying contrivance into kindling-wood and scrap-iron.

The public condoled with the inventor. It was so unlucky
that his promising progress should be stopped by such an
accident! As for Morse and his cunning associate, they
smiled quietly to themselves as they went on with their
experiments. Another kind of pipe was tried. Still the
current would not go through. A year passed by. Experiment
after experiment had been made. All had proved failures.
Twenty-three thousand dollars of the money had been spent.
Only seven thousand remained. The inventor was on the verge
of despair.

"I am afraid it will never work," said Cornell. "It looks
bad for the pipe plan."

"Then let us try the other," said Morse. "If the current
won't go underground, it may be coaxed to go above-ground."

The plan suggested was to string the wire upon poles,
insulating it from the wood by some non-conductor. A
suitable insulator was needed. Cornell devised one; another
inventor produced another. Morse approved of the latter,
started for New York with it to make arrangements for its
manufacture, and on his way met Professor Henry, who knew
more about electricity than any other man in the country.
Morse showed him the models of the two insulators, and
indicated the one he had chosen. Mr. Henry examined them

"You are mistaken," he said. "That one won't work. This is
the insulator you need." He pointed to Cornell's device.

In a few words he gave his reasons. Morse saw that he was
right. The Cornell insulator was chosen And now the work
went forward with great rapidity. The planting of poles, and
stringing of wires over a glass insulator at their tops, was
an easy and rapid process. And more encouraging still, the
thing worked to a charm. There was no trouble now in
obtaining signals from the wire.

The first public proof of the system was made on May 11,
1844. On that day the Whig National Convention, then in
session at Baltimore, had nominated Henry Clay for the
Presidency. The telegraph was being built from the
Washington end, and was yet miles distant from Baltimore.
The first railroad train from Baltimore carried passengers
who were eager to tell the tidings to their Washington
friends. But it carried also an agent of Professor Morse,
who brought the news to the inventor at the unfinished end
of the telegraph. From that point he sent it over the wire
to Washington. It was successfully received at the
Washington end, and never were human beings more surprised
than were the train passengers on alighting at the capital
city to find that they brought stale news, and that Clay's
nomination was already known throughout Washington. It was
the first public proof in America of the powers of the
telegraph, and certainly a vital and convincing one.

Before the 24th of May the telegraph line to Baltimore was
completed, the tests successfully made, and all was ready
for the public exhibition of its marvellous powers, which
had been fixed for that day. Miss Ellsworth, in compliance
with the inventor's promise, made her more than a year
before, was given the privilege of choosing the first
message to go over the magic wires. She selected the
appropriate message from Scriptures: "What hath God
wrought?" With these significant words began the reign of
that marvellous invention which has wrought so wonderfully
in binding the ends of the earth together and making one
family of mankind.

There were difficulties still in the way of the inventor,
severe ones. His after-life lay in no bed of roses. His
patents were violated, his honor was questioned, even his
integrity was assailed; rival companies stole his business,
and lawsuits made his life a burden. He won at last, but
failed to have the success of his associate, Mr. Cornell,
who grew in time very wealthy from his telegraphic

As regards the Morse system of telegraphy, it may be said in
conclusion that over one hundred devices have been invented
to supersede it, but that it holds its own triumphant over
them all. The inventor wrought with his brain to good
purpose in those days and nights of mental discipline above
the Atlantic waves and on board the good ship Sully.


On the 9th of March, 1862, for the first time in human
history, two iron-clad ships met in battle. The occasion was
a memorable one, and its story is well worthy of being
retold in our cycle of historic events. For centuries, for
thousands of years, in truth, wooden vessels had been
struggling for the mastery of the seas. With the first shot
fired from the turret of the Monitor at the roof-like sides
of the Merrimac, in the early morning of the day named, the
long reign of wooden war vessels ended; that of iron
monarchs of the deep began. England could no more trust to
her "wooden walls" for safety, and all the nations of
Europe, when the echo of that shot reached their ears, felt
that the ancient era of naval construction was at an end,
and that the future navies of the world must ride the waves
clad in massive armor of steel.

On the 8th of March, indeed, this had been shown. On that
day the Merrimac steamed down from Norfolk harbor into
Hampton Roads, where lay a fleet of wooden men-of-war, some
of them the largest sailing frigates then in the American
navy. On shore soldiers were encamped, here Union, there
Confederate; and the inmates of the camps, the garrison of
Fortress Monroe, the crews of the ships at anchor under its
guns, all gazed with eager eyes over the open waters of the
bay, their interest in the coming contest as intense as
Roman audience ever displayed for the life and death
struggle in the gladiatorial arena. Before them lay a
mightier amphitheatre than that of the Coliseum, and before
them was to be fought more notable struggle for life and
death than ever took place within the walls of mighty Rome.

It was in the afternoon of the 8th, about one o'clock, that
the long roll sounded in the camps on shore, and the cry
resounded from camp to camp, "The Merrimac is coming!" For
several weeks she had been looked for, and preparations made
for her reception. The frigates bore a powerful armament of
heavy guns, ready to batter her iron-clad sides, and strong
hopes were entertained that this modern leviathan would soon
cease to trouble the deep. The lesson fixed by fate for that
day had not yet been learned.

Down the bay she came, looking at a distance like a
flood-borne house, its sides drowned, only its sloping roof
visible. The strange-appearing craft moved slowly,
accompanied by two small gunboats as tenders. As she came
near no signs of life were visible, while her iron sides
displayed no evidence of guns. Yet within that threatening
monster was a crew of three hundred men, and her armament
embraced ten heavy cannon. Hinged lids closed the gun-ports;
raised only when the guns were thrust forward for firing. As
for the men, they were hidden somewhere under that iron
roof; to be felt, but not seen.

What followed has been told in song and story; it need be
repeated here but in epitome. The first assault of the
Merrimac was upon the Cumberland, a thirty-gun frigate.
Again and again the thirty heavy balls of the frigate
rattled upon the impenetrable sides of the iron-clad
monster, and bounded off uselessly into the deep. The
Merrimac came on at full speed, as heedless of this
fusillade as though she was being fired at with peas. As she
approached, two heavy balls from her guns tore through the
timbers of the Cumberland. They were followed by a stunning
blow from her iron beak, that opened a gaping wound in the
defenceless side of her victim. Then she drew off, leaving
her broken beak sticking in the ship's side, and began
firing broadsides into the helpless frigate; raking her fore
and aft with shell and grape, despite the fact that she had
already got her death-blow, and was rapidly filling with

Never ship was fought more nobly than the doomed Cumberland.
With the decks sinking under their feet, the men fought with
unflinching courage. When the bow guns were under water, the
rear guns were made to do double duty. The captain was
called on to surrender. He sternly refused. The last shot
was fired from a gun on a level with the waves. Then, with
sails spread and flags flying, the Cumberland went down,
carrying with her nearly one hundred of her crew, the
remainder swimming ashore. The water was deep, but the
topmast of the doomed vessel still rose above the surface,
with its pennant waving in the wind. For months afterwards
that old flag continued to fly, as if to say, "The
Cumberland sinks, but never surrenders."

The Congress, a fifty-gun frigate, was next attacked, and
handled so severely that her commander ran her ashore, and
soon after hoisted the white flag, destruction appearing
inevitable. Boats were sent by the enemy to take possession,
but a sharp fire from the shore drove them off.

"Is this in accordance with military law?" asked one of the
officers in the camp. "Since the ship has surrendered, has
not the enemy the right to take possession of her?"

This legal knot was quickly and decisively cut by General
Mansfield, in an unanswerable decision.

"I know the d----d ship has surrendered," he said. "But _we_
haven't." And the firing continued.

The Merrimac, not being able to seize her prize, opened fire
with hot shot on the Congress, and quickly set her on fire.
Night was now at hand, and the conquering iron-clad drew
off. The Congress continued to burn, her loaded guns roaring
her requiem one after another, as the fire spread along her
decks. About one o'clock her magazine was reached, and she
blew up with a tremendous explosion, the shock being so
great as to prostrate many of those on the shore.

So ended that momentous day. It had shown one thing
conclusively, that "wooden walls" could no longer "rule the
wave." Iron had proved its superiority in naval
construction. The next day was to behold another novel
sight,--the struggle of iron with iron.

Morning came. The atmosphere was hazy. Only as the mist
slowly lifted were the gladiators of that liquid arena
successively made visible. Here, just above the water,
defiantly floated the flag of the sunken Cumberland. There
smoked the still-burning hull of the Congress. Here, up the
bay, steamed the Merrimac, with two attendants, the Yorktown
and the Patrick Henry. Yonder lay the great hull of the
steam-frigate Minnesota, which had taken some part in the
battle of the day before, but had unfortunately gone ashore
on a mud-bank, from which the utmost efforts failed to force
her off. Other Union naval vessels were visible in the

The Merrimac made her way towards the Minnesota, as towards
a certain prey. Her commander felt confident that an hour or
two would enable him to reduce this great vessel to the
condition of her recent companions.

Yet an odd sight met his vision. Alongside the Minnesota
floated the strangest-looking craft that human eye had ever
gazed upon. An insignificant affair it appeared; a
"cheese-box on a raft" it was irreverently designated. The
deck, a level expanse of iron, came scarcely above the
surface. Above it rose a circular turret, capable of being
revolved, and with port-holes for two great guns, among the
largest up to that time used in naval warfare.

How this odd contrivance came there so opportunely may be
briefly told. It was the conception of John Ericsson, the
eminent Swedish engineer, and was being rapidly built in New
York while the Merrimac was being plated with thick iron
bars in Norfolk. A contest for time took place between these
two unlike craft. Spies were in both places, to report
progress. Fortunately, the Monitor was finished a day or two
before her competitor. Immediately she steamed away for
Hampton Roads. The passage was a severe one. Three days were
consumed, during which the seas swept repeatedly over the
low deck, the men being often half suffocated in their
confined quarters, the turret alone standing above the
water. As they approached Fortress Monroe the sound of
cannonading was heard. Tarrying but a few minutes at the
fort, the Monitor, as this odd vessel had been named,
approached the Minnesota, and reached her side at a late
hour of the night.


And now, with the new day, back to the fray came the
Merrimac, looking like a giant in comparison with this
dwarfish antagonist. As she approached, the little craft
glided swiftly in front of her grounded consort, like a new
David offering battle to a modern Goliath. As if in disdain
of this puny antagonist, the Merrimac began an attack on the
Minnesota. But when the two eleven-inch guns of the Monitor
opened fire, hurling solid balls of one hundred and
sixty-eight pounds' weight against the iron sides of her
great opponent, it became at once evident that a new move
had opened in the game, and that the Merrimac had no longer
the best of the play.

The fight that followed was an extraordinary one, and was
gazed on with intense interest by the throng of spectators
who crowded the shores of the bay. The Merrimac had no solid
shot, as she had expected only wooden antagonists. Her
shells were hurled upon the Monitor, but most of them missed
their mark, and those that struck failed to do any injury.
So small was the object fired at that the great shells, as a
rule, whirled uselessly by, and plunged hissing into the
waves. The massive solid balls of the Monitor were far more
effective. Nearly every one struck the broad sides of the
Merrimac, breaking her armor in several places, and
shattering the wood backing behind it. Many times the
Merrimac tried to ram her small antagonist, and thus to rid
herself of this teasing tormentor, but the active
"cheese-box" slipped agilely out of her way. The Monitor in
turn tried to disable the screw of her opponent, but without

Unable to do any harm to her dwarfish foe, the Merrimac now,
as if in disdain, turned her attention to the Minnesota,
hurling shells through her side. In return the frigate
poured into her a whole broadside at close range.

"It was enough," said the captain of the frigate afterwards,
"to have blown out of the water any wooden ship in the
world." It was wasted on the iron-clad foe.

This change of action did not please the captain of the
Monitor. He thrust his vessel quickly between the two
combatants, and assailed so sharply that the Merrimac
steamed away. The Monitor followed. Suddenly the fugitive
vessel turned, and, like an animal moved by an impulse of
fury, rushed head on upon her tormentor. Her beak struck the
flat iron deck so sharply as to be wrenched by the blow. The
great hull seemed for the moment as if it would crowd the
low-lying vessel bodily beneath the waves. But no such
result followed. The Monitor glided away unharmed. As she
went she sent a ball against the Merrimac that seemed to
crush in her armored sides.

At ten o'clock the Monitor steamed away, as if in flight.
The Merrimac now prepared to pay attention again to the
Minnesota, her captain deeming that he had silenced his
tormenting foe. He was mistaken. In half an hour the
Monitor, having hoisted a new supply of balls into her
turret, was back again, and for two hours more the strange
battle continued.

Then it came to an end. The Merrimac turned and ran away.
She had need to,--those on shore saw that she was sagging
down at the stern. The battle was over. The turreted
iron-clad had driven her great antagonist from the field,
and won the victory. And thus ended one of the strangest and
most notable naval combats in history.

During the fight the Monitor had fired forty-one shots, and
been struck twenty-two times. Her greatest injury was the
shattering of her pilot-house. Her commander, Lieutenant
Worden, was knocked senseless and temporarily blinded by the
shock. On board the Merrimac two men were killed and
nineteen wounded. Her iron prow was gone, her armor broken
and damaged, her steam-pipe and smoke-stock riddled, the
muzzles of two of her guns shot away, while water made its
way into her through more than one crevice.

Back to Norfolk went the injured Merrimac. Here she was put
into the dry-dock and hastily repaired. After that had been
done, she steamed down to the old fighting-ground on two or
three occasions, and challenged her small antagonist. The
Monitor did not accept the challenge. If any accident had
happened to her the rest of the fleet would have been lost,
and it was deemed wisest to hold her back for emergencies.

On the 10th of May the Confederates marched out of Norfolk.
On the 11th the Merrimac was blown up, and only her disabled
hull remained as a trophy to the victors. As to her
condition and fighting powers, one of the engineers who had
charge of the repairs upon her said,--

"A shot from the Monitor entered one of her ports, lodged in
the backing of the other side, and so shivered her timbers
that she never afterwards could be made seaworthy. She could
not have been kept afloat for twelve hours, and her officers
knew it when they went out and dared the Monitor to fight
her. It was a case of pure bluff; we didn't hold a single

The combat we have recorded was perhaps the most important
in the history of naval warfare. It marked a turning-point
in the construction of the monarchs of the deep, by proving
that the future battles of the sea must be fought behind
iron walls.


On a fine day in April, 1862, a passenger-train drew out
from Marietta, Georgia, bound north. Those were not days of
abundant passenger travel in the South, except for those who
wore the butternut uniform and carried muskets, but this
train was well filled, and at Marietta a score of men in
civilian dress had boarded the cars. Soldierly-looking
fellows these were too, not the kind that were likely to
escape long the clutch of the Confederate conscription.

Eight miles north of Marietta the train stopped at the
station of Big Shanty, with the welcome announcement of "Ten
minutes for breakfast." Out from the train, like bees from
the hive, swarmed the hungry passengers, and made their way
with all speed to the lunch-counter, followed more
deliberately by conductor, engineer, and brakesmen. The
demands of the lunch-counter are of universal potency; few
have the hardihood to resist them; that particular train was
emptied in the first of its ten minutes of grace.

Yet breakfast did not seem to appeal to all upon the train.
The Marietta group of civilians left the train with the
others, but instead of seeking the refreshment-room, turned
their steps towards the locomotive. No one noticed them,
though there was a Confederate camp hard by the station,
well filled with raw recruits, and hardly a dozen steps
from the engine a sentinel steadily walked his beat, rifle
on shoulder.

One of the men climbed into the engine. The sentinel paid no
heed to him. Another slipped in between two cars, and pulled
out a coupling-pin. The sentinel failed to observe him. A
group of others climbed quickly into an open box-car. The
sentinel looked at them, and walked serenely on. The last
man of the party now strode rapidly up the platform, nodded
to the one in the locomotive, and swung himself lightly into
the cab. The sentinel turned at the end of his beat and
walked back, just beginning to wonder what all this meant.
Meanwhile famine was being rapidly appeased at the
lunch-counter within, and the not very luxurious display of
food was vanishing like a field of wheat before an army of

Suddenly the sharp report of a rifle rung with warning sound
through the air. The drowsy tenants of the camp sprang to
their feet. The conductor hurried, out to the platform. He
had heard something besides the rifle-shot,--the grind of
wheels on the track,--and his eyes opened widely in alarm
and astonishment as he saw that the train was broken in two,
and half of it running away. The passenger-cars stood where
he had left them. The locomotive, with three box-cars, was
flying rapidly up the track. The sentinel, roused to a sense
of the situation only when he saw the train in actual
flight, had somewhat late given the alarm.

The conductor's eyes opened very wide. The engine, under a
full head of steam, was driving up the road. The locomotive
had been stolen! Out from the refreshment-room poured
passengers and trainmen, filled with surprise and chagrin.
What did it mean? What was to be done? There was no other
engine within miles. How should these daring thieves ever be
overtaken? Their capture seemed a forlorn hope.

The conductor, wild with alarm and dreading reprimand,
started up the track on foot, running as fast as his legs
could carry him. A railroad mechanic named Murphy kept him
company. To one with a love of humor it would have been an
amusing sight to see two men on foot chasing a locomotive,
but just then Conductor Fuller was not troubled about the
opinion of men of humor; his one thought was to overtake his
runaway locomotive, and he would have crawled after it if no
better way appeared.

Fortune comes to him who pursues her, not to him who waits
her coming. The brace of locomotive chasers had not run down
their strength before they were lucky enough to spy a
hand-car, standing beside the track. Here was a gleam of
hope. In a minute or two they had lifted it upon the rails.
Springing within it, they applied themselves to the levers,
and away they went at a more promising rate of speed.

For a mile or two all went on swimmingly. Then sudden
disaster came. The car struck a broken rail and was hurled
headlong from the track, sending its occupants flying into
the muddy roadside ditch. This was enough to discourage
anybody with less go in him than Conductor Fuller. But in a
moment he was on his feet, trying his limbs. No bones were
broken. A mud-bath was the full measure of his misfortune.
Murphy was equally sound. The car was none the worse. With
scarce a minute's delay they sprang to it, righted it, and
with some strong tugging lifted it upon the track. With very
few minutes' delay they were away again, somewhat more
cautiously than before, and sharply on the lookout for
further gifts of broken rails from the runaways ahead.

Leaving the pair of pursuers to their seemingly hopeless
task, we must return to the score of locomotive pirates.
These men who had done such strange work at Big Shanty were
by no means what they seemed. They were clad in the
butternut gray and the slouch hats of the Confederacy, but
their ordinary attire was the blue uniform of the Union
army. They were, in truth, a party of daring scouts, who had
stealthily made their way south in disguise, their purpose
being to steal a train, burn the bridges behind them as they
fled, and thus make useless for a time the only railroad by
which the Confederate authorities could send troops to
Chattanooga, then threatened by the Union forces under
General Mitchel.

They had been remarkably successful, as we have seen, at the
beginning of their enterprise. Making their way, by devious
routes, to Marietta, they had gathered at that place,
boarded a train, and started north. The rush of passengers
and trainmen into the refreshment-room at Big Shanty had
been calculated upon. The presence of a Confederate camp at
that out-of-the-way station had not been. It might have
proved fatal to their enterprise but for the stolid
stupidity of the sentinel. But that peril had been met and
passed. They were safely away. Exhilaration filled their
souls. All was safe behind; all seemed safe ahead.

True, there was one peril close at hand. Beside the track
ran that slender wire, a resting-place, it seemed, for
passing birds. In that outstretching wire their most
imminent danger lurked. Fast as they might go, it could
flash the news of their exploit a thousand-fold faster. The
flight of the lightning news-bearer must be stopped. The
train was halted a mile or two from the town, the pole
climbed, the wire cut. Danger from this source was at an
end. Halting long enough to tear up the rail to whose
absence Conductor Fuller owed his somersault, they sprang to
their places again and the runaway train sped blithely on.

Several times they stopped for wood and water. When any
questions were asked they were answered by the companion of
the engineer, James J. Andrews by name, a Union spy by
profession, the originator of and leader in this daring

"I am taking a train-load of powder to General Beauregard,"
was his stereotyped answer, as he pointed to the closed
box-cars behind him, within one of which lay concealed the
bulk of his confederates.

For some time they went swimmingly on, without delay or
difficulty. Yet trouble was in the air, ill-fortune awaiting
them in front, pursuing them from behind. They had, by the
fatality of unlucky chance, chosen the wrong day for their
work. Yesterday they would have found a clear track; to-day
the road ahead was blocked with trains, hurrying swiftly

At Kingston, thirty miles from Big Shanty, this trouble came
upon them in a rush. A local train was to pass at that
point. Andrews was well aware of this, and drew his train
upon the siding to let it pass, expecting when it had gone
to find the road clear to Chattanooga. The train came in on
time, halted, and on its last car was seen waving the red
danger-flag, the railroad signal that another train was
following close behind. Andrews looked at this with no
friendly eyes.

"How comes it," he asked the conductor, somewhat sharply,
"that the road is blocked in this manner, when I have orders
to take this powder to Beauregard without delay?"

"Mitchel has taken Huntsville," answered the conductor.
"They say he is coming to Chattanooga. We are getting
everything out of there as quickly as we can."

This looked serious. How many trains might there be in the
rear? A badly-blocked road meant ruin to their enterprise
and possibly death to themselves. They waited with intense
anxiety, each minute of delay seeming to stretch almost into
an hour. The next train came. They watched it pass with
hopeful eyes. Ah! upon its rear floated that fatal red flag,
the crimson emblem of death, as it seemed to them.

The next train came. Still the red flag! Still hope
deferred, danger coming near! An hour of frightful anxiety
passed. It was torture to those upon the engine. It was
agony to those in the box-car, who knew nothing of the cause
of this frightful delay, and to whom life itself must have
seemed to have stopped.

Andrews had to cast off every appearance of anxiety and to
feign easy indifference, for the station people were showing
somewhat too much curiosity about this train, whose crew
were strangers, and concerning which the telegraph had sent
them no advices. The practised spy was full of resources,
but their searching questions taxed him for satisfying

At length, after more than an hour's delay, the blockade was
broken. A train passed destitute of the red flag. The relief
was great. They had waited at that station like men with the
hangman's rope upon their necks. Now the track to
Chattanooga was clear and success seemed assured. The train
began to move. It slowly gathered speed. Up went hope in the
hearts of those upon the engine. New life flowed in the
veins of those within the car as they heard the grinding
sound on the rails beneath them, and felt the motion of
their prison upon wheels.

Yet perilous possibilities were in their rear. Their delay
at Kingston had been threateningly long. They must guard
against pursuit. Stopping the train, and seizing their
tools, they sprang out to tear up a rail. Suddenly, as they
worked at this, a sound met their ears that almost caused
them to drop their tools in dismay. It was the far-off bugle
blast of a locomotive whistle sounding from the direction
from which they had come.

The Confederates, then, were on their track! They had failed
to distance pursuit! The delay at Kingston had given their
enemies the needed time! Nervous with alarm, they worked
like giants. The rail yielded slightly. It bent. A few
minutes more and it would be torn from its fastenings. A few
minutes! Not a minute could be spared for this vital work.
For just then the whistle shrieked again, now close at hand,
the rattle of wheels could be heard in the distance, and
round a curve behind them came a locomotive speeding up the
road with what seemed frantic haste, and filled with armed
men, who shouted in triumph at sight of the dismayed
fugitives. It was too late to finish their work. Nothing
remained to the raiders but to spring to their engine and
cars and fly for life.

We have seen the beginnings of this pursuit. We must now go
back to trace the doings of the forlorn-hope of pursuers,
Fuller and his companion. After their adventure with the
broken rail, that brace of worthies pushed on in their
hand-car till the station of Etowah was reached. Here, by
good fortune for them, an engine stood with steam up, ready
for the road. Fuller viewed it with eyes of hope. The game,
he felt, was in his hands. For he knew, what the raiders had
not known, that the road in advance would be blocked that
day with special trains, and on a one-tracked road special
trains are an impassable obstacle.

There were soldiers at Etowah. Fuller's story of the daring
trick of the Yankees gave him plenty of volunteers. He
filled the locomotive and its cab with eager allies, and
drove on at the greatest speed of which his engine was
capable, hoping to overtake the fugitives at Kingston. He
reached that place; they were not there. Hurried questions
taught him that they were barely gone, with very few minutes
the start. Away he went again, sending his alarm whistle far
down the road in his front.

The race was now one for life or death. Andrews and his men
well knew what would be their fate if they were caught. They
dared not stop and fight; their only arms were revolvers,
and they were outnumbered by their armed foes. Their only
hope lay in flight. Away they went; on came their shouting
pursuers. Over the track thundered both locomotives at
frightful speed. The partly-raised rail proved no obstacle
to the pursuers. They were over it with a jolt and a jump,
and away on the smooth track ahead.

If the fugitives could have halted long enough to tear up a
rail or burn a bridge all might have been well; but that
would take more minutes than they had to spare. A shrewd
idea came into Andrews's fertile mind. The three box-cars
behind him were a useless load. One of them might be
usefully spared. The rear car of the train was uncoupled and
left behind, with the hope that the pursuers might
unwittingly dash into it and be wrecked. On they went,
leaving a car standing on the track.

Fortunately for the Confederates, they saw the obstruction
in time to prepare for it. Their engine was slowed up, and
the car caught and pushed before it. Andrews tried the
device a second time, another car being dropped. It was
picked up by Fuller in the same manner as before. On
reaching a siding at Resaca station, the Confederate
engineer switched off these supernumerary cars, and pushed
ahead again relieved of his load.

Not far beyond was a bridge which the raiders had intended
to destroy. It could not be done. The pursuit was too sharp.
They dashed on over its creaking planks, having time for
nothing but headlong flight. The race was a remarkably even
one, the engines proving to be closely matched in speed.
Fuller, despite all his efforts, failed to overtake the
fugitives, but he was resolved to push them so sharply that
they would have no time to damage track or bridges, or take
on wood or water. In the latter necessity Andrews got the
better of him. His men knocked out the end of the one
box-car they had left, and dropped the ties with which it
was loaded one by one upon the track, delaying the pursuers
sufficiently to enable them to take on some fresh fuel.

Onward again went the chase, mile after mile, over a rough
track, at a frightful speed, the people along the route
looking on with wondering eyes. It seemed marvellous that
the engines could cling to those unevenly-laid rails. The
escape of the pursuers, was, indeed, almost miraculous, for
Andrews found time to stop just beyond a curve and lay a
loose rail on the track, and Fuller's engine ran upon this
at full speed. There came a terrific jolt; the engine seemed
to leap into the air; but by a marvellous chance it lighted
again on the rails and ran on unharmed. Had it missed the
track not a man on it would have lived to tell the tale.

The position of the fugitives was now desperate. Some of
them wished to leave the engine, reverse its valves, and
send it back at full speed to meet the foe. Others suggested
that they should face the enemy and fight for their lives.
Andrews was not ready to accept either of these plans. He
decided to go on and do the work for which they had set out,
if possible. He knew the road. There was a covered bridge a
few miles ahead. If they could burn this all would be well.
He determined to try.

There was one box-car left. That might serve his purpose. He
had his men pile wood on its floor, and light this with
coals from the engine. In a minute it was burning. The
draught made by the rushing train soon blew the fire into a
roaring flame. By the time the bridge was reached the whole
car was in a fierce blaze.

Andrews slowed up and uncoupled this blazing car on the
bridge. He stopped the engine just beyond, and he and his
companions watched it hopefully. The flames curled fiercely
upward. Dense smoke poured out at each end of the covered
bridge. Success seemed to be at length in their hands. But
the flames failed to do their work. The roof of the bridge
had been soaked by recent rains and resisted the blazing
heat. The roaring flames were uselessly licking the wet
timbers when the pursuing engine came dashing up. Fuller did
not hesitate for a minute. He had the heart of a soldier in
the frame of a conductor. Into the blinding smoke his engine
was daringly driven, and in a minute it had caught the
blazing car and was pushing it forward. A minute more and it
rolled into the open air, and the bridge was saved. Its
timbers had stubbornly refused to burn.

This ended the hopes of the fugitives. They had exhausted
their means of checking pursuit. Their wood had been all
consumed in this fruitless effort; their steam was rapidly
going down; they had played their last card and lost the
game. The men sprang from the slowed-up engine. The engineer
reversed its valves and followed them. Into the fields they
rushed and ran in all directions, their only hope being now
in their own powers of flight. As they sped away the engines
met, but without damage. The steam in the stolen engine had
so fallen that it was incapable of doing harm. The other
engine had been stopped, and the pursuers were springing
agilely to the ground, and hurrying into the fields in hot

Pursuit through field and forest was as keen and
unrelenting as it had been over iron rails. The Union lines
were not far distant, yet not a man of the fugitives
succeeded in reaching them. The alarm spread with great
rapidity; the whole surrounding country was up in pursuit;
and before that day ended several of the daring raiders were
prisoners in Confederate hands. The others buried themselves
in woods and swamps, lived on roots and berries, and
ventured from their hiding-places only at night. Yet they
were hunted with unwearying persistence, and by the end of a
week all but two had been captured. These two had so
successfully eluded pursuit that they fancied themselves out
of danger, and became somewhat careless in consequence. As a
result, in a few days more they, too, fell into the hands of
their foes.

A court-martial was convened. The attempt had been so
daring, and so nearly successful, the injury intended so
great, and the whole affair so threatening, that the
Confederate military authorities could not think of
leniency. Andrews and seven of his companions were condemned
to death and hung. Their graves may be seen to-day in the
Soldiers' Cemetery at Chattanooga, monuments to one of the
most daring and reckless enterprises in the history of the
Civil War. The others were imprisoned.


During the winter of 1864 certain highly interesting
operations were going on in the underground region of the
noted Libby Prison, at Richmond, Virginia, at that time the
by no means luxurious or agreeable home of some eleven
hundred officers of the United States army. These
operations, by means of which numerous captives were to make
their way to fresh air and freedom, are abundantly worthy of
being told, as an evidence of the ingenuity of man and the
amount of labor and hardship he is willing to give in
exchange for liberty.


Libby Prison was certainly not of palatial dimensions or
accommodations. Before the war it had been a tobacco
warehouse, situated close by the Lynchburg Canal, and a
short distance from James River, whose waters ran by in full
view of the longing eyes which gazed upon them from the
close-barred prison windows. For the story which we have to
tell some description of the make-up of this place of
detention is a necessary preliminary. The building was three
stories high in front, and four in the rear, its dimensions
being one hundred and sixty-five by one hundred and five
feet. It was strongly built, of brick and stone, while very
thick partition walls of brick divided it internally into
three sections. Each section had its cellar, one of them,
with which we are particularly concerned, being unoccupied.
The others were occasionally used. The first floor had three
apartments, one used by the prison authorities, one as a
hospital, while the middle one served the prisoners as a
cooking-and dining-room. The second and third stories were
the quarters of the prisoners, where, in seven rooms, more
than eleven hundred United States officers ate, slept, and
did all the duties of life for many months. It may even be
said that they enjoyed some of the pleasures of life, for
though the discipline was harsh and the food scanty and
poor, man's love of enjoyment is not easily to be repressed,
and what with occasional minstrel and theatrical
entertainments among themselves, fencing exercises with
wooden swords, games of cards, checkers and chess, study of
languages, military tactics, etc., and other entertainments
and pastimes, they managed somewhat to overcome the monotony
of prison life and the hardship of prison discipline.

As regards chances of escape, they were very poor. A strong
guard constantly surrounded the prison, and such attempts at
escape as were made were rarely successful. The only one
that had measurable success is that which we have to
describe, in which a body of prisoners played the rôle of
rats or beavers, and got out of Libby by an underground

The tunnel enterprise was the project of a few choice
spirits only. It was too perilous to confide to many. The
disused cellar was chosen as the avenue of escape. It was
never visited, and might be used with safety. But how to get
there was a difficult question to solve. And how to hide the
fact that men were absent from roll-call was another. The
latter difficulty was got over by several expedients. If
Lieutenant Jones, for instance, was at work in the tunnel,
Captain Smith would answer for him; then, when Smith was
pronounced absent, he would step forward and declare that he
had answered to his own name. His presence served as sure
proof that he had not been absent. Other and still more
ingenious methods were at times adopted, and the authorities
were completely hoodwinked in this particular.

And now as regards the difficulty of entering the cellar.
The cooking-room on the first floor contained, in its thick
brick and stone partition, a fireplace, in front of which,
partly masking it, three stoves were placed for the cooking
operations of the prisoners. The floor of this fireplace was
chosen as the initial point of excavation, from which a
sloping passage might be made, under the floor of the next
room, into the disused cellar.

Captain Hamilton, a stonemason by trade, began the
excavation, removing the first brick and stone from the
fireplace. It need scarcely be said that this work was done
only at night, and with as little noise as possible. By day
the opening was carefully closed, the bricks and stones
being so ingeniously replaced that no signs of disturbance
appeared. Thick as the wall was, a passage was quickly made
through it, presenting an easy route to the cellar below.
As for this cellar, it was dark, rarely or never opened, and
contained only some old boxes, boards, straw, and the like
débris, and an abundance of rats.

The cellar reached, and the route to it carefully concealed
by day alike from the prison authorities and the prisoners
not in the secret, the question of the tunnel followed.
There were two possible routes. One of these led southward,
towards the canal; the other eastward, under a narrow
street, on the opposite side of which was a yard and stable,
with a high board fence on the street side. The opposite
side of the yard faced a warehouse.

A tunnel was commenced towards the canal. But it quickly
struck a sewer whose odor was more than the workers could
endure. It was abandoned, and a tunnel begun eastward, the
most difficult part of it being to make an opening in the
thick foundation wall. The hope of liberty, however, will
bear man up through the most exhausting labors, and this
fatiguing task was at length successfully performed. The
remainder of the excavation was through earth, and was
easier, though much the reverse of easy.

A few words will tell what was to be done, and how it was
accomplished. The tunnel began near the floor of the cellar,
eight or nine feet underground. Its length would need to be
seventy or eighty feet. Only one man could work in it at a
time, and this he had to do while crawling forward with his
face downward, and with such tools as pocket-knives, small
hatchets, sharp pieces of wood, and a broken fire-shovel.
After the opening had made some progress two men could work
in it, one digging, the other carrying back the earth, for
which work frying-pans were brought into use.

Another point of some little importance was the disposal of
the dirt. This was carelessly scattered over the cellar
floor, with straw thrown over it, and some of it placed in
boxes and barrels. The whole amount was not great, and not
likely to be noticed if the officials should happen to enter
the cellar, which had not been cleaned for years.

The work here described was begun in the latter part of
January, 1864. So diligently was it prosecuted that the
tunnel was pronounced finished on the night of February 8.
During this period only two or three men could work at once.
It was, indeed, frightfully exhausting labor, the
confinement of the narrow passage and the difficulty of
breathing in its foul air being not the least of the
hardships to be endured. Work was prosecuted during part of
the period night and day, the absence of a man from
roll-call being concealed in various ways, as already

The secret had been kept well, but not too well. Some
workers had divulged it to their friends. Others of the
prisoners had discovered that something was going on, and
had been let into the affair on a pledge of secrecy. By the
time the tunnel was completed its existence was known to
something more than one hundred out of the eleven hundred
prisoners. These were all placed on their word of honor to
give no hint of the enterprise.

The night of February 8 was signalized by the opening of the
outward end of the tunnel. A passage was dug upwards, and an
opening made sufficiently large to permit the worker to take
a look outward into the midnight air. What he saw gave him a
frightful shock. The distance had been miscalculated; the
opening was on the _wrong_ side of the fence; there in full
sight was one of the sentinels, pacing his beat with loaded

Here was a situation that needed nerve and alertness. The
protruded head was quickly withdrawn, and the earth which
had been removed rapidly replaced, it being packed as
tightly as possible from below to prevent its falling in.
Word of the perilous error was sent back, and as the whisper
passed from ear to ear every heart throbbed with a nervous
shock. They had barely escaped losing the benefit of their
weeks of exhausting labor.

The opening had been at the outward edge of the fence. The
tunnel was now run two feet farther, and an opening again
made. It was now on the inside of the fence, and in a safe
place, for the stable adjoining the yard was disused.

The evening of the 9th was that fixed upon for flight. At a
little after nine o'clock the exodus began. Those in the
secret made their way to the cooking-room. The fireplace
passage was opened, and such was the haste to avail
themselves of it that the men almost struggled for
precedence. Rules had been made, but no order could be
kept. Silence reigned, however. No voice was raised above a
whisper; every footstep was made as light as possible. It
had been decided that fifty men should leave that night, and
fifty the next, the prison clerk being deceived at roll-call
by an artifice which had been practised more than once
before, that of men leaving one end of the line and
regaining the other unseen, to answer to the names of
others. But the risk of discovery was too great. Every man
wanted to be among the first. It proved impossible to
restrain the anxious prisoners.

Down into the cellar passed a long line of descending men,
dropping to its floor in rapid succession. Around the mouth
of the tunnel a dense crowd gathered. But here only one man
was allowed to pass at a time, on account of the bad air.
The noise made in passing through told those behind how long
the tunnel was occupied. The instant the noise ceased
another plunged in.

The passage was no easy one. The tunnel was little more than
wide enough to contain a man's body, and progress had to be
made by kicking and scrambling forward. Two or three
minutes, however, sufficed for the journey, the one who had
last emerged helping his companion to the upper air.

Here was a carriage-way fronting southward, and leading into
Canal Street, which ran along the Lynchburg Canal. Four
guards paced along the south side of the prison within plain
view. The risk was great. On emerging from the carriage-way
the fugitives would be in full sight of these guards. But
the risk must be taken. Watching the street for a moment in
which it was comparatively clear, one by one they passed out
and walked deliberately along the canal, in the direction
away from the prison, like ordinary passers. This dangerous
space was crossed with remarkable good fortune. If the
guards noticed them at all, they must have taken them for
ordinary citizens. The unusual number of passers, on that
retired street, nearly the whole night long, does not seem
to have attracted the attention of any of the guards. One
hundred and nine escaped in all, yet not a man of them was

Canal Street once left, the first breath of relief was
drawn. Those who early escaped soon found themselves in
well-lighted streets, many of the shops still open, and
numerous citizens and soldiers promenading. No one took
notice of the fugitives, who strolled along the streets in
small groups, laughing and talking on indifferent subjects,
and, with no sign of haste, directing their steps towards
the outskirts of the city.

As to what followed, there are almost as many adventures to
relate as there were persons escaped. We shall confine
ourselves to the narrative of one of them, Captain Earle,
from whose story the particulars above given have been
condensed. With him was one companion, Captain Charles E.

They had provided themselves with a small quantity of food,
but had no definite plans. It quickly occurred to them,
however, that they had better make their way down the
peninsula, towards Fortress Monroe, as the nearest locality
where Union troops could probably be found. With the polar
star for guide they set out, having left the perilous
precincts of the city in their rear.

To travel by night, to hide by day, was their chosen plan.
The end of their first night's journey found them in the
vicinity of a swamp, some five miles from Richmond. Here,
hid behind a screen of brushwood and evergreen bushes, they
spent the long and anxious day, within hearing of the noises
of the camps around the city, but without discovery.

A day had made a gratifying change in their situation. The
day before they had been prisoners, with no apparent
prospect of freedom for months. This day they were free,
even if in a far from agreeable situation. Liberty solaced
them for the weariness of that day's anxious vigil. How long
they would remain free was the burning question of the hour.
They were surrounded with perils. Could they hope to pass
through them in safety? This only the event could tell.

The wintry cold was one of their difficulties. Their meagre
stock of food was another. They divided this up into very
small rations, with the hope that they could make it last
for six days. The second night they moved in an easterly
direction, and near morning ventured to approach a small
cabin, which proved to be, as they had hoped, occupied by a
negro. He gave them directions as to their course, and all
the food he had,--a small piece of pone bread.

That day they suffered much, in their hiding place, from
the cold. That night, avoiding roads, they made their way
through swamp and thicket, finding themselves in the morning
chilled with wet clothing and torn by briers. Near morning
of the third night they reached what seemed to be a swamp.
They concluded to rest on its borders till dawn, and then
pass through it. Sleep came to them here. When they wakened
it was full day, and an agreeable surprise greeted their
eyes. What they supposed to be a swamp proved to be the
Chickahominy River. The prospect of meeting this stream had
given them much mental anxiety. Captain Rowan could not
swim. Captain Earle had no desire to do so, in February. How
it was to be crossed had troubled them greatly. As they
opened their eyes now, the problem was solved. There lay a
fallen tree, neatly bridging the narrow stream! In less than
five minutes they were safely on the other side of this
dreaded obstacle, and with far better prospects than they
had dreamed of a few hours before.

By the end of the fourth night they found that their six
days' stock of food was exhausted, and their strength almost
gone. Their only hope of food now lay in confiscating a
chicken from the vicinity of some farm-house, and eating it
raw. For this purpose they cautiously approached the
out-buildings of a farm-house. Here, while secretly scouting
for the desired chicken, they were discovered by a negro.
They had no need to fear him. There is no case on record of
a negro betraying an escaped prisoner into the hands of the
enemy. The sympathy of these dusky captives to slavery could
be safely counted upon, and many a fugitive owed to them his
safety from recapture.

"Glad to see you, gemmen," he cried, courteously. "You's
Yankee off'cers, 'scaped from prison. It's all right wid me,
gemmen. Come dis way; you's got to be looked arter."

The kindly sympathy of this dusky friend was so evident that
they followed him without a thought of treachery. He led
them to his cabin, where a blazing fire in an old-fashioned
fireplace quickly restored that sense of the comfort of
warmth which they had for days lost.

Several colored people were present, who surrounded and
questioned them with the warmest sympathy. A guard was
posted to prevent surprise, and the old mammy of the family
hastened to prepare what seemed to them the most delicious
meal they had ever tasted. The corn-bread _pones_ vanished
down their throats as fast as she could take them from the
hot ashes in which they were baked. The cabbage, fried in a
skillet, tasted like ambrosia. The meat no game could
surpass in flavor, and an additional zest was added to it by
their fancy that it had been furnished by the slave-holder's
pantry. They had partaken of many sumptuous meals, but
nothing to equal that set before them on the hospitable
table of their dusky hosts. They were new men, with new
courage, when they at length set out again, fully informed
as to their route.

On they went through the cold, following the difficult
paths which they chose in preference to travelled roads,
while the dogs,--for the peninsula seemed to them to be
principally peopled by dogs,--by their unceasing chorus of
barks, right, left, and in front, kept them in a state of
nervous exasperation. Many times did they turn from their
course through fear of detection from these vociferous
guardians of the night.

On the fifth day they were visited, in their place of
concealment, by a snow-storm. Their suffering from cold now
became so intolerable that they could not remain at rest,
and they resumed their route about four o'clock. Two hours
they went, and then, to their complete discouragement, found
themselves back again at their starting-point, and cold,
wet, tired, and hungry into the bargain.

As they stood there, expressing in very plain language their
opinion of Dame Fortune, a covered cart approached. Taking
it for granted that the driver was a negro, they hailed him;
but to their dismay found that they had halted a white man.

There was but one thing to do. They told him that they were
Confederate scouts, and asked him for information about the
Yankee outposts. A short conference ensued, which ended in
their discovering that they were talking to a man of strong
Union sympathies, and as likely to befriend them as the
negroes. This was a hopeful discovery. They now freely told
him who they really were, and in return received valuable
information as to roads, being told in addition where they
could find a negro family who would give them food.

"If you can keep out of the way of rebel scouts for
twenty-four hours more," he continued, "you will very likely
come across some of your own troops. But you are on very
dangerous ground. Here is the scouting-place of both armies,
and guerillas and bushwackers are everywhere."

Thanking him, and with hearts filled with new hope, the
wanderers started forward. At midnight they reached the
negro cabin to which they had been directed, where, to their
great relief, they obtained a substantial meal of
corn-bread, pork, and rye coffee, and, what was quite as
acceptable, a warming from a bright fire. The friendly black
warned them, as their late informant had done, of the danger
of the ground they had yet to traverse.

These warnings caused them to proceed very cautiously, after
leaving the hospitable cabin of their sable entertainer. But
they had not gone far before they met an unexpected and
vexatious obstacle, a river or creek, the Diascon, as the
negroes named it. They crossed it at length, but not without
great trouble and serious loss of time.

It was now the sixth night since their escape. Hitherto
Captain Rowan had been a model of strength, perseverance,
and judgment. Now these qualities seemed suddenly to leave
him. The terrible strain, mental and physical, to which they
had been exposed, and their sufferings from cold, fatigue,
and hunger, produced their effect at last, and he became
physically prostrate and mentally indifferent. Captain
Earle, who retained his energies, had great difficulty in
persuading him to proceed, and before daybreak was obliged
to let him stop and rest.

When dawn appeared they found themselves in an open country,
affording poor opportunities for concealment. They felt
sure, however, that they must be near the Union outposts.
With these considerations they concluded to make their
journey now by day, and in a road. In truth, Rowan had lost
all care as to how they went and what became of them, and
his companion's energy and decision were on the decline.

Onward they trudged, mile by mile, with keen enjoyment of
the highway after their bitter experience of by-ways, and
somewhat heedless of consequences, though glad to perceive
that no human form was in sight. Nine o'clock came. Before
them the road curved sharply. They walked steadily onward.
But as they neared the curve there came to their ears a most
disquieting sound, the noise of hoofs on the hard road-bed,
the rattle of cavalry equipments. A force of horsemen was
evidently approaching. Were they Union or Confederate? Was
freedom or renewed captivity before them? They looked
quickly to right and left. No opportunity for concealment
appeared. Nor was there a moment's time for flight, for the
sound of hoof-beats was immediately followed by the
appearance of mounted and uniformed men, a cavalry squad,
still some hundreds of yards away, but riding towards them
at full gallop.

The eyes of the fugitives looked wistfully and anxiously
towards them. Thank Heaven! they wore the Union blue! Those
guidons which rose high in the air bore the Union colors!
They were United States cavalry! Safety was assured!

In a minute more the rattling hoofs were close at hand, the
band of rescuers were around them; eager questions, glad
answers, heartfelt congratulations filled the air. In a very
few minutes the fugitives were mounted and riding gladly
back in the midst of their new friends, to be banqueted,
feasted, and fêted, until every vestige of their hardships
had been worn away by human kindness.

As to their feelings at this happy termination of their
heroic struggle for freedom, words cannot express them. The
weary days, the bitter disappointments, the harsh treatment
of prison life; the days and nights of cold, hunger, and
peril, wanderings through swamps and thorny thickets, hopes
and despairs of flight; all were at an end, and now only
friends surrounded them, only congratulating and
commiserating voices met their ears. It was a feast of joy
never to be forgotten.

A few words will finish. One hundred and nine men had
escaped. Of these, fifty-five reached the Union lines.
Fifty-four were captured and taken back to prison. Some of
the escaped officers, more swift in motion or fortunate in
route than the others, reached the Union lines on their
third day from Richmond. Their report that others were on
the road bore good fruit. General Butler, then in command
at Fortress Monroe, sent out, on alternate days, the
Eleventh Pennsylvania Cavalry and the First New York Rifles
to patrol the country in search of the escaping prisoners,
with tall guidons to attract their attention if they should
be in concealment. Many of the fugitives were thus rescued.
The adventures of two, as above given, must serve for
example of them all.


Naval operations in the American Civil War were particularly
distinguished by the active building of iron-clads. The
North built and employed them with marked success; the
South, with marked failure. With praiseworthy energy and at
great cost the Confederates produced iron-clad vessels of
war in Norfolk Harbor, on Roanoke River, in the Mississippi,
and elsewhere, yet, with the exception of the one day's raid
of ruin of the Merrimac in Hampton Roads, their labor was
almost in vain, their expensive war-vessels went down in the
engulfing waters or went up in flame and smoke. Their
efforts in this direction were simply conspicuous examples
of non-success. We propose here to tell the tale of disaster
of the Albemarle, one of these iron-clads, and the great
deed of heroism which brought her career to an untimely end.

The Albemarle was built on the Roanoke River in 1863. She
was of light draught, but of considerable length and width,
her hull above the water-line being covered with four inches
of iron bars. Such an armor would be like paper against the
great guns of to-day; then it served its purpose well. The
competition for effectiveness between rifled cannon and
armor plates had not yet begun.

April, 1864, had arrived before this formidable opponent of
the Union blockading fleet was ready for service. Then, one
misty morning, down the river she went, on her mission of
death and destruction. The opening of her career was
promising. She attacked the Union gunboats and fort at
Plymouth, near the mouth of the river, captured one of the
boats, sunk another, and aided in forcing the fort to
surrender, its garrison being taken prisoners. It had been
assailed at the same time by a strong land force, and the
next day Plymouth itself was taken by the Confederate
troops, with a heavy Union loss in men and material.

So far favoring fortune had attended the Albemarle.
Enlivened with success, on a morning in May she steamed out
into the deeper waters of Albemarle Bay, confident on
playing the same rôle with the wooden vessels there that the
Merrimac had played in Hampton Roads. She failed in this
laudable enterprise. The Albemarle was not so formidable as
the Merrimac. The steamers of war which she was to meet were
more formidable than the Congress and the Cumberland. She
first encountered the Sassacus, a vessel of powerful
armament. More agile than the iron-clad, the Sassacus played
round her, exchanging shots, and seeking a vulnerable point.
At length, under a full head of steam, she dashed on the
monster, striking a blow which drove it bodily half under
the water. Recovering from the blow, the two vessels, almost
side by side, hurled 100-pound balls upon each other. Most
of those of the Sassacus bounded from the mailed sides of
her antagonist, like hail from stone walls. But three of
them entered a port, and did sad work within. In reply the
Albemarle sent one of her great bolts through a boiler of
the Sassacus, filling her with steam. So far the iron-clad
had the best of the game; but others of the fleet were now
near at hand; the balls which had entered her port had done
serious injury; she was no longer in fighting trim; she
turned and made the best of her way back to Plymouth, firing
as she fled.

This ended her career for that summer. But repairs were
made, and she was put in fighting trim again; another
gunboat was building as a consort; unless something were
quickly done she would soon be in Albemarle Sound again,
with possibly a different tale to tell from that of her
first assault.

At this critical juncture Lieutenant William B. Cushing, a
very young but a very bold officer, proposed a daring plan;
no less a one than to attack the Albemarle at her wharf,
explode a torpedo under her hull, and send her, if possible,
to the bottom of the Roanoke. He proposed to use a swift
steam-launch, run up the stream at night, and assail the
iron-clad where she lay in fancied security. From the bow of
the launch protruded a long spar, loaded at its end with a
100-pound dynamite cartridge. The spar could be lowered by
pulling one rope, the cartridge detached by pulling another,
and the dynamite exploded by pulling a third.

The proposed exploit was a highly perilous one. The
Albemarle lay eight miles up the river. Plymouth was
garrisoned by several thousand soldiers, and the banks of
the stream were patrolled by sentinels all the way down to
the bay. It was more than likely that none of the
adventurers would live to return. Yet Cushing and the crew
of seven daring men whom he selected were willing to take
the risk, and the naval commanders, to whom success in such
an enterprise promised the most valuable results, agreed to
let them go.

It was a dark night in which the expedition set out,--that
of October 27, 1864. Up the stream headed the little launch,
with her crew of seven, and towing two boats, each
containing ten men, armed with cutlasses, grenades, and
revolvers. Silently they proceeded, keeping to mid-stream,
so as to avoid alarming the sentinels on the banks. In this
success was attained; the eight miles were passed and the
front of the town reached without the Confederates having an
inkling of the disaster in store for them.

Reaching Plymouth, Lieutenant Cushing came to a quick
decision as to what had best be done. He knew the town well.
No alarm had been given. He might land a party and take the
Albemarle by surprise. He could land his men on the lower
wharf, lead them stealthily through the dark streets, leap
with them upon the iron-clad, surprise the officers and
crew, and capture the vessel at her moorings. It was an
enterprise of frightful risk, yet Cushing was just the man
for it, and his men would follow wherever he should lead. A
low order was given. The launch turned and glided almost
noiselessly towards the wharf. But she was now only a short
distance from the Albemarle, on whose deck the lookout was

"What boat is that?" came a loud hail.

No reply. The launch glided on.

"What boat is that?" came the hail again, sharper than

"Cast off!" said Cushing, in a low tone. The two boats were
loosened and drifted away. The plan of surprise was at an
end. The vigilance of the lookout had made it impossible.
That of destruction remained. The launch was turned again,
and moved once more towards the Albemarle.

They were quickly so close that the hull of the iron-clad
loomed darkly above them. Upon that vessel all was
commotion. The unanswered hail was followed by the springing
of rattles, ringing of bells, running of men, and shouting
of orders. Muskets were fired at random at the dimly seen
black object. Bullets whizzed past the devoted crew. Lights
began to flash here and there. A minute before all had been
rest and silence; now all was noise, alarm, and commotion.


All this did not disconcert the intrepid commander of the
launch. His main concern at that moment was an unexpected
obstacle he had discovered, and which threatened to defeat
his enterprise. A raft of logs had been placed around the
iron-clad to protect her from any such attack. There she
lay, not fifty feet away; but this seemingly insuperable
obstacle intervened.

What was to be done? In emergencies like that men think
quickly and to the point. The raft must be passed, or all
was at an end. The logs had been long in the water, and
doubtless were slippery with river slime. The launch might
be run upon and over them. Once inside the raft, it could
never return. No matter for that. He was there to sink the
Albemarle. The smaller contingency of losing his own life
was a matter to be left for an after-thought.

This decision was reached in a moment's thought. The noise
above them increased. Men were running and shouting, lights
flashing, landsmen, startled by the noise, hurrying to the
river-bank. Without an instant's delay the launch was
wheeled round, steamed rapidly into the stream until a good
offing was gained, turned again, and now drove straight
forward for the Albemarle with all the power of her engines.
As she came near bullets poured like hail across her decks.
One tore off the sole of Cushing's shoe; another went
through the back of his coat; it was perilously close and
hot work. The hail came again:

"What boat is that?"

This time Lieutenant Cushing replied. His reply was not in
words, however, but in a howitzer load of canister which
drove across the Albemarle's deck. The next minute the bow
of the launch struck the logs. As had been expected, the
light craft slid up on their slippery surfaces, forcing
them down into the water. The end of the spar almost touched
the iron hull of the destined victim.

The first rope was loosened. The spar, with its load,
dropped under water. The launch was still gliding onward,
and carrying the spar forward. The second cord was pulled;
the torpedo dropped from the spar. At this moment a bullet
cut across the left palm of the gallant Cushing. As it did
so he pulled the third cord. The next instant a surging
column of water was raised, lifting the Albemarle as though
the great iron-clad were of feather weight. At the same
instant a cannon, its muzzle not fifteen feet away, sent its
charge rending through the timbers of the launch.

The Albemarle, lifted for a moment on the boiling surge,
settled down into the mud of her shallow anchorage, never
more to swim, with a great hole torn in her bottom. The
torpedo had done its work. Cushing had earned his fame.

"Surrender!" came a loud shout from Confederate lungs.

"Never!" shouted Cushing in reply. "Save yourselves!" he
said to his men.

In an instant he had thrown off coat, shoes, sword, and
pistols, and plunged into the waters that rolled darkly at
his feet, and in which he had just dug a grave for the
Albemarle. His men sprung beside him, and struck out boldly
for the farther shore.

All this had passed in far less time than it takes to tell
it. Little more than five minutes had passed since the
first hail, and already the Albemarle was a wreck, the
launch destroyed, her crew swimming for their lives, and
bullets from deck and shore pouring thickly across the dark

The incensed Confederates hastily manned boats and pushed
out into the stream. In a few minutes they had captured most
of the swimming crew. One sank and was drowned. One reached
the shore. The gallant commander of the launch they failed
to find. They called his name,--they had learned it from
their prisoners,--but no answer came, and the darkness
veiled him from view. Had he gone to the bottom? Such most
of the searchers deemed to be his fate.

In a few minutes the light of a blazing fire flashed across
the river from Plymouth wharf. It failed to reveal any
swimming forms. The impression became general that the
daring commander was drowned. After some further search most
of the boats returned, deeming their work at an end.

They had not sought far or fast enough. Cushing had reached
shore--on the Plymouth side--before the fire was kindled. He
was chilled and exhausted, but he dared not stop to rest.
Boats were still patrolling the stream; parties of search
might soon be scouring the river-banks; the moments were
precious, he must hasten on.

He found himself near the walls of a fort. On its parapet,
towering gloomily above him, a sentinel could be seen,
pacing steadily to and fro. The fugitive lay almost under
his eyes. A bushy swamp lay not far beyond, but to reach
its shelter he must cross an open space forty feet wide in
full view of this man. The sentinel walks away. Cushing
makes a dash for life. But not half the space is traversed
when his backward glancing eye sees the sentinel about to
turn. Down he goes on his back in the rushes, trusting to
their friendly shelter and the gloom of the night to keep
him from sight.

As he lies there, slowly gaining breath after his excited
effort, four men--two of them officers--pass so close that
they almost tread on his extended form, seeking him, but
failing to see what lies nearly under their feet. They pass
on, talking of the night's startling event. Cushing dares
not rise again. Yet the swamp must be gained, and speedily.
Still flat on his back, he digs his heels into the soft
earth, and pushes himself inch by inch through the rushes,
until, with a warm heart-throb of hope, he feels the welcome
dampness of the swamp.

It proves to be no pleasant refuge. The mire is too deep to
walk in, while above it grow tangled briers and thorny
shrubs, through which he is able to pass only as before, by
lying on his back, and pushing and pulling himself onward.

The hours of the night passed. Day dawned. He had made some
progress, and was now at a safe distance from the fort, but
found himself still in the midst of peril. Near where he lay
a party of soldiers were at work, engaged in planting
obstructions in the river, lest the Union fleet should
follow its daring pioneers to Plymouth, now that the
Albemarle was sunk, and the chief naval defence of the
place gone.

Just back from the river-bank, and not far from where he
lay, a cornfield lifted its yellowed plumes into the air.
Cushing managed to reach its friendly shelter unobserved,
and now, almost for the first time since his escape, stood
upright, and behind the rustling rows made his way past the

To his alarm, as he came near the opposite side of the
field, he found himself face to face with a man who glared
at him in surprise. Well he might, for the late
trimly-dressed lieutenant was now a sorry sight, covered
from head to foot with swamp mud, his clothes rent, and
blood oozing from a hundred scratches in his skin.

He had no reason for alarm; the man was a negro; the dusky
face showed sympathy under its surprise.

"I am a Union soldier," said Cushing, feeling in his heart
that no slave would betray him.

"One o' dem as was in de town last night?" asked the negro.

"Yes. Have you been there? Can you tell me anything?"

"No, massa; on'y I's been tole dat dar's pow'ful bad work
dar, an' de sojers is bilin' mad."

Further words passed, in the end the negro agreeing to go to
the town, see for himself what harm had been done, and bring
back word. Cushing would wait for him under shelter of the

The old negro set out on his errand, glad of the
opportunity to help one of "Massa Linkum's sojers." The
lieutenant secreted himself as well as he could, and waited.
An hour passed. Then steps and the rustling of the dry
leaves of the corn-stalks were heard. The fugitive peeped
from his ambush. To his joy he saw before him the smiling
face of his dusky messenger.

"What news?" he demanded, stepping joyfully forward.

"Mighty good news, massa," said the negro, with a laugh.
"Dat big iron ship's got a hole in her bottom big 'nough to
drive a wagon in. She's deep in de mud, 'longside de wharf,
an' folks say she'll neber git up ag'in."

"Good! She's done for, then? My work is accomplished?--Now,
old man, tell me how I must go to get back to the ships."

The negro gave what directions he could, and the fugitive
took to the swamp again, after a grateful good-by to his
dusky friend and a warm "God-speed" from the latter. It was
into a thicket of tangled shrubs that Lieutenant Cushing now
plunged, so dense that he could not see ten feet in advance.
But the sun was visible overhead and served him as a guide.
Hour by hour he dragged himself painfully onward. At two
o'clock in the afternoon he found himself on the banks of a
narrow creek, a small affluent of the Roanoke.

He crouched in the bushes on the creek-side, peering warily
before him. Voices reached his ears. Across the stream he
saw men. A minute's observation apprised him of the
situation. The men he saw to be a group of soldiers, seven
in number, who had just landed from a boat in the stream. As
he watched, they tied their boat to the root of a tree, and
then turned into a path that led upward. Reaching a point at
some distance from the river, they stopped, sat down, and
began to eat their dinner.

Here was an opportunity, a desperate one, but Cushing had
grown ready for desperate chances. He had had enough of
wandering through mire and thorns. Without hesitation he
lowered himself noiselessly into the water, swam across the
stream, untied the boat, pushed it cautiously from the bank,
and swam with it down the stream until far enough away to be
out of sight of its recent occupants. Then he climbed into
the boat and paddled away as fast as possible.

There was no sign of pursuit. The soldiers kept
unsuspiciously at their mid-day meal. The swamp-lined
creek-sides served well as a shelter from prying eyes. For
hours Cushing pursued his slow course. The sun sank;
darkness gathered; night came on. At the same time the water
widened around him; he was on the surface of the Roanoke.

Onward he paddled; the night crept on till midnight was
reached; for ten hours he had been at that exhausting toil.
But now before his eyes appeared a welcome sight, the dark
hull of a Union gunboat.

"Ship ahoy!" came a loud hail from the exhausted man.

"Who goes there?" answered the lookout on the gunboat.

"A friend. Take me up."

The gunboat was quickly in motion. This might be a
Confederate ruse, possibly a torpedo might have been sent to
blow them up; they were in dangerous waters. Boats were
quickly lowered, and rowed towards the small object on the

"Who are you?" came the cry, as they drew near.

"Lieutenant Cushing, or what is left of me."

"Cushing!" was the excited answer. "And the Albemarle?"

"Will never trouble a Union fleet again. She rests in her
grave on the muddy bottom of the Roanoke."

Loud cheers followed this stirring announcement. The sailors
bent to their oars, and quickly had the gallant lieutenant
on board. Their cheers were heightened tenfold when the crew
of the Valley City heard what had been done. In truth, the
exploit of Lieutenant Cushing was one that for coolness,
daring, and success in the face of seemingly insuperable
obstacles has rarely been equalled in history, and the
destruction of the Albemarle ranks with the most notable
events in the history of war.


In 1867, when the far-seeing Secretary Seward purchased
Alaska from the Russian government for $7,200,000, there was
an outcry of disapproval equal to that made when Louisiana
territory was purchased from France in 1803. Many of the
people called the region "Seward's Folly" and said it would
produce nothing but icebergs and polar bears, and General
Benjamin F. Butler, representative from Massachusetts, said
in the House: "If we are to pay this amount for Russia's
friendship during the war, then give her the $7,200,000 and
tell her to keep Alaska." Representative Washburn, of
Wisconsin, exclaimed: "I defy any man on the face of the
earth to produce any evidence that an ounce of gold has ever
been found in Alaska."

To-day Alaska is yielding in gold $10,000,000 per year; its
fisheries are among the richest in the world, including more
than half the salmon yield of the United States; its forests
are of enormous value; its fur-seal harvest is without a
rival; its territory is traversed by one of the greatest
rivers of the world, two thousand miles long and with more
than a thousand miles of navigable waters, and it promises
to become an important farming and stock-raising region. As
for extent, it is large enough to cover more than twenty of
our States. In revenue it has repaid the United States the
original outlay and several millions more; while, aside from
its gold product, its fisheries have netted $100,000,000 and
its furs $80,000,000 since its acquisition. Seward, then,
was wise in looking upon this purchase as the greatest
achievement of his life, though he truly said that it would
take the country a generation to find out Alaska's value.

The most dramatic and interesting portion of the story of
Alaska is its gold-mining enterprise, and it is of this,
therefore, that we propose to speak. The discovery of placer
gold deposits in British Columbia led naturally to the
surmise that this precious metal might be found farther
northward, and as early as 1880 wandering gold-hunters had
made their way over the passes from Cassiar or inward from
the coast and were trying the gravel bars of tributaries of
the Yukon, finding the yellow metal at several places.


The first important find along the Yukon was made on Stewart
River in 1885, about $100,000 being taken out in two
summers. The next year a good find was made at Forty-Mile
Creek, finds being made later on Sixty-Mile Creek, Birch
Creek, and other streams. On Birch Creek arose Circle City,
named from its proximity to the Arctic circle, and growing
into a well-built and well-conducted little town.

Meanwhile a valuable find had been made on Douglas Island,
one of the long chain of islands that bound the western
coast line, and this has since developed into one of the
richest mines in the world. It is not a placer mine,
however, but a quartz mine, one needing capital for its
development and with no charms for the ordinary gold-seeker.
The gold is found in a friable and easily worked rock,
enabling low-grade ores to be handled at a profit, and
to-day fifteen hundred stamps are busy and the mines are
highly profitable.

The placer miners, however, have no use for gold that rests
in quartz veins and has to be obtained by the aid of costly
stamping mills. The gold they seek is that on which nature
has done the work of stamping, by breaking up the original
veins into sands and gravels, with which the freed gold is
mixed in condition to be obtained by a simple process of
washing. The wandering miners thus prospected Alaska,
following the long course of the Yukon and trying its
tributary streams, many of them making a living, a few of
them acquiring wealth, but none of their finds attracting
the attention of the world, which scarcely knew that
gold-seekers were at work in this remote and almost unknown

Thus it went on until 1897, when on July 16 a party of
miners arrived in San Francisco from the upper Yukon with a
large quantity of gold in nuggets and dust and a story to
tell that deeply stirred that old land of gold. On the 17th
another steamer put into Seattle with more miners and
$800,000 in gold dust, nearly all of it the outcome of a
winter's work on a small stream known as the Klondike,
entering the Yukon about fifty miles above Forty-Mile Creek.

The discovery of this rich placer region was made in the
autumn of 1896 by an Illinois man named George McCormick,
who, in the intervals of salmon fishing, tried his hand at
prospecting, and on Bonanzo Creek, a tributary of the
Klondike, was surprised and overjoyed to find gold in a
profusion never before dreamed of in the Alaskan region. The
news of the find spread rapidly through Alaska and before
winter set in the old diggings were largely deserted, a
swarm of eager miners poured into the Klondike region, and
the frozen earth was torn and rent in their eagerness to
reach its yellow treasures.

The news of the discovery spread as far and fast as the
telegraph could carry it. The richness of the find surpassed
anything ever before found and the whole country was agog.
The stories of wonderful fortunes made by miners were
testified to by a display of nuggets and sacks of shining
gold in stores and hotels, the find of one man being shown
in a San Francisco shop window in the shape of one hundred
and thirty thousand dollars worth of gold.

The old gold-fever broke out again as an epidemic. Such a
stampede as took place had never before been seen. The
stream of picturesque humanity that poured through Seattle
and on to the golden north surpassed the palmy days of '49
when California opened its caves of Aladdin. Every steamer
that could be made use of was booked to its full capacity,
while many ardent gold-seekers were turned away. Every
passenger and every pound of cargo that could be taken on
these steamers was loaded and the hegira was almost
instantly in full blast.

As it proved, the new find was in Canadian territory, a few
miles east of the Alaskan boundary, but the flood of men
that set in was mainly American. Many threw up good
positions or mortgaged their homes for funds to join the mad
migration, oblivious in most cases of the fact that they
were setting out to encounter hardships and arctic extremes
of temperature for which their home life had utterly
unfitted them. Warnings were published that those who joined
the pioneer flood faced starvation or death by freezing or
hardship, but the tide was on and could not be turned, and
before the autumn had far advanced thousands had landed at
the mushroom settlements of Skagway and Dyea, laden with the
effects they had brought with them and proposing to fight
their way against nature's obstacles over the difficult
mountain passes and along the little less difficult lakes
and streams to the promised land of gold. A village of log
houses and tents, known as Dawson, had sprung up at the
mouth of the Klondike, and this was the mecca towards which
the great pilgrimage set.

The struggle inland of the first comers was a frightful one.
No roads or pack-trails existed over the rough and lofty
passes of the coast range of mountains, and it was killing
work to transport the many tons of equipments and
provisions over the nearly impassable Chilkoot and White
Passes. For those who came too late in the season it was
quite impassable, the trails and rivers were stopped by snow
and ice, and numbers had to endure a long and miserable
winter in the primitive coast settlements or straggle back
to civilization.

The terrors of that first year's battle with the unbroken
passes are indescribable. Thousands of dead pack-horses
marked the way. And the mountains once crossed and the
waters reached new troubles arose. Boats had to be built for
the long reach of navigation down the chain of lakes and the
Yukon--many having brought the necessary boat timbers with
them. Six hundred miles of waterways were to be traversed.
On some of the short streams connecting the lakes there were
dangerous rapids to be run, in which many lost their goods
and some their lives. The early winter added ice to the
difficulties of the way and the Yukon section of the trip
was made by the later comers through miles of drift ice,
grinding and ploughing its way to the peril of the boats, or
water travel was checked by the final closing of the stream
for the winter, leaving no resource but a long sledging
journey over the snow.

Those who took the long voyage to the mouth of the Yukon and
journeyed by steamer up that stream had their difficulties
with ice and current, and it was not uncommon for them to be
frozen in, leaving them the sole expedient of the dog sled,
if they elected to proceed to the diggings without their

Dawson once reached, the trouble and hardship were by no
means at an end. Having penetrated a total wilderness in an
arctic climate, borne on by dreams of sudden fortune, the
enthusiastic treasure-seekers found new difficulties
awaiting them. There was no easy task of digging and
panning, as in more favored climes. Winter had locked the
golden treasures with its strongest fetters. The ground was
everywhere frozen into the firmness of rock. In midsummer it
thawed no more than three feet down, and eternal frost
reigned below.

To reach the gold-bearing gravels the miners had to build
fires on the frozen surface and keep these going for
twenty-four hours. This would soften the soil to the depth
of some six inches. This thrown out, new fires had to be
kindled, and thus laboriously the miners burned their way
down to the gold-bearing gravel, usually at a depth of
fifteen feet. Then other fires were built at the bottom and
tunnels made through the five feet or more of "pay-dirt,"
which was dug out and piled up to await the coming of
flowing water in the spring, when the gold might be washed
out in the rockers and sluices employed.

As may be seen, the buried treasures of these gravel beds
were to be won in these pioneer years only by dint of
exhausting labor and frightful hardship. They would never
have been found at all had not the bars and shores of the
streams yielded gold at the surface level. Yet the
extraordinary richness of these gravels, from which as much
as $50,000 might be obtained as the result of a winter's
work, excited men's imaginations to the utmost, and the
stream of gold-seekers continued year after year until
Dawson grew to be a well-built and populous city and the
yearly output of the Klondike mines amounted to more than

The difficulty in reaching the mines grew less year by year.
As early as 1898 a railway was begun across the White Pass.
It now extends from Skagway more than a hundred miles
inland, the lakes and streams being traversed by steamers,
so that the purgatory of the early prospectors has been
converted into the "broad and easy way" of the later
sinners. The old method of burning into the frozen soil has
also been improved on, steam being now used instead of fire
and the pay-dirt reached much more rapidly and cheaply by
its aid.

The Klondike region, though largely prospected and worked by
Americans, is not in Alaska, Dawson lying sixty miles east
of the border. The streams of Alaska itself, so far as they
have yet been worked, are far less promising, and yet Alaska
has a golden treasure house of its own that may yet prove as
prolific as the Klondike itself.

This is at Nome, on the shores of Bering Sea, about
twenty-five degrees of longitude nearly due west from
Dawson, and a hundred and fifty miles north of the mouth of
the Yukon. Here the sands of the sea itself and of its
bordering shores have proven splendid gold bearers and have
attracted a large population to that inhospitable region, in
latitude sixty-five degrees north; here has grown up a city
containing 25,000 inhabitants, and here may be seen the most
northerly railroad in the world.

In 1898 a soldier, in digging a well on the beach at Nome,
saw in the sands thrown up that alluring yellow glint which
has led so many men to fortune and so many to death. The
story of his find came to the ears of an old prospector from
Idaho, who, too ill to go inland, was stranded in the
military station of Nome. Spade and pan were at once put to
work and in twenty days the fortunate invalid found himself
worth $3000 in gold.

At Nome the gold was first found in the beach sands and even
in the sands of the sea adjoining the beach, old Neptune
being forced to yield part of the treasures he had taken to
himself. Later, the bench of higher land stretching back
from the beach and the sides of the down-flowing creeks were
found to be gold-bearing, the bench gravels being from forty
to eighty feet thick, with gold throughout. A heavy growth
of moss covers this coastal plain, under which lie the
frozen gravels, which are softened by the use of steam and
thus forced to give up their previous freight. That is all
we need say about the gold product of Alaska, further than
to sum up that the territory yields about $10,000,000 per
year, or with the Klondike about $25,000,000, these
equalling nearly one-third the total production of the
United States. Here is a fine showing for a region once
deemed worthless.

Gold is an alluring subject, but Alaska has other sources of
wealth which enormously exceed its golden sands in value.
We have already spoken of the rich products of its fisheries
and furs. The former include several species of salmon,
which the Yukon yields in vast numbers; the latter embrace,
in addition to the usual fur-bearing animals, the valuable
fur-seal of the Aleutian Islands, a species found nowhere
else. To these sources of wealth may be added the vast
forests of valuable timber, especially of spruce, hemlock,
red and yellow cedar, which are likely to become of great
value in the growing extermination of the home forests of
the United States.

Alaska also presents excellent opportunities in its coast
districts for agriculture, most of the hardy vegetables and
cereals here yielding good crops. But a more valuable
outlook for the farmer appears to lie in the grazing
opportunities of the land. In some localities along the
south coast the grasses grow in splendid luxuriance, much of
the grass being six feet high. On the higher elevations and
in exposed places the grass is often too low for hay making
but is admirable for grazing, the cattle that eat it growing
very fat. Of these grass lands there are about 10,000 square
miles, of which more than half can be utilized.

Stock raising, then, is likely to become a leading industry,
and especially dairying, there being more meat than is
needed by the sparse population. There are admirable dairy
sites on the islands and mainland. The reindeer, recently
introduced, are likely to prove invaluable to the natives,
supplanting in great measure the dog for transportation
purposes, and supplying also food and clothing. Reindeer
milk makes excellent cheese, and in a few years there may be
deer-meat for sale outside.

Such is the story of Alaska. It occupies much the same
position on the west coast of America as Norway does on that
of Europe, but has four times as wide a habitable area as
Norway and a milder climate on its south coast lands.
Therefore, as Norway sustains a population of 2,240,000,
there is no special reason why Alaska may not yet possess a
population of 3,000,000 or 4,000,000 and take rank as one of
the important States of the American Union.


Up to the year 1898 the United States was confined to the
continent of North America. In that year it made a great
stride outward over the oceans, adding to its dominion the
island of Porto Rico in the West India waters and the
archipelagoes of the Philippine and Hawaiian Islands in the
far Pacific. Porto Rico and the Philippines were added as a
result of the war with Spain. As to how Hawaii was acquired
it is our purpose here to tell.

Midway in the North Pacific lies this interesting group of
islands, first made known to the world by Captain Cook, the
famous English discoverer, in 1778, and annexed to the
United States one hundred and twenty years later. Before
telling the story of their acquisition a few words as to
their prior history will he in place.

Called by Captain Cook the Sandwich Islands, after the
English Earl of Sandwich, they afterwards became known as
the Hawaiian Islands, from the native name of the largest
island of the group, and are now collectively known as
Hawaii in their new position as a Territory of the United

When Captain Cook visited this locality he found the islands
inhabited by a friendly, kind-hearted people, disposed to
receive their visitors in a hospitable spirit. But, in the
usual way of sailors and discoverers dealing with the
primitive races, quarrels soon developed, some of the
natives were shot, one of them by Cook himself, and in the
fight that followed the great sailor and discoverer lost his

At that time each of the islands was governed by a chief, or
king if we may call him so, who had absolute authority over
his people. Greatest among them was Kamehameha, heir to the
throne of Hawaii, who was present when Captain Cook was
killed. Bold and ambitious and invested by nature with
political genius, this chief conceived the idea of making
himself master of all the islands and subjecting their
chiefs to his rule.

A shrewd and able man, he was quick to perceive that the
strangers who soon began to visit the islands were far
superior to the natives in arms and ability and he decided
to use them for his ends. In a fight with some American fur
traders a schooner, the "Fair American," was taken by the
islanders, and two Americans, Isaac Davis and John Young,
were made prisoners. With them the new chief obtained the
cannon, muskets and ammunition of the "Fair American." Thus
equipped, the Napoleon of Hawaii set out on his career of

Kindly treatment made the two Americans, Davis and Young,
his faithful friends and subjects, and they proved his
mainstay in the work of conquest. It was no easy matter,
even with his cannon and muskets. The chiefs of the other
islands resisted him fiercely, and it took many years, with
all the stern will and unyielding perseverance of Kamehameha
and the ability and courage of his two able lieutenants, to
subdue them all. Davis and Young were amply rewarded, with
honors and lands, for their services, and some of their
descendants still dwell on the islands.

While this work of conquest was going on many vessels
visited the islands, missionaries made their way thither,
Christianity was introduced and idolatry abolished, and many
of the arts of civilization found their way inward. Then
settlers other than missionaries came, many of them from
America, and a white population was added to the aboriginal.
Sugar-cane grew in abundance on the islands and sugar-mills
were introduced. Other industries were established. The
great fertility of the islands attracted speculators, the
lands rose in value, and great fortunes were made. Such is,
briefly, the industrial history of these islands.


The political history is not without its interest. Five
kings of the name of Kamehameha reigned in succession. Of
these, Kamehameha III., under American advice, gave up his
absolute rule, founded a constitutional government and
distributed the lands among the people. After the
Kamehamehas came King Lunalio, who ruled but one year, and
Kalakaua, who ruled from 1874 to 1891 and showed such a
disposition to return to absolutism that the people were in
constant dread for their liberties and lands. It was only by
a revolt of the people that they regained their rights,
forcing him to grant them a new constitution and their
former liberties and privileges.

The next and last monarch of Hawaii was a woman,
Liliuokalani, the sister of Kalakaua. She was the wife of an
Englishman, Mr. J.O. Dominis, and on a visit to London had
been entertained by Queen Victoria. Her rearing and
education had been under the influence of American
missionaries, and the whites of the islands, who had been in
constant fear of the late king, hailed her accession to the
throne with joy, with the expectation that they would have
in her a good friend. They soon found themselves

The extravagance and ill rule of Kalakaua had left the
country in a wretched state. It was deeply in debt and the
much needed public improvements were at a standstill. The
country had long been divided between two parties, the
missionary and the anti-missionary, the former seeking to
save the natives from vice and degradation, the latter
encouraging such vicious practices as lotteries and opium
sales for their personal benefit.

Under Kalakaua these ill weeds had gained full growth and
the new queen soon showed a disposition to encourage them.
Her whole nature seemed to change, her former friends were
cast aside and new favorites adopted, and though she had a
personal income of about $70,000, it was far from sufficing
for her needs.

To add to her income the agents of the Louisiana Lottery
were encouraged and the opium smugglers found little
interference with their nefarious traffic, while the
frequent changes of the queen's ministers kept the people in
a state of doubt and uneasiness.

At what was called the long term of the legislature laws
were passed favoring the lottery and the opium dealers. The
session was protracted until the grinding season for the
sugar-cane, when a number of the best members were obliged
to return to their plantations, and in their absence the
lottery and opium bills were rushed through.

Many of the Christian ladies of Honolulu now called on the
queen and implored her to veto this pernicious legislation,
which would turn their country into a den of gambling and
infamy. She wept with them over the situation and the good
ladies knelt and prayed that God would help their queen in
the terrible ordeal before her. They left the palace feeling
sure that the country was safe from the dread affliction--an
hour later the queen signed both bills and they became laws.

The passage of these bills created intense indignation. All
felt that it was a piece of treachery and fraud, those who
gave the queen any credit for good intentions looking upon
her as weak and vacillating and utterly under the influence
of bad advisers.

As yet, however, no thought of revolution had arisen. It was
imagined that the worst stage had been reached. But when the
announcement was made the next day that the queen was about
to declare a new constitution the most vivid dread and
alarm were aroused. Feeling now secure of a revenue from the
proceeds of the lottery and the opium trade, Queen
Liliuokalani no longer hesitated to show her hand. The
proposed new constitution was a scheme for a return to
absolute monarchy, one under which every white man on the
islands, unless married to a Hawaiian woman, would be
deprived of the right to vote.

The act was a fatal one to her reign. It precipitated a
revolution which quickly brought her queenship to an end.
The steps which led to this result are well worth relating.

The ceremony of proroguing the legislature ended, the queen
returned to the palace with the purpose of immediately
proclaiming the new constitution. In the procession to the
palace the native society called the "Hui Kalaiaina" marched
in a double line, its president carrying a large package
containing the constitution. A throng of Hawaiians
surrounded the palace gates and filled the grounds near the
front entrance to the building, the queen's guard being
drawn up under arms.

In the throne room the native society which had escorted the
queen ranged themselves in regular lines, their president,
Alapai, having in his hand an address which he proposed to
deliver. Most of the native members of the legislature were
also present, some members of the diplomatic corps being
with them.

While they waited, the cabinet was assembled in the blue
room, to which they had been summoned by the queen. Here a
striking scene took place. Liliuokalani placed before them a
copy of the new constitution and bade them sign it, saying
that she proposed to promulgate it at once. She met with an
outspoken opposition.

"Your Majesty, we have not read that constitution," said Mr.
Parker, Secretary of Foreign Affairs. "And before we read it
we must advise you that this is a revolutionary act. It
cannot be done."

An angry reply came from the queen, and an animated
discussion followed, in which the cabinet officials said
that a meeting had just been held with the foreign
representatives and that if she persisted there was danger
of an insurrection.

"It is your doing," she replied. "I would not have
undertaken this step if you had not encouraged me to do so.
You have led me to the brink of a precipice and are now
leaving me to take the leap alone. Why not give the people
this constitution? You need have no fear. I will bear the
brunt of all the blame afterwards."

The cabinet stood firm, Mr. Peterson, the Attorney General,

"We have not read the constitution."

"How dare you say that," she exclaimed, "when you have had
it in your possession for a month."

The dispute grew more violent as it went on. The cabinet
declined to resign when asked by her to do so, whereupon she
threatened that if they would not accede to her wishes she
would go to the palace door and tell the mob outside that
she wished to give them a new constitution but that her
ministers had prevented her from doing so.

At this threat three of the ministers left the room and
escaped from the building. They remembered the fate of
certain representatives who fell into the hands of a
Hawaiian mob in 1874. Mr. Parker alone had the courage to
remain. He feared that if the queen were left alone she
would sign the instrument herself, and proclaim it to the
people, telling them that her cabinet refused to comply with
her wishes and seeking to rouse against them the wrath of
the unthinking mob, whose only idea of the situation was
that the white men were opposing their queen.

The cabinet stood between two fires, that of the supporters
of the queen on the one hand and that of the white people of
Honolulu on the other. The report of the fleeing members
raised the excitement of the latter to the boiling pitch. A
Committee of Safety was at once organized, and held its
first meeting with closed doors.

"Gentlemen," said a member of this committee, "we are
brought face to face with this question; what shall we do?"

The discussion ended in a motion by the Hon. A.L. Thurston,
to the effect that "preliminary steps be taken at once to
form a provisional government, with a view to annexation to
the United States of America."

Meanwhile a sub-committee had waited on the United States
Minister, Mr. John L. Stevens, asking him to give them the
support of the United States troops on board the "Boston."

"Gentlemen," he replied, "I have no authority to involve the
United States Government in your revolution. I will request
to have troops landed to protect American life and property,
but for no other purpose."

Left to their own resources, the revolutionary party
determined to go on with the enterprise, even if their own
lives should be lost in the effort to prevent the tyranny of
the queen. The Committee of Safety collected and stored arms
in convenient places, finally taking all these arms to the
barracks of the committee.

This brought about the first collision. It was shortly after
noon on January 17, 1893, that three of the revolutionists,
John Good, Edwin Benner and Edward Parris, with a man named
Fritz, were taking some arms in a wagon to the barracks. A
policeman, who had been watching the store from which the
arms were taken, seized the bridle of the horse and cried:


"What shall I do?" asked Benner.

"Go on!" roared Good.

Benner made a cut at the policeman with his whip and tried
to drive on. The man let go the bridle and blew his whistle,
bringing two other policemen quickly to his aid. One tried
to climb into the front of the wagon, but was knocked
senseless by Benner, while the other, who attacked in the
rear, was roughly handled by Parris and Fritz.

The wagon now drove on, but got entangled in a block of two
street cars and a truck. Other policemen came running up and
a fight ensued, one of the officers putting his hand into
his pocket as if to draw a weapon.

"Look out, he is going to shoot," cried a voice from one of
the cars.

Good instantly drew his pistol, and crying, "Benner, it's
life or death; if we must, we must," he fired.

The policeman fell, with a ball in his shoulder. The wagon
by this time had got loose from the block and was driven
furiously away, reaching the barracks without further

That wounded policeman constituted the sole list of dead and
wounded in the revolution. Men were rapidly gathering about
the barracks, two companies of armed men soon marched up,
and a proclamation was read to the following effect:

"The Hawaiian monarchical system of government is hereby

"A provisional government for the control and management of
public affairs and the protection of the public is hereby
established, to exist until terms of union with the United
States of America have been negotiated and agreed upon."

These were the essential clauses of the proclamation that
overthrew the Hawaiian government, the armed insurgents now
marching to the palace, where they found no one but a
highly indignant woman, the queen, deserted by all and in a
violent state of excitement. Her soldiers, who were in the
police station, made no effort to help her, and the only
thing needed to complete the work of the revolution was the
capture of this station. This was done without a blow being
struck and the revolution was complete. In this easy way a
government more than a century old was overturned and a new
one installed in its place.

But the end was not yet. The United States had still to be
heard from. Minister Stevens and Captain Wiltse of the
"Boston" had landed troops to protect the interests of
American citizens and from this incident trouble arose. The
revolution in Hawaii took place January 17, 1893, when
President Harrison, then in office, had little more than six
weeks to serve. Harrison favored annexation of the new ocean
republic, a treaty was prepared and sent to the Senate, but
before it could be acted upon the 4th of March arrived and a
new man, with new views, came in to fill the Presidential

President Cleveland's views were startlingly new. He
believed that the success of the revolution was due to the
act of Minister Stevens and Captain Wiltse in landing
troops, that the queen had been illegally removed, and sent
the Hon. Albert S. Willis to Honolulu to unseat President
Dole of the new republic and restore Queen Liliuokalani to
the throne.

This would undoubtedly have been done but for the dethroned
queen herself, who showed a sanguinary spirit that put poor
Mr. Willis, a man of kindly nature and humane sympathies, in
an embarrassing situation. The President expected the queen,
if restored, to show a spirit of forgiveness to the
revolutionists and his agent was decidedly taken aback by
her answers to his questions.

"Should you be restored to the throne," he asked, "would you
grant full amnesty as to life and property to all those
persons who have been or who are now in the provisional

The queen's answer, slowly and hesitatingly given, was:

"There are certain laws of my government by which I shall
abide. My decision would be, as the law directs, that such
persons should be beheaded and their property confiscated."

Here was a mediæval decision with a vengeance. In spite of
all that Willis could plead, the savagely inclined queen
stuck to her ultimatum. The utmost she would yield was that
these persons "must be exiled or otherwise punished, and
their property confiscated."

The tidings of this ultimatum put President Cleveland in an
awkward dilemma. The beheading idea was too much for him and
the affair dragged on until the following December, when the
ex-queen generously consented to let Dole and his friends
keep their heads, on condition of leaving the country and
losing their property. Finally, when told that she could not
have the throne on any such conditions, she experienced a
change of heart and agreed to grant full amnesty.

When news of what was in view reached Honolulu there was
intense excitement. It was expected that marines would be
landed from the warship "Philadelphia" and "Adams" to
restore the queen and a determination to resist them arose.
The capital was entrenched with sand-bag breastworks, the
batteries were manned and armed, and men were stationed to
fight. As for President Dole and his cabinet, they were in a
quandary. It was finally decided to make only a show of
opposition to the landing of the marines, but after they had
restored the queen and retired, to capture her again and
resume business as a republic.

Their alarm had no real foundation. There had never been an
intention to land the marines. The President knew well that
he had no authority to land marines for such a purpose, and
in his message referred the whole matter to Congress--where
it slept.

Yet the ex-queen and her supporters did not sleep. Finding
that there was no hope of bringing the United States into
the squabble, they organized a counter-revolution of their
own, smuggled arms into the country, and in January, 1895,
the new insurrection broke out. Great secrecy was
maintained. The night of Sunday, January 5, was fixed for
the outbreak. In the evening President Dole and his cabinet
and many other officials of the republic would be at the
service in the Central Union Church and it would be easy to
blow up the whole government with a bomb.

Unluckily for the conspirators, their first capture was that
of some whiskey, and inspired by this they began celebrating
their victory in advance. Yelling and shooting on Sunday
afternoon alarmed the authorities and suspicion of something
wrong was aroused. An attempt to search a suspected house
for arms led to a fight in which one man was killed and
others wounded. News of the insurrection were taken to the
church and whispered to the members of the National Guard
and the government, who slipped quietly out. The pastor,
oblivious to this circumstance, went on with his sermon, but
uneasiness arose in the congregation, and when at last the
clatter of cavalry and the roll of artillery were heard
passing the church all order was at an end. The worshippers
rushed into the street in a mass, the preacher following.
Within ten minutes a state of peace had been changed into
one of war.

The most intense excitement prevailed. No one knew anything
of the numbers or location of the enemy. They were at length
found, in large force, in the hollow basin or crater of
Diamond Head, so strongly posted that they could not be
dislodged from the side of the land. A tug was therefore
sent, with a howitzer, to shell them from the sea, while a
fierce land attack was kept up, and before night on Monday
they were driven out of their stronghold and in full flight.

Another fight took place at Punchbowl Hill, in the rear of
Honolulu, lasting an hour, though with little loss. Tuesday
was spent in searching for the enemy and on Wednesday
another sharp fight took place, they being again defeated.
Before the end of the week the affair was at an end, and the
ex-queen arrested as one of the conspirators. Her premises
were found to be a regular magazine of arms and artillery.

Lilioukalani now found Hawaii too hot to hold her and sought
a new home in the United States, and the republic went on
peaceably until 1898, when, the war with Spain then being in
progress and a new President in the chair, a new and
successful effort for its annexation was made. The bill for
its admission was signed by President McKinley on July 7,
and the Hawaiian group became an outlying possession of the
United States. It was made an American Territory in 1900.

                            THE END.

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